Time to Get Real – Week of July 21


Back at it.  Better food discipline, better exercise, better result.

Gee, who knew it was this simple?

The reality is that I don’t have any underlying factors for being overweight.  So, for me, it is just this simple  - eat less, exercise more, lose weight.  I know that it can be much, much more difficult for some folks.  During my time at EYE two weeks ago, I got the chance to hang out with folks who have lost much more weight than I have.  Just three of them have dropped more weight than I weigh!  My weight loss goals are much smaller than some folks.  I appreciate that me getting too whiny about dropping another 20 pounds sounds pretty foolish to someone with three times, five times or even ten times that amount to lose.  In fact if I can replicate this week’s progress ten more times I’ll be done.

That doesn’t mean that for me this continues to be a challenge.  I am in awe of the discipline and courage it takes to conquer those bigger numbers.  My hope is that I can offer some small inspiration to folks who need to lose ANY amount of weight.

Yes, it’s hard.  Damn hard.  Sometimes unfairly hard.  I can tell you from personal experience that the feeling that waits at the other end is worth it.  So let’s journey together toward that goal.  I’ll encourage and push and play gadfly for you if you will do it for me.

And we can get there.

This was a very nice week.  Let’s make the first of many.  Back to double digit weight loss.  I need to keep it there.  Another step closer to the next milestone.  My knee has pretty much stopped being any kind of problem.  Even ran hard on it this week with no bad reaction.

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.

The next milestone is getting back below 190.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

194.2 pounds

Weight Change this week – -2.2 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date – 10.6 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/30

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A New Beginning – July 17


Don’t have a lot to add this week because I spent most of last week in Philadelphia.

Which was fun but not really part of this series of posts.

I am struck by the racial diversity I encounter on a daily basis here.  Living in rural/small town WNY there was a very limited diversity to the community.  Not so here.  Many more people of all races and religions.  Many more mixed couples of all descriptions.  And it seems to be “No Big Deal”.  I am in no position to have an opinion on the state of race relations in central Virginia and the Richmond area but it just feels different here.  It feels better.  More relaxed, maybe?Maybe I’ll learn otherwise but that’s my feeling so far.

In other news…

Weather - I caught myself thinking how cool the forecast for this week was when it was all low to mid 80′s.  Which IS, in fact, quite cool for this time of year.  I think I’m acclimatizing.

Things I’ve discovered this week:

  • The grumpy people census remains at zero.  I’m serious, everyone I’ve met has been nice and cheerful.  Not cheerleader perky kind of happy but happy.
  • Saturn (the now sadly defunct auto manufacturer) clearly sold a lot more cars here than WNY.  I do not go a day without seeing at least one and usually several.  Many different models and years.  Currently I see a fair number of Fiat 500′s, and Minis.  And BMWs.
  • We’ve checked out a couple of eating places. The two that stood out are the Midlothian Apothecary (which has an old school lunch counter and some majorly good chocolate shakes).  A true, old fashioned neighborhood kind of place.  Really enjoyed it.  Also checked out the food trucks!  There’s a food truck “court” somewhere in the Richmond area, pretty much every night of the week.  Thursday it’s at the Huguenot Road Baptist Church.  Tonight they had about 7 trucks serving everything from hot dogs to Greek to crepes (savory or sweet) plus gelato.  There was also a live band playing oldies rock (including “Freebird”!).  There was even some dancing!  OK, all by small children.   It was relaxed and fun.  Basically my first experience with a real food truck meal.  Got a “Carytown Burger” which was quite good.  The Lady Donna had a black bean burger with guacamole that she said was very good too.

It’s a new beginning.

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Time to Get Real – Week of July 13



There are weeks where you fool yourself.  You fool yourself that you’re being more disciplined than you are.  You fool yourself that you’re getting more exercised than you are.  You flat out lie to yourself that all that extra exercise means you can eat more food and you’ll still lose weight.

I had just such a week.

