I'm on my own for the next two weeks while Alison is in France spending time with her kids during their winter school break. She is on a Delta flight somewhere over the middle of Pennsylvania, and is probably enjoying a soft drink and the minuscule bag of peanuts that Delta likes to think of as a privilege of flying with them.
When we flew over there last fall, we flew on US Air for the first time, and had a great experience. But we only flew into Paris, and Alison is flying all the way through to Bordeaux, so it was easier to book on Delta via Air France.
We managed to exchange some texts and a few emails after I got home from the Cincinnati Airport and before her plane took off. I got the impression that she might be over Delta. I know I sure am.
I don't know what I will do with myself the next couple of weeks. Hopefully I don't fall off the diet and exercise wagon. I'm going to try to keep it up. I'm down around 16 pounds. I'd like to lose another 10 or 15 before we head to Austin next month for HONK! TX where MMMB will be participating.
And speaking of MMMB, if you would like to help them get to Austin for HONK! TX, consider coming out to Buster's tomorrow night for a benefit show for the band. Admission is only $15 for a lot of entertainment, and the marching band gets all the proceeds. Doors open around 8, I think, and the show will probably get underway by 9. I hope to see you there. You Lexington locals, that is.
Those of you who I am friends with on Facebook have probably seen me post something similar to the title of this post as my status, pretty much every day, for the past few weeks. The numbers represent the time I spent using our NordicTrack ski machine, and the distance I traveled in that time.
So just a little while before writing this entry, I spent 30 minutes on the NordicTrack, and covered about 1.6 miles according to the electronic console on the machine. This is the most time I have spent on it at one time in about 7 years. I used to do 30 minutes daily on the thing. Every day.
This was back when I weighed as little as 183 pounds. I weigh much more than that now. A lot of my weight gain came after I met Alison. We've traveled a lot, eaten well, enjoyed fine wines, beers, and spirits, as we settled into our life together. The last 35 pounds or so of weight have come since I quite smoking in October of 2009.
Prior to quitting smoking, I was okay with what I weighed, for the most part. It was more than I weighed in 2005, not nearly what I weight now.
Back in December, we decided we needed a nice place in our home for the exercise equipment we own. That includes the NordicTrack, a weight bench and set of weights, and a Pilates Reformer. So we had a room in our unfinished basement turned into a home gym. You've probably seen Alison's before and after photos of the room.
The work on the room was finally finished the first week of January, when the rubberized flooring was installed. The next day, we both started using the gym. Baby steps to begin.
I think I spent maybe 5 minutes on the skier that first day. The next I did 7 minutes. The next, 10. The past 10 days of so I got all the way up to 27 minutes. Then I took a break over this past weekend as my brother was in town and was staying with us. We ate out a lot, and didn't get a chance to work out.
This is the first day back since Saturday, and boy did I need it. I have no idea how much of the 13 or so pounds I had lost in the past three weeks I might have gained back. I'm not sure I want to know.
But I will find out when I weigh this Thursday (I get on the scales once a week). What ever the scale says, I will have to accept.
Today I did 30 minutes and 1.6 miles on the NordicTrack, and I am back on my self-designed eating plan. And I will continue my quest to shed my excess weight and become a healthier person.
I just realized I have never written about our iPads on this blog. Yes, I said iPads. Plural.
Last May, I bought two iPads, one for me, and one for Alison. They are the 16 GB 3G + Wifi models. We love them more and more each day we use them.
My love for the iPad grew exponentially this evening when I discovered one of the coolest apps ever. I had never really thought about actually writing on the iPad. Writing by hand, I mean. Not with the on-screen keyboard. But I saw a blurb on another blog I read about a tablet device designed solely for handwritten note taking. It was described as being a lot less expensive than, but not nearly as cool as the iPad.
I realized then that it was likely possible to enter information on the iPad via your own handwriting. So I headed to the App Store and started searching. It turns out there are a lot of note taking apps available, priced from free to five or six dollars.
Since I don't work, and am not in school, I figured I didn't need to buy a full-featured and expensive note-taking app. All I needed was something to enter simple lists, like a to do list.
I think I found the perfect thing. It is called Use Your Handwriting GOLD, and is only 99 cents from the App Store. There is a free version that limits the number of lists you can have at a time, and does not allow you to email your notes. It also does not support cut and paste like the Gold version does. Both versions are universal apps and will install on your iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.
I should mention that you can use a capacitive stylus to input your text in the app, but it is not at all necessary. You can write with your fingertip, and it works great. There is a large editing window that opens, and you write in plain text, click the Done button, and your writing appears just as you wrote it on your list.
And since it supports cut and paste, you can automatically copy anything you write to the clipboard. I can then copy my notes to Evernote, which then sync to my MacBook and my iPod/Touch. Way cool.
There are lots of photos and videos of the app in action on the webite. Check it out.
Disclaimer: I have not been paid to write this enthusiastic review of this app. I am in no way connected with the company that sells it. I just think it is cool as hell, and well worth its 99 cent price.
I took the little girl to the vet yesterday and got her checked out. She tested negative for all the things that could kill her.
The vet says she is 4 months old based on her dentition, despite being so tiny that everyone thought she was half that age.
We're still not sure whether we will keep her.
This is Dr. Ralph Stanley, one of the very few legends of Bluegrass music. Really, there are only four of them. Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and Ralph Stanley.
Alison and I were fortunate to see Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys perform this evening at a free concert.
I don't know how much longer Dr, Stanley will be performing. He is 84 years old, and has been performing for 64 years.
I just know I am glad that I got to see him while I still could. Damn. This was an amazing experience.
When I took this photo, he was singing O, Death, from the soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou. A capella. His band had left the stage. I can't express how amazing this moment was.
I took this photo of an open bottle of Yuengling Lager and bottle opener while in Pittsburgh visiting Alison's family last weekend.
When I posted it last night, a friend on Facebook left a comment saying, "Album cover!"
Which made me wonder what band might use this photo as the cover of their album.
I've been trying out a new lens I bought the other day. It is a Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8G, which is the equivalent of a standard 50 mm lens we all used on our 35 mm film SLRs long ago.
And the lens sells for less than $200.
I think I am going to have a lot of fun with it.
Even the 21C Museum Hotel penguins were impressed by the University of Kentucky basketball team's win over Arkansas on Saturday. A win that should propel UK into first place in the nation on Monday.
Alison and I spent the weekend at 21C. It was her birthday gift to me. It was an experience I will never forget. It was wonderful to be pampered in luxury. The food at the hotel restaurant, Proof, was amazing.
I really want to do it again some day.
Every year, around the holidays, almost all of the search engine traffic to this blog is directed to a post I made 5 years ago today about my late mother's cream candy recipe.
I get a small trickle of hits on the post throughout the year, but sometime around October, the numbers begin to rise, and by this time traffic is spiking.
So, welcome visitors. I hope the recipe is what you are looking for, and I wish you success in your efforts to make Kentucky Cream Candy.
Last night, as we were leaving the restaurant where we had dinner, we saw the gorgeous full moon rising. The color was stunning.
It was still pretty low in the sky when we got home, so I grabbed the camera and telephoto lens, and went crazy. I took something like 46 photos.
This was the best of the bunch.
I seem to have missed my blogging anniversary. My fifth anniversary. On July 2, 2004, I created a blog over at Blogger, but quickly became frustrated with the interface. So on July 19, I created a blog here on Typepad and imported my very few posts.
The next day, I published my first entry here at what was then known as Inside Allan's Mind.
I guess the fact that I let it all slip by me is an indication of how unimportant this blogging thing seems to me after five years.
Maybe I should euthanize this blog like Mike did his. Or not.
We got home last night after spending 9 days in the Charente Maritime. The trip back was exhausting. It involved three plane trips for a total of around 14 hours in the air. Plus the rushing through airports/customs/passport control/security. Multiple times.
And then I only slept for about 4 hours.
I need a vacation.
This is a photo of Emily Hagihara, a member of the Lexington band Chico Fellini, who played the Beaux Arts Ball Saturday night.
I am slowly, but surely, working my way through the close to 500 photos I took Saturday. There are a few already up on my Flickr stream.
As always, you can click on the image, and see a larger version on Flickr.
I took this photo Saturday night at the 40th annual Beaux Arts Ball in Lexington. There was a photo booth set up where attendees could have their photo taken for free.
Sometimes photographs compose themselves.
As always, if you click the photo, you will be taken to it's page on my Flickr photostream, where you can see a larger version of it. And I think it looks even better in the large version.
The weather has been glorious the past two days. Sunny, warm, an barely a cloud in the sky.
Yesterday Alison and I took our cameras, and went for a long walk down to the University campus, where we took photos and did some shopping. We ended up stopping at Pazzo's Pub, one of our favorite watering holes, where we sat out on their patio, drank a few beers in honor of St. Patrick, and enjoyed an appetizer of pesto bread.
We ran into some old friends of mine, and were later joined by some more friends who shared a couple of pitchers of Kentucky Ale, and some more appetizers with us. They were kind enough to give us a ride home five hours after we had set out on our adventure.
Today, we rode our bicycles downtown to Third Street Stuff Coffee and Gift Shop, where Alison had iced tea, and I had iced coffee. We haven't had the bikes out of the garage since last fall. It was great to ride again, despite having to navigate the terrible traffic in this town. The ride home was during rush hour, and my knuckles were white by the time we got home.
It would be nice to do it again tomorrow, but the weather is expected to be rainy, and the temperature some 25 degrees lower than it was yesterday and today.
This winter has seemed twice as long as usual for Kentucky. I am so over it. But it looks like it will be a while before the spring weather will be here to stay.
Despite being able to take photos like this.
The ice is gone from the trees and power lines, but there is still ice on the lawns, and on some sidewalks and streets. Our street was plowed the past two days, and is more or less free of ice.
I spent a lot of time last night and today trying to get the three inches of ice and packed, frozen, slush off the back porch. I finally cleared it, only to have the water left behind refreeze into a thin layer of black ice. And ice melter is in very short supply in town.
This afternoon, while downtown with Alison, I slipped on ice, and fell like a sack of potatoes. On my right side this time, unlike just before Christmas, when I skated off the porch and landed on my left side.
When we got home, I took some Advil and arnica, but I have a feeling I am going to be very stiff and sore in the morning. I'm already aching all over. I wonder if bourbon would help.
And to top it off, there is snow forecast for overnight and tomorrow.
Happy Groundhog Day.
As many of you know, Kentucky, along with a large part of the midwest, was hit by a very severe winter storm this week. Snow, followed by 24 hours of freezing rain, followed by more snow.
From what I have read, and heard, it is as bad as, or worse than the storm in 2003.
I have been stressed out about it all week, wondering if the power was going to go out here like it did then. That was a very traumatic few days for me, and I have had flashbacks all this week. Many of my friends have as well.
Luckily, Alison and I have not lost power to our house. Many around us have though, and many might not have their power restored for 2 weeks or more. With the trees and power lines coated with a half inch of ice, we could still find ourselves in the dark.
The precipitation ended yesterday morning, and in the afternoon, we went for a walk around the neighborhood. Conditions were bad. Trees and utility lines were down everywhere, and many streets were blocked.
Tuesday night, and yesterday, I took a lot of photos. It was one way I tried to keep my fears at bay.
I also tried to find some beauty in the destruction.
You can view a brief slideshow of my photos after the jump.