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Dear Diary: Just me checking in!

Posted by joeabbott on February 5, 2012

Well, the last couple weeks have thrown me off my game: we’ve shifted into high gear at work and I’m getting totally submerged. I am working long days and going in on the weekend. It’s all good, I don’t mind, but there hasn’t been much time for much else. This too shall pass.

And while I haven’t had time for much else, I’ve managed a few things.

It’s all about scale

imageimageMy weight fluctuates and I don’t pay it much attention: in the later summer and fall I drop weight, and over the winter and spring I gain. No biggie. But, I got what’s turning out to be a mountaineer career ending injury a few years back and not been doing the “drop weight” part in the above cycle. Which means I noticed my weight was slowly gaining to the point I was buying clothes meant for bigger people than me. Diet time.

While I have had every intention of being hardcore, winter storms and stress at work have taken their toll. What better way to get back on that bandwagon than to go public!

The first week I dropped a bunch of weight; I call this “stupid weight”. It’s the pounds you’re carrying around because you eat poorly. With that five pounds dropped, I thought I’d see a continued, strong downward trend; not so. I leveled off but have managed to continue slowly down even without trying hard. But, I do plan on keeping at it so I hope this is the first salvo in a successful battle with my habit of snacking.

As for the two charts … they’re actually showing the same data! It’s just that the chart on the left is showing my weight with a scale set to zero; the chart on the right is set with the minimum at 222 pounds. Same data, just a different scale, but I do like the chart on the right better!

imageMaking time for reading

I’m actually a bit perplexed. I often blog about gifts I do so both as an indirect way of saying “thanks” but also to help me remember what I got from whom. I’m positive I received a small book entitled Jack London: Five Great Short Stories from my mother, however, in a rare departure from the norm, she failed to sign the book! And so I’m left wondering: was this a birthday gift or did I get it for Christmas?

When I look at a picture I took of my 2011 Christmas gifts (no doubt in preparation for a blog entry that never happened), I don’t see it, so I’m going to guess that I got this gem for my birthday last year. What I do know with certainty, however, is that I loved this book! I’ve departed a bit from reading “classics” in favor of more modern material and, particularly, magazines (of which I get too many), but reading this collection of short stories reminded me of what I’m missing: consummate authors who can take you on a journey and completely pull you in. During the last story, The Mexican, I found myself breathing harder and physically agitated as I worried for the silent protagonist. Just great story telling.

I now have another book my mother got me at hand and that shall be the next story I dig into: Maphead by Ken Jennings (and, as it seems required when invoking this man’s name, I’ll add “Jeopardy! champion”). Maphead is a book that seems like it was written for me: a book for geography and map enthusiasts. How was I to know there were other map enthusiasts!? I just assumed I had a curious proclivity toward owning and looking at maps.

I have a plastic storage box full of maps for climbing reference, one of the first programs I install on any computer I get is a National Geographic Topo! program (although the version I have, 2.6.8 is from before the brand was owned by National Geographic), and our home has several mounted and framed maps on the wall. So, I have the jones for maps, that’s sure and I very much look forward to starting this book.


I’m not a film buff. I like “popcorn” movies … which, to me, means that the part of movies I enjoy the most is overeating too much salty, buttery popcorn. Which might explain why I started this post talking about my weight! But, to be fair, we don’t go to many films, “popcorn” or otherwise. I got some movie vouchers from work so we could see a show anytime last year … we never made time for it. We had NetFlix for a long while but they raised their prices and we just weren’t churning through the discs, so we canceled that. But, a reasonably new service called Redbox popped up at a corner store near us, and for a dollar (maybe it’s $1.20) we could rent a film for a night.

I was intrigued as much by the business model and the vending machine-style method for getting films (outside a 7-11 convenience store, no less) so I bit and opted for Super-8. It was fun to flick through the movies on the machine (there’s a lotta movies in that vending box!) and queue up your choice(s) … almost as much fun as the movie! When returning the disc, I’m embarrassed to say that it took a couple tries to select the right options for returning it. But in it went and that was that … we had no real intention of returning to try it again. Then they emailed me an offer for a free movie … fish on! With Suzy, I picked up Midnight in Paris.

It was billed as a comedy and while I had a few laugh-out-loud moments, I wouldn’t have called it a comedy by the usual definition. The story followed a writer who takes a trip to Paris to find his muse and time-travels to that city in the 1920s. The details on the time travel part a thin, but the author meets Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and a number of other renowned artists (expats and otherwise) taking up residency at that time in France.

The story had a moral or theme about wishing for better times and places than where you are, but in the end managed to be a nice story about a guy trying to find something that was missing in his life. It’s the kind of movie I think my mother would have liked (she spent time in France some years back) and it was an enjoyable departure from another evening playing Skyrim (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).

What are they good for?

P1040514It’s no doubt that our chickens have been a fun pastime, if only just to watch. They strut about, flock to your feet, and generally give a cheery appearance to the yard. There’s some upkeep involved, but Suzy manages most of that so I’m reasonably out of the loop on the maintenance aspects of owning them. Yes, I empty rain barrels, collect eggs, usher the stray bird into the shelter, and am the go-to guy for fixing what gets broken, but that’s about it. Fairly simple.

But now they’re returning dividends.

Back when we had our original three chickens, we got a week-high of 20 eggs; last week we got 36. Yup, it was a new high but the egg output has steadily grown over the last month and we’re now realizing we’d best enjoy eggs for more than our weekend breakfasts!

The picture to the right was a “local high” where we got five in one day. Since then we’ve got six and our white hen, the “Easter egger” has started laying so we’re getting blue-green eggs, too!

Ultimately we’ll have to start pawning them off on friends and family. Neither Suzy nor I are really looking to make any money off the venture, but if we could cover feed and egg carton costs, we’d call it a good deal. So, maybe a buck a dozen; if I’m feeling entrepreneurial I could go $1.50! Omelets, anyone?

And now

imageBut, I see it’s about kick-off time for the Super Bowl … XLVI. I don’t really care for or about either team playing (the Giants vs. the Patriots), but it’s a Super Bowl so I’ll tune in, eat a few chips (not too many!), and see who can claim to be the best team this year. Although, in my heart, the Vikings (lousy record for this year and all) will always be that team for me.


One Response to “Dear Diary: Just me checking in!”

  1. […] one point earlier I started a plan to lose weight. I was buying (and comfortable in) waist size 36 pants and I’d been a “size 32” through […]

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