Resolution #1, Update 1

The first week of weight loss has been bearable.  I find it impossible to count calories, so my main lines of attack were the avoidance of the obvious--scones, ice cream, and the like--plus two days of semi-fasting, from after lunch to breakfast the next morning.   I did not give up alcohol, because Ireland, and what I consider my one addiction, diet soda, I have limited myself to one can a day.  I have also not begun an exercise regimen, as I have found in the past that I have difficulty managing a simultaneous reduction in caloric intake and an increase in calories consumed. 

That being said I am resigned to the fact that my body will soon catch wind of my plans, and so additional measures will be required as it dials back the metabolism.  But Oprah Winfrey looked great at the Golden Globes last night, so if she can do it, so can I.  


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New Year's Resolution #1: Weight

On a number of fronts it is probably inadvisable to announce New Year's resolutions, particularly when most of them are ones that you failed at during the previous year.  But hope springs eternal, even for a realist such as myself, and so here we go.   

I am not technically overweight, according to the strict definition of the term, although I'm on slippery top slope of the normal body mass index (BMI) range.   Every year my family doctor gives me the one raised eyebrow and cold, knowing stare upon reading my weight on the scale, a look that becomes permanently affixed after glancing down to my muffin-top waist.   He then proceeds to ask me about my exercise regime, a question he already knows the answer to but asks anyway for rhetorical emphasis.   A week later my cholesterol result comes back above 200, and the change in the tone of his voice says it all:  I'm on the fat train to hell. 

And hence, my New Year's Resolution Number 1:  lose 17 pounds, or 56,700 calories, worth of body fat.  As you can tell from the chart below I have given myself a slight head start, as this morning, January 1, I clocked in at 176.2. 

Here we go, 2018.    

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European Surprises

Sometimes people ask us what the most expensive, surprise item has been for us living in Europe.  During our Italian sojourn I would say it was the combination of incessant highway tolls and parking and moving violations, the latter of which we accumulated many--out of ignorance mostly, as we were not careful enough to mimic the locals' patterns of speeding up and slowing down.  Which appeared random at first, as we mistakenly assumed they were the result of the Italian laissez-faire attitude of driving.  But come to find out they were closely attuned to the position of speed cameras.   Parking fees were mostly of our own making (by 'our own' I mean 'Stewart's'), and our oblivious jaunts into forbidden ZTLs, the inner city zones that require special permits, were not cheap either.    

In Dublin, it is turning out to be the gas and electric bill.  While San Diego takes the cake in that category, Dublin is seems is not far behind.  The matter isn't helped by our quixotic heating system in the apartment that randomly creates a steam-room setting in the hallway and one of a refrigerator in the kitchen.  An honorable mention goes to the Irish TV tax:  a two hundred dollar ANNUAL fee for the privilege of having a television in one's home.  

Putting those things in perspective though, we have been lucky.  It could have been most certainly worse, and for that we consider ourselves fortunate.  

Holiday Travel Catch Up

Alrighty, a quick catch up of the year.  A little short on the details, but needs be when the devil drives.  

Dec 2016:  Trip to the Netherlands.  Windmills, art everwhere, wooden shoes, the fascination of Amsterdam, and dikes of course.   January 2017:  Stewart's overdue hernia surgery in Landstuhl, Germany.  February:  we turn 50 and 70, celebrate in Greece--Athens, Olympia, Delphi, ancient history galore.   Barcelona for a week, before the independence troubles began.  March:  Sicily, Mt. Etna, Agrigento. 

April:  a week in Berlin, followed by 5 days in Dublin for house-hunting.  Found a great place, and we sign the lease agreement.  May:  Chris, Marianne and Mary visit, three days later we move to Ireland.   June:  Dubin Pride, a trip to visit relatives in County Donegal, a trip to London to see the Chang-Esteys, then August:  the International Gathering of the Clan Macnab in Killin Scotland and marching in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo; whirlwind trip back to Kentucky/Ohio/DC to visit relatives and attend cousin's wedding.  

September Mark Beckett's visits, October Cousin Jay visits, November I'm back in Lexington with my parents for Thanksgiving for the first time in ages and Stewart headed to Milan for Toastmasters.  Then down to Miami for work, back to Dublin in December, Greg and Heidi coming for Christmas.   2017, done.  

It has been a year of poignancy, of heavy travel schedules, and once again schlepping our collective crap from one location to another.  All of it unforgettable, most of it in a good way.  




Dublin Bus

If you're not accustomed to riding double-decker buses, I would recommend a ride in one as part of your trip to Dublin.  There is the novelty of perspective, of course, sitting on the upper deck.  But it's the gauntlet of narrow streets and bridges, combined with the unflinching tenacity of the drivers, that makes it a spectacle that never ceases to impress me.   

On a related note, on at least three different occasions the Dublin City bus driver remembered me out of hundreds of riders, knew where I was going, and made sure I got off at the appropriate stop.  One of those times he used the PA system which was sort of embarrassing, but still, kudos that he took enough professional interest in his riders.  

And on another related note, Dublin has a bus dedicated to IKEA.  If you've never imagined schlepping a deconstructed 50 pound filing cabinet on public transportation, add it to your Dublin agenda.