Germany 9/24-9/30/15

30 Sep

Hi everyone.  After a heavy fondue dinner in Winterthur, Switzerland last night we all crashed hard about 7pm.  Which has me up and awake at 3am, so I figure it’s a good time to catch you up on our travels.  All pictures can be found over at my Facebook page if you’re interested at https://www.facebook.com/Brentallica

Ok….where were we.  Heading to see the Nazi museum in Nuremburg last Thursday (maybe it was Friday).  Holy cow!  It’s been a week?  I don’t know if I can remember all we’ve seen, done, and stayed, but I’ll give you the short and sweet.  Moreso, so I can look at this years down the road and remember where I’ve been. 🙂

Friday, 9/25 – I think this happened Friday – Day touring the Nazi museum in Nuremburg which was really fascinating.  It didn’t really focus on the war, or the anti-semitism and horrors of concentration camps, but more of the rise of the Nazi’s power and then the actual facility itself which was to built originally kind of as a massive 11 sq km complex as a headquarters and showplace with huge halls, parade grounds, stadiums, you name it.  Huge rally’s were held here and brought people from all over Germany to attend.  The complex was never completed as all construction ended at the beginning of WW2 and was never completed.  After that we found a laundry mat and after a week in country it was nice to catch up on all clean clothes!  All in all, a very interesting day.  Slept back in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Saturday, 9/26 – Awoke in Rothenburg and as we hadn’t seen much of the adorable little German town (which is like the German version of Leavenworth).  I know that sounds wierd, but it truly is.  The town itself is remarkably intact from how it was 1000 years ago I understand.  Completely surrounded by walls which you can still get up on and walk around a good part of the small old town part of the city.  It’s old world charm, cobblestone streets, 1/2 timbered buildings/homes, shopes, cafes, hotels…..it’s really very touristy and mostly foreigners visiting.  A tourist hot spot.  Making it more of a Leavenworth in my eyes, but still great to see and get an idea that as much as things change, they stay the same.  It is beautiful.  It’s the little cute medevil city you see in every snow globe.  Pretty perfect in every way.  We also took a visit to the Criminal Museum in town.  While not the greatest museum, it did have a lot of exhibts that dealt with criminal punishment in old world Rothenburg and covered it quite in depth.  A good deal of it was in English.  The way crimes were brought forth, the criminal prosecution and how that was handled, and ultimately a good deal of it dealt with the punishments, and tortures used to get someone to confess.  I imagine a lot of innocent people endured a lot of pain to the point it was easier to admit guilt just to get the torture to stop.  Gruesome, but interesting.  Headed back on the road south after this and wound up spending the night in Krumbach.  While there wasn’t anything particular interesting about Krumbach, other than it seemed a good stopping point, we did have a nice stay.

Sunday, 9/27 – Got into Stuttgart in the early afternoon and headed off to Cannstatter Volksfest which is a 2-3 week festival/party that is held annually in Stuttgart.  I learned this is the equivalent of the Munich Oktoberfest.  Imagine a gigantic Puyallup Fair with a lot of beer.  There were thousands of people, more carnival rides than I’ve ever seen in one place by far, food vendors everywhere and then there were….beer tents.  This was my first time.  We walked in to a tent we figured easily had 2000-2500 people, many of them dressed in the traditional laddenhosen (sp?) drinking and partying and having an all around great time.  We found a table and tried to take it what was going on around us and try to feel a part of it.  At first, you’re clearly an outsider, however, as the beers go down (and they did), you find yourself getting into it and feeing more comfortable.  People start toasting your glass and you go with the flow.  Lots of singing, clapping, standing on benches, singing more, ordering beers…..we’re not really totally sure what happened after that as all our stories sort of conflict and not everyone in our group could remember the evening the next day.  Let’s just say we know we had a great time looking through our pictures the next day.  We figured we must’ve been in the beer tent 4-5 hours and have no idea how we were there that long.  We were able to find our exceptional hotel room (another nod to booking.com) and were all excited at 10:30p that we could listen to the Seahawks game which was starting back home.  By 10:45p, I think we were all fast asleep, but were excited to find out we beat the Bears 26-0 the next morning.

Monday, 9/28 – Figured we were so close, we couldn’t pass up a side trip to France, so we headed just over the border to Straussbourg, France and found a place for the night.  After a parking garage adventure in the scariest parking garage on earth, we dropped our bags in our room and headed out to explore the old town here.  Wound up finding the central plaza and another huge, beautiful cathedral (Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg) and admiring.  To me, while very beautiful and a look into the past, they do start to look and feel very similar.  They had a cheezy little tourist tram that drove you through and around the old town area at the speed of an 85-year old man on crutches, but it was a good overview.  Afterwards we pretty much repeated the same route, but on foot.  The area that really stood out to me was called Petite France (or little France).  Right out of any postcard you’ve ever seen and probably one of the coolest, most quaint, little areas I can every remember visiting.  It was spectacular to just sit at an outside care, watch the people passing by, and take it all in.  I enjoyed a beer, but my mates all insisted on wine.  We were in France so it was a must.  Situated on a little canal, it was simply spectacular.  The French gelato is also a spectacle in it’s own right.  Absolutely delicious.  And in my opinion, the majority of the French people we came across didn’t seem to really like us.  Just an observation.  I have no idea if it’s true, but they do seem to come off very snooty.  The staff at our hotel and our dinner waiter were just kind of “dicky”.  I still haven’t decided if it’s true that French people hate Americans, but in my short visit and experience, I can see where that belief comes from.

Tuesday, 9/29 – Headed back to Germany and stopped at the Friedrichsbad Irish-Roman bath.  We knew about this place before our travels.  Built in 1877 and catering only to the super rich (Baden-Baden is know as a “spa” town), it was the top spot back in it’s day if you wanted to be clean and pampered.  It retains a lot of it’s heritage today and for $40 you too can experience showering with your friends.  All nude.  Co-ed.  Now, it’s not exactly the Roman orgy, you may picture.  In fact, there’s nothing sexual about it at all.  It’s simply about well being and a series of steps (17 to be exact) you complete, in order, to get the full experience.  There’s a lot of showering, soaking in pools of various temperatures, sitting in air baths of warm to hot air, sitting in steam rooms of varying degrees, and my favorite, laying on a marble table, buck ass naked, face up, while a man scrubs you down with soap and a soft brush.  It was actually wonderful, and I loved the entire experience and the whole day.  Michelle joined me in my enthusiasm for it.  Chuck seemed to be cool, and even Jimmy while probably not his favorite part of the trip had a good experience as well.  After literally about 1 minute, you completely forget you’re naked and just enjoy the whole thing.  It was a blast and I wish we had something like it at home.  I thought it was wonderfully relaxing and I don’t think I’ve ever been cleaner.  I tried to not poop for as long as possible afterwards because I wanted to stay so shiny and pristine.  (All good things must come to an end sadly.)

Back on the road south we stopped for a bit and a look around Frieburg.  Another huge Cathedral (Munsterplatz Frieburg), lots of shopping streets, restaurants, and cafes.  The most interesting thing is these little waterways that run alongside the streets.  I believe they are called Buchle….something like that.  I wanted to go buy a little toy boat and sail it down one.  I’m sure they have some funtional, practical use, but I don’t know what that is.  It did provide a nice ambience and trickling water noise.  Probably would’ve sounded cooler at night and I can only imagine the hundreds of people (especially drunk ones) tripping in them later in the evening.

Now onto Switzerland.  In searching for nightly accomodation we learned quickly that Zurich was out of our price range.  A dump was $300 a night for meager, slim accomodation.  We don’t need much, but spending that much for nothing didn’t seem to be a good enough value so we settled at a hostel just outside Zurich in the town of Winterfell.  The place is an old factory that was refurbished in 2011 and is not only beautiful and spacious (but again remember it’s a hostel), but our room is big with very high ceilings.  It’s a winner and we’re all very comfortable.  We did not get in until 8pm so we found the Austrailian restaurant downstairs to have a few beers and unwind.  We quickly learned that Switzerland is expensive!!  $10 for a plate of french fries?  However, they were so good, and they give you a bottle of ketchup to enjoy, not a wimpy little packet or two.  Those were some grubbin fries.

Wednesday, 9/30 – We took the train from Winterthur into Zurich to explore for the day.  Switzerland is expensive.  Zurich is off the charts!  $8 for a large coffee?  $25 for a hamburger?  It was just off the charts.  We took a walking tour with our excellent guide Jonathan who took us through the old town area of Zurich which is very beautiful and very bustling.  It’s a big city, lots of people, everyone going about their days.  The day was brisk and cool and we had to walk in order to not freeze to death.  Saw a few of the sights in the inner city and walked up to a park which had a great overlook view down onto the city below which seems to stretch as far as you can see in every direction.  Had a walk about on our own down to the lakeshore, but on a cloudy almost foggy day, it was hard to see and get a good sense of the vast size.  The public transport is exceptional and after some quick study it was easy to find your way around on the numerous trams that go off above ground in every direction and run every few minutes.  All-in-all a very nice visit, but not kind on your wallet.

Heading back to Winterthur we were decided our mission was we needed to have fondue while we were here and went out in search.  Fondue is a lot harder to find here than you would think it should be.  We learned apparently, like many cultures, the Swiss, do not regularly eat “Swiss” food.  Fondue is something you’d only have a few times a year, generally served after a cold day of skiing.  We did finally find a very well-to-do restaurant that had it on the menu and it was the full experience, exactly what we were looking for.  And of course, it wasn’t cheap.  But our service and food was wonderful and none of us could hardly walk afterwards we were so full.  Bread, and boiled potatoes, and so….much…..cheese.  Mmmmm…..so good, but we all overate and then waddled back to our room.  Everyone needed to lay down after that meal for a good hour or two and then we planned to head out for a beer.

