Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stuff I Ate When I was Fat(ter)

Today is goal reporting day and I hit a big one this morning. Or at least what seems like a big one: I have lost 25 pounds since moving to LA. Despite numerous splurges, our wedding and honeymoon, new restaurant explorations, business trips and my utter lack of self-restraint at times, I'm only 6 lbs away from hitting a new low. And it's only down from there.

When thinking back to when I was well over 200 lbs, I think about what I ate then compared to now. Here are some things that I used to eat alone, with no one watching, judging: entire DiGiorno pizzas, entire boxes of TGIFriday's loaded potato skins, entire loaves of bread dipped in olive oil and seasonings, a box of ice sugar cookies, tubes of chocolate chip cookie dough, entire orders of Papa John's cheesesticks, pancakes with toast, bacon and hashbrown casserole from Cracker Barrel, the Baconator with large fries from Wendy's, cupcakes-lots of cupcakes. And that actually could've been in just a week's time.

I have other things to celebrate. Here's my progress to this week's goals:
  • Pages of fiction read: 113
  • Fiction read:State of Wonder (finished it and it was okay); started Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
  • Fiction listened to via audiobook: None. I keep forgetting to load my ipod back with the book I was listening to.
  • Creative writing every day: yes
  • Five pages written: Yes-- and then some!
  • Calorie tracking: Check. Averaged 298 calories under my daily goal.
  • Exercise: 345 minutes of exercise in the last week.
  • Friends and family: Done.
  • Weight Loss: Down 0.8 lb
  • Short story done by August 27th: I worked for 4 hours on Sunday and didn't think I was finished. I did some tweaking and I sent what I thought was finished. Or at least ready for some heavy edits. i missed my deadline. I turned it in on Monday.
New weekly goal: I hope to have at least 5 pages types on a new story/ essay.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I Haven't Played Putt Putt in 11 Years

There is a difference between Putt Putt and Miniature golf. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I know I haven't played either in 11 years today. You might think it's weird that I remember when the last time I played Putt Putt was, but it was a very surreal experience and I will never forget any moment of that day.

Eleven years ago today, my mother passed away. And because that has been one of the most life-changing events I've dealt with, I get to write about it. And because this is my blog, I get to be sentimental about it whenever I want. This is one of those days.

My mom's family, nearly all of it, lives within about an hour of the house we were living in at the time. And most that weren't close flew in to help Jack and I out towards the end of my mom's home stay. She had wanted to avoid hospitals and with a lack of full time hospice facility outside of a hospital in Evansville, that meant she was at home for the duration of her illness and death.

Our house that day was like many other days during this time. People were in and out. My brother and aunt were staying with us as the hospice nurse who checked mom's vitals told us for the 10th straight day that she only had 24 hours to live. This was the only day of the 10 that her prediction was right. My aunt had bought The Cake Mix Doctor cookbook and the great joy of it was that everyone in the house got to take turns picking that day's cake. I don't remember the cake on that day, but I do remember the best one we had was a orange dreamsicle cake that my brother had picked out.

My mom died while my aunt and I were on our daily ingredient and errand run. My brother was watching Star Wars in the family room and my step dad had been outside cutting the grass. It could've been a normal Tuesday in our lives, but it was clearly wasn't. Waiting for someone whose seriously ill to pass away is a blessing and a curse. Every day you get to say things that are meaningful to the person, whether they can hear you or not, and you get to think that you're preparing for their death. But in reality there's a whole slew of things that happen, decisions that have to be made, after someone dies that no amount of waiting or dreamsicle cake can cure.

After the funeral home came to pick up her body, the door bell rang. My uncle Mark and my cousin Austin had dropped by as they were going to visit. Sadly, instead of visiting, my uncle got the pleasure of taking me and my brother to play Putt Putt. They had promised my 5 year old cousin that if they went to Evansville they would take him to play and because there seemed like no better option, my brother and I tagged along.

I remember wondering if the people at Putt Putt could tell that I was sad. If they knew that the world had just lost one of its biggest advocates for living. I wanted to be treated special. I expected the world to know why I was pissed. But it didn't. It just wanted to fit in a round of putt putt golf on a hot Tuesday night before school started back again.

My cousin's 16 now and I wonder what he thought of that night. I haven't asked him so I have no clue. Does he remember us playing putt putt together? Did he have any clue what had gone on?

