Saturday, February 28, 2009

It's all Greek to Me

I'm going to try to post recipes a little more often. I love to cook, but recently I've been a bit BLAH about it. I've often found that, when I'm feeling snarky or unpleased with my own activities, showing them to someone else is a great way to rekindle my interest, so, at least for a while, I'm planning to post a few recipes once a week...

After I decided what I was going to make for yesterday's dinner, I posted about it on Twitter and a few people tweeted back at me, so I thought I'd make this the first set of recipes...
Spanikopita; a pastry stuffed with spinach, cheese, and spices. It's Greek, from the words spanaki (spinach) and pitta (pie).


- can of non-stick spray (will use quite a bit of this!)
- 1 tsp exvirgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 (16 ounce) bag of chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
- 4 ounces reduced fat (or fat free) feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill (or if you're lazy like me 3 tablespoons dried dillweed)
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped (ditto on 3 tablespoons)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg, ground
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed according to package directions (you can get this in the freezer section of your grocery store near frozen pie crusts and whipped cream, usually)


Preheat oven to 350. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Make filling: heat a nonstick skillet over medium high. Swirl oil, then add onion. Cook until soft 4-5 minutes. Add spinach and cook another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, cool 5 minutes. Stir in feta, dill, parsley, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper. mix well.

Place one sheet phyllo with the long side facing you on a work surface. Cover remaining dough with plastic wrap to retain moisture. (You MUST do this, otherwise the stuff cracks and breaks all over everything!) Lightly spray dough with nonstick spray. Top with a second sheet of dough and likewise spray it. With a sharp knife, cut the layered sheets into three equal strips down the long side. (You will end up with three, double stacked strips, about 4 inches wide and 17 inches long)

Place ~1/3 cup of the filling in the center of the bottom end of one strip of dough. Fold up one corner around the filling to form a triangle. (Flag-style)

Continue folding flag style to the top of the strip.

Place triangle seam side down on the baking sheet.

Repeat with other 2 strips, then with remaining phyllo sheets. This will make approximately 12 triangles (unless you drop one, which I have done.) Spray the entire batch with non-stick spray.

(Folding the triangles is the really tricksy bit, and I'm afraid it's a LOT easier to SHOW you how to fold than to explain it. Here's a site so you can watch. He's using a different mixture, but it's the same folding technique.)

Bake triangles until lightly golden ~20-25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

(NI: 2 triangles: 160 calories, 6 g fat, 3 g Fiber. WW info 3 points per 2 triangles. Less if you use no fat cheese, but not much less...)

Make ahead tip! These triangles freeze. Prepare as directed until you get ready to bake, then freeze entire sheet. Transfer frozen triangles into zip-lock baggie, seal and freeze for up to 3 weeks (that's officially. unofficially, I've baked these things after being in the freezer for almost 6 months and didn't have a problem with them!) Do not thaw, just bake as directed, increasing cook time to 27-35 minutes.

Cool 'n Creamy Fruit Soup


- 3/4 cup red grapefruit segments (I used mandarin oranges which seemed fine)
- 5 strawberries
- 2/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup skim milk
- 3 tbsp. Splenda
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract


In a blender, combine all ingredients except for the yogurt. Puree until smooth.

Add yogurt and blend on low speed until just mixed.

Refrigerate until chilled, or until you are ready to serve. Pour into bowls and enjoy!

NI: 115 calories, 0.5 g fat, 1g fiber, Points ~2

Dinner; 6.5 points...

Recipes adapted from: Weight Watchers Take-Out Tonight! and Hungry Girl emails.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Do Over (and over, and over...)

For those of you who have asked; family stuff is... well, going. I've had some constructive conversations with one cousin, and some less constructive conversations with another. I was (and continue to be) rather astonished by how much I care about this, honestly. Anyway, the beginning of the week was emotionally draining and I thank everyone for their support.

Last week, my babysitter (he comes over once a week, on Friday, and is generally asked to watch Darcy for about ninety minutes to two hours... and he often stays about an hour after that, which occasionally bothers me because really, I'm sweaty and icky after the gym and I'd like to go take a shower now please...) told me that he was going out of town Friday morning, and he couldn't make it this week.

I asked if it was possible to change days, and he said he definitely could come on Wednesday or he might be able to make it Thursday morning. I did some thinking and said Thursday would work better for me, because otherwise that meant I was doing back-to-back workouts (Tuesday and Wednesday) and then skipping 3 days before I could get back to the gym, which just didn't seem like it would be a good plan to me.

He said, "I'll call you and let you know, but I should be able to come Thursday around 10am."

(Well, he's not a great babysitter, and he's not always reliable, and I have - on more than one occasion - come home to find him sleeping on my sofa and been grateful that Darcy's not generally the type of kid who shaves the cat, writes on the wall with Sharpies or otherwise is destructive. But he is cheap. And since he doesn't really have another job - sometimes he substitute teaches and from time to time he does some tour-guide stuff - he's usually available.)

Thursday morning rolls around, but I haven't heard from him. At 10:15, I call.

"Oh, right. Yeah... well, I'm still a little behind on my homework for class tonight, so no, I can't."


I ponder for a bit, then give another friend a call. Her job lets her out around 3-ish, and could she come over, maybe, and I could get a work-out in before Thomas gets home? I leave a message on her phone.

I decide to take the better part of my currently open time and do a Wiirkout. I start with the aerobic stuff and do a couple sessions of hula hoop, some step, some advanced step, some jogging in place (which for some reason seems to be easier to me than jogging/running on the treadmill... not sure why...) and some free step (most boring exercising evah!). When I finish with that, I've been wiirking out for 33 minutes and I'm dripping sweat. I take a few minutes of a breather, then start doing Yoga. Halfway through my yoga, my friend calls back. Sure, she'd be happy to watch Darcy for a little while!


I decide to go ahead and finish my wiirkout, just so I get my cooldown in and don't get stretched all funny by doing some upper body work but no lower body work. When I call it quits, I've logged up over an hour.

About mid-afternoon, Darcy decided she really, really wanted to go outside, so outside we went. I grabbed the flyers I made up for my 3 Day Walk and we went around the block tacking them to doors. Up and down several flights of stairs - and hey, when did the building across the street from me CATCH ON FIRE? half the units are marked as uninhabitable. You'd think I might have noticed that when it HAPPENED!

Then my friend showed up, so I changed clothes and hit the gym for about an hour... 45 minutes on the treadmill, some chair dips and table dips...

When I got home, Thomas had gotten back from work. The weather was unusually nice - given that it's been flipping freezing for several weeks now - so we decided to go for our "short" walk, which is the 2.2 miler...

65 minutes on the Wii, 30 minutes walking around the neighborhood hanging up flyers, 45 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes stretching, 15 minutes walking back and forth TO the gym, 40 minutes on our walk... we were an hour into our Naxx speed-run last night when I started getting muscle cramps and shivers.

Oh, I hurt.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's all Relative

I confess.

I'm a bad person.

I've been selfish, self-centered, self-absorbed.

I've been stupid.

I've been lazy.

I'm guilty.

I've been neglectful.





I know.

I've made bad choices.

I am, actually, quite cognizant of these things.

I can't change the past. (When I'm feeling a little more frivolous, I'm aware that this is a good thing, because otherwise we'd all be back in 5th grade thinking that really, with just one more attempt, we could get it right this time...)

I am a very forgiving person. I kinda have to be. Because I think everyone deserves second chances; third chances, fifth chances, eighty-ninth chances.

I know need those chances. So I have to give them out, because otherwise, why should I ever expect life to give me one?

I don't generally forget. It's not always on my mind, but I don't think I'll ever forget that my best friend of three years dumped me for my best friend, but it's ok. They're happily married and I'm happily married, and we're all still good friends, and the only reason it's important at all is that it's part of our history, and knowing that about us explains some of the weird commentary we make about each other.

I won't forget that Pearl once decided that we shouldn't be friends anymore (right about the time that we didn't have enough money to take her out to dinner on a regular basis..) but I can move on. We were estranged for... eh, I'm not sure, two or three years, at least. And while I don't always consider her a good friend, I help her out when I can, listen when she needs it, and I don't expect too much out of her.

I don't talk about my family much because, frankly, with the exception of my parents, all of my family has been out of my life for a long time.

I pretty much collectively disowned all of my mother's sisters and their families, and my dad's brother and sister and their families, just as soon as I graduated from high school and no one was forcing me to associate with them anymore.


I didn't like them very much. And I didn't feel liked.

I've always had a big problem with feeling "Least of 10". Whenever I'm in a group situation, I often feel; the biggest, the ugliest, the most stupid, the most boring, the least talented. And my cousin Harriet was always the best. You understand, Hickory (as we called her) was very allergic to everything when she was born. She almost died because my aunt couldn't breastfeed. She was always everyone's favorite.

Hickory speaks French, isn't that so lovely? (Yes, I know. And she goes to a bilingual school near Canada... I go to a crappy public school.) And she plays PIANO, how nice... why don't YOU play an instrument (how about the fact that I desperately WANTED to and my mother wouldn't ALLOW IT!) And she's this and that and... I was 11 months older than her, and whenever we got in trouble, it was always my fault. I was older, I should know better, I'm less, I'm not, you never...

Stupid, petty, childish reasons to dislike someone. She couldn't help that I felt inferior. But I resented it.

My aunt... well, she's a bit of a religious nut, and I'm an atheist. Sometimes I feel like it would be nice to have faith. I see what it does for other people, and I envy that. But I don't feel it. At the time, however, I was not just atheist, but I was a militant atheist. I considered people who believed in God to not only be delusional, but completely annoying on top of that. And my aunt, at least while I was growing up, was still trying to find her place in the religious community. She'd change churches every couple of years, be all fanatical about that ice-cream flavor of the week for like six to eighteen months, find something about the church or the congregation that annoyed her, spend a few months with the drama llama, and then change churches.

That was immature of me. I was just as closed-minded as I was accusing Christians of being. Of assuming that because I didn't believe, that it was stupid, mindless, pathetic, and annoying.

I don't... do funerals. I know what they're for, and I know why people think they're important... but I just can't. I find what's happened to me is that for every funeral I've attended, that becomes the most important, consuming memory for me of that person. I barely remember things that my friend Tracy and I used to talk about, but I remember every minute of her funeral in crisp, painful detail. I hate it. I don't feel comfort. I don't get closure. What I get is a big freaky sticker on my memory that says Never Shall Ye Pass that obscures every other memory...

I didn't go to my dad's mother's funeral. I didn't go to my mom's parents funerals.

But I did say "Good Bye, I love you," to my grandmother the day she died. I remember vividly one day, waiting for my plane to fly home to Virginia from my annual summer visit, she ran her fingernails through my hair for the better part of an hour, while she thought I was asleep. I remember her standing on the deck at camp, yelling at Hickory and I for accidentally running over her water lilies with a canoe. She wore dozens of rings on each finger, her hands were covered with them, and each one had a special significance to her - I remember thinking that she'd probably have a mean right hook, if she ever hit anyone. I remember playing game after game of cribbage. I remember building huge card-houses across the family room floor and having her teach me a more secure building so I could stack the card-houses over a story. I remember using her waterpick; my nozzle was green. She had hundreds of pairs of earrings, and she always, always was wearing a pair; some of them are now sitting in my jewelry box. I remember sitting up in the attic with her one day, going through boxes of old clothes and jars of buttons and bags of beads and just talking. She collected music boxes. She had dozens of them, scattered through the house.

And none of those memories are tainted with the irritation that I always feel, being in churches where everyone else feels faith and comfort. They're not ruined by someone trying to make her more than she was, by acting like, in death, she'd never made a mistake, that by dying everything she'd ever done was perfect, inspiring, whatever. She was all those things, and she was also a flake. She couldn't sing half as well as she thought she could. She was judgmental, thought I read meaningless crap without taking into consideration that at least I read books, whereas most of my cousins didn't. She nitpicked. She developed "headaches" whenever she wasn't the center of attention.

I remember, and loved, a real person. And the grief I feel, writing this now, is just as real, and just as fresh, as it was that afternoon, almost twelve years ago, when my mother finally got in touch with me (I'd driven down to visit Thomas for the weekend, we were just starting dating at the time, and after work on Friday, I'd drive down 3 hours from Lynchburg to Chesapeake to spend the weekend with him...) to tell me that she'd died.

Other people have closure.

More power to them.

I have a real person. She was real.

I can't be sorry about that.

Once my parents, in their divorce and just the distance between us after that, didn't force me to send Christmas cards, or call, or whatever... I didn't. I saw my grandparents once, or sometimes twice a year. They migrated from New York to Florida and often stayed with my mom on their way down and back. But aunts and cousins... I didn't call. I didn't write. My freshman year of college, my aunt wrote me one letter. The first line of the letter was this, "I don't actually expect you to write me back, because well, I'm sure you feel it's not worth your time, but..."

I didn't write back.

And I didn't call.

And time passed.

My cousins got married, divorced, had kids... sometimes even in that order. I sort of vaguely knew about it. Sometimes I didn't. I don't know what my cousins' families names are, or how many kids they have.

I had my own things to do, and the longer I went without any contact, the harder it got to start any...

What have I done with my life? I've been stupid. I got married young, got divorced. Got fat. Got in a car accident. Nearly died from asthma complications. Got better. Got thin.

I don't have a stunningly interesting job. I don't do the sorts of things that make for a nice, cute Christmas card. I don't even, most of the time, have the sort of life that makes a funny, sarcastic Christmas card.

I couldn't think why to bother to contact them... I didn't like them as a child... but that doesn't mean that as adults we couldn't have found some common ground; even if it was just our past relationships and shared experiences.

And the longer I didn't, the easier it got just to not...

To continue to not. (And in my more self-castigating moments, I'd snarl to myself that the phone lines did, actually, go both ways...)

In the land of procrastination, contacting my relatives... was the mountain that I'd even given up saying I was going to climb.

When I started kicking the idea of doing the Komen walk around in my head, it occurred to me that while I hadn't contacted my relatives in years, my mother was still in some touch with them; at least her sisters if no one else.

And that there were people out there who cared about my mother, and who supported her when she was ill, and who have prayed and thought of her while she recovered.

So... and I admit, it was harder than I expected it to be... I started making calls.

Let me make this perfectly clear: I don't need their support. I believe I can make these donations without their help. It is not "just about the money." I've made a lot of changes in my life. I feel, to some degree, that I might be worth something. Which makes me question a lot of decisions I made earlier in my life, when I felt that I wasn't worth anything. Are my relatives really as useless, stupid, demanding and annoying as I've always said, or were they, too, worthy people? As distanced as we've been, there's no way to know that.

I had to open the door and take a look.

It has not been easy, and honestly, I didn't expect it to be.

I don't know what I expected.

Monday, February 23, 2009

One Down...

Little more than a month ago, I did a Bucket List... I'm not sure it's really a Bucket List, per se... just kind of an impulse sort of... "what would I like to do if I had unlimited time, money, and fitness..."

#6 on the list was: Do one-handed push-ups.

Scratch one thing off the list...

Friday I was completely kick ass at the gym. I felt good heading down there, I felt good while I was there.

The recumbent bike and I... are not really good friends.

I am apparently not the ideal they had in mind when designing the thing. Short, round, whatever... for one thing, my legs aren't quite long enough. I can either have the seat notched to 1.5 and be able to reach the pedals fine for the entire rotation, but my thighs bump into my stomach - at low speeds that's uncomfortable enough, and at high speeds tends to make me somewhat nauseated. Or I can have the seat notched to 2, and I can't reach the pedals at the full extension, which means rather than push left, push right, my cycling goes more like push right, pull left, pull right, push left, which does not do well for maintaining speed at all.

In either setting, there's a little divet in the seat - I guess it's to put your ass crack over, but mine's apparently in the wrong place, because no matter HOW I sit, I always end up with that bump under one butt-check or the other. This is uncomfortable to sit on, regardless of what speed I'm pedaling.

Third of all, the front handles are too far away, causing me to involuntarily pull back towards myself while pedaling, as if I'm trying to row a boat, and the side handles are set too closely to the bike-seat, compounding the whole thighs-hit-my-stomach problem by adding in a good dose of arms-are-squishing-against-my-boobs.

And those are just comfort issues with being ON the bike... that doesn't even begin to cover the whole resistance and pedaling and breathing and burning thighs and my hands get greasy and... and and and.

Doesn't matter. Twice a week, I do the bike. I set it for Intervals and vary back and forth between a resistance of 3 and resistance of 6 for 30 minutes, plus a 5 minute cool down at R2.

The routine goes this way, 2 mins at 3, 2 mins at 6, two mins at 3, ad nauseaum and there's a little LED displayer thing with dots. These dots supposedly are equal to another marker along the side to show you what your heart rate should be during these intervals... R3 gets two dots for "Fat Burn" and R6 gets 3 dots, which pushes it into "Cardio". (However, unlike the treadmill, the bike doesn't have the bare metal handgrips to monitor your actual heart rate, which is too bad. I think I'd burn a lot more calories - according to the readout - if the damn thing could see how fast my heart was actually going...) So while I'm biking, I stare at little dots... each dot equals one minute...

Mostly because I find biking to be a real chore, I started mathing out my biking speed versus the little dots... Ok, I'd gone X miles in Y time, that means I'm doing a little under 10mph, or approximately 1 mile per 6 dots. Half a mile in three dots. .16 miles in 1 dot.

Could I push that up some, I started wondering. Could I force myself to get from 1.45 miles to 1.63 miles in 1 minute?

Sometimes I can; sometimes I can't.

Friday, I was in the Zone. My legs weren't burning as much, and while I was sweating like crazy - hell, even my wrists were slick with persperation - I didn't feel bad.

I managed to push myself for the entire 30 minutes to pedal at least .2 miles per minute. That's 1 mile every 5 minutes, or a 20% increase in my speed.

So, I got off the bike feeling very damp, but proud. I did my short walk, in which I am currently maintaining a 3.0 - 3.2 speed (trying to build walking endurance, not speed) with variable inclines (between .5 and 7.5) and then decided to hit the weight room for a bit. I was still feeling strong and good to go.

A few weeks ago, MizFit pointed me at an entry from last year about tricep excercises, something I've been looking into because my pushups are giving me a wicked bicep, but if I don't balance it out soon, I'm going to look sort of malaportioned. Headed back to the weight room, I sat on the bench for a minute while I considered my options and then I thought, "I wonder if I can do those tricep dip things?" So I pushed the weight bench out from under the cable-weights and tried it. Ok, that wasn't too bad. I did a set of ten, then sat for a bit, then ten more, and sat. And ten more, and sat. I tried to do one last set of 10, but I just wasn't quite up for it, and clunked out at 5.

Feeling pleased with myself, I decided I'd go ahead and try the one-handed pushup. I've been a fan of these particular exercises for a while; they are serious hard-core.

It took me a few minutes to get the proper balance - that's part of the tricky bit to it is finding where you need to place your hand so that you don't tip over, that's also not preventing you from actually bending your elbow.

Astonishingly enough, I found the spot. I tucked my right arm behind my back, and lowered, then raised. I was, to say the least, a bit surprised. But not tired. I lowered again, and came back up. Wow. Two. And then a third.

And a fourth.

Well. Cross one thing off my list. 42 more to go...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes?

Attack of the killer tomatoes! Attack of the killer tomatoes!
They'll beat you, bash you, squish you, mash you
Chew you up for brunch and finish you off for dinner or lunch!
They're marching down the halls - They're crawling up the walls
They're gooey, gushy, squishy, mushy - Rotten to the core
They're standing outside your door!

Remember Herman Farbage while taking out his garbage
He turned around and he did see tomatoes hiding in his tree
Now he's just a memory!
I know I'm going to miss her - a tomato ate my sister
Sacramento fell today - They're marching in San Jose
Tomatoes are on their way!
Why is it, you think, that people don't binge on tomatoes?

This might be the answer!

We're afraid our vegetables will come back to haunt us, whereas a brownie... nice, safe, chocolate-y, gooey thing... would never appear in a bad movie to suck our brains out.

Or maybe it's just that the tomatoes are more obvious about their evil intent. I mean, don't you see them there, nestled in their little clear plastic box from the grocers, sniggering with sinister maliciousness? Ever notice how you slice them up for a salad and they lay there, wedges with smug, bloody grins?

And they have this nasty tendency to revolt in the crisper drawer, turn obviously evil and black with murderous intent...

Whereas the brownies, even when they get a little old, are just that much better? A little chewier around the outside edges, but still gooey and lovely in the middle. And if they're too stale, you can toss them in the microwave, wrapped in a moistened paper towel and POOF! They're back to their young and carefree selves. (I keep being tempted to wrap myself in a wet paper towel and microzot myself back into my twenties... don't you?)

