Thursday, July 23, 2009

Addendum: New York trip

I ate constantly for 3 days and lost 3 pounds. That's what walking does for you.

Now at 248. If I lose another 4 pounds, I'll start up the graph again.

***Reminder - inaccurate scales have caused me to stop tracking my weight loss on the chart to the right. I've replaced the scale and will start tracking again once I lose the 10 lbs that made up the difference between the previous scale and reality.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Trip Report: New York

Well, we just flew back from NYC, and boy are my arms tired .

At least our feet are tired - well, everyone's except mine. The Montrail hiking shoes that Bernie got me for my birthday last year are really comfortable, and I was the only one out of the family that didn't have any soreness from all the walking we did.

We flew in early Friday morning and dropped off the bags at the Westin at Times Square. Then we walked to Radio City Music Hall and did their tour, which was much more interesting that I expected. I had no idea that their stage was really three platforms which rise and descend on hydraulic lifts that were built in 1932. Apparently, the system is the engineering wonder of the world. Very cool.

After that, we had lunch at a place that Bernie found on some NY native internet forums, a French place called Le Bonne Soupe. Mom and Dad had a prix fixe meal consisting of onion soup, a salad, and creme caramel for dessert. Bernie had a crepe with ham, egg and cheese, and I spotted something intriguing on the menu - a sort of lasagna dish made with a crepe rather than noodles, with bechamel and bolonaise inside and mozzarella baked on top. That was just terrific. The crepe made it a much lighter dish than a real lasagna.

We went back to the hotel and napped to make up for having to get up at 4 am for our flight, and later on we had dinner at a place that got rave reviews as a Chinese bakery, Fay Da. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a big disappointment as a bakery, but it did have cheap eats - a five-choice for $5 cafeteria (Bernie and I split one). It wasn't great, but for five bucks, it was okay.

All in all, this was about 5 miles of walking on Friday.

On Saturday, we got up and had breakfast at a little bakery right next door to the hotel, Europa Bakery. Basic eggs and waffles, french toast, etc. I had a breakfast panini (well, okay, half of one was all I could manage, but it was really good).

We decided to learn the subway that day, so we rode around, went to Chinatown (big disappointment - take it off your to-do list. Very few Chinese businesses left, and the ones that are are just selling junk and are quite nasty attitudes.) We found out later that only the losers stayed in old Chinatown, and the rest moved to Flushing.

Lunch on Saturday was the famous Katz' Deli, where we all had corned beef or pastrami sandwiches (Bernie and I sharing again). This place lived up to it's long-enduring reputation very nicely, as I have never had pastrami that good ever before and don't expect to ever again. Yum.

After a little shopping and more subway sightseeing, we had to go to the fancy party that was the reason for the trip. This was a retirement/45 anniversary party for a business associate of my father's. The couple happens to be Chinese, and they learned about Bernie from my father, and they wanted to meet us, so we got invited to the party as well. We dressed up nice and took the 7 train to Flushing to a restaurant named Mulan. This is where we discovered the Chinese community in New York. Much much nicer and cleaner than old Chinatown. We lucked out and just missed the crowd attending Paul McCartney at Shea Stadium (the previous subway stop) both coming and going.

The party was great, but no one told me that it was a 12-course dinner until after the third course! I doubt anyone reading this would want a recitation of everything that was said or served, but the meal included roast pork, shrimp, chicken, lobster, Peking duck, shark fin soup, abalone, noodles, pineapple fried rice, steak, steamed sea bass, noodles, fruit, and flan with caramel for dessert. I think I managed to at least taste everything. It was a good thing the courses were spread out over two and a half hours or I couldn't have even done that. I think Bernie really enjoyed it most of all, since she hasn't seen this kind of food since our wedding reception, four years ago.

After riding the subway back to the hotel, we slept and got up on Sunday to hike the streets again. We had seen cruise ships and military ships docking from the hotel room window all weekend, and we decided to walk to the river and see them up close. Of course, it was a lot farther away than it looked from the 28th floor. We made it, however, and we got to see the USS Intrepid, two NCL ships, and three destroyer ships - two Australian and one American. We got to watch the docking of the American ship, assisted by two tugboats. Then we hiked back to the hotel in time to pack and catch our taxi for the airport.

I'm hoping Bernie will post her pics, because we took a lot of them.

Oh, I forgot to mention my accident. You know how hotels have suddenly decided it's cool to put a towel rack in the shower so your towels stay damp all the time? Well, in our hotel, the side of the shower opposite the rack was blocked by the sink and vanity, so you had to enter the shower on the end with the rack, which was exactly at eye level. So Saturday morning, when I'm sleepy and not all that attentive, I get in the shower and BONK! Right on the bridge of my nose. One small cut, but a nice little purple bruise to show for the incident. I look like I got into an MMA event.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Going to New York

Today's my last day at work this week, because we're going to NYC in the morning (EARLY - 6am flight).

On the agenda:

Katz' Deli
Rockefeller Center
Radio City Music Hall
Central Park
Fancy Party at Mulan in Flushing

Is it bad that I'm more interested in NYC food than I am in sightseeing?

This is our mini-vacation before we go to Calgary in early August.

Monday, July 13, 2009

This Week...

A brief update:

Losing weight again, just not as fast. The new scale reads 10 lbs higher than the other, so I'm not updating my curve again until I fall below the last reading on the previous scale. That's getting close.

We didn't go to the gym at all last week, and it threatened rain all week as well, so we didn't swim. At least we 'hiked' IKEA and Concord Mills this weekend for exercise!

I've switched at least temporarily to the Tenor Sax for band, which of course means that I have to spend some money to put my tenor into reasonable condition. Looks like the director wants to have a full-fledged jazz band concert this summer, so I may actually have to start practicing my improv.

I don't know how parents can afford to have their kids play instruments these days. $5 for a reed!

We've got a short work week - going to New York for a 3-day weekend on Friday. Big party for a friend of the family on Saturday night, and sheer tourism for the remaining time. The party is at a really fancy Chinese restaurant - hopefully, we'll have some good pictures when we get back.

This weekend, I learned to make homemade ginger ale. The best ginger ale I've ever had was Blenheim red cap before this, but the homemade stuff beats it. Very nice.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Happy July 5th

Since I played with the band for the fireworks at Tega Cay yesterday, we had our July 4th cookout on the 5th today.

I am worn out. Two hours of playing the saxophone with the concert band, followed by two more hours playing with the jazz band, getting home around 1am, then prepping for the cookout this morning, cooking, and cleaning up this afternoon.

It's a good thing I have tomorrow off. I need the rest.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Scale Has Been Replaced

We got the replacement scale from Taylor the other day and I put it in service yesterday. It does indeed seem to be accurate. Of course, that means it reads 10 pounds higher than the one we've been using - but it agrees with the doctor's scale, so that's really good overall.

It also confirms that I'm losing weight again and the dreaded plateau has been broken.

Here's my theory on why I hit that plateau in the first place:
It's all about stretching the stomach pouch. I've been drinking soda again for awhile now, even though they warned me not to. I thought I was being careful - just sipping it slowly and taking all day to finish one bottle so that the carbonation wouldn't stretch the pouch. Apparently I wasn't being careful enough and during the plateau weeks, I noticed my appetite increasing during meals. So I fixed it - not by quitting the sodas - but by pouring my soda in a glass over ice to get rid of the carbonation, instead of drinking from the bottle. It didn't take two days before I noticed that my appetite and capacity had gone back down to post-surgery "normal", and sure enough, the weight started coming off again.

Let this be a lesson to you gastric bypassers - don't drink carbonated drinks. If you fall off the wagon, pour it in a glass and over ice to minimize the bubbles.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Back in the Gym Today

The needle on the scale started moving downward a little in the last few days. Not enough to count yet, but encouraging. For some reason the portion size at meals that I've been able to tolerate has gone back down to where I think it should be, in the last few days. I've also cut way back on carbs for snacks. All snacking is nuts, nuts, nuts, and some homemade beef jerky.

Today I got to the gym for the first time this week. We went swimming over the weekend and on Monday, I was verrrry sleepy for some reason and didn't want to work out. Tuesday was a very stressful rehearsal for the concert band, so today was my first time back this week, and nearly all I did was cardio. I changed my routine to doing some hard reps on the elliptical and getting a good sweat going. When I couldn't lift my feet any more, I switched to the bike. I did get in one set of chest presses.

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