A Fat Man's Journey (Working my way back…)

An Attempt to Journey from Fat to Fit in a Lifetime. Eat right, Eat less, Move more

Not my best day

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Not how I wanted the ride to go.

Sunday Morning, feeling ready to ride

Sunday Morning, feeling ready to ride

I lead the Sunday morning beginner/intermediate ride at the bike shop. It is one of those things I really enjoy and today promised to be a great ride. The weather was great, the attendance was excellent and I had a nice route planned for the group.

Two miles in to the ride things went bad.

I crashed. Hard.

I lost my focus for just a moment, took a wide line through a turn, clipped a curb….

Helmets work. They really do.

Big dent in the lid

Big dent in the lid

I came away from the crash with some nasty scrapes, bumps, cuts and bruises, a wrecked helmet, a mild headache (no concussion) and a major bruise to my ego.

The bike is fine. A couple of minor repairs and it will be as good as new.

I was able to ride back to the shop while the rest of the group rode on and enjoyed a really nice ride in the country side.

Cracks inside the helmet.  This one is no retired to my bike closet.  A reminder that hubris is a bad thing

Cracks inside the helmet. This one is now retired to my bike closet. A reminder that hubris is a bad thing

OUCH.  My right elbow.  My right side is scraped from knee to shoulder

OUCH. My right elbow. My right side is scraped from knee to shoulder

I keep a first aid kit in my car and was able to tend to my wounds and then I went over to the nearby pharmacy and picked up some more stuff. After the manager arrived at the shop I was able to go in and shower up, get the rest of the wounds cleaned and bandaged and then I worked the day at the shop. Sold a few bikes.

Mostly I feel sore, stiff, and stupid.

I did what I always preach not to do. I allowed myself to become distracted and lost my focus. BOOM.

Don’t do that.

I am sure this is a lesson learned for me. Painfully, but learned.

Glad the bike will be OK.

To top it off, I broke a tooth tonight.

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to get out of bed.

BUT this is where working at the shop pays off for me.

Today a young man of 9 or 10 came in with his Dad. He got his very first grownup bike and I had the privilege of setting him up and helping him select the bike. I had the pleasure of seeing the joy on his face as he test rode the bike. I saw his smile when Dad said “let’s get it”. Later in the day I helped a woman select her first road bike. She discovered riding a year ago. A woman in her forties, she hadn’t ridden since she was a child. Then she decided she wanted to get fit and a year ago she bought herself a Hybrid. A friend talked her in to training for triathlons’. Her Hybrid just wasn’t going to cut it. After having a professional fitting done I worked with her for a little more than an hour. She was a little confused by the range of available options and we worked through it until it became clearer for her. Then we went outside and she test rode a bike. We worked on the shifting, how the brakes work, the differences in the handling compared to the Hybrid. When it was all done, she had selected a bike, was comfortable with the selection, and was excited about getting out on the road on her new road bike.

These are the things that put a shine on the day.

There was also a some gentle, touching moments to the day.

A mother and father came in today looking for a used children’s bike for their son. A child of about 8, he appears to be non-verbal autistic. He loves to pedal a bike. I helped them select one of the used bikes, actually one I had taken in the day before. A bike with 20-inch wheels, with training wheels already on it and in nearly new condition. This little boy, alone in his world. He lit up when he sat on the bike.

The father, in labored English, explained to me “my boy is special needs”. I told him I understood. He thanked me and asked if I knew where they could find help for their son. I gave him the email address of Autism NJ, the organization that benefits from The Ride for Autism. He, his wife and his son left with smiles.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe today was a very good day.

 

Peace.


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The Black Dog Won


Not the Weekend I Wanted

This was the weekend of the Five-Boro Bike Tour.

I look forward to this ride for one reason: Riding with my friend NI.

The rest of it is OK.  Thirty-two thousand riders make for quite the spectacle.

