Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Revisiting the Classics

Sunday was a great day for me.  I added a new friend to the kitchen.  This is a purchase I have saved up a bit for and have been thinking about for a while.  When I watch Food Network I see chef after chef using those pretty enameled dutch ovens and I knew I wanted one.  The are not non stick, but fairly easy to clean.  Because they are not non stick it is easier to build flavors in the pot, reducing the need for other flavorings, including salt.  It is also a gorgeous piece of art in my opinion and can be used for 101 different meals in one pot.  The original crock pot and even more versatile.  I decided to use some stew meat I had in the freezer and some frozen and fresh veggies to make a beef stew.  As simple as a stew is I had never made one completely from scratch.  I was really looking forward to something that hearty, and with as many veggies as I put in I was able fill up more quickly than with the classic meat and potatoes and token carrot stew you can get in a can.  Potatoes are not the best thing for a dieter, so I cut back a bit on those and added some parsnip and more carrot, as well as peas and celery.  Here are a few shots of the cooking process:

First I browned the stew meat.

I then added a beer, some water, and low sodium beef broth.  I braised the stew for about an hour.

Here is the abundance of veggies I put in the pot.  You can also see my kitchen tool of choice.

And here is the stew before going back in the oven for another hour or so.

After adding the frozen veggies I put the pot back in the oven and shut it off.  It was late, so I was cooking for a later date, but here is the finished product:

Here are a few other shots from that evening:

Sleep now my friends...

I am a firm believer of having a really good knife in the kitchen.  These are Calphalon Katana knives in a 7" Santoku and a 6" chef's.  They may not be made by Hatori Hanzo, but they are Japanese steel and razor sharp with great balance.  I was not paying attention the first week I had one and ended up having to wash blood off of the ceiling.  That sharp.

In the kitchen.

The stew was delicious and one large serving was somewhere around 550 calories.  I look forward to using the dutch oven very often.  I saw a recipe for chicken stroganoff on TV the other night that looks like a reasonably healthy version of one of my favorite dishes.

The end of the month is fast approaching and on the 1st I will post an update on the total weight lost over the two months.  See you all then.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weigh in #9

Milestone Week!  If you read my last entry you know I hit a big mile marker this week.  I won't make the 50 pounds I wanted to make by the end of the month, but that was a pretty lofty goal anyway.  Before I comment much more here are this week's results:

Current Weight: 397.4 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 3.6 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 42.8 lbs

I broke the 400 pound mark and got over 40 lbs. lost.  I am eight weeks in and still averaging about 5 pounds a week. The amount of weight I lost was also very consistent with last week's results, so progress has been nice and steady.  Considering I had gained weight through Tuesday I know I can do even better with a bit more diligence, but it is also nice to know I can indulge a little bit and still maintain nice progress.  I also worked out a bit more this week than I have in a while.  I did two workouts in my building's workout room and another one in my apartment.  The one in my apartment may not have burned as many calories as the others, but I sure felt it more.  I originally thought I would be focusing almost solely on aerobic exercise, but the isotonic stuff seems to work just as well, especially when I do both in conjunction.  Also the muscle building effects of isotonic exercise allows me to burn more calories at rest, making my body more efficient at burning fat.  Pretty cool stuff and a great excuse for some variety.  One of my friends suggested a boxing class at a gym as her preferred workout and that sounds intriguing .  I 'll have to find a gym with some reasonable fees and check that out as Spring continues.

Slow and steady wins the race as they say, but I am now about 20% to my weight loss goal.  The opening sprint is over I am finding my pace, but I have a good stretch behind me already.  I am already getting excited for my 100 pound party and hopefully it will still be nice enough in Chicago for a picnic.  I am still going to push this week to see how close to 50 I can get, so look forward to another midweek spoiler update on how close I got.  Thanks for coming back.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Midweek Supper

Well, ladies and gentlemen, today was the day. I had no work to do today, in fact I had nothing but a one hour dentist appointment to do today, so I decided to use my new recipe book for the first time. I wanted to pick a dish or dishes that showcased a new way to cook things I already eat frequently and maybe introduce a new ingredient or two. I selected the appropriate recipes and stopped into what will soon be my absolute favorite store, Edgewater Produce, for the necessaries. After completing my errands and other tasks I buckled down and got cooking. The recipes were fairly simple and pretty easy to cook at the same time, which helped me do something I am rarely able to accomplish: eat my dinner while all of the elements are still hot. Whose recipes did I use you may ask. Well, without further ado (or lame attempts to heighten drama) are this week's winners.

