Posts Tagged ‘tina’

Date Night #1 – The Fur Ball

This is the first of an entry of date night posts!

Stellar Path, in addition to being a document of my rather slow weight loss journey, is also a personal blog for the happenings in my life. I don’t share as much of myself on here as I’d like to, truthfully

If you read my blog solely for weight loss/fitness stuff, well… some of that will still seep its way in. Our date nights usually revolve around some form of meal, and even though I don’t necessarily plan to be a buzz kill, I’ll still share my eats and give a rough estimate for the points.

Tina and I decided we needed to take more date nights. Far too often, we hang around on Saturday afternoon, make grand plans, and then end up crashing on the couch and watching Harry Potter on blu-ray.

Now don’t get me wrong; there is nothing I love more than spending down time with my lovely wife. However, we still feel a need to get out of the house more often, and we’re pledging to take a LOT more date nights this year.

A few weekends ago, we went to the 5th annual Warren County Humane Society Fur Ball. The Fur Ball holds a special place in our relationship, because it was our very second date.

I remember the day I met Tina very well. It was January 11th. The Fur Ball was January 19th. I already had two tickets to the Fur Ball, because ever the optimist, I had purchased two, hoping to find a date. Well… I was in the midst of a dry spell, and I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I would be going solo.

While browsing Barnes and Noble on January 11, 2008, I met the woman who would someday become the love of my life. We struck up a conversation, I offered to buy her a coffee, we kept talking, I realized this was a pretty cool chick, and I asked if she’d like to go see Sweeney Todd.

Now you might be asking, really? Offering to take a girl you JUST met to see a horror musical?

Well, I like horror movies.

I also like musicals.

Casual dating or not, if this girl and I were going to have any chance of successfully dating, we were going to have to share some key interests.

She likes musicals and horror movies.

We went to see Sweeney Todd.

I fell hard. We exchanged numbers in the parking lot after the movie, I kissed her hand (because I’m a gentleman like that), and I asked her if she would be willing to come with me to a black tie optional gala in a week. She said yes.

We went to the first Fur Ball, and we continued dating. A year later, we went to the 2nd Annual Fur Ball. And the third, and the fourth.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Including the fact that we had some of our wedding pictures taken at Barnes and Noble over three years later, as that was where we met.

So, every year, we go to the Fur Ball. It is a very real dating tradition for us.

That aside, we are both HUGE animal lovers, and I love giving to any charity that benefits animals. We’ve got four rescued pets, and if not for finances and the fact that we don’t have room for more than four, we’d definitely have more.

Okay, on to Date Night, the 5th Annual Fur Ball! It was held at the Sloane Convention Center in Bowling Green, and it always features an amazing meal.

We started off with this incredibly tasty salad…

There was a buffet line, and I’m pretty pleased with my choices. I would have liked to get more roasted veggies, but the tray was extremely low when I got these, and I didn’t want to be rude and empty it.

We also had these amazing slices of chocolate cake. I ate it. It was good. No regrets, including writing a high estimation of 30 points in my food journal.

This is a nice photo of the crowd. This year’s turnout was their biggest yet.

There was also a band (I think called Familiar Faces?) and dancing.

And this is us with our friends Patti and Dana. If you were reading my blog back when Tina and I got married in October 2010, you may recognize them from our wedding party.

It was an amazing, wonderful date night.

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2012 Resolutions

I like New Years’ Resolutions. I always have liked them. Granted, the ones I’ve stuck to have been rare, but it’s a tradition. Every year, I make some, and I try to follow through on as many as I can.

Last year, I had a plan (which petered out in April) to follow up on my resolutions every month. I’m going to try that again this year. One difference between my 2011 and 2012 resolutions, however, is that I am going to try and make this year’s resolutions less number specific.

1. I am going to weigh less each month.

Last year, I gave a specific number I wanted to lose. Well, guess what. It didn’t work, and I finished the year weighing more than I did in January. I’m certainly not blaming that on the resolution. It was all my fault. My weight loss, for a variety of reasons, did not take priority in 2011.

I know that I will not reach goal weight in 2012. I have too much weight to lose. However, I want to make a dent in in it. Each month, I pledge to weigh less than I did the month before.

2. I am going to continue to eat clean.

My wife and I have been following our own version of “eating clean.” We are basically following an 90% clean / 10% not-clean approach, primarily because buying food that is 100% chemical, white flour, and white sugar-free is prohibitively expensive. Yes, eating healthy can be pricey, but we’ve found that lightening up JUST A BIT makes it affordable for us.

