Sunday, September 27, 2009

No cell phones, no diets, no problems

Vacation Entry: No weight, no coinage, no ground scores, no bottles retrieved, no best coinage retrieved; just loads and loads of quality time with grandchildren in Connecticut. The orange bedroom with red and white accent colors belongs to one of the three. Will be back on the air soon.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Money Dreams

Journal Entry September 23, 2009: Weight = 172.6; Coinage = $.91, 41 pennies, 2 nickels, 4 dimes; Ground Scores = 8; Best coinage find = two dimes found at Lowes Home Store parking lot. By parking in the farthest spot from the door, I was able to add steps for fitness and search the parking lot for coins, thus the two dimes.

Journal Entry September 24, 2009: Weight = 172.2; Coinage = $1.37, 17 pennies, 2 dimes, 4 quarters; Glass bottles = 6; Ground Scores = 3; Best Coinage find = 3 quarters at a university parking lot, one with a self pay vending arm that lifts as you exit. Takes only quarters. I arrived just after a class break with heavy exiting. What is the psychology? Oophs, dropped a quarter, but with all these people behind me, let it go. Another quarter was found during a residual walk to the post office.

Feature Entry: Last night I dreamed that I found a small wad of one dollar bills at the Mid City Car Wash. This led me to Google to see how the pros interpret dreams about money. We will visit only one aspect, finding money on the street. They say: “Finding money: Realizing something valuable; gaining power; release from stress or 'down' feelings - in that we feel excited and uplift on finding money.” I say: “The MoneyWalker is spending too much time thinking about his new grossed out behavior of searching for token coins in the Mid City Car Wash vacuum cannisters.” Ms. MoneyWalker agrees.

We may be off the air for several days, visiting grandchildren out East.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Legacy of Gumption

Journal Entry: Weight = 173.4; Coinage = $ .71, 26 pennies, 2 nickels, 1 dime, 1 quarter; Glass bottles retrieved = 1; Ground scores = 2; Best coinage find = 2 nickel, 2 penny scatter find on a back lot parking space.

Feature Entry: The MoneyWalker was recently honored to have been selected to give the keynote address at the University of New Orleans Founders Day Club (formerly Louisiana State University in New Orleans). The title was The Legacy of Gumption. Gumption is a bit crude but UNO has always been the working persons’ university for the LSU System.

On this morning’s walk, I noticed a series of abandoned automobile tires scattered along a side street in a warehouse district of Mid City. A thought came to me that in the four years since Katrina we have been striving to clear debris, not add debris to our recovering city. Maybe the tires are a sign of real recovery, that we are getting back to our basic nature of being “the city that care forgot.” Anyway, the tires reminded me of my boyhood home in the high plains of Texas and my farmer-boy roots. Not that we would have ditched the tires for others to attend to, but we would have disposed of them in some creative way.

At the Founders Day meeting, a sociology colleague had indicated an interesting finding from his recent study. The so-called middle class neighborhood of Gentilly Terrace was “coming back” much slower than the more down-and-out neighborhood of Hollygrove. The though counter-intuitive came to mine before he explained his thesis. The middle class folks kept waiting for the state and federal government to come forward with their various assistance programs—Road Home money, Recovery Money, Small Business Loans. The promised money was slow in coming if at all and still they waited. Not the Hollygrove citizens. Either not believing the feds, or conditioned not to expect a bail-out, they rolled up their sleeves, gathered their friends and family members and went to work rebuilding their homes and businesses from their own resources. They had gumption, just like we farmers in Texas.

Perhaps it is gumption that drives the MoneyWalker to walk rather than to pay the high prices of fitness club membership. And maybe it is gumption that led to the realization that money can be found along the paths of the Mid City walks. And maybe it is gumption that helped the MoneyWalkers move a notch or two up the proverbial ladder of middleclass. Anyway, I suspect that fellow moneywalkers have their own rich legacy of gumption. If so, salute!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Recidivism Continuied

Journal Entry: Weight = 172.8; Coinage = $.44, 14 pennies, 4 nickels, 1 dime; Glass bottel retrievals = 3; Ground scores = 1; Best coinage find = a shiny dime on the "neutral ground" in front of my house as the walk ended. Yet another man's shirt was successfully recycled.

Feature Entry: The MoneyWalker’s last blog ended with this question, “Is the MoneyWalker heading back to 180 lbs, if not higher?” Is he in the full thralls of weight loss recidivism? As readers will recall, his weight losing trek began with an unacceptable weight of 180 lbs reached over a year ago. By utilizing the MoneyWalker’s four principles of weight loss/weight maintenance, he had lowered that poundage to 169.8, just 1.8 lbs from his body mass index goal of 168. But having moved into the 160s was too much for him and he slipped right back up to yesterday’s weight of 174.

First, the answers to both questions is no. He is not heading to 180 and he is not experiencing weight loss recidivism. But he has experienced what Barry Gumbine in his book Obesity calls a lapse. A lapse is a short term slip away from healthy eating and healthy activity. Gumbine placed a lapse in the middle of a four point continuum of behavior:

(a) Healthy eating/activity >> (b) Slip/lapse >> (c) Relapse >> (d) Collapse

A relapse occurs when all weight loss created by a regiment of healthy eating and physical activity is regained. The final stage is collapse and suggests that all attempts of healthy eating and activity have been discontinued and even more weight is gained away from the initial baseline.

Knowing how to successfully deal with a lapse is an important strategy for losing and maintaining weight loss. Having reached a sub-goal, people watching their weight are vulnerable to weight-control lapses that left unchecked will lead to full blown recidivism. Psychologically, the walker must overcome the temptation of taking food rewards. It is easy to rationalize food binges after successfully reaching a major weight loss goal or sub goal.

Later the MoneyWalker will talk about cognitive counseling theory and how to use psychological cueing and “self talk” to avoid allowing a lapse to become a relapse or recidivism. Understand that as social animals we will be confronted with numerous overeating episodes that can lead to lapses and relapses. What follows are a two tips to avoid serious lapses.

1) Identify and avoid high risk situations if possible.
2) If not possible, plan ahead about how you will avoid over eating.

In my case, I plan in advance to take small portions of only the food that has eye appeal. If it is a stand up affair with hor d’oures, I keep one hand occupied with a beverage. It is very difficult to eat holding a beverage glass. After the event, I go back to the basics: weigh every day, eat a healthy breakfast, take a motivated 75 minute walk, and consciously practice portion control at the next several meals.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Recidivism and Weight Gain.

Journal Entry, September 16, 2009: Weight = 171.2; Coinage = $1.86; 59 pennies, 7 nickels, 5 dimes, 2 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved and riposted = 9; Ground Scores = 0 but an earlier man’s shirt (Claiborne designer series) was placed on the clothes horse and lasted less than 30 minutes. Best coinage find = a three coin scatter (nickel and two pennies) found in the darkness of 6 a.m. A glimmer of moon light reflected a roundness and size with just enough cues to be recognized as a coin. Next to the nickel were two pennies. This was an unexpected find and it excited the MoneyWalker’s VS, the ventral striatum, the brain’s center that emotes pleasure as a result of an accomplishment.

Journal Entry, September 19, 2009: Weight 172; Coinage = $1.49, 14 pennies, 1 nickel, 8 dimes, 2 quarters; Ground scores = 2; Best coinage find = 2 quarters at the bottom of the coin return tray at the drive-through car wash—very rare.

Journal Entry, September 20, 2009: Weight 174.0; Coinage = $3.21, 151 pennies, 3 nickels, 8 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved = 9; Ground scores = 7; Best coinage find = 5 coin scatter including one quarter and one nickel following a hunch into an isolated parking lot.

Feature Entry: It is no secret that the MoneyWalker has been in a funk recently. I think it started when Ms. MoneyWalker created a spreadsheet with prioritized and dated tasks for yours truly. I could tell she meant business. Spread sheets make me feel corned.

But it could have been my weight. After dropping below 170 and just 1.8 lbs from my goal of 168, the score BMI (body mass index) tables indicate as my upper range for my age and height, and bragging about it on this blog; I promptly zoomed right up to 174, 6 lbs overweight. Just a year ago I was hovering around 179/180. But having worked so hard to break below 170 and then regain so quickly, the question for myself using “cognitive cuing,” had I descended into recidivism, the act of a person repeating an undesirable behavior after having previously conquered or extinguished that behavior? In the evening of the day that I dropped below 170, at about 8 p.m., I remembered that a big piece of cheese cake was in the fridge, down it went. But still, the weight gain could have been just the random up and down fluctuations usually caused by water loss or retention?

The MoneyWalker will complete his comments about recidivism in the next blog and answer the question, is the MoneyWalker heading back to 180 lbs if not higher?


Monday, September 14, 2009

No News is Good News

Journal Entry, Sept. 13, 2009: Weight = 172.2; Coinage = $3.29, 134 pennies, 5 nickels, 12 dimes, 2 quarters; Ground scores = 9; Best coinage find = 2 quarters at the Burger King on a residual walk.

Journal Entry, Sept. 14, 2009; $.97, 57 pennies, 4 dimes; Glass bottles = 3; Ground score = 1; Best coinage find = 3 dimes at the Pop Eyes drive through.

Photo feature, all those pennies and not a single wheat. Moreover, the MoneyWalker hasn't found paper currency in weeks and weeks.

Fair readers, it was a slow news day.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Finality and Death and Dying

Journal entry: Weight = 173.3; Coinage = $.71, 36 pennies, 1 dime, 1 quarter; Glass bottles retrieved = 2; Ground scores = 2; Best coinage find = a 2 coin curb scatter consisting of a quarter and a penny.

Feature entry: Some believe that “all philosophy springs from the phenomenon of death.” On my morning walk, I came upon an automobile wreck. It was raining and had been all night. A light weight SUV coming off the interstate onto one of my walking streets had flipped onto its top. It was surreal--no police, no on-lookers, or no ambulance was present. I feared the worse—I feared finality!

Elisabeth Kȕbler-Ross’s “On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy, and Their Own Families” opines that all of us should make it a habit to think occasionally about death and dying before we encounter it in our own life. Indeed, the foundation of most faiths is that the finality of death is a myth, that we either live on spiritual in an another state (in heaven), or that we are resurrected for this world to live in another time and place.

Still, we humans are hard-wired to seek mortality, or at least to live as long and as well as we can. That is one of the primary motivating factors driving the MoneyWalker’s continuing habit of a constitutional walk. Death comes in many forms, sometimes expectedly during a terminal illness or sometimes unexpectedly from an accident.

The three leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Other leading causes include chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, pneumonia and influenza, diabetes, and suicide. Research is clear, an active exercise program coupled with a balanced low-fat low caloric diet can forestall death and extend the quality of life.

As for the accident, it remains a mystery. Upon arrival to the scene, there were no passengers or driver in the car or in the nearby asphalt and green spaces. Soon a nurse stopped, then another samaritan, and finally we heard a firetruck coming. Assuming the authorities were in control and not seeing anyone injured or worse, there was nothing to do but to walk away and deal with my reflections of …finality.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Movie Review: Julie and Julia

Journal Entry: Weight = 172.2; Coinage = $1.80, 70 pennies, 4 nickels, 9 dimes; Glass bottles = 8; Best coinage find = a dime and penny at Rally’s Burger parking lot.

Journal Entry: Movie Review: Julie and Julia, a dramatic comedy about the life of Julia Childs starring Meryl Streep. Caution, watching this terrific movie will add five pounds to your waist line by just watching the delicious food coming out of the oven. The Julie part was very funny and moving as Amy Adams cooked and blogged her way in and then out and then back into her marriage. Amy portrayed the rewards and the difficulty of preparing a daily blog. Trust the MoneyWalker, for all of us that enjoy food, a wholesome funny movie, and the trials and tribulations of the blogging game, you will want to see this dramatic comedy.

I am buying Ms MoneyWalker the book,"Mastering the Art of French Cooking."


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

KFC –It must have been “Finger Licking Good”

Journal Entry: Weight = 172.2; Coinage = $1.91; 96 pennies, 2 nickels, 1 dime, 3 quarters; Glass bottles = 7; Ground score = 1; Best coinage find = .93 in a KFC drive up, 3 quarters, a dime, a nickel, and 3 pennies.

Feature Entry: The MoneyWalker found an unusually large amount of change in the local KFC drive through. It made me thing of their tag line “finger licking good.” But what about the calories? Not too bad: Drumstick = 110, breast = 140, fries = 294, biscuit = 74; and coke = 139 or about 750 calories for a two piece with fries, biscuit and a coke. Cut the fries and drink water and the meal comes in at a rather decent 325 calories. Also, congratulations to KFC and their new policy of posting the calorie count of their menu within their KFC outlets.

All that, but I still can’t get past the image of the customer’s Pavlovian response in anticipation of that chicken so that total focus is lost on anything else including the retrieval of all that change.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Brad Pitt for Mayor!

Journal Entry, September 7, 2009: Coinage = $1.11, 31 pennies, 4 nickels, 6 dimes; Glass bottles = 9; Ground scores =6; Best coinage find = a well tanned dime from a heavily walked curb.

Journal Entry, September 8, 2009: Coinage = $3.03, 98 pennies, 4 nickels, 11 dimes, 3 quarters (yes these finds reflect an early morning raid of the vacuum cannisters of the local car wash); Glass bottles = 4; Ground scores = 2; Best coinage find = a nickel and 3 pennies in the curb in front of a coffee shop featuring the likeness of Brad Pitt (see photo above), also a dime was found in the Times Picayune vending machine at the building.

Feature Entry: Brad Pitt for Mayor!, he has my vote. Brad and Angelina Pitt are among the many national personalities that have given their time, money, and energy for the rebuilding of New Orleans. Among their worthy contributions is the rebuilding of the Upper Ninth Ward, the so-call “Musicians Village.” With their leadership, many of the City's musical treasures, the musicians, were able to return to New Orleans and rekindle the French Quarter music scene. This multi-sponsored Habitat for Humanity project has attracted many volunteers including the MoneyWalkers.

Just down our street is Warren Easton High School. This public and chartered high school is the recipient of thousands of dollars contributed by Sandra Bullock. The Moneywalker’s famous car wash is just five blocks away.

Perhaps more important to the recovery of New Orleans are the thousands of college students, high school students, church groups, and general population that continue to flock to the city and volunteer their vacation time for the recovery effort. One Idaho high school group totally “gutted” one of my properties two years ago.

Brad, you are a symbol of the great good will that we have experience from all parts of the U.S. and abroad. Thank you!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Creating a Living Trust Fund

Journal Entry, Sept. 3, 2009: Weight = 172.8; Coinage = $1.60; 135 pennies, 1 nickel, 2 dimes; Glass bottles = 4; Ground scores = 9; Best coinage find = 135 pennies in three stacks on a bridge guard (I have no idea)

Journal Entry, Sept. 4, 2009: Weight = 173.2; Coinage = $1.75, 60 pennies, six nickels, six dimes; Glass bottles = 8; Ground score = 1; Best coinage = the six dimes, six nickels, and 49 pennies found at the car wash.

Feature Entry: Ms MoneyWalker is putting forward convincing evidence for changing our will to something called a “living trust.” We have read that the heirs of our modest estate will save much time and expense in not having to go through probate. However, I’m banking on my walking regiment to forestall the need for such a document for many years.

One problem is the upfront time required to dutifully and accurately record each and every item for the Living Trust. The question is, just which ones of my children will be the proud owners of all my Ground Scores such as the ones featured above.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Patience and Confidence

Journal Entry, Sept. 1, 2009: Weight = 171.8; Coinage = $1.18, 18 pennies, 3 nickels, 1 dime, 3 quarters; Bottles = 3; Ground Scores = 4; Best coinage find = one lonely nickel in an asphalt crater in the middle of a street crossing.

Journal Entry, September 2, 2009: Weight = 172.6; Coinage = $.82, 42 pennies, 4 dimes; Glass bottles = 6; Ground scores = 3; Best coinage find = a dime in a gas bay at a service station.

Feature Entry: Those that study health and fitness usually include a spiritual component. This past Sunday, the MoneyWalker attended a Bible study with a theme of confidence and patience. The text for the message was James 5, verse 7: “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.”
The text has two important messages for moneywalkers. First, when the goal is to lose weight, be patient with time. Don’t fall for the quick promises of diets featured on glossy front covers of magazines at the grocery line. Plan to lose one or two pounds a month with a slow but reliable reduction of caloric intake and an increase in aerobic exercise. Second, carry yourself with confidence knowing that you can and will be successful.

As for the Spiritual component, believe in something larger than yourself. For me, it is faith in a supreme being. For others it might be a secular belief. What is important is to avoid a vacuum of belief in which you take on the world without anyone but yourself. Boredom, depression, loneliness, disillusionment, and often poor health including poor eating habits are usually the result. Be patient, be confident and you will lose weight.