The ride was Sunday.  I had a good time on Saturday.  I met up with NI and a friend of his and we traipsed around the city, had a good lunch, did the registration thing…

It was Sunday that The Black Dog took his bite and I couldn’t, or didn’t, fight back.

I awoke at 4:00 AM, got ready for the ride, loaded up the car and drove in the New York City.  By 5:30, I was approaching the area where I would meet NI.  Then it happened.  The stress?  A stomach bug?  I am not sure.  I pulled over to the curb on a side street in lower Manhattan.  There and then, I lost what little breakfast I had.

I contemplated this.  Thought about what it was all about.  What caused this?  I turned around, went home and went to sleep.  I didn’t do the ride.

I never really felt any better yesterday.  I thought I would ride in the afternoon if I did but I didn’t  I didn’t feel much better and I didn’t ride.  Riding might have been the best thing for me.  Doing the tour might have been the best thing for me.

I simply couldn’t fight The Black Dog.

I sat on the sofa speaking to no one, doing nothing.  I wanted to climb into a hole and pull the earth back over me.

I don’t like when this happens (no kidding, right?) and I am not sure why it does.  I wish I could understand what is happening in my head a little better.

If I did understand it better, then maybe this would have been the weekend I wanted.

Guilt

I am not living the life I imagined I would have when I was a teen and well in to my twenties and even my early thirties.

I didn’t expect to need two jobs.  I didn’t expect not to be able to afford a vacation once a year or to have the difficulties I have.  This is not what I expected at all.  I really don’t like my career.  I am good at it.  I just don’t like it.  I don’t have time to do the things I like.  I work seven days a week.  I take off a weekend and I feel guilty.  I am taking money out of the family pot and I am leaving the shop shorthanded.  I don’t get to do the activities I so enjoy: hiking, cycling, spending time with my family and friends.

It is the guilt that cripples me.  If I work all seven days, I feel guilty for taking time away from the family.  If I don’t work the weekend, I feel guilt over not making the money.

This is not a way to live.  This is a way to die.

At this time there is little I can do to change all this.  I have to keep pushing.  I am not sure where this pushing will get me but I have to.  There is no other choice.

So I deal with the guilt.

My weight

I am the heaviest I have been since the middle of the summer of 2012.  I am up to 217.  This is not a good thing.  I have no excuses.  I have given in to the depression and the stress and I have over-eaten.  I have not pushed past the depression to get on the bike.  I have walked.  HUGE amounts of walking.  I have set a course in the factory and I make sure I walk it throughout the day.  It is great for fitness.  I am fit.  But I have out-eaten the calories I am burning and that is no one’s fault or responsibility but my own.

217-pounds. Pants are getting a little snug.  T-shirts are getting a little tight.

I have to get back to what I know works and I need to stay there.  I have indulged.  Cookies.  Buffet.  Not what, who or where I want to be.

It will not stand.

Getting it back together

I will take some days off work in the next couple of weeks. Take a few vacation days.  I will get on my bike and ride.  I will get out and hike.  PGB is sometimes available mid-week.  Perhaps he will be able to join me for a hike in Harriman.

If I don’t get my mind cleared and my heart right I will surely end up either insane or fat.  Insane I can accept.  Fat I cannot.

I understand the expression “a life lived in quiet desperation” now.  I didn’t always.  I do now.

Things have to change.  I need to make them change.  I need to get my heart and mind back on the same page, focused on the same goals, the same life plan.

I cannot accept what I am doing to myself with food, with stress, with life in general.

Getting it back together is must happen.  It has to start happening now.

Is life a constant battle for everyone? So many people I see seem to have it together.  I sometimes feel I am a single step away from the abyss.  Stepping back from that fall is the hardest thing to do when the Black Dog seems to be standing behind me baring teeth and growling.

Cycling, and time with friends, has been my escape from The Black Dog.  This weekend I didn’t fight hard enough.  I let the Black Dog win.