For the record, I'm not anti-Putt Putt or miniature golf at all. I'm totally willing to hit the mini-links once again. I just hope the next round is utterly forgettable.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Smite Them Until There Can Be No More Smiting

Chef and I saw this commercial the other day and it's cracked me up so many times since I first saw it that I had to share it with others. I'm pretty loyal to Kraft when it comes to mac and cheese based dishes, but it made me at least look at Velveeta Skillets when I was at the grocery. (Hasn't prompted me yet to buy them). Don't miss the "Liquid Gold" whisper at the end. Priceless!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Peyton Manning's Neck? Yeah, that was My Fault.

It all started with an innocent request.

"What do you want for your birthday?" Chef asked.

"I don't know," I said. "Maybe some Colts stuff because my t-shirt is getting so bad."

And with those words, I became the jinx of a nation. I put in jeopardy the longest active start streak for my selfish need to own a cute Manning jersey. What does one have to do with the other? Probably nothing, but if you're like other sports fanatics, it might be something.

Logically I know that assigning luck--good or bad-- to any object is purely fiction and only in my head. But I happen to have some items that have been lucky every time I had them on or perhaps wore them unwashed every game during a win streak (yes, sometimes I'm a dude). And I decided that it was time to retire my huge, stained white Colts t-shirt in honor of a cute, female cut Manning jersey. And for that, I'm punished because now it could be that on the first Colts game day, I'll be wearing my jersey, but Manning might not be wearing his.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Frozen Hot Chocolate But No Weight Gain. . . Maybe Vegas isn't all bad

I'm a day late on my weekly update, but I'm a little late on everything this week because of the Vegas trip. For the record, I lost a dollar but won in the Forum shops because there was a cute jacket and tank on sale that I snapped up. Most amazingly was that I ordered and ate some of Serendipity's famous frozen hot chocolate. It was good, don't get me wrong, but I thought it was going to be an ice cream dessert and it was actually like a chocolate slushie, but better. All of that, I enjoyed some good food, but didn't over indulge and ended up breaking even on my weight for the week. Viva Las Vegas for that!

  • Pages of fiction read: 153
  • Fiction read:State of Wonder (got 100 pages to go)
  • Fiction listened to via audiobook: Jennifer Weiner's Fly Away Home (Haven't listened this week as I've not been commuting)
  • Creative writing every day: yes
  • Five pages written: Yes
  • Calorie tracking: Check. Averaged 236 calories under my daily goal.
  • Exercise: 455 minutes of exercise in the last week.
  • Friends and family: Done.
  • Weight Loss: Broke even.
  • Short story done by August 27th: I'm about 3/4 done so it looks like I'll be cranking some out on Saturday.
Have a great week!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vegas is Bizarre

Don't get me wrong: I like Las Vegas. It's kinda un-American not to. But it's not my favorite place in the world. It's so bizarre. It's a mix of people who are dressed to the nines in couture, or spandex or in their track suits. It's for the young enough to enjoy the party and for the old enough to enjoy the gambling. It's got luxury out the yang, but everyone here is looking for free money.

I've been here since late Saturday for work and it's been a fairly good time. I wish Chef would've gotten to come along, but at the same time I also know that I've been working for a lot of this and we wouldn't have had as much time together as I would've wanted. Our work events have been successful and I've enjoyed getting some time to know some of co-workers better.

The one thing that tips Vegas to the negative is the way it's one giant frat party no matter the hour. I had a man offer to buy me a drink as I was walking through the casino in my gym clothes to work out. . .at 6:30 a.m. I also had a man offer to buy me a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes as I was wondering through the store. That's slightly better than the offer of a can of Natty Light that I got in college, but I'm fairly certain that the college frat boy and the Jimmmy Choo guy both had the same end game in mind. And I'm not that kind of girl.

Anyway, one more day and I'm back in Chef's loving arms. Tonight I've gotten back to my room early, got room service on its way and have a bath calling my name. Not too shabby an end to a long few days.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ding Dong, the Psoriasis is Gone!

Yesterday I had my one month check up at my new dermatologist (who is awesome). He brought me in to check my progress and he was as happy as I've been!! My patches of psoriasis on my elbows, legs and ears have all cleared up. The skin is a little red, but there are no plagues or giant skin flakes. Both of which are great improvements.

