Wednesday, January 27, 2010

And Flights Of Angels Sing Thee To Thy HOLY JESUS WHAT IS THAT SMELL?

What other blogger quotes Hamlet when discussing poo and creepy bathroom candles? What? You didn't know that's what I was talking about? Well, now you do.

Also: welcome to my blogging at 10:30 at night.

(When I was in college, I couldn't study late at night. Oh, I could cram with the best of them, just not the night before. My system shuts down and I become MI-TEE punchy. And brain-dumb. Instead, I'd set the alarm for 4 or 5 a.m. and hop out of bed and everything would make a lot more sense. My point is, I shouldn't be blogging now. You're welcome.)

So today I was just innocently and slooooowly wandering down the grocery store aisles, reveling in my child sleeping soundly in her carrier in the grocery cart, hoping that I could waste enough time at Safeway to ensure she slept for at least 30 solid minutes, since instead of napping at the gym daycare she screamed bloody murder the entire time and they had to come get me after 25 minutes of elliptical-ing because guess who's entered the age of separation anxiety?

I found myself in the household cleaner aisle, whereupon I remembered that I needed to replace our it-might-be-toxifying-the-air-but-at-least-it-smells-better-than-the-alternative candle in the downstairs bathroom.

Right? I mean, I buy fancy powerful air-freshening candles for the most frequently used bathroom in the house for the same reason that EVERYONE has an air-freshening candle (or spray or whatever) in their most frequently used bathroom in the house.

I couldn't remember what brand or flavor the last candle was, but it had lasted forever and smelled so good that one of the cleaning people -- the PREGNANT cleaning person*, in fact -- was all, "OHMYGOD what IS THAT? It smells AMAZING." And if there is one person in the world who would know a great chemically scented product when she smells it, it's a person who deals with cleaners all day long WHILE having the pregnant-lady nose of a bloodhound thing going on.

So since Safeway appeared only to have Glade candles, I perused my options. I tend to like "clean" smells, like linen or some of the lighter lavender scents. I am naturally drawn toward white candles and white jars.

Which is how I came to discover that Glade makes a candle called, "Angel Whispers."

Seriously:

And I'm sorry, but this just creeps me the fuck out.

First of all (though least of my concerns, actually), I don't think anyone can smell a whisper. That is because you can't smell sounds. Unless that sound is a burp. And that's not only totally disgusting, it's also totally impossible because angels which, oh hey, are make-believe don't so much eat. And if you're going to argue that angels do eat, because this is the internet and someone is willing to argue just about anything, you will not be able to convince me that they're eating anything so gross that they're producing burps we can smell. Let alone that we'd want to mass market.

MORE IMPORTANT, however, than the issue of not being able to smell angel whispers, is the fact that I don't want ANYTHING whispering at me while I'm on the toilet. Least of all an angel.

I literally stood there in the Safeway aisle, holding the Angel Whispers candle, finding myself getting offended at all the things an angel might whisper about me in the bathroom.

"Fear not, for I-- Holy Hell, woman! What are you DOING in here?"

And what would you tell your guests? They would come out of the bathroom looking confused and scared, and you would ask if everything was okay, and then they'd be all, "I think I heard voices. In the bathroom. Like...someone whispering at me? And they were saying things about God? Maybe? Or commenting on the size of my ass? I don't know. I think I'm going insane.

Except actually you know your guests wouldn't say that because no one in their right mind would admit to hearing angels whispering to them in a bathroom.

[Note: at this point in this blog entry, I looked up from my computer and told Ish about the "Angel Whispers" candle and he stared at me blankly and then I was like, "Well I mean, what do YOU do in the bathroom? What do you think angels would be whispering about YOU?" And then he laughed aloud as he thought of many, many, MANY disgusting and/or vulgar things the angels would whisper about his manly bits, his bodily functions, and his bodily smells.]

[I cannot do them justice so I will not try, but rest assured that my husband thinks the angels would find him impressive in MANY WAYS.

[This is also when I decided to go to bed without hitting "Publish Post".]

Now that I've read this post over in the light of day, I don't really think there's anything to do about it BUT hit "publish."

Well, but let me state for the record that my point isn't that I think buy buying a stupid candle for the bathroom would technically result in angels whispering things about me, I want to know why Glade thinks I want my bathroom to SMELL like angels are whispering things about me.









*Yes. We have cleaning people who come 2x a month. I was entirely uncomfortable about this already (remember the post where I wrote about hiding from the cleaners?) and then one of the girls got pregnant, and now I feel like a horrible human being, and whenever she arrives at my house I freak out and want her to sit down and put her feet up and offer her tea and then my circuits overload and I return to hiding.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

At Least It's Still January, Bitches

After the post below (the one about how fat doesn't mean miserable, though WHERE THE HELL ARE YOUR PROM PICTURES?), I bet you're all I'M NOT GOING TO ASK HER HOW THE DIET'S GOING! And perhaps that's smart of you, my husband would attest, but it's going okay.

My "plan" was simply to go off sugar and most carbs for two weeks, including alcohol. (AHAHAHAHA!) And then figure out something for the next two weeks. After the first two weeks, I wanted to start going to the gym. Nothing major, just start going and doing...well...anything.

Here's what's actually happened.

* * * * * * * * * *

Sunday (Jan 3): good

Monday: mostly good, slight cheesecake mishap

Tuesday: good
Wednesday: good
Thursday: good

Friday: good! Get on scale and discover...practically minus 6 lbs! Think: THIS IS GOING TO BE EASY. (Because I don't learn.)

Saturday: good
Sunday: good
Monday: good
Tuesday: good

Wednesday: good...until.
Well, see, my friend PinkJaime came over! She came up to visit and some of you might recall back from when I began this blog that I worked in a crazy office and Jaime was one of my bestest friends ever there because we had a lot in common, like gin.

We used to tell this one joke -- let me know if you've heard it before -- it goes: "Hey, do you want to go out for a drink after work?" "Well, okay, but ONLY ONE."

Hilarious!

(As earlier reported, by the end of any of our our "one drink" outings the bar would be closing, Jaime would have a new boyfriend and I would have a new blog entry about the pathetic state of my dating life. Ah, memories.)

Anyway, so Jaime came to visit and we went to lunch AT A TAVERN and do you know what I ordered? Chicken, salad, and a diet coke. A DIET COKE. AT A TAVERN.

FTMFW!

But. At some point Eve went to bed and we were just hanging out and talking and Ish had joined us, and somehow, as if by magic, wine appeared and then I had some.

Turns out that my tolerance had changed in just a few days, though, because after just a few glasses of wine (WITH dinner, no less) I was all, "Ugh." And didn't drink anymore and put myself to bed and then woke up totally hungover. Which served me right.


Thursday: good
Friday: good

Saturday: It had been 14 days and we had long before invited friends over for dinner. Therefore, Saturday afternoon through dinner/dessert I took "off." I had planned for this and had no guilt about doing so. With help from Ish, we made a delicious dinner (and I even produced HOMEMADE PEPPERMINT ICE CREAM that was amazing. If I do say so myself. And I do. Because it wasn't a complete cinch to make because I have never made custard before and didn't understand that there is approximately a .015 second window between when the custard is a runny mess and when the custard is scrambled eggs. Now I know.).

Sunday: good. Decide that I have not given this low/no carb transition the full attention it deserves, and agree (to myself) to continue it for two more weeks.

Monday: good, except that my back pain (which has been sore since a week before Christmas) has become totally unmanageable. I go to the doctor and discover two things.

One: the problem is simply muscular, and will work itself out. But I won't be going to the gym this week.

