Archive for June 2012

Window Seat: San Diego Babymoon, Day One, 05.12.12

This post (along with all of the other San Diego posts that will follow) were actually written while in San Diego. I hope you enjoy this recap of our babymoon! This one isn’t very picture-heavy, but some of the later ones have TONS!

***

We left the house at a little before seven this morning. Traffic wasn’t too bad, and we quickly dropped our car off and took the shuttle to the airport.

I have a story to tell about this vacation first. We earned the miles from Travel Hacking (thanks Steve!) so this trip was already virtually free. There were various fees and taxes and so forth, but by and large, we’re going to San Diego, for a week, with airfare, and a few attractions (San Diego Zoo, Zoo Safari, SeaWorld, a tour of San Diego’s old brothel district, and a sunset cruise) for only using select credit cards for about six months. We could have been more efficient with our miles, for sure, but this works great for us.

After we got our airline tickets, Tina still had 60,000 miles left over. She called American Airlines, told them we were going on our babymoon, and asked if we could use the 60,000 miles to upgrade our flights to first class. Much to our surprise and delight, they agreed and gave us the first class upgrade for free!

I have to say – flying first class was a huge mistake. I can’t go back to coach. I was comfortable. Not comfortable for flying on a plane, but comfortable.

Flying is ruined for me now. First class is the way to fly.

We made it to Dallas on time, and we grabbed a bite to eat at the food court. Moon Pie was kicking up a storm, but I still can’t feel it yet.

Leaving Dallas, we hit a snag.

After boarding the plane, we had to wait for maintenance to come fix a toilet. That took about half an hour. After that, they announced there was an electrical short. Finally, after we had been on the plane, at the gate, for over ninety minutes, they apologized and put us on a different plane.

At long last, two and a half hours later, we were airborne. Yes, the delay sucked, but I’d rather have a delay than die on a plane, y’know?

On the longer flight from Dallas to San Diego, first class was AMAZING. If I was a drinker, I would have racked up. Several people around us were drinking wine; the lady behind me ordered Kahlua. I LOVE Kahlua. However, since Tina can’t drink, I don’t drink. It’s just fair. But I digress. Plenty of free drinks.

Rather than get a little bag of chex mix, we actually got a hot meal. We had the choice of a grilled chicken salad or a grilled chicken sandwich. Tina and I both took the sandwich, which came with a salad, a bag of pita chips, and some hummus. Unbelievably good. And just when we thought it couldn’t get better, they came by with warm cookies and milk in wine glasses. Seriously.

I can never fly coach again. On the return flight, I’ll have my camera ready to snap some photos.

San Diego was a surprisingly tiny airport! A very nice lady saw Tina and me trying to take a photo of ourselves with my cell phone, and she volunteered to take one for us.

And being the dork that I am, I took a photo of a cool seashell collage in the men’s room.

And another pic of an exhibit about airports in the airport…

A shuttle took us to Alamo, and we soon had our car, a Kia Forte, put our GPS in the windshield, and headed off to our hotel.

Here’s where the story gets interesting. We are staying at the Sheraton Marina and Bay Towers. We wanted to be in the Marina Tower; we discovered we were booked in the Bay Tower. Our desk clerk upgraded us for $20 a night to a nicer room in the Marina Bay. When we told him it was our babymoon, he gave us some free tickets to the breakfast buffet, too. Yes, I realize we had to pay for an upgrade, but I’ve checked in at hotels on some many other occasions and gotten nothing but a poor attitude, so getting to speak with someone who was willing to work with us was a great experience.

Oh, and best yet? This room has the best view I have EVER had from a hotel room (other than in a tropical locale). We can see the harbor and the skyline.

Parking does admittedly suck here, and it’s $22 a night. Yuck. But oh well. Can’t have everything.

We went to Wal-Mart tonight to buy some drinking water. We brought our water bottles and plan to stay hydrated. And as it was kind of late at this point, we stopped at a Subway for some sandwiches.

We’re about to hit the hay. It’s been a long day. Exercise was pretty lacking, but we’ll definitely get our activity in. Right now, I need some sleep.

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An Open Letter to Moon Pie #1

(For those not in the know, Moon Pie is the nickname we have given our unborn child. A lot of people do Bean or Monkey or something similar. Not us. We use a Big Bang reference.)


(Ultrasound early in pregnancy – he’s way bigger now, and we only have roughly two more months until his due date)

***

Dear Moon Pie,

This is the first letter that I have ever written you. I don’t know how old you will be when you first read this letter. My guess is that you’ll be somewhere in your teens.

