Gearing Up For Cycling

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Every year for the last few years, I’ve bought things from Nashbar.com for my bicycle.  I bought a townie basket to carry a bag of groceries (I’m going to buy a 2nd one for the other side of the bike soon), a camelbak to keep me hydrated on my 22 mile bike rides and skull caps to soak up the sweat so it doesn’t drip in my eyes.  This year I am buying something that I’ve been missing out on, a pair of bicycle shorts.

I know it sounds cheesy to wear bicycle shorts while riding a bicycle if you aren’t a professional, but I’ve been wearing baggy shorts for years and that is where I have problems.  Baggy shorts are ok, but can cause chafing issues.  My reasons for wanting bicycle shorts is for the tightness, but also because they have gel in them where you sit.  It makes the seat tolerable for the time I’m on the bike.

I have a ergo bike seat that doesn’t have a gel cover because they don’t make them in that size.  However, because I have an ergo seat that makes me sit on my butt bones and not my crotch area, typical bicycle shorts may not work for me because the gel is in the crotch.  The gel will need to be further back, and luckily I found the perfect bib shorts because the gel is in the back.

I am buying the bib shorts because I want to make sure they stay up.  I’d hate to have to keep pulling over every time they start to slide down and I have plumbers crack showing.  I don’t know if that’s a common issue, but I’m a heavy person, so I’m almost positive it might happen to me.

Here are the bib shorts I am going to buy from Nashbar.com.  They are called Nashbar Victory Splice Bib Shorts and they are on sale for $29.99 from $74.99.  They are 60% off so I’m saving $45.

nashbar bib front and back

I think they look pretty cool to wear a shirt under them, but I have a big stomach so it would look funny lol.  Maybe when I get thinner, then I will feel more confident to wear these with a shirt underneath.  Until then, I’ll wear a shirt over.

Here are a few other things I have to help me with cycling.  A Bell helmet that I bought at Target with a helmet mirror that I also bought at Target.  A Bell Bicycle Computer that I bought at Target for $20.  A pair of gloves that was a birthday gift that were bought at Snider’s Cyclry that are meant for people with carpal tunnel syndrome.  2 skull caps and my 3 liter Camelbak that I bought at Nashbar.

bell computer helmet
gloves and skull caps camelbak

I think that if you are going to take on a 22 mile bike ride, you need to be well prepared.  I am going to go further this year by riding 33 miles every time I ride.  Of course I’m going to start off at 10 miles the first time, then go up to 15, then 20 etc.  I need to build up my calf and thigh muscles so I don’t come home in agony and end up in the hospital.  When you are as out of shape as I am, you need to ease your body back into a routine and give your body rest.

Notice how everything is black and red?  That’s because I have a red bicycle with black accents.  I have to keep my theme going lol.  The red in the camelbak is not as pink as you see in the image, I think the flash or the reflectors washed out the dark red color.

I won’t be able to ride until I get my bicycle fixed and I also need to buy a Co2 pump and cartridges, I also need to be 240lbs to be able to start riding, so it’s going to be a few weeks or a month before I start.  I’m just making sure I have everything I need first.

So until then…

Update: So I was a day late and a dollar short and I missed out on these bib shorts and the bicycle pump.  I guess the sale was only for January because on February 1st, the sale was over.  The items that were in my shopping cart went back to regular price.  I wasn’t about to pay full price when I could get them for their sale prices.  So I guess now it’s just a waiting game to see if they will put those things back on sale in the next few weeks or month.  If they don’t then I guess I’m going to have to go to Snider’s Cyclry and see how much they charge.  I bet they will be 10 times more than what I can afford.  I’m looking on Amazon, but the things they have are either very expensive, or they are coming from Hong Kong.  I’m sorry but I can’t wait 3 weeks just to find out they are too tight.  According to their chart, I’m a small lol.  In normal more realistic charts, I’m an XXL.  Big difference.  HUGE!  So I will keep looking for a company that is actually in our country where I can go try it on.  I’ll have to try Sports Authority, maybe even Dick’s sporting goods.

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No Flour Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

gluten free no flour peanut butter cookies

Did you know you could make peanut butter cookies with just 3 ingredients?  1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar and 1 egg.  That’s it.  My mother taught me how to make homemade peanut butter cookies when I was a teenager, but I don’t even remember what the recipe was, but it did involve a lot of ingredients.  They were really good, but these are better.  And the fact that they are gluten-free is even better.