I have to find a way to fight harder. Or maybe I just need to be smarter than The Black Dog…

 

Peace


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Six-thousand Two-hundred and Forty-one days


March 6, 1997

I remember the day because it is the birthday of my college roommate and so the date imprinted on my mind.

I was just shy of my 36th birthday and I was in the hospital with chest pain. It felt like a fist was being pushed in to my ribs from the inside. It had started on a Sunday. I had gone to my father’s house to move some boxes of books from the house to the shed as he prepared to put the house on the market. I was young. I was big. I was strong. I carried two of the storage boxes at a time. 40-50 pounds? Something like that. Carried them across the back yard. One-hundred plus feet from the back door of the house to the shed. I made the trip 10 times or so.

Later that evening the discomfort started. Monday it was pain. I went to the Doctor and he sent me for an EKG and stress test. By the evening on Monday I was admitted. The EKG was “abnormal”. My Blood Pressure was high. The Doctor decided not to give me the stress test. In his words “this would be a bad thing to do”. Now I was frightened. When he told me not to worry, they would take very good care of me, I nearly started to cry.

That was March 3, 1997.

On Tuesday they transferred me to the hospital with the better cardiology unit. Morristown Memorial Hospital. They scheduled me for a cardiac catheterization and on Wednesday, March 5th I had the procedure done. I was pretty certain I would be having surgery by the end of the day.

I was wrong.

My arteries were fine. “Wide open” in the words of the cardiologist. No sign of any blockages.

The pain? The result of a spasming esophagus. The cause? High blood pressure.

On March 6, 1997 I started taking blood pressure medication.

Today I stopped.

The doctor said it was OK. My health and fitness are such that I no longer have high blood pressure. I no longer need the medication.

Six-thousand Two-hundred and Forty-one days after I started, I have stopped.

I wish I could tell you that the scare I had that week somehow transformed me then. It didn’t. I didn’t lose weight. I didn’t go on a fitness kick. I continued to gain weight. I continued my sedentary ways…

It would be 15 plus years before I started to really change. It would take until December 27, 2011 before I would start this journey. Thousands of pills later.

After I started the Journey and after I had lost 75 pounds or so, I asked my Doctor if there was any chance I would get off the blood pressure medications. He replied that I might and we would see. When I went to him at 204 pounds, when he checked my BP and found it to be 116 over 62, when he found my resting heart rate to be 62 beats per minute he took me off one of the pills.

At my last check up, with my weight still under control, with my BP at 118 over 65 he said I could stop the last pill.

Yesterday morning I took the last pill.

Doc told me to watch my BP carefully and if it goes back up I am to refill the prescription and go back on.

I will do exactly as he said.

I hope, of course, that I do not need to go back on.

Six-thousand Two-hundred and Forty-one days

I am happy about this. It means so much more than simply not having to take a pill.

Back on the bike

The weather is slowly improving. It was very ride-able weather this weekend. Yes, a bit on the chilly side at the early hours I ride but it was very enjoyable.

I rode 17.5 miles on Saturday morning. Twenty-two and half on Sunday on the shop ride. A 40-mile weekend.

Nice start.

The long-range forecast is very good. Next weekend should be in the 50’s at ride time. I can see a 75-mile weekend ahead. At least that is the thinking today.

There is so much joy in me when I ride. Even the flat tire on Sunday did not dampen the spirits. I am pretty good at changing flats so it was only a few minutes lost. NP rode up and quipped “road-side flat tire clinic”. I smiled. It was fun. It is a part of riding.

This weekend I had the pleasure of sharing a friends return to the road. This friend had suffered a bad crash last year. Many months of rehab and hard work. He picked up his new bike on Saturday and he rode with me on Sunday. In his eyes I saw what cycling can be about. It is Joy. It is exultation expressed on two wheels. I saw in his eyes what I feel every time I am on my bike.

My friend came back from terrible injuries inflicted by others.

