Saturday, September 11, 2010

120 - End

It's taken this long for me to figure out what my final post was going to be. One would think that it would be easy as I've already done this exercise blog thing before with PCP—but it wasn't. In the end, I decided to just go with the one thing that continues to resonate with me even after all was said and done.

When Patrick contacted me about joining in the inaugural session of the KFB program, there were many dreams that floated through my head. I dreamed of how much more weight I would lose. I dreamed of how ripped my body would be. I dreamed of how my eating habits would get better. And I dreamed of all the things I would say on this blog. After all, KFB just seemed to be a continuation of PCP.

The reality was that nothing turned out as I dreamed. I lost a little weight, I gained a little weight, so in the end I pretty much evened out. My body really didn't end up very ripped at all—especially those pesky abs, but admittedly this program doesn't seem to be designed for that result. My eaten habits didn't change much. Then again I have become a pretty healthy eater, although I do love my sweets and I was cheating quite a bit on KFB. And I really had trouble blogging, even though I made many posts. Nothing seemed fresh or original, just repeats from PCP.

Needless to say, there were moments where I was quite disheartened. My dreams just weren't coming true and I was feeling every bit a failure to the program. It was depressing.

Then came my two-week vacation at Pennsic. Between my sickness, the Sangha and my encounters with the mantis, everything just clicked and I realized I hadn't failed at all—I just wasn't looking at the path that I was on.

I had already taken the path to wellness a year ago when I joined the Peak Condition Project. I lost weight, I gained body definition, and I learned how to eat healthier. The KFB program had many of the same elements to it, but for those of us who had been through PCP, it was pretty much old hat.

Now I'm not saying that it was "old hat" as though it were a bad thing—heavens no! However, it was a comfortable thing. We had been through all this before, and as Patrick said in a later email, sometimes the magic and excitement that was had the first time around wears off during the second.

Then came the moment when I had that amazing, dawning realization. I wasn't on that journey this time! I wasn't trying to recover and revitalize my body from all the damage I had caused it over the years. No. This journey was all about changing the inside.

There are many ways to try and verbally explain this concept. Unfortunately, they are only words and will fall short of any true explanation. Honestly, I don't think there is any vocabulary that could be used to truly describe it, so for now I'll just use Patrick's favorite term, "being mindful".

Having no thing to do. Having no where to be. I am in the moment—in the "now". I am where I need to be, doing what needs to be done—whether it is sitting and watching a mantis, or meditating alone or a sangha, or cooking dinner for a hungry camp, or having to throw up—I am mindful. I am at peace. And it's taken me almost a month to come up with those feeble words to express that much.

It has been one incredible year following Patrick on this amazing journey—from PCP to KFB. Who knows what'll happen next? Who cares! The goal is never the destination. The goal is in the journey that takes you there. Thanks Patrick, Team Tiger, and all the other KFBers for being a part of this journey. It has been my pleasure to share it with all of you.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

92 - Trilogy

It was extraordinary! We had just returned from putting most of camp back into our group's storage unit. Each of us then turned our attentions to our personal tents as we began to take them down and started packing the vehicles.

With claw hammer in hand, I started pulling up the stakes that held down my tent. Suddenly I noticed something small and green struggling in the grass. It was the mantis once again, this time making a final visit upon me.

I put my hand down to the little creature and it climbed right into my palm. It sat there tilting its head left, then right as it folding its forelegs back into praying position. It was another bittersweet moment as I said farewell to my frequent visitor. This time I couldn't put him on my tent, as it would be coming down shortly. I decided to place him on the trunk of a nearby tree so he would be out of harm's way, what with all the people and cars moving about.

At that moment, everyone stopped what they were doing in order to take pictures and say goodbye to our unofficial camp mascot. Then it was back to work, clearing up and packing the last of our equipment. Eventually it was time for us to leave the campground, to leave our annual "home away from home", and head back to the modern world that awaited us.

As I drove off the grass and onto the road, I looked at the tree as I past it. The mantis was still sitting where I left him. When everyone had lined their cars up behind mine, we headed towards the exit of the campground one final time. Pennsic was over for another year.

Friday, August 13, 2010

91 - Vacation

Today is the last full day of my vacation, for tomorrow I pack and return home. Despite the rocky start I had at the beginning, it's turned out to be a rather enjoyable time.

I do have to admit that my KFB exercises really weren't up to standards, but I did the best that I could with the environment that surrounded me, which includes all the things that I forgot and left home. And I think I did okay on my diet, although the scale at home will provide the ultimate answer to that.

It's time to enjoy Pennsic one last time.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

90 - Sangha

Today was suppose to be the last day our little Sangha would be able to meet, as our impromptu Zen Buddhist mentor was going back home early tomorrow morning. Unfortunately the thunderstorm and torrential downpour last night raised a little havoc in my camp and I needed to stay and help everyone dry out from leaking tents. I don't know if the others gathered in Runestone Park or not as everything around Pennsic was wet. However, I will say that I'm going to miss our morning group.

Today is also technically the last day of KFB. Yes, it is the Day 90 benchmark. I'll still be blogging here for a bit as there are still two more days of vacation for me and I think I would prefer to be home to wrap this all up.

This is also a bittersweet moment, because this chapter will soon be ending for this online Sangha. I'm going to miss all those blog entries from my Tiger Team; that little bit of personal connection with everyone. It's been great hanging with you guys!

Well, I should be getting to get back to camp. There are still wet things that need to be dried. Thankfully the rain has not done anything with the temperature at all. It's still just as hot and humid. That will at least help with the drying part.

Later dudes!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

89 - Routine

Every morning this week has been a blessing. The first I do when I wake up is lay on my cot for a bit before actually getting getting up. Allowing my body to rise with the sun and waiting for it to gear up for the day is so much energizing than trying to force it to get moving in the dark after it's been startled awake by the alarm of a clock. I eventually exit my tent somewhere around 7:00am.

There are a number of people in my group who like to dress up in medieval armor and do battle, which always occurs around 10 in the morning. I like make sure they are all well-caffinated and fed before they leave, so I start making breakfast and coffee for them. The food and drink usually hot and ready by the time the rest of my camp-mates crawl out of their tents, usually about 8:00am.

About the time they are sitting down and eating, I grab my rug and start walking to Runestone Park to meet up with the others of the impromptu Sangha the sprung up as a result of the meditation class on Sunday. It is sort of led by the Zen Buddhist practioner we met at the class. Actually, it's more like he guides the rest of us.

We start the session with some stretches before getting into sitting position. Once we are all settled and ready, he rings a bell and we all meditate for about 15 to 20 minutes, at which point he rings the bell again to signal the end. Then he initiates a discussion period. Sometimes it's just about what we're feeling. Sometimes it's about what we did the day prior or what we're going to do that current day. Sometimes it's a little more indepth about Zen Buddhism, or different meditation styles, or what they do at his temple.

I am thoroughly enjoying these gatherings! Between the meditation that Patrick has had us doing with our KFB routines and the moments here at Pennsic, I have been feeling totally relaxed and chill and so very present in the moment. Nothing has stressed me out during this War.

After the morning's meditation, I then head back with a quick stop at the produce stand to buy some more fruits and veggies. Then it's another slow walk back to camp where I'll make breakfast for myself, totally energized and ready for the day.

Every moment has truly been a beautiful thing!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

88 - Moments

I know it may sound weird, but part of me is thankful for the heat and humidity. Weather like this really curbs any desire to eat, especially things that are sweet and heavy on the stomach, like ice cream or chocolate. Grapes and apples have been my munchies of choice. Mmmmm!

Of course, it curbs any desire to exercise too. I'm trying the fudge the KFB routines as best as possible, but some things are just hard to do when I don't have the necessary items at hand—especially the lack of ping-pong balls—so, I've been doing a lot of "shadow" work.

I have been standing out in the sun with little more than shorts on, doing my KFB exercises and sweating up a storm, and feeling totally alive and absolutely fantastic. Meanwhile, my campmates have been sitting under the carport, out of the sun, sweating up a storm, and complaining all the while.

You know, I think I'd rather be me. I'm enjoying the moment, not rueing it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

87 - Sequel

Although it was another hot and humid day, there was a nice breeze that was blowing through. In an attempt to take full advantage of the wind, I decided to raise the end wall of the carport so it could blow through te common area. As I raised the wall, a small green object started to fall of it. I quickly stuck out my hand and caught it as it fell. I looked down at my palm and had to smile. The praying mantis was back!

I'm pretty sure it was the same mantis. The corner of my tent and the corner of the carport were right next to each other, so it really wasn't a great distance for the little insect to travel. On the other hand, it was really amazing that he was still around. I had never seen a praying mantis in the wild before this vacation. Now I was visited by the same one twice!

As before, I let him climb onto my tent so he would be someplace safe. And as before, I spent much time during the day just sitting and watching it. It was a beautiful day.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

86 - Class

Today was Opening Ceremonies for the 39th Pennsic War. Simply put, all the Kings from the different SCA Kingdoms (of which there are 19) come together to support either the King of the East Kingdom or the King of the Mid-Realm as they declare War on each other. The War Horn is then sounded and the Pennsic War officially begins. There is usually a big parade and lots of pagentry as people from all over the world (over 10,000 people in fact) gather to this little spot in Pennsylvania. It's quite impressive.

Today I missed the Opening Ceremonies so I could attend a class on Zen Buddhism. Unfortunately, it really had not much to do with Zen or Buddhism as much as it had to do with meditation. Basically, the instructor of the class was tired of meditating on her own, so she created a "class" so people would come and have it become a big group meditation.

At the end of the 20 minute meditation, the instructor went around the room and had people talk about what they experienced and their own meditation practices. Amazingly enough, one of the people in the class was a Zen Buddhist. He wasn't a Buddhist monk, but close enough for me. After the class, a small group of us went up to him and started asking questions. Instead of answering everything then and there, he arranged for us to meet in Runestone Park the next morning at 8:30am. I can't wait!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

85 - Arrival

I don't have much time today to write. The rest of the people in my camp will be arriving throughout the day today, so I will be needed back there. I know where each tent is going, and it'll require all hands to help unload cars and set everything up with this merciless heat and humidity. Then it will be time for me to start dinner to feed the hungry and tired masses. I know it sounds weird, but I'm having a total blast!

Later dudes!

Friday, August 6, 2010

81 - Slow

Mornings have so far been the best time to do any sort of exercise. It is during this time that the temperature is relatively comfortable. Unfortunately, it ceases to be so the moment the sun peaks over the hill. Usually by 9am the temperature is pushing 90 degrees with what feels like 100% humidity, and that kills any desire to exercise whatsoever. When sweat comes pouring off your body from only getting out of bed, pretty much your only option is to sit in the shade and drink lots of water. Luckily I'm an early riser!

The nice thing about being on vacation is that I have no thing that I need to do and no where that I need to be. All that's left is to experience the now. I love this calmness that I've been recently groovin'. It has really helped me deal with my friend. So far he has had violent, angry explosions almost on a daily basis. The peace inside of me has been able to counteract each outburst he's made. I certainly hope he calms down before everyone else arrives. (The next person is due today.)

There is a local produce stand nearby, so my mornings have consisted of me getting up, taking my time walking to the stand, picking up some vegetables, taking my time walking back, and making breakfast. This has become my morning walking meditation—just concentrating on my breathing, feeling my feet touch the ground and the stones, experiencing the wind and sun, and just basically chillin'. I'm loving the slow life.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

83 - Exercise

Yesterday was the first time I attempted to do my KFB exercises since arriving at Pennsic. I had recovered from my bout of vertigo and had a bit of energy to burn, so it was time to try and get back into the swing of things.

I grabbed my trusty j-rope and walked out to the car park area—the same location as last year where I attempted to jump rope during my first week of PCP. I remember that point in my life so well—desperately attempting to do just 250 jumps with a cotton rope that I swore was trying to kill me, while trying to combat a sore heel and a knee that was giving out. What fun times.

So I began to jump. And fail.

This puzzled me. I usually have no problem doing 10-minutes on the j-rope. This was curious.

Another attempt. Another fail.

Weird. Granted, it wasn't the ideal conditions I have at home (aka: a nice wooden floor), but it's odd I'm having problems outdoors.

A third attempt. Triple fail.

That's when it started clicking in and I'm pretty sure why I had so many problems last year. The grass was too long and the friction causing the rope to slow down. The ground was uneven which a couple times caused me knees to twinge in pain. I was putting far too much effort to swing the rope around and trying to jump high enough to clear it and have it clear the grass.

After about five minutes of constant tripping, I decided to call it quits on the j-rope. Instead, I went for a run. Running on the road that meander throughout the campground, up and down "Car Park Hill"—it felt fantastic! After about twenty minutes of that, I returned to camp to finish the rest of the KFB routine.

Or so I thought. The strength exercises went great. The flexibility routine was phenomenal. The targeted punching and kicking section had a bit to be desired. That was the moment when I realized that I did not have both ping-pong balls with me. I could have sworn I packed two, but I could only find one. So one it was, and I finished the set.

One of the interesting things is that a slope is a great way to challenge one's balance. Have you ever tried doing a flying crane on a slant? It ain't easy! Neither is jump-kicking on a hill. It really helps improve your stance.

So it looks like there will be more KFB improvisation in my future.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

82 - Mantis

The rain last night soaked the canvas floor of the common area, so my friend and I had to move it out into the sun so it could dry. As he was pulling the floor out from under the carport, I spotted something small and green tumbling around the canvas. I immediately told him to stop what he was doing.

I went over to inspect the little green object and discovered it to be a praying mantis that was currently struggling to right itself from it's upside-down position. I put my hand out, gently scooped up the insect, and helped it get upright. Then it just sat there in my palm. I just stood there, fascinated. It would tilt it's head one way, then the other. It would wiggle its forelegs and then retract them into "praying position". But it made no move to leave my hand.

I eventually had to return to the task of pulling out the canvas floor, so I carefully deposited the creature onto the side of my tent. I held my hand against the fabric and the mantis walked onto it. For the rest of the day, the mantis hung out on my tent, rarely moving.

Periodically I would stop whatever I was doing and just sit there and watch the mantis. I had no thing that I needed to do and no where that I had to be—just sitting and watching. It was a beautiful thing to behold.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

81 - Chill

My equilibrium is getting better, but I'm still moving slowly and cautiously.

Today, my friend and I moved the carport down the hill to the more level ground near my tent. The slope of the hill and the angles of the carport bothered my eyes, which in turn were bothering my head and my balance. I do not need to trigger the vertigo again!

I did discover that my friend has a violently explosive temper. I've known him for years and this is the first time I've seen him go off like that!

In order to move the carport, we had to take off the legs, carry the roof down the hill, and set it back up again. Well, two of the legs refused to come loose and my friend blew a gasket! He grabbed one of the legs to the carport and shook the whole thing violently while swearing up a storm. "Dude," I said. "Put down the carport and walk away."

That is one thing I can say about KFB: all the meditation and mindfulness has given me quite the chill attitude. I had nowhere I needed to be, I had nothing to do that was urgent—pretty much just going with the flow. After getting him to calm down, we managed to finally move the carport down the hill, even with those two legs still in their slots. Camp is slowly taking shape.

Monday, August 2, 2010

80 - Vertigo

I'm feeling a little better, but I'm far from being up to snuff. A brief rundown:

My friend and I worked late into the night on Saturday, with much of it being done in the glow of a single lamp. Unfortunately, I didn't take into consideration all of the conditions that were in existence. It was hot and humid. I was inside a tent that had plastic walls, trying to arrange the kitchen items. I was having to move the single lamp around constantly. And I was working on a slope. Add all of those ingredients together, and voila! It triggered my vertigo.

A spent the entire day yesterday pretty much tossing up any contents in my stomach and trying to sleep on my cot. There was a brief moment where my friend and I were able to move my tent down to a flatter bit of land, and that was about the only functionality I was able to do whatsoever before returning to my prior state of dozing and throw-up. Well, that and ingesting lots of Gatorade. I needed to somehow replenish my supply of electrolytes that I was expelling as well as have something in my stomach to expel.

This is day one of my recovery, which means I'm pretty weak, tired, and can't move around too much without setting off my vertigo for another round. There will be no setting up camp today, nor will there be any KFB. This sucks.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

79 - Anniversary

One year ago today, I was camping at Pennsic.

One year ago today, I began the PCP program.

One year ago today, I started this crazy trip to wellness with Patrick.

Happy Anniversary!

In other news: I'm sick. Bleah! More on that later.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

78 - Camp

Pennsic is now open! (That's the name of my medieval vacation.) Today is the first day that we can be on the campground lands, even though most of us arrived last night. Many people camp nearby in a field, but I prefer a hotel room. (Hey, it the last hurrah for modern amenities during these two weeks!)

Today is unpacking and setting up. I have a friend who came down with me to help. There's much to do—unloading the car, running to the storage unit, setting up tents and carports, organizing the kitchen, erecting the gates and walls, and so on. In past years I've done all of this myself. This year I've got help.

That's all for now. Gotta get back to work!

Friday, July 30, 2010

77 - Road

I'll be leaving in just a few minutes for a six-hour road trip to Pennsylvania and my medieval vacation. There'll probably be some more radio silence, but I'll try to catch everyone up on what's been happening. Later!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

76 - Packing

Sorry for the long radio silence, but I knew this was going to happen at this point in the program. Tomorrow I start my annual two-week SCA medieval vacation. It'll be a great time, there's just so much to do to prepare for it!

Needless to say, the KFB has taken a huge backseat to my last minute scramble to finish projects this week. I managed to do my j-ropes, abs, and some stretching in the mornings as well as a half-hour walk at lunch, but my evenings have been filled solid with those pesky projects. Thankfully, I completed the last one tonight. Now I've got to start packing.

It's gonna be another late night.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

72 - Wild

Into The Wild is the biographical story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who decided to eschew the materialism of the world, he donated all of his money to a charity and disappeared from the societal map, spending two years traveling across the United States until he eventually reached his dream destination of Alaska, where he decided to be a pioneer and live off the land.