Two: my weight at doctor is notably different from my scale, and suggests I have only lost 2 pounds. I cannot fathom how two nights of bad behavior can sabotage such progress, so I decide that between our two scales, plus the difference of water weight, plus going to the doctor RIGHT after lunch means I should ignore the random weigh-in altogether.

That night, I discover it is actually possible for me to consume a single glass of wine. Hurrah!


Tuesday: good...until Ish and I decided to celebrate our (one-year) anniversary with a little champagne. Which led to a little wine. Which led to a little dessert. Fail. (Slight win? No more peppermint ice cream in the house.)

Wednesday: good
Thursday: good
Friday: good

Saturday: We went out to our anniversary dinner, which was actually lunch since we haven't found a babysitter in Napa yet and Eve is no longer comfortable falling asleep in her carrier when it's past her bedtime. (Which means Ish and I haven't been out for dinner in months.) WHEEEEE.

The rest of Saturday was not particularly "good," either, but at least it was fun.

("Fun" = bourbon + Twitter)

Sunday: good. Also marked the beginning of week 4 and -- oh joy of joys -- my special time of the month. Not only does this mean fun things for my back-muscle pain, but I'll also be experiencing a special kind of bloat and weight fluctuation and hooboy, I'm not going anywhere near a scale until it's over.

Monday: good.

Tuesday: good.
* * * * * * * *

My next weigh-in will be at the end of this week. I was kind of hoping to be down 10 pounds after one month, but I'm not sure how much I should alter that hope given my three half-days off and total lack of gym-going. I guess "at least down 6" should be reasonable given that's what my scale told me I had accomplished less than a week in.

Whatever it is, I won't lie to you.


By the way, a few of my in-real-life friends have jumped on the weight-loss, get-in-shape wagon and are blogging their progress. (A couple others of you are doing similar things but NOT publicly, which I get.)

I highly recommend you check out:

The Pie Stops Here, by Jane Dough
Jane had never had any issues with her weight until she turned 45; she bravely includes pictures and is straight about what she eats and how much she's exercising.

She also has some really interesting points of view about clothes-shopping, since she's someone who had always been "normal-sized" and only recently had to learn to forage in the "plus-sized" fashion world. She had no idea how much IT SUCKS, and she's not taking it quietly.


* * * * * * * * * *
So tell me. How is YOUR progress?

Monday, January 25, 2010

When Was The Last Time You Blogged About Your Armpits?

Have you ever thrown out your favorite razor because even though you can just buy replacement blades you realize you have been using the same handle for so long that you can't remember how long but are sure that if you did you'd be totally grossed out because things shouldn't ever live in a shower that long? And then you forget and get into a nice, hot, relaxing shower and are completely wet and soaped up and conditioner-ed before you realize CRAP, YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BUY A NEW RAZOR and then wondered what the hell you were going to do and maybe even envisioned running out of the shower to get your husband's electric razor? But then you thought about how you'd just drip all over the place and get cold (and you remember the last time you tried to shave your legs when you had goosebumps and how you still maybe have scars) and not only that, but you have actually no idea where your husband even keeps his electric razor OR how it works and if it's safe to use in the shower? And then you think about what it would look like if you just thought it was safe to use in the shower but then you electrocuted yourself? And you were found dead in that position? Like, hunched over and wet and only a quarter shaven? And then that becomes such a plausible scenario in your head that you start to fear other ways you might accidentally keel over in the shower? Because this isn't the first time you've had shower issues? Or even the second? Nor is it the first time you've almost keeled over in a bathroom? That wasn't even yours? And then you look down and remember why you were thinking about this all in the first place and figure "You know what? A little shampoo under the arms isn't gonna hurt anything"?

Oh. Me, neither.


All About Eve: Months Four, Five & Six

These posts are as much for me as anyone. I'm not otherwise keeping a record of Eve's growth and changes, so feel free to skip on over these.

When I try to remember details from these last three months (and actually, the last six) it's hard -- everyone said it would go by in a flash, and I guess that's true. Certainly everything is a big blur. But the days don't go by that fast, really. Not individually. My days aren't filled with 400 million thousand things that I'm racing to get done, where I blink and the whole day is over and in six hours I'll be back where I started. That's what work was like, when it was busy. This current, stay-at-home-with-the-baby life is not like that at all.

It's slow. It's not bad, it's many wonderful things. But it's slow, and it gets lonely. Days are filled with baby, and trying to do things with baby that are interesting for us both. Some days are more interesting than others.

* * * * * *
Eve was small for her age. Not unhealthy small, just small. She was in the 10th percentile for height/weight/head size at her 4-month check-up. And then sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, she transformed into an entirely different baby. She went from being a small, fragile-looking infant to looking like A Baby. It happened almost overnight, and I'm not exaggerating at all. One day, she just couldn't fit into any of her old standbys.

I ordered a jumper thing for her. It's called the Jumperoo (I only mention it because every time we put her in it, Ish and I launch into singing Jump Around by House of Pain, a la "jump a-roo, jump a-roo, jump up jump up and___ ___." That last word changes a lot. Sometimes it's "make poo" but sometimes it's just "doo doo" because we're too lazy to make up different words.) Well, and I suppose I should mention it because she LOVES it. Unlike her chair-bouncer or swing, which took getting used to and which she never really enjoyed the way I've heard most babies do.

Anyway. When we got the bouncer, her feet came nowhere near touching the floor. I had to stack two thick coffee table books under her to allow her to be able to jump at all. Then five days later, she didn't need one of the books. Two weeks after that, she didn't need either of them.

Honestly, it's like she just decided she was done being tiny. Her thighs look like someone inflated them. I remember one Christmas maaaaaany years ago, when my mom bought my CuzNate this hilarious apparatus based on The Incredible Hulk. You put these modified water wings around your body, and when you were ready to be MAD, you inflated the muscles and they expanded. (Uh, unless you were amazingly fast and gifted at blowing stuff up, however, the muscles did not exactly inflate so fast that anyone would be scared or that any shirts would be ripped.) And now that she's been inflated, she's moved into the 25% for her age.

Sadly, her hair has fallen. She's no longer the rooster she once was. She's still got plenty of hair, it's just that her fauxhawk flap has collapsed, and the new hair that's growing in around it isn't quite as wild as the first growth. Yet, anyway.

* * * * * *

There have been so many changes since Eve was @ 3 months.

She'd been sleeping in her bassinet next to the bed. Once she started waking up only once in the middle of the night, we decided she was big enough to be moved to her crib in her room. We thought it might take a while to transition her, but, well, it took none. The first night we put her down to sleep in her crib, she didn't even seem to notice the difference.

At her 4-month mark, she was still breastfeeding fairly regularly, though I was supplementing with formula regularly as well. We were in a great groove for a few weeks, where I would breastfeed her at night to fall asleep, in the middle of the night when she woke up, then first thing in the morning. She'd take a bottle during the days, except I'd breastfeed her to get her to nap.

But by 5 months, she had grown less and less happy with the boob and would only take it in the mornings and for naps. Then just for naps. Then not at all. So, that's how I stopped breastfeeding. Eve just stopped wanting to.

[By the way, I wrote this in my 1-3 month summary: "every time she nurses from my right breast, she takes her right arm and puts it over her head, and grabs a tuft of her hair in her tight little fist. I wonder if she'll keep doing this, or a variation of this, as she grows. I kind of hope so." For what it's worth, she does still do this when she's tired and taking a bottle.]

* * * * * * *
I read that by six months, babies tend to have more of a schedule, and that's certainly been true for us.

Sometime shortly after my last update, I realized that my least favorite part of the day was the evening. Eve was a miserable baby after about 5:30 p.m. and would fuss and be cranky straight until we went to bed around 9.

