jcollie719: (Collie Wink)
 After work on Sunday, I went to a barbecue in Colorado Springs at one of the cruiser's homes. The home has an outdoor pool, but I hadn't brought my bathing suit. Instead, I just had a couple of hot dogs, along with beers and chicken salad. I drove one of the cruisers to a local hotel so she could take a shuttle to the airport. After driving back to the Magnolia Hotel in Denver, I slept for about five hours. I tried to listen to The Rabbit Hole and Doggy Radio last night, but the streams kept buffering on the hotel's wifi. I gave up after about 30 minutes then went back to sleep.
jcollie719: (Jerzei head)
Bucktown Tiger visited Colorado this week. I had dinner with him and his wife Thursday at the Ritz Grill. I hadn't seen Bucktown in person since Furry Fiesta 2015.

My mini-vacation with the cruise reunion group in Denver began Friday afternoon. I checked into the Magnolia Hotel around 1 PM. I had bought a portable DVR to record some of the programs on the stations I can't get in Colorado Springs. The hotel has WiFi, but my room doesn't have an Ethernet connection, which the DVR requires. I didn't know my room had both a refrigerator and a microwave. I had bought a couple of meals for work which don't require refrigeration. Last night, I walked to dinner at a rooftop restaurant and bar. I had already eaten dinner at my dad's house, so I just got a plate of sweet potato fries and a few chocolate martinis. Walking back to the hotel, I bought two bottles of water at 7-Eleven, both for me and my APAP.

This afternoon, I'll go with the reunion group to the Mile High Wine Fest, followed by dinner at the Thirsty Lion. I was greeted at work by the smell of burnt coffee. The Friday evening DJ forgot to turn off the coffee pot before leaving.
jcollie719: (Default)
I booked my hotel room yesterday for Furry Fiesta 2018, and booked a room today for the Denver cruise reunion. I will ask a co-worker at KRCC if he can come in at noon on the Saturday and Sunday of the reunion. This way, I'll only need to make up five hours of lost time during the next KRCC membership drive in October. Working an additional 17 hours during the drive will make up for missing work during Furry Fiesta. The Denver hotel only had rooms available for July 7-9. If I'm unable to get a room for an additional day, I will need to find someone else with bed space for Sunday night or check out around 4 AM Sunday since I will be working until the noon check-out time.
jcollie719: (Jamie pawpet)
My federal tax refund will be deposited into my account on Wednesday.

One of the upsides to gaining weight on vacation is that I usually lose it again fairly quickly. My weight the night before the trip was 313, and I weighed 324 when I got home. A week later, I'm down to 317.

The July cruise reunion in Denver will be much easier and more affordable for me. Depending on which activities are added to the schedule, I will likely only book a room at the hotel for Saturday and Sunday nights. The preliminary schedule shows the group will mainly do sightseeing during the day and have dinner and drinks at night. I could just drive to Denver and back on Thursday and Friday nights, then check into the hotel after work on Saturday. I will ask the announcer who follows my shift if he can come in at 11:30 or noon on that Sunday so I can attend a barbecue hosted at a cruiser's house in Colorado Springs.
jcollie719: (Jamie pawpet)
 My Washington, DC vacation started out a bit shaky but quickly got much better. Since my tax refund -- around which I budgeted my trip -- won't arrive until next month, I applied for a $1,500 loan through the Lending Tree website in the week before the trip. A local branch of One Main Financial completed the loan and said the money would be in my account on Thursday, the day I flew out to Washington. My mood was dampened a little Thursday morning when I got an e-mail from Lending Tree saying the loan wasn't approved. I greatly reduced my spending that day, then got an e-mail that night from One Main saying the loan actually was approved and the money was in my account!

My first flight from Colorado Springs to Chicago was very peaceful because no kids were on it. I had a cup of orange juice and a stroopwafel on the flight, then got a tomato and mozzarella sandwich and a bottle of water during the layover in Chicago. There was a kid on the flight from Chicago to DC, but it didn't make a lot of noise.