I’ll post about this in more detail in early January, but we’ve been doing it for a week, and the results have already been amazing. We’ve seen our weight drop (I’ve already lost what I gained in Vegas), we have tons of energy, and my physical cravings for junk food has been reduced to the lowest level I can EVER remember it being.

3. I am going to significantly increase my fitness without a gym membership.

As Tina and I are still paying off credit card debt, student loan debt, car payments, and a mortgage, we try to save money where we can. We’re not crazy savers. We don’t do extreme couponing (for the simple fact that you can’t buy healthy food with coupons) and we don’t deprive ourselves (we did just get back from Vegas, paid for by smartly saving money and finding amazing travel deals), but we do want to save money. We want to get out of the neighborhood we currently live in, sell this house, and buy a nicer, bigger house with land out in the country. Our goal is to do that in the next two years.

As a result, we realized we’ve been paying a healthy chunk of money toward gym memberships, and frankly, I honestly no longer believe it is necessary. I only have to look at people like Steve Kamb at Nerd Fitness who maintained a very high level of fitness while climbing. I look at the military, who certainly don’t work out in gyms (at least in Basic), and I don’t think anybody would deny that they are crazy fit. It can be done without a gym, and we are going to do it.

Yes, I am aware that saying I am going to significantly increase my fitness is purposefully vague. However, here is my list of the things I plan to be able to do when I am writing up my 2013 resolutions in a year.

I want to be able to do 100 regular push –ups (no knees, in other words) without stopping.
I want to be able to do 200 squats without stopping.
I want to be able to do an all-day hike at Mammoth Cave National Park this fall.

I desperately want to include a running goal, but my body has shown me that I MUST be lighter before I can begin running or even jogging. However, I can hike. Mammoth Cave National Park (less than thirty minutes away) has many all-day hiking trails. I don’t know which one I’ll do. I’m thinking Sal Hollow, which is eleven miles. It’s designated as advanced terrain, but I’ve known people who have done it who said that it is designated as advanced because you have to cross a few creeks. I grew up on a farm with a creek that runs through it. Creeks are no problem.

4. On my food blog, I am going to create a different pizza each week for my 52 Weeks of Pizza Project.

I don’t talk about it much here because I don’t post there as often as I’d like (although now that Tina and I are eating clean and cooking much more, I expect to post more often), but I also have a new food blog called Stellar Eats.

We LOVE pizza, and fortunately, it is a very versatile food that can be eaten clean. While in Las Vegas, we were at a shop that had a cookbook all about pizzas. I didn’t get it, but it did make me decide to do this. For the next year, we are going to cook a different pizza every week. Each pizza will be chemical and preservative free and 100% real food. I’ll post the links to the pizzas here on my main blog, too, but I’m really excited about this one. We love pizza and we love cooking. Win win.

5. I am going to obtain my ACE Personal Fitness Certification this year.

Last year, I failed by seven points. I have until August to retake the examination for a reduce fee. Even though I am completing the coursework for my second Master’s Degree, I am also going to take time each week to study for this exam, too. By fall, I will be a certified Personal Trainer.

6. I am going to write at least 10,000 words of fiction per month.

I love to write, but I seldom take the time to do it. I’ve got a young adult novel I am working on, and I want to finish it this year. I don’t know if I’ll look for an agent or self-publish or just enjoy it because it’s done, but regardless, I want to finish this year.

That’s it. A very short list for 2012. I’m certainly going to accomplish other things, but this is what I want to make happen.

Did you make resolutions?

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The best laid plans of mice and men…

…often go awry. And so, it has, that with two pieces of information, my big decision has rather abruptly been made moot. As a result, I am about to return Stellar Path to its geeky roots of weight loss and fitness, but before I do that, I will at least explain WHAT my big decision was going to be and the two factors that have, for better or worse, derailed it.

As the big reveal continued, I was going to continue dropping hints. I was also going to disclaim, “This is actually pretty ridiculous, despite how serious it is.” And yes, my big decision was both ridiculous and serious.

It was ridiculous in that “I want to be a superstar!” kind of way, but it was also serious in the same way that thousands of people move to Los Angeles every year to work as waiters and waitresses and hope for their big break.

So, what was my ridiculousness? Feel free to laugh. But know that I was (and honestly, still am) very serious about pursuing this, even if it is now so back burnered it’s a little goofy.

I wanted (read: still want) to go into space.

Not as an astronaut, mind you, but as an astrophysicist. With my free tuition, I was going to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in physics here at WKU and then eventually transition into a Ph.D. program in astrophysics, get involved in some cutting edge research, and eventually, at some point before the day I die, go to Russia, blast off in a Soyuz shuttle (although by the time I got around to it, it would probably have been the Prospective Piloted Transport System that would get me there), and do some amazing research aboard the International Space Station.

I actually had a system in place for how this could potentially happen. I realize that it was pie-in-the-sky, odds so low they may as well be lottery odds, hopes and dreams that built this decision, but I had a plan. I was going to aggressively pursue science education in physics. Despite being a linguistic/literary/literacy person, I also have a strong knack for math. I can’t explain it. I’m weirdly two-brained in this way. I was going to get as heavily involved with research at the university level as I could, beginning as a third-time undergrad, that would hopefully help me make connections to higher and more significant research opportunities.

At the same time I was doing this, I was going to pursue the study of multiple languages. I’ve always wanted to be a polyglot. I’m currently barely/minimally bilingual (English and Spanish), but I knew if I could speak Russian and possibly an Asian language, it would definitely give me a leg up on the odds of getting to work at the ISS.

Furthermore, I was going to work on getting as fit and healthy as I possibly could. After all, fat people don’t go into space. (Don’t hate – but it’s true.) Obviously, I am going to continue to pursue weight loss and health.

I have wanted to go to space for so long… As a little kid, I would go to my grandparents’ farm and find a spot, out behind the barn where there were no lights, and just lie on my back, look up at the stars, and dream of being out there. I mean… my website is called Stellar Path. I can’t wait to move out of the suburbs and back into the country so I can live on a dark farm and set my telescope up and stargaze without worrying about light pollution.

I still want to go into space. And by the time my life ends, hopefully many decades in the future, who knows what technology may exist that such a thing will be possible? It’s entirely possible that affordable space travel will exist in the next three or four decades, and I plan to be here way longer than that.

But what things happened to so abruptly derailed my plans, just a few weeks after they were formulated while visiting the Space and Air Museum in Washington, D.C.?

Two things.

First of all, the more trivial of the two. I’m colorblind. And not in the “oh, he’s a man so he can’t match colors” way. I’m colorblind in the “is this green or brown” and “is this blue or purple” way. It doesn’t interfere with my life, because it’s all I’ve ever known. Geeking out a bit, it’s called deuteranopia. It affects roughly 1% of men. Color blindness is ridiculously common in men – 1 in 8 guys have some form of it. It’s really not a big deal for me. It mostly just means that my wife picks out most of my shirts, but from what I gather from most married men, that’s pretty common to just being a guy.

Well, I’ve always know that I couldn’t be a pilot because my colorblindness. Did you know that, even if I’m not flying the spaceship, I can’t be an astronaut, either? Yeah, I might be able to be the guy who just sits in the back and runs experiments, but from what I gather, going to space is SO competitive, that colorblindness just might cut me from the running. Shoot.

Secondly, my family has had some tragedy (and blessings) lately. My mother-in-law, who is a nurse who is active and not overweight, had a heart attack because of a genetic predisposition in her family to have plaque-filled arteries. This makes me worry for Tina, who obviously shares the same genes as her mother. She had a quadruple bypass a week ago, and fortunately and thank God, she is doing amazingly well.

In other tragedies, a cousin I don’t really know that well committed suicide yesterday.

Life is short. Dreams are important. But the here and now is so vitally important, too. I’m going to keep looking to the future. I plan to put my space dreams in my back pocket and pull them out and look at them every so often. But I’m not going to live for the future.

I’m going to live in the right now. I’m going to enjoy every moment.

Who’s with me?

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5 of 15 – Decluttering and Bold Choices

Thanks to those of you who prayed for my family after my last post. My mother-in-law came through her quadruple bypass wonderfully. She still has some significant recovery ahead of her, but things are going well.

On my whiny side of things, I have gotten a very rough sinus infection. This is undeniably the worst, fastest-acting sinus infection I have ever had. I woke up Saturday morning at 4 a.m. with an incredibly dry throat. I knew what it meant, but I got up, gargled with salt water and mouth wash (not at the same time), drank some water, blew my nose, and used my neti pot. I went back to sleep. When I got up at 6:30, I thought I might be okay.

By about 11 in the morning, I realize that no, I was, in fact, sick. I had to go to campus for an event with a student organization I am a faculty advisor for, so from 1 to about 5, I sat in my office, graded papers while technically supervising students, and got progressively sicker and sicker.

I was beginning to fear that it wasn’t a sinus infection and that I might have the flu. Because I had a sinus infection a few weeks ago that took me longer to get over than it should have, I hadn’t had the chance to get a flu shot yet. And working with college freshmen is like working with kindergartners, only they have more STDs and fewer pant wetting accidents. They certainly have their fair share of sicknesses, and it’s very possible that I’ve picked up something from one of the 130 plus freshmen I work with weekly.

After I left campus last night, I went to urgent care. I got there about 6:30, and I was told there would be a three hour wait. Yikes. Despite the fact that I felt horrible, I was not up for a three hour wait, so I decided to come back this morning.

I got there at 7:45 a.m., and this time, I only had an hour wait. And that’s with me showing up before they even opened at 8 a.m. Apparently, everybody is sick right now.

The doctor confirmed I did not have the flu. (Whew.) I just happen to have a really, really bad sinus infection. He gave me a prescription for amoxicillin and a steroid shot in the hip. I know this may sound weird, but I love it when I get a shot at the doctor! It may be placebo effect, but I have always believed that I get well quicker when I have a shot than just a prescription.

I also practiced a little home therapy, too. Thanks to BzzAgent, just yesterday, I got a voucher for a free bottle of Jim Beam! I’ll be honest – I’m not normally a big drinker. I am, however, a fan of free things, so that’s why I signed up for this particular promotion, the Jim Beam Bold Choice BzzCampaign.

Last night, before bed, I took about ½ cup of Jim Beam, two tablespoons of raw honey, and the juice of one lemon. This, mixed together, was microwaved until the honey melted. I drank about half of it, and my throat immediately felt better. I’m a big fan of homemade remedies, and this one, courtesy of my mother, is one of the best. It really opens up your sinuses!

It’s Sunday night, I have to go back to work tomorrow, and I feel better although I am clearly not well yet. I’ve got another amoxicillin pill to take before bed tonight, and I’m very hopeful that I’ll feel even better tomorrow. I’m counting on that steroid shot to chase this crud away!

Here’s the bad part – when I am sick, I eat horribly. I always have. I tried to make good choices, but I just didn’t. I ate what tasted good, and frankly, as horribly congested as I was, nothing tasted good. I know I went over my points. I certainly got in no activity, as I spent a good chunk of today taking a nap in my bedroom with Harry Potter weekend playing on the t.v. I’m going to plan out my food for tomorrow. Logically, I know that if I expect my body to heal itself, then I need to eat real food and not the processed crap that I’m craving.

Even though I haven’t addressed it yet, this is part of my 15 Blog Posts to explain my big decision. I just felt like I really needed to mention this, because in a way, it fits with the topic of this post.


I know that I need to do it. I’ve decluttered a great deal of the junk in my head, (mentally, not snot-related), but I still have more. And frankly, I need to declutter my house.

I’m reading a great book called Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Big. It is literally a life-changing book. The book explores the notion that the same things that cause us to clutter up our heads and become overweight also leads to a cluttered house, and in my case, this seems to be very accurate.

For starters, my home office is a train wreck. It’s embarrassing. I’ll take a photo and share with you after I’ve tackled the clutter, but for now, let’s just say that I could probably earn a place on a certain show on A&E.

And I don’t mean Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Just so you don’t think I need an intervention, the rest of my house isn’t that bad. But at the same time, it isn’t the way I want it, either. The book brings up the great point that if your kitchen counters are cluttered, then you won’t want to cook. I know that for me this is definitely true. However, if you have a clean kitchen, then you’ll be more likely to want to be in there, making healthy, real food.

This really goes for all of the rooms in your home. Home should be a sanctuary, a place to rest and escape. I want my home, every room in it, to reflect that.

I’ve got a list of things I need to do. I started a Declutter notebook that contains detailed notes about what I am going to do.

Tina and I are giving ourselves until Christmas to get our house under control. We can do it! Because truthfully, my office is the biggest problem.

I’m not saying that having a clean home will automatically lead to weight loss, but I do think that there are commonalities between overeating and overindulging in stuff. I like to collect stuff. I like to keep stuff. I like to buy stuff.

I’m about to start getting rid of stuff. I truthfully have DVDs that I’ve had for YEARS that are still in shrink wrap and on my bookshelves. That’s just stupid. Eventually, I plan to open a page here at Stellar Path of stuff that I’m going to sell. And if it doesn’t sell within a month or two, then it’ll be going to Good Will.

Clean house, clean body, clean mind.

All of this will be necessary for the big change coming in my life

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1 of 15 – My Educational Travels

First of all, welcome to November! Rabbit rabbit!

(Does anyone else do that?)

On Halloween, I teased about how I am going to describe a major, potentially life-changing direction my life is about to take. I’ll admit we’re talking BIG picture here, not small things, even though a lot of small things are involved. Since this is post 1 of 15, then you haven’t missed anything. Pull up a chair. Join us!

I’m going to start off by talking about what I pictured my future would be like when I was in high school.

From about the age of 7 on, I had made up my mind that I wanted to become a doctor. I LOVED biology. I loved gross anatomy. If it had to do with blood and guts, medicine and health… I was all about it. I took every AP science and mathematics course my high school offered (and did awesome at them, by the way).

I make it to college, and I do fair in Inorganic Chemistry. Molecular biology kind of kicked my butt, but… well, I had literally JUST discovered the internet, and even though everybody was on Geocities, a brand new world had suddenly opened up to me. I just didn’t study as much as I should have.

Starting in my sophomore year of college, back in the dark ages of the fall of 1997, I took Organic Chemistry I. I studied, but admittedly, not NEARLY as hard as I should have. Let’s be honest. I should have devoted at least twenty hours a week to this class. I probably spent… oh… maybe three. Per week. If I was having a test that week.

I may be a hard worker now, but I was LAZY then. Young and stupid, what can I say?

I got an F. First F of my life.

I retook it in the spring, but (I swear I’m not making this up), my grandmother died and that week, I got so behind, I ended up taking the class for an audit because I was staring down the barrel of a D. (But on the plus side, I did finally get the hang of Nuclear Magnetic Spectroscopy.)

I signed up ONE more time for Organic Chemistry in fall of my junior year of college. I knew this was make or break. If I didn’t do well, then I had to say good bye to medical school. I got a decent grade on my first test. Not great, but decent.

I will NEVER forget the day that I got my second test back. I still remember the grade. 55 out of 100. I didn’t see the possibility of doing better than a D in the class. Medical school, as far as I knew, was gone. I would not be becoming a doctor.

If I had a magic time machine and I could go back to that moment, I would do one of two things.

One, I would tell 20 year old me, “Dude, a lot of people get a C in Organic Chemistry and still make it into medical school. Don’t give up. And get off the dial-up internet and study harder, dumb ass.”

Or two, “Okay, so you think you can’t become a doctor. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on science or even medicine. Why don’t you consider becoming a nurse?”

I didn’t. I had taken Introduction to Psychology during the previous summer, and I changed my major. I enjoyed the coursework. I hate the field. HATE the field. It took me a while to figure that out.

Oh wait, no it didn’t. I figured that out about a year after graduation.

I briefly entertained the notion of becoming a School Psychologist. I even got into the graduate program, which was fairly competitive. I again learned that School Psychology was not for me, either. It wasn’t bad grades that chased me out. It was the fact that I just didn’t like it.

In the spring of 2003, I enrolled at WKU to become a teacher. You’d think, if I loved science, I would become a science teacher, wouldn’t you? But no. My self-esteem was so tore up by that C in Organic Chemistry that I had myself convinced that I wasn’t smart enough to get a science degree. Therefore, I fell back on my second love.

Writing and literature. I worked hard, and in just four semesters, I completed my second Bachelor’s of Arts, this time in English & Allied Language Arts.

I spent a year as a teacher and got a Master’s Degree of Secondary Education out of it. After I left teaching, I went through a string of humanities-related teaching jobs, literally covering the gamut from birth to death. My favorite was corrections, where I stood in an overcrowded classroom in a county jail and taught GED to orange-suited inmates. Seriously. I really liked that job.

I made some amazing contacts in the field of education and developed some great skills, and that brings me to my current job at WKU, teaching literacy to incoming freshmen. I’m working on completing my graduate literacy certificate, which will allow me to begin teaching upper level literacy courses. I can’t wait!

But… I still miss science. A lot.

Oh, I forgot one little detour. In the spring of 2008, I started nursing school.

No joke. In the fall of 2007, I took Anatomy and Physiology (you’ll never guess who my teacher was – not joking, it was the man who, as a child actor, played Danny Torrance in Kubrick’s The Shining¬¬ – I am not joking – you can’t make that up), because I wanted to get out of adult education and back into medicine. Fortunately, I met Tina, and I dropped out of nursing school. Right after I met her, I knew she was something special, and nursing school is demanding enough that I knew I couldn’t build a relationship and continue.

I don’t regret that decision for a moment. I regret nothing on the path of my life that has brought me to Tina, who is truly the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

Now I ended up getting the greatest job I have EVER had and I truly intend to retire from WKU. I love my colleagues, I love my bosses, I love my students, I love everything about my job. (I would like a window in my office. Just saying.) But the call of science has never left me. Suffice it to say, 16 year old me would be very surprised at what I’m doing for a living. Teaching was NOT in the game plan.

And no, I’m not planning to go to nursing or medical school. More details on my big decision coming soon.

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1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)