After several weeks of this, it occurred to me that um, you know what? Maybe her bedtime isn't 9 p.m. anymore. Maybe it's when she starts to get tired!

Oh, first-time moms.

And that's how it remains. Eve goes to sleep around 6ish, and if we're lucky will sleep through the night. Sometimes she'll wake around midnight because she's hungry -- this happens about 50% of the time. Otherwise, she sleeps until around 5 or 6, when we bring her into bed with us, and either she'll insist on getting up, or fall asleep for a little while longer.

She still only naps in 30 minute increments, about three times a day.

* * * * * * *

Right around Christmas, we started her on solid foods. We'd tried a couple times before this, but the attempts were somewhat disastrous, and Ish said it looked like we were trying to paper-mache her.

She's getting better, and in no time I'm sure she'll be gobbling all kinds of things up. I was really excited to read that new studies show you don't have to be quite so fastidious about introducing foods slowly, and that babies are capable (and willing) to eat lots of different things -- they don't have to be bland and uninteresting. I think this is awesome, and can't wait to start making fun stuff for us all.

For now, she would be happy to eat pears for every meal. Here is a minute-long video of what we considered a "successful" pear-feeding. (Narrated for family; didn't know I'd post it on the blog.)


* * * * * * * *

Eve is a good baby. I've said before, I don't have anything to compare her to really, but by all accounts, she's been very easy. Her temperament never changed. She didn't suddenly become difficult. She's still a good night-sleeper. She still goes with the flow. She doesn't nap well, but she'll take her 30-minute naps anywhere we put her down.

We were petrified to fly with her across the country for Christmas, but she was an angel. She never cried, she just sat and stared and ate and slept. Like she does every other day. I have no idea why this is.

She's still very alert, very interested in what's going on around her. We can't take her out in her carseat/carrier for too long, or we run the risk of her getting frustrated by not being able to see what's happening.

We finally bought a portable high chair that attaches to the table, so when we take her out for a meal, she can be part of the action (instead of being tucked into her carrier).
We love it so much we don't really see a need to get a traditional high chair.

She still can't sit unassisted, and no, she's not crawling yet, but ohmygod is she ever a babbling fool. She yammers and yells and howls and sings and coos and laughs on and off all day long.


When she wakes up in the morning, she doesn't cry, she babbles. If we don't come get her, eventually she'll whine. But no hysterics. Not ever.

She's pretty much all smiles.






Saturday, January 23, 2010

Prom Picture Contest! Win $25 Just For Entering

You guys.

I have a handful of entries for The Awesomest Prom Dress EVER! Contest so far, but I've decided that too many of you are holding back just because your own dresses weren't "that bad."

So I am offering a SECOND prize of $25 Gift Card to a random entrant who simply sends me a photo of a prom picture.

To reiterate: Send me your prom pictures. One "winner" will be chosen by judging and get a $50 gift card. One "winner" will be chosen at random to receive a $25 gift card.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What If Fat Doesn't Mean Miserable?

This loooooong post was a loooooong time in coming. Written in large part in response to an email I got asking me when I learned to just not give a crap about my size and love myself as-is. And I was like, "I DO give a crap about my size and I DON'T like how I look as-is. But that doesn't mean I don't love myself at all."
This post is not intended to be antagonistic in any way. I'm just trying to debunk a myth.


NOW WITH UPDATES!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am not fat because I am miserable. I love myself. But I don't like the way I look.

Those three sentences are the most important things I could ever write. I don't know who's reading this or who's in the same boat as I am, but nowhere, never, not once in my extensive and exhaustive research on weight issues have I ever EVER seen those three things addressed simultaneously. If at all.

Somewhere, somehow, the American psyche became convinced that either one of two things is true: either you are fat because you are miserable, or (more recently) you've learned to LOVE! yourself the way you are. I don't know which is worse or further from my truth.

The latter, "Learned to LOVE! yourself the way that you are" infuriates me. I don't embrace my size. I deal with it, I just walk around with it. When I'm feeling up to it, I'll dress myself up and look my best. But I'm not fooling myself. I would look better ("better" by current general American standards, however they came to be such) if I weighed a lot less.

At NO point will I ever be happy with classifying myself as a "BBW." I am also not a "Diva." I am not "Large and In Charge." I am not "sassy." Yet these are the labels I get to choose from if I am going to go along with my larger size. I can't just passively accept it; I can't just exist as though I'm exactly the same as other women just a few sizes up. (Oh, and this is never made more painfully clear than when I'm out shopping. WHY do the styles have to be so entirely different for the plus-size shopper?) Because, I guess, the moment I passed from size 14 to size 16, I suddenly became a "Glamazon!"

Ladies and gentleman, I am not a Glamazon! I'm not even a glamazon.

I guess there are toned-down alternatives, but I am not appreciative of being called a "WOMAN," either; at least, not when that's what the plus-size area of a department store is calling me. (And by the way: if I'm a WOMAN, what does that make those sized 14 and under? GIRLS? The implications of "bigger = woman" are humiliating for all parties involved.)

I don't disparage women who do, actually, like being big (or are at least comfortable with it), and I don't dismiss that there are men (and women) who love big women. I am just not one of them. We can blame my parents and the media, but I don't generally perceive overweight women as sexually attractive. Myself included.

Except I don't hate myself.

I don't wake up miserable every day.

No, I don't like the way I look, but:
1) That doesn't mean YOU can't like the way I look, and, more importantly;
2) SO WHAT?

So I don't like the way I look. Lots of people don't like things about themselves that they could change.

I've just put less emphasis on controlling my weight than on other things.

Other things, like my education, my career, financial stability, my emotional well-being, my family, getting my internal shit in order, and, you know, achieving my life goals. Oh, and speaking of life goals? "Being thin(ner)" is definitely on my list...it's just below "Finding love" "having a family" "being happy" and "getting published."

Hey, I get that we all have different priorities. I firmly believe that everything's a trade-off. You can't work hard on your* I simply cannot work as hard as I'm capable at health, weight, career, education, family, extra-curriculars and emotional well-being all at the same time. I can find a balance that works for me, though; I can find compromise. And that's precisely what I've done.

But why is that so hard to believe? I chose (directly and indirectly) not to have my weight be my top priority. NOT because I didn't have other priorities. NOT because I didn't care, not because I don't have a life, not because I'm not a worthwhile human being.

I keep thinking of Jillian on The Biggest Loser, screaming at contestants until they break and finally reveal the emotional scars that led them to their 400-pound selves. And of course, for some people, that's just it. They eat because they're unhappy. They try to fill an emotional void with food. They put other people first and don't take care of themselves.

Well, okay, fair enough. But what about the rest of us?

Because that's not my story at all. That's not my life at all. I feel like if I had Jillian yelling in my face, asking me why I've "done this to myself" I would have to yell back, "Done what? Let myself gain weight? Oh, well, sorry! I was busy trying to make myself a fulfilled human being!"

I care. I do care. I don't want to be this size, and I am not happy with my size. But with me overall? Well, my weight has taken a back seat to other, worthy priorities...priorities that make me feel like a whole person, and that make me feel confident with myself. My self-esteem is pretty well intact.

My self-esteem is not dependent on my size.

Correlated, sure. I would feel better about myself if I were thinner. But I would feel a lot worse about myself if the rest of my life were in shambles. (Trust me, I speak from experience.)

I just constantly feel like people who see me, people who meet me but don't really know me, wonder what's wrong with me that I am this size. Surely deep down I must be unhappy with myself. I think it's really hard for people who (subconsciously or consciously) link their self-worth with their weight to understand that not everyone does.

That I couldn't possibly love myself if I look like this.

Except I do.

But...so...then...um, now what?