The singles group went to Whitlow's restaurant in Arlington for dinner Thursday night. I had a barbecue bacon cheeseburger, chocolate cake for dessert and a rum-and-coke. Instead of separate checks for each person, the restaurant gave checks to each table of 5-6 people. I didn't have any cash on me at that point. The bill for the table was $120; the others at the table offered to reimburse me if I paid for the table with my credit card. I figured this would still leave me with enough money left on the card for the hotel and one or two nights of dining, along with cash in my wallet (This was a few hours before I learned my loan was approved.)

Taking the subway back to the hotel, I thought the train's announcer was beatboxing and calling himself "Willie Rest-In-Peace." Looking at the signs, I realized he was saying the train was headed toward the "Wiehle-Reston East" station and the "beatboxing" was just the announcer clumsily putting the microphone in its holder.

The day started with a group tour of the Capitol building. There was nothing really going on since Congress wasn't meeting at the time. The group had lunch in one of the Dirksen Senate Building's cafes (I had chicken and fries.) A member of our group took us on a tour of the Senate's TV and radio studios.

The group went to Chadwick's bar before the dinner cruise. The cruise went up and down the Potomac river. I had the parmesan chicken for dinner. After the cruise, the group took an Uber ride to the Crystal City Sports Pub near the hotel. The pub was too crowded, so the group went down the street to Bar Louie instead. I had a couple of s'mores martinis.

I wasn't able to sign up in time for the White House tour (The deadline had passed before I committed to go on this vacation.) I was told the group would meet at Arlington Cemetery for a bus tour at 1 PM. I took the subway and got there by about 12:50. I waited inside the visitors center and asked the group on Facebook when/where the group was supposed to meet. When I didn't get a response by 2:00, I headed back to the hotel.

That night, the group had a few drinks in the hotel bar, then headed down the street to Ted's Montana Grill for dinner. I had a "Red Rock" bison burger and some "Mountain Breeze" martinis (no relation to the Mountain Dew knockoff from Safeway.)

I got back to the hotel around 10 PM, then played some of the games on Steelwoulfe's Jackbox stream for a couple of hours.

The group had a brunch buffet at the Crystal City Sports Pub. I got some andouille sausage with peppers and onions, some biscuits with chipped beef, and a mimosa. My ankles had blisters from all of the walking I'd done so far. I decided to just have two of the instant pasta cups I packed for lunch, then had dinner later in the hotel's restaurant. I couldn't stay up to listen to all of Doggy Radio because I needed to get some sleep before my flights.

United Airlines had given me two one-time passes to their "United Club" lounges for this trip. I had a two-hour wait at both DC and Chicago's airports, so I visited the lounges at both locations. I had a light snack at each location, along with coffee in Chicago. My flight from Chicago to Colorado Springs left about 40 minutes late. There was a loud kid a couple rows in front of me on this flight. I had eaten an edible before the flight, so I was thankfully relaxed and unaffected by the kid. The flight wasn't too far behind schedule, arriving 10-15 minutes late.

I thought I had lost weight during the vacation due to all the walking I did because the planes' seat belts fit comfortably on all of the flights. When I got home, I saw I had gained 11 pounds. I don't know if I have less body fat than before or United recently installed longer seat belts. I've had to request seat belt extensions on many of my past United flights, but none this time.

Another cruise reunion is scheduled for July in Denver. That will be much easier and cheaper for me.
jcollie719: (Luigi)
I just ordered a new cushion for my APAP mask. I'm supposed to replace the various parts every 3-6 months, and I've had the APAP for about 7 months. I'm doing a better job of keeping the mask clean since not cleaning it can cause the mask to leak, affecting my sleep.

KRCC's membership drive starts tomorrow. I signed up to answer phones in the morning and late afternoon. I will check the phone volunteer log to see if there are other shifts that need to be filled.  Signing up for another 5 hours would completely make up for the time I'll miss during next month's vacation.

