BUSY BUSY…

February 28, 2015

weendupdateb

Marc’s Blog has been a little neglected this week.  I’ve been busy.  I know that sounds a little weird since I am retired and I should have lots of excess time to do just about anything…but that is not the case.  It is good, however, to be active and busy.  So here is a this-n-that of things that have been going on, not that you have any particular interest in the mundane activities in my life…whatever.

My wife has taken up the hobby of making jewelry for the past year or so.  She sells her crafts on Etsy.com.  You have to search “jewelrybyrosemarie” (all one word) to see her particular site.  Right now is not a good time to go there because I am about to double the inventory so it appears a little empty currently.  This is what has been taking up my time.  I am her official photographer and webmaster so I’ve been busy trying to compile all the pictures and related info.  I hope to have everything done in the next day or so.

But the big gig is her first public show and that comes up next weekend.  For local neighbors, friends, relatives and lovers it’ll be at Volunteer Park in Plantation.  That’s on the south side of Sunrise about a quarter mile east of Flamingo.  There is a farmers market there every Saturday that you may be familiar with.  The show is official titled the 7th Annual Festival of Treasures, March 7-8, 10a-4p.  There will be all kinds of crafts and custom-made jewelry both outside in tents and inside the main building.  Rosemarie will be inside; look for the nice signage and other elaborations I’ve prepared to make her look good.  Of course, Rosemarie always looks good on her own, but I made the display presentable.

So I’ve been busy helping her get ready for the big show.  I’ve also been sidetracked by the painting of the house which was discussed earlier in another posting.  I explained that the Community Association controls the color selections offered to residents and that I had no issue with that.  Except this year they’ve put in a new three-color mix for each house and you are not allowed to deviated.  Rosemarie and I have deviated.  We did not like the third, dark and mismatched color they insist we paint our garage door and front door.  We painted these doors the same color as the other trim areas on the house, as we have for the 18  years we’ve lived here.  There are at least a dozen or more houses painted with precisely the same two colors as our, but the new three-color rule was not in effect at that time.  So we are challenging the rule, especially since the residents were not told about it before it was put into effect.   We’ve already gotten our official notice of violation from the Association and I’ve replied with our position and why we wish not to follow the rule.  I kept my initial response letter succinct and to the point.  I have much more ammunition for expanding my argument should they turn me down, which I am sure they will.  When have you ever heard of a home owners associations granting reasonable response to a resident’s challenge.  So I shall put on my best lawyer hat and pursue the matter as far as it evolves.  Maybe we can have a shoot out-using paint guns.

And finally, some of you may be wondering goes the Zero Belly Diet.  It’s still on.  I have, however, deviated a little.  I have abandoned the daily “smoothie” because the protein powder included in each has just become too unbearable.  It is disgusting.  I am going to GNC today to see if there is something else that serves the same function to the diet but at least tastes like a subtle poison that I may be able to tolerate.  I have also abandoned the menu plan in the book.  It is too demanding of prep time and since all the recipes are for multiple portions I wind up freezing the extra meals and recycling them every few days.  This isn’t difficult since most of the meals are pretty good.

I’ve added a few ad-lib meals to the mix too.  I still use only the ingredients the book endorses for the diet so that’s keeping it “pure” more or less.  I even found brown rice pasta (can’t have wheat in this diet) which wasn’t as bad as I anticipated.  I plan to continue on with the diet even though it’s a lot of work and I am hungry all the time.  But I was hungry all the time before the diet…it’s just that then I went and got something to eat, hence the large belly.  Now I have to muster up a lot more discipline.  But it appears to be working.  I’ve lost about 6-7 pounds in the two weeks I’ve been on it.  The cover of the book says “lose up to 16 pounds in two weeks,” but I never believed that in the first play.  I wasn’t losing much at all when I was relying only on 4-5 weekly workouts at the gym since October.  So this is a major happening to see the bathroom scale scaling down.  Again, my goal isn’t so much the weight; it’s where it is.  I need to reduce my belly.  The goal is to be able to place my chin on my throat, look down and see the space between my feet.  Currently, all I see is belly.  So for now it’s “carry on…and stick to the diet and exercise.”   This may take a few more weeks…then once there, how do I stay there????

