Post-Kenya Blues

So, I’ve been back from Kenya about a month. It’s definitely a hard re-entry, going from the US to Kenya and back to the US. The lifestyle over there is almost nothing like it is over here.


I believe that there’s a difference between poverty and destitution. When you’re destitute, you have *nothing*–no money, no hope, no happiness. Poverty is an absence of money. And while many of the Kenyans I met live in the poorest of poverty-ridden areas I’ve ever seen, they are by no means destitute. Their smiles and warmth prove that. There was not one village that we visited where we weren’t greeted with kindness, immediate love and acceptance, generosity, and open arms.


My favorite constellation is Orion. In our neck of the woods, Orion begins to rise in the late summer with his right shoulder poking above the horizon in the early morning hours. As time marches on into winter, he features prominently in the southern sky, standing straight up with his sword held high. As winter turns to spring, Orion goes to bed in the early evenings of late April/early May, resting on his right shoulder.


Interestingly, Kenya sits on the equator, which means the position of the constellations shift dramatically from our perspective. In Kenya, Orion rises similarly to how he rises in my area, but things change once he gets about 10 degrees above the eastern horizon: his position doesn’t shift. He continues to march straight north. If you want to see Orion in late November/early December, you have to crane your neck and look straight up. And I mean STRAIGHT up.


In my analytical yet symbolic mind, I see this as Orion guarding the entire Kenyan sky–not just the southern portion, as he does from our position. From his position of 90 degrees off the horizon, he can protect the whole night sky. At least from mid-November through late December. 🙂


It’s an interesting parallel, I think. There’s much to protect in Kenya. There are the obvious endangered species, such as the elephant, rhino, or cheetah, but then there’s the not-at-all obvious to the typical, western-cultured mind. The Maasai culture is eroding quickly. Their culture is beautiful. Their dancing, their jewelry, their singing, their warrior mentality … there’s almost nothing about their culture that isn’t incredibly wonderful. There are a couple of horrific aspects (See: FGM. See also: early marriage.), but those points are quickly being eradicated by the newest generations of Maasai.


It’s the wonderful aspects of the culture that need to be preserved, and they need to be preserved quickly before they’re nothing but a faded memory. As it stands, their elders adhere to strict, orthodox Maasai ways. One generation younger, and they’re dressing in jeans, running their own businesses, making music (See: Lemarti, Jeff Ole Kishau, Thee Stargal). Not that there is anything wrong with dressing in jeans, running your own business or making music … but that’s not what their culture is about. Their culture is about males defending their villages from predators. Their culture is about dress. Their culture is about harvesting. Their culture is squarely *not* western, but it’s quickly becoming westernized, and for the elders, I’m sure it’s disorienting. And that’s just within one generation. Give it another 50 years, and what will be left?! WILL it be here?


One of 100 Humanitarian‘s goals is to build a cultural center that will help preserve the Maasai culture through video, audio, spoken language, interviewing elders, and archiving all this culture for their posterity. And ours, if we’re being honest! It’s an incredibly rich history, and we need to capture it. We have 5 acres dedicated for the cultural center. We have a director. We have an architect. What we *don’t* have is the money. Yet. We’re feverishly working to raise funds.


Right now, our group has over 1000 members on Facebook. If everyone contributed $100, we could have that cultural center built within one year. At least the first phase of the cultural center would be complete.


My wife and I are going over in June. I will probably be going back in November 2017 as well. That’s when we hope to have the ribbon cutting ceremony for phase 1 of the cultural center.


I have to go back. There is a feeling over there that you just don’t get over here. I can’t explain it. There’s an actual pull to go back. I’m not going to ignore it. There must be more trips.


There *will* be more trips.

A Family that Rushes Together Stays Together (Time Stand Still)

In 1987, this one idiot named Rick on my school bus mentioned that he was excited for a new album by some band who would be using electronic drums for the first time. I wasn’t the least bit interested.


I was also a young, dumb idiot.


