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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

FreeOK in Tulsa, OK July 30th



Here is a link to the FreeOK convention in Tulsa, OK Saturday, July 30, 2011.

The main slated speakers include Matt Dillahunty, AronRa, The Thinking Atheist and more.

The tickets are just $10 and this event needs to be supported with as many people as possible.

It is important that the radical fundamentalist see that reason and rational thinking is alive and well supported in Oklahoma.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Science centers and Museums

I want to make a blog of the science centers and museums I have visited over the years. I think this is important as the more a person learns about reality of the world the better they are at dealing with it. So in no particular order is a list of some of the amazing places I have seen.

Museum of Science and Industry. Chicago, IL This is one of the first times I recall going to a museum.

Southeastern State College, Durant, OK Science building

Bicentennial Train, Ardmore, OK

NASA space traveling exhibit.Dickson, OK [Saw first moon rock there]

Kirkpatrick Center, Oklahoma City

Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City

Wichita Omnisphere and science Center, Wichita, KS

Kansas Cosmosphere, Hutchinson, KS

Philbrook Museum, Tulsa, OK

St. Louis Science Center, St.Louis, MO

National Westward Expansion Museum, St. Louis, MO

Art Museum, St. Louis,

New Mexico Space Museum and Space Hall of Fame, Alamogardo, NM

National Solar Observatory, Sunspot, NM

Roswell Science and art Center, Roswell, NM

Blackwater Draw, Eastern New Mexico University, 8 miles north of Portales, NM

Kansas History Museum, Topeka, NM

Oklahoma City Zoo, Oklahoma City, OK

St. Louis, ZOO, St. Louis

Topeka Zoo, Topeka, KS

Hillcrest Zoo, Clovis, NM

Bob Dole Museum, Lawrence, KS

Marland Mansion, Ponca City, OK

Conoco Museum, Ponca City, OK

Marland's Grand Home, Ponca City, OK

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Working on the new Lake St. station near Cheryl's work.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Judgment and judging and the curse of expectations

I find the way people act to be a good indicator of what they believe regardless of what they say they believe. My daughter back in September on a visit to see her asked her step-dad to adopt her. Of course prior to this action I had no clue whatsoever that she had even entertained the idea. Needless to say it hit me like a brick wall on fire. I couldn't believe it. The daughter that I love so much and had worried about and worked so hard to cultivate a good and open relationship was asking this of me? How could this be?

[This is in response to a letter I got from Madeline Saturday.] Oh yes. I remember. My old friend religion was at work here. The Christian was showing the true nature of what it means to be an adherent. Reality isn't what matters but it is the perception of what make her comfortable. The trip went ahead as planned but needless to say the call from her Uncle on the morning I left for Kansas was a most distracting thing to deal with. Her Uncle happens to be the attorney that was handling the adoption.

So a trip that was designed to be a fun time with my daughter and girl friend became a horror filled nightmare. Why? Well, that really is the question. Had I ever hurt her or abused her or did anything to her detriment? No. All I ever wanted for her was to be happy and healthy and smart. The last time I saw her she had made a point of wrapping a present for me and giving it to me for Christmas. What had happened from the caring loving daughter I had last scene then? During the year I would call her and also send her text messages. For awhile I got messages back but I figured she was busy and such.

But this was much more than a communication situation. It was the influence of religion in all that moved my loving daughter to a hostile person. It was through the encouragement of people that are self-righteous and would prefer to hurt me and destroy Madeline rather than show the love and charity and compassion that their religion asks for them to do. No doubt, it was and is hate that fuels this behavior.

How many times must one forgive? Is it three times? It is seven times? Even if you have forgiven seventy times seven you have only just  began to forgive according to the sayings of Jesus. What are the characteristic of this love? Aren't they long suffering, patience, tenderness, forgiveness, gentleness, self control, faithfulness and kindness? When did God give up on those that believe on him and call on his name?

I see the hand of my self-righteous ex-wife at work in the actions and words of my child. The burden of anger and frustration that I feel is so intense and so burning with rage that I can barely explain it. How I want to teach all of them what is the right way to act. How I want to force them to confess their evil deeds and turn to me and ask my forgiveness.

How I want to steal my daughter from the influence of the lies that she has been force to accept as true. And even more evil that I wish I could do to them for the hurt, pain and anguish they have caused me. But can I?

I am not sure how many of you are familiar with the story of The Good Samaritan. It is a parable from Jesus and talks about the compassion of one person given to another person that is undeserved or at least rightly with held. The Samaritans were a sect of the Jewish people that had a slightly different view of how to worship God than the more Orthodox Jews. The Samaritans felt you could worship God where ever you wished and the more Orthodox Jews felt this was only done in the Temple. Because of this the Samaritans were hated and viewed with utter contempt by the Jews.

So, as the story goes, a man was on a journey and was beaten and robbed and left to die on the roadside. [a pathway in today's meaning] As the man laid in need a priest came by and walk by him and did nothing to aid him. Likewise the same with the Levite that walked that way. No assistance was offered or given. One could understand this situation. The bandits may very well be waiting nearby to beat and rob the person that would help the injured man.

Then as we all know finally The Good Samaritan comes and helps the man, binds his wounds and takes him to an inn where the Samaritan pays for his rest and recuperation asking nothing in return. Yet even saying to the inn keeper that anything the man needs, that when he comes back he will pay for that as well. The man who was despised by the one he helped was the one that showed loved and mercy. To this, Jesus doesn't call him his brother or his friend. Jesus simply calls him his neighbor. If that is how you treat a neighbor, isn't that much more to your own father?

Jesus asked the ones that listen to the story who was the one that showed mercy? The answer was hard for them to say. Because the right answer was the man that was despised, the Samaritan. So what was answered was, "The one who showed mercy."

This is the way I have to react when people treat me with cruelty and bitter anger and hate. Am I going to answer their evil with evil? Am I going to judge them by my worse fears? Or am I going to hold out hope that my tolerance and hope for them will lead to a path that we both can share and help each other?

