A Season of Thinking

Been gone for awhile.  Nothing bad has happened but a lot has happened.  It just seemed like a good time to sit back and think about what’s going on and where this blog fits.  So here’s where I found myself when all was said and done.

I still have hopes for this blog that I haven’t achieved.  Part of the problem is that this blog has to juggle several different parts of my personality and life.  I’ve tried to keep them separate with only limited success.  The obvious reason for that is that they are not separate.  All of them are integral pieces of who I am.  So it was necessary to find a better way to put this puzzle together.

Here’s the plan at the moment –

The current “regular” posts will continue but as monthly rather than weekly posts.  Too often I found myself feeling like I had nothing to add and the posts went up because they were scheduled to do so.  That’s a waste of my time to write and your time to read.  So the “Adventures in Urban Cycling” and “Time For A Change” posts will run monthly.  My intent is to make them a little longer so I can explore a little more about what is happening on each of those fronts.

You may note that there is no mention of a regular “Life Among the Unemployed” series.  That’s because I’ve left those ranks.  I am moving into a whole new professional world, health insurance.  It’s exhilarating and terrifying.  I may post about those experiences depending on how it goes.  I’m still pondering that.

Now just those posts would leave this a pretty empty blog.  And that’s never been the goal.  The original purpose, as I mentioned before, was to use this as a creative blog.  So I’ve decided to go all in on that subject.  “From A Craxy, Mized Up World” will become the official blog for my writing website (www.JDPhillippi.com).  That means there will be at least two posts relating to the subject of writing or dealing with my books and stories each month.  I hope to add two other “creative” topics each week.  The plan is that those posts will appear each Thursday.  I am looking at occasionally posting on the subject of faith (which remains an important part of my life), Thankfulness, maybe doing a little more with my explorations of RVA and the surrounding area.  There’s also the possibility of the odd wine/beer post too.  Who knows? Lots of room to explore.  All of this will slowly begin to show up in the next couple months with the final “launch” coming January 1, 2018.

Some of these changes are being made to simplify my life.  I was trying to maintain three different blogs, two Twitter feeds, create radio programs and a podcast.  It was a mess because there had never been a plan.  It had all grown organically.  Just like any weed.

So let’s get our baseline stories caught up.

Weight – 187.5      That’s up just a little bit.  Given how my exercise went in the tank over the last month, I’m very happy with that.

Biking – Mileage YTD – 538.2.  That’s on 24 rides through September 25.  That’s not bad, but still a long way towards my 1,000 mile goal.  September has been a total bomb for the riding.  I hope to take another shot at the Cap2Cap soon.

Active Minutes – Most of the month was fine.  The one week that was so low was also the week I misplaced the Fitbit.  Starting at the beginning of September my weeks went 226, 21, 130 and 138.

Diabetes – I’ll just be honest and acknowledge that I haven’t been testing my blood glucose.  I think I did it twice this month.  Both numbers were fine.  That’s not good enough.

I will probably look at refreshing the look of the blog as well.  So plenty to keep me busy between now and the first of the year.  I hope you will continue to enjoy what I’ve done before, plus what is to come.

Peace.

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September 11 Remembrance

This post originally appeared on a blog I no longer maintain. Today is a day to remember.

(I posted this originally in 2007.)

wtc-9-11I remember it clearly. There was a staff meeting that day so I’d driven up to Buffalo (an hour and a half drive)for the 9 AM meeting. In fact I had turned off the radio just a few minutes after the first plane hit at 8:46 AM. We had just gotten settled into the meeting with the sliding doors closed when there came a banging. Two members of the office staff came in, one in tears. The only TV in the building was with us and they needed to check the news. Something had happened at the twin towers in NYC and they had a friend who worked there. So we turned on the TV…

You know what we saw. And you know how we felt. It is a shared moment for our nation. I remember thinking in those first few moments “It’s not an accident, it’s a terrorist attack”. For several years after college I’d been fascinated by terrorism and how we respond to it. What I saw and what little we knew at that time just screamed terrorism.

And then the second plane(9:03AM)

and the report that a plane has crashed into the Pentagon (9:37AM)

and the FAA grounds all planes (9:45AM)

and then the south tower collapsed(9:59AM)

and then another plane crashes in western Pennsylvania (10:03AM)

and then the north tower collapsed (10:28AM)

Sometime shortly after that we were sent home. We prayed for everything and everyone and Divine protection and went home in a state of shock.