Just 29 days until my cruise reunion in Washington, DC.
jcollie719: (Collie Wink)
I'm getting a larger-than-usual tax refund in a few weeks. This year, I'm able to write off more of my medical expenses.

Saturday marks 40 days until my singles cruise reunion in Washington, DC. I got a hotel room by myself, but I'll offer to share the room/cost with someone (either specific dates or the whole weekend) since the rooms have two double beds. For the KRCC membership drive in two weeks, I need to sign up for 5-6 phone shifts to make up for the work days I'll miss next month.
jcollie719: (American Flag)
This year's Spring membership drive at KRCC will be in early-April instead of late-April (actually starting on March 30th.) This means I will be able to attend the singles cruise reunion in Washington, DC at the end of April. I reserved a hotel room and booked the flights, using my frequent flyer miles to save money on the flights. I missed the deadline to get a spot on the group's White House tour, but there are other sites I'll be able to visit. I haven't been to DC since I was a teenager.
jcollie719: (Turtle Farm)
1. Singles cruise (yes!)
2. Furry Fiesta and RMFC (yes!)
3. Get a fursuit (yes!)
4. Get (and keep) my weight below 300. (no.)
5. Stick to a schedule for certain duties (taking out the trash, checking the mail, etc.) or just stop putting things off until the last minute. (no.)

It felt very good to finally meet some goals that were financially impossible before. I finally have a collie fursuit, though I still need to arrange for its maker to make an adjustment or two so it fits properly.

This year, I began sessions with a new therapist. I hadn't seen a therapist since my former one retired in 2014. I had a few medical issues, including an infection which caused my lower lip to swell up. I finally asked a doctor about being tested for sleep apnea and now have an APAP machine to help me sleep better.

2017 GOALS
Weight below 280
Second vacation (BLFC or DC singles reunion)

The second vacation goal might not be possible if the singles reunion is the same weekend as KRCC's spring membership drive.
jcollie719: (On Air light)
I know this is late for Thanksgiving, but I'm thankful that I still have my weekend radio job. Back in June, I was informed the station would become automated eventually on weekends. Either the process is taking longer than expected or (hopefully) management decided to cancel that plan. I'm glad my Saturday shift was moved back to mornings so I can attend more weekend meetups. I initally wanted a shift starting at 9 or 10 AM so I could still sleep in, but I'll take the earlier start and extra hours!

Sometime in January, I should know whether I can attend a singles cruise reunion happening in April. I hope the reunion will not be the same weekend as the radio station's membership drive.
jcollie719: (Panda Kigurumi)
I'm looking at the conventions/vacations I want to do in 2017 and seeing which ones I should attend or skip. I likely could only afford Rocky Mountain Fur Con and one other choice. A third option may open up if any Colorado furs could give me a ride to and/or share a room at Furry Fiesta or BLFC. I have plenty of frequent flyer miles saved up to pay for the airfare to one of the destinations.

March: Furry Fiesta
-- I've attended this con four times since 2010. The past two years allowed me to see several furry musicians live. TFF allowed me to meet many of my online friends in person when I first attended. The availability of food trucks and some restaurants within walking distance is excellent.

April: Singles Cruise reunion in Washington, DC
--I haven't been to DC since 1984. The singles group is debating whether to stay in a hotel in DC or the Virginia suburbs near a subway line. One of my brothers lives in Alexandria.

June: Biggest Little Fur Con
--This would be my first time at BLFC. All the positive feedback I've heard about the con and the resort hotel have made it tempting for me. The resort has lots of activities available like bowling and go-carts.

August: Rocky Mountain Fur Con
--RMFC is the only definite con on my list for 2017. It's only an hour's drive away for me. If worst comes to worst financially, I could share a hotel room to save money. Sharing a room with a handler would be good since my fursuit should be finished by then.
jcollie719: (Buster Sheep)
I was in South Dakota over the weekend. My singles cruise group held a reunion in historic Deadwood, with most of the group staying in the Bullock Hotel or the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid suites nearby.

