Saturday, December 10, 2011


New job! Starting January 16 at Berea College.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Newest Bike

Actually it is a motorcycle. I have some logical reasons for buying it. They are also true.
It has a reputation for being reliable and long-lasting
It gets good gas mileage and that is important now that I am commuting.
I have been wanting to get a new bike so I would know how it has been treated

As I said, those are all true. But, the fact is many bikes would fit the bill for those reasons. The fact is that I chose this bike because it sounds so damn good. It is a V4 and when I heard one idling at a stop light in town, I knew I would have to get one someday. I am just a bit surprised that it happened so fast.

I present to you my new 2008 Honda VFR/Interceptor. Bought new as a 2008 leftover off the dealer floor.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Fresh Start

I have been with my current employer for nearly 10 years. Given that the plan was to stay for 2 years and then go to Grad School, I would say that I have far exceeded my expectations. I have made more money and taken on more responsibility than I ever thought possible. But...

I think it is time for a change. I have been looking at other jobs and I hope to hear something positive mid week. The idea of getting a fresh start is very appealing. An empty inbox. A new set of responsibilities. No "shoulda, woulda, couldas". Just fresh enthusiasm. Hope it works out.

Monday, August 29, 2011


I have lived within 6 miles of my work since September of 1991 when I got my first job in Berea. Today, I made the first of many regular slogs to Lexington. Henceforth, I will report to our Lexington office 2 days a week. While it was nice to ride my motorcycle on this lovely day, I do not think I am going to develop a great appreciation for driving this route regularly. The office there is great and I like the folks, but I could do without the drive.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

An outside perspective

I have mentioned before that we are on the warmshowers list. It is a list that touring cyclists can access to find shelter. Since we live near the Transamerica route we get a lot of folks stopping by. Tuesday night we hosted 7 people at the house. Four were headed east and three were headed west. We put out a good spread of food, offered showers and laundry facilities and the usual good time with good stories was had by all. Everyone is always so appreciative of the kindness.

I had the chance to ride home on Tuesday evening with the Eastbound crew and back into town on Wednesday morning with the Westbound crew. Both crews commented on how beautiful it is around here. And, you know what? They are right. It is not as though I forgot, but sometimes seeing familiar things through new eyes brings a new level of appreciation. That is way more valuable that anything we provide to our guests.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

On turning 43

43 is no great shakes as far as birthdays go. Excitement about birthdays has long since passed. It is not a decade nor a "fiver" birthday. It is even far enough past 40 and far enough before 45 as to be entirely unremarkable. None the less, it has been good to me.

Since I am 43 I have decided to just go with it and be me. Here are a few things I have decided to be comfortable with about myself.

I am a slob. I do not put things away as I go. I do not keep my desk neat. I do not clean my house. I do occasionally reset and straighten up my surroundings, but that is not the same as being neat. It is a real effort to me. The only way I can be neat is to not have things around me.

I am not a planner. I have spent a lot of time trying to convince myself that I am a planner but it simply is not true. Not only do I suck at it, but most of the plans I make are not realized and I am OK with that.

The best things that have happened in my life have been happy accidents. Berea College-check. Elementary Education Degree-check. Working in a preschool after college-check. Meeting Paige at that same preschool-check. All of those things happened based on accidents and being open to the moment. I am also OK with that.

I like people and, for the most part, people like me. Especially little kids. I am not really sure why, but I am happy about it.

I hate theory. I like reality. I deal well with it most of the time.

I am, generally, an optimist. But, when I get negative, it can be pretty overwhelming.

I like working on teams, but I don't have a natural interest in being a leader. I am content with being a contributor.

I like making people happy. It is probably my favorite thing to do.

I hate long term projects. Give me a tight deadline for the end of the day and I flourish. Give me a month long project and I am worrying today.

I can be pretty course in language and action. I try to be aware of others sensitivities, but sometimes I just have to let it all hang out.

It is much easier to hurt my feelings that I am comfortable admitting.

I wish the party would never stop. Well, at least not until I am tired.

I think you get one big go around and you should make the most of it.

I like working on my motorcycles and bicycles as much as I like riding them.

Foresight is not one of my strengths. It is the downside to the whole "living-in-the-moment" thing.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Trying something new

I have never embedded a video before so this is all new.

I first read about Gary Taubes at the Rivendell Bicycles website. His book, Why We Get Fat and What to Do About it is what inspired me to try low carb eating. Rivendell had him out for a lecture recently and posted the video on You Tube. See if you like it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Should I be disappointed?

Well, today was the big weigh-in. A full pound down since May 1. I figured the weight loss was slowing down, but only a pound? Oh well. According to what I have read, the initial loss on a low carb diet is the fastest. My wife says I am definitely getting thinner, and that has to be good.

On the other hand, most of the exercise I have been getting of late has been of the resistance variety. We had some trees cut down and have been processing the brush and smaller pieces (the big pieces have to wait for the chain saw to return). We also put up a pool which required lots of lifting and tugging. It is possible that I added a couple of pounds of muscle but I am not sure about that. The one thing that supports that is the fact that my body fat dropped by 2%. I know these things are notoriously unreliable so I am not putting too much stock in it, but I try to keep the conditions the same each time I get on the scale/fat % measure-thingy-soon after waking and a couple of cups of coffee but no water or food.

I do plan an extra weigh-in this month. I turn 43 on the 19th and I want to know what I weigh on my birthday. Perhaps I will show some progress then.

And, to answer the question that I posed in the title of the post, Heck No! My life is more than just weight loss. I feel great and things are going well for me! Plus, June happens to be my favorite month. Not because it is my birthday, but since I started first grade back in 1974, June has always been the month to look forward to. School is out and summer begins. That tradition continued through the first eight years out of college as my the focus of my jobs changed when school let out. Even now that my job is not specifically attached to the school calendar, I still get that excited feeling on June 1. I am sure that part of it is knowing that my kids are out of school. I can live vicariously through them.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Warm Showers list

Today is the fourth and final day of my mini vacation and I must say it has been very nice. I have gotten lots done and found time to relax as well. No bicycling but due to plenty of yard chores, getting in exercise has been no problem. We had some diseased trees cut down last week and we have been cleaning the brush out of the yard this weekend. We also set up a pool for the kiddos.

But, the best part of the weekend has been having friends and strangers hanging out. We had a friend and her kids stay Friday and Saturday night. On Sunday night we had our first touring cyclists of the year and last night we had our second set of cyclists. Since Berea sits on the Trans America Route (formerly the Bike-Centennial route) we host cyclists fairly regularly. We had been doing this on occasion over the years when we see tourists in town. About ten years ago we discovered the Warm Showers list and we have been hosting more folks since then.

Warm Showers is a list on the web for touring bicyclists. You can go online and register for free. Once you are a member, you can host cyclists, but more importantly you can find housing if you are touring. We really enjoy hosting and typically get great stories out of it. Folks who are touring are just good folks. And, the added bonus this weekend has been that since they showed up right as the weather warmed up, we were able to sit on the back porch and chat as the sun went down. It made for a great weekend. If you are not a member, you should look into it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

No Rapture for you Fat Boy

Well, I did not magically float away today, but thanks to my low carb lifestyle, I am definitely feeling lighter.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Get a Job. Or, get rid of one

Been thinking a lot about work, lately. Reading Dilbert collections is not the way to get inspired to get up and go in the morning.

Seriously though, I have been with my current employer for over 9 years and I am beginning to wonder if the ride is not coming to an end. I am just not digging it. I think I need to explore a bit though because it is a good job doing good things for others. Just don't know and the thoughts are so crammed into my head that it may take a while and several posts to get them out so I can start to organize them. This much I know-since I started eating low carb and doing the right things for my physical health, I am more interested in doing the right things for my mental and emotional health. I feel myself getting less and less connected to work and more connected to home and family. What could it all mean?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Got in a ride the last two days

I have ridden to work the last two days. Great weather for it. I should have ridden in on Monday morning, but I was not feeling up to it. It was the right decision because I felt great yesterday and today. It was plain easy to ride in this morning. I am not fast in the real sense of the word, but for me, I was flying.

I hate seeing gas at such a high price because I know a lot of folks struggle with it. But, I have to say that every time I pass the station on my bike, I figure I am saving a dollar. Two dollars each day. Tomorrow looks like another two dollars saved.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lunch time rambling

Well, it seems appropriate to write a low carb post while eating lunch. I just finished a delicious lunch of deviled eggs, fresh salad greens, chicken, high fat/low carb ranch dressing and cheese. Delicious and filling.

Other than the weight loss (more on that later), the thing that has surprised me the most is my changing relationship with food. All of my life, I have always experienced hunger as a weak and tired sensation. I rarely experienced hunger as a stomach sensation. And, if I did, it came only after being tired and/or weak for a while. There are so many instances of me "bonking", a sensation normally only associated with depleting energy supplies through exercise, from just puttering around the house on the weekend. Or, worse yet, from sitting in a meeting and having to delay lunch an hour.

When I was a kid, I thought everyone felt that way. As an adult, I associated it with having a family history of adult onset diabetes (now called type 2). My blood sugar always tests fine in my fasting blood tests, so I know I don't have diabetes, but I figured I was close to having a problem.

Knowing this about myself, I always got a bit anxious about my next food source when I was three or four hours out from my last meal. I felt compelled to eat. This is no longer the way I approach eating.

There was no conscious choice on my part to make this change. It just happened. Sometimes I realize that it is 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon on the weekend and I have not had anything but a couple of handfuls of nuts since breakfast. Last night, I had a two deviled eggs and grabbed a piece of leftover cold chicken when I got home from work and did not eat anything else (normally we eat a family meal but one daughter was out at team practice and the other was riding her bike. With the weather we have been having, I hated to call her in on such a nice night). This would have been unheard of six months ago. I would have had to eat more to be satiated and to guarantee that I was not going to get hungry again.

The basic idea is that I eat when I get hungry-when my stomach feels hungry. My body is doing a good job of regulating my energy so that I no longer get those miserable feelings anymore unless I ignore the signals my stomach sends for too long. I like that a lot and it constantly reinforces my food choices in a positive way. As compared to the negative guilt associated with choosing the "wrong" foods or too much food on a calorie restrictive diet, the positive reinforcement my body provides when I eat as much as I want of low carb foods is awesome.

I mentioned earlier that I would blog a bit about the weight loss aspects. That is a great benefit to this lifestyle. It is the one benefit that attracted me to the low carb lifestyle to begin with. I mean, I read that my energy levels would fluctuate less, but in my typical way, I was in total denial that it was an issue with me. Those 2:00 p.m. yawns? I just need to get some fresh air. Those days when I thought I could put my head on my desk and take a nap? Must have not slept as well as I thought I did last. Now I don't get them. I am absolutely happy about the weight loss, but I would stick with it even without the weight loss just because I feel better.

I have, though, been losing weight. Despite the fancy new scale at home just begging to be used, I have resisted the urge to weigh myself. I only want to weigh in once a month because I don't want to be falsely optimistic or pessimistic because I had too much coffee or not enough. I figure that a pound one direction or the other is not going to be noticed on a once a month basis.

However, there are other indications that weight is falling off. My favorite is that I just feel better. I move easier. Sitting up in bed is easier. Tying my shoes is easier. Riding my bike is easier. Everything is easier. The amazing thing is that the weight I am at is still too heavy. I have been this weight before and felt like I needed to lose weight then. I have to admit that it feels better on the way down than it did on the way up. I can't imagine how nice it is going to feel when I get even lighter

The biggest indicator is my belt. I can tell by the wear marks that at my biggest I had it on the fourth hole. Now it is on the first hole. I have always had a bit of a paunch and even that is going away. Obviously, this is concurrent with my pants getting loose. Loose pants is definitely comfortable but harder than belt size to quantify.

Overall, I am very satisfied. Cutting bread, rice, potatoes, sugar and beer, with occasional lapses, is so much easier than weighing portions or following a very rigid diet plan. I have now gotten into the habit of looking at carbs on food labels, but mostly it is just to confirm what I already suspected.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1 weigh in

Officially down 20 pounds since I started this thing. Woot. I will take it.

I am going to focus more on exercise during May. Hopefully, the weather will improve and I can commute by bike more. That is way more fun than the elliptical.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Work Travel = less weight loss

I traveled last week to DC for work meetings. Very productive work wise, not so productive weight wise. It is not impossible, but it is harder to find lo carb meals in airports. It is not all that hard to find lo carb meals in DC, but a good hamburger (bread and all) with a few cold ones in hard to resist. All in all, I did OK and I am happy to report that this morning I weighed in and found that I still managed to drop another three pounds. Woot!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fell off the wagon

I was in all day work meetings on Wednesday and Thursday this week. They were the kind of meetings where they bring in lunch so we can keep working. Of course the meals included lots of bread, rice and potatoes. You guessed it, lots of carbs were consumed. On Wednesday, I had that old familiar 2:30 case of the yawns. On Thursday, I completely crashed when I got home.

I am now back on the wagon and back to lo carb living today.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lifestyle lust

I would say that I have a new bike crush. A new bike to lust after. But, really, I just lust for the lifestyle that this bike represents. Want to commute every day, no matter the weather? Want to do a round the world tour? Sure. Go for it. Your bike can take it. But, really, I am not at that point in my life. Or, I am not ready to make the sacrifices required for such a lifestyle. Without the lifestyle, there really is no need for the bike. Just want.

I can live with that for now.

In case you are curious, it is the Tout Terrain and I think the only US distributor is Peter White Cycles.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weigh in

I weighed today for the first time since I started this lo carb business. 13 pounds gone. Woot!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Being sick is lame.

I have to take better care of myself.

That is all.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bike lust

I have been seriously lusting after the Surly Troll. Maybe later this year...

Lo carb living

Well, I think the lo carb thing is working. I have been purposefully avoiding the scale, but all other signs are pointing to success. My face is thinner. My pants fit more loosely. My wife says there seems to be less of me. And, most importantly to me, I no longer have to gasp for breath when I tie my shoes (God, that is demoralizing).

Interestingly, while I have been avoiding the carbs, I have been basically not exercising. This was not part of a plan, just a combination of craziness at work and laziness at home. According to Gary Taubes exercise is not important to losing weight. But, for me, it is important for feeling good. I exercised yesterday and it felt great to break a sweat. I am going to be doing it again today.

Thinking more about this lo carb thing, it is interesting. I have been putting on weight for the last decade. But, not necessarily all at once. I think I was about 205 at 30 and about 245 at 42. In particular, I think I put on about 15 of that in the last year or two. I have, during that time, done nothing out of the ordinary. I exercised regularly for a while and then did not; same as usual. I ate about the same stuff as I have been for a while. But, for some reason, I was putting on weight, mostly in the form of an especially attractive gut. Now that I have gone lo carb, the process seems to be reversing.

I want to be honest here. I was not just a little bit into carbs. I loved carbs. My wife used to bake high quality bread for a local health food store. She still whips up a nice loaf every now and then. I never met a cinnamon roll I did not love. And if one was good, four or five was great. Seriously! No kidding! A dozen Krispy Kreme donuts was not a challenge (but not necessarily a regular occurrence). The point is, I could eat carbs in the form of potatoes and bread without getting filled up.

Now that I have quit the carbs, I do not get as hungry between meals. I have gotten weak and skakey all my life if I went a few minutes too long without eating. That is not the case anymore. I experience hunger as a stomach feeling now, not as an all over body feeling. I no longer get hit at 2:00 PM with an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion.

I could make the case that the weight loss is based on the fact that I have cut calories since I am no longer eating so much bread, etc. But, I have been enjoying nice helpings of meat, eggs, nuts and cheese. I eat till I am full. And, ultimately, it does not matter to me what is causing the weight loss. I am actually happier about not feeling jittery when I go too long without eating and the fact that my energy level does not fluctuate as drastically.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Twas a nice weekend

I got in one shortish and one longish motorcycle ride this weekend. Good times.

I also started listening to "Why We Get Fat and what to do about it" by Gary Taubes. It is a lay version of his academic work, "Good Calories, Bad Calories". It is, at its core, a defense of low carb/no carb diets. He makes a strong case and cites many studies both contemporary and historic as well as a lot of biochemistry stuff. I don't have the knowledge to challenge him but he also states that exercise is not linked to weight loss. Lots of folks get upset with him because they think he is advocating not exercising. He is not. He is simply stating that the two are not linked. Having once trained for a half marathon while not losing a pound, this made sense to me.

The long and short of it is, I am giving the low-carb version a try. It is not terribly hard as I like meat, eggs, yogurt, cheese, enough veggies to make a go of it and some of the less sweet fruits. The only difficult part is that I really like bread and, out of habit and convenience, I eat a lot of sandwiches. Beer is a minor problem. I really like it but I tend to go in cycles of having it around and drinking it fairly regularly and not having any at all. Right now, I am not all that interested.

Other off-limit things include corn (I can take it or leave it), potatoes (not too bad, but I love fries), low fat yogurt (actually has more calories than regular yogurt and I prefer the real stuff), soda (not a big soda drinker and, sugar (I don't add sugar to anything anyway).

I just started so I can't say that I have noticed any changes, but I will update here occasionally.

Saturday, January 1, 2011