So here is the recipe.  Combine 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar and 1 egg and mix until it’s like a dough and the peanut butter isn’t sticking to the bowl.  Make 36 balls and smash them with a fork and bake them at 375F for 9 minutes each.  That’s it.  No muss no fuss.  They are 67.9 calories per cookie.

But… if you want them to be healthier, make your own peanut butter.

If you have a food processor (if not a blender would work), add 1 cup of unsalted peanuts and grind it until it’s chunky.  Add 1 tbsp of peanut oil, 1 tbsp of packed brown sugar (or any sweetener that you prefer) and 1 tsp of salt and blend it until it’s as smooth as peanut butter.  Then add 1 cup of sugar and 1 egg and blend it some more until it’s like a dough.  The calories go down to 62 calories per cookie.  That’s not a lot, but it’s something, and at least you know what went into your peanut butter because you made it.

Look at your store bought peanut butter, look at the list of ingredients.  It has high fructose corn syrup and more corn syrup.  That is what you aren’t putting into your peanut butter cookies and that makes it healthy.

Want your cookies to have even less calories?  Replace the peanuts with pecans and your cookies go down to 52 calories per cookie.  I created this recipe for the SparkPeople website for No Flour Pecan Butter Cookies because we have a pecan tree that drops a lot of pecans.  Instead of wasting them, I’m going to make pecan butter and pecan butter cookies out of them.  I’m not sure how they will taste because I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m looking forward to trying it this week.  I will blog about it with a picture.  If it doesn’t work out then I will blog about my failure LOL.

Homemade Peanut Butter & Strawberry Jam

Now that I am starting to eat healthy (and I hope it sticks this time), I am starting to open my eyes to something that never even occurred to me before.  Why am I so fat?  I mean, when I was a kid, I ate the same things that I eat today and I wasn’t fat then, so why now?  It’s not an overeating issue because I can eat a healthy portion and yet I can’t lose weight easily.  Well, now that I am eating healthy non processed foods, I am finally starting to lose weight.  Why is that?

Here’s the thing.  We’re all hearing all this stuff in the news about what they (food producers) use to make and preserve all of the food that they sell and all of the pesticides that go into the plants (corn) that they use to preserve and sweeten our food.  What is a pesticide?  It’s a poison.  We are knowingly or unknowingly putting poison into our bodies.  Have you seen the size of chickens today compared to chickens 20 to 50 years ago?  They were very tiny back then, now they are fat and they grow really fast.  Why is that?  Because they are injecting growth hormones into them to make them bigger.  We are knowingly or unknowingly putting growth hormones into our bodies by eating those chickens.  They are injecting those into the cows and turkeys too.  Nothing is safe.

I haven’t really done any research so I can’t verify everything I just said because I don’t know for a fact that that is what is happening.  But it’s a good question as to why we are getting so fat all of a sudden compared to so many decades ago.

Pardon me, let me adjust my tin foil hat… there, that’s better.

What does that have to do with homemade peanut butter and strawberry jam?  Here’s what.  Look at the list of ingredients that are in a jar of Jif Creamy Peanut Butter and Knott’s Berry Farm Strawberry Preserves.

pbj jars

I apologize that the Jif label is ripped conveniently on the part that I wanted you to read lol.  It was already like that when I bought it and I have no idea what it says, but it doesn’t matter because it already has too many ingredients which proves my point.

Let’s look at the ingredients though.  Roasted peanuts, hydrogenated vegetable oil, mono and diglycerides, molasses, sugar and salt.  What problem do I have with those ingredients?  Well, for one, you can make your own homemade peanut butter if you have a food processor or a blender by simply blending a jar of unsalted planters peanuts until they are in chunks, then add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of molasses or brown sugar or whatever sweetener you want, or you don’t even need to add any sweetener if you don’t want to or if you are diabetic..  That’s all you need.  You can add some cinnamon if you want, but that is totally up to you, but at least you know what you are eating.  Watch this video for a tutorial on how to make it.

Take a look at the ingredients in the strawberry jam.  Strawberries, high fructose corn syrup, more corn syrup, sugar, fruit pectin and citric acid.  You can make your own strawberry jam and even store some in your pantry if you follow the instructions in the video below.  All she uses is strawberries, sugar, pectin and lemon juice which is your citric acid.  That’s it.  No high fructose corn syrup and more corn syrup.  That is just so unnecessary.

