Back from New England. Weddings! Hedge mazes! FOOD!

Last Wednesday, Kate and Lydia drove to the Newark Airport. Instead of taking my train home to West Chester, I got off at the Newark Airport, took the monorail in to Terminal A, then we drove north to Maine. My all-around awesome cousin Liz Baldwin got married to carpenter, archaeologist, chef, and all-around awesome guy Matt Rowe. They have a really wonderful nine-year-old daughter, so this was definitely one of the “celebrate people you love” weddings, rather than a “good luck, you crazy kids!” weddings.

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I mean, they’re still crazy kids, and all, but they continue to have great luck, and it was a wonderful ceremony on the beach at Reid State Park. My mom officiated. I saw cousins I haven’t seen in fifteen years or more (and these are first cousins!) Like my cousin Hillary Baldwin, who is a sculptor now living in Greenpoint, and Arlo Baldwin, who is now a Stone Cold Playa. (Hi guys! Arlo, I’m sorry I spilled cocktail sauce on your velvet suit.) And we got to reconnect briefly with other Baldwins — like Holly Baldwin, who is a professional Quaker (she directs Beacon Hill Friends House in Boston), and Max and Sarah, who are stylish back-to-the-land-ers. And Lydia had a great time seeing my mom (and vice versa!)

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On the way back, we spent a night at Mohonk, which is a giant victorian castle on top of a craggy hill in upstate New York. I last visited Mohonk in 2003, when the big blackout happened while we were midway through a motorcycle trip, and we had only 100 miles of range in our tanks and every gas station was kaput. So we diverted to Mohonk because they make their own power in a big Jules Verne physical plant. So when colleagues at work reminisce about spending the night sleeping on the sidewalk in midtown, I get to complain about how the bar at Mohonk was out of limes. Gad, the horror!

Staying at Mohonk is a cross between going to the Plaza, being in a James Bond movie (there’s a gatehouse at the bottom of the hill that you must clear before you can drive slowly up the mountain on a private road), and being in the original Myst video game. From the balcony outside our room, you can look almost straight down to the lake, and to the crazy second-story flying walkway joining the family parlor to the second story of the lakehouse porch:

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By the time the building has finished rambling, it’s a fifth of a mile long altogether. A fifth of a mile of carpeted, wood-paneled hallways with oak doors, transoms, bookcases, and fireplaces on both sides. Stephen King is supposed to have started writing The Shining after a stay at Mohonk, even though his Overlook hotel is set out west (and the exteriors in the Kubrick movie were filmed at the Timberline Lodge in Oregon.)

So naturally Kate, Lydia and I had to go play in the hedge maze!

(Kate is in the next lane over, which is why LBY is saying “we’re going the same way!”)

Oh, and as for exercise: Except for that steadicam run through the hedge maze, none this week. No treadmill, no jogging, nada. Plus, multiple calzones in Belfast, Maine, an asian wedding feast on Saturday, and several trips to the Mohonk omlette bar. I was lucky and only gained one freaking pound — apparently, my metabolism is still in a cautious wait-and-see mode. So I’m back on the regimen, and we’ll see if my body is willing to shrug this off as a delicious ham, mushroom, and swiss anomaly.

Back from New England. Weddings! Hedge mazes! FOOD!

Making some progress

Starting weight: 225 pounds
Current weight: 221 pounds
At this rate, I will disappear entirely in: January, 2011
(So I better remember to start eating more before then)

After reading friend and fellow fitness-blogger Cindy’s blog, and seeing her approach of just treating calories like a budget, I decided to ditch Weight Watchers in favor of FitDay. For a couple of reasons. First (and let’s make it clear — this is the most important reason) the goddamn puffy icon. The GODDAMN PUFFY ICON that you see when you’ve gained weight. Fuck you, puffy icon. In my professional life, I’ve crossed paths with a member of the Weight Watchers Points Plan development team (puffy icon aside, the Points plan online is one of the biggest, most robust, and highly complex rich internet applications out there), and I had the incredibly cathartic experience of asking what the hell the deal is with the G. puffy icon.

“Oh yeah,” she said, “That. That came up at every meeting, but it was never the top of the list.”

Yeah, well, you know what? Maybe it will be now, when this very blog post becomes the number one Google result for “Weight watchers goddamn puffy icon.” Stupid godammn fucking puffy icon.

(Boy, when my kid(s) start searching my blog for profanity in about eight years or whatever, this is the post they’re gonna find. Hi there, Lydia! Remember when daddy was fat? Yeah, and he swore a lot, too! Mention this blog post with redemption code “goddamn puffy icon” and get a one-time coupon for a real fruit smoothie! Let’s take our hoverboards there, okay?)

Anyhow. The gym is going well, I took two slow 30′ runs over the weekend — one on a treadmill, one with the Cruel Princess of “Faster, Daddy! Faster!” in her jog stroller — and I’m now up to fifteen minutes at a 10:00 pace on the treadmill. I’m waking up earlier, going to bed without feeling exhausted, and cartoon bluebirds alight on my finger as I wait for the train. So I’m hoping that I can keep this up, because it’s working out pretty well. My goal is to s-l-o-w-l-y get up to 30:00 at a ten-minute pace four times a week, then hold that for at least a couple of months before I start investing in singlets.

Oh yeah, and I’m actually really enjoying FitDay. Since it runs locally, I don’t have to look at a spinny for two seconds every time I type in “coffee, cream, sugar [submit].” WW’s “points” are very valuable in simplifying the whole nutritional voodoo that goes on behind the scenes, but after a bunch of years of kinda-sorta paying attention to what I eat, the behind-the-scenes chemistry is not what’s keeping me from eating those delicious brownies. In fact, NOTHING was keeping me from eating those delicious brownies last night, which means that I’m now looking at my calorie balance for yesterday, and I’m not seeing the deficit I need. Oh, well, I’m in it for the long haul, and at least FitDay’s bar charts don’t have PUFFY BEMUSED SMILES.

Making some progress