 *****

 


THE DIET…DAY FIVE AND WEIGHING

February 21, 2015

goal copy

 

So here I am five days into the Zero Belly Diet (see preceding postings) and I cannot believe several things:

  • First…Some of the recipes are pretty good. Two of the salads and three of the main entrees I made are actually pretty tasty.  I have used a lot of healthy vegan-type ingredients that I have never had and it’s been okay. I made a chicken dish and a swordfish dish that were, if I say so myself, outstanding!
  • Second…there is a daily blender beverage on the menu. Each is practically the same except for differentiating one or two ingredients.  Each is the same in that they all include a scoop of plant-based protein powder.  No matter what else you put in, you cannot escape the putrid taste of the protein powder.  It is awful.  I chose the “neutral” flavor powder to start off with and now I am sorry I didn’t go for the vanilla-flavored powder, although I am not sure anything can help this stuff.  It’s just awful.  Oh, I said that.  Even chocolate (which is allowed) didn’t help.  Arsenic might.  I would drop this item from the menu, but I think it’s a vital part of the mix and I don’t want to mess with the overall concept of the diet for at least the two weeks that I committed myself to it.  If I mess with it much, then it’s no longer a “pure” test.
  • Third…and this is what they call in journalism “burying the lead” –I LOST THREE POUNDS IN FOUR DAYS!!!!! No kidding.  The electronic scale does not lie.  This has even made the daily midday shake go down a little easier.  I have, too, shown incredible discipline.  There is ice cream in the freezer and there are York peppermint patties on the table.  I have touched neither…although I have thought about it and then I walked away.

So I guess I shall continue on with this thing.  I do not have a specific weight goal in mind.  I was up to 190 which for skinny me is like really really overweight. It’s all in my belly, hence my choosing the “Zero Belly Diet.”  I would like to see 170 and 165 would make me ecstatic. But it’s more of a health thing than anything else.  I have some issues that the doctor said would bring this blog to a close if I didn’t get my stomach down…and you all know what a tragedy that would be.

There is one thing that I would like to do, so I think I will make it my goal.  For a long time I have not been able to—without bending forward—see the floor between my feet.  I’d like to just bend my head down, have my chin touch my throat and see between my feet.  That shall be my goal.  Life can be inspiring sometimes, huh?  All it takes is the challenge of drinking a putrid beverage once a day and you can appreciate almost anything.  Oh, BTW, those feet in the picture…not mine.  I wish they were because they look a lot better than my feet which have a lot more miles on them.

 ******

 

 

 


LET THE DIET BEGIN!

February 18, 2015

bookA few postings back I wrote about the latest best-seller diet book, THE ZERO BELLY DIET.  It’s written by David Zinczenko who wrote the popular series EAT THIS, NOT THAT.  The Zero Belly Diet allegedly zeros in all the fat that makes up that big round bulge many folks lug around as their mid-section all day…me included.  How the diet can be precisely that specific in its target, I have no idea.  But given the fact that I’ve been exercising at a gym on the average of 3-4 days a week since October and haven’t lost one stinking inch of waistline…well, it’s time to try a diet.  This one has the same mission I do.

I postponed beginning the diet because I was going to Disney World last week and it would have been really really stupid to try to diet at Disney.  But now I’m home and I can’t procrastinate forever.  So yesterday I took this loooooong shopping list I made from the book and ran off to Trader Joe’s and filled my basket with over $250’s worth of food, much of which I never bought before, like bulb fennel, green lentils, chia seeds and a page-and-a-half list of other stuff.

The book has an entire week’s menu planned out for every meal, drink and snack.  Some of the recipes are pretty work-intensive.  This is not going to be easy.  The hardest part will be the limit of one cup of coffee a day.  I don’t think I’ve gotten through a day with that little coffee since my 4th birthday when I distinctly remember my mother saying, “Okay, Marc, just one more cup and that’s all for today.”

I figure I’ll spend the day cooking a few days’ worth of meals and tossing them in the freezer.  Otherwise every night I’ll have this major project waiting for me at the kitchen stove and I know I’ll cop out eventually.  As for this first day, I’ve already had my one cup of coffee.  Now I’m supposed to switch to green tea for the rest of the day.  I’m allowed—in fact, encouraged—to drink gallons of that.

This is all very challenging because I’ve never really had to diet before.  There are several good things about the Zero Belly Diet that may at least make it a little easier for me.  There are meats on the menu and fish that I like.   There’s a bunch of “smoothie” type drinks that look okay and…and…get this: dark chocolate is allowed in moderation.  Now, any diet that includes dark chocolate has to have something goin’ for it.  Although to my big disappointment, ice cream doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere.

Oh well, let the diet begin!  Day 1 and counting….

*****


DISNEY WORLD–FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART…AND BODY!

February 15, 2015

dragonSM

I have been away most of the week. Rosemarie and I went to Orlando, Florida to be kids again.  We visited almost all of the major theme parks.  We suffered terrible downpours while checking out Harry Potter at Universal Studios, although that did not dampen the spirit of the fire-breathing dragon (above). Then, for the next three days we fought the crowds at Epcot, Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom.  The rain, once we saw the forecast, was expected; the incredible crowds featuring a gazillion kids were not.  Why weren’t they in school?

