Photo Blogging Challenge (July 2014): Baseball

Jul 31

Baseball has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

It’s always been my favorite sport. Whether it be learning at a young age how to play, or through high school and such as a player, it’s always been something I’ve loved. I’ve kept at it – sort of—as I still play softball. Yes, I realize it is two different things – but the idea of the game is the same.

When I put this month’s photo challenge theme out, I knew I could capture baseball. But what best way to do it? My goal is to show how baseball has been an important part of my life, from growing up to current age.

I also look forward to seeing what everybody else has come up with as I know it would be a tough theme for some. But the beauty of this challenge is to interpret and find a way to conquer a subject and make it your own.

Without further ado, here’s my five for this month.

1. Childhood

I know a lot of people will talk about Little League – and I enjoyed our youth baseball program – but when I think of childhood and baseball, I think different. We weren’t a true Little League, so we had teams and just played. But I think of our pickup games. We had one place we played often (behind a neighborhood church) and others where we went. We’d use baseballs until the laces fell off. If we didn’t have a ball, we’d play Wiffle ball. And, of course we’d trade baseball cards and such. I played Legion ball when I got a tad older, too, but the “sandlot games” were always the best.

My childhood was filled with a lot of baseball things.

My childhood was filled with a lot of baseball things.

2. Pete Rose

Yes, I know he is banned from baseball. Yes, I know he’s not necessarily the cleanest person in the game. But growing up, Pete Rose was my favorite player. No matter his later life and what he did managing, he played the game the right way. Always. He played hard and he played to win. And he helped the Phillies win the World Series. He’s the only person I waited in a line to get an autograph from and I still love having this ball as it was one I watched him sign.

My childhood idol.

My childhood idol.

3. Beat Writer

When I was hired at the one daily where I worked, I was informed that if I got the job, one of my primary beats would be covering baseball, which included the local minor league team and many things at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I was told this as though it was a punishment (apparently, writers in the past didn’t like the baseball beat), but I looked at it as a bonus. I was going to get paid to cover baseball? Score.

Some of the things from my time as a baseball writer.

Some of the things from my time as a baseball writer.

4. Dreams Park

In 1996, a small baseball camp (playing, not teaching) opened near Cooperstown. Fast-forward to the summer of 2013 and there’s more than 20 fields and more than 100 teams every week for 13 weeks straight. It’s a total machine and there is so much there. Last summer, as I needed work, I had the chance to work there as a photographer and I truly enjoyed it. I got some great shots, met some awesome people and really enjoyed my time there. I had debated going back this year on weekends, but with the new job and all, I’ve learned to cherish my weekends. Still, I’ll remember my time here fondly and have made some friends I’ll keep well beyond that one summer.

A great summer.

A great summer.

5. Summer of Baseball

This has been a Summer of Baseball for me. My goal was to hit 10 baseball parks and do whatever else I could baseball related. As of this writing, I’m at nine parks and plan on hitting several more. I always travel with my scorebook and a couple of other things so I can tell who we might be seeing on the field, especially at the minor league level. It’s been a lot of fun to do this during the summer and has really made me love the game that much more.

A lot of the items I'll take with me when going to a game.

A lot of the items I’ll take with me when going to a game.

That’s my five for the month. And, now it’s your turn.

If you took part this month, make sure you link up below. And for those who participated, make sure you try and get to other people’s blogs and comment and visit so we can continue to grow this challenge. Don’t forget, too, to come back tomorrow, Friday, August 1, and see the theme for August! NOTE: I also set up a Facebook group for those who participate in the challenge and are interested. I’ll post any announcements there and hopefully it can be a place where things are discussed and some interaction etc. You can access it here.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog@gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Watching surroundings gives kitten a second chance

Jul 30

How many of you, when driving, truly see your surroundings?

I am one of those who usually has a grasp on what is happening around me and will often notice things some others might not.

I’m glad I do that, too.

I work in two different places – one is pretty much Monday/Thursday/Friday, with the other on Tuesday and Wednesday. To get to the one place that I head to three times a week, I take a back road as it’s quicker. It’s not rare, by any means, to see wild animals – deer, chipmunks, squirrels etc. – on this road.