As portrayed in the movie, game was scarce and he was getting very hungry. Finally, when the starvation was becoming unbearable, desperation force him to revert to the only food option he had—plants and berries. Working feverishly, he quickly tried to identify the edible species so he could have something to eat. Unfortunately, with his mind so unfocused because of his urgency to find food, he misidentified an edible plant with one that was poisonous. On day 94, his journal indicated that he was starting to feel the adverse effects, and sometime after day 113 he passed away.

Because of Chris' dire situation, he lost the mindfullness that he had exhibited all the prior months. It was that desperation that allowed him to misidentify a plant he needed to survive, bring his life to a tragic end. If he had managed to keep his wits about him, even in such horrible straits, it is quite possible that we would be reading his story first-hand as it topped the bestseller list.

Although our lives are not that harsh in the civilized world we live in, we can still run into situations that bring us to that moment of desperation where we lose focus and the control that we have so carefully crafted and honed.

Case in point:

In preparation for my upcoming trip at the end of this week, I knew today was going to be hectic busy. I made sure to do all of my KFB exercises first thing in the morning so that was done and out of the way. I followed that with my KFB approved breakfast, then I was out the door and traveling about town to hit all of the stores I needed to visit before heading to a friend's house for the evening where a group of us were going to gather to start assembling, fixing, sewing, and whatnot for camping trip.

My friend, being the gracious hostess that she is, made munchies available to everyone, which included bags of chips, cookies, sodas, and pretty much every unhealthy thing that you can think of. Like everyone else, I began to partake of the offerings—eating and eating like the food was going out style. Although somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that this stuff was bad for me, the warnings didn't seem to affect me enough to stop as I continued to grab handfuls of chips. On and on the feeding continued until all that was left were the salty crumbs shifting around the bottom of the bag. It was shortly after then that my body paused enough so the voice from my brain to come through, allowing me to ponder upon what had just occurred.

I had been very busy all day, running here and there. In all of the time that I was out and about, I never considered that I was missing my lunch and snack times. I was being active, which allowed me to suppress the signals that were coming from my body letting me know that it wanted some food. By the time I had stopped the activity, my body took full advantage to replenish it's energy supply with the nearest available edible option—in this case, all those chips and stuff my friend put out.

Like Chris McCandless, had I not lost the focus and been mindful of my situation, I would have had the cognizance by which to avoid the food that was not good for my body.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

71 - Heaven

On an extremely hot and humid day like this, there is nothing better than having a small piece of really good chocolate, that has been sitting in the freezer for a number of days, sitting on your tongue and just letting it slowly melt. This is the gate to heaven.

Friday, July 23, 2010

70 - Cartris

Seven days left in order to get everything prepared for my next traveling adventure. This one will be more intensive than the last two expeditions I did this month. The staging area is all set. Time to start loading it up with stuff which eventually will be packed in my car one week from today. I have no worries about being able to fit it all in the vehicle—I am a pro at three-dimensional Tetris! (Although, we prefer to call it Cartris.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

69 - Overachiever

Call me an overachiever! I think my body was making up for the total lack of energy yesterday by having a surplus of it today. Not only did I complete today's workout sheet, but I also did yesterdays, and took an hour walk right after! (Okay, there was a purpose for the walk—I needed milk, eggs, and more fruit—but it was a walk nonetheless.)

Thankfully the temperature has cooled down to something more reasonable. I'm wondering if that has anything to do with my incredible energy boost. I'm sure it does, 'cause I don't feel like I'm dying in the heat!.

Dinner was a nice stir-fry of vegetables that were nearing their expiration date. There was cauliflower, zucchini, yellow squash, peppers (all colors), and beets with mung bean noodles and a light peanut butter and hoisin sauce mix. The most interesting thing was the beets turned the cauliflower and noodles into an pretty shade of pink. Just one more color for the dish!

Now I think I'm going to overachieve some meditation tonight before bed. Later dudes!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

68 - Stress

This week is quickly becoming super-stressing. So far:

  • I have had major bouts of insomnia the past two nights.
  • I returned to work only to discover that this week my department is running extremely short staffed (meaning there will be times when I'm the only person there). And that's because:
  • One co-worker needs support because her dog was killed in front of her by a speeding motorist and another just had a close family member pass away, meanwhile two others are on vacation.
  • I haven't been able to take a proper shower over the past three days because the tub needed re-caulking, which led to:
  • Having the screws break while trying to reattach the faucet knob to the shower this morning, meaning no shower for day four. (I just got back from the hardware store and fixed it.)
  • I still have many things I need to do in order to get ready for my two-week vacation, which starts Friday next week, which includes:
  • Setting up and running a meeting for everyone who is camping with my group so they all know the rules and have everything that they need.
  • Plus, I still need to make dinner for my partner because he needs to go somewhere tonight.

Which means that I am thoroughly bone-tired and exhausted. I knew something was up yesterday when I was having major trouble keeping good form with the exercises. Well, KFB is mostly taking a backseat tonight. I think I'm just going to do some low-energy stuff like stretching and meditation followed by an early bedtime. My batteries are needing a drastic recharge in order to finish this week.

The weekend cannot come soon enough.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

67 - Movie

I just watched the documentary Food, Inc.. (Yes, I'm a little late to that party.) It's just scary what big corporations are able to get away with. Totally reinforced my decision to go vegetarian as well as supporting local farmers.

I did find it interesting that throughout the film, they kept saying the corporations were only in the business "to make food", and all I kept hearing in my head was Patrick saying, "That's not food. That's chemicals with additives and preservatives." I couldn't agree with him more.

Monday, July 19, 2010

66 - Soaked

I am definitely missing Portland today! The temperature was so great while I was out there. The first couple of days were between 65 and 70 degrees, the last three between 75 to 80. Then I came back home to the sweltering 85 to 90 degrees that's going into it's third week now. And the humidity isn't helping any! I can understand jump-roping in this weather can cause a person to sweat, but it gets ridiculous when buckets come pouring off me while sitting and meditating!

It gets scary when you start out fully clothed at the beginning of the routine, and end up wearing very little by the end because everything is totally soaked. It's totally nuts!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

65 - Comics

Sometimes the universe gently nudges you in directions that you need to go. If you are observant, you will be able to decipher the message.

Back a few days ago I was feeling a little low. The warm weather was bringing out the buff shirtless guys, and unfortunately the eye candy had the side effect of me feeling not so fit. It felt like no matter how hard I worked, just the appearance of someone with six-pack abs ruined the whole day.

The following day, after my seminar was finished, I went on a tour of the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland. It was beautiful and peaceful and I dearly wish I had more time to spend there, but unfortunately the earliest I could get there was 5:30pm and they close at 6, so it was a little rushed.

Of course I had to visit the little souvenir shop to pick up a little something. That's when my attention was directed at this little book called:

"Basic Buddhism Through Comics" by Mitsutoshi Furuya

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge comic book fan. And anyone who further knows me knows that it was a comic book called Zen Speaks by Tsai Chih Chung was the book that started me down the zen path. Needless to say, I had to buy Basic Buddhism Through Comics.

That night, as per my habit, I began to read the book before bedtime. That's when the message from the universe came through, pointing out that I was causing my own suffering by trying to compare myself to the people I was seeing and pointing out that I was coming up short without really considering all of the conditions and time that helped create the physical shape those buff guys were showing off.

My focus has to be away from the unhelpful comparisons with other people and directed toward how I look today in contrast to how I looked a year ago, using that to push me further on to my ultimate goal of developing a healthier and fitter body. Six-pack abs would be nice and someday I'll get there—it's just going to take me longer than other people because of how out of shape I was when I started these programs. I just need to push on to the final goal.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

64 - Time

I think I may have some sort of freakish time sense. So far I have yet to experience any jet lag in the few time zones I've crossed. Granted, this past trip to Portland has been the furthest I've ever gone in my life (which is only three time zones away) so it's probably not the best measurement of my abilities, but it's pretty impressive to me. After a week on Pacific Coast time, I had no issue coming back to East Coast time. Regardless of the coast, I got tired and went to bed when it was dark, and woke up to start my day when it was light.

I am always amazed when I contemplate the thought that there are so many things going on every moment all over the world. For most people, it's easier just thinking that the everyone everywhere follows the same time schedule they do. Sure, they "know" that people in different time zones are going about their daily routines, but they don't really think about it.

In the number of chats that I've had with Patrick, it just seemed weird when we sign off he's going to bed as I'm just starting my day, or vice versa. While I was in Portland, the experience was just the same when I was reading my friend's Facebook posts and they're all mentioning that it's almost bed time for them and the sun is still shining brightly where I am as I'm just going out to dinner.

The whole concept is so huge, and I'm probably not doing any justice in my feeble attempt to craft an explanation about it. I find it wonderfully amazing when I just sit and contemplate the immensity of that idea. Of course, then I have to dial it back again to just my time zone where everyone who's around me is encountering life within the same time frame I am. And soon we will all be getting together this evening for a birthday party. I better start getting ready for that.

Until next time!

Friday, July 16, 2010

63 - Flight

It has been a real loooooong day! I've been awake since 4am in order to be at the airport by 5am to catch my flight at 7am. Then I've crossed three time zones, losing hours one-by-one the closer I got to home. Touched down in Chicago for a three-hour layover. Took off again for a one-hour flight to Buffalo. Once we landed, we headed for the car and a three-hour trip home (with a brief stop to visit my brother's family). Made it home, dumped all of the luggage in the livingroom, making a quick post before crawling into bed.

Food for today—Breakfast (at the Portland airport): 1 Wendy's egg & cheese english muffin, 1 pint of skim milk, 1 cup of mixed fruit, a bottle of V8 fruit juie twisters. Morning Snack (on the plane): a package of crackers & cheese and a package of "100 calorie" cookies, a small glass of ginger-ale. Dinner (at the Chicago airport): half a salad, half a small Ben & Jerry's Cookies and Cream, bottle of water. Afternoon Snack (on the plane): a package of peanuts, a package of crackers & cheese, 4 gingersnap cookies, a small glass of ginger-ale.

Exercises: absolutely, positively none.

Now off to bed.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

62 - Last

This is it. My last night here in Portland, Oregon. It's been an interesting week trying to do the KFB exercises and diet all the while attending a seminar. Whether or not I was very successful will be determined once I get home late Friday night. I think I did well—well, I hope I did well.

Breakfast was a repeat of the previous day—fruit, granola, muffin, milk, yogurt. For lunch the hotel served this wonderful grilled vegetable medley (I had to get seconds of that!), salad, and large stuffed shells. (Only had two of those.) For my last dinner in this city, I went to Kells Irish Pub & Restaurant and had the most divine grilled vegetable sandwich (grilled eggplant and zucchini) on toasted bread and sweet potato fries. (I think they were actually baked, because they weren't at all greasy like normal fries.) And for a treat, I shared a Bailey's Irish Cream Cheesecake with my partner. It was very, very dense so just a few spoonfuls satisfied me. My partner, on the other hand, ate most of it, which was fine by me.

I only manged to do the j-ropes, strength exercises, and 8-minute abs today. Although the intention was to do the rest of the workout after class (like I had done the previous days), there were still more things I wanted to do in the city so I ditch exercising in favor of touring.

Now it's time to go to bed. My travel patch is on and I'm starting to get sleepy. Tomorrow is the flight back home. (We leave Portland about as early as when we left Buffalo.)

Who knows. Maybe you'll here from me before my triumphant return home, or not. All depends on the wi-fi connections I get elsewhere. Later, dudes!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

61 - Low

This is my second day of splitting up he exercise routine. I did the j-ropes and strength workout first thing before heading off to my seminar. Breakfast was another round of fruit, granola, and milk. (I am so missing my eggs!)

The hotel was a bit better with lunch today. It wasn't a repeat of the meat-fest from yesterday. There was salad, coleslaw, pasta salad, barbecue pork tenderloin, and veggie burgers (alongside regular burgers) with tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, onions, and cheese for topping. I had one plate, no seconds, with portion sizes that one of the people at my table remarked as being "not even a sampling of this delicious food."

Sometimes the evening meals are hard when you're not at home and needing to go out to eat with a person who is totally "sick and tired of your diet". Yup, that's my partner. He did this same thing when I was on PCP. For some reason he can't make his own meals, but won't wait for me to make him something when I'm done exercising. It's just constant complaining about how I'm making him starve, so I'm ending up trying to get him what he wants without ruining my KFB as much as possible.

Anyway, tonight we went to Old Town Pizza, which has a claim to fame of being Portland's only haunted pizzeria. Well, we didn't encounter any ghost, but there was mighty fine pizza. I got a small pizza with artichoke hearts, black olives, mushrooms, and dried tomatoes. The nice thing was that this pizza was most definitely "small" compared to most US pizza places. The second nice thing was that they cut it into eight tiny slices. I only had two of those slices while my partner wolfed down four. (The other two slices came back to the hotel room for tomorrow's lunch for him.) I finished the evening off by doing the flexibility and agility exercises for today.

I will say that right at the moment I'm feeling a bit down. Although I'm in much better shape than I was a year ago, I'm not anywhere near where I think I should be—at least compared to other people. I've lost a little bit of weight, gained a little flexibility, but every time I read everyone else's blogs or see the diet plan there's a little piece of me that is just feeling like I'm not doing as well as everyone else. I look in the mirror and I still see a stomach that bulges out even though I can feel the tight abs underneath. Yeah, it goes away a little when I suck it in, but unfortunately I can't keep it sucked in all day long.

I can fit into medium shirts, size 30-31 pants, almost under 160 lbs, with very toned legs and arms, and yet just the sight of that stomach of mine seems to ruin my day. Usually I'm pretty good at ignoring that feeling most of the time and concentrating on the other positives that I listed, but right now those positives aren't able to do much to redirect my attention from the failing. And because it's summertime and has been real warm, I've been seeing a lot of guys with flat stomachs and abs and I'm just feeling fat next to them. It sucks.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

60 - Thirty

I can't believe we're already two-thirds of the way through this thing. Only thirty more to go! The days seemed to pass so slowly on PCP, but are just flying by on KFB. It's probably because I have been so freakin' busy and on the go these days—something I wasn't last year during my PCP run. Just amazing!

The meal selection today for the seminar was odd to say in the least. My breakfast consisted of about 1 cup of granola cereal with 1 small glass of milk, a little blueberry yogurt, mixed fruit (cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, strawberries), and a multi-grain muffin. I avoided the plethora of danishes, bagels, scones, croissants, and biscuits with sausage gravy they offered.

There was no mid-morning snack, and lunch was both disappointing and completely helpful simultaneously. For our noontime meal, the hotel laid out an impressive spread—that is it was impressive if you weren't vegetarian. There was spinach salad with mushrooms... and ham; seafood salad; basmati rice... with sausage; chicken gumbo; salmon fillets; chicken breast; and braised greens... with beef. I think they managed to have every animal represented at the meal. The remaining items that I could eat were asparagus, Indian couscous, and a little spinach salad sans meat. Dessert was bread pudding with creme anglais. Yeah, it was very disappointing that there wasn't more that I could eat, on the other hand it was very helpful because the temptation wasn't there to overeat!

The afternoon snack was a chocolate chip cookie. It wasn't the small kind that you find in a package, nor was it those gigundo things that come out of a bakery. It was about the size mom use to make from scratch. Once again, the nice thing was that everyone was limited to one cookie.

I had dinner at a Persian restaurant just up the street from the hotel. I had a very tasty offering of eggplant and grilled onions in a pomegranate sauce, lentil soup, and half of a Mediterranean salad (of which the other half is sitting in the fridge in the hotel room). And finally, the evening snack was half a homemade marionberry tart.

Today was the first day since this program began that I split up the exercise routine. I did the j-ropes, strength exercises, and 8-Minute Abs this morning when I go up with the Agility and Flexibility sections completed this afternoon after the seminar.

One of the nice things about Portland is that the downtown area is so walker friendly! I've managed to get some more exercise in by walking all over the place looking at the shops and restaurants.

Well, that's it for now. I'll check in again tomorrow.

Monday, July 12, 2010

59 - Seminar

Who has ever heard of a gym not having any sort of bar so a person can do their pull-ups? It seems this hotel doesn't! They have an "athletic club" here in their Executive Tower, but the only things it contains are treadmills, step-climbers, bicycles, a tiny pool, a couple benches and some weights. I've been able to do most of my exercises in the room, except the pull-up and the Kung-Fu sit-ups due to the lack of said bar. I ended up trying an incline pull-up with a bench (which really wasn't high enough) and in place of the sit-ups I did a bunch of ab workouts.

A bit later (after dinner) I did the Wide-Angle stretch for 20 minutes while reading my book. I think the stretches are starting to work. Today was the first time I was able to touch my toes with both hands during the Chin-to-Knee stretch.

Food today was okayish based upon the time that I had available. I got a strange look at breakfast time when I ordered two eggs, a glass of skim milk, a couple pieces of toast, and a house salad. (It was the only vegetables they had that could be ordered ala carte.)

Breakfast was a little later than my usual time (due to sleeping a bit to help with the time zone change exhaustion). On the way back from the restaurant, I came across the most amazing little farmer's market. Some vegetable, some fruit, lots of baked goods (pies, muffins, scones, etc.), and a few lunch carts. Not being able to store much stuff (unfortunately) in the hotel room, I picked up some cherries (as that was the major fruit they had there, with raspberries a close second) for my morning and evening snacks. Then I had to head off to my seminar.

Since today was only a half-day of seminars, they did not serve us lunch, nor an afternoon break, so I missed out on both meals. After the classes, they did have a little meet-n-greet and offered some appetizers for that. Well, three appetizers specifically, of which I could only eat one (a mushroom and caramelized onion tart) as the other two were meat (coconut shrimp and chicken on a stick).

For a late-ish dinner, I went to this Thai place call Typhoon and had a Thai Sweet Pea soup with coconut milk and a Buddha's Feast, which was just all vegetables (hold the rice as dinner is not suppose to have any carbs).

Tomorrow will begin a full day of seminars. If it's like the ones I've attended in the past, breakfast is going to contain lots of muffins and danishes, some fruit and cereal, orange and possibly apple juice, maybe cereal and milk, coffee and tea. During the morning break, they'll offer all you can drink soda. Lunch is totally up in the air, and afternoon snack is going to be whatever sweet and fattening thing they can find. Basically it will be akin to trying to navigate a mine field.

Well, that's about it for today. Time to get some rest. Later dudes!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

58 - Portland

It has been a loooooong day. Had to be at the airport by 5am for a flight that leaves at 7am. That was followed by a short stop in Chicago (less than an hour layover) before continuing to Portland. That leg of the flight may have only been 3 1/2 to 4 hours, but it felt much longer. The patch did it's wonder-work again and I made the journey without heaving.

I approve of any city that has great public transportation. I loved Denver because the hotel was on the 16th Street Mall an only the free trams were allowed to run up and down the route—no cars to worry about. Portland has an extensive light rail, street car, and bus service. The light rail runs from the airport all the way to the hotel. The downside was that I expected the hotel to be "on the mall" like Denver, but although it looked on the map that there was one, when I got there in reality, it wasn't. But so far, between the light rail and walking, I've been able to get around this city.

Currently I'm waiting for my medicine to wear off and for my body to adjust it's internal clock. (I've crossed four time zones, so everything is still a little wonky.) We'll see how bad I am tomorrow at the seminar.

Food today hasn't been the greatest, but I was pretty limited to what I could gather in the venues available. Breakfast was half of 6" egg, cheese, and veggie breakfast sandwich with a half pint of milk. I had a small glass of ginger-ale and a small package of peanuts. Couldn't get anything at the Chicago airport 'cause there wasn't the time, so on the flight to Portland I had another small glass of ginger-ale, a small glass of water, and two packages of those cracker and cheese sandwiches. Oh, and half a bag of ginger snap cookies.

For supper in the city of Portland, I had a house salad and a veggie platter fondue. (The veggies were cooking in a coq au van broth.) And dessert was a Voodoo Doll donut.

Tomorrow starts the actual seminar, so for the most part my breakfast and lunch have been decided by the trainers. I only have to fend for myself at dinner. This is where it gets interesting—how to eat KFB in a non-KFB environment. We shall see how creative I can be.

Well, that's it for now. I'm crashing and hard! Time for some overdue sleep. Talk to you later.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

57 - Fear

Tomorrow I take the next step in my traveling adventures this summer. Tomorrow I fly out to Portland, Oregon for a business seminar. Tomorrow I once again face my greatest fear.

There are people out there who have aerophobia, which is the fear of flying. Although this could be a distinct phobia in and upon itself, it could also be part of any number of other phobias that could relate to flying. For example, claustrophobia—the fear of enclosed spaces; or acrophobia—the fear of heights; even possibly the fear of crashing or the fear of not being in control.

I don't have any of those. The closest I can find to my fear is emetophobia—the fear of being nauseated, which is typically associated with motion-sickness. Although I find many things can trigger my motion-sickness (boats, sitting in the backseats of cars, merry-go-rounds), they never really bother me as much as getting motion-sick on a plane.

In order for me to step onto a airplane, I first have to visit my doctor to get a precription for scopolomine. The brand my pharmacy carries is called Transderm Scop. It's a little patch that gets placed behind one of your ears and it does wonders preventing motion-sickness.

I always have to start this process days ahead of my flight out. That's because I get nervous the pharmacy won't have it in stock, that they'll have to order it, that it won't come in until it's too late to fill the prescription, and that I'll have to fly without it. (I don't have nightmares as such, but when I get close to my fly-out date, I will have dreams about this scenario happening.)

Once I've got the patch in my possesion, I'm usually fine right up until the actually day I fly out. Then I get a bit nervous again for fear that the patch won't work or that it will fall off and I'll end up vomitting and feeling like shit for the entire flight. (Trust me. It's not a pretty sight when it happens. Many times I will scare flight attendants and medical professionals just by the way I look when I'm in that condition.)

So, I have all my usual "comforts" (beyond the patch) with me for the flight. I have a bag of ginger snap cookies (ginger is good to combat nausea); I'll get my usual ginger-ale when the drink cart comes around (yeah, it's not very KFB diet-friendly, but I think being comfortable on the flight takes precedence); I have my iPod full of my favorite tunes and podcasts (so I'll be listening to Patrick and Gwen on their Zen Is Stupid and The Mindfulist programs—it'll be a good time to catch-up!); I've got some movies loaded on my iPhone; and I think this will also be the perfect time to do some deep meditation.

I've got my KFB kit all packed and ready to go, so this'll be it for now. The next time you hear from me I'll be in Portland!

Later dudes!

Friday, July 9, 2010

56 - Thoughts

"Thoughts naturally arise. The point of meditation is not to banish thoughts but to make peace with them by realizing their lack of substance."
—Dan Millman

Thursday, July 8, 2010

55 - Egg

All-sky picture of the infant universe by NASA/WMAP Science Team

The Egg
by Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that's when you met me.

"What... what happened?" you asked. "Where am I?"

"You died," I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

"There was a... a truck and it was skidding...."

"Yup," I said.

"I... I died?"

"Yup. But don't feel bad about it. Everyone dies," I said.

You look around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. "What is this place?" you asked. "Is this the afterlife?"

"More or less," I said.

"Are you God?" you asked.

"Yup," I replied. "I"m God."

"My kids... my wife," you said.

"What about them?"

"Will they be all right?"

"That's what I like to see," I said. "You just died and your main concern is for your family. That's good stuff right there."

You look at me with fascination. To you, I didn't look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the Almighty.

"Don't worry," I said. "They'll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn't have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it's any consolation, she'll feel very guilty for feeling relieved."

"Oh," you said. "So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?"

"Neither," I said. "You'll be reincarnated."

"Ah," you said. "So the Hindus were right."

"All religions are right in their own way," I said. "Walk with me."

You followed along as we strode through the void. "Where are we going?"

"Nowhere in particular," I said. "It's just nice to walk while we talk."

"So what's the point, then?" you asked. "When I get reborn, I'll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won't matter."

"Not so!" I said. "You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don't remember them right now."

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. "Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It's like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it's hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you've gained all the experiences it had.

"You've been a human for the last 48 years, so you haven't stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you'd start remembering everything. But there's no point to doing that between each life."

"How many times have I been reincarnated, then?"

"Oh lots. Lots and lots. And in lots of different lives," I said. "This time around, you'll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD."

"Wait, what?" you stammered. "You're sending me back in time?"

"Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from."

"Where you come from?" you said.

"Oh sure," I explained. "I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you'll want to know what it's like there, but honestly you wouldn't understand."

"Oh," you said, a little let down. "But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point."

"Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don't even know it's happening."

"So what's the point of it all?"

"Seriously?" I asked. "Seriously? You're asking me for the meaning of life? Isn't that a little stereotypical?"

"Well it's a reasonable question," you persist.

I look you in the eye. "The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature."

"You mean mankind? You want us to mature?"

"No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect."

"Just me? What about everyone else?"

"There is no one else," I said. "In this universe, there's just you and me."

You stare blankly at me. "But all the people on earth...."

"All you. Different incarnations of you."

"Wait. I'm everyone!>"

"Now you're getting it," I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

"I'm every human being who ever lived?"

"Or who will ever live, yes."

"I'm Abraham Lincoln?"

"And you're John Wilkes Booth, too," I added.

"I'm Hitler?" you said, appalled.

"And you're the millions he killed."

"I'm Jesus?"

"And you're everyone who followed him."

You fell silent.

"Every time you victimized someone," I said, "you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you've done, you've done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you."

You thought for a long time.

"Why?" you asked me. "Why do all this?"

"Because someday, you will become like me. Because that's what you are. You're one of my kind. You're my child."

"Whoa," you said, incredulous. "You mean I'm a god?"

"No. Not yet. You're a fetus. You're still growing. Once you've lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born."

"So the whole universe," you said, "it's just...."

"An egg." I answered. "Now it's time for you to move on to your next life."

And I send you on your way.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

54 - Birthday

Man, I am so sucking at doing any sort of exercise this past few days!

The temperature has been out of this world. Yesterday we broke the high temperature record and it looks like we managed to do it again today. The humidity has been just as nuts, and they've been making "air quality" warnings all day. It's been a day to just stay inside with the air-conditioning. No such luck, though.

I got up late this morning, due to a sleepless night. My doctor put me on a new allergy medicine that it totally making me zone out. I don't like it. Unfortunately, there went my morning exercises.

My lunchtime walk was totally nixed due to the heat index and air quality thing. And my usual evening KFB workout went away because today is my partner's birthday, so we had to go over to his parent's house right after work. Then we went out to dinner, followed by another trip to the parent's house again for cake.

Then we had to run to the grocery store so I could pick up a few more supplies to tide us over for the next few days and to make a dish to pass for the potluck at work tomorrow. That's done and it's past my 10pm bedtime. Where are the days flying too?!?

Now it's time for bedtime. I can feel the new allergy medicine kicking in. Hopefully I'll be able to really sleep tonight without some all of the groggy tossing and turning.

Later dudes!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

53 - Details

This has been another bad exercise day for me. Work was absolutely nuts after the three-day holiday weekend. Then I had to run to my doctor's office so they could write me a prescription for a patch that helps prevent motion-sickness. (I'll be flying out to Portland, Oregon in just a few days and I have extreme motion-sensitivity.) Afterwards I had to run to the pharmacy to get the prescription filled.

Immediately after that I dashed home to mow the yard. (Don't need the "Lawn Police" coming around to fine us for the grass being too high.) Unfortunately, the electric lawn mower broke so I had to go back to the old archaic push-mower—the kind that uses you as the motor. Thankfully my arms and legs could handle it. In fact, I noticed that while I was using the mower, I would balance on the balls of my feet in perfect kung-fu stance. (At least I managed to get something KFB exercise-wise added to my day!)

The temperature outside is insanely high with a humidity factor that is unbelievable—which means I practically died while trying to mow the yard. It was now getting past 8pm and I still hadn't made dinner for my partner. (Heck, I still hadn't had dinner!) So it was a quick meal using every green leafy thing in the house, followed by this blog post. And now I will be off to bed.

Later dudes!

Monday, July 5, 2010

52 - Home

Man, there was no time for anything today! We spent our last day at the cabin not at the cabin. It was our final chance to do some sightseeing and shopping in the little towns that dot the North Country here. There was a lot of time spent in the car! That's okay, though, because the weather started getting uncomfortable. The temperature was over 90 degrees and starting to get humid. Thankfully, the car has air-conditioning.

We finally got back from our gallivanting all over the countryside late in the afternoon. Had enough time to take a quick dip in the river before needing to pack up the car and be on the road again.

We're home now, it's late, and I'm totally bushed. There will be no exercises from me tonight. I can't seem to get myself to workout after 8pm. By the time I would finish, it would be time for me to crawl into bed, and I think I'd just be too wired to fall asleep. At least my diet was not harmed today.

Just wanted to let you know that I'm home now—but only for four and a half days. That's when my next traveling adventure begins.

Pleasant dreams!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

51 - Independence

A U.S. flag flying on our neighbor's boat dock. The land behind it is Canada.

We finally made it into a town where I was able to get a signal and downloaded all my stuff for this week. (Yay!) Unfortunately, I was having to say good-bye to my family who had to go back home today. (Boo!)

I can't believe how nice the weather has been. All sunshiney and warm without it getting too hot. I've been taking my KFB outside for the most part, except for the j-ropes. For some strange reason I cannot get into the hang of doing j-ropes on the grass after months of jumping on a hardwood floor. So I had to go indoors and do it. The ropes worked much better!

Shadow-boxing is a lot of fun outdoors. Targeted strikes had to be an indoor thing, as the only thing around me that I could tie the ping-pong ball to was the rafters inside.

After today's exercise routine I jumped right into the river for a nice cool-down swim. It has been quite a relaxing time—and I'm enjoying it while it's here. This also means that my crazy month of July is about to begin. I'll definitely need down time from this month!

For all the U.S. citizens out there—have a great Independence Day! For everyone else in the world—Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

50 - Incommunicado

I forgot that I get no cell phone service here at the cabin. No internet either. Talk about feeling disconnected from the world! On the other hand, it is quite a blessing to be so isolated, not that I'm normally addicted to the modern conveniences. However, when it's taken away, you really begin to re-analyze how much time I usually spend on the internet. (Of course, I'm hand-writing this entry so I can add it later to the blog. Cramping fingers really bring to mind how much I rely on the computer!)

The one downside to not having internet access, though, is not being able to get the next set of exercises and diet. So, I grabbed one of last weeks exercise sheets and did it today. My mom and one of my nieces decided to join in and try some of the yoga poses with me.

There as also been a lot of swimming! Our cabin is right on the waterfront, so it's very easy to jump right in. The cold water is such a blessed relief from the heat of the day (and it's only gonna get hotter from here on out!)

I'm also following last weeks diet plan too, so I'm probably eating too much. Hopefully we'll be going into one of the towns around here where I can get cell phone service and be able to download my email to my iPhone.

Last night we made some homemade ice cream—in a ball! It was a lot of fun rolling it around to churn the ingredients, and after all that effort I couldn't pass up a chance to taste the sweet reward! It's soooo much better than the store bought stuff.

That's it for now. Time to rest my cramped fingers. Later dudes!

Friday, July 2, 2010

49 - Cabin

Our cabin on the St. Lawrence River.

I'll be leaving shortly for a long holiday weekend at our cabin on the St. Lawrence. This time much of my family is joining me for this trip. I've already done my KFB exercises for the day (which was really Thursday's workout because I was such a slacker this week). All my gear is packed away (including the j-rope) as well as four days worth of KFB approved food. I'm just waiting for my family to arrive and then I'll be on my way.

Later dudes!

Friday, June 25, 2010

42 - Rhubarb

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. What do you do when life gives you rhubarb? Or in my case, a rhubarb plant that is an overachiever? That's easy! You grab the strawberries that came in with your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box and make yourself some homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie!

This week's mindful consumption involved more of the mindful aspect than the consumption as I set out to make one of my favorite pies totally from scratch. I don't like to buy convenience items, like pre-made crust or canned fruit. Pie is best when the ingredients are (more or less) freshly harvested from the garden.

A good pie takes time to prepare: slicing each strawberry, washing and chopping rhubarb stalks. You must pay attention to what you are doing, otherwise you may have an unintentional ingredient in your dessert. (That may be why they call it "finger food".) You must be aware of when your dough reaches the right consistency. And you must be patient as you wait for things to chill or blend flavors.

Of course, mindful patience doesn't necessarily mean standing around staring at the dough and fruit and waiting for it to be ready. I took that opportunity to do my Friday workout: j-ropes, wide angle stretches, and meditation. Yeah, I know the meditation wasn't on the list, but I figured why not. It's not like I had anything else to do but sit and wait!

The mindful creation continued with rolling out the dough and putting into the pie dish, then filling it with the fruit mixture, and finally letting inspiration take you as to how you want to top it. I went with a full pie top crust with "moon" cutouts for venting. Into the oven so it can bake, and another chance at mindful patience. I was hungry and it was a good time for my KFB dinner!

Although the timer went off, it's always good to check the pie itself for doneness. It's not a cookie-cutter world—everything and everyone is different. All pies are not the same. Some may need to cook longer or shorter. Some fillings may need more or less sugar. Some crusts may need extra butter or not. Each pie is just as different as people. We're not all the same—why should a pie?

This pie needed to stay in the oven a little bit longer. Once the crust was a nice golden brown, out it came to sit on the rack to cool. More mindful patience, although a bit of mindful excitement started coming into play. Just the thought of sweet fruit juices dancing upon the tastebuds.... Patience, young grasshopper!

Finally the time came when I could cut into it and have myself a respectable sliver of pie—not too big for that would be gluttonous, and not too small to leave one craving for more, but one that was just right to allow satisfaction and no desire for the rest of it.

But the best part about a pie—being able to share it with friends. A pie is far too big for one person to consume in a sitting, but just the right size for others to become part of the momentary mindful creation that you began all those many little nows ago.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

41 - Arms

So, as I was standing in line at the grocery store, I was looking around at everyone else who was waiting for their turn to be checked out by the cashier. About three people ahead of me was this guy whom, in my opinion, looked pretty fit. His chest was toned, his stomach was flat (with just a hint of ab definition that could be seen through his t-shirt), and nicely developed arms upon which the veins were just popping out.

Curious, I looked at my own arms in comparisson to his. Somewhat to my surprise, my arms were almost like his—veins and all! That definitely helped to perk up my day a bit! I had toned arms! Woo-hoo!

(Now if only I could get rid of the last vestages of the fat around my mid-section so the abs could peak through. I know they're there—I can feel them—just can't see them yet. *sigh*)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

40 - Quake

One of my co-workers stopped by my cubicle to make a little small talk before going back to her desk. We had only conversed for a few minutes when suddenly another of my other co-workers asked/announced rather loudly, "Did anyone just feel that?"

Some people were on the same page as her. "Oh my god! You felt it too?" Meanwhile, there were those like me who were a little confused as to what she was talking about. "Feel what?"

"It was the weirdest thing," she said. "It was like somebody came up behind and shook the back of my chair. Then I saw that my printer was shaking."

Another person chimed in: "I was looking at the cubicle and it was wobbling."

Yet another person piped up: "My coffee had ripples running through it!"

Finally, someone said the words that had been floating through all of their minds. "That was an earthquake!"

Now there were those of us who hadn't felt any trembling whatsoever. "Are you sure? It could have just been the vibration from the train out behind the building." There was a quick check out the windows to see if the train was there. It wasn't.

"It was an earthquake I tell you!" insisted the first co-worker who made the observation. Quickly a debate arose between those who had felt it versus those who hadn't. Was it a quake or wasn't it?

Immediately a number of people in our little section of the building began logging onto the internet and searched the website of one of the local news stations. They had nothing about the tremor. The debate continued.

A few minutes after the initial event, an article popped up on the news website. The vibration had been felt all over the city, but there was no confirmation that it was an earthquake.

Because there was confirmation of something on the news, the doubters finally began to concede that maybe something happened that they didn't experience. The conversation eventually evolved into stories from those who felt the tremor, and the doubters began eating it up—almost as if they were trying to force themselves to live something that they had missed.

The complete tale is that there was a 5.0 earthquake that occurred near Ottawa, Canada. The seconds long tremor was felt as far south as Pennsylvania, maybe even further.

The interesting thing about the whole experience was watching my co-workers who had not felt the shaking. Despite the number of people in the building who experienced, those people refused to believe it until it was confirmed on the news website. Now, one could hardly blame them—we don't live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, so it was a little bit out of the realm of their realities.

But still, to ignore the evidence of people right next to them in favor of a news agency halfway across the city is just a little odd. People are just a little too detached from the life around them.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

39 - Humid

There's been a lot of rain and the temperature doesn't want to seem to drop. This equation means that humidity level is freakin' high. It also means that I am sweating up a storm when doing my workouts, regardless of the time of day.

First thing in the morning I start off with 10 minutes of stretching, 15 minutes of j-ropes and 8 minutes of abs, all before breakfast. Usually somewhere in the middle of the j-ropes, the sweat just starts pouring down my face and into my eyes. I think I'm getting better at "zen jumping" 'cause I can't see a thing when that happens! My workout clothes immediately go into the hamper after that.

Then, after my half-hour walk around downtown during my lunch, I'm back at my desk hugging my little fan in an attempt to cool down. Yeah, the building has air-conditioning, but the breeze from my fan seems to help me cool down faster.

And by the time I get home after work, the humidity is so high that all I have to do is look at the j-rope and I start breaking out into a sweat! When I've finished with the KFB exercises for the day, another set of workout clothes go right into the hamper. I've only got about 6 sets of outfits, which means that I have to do laundry about every two to three days just so I can have some clothes to workout in the next day.

Of course, the upside of all the humidity is that it usually makes me more thirsty than normal, so water consumption is up. I don't necessarily like the flavor plain water, so I've been making fresh brewed ice tea with some of my favorite Celestial Seasonings teas, sometimes with a touch of agave nectar. Mmmmmmm! Tasty!

Gotta go now. I've got to throw another load into the washing machine.

Monday, June 21, 2010

38 - Shadow

The first day of shadow-boxing—man, was that fun! Okay, so I probably went a little overboard screaming "hiya!" with each punch and kick, but it made for a great time that ended all too quickly! (The lowest my iPhone timer will go is 1 minute, so I do more than the 40 seconds recommended by the sheet. The time still flies by!)

Slowly I'm getting better with the pull-ups. It's taken most of the year, but I'm actually getting closer to getting my nose to the bar—at least for the first couple of reps. The rest of the time I'm able to pull myself up (without needing to put my toes on the floor!) so it doesn't look like I'm just hanging there in some sort of seizure.

Yeah, nothing too profound to post today.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

36 - Pride

Today is Pride Celebration Weekend for the Gay & Lesbian community here. The starts off with a rainbow flag raising outside of city hall, followed by a parade, which ends at a cultural event in a plaza outside one of the museums. There will be lots of music, food, merchants, dancing, community groups, and—because the weather will be hot—lots of shirtless guys! (Some will definitely be good looking and then there's the other who really should put their shirts back on.)

So, with all the fun and festivities going on in the city, what am I doing sitting at home?

It's called plumbing issues. The sewer drain is backing up into the cellar. Luckily we caught it pretty early so it was just a small puddle, but that meant we couldn't run any water until it got fixed. It also meant that someone had to stay home to wait for the plumber to arrive.

Today was going to be a pretty busy day beyond Pride. We also have a graduation party to attend but it's a bit of a distance away. I knew I was going to have somehow squeeze KFB in there somewhere this day—and amazingly enough, the universe provided the answer.

Off I ran with the day's new "reduced time" KFB exercises. It was a breeze to go through! I think I must have gotten use to the longer routine because it felt like it went too quick. Well, I only had time to kill, so I ran through the targeted punches and kicks from last week again.

The plumber eventually arrived around 1pm. A relatively quick roto-rooting later and the problem cleared up. Soon I'll be on my way to Pride (after a quick shower). I'm going to walk all the way there—it's about 3 miles down the hill and into the city in 90 degree weather. I'm prepared for it, though. I've got my water bottle and sunscreen lotion sitting by the door.

Later dudes!

Friday, June 11, 2010

28 - Indulgence

Every Friday, a group of my friends gather together at someone's house to watch movies—and eat. Pretty much it's a potluck dinner anytime we socialize with each other. Sometimes we seem to non-verbally coordinate very well and have a healthful spread fit for a king. Other times it's not so good as it is desserts as far as the eye can see. Tonight was a mostly healthy night.

My indulgence really didn't take on the typical quality of craving something sweet or salty—items that are usually associated with junk food. Strangely enough, I had the desire for eating more than my 140 grams of veggies for dinner.

Ever since I went vegetarian, my friends have been pretty good about bring some sort of veggie dish for me. Over the past few months, the number of vegetarian items have increased as many of them have been on a health kick—going to the YMCA or the gym. I don't know if my success from PCP had anything to do with their motivation, but I like to think it did.

The way the spread was set-up, we didn't have to walk very far to grab something to eat while the movie was playing. In fact, we didn't need to walk at all. We literally covered this rather large coffee table with food which we then proceeded to sit around. Although some items did need to be eaten off plates, most were pretty much of the finger-food variety.

The evil about this kind of grazing is that a person can have absolutely no idea how much food they have put into their system. The movie is playing, people are talking and having a good time, and you've only eaten one carrot stick—or at least you think that's all you've eaten.

I've shrunk a number of sizes since last summer and I'm a bit more conscious about what I'm eating. I allowed my self a little extra helping of pasta salad; noshed on roasted parsnips topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chives; took a bit more of the artichoke dip; and hit the point where I could say that I was 100 percent full.

Meanwhile, I'm watching everyone else eat. And eat. And eat. And eat some more. I'm not sure if their cognizant of how much food is going into their bodies, but I am. Granted, there were a lot of distractions going on with veritable smorgasbord before them that required no energy whatsoever to retrieve. It was the total opposite of "mindful consumption" which could be best described as "mindless grazing".

Unfortunately, my partner and I couldn't stay there much later than 10pm. We had a bit of a walk ahead of us (yes, we hoofed it to our friend's house) and I wanted to be home early enough so I could get some sleep before needing to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at work the next morning. (Yay Saturday work schedules.) Plus I wanted to hit the farmer's market for my weekly supply of veggies before I needed to clock in.

And now it's time for me to punch out. Goodnight all!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

27 - Cheater

I cheated and looked ahead. Tomorrow is indulgence day. I'm not looking forward to it. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I haven't been the paradigm of diet perfection the past few weeks. This was so unlike PCP-me who remained vigilant and faithful throughout the entire program. KFB-me seems to be a cheater. Oh, it's never anything big or horrendous—just little items like a cookie here or a bit of extra carb there.

Because of those slip-ups, I don't feel I deserve to have an indulgence day. That's suppose to be a treat for being good, not for slackers like me. But I know that I'm going to allow myself to indulge anyway. That's pretty sad.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

26 - Coexist

There's another blog that I read, almost on a daily basis, called Break the Illusion. It's written by this young gay guy who calls himself Davey Wavey. Most of the time his posts are very "zen spiritual" (if that's a term), but then there will be entries that are very frank and blunt about sex and sexuality. In his video entries he is almost never without a smile and almost always without a shirt—and pants. (It helps that he pretty damn hot!)

In one of his more recent entries, Davey talks about coexisting with others. (Be forewarned before clicking on the link—the second half of that entry talks about his trip to Chinatown in New York City and includes a picture of carved phallic items being sold in a store there.)

Although his post is quite interesting, what intrigued me more were a number of the comments that turned into mini-discussions/arguments. Sometimes those commentators get real nasty and there are moments when I wonder why the heck they bother reading Davey's blog when all they do is insult him. I do have to give it up to the boy, though—regardless of how vehement people get, he always seems to keep that smile going. I'm not sure I could do that.

Anyway, I don't know how or why, but my mind latched onto the conundrum of coexistence with others and the whole concept has been bouncing around in my brain—even during my meditations. ("Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Oh, here comes that coexistence thought. Wave to the nice subject as it goes by kids. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Looks like coexistence is passing through again. Everyone get out of the street! There it goes again. Breathe out. Breathe in....")

In the post, Davey says: "But at the end of the day, we don’t all need to be on the same page; we don’t all need to be friends. But we do need to live together. We need to coexist. And as such, I think it makes sense to have a healthy appreciate for opinions, ideas, cultures and beliefs that aren’t our own (with the exception of racism, sexism and all the other -isms that minimize others)."

Here was the first place my brain paused. Did his statement just make sense? On one hand he says that we need to appreciate other opinions and beliefs and yet he excludes "-isms that minimize others". That isn't coexisting with everyone because he's just blocked anyone who believes in an -ism.

Now, as one commentator responded: "In Iran (and other places I'm sure), they hang teenagers for being gay ... I don't need to live with these people or coexist with them. I need to see them disappear." Obviously this person doesn't believe that people of different opinions can coexist together. He seems to feel that the only way to live together is to get rid of everyone who doesn't fit in his ideals.

A responder to that comment makes a point: "If you want people to accept your views and beliefs I feel it’s critical to set the example and respect theirs, whether or not you agree with them. I think it’s a crime against humanity to kill someone for choosing to be whatever they will be but if our reaction to that is crushing their system and replacing it with our own we are no better than they are."

It was immediately argued by someone else: "I should respect the views of murderers, rapists and child molesters? If someone can’t tell good from evil, well then I just feel sorry for them. And if they can’t stand up to evil when they see it, they’re just cowards."