My dermatologist told me that he brought me in because if I'd have improved as much as he hoped I had, I needed to discontinue my ointments. Yay! I had passed the test, so instead of slathering on three different kinds of thick ointments on various body parts, I get to just use lotion. He told me that vaseline is used as a control in testing for new psoriasis medication and it works in 30 percent of the cases. So until I start to have another break out, some lotion should do the job!

My head is slightly different. (Or I should say, my scalp is slightly different.) It's so covered in hair and thicker than average skin that the psoriasis tends to be more stubborn. My scalp is about 90 percent better, but I'm still supposed to use the foam and oil until it goes away completely and at the first sign of its return.

In the mean time, I'm very very happy. I can show all of my skin again without shame. I can wear black blazers and shirts without it looking like it was snowing outside. I can get up from a meeting without leaving behind a trail of skin flakes. I need to dust off the flakes from my car just to reinforce the big difference. I know it sounds gross, because it is, but I only mention it to emphasize the bad and how good it is now.

If only my hips were at 100 percent. . .

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Love: I'm Not Alone

It's hard to imagine the Fall coming since it's 72 degrees and sunny (and August), but last night when I walked into the gym, the TV was playing NFL football. Sure, it was pre-season, but it was still football. And soon, there will be college games and pro games that actually mean something.

But with the fall, also comes the plethora of pumpkin spice. My favorite scent and the combination of spices is one of my favorite combinations. I love it so much that I stock up on pumpkin spice every fall to use throughout the year.

Apparently my love of pumpkin spice is clearly not isolated. Others must love it (maybe less, maybe more) because they make so many things in the flavor, scent. And one of my favorite signs of fall pumpkin love is the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. I don't go to Starbucks all that often any more, but when I do in the Fall, I get either the Pumpkin Spice Latte or the Gingerbread Latte depending on how deep into Fall or Winter it is. I also love the places that have the flavors in sugar-free so I can get a skinny version.

Now Starbucks is letting consumers get an early jump on the season. The city with the most votes gets Pumpkin Spice Lattes a week earlier. I wonder how well LA will do. I'm not sure if cold-weather beverages do so well here. We'll see I guess. Like the promotion though.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

If You Can't Write from Life, What Can you Write from?

I read recently about a nanny named Ablene Cooper who works for Kathryn Stockett's brother is suing the author or was trying to sue her. Kathryn Stockett, of course, wrote The Help. Cooper alleged that the book's main character, Abilene, was based off of her. Here are the likenesses she claims:
  • Both have a gold tooth
  • One is Aibilene and the other is Ablene
  • Both lost a child shortly before nannying in their current position
Look, the book is okay. I wasn't a lover or a hater, but enjoyed the audio version. Have yet to see the movie. But there are two things here that kind of bug me:

1) Cooper was given the book when it was published in 2009 but didn't decide to sue until the book was a hit (and the movie deal was signed). The case was thrown out this week because the statute of limitations had run out. Why? Because Cooper didn't read the book until at least a year after it was given to her. Makes me think it was more about the money than about being pissed that a character was like you in a book. (She was suing for $75,000).

2) As a writer, I have to wonder how much different do I have to make characters in things I write to not be sued. The first thing they teach you about writing is "write what you know." Clearly, one easy answer is CHANGE THE DAMN NAME A LOT. A few letters isn't enough. Just go ahead and change the whole name. But what else do you have to do to avoid getting sued?

Either way, it might be a long time (or never) before I find out. But I'm always optimistic and looking towards the future.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How To Accomplish Things: Public Shame

If you think that listing your goals on the Internet isn't a motivating factor, then you're clearly not doing what I'm doing or are not goal-oriented. I say that because today I was 12 pages from my 100 page per week of fiction goal and carved time out at lunch so I could read those 12 pages before I sat down to blog at my usual time. It means that much to me. I'm going to start listing off random goals that I have deadlines on just so that I can be publicly shamed into hitting them. Feel free to join in the shaming, as long as it's constructive shaming, that is. Who decides what's constructive? I do. That's the trick of it.
  • Pages of fiction read: 100
  • Fiction read:State of Wonder (so far, it's okay)
  • Fiction listened to via audiobook: Finished Official Book Club Selection by Kathy Griffin (loved it!) and started Jennifer Weiner's Fly Away Home (eh so far)
  • Creative writing every day: yes
  • Five pages written: Yes
  • Calorie tracking: Check. Averaged 298 calories under my daily goal.
  • Exercise: 365 minutes of exercise in the last week.
  • Friends and family: Done.
  • Weight Loss: FINALLY!! Hit my 5 lb mark!! Exactly 4 weeks from when I set the goal. Lost 10 pounds in 7 weeks. Hooray! Now I need to schedule my mani-pedi.
My new goal for this few check-ins: I will have my first draft of the short story I'm working on done by August 27th.

