August 2021 was not so hot

I say this for two reasons:

  1. The weather simply wasn’t as perpetually scorching as it was in July, and today it barely climbed to 17C, which is below average for this time of year. We’ve had some actual precipitation. The bit of rain has been enough to revive lawns and take everything from tinder dry to just dry. Fittingly, the weekend promises more showers, so the FIRE DANGER signs may at last come down.
  2. In other not-so-hot news, COVID-19 numbers have been way up. The only good part here is that almost all infections are unvaccinated people (meaning the vaccines are working), and the numbers may have already plateaued. It’s still a bummer because we have clearly regressed when many thought the pandemic was finally beginning to wane when we moved to Step 3 on July 1st. Eventually we’ll be able to go back to something similar to how things were without requiring vaccines, vaccine cards, masks or deep sea diving helmets.

August 2021 weight loss report: Up 1.9 pounds

Whoops!

Now let me explain how I almost but not quite completely wiped out my gains from July.

Basically two things:

  • Two weeks of vacation where I did not overly pay attention to my calorie count
  • Various and random indulgences to celebrate breaking free of a job that I had come to no longer enjoy after many years

I feel bad, but not really bad.

September should be better, though, as I now have lots of time to exercise, I am already running again, and will be paying more attention to what goes in my gullet.

I remain donut-free.

The stats:

August 1: 176.2 pounds
August 31: 178.1 pounds (up 1.9 pounds)

Year to date: From 174.2 to 178.1 pounds (up 3.9 pounds)

Body fat (year to date):

January 1: 22.4% (39.1 pounds of fat)
August 31: 24.1% (42.9 pounds of fat) (up 3.8 pounds)

July 2021 weight loss report: Down 2.2 pounds

More good news for the second month in a row, woo. Actual weight loss that is just outside what I consider a rounding error: Down 2.2 pounds. Most of the weight loss came in the last week of the month, with a handy dip of 0.8 pounds just this morning.

Body fat is still going down, but slowly–but it is at least going down.

Sadly, I am still up for the year, but if I behave in August I may see actual weight loss for the year, which would be nice. I am trying to keep active despite the heat and possible wildfire smoke (they say it may arrive today, in fact).

Still, I am at a point now where I can see myself tracking toward 170 instead of away from it, then onward to that eventual, mythical goal of 150 pounds. I’ve done it before, so I can’t deny it isn’t possible.

I was also good and resisted buying cookies on sale this week. I was tempted, but the temptation waned quickly. Yay for me.

Stats:

July 1: 178.7 pounds
July 31: 176.5 pounds (down 2.2 pounds)

Year to date: From 174.2 to 176.5 pounds (up 2.3 pounds)

Body fat (year to date):

January 1: 22.4% (39.1 pounds of fat)
July 31: 23.9% (42.1 pounds of fat) (up 3.0 pounds)

A note on getting blood taken

If they fail to find a vein, repeatedly, on the same arm, the arm in question will end up being rather sore afterward.

I may know this from experience. Experience from today, let’s say. I won’t name the place because I am in a good mood, despite my arm-as-pincushion.

But yeah, the right arm, from which blood was successfully drawn, feels pretty much normal. The left arm feels like it’s been stabbed multiple times. Which it was.

Do not recommend.

The state of wearing masks and the pandemic, late July 2021

Sometimes I’ll read an article that nearly perfectly matches what I’m thinking, and this Atlantic article on wearing masks is one of them. It’s free to read, as is all of their COVID-19 coverage, so the link below should keep working. And yes, I did feel a bit weird reading at the end that the free coverage is in part due to sponsorship from the Chan Zuckerberg (re: Facebook) Initiative.

Case numbers in BC have doubled over the last two weeks, and are back into daily triple-digit territory. For me, it’s really simple, with Reason #1 being dominant–I don’t want to catch COVID-19. We simply don’t know enough about long term effects for me to be comfortable lowering my risk for the (admittedly welcome, but ultimately minor) benefit of going mask-free in public indoor spaces, especially transit.

4 Reasons I’m Wearing a Mask Again by Katherine Wu, The Atlantic

Max stats: Pandemic version

As of today, it’s been two weeks since I had my second Pfizer vaccination for COVID-19. This means I’ve reached about the maximum immunity granted by the vaccine, which is nice. I am free to drop wearing a mask in public indoor spaces, and in doing so would present only a minimal risk to myself or others. This is good.

But this is bad. The much more contagious delta variant is spreading at the same time that vaccinations are starting to stall out. A minority of the population who are hesitant to get vaccinated (for whatever reason) may undo a lot of what we have achieved in getting around 80% of the population covered. The thought is we may now need 90% or more–which seems unlikely.

There are few people who would not be tired of the pandemic at this point. I really hope that come fall I’m not reporting high case loads again and a renewed mask mandate.

As always, we will see.

(And for now I’m going to keep wearing a mask at least when using public transit. I’m pretty sure something like 90% of every cold, flu and other ailment I’ve gotten came from a fellow SkyTrain or bus passenger, so it’s totally worth the minor inconvenience.)

It’s BC “Masks are recommended but not mandatory” Day!

It’s also Canada Day, though celebrations have been tempered (to put it mildly) by the ever-growing discovery of mass graves of children at former residential schools, which were Canada’s answer to “Yes, we as a nation can be as racist and horrible as any other!”

But that is quite another discussion. This one is still political, in a way, but not as straight-up horrible.

