Friday, July 15, 2011

New Location

New posts from the writer of The Crotchety Old Man are now available at

Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The End

In September of 2008, I stumbled across Fifteen minutes later I created the Crotchety Old Man. Including this one, I've since written and posted 357 short essays.

From the start my blog had no purpose. There's no money in it for me from ads and I wasn't trying to sell anybody anything. I blogged entirely for fun.

At first concealing my real identity was a priority. I worried that freely expressing my opinions might cause problems at work. It hasn't, mostly because my coworkers are too busy to pay much attention to my rants.

Getting on Facebook in April of 2009 blew my anonymity. Yeah, it didn't have to. I could have kept blogging in secret. Well, maybe somebody else could--but not me.

The topics I write about have changed. Early posts were the kind of things you'd expect to hear from a crotchety old man. I haven't written a real crotchety rant for a long time. I'm just not that angry anymore.

Sometimes I write about my garden. On occasion I throw in things that are happening in my life. A lot of my recent posts revolve around Glass Houses, Addicted, and my journey toward becoming a "real" writer.

Writing for this blog has been fun. Unfortunately, writing for fun is no longer enough. My circumstances have changed. When one of my books gets published I'm going to need a blog to promote it, future books, and the author I hope to become.

Thanks for popping in over the last few years to see what I have to say and for your comments. Without your encouragement and support, Glass Houses would not have been written. I am eternally grateful and hope you'll still come around when I come up with a replacement for...

The Crotchety Old Man

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Adventures in Dieting, Week One

Today is weigh-in day after my first full week on Weight Watchers. The scale revealed I'm now four pounds closer to my goal than I was a week ago. That's eight pounds all together since I started trying to lose weight back in the middle of May.

My first week was a learning experience. You already know about the Memorial Day dinner that cost more points than my entire daily allotment. I also went over by eight points on Friday, mostly because I screwed up by using too many points for breakfast. Fortunately, the plan allows enough extra points in the week to cover these overages.

In the first week I earned a total of 93 activity points for six and a half hours of exercise. Activity points get wiped out at the end of every week. I had until midnight last night to use them. Although I was tempted to get a bucket of chicken, I ended up using just three of those points for a low-fat Quaker granola bar.

Today starts a new week. My daily allowance dropped from 46 points to 45. I have 49 extra points again this week and hopefully will not go through them the way I did last week. This morning I rode my bike for 75 minutes (15 miles) which earned me 20 activity points I don't intend to use either.

Losing four pounds in a week is twice what Weight Watchers recommends. I credit at least two of those four pounds to the huge increase in my activity level rather than the diet. I'm also guessing most people lose more weight in the first few weeks than in later weeks.

After a week I have to admit I'm pleasantly surprised. I certainly don't expect to lose four pounds every week. As long as I keep losing, you won't hear any complaints from...

The Crotchety Old Man

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Back in the Saddle

I hate exercising. More precisely, I'm not a fan of getting hot and sweaty which rules out everything but swimming. Since I don't have a pool, swimming isn't terribly convenient. In truth it wouldn't matter because I'm not that great a swimmer.

Back in 2006 I decided to try bicycling. Noting the room full of unused exercise equipment I'd accumulated over the years, I went to Walmart and picked up a lovely red model for about $100. Honestly it was the nicest bike I'd ever had.

Before long I was riding eight to twelve miles a day. Yeah, I got hot and sweaty but didn't mind because I moved fast enough to generate a nice breeze. After a few months of riding, due to the steady stream of sweat hitting the gears and pedals, my red bicycle literally fell apart.

I took it to the cycle shop to see about repairs. They laughed at me and said the replacement parts cost more than the bike was worth. So I upgraded to a much nicer model and started riding twenty or thirty miles a day.

Two or three years ago I stopped. I'm not sure why. It was too cold or too hot or raining or something. My bike sat unused in the garage until last month when I dropped it off at the cycle shop for service. It's been back in three more times since then for minor repairs. Apparently a lack of activity is no better for bikes than for people.

Getting back in the saddle after a two or three year hiatus has been a challenge. Having spent the majority of time since I stopped riding on my ever-widening ass, I had to ease back in. Between all the repairs, the hot weather, and my schedule it's been a slow process.

Before when I was riding I got down 206 pounds--my lowest weight in years. Back then, the more I rode the more entitled I felt to eat fattening foods. Now that I'm on Weight Watchers and riding regularly, I'm hoping to see my weight fall below 200 pounds.

Today I made it all the way to Watkinsville and back. That's 24 miles in two hours. My legs are a little stiff and my butt hurts. The padding in those little bicycle shorts isn't nearly enough. A nice tractor seat would sure make biking more pleasant for...

The Crotchety Old Man

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Adventures in Dieting, Day Two

As you probably know, I started on Weight Watchers Sunday. This week I'm allowed 46 points per day. I finished Day #1 with one point leftover. Skinny here I come!

Day #2 started off great. I rode my bike for 15 miles which earned me a whopping 17 extra points. I only used three points for breakfast, and got by on ten points for lunch. I felt so good about my progress I splurged, burning up ten points to eat two cake pops. To make cake pops you bake a box cake, mash it up with a can of icing, form the mix into little balls, then after freezing the balls, dip them in white chocolate. I'm telling you they're great.

Friends invited us over for dinner last night. Unaware of our dieting status, they went all out. We had steak, a delicious floret salad (broccoli, cauliflower, bacon, cheese and mayo), a carrot and horseradish casserole (more sour cream and mayo and maybe some heavy cream), a baked potato casserole (still more sour cream, bacon, cheese and butter), and a good old-fashioned banana pudding with meringue on top for dessert (along with a couple of cake pops).

After we got home my partner took the recipes and went online to figure out how many points we'd eaten. Because I had seconds of the floret salad and the baked potato casserole, my total for just that one meal was (drum roll please)...56 points. Yeah, ten more than my allowance for the day.

Talk about eye-opening. I got to thinking that before Sunday there have been lots of times when I probably had dinners worth a good 50 or 60 points--like maybe five nights out of seven. No wonder I'm obese!

So yesterday I burned a total of 87 points. Fortunately, Weight Watchers allows 49 extra points for the first week plus any points I earn for exercise. I still have eight of my 49 splurge points and 23 points I earned riding my bike.

Today has gone a lot better. I got by on four points for breakfast. At lunch I ordered my usual Zaxby salad, minus the fried onion rings and with lite vinaigrette instead of honey mustard dressing. I refuse to give up the Texas toast. The changes cut the salad from 23 to 14 points.

In terms of points, yesterday I learned an expensive lesson. Giving up would have been a failure. I didn't fail because I started over today, wiser than I was the day before. Failing to lose weight is no longer an option for...

The Crotchety Old Man

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fat Man in the Bathtub with the Blues

My weight has bounced around since at least high school. Working at two different ice cream stores and a movie theater caused the first big uptick. These jobs were a doubly whammy on the old waistline because my activity level dropped at the same time my caloric intake went way up.

Due more to a shortage of guys than my talent or ability, I was recruited for several dancing roles in our high school's production of "Oklahoma!". Increasing my activity level helped me to get the weight off. I gained most of it back when I started college due largely to a dramatic increase in my consumption of pizza and burgers.

Coming out produced the next big drop. Going to Johnny Angel's six nights a week was good for my waistline in two ways. Dancing for a couple of hours pushed my activity level up. Low wages forced me to choose between going out and eating. In pictures from that era I look like a poster child for malnutrition.

Before moving to Georgia my activity level remained fairly high. I still went out dancing once or twice a week and spent most of every weekend working in the yard. Back then I bragged about being able to eat whatever I wanted. Bragging about anything is an invitation for Karma to intervene.

Here in Athens it's too damn hot to work in the yard other than for an hour or two early in the morning. Instead I spend the bulk of my time on my ever-widening ass watching television, chatting with friends on Facebook, and engaging in other equally strenuous activities.

High school reunions force me to action. In advance of our 30-year reunion five years ago, I started riding a bicycle. With our 35-year reunion just months away, I've started riding again. Only I fear I've waited too long to get the desired results by October.

According to the nasty Body Mass Index Calculator, I'm obese. Not just overweight. Obese. Karma can be a real bitch.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Yesterday I started Weight Watchers. In the past I've gone through phases of paying more attention to what I ate. But this is the first time I've ever gone on a real diet.

The Weight Watchers plan revolves around point values assigned to various foods. I can have a total of 46 points a day. I'm learning that many of my normal food choices eat up a significant portion of those points. The healthy salad I get from Zaxby's for lunch most days is a whopping 23 points (including two packets of honey mustard dressing and Texas Toast you can suck the butter out of).

Awareness is half the battle. Calculating the number of points (available as an app for my phone) forces me to pay a lot more attention. Paying more attention requires me to make better choices. Twenty weeks from now, I hope you'll see a much slimmer version of...

The Crotchety Old Man

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Today in My Garden

Extremely dry weather this month has dramatically slowed progress in the garden. We finally got some rain Thursday night, along with severe winds. I had a lot of small branches down but no serious damage.

Day lilies are one of the big bloomers this week. I only have three kinds (yellow Stella D'Oro, solid orange, and yellow with a red throat), but because I keep dividing them have lots of each kind. Not sure where this one came from as it doesn't look a thing like any of the others.

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) has become one of my favorite flowers. Heat and dry weather don't faze them, and the bright orange flowers last for weeks. I might have to try some of the cultivars that bloom in different colors.

It wouldn't be a southern garden without magnolias. The first few years I was lucky to get one or two blooms from the three-foot tall plant I bought. Now it's probably teen feet tall and blooms continuously for weeks. I love the lemony fresh fragrance.

Hopefully we'll get more rain in the next week or two. If not, we may face watering restrictions (again). Drought has become the new normal in the garden of...

The Crotchety Old Man
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