But maybe that's part of their evil plot to take over the world. The brownies, I mean. They just... look good. And deep down, where it counts, they are even more dangerous than tomatoes, even slightly anthropomorphic ones.

If you're thinking I fell sway to the siren's call of brownies yesterday...

Well, you just might be right.

Watch out. Maybe I'll get YOU when you're taking out your garbage!

Because, you know, we can't all aspire to be Brownies. Some of us have to be tomatoes.

Now, pass me the salad dressing... I have some making up to do...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Countdown Begins

Thanks to your verbal promises, I raised just a tiny bit less than half the donation amount needed to walk in the 3-Day Walk for the Cure, so I went ahead and registered (as I really, really want to do this, and it's best to register now, as I currently have the $90 for the registration fee!!)

So, if you look to the right, there's a link to my donation page.

(As you will no doubt notice, the clickie button says "Donate to Kellylyn." Yeah, that's me. Remember I told you I wasn't going to tell you what my horrible southern double-name was? Well, that's it. So, that's my deep dark secret, that I have a wretched name that I don't like much. I prefer Lynn... )

So, if you verbally agreed to make a donation, please feel free to go ahead and make it. There's plenty of time, though; the walk isn't until October, so I have 235 days to raise the money, and to train for the event. Which is good, I'll need them! Every. Single. Day.

I want to thank everyone who has been so encouraging and thoughtful and generous. Know that you are dearly appreciated and loved.

(As an added bonus, my weigh in showed me down 1.4 pounds last night, so I think I've finally gotten past this stupid plateau... YAY me!).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Eight is Enough

Aside from my wedding dress (in which I looked liked a silk and seed-pearl wrapped marshmallow) I have never owned clothing more expensive than the stuff I am wearing today.

I am wearing a teal blue silk overshirt ($59.99), a nude cami top ($19.50), and skinny-leg pair of Mia jeans ($69.50) with a pair of black wingtip-style heels ($29.95). I'm also wearing a belt ($12.99). It's not a belt I have any need for, mind you. My jeans are new, and a size 8. There's no way I need a belt to hold my pants up. I'm wearing a tiny, patent leather belt around my shirt. As a decoration.

I am wearing a $200 outfit.

I didn't even spend that much money on a prom dress. (In high school, I was required to buy my own prom dresses out of a $15 a week allowance that also had to cover my school lunches, books, and outtings. I hit the sale racks for prom dresses... I think I spent a grand total of $25 for my senior prom gown.)

Last year, I wouldn't even have looked at a silk shirt. I used to sweat, constantly, even in air-conditioned rooms when I wasn't doing anything. A silk shirt would have been a waste of money. Not to mention the fact that I don't think they make silk shirts in an XXXL.

My ass is crammed into a pair of skinny-legged, $70 jeans. Sized 8. You know, two weeks ago when I got my first pair of 8's, I was... trying to talk myself down of them, you know. Oh, well, of course it's a size 8. I got them at TJ Maxx, and you know, that's a discount store, so regardless of what the tag says, they're probably not a size 8. And you know, they're a relaxed fit.

But these are size 8 from Express. Express. Which carries size 0. Where the sales-staff are all no larger than 4s. Who talk about "Oh, well, these sweaters are sized a little small. I mean, usually I wear an XS, but for this cardigan, I needed a small...." (I shit you not, my favorite sales girl said that two weeks ago when I bought a lovely paint-splatter patterned sweater in a Large... there are realms left in the skinny fashion industry in which I daresay I will never be more than a casual explorer. If nothing else, I still have boobs.)

And what, you might ask, am I doing in a $200 outfit?

I've been asking myself the same question.

I have. No. Earthly. Clue.

Sometimes I think I have a weird sort of reverse fat-girl vision. I know a lot of women have problems realizing just how big they've gotten. I remember talking with a friend back when she started Weight Watchers and she said to me, "I used to comfort myself with this idea; that at least I wasn't a hundred pounds overweight. And then I got on the scale." Turns out, when she wasn't paying attention, she had gotten to that arbitrary line of what was acceptable and what wasn't. (For her. Those lines are different for everyone.)

I have the opposite problem.

I can't see myself as thin. Or even normal. I still look in the mirror and see fat expanding in all directions.

I keep trying to find excuses about why I should be able to fit into a size 8 pair of pants. (See my above rationalization about the pair I got at TJ Maxx...)

I've lost 70 pounds. I'm (according to the Wii Fit; which has become my cross to bear, and yes, I still jump on the damn thing every morning.. and I might add, I had a discussion with Thomas yesterday about how much 20oz of water weighs, and could I legitimately blame that on a 1 pound weight gain? The answer to that is, YES. A 20 ounce bottle of water weighs ~1.3 POUNDS. So if I drank a whole 20oz bottle right before jumping on the scale, yes, the scale's going to pick that up...) about 5 pounds away from being a normal weight for my height. (On the high edge of normal, admittedly, but a BMI of 25 is "normal". The Wii says I weighed 146 this morning. To get to a BMI of 25, I need to weigh 141.)

I keep waiting for that lightbulb moment...

Really... you'd think eight would be enough.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Well, it's really not been a fantastic week here...

