Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Am Taurus; Hear Me Roar

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I am such a Taurus, too... with a few exceptions. My husband (an Aries) and I have gotten our main characteristics reversed... he's the introvert, and I'm the extrovert. Aside from that, yeah, you could use the Taurus characterizations as a check list.

Stubborn. Bull-headed. Tenacious. Whatever you want to call it, that's me in a nutshell. (My dad says "tenacious" sounds better, but bull-headed tends to suit me...)

While I'm always enamored with the idea of self-doubt, I get really, highly offended when other people doubt me. When my father gave us the 10 week coupons, I seriously doubt that he thought he'd have to buy a second set. And here we are, sneaking up on needing a third set...

And this weekend, when we were down at Aunt Gayle's? We were talking about Weight Watchers and my plans and goals. She asked me how much I was planning to lose, and I said I'd like to get down to about 125 - 130 pounds or so. Aunt Gayle tried to hide it, but the look she gave me (covered up quickly) was flat disbelief.

"Well," she said, "that's quite a goal."

I fumed. Quietly, but fumed, nonetheless.

It's probably shallow of me, but nothing makes me angrier than someone who doesn't believe I can do it... whatever "it" is. All it does is make me even more determined to get it done.

Which is good, because my motivation has been flagging a little. My root canal got infected, and the infection had spread; now I have an infected tooth, sinus infection, and my eye is infected, too. I can't sleep for more than about an hour before waking up again with a stuffed head, or shooting pains in my mouth, or discovering that my eye is all crusted shut again. YUCK! My knees are finally getting better so I can think about running again, but I'm too sick to even think about going out for a walk. It's all very discouraging.

I swear, it's a curse. Thomas takes time off from work, and someone gets sick.

Tomorrow's my birthday. We were going to do something; Thomas has taken the day off. And now, I'm pretty sure that what Thomas is going to be doing tomorrow is babysitting Darcy while I sleep all day. How exciting.

On the other hand, I'm still a Taurus, and being mad and determined to prove Aunt Gayle wrong will still be around when I get better.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mongolian Death, Root Canals, and Meetings

Just a quickie status update:

I am sick with some end of season cold/sinus infection thing that's making me quite miserable. Throat hurts, head stuffed up, not being quite able to cough, fatigue. You know the drill, I'm sure.

I'm prepping to head out to the dentist in about 20 minutes to get part 2 of the 5 part root canal finished. (3 parts drill, 1 part fitting for crown, 1 part crown. YUCK)

We didn't stay for the meeting last night because as soon as I walked into the Weight Watcher's building, I started shivering. But we did weight in. I was down 1.6 pounds for a total of 24 pounds lost. Thomas was down 1.2 pounds, and is .2 pounds away from his 10% goal.

I realized yesterday that I hadn't given myself a reward for hitting my 20 pounds and here I am almost at 25... so I'm going to get these shoes. They're the same style as my current daily shoes, but they're white/blue and have cute little sparkley light up flowers on them. Silly, but, I wants them.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Conversation

Yesterday, we went down to the beach house to visit my Aunt Gayle. The beach house belongs jointly to my step-mom, Rosie and Aunt Gayle, who is Rosie's younger sister. There's actually two houses there, the main house which is a 5 bedroom, 2 car garage luxury home that they rent out to a family for some ridiculous monthly payment. Behind it is a small, two bedroom 'cottage' that's somewhat smaller than my apartment, but it's not too bad.

Gayle works for the federal government up in DC for the geological something or other department. Anyway, she's helping Thomas work on getting a job with the government. I think we'd like that, since the schools in DC are loads better than the ones down here, as well as the fact that Thomas has been with Evil French Corporation for six years now, and he's getting really fed up with their policies. While I harbor my doubts about any job really being all that much better, it's his job, so...

In any case, since Thomas and I blew a bunch of points for some fried appetizer at Ruby Tuesdays' this weekend (mmmmmmm. Cheese sticks!) I decided to bring food with us and cook. I made Asian basa with dijon butter, barley, and peas, with fat free pudding for dessert. Aunt Gayle was pretty impressed with my cooking...

Anyway, we're headed home and Darcy's still taking pictures with her camera (which is VERY distracting in a dark car!!) and she snapped a picture of me.

"Oh, Mommy!" she said. "It's a picture!"

"Yes, sweetie," I said. I sighed. I still had spots in front of my eyes from the flash going off. I don't know how Thomas managed to keep driving with that camera going off every 60 seconds or so...

"Mommy's so pretty!" she said.

"Heh," I said. I turned to Thomas. "I'm going to enjoy this."


"Darcy thinking I'm pretty," I said. "It won't last very long."

"Pffft," he said. "I think you're pretty."

"You do?" I'm absolutely certain he's never actually said that to me before. He's said I look "nice" and "fine" in response to "Do I look ok?" and occasionally in response to my complaining about the weather ("I'm HOT" "I always thought so.") but he's never said "pretty" before.

"You don't have to sound so shocked."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

10% Goal's Reward

So, this is what I did for myself as my 10% lost reward. As a note, that dress is a size 16.

I cut and colored my hair, so it's now a deep, mahogany sort of red, with some layering... first time I've had a haircut in like 4 years...

I should do that more often, really. It gets sort of ratty after a while, especially down near the ends...

The dress is old. It's been hanging in my closet since a friend's wedding, about 4 years ago.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday

Pfft. You know me, I can't just post a picture or three without commentary. Not. Possible.

If there's one thing I do and I do it well, it's blather.

But here are some pictures anyway.

These are the geese I keep seeing on my run, along with their six offspring. Quite adorable, except when Dad Gander thinks I'm getting a little too close to his chicks and charges at me, hissing.

So, I did my third C25k today, after four days off because of weekend and weather. Funny thing is, my knees - well, most of my legs actually - hurt ALL DAY yesterday. Every time I shifted to get out of my chair, or stood up, or walked, they ached. This did not make yesterday's walk at all enjoyable. But I did it anyway, because what else am I going to do, at this point?

(Darcy rides in her wagon behind us, most of the time. She got some terrible blisters walking with us, and now she's used to the wagon. Sometimes she walks, but generally she likes to ride. She always wants me to pick her flowers on the way. Thomas calls this "Lynn's yard service: ridding your garden of weeds, one dandelion at a time!")

So, this morning I woke up at 6:45. No rain, although the sky was still overcast. I got up, pulled my workout clothes on, and set out. My knees, particularly the right one, complained a bit. Pfft. I ignored them. What do they know? (Ok, so what they know is that there's four pounds of pressure on them for every 1 pound of me, and they're tired of getting slammed with 780 pounds running around, but hey, they can take it up with the complaint department.)

Now, I discovered a problem with my iPod. I mean, I don't think it's a PROBLEM, exactly, so much as something I just didn't know. If I push the > || key (play/pause) three times, it's supposed to return to the beginning of the playlist. However, it doesn't. Not quite. It returns to the first SONG in the list, but at the point where you skipped ahead of it last time. Since when I ran on Friday, I skipped past the 5 minute cool down walk and walked to my own music, when I pushed > || three times, it went back to the beginning of the cool down walk. I didn't even notice. Partially, I think, because techno/house music isn't my style, so I didn't realize this was a different song. So my routine went more like this: Cool down walk (pre-warm up walk?) for five minutes. Mutter, grumble, piss around with iPod for 2 minutes. Then five minutes of warm up walk, then the run, THEN another 5 minute cool down walk.

So, my knees were complaining a bit, but funny thing is, it seemed to help with the run. I stopped worrying about how much longer I had to run and concentrated more on telling my body to shut up and keep running. And I'm running faster. I went almost a block further than I usually do, before turning around and coming back, so, that was actually 2 blocks, since I turn around and come back.