That band was Rush, and they were on the cusp of releasing “Hold Your Fire,” their quintessential 80s offering. A perfect blend of guitar, bass, drums, and synth, this album was ironically destined to become one of my top 5 albums of all time.


I didn’t really join the Rush scene until 1989, with the release of “Presto.” I forgot to send the “Selection of the Month” card back to Columbia, so I ended up with the cassette tape. Gave it a once-through, and set it aside until college, where I met James. James had *everything* Rush had done at that point, plus some bootleg concert tapes. He let me borrow them, and I was *hooked*. After my first year, I came home and hit the local exchange store and bought everything I could find.


Tonight, my family will join me at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, where we will witness what could possibly be the last large-scale tour Rush ever performs. My 5th show, my wife’s and older daughter’s 2nd shows, and my younger daughter’s first ever show. I have been waiting for this for longer than I can remember, and tonight, it actually happens. We will inculcate my daughters into the fine ritual of carbing and proteining up before the show (read: dinner beforehand). We will show them how to properly rock out to some of the world’s greatest musicians. Afterward, we will take them out to eat again to re-carb and re-protein (yes, those are now verbs). Or at least get some water.


I’m excited. My kids are excited (at least I think they are). My wife is … well, she’s trying (right, honey?). God bless her and her patience with my rabid fan-dom. This is going to be one of those moments that I’m going to want to freeze and remember forever. My kids aren’t getting any younger. They’re getting older, coming into their own with likes, music, and shows. Goodness gracious, they’ve actually discovered *boys* (though that was years ago …).

Hashtag Hell (or, How I Learned to Love the Pound Sign)

So, I hear a lot of people asking, “What is the point of a hashtag?” and saying “They’re so stupid! I hate them!” That’s because most people use them incorrectly. You *can* use a hashtag of #ThisIsTheLamestThingEverAndItSucksMoreThanBroccoliSoup … but no one will ever see it except you and your handful of twitter followers/facebook friends/instagram addicts, depending on where you deploy your tag.


Hashtags actually serve a very useful purpose. Think of them as a sort of index for your post. For those of you who have no idea what an index is (read: the under-20 crowd who barely know what a book is), think of your old text books or instruction books. In the back, you have an alphabetical index of key words that are very specific to a functionality or a task. If I’m looking at an HTML book, and I want to know all about “classes,” I can search the index, find “classes,” and it will give me a list of pages where you will find useful information. It’s the same with hashtags. You tag key words that you want to use to help others find your post on whatever social media platform you’re using. Twitter has been great for using hashtags for years and years. Instagram, a little less so, but definitely getting up to speed. Facebook … yah. A work in progress, and we’ll leave it at that.


In your post/tweet/pic, you have a point you’re trying to get across. You specifically mentioned something. For example, let’s say that I just took a picture of Old Faithful in Yellowstone. My caption reads, “Hey, check it out–it really *does* go off every 75 minutes or so!” My hashtags, IF I want them to be useful, would be something along the lines of #OldFaithful #Yellowstone #geysers #awesome (because let’s face it … OF is freakin’ insanely cool, as are most other geysers). The first two are specific to Old Faithful. They say where you’ve been specifically. The 3rd is a tad more generic, but it’s still specific to OF because it is a geyser, and Yellowstone houses the largest concentration of geysers in the world. The 4th shows your feelings (not a necessity, but sometimes a nicety), and anyone looking for something #awesome is going to find your picture. Eventually. Probably. I mean, I’m sure a lot of pictures or posts are tagged as “awesome” because most people view their vacation pics as such. “Awesome,” though, is subjective. YOU believe it’s awesome. Others may agree; some may think, “Really? Water blowing out of the ground is ‘awesome’? Whatever …”


Now … some people like to use hashtags as a way to rib their friends/followers. That’s definitely one way of using them. The odds of it being useful in a search are pretty close to zero, but it can be done. My friends and I do it all the time. Doesn’t mean we *want* people to find it; we’re just using them as a short-handed form of teasing. #Idiot, #LMGTFY … stuff like that. It’s pretty fun.