I do want to lose weight now. Now, I want to make weight-loss a priority and long-term weight-control one of my priorities. I look to shows like Biggest Loser to inspire me, but the message I come away with is "If I just figure out why I hate myself so much, I will let go and start taking better care of me."

Except that doesn't fit me and so I have no model. I'm not angry at the world, I'm not failing in my life. I haven't let myself be held back by my weight. Oh -- ha, ha -- I still have plenty of issues and about a bazillion imperfections and baggage, but that's independent of my size.

The best I can figure is that if I make weight-loss a priority now, something else has to give. Something else I'm doing has to become a lower priority.

(Is it just me, or does no one talk about this?)

I know people talk about making "lifestyle changes" but they always seem to just say that "eating well" has to be a priority and "eating crap" has to, well, not be a priority. They say that now you need to make time to go to the gym as though you were previously spending that extra hour or two doing nothing. As though it's apples to apples.

It's not.

I look at my life now and realize that, while being a stay-at-home-mom is a full-time job, it does not impose the same logistical constraints that working a full-time-plus-commuting corporate job does. "Corporate career" has fallen off the priority map for me for now. So I want to seize this opportunity to try and reconfigure and make weight-loss take a new important position in my life. But.

But here is the point I'm trying to make:

Losing weight is hard. It's hard to stay motivated in general, but it's REALLY hard to stay motivated when being overweight doesn't bring you abject misery.

So I ask: What about those of you who DO work, who have active social lives, who do 8 billion other things with your bad selves and can't quite figure out how to make "weight loss" one of your priorities?

Is it because you are secretly miserable? Or is it because you're just...not?

* * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATE
1. Absolutely no antagonism is intended toward those who are thin, who are in good shape, who care about their size, who are athletic, who enjoy working out, etc. I think that's awesome! The whole point of this post is simply to say that someone who is overweight is not necessarily unhappy.

2. It IS possible to prioritize working out and still balance millions of other things. However, *I* have not, PERSONALLY, been able to find that balance yet; not since I became a grown-up with a full-time job, and not since I quit corporate life to be a SAHM. This is MY cross to bear and to explain. Again, I'm not overweight because I'm lazy, because I have nothing better to do, because I'm unhappy.

And please, with the condescension. I KNOW what it's like to be in FANTASTIC SHAPE -- I was. For a few years. I know what it takes, I know how it works, I know how it feels.




*Please see Sundry's comment.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ANNOUNCING: Most Awesomest Prom Dress EVER! Contest! WIN $50!

UPDATED: Anyone who sends me a prom photo is eligible to win a $25 gift card. One winner will be selected at random. $50 prize will be awarded by vote. See below for details!


I've been galavanting around Dooce's community site and found myself more-than-should-be-allowed interested in people's responses to the Community Question: What did your prom dress look like?

The problem, however, is that I'm not that great with visuals. Describing dresses does not do them justice. I want to SEE them. (This kind of pseudo-morbid fashion snooping is why I've lost several hours wading through the trainwrecks that are Awkward Family Photos.)

So I'm gonna hold a contest here. Oh yes, oh yes I am.

I want you to email me a photo of the best-worst prom dress EVER! And then I will post them all together, and then we'll vote! What could be more fun?


How to Enter
Just email me:
  • Your photo
  • A BRIEF description (maybe one or two sentences - which I will edit as necessary), if you'd like to include some explanation
  • Year, if you're so inclined,
  • What name to use when I post it
  • If you're a guy, you can send your photo, but it would be better if your date's dress was in it
Please promise you'll only send photos that you own and/or are allowed to send. I won't (can't) remove any identifying information from images, but I will only use the name you request.

Send your photos by 12:01 a.m. February 1.


How the Contest Will Work
Once the photos are posted (I'll try to get them all up on Feb. 1), it's up to you to vote for whatever dress you think is the Awesomest.

I'm not entirely sure there are rules for "Awesomest" but I have no doubt that Awesome dresses will reveal themselves as such. "Awesome," perhaps, because of their horrible homemade-ness. Or because of their overwhelming pouffy-ness. Or because of their fabulous accessories. Or, in my case, because of their sequins.

Yes, sequins:
With my BFF on the right, I'm (clearly) the one on the left with the aforementioned SEQUINS. And lace. And pouffy everything. And off-centered sweetheart neckline and complete lack of supporting bra. You can't tell from the photo, but my shoes are also covered in black sequins. Because I could. I blame 1993.

Here again, with my prom date, Jim (IF YOU'RE READING THIS, HI JIM!). Given the amount of sequin, lace, unsupported boobage and CHOKER (at least THAT was totally 1993's fault), it's kind of amazing how seriously I thought I should be taken.


And yet I have no doubt that many of you out there can one-up me.


Contest Winner
Between the day I post the photos and the end of the contest (12:01 a.m. February 14), comments will be open for voting. Please vote for your favorite in comments. (Please only vote for your favorite, "Awesomest" once.)

I will announce the contest winner, the ones with the most votes, on Valentine's Day. Winner will receive a $50 gift card of their choice (provided the gift card can be found at my local Safeway, which most can).

Good luck!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm Sure He's A Nice Guy

And I'm sure I should be flattered that he's following me on Twitter. But I think I'm going to take a pass on this joe31471 anyway.


Not that his tweets aren't intriguing.

Same is true for this stud:


I don't think CNN will be reading any of his tweets as part of their news round-up, either.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Match.com Should Be Thanking Me

The thing about online dating services is that they ask you questions that you're allowed to answer yourself. Speaking from experience, this is pretty stupid. it's tremendously easy to accidentally paint a picture of the version of yourself you'd like to be, instead of the version of yourself you know you actually are.

Not that I ever lied, but like, do I love to travel? Yes! Do I actually travel? Um, not so much. Well, I mean, I do, but mostly to places like Massachusetts.

But I have figured out a brilliant way around this flaw, and in fact I am tremendously glad no one thought of this before. IMAGINE how the online dating world would be if one of the required questions was: What are Amazon.com's current recommendations for you?

In fact, so that you can't lie, Amazon's recommendations should just feed right into Match.com and then ha-ha! Your cover would totally be blown. I mean, you can make excuses like, "They just think this because of that time I bought my friend that thing," but eventually you'll have to admit that you deserve the shit that Amazon is recommending and wouldn't you rather hook up with someone who knows the real you?

For example, this came up for me yesterday:


There's no hiding from that. There's no way to pretty this list up. It is soooooo telling. Let's see...A very un-dude-like drama from (ohthatsright) 17 years ago; a Wii Dancing Mat especially designed to gather dust along with my OTHER Wii Dancing Mat from a failed go with "Dance, Dance Revolution"; and a plug-in atomizer thing that releases hormones into the air for the express purpose of relaxing cats.

OMFG I AM SO SEXY.

So while this paints a far more accurate portrait of my life than any online questionnaire ever could, I guess I feel kind of lucky that Amazon Recommendations weren't part of the online dating scene back when I was part of it. In fact, as I look at this list, I should really feel lucky to be married.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Holiday In Pictures

In pictures because I don't really feel like recounting the holiday in words. Not that it was bad -- in fact, it was quite lovely -- but because it was emotionally overwhelming. I mean, it's Christmas: of course it's emotional.

Well, see, alright.

The first year without my mom was devastating. But Healy and Brian had just gotten married and moved into their new house in Massachusetts, and we all descended upon it at Christmastime. New location, new circumstances. And it was good. Different, but that was okay. Hard, but that was expected. We clung to as many of our old traditions as we could, we savored the happy we created, and we carried on. As you do.

Four years later was our first Christmas without our dad, and by then, Healy and Brian's home was filled with new memories. So we rented a house somewhere else entirely and just took that Christmas off the grid.

This year would have been the seventh at my sister's place. But she's separated now, and renting a (non-internet-having, as you may recall) cottage by the sea. It's charming. We had a great time and filled (yet another) home to the brim with us and our gifts and our noise and our singing and our drinking and our general festive mirth so help us.

But again it was different and again it was hard (I don't think we'll ever stop missing our parents at Christmas) and again it reminded us that collectively, we are not a grounded family. We don't have any idea what next year will look like. And that's okay (of course it's okay), it just...we've just changed. All of us, so much. So many of our traditions are still great but some are falling by the wayside and you know? I LOVE the unknown. Except at Christmas.

Christmas was always our glue. It held our family together like a first-grader's construction-paper ornament. And if you'll indulge me a metaphor...Years later, the ornament is still part of our collection, but it's looking a little worse for wear. Half the original cotton-ball Santa beard is missing. We could replace it, but it wouldn't be the same.

My point is, my family's been doing its best to glue and re-glue and re-glue the ornament. And it's time instead to make new ornaments.

I guess I did use words. Oops. Still, in my defense, this could have been a LOT longer (and chock FULL of schmaltzy metaphors), so...yeah. Pictures!

My sister, Sam with our little miss Christmas Eve.


A very chilly reindeer (with pink mittens).


What holiday gathering would be complete without a full-on wine tasting?


Charlie in his new duds.


EvieB!

Annie, Eve, Ella.

We were so lucky to have our paths cross with my BFF (from forever) and her family, who were heading to Boston for a wedding. We got to hang out with Em and her husband Nick, and their two girls. This involved much singing and guitar-playing in addition to the eating, drinking, game-playing, and general silliness that ensues whenever Em and I get together.


Annie and Eve get to know each other.


Mike (my sister Sam's husband) and Nick, jamming.


Ish.
(I love the guitar in the background resting on the Boppy.)


Eve LOVED Mike and Nick.


Some wisps still stand out, but mostly Eve's hair has fallen down now. Alas.


My family.


Ish & Evie.
Mom & Evie.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

When You Eat Bleu Cheese Dressing And Lose Weight, You Win

It's my plan to not weigh myself (much) more than once a week, because I think day-to-day numbers are too volatile. Except when they're lower than expected. Then it's okay.

A couple days after I checked in at minus five pounds, I had re-gained two. I hadn't eaten more or anything, I just think there's always a two pound (more if we're talking about PMS time) leeway in general. So, whatever.

Anyway, things are going along fine in my plan to eat as few carbs as possible. Two weeks is almost up and I have to come up with my next plan, but I have time. I've also decided I'm taking Saturday Night off, to eat whatever I want. Knowing that meal's coming helps me not cheat in the meantime because I know I'm not just denying myself indefinitely.

I've also been very good about not drinking (including passing up a happy hour event entirely and also going to a tavern and drinking Diet Coke). Except last night I had some wine. And you know? It started off innocently enough, but ugh. The great thing about not drinking is how quickly my system resets itself and how quickly my tolerance changes. Unfortunately, this didn't occur to me until it was too late. A couple glasses of wine = total hangover. I feel like complete ass today, and it serves me right.

At least I went to the gym yesterday. I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes on the recumbent bike. Not quite the 8-hour-in-the-gym-Biggest-Loser workout, but better than nothing.

Um, so, you didn't ask, but just because I figure I may as well mention it: I have one super-easy, go-to low carb dinner and one low-carb snack that I couldn't live without.

The dinner is as follows: I empty a package of lean ground beef into a pan, then season and brown it (making sure it's cooked). This only takes a few minutes. Then I add a container of fresh salsa and mix it into the meat, just until the salsa's heated through. Then you serve it in a bowl with -- wait for it -- a giant dollop or two of bleu cheese dressing (I prefer Marie's, usually found in the refrigerated section of the produce aisles). Of course you can add your own fresh vegetables and seasonings, but this way takes about 10 minutes total. The dressing makes this thing.

The snack is cottage cheese sprinkled with Bacos. I know it sounds bizarre but don't knock it till you've tried it. (And FYI: Bacos are vegetarian!)

Salesforce.com Is Matching Donations To Haiti

There are lots of charities working around the clock right now to get aid to Haiti. I don't have a personal favorite, but I really appreciate that Salesforce.com is matching donations up to $100K. It makes me feel like my dollars are going further.




If you have any other preferred charities or recommendations for how people can help, please leave a comment with that info.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bleary Homage

Every time I read TheBloggess I am all, "Why I don't just let you in on the insanity hilarity that is my constant inner monologue instead of getting all uptight about wanting each post to be in some sort of context or chronological order or with backstory or "about" something?"

Shit. I don't mean to say that Jenny isn't writing "about" things, like, to suggest she isn't poignant. On the contrary. I don't think it's possible to make a more poignant point about, say, Diet Doctor Pepper than she has. I'm just saying that I drive myself crazy worrying about What My Point Is when really 99% of the time I'd just like to blog the weird shit that goes through my head and then confess that I'm probably drunk.

I don't mean I'm drunk 99% of the time (although kind of maybe that would be fun) (except I'd never ever meet any of my weight loss goals then) (well, except also I probably would't notice or care), I just also want to be in a position where I can say "I'm probably just drunk" a lot -- say it, not be it, just to clarify, although I'm still clearly on the fence about this -- and have that be funny and charming and not cause for everyone I know to be all ALCOHOL ISN'T FUNNY, KRISTY, when really I'm just trying to be a better writer.

Also, there is a giant difference between "inner monologue" and "voices in my head," in case you were worrying wondering. There is also a giant difference between a child who naps during the day and one who doesn't and then also gets up at 3 in the morning and then decides that 5 a.m. means TIME TO START THE DAY! So, I guess there's your context.


Friday, January 08, 2010

Goals That Won't Mean A Damn Thing To You

Let me restate: I am approaching this weight-loss thing THIS year in a sort-of new way. I am not devoting post after post, day after day, hour after hour to discussing, dissecting, and detailing my revolutionary new way of thinking/acting/behaving/eating. Because every time I have done that, I have failed.

This time, there is nothing revolutionary. No "ah-ha." Just a sense that I am ready, willing, and able...so why not go with it?

I'm starting with a two-week goal. Namely, for two weeks, I'm avoiding carbs and booze. (I am not sure what I'm planning to do after these two weeks are up, but I'll worry about that later.)

The good news is that after five days, I've lost five pounds. The bad news is that I gained that much over the holidays, so rather than my clothes feeling a little loose, they simply no longer feel a little tight. HUGE ENORMOUS SIGH I AM SO FRUSTRATED WITH MYSELF SIGH SIGH.

But this got me thinking. What ARE my goals? I mean, if I am actually going to lose all this stupid weight, what are my realistic milestones?

Don't laugh at me, but here's what they are:
  1. Lose holiday weight. (-5 lbs from starting weight)

  2. Get to the weight I got to when I was taking swim classes after Eve was born. (-10 lbs from starting weight)

  3. Fit into pants my sister got me for Christmas. (I can get them on now, but they don't "fit". Could I wear them out? Yes. Would I have a giant red indentation along my waistline for several hours afterwards? Also yes.) (-? lbs)

  4. Get to the weight I got to when I was doing South Beach the last time, when I started this blog and was dating TheBoy. (-22 lbs from starting weight)

  5. Get into the "ass-pirational" jeans I might have bought in a swim-class-weight-loss bout of excitement.

  6. Get to the weight I got to when I lost all the weight (after I ballooned because I sort of broke my foot and couldn't MOVE for six weeks and could barely walk for three months). (-27 lbs)

    And finally...

  7. Get to the weight I was when I arrived in San Francisco, post-divorce-induced diet/workout. (-40 lbs)

  8. Get to that magic number I almost got to before moving to San Francisco, but didn't, even post-marriage. (-50 lbs)

Oh, there'll still be plenty of weight to lose AFTER #8, but these are my for-now, this-year, enough-is-enough numbers. Whatever you may think, they are grounded in reality. Sadly.

Here goes!



Thursday, January 07, 2010

THIS IS WHY I DON'T DO THIS

I decided again this morning to go to a moms' group thing here in Napa. I see the events come up in the group calendar I signed up for, but usually I don't go for a whole host of reasons that are mostly "I don't want to."

Well, come on. I don't care who you are: it's hard to show up for a group thing when you don't know anyone. Plus, moms scare me.

At this point I figure Hey, if I'm doing everything wrong, I'd prefer not to know. I'm happy in my baby-bubble. Eve is healthy and happy and THAT'S IT. What else does there need to be? Yes, yes, I glance online and look at books when I have specific questions, but I STILL avoid them as much as possible because every time I open a page I am faced with something I'm not doing, something Eve isn't doing, something everyone in the whole world is doing that we're not doing and crap. I've probably already ruined her whole life.

For example, I picked up a book the other day because I was feeling like a mommy masochist, and wanted to know what fun activities I "should" be doing with Eve that I haven't been. I read that by this age, you can take the baby to the park and put her in the baby swing, as long as she can hold her head up and sit while assisted. And you know what? That made some sense to me.

So on Sunday, Ish and I took Eve to the park. We strolled on over to the playground, got Eve out of her stroller, put her in the swing, and gave her a gentle push. She was utterly confused. Actually, her expression was more, "What the FUCK are you DOING?" She didn't cry or scream or anything, she just had no idea why her parents had stuck her in such a contraption.

Meanwhile, Ish and I are beside ourselves, gasping and smiling and cheering at her as though she has done something truly amazing. Eve eventually gave in to her doofy parents and half-smiled at us, probably in the hopes that we'd stop embarrassing her in front of all the older boys. But after about three minutes, she'd had enough parent-appeasing and wanted OUT.

Three minutes.

I don't know what I was expecting, really. But there we were, holding her at the park, looking around like, "Um, so...is there anything else for her to DO here?"

The answer is no. No, there are NOT a lot of reasons to take an infant to the park. I mean, we tried to get her to "slide" down about two feet of slide (while being held, of course) and that was even dumber than putting her in a swing, and none of us enjoyed it even a little bit.

Apparently, the point of taking a baby to the park is so that you can walk around with a stroller watching children who aren't yours do stuff your kid can't. And while I'm sure that this is fun for some parents, it's really not my thing. Sure, it's possible that Eve really liked the fresh air, but she seemed mostly to enjoy gnawing on her giraffe and making funny faces at her daddy. Which is precisely what we were doing at home before I got the bright idea to read about all the reasons I should be leaving the house.

Anyway.

This morning I arrived at the group meeting and immediately found myself standing next to a mom of a two-month-old and a mom of a nine-month-old. We did introductions.

Mom of nine-month-old: Oh, and who is this?
Me: This is Eve.
Mo9mo: Aww. How old is she?
Me: She'll be six months tomorrow.
Mo9mo: Is she walking yet?

WE WERE STILL IN THE PARKING LOT.

No, Eve is not walking yet. She isn't crawling yet. She isn't sitting by herself yet. She doesn't like the baby swing at the park yet. She also isn't reading The New York Times or speaking Mandarin yet, either. Maybe by six-and-a-half months?




(The rest of the get-together was actually totally pleasant, and the mom who asked if Eve was walking yet was very nice. Of course, her nine-month-old IS walking, so I will just have to assume her question came out of mere curiosity. Or something like that.)





Wednesday, January 06, 2010

What I Would Tell Any Recent College Graduate

I will tell you what happens (happened) next, but until or unless I start writing about everything that happened between the ages of 22 and 29 (when I started this blog - divorced, in a new city, with a totally different job and life from where I'd been 5 years before), I don't think it would be very useful to anyone looking for an "answer."

Hmm. And even then I'm not so sure.

But I think you can go in two directions from where I was.

Direction #1: If you are pretty sure you want to get on and stay on the corporate track, there are jobs out there that aren't 100% soul-crushing. I did find one. And while I have a LOT to say on the subject, I think it's critical to understand the difference between a stupid job and a job that includes stupid work.

Every job I quit in the beginning -- and I quit FIVE of them -- was evidently a stupid job in itself. One I had for exactly one day. In that day, I learned the lay of the land, discovered that my job as "marketing trafficker" was basically the job of glorified mailman. The company was inefficient, my team was full of really cute, really dumb girls, and I just didn't care ONE IOTA what the company did. If I HAD cared, I would have considered sticking it out. (Hey, how hard would it have been to work my way up?) But I couldn't see how being a manager there would get me any further to doing something I wanted to be doing...so I didn't stay.

[Sidebar: You might be wondering why I even took that job in the first place(?). I didn't know the job was as stupid as it was -- it wasn't described that way at all. I also had no idea that the cool woman who interviewed me was my boss's boss's boss, and someone I'd never come in contact with again.]

That is NOT the same as liking what a company does, seeing a company that has lots of potential and potentially cool jobs, and just not liking some aspects of your current job there. Every job -- especially in the beginning, good lord -- comes with some "shit work": dumb things that just have to get done, and that you just have to do.

Oh, I could write a manual about Success in the Workplace at the Entry-to-Mid Level.

My point, really, is that every corporate job is going to suck to some degree. If it sucks and you totally can't see any reason to stay except for the paycheck, look for something else. If aspects of it suck but the long-term (1-3 year) potential is evident, don't screw up a good thing by focusing on the stupid.

But that's if you know you want to be on the corporate track. What if you don't know? What if you don't feel like you're clear about anything?

Direction #2: When you aren't sure you have any idea what you want to do at all. My first response is that you do actually, to some degree, know what you want to do. Even if it's just one thing. It doesn't have to be work-related, either. My best advice is that you focus on the one aspect of your life in which your feelings/goals/sentiments are clear, and let the rest fall into place. Identify ONE priority that feels right, and work on that.

At least, that's what I did. Eventually.

The short version of what happened after that, from that, because of that, whatever, is that I found a job that didn't make me want to run away and join the circus. It was good and aspects of it were actually challenging, and it felt like it would be a tremendous stepping-stone if I stayed with that firm OR if I wanted to take my experience elsewhere. I got busy. Time passed. I felt a little more like, "Okay, I guess this IS what people do every day."

And then a lot of things happened that weren't what one might consider "average." Dave and I ended up on some super accelerated life track. We got on a crazy shortcut, one that put our marriage and careers and life through ten years' worth of experiences in a very short amount of time. And at the end of it, I believe we landed exactly where we would have without the shortcut.

I realized, quite clearly and painfully, that I was married to the wrong person, that I wasn't passionate about the industry I was in, that I didn't like living where I was living.

[Have you read my divorce story over there --->? It's not syrupy or long-winded, I don't think. It's not edited, either, so don't hate. It's just a concise-as-possible synopsis of what the hell happened to me, when I went from being a married lady with a mortgage and dogs and all that comes with it, to being single and living in San Francisco.]

So I picked one thing. I dug deep, and the only thing I knew for sure was that I was not happy in Connecticut. I didn't feel like I fit there, and I didn't want to stay there. Everything else was secondary. Moving felt right. I didn't know but hoped that the rest -- finding love, work, play, friends -- would follow.

It did.

It's my belief, therefore, that that's a good place to start. Figure out that one thing that does make sense for you. One thing that isn't just making the best of a ho-hum situation. If you're certain about your partner, be with your partner. If you're certain that cooking makes you happy, go to culinary school. If you're certain you want to have a steady income above all else, work your ass off. Hell, if being healthy is your biggest motivator, be healthy. Let the other stuff stay in flux but get your workouts in.

And that's what I got. I don't know if my "advice" (such as it is) is of any use to anyone. But you asked.

Oh, I wish I would have been more honest with myself there, in my apartment, over a decade ago, where everything was "fine" but nothing was great. Because I wasn't honest then, and I would have continued to plod along in a just-fine life until who-knows-when. I would have wasted so much time.

Rather, I was "lucky." Because I was suddenly flying down the life path at a million miles an hour, I wasn't able to manage the road bumps. A more stable version of life would have had me sticking it out, working through the bumps, only coming to a final breakdown eventually. In purely ironic ways, I'm grateful that instead, the road bumps caused my life's fiery explosion.




Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Donuts For Dinner

I don't know why I'm writing about this now, but I am so so so so so so so so tired of not writing things in my blog because they don't make sense to write because they're out of order. My internal sense of organization stilts my blogging considerably. Which is crazy because you probably didn't even know I had a sense of internal order, huh?

* * * * * * * * *

When (my ex) Dave and I moved into our first apartment together, it was November of 1997. He was working in a silly job for a silly company, trying to figure out what his actual "career" would be. Similarly, I was working at something like my fifth job since finishing college a few months prior. I had bounced from corporate job to corporate job like a grasshopper, mortified at the mundane and soul-crushing nature of "work" as an entry-level drone. We weren't making very much money, but our rent was reasonable, and allowed us a little wiggle room.

Such as when I "wiggled" in the order of quitting my job. Again. The latest job had been simply unbearably stupid, and the CEO of the tiny company was crazy and horrible. It had become somewhat evident that Mr. Crazy hated the current marketing person, and had hired me to replace her...just as soon as she got me up to speed. Thus, the marketing person was not exactly motivated to get me trained up, as you might imagine, and she sabotaged my first "project." This resulted in the CEO calling me into his office to yell at me. I explained, as well as I could, that I hadn't even been hired at the company yet when the project started, and seeing as this was my first job out of college and I was totally dependent on the other girl to teach me anything, it was kind of unreasonable to expect me to have caught her mistake in time to fix it. He didn't care, and told me he was very disappointed in me and that I'd better not let it happen again.

I couldn't not quit. Though this left us with a month before Christmas and me with no job.

Our apartment was rather sparsely furnished because we didn't have money to be throwing around on things like "new furniture" even before I stopped contributing a paycheck. We were using Dave's college futon as our bed, and the rest of the apartment was appointed with various pieces from our respective parents' houses. Our TV sat in an entertainment unit that had been taken apart and put together so many times that none of the doors closed completely or aligned with each other. The "wood grain" of the unit was actually laminated and peeling off in several places. Our sofa was a rickety old red velvet number we picked up at a garage sale for $40. The only new things we had were a couple of lamps I bought at Pottery Barn -- red beaded lamps which I still own and still use -- and a table and chairs set I bought at Caldor, a Wal-Mart-like chain store in the New York area that went out of business in the early 90s.

Given the apartment's stark white walls and unadorned, box-like nature, it was a little sad. But under the circumstances, I'd decided that "November" qualified as "the holidays" and I may as well spend the little we could afford on cheap holiday decorations to brighten the place up.

And you know? I did a smashing job. I used wrapping paper and ribbon to cover varying-sized pieces of cardboard, which I then stuck to an entire wall. I hung white Christmas lights all over, and added tinsel and greenery to the entertainment unit. A few well-placed candles tied it all together.

It was very cozy, and gave the place some warm lighting and textures and it felt nice.

(I will add that the apartment was made even more cozy because we didn't have any control whatsoever over the thermostat. The heat was controlled from the basement by the handyman, and the building was five floors tall. Apparently, in order to heat the fifth floor adequately, you had to crank the heat up from below. So the first and second floor were virtual furnaces, the third floor simply toasty, fourth floor comfortable, and fifth floor warm enough most of the time. We were on the second floor. Which meant that "turning down the heat" equated to opening a window or two in the dead of winter. Or ALL of the windows if you dared turn on the oven to cook something. Luckily, this didn't happen very often.)

For the first couple weeks we were also without cable, so I just popped in the Christmas Vacation DVD and ran it on a loop. (I know that movie very, very, very well.)

I don't know what I did with myself those first few weeks. I drove Dave to work and then puttered around, I suppose. Visited my parents' house some. Christmas shopped, I'm sure. Went to cafes to write. I do remember sitting in the cafe at Borders in Stamford, reading a Martha Stewart book about how to make your own Christmas decorations. I found one style of silvery garland that I thought was beautiful and would cover a lot of decorating ground, and then went on a fruitless hunt for a specific "gauge" of "wire" that exists nowhere in the state of Connecticut. (It was at this time that my love-hate relationship with Martha was established.)

The point of all this is that I was fairly occupied and happy and content to busy myself with holiday-related tasks, right up until the holidays ended.

And then Dave went back to work. And I was alone in our apartment with no job, no money, no place to go, not much to do. Most days I'd just let Dave take the car because I had nowhere to go with it. I had zero interest in "exploring" my surroundings, since I'd grown up in the area. All my friends from high school had moved away, and my friends from college were few and far between. I bet if I had moved to a totally unfamiliar area, I would have found a thousand activities to involve myself with, groups to join, etc. But as a local, I had no such proclivities. It was all kind of boring.

Other than actively search for a new job, I have no idea what I did with my days. I looked at wedding magazines (we were engaged but not married and, frankly, had no idea how we'd pay for a wedding). We didn't even have an internet connection yet. Cable had been installed, but daytime tv left a lot to be desired, and most days I just let The Game Show Network play in the background.

If I'm being honest, some days I would write down the questions they asked on The Newlywed Game to ask Dave when he got home. We got very good at them.

So there I was. A 22-year-old me with wrapping-paper walls and tinsel-ed up entertainment unit watching Wheel Of Fortune reruns by pine-scented candlelight in the middle of January.

I wasn't unhappy, exactly...I just...I wasn't quite living the dream, either. Because at that juncture in my life, I had no idea what the dream, my dream, was. My immediate goals were to find a job I didn't hate, for my husband and I to make more money, to get to the next stage. But so that what? So that I could watch The Game Show Network on a nicer television? So that I could take care of my parents? My sisters? To what end? I knew I was missing something. I was missing out on something, too, but I didn't know what that was, either. I was on a path but I felt totally lost.

Do people just graduate college and suddenly, *poof*, they're adults? There had to be a stage between keg parties and searching for the right wire gauge. I just had no idea how to find it. It was invisible to me.

At some point that year, I remember one night in particular. I seem to recall it being a Friday or Saturday (as in "Woohoo! Weekend! Party!), and Dave's paycheck was scheduled to be direct deposited at midnight. But we had run out of money. Just, totally, completely run out of cash and we didn't have credit cards we could use. We had absolutely no food in the house, and absolutely no idea how we would make some appear. We discussed our options. Our situation wasn't dire: if we'd needed to, we could have gone to either of our parents' houses for dinner or for $20. That wasn't the point. The point was, we were two college graduates with some business savvy and experience and employment and it was a weekend night and we were young and wanted to have fun...yet we were scraping the sofa for loose change and strategizing a run to the store for ramen noodles.

Once we put all our change together, we decided instead to do something ridiculous. Forget noodles! There was a donut shop practically next door to our apartment. If we were really grown-ups, that meant we had all the authority we needed to be completely childish whenever we wanted. Thus, we decided to get a dozen donuts for dinner.

My wild early twenties, folks.

By the end of January I had landed a new job. I am pretty sure I got the phone call offering me the position the day after the whole "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" thing happened. I had watched that debacle live (according to the internet, on January 28, 1998), following an interview for a different job I didn't get. I remember thinking Haha, I guess my problems could be worse. But then also thinking, "I wonder how one gets an internship at the White House anyway. Isn't she my age? God these jobs are stupid."

(I believe that interview was for a copyediting position, which I was rejected for on the spot because they made me take a copyediting test, and while I did exceedingly well, I made one glaring error: I didn't realize that "jewelry" had been spelled incorrectly as "jewelery." The woman basically told me that while most people don't catch all the mistakes I did, missing a spelling error is pretty much unforgivable. I would have defended myself, but I just tried to spell "unforgivable" with an e.)

February had been my Christmas-decoration limit anyway, so once I got the job I celebrated by taking all the decorations down. I figured I could tolerate my charm-less apartment better if I weren't in it most of the day.

I stayed at my next job for a full two-and-a-half months.






Monday, January 04, 2010

The Cheesecake Casualty

The low/no carbs thing was going very well until about 4:45 p.m. today (I started yesterday, Sunday) when I got hungry and looked in the fridge and was suddenly face-to-face with half a homemade cheesecake. NOT FAIR. WHO MADE THIS STUPID THING ANYWAY?

Right.

Luckily, I have a cappella rehearsal tonight, so before I dove headfirst into the creamy goodness -- which I was so tempted to do -- I grabbed a large tupperware container and started filling it with the cake.

But it didn't all fit.

So...I was just going to leave this one large piece for Ish, but in all honesty, it was slightly TOO large to be considered one piece. And since he's trying to eat better, too, I thought leaving him a giant piece of cheesecake seemed kind of sabotage-y. I want Ish to be successful.

Well! Thanks to my self-sacrifice, the piece is no longer too large!

I justify this in two ways:

1) It was only a small bit of cheesecake, and of all "cakes" to consume while cutting back on carbs, one made primarily of cheese is the best option.

2) The eating of the cake was done in the act of getting it the hell out of my house. I therefore consider it not so much "cheating" as a cheesecake battle wound.

Otherwise, things are going well.




Sunday, January 03, 2010

A Diet I Will Totally Stick With Until At Least Later Today

As some of you may remember, I began this blog a whopping five years ago - nearly to the day - to track my weight loss.

I know, I know. Pretty funny. Please wipe the tears from your eyes.

But even aside from the fact that I wasn't actually losing weight, I stopped writing about weight-loss stuff because it got hard to fend off so many "helpful suggestions" that basically amounted to telling me I was doing it wrong.

Like, oh, I dunno, there was that one person who read that I'd gone to Starbucks in the morning and was all, "YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO LOSE WEIGHT DRINKING THOSE FRILLY DRINKS!!! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MANY CALORIES ARE IN THEM???"

And I don't have the emotional wherewithal to try and stay motivated to lose weight AND record it if feel like I have to defend myself while doing so. Because the truth is that YES. I do know how many calories are in those drinks. I have always known. I have been counting calories and fat content my whole life, ever since I got sent to a "weight loss center" when I was like 12 years old. I know. I know.

I drink my coffee black, by the way.

On the other hand, I'm feeling kind of strong and motivated right now. I don't know if this feeling (or weight-loss endeavor) will last, but so long as it's here, I figure I may as well write about it.

For starters, I weigh 80 million pounds. (I don't know that I will EVER be brave enough to put my actual weight on my blog. Pounds lost, yes. Pounds I weigh? Probably never.) This gives me a little leverage. By which I mean that just about ANYTHING I do will yield some results right off the bat.

(Uh, of course, the problem with that is that after I lose a few pounds, I tend to feel like that means I can celebrate by going a little easier on the diet, and gain it right back. This is stupid and illogical, but a very easy cycle for me to get into.)

So here is what I'm planning to do.

I'm planning to start off on a no/low-carb bonanza. Cutting sugar out of my diet is a good thing to do for the short-term. It also allows me to eat foods that are high in fat for a while, instead of going Healthy Cold Turkey. I know from experience that this allows my transition to be a lot easier. I don't feel hungry all the time, I can eat tons of stuff I love, and I can eat out without worry. (Eating low carb at a restaurant is way easier than eating low-fat and/or low-calorie.)

After a little while (at least two weeks, maybe longer), I'm going to modify that to be more accepted-healthy. Cut back on the high-fat foods, add some good grains.

Basically, this is the South Beach Diet except my Phase I won't be cutting out alcohol 100% and it won't be obsessive about lean dairy and proteins.

Eh, we'll see how it goes.

* * * * * * *
I haven't figured out exercise yet.

I kind of tapered off my swim classes, and now I feel so guilty for leaving that I don't want to return because I don't want to have to explain my absence. But it's more than that.

For all the reasons I think classes work for most people, I think classes DON'T work for me in the long-term. I feel resentful and confined by HAVING to go to the gym on prescribed days at prescribed times for prescribed lengths. I also HATE having to socialize.

The gym is the one place in the world where I prefer to keep to myself and to be anonymous.

It's hard for me to go to the gym. I don't like it. And it takes all the strength I can muster to do it, especially when I'm so grossly overweight and out of shape. I have a constant internal struggle with myself to go and to stay long enough to get in a real workout. So, while I'm focused and brooding and working on just getting through it, being social doesn't enter into the picture.

Going to the gym is very, very personal to me and I don't want to have to chat about it to strangers (even if they are awesome, singing strangers).

* * * * * * *

So that's it, I think.

I will ask outright that if you disapprove of my plans, please don't feel obligated to share your disapproval. I know all about why diets don't work. I know why Atkins-like anything is unhealthy. I know that I need to exercise. I know that finding a workout "buddy" can be a great motivator. I know how many calories are in a frappuccino.

I also know what has worked for me in the past and what hasn't. And ultimately, I think that being honest about what I'm doing (and not doing) is the only way I can make it this time. And I really hope I do.

I really think I will, but I always think that.

Still, as I said a few years ago: it doesn't matter how many times my attempts at weight-loss have failed: I only need to be successful once.


Friday, January 01, 2010

BLAHBLAHLOSEWEIGHTBLAHBLAH

Whatever, resolutions.

2009 was kind of a giant, kick-ass year for me while (it seems) that it sucked for pretty much everyone else. So I kind of skipped the whole "let's reflect on the last year" and DEFINITELY forgot to reflect on the last decade, and just sort of shuffled quietly into 2010.

Every time I've tried to get into the spirit of reflections-cum-resolutions, I get all excited about how great the next year will be because I'm convinced I will actually lose weight, write more, get more organized, etc. (Remember my declaration of "No Joy In '06"?) And then I don't do any of those things.

I think it would be great if I managed to meet any of my personal goals in 2010. But like, starting Monday.

Well come ON. First of all, there's this whole it's-still-the-holidays-right?-weekend going on right now, and you can't diet at the holidays. Plus I got a gorgeous stand mixer for Christmas and need to try it out (since that's the polite thing to do, thanks Mom-In-Law!) and who uses a stand mixer for low-fat veggie dishes*? No one I know. And that is why, at 2:57 p.m. on January 1st, I have a cheesecake in the oven and am eyeing the bourbon.

I hope your holidays were joyous and safe and warm and filled with fun. Mine were. Though they were also totally different than they've ever been for lots of reasons (and one baby reason), and I haven't gotten my head around what comes next.

So, right. Cheesecake. Bourbon.

Monday.

Happy New Year's!




*Thank you, Julie, for pointing out that the asterisk didn't go anywhere. I wish I had any idea at all what I was intending to write here. LA LA LA.