 

I am going to start making our own peanut butter and strawberry jam from now on.  Have you seen the prices on those at the store?  We don’t buy them too often because of how expensive they are.  It only just occurred to me that I could probably make these things a lot cheaper, and now I see that is true.  Of course I don’t plan on going crazy jarring food, but it doesn’t hurt to make a few jars of this and that every few months or whenever you run out of things.

One of the homemade things I made recently is homemade applesauce.  All I did was peeled an apple, chopped it up, put it in a little pan with a little bit of water and let it boil until the apple was soft.  I crushed it and mixed some cinnamon and a tiny bit of brown sugar and viola, applesauce.  You don’t even need to add the brown sugar because it’s sweet enough on its own, I just wanted the extra sweetness of the brown sugar.  I am seriously considering buying a bag of apples so I can make many jars of applesauce to keep in the pantry.  I don’t eat enough apples because I don’t particularly care for them in their solid form, but I do love applesauce.

So there you have it.  You can make your own healthy PB&J and it’s way cheaper than buying jars at the grocery store.  Not only will you save a lot of money, but you know exactly what you are eating.

Getting Back In Shape

bike path 2013

As part of my New Years Resolution to lose weight in 2013, I plan on adding an exercise routine that is sure to melt the fat away.  The plan is to get to the bike path here in Bakersfield from my house, then get on the bike path by turning left, and then just keep riding until the path ends which is 16.5 miles out.  At that point I will take about 5 minutes or so to rest before turning around and coming home.

I have done this in the past, but instead of turning left, I’ve always turned right.  That route was only 22 miles round trip.  I wanted to continue, but I’d have to ride in traffic, which I didn’t want to do, to get to Hart Park.  On the way back to the bike path from Hart Park, I’d have to ride uphill, which I did not want to do because I didn’t want to wreck my thigh and calf muscles with too much hard work.  I’m no spring chicken, I have to do what I can to keep my legs strong, but at the same time not ruin them by exercising too hard.

My weight loss coach app called “Noom” will help me this time.  In the past I have used a cheap bicycle computer that I bought at Target, but it didn’t have all of the functions that Noom has, the only thing it can’t do is map my progress.  I do plan on using my bicycle computer to let me know how many miles per hour I am riding and to see what time it is since my phone will be tucked away safely in my camelbak, but I won’t rely on it for anything else.  It’s still a useful tool.

I have tools for fixing my tires, but the one tool that I don’t have that I will need is a Co2 pump and cartridges.  I have a regular hand pump, but I have carpel tunnel syndrome and my hands are getting worse everyday.  I have fingerless gloves that are made for people with carpal tunnel syndrome, but they won’t help my hands when I pump the tire.  The Co2 pump will be a great asset.

I also need bicycle shorts.  They have gel in the butt of the shorts which will help keep my butt from hurting, trust me, I’ll need it lol.  Nashbar has a pair of “Gel Ride Bib Shorts” that I can actually afford.  I will buy that when I get some money later in the week along with the pump and Co2 cartridges.  I’m almost positive that those are the last things that I have always been missing in my bike rides.  I will especially need them if I plan to ride 33 miles per day.

Just like always, I won’t be riding 33 miles on the first day, I will start at 10 miles, then add 1 or 2 more miles everyday until I get to 33.  And I will ride every other day to give my body the rest that it deserves so I don’t overwork myself.

Oh boy, this is going to be a lot of fun.  I can’t wait!

My Cloudy Lava Lamp (FIXED)

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I am a happy camper today.  I was at my wit’s end with this lava lamp because when I cleaned it, it didn’t work again.  It just sat there with the blob of wax sitting at the bottom and never doing anything.  This morning I just started adding more and more straw fulls of salt water and boy has it come back from the dead fast.  I mean, it’s night and day.

I posted this about my cloudy lava lamp and talked near the end about how done with it I was and that I was going to just get a new one, but I take it back now lol.  You can see pictures of my experience with the epsom salt.  It was a total nightmare!

So this is how I fixed my yellow cloudy lava lamp.  I dumped the water out, rinsed it out in the sink, added distilled water, then a drop of Avon body wash, made a mixture of 1TBSP of salt with a small glass of distilled water and stirred it.  I used a straw to add the salt water to the lava lamp, but I had to add a lot of straws full.  I think just keep adding it until you see it doing something.  Obviously if the lava is just sitting at the bottom it needs more salt water.  If it starts to kick up but doesn’t break away too easy, add more salt water.