I came back from obesity inflicted by myself.

Very different Journeys and one cannot be compared to the other.

I can tell you that the feeling is the same.

I saw it in his eyes. I saw it in his smile.

The joy of being back on the bike.

Danny’s Team

Dannys team 2The ride for Autism is two months from today.

I am building to it. I still plan to ride the 100 mile distance, The Century.

I had hoped to raise $5000 but we are still at $1000. We are up to 11 team members riding all different distance. That has me excited. Even if we don’t hit the $5000 goal at least with the registration fee the 10 people who would not be doing the ride otherwise have added over $500 to the cause.

My son will never be able to ride a bike. This saddens me because I would so love to share the joy of riding with him. So I ride for him. I ride the Ride for Autism for Danny. I do all my rides with him in my heart.

He is my heart and my soul.

If you would like to help the Ride for Autism here is the website: http://www.ride4autism.org

If you donate I would ask if you would donate in the name of Danny’s Team.

If you are in the area maybe you could sign up and ride along with us.

If you only cheer us on in your heart I still thank you from the bottom of mine.

 

Peace


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Recovery


A Day Off Work

I burned a “Personal” day today. Couldn’t be happier about it.

Truth be told, I should have taken much of the week after the concussion off but I worked. I shouldn’t have. The lack of resting led to some questionable decisions. For the most part they were harmless and I caught myself before they could affect my place of work or anyone working with me. One decision I was properly chastised for by one of my bosses. I was fine driving. Fact is I am better sitting down. I feel almost normal when seated and I know I am focused better.

It is while standing or walking…..

So today I took the day off. I slept later than normal (7:00 am ) and I went to the shop and had some training on a product line the shop carries. Some of it stuck I am sure.

Then I had lunch with Missus and the Older One.

Then I slept.

Three hours.

A deep and restful sleep. Wrapped in the covers, head deep in the pillows, dog at my feet. Sleep in all its glory and pleasure. Restful darkness. Time out for the brain.

I awoke around five PM and then I came down and we prepared dinner.

I feel so much better already.

Giving the brain time to rest.

I needed that.

Vegetarian

I will never be a “true” vegetarian, not as long as I am unwilling to give up sushi and lox. I am however getting closer. I had some sushi today at lunch. Otherwise it was all vegetables. Dinner tonight was vegetarian. Not by design really. It just is happening that way. When selecting what we want for diner we are choosing meatless much more often than not.

I haven’t gone this direction because I am indignant over the killing of animals for food. I am not thrilled by that fact but it is not the motivation behind my change in eating habits.

I did this for my health.

I did this to lower my blood pressure, improve my cholesterol and such.

And it has worked.

It continues to work.

Tonight’s dinner is a good example of how we like to eat now.

IMG_1661I saw a recipe on-line for cauliflower coated in a yogurt sauce and roasted. Made that tonight. Delicious. We treated that as our main dish and the side dish was Navratan Korma, a dish of mixed vegetables made in a cashew sauce with pineapple. I didn’t make that. I microwaved it. We buy these dishes at the local Indian Market. I love them. All natural, no colors added, no preservatives and they are delicious. They are also silly inexpensive…

Served with some warmed Naan this all made for a very good dinner.

No, I don’t miss meat in my meals.

I do miss the taste. I have to say that. But I don’t want to eat it and I don’t feel any temptation to eat it.

Recipe

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 heads cauliflower

1½ cups plain Greek yogurt

1 lime, zested and juiced

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon curry powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° and lightly grease a small baking sheet with vegetable oil. Set aside.
  2. Trim the base of the cauliflower to remove any green leaves and the woody stem.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the lime zest and juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Dunk the cauliflower into the bowl and use a brush or your hands to smear the marinade evenly over its surface. (Excess marinade can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days and used with meat, fish or other veggies.)
  5. Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned, 30 to 40 minutes. The marinade will make a crust on the surface of the cauliflower.
  6. Let the cauliflower cool for 10 minutes before cutting it into wedges and serving alongside a big Green Salad

Growing concerned about my Annual Birthday Ride

Since I started the Journey of mine I have made it my practice to ride at least 10 miles on or close to my early March birthday.

My birthday is about 14 days from now and the long-term forecast does not hold much hope for warming. Snow is forecast for this weekend. The weekend after is forecast (at this early date) to remain cold and wet. The weekend after my birthday….

Maybe I can rent a fat bike at the shop…..

fat bikes and Cross Country Skiing

fat bikes and Cross Country Skiing

More Sleep

I feel tired. My head is still hurting. I feel better than I did yesterday. Yesterday was better than the day before.

I really had minimized head concussions. Never could understand why a ball player would miss most of a season from a concussion.

I understand now.

Mine is not that bad. Well, I am not trying to do sports at a pro level and I am afraid to even think about riding outside even if the weather was not a factor.

So I will go to sleep early tonight. Get some rest. Sleep a good deep sleep.

Do yourself a favor.

When the Doctor tells you to rest, REST.

Peace


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Walking the Line


Being Good

Two days now. I have followed the plan again for two days now. Light but filling breakfast (1 cup of cereal, 4 ounces of milk). Light snack mid morning (Hummus Chips). Light lunch (pouch of tuna with hot sauce). Filling dinner (tonight it was homemade vegetable soup and naan). Later I will have a light snack.

I should come in around 1600 calories for the day. In a couple of weeks I should be back to 205 pounds. Then I can ramp up the calories again and work at maintaining weight.

Never think for one minute that this is easy.

A friend told me that I should not concern myself with a ten-pound weight gain. I told the friend that he is wrong. Ten-pounds is exactly the point at which I should be VERY concerned. Ten become fifteen becomes twenty becomes…

Please note: I am not starving myself to get to my weight. I am eating a very nutritious, very filling and enjoyable menu and I am watching it carefully. I am not burning the calories I am consuming and I am gaining weight. The answer is to ramp back on the calories. Right now I cannot ramp up on the burn. Walking up and down stairs is an adventure right now.

So I like the way I feel right now about how I am working on the weight. I am getting back on top of the plan and I am doing what has worked for the past two years.

I am being good.

Plans

I am all about plans.

I have plans about rides I want to do and I have plans about the weight I want to get to and I have plans for my future and my career. Even at my age I still plan for my career.

I hope to get out of the industry I am in one of these days. I would love to have the chance to scale life back a bit and live a simpler existence. It isn’t easy but I am working on it.

If I had discovered it earlier in life I would love to work full-time in a bike shop. I love dealing with the people and I love being around bikes. Maybe it is too late but I think about it and I am trying to figure out how I could do it and still properly care for my family.

My biggest plan this year for myself is to ride 4000 miles for the year. It will not be easy to get there and this miserable winter has not helped but I am not going to let excuses take over. The good weather is coming.

Getting Better but it is SLOW

My head is still not right. I am still lightheaded and my balance is still off. I am fine when sitting but anytime I am upright I feel not quite right. I slept ten hours last night though it was a fitful sleep. Whenever I rolled over or moved at all I would awaken from the pain in my shoulder and neck. Both are getting a little better and my ribs barely hurt now.

I will say my head feels a little better. I don’t fear falling on steps the way I did on Monday and Tuesday, even into Wednesday. I don’t remember much of Sunday. That surprised me. I read today that this is not unusual after a concussion.

Still I do feel progress is being made. I know I should have listened to my doctor and taken more than one day off from work to rest but I need this job and they have an infantile attitude towards illness there.

I will work at the bike shop this weekend because it really doesn’t tax me and I enjoy it and I know they will be understanding if I need to rest. It is good to work with good people.

I expect I will be mostly back to me by the end of next week. That is what I was told to expect. I am stunned, frankly, by just how awful this feels.

The weather will be bike ride-able this weekend. It is killing me that I can’t ride.

Of well.

Peace


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OUCH


I Crashed HARD

In the words of my oldest brother, the one who played Rugby into his late forties despite being half the size and twice the age of the other players, “that good health stuff is going to kill you.”

I do try to stay active. Despite the snowy and cold winter to which we have been subjected, I have tried to keep moving. Not always have managed but I have tried.

I have not ridden a single foot outside on my bike this year. Too much snow, too narrow and icy roads….

I did, however, have an opportunity to get in some cross-country skiing.

The Monument in the distance from the Patio at the Lodge

The Monument in the distance from the Patio at the Lodge

High Point State Park is, as the name implies, the highest point in the state of New Jersey. A mere 1803 feet above sea-level, it does not impress people from New England and it is barely a foot hill to people from the west. It is ours and we love it. The state runs cross-country ski trails around the park when the snow fall will allow and this year the snow fall allows…

I asked the owner of the Bike shop if I could start and hour late on Sunday, he said yes and so early on Sunday morning I drove the 45 minutes from my home to High Point, paid my $18.00 for a trail pass (which is ridiculous…) and off I went.

I was the first person out on the trails! Fresh snow! I was having a blast! About 1 km from the lodge I had to cross an asphalt paved road. Now here is where we come to the part of the story where I say “I knew better” because I did. I do. I know and I knew better than to do what I did.

You see, though I have been cross-country skiing since 1990 (there was a ten-year period when I didn’t at all) I have never been “Good” at it. Truth be told I am pretty bad at it. I am clumsy, not at all smooth, never get in to that nice rhythm that “good” skiers get in to. I consider it a great day on the trails if I only fall 4 or 5 times. I know it will happen and so I have become quite good at falling. Despite this I really enjoy the skiing and I love the feel of the cold air and the special quiet of the woods after a snow fall.

So I came upon this asphalt paved road. Covered in snow. Sloping down across the level trail.

I knew better.

I knew I should take off my skis and walk across. It is exactly what I did when I skied the same trail last year.

I didn’t do that. I got stupid.

I tried to ski across the road.

If it had not been snow-covered I would have walked across because I would not have wanted to damage my skis on the road surface.

It was snow-covered.

I got stupid.

I tried to ski across.

Now to understand this you need to understand what I mentioned above. The trail was level. The road crossed it at 90 degrees and sloped down to the left.

If I had entered the road left ski first this probably would not have happened the way it did. I would have ended up sitting on my rump, questioning my sanity. I would have kicked the skis off, stood up, walked across the rest of the way and reminded myself to walk across on the way back. It would have been an amusing little story to tell on myself.

I entered right ski first.

There was ice under that snow.

The right ski slid left and before I could even think about the fact that I was falling I hit the road HARD. Damned HARD. Painfully hard.

I landed on my right side. My shoulder taking most of the impact. That drove my arm in to my ribs. My head snapped violently to the right and hit the road. I rolled on to my back and laid still for a moment, assessing the situation, hoping the stars would clear out of my eyes, trying to determine just how bad this fall was.

It was not good.

After a moment I figured out nothing was broken (as far as I could tell) and I could probably get up OK. I popped off the skis and I did get up just before the plow truck came through. Despite the ringing in my ears and the pain on my right side that started at my lower rib cage and continued unabated to the top of my right ear, I crossed the road and continued skiing. For about 200 yards. At that point the pain in my right side and the ringing in my head convinced me I should start back towards the lodge.

Here is the kicker: I was still having fun. I was hurting. I was hurting a great deal but I was enjoying being outside, skiing and feeling the cold and that special quiet after a new snow.

At some Point I noticed that I had broken my left ski pole and I was having trouble controlling the left ski due to problem with the binding. I actually skied past the lodge and went up a side trail when I finally gave in to the broken equipment and the aching body and I went home.

I showered and dressed and I drove to the bike shop to work, arriving on time for work despite it all.

All day long it sounded like I had my head in a bucket. I felt light-headed and I needed to sit down often. My neck was now tightening up and I was exhausted.

I went to work on Monday and after not sleeping well Sunday night I was really feeling it all over. I couldn’t turn my neck to the right, my shoulder wouldn’t let me lift my arm over my head and my head was still not feeling right.

Missus made an appointment with the Doctor for me and after the usual tests and such he declared that I had suffered a head concussion. He sent me for x-rays on my neck and told me to get a few days of bed rest and be prepared to not feel right for a week to ten days, go to the emergency room if I start to vomit or lose consciousness….

OUCH

OUCH

I rested all day yesterday. Really had no choice. I would not have been good behind the wheel of a car. I went to work today but came home early. Too light-headed and out of balance when I was standing. It is the tiredness that really bothers me. And the Nausea. Well Ok, most everything about this bothers me: neck pain, rib pain, arm pain, headache, dizziness… Crashing is not fun at all.

I have to work tomorrow and Friday. I am conducting the monthly safety training. The Topic is “Slips, Trips and Falls”. I couldn’t make this up.

I wish I could say I have learned some sort of lesson beyond “don’t try to cross a road on your skis”. I haven’t. At least none that comes to mind right now. I am only disappointed that I won’t be able to get out and ski again next weekend.

Maybe the lesson is to listen to the owner of the bike shop and take up snow shoeing.

The Journey and a Detour

I wish I could report that my weight has held steady and I have been keeping my eating in check as this cold winter has moved along. I can’t. I am over 215 pounds right now. I am not happy with myself at all. I can think of many excuses for this slip but they are just that, excuses. The simple fact is I have slipped. I have been eating more than I have been burning. I have been finding reasons to eat more than I have been and I am paying the price with a climb in my weight.

Today I got back to the plan: Light breakfast, light lunch, light afternoon snack (an orange today) and a good dinner. Later I will have a simple light snack of a slice of bread and a slice of cheese. This is what got me to 200 pounds. This is what will get me back there.

I will write daily again. Even if I think I have nothing to say. That focus of reporting on the Journey helped me get there. I slipped away from it and I have paid the price.

I suppose we all have slips and trips and falls.

The real problem isn’t that you slipped or tripped or fell on your Journey. The real problem is failing to get back up.

I am getting back up.

Peace.


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I Needed a Break


Hi, remember me?

I haven’t posted in 12 days.

I needed a break.

From everything.

I couldn’t do that so I took an unannounced break from writing the blog. I hope I didn’t disappoint anyone or lose to many followers.

I have to admit I am a bit worn down.

Work, work, family, stress….

Just tired.

So I put the blog aside for a couple of weeks and now I am feeling a little more energetic and ready to write again.

I really enjoy writing this blog but I wonder sometimes if I actually have anything to say.

Well, I will keep writing anyway. I write for me. I have always liked to sound of my voice….

Something I wrote

I wrote this a couple of months ago. A little poem in shadows and dreams:

Autumn..

11/19/2013

It was the breeze, the rustle of leaves. A hint of winter in the air, hiding under the warmth of the late Autumn sun. Low angled light passing through trees, long shadows along the path, the quiet crunch of steps on the dry leaves.

It was the view, the far off mountains. A hint of color left on distant trees, the river below framed by the bridge, the sound of the train heading north. A distant horn, a hawk circling above. It was the winding path through open fields and dense woods.

It was the whisper, the murmur of a soft voice. A hint of laughter in the voice. A soft giggle and a shy look. It was soft hair hanging in bangs across the eyes and a slight blush. It was a soft touch, lightly with gentle finger tips.

It was the kiss, lips lightly touching, softly brushing. A hint of quivering in the touch. A deep breath and a stiffened back, and arms held at length. It was a moment, sweet and passing, eyes meeting eyes and tears met with tears.