In the end it might be said that it could have been worse.  The Episcopal Youth Event was great fun.  At the same time it is a complete disruption of my routine, my eating discipline and my exercise discipline.  Was it inevitable that I would have a bad week?  No.  But it happened.

I need to break down the issues here so I can have some level of success moving forward.  A big part of it is that because I’m on the go, with a “what’s happening next” focus I’m not particularly focused in the now.  Eating takes place in the now.  My plan moving forward would be to stop before each meal, get my head into the right eating place and only then go into a meal.   The whole “I’m exercising more so I can eat more” thing just needs to go.  If I eat the normal amount and exercise more I will, gasp!, LOSE WEIGHT FASTER!  You wouldn’t think someone of reasonable intelligence would need to review this concept but there you go.

It could have been worse.

The good news is that my knee is almost back to feeling 100%.  And the disruptions to my routine should be mostly behind me for the rest of the summer.

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.

The next milestone is getting back below 190.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

196.4 pounds

Weight Change this week –  +2.0 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date – 8.4 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/30

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Report From the Travelling Circus – UPDATE!!!!

July 13, 2014 –  If it weren’t so frustrating it would be wonderful to be me.

So after I watched a bit of the World Cup final (didn’t see the goal), I wandered over to my new gate for my new flight.  While it was in a completely different concourse a few things seemed familiar.  The flight was delayed.  And overbooked.  And they were looking for folks to volunteer to be bumped.  You’d get a seat on the next flight, plus $350 to spend with US Airways, no blackout dates and it was transferable to anyone.  This is pretty much the gold standard for this kind of offer, so after consulting with my lady wife again (you don’t stay married for 30+ years without learning a few unbreakable rules), I volunteered to be bumped.  The gate agent took my boarding pass, told me that she would call me up if there turned out to be room on the flight or would take care of me after.  Cool.

Flight time finally rolls around and passengers are boarded.  There is room for one final passenger and he’s boarded too.  The plane pulls away and await my golden ticket.  There were three of us left.  One young lady had some discussion of being “refused boarding” and was going to be cut a check by the airline.  The other young lady was the other volunteer to be bumped.  They gave her a form to complete and her new boarding pass.

And that was it.

The agent went back to her desk and got busy with whatever it is that gate agents do between flights.  With my most charming smile uploaded I wandered over and inquired about myself.  She looked puzzled so I re-introduced myself, reminded her of a few details about our previous conversation and waited.

There’s that look of blank incomprehension mixed with just a dash of panic that humans get when confronted with a situation that is completely outside the boundaries of our world concept.  She repeated my name, bent over her computer and said,

“Did I have two Phillippis on that flight?”

While my mother was a Smith, my father bequeathed to me one of the less common surnames on the planet.  At one point the Census Bureau said that both “Rambo” and “Fudge” were more common in this country than Phillippi.  So the idea that there were TWO “Jay D. Phillippi”s on any given flight is about as small as mathematically possible.  (Actually, for reasons unknown to me, the airlines insist on taking my middle initial and making it part of my first.  Consequently my boarding passes all read “Jayd Phillippi”.  My daughter should be happy we didn’t decide to name her that).

Then the fun really began.

Turns out that the agent had flagged that name as a problem, so she had gone into the aircraft to double-check on that passenger.  AND SPOKE WITH HIM!  There was in fact someone on that plane with a boarding pass (she saw it) with that name on it.

Why would anyone pose as me?  I mean, really, those of you who know me, can you see anyone, ANYONE, choosing me to impersonate?  It boggles the mind.

In the meantime the agent dutifully checked my ID, checked the date of birth in their records, checked with her supervisor three times.  I don’t think they have a ready procedure for this situation.

I kind of HOPE they don’t have one!  I would hate to think this kind of thing is common!

It took a couple of hours but I now have my compensation slip.  And a new boarding pass.

My original flight would have gotten me home at about 2:30 in the afternoon.  This one will get me there at midnight.

The question is this – would I trade this story for getting home sooner?

Not in a million years.

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Reports From the Travelling Circus

(July 13, 2014) – My friends know that I bear a curse.  Often the first words out of their mouths are “Any trouble this time?”.  And then they laugh.