Rather than walking the entire 5 minutes of my (second) cool down, I walked about 3 and a half minutes, and then stretched for another 3 minutes. Quad stretches (I can actually do these now. A month ago, when I started the Sugar Solutions workout dvd, I couldn't actually REACH the top of my foot to pull it up for the quad stretch. I ended up grabbing the sole of my shoe instead.) and hamstring stretches and lunges...

I got home, showered and dressed. (Yes, I've tried on my size 16 jeans. Yes, I can get them up and closed and zipped. No, they've not very comfortable. Yet.) I took another progress picture. And then Darcy wanted me to take a snapshot of her, so, here it is.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Shopping Plans

Healthy You Update I've become a big fan of the Core Plan. So, we're continuing to stick to Core, at least for the time being. This week, I'm down another 1.2 pounds. Thomas is down 2.6. (Sneaky bastard, he's getting ahead of me again!)

In order to feed my family, I'm having to take a huge leap as far as planning in advance goes, which has in turn cut away a lot of the excess food that tends to accumulate in my refrigerator. I've been a terrible packrat about food for a long time; since I was able to afford to do so. My later years in college were pretty tight, financially, and there were weeks that all I ate was rice, cheese, tomato and ground beef (keep in mind, during the early 90's, tomatoes were cheap. They aren't now.) Ever since then, I have had - as my friend Carol would say - enough food in the house to feed a small army.

Which is really not necessary... there's no reason to have more than a week's worth of food on hand at any time. I don't need 8 packages of backup ramen. I don't eat it if I can possibly manage to avoid it, and we're not so poor as it's likely that I'll be forced to consume them or starve.

On Tuesdays, I go through the fridge and check out what's still in there. Are there leftovers that are getting dubious? Fruits that are spoiling? I clear out the excess - not that there's often much, since I tend to send leftovers to work with Thomas as his lunch, as well as eat them myself for lunch. Tuesday evening, dinner is whatever leftovers are getting close to going off, so we can waste as little food as possible.

Wednesday, I sit down and plan dinners for the week. I usually use a pattern like this: one fish dish, one steak or veal dish, three chicken dishes, one vegetarian thing, and one night of leftovers or going out. Once I've decided what sort of meats we're eating, I go through and select recipes. For example, this past week's menu looked something like this:

Wednesday 96% fat free hamburgers with leftover chili
Thursday tuna steaks over sauteed vegetables
Friday whole wheat spaghetti and organic sauce, salad, and rolls
Saturday out to eat (sirloin and salad bar for me)
Sunday General Tso's Chicken, brown rice
Monday sirloin steaks, barley & mushrooms, mixed vegetables
Tuesday chicken with caramelized onions, ginger-glazed carrots

Once I have the menu put together, I check my supplies to see what I already have. From that, I make my list based on what I'll need to cook the rest of my recipes. I check my herbs and spices to see if I'm running low on anything, ditto with sauces and dressings. How're my basic staples? Soup? Cereal, rice, barley? What have I got for fruits and vegetables? I always need more of these, we're eating so much fresh fruit and veggies recently. I've figured out that we need approximately two bunches of bananas, 8-10 apples, one package of grapes, one package of strawberries, 3 roma tomatoes, 2 - 3 onions, 1-2 avocados, 1 bell pepper, a bag of pre-cut lettuce (I'm still too lazy to cut my own salad lettuce...), and a bag of baby carrots. Per Week. And generally I get 2 packages of frozen veggies. I keep economy sized bags of frozen peas and corn in the freezer, but I also like to keep those mixed bags of broccoli and cauliflower on hand.

After I'm done checking over and writing down foods, I check the rest of the house. Toilet paper? Check. Dishwasher tabs? Running low. Trash bags? Laundry soap?

I write up my list based on where things are in the store. I've been through that store so many times that I pretty much know what order the aisles are in. I leave plenty of space on the right side of my list, in case I forget something, so I can jot it on the side near the related foods.

After my list is done, I check my coupon caddy. Do I have any coupons that will go with anything I'm buying. I paper clip these to my list. And then, I'm ready to go to the grocery store.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Part of the Plan (Also, My New Project!)

So, I missed my first Couch to 5K run this morning.

It was raining and thundering this morning.


I'd already planned to not run in the rain. Not necessarily because I think rain would be uncomfortable (it probably would be a bit, but it also might be sort of fun) but because the sidewalks flood around here. I think I mentioned something about the water table being pretty close to ground-surface in this area, and any time it rains, the whole city gets a sinus infection. In any case, I don't want to run on wet sidewalks (particularly given the amount of goose poo on the sidewalk!) because I'm worried about slipping and falling down.

My bones are pretty fragile after many years of steroid use; I tend to break something whenever I fall down. (elbow, wrist, leg, several toes, and the top of my foot) This is part of my Being Careful.

Nearly everyone - when I've mentioned that I've started running - has said to me "Ooooh, be careful." Yes, ok! I'm Being Careful, thankyouverymuch. I've been so damn careful that I've missed out on a lot of my life. And I'm not going to let it stop me any longer! But just because I'm trying to change things doesn't mean I've gone completely bonkers out of my head and will accidentally cripple myself. I'm making sure the path I'm running is safe, and dry. I've got good shoes. I'm not pushing myself any harder than I feel I reasonably can. And believe me, if my ankle starts hurting, I'll stop running.

So, I woke up this morning at 6:35 and looked out the window. It was pouring. Not that Get the Ark sort of pouring, but the nice, steady sheeting rain. The kind that gardeners are always really happy about because it means the rain will actually soak into the soil and help their flowers and tomatoes, rather than just puddling all over the place and pouring straight into the massive drainage system.

I confess to being slightly disappointed. But I'm Being Careful, so I didn't go.

So, I've started a new project recently.

One of my friends from the Weight Watchers newsgroup asked a few questions about eggs - which is to say she stated that she didn't like eating scrambled egg whites and was wondering what she could do about this. (Stop eating egg whites!). I mentioned that I never make an egg dish with completely whites, as the yolk is NOT bad for you, and it helps with the presentation. I usually make omelets with 1 egg, and 2 whites. Then I commented that in order to jazz up my omelet, I tried to pick a complementary spice to go with whatever I was stuffing in the omelet. Common omelets around here are: tarragon with fat free cream cheese and smoked salmon; smoked paprika and cilantro with salsa and fat free pepper jack; parsley with ham and fat free swiss. Like that.

What she wrote back floored me.

Um, I don't have any spices. I've never used them. Just some rosemary, that's all. And I never used it after I got it. Since I don't know what I'm doing, I didn't want to ruin my dinner. I've been married for 10 years, but only started trying to cook about four months ago. I have no idea what I'm doing in the kitchen, and it scares me.

No. Spices?

So, we started writing emails back and forth. I wrote a very long mail to her about basic spices, prepping to cook, and common kitchen sanitation. She was very enthused, so I continued to write out these emails. Soon one person became three, and now suddenly I have about 10 subscribers to a mailing list. Today, I wrote out a simple recipe for fish fillets, vegetables, and spices, including how to pick fresh fish, what to look for in buying onions, peppers, and potatoes, and how to plan your meal to get salads, sides, and main course on the table at the same time.

In any case, if you're interested in this mailing list, I'm happy to include more people. Just let me know in the comments to add you to the list, and include your email address (write it out something like Beginningcook at somewhere dot com so that email spiders don't nab your address and send you craploads of spam!) I promise that I will not sell your email address to anyone, and that I won't fill up your inbox. I'm not intending to write anything more than one email per week - altho I will catch you up on previous emails when you first sign up!

Friday, April 18, 2008

32 Flavors (and then some)

Squint your eyes and look closer
I'm not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am 32 flavors and then some
And I'm beyond your peripheral vision so you might want to turn your head
'Cause someday you're going to get hungry and eat all of the words that you just said
I am what I am, I am 32 flavors and then some
God help you if you are an ugly
Course too pretty is also your doom
'Cause everyone harbors a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room
God help you if you are a phoenix and you dare to rise up from ash
A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy while you are just flying past
I am what i am, I am 32 flavors and then some
I'm taking my chances as they come
I am 32 flavors and then some
I'm nobody but I am someone, someone...
I'd never try to give my life meaning by demeaning you
And I would like to state for the record...
I did everything that I could do
I am beyond your peripheral vision so you might want to turn your head
'Cause someday you're going to be starving and eating al the words that you just said
That you said
I am what I am, I am what I am
I am 32 flavors and then some
I'm taking my chances as they come
I am 32 flavors and then some
I'm looking for truth and there is none
Forgive me, I just got back from my second C25K run and I'm sure I'm going to be a little rambley. Today's run was a little easier, although that 7th interval seems to be defeating me. I'm not sure what it is; I can do the last one fine, and most of the rest of them I can do, even if they aren't really comfortable. (For the record, I'm considering doing Week 1 for another week, since I'm still having struggling with Week 1. We'll see, I guess, when Wednesday next comes around...)

Today on my run, I saw: a flock of seagulls (not that flock of seagulls!) three rabbits, several geese, one absolutely adorable fluffy gosling, the same little girl that I saw on Wednesday - who waved to me again. I waved back - one police officer looking in his citation book while he banged on a door, two teenaged girls who were also running (they nodded to me as we passed each other) and one homeboy with his shirt unbuttoned to his navel to show off his chest and his pants hanging around his hips and threatening to go lower. (Didn't that go out of fashion yet? That was the stupid-in-thing when I was in college!)

I got a little further on my run-marker, maybe another 40 feet or so up the trail before turning around and heading back. That means I ran a little faster this time, so that's good.

Does anyone else find themselves composing blog entries while they're working out? Taking note of things you thought so you can try to remember to write them down later? Or is it just me?

I found myself on a number of occasions remembering Mike's advice: Resize your rings as soon as they get loose. I'm on my third wedding band, and my wife's threatening to divorce me if I lose another one.

I also found myself thinking about the first time that I realized that I might be fat. I was about nine years old. My cousin and I were over at our grandmother's house (my dad's mom) and having breakfast. We ate Special K, which is all my grandmother had in the way of cereal. Can you pinch more than an inch? was the advertisement on the back of the box. Adult cereal is always so BORING, I swear. My cousin (who was eleven) and I both could pinch an inch. At least.

I'm dealing with some strange issues recently. You know, guilt isn't a four letter word, but maybe it ought to be. I've had a number of people tell me recently that I'm 'inspiring'. I swear, the phrase coming out of my mouth recently most often is, "Yes, but..."

I don't feel the least bit inspiring, honestly. I feel annoying. Or like a poseur. A big fake. A big FAT fake, while we're at it. Which is weird, and I'm sure it's completely counterproductive. It's just... what right do I have to be inspiring to anyone? Every time someone says to me that I'm inspiring to them, I feel this surge of weird resentment and discomfort, followed closely by guilt (usually for feeling weird and resentful...)

"Lynn~At least you did it, [the Couch to 5 K run] which is more than I can say I did. So proud of you, that is great. I can't wait to see what you are doing a month from now. The fact that you are getting out when it's cold.....way to go. Everytime you post, you were just out and/or busy doing something or cleaning or enjoying your weight loss by stepping it up another notch.'s very inspiring!!!!;) " - Angelia

And as soon as I see something like that, my brain goes off on a twist. That's not me, it's ridiculous to think that, if she knew how many of my workouts I've skipped, she wouldn't think that, and I'm not doing anything special, just what needs to be done, and my god does Thomas resent it because he spent the whole walk the other day telling me how he can't possibly find any more time to workout and he's a slacker and I don't want him to feel like I'm pressuring him because I'm really not, but jeez, why is he mad at me about it and you know I completely forgot to get the kitchen floor mopped yesterday and I need like four things from the grocery store, and I'm not doing very well on keeping my list updated because this is like the fifth week in a row that I've forgotten to pick up any vitamins and do you think you're neglecting the Thieves' Guild emails here, slack GM that you are, and you know how Jeanne is, I'm sure she's biting her nails which she shouldn't do anyway, and have you even THOUGHT about calling your mom recently? you should do that, you know! Do you know what all these people are going to think about you when you quit, because you know you can't keep this up, you're running full tilt out here and you're going to fall, and it's going to hurt so much, maybe you should just slow down now, and gradually wean yourself out of it because you know you never do anything you set out to do, there's this huge list of failures in your life, your failure as a daughter, as a girlfriend, as a friend, as a wife, as a mother, and you just suck, you know that, so why the hell is anyone looking up to you and thinking you're inspirational, because you know damn well that you're NOT.

I really wish I could shut that voice the HELL UP. I can do these things. I am doing these things. I get into these long internal arguments where I say something like this. "Yes, but I quit smoking." "Yeah, but while we're at it, you never finished writing that novel you were working on, and you know, Carol was counting on you for that." "Well, that's true, but why do I have to be perfect?" "What, you think I thought you could be? Pah, you can't even be average."

I'm so tired of it. Why can't I just focus on what I've done and what I've accomplished and make that annoyingly superior voice in my head go his own way. I mean, what right does he have to carp and criticize? He's just a voice in my HEAD. I haven't seen HIM running any couch to 5K!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Running Towards Sunrise

Well, I did it.

Yesterday, my iPod shuffle came in. I wasn't even here when it arrived, I was down on Military at the coin op, doing the laundry. By the time I got back, Thomas had set up the little dock, loaded whatever needed loading, and everything was set and ready to go.

So I loaded the Couch to 5K podcast for Week 1 onto it. And some other music, while I was at it - I mean, the thing holds 250+ songs on it, I may as well get other uses out of it, right?

I turned it on, stuck the earbuds in my ears just to get an idea of what I'd be listening to. Warning: Initial Volume settings are LOUD.

It's mostly a techno sort of thing, which really isn't my style of music, but it's probably better for the time being than anything I'm more familiar with, because I do like to sing (badly, off key, and with terrible breath control) and I think singing and running are probably not a good mix. At least for a while.

The Plan was: get up in the morning when Thomas's alarm clock goes off. He's one of those massive snooze button slappers and between when his alarm STARTS going off at 6:30 and when he actually leaves for work at 8:15, there's a LOT of time for me to get in whatever workout I need so that someone's here with Darcy. (As a note, I want to apologize here to my sophomore and junior year roommate - and best friend - Carol, for putting her through two years of massive snooze alarm slapping. I have received my karmic comeuppance... in abundance.)

The Plan did not account for my mutant worrybrain, which proceeded to dream about running. And iPods. And Penn and Teller, for some odd reason. Anyway, just before Thomas's alarm went off for the first time (somewhere about 6:15 or so) my brain yelled at me. "OH MY GOD, IT'S 8am!" Which wouldn't possibly be enough time to do the run, and how could I miss my FIRST RUN!? I woke up with a start and squinted at my clock.

I punched my pillow and attempted to go back to sleep for 15 minutes, but my body wasn't having any of that nonsense. I had told it to make sure I got up this morning, and make sure I got up, it did. I should be grateful for this ability, but as it happens, my body tends to be anywhere between 15 and 40 minutes early. So... mildly grumpy.

I got up, brushed and braided my hair, and got dressed in my workout clothes. I threw my hoodie on over the top, slid my iPod through the front pocket and clipped it to the far side (on the theory that if I dropped my iPod, it would at least fall into the pocket and not onto the ground.) and started off.

