Sunday, June 29, 2008

Off the Reservation

As Thomas has said; this week, we went off the Reservation.

I have eaten:

full fat cheese
mint chocolate chip ice cream
a caramelo bar
chocolate fudge syrup
two stuffed sausages
one full calorie soda

I have not:

Counted any points
drank much water
checked my vegetables

I currently have:

a very dark tan
my period
lots of good memories

I did not:

Get into a fight with my husband while we were on vacation
Get sick while we were on vacation
remember to take my camera on vacation with me

Who would like to take wagers on how bad my weigh in is, tomorrow?

I don't really care. I had a good time, and that's the important thing, right?

Peace, y'all.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Meme, You You, Two Too!

First, the rules:

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr search.

2. Using only the first page of results, pick one image.

3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

The questions:

1. What is your first name?

2. What is your favorite food right now?

3. What high school did you go to?

4. What is your favorite color?

5. Who is your celebrity crush?

6. What is your favorite drink?

7. What is your dream vacation?

8. What is your favorite dessert?

9. What do you want to be when you grow up?

10. What do you love most in life?

11. What is one word that describes you?

12. What is your flickr name? (had to cheat with this one, no results on my screen name, so I used where it comes from.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Meme, You You

(With added spellchecking and taking things out of stupid all caps, because, you know, Capslock is NOT cruise control for cool)

1) Last movie you saw in the theater? Kung Fu Panda. Twice. Also, I've seen Iron Man, Prince Caspian, Nim's Island, Indiana Jones 4. I plan to see The Incredible Hulk and Get Smart in the next few weeks.

2) What Book are you reading? Um... The Idiot Proof Diet, The Fire Sea by Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman and The Secret Diary of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn. Yes, I read too much.

3) Favorite board game? I don't think I really have one, altho I loathe parchizzi. I'm generally willing to play any sort of board game you put in front of me. Kinda like Risk.

4) Favorite magazine? Um. None? I can't remember the last time I read a magazine. I'd rather count cracks in the ceiling. I always bring a book to doctor's appointments and whatnot.

5) Favorite smells? NOT burning peat bog. Freshly laundered sheets. Sandalwood. Jasmine.

6) Favorite sounds? I'd say silence, but I don't know what that is. I have tinnitus, and I'm always hearing something ringing in my ears, 24 hours a day. Every day. All day long. For as long as I can remember. Anything that blocks that out (fan running, static, music in the background, whatnot) is a favorite sound.

7) Worst feeling in the world? stepping barefooted on a slug

8 ) What is the first thing you think when you get up in the morning? Where are my glasses?

9) Favorite fast food place? Paneras

10) Future child's name? I don't think I'll have any more children... if I did, however, I'm fond of the names Stephanie and Graham

11) Finish this statement: If I had a lot of money, I would… probably pay a lot of taxes. And generally be freaked out. And probably worry which one of my stupid relations was going to ask for a loan. I do not, actually, want a lot of money. I don't think I'd handle it very well.

12) Do you drive fast? Hell no. I don't drive at all if I can possibly manage to avoid it.

13) Do you sleep with a stuffed animal? I am not allowed, anymore. My husband doesn't want any stuffies on the bed. I do have a bunch, still.

14) Storms; cool or scary? No. Wet, and annoying.

15) What was your first car? A 1985 Buick LeSabre Limited; code name La Behemoth.

16) Favorite drink? Diet Coke with lime

17) Finish this sentence: If I had the time I would… I have the time. What is it you'd like to add to my list of things to do?

18 ) Do you eat the stems on broccoli? Yep. Ever hear of broccoli slaw? Good stuff.

19) If you could dye your hair, what color would it be? my hair is dyed.

20) Name all the different cities where you have lived? Lousia (otherwise known as Hell), Williamsburg, Lynchburg (only slightly less like Hell), Hampton, Newport News, and Chesapeake. All in Virginia.

21) Favorite sport to watch? No.

22) One nice thing about the person who tagged you for this? WVSooner is a really nice guy. Even though he's going through the sort of personal tragedy that would make me a raging maniac or a depressing crybaby, he still finds the time to be nice and supportive to other people.

23) What's under your bed? the cats, usually.

24) Would you like to be born as yourself again? Do I have to remember it from the first time? then no. If I get to start out clean slate, with no memories, then sure. I won't notice anyway.

25) Morning person or night owl? Neither, really. I like the period of time between about 11am to 3pm ish.

26) Over Easy or Sunny Side up? YUCK. I don't like fried eggs. Poached, scrambled, or omelets, thanks.

27) Favorite place to relax? What is this relax, of which you speak?

28 ) Favorite pie? Buttermilk chess

29) Favorite ice cream flavor? mint chocolate chip, hands down

30) Of all the people you have tagged (annoyed) who will respond first? I'm not tagging anyone, but if you want to fill this out, feel free ;0)

Schrödinger's Dick and Denying My Femininity

(Subtitle: Why the idea of "go take a bubble bath" sucks.)

My friend, Jeanne, brought me this book: Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet to take a look at. She said she doesn't quite follow their diet ideas as being "easy and idiot-proof" and at first glance I'm inclined to agree with it. Looks complicated, and any diet where you have to take 8 different vitamin supplements is - in my humble opinion - just wrong! Diet part of it aside, most diet books don't actually contain 250 pages of dry, boring, gastronomical information... and this would be the part my friend thought I would find interesting. The non-eating part, the, as you may, philosophy behind the plate.

Last night, I read about half this book.

Someone take away my stick before I beat these two women to death.

I started out with a dislike of India almost immediately. I understand that part of their "point" is to take away all those soft curvy lies that we (I love how they love to speak for "all women" here. I call BULLSHIT!) women use to placate ourselves about our weight issues. However, I find the last paragraph of her "How I got here" spiel to be particularly offensive.

"It wasn't okay. It didn't look nice, or even a little bit nice. It was utterly grotesque. A few times in the previous couple of months, I'd decided at the last minute not to attend a party that I'd really been looking forward to. I told my boyfriend it was because I was tired. I wasn't tired at all. I was too fat. I had, for the first time ever, become embarrassed to be seen in public, is the truth of it. I had nothing to wear. I was Giant bloody Haystacks."

Given, that in this particular little rant of self-loathing, she's in a size 18 (a size, as you may recall, I was personally thrilled to get into)... well, let's just say I didn't have loads of sympathy for her.

Following this particularly long and vile outspewing, they spend a lot of time trying to tell you (the faithful reader) that in order to follow a diet plan and lose weight, you must love yourself first.

Can I beat my head on the wall, please? How many activity points is that? Better yet, can I beat HER head against the wall, please.

Didn't we just go into long details about how much they hated themselves? And, by implication, if a size 18 is grotesque, surely a size 24 in the height of repulsiveness. How, then, having freshly come from this, is the reader supposed to turn it all around with a short list of things they like about themselves?

Keeping in mind that these two ladies are British, and the brits have an entirely different philosophy on life (no offense to whomever reads this blog that might be British) that totally doesn't agree with how I live and how I think... they recommend getting a diet buddy and then not telling anyone else that you're doing a food plan. At all. They do condescend to say that you don't have to follow this advice, but doing so will prevent other nosy people from telling you what you can and can't eat and giving you odd looks and then if you don't do so well, you won't feel you let people down.

