Ode to One Top Mom

May 25, 2013

I realize Mother’s Day is behind us, but I want to send a shout out to a mom who I see on a daily basis, but is not related to me, or is even human.  No, she is a mom who I’ve never talked to, or have even made eye contact with.  This mom is a goose, and she sits atop a nest on a small island in the middle of a pond along the Onondaga Lake Parkway.  Perhaps you’ve seen her, in all sorts of conditions, as you head towards the city on the parkway, just after you go beneath the railroad bridge.  If you were to quickly and safely glance to your right, you would see an island, a nest, and a goose perched on top.

Except today.  Today this proud momma was up and moving in front of a new group of goslings, slowly swimming around with the group following behind.

This made me think about how motherhood is both nature and nurture, some of it ingrained, some of it figuring it out as you go along.  There is maternal instinct of course, but this goose, to me at least, was a prime example to the great lengths a mother will go for her children.  Whether it’s your mom, or this goose, who had a difficult job before, but can’t even imagine what she’s up against now.


Posted by Big Mike on April 28, 2013

A few words about the Chinese buffet: just because it is an all-u-can-eat doesn’t mean u should. What usually starts out as a delicious sampling of many delicacies will turn into an awful mistake if you are not too careful. I am sure I am not alone. How many of you have stuffed yourself to the point of falling down right in front of the restaurant, not able to pick yourself up and you end up rolling to your car? And then you want to die? If I were in the mugging business, I would mug people leaving the Chinese buffet.  They will not fight and are not able to run away. A wise fortune cookie once warned not to eat so much that one could not escape danger.

The Chinese buffet is a challenge you will not win.  When you leave exhausted, there is more food then when you arrived.  Sure is hard to resist, especially when you are in a place where everyone is a big eater and you are not the fattest person in the joint.  Gluttony loves company.

Yet I have to admit I don’t understand why a Chinese buffet would have American foods on the trough. At a Chinese restaurant do we really need macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs or hot dogs and sauerkraut? Are Chinese chefs just trying to show off?

Question: is it possible to offer so much deliciousness for only 6.95?  The price is so cheap it makes me wonder about the quality.  They must be cutting corners someplace, but where? I don’t know. As Confucius said “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

Confucius also said: “To be truly happy and contented, you must let go of what it means to be happy or content.” Huh??

Chinese cuisine goes back thousands of years and China is a big, diverse country with all kinds of regional variations such as Cantonese, Hunan, Szechuan, Mandarin, Fuijan, Zhejang and more.  In Central New York we seem to have excellent Chinese food in every village and shopping plaza. There are small upscale restaurants, where every dish is made to order.  We have an abundance of take out shops.

And of course there are the buffets. But beware. As Confucius said: “You can lead a man to the buffet, but only a fool would select the macaroni and cheese.”

My Car, the Bird Bath Tank

April 13, 2013

I love nature.  Don’t get me wrong.  Perhaps it’s my compassion towards defenseless creatures.  More likely is my fear of what nature can do to me.  Regardless, as I write these words, my car is parked in the station parking lot, covered in bird, um, stuff.  Here’s my dilemma.

At home, our cars are parked next to a group of small pine trees.  Nestled inside, I’m sure, must be bird nests filled with eggs waiting to hatch.  Since our cars are parked within striking distance, it provides a perfect perch to watch over the nests, and do what birds do.  So as a result my car is covered with you-know-what.  I’ve been washing it off every day, but today didn’t have time.  My dark colored car looks strikingly like a zebra.

Making matters worse, is an issue with my exhaust.  Specifically my exhaust pipe, which has rusted through after less than three years and persistent cleaning of car under body.  I’ll be calling the muffler shop on Monday, but in the meantime, my small car sounds like a rumbling tank.  A bird-stuff-covered small, zebra-looking tank.

So, if you see me driving around in this vehicle, please be kind.  Soon enough my muffler will be repaired, the birds will hatch, and my car will be back to normal.  It’s just at the moment, I think the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile would be less conspicuous than what I’m driving right now.