Florida residents get a discount this time of year at Disney—it’s off-season supposedly. We were told it was “winter break” for many schools (whatever that is!) and also primo vacation time for many South Americans.  So what had been carefully plotted to be a great time with the least crowds went amiss.  Instead, it turned out to be no different from mid-summer’s massive attendance.  Consequently, we did not get to see everything we wanted to, partly because of the crowds and partly due to age.

Yep, I said age.  It seems as much as we wanted to act like kids, the bodies were not going along with the ruse.  Nah-ah, the bodies were saying, “Hey you old fools, how much more walking around do you want from these legs and hips?”  So unlike previous trips to the funnest place on earth, we did not have the stamina to roam the theme parks all day and all night.  In fact, we were pretty much done by five each afternoon and there were no return trips after dinner despite how much we wanted to see the daily fireworks displays which are pretty good.  Nope, instead, we grabbed take-out and had dinner in our hotel room and spent the rest of each evening in a horizontal position watching TV and moaning every now and then when we had to move a body part.

everestSM

Still, I was quite proud of ourselves.  We went on most rollercoaster rides, among them some of the most terrifying…well, at least to me.  That’s Expedition Everest in the picture.  You don’t turn upside down on this ride, but you do free-fall backwards. I made a point of keeping my eyes wide open throughout every one of them, although I did maintain a vice-like grip on the bar at all times—none of that flailing of arms up in the air and screaming like a banshee. Uh-Uh, it was enough of a challenge for me not to burry my head and shut my eyes.  I was determined to witness every blood curdling twist and turn and stomach-ripping drop.  I figured it was probably the last time I’d be riding roller coasters so I may as well face my fears and get the most out of each ride.  I was even going to tackle the “Hulk” at Universal.  This is one of those rides that diabolical people design to challenge how much g-force the human body can withstand in addition to testing whether or not one’s insides will rip apart as the body is cork-screwed and torqued into all kinds of sudden positions that pretty much cover every geometrical configuration.  The only reason we bypassed this thrilling experience with near-death was because it poured most the of the time we were there and when it came time to take on Hulk, we were soaked through all our clothes despite spending $8 bucks a pop for plastic parkas, freezing our wet patooties off and feeling at least a 12 on the 1-to-10 exhaustion scale.

The other challenge of visiting Disney World at our age is trying not to totally drain your retirement funds.  Indeed, this is perhaps more of a challenge than surviving some of the rides.  The cost of everything is….well, it’s astronomical.  After a while you have to numb yourself and stop thinking about the cost of things or it’ll ruin having any fun at all.  I just sort of adopted a blind eye to the prices and figured I’d have the heart attack later, after I returned home and calculated the final tally.

And so, now it’s back to normal life again.  I’ve got mulch to spread around the bushes and trees this week.  I know that must sound weird to you northerners who are still coping with snow and ice.  The painters are finishing up the outside of the house and I suppose I will be hearing from the homeowners’ association about not painting my garage door the dark non-matching color they were insisting I must.  And oh yeah, I’ve got a murder to commit should I ever get back to writing the next chapter in the new novel I am busy birthing.  Life is good…you just need a little Mickey Mouse fix every once in a while to help get over the stuff that’s not so good.

*****

 

 


AH-HEM…A POEM FOR MY VALENTINE

February 14, 2015

valentinecollage

It’s a Valentine Weekend that comes every few years.

I am sure we’ll be treated to lots of Valentine cheers.

This year there’s more variety of marriage proposals, oh joy!

The big question can now be popped between girl & girl and boy & boy.

I’ve lost count of the Valentine Days Rosemarie and I have shared,

How many boxes of candy and bouquets of flowers to show I cared.

There are cards too with the poems and sentiments of love everlasting.

Not to mention the signals of love year-round I’m forever broadcasting.

But just so she never doubts my love if she were so inclined,

I’ll still do the candy, the flowers and card in hopes she’ll be my valentine.

*****


UH-OH, THE PAINT DICTATORS ARE HERE

February 5, 2015

house-paint2

It is a lazy rainy day.  Here I sit at my desk staring out the window.  The canal below is being peppered with dimples as the raindrops fall upon its surface. There are no creatures in site, including the two guys who have been painting the outside of my house since Monday.  I guess I didn’t mention we were having the house painted.  I knew it needed it, but the homeowners’ association also took the trouble to write me a letter to remind me.  I was waiting until this time of year when it is far better to paint. The summer months are simply too darn hot for both the painters and the paint.

Speaking of the homeowners’ association, they have gotten a bit more cantankerous to deal with lately.  They haven’t bothered us much in the 18 years we’ve lived here, but the past year or so they’ve turned petty like so many of them have a tendency to do. All of a sudden they don’t like the way we park.  They get angry if we put the trash out the night before it’s collected in the morning and now painting of the house has become an issue.

It seems they hired a foo-foo designer to pick a bunch of new color palettes that we homeowners can choose from to paint our homes.  Each palette has three colors: one for the walls, one for the trim and one for the front and garage doors.  It is written and, therefore, so it shall be done, that the homeowner must not deviate from the color palette.  All three colors must be used on their assigned locations.  Here’s the problem.  We do not like the color for the front and garage doors.  It is very very dark and, to us, does not match the wall and trim color.  We want to do the doors in the trim color, just as we have for the other two times we had the house painted.

We were told too many people were deciding not to use the door colors so the Board decided to make the three-color palette an official “rule” from here on in.  Rosemarie says, “boulderdash!”  Well, that’s not what she really said, but you get her drift.  So we appealed and expressed our displeasure of having a color on our house that we simply did not like and since we were using the two other colors which complemented each other nicely, we would hope that there would not be an issue.  We did note that since at least 75% of the other homes in the development are painted without the dark doors, it’s sort of arbitrary that the Board all of a sudden decided to change things.  Oh yeah, we thought, too, the fact that we pay the mortgage and all the other costs of maintaining the house that that should allow us to have some say.

So we are proceeding to have the doors painted the same as the trim color.  Given there’s a house a few blocks up that has been purple for well over a year, I feel if they insist we do our doors the dark color, I will insist they make that purple house go away because it certainly is not one of the colors in the official book of palettes.

What is ironic is that I believe the association has a right to dictate the colors of the homes in the community, as long as there is enough variety to please everyone and that they don’t go getting’ petty to insist that some designer they hired has ultimate rights over us homeowners as long as we’re being reasonable.  Regardless, I am sure we will be getting another letter when the job is completed.  It will no doubt threaten a fine and a lien on the house and God-knows-what-else.  So it’s a lazy rainy day today…but I sense thunder and lightning off in the distance.

*****


ME VS. THE GREAT FAT BELLY, continued

January 31, 2015

stretchIn our last episode you will recall that I have purchased a diet book for the first time in my life.  I am sure the book will be on the best seller list, if not already.  It’s called Zero Belly Diet by David Zinczenko.  He’s the flat-bellied fanatic who wrote the series of Eat This Not That diet books.  There are about five of those, plus a Drink This Not That and a Cook This Not That and so on.  I suppose in suggesting any of his books he would tell you Buy This Not That.

I have to admit, there is a lot of information in his books and he at least offers up substantive testimony regarding what’s good and bad for your body…or to put it more succinctly, what’s fat and not fat for your body.  Having never read a diet book this thoroughly before, I’m gullible to believe most anything.  Remember, I’m the one who has been going to the gym every other day since the first week in October and spending a good 90 minutes each time attempting to reduce the girth that has expanded around my waste like rings around Saturn.  But despite my efforts at the cardio and weight-lifting machines of torture, I have lost NOT one stinking centimeter of stomach.  So the answer must be in diet…hence my purchase of Zinczenko’s book.  BTW if you buy a copy of Zero Belly Diet the cost is a lot slimmer at amazon than at your neighborhood Barnes and Noble ($14 vs. $26…see, buy this not that).

I had expected to begin the Zero Belly diet the first Monday in February.  The book has a full week’s sample meal plan to get you started.  I figure I would follow it exactly, even eating things I don’t particularly like.  All the recipes are included.  The whole concept of planning out all the meals of one day, let alone a full week’s worth, is an almost impossible challenge for me.  Now, if I were a rich man, yada dada di, I would hire a cook since every little item has to be custom made.  It’s a lot of work.  I have to prep all this stuff myself—are you kidding me?

I made a shopping list of all the things I have to buy, even included some items I never heard of and have no idea what they are.  All I know is that they all aim their worthiness directly at my stomach and there they will mess around with my genes that produce the fat that goes around it, so much so that the genes will run for their lives and never make my stomach fat again.  It’s the great battle of the bulge.

But wait. Holy crap! I can’t begin this diet yet.  Why?  Because I’m going to Disney World in February.  The Zero Belly diet is so specific that it’ll be impossible to follow its regimen at Disney World!  I will just have to wait until I get back and then start it.  Tell you what—I will do my best to eat healthy while I am at Mickey’s.  I won’t buy ice cream and candy and cakes, oh my.  And I promise not to over indulge at the restaurants.  How’s that?  And, oh yeah, no pancakes for breakfast either.  OK?  Ok?…can’t hear you…ok?…what? …ok?

 *****


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 576 other followers

%d bloggers like this: