24 February 2014

Week 7 - Taking a Dive

               ENDING WEEK Seven (18.2 to go)

I may look blue
but it's not true
cuz I lost 2

2/15/2014 - Gone Froggin'

As you read in December, Kathy invited us down to Ohio to join her in purchasing some exotic frogs. On that trip she got four Dendrobates leucomelas or "lucs" for short. At the time they were no bigger than a thumb nail and now are about the size of a quarter. They are black and yellow and have a pleasant chirp as they mature. K says they are starting to chirp now, but very quietly.

Well, K is an "enthusiast" and whatever her current interest is, she dives in with an ardent passion. After breaking into the frog world with the above, she soon found that she had to have some more--this time a species of blue ones called Dendrobates azureus. So today we journeyed to Springfield, Ohio to see a different breeder.

He did not have the huge operation that we saw last time, maybe seven terrariums, but he had some colorful frogs that we had not seen to date. K had her heart set on the blue-ies and bought four.

We spent an hour talking frog diseases, terrarium styles, sources of frogs, pet shop horrors, reptile shows, Hank Molt, species of frog, and stages of frog development from polliwog to full-fledged frog. To demonstrate this last topic, the frog breeder had a plastic tub with many smaller sized containers. Each had live specimens at different stages in the maturity process. Very interesting.

Then the question of diet came up. They talked flightless fruit flies which had been K's frog's main diet up til now. The breeder suggested orange isopods, which look like orange sherbet colored roly-poly bugs with lots of legs. He says the frogs eat isopod eggs and isopods eat the frog poop for a "nice" symbiotic relationship. This may be too much info for some (including me), but fascinating food chain facts. K bought a container of isopods!!!

From there we went to the Micro Center. A huge all tech related store. As we walked in the door they had a display of 3-D printers for as low as $400. We want one, but not ready yet. What we were in the market for today was a webcam set up so we can watch K's frogs from our home in Michigan. We purchased that and a few other goodies. Really fun shopping here!!

Next was lunch at the place we enjoyed so much on our last trip--Cafe Paradisio in Urbana. The panini sandwiches were not quite as good as our last meal, a little dry. Definitely will go back, but order pasta next time.

Then hurried home to set up the new terrarium and webcam. Didn't want the froggies out in the cold for too long.

Traveling back we saw three covered bridges (even though we were in Logan, not Madison, County). We crossed one which is very cool. K&J say they have a bridge party every year where they close off the bridge to traffic and have a white tablecloth picnic. Might try to fit that in this summer.

Back home we introduced the new blue frogs to their environment. They seemed a little less shy about coming out for us to see them. The webcam process was a bit slow on the learning curve. (It took a few days, but we are able to some them from Michigan now...in color. Yay!)

K made wonderful shrimp and smoked Gouda cheese quiche for dinner and toast from her homemade bread. We washed them down with mimosas. For dessert we attacked the treat basket. It is going down fast.

20 February 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

Headed to East Liberty, Ohio again for a fun weekend. Left at 9:42am. Started off snowy, but quickly turned to sunshine. 25 degrees. Roads wet, but not icy. A good day to travel.

The 236 mile drive down was uneventful, but lovely. A new coat of snow to make everything clean and sparkly. Hard to take photos from the car though because the windows were all spotty with mud and moisture. 

Mike updated the Garmin just before we left and it took us on a different route than usual. We followed the same route down I-94 east, I-69 south and east on Ohio-30 past the wind turbine farm all the way to the Lima exit. But instead of getting off there, we continued on toward I-75.

That was a nice bypass, as Lima is our least favorite part of the drive. Nothing against Lima, but traffic there is usually snarled. We saw some new territory, which is always a plus for us.

The only wildlife we saw was a lonely furry female deer eating out in a field. Obviously warm with a winter coat and safe because it is past hunting season.

Got to J&K's about 2pm. Went directly to the sun room for cocktails to mellow out our drive "stress." As we missed our regular quick Taco Bell lunch stop on the re-route, Kathy offered cheese sandwiches on homemade bread just out of the oven, to tide us over until dinner.

We played a good round of catch with their border collie, Jip, and gave a small little pet to their loving but  "anti-social" cat, Widget.

We so enjoy watching the birds at the feeders outside the sun room. Jim feeds them year round. There are cardinals, woodpeckers, juncos, doves, blue jays, and more I don't know the names of. With my Nikon P500 I can really get some close-up shots.

We went to Marysville (about 20 miles away) for dinner at the Crazy Burrito. On the drive we saw some wild turkeys and a coyote running along a ridge near the freeway. That was a real treat as we have not seen one in the wild  since a trip to Furnace Creek, California many years ago. 

Not especially fancy for Valentine's Day, but Mexican is something Mike and I have been craving for awhile. It was an excellent meal starting with beers, raspberry margaritas, chips and guacamole. My entree was enchiladas made with fresh spinach instead of meat. Mike had his usual combo, including a chili rellenos, which he said was GREAT. He had a flan dessert that we all nibbled on.

As we headed to the car it was snowing again and the restaurant had turned on their electric palm trees on the outside veranda. We got a few laughs out of that odd vista.

When we returned to the house, Jim pulled out a HUGE basket of sweet treats (Peppermint Patties, Reeses cups, M&Ms, chocolate covered peanut butter wafers, and more and more) and salty treats (Pringles, Cheetos, Doritos, and more and more) that neighbors had given him for plowing their driveway over this harsh winter. There were so many treats that it was impossible to count. And the calories, oh my!!

We said we were all too stuffed from dinner to break into it. But it wasn't too long before we dove in for "just one piece." I just had to have a Reeses peanut butter cup. Well, that was a joke and a big mistake because we couldn't stop eating.

We actually had to go to bed to keep from eating more. No will power today, after all it was Valentine's Day. Sweets for our sweeties.

18 February 2014

Week 6 - Devastating Diet Dive

   ENDING WEEK Six (back up - 20.2 to go)

Well, this was a fun weekend. It was St. Valentine's Day on Friday and Mike's sister's birthday on Sunday. We went to Ohio to help celebrate. Always a gab fest and Gourmet food fest.

On the other hand I knew I would gain, but was hoping to stay under the 170 mark. Got home late Monday, so weighed in this morning instead of yesterday. I've been delaying posting til 9pm because I was having a hard time advising my cheerleaders out there that it was a dreadful week of backward progress.

But I'm back on the wagon today and no big eating events coming up for a while. Hopefully I will recover the loss and get back down by next Monday.

My Valentine's nail polish is OPI's "So Hot it Burns" red and so is my face from embarrassment. But from this, too, I will recover.

PS - At least the bruise my toe is looking a little better!

10 February 2014

Week 5 - Fancy New Scale

       (not quite sure of the real number)

Here's the new scale and the old scale. 

I've had the old one for probably twenty years. Picked it up in the basement store of J. C. Penny's. It was one of the first digitals and had the "exciting" half-pound marker. Both new features at the time. It said the battery had a lifetime guarantee and they were right. I've always been amazed that the battery never ran out of juice and am pleased that it is still working.

It has been pretty trustworthy but was always two pounds more than what the doctor's scale read when I went in for a check up. In Michigan it got a little more squirrely because the 100+ year old floors in our loft are quite uneven. You can weigh yourself in ten different places and it would be a little different in each spot. 

So by the old scale, I lost 1.5 pounds. That sounds about right as this was a very lean week for eating. I towed the line closely and this weight loss makes sense in the big picture.

Now we look at the new scale. It is the latest fancy version. It displays tenths of a pound. It also measures body fat, which I haven't figured out so far. Very high tech looking. But with all its glass and chrome, it is a bit hard to get a good photo.

In any case this shows my weight loss at 3.8 pounds from last week. That sounds like a lot, but takes into account the two pound difference I experience on the doctor's scale and the display now showing tenths of a pound rather than just half pounds.

It feels a little like cheating to switch scales in mid-diet, but I think this really is more accurate and I'm going with it. So weight this week is 167.2 (down 3.8 pounds from last week).

This week coming up is going to be a tough one. We are going back down to Ohio to visit Mike's sister and bro-in-law and do a little more frog pickin'. It is also Valentine's Day and Kath's birthday this weekend, so she has some great new restaurants lined up. A lot of celebrating in this future week. I will not be reporting back until Tuesday instead of Monday next week, as we will be on the road that day.

You also might notice the bruise on my right foot middle toe. (It's actually looking better.) We had the plumber over this week to stop a drippy sink. He is a fun and funny guy, and solved another vexing problem with our on-demand hot water heater while he was here. Very knowledgeable and good solver of plumbing mysteries.

While he was here he also gave me "plumbing" lessons--tightening a screw with this hex key tool set. Clumsy me dropped it on my foot. It doesn't look heavy, but it is!! Thanks goodness it did not break bones, but it has been going through a pretty interesting color process.

03 February 2014

Week 4 - Told Ya So

ENDING WEEK Four (down 3 pounds - 21 to go)

And the number is 171. Boo and boo-hoo!

OK, if you read my blog yesterday, you know that I had a 900 calorie pizza and a few other goodies yesterday. Only one "adult beverage" though. It was Super Bowl after all. Had to celebrate a little. But at a price, as I gained a pound back. 

It could have been worse. In the past I have been known to eat a whole medium pizza in one evening (partly at the bar and partly at home later), which is a lot more than 900 calories. At least Amy's was organic. That's saying something positive.

I have to say I don't really trust my scale. When I first hopped on it this morning it said 168.5 pounds. I could have left it at that, but our scale has been know to "quiver" in its readings. So within about 5 minutes I weighed 168.5 twice, 171.5 once, 171 three times, so I went with the 171. Although it is not very reassuring that I have the correct weight.

When I have tested the situation at the doctor's office, their fancy scale always shows me two pounds less than our scale at home. So time for a new scale. That might give me the two pound advantage I need to get back on track. Well see.

02 February 2014

2/2/2014 - Superb Owl

If you watch Colbert, you get it. If you don't get it, get with the program and start watching the Colbert Report and the Daily Show. 

We had planned to have friends over today for a Super Bowl XLVIII (48) Party, but weather here has been so bad, we haven't been out to procure supplies for entertaining (booze and food) and did not wish folks to travel at risk on the roads. So instead, we are all holed up in our own little cubby holes watching the game on our own big screens.

Our two fave teams are the Lions and the 49ers. We grew up in the Detroit area and even though it is usually quite hopeless that they will be in the Super Bowl, we still root for them. And we lived 20 years in the Bay Area when Jerry Rice and Joe Montana ruled the field. SF won four SB's while we lived out there. The parties for just any ol' game were always fun, but for SB there were no holds barred. SUPER-DOOPER PARTAAAS. Really miss 'em and our out-west buddies, too.

We were not excited one way or another about who wins today's game. But if we had to pick, it would be Seattle over Denver. This is because we DO have friends from Seattle and their quarterback hasn't had the thrill of winning an Super Bowl yet, while Manning has had his turn. So might as well spread the agony of defeat over Denver.

We've done a lot of things through our travels and experiences, but have never been to a Super Bowl. The closest we came was in Detroit in 1982. That was SB XVI (16) and the game was played at the Pontiac (suburb of Detroit) Silverdome. The night before the game, in hopes of seeing Joe Montana, we drove over to the Hyatt Regency, where the players were housed. Mike took my photo by the XVI ice sculpture in front and it was a kick just to be that close. In that game SF won over Cincinnati 26-21.

We look forward to the SB commercials, but this year they were a snooze during the first half. But we got a kick out of a few in the second half. Audi had a weird but cute one using small dogs with big heads (like a chihuahua with a Great Dane head) doing crazy things. Guess you had to be there. We also liked Bob Dylan narrating for Chrysler as he walked about Detroit showing some epic places like Baker's Keyboard Lounge. Most of the commercials were more heartfelt this year, rather than funny or clever. Lots of car commercials--mostly US, but also Audi, Massarati and Jaguar. 

The best commercials came near the end--a little cowgirl galloping atop her big dog to beat her brother to the Doritos and then a bunch of over-muscled he-men and she-woman trying to get into a spray tan salon (which turned out to be a Go Daddy commercial). Not quite sure what the connection was there, but hysterical.

Two Budweiser Clydesdale commercials this year. One gave a salute and tribute to our military troops. Heartwarming. The other showed a friendship between a golden retriever puppy and a huge Clydesdale horse. Very cute. Although we enjoy Bell's Beer way more than Bud, we look forward to these majestic hours commercials every year.

The game was pretty much a snooze also. Score 43-8 Seattle winning. Turnovers ruled today. Although Denver got a pounding, at least it wasn't a shut-out. And the team we were rooting for won. It's not nearly as much fun though as when it is a close score and back-and-forth leads or a team you are really passionate about is competing. One interesting fact was that the first first-down of the game did not occur until well into the second quarter. This is the latest ever for a first down in any SB.

Although the game was played in East Rutherford, New Jersey (home of the NY Jets AND the NY Giants), the best part of the game show today for us was the fabulous shots of nearby New York City at night. What a town!! 

If you are keeping up with the weight loss challenge I have going, tomorrow will probably be a disappointment for both of us. I ate 900 calories in frozen pizza during the game. NOT GOOD!! Dang myself!