I've found that being accountable to someone or something else other than myself really helps me. If nothing else, my pride doesn't want to let me fail. I can't bear the idea of all my friends thinking that I'm a complete fuck up. Even if they wouldn't think that - and trust me, I doubt my friends actually would - I would feel that they did. I used that pride to help me quit smoking. Pride may be one of God's seven deadly sins, but I totally believe that's because pride makes us rely on ourselves, rather than God, and God is a bit of a jealous bastard.

Then... and here comes the bit where I want to scream... there comes The List.

The List is that catalogs all the things they can think of that are non-food ways to reward yourself. Or show yourself some "real love", as they call it.

The List shows up in every freaking diet book and plan on the planet.

Inevitably, on the list, are these things: take a bubble bath, get a pedicure, buy something, take a walk, get a massage, watch a girlie movie, get a make over.

Indulge me a moment.

Take. A. Bubble. Bath.

Excuse me. Please. What the fuck? Is there some guide for "female relaxation methods" that was published in the 1800's that applies to all women, universally, and I missed it?

Take a bath? What?

This is supposed to make me feel better?

Ok, let's look at this for just a minute. We have someone (ourselves) who, for whatever reason, has decided to go on a diet/foodplan/lifestyle change/whathaveyou. And you're telling me that I'll feel better... by getting naked, hoping in the tub, and soaking my troubles away. Calgon, take me away!

I don't know what kind of bath tub these ladies have, but... mine's a 3/4 sized tub. I barely FIT in the freaking thing. Filling it up as close to full as I can, I can... get about 1/2 of myself wet at a time. So, I can soak my butt. And watch my boobs, belly, and thighs protruding out of soap suds like some blubbery islands. Or I can lay propped on my elbows, with my feet sticking out, and my butt and back freezing off. The top half of me is cold, the bottom half, too warm. I can't move around easily - shaving my legs while in the tub usually makes my hip hurt. And getting OUT of the bath is a major effort - generally involving my using both hands and wondering if the support bar is going to give way at any minute.

How, exactly, is this supposed to make me feel better?

I spend 15-20 minutes being uncomfortable, confronted - brutally so - with all my naked lack of glory. (That is, of course, assuming that Darcy doesn't come looking for me in the first three minutes, ask me what I'm doing, complain she doesn't have any juice, and offer to squirt me with her bath toys - and their cold water that's still inside them from her last bath...)

I've talked to several heavy-set friends of mine. None of them enjoy taking a bath. I've even talked to my skinny friend, and she says "Not especially. I get bored." She thought it was an interesting question and polled her friends. I got answers back like this:

  • I never take a bath.
  • I prefer showers.
  • Sometimes. I find it more trouble than it's worth.
  • The bubbles get in my hair.
  • I'm too fat in the water.
  • I feel like a dirty teabag soaking in dirty water.

So, why, tell me, does everyone suggest this?

Some of the other suggestions, manicure, pedicure, massage: I understand that other people like these things, but I don't. First off, I'm excessively uncomfortable with people I don't know well touching me. I really don't like it.

Secondly, I have this issue with manicured nails. I did it for a while, back when I worked at a convenience store, and honestly, the money I put into my nails was something I couldn't really afford, but I did it anyway. And then I noticed that the more elaborate the acrylic nail job was on other women, the less good jobs they had. Ticket takers, cashiers, waitresses... It seemed (to me) to be a badge of the lower class; see, I can afford to get my nails done! The more wealthy women had the silk wraps, and simple, understated nails, if they bothered to get their nails done at all. I couldn't afford the acrylics, so the silk was decidedly out. (Not to mention the stuff smells terrible and it hurts like hell when one of the nails pops off...) And, in talking to some guys, most of them don't even notice the nail job, unless it's badly done, and the ones that do notice it don't really like it. The acrylic nails don't "feel" real against the skin during a particularly passionate kiss, and thus, aren't very appealing to men. So, I stopped doing it.

Third, the idea of a pedicure makes my skin crawl. I don't want someone messing with my feet, thanks. (Also, I currently have a nail fungus that while I've gotten it to stop spreading, will take the better part of at least another year before my toenails stop looking weird and yellow and thick, and I can't have polish on my nails until it's gone. And I don't want anyone really observing my feet very closely while I'm taking care of that.

Fourth: I don't like professional massages. I've gotten them as gifts a few times. Aside from the general creeped out from having some strange person touching my back, the process itself tends to be painful and I feel like complete crap afterwards. That's probably my own fault, as I have no idea how to communicate my feelings to a masseuse. But at $50 a pop, I don't think it's worth the money to learn. My husband does a perfectly good job at helping me relax with a back rub, and I don't spend all my time wondering why he is doing it. (I have that problem with some types of doctors, too. I can't imagine, for instance, that the money is good enough to be a gynecologist, for example. Or a dentist. Or a proctologist. I could go on for a while, but you get the idea...)

Fifth: I don't wear makeup. Almost never. I don't do a good job applying it. I never know what to buy. I don't know how to use what I've got. And I never, ever look better wearing makeup. If I'm very lucky, I don't look worse. And frankly, I'm not interested in spending the money to learn that particular "feminine skill" either.

Sixth: I don't like girlie movies, 90% of the time. I think Julia Roberts is a plague upon the face of the earth. I don't like deliberate "make you cry" movies, and I think the whole genre of romantic comedy was made by some cruel writer and directors who have are acting out some teenage angst fantasy and putting their worst rivals in the position of the heroine. Romantic comedies always have these... wincey, cringey, public humiliation scenes that make me desperately ashamed of my species.

I mean, I know... these are just to give me "some ideas." But I find it difficult to not have the idea of strangling the idiots who assume that all women are the same. Do you know how many pairs of shoes I own? Five. My idea of a good movie tends to have lots of explosions, snappy one liners, and martial arts. Or aliens. I've never seen the inside of a Macy's or Dillards. I wouldn't know what to do with a $100 shopping spree at the perfume counter.

I'm just not a woman's woman.

[Obie was making sure, and it was about four or five hours later that Alice (remember Alice? This is a song about Alice), Alice came by and with a few nasty words to Obie on the side, bailed us out of jail, and we went back to the church, had another thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat,and didn't get up until the next morning, when we all had to go to court.]

Then (and this is as far as I've gotten in the book, and probably as far as I intend to get) there's this little gem:

If you haven't lost any weight, you haven't been following the diet properly. It's as simple as that. You've either cheated, or some carbs have snuck in when you weren't looking... Vigilance, my dears, at all times. We mean it when we say that the smallest indulgence will completely derail the diet at this stage. Consider yourself chastised and go back to Day One. The thing about our diet is, it works. All you have to do is do it properly.

Yeah. There couldn't possibly be anything wrong with the diet plan of a couple of ladies with no formal education in medicine, dietary needs, or nutrition. It must be YOU, the reader, who's doing something wrong. You must be a cheater! Shame! Shame!

Fuck that.

Anyways... at bed time last night, while doing my nightly routine, I was noticing something. I used to have one roll of belly fat. Then, for a while, I had two. Last night, I noticed that I now have three distinct jelly rolls. One that starts under my boobs and ends just at my sternum. Then another that starts at the sternum and ends at about my navel. Then the third starts at the navel and hangs over my waist. YUCK.

And the skin on my belly is a little too big for these rolls, so I have all the lovely skin texture of an orange. Dimpled, is what Thomas called it, when I complained about it to him.