While I am sure it would thrill my ex-wife to no ends to have me become angry with my daughter she has no way to fathom the love I can show and that I feel. Some say that the love of God stretches as far as the East is from the West. I don't know about that. But I do know that when you show love it helps you and the person you show it too.

Maybe if more Christians were more eager to show God's love we could dispense with the divisions in the world and our country and focus on helping one another instead.

Great evil and malice has been shown toward me yet I will not act in kind. I will judge this situation by the actions of what has happen to me. But I will do it in patience and with reflection on my own human frailties.

What is worse; to destroy someones body or destroy someones mind and will? How about both are bad and not do either to the best we can.

Why do people seek to cause others harm? I could only guess that it has to do with false expectations. As humans we tend to project certain ideas and results on people and groups that we think we have a valid understanding of. This is part of human nature. Sometimes these expectations are worth merit but more often than not they are a best guess.

If you have ever meet another person, out of the two of you one is more intelligent. That is a fact. But according to the Dunning-Krugger Effect, If you have two people both will assume to be above average in their intelligence. This, of course, cannot be right, only about 40 percent of the people can be above average. The rest are about average or below average intelligence. Having study this effect I have seen how I am a victim of my own self delusional behavior and tend to think what I think is right or best isn't always the best or right way after all.

This applies to our relationships as well. The amount of time one invests into a commitment tends to amplify the value of that commitment. I once collected stamps and loved to get new ones and find out where they were from and all about them. I went to stamp shops and went to stores and looked up all sorts of facts and things about stamps. I got great joy from them. They were stolen from me when I was about 18 years old and that hurt me very much. Even to this day, all the time and effort and education I put into it still brings a bit of pain. But the truth is to someone that has no desire in stamp collecting my actions and feelings would be foreign. Rightfully so.

Because of this, I could have an unreasonable expectation of them to empathize with how losing my stamp collection made me feel. A reaction to that may be to get even madder at them because they fail to react as I would want them too. This would be an unreasonable reaction on my part. Of course, this also applies to careers, politics, and religion.

We have by nature unreasonable expectations for others to accept our ideas and behave as we wish. I surely do that. It is hard to explain how we feel and to do the often tedious work of explaining ourselves. But I try to be aware that my expectations may not be reasonable. Just because I have invested a lot of time and effort into them doesn't mean that others must feel the same as I do.

Sometimes the most simple things is to step back and say, Why don't you feel like I do? Or what do you think or feel about this?

Of course, this requires communication and since my ex-wife thinks it a great idea not to communicate, that left my daughter with very little of my influence. I know for a fact that if I hadn't been left out of the picture that I wouldn't be dealing with this Today.

It doesn't hurt to reevaluate your values now and then. You might find betters ones. After all, didn't Jesus change the way the Jews were thinking?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Some good news some bad.

More people are hitting the trail with warmer weather.
This is for a couple of days since I have been pretty busy. The good news of the start is that even though I have not been posting daily I have still been doing my walking. So far this week I have walked more than 57 miles. This puts me over the 20 percent mark for reaching my goal of 1750 miles. I have walked 364.61 miles since December 28th. This also means I only have 1385.39 miles left to go.

Some more good news is that I have lost more than 40 pounds since I began. I hit 256.4 yesterday and that is 40.6 off my beginning weight. The bad news is that I got a new scale to replace the old spring one that I had and I found out that the old scale was off [light] by about 7 pounds. Because of this I have adjusted my starting weight from 290 to 297. It may be more because there isn't a direct linear comparison. But that seems to be fair. More than likely I was over 300 pounds. SO that is the bad news part.

The trail has really seen the number of people go up with the warmer weather. Seems that Ground Hog may have been onto something after all. I always had faith in him. Never wavered a bit. Over the past three days we have 151, 147 and yesterday there was 197 people. It is odd to see them out there. Some of the people I have seen many times and some I have only seen one time. But there are only about four or five I have seen even in the coldest weather. I am so glad I started when it was cold because I have a feeling the heat is going to wipe me out. I am already in shorts and t-shirts. This is with the temperature being in the 40's and 50's.

Let's see what this look like in a couple weeks.
I am going back to Chicago for a few days to see Cheryl and will do some more walking from there. Though it has only been a couple of days since the snow has melted, there is green grass and some leaves beginning to grow on the trail. Get ready for pollen if you have allergies.

While my stomach is still pretty huge it is at least much softer than is has been in a long time. Not long ago when one would poke my belly it was hard and you could poke it in. Now it is soft and I giggle when that happens. Like the Pillsbury dough boy.Too bad I can't lose weight like how the snow melts. Or can I?

More birds and squirrels are around the trail now too. Dang squirrels.

Keep on Track,

Thomas


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

People are Getting on my Trail.

Yesterday there was a record number of people on the trail during my walk with 51. Today there were 37 people. This of course doesn't count the dogs and babies which have no say in the matter. One of the funniest ones was a woman that brought her bike with her to the Tesson parking area and just rode her bike to Gravois. That was only a two mile bike ride. I guess it is better than nothing at all but it seems really minor to me. I walked 10.63 miles and I thought I should have gone further.

There seems to be an issue with the livestrong.com website. I have tried several times to get on it to
track my walking and food but the pages keep going blank. I wonder if it will be fixed soon. That is a bit inconvenient.

The ducks were out Today, so were the people.
I saw some ducks in the creek near Grant's Trail near the headend at The Lodge end of the trail. They were all swimming together in their little ducky formation and quacking just as ducks tend to do. It will be interesting to see what sort of facility that is going to be built there and how that will relate to the park and fitness. I should look into what is available at the Clydesdale Park. But I think just walking up the hill is about enough activity for anyone.

It is very quiet in here in the morning.
I went to Grant's National Park for my turn around point. I was joust going to Gravois but I had to use their bathroom. When I was in there I sneezed. I guess it was a bit loud and the Park Ranger stuck his head in the bathroom to see what was going on.

