Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wednesday Weigh-In 20131030

My quick and easy breakfast of almond butter on rye toast has been upsetting my stomach. I think I'm becoming intolerant of rye, now, because I've been feeling bloated after breakfast. Today, I tried almond butter on rice cakes and felt better.

I choose a brand of rye bread that has only rye flour, water, and salt, plus sourdough starter. There's gluten in it for sure, but no wheat. It used to work for me. I can switch to spelt bread next, or go back to my egg concoction.

Waist = 38.25"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wednesday Weigh-In 20131024

Much cooler weather has settled in to our area. Earlier in the week, the temperature would reach the mid 60s. Yesterday and today, the highs were about 45F.

Waist = 38.5"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Reactions to a Mystery Gift

Cranky Fibro Girl related a funny story regarding her parents' reaction to a surprise gift that she sent to them through Amazon.  She described the conversation that took place between them, which you can read here.
If my wife and were to get a surprise gift in a similar manner, here's how our hypothetical conversation would play out:

Wife (calling me at work): The package you ordered arrived.
Me: What package?
Wife: I don't know.  It's from
Me: I didn't order anything from
Wife: Well you must have ordered and forgot about it.  You want me to open it?
Me: No. I didn't order anything.   We won't be able to send it back if it's opened.
Wife: Are you sure you didn't order something and then forgot about it?  You know how forgetful you are.
Me: I'm not the one who's forgetful!  You're the one who's always forgetting things.
Wife: Well, whatever, it's here.  I can open it if you want.
Me: No, I need to check my account and my charge card first.

Me: Well, I didn't order anything, and there's no charge on my credit card.  It might be a gift.  You can open it if you want.  [Then, thinking it might from one of my very weird Internet friends...]  Hmmm, maybe don't open it.  It could be hoax or a bomb.

How would you react to an unexpected package?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wednesday Weigh-In 20131017

Again I tried to eat a Chicken of the Woods mushroom. This time I simmered it for at least 30 minutes. Nevertheless, I was left with bloating and loose stools. So I'm really disappointed. I love foraging, and finding good stuff for free. But this particular item doesn't love me.

Waist = 38.5"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Road to College

The folks on NPR are interviewing guests to talk about their college experiences.  The guests are those who were the first in their families to attend college.  It made me recall how I eventually started to take college classes and ultimately finish.

I was the youngest of three, and both my brother and sister went to college right after high school.  Yet my path to college was not so straightforward.  That's because my brother was disillusioned with college.

He was seven years older than me, so he got his B.A. degree in education before I  started to think about college.  He really wanted to be an artist, but he didn't think it would be a good career.  So he majored in education.  It wasn't until he started student teaching that he realized he didn't want to be a teacher.

One problem was that the student teaching program involved both teaching and observing.  Each student was paired with another.  While one taught, the other observed.  The observer was also tasked with providing an evaluation of his student teacher partner.  Well, the evaluation that my brother wrote of his partner was honest and fair, which got the partner angry.  "I gave you a good evaluation, why didn't you give me a good one, too!" was the complaint.  Yet he finished the program.

He decided to pursue a career in commercial art, specifically drafting.  He attended a technical school for several months and got a job right away as a drafter.  He could have gotten the same job four years earlier had he skipped college and went to the technical school right after high school.

So that's what I did.  I had no desire to commit to any kind of career when I was close to completing high school. I put off going to college by instead enrolling in a nine-month technical school for certification as an electronic technician. This was 1981, when electronics was booming and demand for technicians was high.  I got a job right away as an engineering aide in the R&D department of an innovative medical device company.

We were doing very interesting "cutting edge" work, but I felt under utilized.  They had me "breadboarding" prototypes most of the time.  I'd fend off the tedium of that manual labor by understanding the designs I was building and sometimes noticing a mistake.  Occasionally I was allowed to design something.

The VP of the department encouraged me to take college classes part time to pursue an engineering degree.  I was ready, so I soaked up the Calculus and Physics courses with relish.  I tolerated the Chemistry courses.  I was still living at home with mom and dad, so I had plenty of time and money for school.

After I completed two full years' worth of college at the local state university, I left with an A.S. degree (Associates of Science) in engineering, and I transferred to a university that specialized in science and engineering. I enrolled as a full time student and received ample scholarship funds, too.  I completed the program in two years, and I worked over the summers as a designer of printed circuit boards.

The intensity of each school year wore me down, and I was glad to go back to an easy, slow-paced job in the summers.  (I took no vacation.)  But by the end of each summer, I'd be bored with the job and anxious to start school again.  So it worked out as a sort of perpetual, self-motivational cycle.

At the end of those two years, I had no clear idea of what to do next.  The US economy was in a downturn and engineers were in low demand (except for the foreign ones who could be hired on an H1-b visa).  Acting on the advice of a few professors, I took the GRE1 and applied to graduate school, just in case I got an offer I couldn't refuse.  But by this time, every topic in engineering seemed exceedingly dull -- I couldn't bear to even think about studying anything further.

So when a colleague of one of my professors invited me in for an interview at his (boring) company, I figured I'd go.  One thing led to another.  I relocated to take the job offer and I've been there (here) ever since.

So what was your educational experience like?

1 I did not study for the GRE.  I figured if I was meant to go to graduate school, I'd perform astoundingly well on the test regardless of any preparation.  As it turned out, my results were at about the 50th percentile for the engineering portion and within the top 10% for the English portion.  Most of my fellow test takers were Asian.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


The clever blog post you were hoping to read has been postponed due to the shutdown of the U.S. federal government. 

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wednesday Weigh-In 20131009

What goes up must come down. Right? I said, "Right?"

But I'm not really worried. Weight gain is supposed to happen at this time of year here in the Northern Hemisphere of this beautiful, blue-green planet.
Waist = 39.5"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dream: Black Honda Civic

After the blue bird flies off my finger I get the idea to ask Scott if he'd be interested in buying my car.  It's running really well, the "check engine" light has been off for a while, it's not leaking any fluids, and I just had bodywork done on the driver's side doors to repair the damage from a minor crash.  It's a great time to sell it.  The only problem is that I'd have to buy another car to replace it.  But I put that thought aside.

I ask TR whether he thinks Scott would want to buy it.  He says, "Maybe, why don't you ask him?"  He's nearby, so we walk toward him.  I start to detach the car key from the key ring thinking to offer to let him take it for a test drive.  (We're in the parking lot, and the car is nearby. )  But before we reach my car, we arrive at TR's new black Honda Civic.  He's eager to show off his car, so I accept his offer to show it to me.

He opens the car by some how lifting the entire body off the top, revealing two bucket seats.  He explains how storage space is limited to just the center console between the two seats, as well as compartments under the seats, which, at this point are small molded hard black plastic.

Dream: Blue Bird

I am standing outside with some guys from work.  During the conversation I notice a disturbance in the branches of a small nearby tree.  A large animal is moving.  It's a bird, large one.  Before I can call the other's attention to it, it leaves the tree and starts flying directly toward and over me.  And when it's directly overhead it stops and hovers.  It's pale blue.  I point to it, and then I withdraw my finger because everyone sees it.  But TR who's nearest to me encourages me to leave my finger up.  So I do.

Amazingly the bird descends and lands on my right index finger.  But at this point it's not much bigger than a large hummingbird.  It has a beak, and the top of its head and back are a more intense hue of blue.  I make gentle cooing baby sounds at it and say things like, "Hi cutie!"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wednesday Weigh-In 20131002

Not sure what the sudden weight gain and increase in waist size is due to. Two pounds and one inch is uncharacteristically extreme! Perhaps it was:
  • The package of bacon I ate on Sunday and Monday
  • The bowls of lentil soup I ate on Monday and Tuesday
  • The potato chips that I continue to eat after supper
  • The bag of Rice Chips I ate on Monday and Tuesday
  • Too much pizza on Friday (without the crust)
  • Eating a banana and drinking coffee before breakfast

Waist = 39.0"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.