Another thing to consider when using hashtags is the use of capitalization. In conventional writing, you typically capitalize the first word of a sentence, then the rest of the sentence is lower-case (except for the appropriate pronouns and proper nouns). However, with hashtags, to make them more readable, the smart tagger capitalizes the first letter of EVERY word–regardless of whether it’s a small word, big word, proper noun, gerund, objective prounoun … doesn’t matter.


This concludes my primer for tagging. I’m sure there’s a lot I’m leaving out, but these are just the things I’ve observed since using hashtags. They have their place, and they’re definitely a great tool … IF you know what you’re doing with them.

2015: The Year of … Something

Well that went fast. 2014 is in the rear-view mirror, and our road ahead stretches in some as-yet-to-be-determined path. Is it curved? Looped? Straight?


Trust me … I’m not trying to wax philosophical; I’m genuinely curious to see what this year brings for me and my family. Personally, I have goals for this blog (“Yes … of course you do. We’ve heard this before.”), and I have a plan in place to make sure I follow through with it.


To start off, I’ve mentioned that I’m a huge fan of photography. Lately, I’ve been shooting raw images as opposed to in-camera jpg images. Here’s a very clear demonstration as to why.



As you can see, this picture looks a little dark. Pretty, kind of haunting … but dark. The image below is what I was able to do in Photoshop with some raw processing.


I don’t know about you, but glowing trees? Very cool. Now I just need to go in and get rid of the now-obvious wires that are dangling in the background, but for now, I’m happy with this.

I learn more every time I play with my camera, open Photoshop, and dig around online for tutorials on better post-processing. This is how anyone gets good at whatever it is he or she wants to do. I want to be a better photographer and do better post-processing, so I study, learn, play, try, fail, and eventually succeed.


You can do this too. Not necessarily photography, but whatever you want to achieve. Think it, dream it, do it. Just get at it!


No, this was not designed to be a motivational speech. It just turned all Tony Robbins-like cuz … well, it is what it is. You can’t become better at something if you don’t try and practice.
Now go forth and conquer.

Things For Which I Am Grateful

Two Sundays ago, I woke up with a fever. I decided to do what everyone with a fever does–warm up. My method of achieving comfort involved standing under a steaming stream of flowing hot water … the exact opposite of what I needed. Instead of feeling better, I felt exponentially worse. As the water cascaded down around me, I could feel myself starting to slip into that very special hell reserved for those stupid enough to take a shower with a fever. My muscles fought tooth and nail against whatever oncoming infection was on the offensive. They lost. Badly. I eventually ran out of hot water and was left standing with a level of convulsions typically exhibited by those having a grand mal seizure. It was all I could do to dry off, get dressed, and crawl back into bed. Somehow, I pulled it off. I slept all day. Ended up in some state of delirium where all I could think of was the bass line from Big Data’s “Dangerous.” Not an entirely austere bass line, but catchy enough that I had it playing in my head throughout the entire psychosis that was my Sunday.


Then Monday came. My fever of 102.9 from the day before dropped to 100.1. Manageable, but still a fever. I stood up to go to the bathroom, and I felt an immense pressure building in my lower left leg. A panic and dread filled me with a speed rivaled only by light.


A quick trip to the ER revealed what I already strongly suspected: cellulitis. This bacterial disease infects the dermal and sub-dermal layers of the skin, and it creates a pain in every individually infected that is the male equivalent of giving birth. Think I’m kidding? Wait until you go through it. I sincerely hope you don’t have to because it’s horrible, but if you do, you’ll understand what I mean when I say the pain is just that intense.


I was admitted to the hospital Wednesday afternoon. I wasn’t discharged until Saturday around noon. 8 rounds of IV anti-biotics. More blood samples and tests than I’ve ever seen. Pills galore.


And not a penny of health insurance. Oh, this is going to be fun. Lots and lots of fun.


