Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Countdown Continues

Not much has been going on around here.
I have been doing my workout routine on a daily basis. Today I plan on giving my body a complete break from my walking and from my bicycle riding.
As of lately, the pain in my left foot is basically gone. It does not bother me at all when I am walking but if I message my foot, there still are some tender spots.
Now it seems that I am having some trouble with my right leg.
It is mainly around my upper leg and in the area of the hip joint. Sometimes the pain travels down to my right knee. It hurts when I walk, hurts when I lay on my right side, hurts when I lay on my stomach, hurts when I lay on my back...I guess you can say that it just plain hurts constantly.
I have a doctors appointment next Tuesday so I will get that checked out along with the results of some blood work and my official weigh in.
Hopefully I have continued to lose some weight and not hit that "wall" or plateau.
The countdown until our Baltic Capitals cruise is down to 41 days and a wake up.
Won't be long now until we are taking that big jet plane and flying over to the other side of the pond.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Loss Of A Friend

I learned this morning that a friend had passed away yesterday around noon time.
I don't quite remember how I first "met" Barry but I think it was back in early 2009.
One of us stumbled upon the others blog and ever since then, we have visited each others blog numerous times and sometimes left a comment for each other along the way.
Although I have never physically met Barry, I learned quite a bit about him through his blog entries, not only in his writings but through his photographs and videos.
Barry would share portions of his life with his readers. His adventures with his beloved dog Lindsay, tidbits about his life and family and sometimes about his likes and dislikes.
Back in March of 2009 Barry was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. Barry shared with his readers the ups and downs of his battle with cancer.
As time went by and reading what Barry had and was going through, he became an inspiration to me, someone that I looked up to and respected. Someone that I grew to care about deeply.
I will truly miss my friend Barry.
As Barry's wife Linda wrote, on Barrys blog last night.... AN EXPLORERS VIEW OF LIFE, when she informed all of Barrys friends of his passing:

" Sometimes during a war, the General dies on the battlefield. It doesn't mean the battle is lost, it could mean the General won the war but lost his life trying. That is the stuff heroes are made of. Barry did not loose his battle with cancer today. The cancer is dead and gone forever now. Barry however, will always live on in our hearts. I consider Barry a hero, not a person who has lost anything. "

May the wind fill your sails,
as you continue your journey my friend.
Barry Edward Fraser
April 3, 1943 to July 20, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

1000 MPH Supersonic Car - Bloodhound(SSC)

I just found this article about a 1,000mph supersonic car called the Bloodhound(SSC).
I found the article on Yahoo Buzz and it is written by a Mike Krumboltz.
Below is a video depicting an animated representation of this vehicle.
The Bloodhound has a grand total of 135,000 horsepower, which is equal to 180 times the power of a formula one car.
As soon as the Bloodhound is fully assembled (hopefully by late 2011 or early 2012), the team will attempt to sniff out a new world land speed record. The current record belongs to the Thrust SuperSonic Car, which hit 763 mph back in 1997.
I am not sure how anyone could control a vehicle moving that fast. You would think that it would need a really wide wheelbase just to keep the vehicle under control. I guess that is why these folks get paid the big bucks.
The more I think about it, the more questions I come up with...
How much fuel does it take to get up to 1,000 mph?
How long does it take to achieve that type of speed?
Even bigger question....how do you stop this speeding bullet? I am pretty sure that it does not a conventional break system. Does it have a parachute that pops out when it does finally slow down?
Does it eventually slow down when you turn the engines off? How long would it take to be completely stopped??....does the have anything to do with inertia????
Damn...I knew that I should have stayed awake during my Physics class!!!!
Here is a link to the full story.. Bloodhound Supersonic Car

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our eDocs Have Arrived

A couple of days ago, we received our eDocs from NCL...Norwegian Cruise Line.
eDocs are documents and important paperwork that Veronica and I need in order to board the ship. You print the Edocs so that you have an actual hardcopy of all the paperwork that we will need.
Our actual cruise tickets are part of our eDocs paperwork.
Our eDocs also included our overseas flight information and etickets for that flight, our itinerary for this cruise, paperwork for our transfers from when we arrive at Heathrow and are transferred to the ship and from the ship back to Heathrow when our cruise is finished.
We will be bused from Heathrow to Dover, which is where the NCL Sun will be docked for embarkation.
I believe that Dover is about 1 1/2 hours away from Heathrow.
For our flights, we will be flying Virgin Atlantic.
The flight each way is approximately 7 hours long. This will be the longest flight that either Veronica or I have ever taken.
I have already picked out our seats...way back in row 62. I picked that area mainly because that was the only area where we could sit together, it is close to the bathrooms and there are only 2 seats on that side of the plane...a window seat and a aisle seat. They had plenty of seats in the center of the plane where they had like 4-5 seats across in each row but who wants to be stuck in the middle with people all around you for 7 hours. We like a little space.
We are flying economy class. I checked on upgrading us to premium economy but the upgrade costs are unbelievable.
Our flight is leaving out of Newark at approximately 9PM on and we arrive at Heathrow on Wednesday morning at approximately 9-9:30 the following morning. There are several time changes between Newark and London Heathrow.
We then have to get our luggage and meet with an NCL representative at the Heathrow Arrival Lounge in terminal #3 and from there we go to our bus for our transfer to the ship.
The day before this overseas flight, we will be heading to a hotel in the Norfolk area so that we can get a good nights sleep before our early morning flight from Norfolk to Newark.
We will be arriving in the Newark airport in the morning and we will have to get our luggage from that early morning flight and then check in our luggage for the overseas flight with Virgin Atlantic.
We will have plenty of time to hang out in the Newark airport since our overseas flight does not leave Newark until that evening.
We plan on sleeping as much as possible on that overseas flight.
We return on Virgin Atlantic...a flight that leaves Heathrow at approximately 4:20 PM and arrives in Newark at approximately 7:00 PM. Once again, times changes several times on the return flight and with all of those time changes, I am sure that our body clocks will be messed up.
Once we have landed and obtained our luggage, we will be staying in a hotel in the Newark area.
Our return flight to Norfolk isn't until early the following morning.
Upon arriving back in Norfolk, it is an approximately 2 hour drive home.
This sure is going to be a very different adventure that neither Veronica or I are accustomed to but we both are very excited and thankful for this opportunity to go abroad.
We have been picking up a few items for this adventure and for future adventures.
On e item that we just purchased was a new security shoulder purse for Veronica. It has slash proof sides and bottom ways of securing the zippers and a slash proof shoulder strap. This type of purse is used where the strap goes across your body.
We also purchased a small lightweight travel steamer to get the wrinkles out of our clothes.
I got myself one of those security wallets that strap around my body and is worn under my clothes...next to my skin.
Just a few security items to protect ourselves from pick pockets and such.
We have not yet decided on how many suitcases to take with us. Minimum will be 3 and maximum will be 4.
Because we are flying Economy class, we will have to pay for each bag we check in and pay for them round trip and each bag can only weigh a maximum of just over 50 pounds....23 kg if I remember correctly. This can add up rather quickly but we would rather have some extra room in our suitcases for some goodies that we find and want to bring home.
We are just about at the 50 day out mark for this big adventure.
If I think about it too much, those days will slowly drag by.

Friday, July 16, 2010

And Then The Skies Opened Up

The night before last we had some interesting weather pass through our area. I decided to venture out on our 2nd story balcony, that is right outside of our bedroom, and took some photos.
The closer the storm got to us, the darker the clouds got.
It got real quiet for a moment and then the wind started to really pick up.
I started searching for a funnel cloud thinking that a tornado was a possibility.
I did not see any circular movement to the clouds nor anything else that might indicate that a tornado was probable.
Next thing I know, the skies broke loose and we ended up with torrential downpours that lasted a good 1/2-3/4 of an hour.
Both Veronica and I love a good thunderstorm...no tornadoes or hurricanes but a good thunderstorm, with the light show and all of the thunder...now that's some good stuff.
We have not had very many yet, at least since we have lived here.



This was what it looked like when it got real quiet and then the wind really picked up.





Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Cat In The Hat On Aging

I found this little tidbit online and decided to share it with you. I would like to credit the maker of it but I am not sure who made it. Whoever it was...Thank you.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rick version 2.0 - A Public Service Announcement

As you can tell, I haven't been making any blog entries in about a week.
Why you might ask?....and thank you for asking.
Because I have been working very hard and diligently on a reclamation project.
The reclamation project I am speaking of is.....ME.
For years I have not been feeling like used to. I haven't had any "pep in my step" for many moons.
As I have written before, my body was not responding like a fine tuned machine like it used to way back in my youth. Yes....many many moons ago.
I have been lethargic, attention span of a dizzy cockroach, weight fluctuations...usually heading northward on the scale or maybe that would be eastbound on one of those medical slide scales that you move the weights, or possibly being a "cruiser" my weight was heading to the starboard side of that same type of sliding scale. I think you catch my point.
I did not have the same drive or energy I used to have. "Things" just weren't quite working as they used to back in my prime....now I know that I don't have to draw you a picture and even if I did, I wouldn't because this is a family oriented blog.
YEAH RIGHT....GOTCHA!!!!
After discussing all of my short comings (no pun intended) with my doctor, she decided that a battery of blood tests were in order.
This was a couple of months ago and at that time I walked into her office at about 204 pounds.
I am only 5' 11" tall in my stilettos and this was the heaviest that I had ever been in my life.
Of course the problems with my foot did not help the situation out and made it difficult for me to do a lot of exercises both before and after my foot surgery.
I was in a vicious cycle. My foot slowed me down from really good walking routine in and with my upward spiralling weight issue, it was causing more problems with my foot.
Because of my weight issue, my blood sugar levels were elevated(diabetes runs in the family) and my blood pressure all of a sudden had gone up.
So the doctor put me on blood pressure medicine(which I have been able to reduce and now I only take 1/2 of a pill), pills to control my blood sugar levels(which gave me really bad diarrhea issues...I have stopped taking this completely...thank God!!!) and last but not least...something to deal with my low to missing hormone....this is the time when you hear the drum roll ...testosterone. For the remainder of this blog entry, I will be calling testosterone by the letter T...why...because it is really a pain in the ass for me to keep typing the word testosterone. The word testosterone is not one that flows smoothly when trying to say it much less trying to type it.
Once my doctor told me that I had low to non existent levels of T in my system, the light bulb in my head went off and all of the symptoms that I had been having for years...well they all made sense.
What I found really strange was that I have had mostly male doctors for the last several decades and it took a female doctor to figure out that I was lacking an important hormone...not to be confused with an impotent hormone. Oh c'mon folks...it's life and I can laugh at myself as easily as others can and have laughed at me.
But I digress..............the doctor gave me a prescription for something called Androgel.
Androgel is a clear liquid that comes in a pump bottle and depending on the amount you need, that dictates the number of pumps.
I was prescribed the lowest amount, so I get to apply 4 total pumps worth of this magic gel.
I apply the gel daily to the upper portions of my arms and to my abdomen.
Now it is very important that I wash my hands after applying this gel and I need to apply the gel after I shower so that my skin is clean and dry.
One of the most important things is that I must make sure that Veronica does not come into contact with the gel or the area that I applied it to...can be rather harmful to her.
The gel dries quickly and my shirts completely cover the area where the gel was applied.
For the first several weeks I notice no changes at all. The doctor told me that it might take a little time for the gel to raise my T levels in my body.
I kept up doing my walks and as I had previously blogged about...I had lost 16 pounds as of my last doctors visit.
Since that visit, I can feel the surge of energy coming back into my body and life. I feel a lot sharper and more focused.
Currently I am walking 5 miles in the morning...I was doing 9 over the course of a day but it was putting too much of a strain of my feet, so I had to back off.
But I also incorporated bicycling into my workout regiment.
I purchased a recumbent bicycle and started doing 4 miles after taking a brief break from my 5 mile morning walk and then doing another 4 miles in the afternoon.
Today was my most productive workout day since starting taking my T supplement.
I did my 5 mile walk this morning and then did 16 miles on my bike this afternoon.
I just turned on my Ipod and listened to some tunes and became a peddling fool.
I haven't felt this good for probably 20 years or so.
The only thing that I plan on adding to my workout is the purchase of a few free weights so that I can tone up a little bit.
As of right this minute...I feel like a new person....Rick version 2.0
So for those males that might be reading this entry...probably not many because they all seem to be gravitating towards my blog entry titled "Is KKK The New C Cup- I Sure Hope Not" or the one about the longest dead snake..... or for the females who have a male partner or even males who have a male partner.....if you are reading this and if any of the described symptoms seem to match up....just ask your doctor to check out your T levels.
If your T levels are low, ask about Androgel and if prescribed...you will be on your way to a new you. Just ask Rick version 2.0...he will tell you.
This has been a public service announcement.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Important Stuff In Life

There are a lot of things that are important in ones life. Health, money and a good dog are just a few that come to my mind.
One of the most important, at least to me, are friends. We all have our acquaintances..... "Knowledge of a person acquired by a relationship less intimate than friendship".
I have plenty of these myself. But I am talking about those people who hold a much higher place in my life...real friends.
Now I don't have a lot of "real" friends but those that I do have, have a special place in my life and....not trying to get all sappy or girly girl....but they have a special place in my heart too.
The absolute first that comes to my mind would be my wife Veronica. The way I look at it...if your wife isn't your best friend, eventually it will kick you in the fanny. She is my bestest of best friends and yes of course it comes with benefits...lol. What an arrangement eh?
After Veronica, the friendship list dwindles down to just a few. There used to be a time when I had more friends in my life. But they seemed to have ended up being friends for just a particular time in my life or when I held a certain job.
After moving on, I tried to keep those friendships alive but time and distance eroded those friendships into nothing more than memories...not even acquaintances...just distant memories of friendships that once were.
2 people that I do consider to be my friends are John and Ken. You have heard me mention both names here on my blog before.
They are the two friends from up in Canada that send me video clips and jokes, that I turn around and share with you.
But Ken and John are much more that just people who send emails to me.
John and Ken are both friends that I truly wished that I lived closer to, so that I could spend more time with them.
They are 2 people that I feel a connection to and truly enjoy their company.
And even though I might physically see them for only a week or two each year, I still consider them to be my friends. I am hoping that one of these days, I might be able to live a little closer to them so that we might be able to see a little more of each other.
But for now, I am thankful that they are my friends and I am thankful for whatever time or contact we get with each other.
I also have another person that I consider to be my friend. His name is Barry. I have never formally met Barry but I still think of him as my friend.
Barry is a fellow blogger and that is how I "met" him.
I care about Barry as much as I care about any of my other friends.
Barry has been going through some tough times with his health.
I find myself thinking about Barry and saying a prayer or two for him.
I know that this might sound silly since I have never actually met Barry, but he is one of those people in this world that I have found a connection with....through his blog, his writings and what he has shared with others about his health issues and about other topics.
Like I said earlier, I really don't have very many "real" friends but each one of them is very important to me.
Today I met my neighbor. His name is Bill.
Bill and his family own the condo next door to us. They come and stay in their condo for a week here and there and the rest of the time, they try to rent it out when they aren't here visiting.
Bill has been here for about a week.
I would see him out in the driveway working on his boat. I would say "hi" when I walked by him but until today, we never really introduced each other.
Today we did introduce each other and we stood around talking for a bit.
Bill is one of those people that I felt an instant connection to.
Unfortunately our first real meeting was only a couple of hours before he and his family had to leave.
Before Bill left, I gave him a slip of paper with our names and telephone number on it along with my email address. He in turn gave me one of his business cards and he wrote his cell phone number on it. With the weather and storms in this area, I thought that he might want to have a contact person just in case something happened to his place and a way that I could get in touch with him should the need arise.
Bill seemed to genuinely appreciate my gesture.
Before Bill left, he made sure that he had a chance to say good bye to me. I found myself wishing that I had met Bill earlier in his visit. I think that with a little time, Bill will be on my short list of friends.
For those of you that are already on it.....Thank You!!.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Just A Little Sprinkler Fun

My friend John Jakobs, from up in Vermilion Bay Ontario Canada, sent me a link to this great video. Not sure who sent it to John but "Thank You' to whoever it was.
2 young Moose and a Mama Moose having some water sprinkler fun. Turn up the volume for the music that goes to this video.
Thanks for sharing John. Keep'm coming.
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