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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blister in the Sun

Remember back in December when I started "racing" to lose 20 pounds?  Well...as Mike Tomlin might say, "It's a marathon, not a sprint."  Or maybe that was Dan Bylsma.  Anyway, some coach of some sport's professional team in the Pittsburgh area said it.  And it's true.  It's still a race whether it takes 10 seconds to finish, or 3 hours.  Or...in the case of the "Race to 20"...6 months. 

I'm not counting my chickens before they're hatched or anything, but I've lost 17 pounds, and only have those last three to go.  I'm hoping some time in June or maybe early July, I'll cross the finish line and have "completed" my race.  I sort of plateaued a month or two ago...suffering from campaign fatigue or something.  It's a pain in the ass always watching what you eat.  I had a sinus infection, and it sucked trying to run on the treadmill...but then my company started a "Wellness Initiative" so it was sort of a good excuse for me to get back on the wagon...or...treadmill.

The challenge is as simple as reaching walking milestones (as measured with a pedometer) over a 49 day period.  Each milestone has a different prize associated with it, and a nice backpack was my goal prize.  In order to reach it, I only had to get 10,600 steps per day. 

That seems like a lot, and it sort of is...but pretty attainable.  What makes it "nice" is that they recommend you should get about 10,000 steps per day to stay healthy, and this sort of requires that I verify that daily (if I want that backpack). 

I've been really good about getting my steps in and mostly good about watching what I eat, but I found that if I don't get on the treadmill every night, I end up averaging about 6-7,000 steps per day even if I walk a mile with a coworker.  So every night, sometimes as late as 10:30 or 11, I hop on the treadmill to get those last two or three thousand steps, and...I've been losing weight.

But I'm not getting any smarter.  The night before last I was getting ready to go into the basement to get on the treadmill.  It was late.  I just needed a couple thousand more steps and I could be done.  I made down the stairs and realized I'd worn my walking/running shoes to the Pirate game the day before, and they weren't downstairs. 

This is what I don't get about me...instead of going back upstairs to get the shoes, I elected to walk in my slippers.  That's sort of a stupid move regardless, but the irony is, the reason I was walking was to get my steps in...and the reason I didn't want to go upstairs to get them is because...it was too many steps. 
My slippers.  Also, Barney.
By the end of my walk I could feel the hot spot in the middle of the front of my right foot, a blister swelling into life, because...I wouldn't take the steps needed to get the right shoes so that I could get the steps needed.  And the REAL irony would be if the blister was so bad that it forced me to stop walking because it was too painful. 

That's how I'd write it up in a story, because you know I love me some delicious, delicious irony.  So...man refuses to walk up the steps to get his shoes to finish his steps for the day, and loses the ability to meet his goal because of the blister that resulted.  The end.

But I'm fine.  I just have blister.  I'll keep on keepin' on.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Third Walk from the Sun

I feel bad/good about the walk, but really mostly good.  The only actual bad thing is that I lowered our goal amount because I wasn't feeling as tied into my network as I have in the past.  I haven't been blogging as much recently, and so I feel a little isolated from that community.  It's my own fault.  Facebook has become a big time drag...it's completely my fault...and being more tied into facebook does have its support/autism benefits, but this was just the down side.

The good parts were these...

1)  We made new tshirts this year.  I finally pulled the trigger on spending a little more for them, so the shirts are a nice light weight nano cotton like a higher quality tshirt you might buy for yourself, and navy (so they can go with about anything) and the bacon tragedy meme is on the back (which got a LOT of feedback from other walkers who saw it and read it).

My nephew wears it well

Sidebar:  My niece was walking.  A woman came up to her and complimented her on her shirt.  She said something to the effect of..."I like your shirt.  My nephew has autism and he also really loves bacon.  (long pause) I wonder if there's some sort of link there."  My niece sort of politely smiled and nodded and was laughing about the story later.  Seriously...almost everyone loves bacon.  There's no link.

2)  The shirts were sponsored by Bill Few Associates.  At the end of the sign up the sponsorship didn't completely cover the cost of the shirts, but that's sort of a good thing.  Because...

3)  We had a shitload of people walk with us.  I think it's great that people give.  I think it's great that the charity got a lot of money...but it's one thing to cut a check, and a step above that still to cut a check and then show up at 7:45 and walk three miles.  We ended up with 50+ walkers.  It's SO cool to see a wall of blue shirts with Lily's logo on them all walking together.  Love it.
Just A Lil Walk Team

4)  Meeting friends.  My friend Jennifer drove from Delaware to walk with us.  We talk on Facebook (see above "benefits of being more tied into facebook").  I walked with her and had a blast.

Jim and Jennifer

5)  Everyone seemed to have fun.  Lily loved seeing her friends from school.  Emma loved walking with hers as well.
A meeting of the minds.
Where Jace goes, Lily follows.

6)  The weather was nice.  It threatened rain several times, and it was brisk, but it stayed sunny and was quite comfortable for walking.

and finally...

7)  We hit our goal.  The goal was $2,500, and currently the charity shows that we're at $2,515.  I still have $75 worth of unsent checks for ABOARD, and a couple other possible donors who indicated they might contribute (you can still do that through the website) here.  So at least $2,590 to the charity.  I didn't think we'd get there.  This is down about a grand from last year, but like I said, I didn't expect as much as last year.  So we hit it.  Thanks everyone who contributed and walked and we'll see you all (hopefully) again next year.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Home Made Fries

I wanted to title this "Suck it, Pioneer Woman," but I thought that people would be turned off by that title.  So I just put that in the first line instead because I guess that makes it a better sell.  For those of you who thought this was going to be a recipe or something I guess I tricked you.  Sorry.

The other day Emma said she wanted to try home made fries.  We've done potato chips before but she wanted fries.  So I bought potatoes.  Sunday, Leslie decided, "Today we make fries!" and cut them.  But I was going to actually cook them, so I looked up a "recipe". 

It's weird calling it a recipe because it's a one ingredient thing...sort of.  More of a "procedure" really.  So I looked up a "procedure".  Leslie is always saying, "We never go wrong with Pioneer Woman" so I looked up her procedure for "perfect fries".  I feel like there are too many quotes in this post so far. 

Anyway the first thing she says, straight out of the gate is, you have to soak the cut potatoes in cold water for a few hours.  So since it was dinner time at. that. moment. I just made homemade potato chips (which were awesome) and we soaked the cut fries in water like the Pioneer woman specifically tells us we need to in order to make them perfectly.  Later I looked up another recipe, this time Emeril.  Same thing...soak 'em first.

Fine.  We put off fries until hamburger night, which was tonight.  Both the procedures said we could soak them overnight.  So we got the soaking done early.

What we didn't get done early was dinner.  Emma had dance until 7:30, and I got home way later than usual.  Leslie left to go pick her up and I started the fries.  I had to dry them off and then heat oil to 300 degrees.  I did this with a pot of canola oil and digital cooking thermometer.  Pioneer woman was very specific about doing this for 5 minutes or so at 300 degrees in small batches.

So it didn't take long for me to realize that since it took 10 minutes for the oil to reach 300, and I had at least 4 batches of fries at 5 minutes each...dinner would NOT be ready by the time they got home.  Especially since I would typically cook the hamburgers so they were done with the fries, and hadn't started the hamburgers yet because I didn't trust the cat or Lily not to investigate this wonderful hot oil on the stove top.

30 minutes later I was almost done with the first round (yes, first) of frying and Leslie walked in the door.  I'd at least prepped her via text for the fact that it was taking forever so she didn't flip out that nothing was cooked, but that didn't stop the note of righteous indignation from creeping into her voice as she said, "She can't wait for that, she hasn't eaten since lunch!"  This when I told her that Pioneer Woman very specifically states that the perfect fucking fries must be not once, but twice fried.  Once at 300 degrees...once at 400 degrees.  And I hadn't finished the first round yet.

She grilled the hamburgers and was done as I was starting the first batch of the second round at 400 degrees.  At this point it was 8 o'clock.  Lily needed a bath, nobody else had eaten, and I was cursing under my breath as I tried and failed to carefully add fries to 400 degree canola oil, periodically splashing it on my fingers.

But finally they were done.  And drained.  And salted.  And plated. 

And they were alright.  Yeah...alright.  Two days of cold water bath, drain, dry, heat oil to 300 and fry for 5 minutes in small batches times infinity, add bandages and first aid cream, drain, dry, heat oil to 400 and fry until brown, more bandages, drain, dry, salt, serve...and they were just alright. 

You know what's better though?  Ore-Ida Fast food fries.  Directly out of the fucking freezer, and into the Fry-Daddy for 5 minutes.  BANG!  DONE!  Tastes like McDonald's for godsake.  IN FIVE MINUTES.  This took two days and an hour!

I'm in this Wellness "challenge" at work.  In order to earn the prize I want I have to average 10,000 steps per day for like 45 consecutive days.  Tonight, after cleaning up, and getting kids to bed I looked down at my pedometer and it read 6,500 steps (ish).  It was 11 o'clock and I was getting on the damn treadmill to get to my 10,000 steps.  Because of the damned Pioneer Woman and her "perfect" fries.

And that is why I'm writing this at 1 in the morning.  Because of the Pioneer Woman. 

Lesson:  Don't bother making homemade fries.
Lesson 2:  You CAN go wrong with the Pioneer Woman.