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Pat Rieger




June 14th, 2017

Get to Be Computer Geeky

It's been a while since I have been able to really be computer geeky, but this past weekend my older son found an Asus Aspire laptop. He has just a 160 gig hard drive with Windows XP installed, so we need to take care of that. A friend of ours has a copy of Windows 7 for us, so I just need to get the hard drive. It's a SATA, which are inexpensive. At least 250 gigs in size will be good.

Duncan knows how to use a computer but not how to take care of one, so this is the opportunity to teach him. There were 73 updates to the OS installed and for MS Office 2007. We plan to get the family subscription to Office once we can afford it. Besides the OS and hard drive, there are some firmware updates.

I am the computer support in the family so it is up to me to get all of this work done, and I happily will.

June 7th, 2017

Picture Jupiter

A few years ago at the Christmas party of the astronomy club we are members of, I received a CCD camera that was designed for taking pictures of solar system objects.

Sadly the Mac drivers are not up to date so I can run them.

I have an old Dell laptop that has Windows 10 on it, and I used software to find the product key so I can install Windows 10 on my Macbook via Bootcamp. I hope it is the correct key.

The only obstacle I have now is I need a USB drive to install Windows, then I should be good to go.

I hope.

Then I can start imaging planets. I want to see if it would work on bright deep sky objects like the Orion Nebula.

This is going to be fun!

May 30th, 2017

Let's Do This!

Last Wednesday I had my wellness consultation at the Y and it went very well.

First we went over my goals, which are to lose weight and get back into the shape I was in a few years ago before I had to quit the gym. There were 3 sections for goal, each based on time range. Now up to 6 weeks, 6 weeks to 3 months, and beyond 3 months.

I have a family event to go to Labor Day weekend (assuming we can afford it), and my wife wants me to wear a kilt. In order to wear the kilt I need to shrink my waist back down to wear it was 5-6 years ago.

This requires a combination of change in diet and exercise.

The diet part has been changing at a moderate pace. We have been eating what we have and not restocking it, such as pancakes. We have more fruits in the place, and we need to get more veggies. If we had the required time to spend in the kitchen I wouldn't mind going vegetarian, but that can time consuming.

The consultant, Rubilyn, suggested lots of greens but don't forget a source of protein. She complained about lots of runners do not take in enough protein so they are becoming too thin. She herself eats every 3 hours.

After the talk we started with stretching, and then worked on free weights, kettle bells, weighted bars, and medicine balls.

Following that was the exercise machines. I had worked out with these before but after nearly 3 years I was rusty. But it came back to me pretty quickly.

Rubilyn was amazed at my strength, which I did not lose much of, it was my endurance I need to get back, as well as lose weight.

She said to lose weight it would be better for me to strength train.

Friday I took a Les Mills Sprint class. It lasted a half hour, and was pretty intense. I could feel I need to build up my strength here. 3 years ago during a sprint in Spin class I would be up to gear 23 or 24, but now I went no higher than gear 18.

Sunday we went to Open Streets Pittsburgh, and walked the whole course which according to my iPhone's Health app was around 5.5 miles. My legs were a bit sore, a lot less than I thought they would be. When I had my job downtown I went on an hour walk every day at lunch time, 2.2 miles. I miss those walks, they were very enjoyable, besides being a part of my exercise routine.

My wife mentioned today my belly looks to be shrinking, which is awesome. I am on my way.

May 24th, 2017

Got Back

Early Monday afternoon I headed down to the Y. I didn't make it in time for the Spin class, which is what I really wanted, so I headed over to an elliptical. I did 30 minutes on it, burning 413 calories in a little over 3 miles. I had added my information in so it would give a more accurate calorie count.

The nearly 3 years since I used such a machine was evident, I couldn't push myself as I once had, so I will need to build up to it.

Wednesday I have an appointment with a Wellness Consultant. My goal is to lose at least 20 pounds this Summer if not more. I want to get back to where I was 5 years ago, before I started to gain weight.