It was BUTT COLD this morning. The current temperature is 38. There was frost on the cars. I did a five minute warm up walk around the back side of the apartment, then headed over to the path where I intended to do my run.

In a way, it was both easier than I feared and harder than I had hoped. I had pains in strange, unexpected places. I had expected my ankle to hurt. Or my feet. Or my knees. What I hadn't expected at all was that my lower back hurt. Not in the spine, which might have made sense, but in that little area right where my butt ends and my back starts. One of my not particularly couth friends calls that spot the beer-shelf... "you know baby's got back when you've got a place to set your beer..." And my thumbs hurt, but that was probably just the cold. The rest of my hands stayed warm (ish), but the worst of the cold air was streaming right over the thumb.

There was mist rolling off the waterway near the path. (They call it a waterway, but it's really not. This whole area is built on one giant swamp/watershed and any place there's a deep enough hole, there's water. To build highways and such, there are any number of these little glorified mudpuddles, man made, to hold all the water.) The effect, combined with a flock of Canadian geese who were just waking up for their morning scrounge, was oddly bucolic and rather pretty.

The Week One program consists of eight 60-second running intervals, separated by 90 seconds of brisk walking. The guy who narrates the podcast sounds eerily like my guild leader from Warcraft, which sort of amuses me. He says, as we're starting out, "Remember, you should be able to talk while running..." Yeah. Right.

Except that I did. On a couple of occasions, I responded to something that he said. Mostly along the lines of "Oh, Suuuuuuure." and "Ha! Fsck you!" That last one came out as a startled exclamation when we were mostly done with the intervals. We were on interval 6 and he says "You should be able to feel the affects of running now." Me: "Ya think?" "But you shouldn't be exhausted or out of breath." Me: "Fsck you, pal."

I did have some problems with my iPod. Or, more specifically, with the little earbuds. The right ear bud stayed in fine, but the left one fell out a couple times, and I had to run trying to screw it back in (so to speak...) That was awkward.

On the plus side, I saw almost no one while I was out. One of the things I've been mildly paranoid about is that someone will see me. I know that I don't exactly run. I more like lumber ungainfully in a given direction and that I'm still hugely fat and more bits of me bounce and jiggle than I really care to think about. I can't imagine that I look anything other than completely ridiculous. The only person I saw was an eight or nine year old girl headed out the front door on her way to the bus. She waved at me. I waved back. She smiled as big as the world.

The seventh interval was, actually, the hardest for me. As a further matter of fact, I didn't finish it. I counted when I dropped down to the walking pace again and I think I was only about 15 seconds short. I decided rather than trying to run the circuit as I'd originally planned (I didn't want to end up completely out of place at the end of the run and then have to walk back to the apartment - I was slightly worried about getting back so Thomas could leave for work on time... more on that later!) I'd turn around when I got to interval 4. I'll have to extra measure to be sure, but I don't think I ran more than 2 miles, which is about 2/3 of a 5K. Well, we'll work on distance and endurance later.

What this did mean is that while I was jogging BACK, I was running into the sunrise.

You know, cowboy movies often end with that vivid scene of a lone rider on his horse, the sun a blob of volcano-red in the distance, the mountains a beckoning call... symbolic.

I think running into the sunrise was even more so, for me. I couldn't see anything more than the brilliant yellow of the sun, reflected and refracted at me in a hundred thousand directions by the dewey grass, shimmering off the lake to my right, and the pavement under my feet. I ran those last sixty seconds towards the beginning of a new day.

I got home just in time to hear Thomas slap his alarm clock for the last time, roll out of bed, and go off to take his shower.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lynn's Karmic Challenge

I just finished up doing this with a group of ladies from my Weight Watchers message boards, and I thought I'd offer an open invitation to do the same thing here...

Karmic balance!

We could all use some good karma points, right?

So, here's my offer. I have several pieces of nice/like new clothes in sizes that I no longer fit into. (24/26 and 4X for the most part) I don't need them any more, and I know there are loads of people out there who are on a different stage of their own weight loss journey who can probably wear them.

Below are some pictures, along with a description of the item. If you want it, it's yours. I will ship it to you - entirely at my own expense! - as soon as we work out arrangements. (Leave a comment in the blog, telling me what you want, and an email address for me to get in contact with you, and I'll make arrangements for shipping.) I'll also include with every item I send out a few "special" things that I've got - it could be a tube of lip gloss, or some scented body spray, or a USB-drive - totally random. All I ask in return is that when you're going through YOUR closet, that you re-gift to someone else.

Three weeks ago, I sent out a 3X belt with cupcakes on it that I'd gotten from Torrid last year to a girl in Canada. I included a deck of cards with 52 things to do when you're feeling blue, a tube of cherry glitter lip gloss, and a pair of cherry earrings. She was THRILLED to no end when her package arrived. Life had been really rotten for her recently, and a cute little care package from someone she only knows from a newsgroup really made her day.

Today, in the mail, I got a package from the girl who's one down from me... Jenny mailed me a pair of shorts with a bright flower print belt, a pair of capris, and a tinker bell t-shirt (she said she had never even worn this last one, her weight had dropped so quickly, and winter lasted longer than she expected, so she'd sized right out of the thing without ever having done more than tried it on a few times.) And I was thrilled!

So, here's the things that I have in my dresser that need to go... if you want them, please let me know. If you know someone who might want them, point them at this post!

This first pair of capris are size 24. They came from Torrid, and are made from denim. They have huge brassy buttons on the cuffs and near the pocket gromets. Very comfortable, but a little worn, as these have been my favorite pants most of the winter, so there are some fade spots here and there.

There's a size 3X sleeveless vest that goes with these pants (not pictured) that has matching buttons up the front and a tie in the back. I've never worn the vest because the buttons need to be sewn back into place (they were very loose in the store, so they marked the piece down by $20, but I never got around to sewing them back on...)

This second pair of pants, also a size 24 and also from Torrid, is one of those cropped pairs of pants. There's a pair of buttons at the bottom of each leg where you can roll the pants up to the cuff length you want and button them in place.

I've worn these a few times, and they desperately need to be ironed (which I won't do before mailing them out because I hate ironing ;-) ) but they're in very good shape. I got them on sale last autumn.

Similarly (not pictured) there's a pair of red capris in almost the same style, except instead of buttons, you can tie he cuffs up. They're the same size, and bright red, but I wore them less because they ended up not being the best color for my skin.

These are a size 24 black khaki style pants, from Mossimo (one of the various clothing companies that Target carries) They were a little bit on the big side, even for 24s, but very comfortable.

They're "walking pants" length, which means for me (being short) they were almost the perfect pant length, but they might be a little cropped on someone with longer legs than mine.

These shorts are a 24, and if you were around in the 80's, they're very 80's style... deliberate 'holes' in the fronts, and torn off legs. The ink stain near the right hand pocket is my fault tho... my husband left a pen in his shirt pocket and I didn't get it out before doing the laundry...

They are, however, VERY comfortable and great for doing things in when you don't mind if you get a little dirty.

This little sweater/cover up thingie is a size 4X mesh cropped top. It's got a name, I've just forgotten what it is. It's from Torrid, and really doesn't do much of anything - it's not good for keeping warmer, unless it's just a touch breezy, but it does LOOK cute. Forgive the model here, but I couldn't figure out any other way to show you what it looked like.

This is a size 22 skirt, black and psuedo-lacy panels in it. I got it with a gift card birthday present last year and have probably worn it about 8 times since then. Like the pants, it should be ironed (but won't be, because I hate ironing.) I bought it specifically to go with the above cropped sweater, and the two do look quite charming together.

This skirt is a 26, a very professional-looking plaid in dark red, tan and brown. It's lined on the inside for comfort, and it's wool, so it's nice and warm. I bought it and a matching sweater to wear for a Christmas party, then the sweater's sleeves fell off the first time I tried to wear it (long story) and I never could find a replacement for the sweater. Nothing else I own goes well with it, so I never wore it at all.

There's also a blue jean skirt, size 24, that I don't have a picture of either (there's something wrong with my camera, and it's not saving all the images...) that's very nice, also Mossimo, comes to about the bottom of the knee, and hasn't been worn much, maybe 10 times altogether, since I got it.

If you're interested in participating in the Karmic Challenge and you have clothing of your own that you'd like to find a new home for, make a post on your own blog and let me know. I'll link to you here to direct readers to sizes that might fit them better!

I Can Haz No Chezburgr, KTHXbai!

see more crazy cat pics

So yesterday was a good weigh in...

I'm down another .8 pounds, which means... I made my 10% initial goal. It was also our 16th week at Weight Watchers, so we got a little key chain charm made from brass. Since I also made my 10%, I get a key chain, which is made from copper. (Isn't there a fashion no-no about mixing metals? These two things do NOT match well together. Ah well...)

My measurements, which I do from time to time randomly - I just only write them down once a month - have crossed another invisible line... my waist is now less than 40". On the other hand, I was measuring Darcy (she asked) and her waist is like 14". I'm not sure about that, she kept squirming. But I seem to remember Scarlet O'Hara having a 16" waist. SCARY.

Thomas and I were decluttering the master bedroom closet this weekend, and I happened across my pair of 16 jeans that I bought shortly after Darcy was born (when I was at my decade-low of 180). I didn't try them on, you have to understand they were shoved down between our blanket chest and the wall, and were covered in cat hair and dead bug bits and black glitter from our Halloween tree. But they're in the laundry now, and I shall try them on this week. I'll keep you posted.

Thomas lost 1.8, which earned him another 5-pound gold star, and he's got 4 pounds to go, to get to his 10%. Pretty good, I think.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Harsh Taskmaster

Today, I had to do not one, but two household tasks that I really abhor.

When I was growing up, we didn't have a disposal. For that matter, we didn't have a dishwasher, or a VCR, or a microwave either. (And you know, these things DID actually EXIST in the 80's.)

So, we washed the dishes in the sink (by we, I mean my mother, and I... my dad did not do dishes. Later, by we, I mean me, as my mother was too busy avoiding her life to actually do the dishes.) Part of doing the dishes entailed occasionally cleaning the accumulated gook out of the drain grill.

Bits of hair and soggy food.


I really, really hated doing it. It was nasty and slimy and I often had deep suspicions of what else might crawl out of the drain while I had my hand full of gross. After Thomas and I got married, we lived in one apartment for a year that didn't have a disposal. I made him clean out that gook. (We only stayed in that apartment for a year, and while I wouldn't say the entire reason we moved out was because of the lack of disposal, it was ON the list.)

These days, I won't even consider an apartment that doesn't have what I consider to be the basic amenities. (Cable ready, disposal, dishwasher, air conditioning. You know, essential things!!)

Unfortunately, there is no disposal in the bottom of my dishwasher.

Now, admittedly, I don't have to do this nearly as OFTEN as I had to scrape out the drain, but from time to time, there dishwasher gets a little clotted up, with leftover food bits stuck on a grill in the far back of the machine.

So, I had to clean it today.


The second task that I really hate came next.

I tossed this handful of cruft into the sink and ran the disposal. Whiiiiir THUNK BANG BANG THUNK.


I turned off the disposal and stopped the water. Using a spoon, I peered into the dark opening.


I'd eaten some avocado last night, and I'd popped the seed out into the sink.

Avocado seeds are... not small. There's no way that my disposal can manage to chew that thing up without seriously damaging the unit.

This particular task is daunting. I'm afraid of the disposal. As much as I love its usefulness, I have a Stephen Kingian phobia about the thing.

Have you ever read Firestarter? Not seen the movie, because the movie doesn't cover this little bit of nastiness, but actually read the book? In it, one of the Shop's doctors, Pynchot, is driven by Andy (the father of the main character) into insanity and eventually Pynchot commits suicide by sticking his arm into the disposal all the way to the elbow and bleeding to death. While dressed in women's underwear, just to add insult to injury.

But... what else am I going to do? I can't leave it down there.

I do, however, go flip the breaker before I fetch the seed. Which I still do, very gingerly, and as quickly as possible.

I think the disposal was laughing at me.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Our House (In the Middle of Our Street)

Our House

Felicia, over at Life Happens, is doing this photo challenge thing, and I thought I'd add to it...

This is my apartment... Darcy came outside to run around while I was taking pictures, and she's discovered the joy of playing in spring grass with no shoes on. I checked the yard quick-like, before she came out, to make sure there wasn't any nice doggy surprises. (Leash and pet-litter laws aren't enforced with any sort of regularity... as a matter of fact, along one particular section of our walk, there's a dog pile exactly at leash length from the sidewalk, every 2 feet or so, in various states of decay...)

We've lived in this particular apartment for four years now, which is the longest I've lived in any particular place previous. Our old apartment - which I miss dreadfully on some days - was the second longest, clocking in at three years.

It's a fairly nice neighborhood... for the most part. We've got a couple of vandals who come by once in a while to spray white spray paint over the cars in the lot (usually around Halloween) but whatever they use just wipes off with a little bit of Windex. Annoying, but not criminally so. And a few times, someone's set the trashcans in the laundry room on fire. Couple of months back, someone went through the parking lot and stole everything out of everyone's cars that was of value and not locked up. (They opened the doors on our car, but didn't bother to steal any of the clutter we have in the car... our locks don't work so well, so we don't use them. But we don't leave anything in the car of value, except for the carseat, and I seriously doubt any teenage thief is going to cart away an Alpha Omega.

This is our walk... I really love it, actually. The whole circuit is fairly nice, and except for a bit of a stretch along the main road, rather peaceful.

Well, except for yesterday, when a whole passel of idiot-children decided it would be loads of fun to harass a pair of nesting Canadian geese. I don't know why they thought this was a good plan... Canadian geese are NOT small birds, and they will attack you; especially if you're too close to their eggs.

Also, in Virginia, it's against the law to hurt these animals. I don't actually have any documented evidence of that, just anecdotal, usually stories about how a pair of nesting geese put their eggs someplace inconvenient (like in front of the door at Thomas's work) and Animal Control said it was illegal to move the eggs or kill the birds, despite the fact that the geese were charging workers and actually pecked one lady rather hard...)

What I'm working on

This is the route we walk three times a week, and the plan (for me) is to start running it three times a week.

I want to start running the Couch to 5K program as soon as my iPod comes in - I'm not very good at judging distances, so I thought I'd listen to the running music that has the times in it as a way to get started.

My friend, with whom I was discussing this plan, says I'm crazy. She'll be as supportive as she can be... from the car.

I don't know if I'll like running.

I may not.

However, six years ago, I woke up from surgery to my doctor telling me, "Mrs. C., it's very possible that you may never walk again. I want you to be extra careful while you're in a cast. No weight on that ankle. Ever. At all. If we're really careful, we may be able to recover some minimal movement, enough for you to walk with a limp. But you'll probably be in pain for the rest of your life."

I was careful. I was so careful, I barely got off the sofa at all for the better part of six months. I worked very hard at my physical therapy and eventually I was able to walk without a crutch or cane. But I was in pain, for quite a long time. And I couldn't take stairs normally.

I thought that was as good as it was going to get.

Just recently, I've found out that he was wrong. I'm not in pain; not most of the time. I can walk down stairs normally. I can run.

I can do it.

And in the few short runs I've done so far, I've discovered something amazing.

The simple fact that I can do it means I want to.

I can.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Hives and the Hive-Knots

So yesterday was a complete wash.