-Keith, the weekend guy




Posted by Big Mike on March 29, 2013

I know it’s not too shocking when I tell you I LOVE to eat and it sure is wonderful that we have so many choices in Syracuse.  One of the best things to happen to us is the explosion of wonderful restaurants from all over:  Indian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Mexican, South American to add to our amazing long time Italian, Greek, Irish and French restaurants and All-American Diners.  You can pretty much eat your way around the world and never leave town. BUT our town is missing one of the all time great ethnic foods: Turkish!

There’s something about where Turkey is located, the bridge between Europe and Asia, that makes Turkish cusine a fusion of many delicasies.  Turkish food has a variety of nuts (pistachios, chestunts, almonds, hazelnuts, wlanuts), fruits (plums, approcots, apples, pears, grapes, figs), meats (lamb, beef, chicken, fish) added to eggplant, spinach, peppers, onions, garlic, lentils, beans, and tomatoes.  Yes, it’s got just about everything!  Add to that spices and oils from the East and West …. plus  lots of yogurt (what we now call Greek Yogurt may have originated in Turkey, “yogurt” is a Turkish word and it’s basic to many dishes.  In fact, the owner/founder of Chobani Greek Yogurt is Turkish-American Hamdi Ulukaya).  Turkish food has a diverse selection of pastries, soups, and bread.  And please do not forget Turkish Coffee!!

I’ve been to Turkish Restaurants when I travel out of town and I have enjoyed Turkish food at the Taste of Syracuse. If you know of a Turkish Restaurant around here, please let me know!!



Project 42: In Review

March 11, 2013

Marissa here (a behind the scenes girl here at Sunny 102) – and I just completed Project 42! Let me tell you a little about myself before I get into my journey on the program. I’m a 26 year old female, who let’s be honest – went a little food crazy during college (which is now 5 years behind me). I’d find myself at the dining hall with a plate full of chicken tenders, and I’d eat every single one of them. The all you can eat ice cream bar, that was my favorite. Since college, I’ve cut fast food out of my diet after reading “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser. I’ve never been a health nut, but I would say I’ve been health conscious. My lack of knowledge on what was good/bad to eat has been holding me back for years. I’d spout out all kinds of excuses over the last few years about why I wasn’t exercising… my bad knee (knee surgery twice), my bad back (due to my knee), no time (I work a TON), it’s cold out (like always), the list goes on. Finally, I was presented with a challenge – to join Project 42 at Well Rounded Health & Fitness.


In case you’re not familiar, let me summarize what Project 42 is. It’s 42 days of high intensity workouts (where no workout is the same every day) with cardio and strength training at Well Rounded Health & Fitness. In addition, you are given a customized diet (based somewhat on your blood type) that includes eating 5 meals a day. That’s what it is on paper in plain simple text… but what Project 42 inspires you to do, is much more than that.


Project 42 is about making yourself number one priority. It is about making friends with sacrifice and inconvenience. Project 42 is about building your extraordinary. Turning “I can’t” into “I can”, pushing through fear, self doubt and lack of focus to do what you have never done before, because the road to change is not easy, if it were, it wouldn’t be a challenge. Project 42 is about having a purpose, a reason why you are doing the project – and being able to mentally visualize it. If you can’t visualize it, you can’t be it. It’s about setting goals and achieving them.


It is NOT convenient to make a huge change. It is NOT easy to stay committed.


When you look at an unhealthy food, or when you want to skip the gym to sleep – you have to look at it as a choice to either move in a positive (north) direction, or a negative (south) direction. Every action has an outcome because behavior never lies.


This program helps you believe that you can do anything for 42 days.


I see the world in a whole new light now after completing Project 42. I now hear excuses like they are in bolded letters – and I try very hard to not let them slip out of my own mouth. “I want to lose weight BUT…” I’ve gotten that one a lot from people. Internally, I’m rolling my eyes – because I now realize there is NO excuse to not take care of your body. I now look at food differently, it’s now fuel for the fire – not for indulgence. Exercising isn’t a chore now, it’s an opportunity to make a better me.


In the last 42 days this is how I made friends with INCONVENIENCE:

  • I woke up at 5am (I’m not a morning person)
  • I went to bed at 9pm almost every night (I missed my tv shows)
  • I sacrificed time with family/friends (I missed out on fun activities)
  • Weekends were busy with food shopping, cooking, cleaning, and week planning (Pushing time management to it’s fullest)
  • I warmed up a meal on my car dashboard heater (well, I didn’t want it cold!)
  • I ate green beans and chicken at 11pm (had to fit in those 5 meals!)
  • I ate a salad with my fingers (I forgot a fork?)
  • I practically lived out of a gym bag for 42 days
  • I got bronchitis week 5-6 ( still went to the gym every day, wheeze and all)
  • I pushed myself harder in the gym than I ever thought possible (and sweat more than I ever thought possible too)

All in the name of making a BIG change.


At one point, probably around week 3 or 4 I started to feel a change in my mind and body. I felt more confident, more awake and healthier. My clothes were starting to fit different. Then, around week 4-6 everyone else started noticing. I have never been good with taking compliments, but the “you look great” comments were flooding in. To me, I saw myself every day and didn’t see the difference- so I was skeptic if they were just filler conversation, or sincere. Also I didn’t know what was the appropriate response? I just kept saying “I’m trying really hard”, because it was the truth.  Now that I see my end results, I realize that they were all sincere.


I can’t say enough kind words about every single one of the trainers at Well Rounded Health & Fitness… Jeramy, Kim, Rich, Kyle, Steve and even the intern Nick “Superman”. They’re there to push you to your 100% each and every day. They’re there to teach you about how the body works, how to properly do an exercise, to turn the dial up on every machine, to make you laugh even though you’re on the edge of puking, or to hand you a heavier weight because they believe in what you can do. I’ve never found myself in an atmosphere at a gym where everyone is encouraging, positive and always trying to take the next step. Working under Jeramy Freeman was an honor, he is an expert in his field and I take every word he says to heart. Jeramy has PROVEN that this system works, that he has the knowledge to lead you there and that he has the background to help you become your own extraordinary.


Also, I’d like to remark on how great the facility itself is. You know how they say “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover”? Well, I truly believe you can judge a gym by it’s locker room. I’ve done the Syracuse tour of gyms – tried many unmentioned facilities, but I have never come across one this nice! The locker rooms are upscale and equipped with lockers, showers, changing rooms, bathrooms, a SAUNA and a STEAM ROOM! There’s nothing better than pushing your hardest at the gym and then going in for some relaxing sauna time. Not to mention everything you need except a towel is there for you to use. Not only are the locker rooms nice, but there a variety of different cardio machines, a whole strength training room, an on-site massage therapist and a room where all the Project 42 magic happens. It’s clean, set up well, and most importantly to me – I never have felt like the odd man out. Often at other gyms, I feel like everyone’s lined up and staring at you, that has never been the case at Well Rounded Health & Fitness and I think it’s because we all have the same goal in mind, to live a healthier lifestyle.


Over the last 42 days, everyone doing Project 42 has become like a family. A group of people that realize that it takes hard work to accomplish anything worth achieving. We’ve stood by eachother when we’re pushing ourselves to the max, or when we need extra encouragement. We’ve shared recipes, and insightful words. Everyone is on the Iam WellRounded Facebook, so getting to see their daily updates lifts you up if you’re having a bad day because you see that there is a community of  people in the same boat as you, working for the same goals.


Project 42 isn’t about losing the most weight on the scale. It’s about re-sculpting your body and FEELING better… putting on muscle and losing body fat. It took me a while to understand that. My midway body comps were a little disappointing number wise (because I always strive for the best), but I was feeling great. Now, after the 42 days – I realize that it’s not about the numbers at all.


Below is a before an after picture of myself. Proving to everyone, that if you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything!