Sunday, August 31, 2008

Days off are nice, but lots of Labor on Labor day

"'Cause he looks so fine upon that hill

They tell me he was lonely, he's lonely still

Those days are gone forever

Over a long time ago, oh yeah"

Steely Dan

Monday morning in Utah and there is actually a nice breeze blowing. Stop sign went really well this morning. Actually beat some humans up to the top of the hill. Yeah they were old and all, but they were breathing and could vote so I can still consider it a victory for me. And I shaved almost 30 minutes off the time it took me to do the full stop sign last spring. In fact I was a full 6 minutes faster than it took the recent Kenyan that won the Boston Marathon to complete his race. Now his race was slightly longer but I weigh more.
Weekend Wrap up
I did something I swore I wasn't going to do on this trip. I went to the chuck-a-rama. Utah's version of the cheap ass buffet that the nutritionist swears teaches us about how to make food choices. I had already made my choice of what I would eat only to be thwarted by their recent decision not to have baked potatoes any more. Some turkey, some mashed, some salad, one hard boiled egg, 3 french fries, and 1/2 a rice krispee treat= 50
0 calories.
I swear to you I am not stepping foot in this place again.
Here is the happy group outside Chuck, we really must look ridiculous carrying our little sheets, trying to figure out our calories, and being checked out and okayed by the nutritionist. We look like we are on a field trip from some insane asylum. I guess in many ways we are.
Sunday is off day at the Ridge. No work but always the saddest day for me as I have to say goodbye to the campers that are leaving. I just hate it. The Boston Sisters had a late flight so I hung out with them, and Adriana. We got in sight seeing, a 5 mile trip to Arizona so they could all add that state to their list, watched lots of people exiting from lots of churches, wandered around at walmart, and ate lunch at Subway. Trish, in the House of Blues sweatshirt, won a free cookie at Subway which we all passed on. She passed on the beer in the picture as well but it sure made for a good picture in the lava rocks at the top of Snow canyon.
I hope everyone had a good 3 day weekend. I am heading to Vegas Friday nite to see Mr. Hard Rocking, Mr Excitement, Mr. He writes the Songs Barry Manilow. I'll be the solo straight guy on the end of the aisle singing along to Mandy. Peace, Jim

Saturday, August 30, 2008

One week Down

"It's a beautiful mornin',

Ahhh,Each bird keeps singin' his own song.

So long!I've got to be on my way, now.

Ain't no fun just hangin' around,

I've got to cover ground, you couldn't keep me down.

It just ain't no good if the sun shines

When you're still inside"

The Rascals

It's Saturday here in Southern Utah. I just completed day six on the mountain. I believe we had 38 campers this week. I think 10 went to Zion national park, maybe six were leaving today, and 13 went to the stop sign. By my count that leaves 9 or so that "slept in." It will be hard to say goodbye to many of the campers tomorrow. I like this weeks group so much I have agreed to go to Chuckarama today which I swore I would never do again. Before I give some shout outs I will wrap up this week.

Here's the french toast. It's a pretty good breakfast. No syrup I believe it is applesauce on top. I am not a breakfast guy, well at least not a healthy breakfast guy, but Thursday we had an unbelievable fritata. I have got to give it a 5 star rating and easily the best breakfast of the week. Other food highlights or low lights. Boca Burgers are inedible. Last night I had a tomato, pickle, lettuce and mustard sandwich for dinner. Chicken Terriyaki bowl was okay but I do not get chopsticks. If they are better than forks why don't we use them for every meal. And why just use them for Asian meals. You never see anyone break out the chopsticks for a burrito or spaghetti.

We had a great guest speaker at the Ridge this week Jeff Kovick who is a nutritionist and ran Pritikin Center for over ten years. I thought last Sunday that there was a 90% chance there was no way I would like this guy but he proved me way wrong. He was affable, intelligent, engaging and a deadhead. So here's a quick quiz. How many calories in an entire can of PAM spray. It says 0 calories right on the front of the can? 1200 calories, same goes for "I cant believe it's not butter" A couple other gems. Throw out your Olive Oil, stop eating french fries( the number one eaten food for women, and second for men), the French, The Greeks, and every other country that is supposed to be so healthy is just getting obese like us, and It is all about calories. Also a very special thanks to Jeff for standing at the base of the workout bench and catching the medicine ball while I did 400 sit-ups yesterday.
A couple exercise notes. This weeks group was amazing I think at least 15 people picked up the shirt for attending every class, open gym, lecture and meal. I hiked 6 days, did 10 circuits, 2 high intensity interval trainings, 100's of laps in the pool, 5 pool aerobic classes, and at least 1000 sit ups. A pretty good start. I have been on the scale so I know it's working this week, but no official weigh in til next weekend. Speaking of next weekend I have a Friday night ticket to see Barry Manilow in concert in Vegas. Should be fun with that and opening weekend for NFL football.
A couple of shout outs for this week. Thanks to all the hiking guides. These girls/ladies are just amazing and in the most amazing shape imaginable. They have been so accommodating, so supportive and and just friendly faces to see every morning at 6:15 am. Special thanks to Maria, Cindy, Sandy, Annie and Deb( who completed a 50 mile race this summer in 6 hours and has me by 20 years) I will miss a number of this weeks campers. Thanks to Janice for playing volleyball with me in the pool, thanks to Gail for saying really nice things about my blog, thanks to the "wicked cool" Boston sisters DK and Trish.

Thanks to Adriana and Nancy. Nancy from Harrisburg, PA arranged game night, actually thought my music taste was okay, and did an extra Circuit training class one night with Eric and I. She leaves this week and will be missed. Adriana is here for the long haul, 8 weeks and has traveled from Puerto Rico. She makes me laugh, has never heard of James Taylor and is extremely brave for taking the 8 week challenge. Best of luck to her and to every one going home this week. I get to sleep past 5:45 tomorrow. That will make me happy. Peace, Jim

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hump Day #1

"All of life is in one drop of the ocean waiting to go home

Just waiting to go home"

Jack Johnson

So I have completed three days and have a wicked sunburn, sore muscles, and tired feet. But it's still an awesome time at the ridge. As with every other week I have spent here the other campers just make my days amazing. Such good supportive people. Both tuesday and wednesday were again 15 hour days that sarted with a hike in darkness and ended with Eric Jackson the marketing guru at the Ridge, and I doing a circuit after dinner. Last night Wendy and Nancy joined in the "fun" but tonite it was just Eric and I and bunch of Jackson Browne. Eric got his initiation into medicine ball sit-ups yesterday and seriously trooped on through sore abs to do another 60 or so tonite. I'm sure I did atleast 300 today.

I hiked Jenny's Canyon today instead of the mountain hike. This is where the dessert tortoises do their mating but I have never seen one. The guides last word to me were be alert for rattle snakes. So what did I do? Put on the ipod and walked on in staring at the walls above.

It hard to do justice to the slot cave that is the highlight of the Jenny hike but it is a really cool structure and even better is it is really easy compared to heading up the hill.

Some people say the mountains can talk to them and obviously the settlers had great taste as this gem was found deep in the heart of the canyon.
Now I would obviously never deface a natural treasure so lets just assume that it has been there forever or is a slight optical illusion.

A few more tidbits. I had the first person ask me if I was okay yesterday on the hill. It was an old lady riding a bike wearing a helmet from 1980. I was pretty sure she was an oompa-loompa from Willie Wonka at sometime in her life, but I just said I was great, are you okay? Speaking of old ladies my witchy friend from last year passed me on the hill, did a double take and said good morning to me. It made me smile.
Food has been pretty good the last couple days. Yesterday, we had turkey sandwich for lunch a steady 4 may be even a 4.5 cause of the pickles on the salad bar. Last night was "lasagna" but I'm not sure you can call it lasagna since it had no cheese, no meat, and no tomato sauce. Today we had the pizza, see last trip's pictures, and a fabulous salmon filet and potato salad. Potato salad didn't have mayo or eggs, but atleast it had potatoes. Tomorrow is treading day...more fun but in three days I have been off and on a treadmill atleast 50 times so whats once more? Peace, Jim

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hello My old Friend

"Proud and alone, cold as a stone
I’m afraid to believe the things I feel
I can cry with the best I can laugh with the rest
But I’m never sure when it’s real
And it may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done"

Jackson Browne

I arrived yesterday in St George, Utah and spent most of the afternoon splashing around the pool.  I had the recent fortune of taking a flyer on a swim mp3 player that hooks on your goggles and allows you to listen to music while you swim.  Let me just say it may be my greatest purchase since tivo.   I love it and swim lap after lap with my musical friends.

So here's day one.  Alarm at 5:45 am drive one mile to ridge, listen to hiking talk and then ride van over to Snow Canyon and start up the hill at 6:30 am.  Spend next 2.5 hours walking, jogging... mostly walking up the hill down the hill.  Good news faster, less pain, than when I left.  Didn't do the full 4.5 up.  Did over 3 up, 1/4 down and then one more mile near the bottom.  The elevation and incline of the last mile was too much today, but that's mostly cause i was not willing to fight through it.  Amazing difference than when I started my first day last february.

Got back for breakfast at 10am.  One slice turkey bacon, wheat english muffin, eggs.  Skipped the eggs.  Into the pool at 10:30 for laps followed by pool aerobics.  Lunch at 12:30 veggie burrito, salad, soup, about a two on the FR scale of good food.  2:30 circuit training class followed by 3:30 circuit training class, followed by 4:30 lap swim, 5:30 hot tub, 6 pm dinner 3 oz chicken breast and purple mashed potatoes.  I give it a 3.5.  6:30 lecture on diet fads and falsehoods. 8pm type a little dribble to keep the blog readers entertained.  And with that i am heading to bed to start the whole thing over again.

Quickies:  It was over 100 today but didn't seem that bad.  The drive out here was infinitely better in summer than winter.  Vegas was fun as usual but not very crowded especially dismal on the weekend.  

A number of the campers had followed my blog which freaked me out, but one said I was her inspiration for coming which also freaked me out but made me feel good.  The maid said i was "more skinny,"  I'll take it.  Peace and more and better will follow.  Peace, Jim

Friday, August 15, 2008

Here We Go Again

"Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true your a pal and a confidant.
And if you through a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say thank you for being a friend."
Andrew Gold

Just a short little wrap up. I leave Sunday heading west. I'm happy the weather will be much nicer for this trip west, I am in much better shape, had a wonderful summer and am I excited to be heading back. We were first in two of our volleyball leagues and second :( in the other.
I will make every effort to update the blog much more frequently when I am back at the ridge. I should be in Vegas from Wednesday through Sunday and report to Utah on Sunday August 24th.
A couple of thanks I need to pass on. Thanks to my summer workout partner and friend Karen for the generous use of her facility and constant pushing me through circuit after seemingly unending circuit, and the recent addition to our workout team Tanya. Thanks to all my Volleyball teammates and friends at Club Tavern who made Monday and Wednesday nights my favorite times of the week. Thanks....Jenny, Jenn, Becca, Tanya, Lori, Karen, Luke, Zach, Tim, Alex, Rich, Dan, Tony, MBArk, Moose and Kay. Thanks to my wonderful staff who are constantly make us the friendliest store in town. Thanks to my old teacher and renewed friend Paul. Thanks to all the people that get a little joy out of reading this dribble :) and thanks to all the ridgers and future ridgers who have kept in touch or gotten in touch because they have read this blog. And of course Thanks to my wonderful, loving wife who once again will keep my life together while I am out dancing in the Utah desert. Her generosity with her time and heart and acceptance of my friends and non stop pursuit of volleyball and music this summer has been appreciated more than I could ever put into words.
I hope everyone has a fabulous remainder of their summer. Please do not hesitate to call me, email me, leave comments, ask questions, or come visit St George, Utah. I'll miss all you guys!! Peace and Love, Jim

Sunday, August 3, 2008

August and Everything After

"this life is a beautiful one

and though I seen it comin' undone

well I know most definitely

that it all works out the way its meant to be

I'm laughing now

just love love"

Tristan Prettyman

I really have no clue where the summer has gone but for me it is winding down very quickly. I leave for fitness ridge in less than two weeks. But let's make one thing very clear. It has been the "Summer of Jim." My goals were seeing a ton of live music, playing as much volleyball as possible and and continuing the workouts I had begun at Fitness Ridge. I am 3 for 3 on my goals and it is really hard for me to say which has been the most successful or the most satisfying. My 3 volleyball teams are all in first place or tied for first place on their individual nights, My weigh in last week was -6 lbs for a summer total of 43 lbs and an overall total since February of now in the triple digits, and just yesterday we vended at the Madison Roots Festival and got to see
another amazing show and got to meet an absolute sweetheart and fantastic singer songwriter Tristan Prettyman. I need to give a shout out to my new good friend and new volleyball team mate, and 4 time workout partner last week, and overall really nice person Tanya( pronounced like Tanya Tucker). She did three circuit trainings with me last week and helped me with my volleyball serves and sets, and for fun kicked my ass in darts.

Here is Jacky and my parents who recently retired to Venice Beach, Florida. Venice is on the west coast of Florida just south of Sarasota. Jacky got to visit this week but also got to partake in a 12 hour flight odyssey trying to return home on Thursday.

Here's Tristan on stage with her drummer. The Roots festival was an all day music festival in Madison. It probably had between 4 and 5,000 attendees. The line up included Tristan, Dar Williams, The John Butler Trio, and G Love and Special Sauce. Not all household names but all people that tour regularly, have played the Tonite Show and Letterman, and are well known in our store's target audience.

So after her set Tristan came out to where we were vending to say Hi and hung out and had a beer and met a few of her fans including one big dummy in a bright tie-dye and red hat.

I just thought I looked pretty good in this picture and had to throw it on here. Tristan picked up a Sunshine Daydream logo shirt and a tie-dye skirt from our booth and then went back on stage about an hour later to do an encore song with G Love wearing the skirt. And just cause she is extraordinarily cool she told the crowd that she just got this awesome skirt from her friends at Sunshine Daydream which was met with a smattering of cheers and applause.
Just a really nice thing for her to do. So you blog readers go buy a copy of or PAY to download one of her two cds. Her first cd is Twenty Three and includes the hit Love, Love, Love and her new cd is entitled Hello and has the hit Madly on it.
Again I leave for Utah in two short weeks with a slight stopover at the Las Vegas Hilton for their "Pick the Ponies" contest on the 21st to 23 rd of August. Then it's up the mountain, back in the pool and 6 more weeks of dont ask, dont tell 1200 calories a day of tofulicious goodness. Peace and happy summer, JIM