Fast forward to now, 5am, Thursday morning, 10/1 as I sit here and write this.  We never quite recovered and the gang is still upstairs asleep.  I think we were all fast asleep before 8pm so it is a good chance to catch up on some rest with our tummies way overfilled.

In a little bit, everyone will wake up and we’re jump in our car and head back to Germany where we have an apartment rented just outside Munich for the rest of our trip.  We stay 1 night in most places, and no more than 2, so I’m looking forward to actually getting to settle in to a place.  We’ll be in the same place now until next Wednesday, 10/7, when we fly home.  There are quite a few sights in Munich we have picked out to see, as well as a day planned at Oktoberfest.  There are also nearby day trips we plan to take down to Innsbruck, Austria, the Zugitsphere mountain, and we’re all still looking forward to doing a summer luge.  Can we get it all in?  I don’t know, but we’ll try.

You’re totally caught up now as I sign off for the day.  Will try to write more sooner.  xoxo

 

 

 

Germany – 9/22-9/24/15

25 Sep

Hi everyone – Still haven’t felt the inspiration to blog, but I don’t want to dissapoint my dozens of fans so I will do my best to find the words.  First off, maybe it’s not been as necessary to me to blog as Facebook seems to be the way to communicate quickly and share pictures back home.  I assume everyone reading this is Facebook friends with me, but if not, just send me an add request.  My Facebook is at https://www.facebook.com/Brentallica

So….the last I left you we were on the train to Dusseldorf.  We arrived safe and sound and booked accomodation in the city at a small hotel called AOK I think.  They seem to be a large chain as I’ve seen them everywhere.  Nothing special, but we then made our way about a mile and a half through the city (again nothing special) to the Altstadt which is the old town which was very cool.  However, it was also very miserable weather and just about everything was closed.  We walked along the promenade on the Rhein which was lined with Beer Gardens (Biergarten?) which are row after row of communal table meant for drinking and visting and general all around having funness.  We had a restaurant suggested to us by someone and we were able to find it easily and sat down to our first authentic German meal since being in country.  Sometimes the menus have an English translation, but sometimes they down and you just kind of wing it.  We’ve been able to figure it out so far and I think we’ve all gotten everything we “thought” we ordered.  The food is delicious and with the exception of a pizza I got back in Amsterdam, I’ve been all local in my food choices which I know will be surprising to some.  The greatest thing about the restaurant was the beer service.  There were constantly servers walking around with glasses of beer.  If there was no glass in front of you, or an empty glass, you got a beer.  We sat down and within literally 10 seconds, we all had beer in front of us.  That…..is awesome.  They tally how many you’ve drank on your coaster to keep track.  Pretty cool.  We finally learned when you don’t want anymore, you put the coaster on the top, but it was a nice lesson to learn six beers in.

Awoke on Wednesday and headed south towards Koln and visited the Koln Dom (or Cologne Cathedral) which is a spectacular Catholic Church on the edge of town.  Massive and beautiful and tourist crazy, but we were able to go inside and although I’m not a Catholic I felt the need to light a candle for my brother who left this world too soon.  I think the most impressive thing from this area in my mind were the photos of the bombed out Cologne from World War 2, but this huge religious monument was unscathed.  I suppose it’s a nod to the exceptional targeting abilities and advocates to the unwritten rules of war by our Allied Forces during WW2.  Really just remarkable photos.  I’m sure you can google them.  Don’t have the greatest bandwidth so I’m trying to just keep the pictures of everything on Facebook.

From Cologne we travelled south and found what we knew to be Rick Steve’s favorite German castle, Burg Eltz.  Owned by the Eltz family to this day from around 1000 years ago, it was a combination of 3 families (spurs of the Eltz) who built for about 500 years and would up with what is today, the castle.  The remarkable thing about this place is it was only attacked once, and for a very brief period so it has remained wonderfully intact and is today what it was for the last several hundred years.  It was decorated authentically for the different time periods and a real chance to walk through some medieval history.  Wonderful and beautiful place and definately wound up being a worthly stop.  Oh, and the Armory there was bad ass checking out all the ancient weaponry.  Totally far out.

Back on the road, a little further sound and we wound up in a town near Meinz, but I can’t recall.  I believe it was Russelheim or something.  Chuck had been in Meinz a week for work a year or two earlier and recalled a great German restuarant there.  We got back into Meinz and he was able to direct us right there.  Another fantastic place and pure German.  This was a brewery called Eins-something-burg.  I have to get better about writing things down.  As I mentioned we’ve been eating and drinking hearty German style.

We had a great hotel in Russelheim that we found on booking.com.  They’ve been our go-to source for accomodation on this trip and have found us great places at hostel costs.  Been really good to us so far so that’s their plug!  http://www.booking.com

Awoke yesterday, Thursday and decided to head a little further south to Heidelburg.  Visted the allstadt (which is now what I’ve learned is “old town” anywhere we go.  And “Zentrum” is town centre).  It’s very touristy and a walk through coblestone streets and very old building that are now shops, cafes, and whatnot.  Lots of tourists.  Lots of Americans.  The food and beer again continue to kick ass.  The walk through oldtown while beautiful was nothing spectacular you haven’t seen 100 times before and it’s funny I find my self thinking of Disney and Universal Studios and places like that.  It almost seems like you’re at one of those places and you have to remind yourself this is the real deal.

So the highlight of Heidelburg for me was Heidelburg Castle which is called Schloss Heidelburg.  For 6 Euro you ride an inclinator up the side of the mountain out of old town up to the castle.  If you saw the climb, 6 Euros was well worth it.  A Euro is currently about $1.16US.  These little cars are built at what I’d guess is about a 45 degree angle to fit right on the track up the side.  So if you laid them flat on the ground, you’d be reclining if you sat in them.  However that would be pointless as the floor would also be at an angle so you couldn’t even walk in one.  Everything’s level on the ride up though I’m happy to report and we made it to the top and walked all through the ruined castle from the 16th century.  I believe when it was up and rolling.  It was massive and we walked through the nearby park grounds as well.  The views from the castle looking down over Heidelburg are exactly what you think of when you think of Germany with the town spread out below in all it’s grandeaur and a peaceful river running through.  Bridges, people, rooftops…..all very peaceful and serene and we stood at the top a good while just looking down and admiring.

After a good visit we turned inland and would up driving into Rothenburg ob der Tauber where we spent last night.  This city is the real deal from the year about 1000AD I guess and while different with cars and tourists and shops, I understand is remarkably the same as it’s been for 1000 years or so.  The city is all old, old buildings, coblestone streets and very Charles Dickensesque.  At least it seems that way to me.  I can only imagine this place with snow and it would be right out of the movies.  True old world and I have to remind myself again this is the real deal.

I’m sitting at the bottom of a coblestone street and see my travel mates emerging from their slumber ready to start the day.  Heading down the hill towards me.  I guess this is a perfect stopping point.  It’s Friday now and our plans have us daytripping into Nuremburg to visit the city and Nazi museum.  We’re all very excited to see it.

I certainly don’t mean to glorify or condone Nazism or anything like that, but I’ve always found the story and history of Nazi Germany interesting and their rise to a world power.  I know probably a little more than the average person and looking to learn more even if parts of it are horrific and terrifying.  The military force and how it was built in the time it was built I find a remarkable story.

Tshutse…..I think this is spelled right.  It’s pronouned almost like “juice” and is the informal word we know as “bye” 🙂

Germany 2015

22 Sep

Hi everybody –
Haven’t had a chance to blog yet. Haven’t really felt like it. Not sure why I don’t feel the inspiration, but I’m just not. BUT, I’ve been getting notes from home and my travelling partners as I think they want a shot to be famous in my travels so I guess I better get busy.
Have some downtime now as I’m sitting on a train travelling through the beautiful Netherlands countryside on my way to Dusseldorf Germany. The last few days have gone by quickly.
We left Seattle about 4:30pm on Saturday the 19th. And finally made it to Amsterdam about 1pm local time on Sunday. Only Chuck was able to sleep. BUT, we know the best strategy is to just immediately adjust to the local time and so we did.
My travelling partners this trip are Chuck, friends since high school and a bit of a general dipshit. Has travelled all over the world for work, but never actually seen anything or really gotten local. This is really his first time getting to vacation/travel in Europe. My buddy Jimmy who I’ve known 25 years, is an extensive world traveler, and even lived in Germany for a year and a half with his 8th wife. He’s on wife 9 now and seems pretty happy with her. And my old partner in crime, Michelle, who I’ve known since I was a little kid and my regular companion on these adventures and usually a co-pilot on a bar stool back home. My sista-from-another-mister. This is our 3rd Euro adventure together. Anyways, that’s my travel gang this time out.
So, we get into Amsterdam and immediately go the wrong way searching for our place we have booked for a couple nights. I thought I knew where I was going, and while I was heading the right direction, it did take us a bit to find the houseboat we were staying on. Happy to report, we finally did, and met our Captain Dawn, who was a gracious host and the houseboat was really great. Not the most spacious place, but we had enough room to move around and stow our gear. The toilets were weird, but I won’t go into that.  Staying on the boat was cool and I could feel the gentle rocking at night as I’d drift off to sleep.
We were all excited to see Amsterdam and the Red Light District, so we set out walking. And walking. And walking. We walked all over that first evening. Saw the lights. Saw the “coffee shops”. Saw the girls in the windows. Saw busy canals. Crossed many bridges. Enjoyed the building and narrow alleyways and nooks. Had a lovely dinner, although I don’t recall where. It was all … not overwhelming, but definitely an experience. Really cool just to stroll. I slept well and dreamt of Amsterdam all night, but I tell you when I woke up, I couldn’t remember what I was dreaming about. Honest. Just know it was about Amsterdam.
The next day, after everyone caught up on sleep, we had a grand day out. This time we set out towards the Anne Frank house, which I knew who Anne Frank was, but no real details. (I thought I knew who Anne Frank was…..I didn’t.) At first, I thought Anne Frank was Helen Keller, but I quickly learned that was the wrong story. One of my favorite things to do when travelling in Europe, or anywhere really, is to “walk in History”. That’s what I call it anyway. Be on the site, and walk in the steps where famous historical events have taken place. I just love it. So once I read the story of Anne Frank (while waiting in line 2 hours for tickets), I was really excited to get to take my walk through history. Absolutely fantastic tour, and museum, and a marvelous story, with a very sad ending. Just another month and the whole crew would’ve made it out as Amsterdam was liberated from the Nazis just a month or so after the Frank family and friends were rounded up and taken away. It inspired me to definitely read the Diary of Anne Frank which I will probably download on this trip and read on my kindle during down time. (Kindles, cell phones, portable wireless access points, it is so simple to travel here nowadays.)
After Anne, we needed to lift our spirits? So we eventually made our ways to the coffee shops, perused the menus, and uh, did as the Dutch do when Amsterdam, and every other tourist here (which there are a lot and a lot more Americans than I expected). It’s a great experience to see all the freedom and tolerance towards alternative “lifestyles”? The so-called “seedy” part of Amsterdam while different, didn’t seem so seedy to me. Everyone going about their lives enjoying their substance of choice, sitting at outside cafes, visiting, laughing, enjoying. The canals and boats passing by are wonderful to veg out to as well as some of the best people watching on the planet that I’ve seen. We just kind of absorbed and integrated into what was happening around us the rest of the afternoon and it was all really, really…..just great. I’ll tell you, I didn’t love the Red Light district like I expected to, but I did enjoy it very much. If I never come back, that’s fine, and if I come back again, great. I’ll look forward to it.
We wound up taking a canal cruise as well which was completely awesome. It was inexpensive, tolerant of any substances you may bring on board  and served drinks! That was a fun ride. Our tour boat captain educated us on the various buildings, districts, and histories and it was pretty groovy to cruise the waterways and go under all the bridges. Calming, relaxing, and very fun.
At dinner we discussed all the great things we had seen, only to find Chuck missed everything, literally everything, we learned on the cruise. He was busy taking selfies. As I mentioned earlier, he’s a bit of dipshit. We filled him in though on what he missed.
By about 9pm (we’d been out literally all day), we’d all had our fill. We made our way back to our houseboat and crashed hard. Those who couldn’t sleep the first night, did so the second, and we’re all perfectly integrated into the local time now. No jet lag at all.
And that brings us to right about now. Got up this morning and made our way to Amsterdam Central to catch the train to Dusseldorf. So, we’re all caught up! Love & kisses to those back home and will write more as soon as I can.
When we get to Dusseldorf, we have pretty much zero plans. We’re picking up a car at the railstation…..and that’s it. More to come…..Ta ta…..

The Journey – September 2014 Update

11 Sep

Hey hey – It’s been awhile. Thinking about a few things lately and felt the need to journal a bit.

As of the 4th of July week, I was down to 283lbs. Still as big as a whale, but a far cry from the 334lbs. I started at. 51lbs. if truth be told.

Well vacation week was fantastic and I denied myself nothing. I ate, drank, and was merry all the week long with the best of intentions to get back on track the day I got home. That day came….and subsequently went.

Since then, I’m been off and on with working out and eating right. I always seem to start the week out right w/pretty good eating habits and a Monday workout….usually. But then something comes up, or I’m too tired, or going out to dinner sounds good, or friends want to meet for drinks and it’s been too easy for the bad habits to creep back in. I haven’t been getting all the workouts in. 1 or 2 a week isn’t cutting it. Sometimes I haven’t made it at all. Free day Sunday, where I allow my self every guilt-free indulgence, has pretty much turned into Free Weekend. And sometimes, due to summer and vacation days, has turned into free 3.5-day weekends, etc.

What I’m getting at is I’ve ballooned back up to 299lbs. since I fell out of good habits. Well, anywyas, today is 9/11 (ugh, I know….terrible memories), and this week I got myself recommitted to a healthier lifestyle again. I’m glad I didn’t fall too far from grace, but if I don’t recommit, I know I’ll be right back where I started beginning of February. How depressing that thought seems. So F*ck It. I ain’t doin’ that.

What I noticed really the most, wasn’t the waistline growing again. That really hasn’t been that big of a deal. It’s the lack of energy. That energy level was just skyrocketing and I’ve been back to feeling like my old lethargic self.

I am pleased to report that this week I’ve ate right all week. I’ve been to the gym everyday. Monday wasn’t pleasant. Tuesday wasn’t much better. Today. I feel great! And ready to go. It really doesn’t take that much to get back on the wagon if you haven’t let yourself fall too far. The nice thing about being fat, is it falls off fast, especially when you’re just beginning and losing all that water. This is like beginning again and I’m already back down to 293lbs. It’s all water, I know, but before, just eating reasonably healthy, watching portions, and a modest 30-min a day at the gym, it was simple to lose 1-2lbs. every single week. It doesn’t seem like much, it doesn’t readily show, but that’s 50-100lbs. in a year! And that’s my kind of program and loss level.

Anyways, I’m back. New goal is to be under 283lbs. (my lowest weight I can remember in at least a decade and probably more) by my cruise in mid October. I’m even optomistic I can post a bathing suit photo. It still won’t be pretty, but it will be pretty good progress.

Peace & love to you all,
xoxoxo

The Jouney – Week 12 Conclusion

27 Apr

It’s over.  I finished my 12-week Body for Life challenge.  Feels pretty damn good.  All in all, I dropped 41 lbs., gained some good inches, lost some bad ones.  Some clothes are just too big now.  Clothes that were snug are loose, and I’ve found some old favorites I can fit into again (Colorado Avalanche jersey!)

Here’s the rest of what I summised from my experience.

  • I am looking more like the guy I feel like inside.  The guy I used to be before I got so fat.  And it’s good.  I’m much happier with my appearence than I was 12 weeks ago.  MUCH happier.
  • My energy level has doubled, trippled even for the most parts.  The weekends are not spent couching feeling guilty about all the things I want to be doing, or the chores I’m not getting to.  I have been making plans, happily attending, having energy, having fun, getting things done, trying new things.  It’s all been a great feeling turnaround.  I’ve maybe taken 3 naps in the last 12 weeks total.  Before I’d take 3 naps a day.
  • I am just a week or two away from donning my scuba gear and getting back into the water.  Just have to test it all and make sure everything’s still in good working order, and I’m going back.  Can’t wait.
  • Going to bed early and rising early has been great for me.  I pretty much close my eyes at 8pm and get up at 4am daily.  Only exception would be if I’ve been out late the night before.  I think the lesson here is ample, proper sleep.  Fortunately, I sleep very soundly and rarely have a problem going to sleep, but I was definately NOT getting enough before.  5 hours a night at best.  Where did I find the 3 hours?  TV?  Yup…I just had to let a lot of “my shows” go.  It didn’t kill me.  I’m still here.
  • Spinich is delicious.  I eat it about every single day.
  • I’ve made some positive changes to work habits due to feeling better and increased energy.  I don’t know many people who are passionate about their jobs and careers.  I know some, but honestly, most aren’t.  I used to be, but haven’t been in some time.  That passion for the work is coming back and it feels good.  My company and myself are benefiting from my lifestyle changes.
  • My family & friends tell me regularly how proud they are of me and how good I look.  It makes me happy.
  • Anyone can do what I do.  I spend about 4 hours a week at the gym over 6 days.  I train upper body and lower body over 3 days, and do 3 days of cardio.  I make getting to the gym a high priority every single day.  Before I get there, I have a plan on paper, with me.  I know what exercises or machines I’m going to use, how many sets and how many reps, and the amount of weight.   I don’t walk around lost doing this-or-that like I see so many people doing.  At the end of the workout, I evaluate it.  Could I have done more?  I make notes on that workout sheet and use them to plan the next workout always shooting for improvement, but never perfection.  The hardest part is simply getting on your workout clothes and going.  Honestly, it is.  And when you’re in regular routine, and form….it’s not even hard.  I even look forward to it.
  • Eating right was tough for me.  I’ve always been a picky eater my entire life and never ever consumed fruits & vegetables other than occasionally.  I eat fruit and vegetables every single day and enjoy them.  I eat a lot of chicken and lean beef.  I eat alot of healthy complex carbohydrates.  I don’t count any calories or anything.  I look at the size of my palm or my fist and that’s a portion.  One protein, one carb, and one serving of fruit or vegetable with most meals, 6 times a day.  It is hard to eat that often.  Honestly.  Before, I was always STARVING in the afternoons right about the time I’d leave work.  I’d come home snack on junk food and then have an unhealthy large dinner a couple few hours later.  That doesn’t work too well for me.  I cook a lot of food at once and put it in tupperware, and just heat it for lunches in the day.  I make my hotbreakfast every morning, and take a 2nd portion with me to work.  Again, not hard.  Just discipline and good habits.  I can’t remember the last time I “snacked”.  I haven’t felt hungry ever so I guess I just don’t think about it.  I used to be a HUGE snacker.
  • Here’s the best part.  If you screw up?  So what?  Nothing happens.  For whatever reason, you missed a workout.  You broke down and ate a cookie, etc.  Big deal.  Deal with it.  The best thing I’ve found is EVERY SINGLE TIME you open yours eyes each morning you get to begin again.  Do it better.  Learn from your mistakes.  The whole slate is wiped clean.  It truly is a new day.  As long as you’re fully committed to changing, it’s perfectly fine to fall down.  If you go into it half-assed, you’ll fail.  As long as you’re committed, just get up and charge forward.  Who cares?
  • On “cheat” day….don’t stuff it in to get as much bad delicious food into you as possible.  You’ll feel really shitty, your stomach has shrunk, and it will set you back a bit.  This is a day to enjoy the tastes you can’t have regularly anymore, but you still have to be reasonable about it.  Took me the first 4 weeks to learn this.  I’m a little slow.
  • I had one terrible week in Boise, ID working where it was high stress, long hours, and nothing was going right.  I missed a whole week of workouts.  But I was able to eat healthy.  I did the best that I could under the situation.  I took a week vacation and went on a long road-trip with my daughter.  Again, I missed a whole week of workouts.  Fortunately because it was vacation we were out-and-about being active everyday.  The places we were at also didn’t offer a bunch of healthy eating opportunities.  So I used portion control when I ate.  A hamburger and small order of fries fills my belly just fine.  There’s simply no need for bacon doublecheeseburger, large fry, and a milkshake.  In both those situations, I did “fall off the bike”.  But the good news was I was still right there on the path.  It was a little hard getting up and dusting my self off, but I got back on the bike and pedaled on.  When I was home, it was back to business as usual.  Those first few days in the gym were tough, but you fall right back into your groove.  If I would’ve fallen off the bike, and let myself roll down the hill…..that’s when it takes me 5 years to get back to a gym.  I simply can’t and won’t let that happen again.  Vacation and travel can KILL good habits.  Know it, accept it, and plan for it.  Don’t let it derail you.
  • DId I follow the Body for Life program word-for-word?  Nope.  But it was a great framework and reference tool.  I used most of it and adapted it for me.

So now, the 12-week program is over.  What do I do?  Nothing.

There is no more program….

Tonight, I’m going to go to bed at 8pm.  I’m going to get up at 4.  I’m going to get ready for work, make a couple breakfasts, pack a couple lunches, watch a little news and be out the door.  I’m going to go to work.  Kick ass.  Come home.  Go to the gym.  I’m going to eat healthy food.  And then do whatever I have going on in the evening.  I have two busy kids so it’s usually something with them.  Taking them, watching them, picking them up, whatever.  I have a lot of chores and To Dos on my list that shrinks and grows constantly.  Our family is always on the go and there’s somehting always going on it seems.  I volunteer with a few groups and have meetings or events here and there each month.  And on the weekends, I try to have as much fun as I possibly can.  That’s it.   I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve already been doing the last 12-weeks.  As far as I’m concerned, these are all just good new habits and I’ll continue to ingrain them into myself so it would feel unnatural to not do these things.

And it’s now time for some new goals!  And new plans!

Short term

  • Be down to 275lbs. by the 4th of July.  That’s 18 lbs as of yesterday.  Just under 11 weeks.  This should not be any problem provided I continue to eat properly and exercise.  I just have to continue what I’m already doing.
  • Get at least 2 dives in before the end of May.  All that’s stopping me is testing my gear and calling my dive buddy who’s been dying for me to go.  He just got a new GoPro camera with a waterproof housing so we’ll get some videos and post em here of the cool critters we find.  And videos of us picking up sea cucumbers and waving them around like wieners.  Juvinelle and idiotic.  Still funny.

Long term

  • Be down to 260lbs. by New Years Eve on my way to 220lbs.
  • Have a picture of me in a bathing suit on my Carribean vacation in October and not feel completely humiliated.  Normal humiliation level is just fine.
  • Fit on the rides at Universal Stuidos Orlando (Dec trip)  that I was too fat to ride a few years ago.  Nothing sucks more than watching your kids wave goodbye and meeting them at the exit with the other fat people.  That really, really sucks.
  • Earn my ITIL 2011 Foundation Certification (work thing) by the end of the year.

The Journey – Week 9 (and beyond) Musings

24 Apr

Monday, 3/31 – 2/3 of the way through the journey I started, but it’s really not that big of a deal to me.  I’ve decided after just a few weeks, this has to be for life.  I look forward to finishing the original challenge of 12-weeks, but I promise, week 13 will just be the same old thing.  Reinforcing good, new habits, developing new ones, eating right and exercising and just living.  Nothing more than that.  After missing just about every workout last week due to work, I woke up tired, and not feeling as great as usual.  I was pretty good on free day yesterday.  I didn’t eat healthy, but I didn’t overeat, which I had been doing.  Trying to “get it in” just because it was free day, wasn’t too smart.  And as I progress, I learn and improve.  Just about to head to the gym today and get back to habit.  Admitting I’m not exactly looking forward to it, but I know I’m going to feel great about it when I’m done.  That’s enough encouragement for me.

Wednesday, 4/2 – I am officially under 300 lbs.  299.6 to be exact.  That’s 35 down, and 80 to go.

Thursday, 4/3 – Lesson to self.  I have made attempts in the past to get healthier.  What has ultimately derailed me (if I even got started) was vacation, or time missed due to injury, illness, whatever.  I’ve never recovered and got back to being as fat as I always was eventually.  Last week, I was on the road working my ass off and literally did not have the time to exercise.  (However, I did have control over my eating and ate healthy for the most part, or kept the portion size in check.)  It was back to the gym this week, and I tell ya, I did not want to go on Monday, but I made myself.  I didn’t have a great workout, but it was good, and I noted on my plan I needed to work harder.  Tuesday came, and that’s cardio day.  Again, I didn’t really want to go, but I made myself and felt better for it.  Yesterday, was lower body workout, and I didn’t mind going.  I had an excellent workout and felt really great & strong.  Then I have to work late tonight, so I went to the gym early, and wanted to go, and had a kick-ass cardio workout.  Sweating my ass off as I type this as I’ve just come home.  I’m back.  I’m invigorated.  And I feel I’ve beaten the bad habit back that seems to knock me on my ass everytime.  If you don’t want to go to the gym, and you can, GO!!!  It always feels better afterwards and it’s easier to get back on track when you’re just off the path to better health and better living.  The longer you wait, before you know it, you’re back in the boondocks and have lost your way.  I know.  I’ve done it many times.  I’m learning and getting better.

Thursday, 4/3 – Did anything ever good come from not working hard?  From just letting things happen?  Probably not much.  Unless you’re a trust-fund baby, or inherit a large sum of money, or the luckiest slot player alive, I’m really doubting it.  Corporate CEOs, world class athletes, entrepenuers, busted their asses to get where they are.  Almost all of em anyways.  Who in the hell would think a pill would help you get in shape?  I hear the ads all the time.  NO EXERCISE!!  NO EXERCISE!!  Makes no sense.  It’s bullshit.  Sure, you might be able to lose weight, but you’re also losing muscle.  If you look like a pear or a watermelon, you’re only going to look like a smaller pear or watermelon.  If you want to transform your physique and stay in shape, there’s no other way to do it than hard work and putting down the fork.  It’s that simple and it’s very hard to do for a lot of people.  But if I can do it, I swear to God, anyone can do it.

<Look at this huge gap!!  I’ve been bad about my blogging>

Thursday, 4/24 – Well.  I guess I haven’t wrote anything in 3 weeks.  During that time I worked a lot and took a week long spontaneous trip with my daughter, The Fish.  Jumped in the car for a week (Spring Break) and got on the open road and made it up as we went.  She’s 11, so we headed for fun & sun and wound up in S. Califonia and ultimately Disneyland.  Had a ball.  Didn’t exercise ONCE!  But we were outdoors a lot!  Didn’t eat healthy (well maybe once)!  But I did keep my portion size in check.  Got home after a week vacation from everything.  I really tried to fall “off the grid” with everything and just focus on my daughter and fun.  It was great.  And when I got back home, I hadn’t done much damage to myself.  Up maybe 1.5 lbs.  It was a tad rough getting back in the saddle.  But I did it.  And I felt good about it.  And now this week…..situation normal.  Back and rollin.  Eatin’ right.  Gettin’ to the gym daily.  Getting proper sleep.  And I feel pretty great.  Big things going on at work that I’m excited about and feel I have the energy to take on new challenges.

Saturday will be the COMPLETION of my 12-week Body for Life Challenge.  I’ll post all my stats to recap how successful (or unsuccessful) I was on Saturday after I know.  But you know what….I don’t really care how it turns out “on paper”.  I feel I’ve changed and feel much better.  And it’s not over.  Monday is going to be just another day of “gettin it done”. The Journey is not over until my life is done…..I have a lot left to do.  And there’s massive room for improvement in all parts of my life.

Stay tuned.

Me at CornDog Castle in Disneyland.  I'm still at fat bastard at heart.  Just not quite as fat this trip.  I'm gettin there, but couldn't pass up the best corn dogs on the planet.

Me at CornDog Castle in Disneyland. I’m still at fat bastard at heart. Just not quite as fat this trip. I’m gettin there, but couldn’t pass up the best corn dogs on the planet.

 

 

Nice to have an extra driver today!

8 Apr

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Good Morning

8 Apr

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Disneyland!  Hat & autograph book.  $40 in the hole like that! 🙂

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Fun Day L.A.

7 Apr

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Conan & I shootin the shit

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Spiderfish!

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Eye opening experience in Hollywood

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Tippy Ki Ayyyy

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Master Chef!

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Put it in the hole dipshit

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42!

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So…I hear ya only have ONE ball?

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Madonna loves me.

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The King of Pop and the Queen of Nerd

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Hee hee 

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Getting jiggy wit it.

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Fish T.

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Two Diaz’s.  I’ll take the big one.

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No no no Q.  This is what we should do.

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CUT!

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Boldly going where a million assholes have sat before….

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Life is like a box of BLOW ME!

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Clowning around with Hannibal.  He’s hilarious!!

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My idol.  Bobby D.

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Talking shop with The Don.

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Hi!

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Oh behave!

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Brangellina adopt another one.

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Let’s Dance!

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All the single ladies.

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4:20.  On the dot.  Pimps up.  Hos down.

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Brit Brit

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What’s happenin baby?

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Hollywood sign WAY behind us

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Fun day in Santa Cruz

6 Apr

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