Archive for June, 2012

Found this mystery insect patiently perched on one of our backyard hibiscus blooms in the full light of yesterday’s morning sun (click it for the bigger picture):

Our treefrog Hop struck this most reflective and awesome pose this afternoon — and then even better: held it while I grabbed my camera and fumbled about trying to get a not blurry shot (click it for the bigger picture):

Almost eight years I’ve walked, biked, jogged past this, and only last week did it finally catch my eye on a slab of concrete bridging the parkway between the sidewalk and the curb down near the south end of our block (click it for the bigger picture):

At first I thought it read “Campbell’s,” but upon closer inspection and with Susan’s help we deciphered it out as “Campislia Oct 1925.”

1925 makes sense. That’s a key year in the block’s history when both the street and sidewalks were paved. Perhaps the original owners of the building on the corner this sits in front of DIY’d the parkway slab.

Whoever did it 86 years ago, it beats the previous record holder for freehand streetfiti in the neighborhood by 8 years — a 1933 scrawl in a driveway apron another block south.

Allow me to qualify ahead of time: the numbers the scale read off to me this morning are by no means static or definitive. I could go step up on it right now, an hour later, and be shown that I gained a pound. That’s exactly why I step on the thing once each day and once only, and use whatever numbers are flashed as a seesaw toward a consistent and gradual decent.

But today’s numbers bear mentioning. Yesterday morning I hit a new low of 215.2, which translates into 19.6 pounds lost since I began regulating and monitoring my calorie intake on March 1. I was very happy to be on the verge of attaining that milestone of 20 pounds lost.

But then I was bad that afternoon, at least relatively speaking. I said to hell with self-restraint, and ate roughly 600 calories of  Ritz crackers along with almost 1,200 calories of what was left of a round of artisan cheese. Mmmmmmmm.

Coupled to the trend that what goes down comes back up, I was certain with my overindulging Tuesday the scale would read the numeric equivalent of WTF! But when I stepped on it this morning, instead it shocked me with 213.2, vaulting me completely below anywhere within the 20-pound range and landing me at 21.6 lost.


Of course, I say “dood” knowing that tomorrow is another day and in the morning my body might have adjusted to the caloric overload shock it was in today and the scale will give me a reality check that vaults me backwards across the 20-pound mark and into the teens again. But the point is the scale may not be entirely exactly true, but it doesn’t lie either. As long as in the long term what seesaws up also seesaws down, all is good. And for the rest of the day here at a new low of 213.2, I’m just gonna enjoy it.

Two summers ago a rare thing happened that one of the backyard cereus cactus’ night-blooming flowers got pollinated. Rare, because though the flowers attract a variety of bee species, it’s usually only moths like the sphinx moth (or some nectar-feeding bats) that do the actual pollinating.

So, about 18 months ago when one of the flowers bloomed and died and a fruit was left in its place that grew and grew to about the size of a baseball (while avoiding being eaten by any industrious opossums or squirrels or birds) I decided to harvest it and save the seeds for planting. Separating the teeny seeds from the clingy viscous fruit proved trying, but I came away with a couple hundred of them that I kept in a container until I stuck a few of them in some dirt, with equal parts of doubt and hope that they’d ever sprout.

Nothing happened, and eventually I not only gave up on ever seeing baby cacti, I forgot entirely where I’d planted them… until they reminded me a couple weeks ago by sprouting (click for the bigger picture):

They were quite the pleasant surprise.

The first two-month phase of my weight loss ended May 1 on a disappointing note. Back at the beginning n March 1 at 234.8 pounds, I’d set a goal to drop 14.8 to 220, and though on April 27 I landed at 221.4 and seemed on track to achieve it, I then boomeranged the following three days until I was back up to 223.8 at the beginning of May.

It wouldn’t be until May 14 — two full weeks — that the scale would show me at 220. Frustrating.

So for my second five-week phase begun May 1 I set a goal weight of 215 with a deadline of yesterday. Again the signs were promising: on May 29 I enjoyed my biggest one day differential, dropping to 216.8 from 221. I knew it was too good to be true, still I had hope. But sure enough after a weekend of some relative indulgence I was back up to 218.8 on Monday. On Wednesday’s deadling I was at 217.2, and I wondered how long it might be to find me to 215 (and I hoped it wouldn’t be another 14 days like it took me to get to 220).

Well wonder no more and hope springs eternal: stepping on the scale this morning: 215.6. This is an excellent place for me to be (for now) because it was the weight I was at in 2006 (after the 55-pounds I lost over six months that year) when I had many of the pants and suits I wore then (and still do now) taken in. There are few things more magically satisfying and morale-boosting to a dieter than putting clothes on that suddenly fit after having not for a couple years.

My third phase begins today with a deadline of July 7, and my goal is 210, which at basically 1.25 pounds dropped per week is one I consider completely achievable in that time frame.

My ultimate goal? Slow and steady down another 16 pounds from 210 to 194. Why that odd even number? Blame that on the ridiculously inflexible and impersonal Body Mass Index (BMI)*, which will categorize me as “overweight” until I get down below 194.7. So for once and perhaps only a fleeting moment in my life I’m going to be out of that broad (pun intended) category.

*194.7 is the BMI’s immovable barrier between healthy and overweight, but consider this craziness: the BMI considers 144.1 to be the border between healthy and unhealthy weights  for anyone like me at 6’2″. I guess I need to refresh myself with the definition of “healthy” because I don’t think it means “fully emaciated,” which is what I will already be looking like at 194. At 144 the only thing I’d be good for is as an extra in a prisoner of war camp movie.