Despite the fact that we don’t have health insurance right now, I’m incredibly optimistic about our future, and really life in general. Some things for which I’m grateful:


  • My family is amazing. Supportive, loving, awesome.
  • My friends are equally amazing.
  • Aside from the cellulitis, I’m generally healthy.
  • We have essential oils all over the house that help with our physical and psychological health. This cellulitis is definitely the exception and not the rule.
  • I’ve lost over 42 pounds in the last 3 months. Go grab yourself a bag of rock salt for your driveway or water softener. *That* is how much I’ve lost. Tell me that’s not awesome.
  • My new job is so understanding of everything. They know I’m down for the hard count, and we have this massive, looming deadline that is non-negotiable … but we’re working through it. My manager overnighted all the materials sitting on my desk so I can have them at my disposal here at the house, allowing me to work from home as I can.
  • We have food in the cupboards and a good supply of extra in the basement.
  • Both of our vehicles are running just fine. They need oil changes and fluid checks, but other than that, running just fine. AND they’re both paid off.
  • Our house is getting better and better as we make improvements.
  • We have more music and movies than I care to admit. I collect … so … yah.
  • If it comes down to it, I have some very useful talents like tie-dyeing that I could use to help pay off some of the hospital costs. I would include photography in that list of talents, but it’s more of a hobby than anything else. Could I turn a profit? Maybe … but it’d take a lot more studying, practicing, and research before I even attempt to go that route.
  • And above all–most important to me–I know who I am, and that is a son of a God who loves us and watches over us. I know why I’m here, and where I can go when I die. Do bad things happen to me? Sure. Do I blame God for them? Not at all. Sometimes, the only way to grow is to go through the refiner’s fire and see how you come out. I’ve been through challenges exponentially worse than this, and it was only by clinging to that knowledge of God’s love that my family and I made it through the challenges we have.


Like I said, my optimism is pretty high. The first sign of medical bills might kill that, but I’m going to work really hard to make sure it doesn’t. I’d much prefer a positive attitude to a crappy one.


Oh well. Onward and upward.

App Review: Endomondo–An Exercise Companion

Yup. I’ve actually taken that step: I plan on using an exercise app. SEE? I’m committed to this weight loss and health thing. I downloaded Endomondo, an exercise app for iOS devices. Probably around the same time I downloaded other iBike and MapMyRide+.


Except all I’ve done is download it and open it; I haven’t used it to its full capacity yet. I plan on doing that this weekend, when we go to Moab and hike all over the place. We spent a lot of time last night doing laundry for the things we want to pack, like sweats, shorts, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. Hey … gotta layer while we’re down there, right? Average morning temps in the 40s, average afternoon highs in the 70s. Again, layering. Yes.


Honestly, I’ve had this app for a long time. I don’t know exactly how long, but it’s been a while. I’ve never used it. I’ve opened it and looked at the user interface (UI) some, but nothing exetensive. Now that I have a solid game plan in place, I thought I’d open it up and look at it more closely.


When you first open the app, it asks if you’d like to log in or create an account. Obviously, being the exercise buff that I am, I had already created an account couch potato sloth that I am, I needed to create an account. Once I took care of that, it opened to its main page, where the first thing I noticed was the ad at the bottom of the screen. Distracting, right? To be fair, this *is* a free app. There’s an option to upgrade to Endomondo Premium, which has a bunch of extra features (namely, NO ADS), but it’s subscription-based, and it costs $3.99/month or $29.99/year. $30 is not a lot to ask for a digital personal trainer, right? Maybe I’ll explore that later, but not right now.


The app defaults to a pre-set screen that has a start button in the bottom left corner and a Duration counter in the top left. Nestled between these two prominent features are, in clockwise order, a distance tracker, heart rate in terms of beats per minute, workout type (defaults to basic), and your chosen sport (defaults to running, ha ha). Now … here’s the great part. ALL of these fields–the prominent and the sandwiched– are customizeable to whatever you’d like within the options. When I tap on Duration, I have options of displaying calories, heart rate, speed, distance, aveerage speed, and hydration. When I tap Sport (cuz, yah … I’m not running), I have close to 60 options, ranging from badminton to yoga. In anticipation of tomorrow, I’ve selected Hiking.


