Friday, February 29, 2008

Say that Again?

Here's a picture of our fruit bowl, just after getting back from the grocery store and putting things away. (We have strawberries in the fridge, as well as some frozen blackberries and raspberries.)

In our fruit bowl are three bananas, (one ripe and 2 a little less than ripe) one avocado, three mirabelle plums, 2 red "delicious" apples (which I think aren't very, and Thomas likes quite a lot. I'm more into the granny smith or Macintosh varieties.) and three Grāpples.

Well, what the heck is a grāpple, you might ask.

Good question. Apparently it's an apple that's been soaked on grape flavoring. Not even real grape juice, just artificial grape flavoring.

(As a note, it's pronounced Grape - el, not grapple as in to "wrestle or grasp".)

I'd seen them in the store a few times, but we've always passed them up. They're sold in little plastic cartons of four grapples apiece. For $5.99. That's right... that's $1.50 per grapple. Most of the rest of the apples at our grocery store range from ~$.62 each to $1.01 each... and they're cheaper if you buy them in a bag, or on sale. ( Generally speaking, at least one brand of apple is on sale every week. )

This time, Thomas noticed them. He picked up the little sealed package and turned it over several times, trying to figure out what it was... Finally, he sighed and said "Well, interesting idea, but they're pretty spendy." I countered with, "If you want to try it, we can... one of the bits of advice I'm constantly being given for sticking on plan is to try new things. You never know when you'll find something you like." (I used this particular advice on the mirabelle plums, which are, by the way, fantastic! If a bit wet and sticky.)

I had one this morning, as part of my morning snack. A grāpple is about 90 calories, with 3 grams of fiber, so standard for an apple. They do smell very much like grapes. Concord grapes, as a further matter of fact, which are my favorite kind of grape. The skin is yellow and red, giving the grāpple a not-quite-ripe look, and as it was enclosed in the little plastic package, hard to get a good look at in-store. There were numerous little nicks and blackmarks over the skin (I tried to take a picture of these, but my camera is not so good with the close-up shots.) and I might not have selected these in the store if I could have seen the marks, but they didn't penetrate the skin, so the fruit underneath wasn't bruised or bad. (Or bruised in the middle, which seems to be a horribly weird side effect to force-growing fruits, and I don't like it one bit. I don't want my apple to look perfect on the outside and sort of brown and fibrous in the middle.)

The grape smell was a lot stronger than the grape taste. (In fact, the smell is so strong that it's clinging to my hands over an hour later. I'm not sure I care for that too much.) Mostly, it tasted like an apple. Same crunch, same apple-taste.

I wasn't all that impressed, and at $1.50 each, I probably will not be buying them again, unless they prove a bigger hit with Darcy and Thomas.

Thomas's boss's boss, Shreyas, kept him over two and a half hours late on Wednesday for a meeting to address the issue of people quitting left, right and center from EFC. ("Wait, wait, let me get this straight... Shreyas kept everyone two and a half hours PAST quitting time to discuss WHY people were quitting?? Did anyone point out the obvious to him? Or like your two and a half percent raise that still doesn't bring you up to the MINIMUM of the pay range they were originally offering for the position?") which has screwed our week up royally. Wednesday is our normal grocery shopping day, but by the time Thomas got home, it was past dinner time, and if we'd gone to the store first, we wouldn't have eaten until at least 8:30... and then Thursday is one of our walking nights...

Thinking we might not get our walk in last night, I decided to do some free weights yesterday... I did 20 each of 7 different free weight exercises and 10 crunches and 10 pushups. It took me about 15 minutes to do them, and while it was only a 3 pound weight (in each hand), I was shaking by the end of some of the reps. Gotta work on that, I expect. Of course, Thomas came home early (not much early, like maybe 20 minutes) and we went for our walk promptly. Being in a bit of a hurry, since we needed to do the grocery shopping, I walked at his pace instead of him walking at mine, which meant we did the whole 2.2 miles in a little less than 27 minutes. Which is a good deal faster than I like to walk. (That's a 12 and a half minute mile... sheesh, no wonder I was out of breath and a little footsore last night. Literally, when I went to bed, the heel of each foot was painful to the touch.) He did the whole walk pulling Darcy behind him in her wagon (she was walking with us for a while, but ended up with such bad blisters on the back of her heels that I'm letting her ride for a while until they heal up.) so I suppose I shouldn't complain.

But then we got home and turned around and went right back out to do the grocery shopping, so I didn't get much rest, either.

On the other hand, Thomas brought me these yesterday... aren't they nice?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

You Deserve the Limelight

A few months ago, I discovered something about myself. I'm a fan of limes.

You'd think it wouldn't take til I was nearly 36 years old to figure this out, wouldn't you? Heh.

Several years ago, my friend Carol got addicted to those Hint of Lime tortilla chips, but I couldn't stand them. From that, I decided that I must not like lime much (It's not like lime stuff had come up in my life much before that... lemons, yes. Oranges, yes - I hate oranges, but it had at least come up. Grapefruits, yes - ditto on grapefruits! YUCK!)

That's all beside the point, I suspect. Didn't know limes were my thing. Until one night, we were eating out at Don Pablo's and I got the Carnitas meal, which is an assemble it yourself taco with pulled pork, avocado, tomato, onion, and lime wedges. I always have liked the assemble it yourself stuff, it's fun to play with my food at the table. And I was in the mood to try something new. And I love avocados, and pulled pork, so I thought I would try it.

It was amazingly good. (Not entirely healthy, but I can still eat it, if I allot for it in my daily points... Don Pablo's does have available Nutrition Information, thus they get a nice linky...) And one of the things I noticed about eating it is that I was immediately in a much better mood than could easily be explained by simply having dinner out with a friend (especially as the friend I was going out with was Toby, and Toby has a distressing habit of chewing with his mouth open and slurping his soup, which makes me seriously sick to my stomach - one of the reasons we tend to do Don Pablo's with him is that it's almost always too noisy in there for me to be able to hear him slurping and smacking and otherwise carrying on as if he'd never been told that was rude.)

I noticed the same effect the next day, when I opened my box of leftovers and the lime smell filled the room.

Now, admittedly, I class aromatherapy in with the same group of crystal twinkie faux mysticism naturopathic medicine that has a great commercial following here in the US. Which is to say, my inner cynic likes to make fun of it.

That being said, if a thing works, why knock it? Even if it is completely in my head that the smell and taste of limes makes me feel better, isn't my mood entirely in my head anyway?

I started seeking out lime-flavored things, especially as I started this lifestyle change. My particular favorites are Diet Coke Lime (Diet Pepsi makes a lime, too, but I think the Diet Coke's version smells and tastes better), Dentyne Blast, Cool Lime chewing gum, Truelime flavor packets for my water, and Weight Watcher's Key Lime pie dessert.

Two weigh ins ago, I made my 10 pound marker, and I bought myself a little reward. (I thought about not using it until I'm back to 10 pounds after this week's gain, but that's sort of silly, don't you think? I did lose those 10 pounds, and if TOM snuck a little bit of it back on me, it should go away next week...)

Anyway, here it is... lime-scented, glitter lip gloss.

I do have to say that one thing I've always found attractive about myself is my mouth. I have full, pouty lips (well, maybe not as full as Angelina Joline, but personally, I think she looks like a bee stung her on her lip, ok?) and this lip gloss both smells and tastes good.

Thomas... is not so keen on it, but that's because I keep getting glitter on his mouth.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

HYC (Or Scales in 4 part Harmony)

Hi everyone...

Well, I had a small gain this week... .4 pounds, to be exact... Surprisingly enough, I'm not completely freaking out about it, either.

If you look at my pattern, it goes this way: loss, small loss, big loss, maintain or gain, small loss, small loss, big loss, maintain or gain.

I'll probably get my period today, or at the latest tomorrow (it was kind enough to be slightly late this time, and not bother me on my vacation, for which I am profoundly grateful).

So, I'm thinking that this is just my pattern, and a gain or maintain is to be expected this week....

It's probably a little too early to be tracking trends, but statistics are the other form of math that I really enjoy. (I once saved the company I worked for over $150,000 because I like tracking trends, and I discovered that a certain company's transmission systems were failing at or around the 60,000 mile marker... Of course, after that they decided I ought to be able to find them $150,000 every YEAR in warranty... some people have no sense...)

Also, I did my measurements again last night (two weeks since I did them) and arms and waist were the same, but hips were down 1/2 inch and thighs were down 1 inch! Wow! And I'm back in my size 18 jeans for the first time in almost 2 years...

So, all in all, I would have liked the scale to actually have some reflection on what I'm doing during the week, but I'm not in a bad mental place about it...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Outerbanks (On less than 30 points per day!)

On February 21, 1998, Thomas and I got married. We celebrated 10 years together by spending a few days on the outerbanks region of North Carolina. Rather than getting a hotel, we decided to rent a room at one of the local bed and breakfasts; it being the off-season, the rates were entirely reasonable, and the room was (as you can see here) quite lovely. And comfortable.

The room had a king sized bed and a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom big enough for two...

Before we left, Thomas and I had given ourselves leave to eat our 35 weekly flex points if we wanted/needed to, but we were determined that we could (and would) spend the weekend ON PLAN.

We'd taken Darcy up to her grandparents on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon (after some in town shopping), we headed down to North Carolina. We had no particular plans for what we were going to do, or where we were going once we checked into our room. Despite that, I came armed with our Complete Food Companion and the Dining Out Companion. (As a note, if I had something to complain about on these two books it is these two things: A completely and totally incomprehensible organizational structure. I'm talking Heroes Unlimited Players' Guide levels of (dis)organizational structure. - ok, someone out there thought that was funny, and the rest of you are just blinking at me... but trust me, it's a condemnation - and that the books assume that if they don't think you should eat something - like most desserts! - it's not in there. Let's be perfectly serious here... I'm on bloody vacation, yes I'm going to EAT DESSERT! At least once. I'd like to KNOW how many points there are in a peanut butter and chocolate pie, because I'm going to eat a slice. Ok, this has gotten overly parenthetical and if I had the grammar sense of a gnat, I'd move it to it's own paragraph.)

We got into North Carolina a little sooner than expected, so we wandered around for a bit, checking out a few of the local shops that were open (if we'd wanted more to do, we should have waited until March, as a lot of things were closed for 'the off season'). Thomas was a saint all weekend, as he followed me around a bunch of kitsch shops without complaint. Finally, after wandering all over a massive shop called the Cotton Gin, it was late enough to go check in.

We checked into our bed and breakfast - our lovely hostess, Laura, is trying to sell the place and made me feel mildly uncomfortable every time we talked to her because she was constantly stressing how she did not want to do this anymore... eyeroll!! so I felt like a massive inconvenience for her, which I resented a little bit because hey, I was paying her $75 a night - and spread our stuff out over the room. After that, we tested both the jacuzzi and the bed - it was our anniversary, after all! I could really, really get into having a jacuzzi, in case you hadn't figured that out yet. It was quite lovely.

Our hostess recommended Coinjock Marina as the 'best restaurant in town'. The directions we got were very southern, rather confusing, and completely accurate. It constantly amazes me how that happens. ("The road sort of bends real sharp-like and then it's just a skip down a ways.")

Thomas and I had eaten lunch at Olive Garden (Soup, salad and breadsticks plus the sugar free chocolate cake split between us for 10 points) and by the time we got out to dinner, I had 13 points left to spend, plus I'd done my workout earlier that morning, so I had some activity points to spare. We got the fish special, tarragon salmon and ate half of it (honestly, we should have split the damn thing) for 3 points, a side salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing (1 point), 2 hush puppies (4 points) and split a slice of peanut butter and chocolate pie (~6 points each). That put me at - 1 point for the day, easily cleared by my APs. The salmon was quite good; the hush puppies were tasty, just enough to satisfy my desire for them and not too many to tempt me unduly; and the salad was a little less than impressive...

What is is about restaurant salads, anyway? You get one of two kinds, I've noticed: the kind with a few wilted lettuce leaves which are not cut well for bite sized bits (anyone who cuts lettuce for salads ought to be forced to eat it in public!) 2 onion rings, three halves of cherry tomatoes, and a slice of cucumber or the kind that's loaded with croûtons, olives, cheese, and ham bits and costs as many points as your damn entree. There are other vegetables in the world, people... Would it be so painful to make a side salad with lettuce, tomato, onion and bell peppers, carrots, broccoli or cauliflower bites? Seriously... it's annoying.

Anyway... one of the things I keep reading in all the inspirational success stories goes along these lines: "After a few months, I found that a sugary dessert just didn't taste as good, and I'd rather have a nice piece of ripe fruit." I keep wondering if that's going to happen to me. It hasn't happened with cheeseburgers, or fried foods, or peanut butter and chocolate pies. Oh, it was just orgasmic... We split the pie to bring its ~500 calories and lord knows how many grams of fat into some sort of reasonable line. I estimated 12 points for the entire slice, but it might have been as many as 16. That's ok, I had the APs and WPA to spare.

The next morning, we were up early (well, early for Thomas, who makes sleeping late on weekends an Olympic sport) and headed out to do some touristy things.

We drove down to Kill Devil and visited the Wright Brothers National Monument for a few hours. It was rainy and a little bit cold, but most of the displays are inside. We got there just in time to catch a film about the 1901 gliders and the 1903 engine driven plane. The film had a brief lecture in it about trigonometry, one of the few areas of math that I'd ever particularly enjoyed, and I found it very interesting to discover that yes, there are things in real life where math is useful. I'll have to remember that when Darcy gets old enough to complain about algebra...

After the film, we walked over to the other building and listened to a lecture from the park ranger. By the time that was over, the rain had cleared up enough that we felt reasonable certain that we could tour the camp site and go up to see the monument. And boy, did we walk... we walked out to the replica cabins where they stayed while testing their gliders and planes, and then we walked all the way down to the end of Test Flight Four (852 feet, 59 seconds). Did you know, after this test flight, the brothers and their crew were so excited, talking, on the way back, that they didn't secure the plane immediately, and a gust of wind flipped the whole thing upside down and tore it to pieces? Can you imagine what that must have been like? They flew almost three times the distance they had planned for (their goal for the engine-driven plane was 300 feet) and just after they'd made such a monumental success, the wind destroyed their plane.

Of course, having walked all the way out there, we were then obligated to walk back... and then decided to climb the last remaining hill to see the monument. That was a bit more difficult, as the hill is fairly high, and the walkway is pretty steep. (When the government was trying to build the monument, they had to constantly reinforce the hill, since it wasn't a real hill at all, but a sand dune, and they don't take kindly to being solidified) I was a little winded, and had to stop from time to time to catch my breath. Still, four months ago, I wouldn't even have made the attempt. Thomas would either have gone up by himself, or restrained himself and stayed with me.

... the sand fairly blinds us. It blows across the ground in clouds. We certainly can't complain of the place. We came down here for wind and sand, and we got them."

Letters from Orville to Katherine Wright, October 18, 1900
Up at the top of the hill, the view was just spectacular, despite the rain. Some of the local color wasn't quite so; for whatever reason, Thomas and I seem to have invisible tattoos on our foreheads that say "weirdos please talk to us" or something. A local couple was up at the top of the monument and insisted on babbling at us for a good ten minutes or so. Telling us about their recent wedding and they live just down there, and they met at the centennial celebration back in 2003 and they came up here all the time, and wow, those are some really nice coats you have, where did you get them... blah blah blah. I'm happy for you, could you shut up and let me take my pictures?
We walked back down the hill, and then went to grab some lunch. There were loads of restaurants, but a lot of places were closed for the season, didn't open until 4:30pm, or were things like Applebee's and Outback. Not that there's anything wrong with those places, but honestly, we're on vacation. I don't want to eat someplace that's just down the street from where we live!

I spotted a small place called Front Porch Cafe, but unfortunately, that was just a coffee shop and bakery, and while I'm sure the muffins were delightful, I didn't want to spend the points on them. The barista, however, was kind enough to direct us to a local restaurant, Chili Peppers.

It had a very local feel - quite cozy, tacky decorations, waitresses who chew gum and call everyone "hon" and greet at least half the patrons by name.

Thomas got a fish sandwich and fries and I got a tuna bamboo steamer with Parmesan cheese and vegetables. The meal comes to the table inside the steamer, vegetables on the first tray in, the fish on the second. The cheese and butter were in small dishes, which gave me excellent portion control. For vegetables, I had broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, and onions, flavorful and in generous portions. I added a little of their restaurant brand hot salt and went sparingly on the melted butter. The fish was delicious, and although slightly more than a portion size, I didn't feel too bad about leaving some of it on the plate. Lunch for me? Five points (and included one milk serving, and two vegetables).