Hope everyone else is having a productive week too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

They're Middle Age?!?!?! How Old Am I Getting?

This weekend I was watching Mermaids, the Cher, Winona Ryder, Christina Ricci movie from almost 20 years ago (which makes me feel old just saying). I've seen the movie a few times, but didn't realize that JAKE RYAN (really Michael Schoeffling) from Sixteen Candles was also in that movie. I looked him up and realized that JAKE RYAN turned 50 last year. WHAT?!?!? That's just nuts. I still have a crush on Jake Ryan.

So,I decided to do some investigating to find some more people from my childhood that are now firmly planted in middle age and I can't believe. Here's my list:

  • Madonna (53)
  • Michael Jackson (was 50 when he died)
  • Michael Jordan (48)
  • Jodi Foster (48)
  • Deborah Gibson (just 40, but still)- loving the Old Navy "Only in my Jeans" commercial
  • Rob Lowe (47)
  • And last for today, but not least, my childhood crush: Ralph Macchio (49- not so much a kid any more)
Who are the celebrities from growing up that you can't believe has gotten older (because we can surely bypass that, right?)?

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's Less Who You Are, and More Where You Are

Chef and I have talked quite a bit lately about opportunities. How someone gets them and then what to do with them. And there's on thing quite evident that came out of it. Opportunities on a large, celebrity scale are less about who you are, and more about where you are.

Remember that story you heard in high school about this person who was discovered by a talent scout at the mall to model or have a part in a movie. And then you started wearing nicer clothes to the mall for a while? That might as well be an urban legend, because it frankly doesn't really happen. At least not to big stars. Modelling agencies are always on the look out for talent, but unless there's an open call or a scout has family in Des Moines, it's just not likely.

When it comes to big breaks, proximity always matters. If you live near LA or New York, you're likelihood of being better connected and having those opportunities are clearly higher. It wasn't until I was older (and now living in one of those places), that I really see how much of a difference the change makes.

Case in point: Snoop Dogg and Cameron Diaz. Two pretty big celebrities. One is a good musician. Is he the best musician in the world? I think we can agree that he isn't. But has a good sound that caught someone's ear. Cameron Diaz is likewise cute, but I think we all went to high school with someone much prettier and probably with equal acting talent (let's just agree she's no Diane Lane--just saying). When you realize that they went to the same high school, and a high school that's in the metro LA area, it becomes clear the secret to their success. The right place at the right time.

This explains why there aren't a lot of Hoosier superstars or why people move their kids out to LA at an early age to get them connected. I always thought that if you were good enough, people will find you. And that's true to some extent, but only in like 2 percent of all cases. The other 98 percent came from the good fortune of a good zip code.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Give An Answer like That, You Get Tough Questions

I was watching the news last night and saw the big "uproar" about the question given to Michele Bachmann at the debate. Pundits pondered if the question was misogynist. The crowd booed. I was offended.

I was offended because to say it wasn't a fair question seemed more misogynistic than saying it was. Here's why: Michele Bachmann quoted the bible and gave that answer in a previous interview. She had said in a 2006 interiew that she studied tax law because her husband told her to, even though she didn't like the idea. Bachmann said at the time, "But the Lord said, 'Be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.'"

If Bachmann hadn't made that statement, I would be offended by the question. It seems like a low blow. But she did say that. She said the word "submissive" and in context of religion. And you can't have it both ways. You can't say you're religious and use it for votes, but back away from the belief you stated when it seems politically harmful. Because honestly, I don't want a woman in office that feels being submissive to anyone other than the majority of Americans and their best interest is okay.

That's a problem I have with the Republican party (and you know that I'm not particularly conservative, so that shouldn't be a surprise). It seems that the Republican party pushes forward female candidates, but only pretty ones that are religious and not particularly qualified (Palin anyone? A breath away from the presidency but thought man and dinosaurs were around together). I won't say Bachmann isn't qualified, but I do say that if you are using your religious beliefs as an advantage and a platform, you can't pick and choose your beliefs when it's convenient.

Bachmann said "submissive" (which means "meekly obedient or passive" NOT "respect" as she contended) and therefore it's fair game to ask about again. If I said I was submissive to Chef, I would hope that others would ask me if Iwould relinguish my authority to him. At least if I was in position of earned or voted power.

The question is fair because if a man had said he was "whipped" into shape by his wife, I'd ask him the same thing. If being whipped meant that he was going to use his power in ways she dictated. I mean, isn't that what everyone seemed to accuse Bill Clinton of when he was in office. That Hillary was calling all the shots?

And that's what gets me. It's okay for a woman to be pretty and submissive as a candidate, but strong and not striking is not acceptable. To think that sexism doesn't exist is ridiculous. Sometimes, though as in this case, the claims are unfounded or worse, just convenient.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Send Out Some Healing Vibes

I got an email from my dad this morning first saying that his phone had wiped out his contact information. . .again. The second point was that my grandma is back in the hospital. He gave me the phone number to call her in her hospital room, so I did. I literally only talked to her for a few seconds because it was very obvious that she couldn't breathe very well. This is one of those times when I hate being so far away.

For those of you who know me, you know that my grandma is a regular blog reader. She's on Facebook. She's got a cool nickname (Naughty Auda--it rhymes). She is one of the truly great women in this world who has inspired so many people. Including me.

One thing that tickles me about her is that she meant so much to my mother that mom took her then-boyfriend to meet her ex-mother-in-law, because she knew that if Auda approved, he was a good guy. (He is and she did approve). Now, that's a great woman to be around.

If you could send your prayers, good wishes, healing vibes or whatever you believe in my grandma's way, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Public Restroom Habits

When you use public restrooms a lot, be it at work or on the road, you begin to realize there are some habits that are prevalent but really shouldn't be. And those habits typically revolve around the bathroom. Here are just a few of my recently noted obnoxious bathroom behavior:
  • Failure to replace toilet paper rolls: Contrary to popular belief, this isn't just a male problem, as I've recently began experiencing it in the ladies' room. I've now learned that if it's after 4 p.m. and I choose to use the first stall in my office, then I'll more than likely be hobbling to the next stall for some paper.
  • Not washing your hands: Not even the president is too busy to take 30 second out after using the bathroom to wash his hands. You're not too busy either. This is especially gross if the offender touches their hands and/or hair before leaving the sink area.
  • Sitting in the stall next to the occupied stall when there are literally 10 other choices: Observe the every other stall rule at a minimum when the place is relatively empty. The illusion of privacy is shattered as soon as someone coughs or unrolls the toilet paper, so choosing a stall away from others when they're available just helps everyone pretend a little longer.
  • Acting mad if someone in the bathroom is taking a #2: People have varying degrees of comfort doing a deuce away from home base. I get that and am not going to begrudge anyone their opinion. However, I do take offense to people who are shocked or offended that someone is taking a poo in a public bathroom. Where else are they supposed to go? They are doing the right then in the right place. If they've gotten over the potential for embarrassment, then you should let it be. I honestly think it's the shame that prevents women from leaving home base. What makes me say that? you ask. I worked at a large place a long time ago and the lights in the bathroom were out. Everything else worked including the ventilation. During the three hour blackout, that bathroom got more dropped loads than in a normal entire week. The anonymity gave people freedom.
So, that's my list for now. If you would care to see more outrageous (and clean-except in terms of language) bathroom behavior, check this out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Not Scandalous, but juicy

I am in the midst of listening to Kathy Griffin's audiobook, Official Book Club Selection. And I have to give mad props to Anne because she totally called it. While I love Tina Fey and loved Bossypants, I'm loving it less now. Mostly because I realized that she didn't really reveal anything about herself or any good dish. While Kathy does toe the line some times on not divulging too much (she holds back during the talk show ban section but she explains that its because she's still trying to get on these talk shows), she tells WAY more about herself, her family and her life than Tina did.

And Kathy actually does the voice work on the audiobook, which is a lot like her stand up. I actually can't tell if she's reading the book or just using it a jumping off point for other stories to throw in there. Either way, it's a hoot and worth the listen. If Confessions of a Prairie Bitch is as good, I'm gonna be a happy camper.
  • Pages of fiction read: 192
  • Fiction read:- Finished up Big Girl Small. and reluctantly began State of Wonder while trying to block out my Ann Patchett experience
  • Fiction listened to via audiobook: Finished Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman (not a big fan of it in the end) and started Official Book Club Selection by Kathy Griffin (see above)
  • Creative writing every day: yes
  • Five pages written: Yes. And I might be on to something. Either way, juices are flowing.
  • Calorie tracking: Had one day over my calorie allotment, but I was way under on my weekly average
  • Exercise:Yup. Two-a-days intact.
  • Friends and family: Couple calls, a few texts and one email
  • Weight Loss: Down 1 lbs. Only 2 more before my pedicure. Although my talons are getting long so I might have to break down early.
Until next week!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Longer than Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra

Suck it, Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman! Chef and I have been married longer than you were. I thought it would be fun to benchmark our marriage on the marriages of celebrities. Of course, it's probably only fun to do that when you're doing well. If there's a long span in similar postings it means I either lost interest in the topic or I'm nervous about bench marking.

Of course, the next question is whether to benchmark our actual marriage or the time we've been together. Because I didn't think of this topic nearly seven years ago and wasn't confident enough to realize that it was going to last this long, I'm choosing to say marriage. (Although I know that in my head I'll be adding nearly seven years on).

Of course, this also gives me the opportunity to make snarky comments about other couples that could clearly come back to haunt me some day, but I'm living for today. Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra were technically married for six months but began divorce plans a mere 10 days after the Vegas wedding. The bride wore a tux. The groom wore a gown. Just how we always dreamed it would be, right girls? So, we've not filed or begun divorce proceedings after more than a month of marriage. We officially beat out Dennis and Carmen. If you want to get technical, I can bust out Britney Spears and Jason Alexander (no, not Costanza) wedding that lasted 55 hours.

Anyway, I love any picture that features jazz hands, so while Carmen and Dennis didn't last, I'm happy they at least had publicity photos taken that can last forever. And isn't that the sign of any good marriage? Having joint publicity photos is a commitment for Hollywood. Maybe Chef and Is should head down to the Sears Portrait Studio. . .

Monday, August 08, 2011

It's Not Exactly Skid Row

I have little sympathy for rich kids that earn money, lose the money and then can't find real jobs so they're "forced" to live in their wealthy parents' home in Santa Barbara. That's not exactly the stories that make their way to the big screen as "rags to riches" tales.

Such is the case for Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag who just did a "We were just kidding" interview in The Daily Beast. Really? That picture of them grocery shopping was staged? Shocker. What really pisses me off is the regrets they have about spending the money they made. They pissed away a million dollars on clothes and bought a blue four wheel truck for a reality TV show shot. Seriously? And they wonder why Heidi might have alienated her middle class family.

The other kicker is that they can't understand why people don't believe them NOW that they were making everything up. They spend about the last five years thinking they were smarter than everyone else because they were in on the joke. They were in on the lies. Except now no one believes they were lying.

It finally makes me feel okay about the fleeting fame of Hollywood. This is one of the rare cases where someone chucks college and acts like an idiot and now can't get work. However, I'm not feeling too sorry for them because they're relegated to living with his parents in Santa Barbara. Not exactly skid row. I do wonder if Heidi's boobs could be repossessed. How would that work?

Is there a reality show or "celebrity" that you wish would fall off the face of the planet? Or at least the radar?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

I Feel Pretty

Yesterday, we were in Trader Joe's for our usual Saturday shopping excursion and a dude stopped me to say that my outfit was "adorable." I'm fairly certain the dude was straight and it was a pick up (as Chef was in line at the time). Either way I was floating for a while on the compliment of a stranger. And I have to say that I was wearing an adorable outfit. It's a Saturday favorite. GAP navy and pink plaid shirt dress with a ribbon tied around my rib cage to accentuate the skinniest part of my torso and some rose gold flats.

