Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I've been losing weight! Yay! It's been steady and I even skipped right over 157, bam! Just right on to 156 for me. One reason for my recent success is that I've been a hiking fiend the last few weeks. 11 miles, 7 miles, 8 miles, give me miles, these are not for the faint of heart or those whose mantra is not “I think I can, I think I can...”. I've got mountains of great hiking right out my back door and it's the kind with calorie burn extra credit because it's uphill, both ways. Ok, I know you think that's just an old saying and I caught some pushback on FB for saying that, but I've got the snaps to prove it!
I've been hiking by myself lately because: A) Hubby cannot handle the distances I need to get that ridiculously high calorie burn my stingy body requires before it'll give up a pound, B) Hubby is out of town right now in the cement forest, poor thing, C) I have no friends up here that I'd care to have witness these personal vendettas against my past, over-indulging self, and D) ”The mountains are calling and I must go.” -John Muir, hero. So, I'm out there, heading into back country, miles from trail heads, with only my wits to stay the course and return unmolested. Molested?? By what? Bears, my friends, bears. There's bears in them there mountains. (There's also tons of birds, bunnies, and deer and per pics from the motion-cam, mountain lions. (!)(another post?))
Have I ever seen a bear? Not here. Not yet. But I know they're out there both because of signage (ha ha, by brain, lovely jokester that it is, every time I see a sign about the dangers of wildlife on the trails, it always thinks “Carnage!” instead of “signage”. Isn't that a fun thing it does?) and evidence. Yes, I have evidence.
Exhibit A- Bear Poopie. Yes, it is. Coyote poopie is longer and has fibers in it.
Exhibit B- Bear Print (The clincher! And see how it's ON TOP OF the print I'd left earlier? Both of these pics are from today!)
Also, on a hike a few weeks ago, while I was dodging traffic on the way-over-populated part of the trails, just full of amateurs dying for some drama (nature is so cool how it sucks all the drama right out of your tiny, insignificant life, no? Nature = drama gone), I heard, repeatedly and with excited, gossipy voices, how everyone had just now, “just a minute ago!”, spotted a bear, “over there” “back there” “up there” “right beside the trail” “heading uphill” “above those rocks”. Cool. I'm scared to death of them, but wouldn't it be neato to see one, finally, especially with all of these potentially helpful and adrenaline-high, just dying to DO SOMETHING people nearby? But despite my eagle-eyes and best effort, I didn't spot him.
But it did get me thinking. I'd never considered the foothills where I hike to really be “Bear Country”, despite the carnage, I mean, signage. And as much as I'd hate to start fearing the beautiful and great outdoors and those wonderful trails and dreading all that time I spend by myself out there, I started, that very day to do something I'd learned in Alaska. That's right, I did “hhhHHHEEEEYYYAAAYYY BEAR!!!!”. I shout it, loudly, in the deeper end of my range, every time I enter a new area, come around a corner, enter a densely vegetated area, see a cave, spot bear poop or a bear print, or if I hear something or just get that funny feeling that *something* is out there. (For those of you who never get that last one, really?? Are you that dumb?)
The idea behind “hhhHHHEEEEYYYAAAYYY BEAR!!!!” is simple. Bears do NOT like Surprise Encounters. That's right, it's capitalized like that and should probably also always have quotes- “Surprise Encounters”. I recently visited Alaska, home of not only the smaller black bear but also to that one remaining vicious monster of North America, the Grizzly bear. They kill people. Regularly. Now, when I was in Alaskan, I noticed how beautiful it was and their mountains were also doing that calling me thing and my kids were at work most days so I wanted to hike by myself. So I kept asking people, “Is it safe? By myself?” and honey, the looks I got. From my own kids (one of whom, and she's my fearless one, chilled me thoroughly by doing ““hhhHHHEEEEYYYAAAYYY BEAR!!!!” on a trail not a stone's throw from their main street!), from their friends, from people on the street, and from the rangers at the station I purposely stopped at to ask that very question. And they almost without fail proceeded with those same excited voices enlighten me about the dreaded “Surprise Encounter”. Seems bears are cool, usually. And bears are out there. And yes, they might kill you. You are trespassing on their turf. They are cool with that, usually. But do NOT, DO NOT, in your stumbling, sweaty, gawking ignorance, create a “Surprise Encounter”. You will die. And not just from Grizzlies, from the black bear too. And the only way to avoid such a showdown is to make noise, let them know you are there AND that you are people- nasty, foul, ornery, fighting-back people. Supposedly, and to me, it's a HUGE supposedly, they will avoid you if you make your presence known and thus, “hhhHHHEEEEYYYAAAYYY BEAR!!!!”. I did try the other suggestions: jingling my keys, singing in a loud voice, clapping hands but they all were deficient compared to the simple act of yelling out. The keys and clapping ideas failed because I like to use walking sticks, so my hands are full. Singing was fun the one hike I did it (I had a great time coming up with 'please don't kill me bears' songs, let me know if you'd like the playlist.) but I huff and puff and wheeze (my lovely, smoking parents!) so much when I hike that it was HARD to keep a steady sound. It was like this- “One is the- huff huff – loneliest number that you- puff puff- ever knew. Two can be -huff huff wheEZE– as sad as one- puff huff huff puff -it's the loneliest number...” you get the picture. So I perfected my “hhhHHHEEEEYYYAAAYYY BEAR!!!!” and now I use it here.
(You may be wondering if it wouldn't be a wiser tack to just try to tippy-toe sneak through the woods quiet-as-mouse-like so those carnivores aren't even aware of my wanton encroaching. The answer is just as simple as why I do “hhhHHHEEEEYYYAAAYYY BEAR!!!!”, I'm LOUD. I'm a chubby, older woman with no balance skills using poles to stay upright and wearing big ole hiking boots who swears out loud with each stumble. And let's not overlook my breathing difficulties (HUFF HUFF PUFF PUFF WHEEZE) or the fact that I occasionally let out a “Woohoo!” after a particularly cruel uphill (either way) and also am known to compliment the deer. I literally crash, clunk, sputter, babble and curse through the woods. They hear me coming and to make sure they know what I am, it's “hhhHHHEEEEYYYAAAYYY BEAR!!!!” for me.
No one else does this. I am truly a renegade, lone soul telegraphing my coordinates to all and sundry who can hear. The mountain lion must hide. The deer seem to stick around more to see just WHAT that is coming up the trail. I've gotten some great shots since I started the “hhhHHHEEEEYYYAAAYYY BEAR!!!!” program.
These three, I heard and they got “hhhHHHEEEEYYYAAAYYY BEAR!!!!” ed!
Other people? Well, I tend to hike the long, tough trails and don't see many people. I don't “hhhHHHEEEEYYYAAAYYY BEAR!!!!” until I'm up where I might be and probably am truly the only biped (birds do not count!) out there. Today, on the way down, while going uphill, there was a woman sitting with her back to the trail, off about 10 yards and I got all sheepish and embarrassed and was trying to think up a smart quip to explain my public caterwauling, but she didn't hear me and didn't even SEE me pass because she was wearing ear buds. I could've been a bear!
P.S. I haven't seen any bears. I did not see any in Alaska either to the point where I started joking with my kids that it was all a story the state and locals were in cahoots on to keep out the visitors. And that they trucked all that bear scat in. From Colorado.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Remember how well I did in NYC and how I came back the SAME WEIGHT? And how that never happened before?? Well. I wasn't so successful in the great state of Alaska. They all it the Last Frontier. Yeah, last frontier of beer. The beer was good and abundant and too tempting for me to turn down. I probably drank 3-4 almost everyday I was there. I drank it at tasting rooms, at bars, in restaurants, on patios, and on hikes! I even had a one at Denali National Park.
I'm not a big beer drinker, although I do enjoy tasting new ones. We all know it's LIQUID BREAD, right? It is! Carb city. But all three of the people I know in Alaska (my two kids and my daughter's live-in boyfriend) all work at a brewery in Talkeetna. So, their lives center around beer. They make it, they serve it, they sell it and boy, do they drink it! I'm not sure how they manage to get any work done, make any decisions or not get fat, but they seem to drink it like water. So, when in Rome.... I am not proud of all that beer and now I'm paying the price.
Only 90-some days until Wedding Number 1 and I have backtracked a bit on size. Making up for it now though, boy howdy.
A blog's not a blog without pics.
Here's Denali. They say you have a better chance to see a bear than to see the peak but I got lucky. And saw no bears.
Here's a place I hiked near town.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
I went to NYC with my mother-in-law, God bless her, if you know what I mean. ;-)
She's a trip. Grew up very privileged, very spoiled and her world view is way, way far from mine. She used to live in NYC and still has season tickets to the opera. Her husband can no longer travel and she's 87 and wanted to see the opera and the city and her friends ONE MORE TIME. Before you-know-what happens. So, I volunteered to take her and my hubby stayed with his dad in Austin.
I love NYC. I'm a newbie to the place, having only recently been acquainted with it when my hubby had a teaching engagement there a few summers ago and then again last summer. We get an apartment in the financial district and I spend my days at museums, riding a bike up the Hudson river path, ferrying over to Ellis Island, etc, etc. The second time, I even started using the subway. So I jumped at the chance to go again, even though I was a bit nervous about spending so much time with a such a difficult woman. I DID mention how difficult she is, right? She wants her way, she bosses everyone around, she pouts if she doesn't get her way, she'll tell you she thinks you weigh too much and constantly, constantly gives unasked for advice. She's not nasty, just assertive, and there is a difference. She always means well, I think. I tell myself that.
She's rich. She grew up with oil money and married oil money and so, there's money. And yes, I admit, that's part of the reason I volunteered to take her. I knew it'd be a whole new New York. One I'd never seen. And it was.
We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria in Midtown. Corner room. We took taxis everywhere we went. That the doorman got for us. We visited museums (which I do when I'm there) and then we LUNCHED. Like Ladies Who Lunch. We had lunch at the Carlyle and at the Four Seasons Grill. We went to the opera at the Met. It was Cinderella. It was the most awesome opera I've ever seen/heard. We had lunch at the Metropolitan Opera House's Grand Tier room. Very nice. I watched my manners and used the right fork. We took the train from Grand Central up to Bronxville where you have to make the big bucks to afford the property taxes that pay for the renowned public schools. My hubby grew up there. We had Mother's Day brunch at the Siwanoy Country Club with her 90+ year old friends. We shopped at Saks and had Lobster Waldorf salad there. The whole trip was just awesome and wonderful.
And she didn't make me mad or say anything that upset me or be a pain in the butt or anything the whole trip. She was pleasant to the waiters and taxi drivers and clerks and ushers. She was considerate of my needs (which, I admit, were few. I was there to facilitate her visit.). She knows art and opera and how to lunch. Plus, she's a health nut so we ate well and ate healthy. (Mostly. There were a few deserts.) We shared good times. We have one or two private jokes now. I started referring to her as "My mom". And, I got to see a side of NYC I didn't previously have access to. I'll never stay at the Waldorf again or eat at the Four Seasons. And neither will she. I'm really glad I made the trip and helped her go see the city and her old friends one last time. The best part? I did not gain any weight! I've never gone a trip and not gained weight. WoooHOO! Big wins all around.
Here's the famous lobby clock at the Waldorf. The people watching on Friday night was amazing.
Lunch at the Four Seasons. That's her granddaughter who will graduate Columbia next week and a cotton candy thing they brought her.
That's me outside the Met Opera House.
Her and her long time (I'm talking decades!) friend we visited. She's over 90 and still drives (a Lincoln) and she's fun.
Lobster Waldorf salad at Saks. I am so making this at home.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
I have lost 10 pounds in the last eight weeks. I am very happy about this. How'd I do it? Simple, I ate good food, not too much and exercised like a fiend. Almost every day.
I am motivated by three upcoming weddings in the family, the first one on August 30th in western Massachusetts. The second one is in Tucson Sept 20th and the third, my son's, is next April. I am going to look fabulous at these weddings. I will not be the "fat one". That will be my sister. ;-)
I have 19 weeks until the first wedding. I want to lose 20 more pounds. We all know it gets harder to lose as you get lighter (you do know that, right??) so this will be a challenge. I will be happy with 15 but will do my damnedest to get that 20.
Saying NO to this (that's not me, sillies, but it makes the point)-
Thursday, April 10, 2014
I've been busy so here's a blog I should've written a week ago!
I'm happy, so happy, to be back into Spark and doing the 5% Challenge. Spark keeps me honest and gives me the motivation I need to stay on track with food and exercise. I track my food everyday (ok, *almost* everyday). This helps keep panic to a minimum because I can track all my meals in the morning and relax, knowing what I will eat, that it's enough food, and that I will be within my target calorie range. I like a plan.
I track my exercise too and that I do so that I can see if I meet my weekly goal. I love putting in those 600 calories I burn everyday (ok, *almost* everyday). I like documentation of effort.
I had stopped doing both of these trackers last summer, thinking I was cured. Gained back all the weight I lost, duh. (So many of you are saying, "Duh.")
The 5% Challenge is a good thing for me because I like competition, I like being part of a team and it gets me log in everyday and poke around and get know the other team members. I plan on being a hugely successful Firecracker!
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