YAY!  I finally got my lava lamp back to working!  My partner suggested to throw it in the trash and he’d buy me another one, but I don’t want another one, I want this one!  He bought it for me for Christmas 2011.  I also don’t like the idea of adding one more thing to the already overflowing land fills.  I know everything in it can be recycled, but I still wanted to try to get it working again.  I’m glad I succeeded!

Cloudy Lava Lamp (Updated)

lavalamp

I have enjoyed my lava lamp since I got it for Christmas last year.  It is my very first lava lamp and I sit at my desk chair sometimes staring at it for literally 10-20 minutes.  It is that interesting to me.  What is even more interesting, or probably more disturbing, is the fact that the water used to be crystal clear, and now it’s yellow.  I don’t know why it has turned yellow, but apparently it’s a common problem with lava lamps.

Here is my lava lamp in December 2011 when I first got it, and here it is now in January 2013 a year later.

 lava lamp december 2012 lava lamp january 2013

What a huge difference.  I wonder what would cause the water to turn yellow like that?  I never thought anything of it until I was browsing through the pictures in the My Pictures folder on my computer and came across it.  I then suddenly remembered how clear it used to be.  Naturally I went to Google to research it to see if anyone else has had this issue and to see if there was anything to do about it.  I did find several websites that mentioned it and even a solution.

Update: I deleted everything I had typed out before and retyped it.  I took out those links and here is why.  I followed their instructions which seemed legit to me because more than one website mentioned the same exact thing, but all it did was mess up my lamp.  Here is what it looked like after I tried their fix.

lava very cloudy from salt

I was devastated when this happened to my lava lamp.  The instructions were to let it cool so the wax was solid and open the top of the lava lamp and dump the water out into the sink.  Then put new water from the tap in and swish it around to get all the grease off the walls of the lamp which meant doing that a couple of times.  Then they said to fill it up with tap water and add a couple drops of dish liquid and add a mixture of epsom salt and water with a straw.  Those white flakes in the image to the left is the result of the epsom salt.

I let the lamp cool down and dumped the water out and added new water and more soap, but not the epsom salt and turned it on and there was still epsom salt in the wax at the bottom, so it took several times of rinsing it out to get it back to this…

lava afterI was thrilled beyond belief when the lava lamp was back to normal and the lava was rising.  But then it stopped rising and went back down and never went back up again.  What did I do wrong?  Like an idiot I mixed a tiny amount of epsom salt with a lot of water and added an inch full from a straw and I got that image from above again.  UGH!

That blew my mind that such a tiny amount of epsom salt would do the same thing as a bunch of epsom salt in a smaller amount of water.  I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.  I rinsed it out again and didn’t add ANY salt at all and the lava wouldn’t go up again.  I searched for more instructions because I really want this working again.  I found one guy who made a video and said don’t use too much soap because it will ruin your lava lamp.  He also said to use 1 tablespoon of regular table salt and use the straw to add it, which I did and it still won’t rise.

I’m not sure if every time I had to rinse it out and added more soap if the soap ruined the wax or what, but it’s not rising anymore at all.  I rinsed it out again and didn’t add anything and it is just not working.  I think I screwed it up beyond repair.

Of course I have questions, like did I use the wrong dish liquid?  It’s Palmolive anti-bacterial, maybe it didn’t have enough of the right ingredient.  Maybe I used the wrong epsom salt.  The epsom salt I have is generic and it’s hard as a rock.  I assume it’s because the ziplock bag it is in wasn’t manufactured properly because the zips don’t line up right so air gets in, maybe that’s why it’s hard, maybe moisture got in.  Perhaps if I bought a brand name epsom salt then it might work, but what if I bought some and tried it and it still messed it up?  What if, what if, what if…

Another update:  It works!  Here is a brand new post with a video.

Kinivo BTH220 Bluetooth Stereo Headphone

 

Kinivo BTH220 Bluetooth Stereo Headphone

My new headphones arrived today and I am beyond excited about them.  At first they didn’t fit me and I was ready to throw in the towel and pack them back up to ship back to where they came from, but I gave them another chance and now they fit me like a glove.

I watched a few YouTube reviews which I know I shouldn’t do because they almost always put the product down and compare them to higher end products, but these were okay and gave it a high rating for its price.  One guy said there was a bit of space where sound escapes or whatever, and that is true, it’s not air tight, but when have headphones ever been air tight?  Who cares!

