Monday, September 30, 2013

Big Springs

On Saturday Robyn and I took a walk into some happy memories and some beautiful nature.

Just over five years ago, we were engaged in a meadow about a half mile above Big Springs Park in Provo canyon.  It had been a few years since we had been there so we decided to hike up to our meadow and then head up even higher.

I remembered it being a very difficult hike to get to our meadow.  This time around we walked right past it and I asked Robyn if we had taken a wrong turn because the trail didn't look familiar.  She explained that was because we had already hiked further than we had ever been.  I was confused because we hadn't got to the hard part yet.  Apparently losing 60 pounds and walking every day makes you unable to detect the hard part.

Here are a few fun pictures from our adventure while hiking Big Springs.

Robyn looks phenomenally cute in the wilderness

My hair is in that awkward stage where it's too short to comb but too long to not comb.  I call this one, "Robyn takes a selfie with a crazy clown."

Entering the meadow where we were engaged.

Robyn standing in the spot where we were engaged.  (Or, at least withing a few feet of it.  It's hard to tell among the grass.)

It's important to kiss in the meadow where we were engaged.

The river was pretty, Robyn was pretty.  I call this one, "overload of pretty."

I love the fall colors, and the trail among the falling leaves.

Sometimes Robyn rocks out in the wilderness and love spews forth from her hands.

She's getting so skinny!  Little known fact:  I have lost more pounds than Robyn, but she has lost a larger percentage of her body weight.
As you can see, it was a super fantabulous hike.  I have to do lots more hiking if I'm going to be ready to climb to the top of Timp next year.

Friday, September 27, 2013

How To Eat a Brownie Without Eating a Brownie

The following is not good advice.  My wife claims that this kind of thinking is how I originally got to be 300 pounds.  I think this kind of thinking leads you down the path that rocks.

Have you ever had that experience where your wife makes a bunch of delicious unhealthy food for a friend or family member?  You know that feeling where you really need to eat some?

I had that feeling.  Robyn had made some brownies.  She put most of them on a plate to be taken and consumed by people that were not me.  Probably these people also hadn't set a goal to lose one third of their body weight.  Ah well, touché.

After she was done plating the brownies, there was a pan that looked like this:

It should be noted, there are 4 brownies in that pan.  

When I was done with it, it looked like this:

As you can see, there are still 4 brownies in the pan.
If there were 4 brownies when I started, and 4 when I was done, that means I ate zero brownies, amIright?

If I ate zero brownies, at approximately 200 calories per brownie, I ate zero calories.

Voila!  That's how you eat a brownie without eating a brownie.  You can thank me later.

When I explained this logic to Robyn, she wasn't impressed.  She told me that's how I got to be 300 pounds.  She was wrong, the old me would have made the pan look like this:

Or, more accurately, the old me would have demanded that she make a second pan just for me.  I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Get The Bugs!

The other night I was sleeping.  That shouldn't surprise you.  That's what I do at night.  I kind of like it.

Sometimes Robyn doesn't want me to sleep.  At least that's what I have to conclude.

Anyway, like I said, I was sleeping.  It was awesome.  Then the awesomeness stopped when I was woken abruptly.

Robyn (with urgency and conviction): "Jeff!  JEFF!  JEFF!"

I was tired and groggy.  Not sure what was going on.

Me:  "What do you need?"

Robyn:  "Get the bugs!  Get them!"

You're reading this right now, thinking, "Oh, she's talking in her sleep again."  You have the advantage of reading this from a perspective where you've been awake for more than 2 seconds and your brain is fully functional.  I, on the other hand, looked around in the darkness desperately trying to comprehend what was going on.

Me:  "What bugs?"

Robyn:  "I don't know.  I'm trying to sleep."

Crisis averted, I guess? That must have been one awesome dream.

Friday, September 20, 2013

On Drugs

I'm totally on drugs.  But I have a goal to be drug free, just like I learned in elementary school.

It all started about 6 months ago.  I hate going to the pharmacy. As such, I asked my doctor if there were a way for me to get my diabetes medication in large quantities, so that I could pick it up less often. My doctor, being the kind soul that he is, made sure to oblige. He gave me a prescription for a 3 month supply, which is 2 ginormous bottles of Metformin.

Then, a few months later, after I lost a bajillion pounds (bajillion is totally a number, in this case bajillion means 50)  and significantly lowered my blood sugar, he told me to cut the amount of medication I'm taking in half.

I continued on, taking my lower dosage, until the bottle I was using ran out.  I naturally called the pharmacy to refill my prescription and came home with 2 more ginormous bottles.

That's when Robyn informed me I still had a ginormous bottle that I hadn't used yet.

So my current "ginormous bottle of Metformin" count is up to 3.

I'm not sure why the newer bottles are taller, but they're all ginormous.
Before you decide that you should rush over to my house and steal my large drug stockpile, there are some things you should know.

1.  Stealing from me is not awesome.  We already went over that.
2.  Metformin isn't the type of drug you get high on.  You wouldn't enjoy it.  All it does is help lower your blood sugar.  I suppose if you took enough you might get some really cool shakes and perhaps a coma, but that's the most fun you'll be able to have.

I looked at all those pills and thought about how my kidney would probably appreciate it if I wasn't on drugs.  So I set a goal.

My goal is to never fill that prescription again.   Those 3 bottles should last me a good 9 months at my current dosage.  By then I should be under 200 pounds.  Hopefully, at that point I won't need diabetes medication.

Don't worry, I'll do what my doctor says.  If he says I still need it, I'll keep taking it.

But, I just want to be drug free.   I want to say no to drugs.  It's what the D.A.R.E. officer that visited my fifth grade class would have wanted.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sometimes I Get Robbed

Friday night, I mowed the lawn.  That was my first mistake.

My wife might disagree.  She may say that leaving the garage door open was the mistake. She's entitled to her opinion.  I say, it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't mowed the lawn.

Like I said, I mowed the lawn.  As you may have inferred, after I mowed the lawn, I failed to close the garage.

Another fun fact is that I also didn't lock my car.

The next morning Robyn and I got into the car and noticed a few strange things.

1.  Both the driver's side and passenger side doors were not shut tightly.
2.  Our glove compartment, and all other compartments were open.
3.  Random items that had no value but had been in compartments, such as Lifesavers and a water bottle were sitting on the seat.

When we first got in the car, Robyn asked, "Why did you put all this stuff on my seat?"

My response was, "I didn't.  Why did you open all the compartments?"

It turns out, she didn't do that either.

As we looked closer, we realized there were some things missing from the compartments.  Most notably, we had an old GPS device that hadn't been used since the purchase of our iPhones.  We also noticed that our car registration was missing from the glove compartment.

We then checked the trunk and noticed that our 72-hour-kit was missing.  It was just in a backpack, so they probably grabbed it without even looking inside.

So there you have it, someone wandered into our open garage, opened up our car and stole an outdated GPS, a piece of paper and some expired food.

When we talked to the cops, the biggest thing I was worried about was some form of identity theft with our car registration.  They assured us that our registration doesn't give them any information that they could use against us.  They hypothesized that the registration is some sort of trophy that they grab whenever they rob stuff from a car.

I can just picture the cute little teenagers perusing their "trophies".  They look at ours and reminisce.  "Jeff and Robyn, these people were great.  They had that GPS that I sold for 25 dollars on ebay.  They also had that great backpack.  Too bad it was full of food that was so old that it made me sick.  I sure loved that roll of toilet paper.  It was definitely worth risking getting arrested for that."

This is what I imagine the precious teenager will look like in a few years.

So, to that special teenager (I only assume it was a teenager because that was the cop's belief) I have one little message:

Dude, really?  Was it really worth it?  If you needed food, you could have knocked on my door.  I would have given you non-expired stuff.  If you needed toilet paper, we have plenty of that.  If you needed outdated electronics, I've got boxes full of junk my wife would love to get rid of.   If you wanted a piece of paper with my name, I'll give you an autograph free of charge.  I'm even willing to give you an autographed picture.  (I'm always good to my fans.)

But, hey, thanks for reminding me that we need fresher food in our 72 hour kit.  You may have made us feel icky and creeped out, but at least you helped us out there.   You can have the expired stuff.  When we're in an emergency, I'll have you to thank that the food bars are not made of iron.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Eye Doctor

I went to the eye doctor.

It was a new experience for me.  I've always had super good eye sight, so an optometriest has never been a necessary person for me to visit.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm sure they're all very nice people.  I don't have anything against them.  I'm not some sort of Anti-optite.  I've just never had a reason to visit before now.

However, there were two main reasons that caused me to make this visit at this time.

First, my primary care doctor has been bugging me to go.  It turns out there is something called "diabetic retinopathy."  It turns out that it's something you don't want to have.  It turns out that going blind is not awesome.  He wanted me to get checked out, to make sure I am avoiding all the not awesome things like going blind.

The second reason is that I've recently noticed that my right eye doesn't see as well as my left eye.

So, with those 2 reasons, I headed on over to the doctor.

The most important part of the story is that I got to wear these awesome shades.  If you understand nothing else from this post, understand that I looked awesome after my eyes were dilated, and I feared the light.  (Much like a gremlin.)
The good news is that, according to Back to the Future 2, everyone will be looking this awesome in 2 years.
After seeing how good I looked, feel free to continue.  If seeing my awesome shades is sufficient for you, I understand, you are not required to read on.

Before going to the eye doctor, I got to fill out all sorts of forms explaining my life to the finest detail.  It turns out that, in order to be able to tell if I see well, you need to know everything about my life.  Who knew?

After divulging all of my deepest, darkest secrets they took me into a little room and let me wear some head gear.

It's debatable whether I look more awesome with the head gear or with the shades.
Also, for those of you savvy enough to notice, I do in fact have different amounts of facial hair in those 2 pictures.  That is because I didn't actually take a selfie of myself in the headgear.  I took a picture of the headgear and photoshopped it onto a selfie of me from a few months ago.

I just feel so much better, now that I was honest with you.

The result of the headgear test was that I am 20/30 in my right eye due to astigmatism.  They claim I've probably had it my entire life and never noticed.  I don't think that explains why my vision has deteriorated recently, but whatevs.

After the head gear test, they had to dilate my eyes.  This allows them to peer deep into my soul and discern if I have diabetic retinopathy.  They first had to put a strange numbing agent on my eye.  It made my eye feel weird and puffy.  After that, they put the magic dilating solution in and left me alone for about 10 minutes.

It was the wierdest thing in the world.  I sat there, playing with my phone, and watching my vision get super blurry.

After I was sufficiently dilated, the doctor came back and peered into my soul as planned.  The verdict:  No diabetic retinopathy.  I'm not going blind.  Woot!

However, they did give me a prescription for glasses, to help with my 20/30 vision.  They said I don't need them if I don't want them.  But now I'm torn.  I miss my old perfect vision and I'd like to have it back, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to wear glasses.

I talked to Robyn about it.  It turns out she has 20/30 vision in one eye after her Lasik a few years ago.  For her that's fantastic, because she had something like 20/1,000,000 before.  For me, it's not so great.

What do you think?  Will I look distinguished with glasses?  I mean, I'm definitely getting Google Glass later on.  I may as well just add some lenses to that so I can have 20/20 vision while simultaneously tweeting and facebooking using only head gestures.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Salt Lake ComiCon 2013

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to bring my geekdom to a whole new level.

For the first time, in the history of the universe, Salt Lake City hosted a ComiCon.  For years, San Diego has been the Mecca where geeks gather together to commune and celebrate their mutual interests.  I've never been a Con going person, and therefore haven't made the pilgrimage to San Diego to partake of the annual event there, in fact I wasn't even going to attend in Salt Lake, even though it was only 30 miles from my house.

Luckily, one of Robyn's friends was inspired.  They had 2 tickets that they weren't using for Saturday.  I had never even met this friend, but apparently Robyn has said enough about me to make it clear that I am nerdy enough to go to something like this.  She called Robyn, and when Robyn asked if I wanted the tickets the answer was an emphatic, "Yes!"

I gave the second ticket to my little brother, Zack, and we were off.

When we first stepped into the Salt Palace, I looked around and saw so many great people.  Among them were Spider Man, Pikachu, and most importantly, Dr. Who.  Best of all, it wasn't just any Dr. Who, but my favorite Dr. Who, the one played by Tom Baker that always wore the hat and scarf.  That was the Dr. Who of my childhood.

I turned to Zack and said, "These are my people."

We only had a few hours at the Con, since we arrived late afternoon on the last day, but we sure packed it with some awesome stuff.

Here are just a few of the experiences we had.
Captain America let me hold his shield.  Or, more accurately, that nice girl behind me let me hold Captain America's shield.

Some estimates say there were as many as 50,000 people there.  It was fun to look down on them all from the second floor.

I met Darth Maul.  Nicest Sith you'll ever meet.

I met Saruman and Gandalf the Grey.

If someone asks if you're a god, you say, "Yes!"

Who's creepier, Zack or Gollum?

We met Lego Batman!

Yes, that Orc is murdering my brother.  Yes, I'm smiling about it.
This is Zack's good friend Sue.  Her Shy Guy costume was awesome.

I met R2D2.  Turns out she's a girl, and she looks way different in person.

We even got to see Stan Lee.  He made up some garbage about how his characters are fictional.
When we went into the auditorium, it was already full so they were ushering people into a second auditorium where they could still see Stan Lee on the big screen.  However, just as we were about to enter the second auditorium one of the workers stepped in front of us and said, "There are a few seats in the front."  He then proceeded to walk us to about 10 rows from the stage.  It was crazy!  I don't know how that happened, but I appreciated that they knew we were VIPs when they saw us.

I met Ursela the sea witch.

I even hung out with zombies, but I never got bitten.

It was a super fun experience.  I'm totally going next year.  Maybe next year I'll even pay for my own ticket.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fat Toys and Snuggle Tummies

The world needs more honesty.  Luckily,  the world is filled with children.  Precious, honest children.

The other day Robyn's brother came over to visit.  He brought 3 of his children and we had fun visiting and playing.

My 4-year-old niece had just made some very important acquisitions.  She had acquired a set of toys based on the various characters from Disney's Tangled.  Of course, if you had just obtained a collection of such value, you would want to show it off, amiright?  She was doing just that, she was showing us all of the toys, one by one.  With each toy, she told us who it was and gave us background information so that we could truly understand the character.

As she went through, she was saying things like, "This is Maximus, he's a horsie."  "This is Rapunzel, she has long hair, like me."  "This is her mom, she's not nice."

She got through all of them, and then she came to this guy:
She held him proudly in the air.  She looked right at me with a giant grin and a sparkle in her eye and said, "He's fat like you, Jeff!"

I've lost 55 pounds so far this year.  I've walked 260 miles.  I've burned 192,500 calories more than I've eaten.  I've worked my tail off.  Some might think the 4-year-old honesty in that moment would be discouraging.  But, if you could see the look in her eyes when she said it you would see how much love that statement contained.  There was no judgment or malice, merely an observation that her uncle whom she loves shares an attribute with her toy that she loves.

Besides, how could anything said by someone this cute be taken negatively?
The good news is that her equally honest siblings have acknowledged my weight loss.  So, it hasn't gone entirely unnoticed in the world of childdom.  Both of her older siblings have told me in recent months that they are very disappointed that my snuggle tummy is shrinking.  Several times in recent weeks they have asked to snuggle with my tummy before it disappears.

This is her older sister making proper use of the snuggle tummy about a year ago, before it started shrinking.
The snuggle tummy has been very important to all of them for a long time.  When their mom was pregnant, I was told, "My mom has a tummy like yours, but it's not for snuggling because there's a baby inside."

So here's what I've learned from talking to my nieces.

1.  I may have lost weight but I haven't completed my journey yet.
2.  Snuggling is really important.
3.  I will always be loved, regardless of what I look like.
4.  Little girls are really cute.

What have you learned from the wisdom and honesty of little children?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day in the Wilderness

Labor Day is a fantastic day.  I mean think about it.  Normally, your weekend consists of a Friday Night (usually date night for us) then a Saturday (This is usually our get stuff done around the house day) then a Sunday (A good day to go to church and spend time with family)

Sunday nights are sad because they are followed by Monday.

But on Monday holidays such as Labor Day, there is no sadness Sunday night.  It's as if Monday got replaced with a bonus Saturday.  Bonus Saturday is even better than regular Saturday, because you already did the stuff around the house, so you get to play all day.  (Plus, bonus is just such a fun word to say.)

I told Robyn I wanted to go hiking to celebrate the "contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country."  (I stole that from Wikipedia.  Who knew that's what Labor day was about?  I thought it was about barbecue.)

Robyn told me the desired difficulty of our hike, and I found a suitable one that we had never before experienced in my local hiking guide.  We decided we were hiking to Lake Solitude.  It definitely didn't disappoint.

The trail head starts out at some marsh lands surrounding Silver Lake.  The trail consists of wooden planks going over the marshes.  If you don't look at the pre-built wooden trail or the gobs of labor day hikers, you can pretend that you are Frodo trudging through the marshes on the way to Mount Doom.  It's quite fun.

Eventually, the marshes give way to an actual lake.
Granted, it's still a marshy lake.
The trail wraps around Silver Lake with an offshoot headed to Lake Solitude.  The offshoot trail is a little bit more steep and takes you through some fun scenery.

You hike through some aspen forest

But most of the forest is filled with evergreens

And you get the occasional glimpse of a ski lift.

You may even see a chipmunk or two.

If you're luck you'll see this cute girl.  But I can't guarantee she'll be there when you go.
It's about a mile and half out to Lake Solitude, and it's a 500 foot climb.  So, it's not super hardcore but this would have been a very difficult hike for me a year ago.  I was very proud of myself as we zipped up the mountain passing loads of other hikers.

Eventually we reached Lake Solitude and were greeted by this view.
We hiked around the lake and found a good little spot to have a little picnic.
This was our view during the picnic.
On our way back we saw some berries.  I don't know what kind of berries they were, but if the Hunger Games are ever hosted near Lake Solitude and I am a contestant, I am feeding them to Fox Face.
They look harmless, right?
As we were walking back, we saw some children standing on a rock getting their picture taken.  Robyn explained that she has many childhood pictures of her standing on a rock. Apparently rocks are good for photo ops.

Naturally, I told Robyn to sit on a rock so I could take a picture.

She rolled her eyes at me, but she let me take this shot.
It was a successful hike, and thus a successful labor day.  But, don't go away.  There's one more thing I need to show you.  That evening, we had my brother and his wife over for dinner.  We had a fire in the backyard and roasted hot dogs.  They brought Twinkies.  We had to do something special to celebrate the return of Twinkies from oblivion.  So this happened.
That's right.  We roasted Twinkies over the fire.  I'm not gonna lie.  It was amazing.  They were crispy on the outside and ooey gooey melted goodness on the inside.

Aren't you glad Hostess has returned?

I hope your Labor Day was as good as mine.
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