Two Weeks Down…

So it has been two weeks… Down to 276, which is 16 pounds… not quite where I wanted to be, but I guess a pound a day isn’t bad… and it seems like it will be keep going at that level… I think that quite a bit of the first week was water, since my diet was very high in sodium (I salted pretty much everything…) and now I have virtually no sodium in my diet… In fact, the other day I got a bottle of V8 juice when I needed something in the afternoon, and it tasted horrible… and I used to put salt in V8 in the past…

Thanks to Ken and Becky, I found a new recipe for during the day…

2 tbsp Flax Seed (apparently has a bunch of good stuff in it…)
1 Apple

1 cup Soy Milk

1 cup Pomegranate Juice
3 leaves Kale
3 leaves Green Chard
3 leaves Red Chard
2 handfuls Spinach
2 cups frozen Blueberries
1 cup frozen Strawberries
2 tbsp of Agave (just to make it a bit sweeter…)
Cinnamon

Takes a bit to push it into the Vitamix, which is amazing since I would have thought that it would bog down or stall… but it takes anything that you can throw at it, and after 30 seconds or so, it is the consistency of mud… (and looks like it too… although I have had comments that it looks more like infant excretions…) But the taste is far better than anything I have made to date with that much green…

Hard to argue that it isn’t healthy… I am getting more raw green in one day than I did in a month before… maybe more… And I think that last week I might have been going through the detox more than the first week as I was somewhat tired during the day… But for the last few days I have been feeling great during the day, and not hungry at all… But then how could I be hungry consuming what by bulk would be around two heads of lettuce during the day…

So it seems to still be working, and it’s now so ingrained into my day that I hardly think about other food… (ok, when I had to pick up dinner at 5 Guys for the kids and Ann on Saturday, and had to pickup two large pepperoni pizzas for dinner on Sunday it wasn’t easy…) The coming weekend will be a bit harder, since I will be over at Lakehurst flying and we always go to dinner on Saturday and Sunday nights, but I’ve been doing this for two weeks, and I’m going to get to at least the month before eating any solid food…

Apple without Steve…

Yesterday when I heard that Steve Jobs was resigning as CEO of Apple, like so many others that have come to count that company to deliver products and services that make our day to day life with technology better, I started to think about what the future will hold… I’ve only been a Apple convert for a relatively short time (a few years…) but in that time I have come to count on his leadership of Apple to make my life better…

Then today, I got this article on a newsfeed, and it says it better than I could (gee, what a surprise…)

No, Apple Won’t Be the Same Without Steve Jobs

Pretty much sums up what I have been thinking… I also read an article with some of the best Steve quotes… Here are my favorites:

“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” [Speaking to John Scully, 1983]

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” [The Wall Street Journal, 1993]

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” [Stanford, 2005]

And the one that I think is my favorite…

“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.” [NBC Nightly News, 2006]

We can only hope that Apple will continue to be as brilliant as it has been in the past…

But we’ll miss Steve…

Progress…

280… 7 days… 13 pounds down…

It’s still working, and apparently at about the same rate… which makes sense, since I really don’t take in many calories, and I’m just as active as I was before… All good news, since it looks like I will be on track to hit the 250 goal in about a month… Labor Day weekend might be a bit difficult, since I will be in Lakehurst flying all day, and can’t really take the juicer with me and don’t know what the availability of juice will be over there… Not to say that going to dinner with the guys at an Italian restaurant will make things harder… but with this kind of progress, I really don’t want to fall back on that weekend… Guess I’ll just have to figure something out…

I’m really starting to feel much better now… Easier to get going in the morning, and my head is definitely clearer during the day… (some might say that wouldn’t have been that hard…) I’m also going to try this week to reduce the coffee intake… This morning I’m sipping instead of gulping a medium DD coffee… Might be the first time in a decade that I ordered a medium coffee… didn’t even know that they still sold that size… And I decided to change my drink during the day back to veggies, since the fruit seems to give me a sugar buzz which always seems to have a slight crash associated with it an hour later or so… so back to tomato juice based during the day…

Pretty easy to keep going with results like this…

One Week Down…

So today is a full week on nothing but juice… Amazingly, it hasn’t been that bad… Saturday was a bit difficult (with the anniversary party and having to look at mounds of barbecued pulled pork and chicken) and yesterday when Ann made dinner and I had to sit and watch her eat ravioli and spaghetti with sauce the temptation to eat was there, but on a daily basis for the last week I really haven’t missed solid food that much…

I have found over the last few days that I do get hungry at certain times during the day, and have to drink something… but I’ve gotten into a fairly solid routine of what and when, and just supplemented with commercial juice drinks as necessary… (yeah, I know they aren’t the best thing, but they fit in the model and make it easier… and if I feel I need something, I can get it in my system without too much hassle, or bringing gallons of juice with me to work…)

It will be interesting to see how much weight I have dropped in the last 7 days… Going to the gym tonight, which is where I do my weigh-ins, so I’ll see how much I have dropped… Definitely feeling much better, and even think that my concentration and focus are improved…

Juice Fast, Day 5…

Five days in now… still going strong… Just got back from breakfast with some friends, and didn’t really have a problem with watching them down pancakes, eggs, bacon, and other stuff… Although I had a 12 oz glass of tomato juice and the same size glass of orange juice (the tomato had so much salt in it that I almost couldn’t drink it…) and my bill was actually higher than everyone else…

My daily routine is getting set now… I get up in the morning, drink a glass of “Mean Green” (recipe from the documentary…) and take a thermos to work of my own concoction… Then at night, I make a fruit smoothie, and make everything for the next day… Takes about 15-20 minutes to make everything and clean everything up, and that is for a whole day… And if I feel the need, I get a few bottled drinks from the local Turkey Hill that are all fruit and veggies and look like they are pretty decent… Maybe not optimal, but not bad…

The drinks that I am making now are:

Mean Green

2 granny smith apples

4 stalks of celery

1 cucumber

2 large handfuls of kale

1/2 lemon

bit of ginger

During the Day

1 cup low sodium tomato juice

2 large tomatoes

1/2 green pepper

1/2 cucumber

1 handful of kale

lots of pepper and hot sauce

Fruit Smoothie

3 oranges

3 apples

1 cup soy milk

1/2 lemon

(sometimes some pears or peaches…)

Seems to be working…

New Diet…

Ok… after getting back from the cruise, I decided to go on a juice fast… Before I left, Ken came in one day and told me that I should watch a documentary that just came out on Neflix, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”… (pretty sure that there was some inference there, which was probably deserved… except for the sick part…) So I watched the documentary… It was well done, and made sense… So I went ahead and ordered a Vita-Mix 1300 TurboBlend 4500 and a Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor… figured that I might as well get something that would last, especially if I was going to take this seriously…

So when I got back on Saturday, it was off to the supermarket to get all of the veggies and fruit for a few days… Wow… First, the documentary was right that it is about $15 per day to do this… Second, it is a boatload of stuff… about 4 bags from the store… But whatever… if it works, it is worth it… So I got everything ready, unpacked the blender and juicer, and figured on starting the juice fast on Monday…

Monday came, and I started with a few recipes that I got from a couple of books that I read over my vacation… Learned a few things there… First, I hate beets… never did like them cooked, and surely don’t like them juiced… Second, apparently there are some things that you have to get used to… The lack of salt and other flavorings makes even tomatoes hard to take at first… But everyone that I read and talked to said you get used to it, so I pressed on… I weighed in on Monday at the gym at 293… (yeah, I really needed to do something…) The next few days were pretty good, and I really wasn’t hungry like I expected, nor did I have some of the symptoms that apparently some have… like being tired, flu-like symptoms, depressed, etc… Frankly, I felt perfectly fine… Wednesday night I weighed in again, and was at 286… Now I don’t expect that every three days, since I’m pretty sure that most of that was water due to the almost complete lack of sodium in my diet… But it does make it seem like it is working…

Things are going great, and my goal (for now…) is to do at least a month, and maybe two… If the other guys in the documentary are any indication of what I can expect, I should be able to get to my target weight of 200 in a few months… And hopefully be healthier at the same time… I have never had high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol, but I know that I needed to do something… So off we go…