"Definitely unattractive," I muttered. "And it's only likely to get worse as I lose more weight. How lovely. I'll be thinner, but I'll have all this baggy skin all everywhere. Nasty."

"Leslie doesn't have baggy skin," he suggested. Leslie is this girl at our weight watcher's meetings that I really like and think she looks marvelous. She's about 25 pounds from goal, but I think she's just perfect as is.

"You don't know that," I said. "Her clothes cover it up." I notice she never wears shorts. Or sleeveless shirts.

"Pfft. If I can't see it, it doesn't exist."

"Dear heart," I said, hands on my hips. "Most people can't see your dick, either, but I assure you, it is always there."

"Maybe not," he said. "Maybe I have Schrödinger's dick."

"I think I'll go sleep on the sofa, now."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Two for Two (for three?) And Some Perspective

Man, it's been crazy around here.

But that happens, whenever we have out of town guests. We always want to be doing something, and that means I'm not doing my normal stuff.

(So if I haven't been to your blog, that's why. I'm sorry, I'll get caught up soon. Also, while I've got you in this aside here, if you haven't posted for 2 months, I'm going to remove you from my blog roll. Nothing personal, but it gets depressing to click on your link and wonder if you've been eaten by lemurs. When you come back, if you're upset that you've been removed, just leave me a comment that you're back and I'll stick you back on! I miss you guys!)

Last night for my weigh in, I was down 2 pounds. Almost kissing those 180s goodbye. GR2BR, in the slang of the old bbs I used to hang out on. Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish. My friend Jeanne came to weigh in with us, and she was... also down by exactly 2 pounds. Interesting. Thomas got up on the scale next... and was also down by exactly 2 pounds. Ok, now that's just weird.

And we all got stars. Me for 35, Thomas for 40, and Jeanne for 15.

Maybe there's a 2-pound virus hanging out around my apartment. If so, I think more people would like to catch it.

One of Thomas's co-workers (who also does/did Weight Watchers and who's at maintenance weight now, and does Iron Man competitions and fanatical psychotic stuff like that - and gave Thomas some size 32 jeans to "shrink" into) said that Thomas would have made a big improvement when he'd lost as much weight as his daughter weighs.

We weighed Darcy a few weeks back. She comes in at a lean 33.8 pounds. She's actually pretty scrawny for a four-year-old. (I've seen a few thinner pre-schoolers, but not many) Back at her four-year check up, the doctor told me to move her back to whole milk. I've since switched her back to 2% because she was looking less like a starving Armenian. (Armenians were the kids for whom I was told to clean my plate, back in the day.)

Anyway, last week, when Thomas had a bad headache, I ended up doing my 2.2 mile walk with just Darcy, while Thomas went to bed and tried desperately to pretend the sun didn't exist. Darcy... gets tired. The 2.2 mile walk, despite the fact that we do it fairly regularly, still wears her out. Sometimes we bring the wagon with us, and about halfway through the walk, she'll get in it and ride. But most of the time, Thomas sits her up on his shoulders and walks the rest of the way like that.

I ended up doing that the other day.

I carried her for over half a mile.

My. God.

How the hell did I walk around like that every day?

(Ok, ok, well, at least my fat didn't squirm around and ask questions and try to pull leaves off trees. And pull my hair, stick its fingers in my ears, and otherwise be a right little pest. But still!)

I would say, at least this week, I'm pretty pleased with myself, my weight loss, and my ability to stick with this.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Further Investigation

Picture me.

I'm sitting cross-legged on the floor in the living room.

I am covered in a thin film of greyish dust.

I am sneezing a lot.

My hair is a mess, tangled and unwashed (and dusty! Don't forget that part!) and pinned back with an alligator clip.

On the floor in front of me is the vacuum cleaner.

Wait, wait, go back.... about a month ago...

"Thomas, dear?"


"Could you look at the vacuum when you have some time? It's making some weird noises."


About two weeks ago...



"Have you had time to look at the vacuum?"

"Oh, I forgot. I'll do it this weekend."


"I need to vacuum tomorrow before Jeanne gets here."


"You still haven't looked at the vacuum like I asked?"

"Oh, right. I'll get it tomorrow after work."

This morning...

Me, staring at the vacuum. "Ok, fine. I'll look at the bloody thing."

Some time later...

I'm sitting cross-legged on the floor in the living room.

I am covered in a thin film of greyish dust.

I am sneezing a lot.

My hair is a mess, tangled and unwashed (and dusty! Don't forget that part!) and pinned back with an alligator clip.

On the floor in front of me is the vacuum cleaner.

I'm not really very mechanically inclined, but really, taking the wretched thing apart wasn't that hard. Dirty, yes, but not hard.

I opened the bottom, pulled out the roller brush (and a whole lot of hair, dust and bits of paper.). The belt came out, too. Snapped.

"Aha!" says I. "This would be why it's not working."

I get up, go to the computer, and look up a replacement belt. Easy. $3.99, plus shipping and handling.

I go back to the vacuum and begin cleaning it. May as well, since it's open anyway.

In attempting to put the roller brush back in, I notice that the side of it is badly mangled, and when inserted into its position, doesn't actually turn.

"Well, guess that's why the belt broke," says me.

I get BACK up, go BACK to the computer, and look up a replacement roller brush. Easy. $19.99, plus shipping and handling.

I go BACK to the vacuum. I look at it. "You are really a lot of trouble," I inform it.

It doesn't say anything. Vacuums seldom do.

Around the vacuum is a huge cloud of dust and debris. The new parts probably won't arrive for at least a week.

My floor is a mess.


I'm going to have to plug in the mini-attachment and vacuum the entire floor while crawling around on my hands and knees.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

FIMS (Foot in Mouth Syndrome)

The Explicated Version.

Email conversation.

Bridezilla: I found these dresses and wanted your opinions on them. Right now the plan is to get them in silver and a friend here is going to accent them with shawls or sashes or something. Assuming the dresses are alright I just need your size so I can get the order in while the dresses are still on sale.

Me: The dresses are lovely.

My biggest problem is the fact that I've lost 35 pounds since January, and hope to lose another 20-30 pounds by year's end, but I'm not really sure what my size will be. My best options are to get it now in a medium, and hope that I keep losing, or get it now in a large, and have it adjusted in Novemberish...

(I'm currently wearing a size 16 in dresses, which I think would be a medium)

Bridezilla: I think, Lynn, I'd like to order you an X large (because I've been through WW and I know first hand how things go badly), and we can have it altered if you've lost more weight by that time.

Me: (About 10 minutes later)

Actually, I went to look at the sizes on the dress's website, instead of amazon. and they're junior sizes, so a 2x is what will fit me now (their idea of a 3x is a "normal" size 18) and if I'm lucky, a 1x will fit me in December. If I drop another 3 inches by year's end, I'll be able to fit in the 1x. (these are not ego flattering sizes!) Since it's easier to adjust a dress *down* instead of up, and you want to order them now, get the 2X and I'll have it adjusted as needed.

Bridezilla: You sure you don't want the 3X?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)

I've been a pretty busy woman this year.

I decided - probably in November, I think - that I needed to make some changes to my life before I got mired down in unending disasters, both of the house and of the self.