We got out of lunch around 2:30 and headed further south to Roanoke Island to the aquarium. The lady at the ticket desk attempted to sell us season passes, on the theory that our passes for their aquarium could get us into the Norfolk Zoo and other attractions in our area. Thanks lady, but if I'm going to spend money improving a local aquarium, it's going to be for OUR local aquarium.

That being said, their aquarium was quite a bit smaller than the one we usually patronize, but it was quite nice and we wandered around for almost two hours before finishing our tour. They had a really great exhibit called Aquarium Confidential which showed some of the work behind the displays... you could see some of the newer members of the zoo (baby alligator!) and a mock vet's office, plus educational information about the aquariums themselves; the feed and care of sharks, octopuses, and river otters; and other insider looks at the operation of such a facility. You could use a computer simulation program to design your own habitat and see a representation of your design. Quite fun.

We headed out just before the aquarium closed for the day and headed back to our bed and breakfast. We stopped to shop at once of the hundreds of Wings shops (ok, I'm exaggerating a little bit. There are only 9 Wings in the Outerbanks area. But we drove past every single one of them!) and bought some t-shirts. It's mandatory, you know... you must buy a t-shirt. Or two. I mooned over some tie-dyed hoodies for a while, but they didn't have any that were in my size that were in a color I'd be caught dead in. (I will not, under any circumstances whatsoever, wear a pink and black shirt. Just say No!)

After we took note of the proliferation of the Wings shops, we noted that there were several chains like that, Wings, Forbes Taffy, Sunsations, and North Carolina Hammock... we passed one of those shops every block or so, most of the way from Roanoke Island all the way up to Ocracoke. Just in case we decided we needed more t-shirts! There were also several mini-golf adventure places (closed until the season) and we made preliminary plans to come down again later and do at least one of them... they looked fun!

We got back to the bed and breakfast and I took a nice long soak in the jacuzzi while Thomas watched TV, and then we went out for dinner. The Currituck BBQ was right down the street from where we were staying, and I'm a huge fan of pulled pork. Thomas had half of a half slab of ribs, and I had a pulled pork sandwich with a little coleslaw on top (9 points for the sandwich... a little steep, but we had gotten in a load of APs for all that walking around).

The original plan had been that we'd go see a lighthouse before we headed out on Saturday, but it was raining harder than ever and the temperature had dropped from the fifties (in which rain is not entirely intolerable) to the high thirties (tooooo friggin' cold). Also, my legs were complaining drastically about all the walking, so we ate our breakfast (English muffin, little cream cheese, orange juice, coffee, half a melon and some strawberries - 6 points) and headed home.

We had a lovely vacation, did some cool things, and ate well, but sensibly... ten years is just the beginning of our marriage. Two months, just the beginning of our healthy lifestyle...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

well, Well, WELL

Yesterday, we drove up to my dad and step-mom's farm to drop Darcy off. My parents are taking her for several days while Thomas and I go down to the Outerbanks for our anniversary. (10 years... when did that happen?)

It's not really that bad of a drive, as long as the traffic is good. The problem is, the area we're driving through, the traffic is seldom good. Although yesterday it was fine. There was a tiny back up near the tunnel, but that cleared up really fast... so we made it there in good time. Darcy was excited to be up there, even if she did turn shy for the first hour or so that we were there. She frequently does, but it didn't take long before she was running around like a half-sized maniac.

My step-mom, Rosie, had made lunch for us, 5 points worth of chili con carne (she'd even been careful to use the 97/3 ground beef) and a side salad. We were sitting down for lunch when Dad told us he had a little project that he needed our help with...

Back before Darcy was born, there was a hurricane in our area (Isabelle) that knocked out power across most of the state for various amounts of time between 7 days for us, and almost 17 days for my parents. My parents had an electrical generator (they live out in the middle of nowhere, so a generator is a good plan) but they hadn't realized that the basement fridge/freezer wasn't connected to the same bits of the house that the generator was running. So, several days passed while a metric ton of wrapped venison, steaks, bags of frozen shrimp, and other things slowly thawed out, and they didn't know about it.

Yuck. In any case, Rosie dumped all the old stuff out, and restocked it after the power was on. A year later, the compressor went out. Same scenario. The stuff all defrosted... tossed, got the thing fixed, restocked it...

Another year passed, and the freon needed to be recharged. Old stuff tossed... freezer fixed.... etc.

(This will be important later, I promise.)

Finally, they decided to replace it. Rosie had made some offers to people in the area who were selling used fridges, and gotten a mostly-new one for about $125... the project, my dad explained, was that the lady who was selling the fridge was unmarried and there was no way my dad could get the fridge onto his truck by himself.

So, we drove down to this lady's house, and Thomas and my dad maneuvered this fridge off her porch (around her garden swing), down the stairs, across the yard, and onto my dad's pickup truck. My job was mostly to ferry the drawers and shelves over into Rosie's trunk and to keep Darcy out of the way. Now, my dad had parked his pickup right over the stairs (the lady's lawn was elevated from the parking area which seems to be a common landscaping thing in that area, although I don't know why) and there's a two foot drop around the rest of the driveway. I wasn't even thinking about it, and just stepped down, without worrying about my ankle giving out. Which, I might add, it didn't. And I was able to climb back up onto the lawn without effort.

You know, really, that's pretty amazing. I've noticed that I've stopped doing the old lady shuffle down the stairs, too. One step at a time, gripping the handrail for dear life. For years, my ankle's been so weak and unreliable that I haven't dared to trust it for any support. And now suddenly I'm clambering around someone's yard, a refrigerator shelf in one hand and a crisper drawer in the other, and I'm not worried. And I'm not hurting.


We get back to the farm, and my dad and Thomas start trying to figure out the best way to get the fridge DOWN from the back of his truck. Gravity is your friend, but we didn't want to bring the thing straight down onto the driveway. Eventually, they backed his truck up to their embankment (I told you, these lowered driveways were popular, but I didn't know the reason they were in fashion was to unload shit from pickup trucks. Although, given the redneck sort of area, I probably should have figured it out...)

While they did that, I helped Rosie unload the old freezer. Remember what I said about all the thaw-outs they'd had? I think that the freezer had never been completely cleaned, since it was in the basement where no one usually went down into the basement area.

I opened the fridge to start moving sodas and beer... oh.



The smell was awful, just awful. But not, perhaps, the way you might be thinking. It wasn't... overpowering. It was subtle. Like breathing about twenty feet away from something that had died last week. Or the faint traces of blood smell that a badly cleaned woman's public restroom will get from all the women who have pads to toss in those little containers near the stalls that never seem to have a plastic bag inside them... or an office building that's just up the street from a slaughterhouse.

Well... the more stuff we emptied out, the worse the smell got. We finished unloading the sodas and ice-packs for coolers, and frozen chickens and bags of shrimp and several racks of steaks...

Finally we started taking out the crisper drawers, just to see if there was anything in there. Rosie said they never used the crispers, but she wanted to be sure. I pulled out the bottom drawer. It was half full of bloody water. Sunk in the back corner of this mess was a lump of... unidentified rotten meat. And the few flecks of leftover paper.

Oh. My. GOD.

I became extremely glad that we'd eaten at least an hour before, because if it had been anything closer to then, I probably would have added to the mess and smell.

The boys (neither of them are, you know, boys... my dad's almost 60 and his once-black hair is silver and even Thomas has gone mostly grey at this point in time) knocked the doors off the old fridge and took it (and all the bagged up trash) off to the landfill while I went and washed up.

I was just coming back into the kitchen when Rosie said, "There's a present for you, in your bedroom, if you haven't seen it..."

No, I hadn't. I turned back around and checked. On the blanket chest were the two 10-week sheets for weight watchers... Yay! As we are getting down to only having 2 coupons left. And a card. I smiled and opened the envelope; my dad's cards usually come with checks in them for anywhere between thirty and a hundred bucks. Pulled the card out of the envelope and a sheaf of bills fell into my hands. I blinked. A wad. of. bills. Fifty. Dollar. Bills.


I swallowed hard, and then counted it.

Five. Hundred. Dollars.

Oh, my god.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Now If I Only Knew What That Was...

I swear, the scale is a crafty enemy.

Day before yesterday, I rather firmly told myself that I would be happy with any size loss, or maintenance. That all this moping about (or moping but trying to be a little more quiet about it) was unacceptable, and just making things harder for both me and Thomas. I spent two days prepping myself, roleplaying inside my head as to my reactions. I practiced for everything from a no gain-no loss scenario up to a possible .8 pound loss. I even considered a gain a few times...

(Does anyone else have a problem with internal roleplay getting out of hand? I've found myself occasionally practicing what I would say or do if my daughter died in her sleep when she was a baby, or what I would do if Thomas got killed in a car accident, or any number of horrible scenarios. My friend Carol has the same problem. She calls it the Mutant Worrybrain. And the damnest thing about it is that neither of us have ever, ever been adequately prepared for the tragedies that come our way...)

Yesterday morning, I got up and did my little yawn-stretch routine... and I was both astonished and somewhat grouchy about the fact that my undies promptly slid right off my hips into a pile on the floor. The annoying part was that these happen to be my favorite pair; the ones with the little snowboarding penguins on them.

For whatever reason, I became convinced (absolutely convinced, mind you) that I had gained this week. Despite adequate evidence that this was not the case, I began practicing for a gain. I mean, I'd only lost 5.6 pounds in the last 8 weeks, so I don't really have a lot of wiggle room for gaining. It wouldn't take much for me to be right back where I started. And honestly, I don't know that I don't still expect that...

I went about my chores as usual. I did a load of laundry (including previously mentioned pengie undies) and tried not to think about it too much. But I was, even when I was trying not to. I couldn't seem to concentrate on anything yesterday (as evidenced by my half-a-blog post that doesn't seem to come to a satisfying conclusion)...

I watched a new workout video, decided I could not do those little hoppie moves and stuffed it back into its envelope. I did my regular workout, took a shower. I was cleaning in the bedroom a little bit when I found my skecher shoes. I love these shoes, they're entirely cute. I bought them about a year ago, and promptly discovered that I couldn't wear them. The strap that crosses over the foot either wouldn't hold in place, or if I managed to keep it stuck down, I ended up having a huge pressure groove on the top of my foot after an hour. A painfully deep one. I considered throwing them in the trash and then thought I'd see if they still didn't fit. To my surprise, they fit perfectly.

And none of this seemed to be enough. I was panicking badly. I imagined that I'd gained 7 pounds. I actually had a short span of time where I sat on the floor in the bedroom, shaking with a panic attack. I haven't had a panic attack in years. (I used to get them rather frequently, and was actually on medication for them because they interfered with my asthma... I stopped having them - oddly enough - after I had one that was completely justified. My mom and I were doing some shopping and an irate customer came in to the shop, yelling and screaming and pushing people and threatening the manager of the store. It seemed that my imaginary panics were not even close to the real thing... and they sort of went away after that.)

By the time Thomas got home from work, I'd affixed my Lee-Press-On Smile firmly into place. I promised that I'd work on my attitude, and while I wasn't doing a great job internally, no one needed to know that I was in a bad mental place.

We went to the meeting. I'd brought a bottle of water with me - did you know you can't cry while you're drinking? I wonder if this is why British ladies press a cup of tea on anyone who's upset.

Thomas did his weigh in. He's down another .8 pounds, which seems to be his usual.

I got up on the scale.

"Oh! You got your 10 pounds today!"

I wasn't sure what I'd heard... Did she actually say I gained 10 pounds? What? "I what?"

"You're down 4.4 this week," the receptionist said. "Good job."

Blink. Blink.

"Oh. Good." Queen of understatement here. "Holy crap."

I didn't really pay attention to the meeting. The population of the meeting was pretty sparse anyway (it being a holiday) so the long silences after the meeting leader asked a question were particularly obvious.

During the meeting, I was practicing how I will react next week. When I gain it all back.

Argh. What the heck is wrong with me?

I did something right.

Now if I only knew what that was....

Monday, February 18, 2008

Five Minutes, While I Rest

I'm taking a few minutes of break here from my schedule.

Today's list:

  • dishes
  • bag salad in individual servings
  • check fridge for leftovers to dispose of
  • clean living room
  • clean Darcy's room
  • hard boil eggs
  • fold Darcy's laundry and put away
  • do last load of laundry
  • fold that load and put away
  • check restaurants near the B&B
  • bag trash
  • wipe kitchen counters
  • check out new workout DVD
  • workout
  • shower
Busy day, and this list isn't half as long as some of the others I've made recently. One of the things I've noticed since starting Weight Watchers is this odd mirroring of my diet practices and my housecleaning.

Don't get me wrong, I still loathe housekeeping. And I'm not finding the old adage to be true: If you clean a little every day, it takes less long than cleaning a LOT once in a while. Not really, no. Instead of goofing off for 5 hours or so while Thomas is at work, playing warcraft and mucking about online with friends, I'm spending those hours cleaning the house. So, 20 hours a week cleaning, instead of maybe 3 hours during the week and an intense 2 hours on Friday afternoon before some friends were due over.

No matter how many dishes I do, there are always more dishes to do. The constantly rising cost of doing our laundry (now $1.50 a washer and $1.25 a dryer load) means a roll of quarters is doing 3 loads of laundry rather than the five it was doing when we moved in... which means I never quite get all the laundry done in a given week. And previously, I was saving time folding and putting away by never bothering, and just grabbing clean clothes out of the laundry basket. (There were times in my life where the idea of tossing out my dresser seemed like a good plan, since there were never clothes in there.) It is taking less time to put the living room and Darcy's room in order, but I can't decide if that's because there's less junk on the floor, or because I have a little more energy to do it, so I don't have to clean 1/4 of the floor, then stop and rest (and check email, and Warcraft sales and.... procrastinate getting back to cleaning)

And yet, there's something satisfying about having a clean living room. I'm not entirely sure what it is... I've never had one for any length of time before.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Commercial Break

I've made some discoveries in the last few weeks that have made this food plan a little more bearable, so I thought I'd talk about them... things I've tried and liked, things I've tried and NOT liked...

The most recent discover is Ronzoni pasta.

I really, really hate wheat products. When I was a kid, I liked Wonderbread - did you ever tear the crusts off a piece of wonderbread and roll the remaining bread around in your hand til you got a little doughy ball? I loved those. My favorite sandwiches were peanut butter and marshmallow fluff or Miracle Whip and banana. (I know, I know. Lots of you are making faces at me at the moment. Or you might be nodding knowingly and thinking of your own weird concoctions... feel free to share, I always love knowing I'm not alone in my bizarre behaviors). My grandparents used to try to get me to eat Wheat Bread, and I just couldn't. I'd rather have no sandwich than a sandwich on wheat. (As a note, my grandparents were also the sort who would force you to sit at the table until you'd eaten every last FREAKING bite of something you absolutely hated, even if it meant you were at the table until 3am. If anyone in my life ever gets fried chicken livers near me again, I promise you, I will punch your lights out.) Fortunately, I only had to sit at the table one day about the wheat bread thing, and after that I got to make my own sandwich, so whatever I wanted was fine.

I don't think that's why I hate wheat bread. I always assumed, growing up, that it was something I'd like more when I was older... an acquired taste that I never acquired. Like American beer. I did eventually come to love raw tomatoes. And lima beans. (I've always loved esoteric "grown up" foods like escargot, sushi, caviar, bleu cheese, and asparagus)

There's just something about wheat bread and wheat products that are unappealing to me. I think it's the smell. If I manage to put enough mustard or tangy sauce or onions on a sandwich, and breathe through my mouth, I can eat a wheat bread sandwich. It's still forcing myself to do it, but I can.

The thing is, I don't want to force myself to eat things I don't like. And I have managed to find some white bread options that I can live with, as far as sandwiches go. Or wheat products that don't quite have the same overwhelming rotten hay smell. The Flat Out light wraps are a favorite around here. Especially the Italian Herb and Sun-dried Tomato ones.

I've tried wheat pasta. Oh, my god, I thought I was going to be sick. The rotten hay smell was not only in my bowl, but it stuck to everything. My fork reeked of it, and my fingers, and I could smell it on my own breath for hours after I ate, even having brushed my teeth. TWICE.

I sighed a lot about it, and had just come to the conclusion that I was going to have to just add in the extra point to have the white pasta, when Ronzoni came in to save the day.

Warning: It's a little stickier than regular pasta, and somehow it seems wrong to add a teaspoon of oil to the water (why get back the point I just saved??). You'll want to have your sauce ready before the pasta is, so you can just add the sauce straight to the pasta. (And stir it in immediately, instead of leaving the sauce piled on top. makes for a less picturesque presentation, but hey... can't have everything.) And the package is, like every other freaking 'healthy' product out there, more expensive than regular pasta. And only contains seven servings, instead of the typical 8.

That being said, it's quite good. We had spaghetti last night and I was much happier with it. So was Darcy. Thomas says he doesn't care, that the wheat pasta works for him.

The second - and for me, more important - discoveries I've made (or had suggested to me, thanks ladies from the WW SAHM group!) are low point cheeses that are actually edible.

Sargento has come out with two light cheese slices, and light mozzarella cheese sticks that are 1 point a stick or slice.

Now, I love cheese. I have always loved cheese. Take the freaking chocolate if you want, I don't need it, but damn, leave me my cheese. And my god, is it points expensive! Finding low points alternatives have made me very happy. And I must say, the swiss in particular, is very tasty.

I eat cheese in omelets, in sandwiches, on salad, in soups, and on bagels... Which leads me to my other cheese discovery...

Laughing Cow cheese wedges. Very squishy and spreadable, it's got slightly more "bite" than cream cheese. Which makes up, I think, for the fact that my bagels and English muffins have grown slightly less tasty. (Weight Watchers bagels and Thomas 100 calorie English muffins.) Also, these spread nicely on crackers. And at one point for two cheese wedges, these are a great snack.

I have had some bad food discoveries as well. (Not just the above-mentioned whole wheat pasta, which I gleefully threw in the trash this morning!)

Weight Watchers Yogurt. Good in theory, tasteless in practice. I want my key lime yogurt to TASTE like something, not just look green.

Progresso Light Soup. (Just 0 points!) And half your daily allowance of sodium. My christ! Which I might not mind so much, except salt is exactly what it tastes like. I have low blood pressure anyway, so sodium isn't big on my list of concerns, really, except that I don't want my food to taste like a vegetable flavored salt lick. I threw my cans out the other day because I wasn't going to eat them.

Sugar Free Dove chocolate bites. Now, don't get me wrong, a lot of the sugar-free chocolates are pretty tasty. I got rather well accustomed to them on the diabetic diet when I was pregnant. (Keep in mind that sugar free does not mean low calorie, they're only a point or two below regular chocolates... for me, it's all about the individually wrapped chocolate. Portion control!) These... are not tasty. They have a weird, dry - almost crumbly - feel in the mouth, and then leave a weird, waxy aftertaste.

So, those are my recent food discoveries. Feel free to share your own...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Missing in Action

[For those of you checking in for Healthy You Challenge, I am down another .6 pounds, for a total of 5.6 pounds lost since January 2nd. I also managed to have a good meeting, did not cry/bitch/whine/pule or otherwise annoy Thomas. Which is good, because he's got a new and difference annoyance. His company, Evil French Corporation (or EFC for short), did a reorg, dividing the company into a couple of segments, IT Architecture and IT Operations... this put Thomas squarely reporting directly to the Director of ITA, Brent.

Thomas hates Brent. And has, pretty much for the better part of a year. Brent has a tendency to say he's going to do a thing, forget that he said it, deny that he said it, and blame someone else for not getting it done, particularly when that someone is on vacation or having a work from home day and cannot immediately counter the denial. Thomas ran into this problem at least four times while working on the server transfer thing last year. Fortunately, his old boss didn't believe that Thomas would do something so stupid, called him on the phone, and conferenced him in with Brent while they discussed it. Brent was forced to admit (since Thomas is a rabid email collector and keeps all his meeting notes) to admit he'd just forgotten about it, which made him look bad, and did not exactly endear Thomas to him.

I forsee... more months of having a pissy spouse. Oh. Joi.

But Thomas lost 2 pounds this week, bringing his total up to 7.4 lost.

As a side, side note, I seem to have come down with a stomach bug of some sort or other. I woke up last night at 3am with serious stomach pains. Around 3:30, I started throwing up, which I did on and off until 5. Then I took a shower and crawled back into bed at 5:45.]

You wouldn't know it to look at me now, but I was quite the tomboy when I was growing up. Fed up with the older girls who snubbed my "New York" accent and my dubious fashion sense (you try buying your own clothes on an allowance of $10 a week that also has to pay for your school lunch, books, toys, and entertainment, and see how fashionable YOU are) my best friends were the younger brothers and cousins. I was a huge Star Wars fan and had two cases of little plastic action figures. My best friends were Curtis, Benji, and Kevin, all of them two to four years younger than I... we climbed trees and dug an elaborate Hoth Ice cavern under the roots of this ancient beech tree (In retrospect, we're probably damn lucky that the tree didn't lean slightly to the left and collapse on us, as we dug out at least half of its root structure.) and rode bikes (I remember a particularly bad accident when Kevin was looking behind him and ran front ways into a car - which had stopped, but couldn't exactly get out of the way - and broke his arm) and screamed and yelled and generally acted the bohemians.

I would throw my books down as soon as I got home from school and then I was outside from then until dark. Then Curtis's parents got divorced and his mom moved across town. So I only saw him occasionally at school. And then Benji's parents got a new house and moved away. I don't know that I ever saw him again. And then Kevin wasn't allowed to play with me anymore because his sister set fire to the shed in the back of the house, and somehow I got blamed for this. I'm not entirely sure why that happened. I mean, I know why the fire happened. Deedee was smoking in the shed (It was something I did with her from time to time, even though I really didn't like her much... but I started smoking when I was ten, and she was the only other person I knew who did...) and didn't snub her butt well. I had been in the shed earlier that day, and I know someone saw me. But I hadn't smoked that day, I'd just gone in to grab my comic books that I'd left in there the day before. No one could prove that I'd started the fire, but likewise, Deedee was not about to admit that she'd done it. So, I didn't get in trouble about it, exactly. I just wasn't allowed over anymore. Which was mostly ok, since of the three boys, Kevin had been the one I liked least anyway. And it hadn't been much fun, just the two of us, playing, as it had been when it was the four of us. I was philosophical about my loss.

After that, though, the only people in the neighborhood for me to be friends with were all the girls. The boyfriended, kissing-obsessed, fashion magazine, who's too fat, have you gotten your period yet?, have you ever kissed a boy, not THAT boy! my gahd! what size bra do you wear, oh, well mine's BIGGER, girls. Girls who didn't know who Han Solo was, who thought Luke was one of the Dukes of Hazzard, who were not at all interested in climbing a tree, or heaven forfend, getting dirty.

Ick. I might have spent a little too much time with boys at that point, as my first thoughts on this development were "My god, girls DO have cooties."

I started staying home in the afternoon after school. I read voraciously. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, and (forgive me) Sweet Valley High. But it was ok. I was still active during the summer. My parents always shipped me off to my grandparents during the summer. From the end of school, to the beginning of school, I was in New York. And not the city part. My grandparents lived about 10 miles from the Canadian border, on a big farm. There were woods to play in, and streams to fall in, and horses to ride, and chickens to chase, and apples to steal and the playground was right across the street in case of failing imagination, my cousins and I could always run about on the swings and slides and monkey bars. We biked or rollerskated down to the local corner store (about a mile and a half away). And when we weren't at the farm, we were at Camp, my grandparents lake house in the Adirondacks, where we swam all day or canoed around or ran around in those woods and climbed up on enormous glacier-moved boulders that seems to be dotted across the woodlands. My favorite boulder was somewhat larger than a house, easily climbable and actually had a tree growing on top of it.

When I went off to college, I signed up for the most interesting Phys Ed classes I could. Adventure Games and Introduction to Rock Climbing. (The advanced rock climbing class wasn't really a class per se, it was a week long trip during spring break to go climbing and camping).

Adventure games was a blast. We did rappelling down the sides of school buildings, we did an obstacle course set up in the tops of trees, some twenty feet above ground. We did canoe racing (and sinking each other's canoes) and played paintball, and took a zipcord across the lake. We took two classes worth of fencing lessons. We did a day's worth of archery.

Rock Climbing was also fun - it didn't hurt that my partner for rock climbing was Latney, who was just about the most lovely man I'd ever met. He was charming and good looking and athletic and fun. We did more rappelling down the sides of buildings, and we practiced climbing up the rock wall in the gym. Then, over fall break, we went on a trip to the mountains, where we put our practice to practical and climbed up several cliff faces. It was freezing the weekend we went, and I'd forgotten to buy gloves. Kim, our instructor, was very pleased with me when I'd managed a crack-climb of about thirty feet, which quickly dissolved into rage when he saw my hands. A crack-climb involves wedging your fingers into a split in the rock and leaning back, putting most of your weight on your feet and your hands, pulling yourself up manually, and then re-positioning your fingers. I'd torn all the skin off the back of my hands, and hadn't realized it because it was so bloody cold. What I said in retrospect about that weekend was that I'd never had so much fun being entirely miserable.

So... the question I'm wondering is... Where did that girl go? She just seemed to fade away, some time after my sophomore year of college. Was she a casualty of war; my parents got divorced (finally) and I got married and then divorced (inside of eight months, even!). I developed my first case of adult asthma and ended up in the ER nine times in six months. I was put on steroids. My bike got stolen. My mom let me bring the car to college. I got a job working at the candy shop (where you could eat all you wanted out of the bin candies - since they knew we were going to do it anyway...).

That girl, the one who used to ride horses in competition... the one who was the first to go face-down rappelling off the side of the gym and who grinned at her classmates cheering her on... the one who could climb up the pine tree next to her house, edge out on a narrow branch and drop onto the roof (but only when her mom wasn't home...) The one who spent extra babysitting money on a bike, rather than a book...

Have you seen her? Because really... I miss her a lot.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I.A.L.A.C. Statements (Or How Not To Impress Teenagers)

I am lovable and capable.

You are lovable and capable.

We are lovable and capable.
I'm sure we're all familiar with the phenomena of the Guidance Counselor... that person in high school who - theoretically - is supposed to assist you in selecting courses for the next year, applying to college, and on occasion provide some emotional support in case a parent or guardian cannot (or the student is unwilling to go to their parents for said support).

Most of the kids I knew in high school would have rather ripped out their appendix with a pair of tweezers than confess any such emotional crises to the GCs. We all knew that if you went to a GC and told him you were having thoughts of suicide, or you were pregnant, or you were having a drug problem that the GC would be on the phone with your parents just as soon as you were out of the room, probably even before you'd gotten your hall pass signed by the GC Secretary. How we knew this was questionable. Certainly no one I knew had ever voluntarily talked to the GCs... I know I didn't. Not voluntarily, at any rate. I'd one time made a flip comment to a teacher who said "Oh, I'll see you next week." To which I responded, "If we're all still around." The teacher decided I must be suicidal and I was dragged into sessions for about six weeks, two per week.

How fun.

Mr. King was assigned to me for my 'therapy' sessions. My parents were, of course, notified. (If they ever felt or said anything about it, I'm not remembering it.) Two days a week, I was taken out of study hall (where I generally did my homework if I had any so that I could slack off after school) and made to talk to Mr. King while sitting in a folding chair with a cracked plastic seat. He also wanted me to do these IALAC statements with him:
I am lovable and capable.

You are lovable and capable.

We are lovable and capable.

Now, positive self-talk is not necessarily a bad thing, but honestly... telling a reluctant, angry teenager to do IALAC statements every day as a way to make her life better?? Excuse me... Even when I did them (under his supervision twice weekly) I was inwardly (and probably outwardly) rolling my eyes.

I was also supposed to do this exercise where I wrote IALAC in big letters on a sheet of paper. Every time during the day that I had a negative experience, I was supposed to rip a piece off. And every time I had a positive experience, I was supposed to tape a piece of new paper on. The idea was that I would have a visualization of the good vs. the bad of my day, and that I would discover that I had more good than bad, so therefore, I should cheer up. Right?

Well, we all know the punchline, I'm sure. I did this for one week and ended up with... a lot of tiny scraps of paper.

But, perhaps I can take something away from that experience, stupid and annoying as it was.

The number on the scale is only one thing. I can exercise for 30 minutes straight without taking a break. I'm eating healthier. I feel better. I'm losing inches. Maybe I'm concentrating a little too much on the scraps, and not as much on the page as a whole.

I am lovable and capable.

You are lovable and capable.

We are lovable and capable.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Some Asides (And a Recipe... and maybe, just maybe, an actual post)

[I'd like to thank everyone who's dropped by in the last couple of days and left comments, support, encouragement, sympathy, and other goodies... It does help and it does mean a lot to me to find a thoughtful, helpful group of people with whom I can share this Long Walk... Ok, so being on Weight Watchers isn't quite that bad, but those people who have read the story are probably snickering right along with me. (If you haven't read it, it's scary and good and grotesque. Everything a fun read should be... I'd recommend Rage as well, but since there are some tie-ins with high school shootings, that story got yanked from publication and if you find it at all, it'll be in a used bookstore... this distresses me immensely as I am not a fan of the whole idea of 'if you don't know about it, you won't do it' cotton-eyed illusion of safety. Watching people shoot other people on TV has never made me the slightest bit more inclined to actually shoot anyone. Nor did I ever think I could jump off a cliff and survive, or any of the other 'violence in the system' shit that a great number of vocal conservatives seem to espouse. Dungeons & Dragons has not influenced me towards suicidal tendencies; my mom and my high school did that without any help from Gary Gygax.)

As a further note, when you see me talking in brackets like this [] it means I'm talking directly to you, the readers of this blog, as opposed to a generic you, which may or may not refer to anyone in specific, and rather frequently (and with bad grammatical tendencies) refers to me.]


Lemon Souffle

I made these cakes last night for dessert and wow, they are fantastic. At three points a piece, what a bargain!

4 large egg whites
3 TBSP Splenda granular
1 TBSP granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 TBSP margarine
3/4 cup Splenda granular
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 TBSP lemon peel
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 4 6 oz ramekins with nonstick cooking spray and place in a large baking pan at least 2 inches deep. Set aside.

In deep bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until foamy. Beat in 3 TBSP Splenda and 1 TBSP sugar until soft peaks form. In another bowl, beat egg yolks, butter, 3/4 cup Splenda until creamy. Stir in next 6 ingredients and beat until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl a few times. Fold in 1/4 of the egg whites and stir to incorporate. Gently fold in remaining egg whites. Divide batter among the ramekins (3/4 full). Sprinkle 1/2 tsp sugar over each cake.

Place baking dish in center rack. Pour boiling water into the baking dish until it reaches halfway up the ramekins. (this is harder than it sounds). Bake 25 - 30 minutes or until the center feels firm to the touch. There WILL BE a small pool of lemon custard at the bottom of your ramekin. This is normal. Serve with fat free whipped topping and blueberries if desired.


So, we're at the grocery store the other day, and I apologized (again) to Thomas about being in such a bad mood. I mentioned some of the things that people have said to me (maybe I'm not eating enough because I'm working out, or whathaveyou.) He rolled his eyes at me. I think it bothers him that I don't listen to his vast store of wisdom, and that it takes extra validation from other people. (yeah, you can hear the sarcasm there...)

I said "Well, you know, that's why I haven't ever been really serious about dieting."

"Hmm?" He's stopped listening to me, looking through the $5 bin of DVDs.

"I don't diet because I'm a miserable bitch to be around while I'm dieting."

"Well, that's not exactly encouraging me to keep going to meetings. Do you think you're going to be like this for the rest of our lives?"

"I don't know. I've never tried... this, exactly. When I was pregnant with Darcy, I was miserable, but I was also stabbing myself in the stomach regularly, having to go to the doctor's twice a week, throwing up with alarming frequency and in pain. All. The. Time." He nods. This isn't anything he doesn't already know. He was - I admit - very good about my pregnancy. He went to almost all of my doctor appointments with me (except one, but he was out of town for business that week, so he can be forgiven) even when he was working night shift and not getting anywhere near enough sleep. A lot of people roll their eyes when a couple will say "We're pregnant," but it really was a team effort for us. "But I had something tangible to look forward to - a baby. And I knew that it wasn't always going to be like this. And I don't think I've been that horrid, really. Just after the meeting for a few hours."

"Um. No. You start keying up a few days before our weigh in - which is, by the way, the weekend, when I have to put up with you all day - getting all moody about it, and then you're hostile and unhappy after the meeting, and most of the next day. Just to start over again on Friday. Spouse, you're being pissed for more than half the time."

I glared at him over the bin of tomatoes. "Hmm. Must be interesting for you to see what it's like."


"Living with someone who's stressed all the time."

Silence. It was probably a low blow, but nonetheless, true. Starting around August of last year, all the way through to the first of this year, Thomas was constantly pissed off about workshite. I think I mentioned it earlier, so I won't reiterate.

"I've been making a lot of changes this year," I continued, picking over a few sweet onions. "I'm on a food plan. We're bleeding money like crazy - can't seem to recover from the trip to Georgia -" We went to visit my mom back at Thanksgiving, and the whole trip cost about $800 for three or four days and we still haven't managed to bounce back. There's nothing in savings, and towards the end of each paycheck, we don't have any cushion left in the checking. I hate hate hate living like that. It's always when I can least afford it that the car breaks down, or someone has to go to the hospital or whatever emergency happens. I remember the days entirely too vividly when an extra 8 minutes on the clock could make the difference as to whether or not I ate meat that week. "- I'm trying to keep the house clean because you complained about it -"

"I most certainly did not..." he tries to interrupt me.

"Yes, you did." I override him. "And I'm doing it. My natural tendency is towards slobbery. I hate cleaning. It seems like no matter how much I do, I'm just doing the same fucking thing the next day."

"Well, I didn't mean it that way, exactly."

"And what way exactly did you mean it? You wanted the house clean, and I'm doing it. I hate it, but I'm doing it. I hate watching what I eat, but I'm doing it. I hate not having enough money, and I'm living with that too. Exactly how good of a mood do you expect me to be able to maintain? I am doing the best I can."

Thomas tries to lighten things up. It's probably not good for us to brawl in the grocery store. "Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen." He does the accent with enough drama for Drury Lane, and I laugh.

"Ok, ok. But seriously, you need to cut me some slack. "

"Actually, I was thinking you need to cut yourself some slack."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Small Goal, Small Reward

Well, I have bought something for myself as a 'lost five pounds' reward.

I like to keep lists, as I've said. And my list notebooks are getting towards their very last pages. I have 15 pages left in one book and about 20 left in the other. While this will probably last me at least a month's worth of lists, I've decided to go ahead and buy a new notebook anyway.

This is the notebook's cover.

I like it because it is a nice shade of green, plus who doesn't like pirates? Also, it's got that cute iThing. Not that I'm a Mac person, but the iThing is sort of a cute marketing gimmick.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Numbers Game (Or Why I Need to Work on My Attitude)

I think Thomas is about two Weigh Ins from hitting me upside the head with something large and heavy. Fortunately for me, I can't be used as a weapon to cudgel myself with - not in the literal, at any rate. I do a perfectly good job at it in the figurative.

My weight in was -.4, which brought my total losses to exactly five pounds. Thomas is sneaking ahead of me, finally. He was down 1 pound which brings his total to -5.4.

I was... eh, ok with this during the meeting. At least I didn't spend the entire meeting trying not to cry, like I did last week.

And I got my little 5 star, which I promptly stuck on my bookmark. (Thomas put his on his Weigh In book, since he thinks the bookmarks are silly).

After the meeting, we went over to the Food Lion to get some more eggs. I've been going through eggs like crazy for the last several weeks. Between my eating an egg almost every morning for breakfast, and Thomas taking a hardboiled one in to work, and about half the time, Darcy wants whatever Mommy's having for breakfast, a dozen eggs are NOT lasting long around here at all.

And Thomas says to me, big grin on his face, "So, better this week?" I opened my mouth to say, "Sure." And just couldn't. My throat ached and my nose went stuffy and I was suddenly blinking furiously.

"Not really, no."

Thomas drew up short. "What?"

"Well, it's like our savings account, you know," I said, trying not to cry there on the sidewalk like a baby. "At the end of the year, we get about seventy cents from keeping our money in savings. It's like... why bother? I can get seventy cents walking along the street and picking up discarded pennies in a lot less time. It might be one thing if I was lying. Or cheating. Or not working out. But I am doing everything I'm supposed to be doing, and I'm getting almost nothing out of it."

Thomas glared at me. It did occur to me at that moment that bitching about my five pounds loss, his wasn't all that much more. But I didn't say anything. "I don't know why you can't be happy with what we have," he snapped, then headed into the Food Lion without looking at me again.

The meetings aren't helping me as much as I'd wanted. Part of it is the repetition of things. We're only at our sixth meeting and she's already not telling me anything I don't already know. The other part - the big part - is how much better everyone else seems to be doing. There was an eleven pound loss this week. And a 6.8 loss. And the guy in the back row has lost 35 pounds in 2 months.

I always say I'm not a very competitive person. I don't care for football or basketball or PvP for the same reasons... it's not so much that I wouldn't like to be better than someone else, it's that I know I'm not, and that I can never be. And it's too damn painful to set myself up every single time hoping I'll "win" something, and I never do. (I know, I know. But we're not talking about logic. Or actual. Or reality. We're talking about how I feel, and how I feel seldom has anything to do with logic.)

Logically these are the things I know:

1 - we're in it for the long haul. It's not going to happen overnight.

2 - I've lost a significant amount of inches. Even from when I last posted them. I did them again last night (since it was my one month marker) and what I got was this: Arm: 12 3/4 (down 2 and 1/4 inches total) Waist: 43 1/2 (down 2 1/2 inches) Hips: 49 1/4 (down 2 3/4 inches) and Thigh: 24 1/4 (down 2 3/4 inches)

3 - slow losses are easier to keep off

4 - Any dramatic weight loss I had is over. I started eating better in November without weighing or measuring, so whatever dramatic loss I might have had, I won't ever know it, or see it

5 - being angry and upset isn't helping anything. all it's doing is making Thomas mad.

I really do wish I knew a better way to keep my spirits up about this. I feel so good during the week, and as soon as I step on that scale, everything else is unimportant.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


I went for a quick walk, down to the rental office, dropped off some mail, and stopped at the Rite Aid to pick up fingernail clippers and tweezers, as both of mine have been MIA for about 2 weeks. I'm quite sure I'll find them just as soon as I open the new packages.

Anyway, I got in line and the cashier said, "Oh, hi there Mrs. C_! You look great! Have you been losing weight?"

I blinked. "Uh, yeah," I said, sort of nonplussed. I didn't think I shopped there all that often. In fact, it's probably been a month since I've last seen this particular cashier (Tiesha).

"Yeah, you can really see it in your face," she gushed at me. "How much have you lost?"

"According to Weight Watchers, about 5 pounds," I said, still hearing the echo of my mom there. Is that all?

"Nuh-uh!" Tiesha said. "Looks more like fifteen or twenty to me, homegirl."

Did she just call me homegirl? "Well, thank you," I said. "I'm not really for sure. I started my diet about a month before I started Weight Watchers, so I don't know."

"Uh-huh... yeah, I bet you lost near twenty pounds..."


I smiled all the way home.

A Couple of Firsts

First things first. (Damn, is that ever the stupidest saying, and for the life of me, I can't seem to stop saying it... first things first. Well, no duH, really? Like, who ever puts the third things first? Doesn't that just make them first things? ANYWAY!!!)

Yesterday I finished my 30 minute workout DVD from beginning to end for the first time.

I didn't do all the steps - there are a few things that the instructor does that I can't quite figure out what she's doing, so rather than do them, I watch the DVD and do v-steps or step-touches with swim arms. My feeling here is that it's not really what moves I do, so long as I'm moving that's really important. As I get better at the steps, I can do better steps, but for right now, just getting up and doing movement is the most important thing. Also, I don't 'walk it' with the video. There's a really limited space I have to work with in the living room and even moving three steps left and four steps forward, I'm going to bump into something. So, I stay in place. But I march in place when everyone else is walking, so that's ok too.

When I started doing the video - that'd be the 25th (only a week ago?? astonishing) - I only did Warm up and most of the first Circuit. The program is divided into 5 segments: Warm Up, First, Second, Third, and Cool Down. Warm up is about 5 minutes, the circuits are about 7 minutes each, and cool down is three. So, despite the fact that I counted it as a 20 minute workout, I probably only did 12 minutes the first time. That's ok, too. I haven't been eating those APs, just listing them. The second time I did it, I got Warm Up, First, and part of Second. The third time, I did Warm Up, First, all of Second, and thought about Third. Yesterday was only the fourth time I actually worked out; and when the Intensity Check came up, I thought I was doing ok. Still sweating like crazy, but I sweat when I'm just sitting around, so I didn't worry about it too much. I was breathing hard, but not out of breath. So I thought I'd go ahead and do a few minutes into Third. Oddly enough, I didn't think about it again until we got to Cool Down. At which point, I was like "Jeez, may as well finish it at this point."

So I did.

I didn't feel bad when I finished it either - well, mentally I felt great! But I mean, physically. The first time I worked out, I went and collapsed in my computer chair afterwards and asked a friend of mine on line if I had her permission to die. (I figure if I ever actually get someone's permission to die, I can take it...) This time, same friend, she asked me how I was feeling:

Lynn-worki whew!
Lynn-worki whole workout!
Jeanne YES!!! You go! All 5 (6?) parts?
Lynn-worki all five. warm up 3 circuits, and cool down
Jeanne Ah,, okay. I was thinking it was 5 and cooldown, my bad. Go you! How do you feel?
Lynn-worki is now known as Lynn
Lynn ok... wish it wasn't raining
Lynn we're probably not going to do our walk tonight because of the rain, but I'd like to anyway.
Jeanne Ditto. Although at least it looks like it's not icing anymore. (Listen to me: icing. It sounds like there should be sugary pink stuff dropping from the sky)
Lynn pretty good, actually... I'm a little warm. I wish the cooldown was just a smidge longer. I can feel the muscles relaxing, but they didn't get quite there. I did a bit more grapevine after the dvd was done
I think that's a big improvement over "Can I die now?"

We did, actually, end up walking later. It was a very funny sort of non-argument with me and Thomas.

Me, "You want to skip the walk tonight, so we don't get rained on?"
Thomas, "No, but you did your workout. You can stay here."
Me, "Nah, that's ok... but if it rains on me, I'm going to be mad."
Thomas, "Fair enough."

Most of the way home, Darcy jumped in a mud-puddle and got cold, muddy water all over her pants, my leg and down into my shoe.

Thomas, "You know, you didn't have to come with."
Me, "Bah, I can't slack off if you're not."
Thomas, "Spouse, you're not slacking off. You did your workout. I stood around all day and yelled at some electricians."
Me, "I think I'll stick with my workout, thanks."
Thomas, "Yeah. Me, too."

I do have some smallish complaints about the workout DVD, but hey, it was included in the Getting Started kit, so it's not like I picked it out. First thing is, it's quite obvious that this is not the first workout in the series, because the instructor says a few things that make me think she expects me to know what a few of the steps are by name (No, I can't figure out what a rock-step is... and it took me a while to figure out what a grapevine was...). Secondly, while all the women in the video are supposed to be "Afters", I'd really love to see someone doing the workout who was a "During." For me, it's a bit discouraging to look at all those toned bodies (especially that blonde girl with her perky smile and pointedly perfect boobs) and NO ONE is breaking a sweat (I know, I know, they were filming it, so someone's going around and moping up everyone's forehead regularly because sweat doesn't look good on film...) Eventually, I think I'll want to pick out my own workout, but that'll be a while.

After our walk, our friend Portia came over. (She was my bridesmaid in our wedding) Now, understanding Portia would be an exercise in futility. I had, actually, decided that she's not a very good friend. In fact, she may very well be the worst friend I still have. Remember I talked about people who walked all over me? Well, she's definitely one of them. She fell out of our lives a few years back when Thomas and I were undergoing some serious finance problems and couldn't treat her to dinner every time she came over. She showed back up about 18 months ago or so, when she and her illegal alien boyfriend got pregnant and she was broke as all hell.

I tried to overlook it really, but it did eventually become undeniable. She comes over right around the times in the month that her paycheck is overloaded, and she's hungry. I could accept this without too much quibble if I got something in return out of the relationship. But she never listens to a word I'm saying; she's just waiting for her turn to talk again. She makes terrible work and personal decisions, bemoans about her fate to everyone, and refuses to change it, or to make better decisions.

Fortunately, she's moving away. Not far, really, but far enough that we probably won't see her regularly anymore. I'm just going to let the distance be the distance, rather than sit down with her and explain that I think this friendship isn't one, and maybe it would be better if she not expect so much from us anymore.

Which is all beside the point: the second first. (Wow, that sounds even stupider than first things first....)

Usually when we go out with Portia, we go to an all-you-can-eat place. It is the most economical way to fill her up... because I do FEEL BAD for her that she lives well below the poverty line and that she's hungry a lot. I do know what it's like to be hungry - I used to be dirt poor and living on $11,000 a year (before taxes). I vividly remember days of playing "which bill gets paid this month?" Juggling phone and electric and gas just enough so that they maintain the delusion that I'll ever actually pay the bill off and they won't cut the power. I did live without a phone for several months because I couldn't afford one.

Thomas decided he wasn't up to that level of challenge. I'd done my research ahead of time, and knew at the Golden Corral what I would get, and I saved points for a buttered roll (5 points each!). But for naught. We tried the Applebee's again, but the parkinglot was packed, so we ended up at TGIFridays.

We hadn't been there in a while, but I was pleased with their menu options. They'd made some big changes to their offerings, and there were a few Low Fat items on the menu that promised 500 calories and 10g of fat (what's low fat about 10 grams????). Thomas got the mahi mahi and I got a cobb salad (which wasn't listed as low fat, but hey, I'd already looked that up before, and it's 10 points without dressing, which is the same as 500 cals... ) We split an appetizer four ways (Darcy had one, me, Thomas, and Portia helped herself to one as well...) which was ok, since a quesadilla lists at like 6 points for one...

I'm guessing that I spent ~15 points, broken out this way: 1/4 of a quesadilla for ~3 points, 1/2 the cobb salad for ~5 points, ~3 points for 2 tablespoons of cilantro lime dressing (that was listed as low fat in the options, but the only thing I could find that came close was pretty high in calorie content...) and 1/3 of the angel food cake/chocolate roll for ~4 points.

I ended my day with 2 points to spare, but I figured they'd make up the fudge factor if I counted my dinner incorrectly.

So, to reiterate: I completed my aerobic workout for the first time. And I faced the challenge of eating out without any trouble.

(Now, damnit, scale, you'd better give me something back!)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Inertia and Entropy


1. Physics The tendency of a body to resist acceleration; the tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest or of a body in straight line motion to stay in motion in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force.

2. Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change: the inertia of an entrenched bureaucracy.


1. For a closed thermodynamic system, a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work.

2. A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system.

3. A measure of the loss of information in a transmitted message.

4. The tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity.

5. Inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society.

Oh, have we got loads of that in abundance around here.

Thursdays are my technical "day off". No housework, no workout, no chores. No 'To Do' list. Thomas suggests that I should change to Tuesdays, since Tuesday is his Work From Home day... but seriously, he's still technically working, which means that I end up having to wrangle Darcy off him while he's on conference calls and whatnot. So, rather than take Tuesday off and being mad at Thomas every time I have to do something anyway because he's working (you can read as much sarcasm as you'd like into that sentence) I think I'll stick with a day that he's not around. You pick your hills to die on, but it's better to pick them wisely.

Anyway, I usually do a bit of pick up anyway - dishes and whatnot. Yesterday, I didn't. I was sick. I spent most of yesterday sleeping/dozing on the sofa and wondering vaguely what the Points Count was on the six pounds of snot I swallowed. (Sorry. Well, no, I'm not... I felt yucky yesterday, so you can feel a bit yucky, too.)

Day before yesterday, my house was spotless. Yesterday it was... ok. Today? It is a FUCKING DISASTER. There are crayons all over the living room floor, the dishes are piled up in the sink and on the counters. Someone spilled chocolate milk mix onto the floor and didn't bother to wipe it up. The trash can is full and there's a small pile of trash in front of it. My desk has again collected spare bits of clutter; as well as a pile of used Kleenex because my desk trashcan is full. (Again. Man, that thing don't stay empty long!) Darcy's Tinker Bell costume is in a crumpled heap in the hallway. And two pairs of shoes and socks have managed to creep out of the bedroom and ended up piled in front of my computer.

I feel like what I need in my life is Professor Moody, rapping his walking stick on the floor and yelling "Constant Vigilance!"

Is it just me, or is weight loss sort of like trying to keep a house clean? My body's natural state is fat, lazy and immobile. And I'm looking at a very long road of Constant Vigilance.

I'd mope about this somewhat, except, guess what? I've got a house to clean. So this is as much bitching as I can afford to do.