I did call myself on the phone so I could see if I could hear it ring and I did and it answered like it was supposed to when I pushed the button.  So cool!  That’s the issue I had with my other phone when I was riding my bike.  It would be in my camelbak and I couldn’t get to it in time because I’d have to pull over and take the camelbak off and find it and by then the person hung up or was leaving a message.  Sometimes I’d have it in my pocket in my shorts, but it gets uncomfortable in there and I’m always afraid the phone will drop out as I’m riding and I will never even know.  Nobody ever calls me except for my partner, but he is why I have a cell phone, so if I’m out exercising on my bike, he will be able to get in touch with me, or if I have an accident I can call either him or 911 depending on the severity of the accident.

I activated the voice dialing feature and it asked me to choose between the voice dialer that came with the phone or Robin which is an Android’s Siri challenger (it’s free in the Google Play store).  I chose to use Robin by default because the voice dialer that came with the phone sucks.  It never recognizes what I say.  If I say “Call Home” it calls my friend Ruth lol.  At least Robin understands me.

The sound quality is actually amazing.  I pressed the button once and it automatically started playing music that I had on my phone.  I thought I would have to load the music but I didn’t.  It’s more amazing than I thought it would be.  I press the button once to start and stop the music and when it starts back up again, it continues where it left off.  I loaded Noom to begin an exercise and it started, but I could barely hear the voice talking, which is actually fine by me because I don’t want to hear how fast I’m going or how many calories I’m burning.  Surprise me!  I’m actually going to mute that during workouts.

The headphones are very good and I am so glad I bought them.  They are definitely going to come in handy when I begin cycling this Spring as my cardio to help me lose weight.  I normally ride 22 or 23 miles per day which is a bit much for some, but it’s enough for me.  It’s not too much, I could go more but I just don’t want to.  Obviously I haven’t tried them to receive a phone call on the bike because the bike is missing a back tube, but I will find out in a couple of months and I will try to remember to update this post.

I highly recommend these bluetooth headphones.  Mind you, I base my opinion on wearing them for 10 minutes so this isn’t really a review at all, it’s more of a hey it was awesome for the first 10 minutes, you should try it.

If you do have a pair of these, please do me a favor and comment and tell me how you like them and what you use them for.

Update: I wanted to give an update on these since I’ve had them for a week.  The instructions say to charge it fully, then let it drain completely, then charge it again and drain it again.  Holy crap, that is taking forever to do because the battery seems to go on forever.  I’ve already drained it once and that took at least 3 days to do.  I’m on day 2 of trying to drain the battery for the second time.  The way I’m doing it is to just play music all night long.  Well, it has an 8-hour battery right?  Well, 8 hours pass and it’s still going strong.  I use it the whole day and then play music all night again and it’s STILL going.

One of my concerns when I bought these headphones was that it wasn’t going to last my 2-3 hour bike rides, well that’s out the window because I could probably ride for 3 days straight before the battery died lol.  So no worries there for me now.  That’s actually a relief.  The box says 150 hour standby time and 8 hour talk time, so I’m just guessing that if you don’t use them too often, don’t expect to have to charge them more than once or twice a week, if that.  These are damn good headphones in my opinion.  So worth the $30 I paid.

Oh and one more thing.  The sound is AMAZING!  What is it that the annoying reality celebs say?  AMAZEBALLS?  Well, that it is.  The sound is so awesome and you don’t lose quality from that space between the headphone and your ear.  The headphones seem to be a bit stretched out more than it was when I first opened the package.  It goes back to being small, so it’s stretchy I guess lol.  Stretchy hard plastic.  Yeah.

I was watching a YouTube video with Karl Pfeiffer (Ghost Hunters Academy and Ghost Hunters International) and his voice sounds perfect.  It’s not too loud, it’s not too low, it’s exactly the way it should be.  Before I couldn’t watch his videos because the volume on my monitor sucks, same with my Chromebook.  I can finally hear him with these headphones.

Oh I was told in video reviews that you can fold it and put it in the little pouch that they included with the headphones, but they don’t recommend doing that because the plastic gets too loose when you try to fold it.  It stops snapping into place in other words.  So I’m going to take their word for it and keep them open at all times and never store them in the bag.  I’d rather they be in plain sight anyway.

That’s all for now.