Accountability 3.0

I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday.

I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.

Via LifeWithFitness.
when I was rebuilding the blog, I stopped to read my early thoughts on accountability, which I revisited in April. I said I was going to get the rest of the way to goal this year, and while that isn’t going to happen, the above summarizes my feelings on my progress this year.

I’m not there, but I’m getting there.

Let’s see where I am with regard to the baby steps I’ve set.


  • Blog. Yeah, we’ll see how that goes. But when I was losing, I was blogging. So we’re going to try it again. I wasn’t very good with it this summer, but I was thinking about blogging even if I never got to writing.
  • On the writing theme, I’m tracking. I was a master at tracking way back when and it’s time to go back. I don’t see what my road block is here. I face the foods when I see the number on the scale, it’s time to face it in my tracker. I tracked today. Including the m&ms. That’s a start. I have been very good at tracking. I’d say 95% overall, when I don’t it’s not because I don’t want to face it, but rather because I leave it too long and don’t catch everything. But I still give myself an A- here.
  • Money. I joined Run With Jess‘ DietBet challenge at the instigation of a Hive friend. It cost me $10 but I will lose my 4% and if I do that every month it won’t cost me another cent I don’t think. AND if I hit the 4% goals each month (a big if, I know), I’ll hit goal by July, which gives me plenty of breathing room if I have an off month. Well I didn’t hit it in July or September, and I got bored with DietBet partially because I wasn’t losing at that rate. I ended up buying the iPad I was thinking of anyway and I love it.
  • #GoTheDist. I gave up on tracking this a chunk of the way through last year although I continued to track my workouts in MapMyFitness. But the challenge is a great motivator and it gets me to the gym when I don’t want to go. I covered that yesterday and a fair bit this year. A+ here.
  • Smoothies. Yep, back to smoothies for dinner. They help with the salt retention and they give me my chocolate fix when I otherwise eat things I have no business eating when I get home. This didn’t last, I lost my appetite for them. Do I miss them for my chocolate fix? Yes.
  • I’m not giving up soda. Not yet, at least. I was the queen of fake lemonade last time and while I’m contemplating getting a soda stream, I’m not ready to make the switch off soda. I’m afraid I won’t drink enough until it’s warmer. But it’s diet soda so that’s a partial win. I’m drinking too much soda, and probably too much coffee, but that’s not changing right now.
  • S is for Spark. as in the Spark to get to goal. As in SparkPeople. If I do what I did with Weight Watchers online, I can make it work with Spark. There is no difference in the foods I’m eating. I love LoseIt, and as  I mentioned above, I’m tracking.
  • I’m going to get my knees to the point where I can do more than one squat, or I’m going to quit putting off knee surgery and get it done. This one is still up in the air, but my knee isn’t holding me back too badly.


  • Exercise everyday. It doesn’t have to be the gym, and my 64 stairs a day probably count anyway, but with the weather getting nice there’s no reason not to spend some time outside walking, etc. Especially because I’d really like to finish the Great Manhattan Loop. One thing I realized when I was home for about ten days in July is how much I walk by default when I’m here. There are sloth days, but I think I’ve been good on this step. And I finished the Loop and have started on another goal with the bridges.
  • Eat better. Not just within the calories, but more fruits and vegetables. It’s the perfect season. Eh, sort of. I give myself a C here.
  • Diversify my breakfasts. I’m getting sick of Cheerios. I think there are better options to keep me fuller too. Straight up D here. It’s coffee, cheerios or both.
  • Set a goal. Maybe even a Goal. Time to figure out what I’m working toward. F. F – if possible.

I definitely did better with my January goals then April. I think it’s because I referred back to that first post more often. I actually forgot about the April mini goals I set although I knew I had revisited my progress on January goals. Time to set some new ones for the home stretch of the year.

New for October/Q4

  • Stay on track and finish strong. Fall is crazy at work, but that’s not an excuse to undo all the progress I’ve made this year.
  • #GoTheDist Q4. Detailed yesterday.
  • Better food choices. Goldfish aren’t dinner and coffee isn’t breakfast.
  • Set a Goal, goal, oal-gay or what have you. Time to stop this ridiculosity and just do it.

#GoTheDist minigoal: met

At the beginning of September I said my newest goal was to do better Q3 than Q2 I knew it was going to be a tall order with some long walks this spring, but I thought I could do it. Well Q3 ended this week, how did I do?

Time Frame Steps Miles walked Miles biked
Totals for 3Q 758,057 316.3 31.66
Totals for 2Q 489,726 300.5 98.36
Totals for 1Q 0 ** 61.88 150.65

I did it!
Skin of my teeth, but I DID IT.

Time to finish the year out strong. Here are my Q4 #GoTheDist mini goals:

  • get to the gym more often. That 31 miles biked is indicative of a larger problem. Walking is good, but so is the gym. I need to find a balance between the two. I think this will come somewhat naturally with the changing weather not being as conducive to walking home.
  • Do better than Q1. This is weather driven, Jan-Mar are about as conducive to walking as Oct-December, especially since work is busier than the fall. Q1 was somewhat undercounted, when I got the Jawbone I realized I walked more in a given day than I gave myself credit for so this should be easy.
  • Numerical goals, I was going to say one third better than my poorest showing for each total, but 82 miles seems too little. So 2/3 better it is. 102.7 miles walking and 52.5 miles on the bike. I’m hoping I’ve hit both by the end of November, but we’ll see.

** didn’t get the Jawbone Up until May, so no steps until then


To be honest, I didn’t know I was gone until Robby told me. Hacked, backup corrupt, all that jazz. Reconstructing what I can, so please stay tuned.

I resurrected the last two years. Thank you Internet Archive and Google’s cache. However, I’m not going any further than that right now. In the mean time, some links:

I’ll add other links as I grab them from the cache.

GoTheDist: Went and other NSVs

I am kicking #GoTheDist‘s ass.Some recent totals by month:

  • June –  315,031 steps and 132.24 miles
  • July – 261, 380 steps and 108.1 miles (suburban vacation, drove me nuts how little I walked)
  • August – 271, 288 steps and 112.5 miles

My original GoTheDist goal was 750 miles which I revised to 500 in May. And now?

1,086,631 steps and 610.28 miles for the year.

I only started tracking steps in May when I got my Jawbone so  that figure isn’t particularly meaningful, but 750? You are going down.

Speaking of (not) going down, I’m a shape shifter. I stopped posting weigh ins because it really hasn’t changed since May. I’ve been yo-yoing and losing and gaining the same two pounds. BUT I’m shape shifting. Or something. Because jeans that kind of fit right out of the dryer are falling off the next day. Good problem to have, but so bizarre.

On the plus side, I’ve been a master tracker and have been making (mostly) good food choices. I’ve still been pretty accountable. Except for that goal/Goal thing.

One day.

Review: The English Girl by Daniel Silva

This book has nothing to do with travel, weight loss, or New York City. Why is it here? Because, this series was the tipping point in finally getting me to go to Israel. I wanted to see the places that Silva described so vividly. Shamron’s Tiberias. Gabriel’s place on Narkiss Street. … As an aside, why do some characters feel right as a last name but not as a first and vice versa?

This was the 28th book I’ve finished in 2013, and like the rest of the Allon series, one I could easily have read in one sitting if I’d had enough time. This blog took a lot longer to write and post than the book did to read. Odd. English Girl was also the first book I read on iBooks and I really like that as a reading experience. It and the Kindle app beat the Nook app, hands down. I did not want to leave the world of Gabriel Allon, but then again I never do. Is it July 2014 yet?

“In the Op Center at King Saul Boulevard, however, he was but a single red light, an angel of vengeance alone in the city of heretics.”