It is about masks.

Today, the BC government is lifting the provincial state of emergency that has been in place since March 2020, and is also moving to Step 3 of its re-opening plan. This lifts a lot of restrictions, though for a lot of people, it will come down to one big change:

Masks in indoor public spaces are going from mandatory to recommended.

Today when I was out and aboot, I still saw people in my condo complex and out in the park and on sidewalks wearing masks, so I suspect a lot of people will still wear them even if they don’t actually need to. My own plan is to wear a mask where it seems sensible (I think you don’t need them outdoors unless you’re in the middle of a mosh pit or something) until a couple of weeks after my second vaccine shot. I get the shot on July 4, so that would mean wearing a mask until about mid-July. I also suspect that once we enter flu season in the fall and assuming masks are still by choice, I will don one when riding the petri dish of germs and maladies known as public transit, because I am pretty sure that’s where most of my bouts of flu and colds have come from. I’ll also keep washing my hands a lot (washing when I come from outside is now as automatic as locking the door behind me).

All this is assuming our recovery stays on track. There are fears the very contagious delta variant will derail things. If I could, I’d squeeze another train metaphor in here. On the plus side, we are nearing 80% vaccinated in BC, so we should be close or possibly even ta herd immunity now.

Time will tell.

Sunblock is gross, but handy

During our now legendary “heat dome” event that unofficially ended yesterday (today’s high was a relatively bone-chilling 27C) I opted to do something I almost never do–wear sunblock. And it worked really well. Even as I strolled about in 42C heat and sweated like a very sweaty person, I remained burn-free and am as shimmeringly pale as ever. You’d never know I’d been out of my ice cave!

Anyway, I feel like I am somehow getting more sensible as I get older. Will sunblock leave my exposed skin feeling vaguely sticky and gross? Will dust, grit and small animals adhere to it as I spend time outdoors? The answer is yes, but it doesn’t matter, because it’s better and healthier to avoid a nasty sunburn. Sensible!

I’m also thinking about getting new socks and underwear. I won’t say the prospect of this excites me, exactly, but it is perhaps a little enticing.

Don’t worry, though, I still don’t see bingo as an entertaining recreational activity. Yet.

June 2021 weight loss report: Down 0.3 pounds

The good news is I was down, even if it was only what amounts to a rounding error.

The better news is my body fat, although still up for the year, has started coming down more noticeably over the past month, so even though I am largely in a holding pattern, I’m at least starting to trend in the right direction.

I also stayed cookie and donut-free this month. I did have some snacks, though. I’ll beat myself with a wet noodle later. Then try not to eat the noodle.

For July, I plan on applying a firmer hand to food intake and get some daily exercise, whether it’s walking, running, flapping my arms or something else.

Stats:

June 1: 179.8 pounds
June 30: 179.5 pounds (down 0.3 pounds)

Year to date: From 174.2 to 179.5 pounds (up 5.3 pounds)

Body fat (year to date):

January 1: 22.4% (39.1 pounds of fat)
June 30: 23.6% (42.4 pounds of fat) (up 3.3 pounds)

A list of observations gathered while strolling in 42 °C weather

It hit 42 °C today, which breaks the old high temperature record by an impressive 11 degrees. Tomorrow’s high is forecast at 35, which will feel almost mild in comparison. I decided to go for about a 15-minute walk down to the park when it hit 42, just to see what it felt like. My observations, in handy list form:

  • Opening the front door of the condo building is like opening the grate on a furnace
  • The breeze feels like it is burning my face
  • My eyes are hot; this feels hugely weird
  • Heat radiates from the pavement, less so from the sidewalks
  • After about five minutes, the metal on my Apple Watch is starting to get hot against my skin
  • I am sweating like I am running, yet I am merely walking
  • Kids are still running around and screaming; presumably they are magically immune to heatstroke
  • The idea of going for my usual 7+ km walk today seems equal parts foolish and ludicrous–I do not go
  • Coming back and opening the door to our condo unit and getting hit by the cool breeze of the air conditioner is really, really nice. Like, super mega-nice.
  • I secretly wonder if I’ll be finding out what it feels like when the temperature goes above 42 °C–and how soon that might be
  • At least I don’t live in Lytton

Quote on Lytton from CBC News today:

As of 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Lytton had hit 47.9 C, according to Environment Canada. For context, that’s hotter than the hottest temperature ever recorded in Las Vegas, at about 47.2 C, and almost eight degrees higher than Lytton’s record high before this year.

Africa hot: 2021 edition

We are in the first day of a heat wave that is being caused by a ridge of high pressure so strong it’s said to cause a “heat dome” over the area, not only keeping it hot, but making it even hotter still as the hot air gets trapped, recirculates and gets hotter.

The high today was 33 °C. I went for a walk at 8 p.m. and it had cooled all the way down…to 31.

I am not inclined to complain about the weather as you can’t do anything about it, and we have AC here, so it’s really not that bad if we stay inside. But yes, it is hot indeed out there.

I wonder how many more heat domes await us in the future.

The 10-day forecast for New Westminster (normal high would be 23°C):

Thoughts on food

I have been thinking about food a lot the past two days, but unlike most previous days this year, the thinking has not been followed by eating. I’ve also gone out for two walks and even ran a bit today despite it being 29C. Hopefully I can keep this up and get the flab under control. If not, I am putting in for a sexy robot replacement body.