Day 11: Zen

Weight: 215.2 lbs (kg)

*Statements Redacted*

I woke up to a pretty awesome sight, thanks to y’all. My email box full of “likes” and “follows” for the previous post. 😀

After this mornings… -rubs muzzle- events… I have a feeling I will be spending a good deal outside trying to be in my happy place. So… I do not doubt that more pictures will be post today. The wildlife is fairly restricted here since I’m stuck to the backyard — venturing out in the world would be a bad idea today, I think — but there should be some interesting things, given some patience.

Okay. All better. Photography = Zen.

I got a photo of a wasp… so, this one is not really for the squeamish, I suppose. I couldn’t figure out how to crop it, so I’ll show the two that I came up with. One is more “study” while the other has more compositional elements.

To bring y’all back around, here’s a picture of one of the two squirrels. I couldn’t sex it, so I don’t know if it is Rufus or Jemima (formerly Rachel). [A friend of ours, who lives in Australia, has a plushy squirrel named Jemima. :-D]

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After the rains, the grass is beginning to turn green again. They aren’t the only things turning green from being happy about water.

This lizard jumped right in front of me. I saw a leaf move then followed the logical route of least resistance for a lizard and poof. There he was. The photograph makes it look larger than he really is. This one is young and much smaller than its adults at probably only 1/2 to 2/3 the size. The patterning on the back is really nice. And the little fellow was very cooperative once he realized I wasn’t going to hurt him.

I did get a few bird shots, but none of them worked out. Was about to post one of them up of a pretty read-head, but I couldn’t get over how fuzzy/out of focus it looked. :-/ Practice makes perfect. That shot was directly affected by shooting through glass.

Holy good Christmas… I’ve got some more photos for y’all tomorrow. Just spent a few hours roasting outside — can’t ‘take’ off my shirt, have to ‘peel’ it off — and was rewarded with some interesting stuff. 😀

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae

P.S.: Tomorrow is a long day for cycling — 2 hours — so… chances are it may go up late or seem quickly put together. xD

Day 10: Backyard Friends

Weight: 215.2 lbs (97.6 kg)
Ride Time: 1h — 9h15m
Distance: 15.0 mi (24.1 km) — 137.3 mi (~221km)
Food Diary: (Absent)

Getting back on schedule today. 😀 No eggs for breakfast, so I’m just adding another hamsteak. Should have enough time to cycle before we have to head out around 12ish… I hope. Just gotta stay on top of timers.

Now, I promised pictures of some backyard birds… I suppose I’ll start with the Mourning Doves.

Mourning Dove Study

I called this one Mourning Dove Study since we get to see the 3 primary identifying sides of the bird. These suckers used to not come by all that often, but now the finches have them as pets. Yes, I kid not. The little finches purposefully scatter food from the feeder onto the ground by flicking their heads back and forth. It’s an interesting dynamic to watch because the doves won’t bother the finches but will sometimes bully other birds (not often, but sometimes).

Finches are the most common visitor we’ve got. No questions asked about that. It’s probably due to the feed we use (a four season blend with lots of small things). But that’s okay. Small birds are just too adorable…

The thing about finches is often they’re playful. Yes. They’re even hyperactive. But… they’re also competitive. Squabbles over the feeder aren’t all that uncommon. Not a day-to-day occurrence, but, they do happen. As a family group, they have the capacity to bully other more aggressive and territorial birds like Jays and Cardinals. Though I’ve never actually seen the former happen, the latter I saw yesterday.

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This poor guy was being bullied by the family group. It’s a juvenile cardinal, a rather sickly pathetic looking one. But that appearance is about the norm. Lucky for him, his fellow cardinals wouldn’t have anything of the bullying and after a bit, 3 or 4 more flew in — with a juvenile of their own — and kept watch over the two juveniles as they ate! 😀

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This one was kind enough to give me the idealic Cardinal pose.

As a side note, if you see a lot of beaks open, it isn’t because they’re calling, but panting and trying to cool off. I’ve noticed that a lot of the best pictures I’ve been getting is contrary to normal convention — which says that dawn and dusk are the best times. All of these pictures were within 12P-6P. But, I suppose, conventions aren’t steadfast rules.

