Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The New England Shuffle

The school year unofficially starts tomorrow as our family begins the road trip up to Massachusetts to drop Offspring #2 off at college. I'll be happy because he graciously volunteered to drive the first leg of the trip, allowing me to settle in with a nice hot cup of coffee and a brand new book that I picked up yesterday.

We'll have a little bit of time to squeeze in some exploring in between the last minute shopping, making sure all the financial aid is straightened out, and the big move in on Saturday morning. By the time we leave for home on Sunday, Mom will have shed a tear or two as her baby leaves the nest, even if it is only temporary for now.

I think the highlight of the year for me will be the retirement of the Mom & Dad Taxi and Limousine Service. It served its clientèle well over the years, but its customer base either moved out of the service area or found other modes of transportation. Not to worry though. Business at The First National Bank of Mom and Dad is still going strong, especially with the new branch opening up in Massachusetts.

Oh yeah, before I forget - I also did some push ups this week. On Monday I repeated Day One of Week Four with the exact same results as the first time: sets of 27, 20, 20, 17 and 41 reps. Today I knocked out Day Two with sets of 27, 21, 21, 18 and 30 (25 min.). I'm hoping to be able to complete Week Four while I'm on the road. I'll let you know how it went the next time I check in.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Fatal Flaw

I think I've discovered a fatal flaw in the Hundred Push Up challenge that I've been participating in. Once I tell you about this flaw, I believe that you'll agree with me regarding the magnitude of the flaw and how it puts a serious dent in anyone's ability to complete the challenge.

It seems that in order to complete the challenge properly, you have to remember to do the push ups!!!

Sheesh! I was scheduled to do Day Two of Week Four on Friday, but I plain old forgot to do them. While it's true that I've been preoccupied with a few things including my new toy, which I'll get to in a moment, I really should have been able to remember to knock them out.

In order to get back on track, I've decided to just start Week Four over again, beginning tomorrow. I'll have a challenge towards the end of the week since we'll be on the road, but I'm going to do my best to get those push ups done.

Now on to my new toy. I have an old point and shoot digital camera that I received as a gift a while back. It was ok, but lacked a few features for taking the kinds of pictures that I like to take. This camera finally started acting up, and with our road trip coming up this week, I decided to upgrade.

I now have a Fujifilm FinePix S700 digital camera. It's definitely a step up from my last camera and even though I haven't had a chance to play with it too much yet, I'm happy with it so far. I'll be sure to post some samples after we get back from Massachusetts next week.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Crazy Days And Crazy Nights

I feel as though summer is still ramping up, but all the signs are telling me otherwise. The NFL has started its pre-season, the Back to School sales have begun and most noticeably, the sun has been setting earlier each day. Sadly, this year has been so crazy that I really haven't had a chance to kick back and enjoy as many of the things that I like to do during the summer months.

Right now, Back To School mode is in full swing here in South Jersey. Our nurse-in-training has decided to live at home instead of on campus this year, so we wound up buying another vehicle for her commute. Her brother will be living on campus though, since a round-trip commute of 1000 miles is a little excessive.

Needless to say, a road trip is in store in my very near future. Aside from the certain confusion of trying to move hundreds of freshmen into the dorms on move-in day, it should be a nice diversion. He'll be rooming with one of his buddies from high school, so both families will be making the trip. We also are leaving a little early to allow for a leisurely ride up as well as a little exploring, which will include a night out for dinner in Boston. As long as everything goes smoothly, it should make up for at least some of hectic pace this summer.


I (barely) managed to finish Week Three, Day Three of the Hundred Push Up challenge on Monday and Began Week Four today. Day One of Week Four eases up a little from the last day of Week Three. The required sets included reps of 27, 20, 20, 17, and 27+ push ups. I actually fell comfortable during the entire routine and was able to explode with 41 reps during the last set!

You don't have to worry about me getting cocky, though. I took a peek at weeks Five and Six and honestly, they look like killers! I'll be lucky if I only have to repeat half of the days. In the mean time, I feel good about my progress so far, so I'll take it.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Getting My Butt Kicked

After failing Week Three, Day One of the Hundred Push Up challenge back on August 4th, I was successful in completing Day One on my next attempt two days later. I even managed to get 27 reps in on the last set, two more that the required 25.

I was scheduled to attempt Day Two yesterday but stuff got in the way, so I got down to business earlier this morning. The required sets of 27, 19, 19, 15 and 25+ reps were the toughest I've faced yet. By the middle of the second set of 19 I was really starting to feel it in my arms and it took all of my concentration to push my way through the last set, but I did it, even taking one more push up to the end of the last set.

It still took a while to recover from the effort, though. I imagine that is why it's called a workout. The upside is that I'm really beginning to feel and see results in my shoulders and upper arms. Who knew I had muscles there?

I've also been doing fairly well on the clean eating front, although last night I succumbed to the siren song of pizza. Unfortunately it wasn't even good pizza from the local shop. Because the local place is closed for vacation this week, the more indiscriminate diners in the house voted for pizza from the Hut. I ate it anyway. Eh.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Missed It By That Much...

I started Week Three of the Hundred Push Up Challenge today and came very close to completing the required sets. Day One asks you to complete sets of 25, 17, 17, 15 and 25+ push ups. Unfortunately I came up just 3 reps short in the last set, managing to complete only 22 push ups before my arms gave out.

My plan is to continue to attempt Day One of Week Three until it's done, then continue from there. It sounds like a reasonable plan of attack for now. In the mean time, I need to cut this post short so that I can attend to some items on my "honey-do" list before I turn in for the night. I've been living the bachelor's life while everyone else in the house has gone to the shore for a few days and need to make sure I don't leave any incriminating evidence in plain view...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

On A Roll (Just Not Eating It)

On Thursday I wrote that I was ready to start making better choices in order to avoid returning to my old eating habits. The plan was to make Thursday a day free of processed foods. How did I do? I wasn't perfect, if that's what you want to know. My only deviation from the plan was when my wife and daughter ordered fried mozzarella sticks at the restaurant we visited for dinner and I gave in.

Friday was a slightly better day in that my only transgressions were bread related: an English muffin at breakfast and croutons in my lunchtime salad. Nothing to really get concerned about.

So far, so good today. Just one slice of bread so far and dinner plans for tonight don't look like they should pose any problems at all.

I think that avoiding processed foods and substituting them with real foods is actually going to be the difference in whether or not I'll actually be able to maintain a healthy weight in the long run. When I'm eating real, whole foods I find that I don't miss the most of the foods I'm trying to avoid unless they're right in front of me.

It's not always a struggle that I win, but as long as I'm trying, I should do just fine.

Push Up Update

I'm sailing right along with the Hundred Push Up Challenge. Yesterday I completed Day Three of Week Two with sets of 15, 15, 12, 12 and 30. Today I did the exhaustion test scheduled for the end of Week Two, completing 36 good form push ups. That will put me in the third column for Week Three, which looks like it will be a killer. I'll be sure to keep you all posted.