I think I am going to get a scale that works Today. That will help measure my actual weight without having to guess. However, when I was up visiting Cheryl one time we went to Zannie's comedy club and the guy there was selling t-shirts that benefit dog rescues and I got one, The thing is the only size they had was large so I had to got that. I wore that shirt Today. Of course I am fat in it but I can at least wear it somewhat without it being over stretched.

According to my fitness tracker I have walked 331 miles and I am at almost 19 percent of my goal to walk 1750 miles. Just think, almost 20 percent done. Looking back it looks so easy, but looking forward it looks really hard.

I also had a large number of hits on my blog yesterday. I want to say thank you for reading and I hope that you will be returning to see me become successful on my journey to a better me. I couldn't do it without you. Well I could and I am.

Keep on track,

Thomas

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Darwin Day

Happy Birthday Charles.
Tomorrow represents the 202nd anniversary of the birth of naturalist Charles Darwin. Regardless of a persons views on his work concerning natural selection, he certainly is a person that has influenced the world from his life's work. So go out and hug an ape.

Today is going to be another short day as I have got to get ready to go to Collinsville, IL and do some work. Plus Tonight Cheryl is going to be here so I want to be ready for her arrival.

Today was a very short walk. It is funny because it is as long as when I first started out back in December but now it is less than half of the distance that I cover. I weighted myself again Today and it seems like I might be at 256 pounds. That is twelve percent of my body weight that I have lost now and my blood pressure continues to stay in the “green” levels.

I find it so hard to deal with the long slow process of losing the weight. I mean the actual walking and watching food consumption is really hard. Plus when I look in the mirror and see how far I have yet to go to look the way I want to it seem like and unending path. I guess in a way it is.

That is the main reason I began this process of keeping a blog and recording my fitness numbers so I can have clear and tangible proof that I am actually moving toward my goal. How many of us have worked to lose weight and then after reaching a goal slack off and do not even realize that the weight lost comes back? It is that easy to gain weight. You don't have to do anything at all.

I know some people that can eat all they want, it seems, and are still skinny as a rail. That used to be me when I was in high school and college. But I think I was pretty active back then too. I did a lot of walking and was pretty active. Back then you had to go to an arcade and stand up while you played video games. Not these in home couch potato ones they have now. However I guess the manufactures are changing that too.

Highlights, I am at 307 miles which is enough distance to reach where Cheryl lives in Chicago. That also brings me to 17.5 percent of my goal of 1750 miles. This months average blood pressure is 125/77. Not too bad for a fat man, I say.

Keep on track,

Thomas

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Short Blog Today

I am going to make this fast and easy because I have several things I need to do Today.

SO Today I did over ten miles which brings my total to 304 miles. Just shy of reaching from my home to Cheryl's apartment in Chicago. My blood Pressure was 118/75, so I am glad about that for sure too.

Come on out to Edwardsville this weekend for pet pictures.
Due to me doing a event this weekend I am going to be walking a shorter distance for the next two days to make sure I am back in time. Also I may not have my walking blogs posted until much later. Sorry about that but you have to do what you can.

I wish everyone success on their journey and I will be back with more soon.

Keep on track,

Thomas

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Message From our Sponsor


I did 10 miles Today and this put me over 293 miles and almost 17 percent of my goal of 1750 miles. This would be more then the distance from St. Louis to The Kansas State line on Interstate 44. Which also means that I have walked the distance to Kansas City, Memphis, Indianapolis, Louisville and Nashville. I should reach the distance to Chicago with in a couple of days.

My blood pressure continues to stay within healthy levels. The best news is that the temperature should be getting warmer for the next week. I am pretty excited about that. According to the livestrong website I am on target to be at 240 pounds by March 10. I would be very happy about that.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More Than One Million Steps!

Interstate 44 is at the north end of Grant's Trail in Kirkwood.
Well that alone should be good enough for Today but I also walked all the way to the end of Grant's Trail. I also walked 12.5 miles Today too. That is 283 miles since December 28th, 2010. Thew one million steps is from all of last year though. So it is from a much longer period of time. I was also surprised to find out that it got colder as the day went on. It was about 26ºF when I started and it was down to 12ºF when I got back home. I thought it was getting colder but I thought it was from the wind chill and not real temperature.

The number of steps I have taken since I began walking again is 567,066. So that is more than a half million in about six weeks. So at this rate I should reach my goal of 1750 miles in November. That has moved up due to the fact that I am walking more than my original goal. I think once I reach the goal I might go back to the 4 miles per day to maintain my weight.

My Starting place is Musick and Gravois.
My total distance Today was 12.5 miles and I think that is the longest I have gone in a long time with out a break somewhere a long the line. I am also feeling better and think I can see some differences in my waist. But it is so big it is going to take a long time. I know when I come in after a long walk like this I want to go in the bathroom and look in the mirror and see it ALL GONE. But it doesn't work that way.

But it sure feels good using the livestrong website for the food tracking and activity tracker. It helps a lot with keeping your totals on your food and calories on track. I know I have mentioned it before but if you have not used it yet or even looked at it it has so much good information that you cannot help but to gain some sort of useful information from it. And donate blood.

9109 Watson Rd, Home of Almon Chiropractic Therapy?
Grant's Trail passes near my niece's new office I am sure it is in the 9109 Watson Rd Building near Applebee's. It looks mighty fancy to me. I think she said she is going to name it Almon Chiropractic Center or Clinic I would name is Almon Chiropractic Therapy so the initials can be ACT. Then she could answer the phone, “Hello, ACT Center. What acting up with you?” Plus I think the name sounds better too.

She still needs Missouri car tags. Oklahoma is OK, Missouri is awesome!

Anyway, I hit 260 pounds Today. So that is more than 10 percent of my weight goal. WHAT? All that work and only 10 percent. I must be one fat tub of lard. Oh yes, I am. Back on track. That is really good news since I was going to stop Today if I wasn't any lighter. [not really] That is 30 pounds since the end of December. I am after all trying to reach a 30 percent goal so I am already one third there. To be honest the 30 percent is just a starting point. Then at that time I have to decide what I am going to do. Either working on weight training or more jogging. After I get under 250 pounds I might start jogging again. I might wait until 240 pounds. I am just concerned about my knees and the extra weight. SO far I have not had any noticeable issue with my feet or knees. However, my back hurts a bit but that has got to be from the 60 to 70 pounds of extra fat I am carrying.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Waiting For That Warmer Weather

This horse ate some freshly tossed alfalfa on the ground.
Someone told me that some animal saw its shadow and it is suppose to be warm now. By the way Groundhog day was my Grandmother's 110th birthday. Happy birthday Granny Tanner.

With the Super Bowl over and winter still much in effect for much of the country the only thing to do is to walk to entertain each other until some real sports begin. Like say, baseball. All you cricket and soccer and tennis people may say that your sport is worthy to be enjoyed but that is just because you have never enjoyed a good baseball season. But through the magic of time and some other magic, the gr4eenskeepers are transforming the white snow into green grass all across the country. So that on March 31st real sports can begin again.

OK enough about that. I walked more than 11 miles Today which is the furthers I have gone on Grant's Trail. I went all the way to Watson Road. I think Tomorrow I will try to make it all the way to I-44. That would be the whole length of the trail. That would mark the first time I had done that, even on a bike. Plus it would be a good path to get on. That would make my walk about 13 miles. I just hope it warms up soon.

I have almost walked the distance from St. Louis to the Oklahoma State line following I-44. I should reach the total distance by the end of the week. I hope by Wednesday. I am at 271 miles as of right now. I figured the number of steps that is about 3.5 million to reach my goal distance of 1750 miles. It is odd to think that there are so many steps to that distance when we can drive it in just a few days or fly it in just a few hours.

It takes a lot of feed to feed these big bodies.
I wonder how long it would take me if I was using a Clydesdale to reach the distance. Maybe I should ask the people at Grant's Farm to see if they would let me ride one of their horses.

Oh this was a interesting tidbit. My Army uniform top is much closer to fitting that it has been in a long time. I still can't get it on but I am glad that I kept it all these years because when I can fir into that I know that I am on my way to my weight when I was in the service. I haven't tried the pants yet. I figure the shirt would fit before the pants will.

I found a tape measure and found out my chest is 48 inches and my fat waist is 52 inches and my neck is 18 ½ inches. Being that I have no prior measurements to compare this with I will have to use this as a comparison moving forward.

That's all for Today, Folks.

Thomas

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Another Snow Story

Clydesdale in the snow.
When I woke up this morning and looked outside there was about 6 to 7 inches of snow and it was still coming down. I was pretty sure I was going to have to walk from home since the snow was so deep. I went a different path Today and went down to Grant's Trail through one of the neighborhoods that border it. Then I headed to Grant's Farm and then back the regular path. I was surprised how many people were out this morning. Before I even left I saw someone out jogging in the snow in front of the house.

I also saw several bike riders and even a cross country skier near Clydesdale Park. Actually I saw his tracks but when I began he wasn't there and they were there on the way back. So he must have been pretty fast. But they only went for about a mile so even going back and forth it was two miles. I did ten miles Today.

An abandoned rail track near Grant's trail showing the snow.
Due to the snow it was incredibly hard to walk. It took much longer than normal, plus I fell one time near the Affton Athletic Center. It seemed that at the AAC they had some event because there was a lot of traffic this morning. Some of the other areas that were hard to walk on was the intersections where the trail and a road met and all the streets. At least the snow was wet enough for me to get a good footing but still if I was to fall the road was right there.

The temperature was rather warm considering that it has been in the 20s for the past month or lower. It was in the 30s during Today's walk so the roads were clearing of snow fast. As of the writing of this the temperature was 37ºF and it looked like the snow on the street was melting.

I am also at 260 miles so far and that puts me near 15 percent of my 1750 mile goal. I am still averaging more than 1000kcal per day used and more than seven miles per day walked.

Friday, February 4, 2011

No Horsing Around, Back on Track

A world famous Budweiser Clydesdale at Grant's Farm.
After my return trip and a walk in the mall I am back to the trail. This time due to the distance I was walking in Chicago I am going a longer path on Grant's Trail. Now I am turning left on Gravois and walk toward Grant's Farm and the National Park. I got to see some of the world Famous Budweiser Clydesdale there as well. They have on their winter coat of hair too. It was nice that a few of the horse came to the fence and I even got to pet them on the nose. I saw how their hoofs make the snow fly up as they walk like in the TV ads. They were pretty friendly but still a bit skiddish.

The distance was over ten miles the way I walked. Most of that is on level ground or at least at a very slight incline. I also extended the walk to the Moose lodge at the end of Grant's Trail. On that last section there is some construction work being done and it looks like there might be some sort of bike park or trail there.

Without a doubt there is a need for some warmer temperatures soon. It wouldn't be bad to have about a week or longer of temperatures in the 30's or more. That should get rid of the ice and snow. But of course with the warmer weather will come rain and storms.

From the famous Grant's Farm bread package.
I am almost at 250 miles of the 1750 mile goal I am shooting for. I am looking forward to the next 60 days as that should really make a bigger difference in my gut and such. If I can lose about 40 to 50 pounds by then I will be most happy with the results. With Today's walk I did ten miles and even though that is the longest one for in St. Louis I still have several that are longer when I was in Chicago. I understand that due to Chicago being so flat that it is much more easy to walk further. That is why so many people are able to start and finish the Chicago marathon.

Look for a run near you.
I would say by April or May I should be jogging again and maybe by then I can consider looking at doing some actual runs for a charity or something like that. There is a website that has these events listed called “GO! St. Louis.” There are lists of many running and walking events.

My blood pressure is good so far for the month but do to the snow and travel I got only Today listed but I am glad that it is staying low going into the short month.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Two For One Monday

A place to see some rising stars.
Due to the busy weekend and stuff I am doing the duel blog of Monday and Saturday. Saturday Cheryl and I walked up north to the Apple store and a little bit north of that to the historic Stephenwolf Theater. It is a place where many of a fine dramatic actor has honed their craft. This walk we did was more then seven miles. And later one we went to the movies so all together we walked thirteen miles. That was by far the longest walk I have done since I began. But with the cold the walk doesn't seem to bother me near as much as it does when it is hot.

At the Apple store we were going to get the pedometer sensor that didn't come with her iPod touch and when we did we were told by the Apple rep that you have to have the sensor in an Nike shoe for it to work right. And that it had to have significant impact on the sensor in order for it to count your steps. So between the additional requirement of a Nike brand shoe which costs around $160 a pair their was no way to use this feature provided at the Apple store. While we were walking back we passed a shoe store and went in and talked to a girl there and she showed us some “pockets” we could use to hold the sensor on Cheryl's existing shoes.

Looks like Dorothy needs a coat.
The walk was long and we did stop a few times but Cheryl was getting a bit walked out so I told her she could rest and I would make some lunch for us. Later on we went to the movies and walked there so that is what gave us such a long total for the day.

Sunday I didn't do any particular walking but we went out to Barrington to visit some friends of Cheryl’s and with the walk from the and to the train station and several other things we got more then four miles in.

Today I walked down State street with is the east west divider street in Chicago. In St. Louis we use the Mississippi to divide east from west. So anyway I walked south ion State to IIT and crossed Interstate 90 at 31st street. And could see the downtown skyline really good. The bridge covers the red line CTA and I-90 was merging into I-55.

Now that I know that area of town is “Chinatown” I understand why I see so many Asian looking people there. The circuit Today was about 8 miles. It wasn't so cold but the wind was bad. Well it was cold it was 22ºF. But I have walked in much colder. It is the wind that really gets me going.

Looking north from I-90 at downtown Chicago.
The best news is my weight is at 264.5 pounds which is 25 pounds lost since I began all this mess. I don't even miss it. This is also the end of my “second” month. Remember I started in the last few days of December. It is also going to be my last walk in Chicago for a while. It has been really fun getting to see and learn about the place. Maybe I will show it to Cheryl someday.

I already have a new path set up for when I get back to St. Louis and on Grant's Trail. I have reached 233 miles and 13.36 percent of my 1750 mile goal. That equals more then 10 pounds of walking at an average of 1100 kcal per day. This also means I am walking nearly 8 miles per day too. And the best part is the health part of my blood pressure coming more in line with medical recommendations.

Friday, January 28, 2011

First Month of Walking Done

Water Under the Bridge

Commuters make their way to work this morning walking over the River.


Today marks the first full calender month of walking that I have done continuously. This also marks some additional milestones. I walked more than 200 miles now. And my blood pressure continues to stay in the normal range and I am still averaging more than 1000kcal used per day. Plus my weight continues the downward trek.

A rare beautiful winter morning in downtown Chicago.
This morning I walked through downtown Chicago and went north on Wells Ave. I took this into the Lincoln Park neighborhood to where Wells ends at near Clark St. and the Zoo. Then I walked west a bit and then headed back south. I went past Clybourne then made my way over to Orleans. Then back over the Chicago River and back to the apartment. All this took about two and a half hours and was almost seven miles. The sky was nice and clear Today so I took a picture of the river as I was crossing. I really like seeing the blue sky for a change. It wouldn't be a bad deal to see it more often for sure. Right, Mr. Blue Sky?

Mr. Blue Sky returns over the Merchandise Mart.
Also on my way out I took a picture of all the commuters walking to work from the Metra station on Madison. It is so interesting seeing the people rushing to get to their buildings and all dressed in black for the cold weather. I stand out as I am wearing a light gray sweatsuit. But I think everyone else looks funny. When I made my way over to Wells I was walking and listening to my iPod looking at the sidewalk just following the person in front of me and we headed out into the street and she stopped right in front of me. I almost ran her over. That would have been my first pedestrian accident. I wonder if you have to call the cops for one of those? Anyway I had to grab her arms to move use her to help me stop. I bet she thought I was some creepy guy. Well then why did she follow me for five blocks.The neighborhood seems rather pleasant. I wouldn’t mind living there. I wonder what the rent goes around there or if they are all condos or homes.

I did see a lot of dogs and a lot of dog traces in the snow. I hope it was from a dog at least. Plus I saw a few pet shops. The deal with most of them in that neighborhood is they are too small. But they certainly need a pet photographer in the area.

Losing Pressure

I am very pleased with my results thus far and very pleased with how my blood pressure is getting under control. Actually Today was the lowest the my diastolic pressure has been to date. So now the focus is on keeping on the journey and reach the goal. It will be really nice when am in the 250s again. That should happen sometime next month.

Don't forget to donate blood if you can. We always need blood donations. Click on the link on the top left side of my blog to find a Red Cross donation center or go on line to find a place to help. Remember that blood can only come from you and it can help up to three people every time you donate. Plus you get cookies and juice when you go. Plus it may be you or a family member or friend that needs your blood in an medical emergency. Plus you don't even need all that blood.

Stay on track

Thomas

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shorter Walk, More Wind

Ever feel that you're in a meat market?
Today it was not as cold as it has been before but the wind was really blowing hard. Because of this I took my shortest walk in a long time. But even that was just under five miles. After I walked with Cheryl to her office I stopped by a couple of meat markets that are in the area and got some pork chops and a couple of steaks. The prices seemed rather good but I didn't have a comparison. But they could have been twice the regular price for all I know.
  