My favorite feature on this screen is the GPS function. In the bottom right corner, there’s a little green arrow-looking button. When I tap that, a map slides open to display my current location. As I go for a walk, or hike, or bike ride, my location is constantly updated on the map. Once the workout is done, it displays the path I took. That’s pretty nifty. I know that’s a standard feature for a lot of these kinds of apps, but come on! That’s awesome!


In the interst of fairness, the data wasn’t *entirely* accurate. According to the stats on my quick walk, I gained 33 feet in elevation, and lost no elevation. So, I went up the equivalent of 3 floors in a little over .16 miles … according to this. Not possible, since all I did was walk in a circle. At some point, there should have been a descent. Minor quibbling points, but worth mentioning all the same.


In the top right corner are three little horizontal lines. Tapping that icon takes you to a series of options. You can upgrade to premium (which I may do just to see what’s offered. Hey, I can use all the help I can get, right?), add Endomondo friends, see your workout history, add a training plan, accept challenges, see workout routes of local users, and update your settings.


In all, this looks like a complete app. I’m excited to get down to Moab and test it (and me). Is the $30/year worth it? Dunno yet … but I may soon find out. For now, though, the free version is packed with a bunch of great features.

Family Vacation Time

Well this is super awesome. I don’t know how on earth I married so well … but shucky darn and slop the chickens, I did.


I start a new job in a couple of weeks. As such, I have this surplus of vacation hours from my current employer. I plan on using some of those to leave a bit early tomorrow, drive to Moab, UT tomorrow afternoon, and then spend the next 4 days down in some of the most rugged, rocky terrain in the world. *THIS* is going to be fun. and I mean FRICKIN’ UNBELIEVABLY NICE.


This is why I upgraded my camera to a Canon 6D. The low-light capabilities on this thing compared to my old T2i are astounding, to say the least. The nights are supposed to be super clear, which means star pictures will be an option. Orion is in full view on the eastern horizon pretty late–around 1 am. Now … the question is whether I can stay up late enough to get pictures. Guess we’ll see.


One thing for sure that I want to do is get a shot of Dead Horse Point at sunrise. Not just any shot, though … I want to get a shot of Dead Horse looking dead on. The overlook is a bit north east of the bend, and it doesn’t offer a straight shot at it.




I know where I need to go to get it, and I have it marked on my GPS. That’s definitely happening.


I plan on pushing myself pretty hard this trip. I’m on the verge of being down about 40 pounds from where i was a little over 2 months ago, and I feel great. To put that in perspective, rock salt for a water softener comes in 40 pound bags. THAT’s what I’ve lost. I don’t have to lug that around with me this trip. Last time we went to moab, I was about 310. Not this time. So yah … I *want* to push myself. I don’t want to kill myself, of course, so this may be a relatively light trip, and then I’ll work on cardio and endurance.


This will be fun!


I took this last year when we went in July.



It was hot. Very, very, very hot. My Camelbak was bled dry before we even started back down. I have no idea how we survived. But we did. We will this year too. I hope. It’ll be significantly cooler–at least 25-30 degrees, if not 35 degrees. I’d like this to be the backdrop for a night shot of the Milky Way, but it might not happen this trip. That’s fine. Someday, it’s gonna happen. Maybe in April or May. That would be ideal.


I also picked up one of those awesome Olloclip lenses that will make for some fun phone pics. I’ve played a bit with it around the house, but nothing serious. I’ve seen what it can do indoors … I’m betting we can get some amazing shots outside with it.


Above all, though, I just want this vacation to be *fun*. We’ve had some pretty high stress around our house lately … we need this trip to help alleviate that stress and get us back to a balanced center.