My house was always a mess, and about once every three months, my husband would get really huffy and spend an entire weekend cleaning. I'd help, but we wouldn't talk to each other while we were doing it, and we were both angry about the whole thing; him because I wasn't really doing my job of cleaning the house and me because he was being sort of a dick about the fact that I wasn't doing my job, and because he was slamming things around and just being unpleasant.


Diabetes was looming in my future pretty loudly. My A1-C was "worrisome". I was expanding in all directions like some out of control roman army. I was in size 24s and a few 26s. I never looked good, I rarely felt good. I was sweating, all the time. Even sitting still in an air-conditioned room.


My daughter was having some late-development problems. Her language skills were basically non-existent. She was painfully shy around people she didn't know. She wasn't at all well-adapted to go on to school in the fall.


My husband and I were co-existing. We didn't talk as much as we used to. Our sex life was becoming infrequent. We weren't fighting more; but even that was worrisome. We weren't fighting at all, and for us, that's a problem. It usually means there are too many things we're not saying.


I just wasn't happy. Not with myself, not with my life, not with anything. I can't say I could complain of misery, because certainly it wasn't that. But little things just kept piling up and not being dealt with. I was ignoring things that needed attention. I was behind on bills. I was behind on everything. And I wasn't doing anything. I don't just mean not doing anything about the problems, I mean not doing anything AT ALL.

I'm a big fan of lists, as any of you who've read here for any length of time will know. I love lists.

Back in December, I took a tw0-week evaluation of my life. I wrote it down, every time I was angry or upset, why I was angry and upset and what I was doing at the time.

I didn't try to analyze it, or categorize anything. That was for later. What I wanted just then was a list.

Here's a sample, copied from those lists:

Monday, Dec 17

Tripped over Darcy's stool. Again. Bruise on leg, yelled at her. She cried. More frustrated. Was getting snack. Grrr.

Tuesday, Dec 18

Thomas & Darcy both complaining about dinner. Had to do dishes to find kitchen. Hand washed pot and broke nail. Dinner late, and not very good.


Ordered pizza. Annoyed at spending money. Moved money from savings to checking. Getting to under $500 there. Worried about Christmas presents.

I'm sure you can all see where this is going.

Because the house was a mess, it was taking longer to do things. In order to cook dinner, I was having to clean the kitchen first. That meant dinner was late. Often dinner wasn't even made; we ordered pizza, or got take out instead. When Thomas and I first got married, I cooked dinner 5 nights a week, we ate out once, and one night a week he was "on his own" for dinner, and I would have a bagel or something. I kept frozen snacks and whatnot on hand for him to eat.

As time progressed, I got to the point where I was cooking dinner no more than twice a week, and he was "on his own" for three or four nights, and we ate out once or twice a week.

We rarely had any "extra" money in case the car broke down, or there was an unexpected expense. Christmas was a major hassle for me, and one that often had me considering how, exactly, I could unload five or six friends, so that I didn't have to buy them presents; and more importantly, they wouldn't give me MORE STUFF that I didn't have a place for.

Some of these problems there were solutions for; go on a diet (OK, since I've been yelled at this a few times, I'm just going to say this one more time and then you're on your own, people. DIET is easier to type than "lifestyle change". Besides, in this culture, "lifestyle change" to me sounds like I've decided to divorce my husband and shack up with Leslie, the incredibly hot girl at my weight watcher's meetings, and while that's not entirely unappealing in fantasy, it's not going to happen. I recognize that I'm going to be on DIET for the rest of my life; that I can never go back to "eating like normal" because this IS my new normal. And if I said this doesn't depress the hell out of me sometimes, I'd be lying. I recognize the truth; putting a fancy multisyllabic label on it doesn't make it less depressing. Aside from that, I tend to say "lifestyle change" with heavy sarcasm and the finger quotes around it, which certainly isn't having the intended placebo vocabulatory effect. There. Enough lecture. And I don't want to hear about it again? Ok? OK.) clean the house and keep it clean, etc.

But it did seem to me that, looking things over carefully, the main problem was ME. Everything else was symptoms of that overwhelming single problem (Ok, so maybe not Darcy's development problems) in that I just wasn't happy with myself.

Quite a long time ago, a friend asked me "Is your problem with where you live, or is your problem something you're just going to take with you when you go?" I was wanting desperately to move away from Lynchburg and get back to the Williamsburg/Newport News/Hampton Roads area where all my friends were. (In this, we didn't quite succeed, because while we do see our friends slightly more living down here, it's still not entirely as much social life as I would like.) It's a question that's well worth the considering. Is the solution I see actually going to fix my problem, or is it like putting a band aid on an open arterial wound?

The core problem: I didn't like myself anymore. I was fat. I was lazy. I was not being a good parent. I was not being a good wife. I didn't have any sense of purpose. My writing had fallen by the wayside of not being able to concentrate while Darcy was constantly asking for attention. I had no... accomplishments.

The solution: Fix and Change what can be fixed and changed.

The Serenity Prayer
(edited for us godless heathens)

Grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking this world as it is,
not as I would have it;
Trusting that I may be
reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy
Forever in the next.
I can't always - or even often - change the world around me. But I can change myself. And I can change how I react to things.

I'm not happy with the way I look, or feel: I can change my eating habits.

I'm not happy with the way the house looks: I can change my cleaning habits.

I'm not happy with my marriage: I can become more the partner that I think I should be.

Of course, once having defined the problems, and the solutions, one must come up with a plan to implement those solutions. On the other hand, these aren't entirely uncommon problems, therefore, why go through the effort of reinventing the wheel. Surely, someone out there has a plan for me?

Enter Weight Watchers. It has the tools I need to manage my eating. Journaling, the 8 Healthy Guidelines, Activity Points, mostly clear eating guidelines (there are some things, especially on Flex, that don't seem particularly clear to me!), support structures, accountability weigh ins, and reasonable expectations.

Enter Flylady. This took me a while to find, actually. If you ask a typical person (no matter how disorganized they are) about housecleaning, most people would say that cleaning the house is easy, it's just that they don't have time for it. (Which, of course, as a Stay at Home Mom, always makes me feel worse, since if there's anything I seem to have in abundance, it's time. I don't, really, but I always feel like I should. And certainly other people feel like I should. If you're a Stay at Home Mom, you know how it goes, and if you're not, I can't possibly explain to you the condescending attitude, the contempt, and the disregard that I have to put up with from time to time by COMPLETE STRANGERS.)

I didn't find Flylady until one of my friends gave me the word CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). I found that extremely funny - not to mention extremely accurate - and started using it immediately. A week or so later, when I used it, talking to someone else, they asked me if I did Flylady. I said no, and moved on. But then, I was curious. What the hell was Flylady?

Flylady, like Weight Watchers, is a tool. It's a way to get things into shape that have been out of shape. And a way to do it gradually, to set reasonable expectations, and certainly, actual methodology on how to go about doing it. (That's one of the things I like about weight watchers and flylady. Specific. Instructions. Anyone can tell you "set goals, set up a plan" but that's such empty advice and it really doesn't help if you have no idea what a reasonable goal is, or how to get there.)

The FLY part of Flylady stands for Finally Loving Yourself. This is a goal and a thought I can really get behind. Housewives are SHEs (Sidetracked Home Executives). And cleaning your home is "blessing your family."

So, the surprising thing is: Having started the process towards working on those two items that I could change, the other things have changed as well.

