Weekend!

I’ve always gone with the whole “40 days and 40 nights” theory of Lent but never actually counted. Apparently, Sundays are officially not counted during Lent and that’s why it’s 46 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.

Which is really, really weird.

Anyway, we’re kinda almost halfway through Lent (22 days!) and I’m pleased to say that I pretty much haven’t cheated yet, really. I’ve avoided carbs for the most part, with the exception of enjoying a bowl of plain yoghurt with a handful of berries on Monday nights (Wrestling. You know how it is…) and, when we have gaming on Saturdays, a bowl of plain yoghurt and a handful of berries then. I’ve had no caffeine! This surprises me! Last year, Daylight Savings left me *WRECKED* and I dumped the “no caffeine” thing that first Monday at work. This year, I just had a cuppa peppermint tea and made it through that way. As for “no sodium”, I’ve given up all diet sodas except Diet Rite (which has zero sugar, zero carbs, zero caffeine, zero sodium…) and that means that I’ve probably cut my sodium use in half right there. Seriously, next time you enjoy a diet root beer or one of those really good Monster energy drinks, read the sodium content. The problem with sodium, however, is the other half. Being on a low-carb diet means that I’m eating bacon with breakfast and cheese as a snack throughout the day. So I don’t know if *THAT* is technically cheating or not.

If I’m reduced to saying “technically”, it probably is.

And I’ve also refrained from buying any video games. Though I need to check with Maribou as to exactly when the video card was purchased because maybe that technically counts as cheating too…

In any case, thanks to the diet and the daily (well, workdaily) exercise, I’ve lost 13-14 pounds. (I’m certain that 7 of that is water weight.)

So, if I can do it: YOU CAN DO IT. Keep it up! We’re halfway there!

This weekend *WAS* going to be devoted to switching out the winter clothing for the summer clothing but we’ve got a snowstorm coming in tonight, so the internet tells me, so maybe we can kick that can down the road a week and just do stuff like shopping and laundry and try to make it another 24 days.

So… what’s on your docket?

(Image is “Play” by Clare Briggs. Used with permission of the Briggs estate.)


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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55 thoughts on “Weekend!

  1. Oh, and I haven’t had any alcohol either.

    Which was tough yesterday because a co-worker got a better job in California and he had his going-away party yesterday at a bar and my buddies offered to buy me a glass of wine. And I declined.

    Whew.

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    • Good job on the weight loss! Keep it up my friend!

      I’m right there with you, trying to change my life to a more healthy, exercise-rich, better-eating mode. Slipping a bit this week but you’ve inspired me and I’m going to get back into the groove.

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        • Do you have family, or are you cooking for one?

          Because cooking for one sucks sometimes, and is depressing, but what’s worse is grocery shopping for one. Especially if you live in an area where most people are either coupled or are divorced-with-kids and they can’t wrap their head around your wanting only ONE pork chop and not a “family pack” of 12.

          (Yes, I know: freezers. But I don’t trust the one over my fridge and I have no space for a chest freezer).

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          • I cook for Maribou and I cook for myself, but Maribou and I have different allergies and so, many times, I get to choose between cooking twice or cooking once and eating whatever I made for Maribou and just putting salsa all over it.

            (And, oh my gosh! Store-bought salsas are nothing but salt!)

            I don’t mind cooking for one, really. I mind day #4 of eating the same thing, though. “Huh. Maybe I shouldn’t have made two gallons of this.”

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            • I used to be that way (about “day #4 of eating stuff”) but then when work got busier (we are down two full-time people relative to what we “should” have) I am now more in the mode of “yay, there is chili in the fridge that I need only zap before I can eat it”

              If they made something like Bachelor Chow, I’d probably buy it.

              (I know: Soylent. But I’m sensitive to soy)

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            • Since I had my BP go through the roof in my late 40s (thanks Mom!), I’ve become an avid reader of nutrition labels. Holy cow, there’s a lot of Na in processed foot.

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  2. I am visiting my father and his wife for the week in {crap city i loath}. the fact I made it this far with only one beer is amazing. Tomorrow I drive seven hours to see my brother and possibly get in a massive fight.

    Mmm family…

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  3. I dunno, maaaaan. Lent feels like it’s a year long this year. I’m shocked now how much I depended on being able to have dessert as something to “look forward to” during the day, or as motivation to get me to eat all the vegetables I’m supposed to be eating.

    At least the bloodwork I had earlier this month all came back good so I feel like I can at least start eating potatoes or pasta again. And I don’t have to worry about cheese.

    But right now it’s the confluence of the worst of Spring Allergy Season and the point in the semester where I just hit a wall, and….maaaaaaan, Lent is gonna last forever. I thought we were more than halfway through at this point…

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  4. A video card is definitely not a video game, FWIW. Then again, sometimes they come bundled with games. If that was the case with the one you got, you could make the argument that it would be cheating.

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  5. You’re fine on the video card. The logic was that it would better enable you to play the games you have instead of yearning for more. Plus peer pressure ;).

    I have not checked out or purchased one book. Realized I left myself a loophole by not banning the receiving / requesting of advance reading copies, will probs modify that next year.

    I just want to spend today in bed. But I will get up and go to work. If only my mother had not been raised a Presbyterian …

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      • I’m giving up *acquiring* books for Lent, not reading them.

        Contextually, it may be relevant that at this point, 1/2 way through Lent, I still have 70mumble library books checked out and who knows how many thousands in our house… suspecting we’ve snuck into the very low 5 figures by now.

        Acquiring books is really not necessary.

        Giving up reading would, for me, be akin to giving up breathing. Just Not Happening.

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  6. I’m just inside the blizzard area and I’m sure that my coworkers are looking at the hardly-any-snow-on-the-ground at work (I know because I’ve checked the traffic cameras) and wondering why I haven’t come in yet. I figure I’ll give it until noon-ish and then put the truck in four-wheel drive and see if I can’t make it in. The trouble is the road to get into town is unprotected and the blowing snow can make it far more hazardous than it otherwise would be with just snow and ice. At this point I’m pretty much just looking for any excuse to not leave the house, I think.

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    • I called in sick and got told that there was only one person who showed up at the office today and that was only because his internet went out.

      So I feel less guilty about calling in sick.

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    • stay safe. My coworker who lives in Glen Eagle attached a photo to her outage email – not that any of us would’ve doubted her anyway but if we HAD, that would’ve made it clear…. maybe you want to do something similar.

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      • Good call on your coworker’s part. I’m going to have to go in at some point to at least submit my time card as I’m out all next week (Spring Break!), but I can always do that tomorrow.

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  7. The rifle work is on hold. I needed some era style brass wood screws to finish up.

    Riggs still wants to learn more on metal working, so we picked him up a anvil months ago, but didn’t have a chance to use it till last weekend. My little portable forge is MIA, I think I may have loaned it out and it didn’t find it’s way back. So we knocked together a small earthened pit forge inside a steel washtub. Fired some wood chunks into a nice bed of coals and started in with the blow pipes.

    We went with the more primitive blow pipe option because I thought he needed knowledge on how to make do if he found himself in the middle of nowhere. It’s a little bit like cheating in that he didn’t have to discover what size blow pipes worked best and how to achieve a fire that accumulated a large pit of coals. It took several months of experimenting in my youth to make a viable wood burning forge.

    So with a talk on safety issues of the blowpipe and general forge and anvil operation we started up. We slowly brought the tip of a iron rod up to 1700-1800F. The first lesson was to keep the tip up off the bottom of the forge. He didn’t realize the tip needed coals under it to heat evenly all around.

    So we started into the rythm of heating then taking it to the anvil. His first strikes were way too fast, and uncontrolled, he was more hitting the surface at random than applying each strike at a particular spot and slowly moving the metal where it needed to be. I explained different weights of hammers require different rythms. I picked up the hammer and knew from experience how fast a rythm to go with. The steady clang, clang, clang, with just the perfect amount of time inbetween. He picked up the rythm quick, but was allowing the metal to cool for to long a period. So we went over the color of when to dip it back into the coals and bring it back to that nice yellow.

    The next lesson was about keeping the hammer with the anvil. Several time he would hold it in his hand when turning to the forge. Then when he picked up the blowpipe he had to set the hammer down somewhere, and that somewhere was the ground. So we stopped for a moment and I let him know that the best method is to keep the hammer on the anvil. There is nothing at the forge that requires it, and if it where on the ground he may end up tripping over it.

    A lot of things for a youngster to remember, but he was picking it up pretty fast. So I stepped back and just let him develop the rythm of the process. Dusk turned into night over those couple hours. The fire light dancing off the side off the anvil, The little orange glow going back and forth to the anvil. The sweet sounding clang, clang, clang. More blowpipe.

    Honestly his arms lasted longer than I thought they would. From that iron rod he made a section of iron bar, so we chained a lid over the washtub, and called it a night. Stars were out and close enough to reach out and touch. I kept thinking of how well the process went, and how fast he learned it.

    I hope to get some rest this weekend.

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    • This is interesting to read, much more interesting than I would have thought blacksmithery could be.

      Why do different weights on the hammers require a different rhythm? Is it a function of the abilities of the human body or does it have to do with the physics of applying bursts of force to the hot metal?

      It’s also a happiness-inducing look into a pretty cool masculine bonding moment, and I thank you for sharing that with us.

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      • Many thanks, shaping metal and making something useful can take many hours of work. In order to prevent cramping there is a certain rythm that avoids or at least delays the muscles from becoming sore and achy. I recall reading somewhere that over working also leads to some kind of acid building up in muscle tissue.

        So there is a upper limit threshold you don’t want to exceed if your going to be going for hours.

        Also your producing a quantity of change in shape per each strike. The hammer has to match the size of the work and the amount of change you want to create in each strike.

        It doesn’t have to be really driven, there is a quantum of ‘let the hammer do the work’ thing going on.

        So there is balancing of stamina, versus control of the work flow. I think anyone can pick it up with time. Sessions slowly increase with stamina. Riggs was capable of two hour (including running the blow pipe) which is pretty good. I can typically go four hours on a medium sized hammer. A few days of building stamina usually gets it up to around six to eight hours. There is also that problem of fatigue, no matter what your doing, if you are too tired to assure a safe outcome you need to shut it down and get some rest.

        My father wasn’t around much and I guess in some way I’m making sure Riggs never feels that. I know his life will be different from mine but these years will be the best I could ever imagined.

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  8. Which is really, really weird.

    Speaking only from the Catholic side of the house, [Modern] Lent is a 42-day-ish season; Ash Weds until Holy Thursday. For Catholics (and Orthodox) Holy Thursday is key to understanding the incarnational and sacramental theology that separates us from some other Christians. So, Holy Thursday is a really interesting Liturgy… it is a feast, it often welcome catechumens and repentant sinners (of the public kind), it has the washing of the feet, and many scaramentals, like chrism oils, are prepared that day as well. Most importantly though, it is celebrated as the institutional feast of the Eucharist. So in the main the tone is one of optimism… but at the end of the liturgy, the altar is stripped, the tabernacle emptied, and – if your parish has a flair for the dramatic – the lights are shut off and no hymns are sung as the Blessed Sacrament processes out of the church. No Masses are said universally until Easter. The effect of Holy Thursday – done properly – is somewhat disconcerting to Catholics (or it ought to be, anyway).

    All that said… Holy Thursday is not of Lent made. It is self-referential to say it is day one of the Triduum… but if one sees Holy Thursday is a towering feast, off of which we plunge into Good Friday… then we see that it is a beginning of something other than Lent.

    But yeah, still 40+ days in lent. Catholics, as the Pirates of Christendom, we take the code to be more like guidelines than rules. But 46-days is right out.

    The Sunday thing is slightly different… technically every Sunday is a feast day, so you literally cannot, or ought not, fast or abstain. They are, however, still part of Lent… so your Lenten discipline would still apply on Sundays (for best practice purposes). However, since many people adopt *food based* Lenten disciplines one can put oneself in an awkward situation. It is fine, nay encouraged, for you to continue to abstain from Alcohol even on Sundays… But if your co-worker had offered you wine at a party on a *Sunday* then your conscience would have to decide whether abstaining or feasting would apply. Video Games? Yeah, you’re stuck with that one even on Sundays… but, there’s always room for conscience, so maybe not.

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  9. I’m glad that my religion’s periods of denial tend to come in 25 hour packages rather than over the course of several days.

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    • Ramadan at a northern latitude in the years it falls in the summer would be the hardest for me. (By default, I did it for half a day in 2009 because of where I was working, but I didn’t realize the trick is to fill up before sunrise, not sleep in)

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      • I was in Istanbul in August during Ramadan a few years back. I imagine that the combination of long daylight hours, the heat, and the heavy tourist season was remarkably demanding on those observing. But the meals they had to break fast were really impressive. Not the gorge fests an American might look towards, but multiple courses over a long time carefully designed to provide long last sustinence. You could actually order it on the menu at most restaurants, though we ended up not getting a chance to (much to my chagrin).

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  10. “I’ve avoided carbs for the most part, with the exception of enjoying a bowl of plain yogurt with a handful of berries…”

    I understand that even plain yogurt has some milk sugar in it and that fruit has some naturally occurring carbs, but that still strikes me as a hella healthy dish. Do you go with the full fat Greek yogurt? It is so rich that a little goes a long way. Yes, it has fat (though recent research indicates that full fat dairy leads to greater weight loss that low-fat options) but it has a ton of protein, is very filling, and the berries add good fiber. I’ll sometimes do a half cup of yogurt with a full cup of berries (I sometimes buy the frozen ones, toss it all in a tupperware in the morning, and eat it later at work… with the liquid that leaches out of the frozen berries helping to sweeten the whole thing without any actual added sugar) and it’ll keep me fueled for a long while.

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    • Yes, the full fat. The stores have started carrying about 6-7 kinds of plain yoghurt with 2-3 kinds of small batch artisanal yoghurt (“this one is made in the traditional Czechoslovakian style using Brazilian cultures!”) and that makes even shopping for them an additional treat.

      After Lent, I’ll add it more into my regular rotation. For now, though, that’s a once a week, maybe twice a week, treat.

      I haven’t done the frozen berries trick yet.

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        • Yes… but I find myself wishing that I had pita. Like, to the point where I need to not eat tzstikikiki sauce.

          I tried to make some at home, thinking “oh, I can dip cucumber chips in it!” and it ended up being depressing rather than good.

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            • We bought some tonight.

              Our Whole Foods closed so we had to go to the new Whole Foods (which is aaaaaaaaaaaall the way down near where Mom lives) and they explained that everybody who worked at the old Whole Foods had a job waiting for them at the current one. So that’s good.

              But Our Whole Foods was the good one with the stuff where we knew where it was.

              The new Whole Foods is too big and set up wrong.

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              • I go to a few different BJs (wholesale-style place). Each one is arranged differently which I always forget, such that I spent 5 minutes wondering around one corner of the store looking for a bathroom (BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE) only to be told I had to go the literal opposite corner of the store to pee (BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE THE BATHROOMS ACTUALLY ARE).

                And different stores stock slightly different items. Or, rather, some carry certain things and not other things and others carry other things but not certain things. But I can never remember which is which. So every now and then Special Lady Friend — or random other customers — will find me fist pumping or dancing in an aisle because I found the edamame that comes in the little microwavable bag or the glorious black bean burgers that I thought might have disappeared forever.

                That’s when I’m sure to ramp up the judgement real hard like. “WE SHOULD ALL BE SO PROUD OF OUR FIBER INTAKE!” I yell. Because what problems aren’t solved by boasting about what’s nutritional intake?

                Oh, I mean… I’m curious how the sauce is. I made it recently and was shocked how easy it was. And since I basically swapped out my yogurt-and-berries for veggies-and-dip, it felt like a wash if not a slight gain from a health standpoint.

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      • I can’t do the full-fat yogurt, something in my brain goes “You are eating straight sour cream” and I just shut down because *you’re not supposed to eat sour cream not on something*

        I usually eat Greek yogurt with a tiny bit of honey on it, to cut the sourness. Fruit would probably be better for me, but dangit, so much of my eating is motivated by ‘what’s better for me’

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      • If you’re like me, and I know I am, you can use cottage cheese as a kinda-protein, kinda-filler in a low-carb meal. Generally I ornament my two scoops of cottage cheese with a mix of melon segments and berries.

        Point is, the full fat cottage cheese is way more satisfying than the lowfat or nonfat kinds. (Curd size, I’ve noticed, doesn’t matter.) Two scoops of 4% cottage cheese with melons and berries is a satisfying meal, with enough fuel in it to keep me going for up to the full four hours of the digestive cycle before I feel my blood sugar sag again.

        Now, I just got myself a big tub of cottage cheese at the Costco, but they only had lowfat in stock, so I’m a bit apprehensive about the upcoming week. OTOH, the unit price just can’t be beat.

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  11. New discovery. While reading something about “healthy eating”, it suggested a handful of “eat this, not that” kinda recipes.

    Instead of “apple pie”, it suggested a “baked apple”. Pretty much what it sounds like, take an apple, dig out the top of the core with a spoon, pack the resulting hole with butter and brown sugar, then bake it at 350 for 15 minutes. Well, I’m not doing the brown sugar, but I’m allowed to have apples and I’m allowed to have butter… sure, let’s give it a try. I put some black pepper on it instead of brown sugar.

    I don’t know if it was really good because it was really good or if it was really good because I haven’t had sweets for almost a month but, jeez, it was *REALLY* good.

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