I initially planned to leave home at 5 AM Thursday and arrive in Deadwood around 3 PM. I left at 5:30 instead, but took shorter rest breaks to arrive around 1:30.

The group's "host suite" just down the road from the hotel hosted a cookout Thursday night. On Friday, the group went on a monuments tour, including Mount Rushmore, the unfinished Crazy Horse monument and the Needles Eye. We also drove through Custer State Park and encountered burros, buffalo and other wildlife.

Saturday night was the final night of the Days of '76 Rodeo. The group took the Deadwood Trolley to the rodeo grounds. There was a long line for the trolley after the rodeo, so most of the group walked the roughly 0.8-mile route back to the hotel.

I'm still uploading my photos and videos from the trip to my computer.
jcollie719: (Collie Puppet)
My physician called me this morning with the results of my blood test.  My Vitamin D level is in the low part of the "normal" level.  I was told to double the amount of over-the-counter Vitamin D that I take.  After slacking off on this for a while, I've resumed keeping track of the foods/calories I eat.  I really want to get back below 300 lbs. before the end of the year.

I bought a few more items for my upcoming trip to Deadwood.  The hotel's Web site states the rooms have coffee makers.  I got a few instant meals, along with mini cereal boxes and protein shakes.
jcollie719: (Panda Kigurumi)
Vacation countdown:
43 days until my Singles Cruise reunion trip, 58 days until Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2015, and 275 days until Furry Fiesta 2016!

Pre-registration for Furry Fiesta will open in about a week. Last week, I booked my flights to and from Dallas since the prices were low.
jcollie719: (Turtle Farm)
Today marks:
120 days until my Singles Cruise reunion in South Dakota
135 days until Rocky Mountain Fur Con

The trip to Deadwood, SD (about 450 miles) will be the second-longest car trip I've taken by myself.  The longest was my trip to Oklacon 2011 (525 miles.)  This trip should take around 9-10 hours, including 2-3 rest/meal stops.

I got a political robo-call yesterday.  Calls like this are annoying enough, but this one had a guy yelling about taxes, jobs, etc. before shouting his endorsement for one of the mayoral candidates.  I've already sent in my mail-in ballot, and I definitely didn't plan to vote for this candidate even before the call. EDIT: According to the Gazette, the phone message was actually against the candidate.  I had hung up halfway through the call so I didn't hear the rest of it.
jcollie719: (lunchiesdogangl)
It's hard to believe I was in Florida just 12 hours ago. There were a couple of weather-related delays on the trip home. I was supposed to arrive back at DIA at 11:15 PM, but I got in around 1 AM.

Saturday: EPCOT at Disney World
The wait time for the Soarin' ride was 120 minutes, so the group decided to skip it. I had been on the Soarin' ride at California Adventure back in 2001. Instead, we saw the "Circle Of Life" film featuring Timon, Pumbaa and Simba from "The Lion King."
Briefly walked through the "countries" before stopping in the Mexico section for lunch. After lunch, the group went back and spent more time in the other country sections.
We ended the EPCOT trip on the "World of Tomorrow" ride inside the huge disco ball at the entrance. I got a video postcard of the trip sent to my e-mail. Unlike Universal, there were more rides I could actually ride.

Saturday's dinner was at Dick's Last Resort. This chain of restaurants features intentionally rude/obnoxious staff who put bibs and paper hats on the customers, then write insults on each hat. My hat had "My mommy still dresses me." Some of the group previously said they didn't plan to go to Dick's due to the "crappy food and attitude." I liked the food, and the "attitude" is about the same as attending a Don Rickles show or Friars Club roast (It's all in fun.) I had ordered a 45-ounce margarita with my chicken fried chicken, only drinking from one of the two straws in case I needed help finishing it. Either my alcohol tolerance is stronger, the amount of ice in the drink watered it down or my food soaked up most of the alcohol. I got to keep the glass as a souvenir (More like a trophy!)

The group held a pajama party Saturday night. I brought the batch of bacon chocolates I made at home. I forgot to label them or tell anyone what they were (I had put them in a Whitman's box,) so not many people tried them.

The group had breakfast at Denny's on Sunday, then people with later flights brought their luggage into the room of a group member who was staying an extra day so we could hang out at the pool.

There were a few notes I made on planning and packing for future reunions:
* Individually list medications I need to pack. I forgot to pack Zyrtec and acid reflux pills.
* Budget $15-20 for each breakfast, $30-40 for lunch and $40-50 for dinner.
* Ask others about possible rides to/from the airport before booking an airport shuttle.
* Get weight below 250 lbs. and waist below 48 inches to fit in more amusement park rides and airplane seats.
* Factor an extra $50 into room price when splitting cost between roommates.
* For Orlando trips, plan to stay until Monday to visit FPS.

I will definitely wait until I can really afford it before going on another trip like this.
jcollie719: (lunchiesdogangl)
Starting Friday with a stuffy nose made me realize I forgot to pack a bottle of Zyrtec allergy pills. I got some Benadryl from the resort's convenience store.

After flying in to Orlando on a red-eye flight Thursday, I napped for a few hours. The cruise reunion group had dinner that night.

To be continued as I'm starting to doze off.

(The above was written on Friday night.)

On Friday, some of the reunion group went to Universal Islands of Adventure. I was hoping to ride The Hulk roller coaster. The rides with shoulder restraints have a couple of test seats at the ride entrance to see if people will fit into them; I didn't fit into the seats for three of the rides since the safety belts were 2-3 inches too short for me. That's quite ironic that a ride would be named after a character that wouldn't be able to fit in the ride (at least when he gets mad!)

I finally found two rides that could accommodate me, the Spider-Man ride and the Cat In The Hat ride. At the end of the park visit, the group (including me) went on three of the water rides.

I am disappointed that I missed out on riding some of the rides, but that will definitely motivate me to stick to my diet and exercise plan so I can fit into the rides the next time I go.

Thursday night's dinner was at Tu Tu Tango. The group hoped to get into Howl At The Moon before 10 PM, but there was a private event going on until then. We killed some time at the Hooters next door until Howl let us in.

After the Universal trip on Friday, I went back to the resort where the group was staying to shower and change clothes. I returned to Universal later to meet the others for dinner at Margaritaville at Universal City Walk.

Bah! Dozing off again. I'll wrap up my weekend in a day or two.
jcollie719: (Collie Puppet)
Weekly calorie average: 1,729.3
Days above 2,000 calories: 2 (2,250 and 2,010)

I was nervous about whether I could actually afford my upcoming vacation since a few more expenses popped up about a month ago. The cruise reunion organizer said he was looking for roommates (and named some of the people interested) to split the cost of a two-bedroom suite. To me, that sounded like he had already reserved and paid for the suite. Instead, he messaged me toward the end of April asking me to book the suite; he paid me half of the room cost. When I called the resort, I was told the only suites remaining were one-bedroom suites. The organizer and I will stay in the suite all three nights, with another person staying Thursday night and one more staying Friday and Saturday.

I made four different budget plans for the four-day/three-night stay, ranging from $372-880. The lowest plan would involve buying some mini cereal boxes and juices for breakfasts, and not going to Universal Islands of Adventure.

I didn't get any bids on the necklace or organic soaps I listed on eBay. Those would have given my budget some breathing room.
jcollie719: (Polar Bear Xing)
Last week's calorie average: 1,822.1
Days above 2,000 calories: 1 (2,110)

For once, I'm actually voluntarily playing the song "Insomnia 2k13" instead of having it randomly playing online when I decide to stay up.

Just nine days until I go to Orlando for vacation!
jcollie719: (I Ruff You)
23 days until the cruise reunion! I picked up a few items I needed for the trip today, including some Cadbury bars for making the bacon chocolates I plan to bring. I brought my change jar to the credit union beforehand, putting over $23 in my account. I went over my packing lists for conventions and cruises to make sure I've got everything.

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