First off, the child thing has started becoming a little more self-sufficient. She gets up in the morning and goes to the bathroom, gets herself a cup of milk or juice, and a bowl of cereal, then settles into the living room to play on her computer.

This is all wonderful and great, except that she used to come wake me up first, and now she doesn't. And with all the housecleaning and exercise and stuff I've been doing, I sleep more soundly than I used to (particularly after a late night raiding session, and Thomas and I talking until 1 or 2 in the morning...). All of which means that I've actually been waking up much later than my normal ~8am. Yesterday I slept until almost 10. Yeah, I know, you could kill me... it's ok for you to feel that way.

The problem is that I have a fairly packed schedule and when I get up at 10am, I'm seriously behind already. Add in that I had to have a root canal yesterday, and I got a lot of nothing done.

Well, that's not entirely true. I got the dishes done before I had to leave for the dentist's. (And ended up getting stuck in a bridge opening on the way there AND back... too many damn boats in this area, I swear!) I ended up getting to the dentist's about three minutes late, which wasn't too much of a big deal, since he was running behind, and I didn't actually get into the chair until almost 12:40. The actual root canal wasn't too bad and loads faster than the others I've had to get done... (for those of you tuning in late to this story, I didn't have dental insurance for the better part of eight years, and this is the fifth root canal I've gotten since finally getting insurance... I could have made a down-payment on a new car with the amount of cash we've thrown at my mouth, and there are days when I've debated the value of it...but there you have it.)

I must say that I do really like my dentist. We have a lot of interests in common (well, aside from the whole sticking ones hands into someone else's mouth... ) and often discuss books and movies while waiting for me to get numb.

I got home around 1:30 and made Thomas's lunch for the next day, had a bit of soup for lunch (the hot liquid really seems to help with my various dental aches...) and polished off an email I've been exchanging with Carol. We're having one of those long, drawn out email conversations that we probably ought to be having in person, but we just can't find the time. Working on our issues, and it's been long, sometimes ugly, sometimes beautiful, and reminds me of all the reasons that I love her so much to start with... and why even everything that we've been through together hasn't yet changed that.

I looked at my to-do list for yesterday and winced a few times. Sweeping the floor seemed like too much work. Writing emails for my various PBeM games was too taxing, and my head hurt. Working out? Out of the question. Especially since Tuesday and Thursdays are my cardio days, and I really, really hate cardio. (Chris Freytag: "Are you ready for a calorie-burning, heart-thumping workout?" Me: "No.") And I felt guilty about it.

My guilt was too great to get out of going for our evening walks; especially since Thomas will go without me if I slack off, and then Darcy will either go with him and whine incessantly that she wants her mommy, or she'll stay here with me and whine incessantly that her daddy is gone. She can be sort of clingy that way. In either case, I didn't want to put up with either the whining, or the feeling guilty.

So we walked.

In retrospect, it wasn't a good plan.

Less than a halfway through our walk, the Novocaine started wearing off and I had tingles in my mouth and up the side of my face as the nerves woke up. And then I got tingles in other places while my nervous system panicked about the unexpected removal of part of the system. Nerves: "Hey! Hey, FEET! Hello, way down there... I seem to be missing a tooth nerve. You don't happen to have it, do you?" Feet: " What the FUCK are you talking about, man? Tooth nerve? Shit. You couldn't find the ass with a map and a compass, what are you doing bothering us? Some people."

A few minutes after this random zotting and tingling in various places, the small temporary filling that my dentist put in fell out. I know this because I got a rush of clove oil into my mouth, which is what he stuffs the cavity with. YUCK. And... for reasons entirely unfathomable (or maybe it's just that my Nerves were upset after being told off by the Feet), I had a systemic reaction to this.


Have you ever had them? They start sort of gradual... a raised welt along the back of your hand that itches. The tips of your ears get a little too warm. The throat tightens up just a bit... and then, like the inevitable tide, they spread. Welts form up your arms, down the back of your neck, along the stomach... down the legs. And everywhere it hits you, you itch like crazy. In the meanwhile, your breathing is obstructed, both because your throat is tight and because, wow, look at that! Your tongue is swelling! Isn't this FUN?

We're almost a mile from the apartment.

Over the last few weeks since I bought new pants, they've gotten looser. I've taken to wearing a belt. I stop to let my belt out a few notches. The jean material of my pants is taut across my thighs as my legs swell up. There is a sudden flare of pain in my hand as my rings cut off blood flow to my fingers.

We keep walking. What else is there to do? It's hives. By the time Thomas ran home and got the car, it'll be over.

Walking is an exquisite sort of torture; delicate and insidious. I'm constantly rubbing the backs of my hands against my jeans, trying to ignore the other various tingles and itches and pains. The base of my spine burns.

"You know," I say to Thomas, "I had considered doing my first C25K run after I got home on the idea that if my first run was after a root canal, none of the other runs after that could possibly be worse."

We finally get home and I take a double dose of benadryl liquid. Thomas, who has recently gotten obsessed with the idea of buying an iPod Touch, drags me back out of the house to go shopping with him. My legs are still swollen and walking is painful and exhausting, but off we go, to both the Best Buy and the Circuit City. (What is is about the double letter electronics stores? I mean, next we'll get a chain called All Appliances!) He asks if I have an opinion about which mp3 player he gets. I don't. I could care less, really. I personally don't think either of us need one, and all I really want to do is go lay down somewhere.

Eventually, we go back home. Thomas buys an iPod Touch, and as a sort of weird afterthought, decides to buy me an iPod Shuffle (in green.) No, I don't know why I need one, but that's ok, I'll use it for my C25K runs...

The benadryl has finally kicked in, and I've stopped swelling up like some grotesque Macy's Day parade balloon, and now I'm really, really sleepy. I make some vague effort to continue life as normal, but can't quite manage it. I go into the bedroom, fall over and die for the next three and a half hours.

As I'm fading off to sleep, I wonder why I'm so hard on myself. I would never expect anyone else to keep up with their work and social obligations after a root canal.

And yet, when I got up at 9:30, and Thomas is on a raid with the guild, complaining about the few non-guildies they had to pull in to get up to the needed 25 to run a raid, I feel a twist of guilt that I wasn't able to get it together enough to show for the raid. I also feel some massive pains in my legs. Apparently, walking around so much while I had hives has knotted up my thighs.

They still hurt.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bling Bling Bling, Level Up!

Despite overindulging in food on Saturday and missing not one, but two of my workouts this past week, I lost 3.2 pounds.

This means: Goodbye 200's! I now officially weigh less than 200 pounds.

I got another yellow star at the Weight Watcher's meeting. (Beth is soooo happy with me, she says I'm her new Core posterchild.)

I get another small goal prize... now I just need to think of one. (My last one was re-naming one of my characters on Warcraft, because I wasn't happy with the name I'd picked originally...)

I now have to seriously consider the Couch to 5K program, since I said I was going to think about working on that after I dropped below 200 pounds. (Of course, when I said that, I didn't think it was going to happen quite this soon! At least I didn't say I would start when I got to 200 pounds, just that I would think about starting!!)

Some Non-Scale victories while I'm at it: Backwards lunges are no longer the bane of my existence. I managed to get through 24 of them (12 on each leg) yesterday without using the chair to haul my ass back up.

I called my dad last night to tell him, and I was astonished and almost moved to tears (I managed not to. I don't usually cry around my dad, it pisses him off. He grew up in a household where tears were a ploy to try to get someone to do something, and he never, ever considers emotional tears as anything other than calculating) when he said he was proud of me. To ME! I can still count the number of occasion in which he's said that on one hand... this makes three.

I've fastened my bra to the third set of eyes. I've NEVER in my life hooked my bras on anything other than the very last strip of eyes (the widest setting for the bands).

My friend Ed - who happens to be the thinnest, most fit person in my circle of close acquaintances - told me I looked "fantastic" on Saturday.

So... it's been a good week!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Middle Eastern Lemon Meatballs

I'm told by my Turkish friend, who gave me this recipe, that it's considered a very special dish, and in her home village, is only made for weddings and important celebrations like that.

I make it more often than that, but thought you should know the history...

Lamb and Lemon meatballs

1.5 pounds of ground lamb
1-2 cups rice or couscous (I used brown rice), cooked and hot
one onion, minced (very, very small pieces)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 eggs
parsley, coriander, cumin, salt, white or red pepper to taste

mix the ingredients together immediately after the rice is cooked and drained for the best results. Use a spoon to stir (hot rice is HOT) until well mixed. Once well mixed, allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Remove your rings and spray your hands with cooking spray (or use a little oil to grease your palms). Shape into small meatballs about the size of an egg yolk. Your hands will get really really fatty during this process as the cooked rice will 'melt' some of the fat out of your ground lamb. Keep paper towels on hand to wipe your hands from time to time.

Place meatballs close together in a deep sided baking dish.


1/2 cup lemon juice
1 egg

whisk together firmly and quickly... be careful, the lemon juice can curdle the egg. Pour this mixture over the meatballs until the liquid comes up to about halfway up the meatballs. (If you packed your meatballs close enough, you may have to shift them around a little to get the sauce in between all the meatballs... this is good, you want your meatballs close!)

If you don't have enough sauce for your meatballs, make more. You can always make more, but if you play around with the sauce too much, it will curdle, so you want to make it in small batches.

Cook in preheated oven, 375 degrees for ~30-45 minutes. Meatballs are done when the lemon-egg sauce looks like custard and meatballs are browned on top.

Meatballs can be served hot or cold... if you eat them hot, I recommend eating the custard sauce *with* the meatball. If eaten cold, I recommend removing the meatballs from the baking dish and scraping off most of the sauce. (It gets fat in it from the cooking process and can make the custard taste really weird and sort of grainy when cold)

Have your Cake and Eat it, Too

Thomas's birthday is April first. (No, I'm not kidding. Really. I promise. You can probably guess how his birthday's been for him, most of his life.)

He's always been a little flaky about his birthday. Sometimes he's crabby because no one really makes a big deal out of it, and sometimes he's crabby because people do make a big deal out of it. And quite recently, his birthday's been making him feel old. Whatever. If you ask me, what he really wants is for his father to actually remember that yes, he did have a second son, and to call. If you further ask me, it's never going to happen. Thomas's dad is a big time prick, and he's not the least bit likely to change.

The last time Rick called us, it's because he mis-lined the entry in his personal phone book. He'd meant to call Thomas's older brother instead. Talk about awkward. At least I answered the phone, and had to deal with it, because you know, Rick couldn't just play it off. He had to tell me that he hadn't meant to call us at all, and blah blah blah. I swear... the time before that where Rick called us (I usually initiate some sort of contact with the man every six months or so... Thomas won't, but I feel like if there's ever going to be a sort of reconciliation, we have to maintain the lines) was two weeks after a hurricane hit our area, to see if we were ok, or if we needed anything. TWO WEEKS?? Like if there was something we needed, we hadn't gotten it already! Sheesh! Some people!


So I had to deal with Thomas being cranky about his birthday earlier this week, and then I had a party for him anyway on Saturday. (My birthday is May 1st - I am exactly 11 months older than my husband) A lot of times, our birthdays get smoshed into this sort of joint gathering, which just seems to make him feel worse... So, this year, party for him.

I did a lot of work, planning out things to serve for food that were either very low in points, or completely made from core foods. Deviled eggs are core, lemon meatballs are core, Turkish potato salad is core (so long as we didn't eat too much of it, because it has an oil in each serving!) This cake is a boston cream, and had only 234 calories and 3 grams of fat per slice. And while I've made some killer cakes before, this one really looks NICE... very professional. (I did have to make the custard filling twice because I botched it up the first time, but I had all the stuff to try again...)

I got up seriously early to start cooking, and unfortunately, didn't manage to keep to my time-table, so I didn't get to shower before everyone came over. Sigh.

Carole and Chris came down, with their two munchkins, and Leigh, Ed, and Toby all came over. Jonathon called about halfway through the party, mentioned that Toby had said there was a party, and did I mind if he stopped by. So, for the second half of the party, everyone had to tolerate Jonathon's mindless drivel, extra punctuated by "Ums" and "Ers". Don't get me wrong, Jonathon can be really fun to hang out with, but he's got some serious chemical imbalances in his brain (ADD and Aspergers) which makes having a conversation with him... difficult. It's like trying to follow some back country road that suddenly detours through Cthulu's neighborhood. I'm good with him, if I have some time to get re-adjusted to his completely random way of talking, but as we hadn't seen him for a long time - about six or eight months, I guess - it was confusing and weird all over again.

Leigh brought several varieties of full fat cheese with her, and I sliced and served. My downfall, you know, cheese. A red-light food, as Beth (my Weight Watchers' leader) would say. Once I start eating cheese, I have a hard time stopping. I made her take the leftovers with her, because I would have had no choice: either throw them out or totally blow my eating plan.

It was mostly a good party, and after mostly everyone went home, me and Thomas and Jonathon and Toby sat around for the rest of the day and watched movies. Darcy had a copy of Ice Age 2: The Meltdown which was honestly better than it should have been, so we watched that. The saber-tooth squirrel is very funny... it's almost like there's two movies, the one with Manny and Diego and Syd, and this second one with the hyperactive, much abused squirrel. It's very hard to pry Jonathon out of my house once he sets down roots, so I eventually had to throw him out at 11pm... and he STILL left behind quite a lot of trash. When we were all gaming together, I used to dock him experience points for each bit of trash he left in my house without throwing it away. SIGH.

So, Sunday I got up and started cleaning up. Which took about half the day... and even with a nap, I just did not feel rested. Finally, Sunday evening, I got around to calculating my WPAs used and how many calories I think I ate on Saturday. I think I didn't mess up too badly. ~2,000 calories and used up 17 of my flex points.

But you know, I still feel bad. For one, I'm not sure how much I ate. I think I counted each piece of cheese... (I cut them into 1/4 ounce slices - I did actually measure them!) but I might have missed. And I ate waaaaay past the "satisfied" part of my comfort zone. I was actually - that evening - into the discomfort period of "ate toooo much." Which is a little odd, and was very uncomfortable. Moreso than it was the last time I overate.

And it was raining all afternoon, so the idea of going out for a walk came up, and was then dismissed. I was feeling pretty restless, but I don't think fidgeting counts as exercise.

I'd really like this to stop happening. I've been on this lifestyle change for three months now, and really. Any time now would be good. I want to stop feeling so critical about everything. I want my life to mean more than the number on a scale, or that my 'goodness' is measured by a daily calorie count. I want to be able to accept that sometimes, it's ok to enjoy what I eat, even if it's not entirely good for me, or it's too much. That should be ok, shouldn't it? I got in my veggies, my milks (lotsa milk!), my healthy oils, protein and fiber... So why am I sitting here dreading the weigh in today? (I've actually considered bringing in my 'no weigh in' pass... but I won't. The only way to learn if I can actually splurge from time to time is find out what the damage is.)

Take a letter to God; Dear Sir, I'm dissatisfied.

I guess we'll see what we see... but I'm not looking forward to it. And I've already decided that I don't want to plan a birthday party for me in a few weeks.

But I'll leave you with a nice picture of the new Bento box that Thomas got as a present from Leigh, and I filled it up yesterday for his lunch today.

Three halves of tilapia fillets with dijon butter and polenta. A half bar of baked oatmeal and a few sugar-free butterscotch disks on top, the last two leftover lemon meatballs, carrots, grapes, and some honey mustard dipping sauce in the little covered sauce container. Nice, huh?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Memes and Awards and Friends, Oh My!

I got tagged for the six word autobiography thing recently. (Thanks, Cindy... really!)

The idea is to write six words that sum up your life. You have no idea how... I don't want to say I hate this sort of thing, because that's not entirely true. I just have a lot of trouble taking it seriously.

The first thing that came to mind was:

I really hate stuff like this.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I'm manic-depressive (with Situational Anxiety). Mostly what that means is that I have severe reactions to ordinary things. A little worrying can get out of hand and become an obsession. While that might seem like a complete aside, it's not. When I start into a downslope, one of the ways I can tell is that I count rhythm of my words on my fingers. I get obsessed with hitting the 5 beat at the end of a sentence (syllables, usually). Which makes the way I talk come out a little oddly as I start editing when I get near the end of what I want to say to add more syllables in. After I got tagged for this little meme, I spent all day thinking in sentences of six words.

Pithy quotations cannot summarize a life.

I really did spent most of the day thinking about it. I had lots of think-time yesterday. I got a bee in my bonnet about the porch, so I went out there and started cleaning. I moved all the lawn furniture out onto the grass (and Darcy's plastic outdoor toys and let her play on her slide) and then swept out four years worth of leaves and dust from the corners. (My across-the-street neighbor came out to watch me. He didn't wave, but sat out on his balcony for the entire time I was out there. It was mildly creepy.) I windexed the porch doors, and cleaned off the lighting fixture and washed off some of the worst dirt stains on the siding. Our old neighbors, Jess and Duane, spilled a beer or three down our siding on a few occasions, so there are some weird stains. I polished off all of Darcy's toys and reorganized how things sat there. And while I was out there, I washed all the exterior windows.

These are all mindless sort of tasks, so I had lots of time to think about this entry.

You have got to be kidding.

I understand the theory of the meme, which is to try to boil down all the crap in your life into a few meaningful words. I'm just slightly dubious about the value of doing so... I mean, reduction sauce is a wonderful, flavorful thing to do to a chicken dish. But it's a criminal thing to do to coffee.

Sarcasm is a lost art form.

On the other hand, I'm still a relatively new member to the diet-blogging community, and I'd hate to get thrown out just because I can't get my inner snark under control. So... seriously. Deep breath. Attempt to focus.... what do I think sums up my life?

With focus, anything can be achieved.

I'm good at goals. I really am. Once I decide I want something badly enough, I usually get it. And by something, I don't mean a physical thing. I mean, something for myself. A change of self. I quit smoking ten years ago. By deciding that that's what I wanted to do. I put the cigarette down, and I haven't picked one up since. I've quit on bad boyfriends, reshaped my relationship with my father, written a novel, and made my peace with an old trauma on the same determination.

My problem is... getting focused in the first place.


So, secondly...

I got awarded a "Nice Matters" blog award from V at The Diet Book. I was really pleased and flattered by the things she said about me. I'm constantly gobsmacked when people say that I'm "inspiring." I always thought I was one of those people your mother warned you about.

(I'm still trying to get over my own personal demon about the word nice. I use it to describe one of my ex-boyfriends. Grant was... nice. Sweet, even. But he was also... not the guy for me. I continued to date him for about 2 years after I figured that out because he was so NICE that I didn't want to hurt him.)

That being said, I'd like to give this award out to a few other people....

Beth, at Tea and Thee, who was one of the first people who started commenting on my blog and who gives wonderful money-saving advice as well having diet woes and stories from the trenches, and two absolutely adorable kids!

Looking Great at Weight Watching, who is another stay-at-home mom, and helped me make up my mind to do Core just by being a great influence. She also shared with me the wonderful recipe for baked oatmeal, which has become a Core staple around here!

And Carolyn at Quest, who is funny and smart and goes to the gym which is something I've not been brave enough to try yet. You go, girlfriend!

Also, Cindy at Go Workout Mom, who I love reading. Her Goal Call Mondays have been a major motivating factor in my life for the last six weeks or so (Alas, I have not yet WON a prize... but I will!) She writes a kick-butt e-mail thread, too, which I highly recommend signing up for, if you haven't already. I must admit, I'm still puzzling over her name. It is "Go Workout Mom" like a cheer "Go Speedracer!" or is it an imperative "Go Workout Mom!" like "Go Make your Bed!" In either case, it's good advice!

Obviously, there are lots of other people who I'd love to give this to, but I think 90% of them have one already! Nice matters, and everyone knows it! (and them!)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Situation, Resolved

I think I've been pretty lucky, all the way around. I recognize that this isn't the case for a lot of people attempting to lose weight and make a lifestyle change (DIET. DIET DIET DIET!!! Argh. I feel so PC when I say Lifestyle change... )

I'm in a fairly controlled environment. Much like the traditional white laboratory rat.

I'm a housewife. With a pre-school aged child. Without access to a car. Without lots of real life friends in the area.

You can't get much more controlled than that.

I don't get unexpected leftover birthday cake in the company office. I don't have co-workers with mini chocolate bars on their desks. I don't have to go out for business lunches. I don't even have loads of friends who show up on the weekends and want to go out for drinks.

My husband's doing this lifestyle change with me, so I don't have to contend with fixing one meal for him and one meal for myself. (The way my mother always did, except what she did was fixed him dinner and didn't bother to eat her own dinner for days at a time...) My daughter? She's so much of a not-sweets-aholic that she's still got most of a bucket of Halloween candy left over. (It's perched on the corner of the top of my desk, but most of the time, it doesn't tempt me.) My husband does the grocery shopping with me, so he'd know if I gave into an impulse buy and brought something into the house that we shouldn't eat.

I do a lot of my non-grocery shopping on line. I love the convenience of having something shipped to me, and then I don't have to go to the mall and fight with crowds and lines and not finding what I want. And thus, don't have to walk by the Aunt Annie's pretzels, or the Cinnabon, or whatever it is that smells good. I don't even watch a lot of TV... (have you ever noticed that they don't show those dreamy, slow food swirl type commercials for broccoli? Just cheeseburgers and ice cream and ... well, you know the drill.)

I really don't deal with temptation on a regular basis.

This makes me very lucky.

On the other hand, it does mean that when I get a craving, it's an actual craving. (As opposed to an environmentally created impulse.)

Last week, I desperately wanted ice cream. And not just any ice cream. Cold Stone.

So, I looked it up. For a Like It size, most of the Cold Stone ice cream runs from 8 to 10 points. Mix-ins can run from 1 to 5 points each. The Love It size is ~16 and I don't even like to think about 23 points of Gotta Have It! (For the record, I never ate a Gotta Have It. I usually got the Love It size...)

I mentioned it to Thomas. More than a few times, I'm pretty sure.

Finally, we decided that if we'd been really good this week, we'd go get some... since we couldn't save up points during the day for an indulgence, we'd have to use our WPAs. So, we did.

Both of us got the same thing, dark chocolate, no mix-ins in the Like It size. 8 points.

Was it worth it? Absolutely.

I enjoyed every single bite. And I ate it very slowly.

Did I love it enough to wear it? (That's my leader's motivational thing, when she's facing an ice cream, or a cookie... of course, Beth also sprays her leftover food with Windex before she throws it away because - she admits this - she has been known to fish something OUT OF THE TRASH to eat it. She says you can't wash it off. That she knows this... worries me. Just a little bit.) Not really.

But I didn't have to. I'm down another pound this week. (Thomas is down 2 pounds this week.)

Would we have weighed in at less, if we hadn't had ice cream? Probably.

Does it matter? No.

Situation; Resolved.