Monthly Archives: January 2012


I've been a little derelict in blogging this past week, but as of yesterday, I'm in London on business for a week and I'm sure that I will have some time fighting jet lag to rectify this.

First of all, this past week was a little disappointing on the weight watchers front. Despite my best efforts and staying well within program, my weight change was basically flat. Maybe it's because I still haven't really integrated any exercise into my efforts. I'm staying positive, but it's definitely better when you are making good progress. I'm pretty happy when I look at things over the course of the past month, so I'll just try to stay focused on that.

With my travels and eating out, I'm sure the upcoming week will be challenging, but I'm hoping that I'll at least manage to stay flat. Toward this goal, I've brought exercise clothes and I'm going to utilize the gym at the hotel and at least get in some cardio.

We got in yesterday afternoon, but we didn't really do any sight seeing until today.  This place was pretty busy last night with Saturday night revelers, but this morning it was much quieter.

Park Lane 

Dave and I headed to see Churchill War Rooms, cutting across Green and St. James parks to get there.  I got a few more pictures en route.  These guys were clearly on their way somewhere.

Everyone loves a parade! 

This guy kind of stood out amongst the rest of the birds, but didn't want to look up to have his picture taken.

Proud as a swan?

You can see the London Eye from the park.

St. James Park Lake and the London Eye

This guy stood out too.  I think he's a pelican, but like his friend above, he seemed a little camera shy.


The Churchill War Rooms was interesting, but as it is an underground bunker turned into a museum / historical site, with exhibits largely behind glass, it proved pretty hard to get any good pictures.  Here's a blurry Enigma machine.

The Enigma

This is Churchill's actual bedroom.  They've done a great job preserving this place.

Churchill's Bedroom

I'm not much of a history buff, but the museum was definitely interesting and having visited, I do find myself more curious about Churchill.  I might have to do some reading.

After leaving the War Rooms we made our way toward Trafalgar Square to visit the National Portrait Gallery and found that it was packed with folks celebrating Chinese New Year.

Happy Year of the Dragon! 

We fought the crowds and made our way into the gallery, but jet lag and hunger were kicking in, so we didn't stay very long.  Speaking of jet lag, I think I'm going to have to call it a night.  I'll be sure to post more about the travels later.

Snowpocalypse day five

I've officially worked from home an entire week now.  The snow is starting to melt, but as there are a number of folks still working from home today, I don't really see the point in trying to get to Seattle.  My one concern, though, is whether we will have power.  There have been a number of short outages this morning.  My friends Jon and Teri have been without power for at least 22 hours, and probably a full day at this point. 

It sounds as if the snow should be gone by tomorrow, so we are probably seeing the end of the Snowpocalypse, but who knows what the future will bring?  Will a new utopia rise up from what once was a snowy wasteland?  Or will the survivors envy the dead?

Fingers crossed that the power stays on here…

Snowpocalypse day four

Every year before the winter starts I think to myself that I should actually buy a snow shovel and stock up on deicer.  And then winter comes and one of two things happens: either we get next to no snow and I feel good that I didn't waste money on that unnecessary shovel or we get a big snowfall and I lament the fact that I didn't plan ahead better.

Guess which one I'm doing this year?

Today marks my fourth day of working from home.  I just took a little break and cleared the snow and ice off our front porch and put down some deicer, but there is no way I'm going to clear off the driveway with the tools I have.  We have eight to ten inches of snow here (probably more in some spots) now and it's still coming down.  We have it better than some folks for sure.  I've seen a bunch of people talking on Facebook about being without power.  It would really suck to not have heat right now.

Back to work.

Snow-pocalypse 2012

I'm working from home today (along with what I suspect is the vast majority of tech workers in the Redmond-Seattle-Bellevue area), but before I get to it, here are a couple of pictures of the local devastation.

It's cold out there

Don't think I'll be lounging on the deck today

If you look closely, but there's a snowman with the head of a rabbit in the first picture.  It looked pretty freaky from our driveway when it was dark last night.  Surely this apparition must be a sign of the coming of the end-times…

Random signage

Saw this while shopping the other day.  There is something about random weight being priced per pound that makes me chuckle.


Biting my tongue, but not chips

It's snowing outside, and as is my normal reaction to this situation, I'm holed up inside the house, staying warm.  We've finished watching all of the available Breaking Bad episodes (through season three) available via NetFlix streaming (a process we started during our holiday vacation), so I'm now turning to more productive pursuits, such as showering, changing out of sweats and writing the blog post I've been planning to do since Tuesday night.

Tuesday was our second Weight Watchers meeting, and things are going pretty well so far.  I've lost 3.8 pounds as of my official weigh-in at that meeting, and unofficially, I'm down roughly 7.  I'm still a little unconvinced about the meetings, though.  Maybe this is like fight club and I'm breaking the first rule by talking about it, but there was a comment made by someone at the meeting that I just have to share.  She was talking about how she prepared snacks in advance, so she has something healthy to munch on when she needs it.  She slices up her carrots and water chestnuts with a mandolin so it's "just like eating chips."

Um… no, it's not.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big supporter of planning ahead.  If I don't have a plan for dinner and have all the stuff on hand when I get home from work, I am much more likely to order a pizza or go out to eat and unfortunately, I can't trust myself to keep those times to a reasonable level.  Having healthy snacks ready to go is very helpful too, but I'm sorry, there's just no way that sliced carrots and water chestnuts, no matter how crispy and perfectly sliced they may be, is just like eating chips. 

Of course, I didn't say anything at the meeting and I'm even somewhat impressed that this person is able to feel satisfied by that, but it just isn't ever going to work for me.  I can't convince myself that one thing is just like another if it isn't.  Fortunately, this isn't about removing such things from your life, it's more about intention and trying to stay within a reasonable limit.  So for the most part, I haven't felt too deprived.  Amber and I even were able to splurge last night and celebrate the third anniversary of our first date at Eva in Seattle.  I burned through a lot of points, but I planned ahead for it and had the points.  I am craving a cheeseburger, but I'm willing to try to satisfy that sometime next week at home.

We also tried a new recipe this week: Asian Lettuce Wraps (via Kalyn's Kitchen).  It was quite tasty.  We used romaine lettuce so it was more like eating tacos than lettuce cups or wraps, but not just like tacos, of course.

This week's goal: start exercising.

Ape caves

Amber is in the other room finishing up a run on the treadmill, so I thought I'd do some work toward my resolution to blog more this year.  I didn't have anything in particular to write about, so I thought I'd find some pictures to post from 2011.  What I discovered is the following:

  • My pictures from 2011 are completely disorganized
  • With the exception of wedding-related pictures, I really didn't take that many last year
  • Most of the pictures I did take are pretty bad

Given this situation, I've decided to post some pictures that are bad, but for good reason: they were mostly taken in the dark.

Back in September, Amber and I did a day trip to the Ape Caves near Mount St. Helens.  It was a nice warm day outside, and we were dressed appropriately… for the weather outside.

In the sun

What you can't see outside of frame is the sign that describes the proper equipment for exploring the caves, including long pants, hiking boots, and coleman lanterns - none of which we had.  We did have head lamps, a couple of flashlights, and Amber (clearly the smart one) brought a fleece.  I was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt.  We happened to get there just in time to join a guide on an interpretive hike into the caves.

Here's the entrance to the caves:

Into the darkness

Inside the cave, it turns out that it is around 42 F year round, and water drips from the ceiling.  Here I am in the earlier stages of hypothermia:


We hiked the easy part of the caves that day, the lower Ape Cave.  The darkness in the cave is not something I encounter in my day-to-day existence.  Usually there is some source of ambient light visible.  Down there, there is none.  If you turn off your lights, it is very creepy.

Cameras work better with light

We took this arm-length shot by turning off our lights and guessing where the camera was pointed.Cheese!

Once we were back above ground, we drove to some of the nearby trails and finished our day in warmth and sunlight hiking Lava Canyon - but not without other peril, as you can see.

Is this really a good idea?

Death lurks at every turn...

It was a pretty trail, with rapids and interesting rock formations.


My least favorite part of the day: the suspension bridge we had to cross on the trail.

Do we have to?

We lived to tell the tale, though and had a thoroughly fun day.  Here's to lots more adventures in 2012 and blogging about them in a more timely manner!

We survived!

Weight Watchers

One of the things I've done (along with Amber) to try to do better on my weight goals this year is join Weight Watchers.  We both started using their tracking tools Monday and attended our first meeting Tuesday.

I'm definitely a huge believer in tracking what I eat - it is the single most effective way I've found to lose weight.  I've done it in the past and lost more than 55 pounds on my own using Excel to count calories.  Unfortunately, lately that doesn't seem to be working as well.  I'm not sure why, but I tried to start that back up in 2010 a number of times as I saw my weight creeping back up and I just didn't keep up with the tracking.  It's not as if it was really difficult, I just didn't keep it up.  Maybe it's some sort of unconscious mental thing I haven't been able to figure out.  The really depressing thing I've discovered now though is that over the last six months, I've gained 25 pounds!

Anyway, I'm hoping that the weight watchers tools and doing it with Amber will help me keep the tracking going and get down to my goal weight this year.  The apps aren't as good on windows phone as the iPhone, but at least the mobile website lets me track stuff on my phone okay.  As I mentioned, we attended a meeting earlier this week.  I'm not convinced whether the meetings will be helpful, but I'm committed to attending weekly meetings all month so I'm reserving judgment.

I get a significantly larger number of Weight Watchers points for my daily point target than Amber gets, so one thing that we need to figure out is how to deal with the delta when we eat together.  It's obvious that she shouldn't just starve herself the rest of the day so we can eat exactly the same thing for dinner, so I guess we have to just accept we are going to be eating different sized portions at least.  She's earning more activity points (something I need to work on), so that helps a little.

Happy 2012!

Happy New Year!  I know it's in its infancy, but I hope 2012 is treating everyone really well so far.

If you are like me, you are thinking of New Year's Resolutions.  One of mine is to blog more this year.  Specifically, I resolve to blog at least once a week.  I wish I could say I'd do more, but it's not like I'm a professional blogger and I just don't have that much to say.

I also wish I could say I did better on my resolutions from last year, but I can't.  I did pretty horribly on the health ones specifically.  So I need to ramp that back up this year.

Anyone have any good resolutions they'd like to share?