Melanie Sizemore for "Mustard Tarragon Roast Chicken With Egg Noodles"


Rena Cook for "Brussels Sprouts For People Who Think They Hate Brussels Sprouts"

Thank you to both of you, and another thank you to all of you who contributed. I plan to make this a regular segment on the blog and will be sure to try many a new recipe. I chose Melanie's dish because I cook chicken so frequently and I wanted another option that was a bit "dressier" than usual. I chose Rena's dish partly for the ease of use and partly because I have never before eaten a Brussels Sprout.  I figured it was time to see what all of the fuss was about and I figured a recipe named like that was the best place to start.  Here is what the finished product looked like:

Very tasty looking and really good once I tucked in as well.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well the two dishes paired together.  The bitter, cruciferous quality of the sprouts paired really well with the tangy mustard and the anise like tarragon.  Using parmigiano reggiano added a great sweet saltiness to the sprouts that balanced the dish and the smooth noodles and chicken were a great base for these flavors.  I enjoyed the whole dish with a small glass of the same chardonnay that I used in the pan sauce and it was quite a meal.

A did learn a few things that I can apply to make the dish even better and more health conscious next go around.  The recipe called for chicken on the bone, and I love how juicy chicken stays that way so I did it this time, but now that I have tried it I think I can marinate boneless breasts to make up for some of the juiciness I will lose.  I would probably save about 40-50 calories that way and it might cook a bit faster.  I will also cook the Brussels sprouts a bit longer next time.  The recipe calls for 5 minutres of boiling and then a minute or so in a garlic and red pepper flake olive oil.  I will probably add a minute or two to the boiling time and another minute in the oil.  I think that way the sprouts will be a little more tender and get a bit more caramelized, bringing out a bit more sweetness.  As it was they were delicious if a bit too crisp and I think broccoli would work very well in this application.  I will probably make everything a bit smaller next time because for the first time in a while I feel over full tonight.  Those sprouts are filling.

That is all for this time, but I will give a bit of a spoiler for Saturday:  today I broke 400 pounds.  See you Saturday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Trying To Get Over The Hump...day.

Since my weigh in on Saturday it has been an interesting week. I seem to be in a holding pattern, although I have a pretty good idea why. Sunday I was running errands and got stuck with nowhere to eat but an Italian joint. I ordered a lemon chicken dish assuming it would be somewhat healthy. When I have ordered that dish in the past it was a kind of lemon oil that was very flavorful, but thin enough that most stayed on the plate. I loaded up on the salad that came with it and waited for the dish to arrive. Instead of the lemon and oil sauce I had expected it was drenched in a lemon cream sauce. I ate the chicken and as much pasta as it took to fill up, which still left about two thirds of what came out of the kitchen. The chicken was grilled, so that was a plus, and the dish did have a few token capers, so I suppose it wasn't all bad, just mostly. I guess the damage was done because I had gained weight that day, but in the grand scheme of things it only put me back a day or two. I also went to the Bulls vs. Rockets game on Monday and had a pretzel, which I had heard was not that bad but when I looked it up was almost 500 calories. Ouch. I don't mind having a cheat meal here or there, and I know the process is going to be a long one so a couple of days more or less is not a big deal, but it is frustrating to choose what you think is a good option only to find out it is a terrible choice. Oh well.

I have renewed my commitment to working out this week and have already put in two. Yesterday I hit the workout room in my building and did my usual circuit. I stretched really well, did about a mile and a quarter on the treadmill, or 20 minutes at a brisk pace for me, and about 15 minutes worth of work on the weight machine. When I do weight stuff I really just do as much as it takes for that particular muscle to start shaking a bit. I am not trying to build up huge muscle mass right now, I really just want to supplement what I have to make my body more efficient at burning calories all the time. Today I did about 80 crunches and 3 reps of leg lifts, which I absolutely hate, but my lower abs are really weak so I need them. I also did 20 really deep squats, which I have taken to doing in front of the sofa while I watch TV. It is amazing how fast squatting 400 pounds can wear you out. I think working against my own body weight is a really good idea for the moment, and I am able to do things like that almost anywhere. I also really like how I feel for the rest of the day when I have gotten in a little physical activity that morning. I thought it was ridiculous before, but I can see why people enjoy working out. I hate it while it is happening, but the after effects are addicting.