But I finally got back.

May 8th, 2017

In the craziness and busyness of life, and changes that happen, friends can stop seeing each other as often as they used to, sometimes to a crawl, sometimes to not seeing each other at all.

Tonight I got to see a few of them. Some of the Rennies, a group to which I happily and enthusiastically say I am a member.

As joyful as it was to see them, it was the circumstance that was not joyful. The funeral viewing of the mom/mom-in-law of 3 of them.

But despite that we were all happy to see each other and catch up a bit. One of them, who just lost his mom, brought up the point that we never did finish the project of making a new base for one of my telescopes so it sits higher. The group of us also talked jewelry, ren garb, and plenty of other things. We have missed each other.

The past few years I have gotten away from things that are precious and important to me. I have spoken a lot recently about one, exercise and being in shape, which I am now working on getting back to where I was. Now it's seeing the Rennies again.

May 7th, 2017

(no subject)

One of the traditions for my birthday since my wife and I met is to get a Cold Stone ice cream cake.

And it has a lot of calories!

When we first did this 6 years ago there were just 6 of us who ate it. I told my Spin instructor and he was made speechless, and he is not the type to left speechless my anything. So we made sure it was burned off, even 3 weeks after my birthday he was saying only I was to turn up the resistance, I was still burning off the cake.

In September 2014, due to our ailing financial situation, we had to quite the YMCA. No more regular exercise. I had said before I need to have a place to focus on exercise, and the gym is it.

As a result I have gained weight the last few years.

Yesterday I got to get back to Spin class, albeit for one day.

When my Spin instructor posted "Happy Birthday" on my Facebook timeline I commented that we had another of those cakes and I needed a Spin class to burn it off. He said he had me covered, and to be at the newest Y Saturday morning at 9. Of course I jumped at it!

I was very excited! Spin was always one of my favorite classes, and I missed it a lot. I was right up front. It took me a while to remember the settings for the bike, so it took some adjusting and testing before I got it right. It was a 50 minute class, and I could feel the nearly 3 years of no Spin. Of the 26 gears on the bike I Could get up to gear 24 before. The highest I got Saturday was 17. It took some effort to keep going too. But I did it. I felt like I was back a the Y downtown ready for 90 minutes of heart pumping, sweat inducing work. I felt like my waist was shrinking back down. It was an awesome experience. I need to keep it up.

April 21st, 2017

In this case it is not a place but my health.

In the 2 and a half years since my wife and I had to quit the gym for financial reasons I have gained weight. Being a Lyft driver doesn't help because of the nature of the work has me sitting for hours at a time. Regular exercise does not come easy for me at home with all of the things I need to do. I need a place where I can focus on exercise without distractions.

We have bought running shoes but the running hasn't happened yet. I will take time out of the work day and go for a walk. But for me that little bit isn't enough. I need intense exercise, especially cardio.

The family and I are started to go for evening walks, but they are irregular and not a consistent length.

So I have turned to another area I can make changes, my eating habits. I used to be very good with my food choices but in recent years I have slacked off. In the past week I have started to go back to what it was, starting with a drastic reduction in my sugar intake, especially Pepsi. I can easily say no to all other soft drinks but I have a hard time with Pepsi. After many hours of driving, which can get nerve wracking, a bottle of Pepsi tastes very good and helps me to relax. But it also has my pants fit tighter. Pepsi will be relegated to parties and evenings at the Harp & Fiddle.

Also my portion sizes are being reduced. Tonight I was reminded I need to be careful about that. I didn't eat enough and got a headache, and had to quit working earlier than I wanted. Came home to take 2 Excedrin and relax a bit before going to bed.

I need to lose 20-25lbs to be back where I used to be.

A number of years ago a friend of mine gave me old jeans to contribute to my collection of denim that I hope to make into a nice picnic blanket someday. They were size 8 and I could squeeze into them. They were not uncomfortably tight, but what belly I had was pushed up. Now I barely squeeze into 12s.

I want to go back to size 8.

April 4th, 2017

A few weeks ago my wife and I finally got running shoes. It is something we have been wanting to do for a long time, especially me who has lamented having to quit the gym a few years ago, and I have not liked the effects of not getting that regular intense exercise. Exercising at home is not a good replacement. I need a place I can focus.

Now I have running shoes and an app for my phone to help get started. Just need to find the ear buds.

However that did not stop me from going for an initial run/walk today for about 25 minutes, and it felt great. Just knowing I was finally doing brought my mood up a lot.

In the evening my young son and I went for a walk for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, which also felt good, besides spending the quality time with my son.

As a Lyft driver I make my own schedule, so I can stop working for a while and get some running in, and then get back to work. With the weather still cool I can get with it. Once the weather warms up, not so much.

But I am on my way.

March 11th, 2017

I have lots of books.

But I have little time to read them.

Life keeps me pretty busy. When I do have a chance to crack open a book it is late in the evening, and after a couple of page I am falling asleep.

The latest book I have started to read is SETI Pioneers: Scientists Talk about Their Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by David W. Swift. It is a book of interviews of SETI pioneers.

I haven't got far in the book, I am still working on the first interview, but is is very interesting so far, and a subject I have long been interested in.

January 30th, 2017

Another Connection Gone

Like so many people who have been divorced, there are many connections, links, to my previous marriage. As the years go by there are less and less. They can not go down to zero, at least in my case, as we did have a son together.

One of those links to the past passed away Friday night. My cat, Remus.

It was June 2001, and grad school was coming to a close. One day my ex received either a phone call or an email from one of her professors, Carla. Carla had found 2 kittens in her yard. She thinks they were dumped outside as they were very friendly, and wanted to come into her house. They were very hungry too. Carla would have taken them in, she was a cat person, but she was about to head to Greece for the Summer. All of the shelters were full. So she asked if we wanted them. Being the big softies for cats that we are, we said yes. Carla brought them into her garage, putting a carpet remnant into a box for them to lay in, and gave them food, and they ate a lot.

We picked them up the next day (I think, I know it was a short time after being asked). We asked our friends for name for these 2 brothers, and my ex-sister-in-law suggested Romulus & Remus. Those were the name we chose.

Romulus died in 2005 of an infection. We didn't have the money to take him to an emergency vet, so we planned to take him to a regular vet on Monday. He didn't last the weekend.

The next year my wife an I split up, and I took two cats, Hypatia and Remus. I couldn't afford two cats, and Hypatia was too wild for anyone else so my now late ex-parents-in-law took Remus in. 2 years later, November 2008, after I had Hypatia put down I got Remus back, the same day. My parents-in-law had both passed away by that time (first him, and then her), and their house was being cleared out. With Hypatia's behavior I needed to put her down anyway so this kicked me in the butt to do it. I put her down, and that same evening I went over to get Remus.

It was just him and me in my little apartment for a few years until my wife and I met.

A year later Remus got a kitty companion, Chelsea. They became very close, snuggling, grooming, both at open windows watching the animals and anything else.

Recently Remus was showing his age, not as energetic, thinner, slower, but still very much mine, and snuggled up to me at every opportunity.

But starting last weekend he showed a quick decline. Urinating just outside of the litter box. Hardly eating, hardly drinking. Not interested in treats. He wasn't as clean, he had major eye boogers. Thursday he went under Vaughn's bed and didn't come out. Friday it was obvious the end was close. I checked on him a lot, and watched him decline. It was obvious systems were shutting down. The smell was getting bad. Around 10:30PM he breathed his last. I was there when it happened.

The next day I took his body to the Animal Rescue League for disposal. We could not afford a burial, or cremation.

Chelsea doesn't know what to do with herself.

My 4 year old son doesn't understand. He spent 5 minutes on Saturday calling for Remus.

There are many connections from my old marriage I don't care to keep. Remus was not one of them. He was my kitty.
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