Where the Great Chicago Fire Started in 1871.
I walked past the University of Illinois at Chicago to Roosevelt and back to the apartment. On the way I walked past the Chicago Fire Academy where the 1871 Chicago fire started. I guess they wanted to make sure that the location would be a safe place to never burn down the city again in the future. They have a small museum there plus they have memorials to fallen firefighter in the line of duty.

Today marks the fifth consecutive day of my blood pressure being under the recommended levels. In addition to this the average for January is almost within proper levels. This is really good news. This is going to be a short blog since I had to make up for yesterday's blog.

Keep on track,

Thomas

Soldier on into Outer Space

Inside the famous columns at Solider Field.
This is a rare time that I didn't write my blog on the day I walked. The reason for that could be several issues but needless to say yesterday was the longest single walk of my time up in Chicago. I started out by going with Cheryl to her work and then I began my walk to go to Soldier Field. On the way there I stopped by the Chicago Public Library to get a pass to one of the sights and I ended up with the Art Institute but I actually wanted the Adler Planetarium but they were out of them. SO off I went down the road. I walked past Roosevelt and Columbus streets and saw the statue of Christopher Columbus or Christabal Colón as he was called in Spanish.

Near the library I saw a little protest/parade going on. There were children and parents of charter schools parading around about the benefits of charter schools and that they didn't want to see them closed down. Or whatever the cause “de jour” was. There were about 100 people in the total group and they had a police escort and were walking on the sidewalks. Again I saw several live trucks near city hall.

Exercising their constitutional rights in the cold!
When I got to Soldier Field I was surprised to see that it was open. But they have the memorial around the stadium. I found out that the field is for the military members that have earned the Medal of Honor. I saw the names of the people and it only went to the Vietnam War. I am know that more have won the award since then. I am not sure what the classification is for them to be placed upon the memorial.

Bigger than I thought.
After that I walked down to the Adler Planetarium and since it was Wednesday there was not a charge. To think I almost walked on by because I didn't have the free pass from the library. I was glad I did however I have been to much better science museums in much smaller cities. I did find the replica of the Mars rovers very informative because I thought they were much smaller. The truth is they are about as tall as a person is where the camera structures are at. On display there were the fragments of rock that had been discovered from Mars that are claimed to have ancient microscopic life in them. There was also a flight simulator for flying over Mars. With the three video screens and as dark as it was it could really seem like you were piloting a craft over the Martian surface.

I nice shot of the Windy City on a cloudy day.
Since I took so much extra time on my walk I stopped by Arby's and got a Market Fresh Turkey and Swiss sandwich. I figure this would be a decent meal after all the walk and it was after 2:00pm by that time. It was very good but when I got home to look up the data for the sandwich the sandwich was 780 calories and 1880mg of sodium. On the Arby's website they let you remove items to see what the remaining calories are. I removed the bread and the bread alone was 380 calories and had 680mg of sodium. That is almost as much as their Bacon and Cheddar Roast burger. I couldn't believe it. It was almost all the walking I did was wiped out in one meal. I knew the fries would be high but I figured the sandwich would balance it out. Actually the fries were the small or of the two items I ate calorie-wise. If I ever eat at Arby's again I am going to not eat the bun because that adds anywhere from 200 to 400 calories and a lot more sodium to your meal.

Some of the issue I am dealing with now is the slow rate at weight loss. It is moving along but it is taking forever in my estimation. But it is at least moving in the right direction. It is just so sad that I have let myself get so fat without trying to lose weight more vigorously. But this is only the fist month now and this marks nearly 200 miles of the 1750 miles I am planning to do to reach my goal. It would be nice to have the results I am shooting for by the time I get there. But that is still about 10 to 13 months away.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Back North on Clark Street

Two cool cats at the zoo.
This morning after I walked with Cheryl to work I went north and east from her office to the Lincoln Park Zoo. I didn't bother going to the zoo itself since it was so cold but I did at least walk in the park around it. There was also a memorial to the last survivor of the Boston Tea Party in the park too. I thought that was quite interesting. It said he dies in 1852 and lived to be 115 years old. That was pretty old for back then. This was 79 years after the actual event. Another plaque at the site stated that the man's age was in question but he still could have been at the site when it happened regardless. You can look up more about him on any search engine. His name was David Kennison.

A real Tea Party Patriot.
But before I made my way all the way up to Lincoln Park I was walking down Grand St. and passed a Telsa car dealership. The Telsa is an all electric sports car. There were several of them in the showroom but it was closed at the time so I just took a pictures from the window. They looked rather nice. I would have liked to been able to look at one close up. I understand that they drive pretty fast as well.
A fast and quiet car.

The temperature was good Today. I think it was at 24ºF. There wasn't that much wind this morning during the walk either. I did almost nine miles this morning and I still and three miles short of the ten percent of the goal mark. Of course that will be 175 miles.

The average for the days I walk in distance is more then six miles. Counting the Sundays also I am averaging about 10.5 miles per day. So at this current pace I have about 150 more days before I reach my goal. That would take me to sometime in June. Plenty of time to be ready for my next birthday.

I used to do this.
Also, while walking downtown I saw a line up of live trucks near city hall. I would guess that they were there due to the deal with Rahm Emanuel. I am sure he and his team are working hard to get the ruling overturned so he can get on the ballet. Personally I think he should be able to run. I had to deal with a similar situation when I came back from the Gulf War when I wanted to attend Kansas State University. I had to prove that I was a resident of Kansas. So while I can't vote on way or another but I can sympathize with his situation.

Hu is in Chinatown?
Around the corner from the Live trucks on the lamp posts were some of the banners that were hung up for the President of China. I stuck out to me because there was an American and China flag right next to each other. Not something that is seen so much. But the welcome sign was in English on one side and some Chinese language on the other side of the pole.I wonder in China if they have American towns like we do here?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sox it to Me.

At least one team here can win the World Series with in a century.

Today I did the White Sox journey to U.S. Cellular Field in south Chicago. So with this I have now reached all of the sports venues in Chicago. I may go back to Solider Field to actually walk around it soon. The temperature was a nice 20ºF so I wasn't too cold Today. The walk was really long though. I did finally pass over I-55 on my way south. I also passed by an Italian Social Club that was “members only.” Seems like a rather cozy set up if you ask me. But there were a lot of Chinese or Asian looking people down there too. I even saw a private school for the Asians. I thought that was odd. I guess anyone could use it but the ads were in a language that looked Chinese to me.

Pick a bed. South of Dominick's

I have some great news, my blood pressure is the lowest it has been since I started keeping track. It was 112/79 so that is awesome work in just about a month. When I first started doing this is was 160/98. which that is way to high. Even though the actual weight loss is slow going I am glad that I am keeping track so I can tell what the difference is in my goals. Today I walked almost 10 miles. Tomorrow I shall reach ten percent of my goal distance I think.

I have noticed that the unsightly way you gain weight is pretty much the same way you lose it. But that is all part of the fitness and weight loss journey. That is why I prefer to call this a journey instead of a plan. I want it to seem like something that I am on and learning from and enjoy to do.

Yesterday was Sunday so I didn't do any extra walking. But I did go to Libertyville to watch the Bears and Packers play at my Dad's home with Cheryl. Sadly it seemed that the interception by B. J. Raji was the play that dashed the hopes of the Bears fans. So it looks to be the Steelers and Packers in the Super Bowl. That should be a good match up. I hope it is the Rams and someone next year.

Members Only
My progress on my weight continues it slow and steady pace. I almost have the first month done and then I will give some updated totals. It will good to have some comparison data but that really will not come until March. The reason for that is because February is a short month and it will not be until March that I will have more then 60 days data to see the progress trends.

Keep on track,

Thomas


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Taking Wrigley by Storm, of sorts.

Cubs stink, even in winter.
Today Cheryl joined me in an ambitious walk from Wrigley Field to to her apartment. We took the Red line to Wrigley Field and then walked around the park and headed back south on Clark Street. Outside Wrigley they had a skating rink set up. It said it was open for business but do to the snow flurries there were no people out there. On the Sheffield side we saw a bar and grill there with a Kansas State University Wildcat flag up so I had to get a shot of that. The distance from Wrigley to her apartment is about seven miles. Plus we walked a mile to reach the Red line so we did about eight miles Today.

A welcome site near Wrigley.
Along the way home we stopped at several stores as Cheryl needed to take a few rest stops. It was a harder walk for her. It was good to walk along Clark since it has so many shops and restaurants along the way. We also went by the famous Moody Church, which is a very large and architecturally interesting structure. Cheryl want to go inside but we couldn't find an open door. There were plenty of doors but none of them would let us in.

We were going to go the Humane Society and look at some of the dogs and were told that they open on noon on Saturday. I thought that was rather late in my experience for you to start having the dogs available to the public. I think most pet stores I have worked at start as early as they can and stay around as long as they can too. I mean isn't the idea to get people in so the dogs can find new homes?

Famous Moody Church
Along the walk we used the John Hancock Building as a guide to our distance. I was pretty good at judging the distance to it. From Wrigley Field we are about five miles from it and Cheryl's apartment is about two miles from that so my estimates were right on target.

I have walked a total of 155 miles and I am at 8.77 percent of my goal of 1750 miles. I am at 91.72 percent of my starting weight and I have used up 24,559kcal from my walking. My heart rate average for the month of January is 132/86.

Stay on track,

Thomas

Friday, January 21, 2011

Why is Hell nicer than Chicago?

Why is Hell nicer than Chicago?
Yes that's right people. With the -1ºF temperature we had this morning being in Hell would be great. I checked the Norwegian weather bureau and it stated that the temperature in Hell Today was a balmy 37.6ºF compared to the -1ºF it was in downtown Chicago this morning. But even with that sort of temperature we still have to trudge on to do the things we got to do. I actually had to barrow a scarf from Cheryl Today. I guess Today was the perfect day to walk south since there isn't a lot to see until you get a bit further than I care to walk. I made it down to Canal St. and Archer Ave. I could have gone further but the cold was just getting to much.

What a funny draw bridge. Bridge goes up. Bridge goes down.
The scarf I borrowed from Cheryl this morning was frozen by the time I got back to the apartment. Also so was my hat. I didn't bother taking any pictures Today even though the view from the south side of downtown looked great. Except for the raising draw bridge that crosses the canal.

It is funny after being in Panama that they call that channel a canal. Try sending a ship through that canal and it wouldn't make it a mile. But it is still a canal, a man made river as such. Remember the palindrome; A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.

When I was walking in the direct sunshine it was actually quite pleasant. But I was not able to do that for the whole walk. The main part that was getting cold were my knees and hands. I have a feeling it would get this cold many more times. Call it a hunch. Heck Saturday it is suppose to get up to 22ºF.

I heard that the Chinese Premier is suppose to be in town. If he is he should take a trip down Canal St. and see all the Chinese business there. At first I thought the signs were in Chinese for his trip then I realized they are like that all the time.

I wasn't that far at all from the White Sox ball park and I might make that my goal Tomorrow since it is Saturday. Maybe Cheryl will want to walk with me then too.

I did a total of 7.64 miles and I have had good results still with my blood pressure. The weight loss is moving along, thought it is moving like a snails pace in my view. But as long as it is moving downward instead of upward or even remaining the same I am pleased.

Cheryl has asked me to go to lunch Today, So I am going to meet her for lunch. It should be fun.

Stay on Track,

Thomas

Thursday, January 20, 2011

To the United Center and Beyond.

Home of the Bulls and Blackhawks
Today was a bit cold but not too bad. I think Tomorrow will be much colder. I am not looking forward to that. But I will bundle up when I go. As long as I keep walking I stay warm enough. I walked down to the United Center Today and that was about 2 miles from the apartment. On the way I also passed the Bill Goat Grill and Tavern and the Mexican Consulate. The United Center is pretty much out all by itself. Nothing really that significant around it. I guess that is good so they can get people in and out. The bus goes right by it but the “L” is a few blocks away.
Heading north of the Border.