You see, I have a travelling curse.

It’s been going on for years now.  I get delayed, bumped and re-routed.  If there is any bad weather in the area it will lodge between me and my destination.  The curse operates pretty much everywhere but it does have two primary loci - Philadelphia and Denver.  If my travels take me through either of those locations I am guaranteed to have some kind of an adventure.

I’ve learned a certain zen like calm about it all.

It’s either that or I just stopped worrying about it.  Pretty much the same thing, I think.

So today I am travelling home from the Episcopal Youth Event (EYE), a once every three years gathering of teens from all around the Episcopal Church.  As I have done several times in the past I was serving as a member of the team running the event.

Did I mention that this year’s EYE was being held IN Philadelphia?

(That’s called foreshadowing.  Pretty spiffy little writing trick there.  You should be impressed)

The trip into Philly went without any significant trouble at all.  That should have warned me.

There was some kerfluffle about just how I was supposed to get from the Villanova University campus to the airport on departure day.  That’s not really surprising as a thousand people have to be moved off the campus in a matter of 12 hours.  Planes, trains, buses, private automobiles.  They all have to be coordinated, loaded and leave, preferably without leaving anyone behind.  Since I was something of a supernumerary I was going to fit in where I could.  Between midnight and noon that plan changed five times.  It was frustrating but was really only a tiny quiver in the energy of the travel universe.

A tiny quiver of WARNING.  (FORESHADOWING!!!!)

I got to the airport with plenty of time to check-in, go through security, grab a leisurely lunch and make it to the departure gate.

Almost immediately there came an announcement that the plane was over booked and needed 4 volunteers to take a later flight.  Since I’m not in a huge hurry today (and after consulting my lady wife) I went up to volunteer.  A moment later it was all set.

Then something curious happened.  There were three young people seated just a row away from me in the waiting area.  A young woman who looked to be in her late teens/early 20s, a tall young man of high school age and an elementary aged little brother.  As I got back to my seat I saw the two older young people exchange a quick word of what was obviously very good news.  Then all three of them turned toward me, looked right at me and said “Thank You!”

The only logical response was  “What did I do?”

Turns out these three siblings had missed an earlier flight and it didn’t look like all three of them could fly home on the same flight.  With me volunteering a seat opened up and they would be able to travel together.

As a youth minister, the fact that I could help them out, even inadvertently, was the greatest gift I could have received at that moment.  It felt really, really wonderful to see the joy on their face.  All three of them thanked me and I told them I couldn’t be happier to have been able to help.

I even thought “Maybe the curse has been broken”.

Never disrespect a curse.  Never tempt one.

In a matter of minutes my cell phone rang to tell me that the 5:30 flight I had been bumped to was now delayed to 6:05.  Then the original flight was delayed (there was a small chance they might have gotten me on that flight if someone else hadn’t shown up), followed almost immediately by the flight being cancelled.

So now I’ll be here till at least 6 o’clock.

The travelling circus rolls on.

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Exploring Richmond – Episode 1

I’ve been thinking about moving the various items about places we visit and eat to their own posts.  Since I am away this week at the Episcopal Youth Event, I thought I could insert the first one here.

We have been exploring for a while.  So I have a certain backlog of stories to share moving forward.  Can’t spend all our time being tourists, there’s work to do!

Having some time on our hands we decided to check out a Farmer’s Market.  Sadly, someone (oh fine, it was your humble author) forgot the magazine with the address in it and pulled the wrong place out of his swiss cheese brain.

Oops.  Next time.

Being intrepid explorers we simply set our sights on our next destination.  Besides, it was time for lunch.  Off we went in search of the legendary Alamo BBQ.

Ah, barbecue.  So many arguments to be created about what is or isn’t barbecue.  How it’s cooked, how long it’s cooked, what kind of meat is cooked, the ever tempestuous discussion of rub vs sauce/marinade.  At the bottom line what most of us think of as barbecue (or BBQ) in this day and age is the classic “southern style” barbecue.  Cooked long over low heat from wood charcoal with real wood smoke.  The other great divisor in this conversation is the sweet vs spicy discussion.  It’s about as complicated a foodie theology as anything that France has ever produced.

Here’s my theology of barbecue – I like it all.  Rubs, marinades, sauces (tomato or vinegar or mustard), pork, chicken, beef and links.  I want lots of meat and just enough of the sides to fill in the holes.

Living in central Virginia I among some serious barbecue folk.  Among those folk Alamo BBQ is spoken of in hushed tones.  It’s hard to speak loudly while drooling.  So the lady of the house and I headed into the heart of Church Hill.  Sitting on a wedge shaped corner of Jefferson, 22nd and Clay is a tiny little place with tables, chairs and benches clustered under the awning that shades the front.  The line was about8 folks long when we got there but business was steady the entire visit.  My lady wife opted for the pulled pork (her go-to barbecue) while I tried the barbecue platter (two meats and three sides.  Since she had the pork covered I got the brisket and chicken with jalapeno mac and cheese, potato salad and corn bread with honey butter).  Alamo falls on the spicy side of the sweet/spicy divide but was held within reason.  My Lady Wife was a little nonplussed by the cole slaw served Primanti style on the sandwich but allowed that it worked.  The brisket and chicken were both outstanding, the spicy mac was quite good, the potato salad seemed to have a zing as well.  I could have used something to contrast with the general spiciness but that’s a quibble.  The corn bread was outstanding.  The price for all of this plus a couple drinks was less than $20.

The Alamo certainly lives up to the legend.Photo-0024

Then it was on to the Poe Museum.  I’ve always associated Poe with Baltimore but a large part of his life, including much of his childhood, was spent in Richmond.  It wasn’t always happy times but out of it grew a strong and determined man who would become one of the pillars of American writing at its best.  While quite small, the museum offers a wonderful look at Poe’s life in Richmond.  The museum consists of four buildings surrounding a central “enchanted garden” (very popular for weddings.  While beautiful it still strikes me as odd).  At the far end is the Poe Shrine where the statue in the picture can be found.

Very inexpensive and very interesting.  Can easily be done in an hour and we thought it worth every minute.

By now we had worked up a thirst and wanted to see if there was someplace we could stop that had a view of the river.  Nothing turned up quickly (open to suggestions) so we settled on the Southern Railway TapHouse, near the Canal Walk.  We watched the end of a World Cup match, had a couple of mixed drinks ($10 a pop struck us as a good reason to stick to beer and wine) and enjoyed the excellent service.

Then we wandered down to the Canal Walk.

Now I’ve been to San Antonio’s Paseo del Rio.  Richmond is not in that league.  We wandered just a little way in both directions.  The path is generally well maintained with historical markers along the way.  We did find one restaurant/bar, but they had no TVs so we would have missed the end of the game.  There’s always a trade off.  They have guided tours on boats but we decided to save that for another day.

What really impressed us was the wall that shows the flood water levels for a handful of historic floods in Richmond.  Impressive, and a little frightening.  We’ll be back to explore some more.

On the whole it was a good day.  The food and drink were outstanding.  The museum was fun and the canal area looks like it’s worthy of some more exploration.  (Maybe on a Segway!  Saw a group go by on those).

Still so much more to explore!

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Time to Get Real – Week of July 6


After a good week we have a week of challenge.  I will be at the Episcopal Youth Event all this week, so no weigh in.  The good news is that I’ll be working and should get plenty of walking in.  The bad news is that I’ll surrounded by food intended to appeal to teenagers.

But this is where discipline comes in.  I have to be careful and eat smart.  It can be done.  I can do it.

So a time of “radio silence” while I head off into my next challenge.  I will be having fun while I’m there.  If I’m smart I’ll have even more fun when I get back and climb back on that scale.  I will take the Fitbit with me (it’s been gathering dust for a while) and track my daily steps.

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.

The next milestone is getting back below 190.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

194.4 pounds

Weight Change this week –  -2.2 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date – 10.4 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/30

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