My husband and I are closer now than we were at this point last year; back to being silly-crazy in love with each other. (I don't think we ever came close to falling out of love with each other, but it's sometimes harder to express love for others when you're so damned busy hating on yourself that you really begin to question why a rational human being could love you. And if that's the case, then what the hell are you doing with this whacko who can't possibly see what a worthless lump you are?)

And strangely enough - without very much help from me - Darcy has come into her own. I've assisted when I can with outings to see other kids her own age, and by providing workbooks and more educational computer programs and television. But I don't think those things did it all. I guess she was just ready to start talking mostly in English. She still reverts into her nonsense language when she's upset, or if she wants something but she doesn't know what it's called. (As a note: when she doesn't know what something is, she describes it by color. "I want the brown..." "The brown what?" This could be anything from a gold cloisonnes butterfly on my desk - I guess gold is close to brown, and if you don't know what color gold is... to a chocolate ice cream bar.)

All things considered: I'm pretty FLY, (for a white guy).

Post Script: Almost forgot about the weigh in thing. Which in a way, is good. I'm up .2 pounds this week, but I forgot about it because I'm not really all that upset about it. I was a little ticked last night, but 1) this week is my ovulation week, which seems to always be a week that I either gain or maintain and 2) .2 pounds really isn't that much of a gain. Mostly, I think I was ticked about it last night because I was so close to my 35 pounds that I thought for sure I'd get it this week. Now I won't. But probably, I'll get it next week. I'm now .6 away from it instead of .4, but I don't think losing .6 pounds by next week is impossible,

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Greatest, and Hardest


Today will start my new contest, but first I want to talk about the old contest for a while.

I'm trying to wrap my head around a pretty difficult concept here, so forgive me if I ramble for a while.

I was... surprised at first, that no one leaped in to answer my contest question. Then I was disappointed. Then I was somewhat confused. Then sad. Had no one seen my entry? Have I lost readership? This blog was very popular at first, have I lost that verve that keeps people coming back? Then I wondered if no one was interested because I hadn't said specifically what my prizes were. And then I wondered if people really do hate themselves that much. Which made me sad.

I've always thought that my low self-image and low self-esteem came from my parents, for whom I could never seem to be pretty enough, or smart enough, or interesting enough. My mother, who thought I was gangly and awkward and unattractive, and certainly never interested in good-looking, rich young men. (My tastes in partners have always leaned towards the intelligent and funny, rather than the studly.) My father, who thinks an adjective is a useless part of the language, thinks majoring in Literature was a waste of his money, and that I never think about anything "real" or "important" and the "greatest shame of his life is that he raised a child who voted Democrat." I always looked at what I got, and it was no wonder to me that I didn't think well of myself. The two people who were supposed to be the most important, most influential people in my life didn't think I was worth bothering with. What the hell else was I supposed to think?

But you know, not everyone's family is screwed up.

Is it the media? I mean, we see airbrushed and photo-shopped models everywhere. I could point you at some very scary links, but I think everyone's seen them before.

Is it that whenever we see someone do something incredible, or act with self-assurance, that we feel this need to "take them down a peg"?

I remember, at my cousin's wedding, one of her younger cousins did some singing for her - sang Beautiful Soul at the reception - in front of probably 200 people. And all my step-mom could talk about on the way home was how arrogant and self-centered and self-absorbed this 13 year old girl was. I mean, excuse me?? She's 13 years old and she's got the nerve to stand up in front of that many people and sing? And it's not like she sang badly, either. She has a pretty good voice.

Once in a while, my mother would admonish me by saying, "You always wanted to be the center of attention!" The tone in which she made this statement clearly conveyed that I should feel ashamed of myself. It worked: I did. Whether or not she intended it, I got the message that expressing myself in any way that might be different, that might call attention to myself, was deplorable... and to enjoy my own talents, to recognize my gifts -- or (God forbid) to feel good about myself -- was even worse!

Leslie Karen Lobell, M.A.

I don't know why we do this to ourselves. Or, even worse, why we do it to other people. I'm just as guilty of it as anyone else. I know I've often though something along these lines, "Oh, look at her, doesn't she think she's just Mz. Thang?" I know I've wanted to "show someone that they are just not as great as they think they are." And I certainly know I've thought that pretty people are somehow more shallow, or more arrogant, or not as interesting as more normal people. (That latter bit might still be true; there are many things I'm willing to reconsider. That Victor is a vain, self-absorbed, shallow man is not one of them.)

I notice as I've worked (and worked damn hard!) at getting thinner, that I'm really not any happier with myself. I notice more flaws and more problem areas than I did when I was heavier. My teeth, my skin, my hair, my feet, my legs, this, that, and the other. It's like... like making a clean spot in a dirty room. You clean one thing and what you notice is how much worse the rest of the room looks. Until you're cleaning this and changing that and in the end, it doesn't matter how much progress you made because you're still upset, and now you're tired as well.

We all know about the whole "love yourself before you can love someone else" motto. It's so overused that it's cliche, and honestly, we all dismiss it. Yeah, right. We involve ourselves in negative self-talk, we beat ourselves up over mistakes we made yesterday - and to top it off, we bring up past failures that are so long ago, we might not even want to change them! I mean, seriously...

I'll get on a real tear about myself and remember doing something bad in a fifth grade class (stole another girl's colored pencils... my justification at the time is that she kept leaving them in the coat closet, and honestly, if she didn't want them, and I did... why not? So I took them. And yes, I got caught. And then I lied about it. And got caught at that, too. And then had to do parent-teacher conferences, and demerits and etc, etc.) Does this matter today? Not really. Did it matter in the years after it happened? Sort of... strangely enough, I hadn't known the girl particularly well when I stole her pencils, and then... a few years later, we had some more classes together. "Hey, you're the girl who stole my pencils!" she said. "Yeah, it was stupid, I'm sorry." "Nah, it wasn't a big deal." And we got to be friends. Pretty incredible. And honestly, if she could forgive me for it, so soon after the event to the point that during high school, she was one of the only friends I had, why do I still see the need to wince about it now? (Why yes, I'm still cringing, tell you all about it.)

Speak to yourself in ways that are more kind, and less mean or abusive. Many of us have very harsh inner critics: When we make a mistake, this critical voice inside our head beats up on us, saying things like, "That was so stupid! ... I can't do anything right! ... What a loser!" We need to replace these negative messages with other, more positive ones. For example, "I made a mistake. That's okay: That is how I learn. I'll know better the next time." With awareness, over time, you can "catch yourself" when your self-talk is negative, and change the message to something more positive and "ego-enhancing."

Why do we have this obsession with not seeming too arrogant? I've found myself editing out about 15 apologies so far, or explanations, or reassurances that I haven't suddenly "Got this", that I'm still working on self love. Why do I need to apologize for that? Do I think that you won't like me, won't read my blog, if I suddenly stop hating myself so much? And... if you did... does that matter?

Well, yes, it does. I would be sad. I would be very sad. There are so many great people I've met through this blog, and reading their blogs, and... I would be sad.

But that's no reason not to do it anyway. Okay, so... I love myself, I become a total bore, no one likes me, and no one reads my blog. Is that actually going to happen?


It's that simple.

No, it's not going to happen.

(For one thing, I don't think it's possible for me to become a total bore. I'm a good writer, and I'm pretty comfortable with that. And I think of my readers as my friends. My friends are not going to abandon me just because I no longer join in the sewing-circle of self-loathing. If they were that sort of people, I wouldn't like them anyway!)

Is what we need permission? We need permission from someone else to love ourselves? That's easy. I hereby give you all permission to see yourselves as the wonderful, special, and interesting people that you all are. And you're beautiful. And handsome. And loving. And smart. And insightful. There. You have my permission to acknowledge that.

(And no, you don't need to write me a long email detailing all of your failings in order to point out how wrong I am. I can match you screwed up for screwed up, and really, there's no winner in a contest like that. Stop it! I can hear you composing it in your head. Don't do it! Stop! Right now! That means YOU, TOO! Sheesh, people!)

Yes, we need to acknowledge our mistakes. Apologize for them when we can. And learn from them. And then, move on.

Much like our lifestyle eating plans. My husband's friend at work calls it the Elmo plan.

Eat it.
Log it.

So... the contest.

I only had six entries... so, my grand-prize winner is WVSooner for this entry he wrote a few weeks ago. He didn't write it for me, but that's ok. The whole point wasn't to write it for me. The point was to write it for yourself.

WVSooner wins a CD from Putumayo World Music, which sells some really gorgeous CDs to expand your musical horizons. Get with me with your selection, as I'm ordering a few more CDs from them in the next week and I will just add your order to mine. Also, email me at tisfan at gmail dot net so I can get your mailing address. Congratulations and enjoy your music!

My runner-up winner is Irish Mom, who wins a Purespring Shower gel in Jasmine Tuberose scent. Ditto on the email me, Irish Mom, so I can mail out your pampering scented shower gel.

(While you're congratulating the winners, take a few minutes to read around on their blogs, they're both very interesting people!)

This week's meeting (National Self Indulgence week, remember!) our leader had a nice picture of a tree.

Imagine someone did this to you; they planted this tree, and then they said 'hey, this is your tree. And when it gets sick, you get sick. And when it dies, you die.' So, what would you do?
Everyone jumped in with all these suggestions about checking the soil, watering the tree, hiring an expert, building a fence around it, putting mulch down for it, etc etc. Of course, the punchline is, why would we do so much for a tree that we don't seem to realize that we're NOT doing for ourselves.

We don't water ourselves and take care of ourselves. We get stuffed to the back burner of our own priority list and forgotten. How many things have we not done because of family, friends, children, no time, it's too expensive... when what we really mean is "I don't deserve this."

Or, we give ourselves rewards for small accomplishments: Oh, I'll get a pedicure when I reach - 10 pounds. Hell, I do this... and half the time, I don't even buy/get/do my rewards! How motivating is that? Not really, is it?

So, my challenge for this week; reward yourself. Go ahead. You have my permission. (Pffft. Like you need it, but isn't it good to know you have it anyway?)

Not for losing X number of pounds, or remembering to drink your water, or sticking to your plan all day. Heck with those things. Give yourself a reward just because you deserve it. Because YOU DO! And then tell me about it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


This week is National Self-Indulgence week.... so says my Meeting Leader.

As Americans, do we really need any such thing?


We talked about being self-indulgent and what it meant to us.

For me, it would mean being able to sleep late. I'm a mom. I almost never sleep late. I would KILL someone to be able to sleep late sometimes, and it just rarely ever happens.

Part of the problem is that Darcy gets plenty of sleep. She goes to bed around 8:30, and she gets up around 8. (I know, I know. Some people would consider getting up at 8 to be a luxury, and I'm very sorry for them, but hey, this isn't about you, is it. This is about me!) Most of the time, she has no desire to sleep in. There's too much to do, too much to see, too much fun to be had.

Part of the problem is Thomas. He is a very heavy sleeper. He needs 45 minutes of slapping his snooze button to get up and functional in the morning. So, every morning that he goes to work, I spent at least 45 minutes between 6:45 when his alarm starts going off until 7:30 (ish... this can go on until almost 8, when I'll kick him out of bed) waking up and drifting back to sleep in that sort of hallucinatory semi-dream-state that doesn't really qualify as anything remotely resembling rest. Every morning that he doesn't go to work, I roll out of bed whenever Darcy cracks the door of her bedroom, so that I can make sure she doesn't color all over the walls, or whatever weird and destructive thing she's planned for that day. (As well as getting her breakfast and juice and whatnot.)

The third part of the problem is me. I sleep very lightly. I wake up if a car outside honks its horn. I wake up if one of the neighbors slams his door. I wake up if the cat uses the litter box. I wake up if I forgot to turn my email program off and I get an email. Sometimes I even wake up for no reason whatsoever.

On weekends, Thomas sleeps until anywhere from 11am to 1pm or so. I'm... still up at 8.

I would love. to. sleep. late.

Even until 10am would just be wonderful.

I think Thomas would have rather I not shared all that at the meeting last night. The other ladies in the group snickered at him. When Beth asked "So what's a self-indulgence thing for a man?" one of the guys in our group said "Not having to answer questions!" All the guys laughed. "From your wife, or from me?" All the guys chorused together, "Yes!"

(As a note, the flower pictures have nothing to do with anything, except Manuela mentioned that I should have taken more pictures of my trip. I did take them, I just didn't think anyone wanted to be flooded with my pictures. So I'll post a few of them per day for a while...)

Many suggestions were made for my benefit on how to sleep late. (Making Thomas sleep on the sofa came up, which wouldn't work because I don't sleep well at all if he's not in bed with me...) The most likely one to actually happen is shipping Darcy off to my dad's for a week... when she's not here, I can sleep late.

Maybe. If a cricket doesn't roll over in the next yard over.

(My weigh in was great! Down another 2.6 pounds... another .4 to go until I hit -35 pounds... So, hopefully, next week!)

PS - there's not much time left in my little contest... Please post a short comment or link to your blog entry on what you like about yourself! I'll be drawing prizes tomorrow!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Gardens of Delight

Saturday was another girl's day out, that my friend Carol and I have been doing recently in reaction to our discovery that our friendship was slipping away through neglect. (Terrible feeling, that. On the plus side, we noticed it before it became unchangeable, and have been putting much effort into resuscitating the damn thing before it dies on us.)

I made the suggestion that we go to the Botanical Gardens in Norfolk. For one, I've never been there. Second of all, it's something that Thomas is - typical man - completely uninterested in. That's been one of the real tricks to this "thingie". We have to find something to do that we both want to do that the husband types don't want to do... If, for instance, I had suggested that she and I go see Kung Fu Panda, Thomas would have been somewhat miffy and hurt that I didn't want to see it with him. I'm still trying to decide if I can suggest we go see Mama Mia together or not. Thomas might actually want to see that.

It was... a bit warm.

Like, triple digits warm.

So, now I'm going to talk about something weird.

It didn't bother me all that much. The heat, I mean. It was hot, yes, but it didn't feel all that humid to me - at least I could breathe and not feel like I was trying to do it through a hot, wet cotton blanket. I was sweating - and that rather profusely - but it didn't... bother me. I brought a water bottle with me, and drained it twice, plus had a bottle of tea. I remembered to get sun screen (and amazingly enough, I even USED it!) but I did get a little burned anyway. Not too bad, and I put aloe on it as soon as I got home. I even remembered to wear a hat.

I usually hate hot. I hate being out in it. I hate the feeling that the soles of my shoes are melting, and that shimmery weirdness that hovers over blacktop. I hate squinting into the sun, or walking far at all.

Except that I didn't. I kept expecting to hate it, to wish I'd suggested anything else in the world. To be tired and miserable. Except that I wasn't. I'm not sure I would have described the weather as "nice", but it really wasn't that bad. My energy didn't flag too much - and I even climbed up two flights of stairs to look out from the observation gazebo.

We probably walked a good two to three miles or more - I'm not sure exactly, and Carol has a bum knee right now that was making things a little difficult for her.

It was all very pretty and green, even if the sun was baking the flowers right off their stems. There was a lot more to the gardens that I would have liked to have seen... anything called a Mystical Forest seems like it would be fun. And the butterfly maze. There's twelve miles of paths at the Gardens, there was no way we could have covered all of it in a single day, even if we'd had more time. But Carol's still breastfeeding her son, so she's got limited amounts of time that she can spend away from him. I'll definitely have to go back, though.

Saturday, I loved my energy. I loved my legs, which carried me around the day and didn't complain. I loved being able to climb up the observation dome without gasping for breath, and I loved being able to trot down the stairs without clinging desperately to the rail. I loved that, when we left, I was feeling like I could have done more and seen more, rather than being grateful to be climbing back into the car.

I've still got it going on! I'm happier with myself and my lifestyle change than I was last week. I feel good about what I've accomplished, and a little less afraid of how much further I still have to go.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Great Day

Thursdays are supposed to be my "day off."

Light or no housecleaning and no errands.

Despite that, I haven't been taking it recently. I've been making out my to-do list and to-doing it. I mean, obviously there are a few things I can't not do (cook dinner, do the dishes, etc) but there's no reason why I should continue to pile stuff up on myself. I deserve a day off once a week, it's only fair. I don't generally get to sleep late (Thomas is a really heavy sleeper, so expecting him to get up and take care of Darcy just doesn't work. In order to do it, he has to set an alarm - and then I'm awake - or I have to kick him several times to get him out of bed, in which case, I'm now both awake and MAD. So, honestly, I may as well just get up...) and I don't really like going out of the house by myself, so I don't generally take a Mom's Day off.

Being a stay at home mom is like... having your job 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no time off for good behavior.

Even when I take a 'day off' it isn't, really. I still have to get lunch, drinks, television on, television off, kill bugs, rescue toys from monsters, look at this, look at that, look at ME, answer questions that don't make any sense, get snacks, clean up spills, etc etc.

But at least, when I'm having a 'day off' I don't add sweeping the floor, vacuuming, washing the windows, mopping, declutternig, etc.

So, I spent yesterday playing warcraft, and reading a book, and didn't pick up a single toy or put away a single pair of dirty socks. (No, for whatever reason, my husband is entirely incapable of taking his damn socks from the livingroom to the laundry hamper. Sigh.)

Wednesday, I kept careful track of everything I did for someone else, and every time I was nice, or at least, didn't strangle someone. I gave myself a sticker for tripping over a 12-pack of soda that had been left in the middle of the living room floor, but managing to NOT fall down, and then another one for promptly putting the 12-pack away, so it didn't happen again. Wednesday, I kept track of what I did.

Thursday, I kept track of what I didn't do.

I didn't lose my temper. I didn't have a meltdown about the fact that Thomas is also incapable of tossing his t-shirt in the hamper, despite the fact that the hamper is less than 2 feet from his side of the bed. (Ok, so I still NOTICED it, but I didn't clean it up, and I didn't get mad about it.)

I didn't allow myself to feel guilty for enjoying my day.

I didn't forget to take water with me on my walk, as it's 90 degrees out.

I didn't yell at Darcy for refusing to get dressed. So she stayed in her peejays most of the day. So what?

Yesterday was a great day!

Yesterday, I admired my skin. It's firm and unwrinkled. I don't have 'fine lines' around my eyes and mouth. My acne is clearing up incredibly. I'm getting a bit tanned from being outside so much, so I don't have the stereotypical fish-belly legs. Added attention to drinking water and to moisturizing has made the skin on my legs very soft and supple.

I've enjoyed reading the comments I've gotten so far, and I hope to hear/see some more soon! Come on, people, I know you're out there! What do you love about yourself?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Got It Goin' On (Contest #1)

So, completely off the topic, my other best friend is coming down to visit at the end of the month. This particular best friend lives in New York, and we only see her twice a year. We're pretty lucky to see her that much... and with gas rapidly approaching the $5 a gallon price-sticker, I don't know how much longer these road trips will continue.

[I have four best friends. This fact drives my other other best friend somewhat nuts, but at this point, she's been my best friend for seventeen years - oh, my dear GOD, has it really been seventeen years? She's probably getting a giggle about that, since I've been emphasizing the length of time we've known each other for a long time because it makes her uncomfortable about how old we are, and now the actual years, months, days (17 years/204 months/6,190 days) of it is completely flooring me. I don't know why... ah well, I'm old. I knew that - and she's used to it by now. The word favorite has never really clicked with me. What's my favorite color? Green, that nice minty shade. Or sometimes lime-colored green, or that deep forest green, and you know maroon is a nice color too, and I particularly like the way I look in navy blue, and there's nothing wrong with a rich shade of royal purple... My favorite band? Jethro Tull and Bob Dylan and Old 97's and Cowboy Mouth and Dire Straits and Indigo Girls and... you get the picture, I'm sure...]

I'm rambling. I had a point, but I misplaced it, so watch where you step, ok?

So, we're talking about regaining my enthusiasm..

I'm going to have 4 contests (yes, with prizes!) open to readers while I attempt to recapture my enthusiasm. (Don't step on that, either. It's probably not as sharp as my point, but it's fragile and I don't want it broken.)

This week's contest is about convincing myself that I deserve this!

I was talking to Thomas the other day about my flagging motivation. Despite the fact that he doesn't feel the same problems that I do, he always listens to me. And he almost always takes me seriously. This is a good thing. After being relegated to the bottom of the importance heap in my childhood (behind work, television, baseball, his work, television, and his wife... I came up in my father's life a distance 7th when I was in trouble, and not at all if I wasn't. My father was a great believer in "Children should neither be heard, nor seen." Weeks went by when I exchanged no more than the occasional greeting with the man.) if there's one thing in this world I won't tolerate, it's being ignored.

He listened, nodded in all the right places, then asked a single pointed question that I hadn't even considered.

"Are you scared?"

"What?" I wrenched my eyes up from their determined contemplation of his mouth. (First of all, I have trouble meeting someone's eye when I'm trying not to cry, and since I'm one of those people who can cry at the drop of a hat, I learned a long time ago to look carefully at someone's forehead, or their mouth. Most people can't tell, and it helps me keep a handle on the waterworks. Secondly, Thomas has the most wonderful, lush, sybaritic mouth, and I adore watching him talk. Ok, yes, even after 11 years together, I am still disgustingly in love with my husband. Get over it.)

He's rather relentless when he thinks he's on the right track. "You don't feel like you deserve to be thin. You feel like you're a failure, and since you haven't failed yet, you are contemplating sabotaging yourself in order to let that nasty little voice be able to say 'I told you so.' I've been watching you recently. When you're not thinking too hard about it, you're perfectly happy to look in the mirror and admire yourself. And as soon as you start thinking too much, you slump over and you won't look at yourself and you start up with the list of why you think you're unattractive."

Well, now I'm a bit pissed.

"Being thin is not going to make me beautiful," I say.

"It doesn't need to," he says. "You're already beautiful."

"You, my dear, are biased."

"I wasn't biased when we met, and you were beautiful then, too." (He's quite right about that. With Thomas and I, there wasn't any love at first sight. More like Intense Loathing. And Wanting to Kill the Other Person. If nothing else, you can say we both make really... lasting first impressions. Even if we did have to be literally dragged apart so we wouldn't start brawling...)

I'm surprised. "You thought that?"

"Okay, well, maybe not exactly when you were threatening to claw my eyes out. But, maybe the second or third time I saw you. Why do you think I kept showing up, knowing you were there. It was because you were so beautiful when you were angry that it was worth you being angry with me, just to see it."

Looking at his mouth is no longer enough. I start crying.

So, this week's Contest is: I Deserve It!

Every day this week (Today being Wednesday, and running until Tuesday, June 10th) I'm going to post about something I like about myself.

I'm also going to buy a packet of gold stars, and every time I do something right - anything right, diet, housekeeping, attitude, exercise, compliment someone else, compliment myself - I'm going to give myself a gold star. Because I deserve it. Because I'm worth it. Because I can do it.

This week, I'm going to know that I am right more often than I am wrong, better than I am bad, and nicer than I am nasty.

So, if you want to enter my Challenge; I Got it Going On! Leave a comment. Tell me what you like about yourself. What small accomplishments you've had today. What nice things you've done today and what a great person YOU are. Why you're beautiful, why you're special, and why you are worth it. Better yet, link me a blog entry about why you deserve it.

There will be a random prize drawn for one commenter over the week, and one prize for the best-written, most moving entry I receive. (I haven't chosen these prizes yet. I'll get them while I'm out buying my gold-stars)

Today, I have got it going on!

I love my hair. It's long and thick and strong, and unless certain people are tugging on it and saying "Oh, I love your cute little ponytails", it stays where I put it with a minimum of product. I love brushing it, and I love it when people run their fingers through it. (Well, as long as I know you relatively well....) I also love my eyebrows and my eyelashes. My mom used to accuse me of stealing her mascara when I was younger. I have never used mascara. I don't need to. I don't tweeze or pluck at my eyebrows. I think they look great exactly the way they are.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Road to Nowhere

Well, we know where we're goin'
But we don't know where we've been
And we know what we're knowin'
But we cant say what we've seen

- Talking Heads, Road to Nowhere

I don't know if anyone else has noticed how badly my motivation is flagging... I haven't been really good with journaling, even after making my huge rant-o-rama last week about it. My workouts have fallen by the wayside. I managed to get another shin splint, so I haven't been running, and I've been seriously considering giving it up for a while until I lose some more weight, because I keep hurting myself. I mean, there's a difference between "Feel the pain, feel the burn" and "damaging oneself."

I haven't been blogging as much, either... nothing to say, really.

I skipped my 20 and 25 pound rewards. I couldn't think of anything that I wanted. I did buy myself the 30-pound reward; I got myself some a Vanity Flying Mount in Warcraft; which is to say, I spent 1,600 gold on a flying mount. (Ok, so now I have three epic flying mounts... but I really like the hippogriff....)

I'm not even entirely sure what my problem is. Ok, let me rephrase that... I know what my problem IS, but not where it's coming from. It's not like I've plateaued or am gaining instead of losing. Things are going really well, weight-wise. I even had a loss last night, which I wasn't expecting. Last week, we weighed in a day late (closed for Memorial Day!) and earlier in the day... and I lost big last week, almost 4 pounds. This week was 1/10th of that (.4 pounds for the mathematically disinclined) but really, I can't complain about it. Well, I suppose I could, but who wants to listen to that... Weighing in for six days instead of seven, and post-lunch rather than post-breakfast makes a big difference, I expect.

(Thomas, on the other hand, had a similar loss last week - weighing in a day late, earlier in the day, and wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and sneakers, instead of his business attire - which includes a pair of very heavy shoes. And then this week, back in his normal "weigh in" clothing, he had a 1.4 pound gain... I think what happened was more like he had two losses of 1.2 pounds or so, and just changed clothes. He says he's "not too worried about it." I love my husband, I do. But sometimes he's so blithely unconcerned about things that it makes me want to scream. For him, motivation isn't a problem. He never had any. He's a slug. He eats what I feed him, he walks when I say we should. I don't worry about him cheating on the diet; that might involve some actual effort on his part. It takes a massive catastrophe or serious dissatisfaction for him to decide it's worth the effort to make changes. Witness his continuing to work at the Evil French Corporation for almost seven years... looking for work is effort. Sticking with a sucktastic job isn't. It's not even perseverance, it's just apathy.)

Okaaaaay... maybe that long aside had some insights in it... part of my problem is jealousy/resentment about my husband and his "yeah, whatever" attitude. I do wish I had that attitude, it'd certainly be easier to not worry about my weight loss, motivation, exercise, am I doing this right, could I be doing better, of course I could be, and I'm not... guilt guilt guilt.

In the end, however, I'm not sure it matters where my apathy is coming from, or that my husband is perfectly okay with his apathy. I'm not okay with feeling this way, so I need to do something about it. Right?


I feel... like I'm on a long, dry, boring road. There's scenery, yeah, but it's the same scenery that I've been looking at for the last five months. There's no turn-offs, there's no trashy tourist shops that sells cheap, ugly t-shirts and plastic ashtrays, there's no rest stops. It's just miles and miles of flat land, scrubby bushes and the occasional scurrying lizard. And you're out there in the middle of it, hoping to god that you don't run out of gas, or the car doesn't overheat before you get somewhere close to civilization, because it's a bad car ride, but it's going to be a bitchall of a walk.

As we all know by now, I'm not the type to take inspiration from a pithy little slogan. And I'm certainly not motivated by the "I took a walk around the block to conquer that cookie craving" success stories...

While sarcastic, I can be enthusiastic about things. I am capable of motivation and determination and I'm also capable of doing things that I really don't want to do and I hate them but I do them anyway (I could make some snide comments about sex and a particular ex-boyfriend, but that would be rude, and he's not reading this blog to wince about it, so it wouldn't be as much fun...)

The various bits of web-research I've done (because, lo, I am a geek, and whenever I have a problem, google and wikipedia are my friends...) suggest that sometimes motivation just doesn't cut it; and that honestly, what we're looking for when we say motivation isn't really motivation, or inspiration at all, but enthusiasm.

This is my life we're talking about here... I don't expect every day to be a joy, but if none of them are, what the hell am I doing this for?


I'm dedicating June to rediscovering my enthusiasm.

Here are some small bullet points for me (and you! Participation is HIGHLY encouraged!) to think about...

  • Interrupting routines
  • Always have something to look forward to
  • Take a break
  • Set small, short term goals
  • Get a buddy, or group
  • Participate in, or host, a Challenge
  • Sponsor a Contest
  • Work on Empowering Beliefs

All during June, I will have small, weekly challenges that you can participate in. Guest posts are more than welcome if you want to write one. (email guest posts to tisfan at gmail dot com) Small door prizes will be given out to random commenters during the month...

Let's all help each other make this journey exciting again!