To which the responder adds: "I understand that some of these behaviours are harmful while others aren’t. We have laws to deal with behaviours that are harmful. But hatred towards these people isn’t helpful in the least. Without some compassion we will never understand why people act as they do and believe as they do."

The argument continued with: "...there ARE evil people out there. Rational, sane people recognize the difference between evil deeds and differences of opinion. Believing people deserve to die because they are gay is an opinion, killing them because they are gay is an evil deed. That is a line that sane, rational people do not cross." This person at least makes the distinction between beliefs and actions, which is fairly valid point.

But I think this person summed up the conundrum best: "The inherent paradox of suggesting people should allow different viewpoints to “coexist” or suggesting that all beliefs are o.k. and valid for people to have is that eventually there will be beliefs that directly oppose *that* idea. There are some belief systems and viewpoints that specifically say one should convert others to yours, or that people who don’t see the world/believe like you are bad. . ."

For a while, this puzzle has been bouncing around in my head. There are people out there who say that this world would be a better place if everyone could just learn to live together, and yet what they really mean is that the world would be a better place if everyone believes just like me. Some say that we could live in harmony if only we got rid of the "evil" people—but who gets to dictate the definition of evil? Is it truly possible for people to coexist without putting any qualifiers or conditions on each other in order to have a harmonious relationship?

Somewhere along the line, the different fragments of thought that had been swimming in my gray matter began to fall into place. I get it—but I can't seem to express what's in my head. It's like trying to explain to a van Gogh painting to a blind person or a Beethoven symphony to someone who is hearing impaired. It's more than just the colors or the notes. There's an experiential quality to them that just can't be put into words.

But it's not enough to just know. One has to live it, incorporate it into their actions—their being. The hard part is over, and yet the hard part hasn't even begun.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

25 - Weak

This past weekend is still affecting me. Although time seems to have returned to a normal pace, my stamina hasn't. I was doing alright during the jump rope and Strength section of the workout sheet, and I was still going strong at the beginning of the Agility section—that is, until I encountered the Kicks. My legs started getting more and more tired, I began sweating up a storm, and my form eventually went to hell. I think I was pretty much dead by that point. Thankfully I only had the Flexibility exercises to go. Hopefully the energy levels will return tomorrow.

Monday, June 7, 2010

24 - Exhaustion

Who knew the two late nights and a pretty killer walk over the past three days would whup my ass today? At work, I was dragging like anything and the clock advanced ever so slowly. Then I got home an did the exercises—still dragging and time was moving at a snail's pace. Dinner and soon I'm going to bed. How does a day fly by and creep at the same time?!? Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

23 - Walk

Even though the past couple of nights were late ones (there I go again, staying up way past my bedtime), I managed to wake up around 7am to begin my very busy day. Knowing that I was going to be on the go most of the day, I decided to start out the morning with the exercises.

Breakfast was the same thing I pretty much have everyday: raw vegetables, a hard-boiled egg, an organic multi-grain cereal (extra fiber!), a slice of homemade multi-grain bread, and milk. (Yeah, I'm pretty boring on the meal front.) Then it was time to get ready and leave the house for the day.

First stop: the 18th Annual 5K Walk/10K Run for AIDS Community Resources. I have proudly participated in this event for the past four years. I count myself lucky that I haven't lost any close friends to this disease, which makes it all the more important that I do something to help those who haven't been as lucky.

The drive to the event was interesting to say the least. The weather was being very temperamental as it would change from sprinkling to torrential downpour back to sprinkling in a matter of minutes. Well, the AIDS Walk occurs rain or shine, so I made sure I had my umbrella with me.

Amazingly, the weather gave us a brief respite. The organizers had everyone line up—runners in front, walkers behind them. With the cry of "Ready, Set, Go" we were off!

I've learned from past experience that the best place to be is right behind the runners. I have a pretty quick stride and there's nothing worse than getting stuck behind people who like to saunter and refuse to move out of the way no matter how much you try to excuse yourself. When you're behind the runners, they take off like a shot which leaves a huge open space in front of you and all the saunterers are behind you.

With my iPod playing all of my quick-beat dance tunes, I was on the move. I quickly left the pack of walkers far behind me and was only a few steps behind some of the slowest runners I have ever seen. That didn't last very long as they started slowing down while I continued my steady pace, eventually passing them and then leaving them in my wake.

As I rounded the last bend of the trail, one of the event organizers stood before me at the fork and asked me, "Are you a runner or walker?" (At this point the walkers went one direction to finish their 5K walk, while the runners when the other way to do their remaining 5K.)

"Walker," I responded.

The organizer grabbed his megaphone and announced to the people at the finish line, "First walker coming through!" A big smile crossed my face at hearing that announcement. I was going to be the first walker to cross the finish line!

As I walked under the balloon archway set-up for the walkers, I turned and looked at the finish line for the runners. The first runner was crossing his finish line at the same time I was crossing mine. The timer over the runner's finish line read "36:57".

Although other runners came in shortly after the first one, it was a good ten or so minutes before the next walkers crossed under the balloon arch. The last walker finally crossed the line somewhere about an hour and fifteen minutes after we had started.

It's still hard to believe that I did a 5K walk in 36 minutes! Of course, I think all of the warming up and stretching from the morning's exercises helped immensely with the stamina and stride that my legs were producing. I was totally pumped by that achievement!

Unfortunately, the organizers don't recognize this type of accomplishment from walkers, just runners. They held a ceremony to give out awards to the first runner in, oldest runner, youngest runner, first and second runners in different age groups, most participants, most money raised, and so on. Nothing for the first walker in. (I totally understand why they don't. It's very hard to judge walkers as someone could easily cheat and run most of the route and walk only at the end. It's difficult to do that for a runner.)

However, some of my teammates didn't like the perceive snub that I received for the amazing feat I had just performed. So they took it upon themselves to recognize me for my accomplishment.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

22 - Horse

I think I have found a new exercise that will replace the love/hate relationship I had with the Plank. "I have given a name to my pain, and it is Horse!"

The Horse Stance wasn't that bad in the beginning, but at a hold of 40 seconds it is a killer. Which probably means that I'm doing it correctly.

The first set was no problem. The second set was a little harder. Set three found me starting to quiver during the last few seconds. The last set started my legs shaking and almost giving out. Pretty much the same experience I had way back when the Plank was introduced into the routine.

Someday we might be on speaking terms, Horse, but not today. Definitely not today.

Friday, June 4, 2010

21 - Agony

At the time it sounded like a good idea. Well, actually it didn't. It was more of an okay idea which I decided to go along with. Little did I realize that by the end of the night it would prove to be a really horrible idea.

After the meeting last night, a couple of our friends decided that they wanted to go out and grab some dinner. I hadn't planned on dining out and I really didn't want to stay up late, but my partner wanted to socialize with them and they promised it would be an early evening, so I acquiesced and a decision was made about where we were going to eat.

Now Friendly's really doesn't have the best menu in the world, but that was where they wanted to eat. I hadn't been in that restaurant in quite some time, but I figured I could probably find something vegetarian and relatively healthy to munch on. So off we went to the nearby location.

Much to my surprise (not really), they offer little options for a vegetarian. Every salad is covered in meat, they don't offer any veggie burger alternates, and about the only thing that came close to being somewhat vegetarian just so happened to be deep-fried. There wasn't even any fruit offered! How sad is that?

Well, needless to say, I sat there while every ate their meals, sipping my tall glass of water. One friend apologetically offered some of their onion rings and I knew I would feel guilty if I refused them, so I took a couple and ate them.

After the dinner was finished, they all decided to get ice cream sundaes. Well, by that time I was feeling a little peckish, so I placed my order for some too. I knew it wasn't going to be the greatest stuff, but it was at least something. The desserts arrived and were devoured in short order.

About 15 minutes later my stomach felt like someone had just kicked it. The most unpleasant cramps started settling in too. I was a little surprised to experience it, because I hadn't felt that way for the longest time! But I knew what it was and what was going to happen.

I quickly urged my partner to pay the bill and we dashed out the door and flew home, all-the-while my stomach making the most horrific sounds and convulsing. We pulled into the driveway, I leaped from the car, into the house, and rushed into the bathroom—which is where I remained for the next half-hour or so.

One would think that would be the end of the story. Ha-ha! My body had other ideas.

Although things were mostly quiet throughout the night, when I got up this morning my stomach once again proceeded with more cramping and I had to spend a bit more time in the bathroom. This has actually gone on throughout a good part of the day. I have eaten very little in the way of any kind of food—diet or otherwise. The stomach wouldn't handle it.

It finally started to quiet down this evening. The weird noises have stopped, and I haven't had to spend a lot of time on the toilet. I've actually started feeling hungry now, so I'll get something to eat. Everything should return to normal in a little bit.

I will say this—that is the last time I'm going to Friendly's for quite a while. This whole experience made me remember why I hadn't eaten there in a long time—it's because their food has made my stomach do this before. Much of this occurred before I started living a healthy lifestyle and had been written off as quirks with my body. Now I know it's just bad food. I am sure this experience will be firmly burned into my memory, and that will definitely remind me I'm never walking into that place again.