It was the coffee, warming cold hands, giving cover for the quiet. A hint of confusion, small talk, hesitant words. It was promises made and meant to be kept. Sad goodbyes, warmth inside and plans to meet again.

Winter

We have been dealing with a nasty winter here. Cold. Snow. When it isn’t cold it rains. When it is cold it snows. Riding my bike has not been an option. Walking has been difficult. I have been riding the bike on the rollers and the trainer but it isn’t the same and when I get home at night in the cold and dark I just have little motivation.

I look forward to the weekends but the weather has been awful.

Maybe next weekend…. Forecast is for mid thirties. We can but hope.

The winter I started this Journey the weather was good. Very little snow. Warmer than normal temperatures most days. I was able to get out and walk most days. I wonder if I had started this Journey during a winter like this one if I would have had the success I have enjoyed.

I wish I could at least get out and cross-country ski but my schedule just does not allow it. This past weekend I was down with a cold so nothing was happening for me. Love cross-country skiing. I am really bad at it. I love it anyway.

Remembering Mom

Surrounded by family... Mom in her glory

Surrounded by family… Mom in her glory

This past Thursday was my Mother’s 75th birthday. Well, it would have been. Mom has been gone more than 20 years. She was 54 years old when cancer took her from us. I am still shocked. She was a force of nature. Tall, attractive, strong, brassy, loving, hard, compassionate, tender, quick to anger, quick to love. She could have dominated a convention at Madison Square Garden. People were drawn to her. She was drawn to people.

Each of her four children can remember tough times with Mom. She was demanding. She was unforgiving. She formed opinions and it could be nearly impossible to move her.

Each of her four children can also remember wonderful times with Mom. Moments when her softer side would pour out to us. Moments of deep compassion and love.

Mom was capable of incredible love and kindness. She was the friend who would never leave your side when you needed a friend most.

I remember when Mom became friends with June. My folks had joined a community club and had met a husband and wife. June and my mother hit it off right away. What Mom didn’t know when she met June was that June had cancer. As June became more and more ill my mother became the friend who sat with her late in to the evening, reading to her, mopping her brow, feeding her ice chips. June’s other friends had run. Seeing a friend dying is hard and they couldn’t take it. Mom took it. She didn’t have to. She was the new friend. No one would have thought anything about it if Mom had simply drifted away. That wasn’t Mom. She was never one to drift away. Mom was with June as she began to fade the last time. Her husband, her daughter and son sat at her side and as Mom quietly left the room they called her back in and asked her to stay with them, asked her to share the last moments with their wife and mother.

Mom was slow to get over the loss of June, Just as she had been slow to get over the loss of other friends for whom she had been there. Mom knew she would be hurt. She also knew that her friend needed someone and that she had the strength to be that someone.

When Mom was diagnosed with cancer I cried like a young child. I thought she would win. Mom always won. I was scared for her, for me, for the family and so I cried but I thought she would win. Even when I came to understand that it was a cancer no one beats. I thought Mom would be the one.

I was thirty-one but I had the hope of a child.

When Mom lost the fight eleven months later I sat in my car and I wailed. It was a sound I didn’t know could come from me. Pure grief expressed.

Twenty and a half years later I am still in pain. I still miss my Mom. I am the most like her of her four children I think. I am quick to temper, quick to love. I take things to heart, I am the friend who will be there when you dearly need a friend.

I express love the same way my Mom did. I cook for you. I visit you, I invite you in to my home. I share my life with you. That was Mom.

I tell my children about her. Danny knew her but he doesn’t remember her. He was only two when she left us. We named Kyle for her. His Hebrew name, Chaim, is the masculine form of my mother’s Hebrew name, Chaia. The name means Life. Somehow fitting for a woman who had four children. Even more fitting given her inner force.

I miss Mom. I always will.

Peace