The English Girl is the most recent title in Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series.  There are spoilers here, so read on at your own risk

Continue reading

12,901 steps

12,901 steps, four buses, and one bridge crossed. Twice.

My Sunday, in a nutshell. Was any of that planned? Of course not.

The awful heat wave finally broke and I felt like exploring and reading. That eliminated one of my famous walks since I can’t walk and read, but I really had no plan when I left my apartment. Found myself wandering toward Duane Reade for a drink and decided to hop the M15 even though it only goes to E. 125th St. Ended up not even going that far and after a detour to Target, ended up on the M116 as far as 2nd Ave. where I hopped back on the M15. As it was local,  had plenty of time to decide where I was headed next.

Wasn’t feeling the crowds of Governors Island, and it was still too warm to just sit in Battery Park so I saw which buses headed up the west side and decided that the M5 was a good idea because I could transfer somewhere & maybe go up to the Cloisters. On the ride, I also solved a mystery that had been bugging me since I walked from the UWS to the Lighthouse last year: the Manhattan Mini Storage ad-covered building. It’s the Lee Brothers warehouse on Riverside & 134th St. I need to make some time to wander in that area, hopefully when I actually walk Riverside Drive

I stayed on until the end of the line and realized I was right by the pedestrian entrance to the GW Bridge and decided why not. It’s a really pretty walk, especially near sunset and I loved the aerial view of the Little Red Lighthouse.

Bridges weren’t originally part of the #GreatManhattanLoop, but they seem to have become part of it. So far I have crossed:

  • George Washington Bridge (to NJ and back)
  • Macombs Dam Bridge (to Bronx and back)
  • Wards Island Pedestrian Bridge
  • Triboro Bridge (Randalls Island to Manhattan)
  • Williamsburg Bridge (on bike)
  • Brooklyn Bridge (Brooklyn to Manhattan, Manhattan halfway to Brooklyn numerous times)

I haven’t yet determined all of the bridges you can cross on foot since there seems to be some disagreeing and out of date info around. It looks like this is the most complete list, which leaves me the following:

  • Triboro (Queens to the Bronx, Randalls Island to Queens and the Bronx)
  • Queensboro Bridge
  • Manhattan Bridge
  • Harlem River Bridges
    • 145th Street Bridge
    • Alexander Hamilton Bridge
    • Broadway Bridge
    • Henry Hudson Bridge
    • High Bridge – yes, I’m being optimistic here
    • Madison Avenue Bridge
    • Third Avenue Bridge
    • University Heights Bridge
    • Washington (Heights) Bridge
    • Willis Avenue Bridge

I don’t see most of the Harlem River bridges happening. Walking between the Harlem River Drive and Major  Deegan is underwhelming, as I realized from Macombs Dam and there is no “have to” in this project. There are some gorgeous pics of bridge walks and I need to dig through some of my own. So far GW and Brooklyn win for picturesque for sure.

Wonder where my next walk will take me. I honestly have no idea.

Review: Drop Dead Healthy

First off, I want to say I should get bonus points for “weight lifting” a hard cover, my first dead tree book in a while. I ducked into the library yesterday as much for AC as for a book, and saw A.J. Jacobs’ Drop Dead Healthy which had been on my wishlist since I transitioned from Kindle to iPad and my bootlegged copy no longer worked. I had reservations about lugging around a hardcover and finishing it before it was due while I was racing to finish A Race Like No Other (no pun intended) before its due. No worrying needed, I finished this before I left the beach today. It may also be the quickest review posted since the dog-ears are physical and I can’t just copy my notes/highlights into a draft post.I was curious by early reviews of this book. I’ve tried to read Jacobs before but failed to get through either The Know it All or The Year of Living Biblically but I heard this one was lighter and I decided to give it a go. I think its chapter length and breaking the book up into a seemingly series of articles made it easier reading.My favorite line came early: “I’m Jewish, but I’m Jewish in the same way the Olive Garden is Italian. Not very.” and it’s symbolic of the book. Jacobs had a light style of writing that made me feel like I was on this journey with him. I was hearing this from a friend, not reading one of an unending series of weight loss and health books. By the same token, I liked that he approached the extremes (in ether direction) with a healthy dose of skepticism, it’s what kept the book readable. He wasn’t preaching any one of the causes even if it worked well for him, like the weight loss associated with his raw food trial.“But it also had banana chips, which included refined cane sugar, coconut oil, and best of all, banana flavor. When you need to add banana flavor to bananas, there’s something askew with the world of food.”

The amount of food, sugar an salt that we eat in the typical American diet was a theme throughout his book. I liked that he kept most elements confined to their chapter/month of focus, while others continued through. It showed how much our bodies are interconnected. When I first started the WLJ in 2010 I had to go cold turkey on candy because I didn’t trust myself to handle it in moderation. Now, I trust myself and I track it, but by allowing myself it, the cravings never totally go away. I think I need to go cold turkey on the sugared candy again. I am guilty of not reading labels as much as I ought to beyond NI, and that’s something this book really made me think of.

I think “eccentric Aunt Marti” and Grandpa Ted affected him more than he realized, and I like how Jacobs incorporated them into the story in a natural way. I also admire his ability to incorporate Julie and his sons into this. May they enjoy cupcakes soon.

My only complaint: his end of month summaries which included things like avocados eaten, flax seed oil consumed but he hadn’t covered why he was doing all of those things in the chapter. While he obviously couldn’t cover everything he tried in the 2+ year journey, I think he should have mentioned only what he discussed in the summary

Overall, a really good read. I can tell I’ve been spoiled rotten by ebooks. I wanted to adjust the font. Uh… no. On the plus side, it was easier to read in the sun.

04. July 2013 by Cari
Categories: Reading, Weight Loss | Tags:  | Leave a comment

#GoTheDist: Halfway There

Whooah, we’re half way there
Livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand and we’ll make it – I swear
Livin’ on a prayer

Holy crap. Not only am I way more than halfway to my 500 miles goal, but I’m almost halfway to my original goal of 750 which I revised in early May. Part of that is due to the improved weather, part due to some ridiculous walks and part due to my determination to beat my daily Jawbone goals. Competitive with myself? Never! But I love my data.

Here’s to an even more amazing Q3 and second half.

Columbia University in the City of New York

Yep, that is apparently the school’s full name. Maybe that’s why it needs to expand so badly, it needs to be the same size as its name.

Friday was another Manhattan bout of sightseeing inspired by a whim rather than a plan. The sky couldn’t make up its mind and I didn’t want to be caught in the monsoon so  I decided it was a ride to nowhere day. The M104 (side note: the history on the parallels between bus & street car routes is fascinating even if that article isn’t at all well written) came and I just decided I’d figure it out as I rode.

I realized it went past Columbia and thought why not? I’d only been there twice and it was somewhere I’d wanted to explore more. Despite being an NYU alum, I love the Columbia campus. I like the idea of a campus and a quad and a place to meet up that isn’t “find a table in Bryant Park”. So I could have spent 3 hours sitting on the Low steps just people watching. Even three hours wouldn’t have given me enough to explore the Morningside campus.

The architecture of the campus is amazing, I wish Low was accessible to the public because it’s inside is jaw dropping. In some cases, such as St. Paul’s Chapel, the landmarked building’s tell the campus’ story as you look at it. Had no idea it was founded by the Church of England or that its history was so extensive. And of course, it’s a Markeroni Paradise.

As iconic as Alma Mater is, I found the Revson Plaza art to be more interesting. Maybe because they haven’t been photographed to death and retain some elements of surprise. Especially as the sun is going down. What took me the most on the campus though was the shadow that the chapel casts on the Casa Italiana. Columbia is a beautiful urban campus, but the sun makes it even prettier.

Jewish Harlem

Another Sunday, another day of exploration with the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy (LESJC). Another day of not actually visiting the lower east side with the Conservancy, although I’m desperate to learn more about the neighborhood I’ve somewhat explored the last two Sundays. This time was Jewish Harlem, an area I haven’t explored in really any sense of the word. Not too many photos, not because it wasn’t photogenic (although pieces of Harlem certainly aren’t), but because it was hot. Yes, I think this is the last tour until fall for me. Heat and I are not friends so I was grateful for the shade of the tour’s starting point – the shade of the Adam Clayton Powell office building.

There’s no question that 125th Street is a major shopping thoroughfare today with stores aplenty (soon to be joined by Whole Foods), but standing in the shade provides a nice view of the street’s shopping history including Koch & Co. and Blumstein’s turned Touro College (home of Powell’s Don’t shop where you can’t work protest) with the “Waldorf of Harlem”, the Hotel Theresa, between them.

While the Apollo will always stand out by virtue of its iconic marquee, it’s very easy to get lost amid the chaos of 125th Street and I was grateful when the tour headed south along is it Lenox Avenue or is it Malcolm X Blvd. (yes, Harlem likes to confuse people with its street signs!) to the relative quiet. Quiet and churches.

If you didn’t know that Harlem was once home to the world’s 3rd largest Jewish population (Krakow, 1 and Lower East Side, 2), you wouldn’t know it today. It seems to be the city of churches. Ephesus, St. Marten’s, Mt. Neboh, Abyssinian (not on this tour). Religions of Harlem is an interesting and fairly comprehensive site on the neighborhood’s houses of worship as well as their histories including Harlem’s last remaining active synagogue, the Old Broadway synagogue.

That said, if you knew where to look, Harlem’s Jewish history is hiding in plain site.

“In its churches, of all places, Harlem reveals its Jewish past.” David W. Dunlap

  • Ebenezer Gospel Tabernacle (built as a Unitarian Church and the first north of 42nd Street before converting to Congregation Chebra Ukadisha B’nai Israel in 1918 and then finally to the church it is today in 1942.
  • Harlem’s Baptist Temple Church, under a state or two of demolition since its roof caved in, was a former home of Ohab Zedek, now on the UWS.
  • Salvation Deliverance Church, formerly Institutional Synagogue, aka the “shul with the pool, a predecessor to today’s JCC. Note: link covers a tour very similar to the one I took. A very interesting read from The Riverdale Press.
  • Mount Olivet Baptist Church at 120th and Lenox, formerly Temple Israel
  • Mt. Neboh, formerly the home of Ansche Chessed, now located on 100th St & West End Ave.
  • The Commandment Keepers whose former home beside Mount Morris Park is now under renovation.
  • The neighborhood was also home to entertainment luminaries including Milton Berle, Richard Rodgers, Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt, (“The Jewish Caruso”) and Lorenz Hart  as well as the founder of Lane Bryant.

Dunlap’s article, Vestiges of Harlem’s Jewish Past, referenced above, covers this in much greater depth then I could ever imagine. I’ll blame the heat for melting my tour brain.

Aside from its religious history (for Islam, Christianity, or Judaism), the neighborhood has some amazing architecture and history: the Mt. Morris aka Hispano Theater, the Renaissance Theater and Casino, and its many Queen Anne-style homes.  It’s also a treat for the nose and taste buds especially in summer with Sylvia’s, Rao’s, Red Rooster, the Malcolm Shabazz Market. It’s easy to lose a day or more in Harlem.

Above all, it’s a place of change. Harlem Opera House became the Apollo. Harlem’s churches became it’s synagogues, which became its churches. The Lenox Lounge closed and will become…

I’ll have to take the tour again in  2015 to find out.

Currently reading: Joseph Berger’s The World in a City, which I’d started years ago but never finished. Overlaps nicely with this weekend’s tour. Haven’t totally given up on Waterfront but the author’s style makes it almost unreadable.