Cooper's Death Glare

Cooper isn’t amused with steadfastness though… predictability he enjoys. Since, after all, he can always rely on a cool bath. He does have a funny side though. It isn’t always about pecking out eyeballs and clawing backs.

“You want me to touch what? Uh, no. No, no, no. No. Ew. I just cleaned my claws, thank you.”

Maybe he wishes he were a flamingo. Or a stork. Or some other long legged water bird. Teasingly, I titled that photo “Cooper’s EW! Gay Moment” — and those who follow me regularly know that’s a joke since, well, I’m with a man… which kinda, you know, makes me gay too, I suppose, if you want to use those kinds of groupings.

This is the bird that keeps leaving little presents in the form of feathers. 😀 I saw him fly off yesterday out of tree next to the bird bath, so he does hang out here. Now that I’ve seen that, I’m going to try to capture him sitting in it.

The ride was definitely brutal, but finished it.

Also found a pair of books that should be interesting. 😀

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae

 

Weekly Update [Day 7: Just a Bit Weird Feeling]

Weight: 213.0 (-5.4 lbs)
Fat Percentage: 23.9% (-0.2%)
Ratio (Muscle:Fat): 3.18 to 1 (+.03)
Muscle: 162.0 lbs (-3.8 lbs)
Food Diary: Entry 6

Now that I’ve a day off, it feels weird not to cycle. Thank goodness it is a day off, but… after 6 days straight of cycling, I have a sinking feeling I’m going to be bored. :-/

In awesome news, my last dose of Wellbutrin was yesterday! FREEDOM!! I feel great as it stands.

Anycase. As y’all can see, I lost muscle but also fat. My body seems to enjoy the idea of being close to 160 rather than higher. Just means my ending 10-15% range will be lower.

Ideally, I’d like to keep what muscle I have, but I’m glad I burned off at least some fat. So far, diet wise, I think I’m doing pretty darn good. I need to lay off the cornbread though! Per usual, this week is going to be a tad tougher. Might get some kind of shake to throw in 20-40 addition grams of protein somewhere. It’d have to be a snack… Doing it at breakfast would be utter overload.

Looking back at the food diary, I’m rather proud of not really eating too badly except on some little bits here and there. 😀 The best part is though it’s healthy, it still tastes great.

I did something a bit crazy… I’ll have to explain tomorrow since that’s when the package comes. A little life story to come with it, no doubt.

There is a pair of really cute squirrels frequenting our backyard. I’ve mentioned this, but I say “pair” now because one is a male (VERY obviously so…) and the other is female. I’ve named them Rufus and Rachel respectively. The hawk’s name is kind of a cop-out as I’ve started to just call him Cooper.

Rachel tends to drink out of our water fall next to the pool. Always the same spot because that spot retains water. After taking notice, I’ve begun to fill that section up with fresh water when it gets low. (Making sure there’s no chlorinated water in it, of course!) The birdbath, I’ve begun to refill every day, along with the small(er) doggie bowl next to the feeders. A very beautiful tom visits and he drinks from it, along with the birds and Rufus. Cooper seems to like a near to overflowing birdbath! Maybe it feels good on his claws and legs when it stands in it. xD

The heat here for the next week is going to be utterly oppressive. Literal temperatures will be 100-105F with the “real feel” temperatures of being 110+F.

I did a test the other week or so. I put a digital thermometer in the sun. I aimed my video camera at it and video taped the temp rising. And rising. And rising. It would have kept going if I hadn’t needed to rescue it since the screen was going black at 130F… Yeah. I kid you not. 130F if you stand still in the sun. Under our patio, it’s routinely 102-104F.

I know it’s bad since animals are creatures of habit, but I’m finding it absolutely critical that these guys that visit our backyard get water. Food, they can easily find elsewhere if need be, but water is absolutely 100% required.

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae

Day 6: Fight the Lazies!