It’s funny – even though I have not met you yet and have only see the little fuzzy black and white picture of you on the ultrasound, I feel like I know you so well.

Right now, only your mom can feel you moving around. I can’t wait until I get to feel you kick for the first time. But I know you are in there, and I can’t wait to meet you.

Obviously, by the time you are reading this, we’ve already met. I know we’re going to have a great relationship, and I want to be the best dad I can possibly be for you. I’m working as hard as I can to get healthy and fit, just so I’ll be here for as long as you need me.

I want to write these letters to you, before you’re born and as I watch you grow up into an amazing man, so you’ll know how I felt before you were officially here. If you really are reading these as a teenager, you probably think they’re pretty geeky, and let’s be honest – your old man is a geek. But someday, especially when you start your own family, you’ll understand why I’m doing this.

I can’t wait to hold you. I can’t wait to take you home and introduce you to our pets. I think Malcolm will especially like playing with you. I can’t wait to be your dad.

I hope you get the best of me and your mother. Her sciences, my literary. Her music, my math. Her direction sense, my love of the Power Rangers and horror movies. And there are a lot of things we share together, like passion, enthusiasm, and humor, and I’m sure you’ll take after both of us.

We made you together, and you are going to make us a family.

You haven’t even been born yet, and I’m sure you’re going to be an amazing big brother someday, a wonderful son, and one of the best people this world has ever seen.

Love,
Dad

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Geeked Out Weight Loss Review: MMPR: Green with Evil, Part One

For the next few weeks of my Geeked Out Weight Loss Review, I am going to explore the first real story arc that appeared on the Power Rangers. The show started off with our five standard Rangers, but early in the 1st season, a surprising twist appeared. There actually was a sixth Power Coin, which could produce a sixth Ranger, but Zordon didn’t have it. The Rangers’ enemy, Rita Repulsa, owned it, and she was able to create her own evil Ranger.

Thus begins the Green with Evil saga! I am going to review the entire five part Green with Evil miniseries. For the next five weeks, we’re going to watch the episodes that started the Green Ranger mythos of the Power Rangers, which also escalated it (for some of us, such as myself) from a lame kid show into a (still admittedly lame) show that dealt with some big concepts and had pretty deep consequences in store. Sort of. It was still a kid’s show, but dang it, it was fun.

So, on to the review!

Green with Evil, Part One

At the Angel Grove Martial Arts Expo, Jason fights new student Tommy in a match. The two are evenly matched, it ends in a draw, and the two martial artists exchange polite words before parting. Kimberly, meanwhile, is smitten with Tommy, and when he scares off Bulk and Skull the next day after they have bothered her, she is even more attracted to him and asks him to hang out with her and her friends at the Youth Center after school.

However, the polite Tommy is quickly noticed by Rita, and she casts a spell, turning him into her evil Green Ranger.

With his power coin, Tommy is now able to enter the Command Center. He immediately goes there, damages Alpha Five, and renders Zordon incapable of communicating with the Rangers.

Alpha Five manages to get a garbled message to the Rangers, and they promptly make their way to the Command Center. Billy manages to partially restore Alpha, although his memory was scrambled and he can’t remember what happened. Worst yet, before the Rangers can ascertain what happened, they discover that Rita has made Goldar gigantic and he is wracking havoc on the Earth.

The Rangers morph and jump into battle. Summoning their MegaZord, they battle Goldar, but Tommy enters the MegaZord cockpit and forcibly ejects the Rangers. They battle with him on the ground, but Tommy gains the upper hand during the battle. The Rangers retreat to the Command Center to lick their wounds and regroup. Alpha once again goes offline, and the Rangers realize they are going to have to face their worst foe yet without Alpha or Zordon to help them.

Weight Loss Analogy

Have you ever had things go a little bit wrong, and the next thing you know, you are a little bit on the frantic side and you can’t quite get your feet back underneath you?

It’s certainly happened to me. I’ve told parts of the “why” I regained the weight I lost on this blog before, but in 2006, I dated a girl (very briefly – far too briefly to have gotten as stressed out as I did over it), we had a messy breakup, and I turned to food for comfort. I wasn’t in a very mentally healthy place, and I viewed my future as suddenly desperately lonely. Forever.

Well, that certainly wasn’t what happened. I’m now happily married to my best friend. We have a baby on the way. My life is never going to be lonely.