The diocesan offices are not too far from the airport so you see a fair number of planes if you look. I remember driving home thinking that there had never been a day in my life like this one. When virtually NOTHING man made was in the air above me. It is one of the strangest and most enduring feelings from that day.

When I saw the photo Lee was using I knew I was going to steal it. We need to remember how horrible that day was. We must never forget. But not as just as a goad to our fear and self interest. We must remember as a call to all that is good in our nature. It must serve as a call to make the world a better place rather than only a safer place. A better place WILL BE a safer place. A safer place is not always a better place.

Today is a day to remember.

Peace

Time To Change – Milestones In Sight

When I pulled the last post I noticed that last week’s weight was wrong.  And the goal to lose weight was wrong as well.  Not sure how that happened.  The correct weights are listed below.

I was a little surprised by that newest number.  My exercise has been a fraction below the recent norms.  Meanwhile, my eating has been better, but not particularly spectacular.

I’m back to doing some food logging.  Not every meal every day.  Since I eat the same two or three meals for breakfast, all within the ranges I want, there’s no real need to chart those meals in detail.  Lunch is usually OK, although I had a real stinker this past week.  It’s the kind of meal where I get to the end and look around thinking “Wait, what just happened here?”.  When I log the meal I get a much clearer idea of what happened.  In all it’s discipline busting glory!  One of the things I need to remember is that eating like that every once in a while is fine.  Some studies even suggest that it’s a very good thing to “reward” yourself with a bit of a splurge now and then.

My attitude on what I eat hasn’t changed.  I have “given up” one thing, sugared cola.  And if I need a quick glucose boost and I don’t have anything else, I’ll toss that one out the window too.  My weight loss mantra is: “Less, Better, More”.  Smaller portions of nutritious foods coupled with increased activity.  You can make that as “rocket science” as you want.  But it doesn’t have to be complicated.  The important part is confronting what we do. If you want to BS yourself, fine.  That’s one of the great things about the food logging.  An honest log takes the hammer to BS.

It is really that simple and it works.

On the exercise front, I continue to over perform on active minutes.  The goal number is a minimum of 150 minutes per week.  I’d wager my average over the last several months is close to twice that.  Steps continue to lag behind.  It’s been too hot to walk.  I need to add that in on days I don’t ride.  Riding was a little low this week because the bike went into the shop for a bottom bracket repair.  All is well, and we are back rolling again.  I am two easy rides away from cracking the 500-mile mark!

So that makes TWO milestones that are within reach.  That next weight is a pound away.  As always it’s been a bit of forward and back.  I’m OK with that too.  For the record, of my four guys in the graphic, I am somewhere between 3 and 4 (where #1 is the biggest guy and #4 is “The Guy”).  After that, a mere ten pounds to go.  The hardest ten.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 232

Steps – 16,590

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 39.1 miles  (2 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 456.28

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

186.0 pounds

Weight Change this week: -2.8 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 18.9 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/35

Adventures in Urban Bicycling – July

A tough month for bicycling.

On the positive side, I conquered the Cap2Cap trail for the first time.  That is a 52 mile paved path that runs from between the historic first capital of Virginia, Jamestown, and the current one, Richmond.  My first attempt was cut short when I did not balance my blood glucose properly for such a long ride.  Did much better this time.

The ride was a total of four hours and two minutes of saddle time with two breaks.  I took a quick one at roughly ten miles.  The biggest hills are in those first dozen miles, so I gave myself a break.  Then another twenty miles along for lunch.  May have stayed off the bike a little longer than I should have there (45-50 minutes), but warmed up nicely in short order.  Which is good for two reasons.  About fourteen miles after lunch you hit the Chickahominy River bridge, which is a high arch bridge.  One that never seems to end when you’ve pedaled that far!  The other issue had to do with heat.  I had left early to try and avoid the heat of the day.  It still caught me and the last ten miles were tough and the final five were very difficult.  But I made it.

Week three was a very light week for riding.  Weather again was the issue.  The Heat Index that week hit triple digits several times and I chose discretion.  I did get in a couple of rides as I continue to work towards my goal of 1,000 miles this year.

Otherwise, I’ve been exploring new places in Richmond to ride.  I rode out Monument (which is a major thoroughfare here in Richmond) to the Willow Lawn area.  Not a long ride, about 3 miles, but new experiences.  More riding with higher traffic.

Also enjoyed watching the Tour de France.  Amazing to watch those incredible athletes perform.  Hour after hour at 20+ miles per hour.  And simply riding for 100-200 kilometers.  Crashes barely seem to phase them.  I would be whimpering for months afterwards and they jump up, grab their bike, and take off once again.  Several of them crashed, re-started, and ended up winning the stage.  Awesome athletes.  And inspirations to those of us trying to crank along. Three cheers for team Cannondale/Drapac and Rigoberto Uran.  With determination and grit, Rigo finished second overall.  It was great to have a team to root for (all three American riders were on this team, so that made it easy).  All the riders continue to inspire me.  When it starts to feel tough, I think of what they go through and I push on.

The last full week of the month turned into a pretty good riding week.  Got a break in the weather, so I got to rack up several more rides.  Even set a personal best, approaching a 12 mph average for 90 minutes!  17.6 miles in 1:31.

Equipment is becoming an issue.  I’ve developed a wobble in the crank, the straps are breaking on my bike rack and my tire pump bit the dust.  Not the problems to be faced without steady income.  Sigh.  I shall soldier on.

Much to my great surprise, I’m almost half way to my goal for the summer with at least two more months of riding ahead.

I track my riding using MapMyRide.

Ride Total – 25 (through 7/26)

Mileage Total – 415.14

Let’s roll.

Time To Change – Little Things

And now we’re back.

Getting out of the eating routine means some slight variation, but only a small one.  I do need to get re-focused.  I am falling into the trap of “Oh, just a little bit extra won’t hurt!”.  Except when it’s a little extra over and over and over.  Suddenly it’s a serious amount of calories, and the number begins to creep upward.  With all of that, plus the wedding weekend (which was wonderful!), the change is only a pound.  I think that’s pretty impressive.

Just had a nice visit with my Diabetes Educator.  Part of the coverage with my health insurance is a series of educational meetings about diabetes and how to live with it.  Being who I am, I walked in having already learned a lot of the basics.  This made some of the meetings a little tedious.  I tried to be a good sport about it.  Particularly once I realized that not everyone in the room had bought into the idea that change was coming.  And staying.

At this final meeting, I stayed a little later to ask some questions specifically about diabetes and high-intensity exercise.  Imagine my delight when I discovered that our educator was a former long distance runner!  The good news is that she supported the ideas I have working with about fueling myself during long rides.  She even said the circus peanuts were fine for that purpose!

Exercise has been better, but still not quite up to where I’d like it.  Active minutes were down because biking was down.  Steps were up by 10,000.  My total riding miles for the year have been adjusted.  To the surprise of no one who knows me, my addition was off.  I am very close to half way to my goal for this year.  It’s also one of the highest mileage totals ever for me, so it’s been a very good year with several more months of riding still to come!

Other than that, just gotta keep rolling.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 249

Steps – 25,543

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 29.0 miles  (2 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 417.09

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

181.8 pounds

Weight Change this week: +1.0 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 16.1 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

Time To Change – Celebratory Break

Taking this week off from the reporting.

Exercise has been extremely difficult.  The Heat Index in Richmond has been around 100-105 most of the week.  Strenuous exercise has been curtailed.

Diabetes numbers are generally fine.

Headed off to a weekend wedding, so I’m just going to take a break this weekend.  Will still work on eating wisely, which is always a challenge in situations like this one.

So no changes this week, all numbers below are from last week.

Other than that, just gotta keep rolling.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 426

Steps – 14,942

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 78.6 miles  (3 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 372.17

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

187.8 pounds

Weight Change this week: +0.4 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 17.1 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

Time To Change – Holding this week

Not a lot of change, which is fine.

Conquered a major exercise goal, which is great.

Otherwise, it’s been another quiet week.  Did some eating at the ballpark, which wasn’t great.  Also had a bad day on the employment front.  More about being told there would be a decision and not hearing, than an absolute turn down.  We’ll try to sort that out next week.

On the diabetes front, all is quiet.  The numbers have been pretty good.

With a 52 mile bike ride under my belt, the activity numbers are very good.  My steps are still down.  I managed to misplace my Fitbit for a day.  That’s the problem when an all black device makes its way into a dark corner!

All of that resulted in a change of less than a pound, which falls into the “I refuse to worry about it” category.  Essentially I held this level.  And, for the moment, that’s fine.

Other than that, just gotta keep rolling.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 426

Steps – 14,942

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 78.6 miles  (3 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 372.17

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

187.8 pounds

Weight Change this week: +0.4 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 17.1 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25