It seemed to start out all right with us finally tracking down and purchasing a Wii and a Wii fit. Astonishingly enough, after running to every computer store and Game Stop in town (and oddly enough, there are a LOT of them) (as a side, side note, Best Buy was in the Completely Not Helpful or Polite list of stores... which sort of sucks since we'd JUST added them back into places we shopped after being completely turned off by their weird ass "we have preferred customers of which YOU are not part of the list" policies, but you know, hey, Circuit City is going out of business, if Best Buy wants to join them in the Alliterative Antiquated Appliance Areas that's just FINE with me!) we finally found one at the Toys R Us. The people there were helpful, kind, polite, and enthusiastic about our purchase, so they may be seeing us again to get our various accessories and stuff... (Customer Service people! It's a good thing!)

Monday, my weigh in was good; I lost .4 pounds, which usually does not please me immensely, but as it snuck me over the 70 pounds lost, I was happy. (There was also something nice, when working out, the Bike and Treadmill ask me things like Time, Weight and Age, and I was able to push the down arrow from the default weight - which is 150 - for the first time...)

Tuesday was somewhat annoying; I've fallen victim to something I knew was going to happen. The Wii Fit acts as a scale, in addition to letting me do light workouts on it, and I've started weighing in every day... now, from Sunday to Tuesday, I apparently gained at least 1 pound every day. (No, I'm pretty sure that this isn't a problem with the scale itself, as Thomas has continued to either lose or maintain his weight...) Also, Thomas usually works from home on Tuesday, so I can hit the gym... but he had several meetings he couldn't miss, so he had to go in. Blech. Which means I didn't hit the gym. My babysitter couldn't come over on Tuesday... he was supposed to come on Wednesday, but...

Wednesday I woke up at 3am from a dream of talking to someone who was deaf to realize that I had an incredible pain in my head. My ear felt like someone had put a railroad spike through it. Also, I could hear all this swishy liquid noises. I took some pain medication and went back to sleep, hoping it would go away.

It didn't. In fact, when I got up on Wednesday morning, I felt worse. My head ached acutely and I was alternating hot and cold. On top of everything else, I ended up getting vomitously ill. (Sick is falling asleep on the bathroom floor. Flylady is waking up to realize that the bathroom floor is actually really clean.) So I called my babysitter and told him not to bother to come over on Wednesday, that I was sick, and I'd let him know...

I spent all day feeling ill and sorry for myself.

Thursday, according to the Wii, I had actually gained weight.

I swear, I must be the only person on the planet that this happens to... everyone else I know gets a stomach bug and loses 6+ pounds. Hell, Thomas gets the freaking sniffles and loses 4 pounds. It is decidedly unfair.

So, according to the Wii Fit, I am up 2.4 pounds since Monday's weigh in.


Now, since I spent all day Wednesday feeling sick, and even though I wasn't feeling completely top-notch yesterday, I had all of Wednesdays' chores to do, plus yesterdays. And Thomas, while he'd taken his work-from-home day yesterday, was No Help at All (charter member). So I ended up running all the errands and the grocery shopping by myself yesterday (we usually do the grocery shopping together!) and nearly getting into two seperate car accidents and just generally hating the world. And everyone in it.

And, of course, the Wii Fit tells me I've gained another .4 pounds today.

Just shoot me in the head. Right here. I won't move. Promise.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Long Walk

"Hi. My name is Lynn. You might not know me. I live in here in Chesapeake. I'm a stay at home mom. I went to college at William & Mary and majored in literature. I have a love for action movies, science fiction, Russian art, Irish beer, Jackie Chan, and just about anything with cheese on it.

I'm thirty-six years old (thirty-seven in May!) and grew up in Louisa County, Virginia. I used to spend summers in upstate New York with my grandparents. My mother's parents and my dad's parents lived about four miles away from each other, near a tiny town called Peru.

My favorite color is green.

This is my mother. You probably don't know her either. Her name is Cynda Abolt. She's sixty years old and lives in St. Simon's Island, Georgia. She's an historian and a reenactor and a member of the National Park Service. Nine years ago, she married my step-father in an early 19th century period wedding down in New Orleans.

Her favorite poem is The Doormouse and the Doctor, by A.A. Milne. She likes suspense movies, novels by Patricia Cromwell, and has an inexplicable fondness for purple cow creamers.

In October, 2007, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After surgery and several months of radiation treatment, my mother has been cancer free for a little over a year now.

(Insert picture of Gramma here, don't currently have one that's electronic)

This is my grandmother, Ethel Stafford. Her favorite color was yellow, and she had a collection of china birds, especially cardinals. During the Great Depression, she was a teacher. When my family visited her, she always made two batches of chocolate chip cookies, one with walnuts in them, for my dad, and one without, for me. She died in 1994 from pnuemonia. She had been a breast cancer survivor for almost ten years after a partial masectomy.

This is my aunt, Beth Anne. We called her Big Beth, as opposed to her daughter, Little Beth. She lived in a log cabin, and enjoyed sailing. She died two years ago from heart disease. She was also a breast cancer survivor.

Betty Poe, friend of the family. Died in 1987 from breast cancer.

I never met my friend Leslie's mother. Brynia died from breast cancer in the mid 90's, before I even met Leslie.

These are women you probably don't know. But I expect if you looked around at your mother, your grandmothers, aunts, and cousins, sisters and friends, there are women you know who have been affected by this disease. Breast cancer is the second most prevalent form of cancer, after lung cancer, and the fifth most common cause of cancer death.

In 2007, after my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I decided it was time for me to get healthy. At that time in my life, I was nearly 100 pounds overweight and had been sedintary for years. In early 2008, I joined Weight Watchers and began a more active lifestyle. A little more than a year later, I have lost seventy pounds and am now in the gym three times a week.

But it's time to do a little more.

In October, 2009, I'm going to walk in the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure. It's a sixty mile walk, spread over three days, to raise awareness for this disease and to raise money to help find a cure, better current treatments, and help provide screenings for people who can't afford them.

In order to do that walk, I need to raise $2,300 in sponsorship money. And, quite obviously, train to be able to walk that far."

Here's where I'm asking for your help.

At the moment, I have not actually paid my registration money to walk... I am hoping to get verbal promises for sponsorship for at least half of the money I need to raise in order to join the Walk. Once I get promises for half, I'll pay my registration fee and get an on-line donation form set up. I've gotten permission from my apartment complex manager to post requests for donations to all the residents in my complex. I'll hit up local businesses.

When I raise the money, I'll be blogging/tweeting from the walk so you can share this experience with me.

To this end, I have decided to shelve my C25K training - since really, I'm just not capable of doing that many different kinds of training - and begin working towards increasing my walking endurance.

It's going to be a long walk. I hope you'll join me.

If you are interested in making a verbal promise, please post in the comments how much you think you will be willing to sponsor me for. You are NOT obligated to do so at a later time, but if you don't think you will, or can afford to, please do not promise. When I reach a goal of 50% required donations in verbal promises, I will set up the online donation forms for you to make good! Thank you very much for listening, and for any help you can give!

Update: You guys are AWESOME. Look how far we've come in just a few hours!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Do Good, Feel Good

[Jeanne, dear, if you're reading this, it's... um... going to widge out your phobia, so you might want to just skip this entry. Yes, there are pictures. Yes, I say "that word" a few times. So, shoo! Or, at least, don't blame me when you throw up, ok? Ok.]

Despite some setbacks, I am still working on my self-esteem project.

I keep a little notebook by my desk and whenever I feel good, or do something good, I write it in my notebook. Every morning, when I first get up, I randomly flip through the notebook and see what I've done good recently. I've also been using it to track my workouts and push ups, since both of those things are impressive, and part of my routine (You get self-esteem from just sticking to your workout for no other reason than you ARE sticking to your workout. Interesting how that works, don't you think?)

I was, for a while, decorating the pages with stickers, too, but I've started using those stickers for my daughter's rewards for helping me clean the house. Sometimes I think I should get "I done good" marks for successfully implementing a child-chore system that Darcy can and does work well with. (Could that sentence possibly be written any WORSE? No, I didn't think so... ) But that's ok. Sometimes I still dot the page with a smilie sticker if it was a particularly good day.

I've been having a really great weekend, truth be told. Friday I got new pants (in a size. 8!!) Ok, seriously, I cannot get over how good that makes me feel. I knew my 12s were probably too big. Not so much in the waist - or at least, they weren't sliding down off my hips the way my 20s used to. (On the other hand, I waited to size down from 20s until I was in 14s, so you know, there's a bit of a gap there. Also, it seems like the larger the size is, the bigger the difference between that and the next size down. Where a 20 might be really loose, but an 18 is TOO DAMN TIGHT, I can currently get easily into a 12, slip into a 10, I can also get into an 8. Weird, that. Women's sizes are just fucked up strange.) Anyway, I went to the shop and picked around in the jeans section. I selected a few 10s that looked nice, grabbed a 12 "just in case" I'd merely stretched out these 12s, and picked up an 8... When I was first starting this weight loss thing, I mathed out... "Ok, it took me X weight to get from size 24 to 18, that means when I weigh 125 pounds, I should be... in 8s. Or maybe just barely into 6s. Wow. Six. Ok, we'll say 8s. So I picked up the 8s just to see how much further I had to go until I hit my "goal size."

And in the dressing room, I slowly took off my 12s, then stood, looking at the jeans hanging up on the wall. And I thought, "Well, I'll try the 8s on and get the disappointment out of the way first." And stepped into the 8s. And slid them up. Over the thighs, over the hips. I thought I'd get the V-zipper "and ne'er the twain shall meet" thing going and was flabbergasted when they zipped. UP. Closed. And no weird muffin-top thing going on.


Now, honestly, they were a bit too long, so I went back to see if I could find 8 petites, but the 8 petites I could find were of a different brand and were, for some reason, slightly smaller in the waist. I could zip them up, but they did do the muffin-top thing, and really, that's just Not Attractive. So I ended up buying the 8 regulars and took them to a tailor to have them altered. Seriously, they are size 8 jeans and I'll be damned if I'm going to look like a refugee from a corn-shuckers convention by rolling them up three times. (They're $60 jeans, on sale for $15, so even paying $10 for someone to hem them for me is still a great bargain.)

Saturday we got together in a group of friends, gamed for a little while, then went bowling. Silly thing, bowling. I was doing really horribly at first, and Thomas - Mr. I-suck-at-bowling - had ranked up fairly quickly with a spare and a couple of strikes. Then, as I got more used to what I was doing (and I did some more visualizations just before I bowled), I got three strikes in a row, at the end of the set, to win the game.

I was pretty psyched about that, too. Not necessarily because I won, although it did feel good to win, but more because my visualization stuff is really paying off.

Yesterday, I did good Great!

Not just for me, but for other people. I gave blood for the first time since High School. (god, I graduated from high school like 18 years ago...) And in high school, I only did it because as a member of the National Honor Society, I was required to do "community service" and giving blood was easier than picking up trash alongside the highway. (I've done that, too, a few times, and my god, I hate it. And if I ever catch you throwing something out of your car window, I swear to god, I will shoot your ass right there and then. Or run you over with car. do something nasty and unpleasant.)

It wasn't too traumatic, altho the volunteer lady did have to wiggle the needle around a bit to get it in there. It didn't hurt much, but I'm awfully squeamish when it comes to my own blood, and I don't like looking at it. The really funny thing is, I signed up to give blood on Jan 15th, and just three days before my appointment, I found out about this. MaNiC MoMMy is doing another virtual blood drive, so not only did I give blood, but I got my picture taken, and entered for her contest. How cool is that? I was talking about giving blood with my friends on Saturday and my dear friend Leslie said, "Oh, I haven't donated recently," and she ended up tagging along with me, so we both gave. Double bonus cool points!

I've always liked the concept of the Karmic Boomerang. Do something good, get something good back, feel more like being and doing good, etc. (Also, the schadenfreude part of me loves the idea of people who are complete bastards having transmission failure at 3am on Church Street.)

Well, I got whapped with the Karmic Boomerang this morning.

Today, I got a release in my email box for permission to publish the article that I submitted for a magazine a few weeks back.

So, I've had a freaking wonderful weekend.

(I could wish that these things would be a little more spread out so I can savor and enjoy each moment... on the other hand, this buzz will keep me going for quite a while!)

Update, 10:15pm: My weigh in tonight was really good, lost 2.2 pounds (for a change, the husband thing did not outshine me, gaining .4 instead of losing more weight. This is good, since he's still about 5 pounds under his goal weight.) and have lost another daily point, dropping under 150 pounds. Tomorrow will be really busy, with workout, shower, Thomas's haircut, and a trip to the laundrymat, so I wasn't sure I've have time to make a Healthy You post tomorrow. So, I went ahead and did this one tonight.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Visualize Whirled Peas

For a very long time, I've been stuck in the middle.

I looked back at the past with regrets, disappointment, remorse and guilt.

I looked forward, to the future, with dread, anxiety, and fear.

Not really a good way to live, but I embraced cynicism with both hands and took a perverse sort of pride in it.

Never once, not in twenty-five years, has anything I've dreaded actually happened.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Mary Schmich, Advice, like Youth, Probably Wasted on the Young

Despite that, I've been hearing a lot about visualization. That I should visualize my weight loss, or visualize what I'll say and do at a party where I have to navigate dangerous snacks...

I've been rolling my eyes a little bit about it. It sounds a little crystal twinkie, don't ya think?

And yet, I've been a little worried this week. Not about anything earth shattering, but about my push up challenge.

I've been doing the 100 push up challenge with a group of twitterati... the idea is to do 100 push ups after a 6 (or 8, or 10) week regime. When I started, I did three push ups. Three. Ah well, I thought. No place to go but up, right?

Anyway, I just finished week 4, and let me tell ya, the regime is pretty tough. (I've been complaining that it never seems to get any easier, but I guess that's the point, right? To get more and more push ups out of the same, or slightly greater, effort...)

Every two weeks, we have an assessment that places you for the following week's push ups. Technically, it's supposed to tell you what rank you're in, so you can move on. On the down side, it also means if you can't do the push up minimums for the next week, you are supposed to go back and repeat two weeks worth of sets.

As I usually do, I've been looking at what I have left to do (and ignoring, for the most part, what I've already DONE...) and saw that to move forward for Week 5, I needed to do at least 31 pushups in a single set to move on.

I didn't think I was going to make it. The final sets in my weekly plan have been Do as Many as You Can, Minimum 16, 18, and 20. And those were killing me. How in the world was I going to manage 31?

So, just for something to try, Tuesday I started working on visualization. I would sit someplace quietly and clear my head and then imagine I was doing my push up assessment test. I went through the whole thing, starting with changing my shirt (I find I absolutely have to be wearing a sports bra while I do the pushups or... well, it just wasn't working for me, otherwise...), laying my towel out on the carpet (the carpet's pretty coarse and I find that my hands get sore if I don't have a towel down.)

And then, I'd mentally work through each pushup. Imagine the burn in my arm, the strain along the bicep and shoulder. I'd feel my breathing, pace myself. Count along. Up, down, one, two. I imagined the brief pauses at sixteen, and again at 25, where I hold myself in the up position and gather my wits and energy. I pretended to feel the shaking in my arms as I neared thirty, the ache along my wrist.

In my visualizing, I concentrated grimly on getting to thirty, then thirty one, and in a fit of adreniline and triumph, would bust out two more push ups before collapsing on the floor.

And my mental self would lay on the floor for a bit, then get up, pick up my towel, and go along with my day.

I rehearsed this exact scenario again on Wednesday and Thursday. Twice on Friday. And once, Saturday night right as I was falling asleep.

And then, this morning, when I was doing my assessment...

I did exactly thirty-three push ups.

Kinda cool, don't ya think?