But for that short dark period, I thought it was going to be. I was scrambling, and I turned to the one comfort I had always turned to. Food. And even when I got over my loneliness, I still kept eating. I lost all of my good habits, regained my bad ones, and the next thing I knew, I had put on over 100 pounds.

To more directly connect it to what’s going on in this episode, the Rangers have had everything they’ve come to know about being Rangers taken from them. They are no longer the only Rangers. There is an evil Green Ranger battling them. They are not able to depend upon Alpha and Zordon, who have always been there for them. Things have gotten bad quickly.

As the episode ends, however, the Rangers are already doing one thing differently than I did. They aren’t giving up. In fact, Jason even attempts to shore up his team by reminding them that, although they are literally alone with no help, they can’t quit. The safety of the world depends on them beating this evil Green Ranger.

Well, the health of our bodies depend upon us overcoming our vices. So what do we choose to do? Do we fight, or do we roll over?

I’m choosing to fight, even if I don’t know what the next battle may hold.

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No Warp Whistle Weigh-In

I hadn’t set on a scale since last Monday. I was going to my weigh-in on Saturday, June 9th, with absolutely no idea how I had done.

This is what I did know.

I had faithfully tracked every single bite that entered my body.

I had stayed fully within my points. In fact, I didn’t even eat all of my weekly points.

But I just didn’t know.

I might step on that scale and be told that I had gained or lost. No idea.

I knew I would not have a big loss. That was inevitable. I had already hit the diet after returning home from San Diego, and my big loss had already occurred. I would be pleased with any loss.

So, how did I do?

June 9, 2012
Weight: 356.6
Change from Last Week: -2.2 pounds
Change from All-Time Highest: -46.2 pounds

Woo hoo! I am extremely pleased. Two-ish pounds a week is extremely healthy and sustainable weight loss.

You know how when you play Super Mario Brothers 3, and you can get both warp whistles in the 1st world and use them to skip all the way to the end?

I’m not doing that. I could do any number of things to make my numbers drop dramatically and drastically. Surgery. Extreme dieting. Starvation. Even dehydration tricks just to make the numbers on the scale move. Pass.

The journey is laid out before me, and I’ll get there two-ish pounds at a time.

And that’s great.

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Stellar Recipe: Sauteed Scallops

On our recent trip to San Diego, we went to a restaurant called The Fish Market. They would change their menu daily, depending upon what was caught fresh. Both times I went, I got scallops, and both times, I left very, very happy.

When I used to think of scallops, I pictured that tough, rubbery piece of white meat that came in perfect circles and was breaded and fried on the Chinese buffet. Hey, even tough and rubbery, I thought it had a decent taste. Now granted, I would probably think a pencil eraser was good if it was breaded and fried, too.

The first time I ate them at The Fish Market, I actually got them fried. They were one of the most amazing things I had ever eaten. The only taste I can compare it to was a more buttery corn on the cob, if anything. They were tender and melt-in-your-mouth good. The next time we went, I got them grilled, and they were just as amazing.

I came home to Kentucky and figured I wouldn’t have scallops that good again until my next trip to the ocean.

On my most recent trip to our local butcher, the Fatted Calf, I happened to notice that Sea Scallops were listed under his seafood section. I asked about them, and he said that they were flown in fresh from Massachusetts. They were also $18.99 a pound, but I had to try them.

I bought eight scallops, and they were gigantic! (And ended up costing me about $22. Yikes!)

I knew I couldn’t fry them (for one thing, while I love the taste of food that other people have fried, if I fry it, it always tastes unpleasant and gross to me, and two, I’m doing great on Weight Watchers and I didn’t want to count the points for the frying), so I decided to sauté them in a little butter and garlic.

How were they?

Well, they did NOT taste as good as they did in San Diego.

But they were still pretty freaking awesome. Tina and I had them with some sirloin (grass-fed, locally raised, and locally butchered), so we had our own little Surf and Turf. Next time, we’re going to get significantly fewer scallops, but they will definitely be making an appearance on our menu again. Oh, and on the plus side? They’re extremely low in calories, high in protein, and high in B12. Triple win!

To prepare, melt some butter in a pot. I added a little olive oil to make them a bit more heart healthy.

Throw in some minced garlic.

When the garlic has browned slightly, put your scallops in the pan. Cook on each side for about four minutes. Turn. They are done when slightly browned.

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Weigh-Ins
12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)