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Well I guess it is time to finally test the WordPress app out. Not that I’m planning on going anywhere exciting any time soon. Here’s a shot of the Space Needle from my office.


28 Day Challenge

Our daughter Stephanie is spearheading the 28 Day Challenge at Whole Foods which best as I can tell is modeled on the Engine 2 Diet… which, best as I can tell is a vegan diet. I know a few people who have tried this with great successes. Lost lots of weight but more importantly up to 100 points off their cholesterol number. And Bill Clinton (remember him?) is a huge advocate of this diet. Yes, he’s off the Big Mac!

Well since this is Stephanie’s project and after talking to a heart attack survivor who swears by it, Sandi and I have decided to give it a try.

It’s not going to be easy. After all, I do have a latte EVERY day… but hey, it’s only 28 days and she said she wouldn’t expect perfection. It will be especially difficult in Tucson (aka Fairwood South) with weekly dinner parties at a variety of houses. Sandi’s thought is to replace 2 meals a day every day and a couple of dinners. Mine should be easier since most of the time I’m cooking my own meals in Seattle, but there in lies the problem… I’m cooking my own meals. And I tend to go for the quick and easy food preparation and this diet needs a lot for pre-planning.

Stop by Whole Foods and check out her display and click here for more information. Healthy Eating: It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 (and 4)! The Four Pillars of Healthy Eating = Whole Food + Plant/Strong + Healthy Fats + Nutrient Dense.

4 Pillars

I wonder where wine fits in here? Fruit?

I’ll let you know how it goes… good or bad. Has anyone else tried the Engine 2 Diet?

Kalama High School–Day 1

On Thursday I was driving back from Portland to Seattle and passing through Kalama. Since I knew I was going to need gas at some point, I decided to stop in Kalama and do my part for the local economy… buying over priced “freeway” gas. I guess it’s the premium you pay for the easy off– easy on convenience of a freeway gas station. (But I digress).

As many of you know, I moved from Evergreen High School in Seattle to Kalama High School my senior year. Yes it was a culture shock and while some have said that when I moved the average IQ of both schools went up; I’m not sure that is true and would never want to take back my year in Kalama. (But I digress).

As I was driving into town I thought back to my first day of my senior year. I had moved to Kalama before my parents so I could participate in football. It had always been my dad’s dream to see his son play football and with only one year to go, it was either play or forever crush that dream. (I think I’m digressing again). During the weeks before school started, I would drive into town from the Kalama river twice a day for practice. Yes, even Kalama had “2 a days”. To give you an idea of the size of Kalama, there was a stop sign at one end of town and another at the other end… and I think I could throw a rock while standing next to one and hit the other. For electricity, I think they ran an extension cord in from Longview. Ok, it wasn’t that small, but coming from Seattle it felt like it.

So it’s the first day of school… I know, you thought I’d never get there didn’t you! And for lunch they had what was called an “open campus” meaning you could actually leave school and go somewhere for lunch. Not a concept I was familiar with. In Seattle if you left school and got caught; you could count on a few days suspension. (But I digress) So there we are in the parking lot and they are explaining this “open campus” thing and said “Let’s go into town for lunch”.

Now I have to tell you, when I first heard those words; I thought that I had some how completely missed the REAL City of Kalama… That the small town street I had always assumed was “town” was just an older run down section and the REAL town was just over the hill to the south… a hill I had never even considered going over… and just over that hill was the CITY of Kalama. So I eagerly jumped into the car and we headed down the hill and into “town”. Excitement was building as I wondered what this CITY of Kalama would look like.

Well we didn’t turn left and go over the hill to the south. We got to the edge of the freeway overpass, turned right on a frontage road and stopped in front of the Burger Bar. Not the one you see in this picture… this is the NEW Burger Bar with sit down tables and lots of parking. The old one is still there  next to the grocery store and it’s walk up window, although it’s all boarded up now. I made lots of good friends in Kalama and would spend my summers there during my college years, but I still laugh when I think back to that moment… and the realization that this “town” was now my home.

New Burger Bar - Kalama

Search for a latte

I’m a bit behind in updating some things. This picture was actually from November 28.

Its day 1 in the new office and I’ll be in search of the best place to find a latte. No Starbucks nearby but 3 small local joints. The closest is Essential Baking Company. It has a bad rap for being slow but today I’m there shortly after 7:00 and there’s no one else in line.

The latte was really quite good with a fancy design in the foam.

Others who went later confirmed it was indeed slow but hey, we’re in Fremont now. Set your watch back 15 minutes and chill.


How to lose 15 lbs. in 30 days…

No, this isn’t a Facebook app that’s hijacked my account. No, I haven’t discovered some secret weight loss method. And no, you won’t be seeing me late at night pitching my latest weight loss infomercial at 3:00am. But the fact remains that on Jan 1 (the day all resolutions begin, I weighed in at 204.8 and today my scale read 189.6! Any way you slice it, that’s 15.2 pounds.

Scale 2011-1-29

So how did I do it?

First, I signed up (ok, re-signed up) for Weight Watchers. I started WW back in 2007 when I weighed a whopping 232 lbs. and I lost 40 pounds on the program. With the magic of Photoshop, here’s a picture to show you the before and after results. One picture is from 2007 and on the right, 2009.

Weight loss 2007-2009

This time I decided to go with just the on-line version. No meetings, no weigh-ins, no motivational speakers… just me and my computer. Of course signing up does not mean weight loss. You still have to do the basics or all you’re doing is sending WW a monthly check – which might make your wallet lighter, but it’s not going to do anything for your success on the scale. Unless you weigh yourself while carrying your wallet. (It’s a lot like joining a gym and never going… and who hasn’t done that)

The basics are so simple…

Track your food
Get active

As you probably know, with WW you are given a number of points to use each day. By tracking your food, you can see the errors of your ways … once identified, you can make changes. It’s frustrating to have to lose “points” for something you ate impulsively and having to forgo that glass of wine you were sooooo looking forward to with dinner… and another glass with TV later in the evening to stay within your points. (Although WW has a solution for that too!)

By being active, you can effectively “earn” more daily points that you can use to splurge on… well how about more wine! So, back to that glass of wine while watching TV? How about 30 minutes of exercising and using the TIVO to record the show you were about to watch. Just like tracking food, with the online WW program, you can track your exercise too. Use the points you just earned right away (that glass of wine) or bank them for the weekend. We all know how hard the weekends are… even more wine, right?

Get a new scale. Just kidding, but I think 2 of my 15 pounds were the result of using a different scale than the one I started with. Being over weight, I was convinced my scale was part of the problem and I found a new one that gave a better answer… or at least the answer I was looking for… but now I’m thinking the first scale was probably telling the truth.

Finally, and this is just for me… I saw a doctor to re-check my thyroid. I have suffered from hypothyroidism for 20+ years now and every once in awhile my meds need to be adjusted. I had recently gained a lot of weight in a short amount of time which triggered my trip to the doctor. About a week into the new dosages (lower T4 and more T3 if you know about thyroid meds), I saw the weight start dropping.

So I’m sorry I don’t have a quick fix for anyone looking to drop a few pounds, but I do have a plan.

Watch what you eat. If you consume less calories in than you burn… you will lose weight. If you want to keep eating/drinking as much as you do now, then you need to start burning more calories. I’m pretty sure we learned this basic arithmetic in 1st grade… there is no algebra or calculus in this equation… just simple arithmetic. But before you can figure out how much to burn, you have to figure out your intake… To get started, just track your food for one week… track everything! Do you sample the food while you’re cooking dinner? Those little “tastes” do contain calories… they aren’t free! And at the end of the week, you’ll be amazed at what you learned. It really is an eye opener. Turns out all of those ridiculously small pre-packaged portion sizes that are 150-400 calories with 2 servings per package (you know what I’m talking about), really are two servings. So skip the junk food and grab an apple… less calories, more filling, and much healthier.

World Clock Tracks It All

Electronic Holiday Greetings

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the leftovers have miraculously disappeared, and the bathroom scale is shouting at me to get off… it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. I know a lot of you already have your shopping done, but I prefer to put it off until December so I can consolidate all of that stress into three short weeks.

However I got to thinking… having spent this past year reconnecting with old friends and family on Facebook, why not use this “social network” (which I truly don’t like) to effortlessly get out a holiday greeting card. No time spent addressing envelopes, no stamps, no stress…

So here it is! Just click on the link below and you’ll instantly be swept into the holiday spirit with pictures of our girls taken with Santa over the years.

Enjoy… and Merry Christmas to everyone.

Christmas Cards sent… check (stress level a little lower)


PS: You know Sandi will never let me get away with this… I’m sure the more traditional mailing of the cards is in my near future.


I wish there was a way for our televisions to know that we’ve already voted. That way we would be spared the incisive rhetoric that continues to plague the airwaves and watch more commercials with relevancy… like the E-Trade baby or Jack… CEO of Jack In the Box!

I completely get it! You believe your opponent is an unethical idiot with no redeeming qualities what so ever… but couldn’t you have just a few TV spots that highlight what you believe is necessary to solve today’s problems? Do you really believe we’re too stupid to understand your point of view? Don’t just say “Had I been in office last year, I would have voted differently”… that’s too easy. Maybe unemployment didn’t go down in the last two years, but let’s face it… if nothing had been done, who’s to say it wouldn’t have gone to 20%? Certainly not you.

Well my votes have been cast… so leave me alone. I’m tired of hearing about your opponent and their ineptness. I can’t wait for the day someone gets elected because they are more concerned about us, rather than just trying to get elected or stay elected.

This was written a few days ago and I’ve continued to suffer through the rhetoric… at least it’s over!

Well I finally decided to do it. I’m going from XP to Win 7. I figure when my IT group decides to start coordinating a launch, it’s time to give this some serious consideration. I actually started planning for the process a few months ago when I asked for (and received) a network back up drive for Father’s Day. Yep,  back in June. There are some things you just can’t rush and a Windows 7 Upgrade seemed like one of those things that was better off in the planning stages.

But with the latest Windows Live Essentials upgrades and the Explorer 9 upgrade all being written only for Win 7, I figured now was the time to make the move. I bet that’s what MSFT was thinking too when they re-designed the Live packages! “Damn them!” 

Step 1 – Purchase the Windows 7 Upgrade. Found it online at Amazon and Costco. The Costco price was $119, but there was a 7-10 day delivery time frame. Too long… once you decide to pull the trigger you need to get moving. Went to the Costco Warehouse and found it for $109! SCORE!!! Also purchased $200 of steaks and wine and a new Sonic Care toothbrush. Don’t judge me, I needed that wine.

Step 2 – Back up your data. Since I’m upgrading from XP it is necessary to transfer all of my files to an external hard drive. (See… I told you I had planned this out) File to transfer, 160GB… time to transfer… 11 hours! There isn’t much wine left…

Step 3 – Add wine to Costco shopping list

Step 4 – Run install disk

Step 5 – Research error message – fix registry setting – restart computer

Step 6 – Run install disk

Step 7 – More research on error message – update drivers for the array drives – restart computer

Step 8 Run install disk (it was at this point when I seriously thought I’d just offer to take IT to lunch and drive by my house for some free tech support. After all, IT does report to me)

Success… at least I’ve gotten past the error message and the computer has successfully rebooted several times now. Completing Installation is still unchecked, but I can see it is still working and not in some frozen state.

Next up… the transfer of files back to the “New” computer and re-installing all of my programs. I wonder if I still have that Leisure Suit Larry disk.

Final Scotland Competition Results

A lot of people have been asking about how the final competition in Scotland turned out. As you’ll recall, we had a match play game against each person on the trip each day… well most of the days. It got a little confusing on the days when some of the group got to play the Old Course so we didn’t keep track on those 3 days.

By the end, we had competed on 8 courses with 7 matches each day, except for me; I did the sightseeing thing and missed Turnberry Kintyre. So most of the group had 55 total matches. We played each match with full handicaps and each match was for 18 holes… none of this front/back/total stuff… just total.

Courses included in the competition were:

  1. Royal Lytham and St. Annes
  2. Royal Liverpool
  3. Royal Birkdale
  4. Royal Troon
  5. Prestwick
  6. Turnberry Kintyre
  7. Turnberry Ailsa
  8. Carnoustie

Click on any of the names above and it will take you to the course web site.

A total of 217 matches were played during these days. One of the amazing statistics is that 41 of those matches were either a tie or decided by one hole. That’s nearly 20%.

Rick was hands down the overall victor, with 43 wins and just 8 losses. Pretty amazing when you consider the courses and the rest of the field! He played really well as evidenced by his 24 gross skins (and I think all of them were birdies!)

Terry and I had great expectations after having battled to a first place tie during the Ireland trip. I wonder if we can use those winnings to offset our losses this time.

Final Scotland Competition Results

But as we all know, at the end of the day, it wasn’t so much about the competition as it was the camaraderie of playing with some great friends on some World Class courses and hoisting a pint with our fellow competitors at the end of each round. Experiences that will last us for years to come. Of course that’s easy for me to say… I lost.

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