I walked by the Mexican Consulate Today because I saw yesterday that there was some new story on a shooting or something in Wisconsin and they showed a picture of the building so I thought since I was in the neighborhood I would take a look at it.

Cheryl was running late this morning so she didn't being make much of a lunch. She just got a package or Ramon noodles. Not the best thing to eat. They are loaded with sodium so they are not good for a person with high blood pressure. So I told her that I would bring her lunch Today. So after my walk I came back and baked some fish and broccoli and corn and took that with me in my backpack and made her a more healthy and filling lunch. I checked the calories on livestrong.com and it was around 400 calories including the gelatin dessert.
Still there this morning.

I am very please with my blood pressure. The systolic has been under the recommended level for the last four times I have checked and the diastolic has been under most of the time too. My average blood pressure for January is at 132.5/86. It is not where it needs to be yet but at least it is moving in the right direction. That brings me to 131 miles with an average of 12,509 steps per day I walk and 7.5 percent of my total of goal of 1750 miles.

This place really scrambles to keep eggs rolling.
Cheryl works in a food district where trucks are coming in and out on the street all day. The one that is outside the window where Cheryl's works is an egg wholesale distributor. Also, we pass under the “L” on the way to her work at Lake Street.

According to the fitness tracker I made I should have used enough calories to lose six pounds now. I hope that is true. Sadly there are 74 pounds still to go. It sure is a lot more fun gaining weight than losing it. But I need to get it done. {Make it so.} I am hoping by April I am having to buy some new clothes. And able to wear some of my old ones that I like but do not wear due to my size.

View toward downtown from Lake Street where the "L" passes overhead.
The sidewalks were pretty clean Today. I think there is suppose to be snow tonight. I am not sure. I know it it gets too cold it will not snow. I hope so. If it gets much colder I might have to do my walking on the "L" where it is warm.

That is the fun for Today; stay on track,

Thomas

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Going Off the Deep End

Cheryl is wearing a sleeping bag with arms.
Today it was a bit colder starting out. For which I was glad about. It is better when it is really frozen to walk instead of the “warmer” 32ºF. When it is 20ºF, like it was Today, it makes for the ice to be much harder and less water means less slipping. Remember you cannot slip on ice. You only slip on the water that is on the ice. I found that out yesterday. Near Lake Street on the way to Cheryl's office I took a picture of here all dressed up in her sleeping bag with arms and her “muffins” and flat head hat. She was the first one in the office I think Today.

Transformed into the RAMS.
At the reception desk, the letter of the firm she works for are there it is called MRSA. So named after the man's initial that started the firm. But I “knoticed” that if the numbers were rearranged it could spell MARS. There is a store across the street from there with that same name. And she told me that sometimes people rearrange the letters. So, being from St. Louis, I spelled “RAMS” with them. I thought it looked nice.

Home of the famous gum maker.
So Today I went down Madison to LaSalle then over to Wacker. [Cheryl used to live on Wacker.] Then through my astute powers of navigation I made my way down past WGN and NBC to the AMC Theater and on down to the Navy Pier. Once on the pier I walked all the way down to the end and took a few pictures. It was nice to see the city from the position. While I was on the pier I saw several ships that were docked. I guess they do cruises when there are more people about or when it is warmer. One of the ships, I believe it is called the Odyssey, had different times for cruises. The longest one was a three hour dinner cruise. I was thinking, No No! Don't take the three hour cruise. Remember what happened to Gilligan. Heck the cruise was so bad for the Skipper that he lost his name. I would have to guess for the cruises that are shorter that they just push you off the boat.

Where does this thing go to?
There was a lot of things on the Navy Pier to see including a round elevator. It didn't seem to really go anywhere. Maybe they put people in that while they are waiting for the lines at the Shakespeare Theater. That would make sense. I believe it was at the Chicago Tribune that they had stones from several prominent places in history. I got a picture of one rock from Pearl Harbor. They had them from all sorts of places. I would like to find out more about this.

The people were out good Today. They seemed to need to get from place to place and were in a hurry to get there. My total distance walked was 8.94 miles. This now puts my total percent of goal at more than 7 percent. Only 93 percent to go to reach 1750 miles. So far only 112 miles under my belt. I guess that is why it seems like it is taking so long. But at least I am seeing the numbers move toward my goal daily. That good.

Diet or No Diet

Diet is as important as exercise.
Plus I am really trying to watch what I eat. I am not so much restricting any certain foods to help lose weight. I am however certainly restricting some for over all health. Things such as hydrogenated oils and salt and added sugar are on my restriction list. Another thing it to try to reduce the amount of refined flour I am consuming. Whole grains are fine but this is still a guideline. Having more things like fruit and vegetables is always a good thing.

Home of some very good fitness tools.
I was checking my baseline metabolic rate on line and it says for my height and weight I should be at 2336kcal per day. This is, of course, if you want to keep that weight. My goal is to reach 200 pounds. At least this goal is. I may work more after I reach the “big” one first. But when I get to 200 pounds my metabolic rate to maintain that weight is 1900kcal. So an average of those two would give me around 2118kcal per day. That is still higher then the levels specified on food labels. So my percentages can be very little higher. Like for dinner last night we had baked Italian chicken and some broccoli with cheese sauce and some stuffing and store turkey gravy. We had no calorie lemonade to drink and latter on for dessert I had some strawberries and cherries with low fat whipped cream. I think all together it was about 700 calories. But I do need to use a calories tracker. You can find one at livestrong.com. It is very user friendly and helps you track the food you are eating plus the activity that you are doing for a overall view of what your fitness level is.

I think the better image of my activity and the progress I am trying to make the more likely I am to stick with it and be successful at it. After all isn't that the goal of any fitness program?

Keep on track,

Thomas