And, sometimes, you’ll see them as road kill.

As I scooted to work on Monday, I came up to what looked like a dead animal in the opposite lane. As I went by, I looked down and saw a white patch of fur and movement and my head said … was that a kitten?

It might be a long road back for the kitten, but here he's warming up on the way to the animal hospital.

It might be a long road back for the kitten, but here he’s warming up on the way to the animal hospital.

Another half-mile down the road and I couldn’t stop thinking, so I turned around and went back. As I slowly went by, sure enough, it was a kitten. And it was moving – slightly. So I pulled ahead of it and got out to look at it.

It was soaked. It moved, slightly. It couldn’t be that old. A week? Two weeks? Maybe? I saw a little blood on its nose. My heart was totally torn with this. I tried to find the number to the local humane society and they are closed on Monday. So I called the local animal hospital, who I’ve dealt with most of my life.

They asked if I could bring it in. Of course I could. At this point, because there was somebody near it, the kitten was mewing.

All this time, at least 5-7 cars and one dump truck passed by. I couldn’t imagine how many vehicles swerved around this kitten, or even straddled it. The poor thing.

In my car, I had a softball jersey and a towel. I wrapped the kitten in each, put it on the front seat and I was off.

I rubbed it a little through the towel and it was a constant mew for most of the ride. After a few miles, the kitten perked up a little and was moving around a little. It had blood on its nose (and I saw when I dropped it off at the animal hospital that its nose was scratched up), but it was dried off and in good hands when I left it with the people at the hospital.

It was heartbreaking to see the kitten with a scratched up face, but it was nice to see it climbing and showing some life.

I could only imagine what it had been like for it to be out on that road. It had been raining, too, so it was in the rain. It had to have been fully terrified.

I don’t know how it got there and I don’t really want to know. I don’t want to think somebody may have thrown this (and maybe others) out a window. Or that a mama cat gave birth somewhere in the woods and left this one behind.

In the end, I could have been like many other people who likely drove past this kitten – or I could have been looking ahead and not seen it. I also could have been heartless and just left it there and continued to work like I had never seen it.

But if I had done that, I never could have lived with myself.

I’m not some crazed-up animal rights person by any means. But I like animals and think they should be treated right. And I have a heart when it comes to thing like this. So I’m glad I turned around and glad I have a job at a place where I could take this kitten to get the help it needed, rather than ignore it. I’m also glad it was on a Monday and not one of the days I am elsewhere as who knows what would have happened.

UPDATE: I talked with the animal hospital and the kitten showed improvement through the first day, and then into the second day. Sounds like one of its hind legs is injured and there’s a chance it can’t see out of one of its eyes. It is, however, friendly and vocal. There hasn’t been much eating, but some. So here’s hoping it gets better.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog@gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Summer of Baseball: Perks aplenty at State College

Jul 28

There's not any bad spots to watch a game in State College.

There’s not any bad spots to watch a game in State College.

The lower levels of Minor League Baseball can feature a lot of types of stadiums – from old and worn to modern with amenities.

State College, Pennsylvania – home of the Spikes – seems to have found a good mix of a new stadium with the feel that it’s not being overly done. That’s something to be appreciated.

The Spikes are the Single-A short-season affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. The stadium in which they play is located on the campus of Penn State, in the shadow of the famed Beaver Stadium. That, of course, makes parking plentiful (though it did cost, if I remember right, $3). And if you get there early enough, as we did, you had the chance to walk around the massive stadium before heading over to the smaller, more comfortable Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

The stadium seats about 5,500 people and is home to the Penn State baseball team, as well as the State College Spikes. A nice piece to this stadium is being able to see Mount Nittany beyond the outfield wall.

A free program is always welcomed!

A free program is always welcomed!

To be honest, this is definitely one of the top New York-Penn League stadiums I have been to.

When entering, the team store is close by and, for a lower-level team, the store is stocked with everything one might need. The items – shirts, jerseys, hats, balls and most things you expect to find – are reasonably priced and there are plenty of sizes. With such a cool logo, I walked out with a nice shirt.

After exiting the store, the field is straight ahead, and is below the concourse level, so you walk down to your seats. The seats are of the fold-down variety, but are solid and roomy.

But, if you want to roam, you can do so and not lose sight of the game. There are picnic tables spread throughout the concourse area, as well as a picnic area in left field. Right field features an area with high-top tables, as well as a bleacher section at the top of the right-field wall. That’s a very cool aspect of the stadium, I thought. Kind of a “cheap seat” type feel, which is excellent for a baseball stadium.

The netting behind home plate extended a little further, it seemed, than many parks. I wasn’t a fan of how it was set up, either. I know teams do it differently, though.

Play ball!

Play ball!

My only other thought is it seems like there could have been a walkway around the whole park. It would have been nice to be able to walk around and catch the game from different vantage points. Also, there was a video arcade. I’m not a fan of this, mainly because when I go to a ballpark, I go to watch a game. I understand families attend, but if you’re going to let your kids hang out in a video arcade the whole time – why come to the park? To be fair, the few times I passed by it, I didn’t see many – if any – in there.

The concessions were pretty strong, including a Burgatory spot (very good burgers), a craft beer stand and a spot just for ice cream. There is also normal ballpark fare, but when I went to get lunch, my plan was a hot dog and a bratwurst (I think it was bratwurst…), but they didn’t have the specialty, so I just went with a couple of hot dogs. They were above average, but nothing fully special. Their fries were decent.

I attended on July 4, too, so the area was having a full celebration and fair of sorts. Later in the evening, they open the park up so people can watch the fireworks (which apparently are ranked No. 3 in the country – I can believe it). We took one of the high-top tables in right field and enjoyed the show, so that’s another bonus.

In the end, this is a solid, stadium and one worth attending. I had wanted to visit it for a bit, so it was nice to get down here and see a game. There wasn’t a bad seat in the house and with the roominess of the sitting area (good legroom, too), there wasn’t a chance of being crowded or feeling stuffy

Park Notes:

Medlar Field at Lubrano Park
State College, Pennsylvania
Home of the State College Spikes (Short-season A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins)
Visited on:  July 4, 2014
Opponent: Jamestown Jammers (Short-season A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates)

Ratings (out of 10):

  • Stadium: 8.5
  • Concessions: 7.5
  • Parking: 8
  • Ambiance: 8
  • Friendliness: 9

I am embarking on a summer of baseball with the plan to hit a minimum of 10 stadiums this summer. Hopefully, there will be more than that. I will report on each park that I hit on the blog.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog@gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Oh, how times have changed

Jul 25

A couple of weeks ago, a local radio personality who has a column in the local paper wrote about a topic I truly could relate to – collecting baseball cards.

Though my collecting in recent years has slowed, I still enjoy it. He touched upon collecting as a kid and how things are now changed, especially with the cost and value of cards. Back in those days, he noted, you traded away good cards to get ones you wanted. As for those players you didn’t like? You attached them to your bike tires to make the flipping noise.

So true.

I’ve covered my baseball card collecting here before, so that’s not what this is about. Instead, it got me thinking a bit more about growing up when I did and how things have drastically changed since then, and not always for the better.

Though I know kids still ride bikes, it doesn't seem to be as much as when I was a kid.

Though I know kids still ride bikes, it doesn’t seem to be as much as when I was a kid.

Some things are definitely better – such as knowing where criminals or predators are located, if they’ve been convicted before. Or kids are, usually, a little more on guard. They know what to look for and how to react in certain situations. When I was younger, you reacted to the situation. You knew what was right and what was wrong. And you knew things you should or should not do.

Now that is true, but also in a much bigger way.

When I grew up, we handled bullies the only way we knew how – we teamed up to overcome it. Maybe it was a schoolyard brawl. Maybe it was getting even. Now, it gets more drastic as it seems more and more common for kids to respond to bullying with suicide.

That baffles me.

Technology can be a wonderful tool. The issue truly is that it can be used as a weapon, too. Bullying – or cyber bullying – is more rampant. It’s easier for people to be anonymous on the Internet and say nasty things or bully others. It happens more and more. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Facebook groups created specifically to attack a person or people. And it’s not always easy to get Facebook to take them down.

And maybe it’s things like technology that make growing up completely different.

When I was a kid, we were outside. During the summers, we were out the door in the morning, came home briefly (sometimes) for lunch, again for dinner and then when the street lights went on. We played baseball, explored woods, went swimming, rode our bikes, and played. We built forts, dams in creeks, and used fake guns (imagine that?) such as cap guns and others to play “war.”

We’d play tackle football, full-contact basketball and made dangerous jumps for our bikes. We stole cigarettes from our parents to act cool (remember the first time you inhaled? Yikes!), we made mini fires in open parking lots (see, we knew better than to try and light these things in the house), threw “snappers” at each other’s feet and climbed trees.

Our Wiffle Ball games were played with the rules that the only way you got out was if your ball was caught by a fielder in the air or if somebody threw the ball at you and you got hit before you got to the base. And don’t let anybody say anything about throwing like a girl – we had two in our neighborhood who threw as hard, if not harder, than most boys.

On days that it rained, we’d be inside bored as can be. Maybe then we’d play some video games, but back then we are talking an Atari 2600, original Nintendo or something along those lines. A friend of mine had a Colecovision.

On the nights we were allowed to stay out a bit past the street lights – like when we got a little older – we were heard throughout the neighborhood playing kick the can, ghost in the graveyard or a game like that. When’s the last time you ever heard of a kid playing kick the can? If you have, imagine me at the can noting “Tap, tap, tap on you reading my blog!”

That was in the warm months. In the winter months, our parents would make sure we were dressed warmly and out we went. Snow forts, snowball fights, or sledding down hills were usually the choices of the day. We’d come home to some hot cocoa and then curl up to read a book (imagine that!) we had gotten at the library (!) or watch some good cartoons.

There wasn't as much fear for kids being out and about back when. My father was a local cop and always seemed to have a grasp on where the local kids were playing and such, too.

There wasn’t as much fear for kids being out and about back when. My father was a local cop and always seemed to have a grasp on where the local kids were playing and such, too.

We never dreamed of cell phones, video games, computers or anything along those lines. And, believe me, I love technology. I have gadgets and love as things advance. And it’s not as though things were always easy. There were moments we were sheltered slightly, but parents looked out for each other’s kids and made sure we were safe. And wherever I went, my father always knew where I was. He was the chief of police back then and he made sure during his patrols (he worked days) — he always knew where area kids were and what they were up to.

But I also miss the days gone by because it’s scary to think how many kids will never get to enjoy a carefree existence, even if just for a few years.

Kids don’t seem to get the chance to be kids anymore, and that’s a shame. Part of it is society, that’s for sure. Another part is definitely parents being way protective of kids, and that’s fine. But some of these new parents grew up in a time when more freedom was giving to kids.

Will we ever get those days again? Probably not. In the end, it makes me happy I grew up in the era that I did.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog@gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Oil and gravel … is it worth it?

Jul 24

Let me start by saying I realize there has to be a cost factor in what I am going to write about – and I get that. I truly do.

But there also has to be a true though process in doing what is done.

I work in two places, for the most part. They are basically in opposite directions of one another. So two times a week, I head in one direction. The other three days, I go to the other. There’s a site or two other I sometimes have to add in, but those are the main two.

Nobody goes 25mph, which of course means all this loose stone goes pinging off my car.

Nobody goes 25mph, which of course means all this loose stone goes pinging off my car.

Heading to one of the sites one day, I got caught on one of the roads with an oil/stone process going on. I never realized how fast that happens, though. Basically, they asked me to pull into a driveway as they passed. First, the oil truck passes, dousing the road with hot oil. Then a spreader comes, distributing the stone. Just like that, it’s done. And it’s fast.

As noted, I realize there has to be reasons for this and I’m sure cost is one of the top ones. Think about how fast this surface can be laid down, compared to, say, traditional asphalt. And on back roads, I can see the benefit of this.

Something happened on the way to my other job site …

A stretch of road – a county road that is heavily traveled – of about 15 or so miles was also done this way. So a road that is generally 55 mph is now suggested at 25 and, reality is, until the stone truly becomes part of the road, 40-45 mph is about your safe bet. On top of that, stones ding the undercarriage of your car, speeding cars coming the other way flip up stones that ping your car and window and people drive dangerously slow, at times jamming on their brakes.

How can this be looked at as a positive?

Pretty sure it's not fresh oil anymore.

Pretty sure it’s not fresh oil anymore.

I got my car in December and I am not enjoying the feeling that, some seven months later, I am facing a barrage of flying BBs coming at me as I drive.

It’s just not fun.

While there are other ways to head to this job site, they add time, traffic and the possibility of roads that, at times, can be worse. Go figure.

The reality is roads need to be fixed. They need to be effective with cost and time the best they can, but there also needs to be a middle ground here. People pay a lot of money for cars and to have stones flying all over and dinging vehicles, it isn’t good.

And, at times, I imagine it’s quite dangerous.

Anybody else have these issues in their area? What are your thoughts?

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog@gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Summer of Baseball: The game is the main event in New Britain

Jul 23

If you’ve ever read books about baseball players and their growth through a system, you probably realize what the minor leagues are all about.

It’s not glamorous, that’s for sure.

Often enough, stadiums aren’t that great, travel is tough and the living conditions differ from place to place.

New Britain is a pretty solid place to watch a game.

New Britain is a pretty solid place to watch a game.

In recent years, it’s becoming more of a money-driven setup. Top-of-the-line stadiums are being built. Former major leagues coach and manage young prospects in their ascent to the big leagues. Travel conditions have improved and, in some spots, the living setup has changed.

But with big-money comes bigger places looking to take these minor league teams to a new spot. I watched it happen when the new owners of the then Oneonta Tigers packed up and moved to Connecticut a year after buying (despite agreeing to keep the team in Oneonta through its lease). Other small towns have watched it happen (to be fair, Norwich watched it happen, too, before snaking the Tigers).

Of course, when that happens, it also means these smaller areas lose a part of their community and identity.

New Britain, Connecticut appears to be next on that list.

The city is trying to keep the team from moving to nearby Hartford.

The city is trying to keep the team from moving to nearby Hartford.

It was announced in June that the New Britain Rock Cats would be moving to nearby Hartford in two years, once a $60 million stadium is built. I didn’t know that until actually heading to New Britain for a game and to take in New Britain Stadium, built in 1996, which makes it far from a relic.

The Rock Cats are the Double-A affiliate for the Minnesota Twins. New Britain has hosted a Double-A team since 1983, but a move to Hartford could signal the end of minor league baseball in New Britain. Often, when a team leaves an area, another will move it. That might mean a lower level (such as a Single-A team), but with Hartford being so close to New Britain, territorial rights will likely come into play. That being said, it appears there are some issues with the whole Hartford thing, so we’ll see how it all plays out and if the owner has to eat crow and stick it out in New Britain.

I didn’t know about all this until the day of a visit to New Britain Stadium. Waiting in line to get in (it was Ted Williams bobblehead night, so worth getting there early), a few fans chatted with us about the impending doom of their team and how it seemed like attendance had started to go down since the announcement, which is fully understandable. Signs were handed out as we parked, asking people to support and save the Rock Cats.

Free programs are always appreciated!

Free programs are always appreciated!

And from reading reports, it doesn’t sound like Hartford – at least those who pay – are too thrilled with paying for a new baseball stadium when other things (such as a good supermarket) are needed.

New Britain Stadium doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. It’s a baseball stadium. The seats are decent (though the ones we had were permanent bucket seats, almost like enlarged child seats) and the sight lines were pretty strong. But, much like stadiums built in the past 20 or so years, there’s not a lot of cover, which is good and bad. It’s bad because there isn’t a good way to get out of the sun, but good because there aren’t any beams and such blocking views.

There is a walkway between the box seats and upper seats that goes from the third-base line to the first-base line, giving you open looks at the park. The concourse is covered and behind the baselines — and below the main seating area. The club store is a tad small and the prices are average. I did walk out with a past-season sweatshirt for a good price, which was nice. They have the normal offerings, however.

Rocky was easy to find.

Rocky was easy to find.

One bonus — and I’ve seen this at more stadiums than not this year — free programs. That’s truly a bonus. The programs were given as we came in the stadium and you could get statistics and a lineup at the customer service booth, which was directly in front of the main entrance.

Food offerings were normal ballpark fare. The hot dogs weren’t bad, but there were no cups for drinks, rather just a bottle. That’s a little on the odd size as it’s nice to have a cup with ice to keep your drink cold. It’s also another stadium without a souvenir cup, which was disappointing. I’ve been trying to collect them at most stops this year, at least when they are available.

In the end, I enjoyed the park. It’s in an easy-to-reach area, the parking is right at the park (if I remember right, I think it was $3 or $5) and it’s easy to get in and out. The old ballpark is next door, though we didn’t check it out. It’s a shame if the Rock Cats do leave. as it’s a nice setting for a minor league baseball game.

Park Notes:

New Britain Stadium
New Britain, Connecticut
Home of the New Britain Rock Cats (AA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins)
Visited on:  June 14, 2014
Opponent: Trenton Thunder (AA affiliate of the New York Yankees)

Ratings (out of 10):

  • Stadium: 7.5
  • Concessions: 7
  • Parking: 8
  • Ambiance: 8
  • Friendliness: 10

I am embarking on a summer of baseball with the plan to hit a minimum of 10 stadiums this summer. Hopefully, there will be more than that. I will report on each park that I hit on the blog.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog@gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Living with diabetes: Taking the next step to keep improving

Jul 21

There’s one thing I have finally realized with this whole diabetes thing – it’s a lifelong battle.

See, when I was first told I was a borderline diabetic, I didn’t take it seriously, which is probably why it continued to escalate. That’s not to say I wouldn’t be where I am even if I had done something, but at the same time, who knows?

But I kind of laughed it off. It wasn’t full-blown, I told myself. And, despite going to a workshop of sorts and meeting a few people who didn’t take care of it and what it could do (one guy also taking the class, to learn how and eat better, had said he once went as high as like 600 on his blood reading and was blind – yes blind – for a few days), I still thought I had it under control.

Despite a spike a few weeks back, things keep improving, as seen here.

Despite a spike a few weeks back, things keep improving, as seen here.

I was younger and dumber then. In fact, I don’t even know when that was, but it was after college, so I was probably right about 30 or so, give or take.

Checking blood was done sometimes, but I often shook it off. Or I said I had, and I hadn’t. I was completely stupid about it and I’m probably quite lucky nothing major happened.

Let’s fast-forward a few years to current day. I’d love to be able to go back and time and swat myself in the face and say to take it seriously. I’m really lucky that I don’t have any serious complications right now with how I let things go. I’ve written about how things have gone and how I’m getting back on track.

From medication to watching my diet to seeing what other things do to me and to adding in more exercise, I’m starting to push forward.

However, it’s time to take the next step.

The one thing I keep learning is you don't have to knock stuff like this out of your life -- you need moderation and understanding of what it does.

The one thing I keep learning is you don’t have to knock stuff like this out of your life — you need moderation and understanding of what it does.

See, diet and such can work for a while. But you need to be active. There’s no secret that I’m not in the best shape in the world. So I need to move to the next level and start doing more to make sure I keep improving.

What’s that mean?

First, in regard to diet, I need to now start watching calories and things like that. As I’ve gotten things under control, I have watched what I eat and what it does. And though I’ve slowly cut some calories away, I probably haven’t been doing as much. But, I’ve also noticed I don’t feel the need to snack as much.

That’s a start – making sure I am eating right and also making sure my portions continue to shrink as I’ve slowly been doing. That will help as I keep looking to shed some pounds.

One thing I also have to realize is though the weight isn’t always coming off, sometimes the fat portion of the body is. I’ve definitely lost some inches (my pants don’t fit as well anymore) during this span, but the weight comes off slower.

Then, there’s the exercise factor.

For starters, softball season is ending soon. That takes away twice a week where I get out and am moving more than other days. So I need to replace that with something, as well as add more items.

Going to the gym, as of now, isn’t an option for me. I buy a membership, go for a little whole and then piss away the money because I never use it. So I have to find ways to do things without the gym. (Honestly, the winter is what scares me, because if it’s cold, I don’t want to really venture outside to exercise).

Therefore, I’ve come up with these goals, which I am slowly starting to implement:

  • Walk more (which is going to mean starting to add in strolls at times I usually might not, such as at night etc.)
  • Start riding my bike again (I can go out for an hour-long ride, cover several miles and burn a lot of calories)
  • Getting back into disc golf (a truly great sport where you are moving a lot of the time and always walking)
  • Geocaching more in areas where I can go on small hikes
  • Trying to get out and find places to take photos, where, again, walking is better.

The activities part of this is just making it so I get out and go. Things like disc golf aren’t easy because there isn’t a course too close. This will likely be my replacement for softball when the season ends. I’d like to get to a weekly league a friend runs. That’s about an hour or so from where I work on Tuesdays, so it’s possible to pull off if I plan right.

My FitBit has helped me push a little extra for exercise. And badges don't hurt, either!

My FitBit has helped me push a little extra for exercise. And badges don’t hurt, either!

With the walking aspect, I have a hard time just going for a walk – so I need to make sure I have things to do when walking. Maybe it’s taking some photos. Maybe it’s running errands.

For example, I am going to be getting some of my personalized postcards made again and get back into Postcrossing. It’s truly a fun hobby. How does that help? If I send a postcard out each day or two and force myself to walk to the Post Office to mail the card, it gives me a reason to get out and walk.

I’m also trying to find some spots around my areas with some trails where I can go and place some geocaches. The idea, of course, would be so I can get out, hike and hide and then maintain the caches. There are some trails and public lands around, so I just need to find the best spots for them. I have plenty of containers, too, so I am ready to go.

In the end, it’s fully up to me to make sure this continues going in the right direction. Hopefully these ideas will help me do just that.

Recent look:

Since my last report, I’ve been pretty steady on my readings. I had two or three spikes, which, of course, dropped my 100 percent in-range readings down (I was at 96 percent during that time). But, that changed in the last day or so as I’m now back in the 100 percent range. Those spikes, too, weren’t too crazy, but enough to pretty much piss me off as I’ve worked hard. But, I realize there will be setbacks.

Numbers can jump, but in recent weeks, things have continued to improve.

Numbers can jump, but in recent weeks, things have continued to improve.

I’ve had a couple of lows, once being a 76 at one point over the weekend. I think the key to maintaining is making sure I have that eating six times a day thing under control and making sure I actually do it. It’s hard during the weekends, sometimes, as I attempt to sleep in a bit more and that sometimes messes up my schedule. I need to learn to adjust it some so I don’t go extended times without something.

Here’s one thing I’ve noticed, too: my fasting levels were kind of higher. I finally figured it out. I know the amount of carb servings I’m allowed and thought I was in that. However, one of the proteins I was adding also had nearly a full carb serving, so I was basically having an additional serving each time. Now that I’ve adjusted that, the numbers (for the most part) are coming down even more. Score one for me!

In the end, I can’t complain. Compared to where I was a few months ago, this has been nothing short of amazing in my eyes. I meet with the diabetes educator again at the end of August, so hopefully I’ll have a better snapshot and ideas of other things I can do to make sure I keep moving in the right direction.

This is part of an ongoing series of posts about me living with diabetes and what I am doing to try and improve my situation. I’ll try to post these updates once or twice per month. You can read past posts about this by clicking here.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog@gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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