Weight: 214.8 lbs (97.4 kg)
Ride Time: 1h30m — 7h15m total
Distance: 22.6 mi (~36.4 km) — 106.5 mi (~171.4 km) total
Food Diary: Entry 5

Well, well… the hawk ended up leaving two more feathers after yesterday’s visit. One is very long, but rough. The ‘zippering’ is gone in a few sections. Still beautiful though.

My partner’s off today. I hate cycling on his days off. Fridays, I don’t mind because that’s always a short ride. But Sundays? These are the second longest rides of the week. Granted, only cruising, so nothing really difficult, but just a lot of time missed. When he starts working his new job, I might see if he can get Monday/Friday off. That’ll interconnect nicely. 🙂 (We don’t do the whole weekend thing.)

Not too surprisingly, I’m tired today. I’m sure I slept at least 8 hours. Heck, even slept in, really. Hoping breakfast will fill the energy stores. Yawning.

Okay. Refreshing combo? Lady Grey + Earl Grey. (Twinnings for both.) Brew in one cup boiled water for 4 minutes. (Use a 2 cup measuring beaker.) Add 2 Stevia then fill with ice to the 2 cup line. Stir until ice stops melting. Pour out tea (leaving ice behind) into a separate glass. Epicness.

Me thinks I’ll start a bird diary. The little cute finches are back. They’ve been MIA for the last 2-3 days. Wondering if there is a cycle. Avians are creatures of habit.

We’ll see if the flocks return. So far, I’ve seen maybe 4-5. Three at once on the lower feeder. Normally, the flocks are in 10-15.

Doves are fairly consistent. They seem to respect that the feeders are for the finches so they just ground feed off of whatever has been knocked onto the ground. They’re sneaky little buggers though. One feeder, they problem solved. They figured out that they could knock the feed out. One would sit on the hook above the rest on the ground. Every once in a while, that one would attempt to land on top of the feeder. The result was shaking it and sending feed everywhere. Was fun to see their strategy develop. This new(er) feeder isn’t nearly as easy since there is a more solid lip holding the feed in. The second feeder is a dedicated finch one with 6 perches for the little guys. Haven’t seen all 6 being used at once, but 4 or 5.

There’s a cute squirrel who is frequenting our yard now too.

I think I might splurge and just get that lens. Telling you guys all this and not being able to show you is torturous. xD

Now that’s over… Went pretty well. Again, started to get tough toward the end. I definitely lost some mph in the last 15-20 minutes or so.

Watched Disney’s original Fantasia while cycling since it’s over 2 hours long. Forgot how good it is. 😀 Being classically trained, I found myself humming along to the music even when, at times, I couldn’t hear it or conducting with one of my paws. xD

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae

Day 5: The Tell-Tale Signs

Weight: 215 lbs (kg)
Ride Time: 2h — 5h45m total
Distance: 31.2 mi (50.2 km) — 83.9 mi (~135km)
Food Diary: Entry 4

You can always tell when I’m feeling good because I don’t speed. I hover within a +/- 5mph range around the speed limit — only going in to the +5 range when I’m being passed like I’m not even moving. Today was a good example. I feel so relaxed and content.

Birds finally came to the feeders again. We had a small party the other day. Between that and the oppressive heat, they’ve been hiding in the shade. My partner finally got to see the hawk that has been frequenting the birdbath under the trees. It flew away though.

The cool thing is that it has been leaving feathers. Some downy under feathers, but some longer ones too.

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The biggest one I found this morning when going to check on the bath’s water level. The markings on these are just too beautiful and striking. Jokingly, I told my partner that I was waiting for a larger feather (after finding the middle one) to put in my hat. Well, apparently the hawk heard me and was like, “Thanks for the water. Here ya go.” xD

I haven’t positively IDed it yet, but my theory is that it is a Cooper’s Hawk. It ain’t small by any means. When bathing, it fills the bath. So, it’s beak to tail tip has to be close 18″. It’s big enough to see it’s haunches and feet from a distance. It’s not often I say this, but I feel graced every time it uses the bath. Never in a million years would I have expected to have such an amazing creature frequenting our backyard.

Everybody must be happy today. Just spotted a bright green (yay!) lizard doing push-ups and flaring its throat. Lately, they’ve been darker in color… Oh my god! It’s the one that had the messed up head injury! Wow! It’s doing really, really well! 😀

Well… near the end of the ride, it became quite brutal. But, I made it. And that’s all that counts. The ending mileage, I’m pleased with. Sitting above 15 mph for an average, but not my much. Hoping in 3 weeks time that it’ll start going up again. My butt isn’t hurting as much either, so my saddle butt is coming back. 😀 That’s always good.

I know I should be spending money on exercise stuff, but I really, really want a piece of glass for my camera.

Okay, so the hawk came back and I took down notes. It’s positively a Cooper’s Hawk. Definitely on the larger side of their size range. Very healthy. 😀 Also witnessed something truly awesome. I imagine it’s due to the heat…

The hawk always visits the birdbath to, well, get a good bath. It’ll stay there for a solid 30-45 minutes or more, just relaxing, preening, drinking, and bathing. I was watching it when suddenly this brown lump moved in and out of the visual range. I tracked it and it was a familiar squirrel! The hawk basically just shrugged it’s shoulders and kept relaxing at his (or her) personal spa. The squirrel went about its way, looking for food and drinking water and just being a squirrel.

I went about eating my lunch and chatting with my partner, as he had just gotten home from work, when something told me to look at the hawk again. Just as I did, the squirrel leaped from one tree to another, right above the hawk — no more than maybe 4-5 feet above it! The hawk completely ignored it.

Simply crazy witnessing it.

I’m going to be “bad” and probably get that glass I want… Shouldn’t be too difficult to pay off. Not all that expensive when comparing it to others with the same mount. It should be worth it. The f-stop isn’t all that bad. Could be better, but to get a better one would double or even triple the cost. Just means I need good light. *shrugs*

Anyway.

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae

Day 4: Epic Life Changer

Weight: 214.0 lbs (97.1 kg)
Ride Time: 30m — 3h45m total
Distance: 5.9 mi (9.5 km) — 52.7 mi (84.8 km) total
Food Diary: Entry 3

Yes, indeedy-do, we did have something to celebrate. My partner just got a massive promotion. Like, huge. Big. Gargantuan.

He’s now a full blown manager. 😀 Sounds simple, but someone finally recognized him for his talent and abilities. Someone finally gave him a chance to escape the hell-hole of a company he’s been with for the last 15 years or so. We both were beginning to feel like he was “untouchable” due to the company’s name. But someone came around to his kiosk. For four days the guy kept coming back because each time he’d miss my partner. Until the fifth where my partner got his card and the man said, “I’d like to steal you.”

Want to talk about a compliment? In the business world, that’s only dreamt about, folks. Stuff that’s written about in fanciful happily ever after stories. For it to actually happen?

He was shaking when he was writing his two-week notice. I’ve still got to read it over and give suggestions n’ what-not. We’re both unbelievably shocked, privileged, and… in disbelief? It really hasn’t sunk in.

(Sorry, can you tell I’m proud of him? xD)

I got my new set of binoculars yesterday and I was having a total fan-girl “squeal” moment last night. I wasn’t expecting it, but their quality is good enough and their resolving ability strong enough that you can stargaze quite effectively with them. I was pin-pointing binary stars and star clusters that were otherwise invisible to the naked eye. 😀 This morning, I played with them a bit during the daylight and got some awesome views of an absolutely adorable squirrel drinking from one of the water dishes. Found out also that my camera cooperates with it well enough that I’ll be getting a tripod mount for the binoculars and an adaptor for my phone. 🙂 Expect pictures when that happens!

Vanguard's Spirit ED 8x42 Binocular

Vanguard’s Spirit ED 8×42 Binocular

This ride was one of those ridiculously easy ones. It feels like it takes longer to get dressed and set up than the time you’re on the bike! I’ve begun to term these rides “Form Rides” because they’re so easy going that you immediately notice your form failing so you’re always conscious of it. Obviously, went well. After a good shower, we’ll probably head out to do some things. 🙂

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae