Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lost and Found

Key Largo
high of 84, raining at sundown

The 12th named storm of the season, Laura, is raining in the middle of the North Atlantic but not bothering anyone. There is still one month left in the 2008 Hurricane season.

My workout routine is going good, as I continue week 5. I weighed in before leaving home and was at 262.5, which is 17.5 pounds down. Yippee! I am holding at 3.4 or 3.5 miles a day, 5 days a week, and feel pretty good about it.

Our yard sale went so good on Saturday that we continued it on Sunday, so I didn't go fishing. My dad is making the final preparations for his trip from AZ to FL. We are looking forward to having him for the winter. My oldest daughter, Kimber, just booked a flight to spend a week with us for Thanksgiving, so that will be great too.

Dedicated readers of this blog might remember me writing about our favorite waitress, April, who used to work at Burnt Store Marina. She reminds me of my daughter Kimber. Well she suddenly moved away from South Florida a few months after we met her and we never knew why. We had taken a real liking to her and were saddened to have lost touch with her. We found out recently that she moved to Utah to help her brother and sister try and get their parents cleaned up, with the help of the A&E documentary show, "Intervention." The episode was shown last night and we recorded it to watch it together when I get home this weekend.

Kathy and I have been missing good TV ever since The Sopranos went off the air. We have decided to use our Netflix account to start watching the ABC series Lost. We have heard so many good things about it that we decided to "find" out what the hype is about "Lost."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New notch in my belt

Home in Port Charlotte
High of 88, low of 68

Mornings have turned beautiful in Southwest Florida. It's amazing how quickly my body has adapted to the climate here. I started work at 7 AM on a golf course and was chilly riding around in the cart. The afternoons are still warm but the humidity is tolerable when it is less than the temperature. I have continued my daily exercise routine of 3.7 miles and although I am not running like I was last week, the aerobic walking has paid off.

Today marks my 4th week of eating less, eating right and exercising. When I started this I had gotten to 280 pounds. I weighed in today, on the same scale, at 265.5. It's not a miracle but it's a nice step in the right direction. My nephew Chris continues to be a source of support and inspiration. My bride even walked with me once this week and that was really nice. My goal by next summer is to reach 200. I wore some Dockers this week that previously I'd had trouble buttoning. No trouble this week, in fact . . . I pulled my belt into a notch I hadn't seen in a really long time.

We have a new named storm, as of 5PM est today. Tropical Storm Kyle has formed near Puerto Rico and Hispanola, just as I forecast on this blog three days ago. The great news is he is headed due north and will have very little impact on the U.S., and zero impact on Florida. The cone of uncertainty shows if it were to make landfall at all it would be north of Massachusetts. There will be no need to breakout the window boards again. The Hurricane season officially goes through October 31 but I am ready to take a knee and claim victory in our first season.

Saturday we are going to participate in a multi-family yard sale on our block. We have many things we've been waiting to yard sale and now the weather is right. If all goes well, maybe Sunday we can get out on the water for a much needed cruise. The tides will allow us to come and go at 6AM, 12 noon or 7 PM. Sounds like a perfect day for a brunch cruise. I have been fishing the canal out back occasionally but haven't had any luck. There's fish there, I see them everytime I'm out there. I'm just unable to hook any of them yet. Don't think I won't keep trying.

We have turned off the air conditioning tonight and will sleep with the windows open for the first time in 4 months.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Season Finale?

Is that you, Kyle???
Home in Port Charlotte
High of 91

We went to Burnt Store Marina for breakfast this morning. It has been a couple of months since we've been there so it was a nice treat. After eating we walked the docks and looked at all the boats. We agreed we both miss the marina lifestyle. We wanted to take the boat out this weekend but there is only one high and one low tide each day for the next 5 days, therefore we would have to go out and stay out for 12 hours. We will wait for a weekend with 4 tides.

There are less than 6 weeks left in the Atlantic Hurricane season. We have seen 10 named storms come and go. The biggest impact here was one that never achieved Hurricane status. Tropical Storm Faye dumped a ton of rain on our area but thankfully she, nor any of the others, wasn't a wind event in Charlotte County Florida. But don't count mother nature out yet. There is a HUGE tropical wave in the Caribbean which is expected to turn into a Tropical Depression by tomorrow. At this early stage in it's life, this system is bigger than any we have seen yet this season. If it gets more organized and achieves name status it will be Kyle. Early forecast models show the system heading north up the Atlantic coastline.

I'm working on the Gulf Coast all this week, so I will spend every night at home. I took 2 days off to rest my body and will get back into my workout program tonight. I'm looking forward to being back on the streets, as opposed to the treadmills.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Finally Friday

Hampton Inn
Wellington, FL

Tomorrow is finally Friday. I am absolutely exhausted from the road trip. I managed to workout every night, although tonight I didn't have any run left in my body...only walk. My total milage exercised for the week is 17 miles. I am looking forward to getting home to my bride, home to my bed and taking a rest tomorrow night.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Plant of the week: Bismarck Palm

Hilton Garden Inn

Port St. Lucie, FL

I didn't sleep very well last night. Got less than 5 hours. Hopefully tonight is better. I'm in a very nice hotel. The nice thing about all this travel is the VIP rewards programs usually upgrade me to a suite. That was the case today and I will be here for 2 days. This room has a seperate living room and bedroom, with 2 bathrooms. I might just use them both cuz they're there.

Work was uneventful. Inspected 4 job sites, no problems found. This is good cuz last time I was here they got a yellow flag.

I worked out tonight, walk1.7, ran 1.5, walked .2 for a total of 3.4 miles in 57 minutes. According to the treadmill I burned 611 calories. For dinner I'm ordering room service; grilled mahi mahi, yellow rice and grilled asparagus.

With the exception of last Thursday at our Lake Pleasant reunion party, I haven't drank beer since August 27. Once I get my weight in check, I can switch back to Mich Ultra but right now it's best to stay off those empty calories. I am drinking an average of 64 ounces of water a day.

I thought I might start sharing some pictures of the tropical plant varieties we have in our yard at home. Most of you probably haven't seen these species before. Tonight's feature is the Bismarck Palm. It is native to Madagascar. It will grow to 25-50 tall at full maturity. It is known for its strikingly beautiful blue/gray palm leafs. Even as a young tree, the leafs average 4' in length. They are slow growers and are thornless. The one pictured above is in our front yard.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quick update

Hampton Inn
Fort Pierce, FL

On the road all week. Workout tonight was excellent. Got new headphones and was driven by the music. Ran 1.4 miles, walked 1.8, in 55 minutes. I feel like I've lost weight but I'm staying off the scale for 2 more weeks. It's been more than 20 years since I have run a mile and a half. I will achieve this before the week is over.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hold my thighs

Sunday night
Home in Port Charlotte, FL

I spent most of the day doing yard work, while Kathy did laundry and put the house back together from being battened down for Ike. We had no damage here to speak of, however our next door neighbor Bob told us there were 60 MPH winds and we had excessively high tides. There was some erosion from the high tides that will be a lot of work for me to repair. It's not critical but it will be if I don't do some repair. I will have to add about a ton of rip rap, fill in with some 1" granite, then raise my beach with sand.

Today my NFL team, the Arizona Cardinals, beat the Miami Dolphins 31-10. I got to watch the game at home, since it was a Dolphins road game. It is the first time AZ has opened the season 2-0 since 1991. Gasoline was $1.09 a gallon and Tiger Woods won his first tournament at age 15. The Cardinals finished that year at 4-12 so I'm not getting too excited just yet.

I had taken two days off from my workout routine but got back into it tonight. I achieved a new milestone by running a full mile. My routine went: aerobic walk 1.7 miles, run 1.0 miles, walk .7 miles for a total of 3.4 miles in 60 minutes. I was really sweating it up tonight. Hopefully this Florida humidity will aid me in melting off the pounds. My MP3 music player was a great help but the bud phones in my ears kept falling out. It was soooooo distracting. After putting them in and having them fall out more than 10 times, I gave up on the music but never stopped running. I got some gift cards for my birthday and will use some to get a pair of actual headphones tomorrow. The music is a great motivator. This is the start of my third week of working out and eating better. For dinner tonight we had chicken, mashed potatoes and asparagus. I had very little potatoes, 2 thighs of chicken and when I was tempted to eat more. I actually thought there was only 1 left and when Kath asked if I wanted it I said yes. She dropped two more thighs on my plate and I looked at it and quickly said to just save these for lunch tomorrow. I just finished the asparagus instead. The old me could eat 8 chicken thighs in one sitting. Actually, the new me "could" but won't.

Monday I leave for the east coast of Florida. I'll be working in Fort Pierce, Stuart for 2 days and then Wellington, returning to Port Charlotte on Friday night.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Objection Overruled

High of 97

Yesterday morning in CA I again awoke before the dawn and did 3.5 miles on the treadmill, running about .6 of it. I finished my corporate meetings and boarded the plane back from Burbank to Phoenix, arriving at 9PM.

Today I got up at 6AM, saw the grandtwins off to school, and watch some of the 9-11 memorials on television. Still, very sad. Sadder still how many people have stopped posting old glory at their homes, compared to 7 years ago.

I did some stretching and set out for my workout. About 1 mile into the loop, the front of my left ankle was crying out in pain. I thought it was just unstretched ligaments but I was disappointed in that I intended to have a great workout. I continued my route and was almost limping with my left leg. I remembered my nephew telling me to listen to my body and not ignore it, but somehow I thought this was just a result of either poor post stretching yesterday or poor pre-stretching today. Several times I would stop and stick my left leg behind me, point my toe backward and stretch that front ankle. The pain of the stretch told me this was the problem. I completed the 2.2 mile loop in about 45 minutes (with my stops). I went back to the house and immediately got down and started stretching that left ankle. I stuck my shoe under the sofa and slowly forced the ligaments open to a wide stretch, toes pointed away from me. Hurts so good. I alternated between this and then, using a towel for leverage, pulled my toes toward me to stretch the other way. I didn't know what the hell I was doing but it seemed to work. I did this for about 20 minutes and dang if I didn't feel ready to get back out there. This was the 6th day in a row of my workout and I didn't want to end the week like this. I set out again and told myself if it hurt, I would listen to my body like Chris said and turn back. It was okay. I maintained a nice aerobic pace for another 1.4 miles, working up a good sweat and heartrate, then focused on a light jogging pace. Without my MP3 player, I had to listen to music in my head. I chose Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" to get me going. I maintained a nice 4-5MPH pace for the last .8 miles to the house and broke into a huge grin at my accomplishment. I did an extra lap around Heather's house for a good cool down.

My body had a little bump in the road and my fat brain tried to object to today's workout. My heart overruled the objection and won out. This was a good day. The old me would have tried to find a way to get out of working out today. I think I'm onto something here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dodging Bullets

Calabasas, CA
Hilton Garden Inn
75 degrees

I'm in California for corporate safety meetings. I'll be headed back to Phoenix Wednesday night. Today my workout was a new personal best.
3.4 miles total
.8 miles running
2.6 aerobic walking
60 minutes total

My new running shoes worked out good. My ankles don't hurt like they did before. I have a 4:30 AM wakeup call for tomorrow morning to workout again. I prefer an outdoor workout, but the treadmill is good for hotel travel, since I don't know the streets away from home. My nephew Chris called tonight to check on my progress. He is being a good mentor for me.

Hurricane Ike is heading west across the Gulf, toward Texas. Looks like we dodge another bullet.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Monday morning in Phoenix
Dry....nice and dry. High in the low 100's

Saturday morning I woke up another year older. I celebrated my 43rd birthday by walking 2.2 miles. Our stay in Phoenix is at the home of our daughter, Heather, which is ironically now in our old Phoenix neighborhood of Tramonto. Walking these streets really brings out mixed emotions. As I pass the house built to be our dream home, I purse mylips and shake my head. I briefly wonder if I made the right move. The fact of the matter is. . . had we stayed, we may have been facing foreclosure after Kathy lost her mortgage job. I remind myself we eliminated $332,000 in debt by selling that dream home. We escaped $70,000 in debt by selling the big fancy Sea Ray we loved so much. As I continue my high speed walk, I am confidently missing the house and big ship but not the liabilities.

Saturday afternoon, Heather's fiance Curtis and I took the grandtwins bowling at Dave & Busters in Desert Ridge. I have had lunch at the Dave & Busters in Miami. Funny. For the first time in my life, I fail to bowl at least a hundred. It's hell getting old, ain't it?

When we got home I walked in Heather and Curtis' house and was met by 30 people jumping up and yelling "SURPRISE!" Kathy and Heather staged a birthday party for me. How funny...I can't recall the last time I had a birthday party, much less a surprise party. Kathy said it started out as just wanting to have my kids and mom over but quickly progressed to having almost three dozen extended family members. (If you don't know, I'm the youngest of 6) It was a wonderful time and so great to see everyone in one night. This trip is so busy and short, I couldn't have seen everyone without this party. THANKS TO KATHY, HEATHER AND CURT!

My oldest, Ryan, spent the night with us at Heathers and on Sunday morning we went to do my workout together. We did the 2.2 mile trek around Tramonto but this time, I was inspired to jog the last 4 tenths of a mile. It was invigorating and I felt like I could go walk another 2 miles. My birthday guests included my nephew Chris and his family. Chris is the one with the similar build to me, the one who weighed 230 (compared to my 280) until he started walking last December. He walked until he could run and he's been running ever since. He now weighs 175 pounds and runs 8 miles at a time. WOW. My neice, Amy, was also there with her husband Mike. (They hosted a going away party for us before we moved to Florida). Amy is a marathon runner who had some nice words of encouragement. Chris and Amy told me I should go be professionally fit for some quality running shoes. Everyone agreed this would be important to helping me continue running and ultimately achieve my goal of losing 80 pounds.

Sunday morning also brought week 1 of the NFL season. I LOVE football! The Cardinals are on the road against the 49ers. Final score AZ 23 SF 13. First place! Saturday night I had predicted the New England Patriots would suffer the curse of the Superbowl losers. Sunday, Tom Brady went down with a season ending knee injury.

Sunday night Kathy and I went to visit our former neighbors, Jeff and Marcia. They are a wonderful couple, raising their grandson since his birth 8 years ago and are regular readers of the blog. They are contemplating a life changing move to rural Missouri. We said, go for it. As hard as it was for us to make our move to Florida . . . I still believe in Mark Twain's famous phrase: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than the those things you did. So throw off the bow lines and sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." If it feels right, Jeff and Marcia, do it. But Marcia has to start a blog if you do.

Monday I did my 2.2 mile loop but started running earlier. I later measured it with Heather's car. I ran the last 6 tenths of a mile. WOW! That's more than half a mile and for me that's HUGE! Kathy rewarded me by taking me to Runners Den and getting custom fit with a pair of Brooks running shoes. $130. Happy birthday, Bill. And Merry Christmas, and Father's Day and all saints day and whatever else you had in mind. HAHAHA. Thanks Kathy, I won't let them go to waste.

Tonight I am flying to Southern California for 2 days of meetings. I'll be back on late Wednesday night.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tropical Triplets

Home in PCH (that's Port Charlotte to the locals)

Ike is a cat 4 who's track could cross our path, with winds in the 140's.
House and boat will be battoned down tomorrow before we head for Phoenix.

Hanna will not make an appearance in South Florida.
Josephine will likely still be in the Atlantic, finding her way, when we get home on 9/13.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Storms, food and fun

Delray Beach, FL
partly cloudy 85 degrees

Ike is a category 3 hurricane as of 8PM eastern tonight. There is no immediate threat to Florida. TS Hanna is likely to head toward northeast Florida or the Carolinas. TS Josephine is too far away to worry about.

Breakfast this morning consisted of raisen bran, a banana, a cup of apple juice and a cup of coffee.
Lunch was a ceasar salad with water.
Dinner was a subway low fat chicken and veggie sandwich on wheat bread, with a diet coke.

My workout was 40 minutes of aerobic walking, covering 2.1 miles. It was actually FUN. I am getting really motivated to keep this up. I hope this resolve is the same resolve I found nearly 2 years ago when I quit cigarettes, cold turkey.

I have a busy day of field inspections tomorrow but am looking forward to heading back to the Gulf side after work tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

East bound and down

click to enlarge
Above: Jerry Reed as Snowman (with Fred) in 1977's Smokey and the Bandit

Hampton Inn, Miami
overcast, breezy, upper 80's

I'm on Florida's east coast, working, doing job site audits. After work I arrived at my hotel, ready to get my exercise routine back on track. I did the treadmill for 30 minutes, burned 315 calories, aerobic walking for 1.56 miles. I also did something I haven't done for YEARS AND YEARS. I ate an apple and a banana. I have always avoided fresh fruits because of a feeling of stuck food in my throat. Well, I did it. The apple was just okay (first bite got spit out) but the banana was very tasty. I will have another for breakfast, with some yogurt.

I left home this morning and will be on the Atlantic coast, doing 4 cities in 2 days. I'll get home late Thursday night, wake up Friday and board the house up, mow the lawn and leave by noon to drive to Tampa for a 430 flight to Arizona.

I'm looking forward to our trip back to Phoenix. It will be great to see our 18 month old grandson, Ethan, as well as the twins, Dylan and Devin, who came to see us over the summer. We will also spend time with daughters, Stephanie, Kimber and Heather and sons Sean, Billy and Ryan.

In between all of that, I have to go to southern California for 2 days of meetings. I'm going to need these nightly workouts to maintain my stamina for schedules like this.

A side note: One of my favorites passed over the weekend. To me, Jerry Reed will always be known as "The Snowman" from my favorite movie of all time, Smokey and the Bandit. I bet I have seen that movie 100 times in my youth. I have driven many people crazy by reciting the script while watching it. Jackie Gleason, as Sheriff Bufford T. Justice, of Texas was the BEST!

"Eastbound and down, loadin' up and truckin'
We gonna do what they say can't be done
We gotta long way to go and a short time to get there
I'm eastbound just watching the bandit run........"

Hey Snowman...we'll catch ya on the flip side. "We gone."

Monday, September 1, 2008

Look like Ike?

Updated, Monday 5:00 PM est.
Ike has been named a tropical depression and Hanna has reached hurricane status. In the above photograph, the red cirlce off the coast of Africa is another tropical wave of low pressure, which may be a tropical depression by Tuesday morning. None of these storms pose any threat to our area in the next 5 days.

Fishing was just that. Fishing, no catching. We got an updated photo from the family who adopted our dog, Harley, in Phoenix. It's nice to know he's doing good and living the high life.

Monday 11:00 AM
A new tropical depression has formed in the eastern Atlantic, approximately 1400 miles east of the Leeward Islands (long way from here). This is the 9th tropical depression of the 2008 season. It is currently sustaining 35MPH winds and is expected to reach tropical storm status later today. If it does, it will be named Ike.

We had heavy rain late yesterday afternoon and into the evening, with scattered downpours at times. Rolando and I fished off the dock in my backyard. He hooked a very large fish but it made a run toward the pilings that hold my boatlift. When it did, it was able to break his leader line, below the swivel. I had two very hard hits, but no fish hooked. We will likely try later today.

Currently we have 84 degrees, 74% humidity with winds out of the east at 12.