That is all for today, but stay tuned for future installments. Next off evening I have I plan to cook one of the recipes from the book my friends made up for me and I will post pictures and a special thank you to the author, so come back to find out if I pick yours to be the first of what will be many!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Weigh in #8

The time has come again. This week was a bit blah in terms of results. On St. Patrick's Day I indulged a bit, but not too badly. I think it is more that my body is getting used to my diet and that I only exercised once this week. I have to do better that if I want to keep my numbers moving down at the rate I want them to be. I don't think this week's results are bad by any stretch of the imagination, just not as good as I wanted. Here are the results:

Current Weight: 401 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 3.8 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 39.2 lbs

As I said these are good results. In the seven weeks I have been working I am averaging over 5.5 pounds a week weight loss. That is a hard pace to keep up in a marathon like this, but I don't want to stagnate either. I really wanted to get under 400 this week, but I know that next week I will and that I will hit 40 pounds down, so that is something to look forward to.

The weather here in Chicago was really nice the second half of this week, so I had the chance to get outside a bit, but today it is in the mid 30s and snowing, so there is no telling what the weather will be. At least I have some indoor exercise options so I have no excuses. My next goal is to lose 11 pounds over the next 11 days. The end of this month will mark roughly two months since I started the blog and my weight loss journey. I would love to be down 50 pounds by April. It is a tough goal, but as long as I am setting intermediate goals I feel I should shoot high. I also have to get ahead a bit because I have my wisdom teeth out Monday April 5 and I will not be able to eat normally for a few days after that. I may lose weight because I will not be eating much or I may gain weight because of disruptions to my metabolism, but that is one of those things that is out of my control. I just want to put myself in the best position I can so that disruptions like that have a minimal effect on me. I think it is good practice for the unexpected interruptions to do the best I can to prepare for the ones I see coming.

That is all I have for this time. I work today, so I am going to whip up some grub and get on my way. See you next time on The Amazing Shrinking Actor.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

To Boldly Go...

Last night after the St. Pat's/Matt Davis' birthday festivities I was in a reflective mood, as those who know me will tell you I am wont to do, and I was thinking back on how I started this journey and where I think I am going. I don't watch Biggest Loser a lot because my schedule doesn't fit that well with the broadcast, but in many of the ones I have seen I hear contestants talk about getting back to where they were before they gained the weight. Last night it hit me that there never has been a "before" for me. I was a chubby kid and by the time I was in middle school I was downright fat. I have never been remotely near an average weight as an adult.

In my life as an actor all of my experience and the roles I have played have been based, at least partially, on my size. Type, particularly physical type, is a major part of an actor's identity. Every audition I have done, every monologue I use, and every choice I have made on stage have been done with my body as a factor. The reason the realizations I had last night hit me as hard as they did is that I don't what my identity is going to be at the end of this process. It also hit me that for that reason I probably have never tried that hard to lose weight. It is a scary prospect, but I suppose my fear of the consequences to my health of living this way finally outweighed my fear of change.

None of these realizations change the fact that the prospect of such a huge change is frightening. At times I worry if I will even know how to act after such a drastic change. That is a ridiculous though, but those are the kinds of niggling doubts that have kept me from making the right choice for my self in the past. The self destructive impulses that feel easy are maybe the single hardest roadblock I put up.

So this post, and the title in particular, are an affirmation of my commitment, both to you, the reader, and myself. As a Trek fan I feel completely comfortable paraphrasing the mission of the Enterprise for my own: I will boldly go where this man has never gone before.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Showing Off

Welcome! Since my last post it has been an interesting couple of days. I stopped into the Housewares Expo at McCormick Place today, but more on that later. Sunday I got a craving for something a bit more upscale. Since I made my decision to post pictures of my kitchen exploits here on the blog I also felt like showing off a bit. I decided to free form a dinner that was hopefully healthy, delicious, and pretty. I was sitting at work and though about how cool the zucchini strips I used for stir fry would look wrapped around a chicken breast. Then I though about a dish called Chicken Bryan that I love from Carraba's. It is chicken breasts stuffed with tart cheese and smothered in a lovely sauce. Clearly not health food, but it was a start.

Here's what I did: I got some thin cut chicken breast and pounded it out pretty thin. My usual serving of chicken went into two "scallopini". I then used my vegetable peeler on the zucchini until I had enough strips to make an even layer over the each of the breasts. The filling was the tricky part. I wanted to get some of the same richness so I decided to use a bit of cheese. I got some goat cheese at the store that was pretty good, but still cheese, so pretty fattening. I needed something tasty to stretch it out and I remembered I had some left over mushrooms in the fridge and I picked up some dried wild mushrooms for extra flavor. This recipe is getting a bit long, but I reconstituted the dried mushrooms and threw those, the fresh mushrooms, about 1 1/2 ounces of the cheese, and a bunch of thyme and a bit of sage into my food processor and blitzed it until smooth. I smeared the lot into the chicken and wrapped it all up in the zucchini. Actually cooking it was the really easy part because I threw the roulades into the oven for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees. I periodically spooned the pan juices over the top to keep the zucchini from burning and when I pulled the dish out I let the chicken rest and cooked down the drippings into a sauce. Plated with some left over brown rice and a nice garnish it looked gorgeous and tasted just as nice as it looked, and at 650 or so calories not to bad for an indulgent meal.

Like I said, I was trying to show off.

Kitchen Geek Mecca

My uncle Ken works for a product development company that manufactures the ideas of other companies. One of their clients has had them create a line of kitchen gadgets specifically geared towards portion control and is now marketing them to stores to get on the shelves. Ken mentioned to the company marketing the product line that I was on a weight loss journey and that I was blogging about it. One thing led to another and I was asked to come to the show to check out the products. First off I want to thank Ken for spreading the word about my blog. I love that my friends, family, and even acquaintances read the blog, but the idea that a perfect stranger was reading and taking an interest is both flattering and really important to me. A stranger is only going to judge me by what I write here, and that is a heck of a way to keep someone accountable. I also want to thank Ken for getting me into the show, because for an amateur gourmand the housewares trade show is like Christmas morning. Giant booths from all of the brands that dominate our kitchens and smaller tables from the companies with the next big thing. And free stuff. I didn't take much because it didn't feel right under the circumstances and more importantly because I was going straight to work.

The products were very cool. There were serving spoons that were designed to allow you to put one or two scoops on your plate and that is a serving of starch or veggies. There is a special cap that goes on sauces or dressings and only dispenses one or two tablespoons at a time. A salt dispenser that has settings for a pinch or fraction of a teaspoon and will only give you that much. I wouldn't say any of the products are necessary, even to someone doing what I am doing, but they are pretty cool and could be very helpful. I really hope that more products like this come to market because I think it is important, especially for me, to know what you are eating and how much of it. The sales folks were talking about the cumulative effects of the product because as you use it more you start to know what an appropriate portion is. Very cool stuff.

After speaking with the folks who got me in Ken took me around the show. I saw about two dozen things I wanted and was glad that it was not possible to actually buy the products as a consumer. I also found a booth for the folks that made my scale and was able to thank them for making a product in an area that is surprisingly under served, and a product that I have gotten such good use out of. The rep talked to me a bit about my blog and asked for the URL. She said since I use their scale and have mentioned it here (see post 3 from Jan 30th) they might be able to link to it, so that would be really cool. To anybody from Escali who happens to read that post it turns out I do not hate my scale, but I also haven't gained any weight, so that helps. Thanks to Escali for their time and kind words today.

That's all I have for today. Thanks for indulging my kitchen exploits and for continuing to come back. Know that it has made and will continue to make a very real impact on my wellness journey. Thank you all.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Weigh in #7

It is time again for The Amazing Shrinking Actor! One more week goes the way of the dinosaurs and so do a few more pounds. I think I am starting to find a pace that works for me and my metabolism. I am not depriving myself and I am rarely hungry except when I am supposed to be. It is not too exciting to write about, but I feel I am getting into a nice routine. I think that is an important step to making my choices today part of my lifestyle in the future. Here are this week's numbers:

Current Weight: 404.8 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 4.8 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 35.4 lbs

I did not get under 400 this week, but I should next week and I am really looking forward to that. The 4-5 pound range seems to be where I hit when I am eating right, indulging in a couple of things every now and then, and getting some exercise 2-3 times a week. Since I always try to get more exercise than that I think I can shoot a bit higher some weeks as well. It may be a fool's errand to try to get consistency in my weight loss when so many factors go into it, but something tells me that if I am consistent I have the best chance of my body staying with the program.

Keep It Simple

I am thankful to my cousin R.J. for extolling me to include more pictures on the blog. I have really enjoyed posting some of my kitchen experiments and successes. I think it is something I will continue to do because it makes me get in the kitchen and make something new. That kind of forced variety makes it that much easier for me to stay on plan. When my mouth gets bored it asks things like candy and fried chicken, so variety for me is the spice of success. This week I whipped up a decently healthy chicken salad. It took a bit more mayo than I thought it would to hold it together, but I included a lot of celery, onion, and green pepper for flavor and texture and I also threw in a diced granny smith apple for sweetness. I then seasoned the salad with a good measure of curry powder, some garlic, some ginger powder, and a lot of pepper. It turned out very tasty, and on whole grain wheat, toasted, with a bit of Dijon mustard and a side of veggie chips it makes a heck of a lunch.

That's all for this edition. Tune in next time for more from...The Amazing Shrinking Actor!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Have No Fear . . . Of Frostbite

Here in Chicago after between three and four solid months of freezing or near freezing weather spring sprung this week. I can't guarantee it is here to stay, but who am I to waste an opportunity. I have been walking on a treadmill since I started my weight loss journey and the chance to get out there and enjoy the view in some cool but comfortable weather allowed me to spend a pleasurable 45 minutes walking along the lake front, which is amazingly close to my apartment. It is times like today when I say a thank you to Daniel Burnham. Here are a couple of pictures I took on my trip out-of-doors. They were taken on my iPhone, so the image quality is not the greatest, but as they say the best camera is the one you have with you.

You can see the skyline off in the distance, but it looks much bigger when not through a lens. These next two show just how recently winter had us in its icy grip.

It is really nice to see signs of life.

Finding My Balance

The last week has presented me with some interesting challenges. My boss's birthday and a Oscars party presented me with quite a few of the foods I had been avoiding for over a month. I have said before that I refuse to turn food into my enemy. So I indulged a bit, but not nearly as I would have in the past. It probably was a bit of a drag on my weight loss, but I am still doing pretty well. I have also found a couple of new snacks I really like. One was introduced to me by my friends Mike and Aubrey Ryan and gives me that crunchy fix we all need: Veggie Chips. They had Terra brand, and I found some at Trader Joe's today that were cheap and almost as good. For those unfamiliar the chips are made from Sweet Potato, Taro, Parsnip, and Batata sometimes one of which is died with beet root juice. They are naturally sweet and very lightly salted. They are still fried so they don't save me much in terms of calories from traditional chips, but they are extremely low in sodium and have over 10% of your daily requirement of fiber, so the nutritional benefit is much higher.

The whole goal of my journey and this blog is not really to lose weight, although I definitely need to do that. I am looking for the kind of balance that brings health and happiness, or so I hear. I have taken this philosophy and have tried to do more things for myself. I started guitar lessons this week and today's walk was a good start. I enjoy cooking and in lieu of an acting gig it has been a nice release in a semi artistic way, but I am definitely ready to get to a few auditions as well. It is an interesting change from my usual, and more comfortable, way of doing things; namely to sit back and let the world happen to me. I am taking control and making things more like I want them to be and it truly is character building. The more I take control the more I own the way my life takes shape. When things don't go my way I know I have the responsibility for my situation, but I also know I am able to make the changes I want. Hooray for maturity.

That's all for this edition. Tune in next time to see if I can get under 400 this week (it'll be tough).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Weigh in #6

Welcome again and thanks for sticking with me. Another week has come and gone and, though it was not as successful as last week, I had a good time this week, and I'll trade an extra pound or two for some fun any day. I got a bit of inspiration in the kitchen and I got past my normal chicken breast and two veg and branched out. You all saw the results of my Vietnamese adventure early in the week and yesterday I made some great fish that I think was very successful. In high school I got roped into providing a home cooked meal for two as an item in a charity auction. The recipe I ended up cooking the winners was a sort of Asian inspired salmon and spinach with whipped potatoes.
Well, I had some great yellowfin tuna in the freezer and some baby spinach in the crisper drawer, so I decided to see if I could whip it up again. I didn't broil the fish like in the original so I just seared it off and quickly wilted the spinach. The sauce is just a bit of light soy, some lime juice, and a bit of brown sugar reduced down to a syrup. I added a bit of ginger and Chinese five spice just for kicks and I think it was a success. It looked good too.

The Numbers

As I mentioned earlier this week didn't break any records, but a month in I feel the results are pretty solid. Here are the results:

Current Weight: 409.6 lbs
Starting Weight: 440.2 lbs
Weight Loss This Week: 4.2 lbs
Weight Loss Total: 30.6 lbs

Only half the weight loss of last week's great results, but I hit a couple of milestones that were very encouraging. Thirty pounds down total and I got that second number in my weight to change again this week. I also have found out that NyQuil/DayQuil seems to effect sodium labels (at least extrapolating from the warnings) which means I am probably retaining water. Though my total weigh loss is not as fast as I would like it to be (realistically it couldn't be, but I always loved a quick fix) I think this week is a benchmark for success as my body gets used to my new diet and activity.

This Should Keep Me Busy

Last night I got an email from my friends Jason and Amy Gerace and when I got home I was greeted by an amazing gift. It was a recipe book that Jason and Amy had compiled for me. The recipes had come from over 20 of my friends from college and my time in Chicago, and even one of my professors. It is an overwhelming gift and I thank all of you who had a hand in it. By the time I had skimmed through the whole thing I felt like George Bailey after everyone in Bedford Falls showed up. I cannot thank all of you enough, not just for the recipes, which should prove invaluable, but for the expression of support. It is so easy to indulge myself that this is a solitary journey, or that I am even fighting with myself and to take a defeatist attitude if the slightest thing goes wrong, but knowing that so many of you have taken a personal interest when you didn't need to is both sobering and invigorating. I cannot thank you enough, both to those who participated in the recipe book and those of you who follow my journey here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Under The Weather In Southeast Asia

I hope someone out there can tell me if the common cold burns calories. I just can't kick this thing and it seems that almost a week in it is as bad as it has been. It would be a nice upside to know it has helped me lose weight. Oh well. I would like to have exercised more up to now but it always seems to be one thing or another. I guess it gives me lots of room for improvement.

Pho, Delicious Pho

I got an itch recently for Pho, the hot broth based soup with rice noodles from Vietnam. I wanted to make it so I could control the sodium so over the past two days that is exactly what I have done. I aggregated a couple of recipes over the weekend and made up the broth Sunday night. Last night I enjoyed the fruits of my labors and let me tell you, it was a success. The flavors were all there, and combined with a salad and some lean sirloin, which cooked in the hot soup, I had a delicious meal at a reasonable calorie expenditure.

Those of you who know me well know I love cooking. I considered it as a career in high school and I still take pride in my culinary skills and knowledge. One of the best things about this journey has been getting into the kitchen on a regular basis. I will be the first to admit that setting up my mis en place, both in the kitchen and in my life, is a challenge for me frequently leaving me behind the eight ball and unprepared, but instead of letting that deter me as I would have before I am relishing the challenge. I don't just want to get thinner. I want to get healthy and to me that includes taking control of my life: diet, organization, and happiness inclusive.


I was talking to my dad last night and discussing what I see changing as a result of my weight loss. I mentioned that my face looks thinner, which for me is always the first place to thin out, but this time I noticed another indicator. I was on the train on my iphone and I had to do a double take. My thumbs all of a sudden looked a lot thinner to me. This cracked my dad up, and I find it strange that I noticed. I am not particularly vain about my hands, but it is nice to see results and my thumbs are telling the tale right now, and that's a thumbs up any day.

Well, I can't keep you guys any more after that groaner. Thanks for reading.