Greek Cruise – Day Ten

Day 10 – Friday

The day started with the alarms going off at 4… Showers and final packing, triple checking drawers, checking for passports and other documents, and to the checkout at the gangway… Had our passports stamped, everything loaded onto the bus, and about 8 couples were headed to the airport… about a half hour trip to the airport, and then we got the bags sorted out and went through the first security check at the Istanbul airport… then to the baggage check in, where we got all of our boarding passes (some of the others only got the first one…) and had our passports looked at and scanned again… then down the hall (literally…) and through bag and body scan number two… then a long walk down to the gate and we sat outside the gate area, where there was security scan station number three… These were all luggage on scanner, laptops out, through a metal scanner stations… don’t know where they thought we were going to get anything along the way, but I guess it’s good to know they are careful… I had to explain to one of the security guys what my iPad stand was… he sort of thought it could be a weapon… Time passed pretty quickly and soon we were on the plane… Turkish Airways… Needless to say I wasn’t expecting much, but other than the fact that the guy in front of me almost immediately reclined his seat and my knees were in my face the rest of the time, the service and food on the plane were great… Now one interesting point… we get scanned three times for weapons, get on the plane, and right away the pass out a meal with metal knives, forks, and spoons… far more dangerous than the iPad stand that was questioned, but whatever… And I have to hand it to Turkish Airways on two other counts… One is that I can’t remember the last time that I had a meal (that was actually edible…) on a 2.5 hour flight… and Two (and at least as important…) it was the first flight that I have been on in years where the stewardesses were all actually attractive, young, and slim… Turkish Airways… who would have thought…?

Landed in Munich right on time, and it is a really nice modern airport… as opposed to the Istanbul one, which is sort of a mess and not labeled that well, at least for non-Turkish folk… Got our passports checked when we got off the plane, and then the first (you can probably guess that there was more than one…) scan of everything about 100 feet later… Guess they thought that we might have picked something up on the plane that we didn’t use… Then a long walk through the shopping district in the Munich airport, and down to our gate area, and (of course…) full scan number two… And the security guard there picked up on the iPad stand also and needed it to be explained… although he got it pretty quick… Either all of the US airports know what it is when they see it in the scanner (doubtful…) or they just don’t give a crap… (more likely…) Then a short walk, another passport check and a bunch of questions (do you have any weapons, anything illegal with you, stuff like that that of course someone that is going to do harm would just have to say “damn, you caught me… I give up…”) and finally to the gate… Passed the time talking to Bob, the Cooper regional BDM from the western region, and then they started to board…

The plane was an Airbus 330… We had seats right in front of the wing, and I really wasn’t looking forward to the flight, since the one over on US Airways was cramped, hot, and pretty miserable… but this was way different… The seats were much larger, very comfortable, and each had a screen on the back that you could choose from a whole bunch of movies, tv shows, or some other stuff… very modern and looked almost new… If I fly overseas again, I’ll be checking to see what kind of plane, and this isn’t bad…

The 9.5 hours to Philadelphia went by fairly quick… The plane had small monitors on the back of all of the seats, and a great selection of movies and tv shows to pick from… After a nice lunch, I watched Soul Surfer, The Lincoln Lawyer, and a few tv shows from the list (and they didn’t cost a thing…) and then finally watched The Company Men that I had rented on my iPad… Landed on time in Philadelphia, and getting through customs and security (for the umteenth time in one day…) went fine and then a shuttle to the gate for the puddle jumper back to Harrisburg… A 20 minute flight later and we were finally home… Only problem was that my checked on suitcase never made it… Ann’s did, but somehow, after getting the bag from Istanbul to Munich to Philadelphia, our home team at the Philadelphia airport somehow screwed it up and it never made it to Harrisburg… Not a huge problem, since it didn’t have anything in that I needed that night… (they did get it to the house by noon on Saturday…)

Got home, and forced myself to stay up until about 10 (which was basically 24 hours from when we got up in the morning…) and then pretty much collapsed…

What a great trip… Better than I expected on all counts, and I can’t believe that I am actually looking forward to doing something like this again… (anyone who knows me understands that…) But it is good to be back home with the kids, and it will be good to get back to work on Monday…

Greek Cruise – Day Nine

Day 9 – Thursday

It was very stormy during the night, and even though our tour wasn’t going out until 1:30 in the afternoon, I had talked to Chris last night and wanted to get together and talk, and he suggested 7:30 so I sat my alarm for 7 and got up then… When I woke up, it was raining outside (the first time during the trip…) and it was very rocky on the boat… so much that the shower door kept sliding open and shut and the water was sloshing all over the place on the floor…

Anyway, got dressed and met Chris in La Veranda for breakfast, which actually turned out to be only coffee and juice for the next two hours… Great talk, and after I went down to the room where Ann had her breakfast that she had ordered through room service (which is what I should have done…) so I threw a load of laundry in and went up to get some actual food… Then after I got back to the cabin, we just sat around for the next few hours and relaxed, watched a movie and some shows, and then around 1 started to get ready to go on the trip to Istanbul…

The day started out by going to the Blue Mosque… When we got down to the meeting area for the trip, some friends mentioned that Ann had on shorts above the knee and that I had on shorts… We forgot to read everything, and the rules of the mosque were that women have to have shoulders covered, a skirt to the ankles, and men can’t wear shorts… So we ran back up to the cabin, and Ann put on the longest skirt she had (without going to a dinner dress…) and got a rain jacket to take along (since it was a rainy day…) and I changed into khakis and a better shirt for the day… which didn’t bother me since it was actually a bit cool out with the overcast day and the rain… We got on the bus, and took a short (distance) but long (time) ride through Istanbul to the mosque… Traffic in Istanbul is as bad as anything I have seen… Like Greece, traffic lights seem to be totally optional, and I couldn’t believe some of the places that the driver got the bus into and through… Finally got to the mosque, and even though Ann had a skirt below the knees, they gave all of the women coverings to act like a skirt to go to the ground… Everyone had to take off their shoes and put them into a bag, and then we entered… The mosque was beautiful inside… I got quite a few pictures and it was one of the few places on the trip that I wished I had my Nikon along with some good lenses for pictures… the iPhone takes nice pictures, and I’m pretty sure that they will come out well, but getting closeup shots of the art on the walls would have been nice… then we went outside, put on our shoes and the women took off the skirt things, and we went to the Topaki Palace…

The palace tour was nice, and there were four rooms with all kinds of artifacts from the Sultan’s era, and a room with the Sultan’s clothing… Ann liked it more than I did, mostly since a) she likes things like that more than me… and b) there were huge diamonds, emeralds, and rubies there… Actually one of the things that surprised me quite a bit was the lack of faces on the gems, even the large ones… most looked more like they were tumble polished, and quite a few of the large ones were very uneven… And all of the vases, bowls, and other stuff that were covered with rubies and emeralds looked like they were covered by red and green glass blobs, instead of what I would have thought for jewels… But 80+ carat diamonds and emeralds are still impressive…

After about an hour and a half in the palace, we made a long walk back to the bus and then a bus ride to the Grand Bazaar… The traffic was horrendous this time (about 4:30 in the afternoon…) and we ate quite a bit of time up that we were supposed to have in the Grand Bazaar… finally got there and the guide gave us 1 hour until we had to meet for the drive back to the ship… It was about a 10 minute walk to the bazaar, so that left us only about a half hour to see 4000 shops and give us a buffer to get to the bus… First thing that you figured out is that if there were actually 4000 shops, there would have been hundreds that had the same exact stuff in them… Ann wanted to get a few scarves for friends, and there must have been 10 shops in a few hundred feet that looked like they had 90% the same merchandise… Which immediately make one suspicious of the “made in Turkey” claims and I’m figuring that they are more than likely made in China or some other Asian sweatshop like everything else and shipped in… Also the jewelry shops, all of which claim to have 18/20/24 carat gold, have to be in question since if that was actually true, and the value of gold being over $1700 an ounce, there would have been hundreds of millions in gold at the bazaar… and some of the shop owners really didn’t look like they could have backed a few million in gold… It was an experience that I’m glad we had, although I would seriously question anyone going there expecting to get anything of substantial value for a great price… I had one of the shop owners get downright pissed at me while Ann was looking for scarves… I was looking for a small travel bag (shaving bag…) and thought if I could find a leather one I might get it… found one that was pretty much exactly what I wanted, and very similar to one that I saw in Lancaster for $60… Asked what he wanted for it… 170 euro, which is over $250… I sort of laughed, and said not a chance… he then dropped immediately to 120 euro, and I said maybe half that… then he dropped to 85 euro, telling me he hadn’t sold anything so far today and I had the special half price first sale deal… I told him I understood why he hadn’t sold anything so far, and then he picked it up, started putting it in a bag, and putting it in my hand for 80 euro… when I told him $80, not 80 euro ($130) he got really mad, threw it down, and started spouting in Turkish… and nothing nice from the tone… I left and went over and found Ann and got 3 scarves for a few euro less than the guy wanted originally, but I really didn’t feel like pissing off another vendor…

Trying to get out we sort of got turned around and lost for a few minutes until we asked a guy where the main area was so we could get back… It was nice to know though that almost every leather coat dealer we walked by told us that they were they only store at the bazaar that had jackets for “a very large man like you (me)…” Good to know if I ever go back there…

Finally found our way out and down the street to the bus… The intersection is apparently one that all of the cruise busses pull up to to pick up shoppers, and the street vendors descend on you like flies… Scarves for 1 euro (best in town…), all kinds of perfumes, top brands, for a euro or two a bottle, all kinds of other crap, and my favorite, the “Genuine Fake” watches… After what seemed like forever, the bus finally got there, and I had a guy come up with a pair of watches (Gucci I think…)
for the low price of 30 euro… two steps toward the bus later the price was 15 euro, two more steps down to 10 euro (all the time telling him no…) and finally when on the steps of the bus (he was coming on with me…) the price hit 9 euro for the pair… I definitely have not seen anything like it before, and it was entertaining if nothing else…

Then a long (traffic was still bad…) ride to the ship, and we decided to not change and just go to dinner… Had yet another nice dinner, just Ann and I, and talked a bit before going back to the cabin and packing everything up for tomorrow… got everything packed up, (large bags were getting picked up around 11…) set a wake up call for 4 (bus leaves at 4:45 am) with a backup on the phone, and then just watched tv for until around 11 before going to bed… Ann had the door open around 10 or so and we got to hear all of the calls to prayer from the mosques… Got to give them credit… they are a religious bunch, and very devout… Tomorrow is all travel… about 20 hours of it… :)

Greek Cruise – Day Eight

Day 8 – Wednesday

Got up around 7 or so, and as is usual practice by now we went to the deck to get breakfast… The breakfast menu on this cruise is great… bagels and lox, all kinds of normal breakfast stuff, and lots of unusual breakfast items that make it different enough every day to keep it interesting… Anyway, we got on the bus to Ephesus, and arrived 30 minutes later or so… I was expecting the worst, since our guide from yesterday told us that it would be blistering hot and much worse than the yesterday… but when we got out of the bus, it really wasn’t that bad, especially in the shade… The other nice thing was that the bus drove to the top of the hill, instead of us having to climb yet another hill to see the tour…

Ephesus is pretty amazing… A huge archeological dig, said to be one of the largest in the world, and most of the ruins are very well preserved… A long walk down the path that historical figures from 2000 years ago walked, looking at the same things that they looked at is fairly awe inspiring… Okay, much more than fairly awe inspiring, and I was impressed by the ruins and the tour much more than I thought that I would be… I can’t imagine how magnificent it must have been when all of the columns, statues, streets, and buildings were new, and gleamed of polished white marble… We took a tour through a section that was uncovered of 4 residences on a hill, and the mosaics on the floors and tiling on the walls were amazing… Also, interesting was the fact that they had running water in the residences, as well as a sewer system for bathrooms (at least in this level of residence…) Then to the library, and the amphitheater, which was huge and held something like 30,000 if I remember what the guide said correctly…

We walked around a bit more, took a bunch of pictures, and then got back on the bus to go back to the port… Our guide (and this was unexpected…) took us into a rug shop, in which they proceeded to show us how the silk thread was made, how the rugs were woven, all which was extremely interesting… I don’t know if it will ever do much good, but at least I know what to look for in hand woven rugs, what the counts mean, and the difference between single and double knots… After the demonstrations, they started throwing out rugs of all types, sizes and designs… Yep, it was turning into a full-on sales presentation… Should have seen that coming… We hung around after a bit, and I was actually considering getting a rug for the living room, but Ann made the right decision and bagged the idea… it was time to leave anyway and we needed to get back to the boat… although the salesmen that had been working on us were a bit miffed that we walked out… The ship was leaving at 2:30 today, and I really didn’t want to be left in Turkey without any way to get to the next stop, and it was 2 at the time… The ship had a very long cruise tonight, and wouldn’t be getting into port until around 9:30 tomorrow morning…

Ok… back to the ship, and we grabbed lunch by the pool and Ann went to the pool to swim and (as was getting usual by now…) I went to the room to relax, catch up on the previous blog entries, and watch a movie… Then took the obligatory nap and got ready for the final Cooper cocktail party of the week… Had a nice talk with Greg and Nancy at the cocktail party, and then went off to dinner at the Compass Rose restaurant… First night eating there, and I had lobster and filet, which was very nice… Then to an early bed to get ready for the final touring day in Istanbul…