End of an Era with a Very Odd Horizon

Sometimes, you just need to shake things up. Move on. Make wholesale changes. I’ve come to accept the fact that, sometimes, things just won’t ever be the way you’d hoped they’d be, and that’s okay. Most of us are equipped with the capacity to enable changes in our lives that will provide whatever it is that we feel we may be lacking, *or* we just find ways to cope with those changes. To that end, when these shake-ups come along, whether it’s by design or by happenstance, you’re ready to go with the flow.


Those who know me well know that my typical day-job revolves around writing manuals. This has mostly been done through defense contractors. Working in this environment for the better part of 12 years, I’ve come to understand the government mentality, processes, and procedures that go into writing military-approved procedure documents. This has been my home for 9+years of the 12 years I’ve been in the professional world. I’m grateful for the time I’ve had here. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve gained, and the things I’ve learned will carry forward with me … but it’s time to move on.


As a general rule, I don’t make wholesale changes. I tend to accept positions with companies that have a similar feel to them … hence my time with the DOD over the last 12 years. Having said that, sometimes, ya just have to shake things up and go for the big 180–the polar opposite, as it were. And so it is that I end my career with the defense sector and move into a wholly, heretofore unexplored area of professional life.


I have accepted an offer with Jamberry Nails, starting October 28. No, I will not be a consultant. They have a real need for documenting internal processes, policies, and knowledge databases. That’s where I come in.


Like I said, sometimes, the change just needs to be that different, right? Well this one’s *big*. And I couldn’t be more excited.


Some are going to ask why I’ve decided to move on. Those reasons are my own. They’re personal, and that’s that. Those who need to know, know. 🙂


And that’s that. SO excited to start this new chapter. If you read this, thank you, JW, for your trust and faith. It will be richly rewarded … 🙂

Friday Night Solitude Music Selection: Dream Theater’s Awake

So it’s Friday. My wife has abandoned me. Well, okay … only temporarily. She went out with some of her girlfriends for a much-deserved night out. Meanwhile, I get to supervise our girls’ 24-hour job marathon that they’ve earned for their continued and sustained disobedience … which then begs the question, “What makes you think they’re going to do jobs to be un-grounded if they’re not listening at all?” *SUCH* a valid question! And sorry … no answers. Oddly, one will come to her senses and work on her job list until she gets everything done so she can be un-grounded. The other one, by stark contrast, adamantly fights us tooth and nail. She will actually work harder to *not* do her jobs than she will on actually doing them. When we point out that she could have been done “X” hours ago, she just furrows her brow, tries to work out the math in her head, gives up, shrugs her shoulders, and somersaults away from us down the hall. Yes, somersaults. There is no walking for her–only acrobatic methods of moving from points A to B.


Except that now that they’re both in bed, presumably asleep, I have some time to myself. What do I choose to do with all of this free time? Re-tag my mp3s in iTunes, of course! Can’t have a CD without a release date, can I?!


Seriously. That bothers me. A lot. When I’m going through my music on my phone, I want it organized by release date. Der.


Honestly, it’s not *that* big of a deal, but it’s just one of those nit-noidy things that I can hammer out while I have some free time, so why not?


Background music of choice for the evening: Dream Theater’s Awake CD. I found an old friend who got me into them way back in 1994 (Hi, KH!!!). I haven’t seen this girl in probably 17-18 years or so. We found each other on Facebook, caught up for an hour or so, and it got me thinking back to when we first met. It was rather amazing to find a girl who liked prog metal … much less neo-prog metal like DT. We went out a couple of times, hung out together in college, and then we went our separate ways. I got married, she got married, she was living on the east coast, and now she lives down the highway from us.


After we chatted, I thought it’d be fun to pull out some of their older stuff, like Awake, Images and Words, A Change of Seasons, Falling into Infinity … and thus has been my week. Drives to and from work, drives to interviews (a long story for another day) … any time I’ve been in the car, I’d get reacquainted with those CDs. And they have a *lot* more. It’ll be good to catch up with their more recent offerings.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Anyone who can change up their time and key signatures with a certain degree of proficiency is going to merit at least a few listens from me. I like my music complex and semi-chaotic. Not like Aphex Twin chaotic, but well-organized chaos is always a good thing. I guess “chaos” is probably the wrong term to use. Let me put it this way: if your whole CD consists of simply 2/4, 3/4, or 4/4 time sigs and no key changes within a song, odds are, I won’t enjoy you much. There are notable excpetions, obviously. A lot of what Suzanne Vega writes is pretty much  the same key beginning to end of song … but then again she is an amazing lyricist. Her music is another layer of icing on an incredibly rich cake.


Guess I should get back to dating these files. 35000+, and they aren’t gonna tag themselves.

How To Be Not Fat(ter Than You Are)

So I’ve lost some weight. I could be doing more about that, but for now, I’m down 27 pounds in 5 weeks. I’m kind of surprised by that, actually. My exercises have been minimal–just walking around my building’s perimeter at lunch. Nothing heavy-hitting, by any stretch. Tonight, though … I think I’m going to hop on the bike and meet my wife at her running park–a short ride of probably less than 2 miles there, but then she’ll run some, and I can circle around while she runs. We’ll see. It’s a start!


The thing I don’t like about my bike is that it’s a mountain bike. It’s not designed for street use. It’s heavy, the tires are super knobby, and it makes it extremely difficult to ride over even terrain, like pavement, roads, paths, etc. I plan on getting a “new” bike as soon as possible, so I can ride to work (a current commute of 4 miles one way; on a good bike, it’d take maybe 20 minutes with traffic).


Having said all of that, though, I think the real kicker is the change in eating habits. I eat *way* fewer processed sugars than I used to consume. I’ve eliminated soda entirely. I actually eat vegetables in small quantities, like a salad with a low-fat dressing, cucumbers and zuchinis blended into protein drinks (a peach smoothie with zuchini is indistinguishable from a peach smoothie without zuchini), and bless my wife’s heart, she made a veggie lasagne with more veggies than I’ve ever seen. I … well, let’s just say I really appreciate her efforts, but like I said, “you can’t expect a newborn to jump right into a 7-course meal when they’re used to baby food. It’s called ‘firehosing!'” Maybe someday I’ll get there. Last night was not that day. but her heart was in the right place. She’s an incredible woman with insane culinary skills. I’m sure that, as far as veggie lasagnes go, it’s delicious. For me … it’ll have to be a meal for another day. Or … year. 🙂


The fact that I’m even considering it an option down the road should tell you how my mentality has shifted over the last 5 weeks. I kid you not that eating vegetables for me is a *HUGE* step forward. So is exercising. I’ve led a pretty much exclusively sedentary life style. It … well, it shows. However, my genetic make-up and dispositions are such that, even just walking at a semi-brisk pace allows me to lose weight. I’m curious to see where more biking leads in terms of weight loss.


As of this morning, I weighed 287. That’s the least I’ve weighed since about 2005 or 2006. My goal is 250-260, but it’s not just the number that matters: it’s how I get there, and what sustainable activities I incorporate into my routines that help me maintain that weight once I achieve it. Numbers mean nothing if you can’t maintain that number or relatively close to it.


And of course, I’ve picked the 5 months from hell to start this, right? October through February are just brutal for food. October: Halloween. November: Thanksgiving. December: Christmas. January: Football playoffs and associated parties. February: Superbowl AND Valentine’s Day.


Honestly though … it’s not the seasons that worry me–it’s the potential lack of self control. I have hope though. I’ve seen signs the last few weeks that my mentality is changing. I’ve turned down cupcakes, ice cream, cookies, brownies, fudge, fritters, donuts … all voluntarily–not because the boxes were empty. Instead, I’ve had cashews, walnuts, pecans, bananas, grapes, protein shakes, water, cheese sticks … exponentially healthier items. I’ve “cheated,” of course. I’ve had chocolate, some candy, the afore-mentioned turned down items … but I’ve done so in extreme moderation. And in exercising that moderation, I don’t have to miss it, but I don’t have to engorge myself on them, either.


And it’s all paying off.

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