But it was less the outfit and more my feeling lately of being cute. Maybe it's the confidence of having a husband (although frankly he's been my husband in everything but the legal sense for the last 7 years) or the fact that my psoriasis is clearing up nicely (more on that at a later blog post) or that I'm consistently eating better and working out. Whatever it is, I can say that lately when I get ready to go to work in the morning, I feel cute.

My skin has not had a massive break out since I've been in LA. The bangs and red hair are a good combo that's relatively easy to keep up. I'm drinking more water than I have in ages and the addition today of a new Brita will definitely help that. My old Brita pitcher had been a gift from my mother (thereby aging it at LEAST 11 years) when I was in college (which could add a few months or another two years depending).

Here's the thing I find odd. I was expecting to find the plethora of hip, beautiful women in LA to be intimidating and make me cower a little in intimidation. Instead, I've found that while there are quite a few lovely ladies, I can still hold my own to certain extent. And even if I can't, I think I can which really makes all the difference.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Party Like It's 1996

I've decided it would be funsies (and frankly self-indulgent which is really the purpose of blogs) for me to find some pictures of myself that are floating out there and provide some story or context for them. The first of this series (which will take place whenever the hell I feel like it) is courtesy of Amanda's Facebook album and is at left.

This picture was taken on what could've been nearly any Friday or Saturday night during my last two years of high school, but was in fact taken in 1996--or at least that's what Amanda says. Missing from the photo is the other of our rag tag group of intimidating girls, Anne. (Anne and Amanda will surely make later appearances as they were my college roommates). Pictured from left to right are Brook, me, Lara and Amanda. We're sitting on my patio. I am 17 years old.

I figure that since I've been out of high school for a long time and because my mother is dead and therefore cannot hold these confessions over my head, I might as well reveal some things. We're sitting on my patio because you couldn't smoke inside my house. And that's what I was likely doing. You can't see my other hand, and it's probably holding a cigarette. I don't smoke any more, so don't even start with the lectures. I get it.

We're also outside because it's obviously summer and if it's summer and I'm smoking that means that mom wasn't at home. When I had the house to myself, I had some pretty righteous gatherings. And they were frequent and usually included a plethora of mall employees--primarily from Gus Doerner Sports. I thought I was super cool because I worked in the mall and specifically at Gus Doerner's because I got to work with a lot of college guys. I pretty much had crushes on most of them at one time or another. They were all unrequited crushes. At the time I was sure it was because I was ugly and fat. Looking at this picture with more perspective, I can see that clearly wasn't the case. They must've all been idiots.

I look at this picture and miss my friends. The ones who would do nothing other than sit in a car and make up theme songs to made up games (I know you girls remember the WTF? theme song). I wonder what the hell happened to Lara. I'm thankful that I had them for a critical time in my life and super thankful for the peeps I still keep connected with.

Mostly I look at this picture and remember a time when my mother sat us all down and told us that the gig was up. She knew about the parties and she wasn't upset. But she'd pull the plug quicker than anything if she found another bottle cap in her garbage disposal. I'm paraphrasing as I'm sure this speech was laced with some colorful language.

What stupid things did you do in high school? Weren't they great?

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Relegated to the Bench

Last night I was starting my nightly toning exercises at the gym. Mornings are for cardio and evenings are for toning. At least lately. I was starting yesterday and as I began, I felt a small pop near my hip. It was a pop that I knew wasn't audible to anyone except me. Or at least I assumed that it wasn't. As soon as I started to do another lunge, I knew that something was wrong.

Because I'm an idiot, I kept going and finished my workout. I just omitted doing any lunges or moves that required me to bend my hip flexor. When I got back to the apartment, Chef helped input my symptoms into webMD and BAM! IT confirmed that I either strained or pulled my hip muscle. You might ask why I needed confirmation. Well, I'm still coming to grips with the arthritis that's primarily affecting my hip joint so it was a little hard for me to pinpoint if this was a joint or muscle issue.

So, I'm relegated to icing and aleve until the pain subsides. Bright side was that I got to sleep in this morning. Down side was that I was pretty sure that I was going to go over my calorie count. To that I say, tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

GOOOOAAAALLLLL!!!

I wish when I hit a goal that I had a sound bite of a soccer announcer that said "GOOOOAAALLLLL!!!" with enthusiasm. Because that's how I feel when I hit goals, but it seems silly for me to shout like that on my own. So, if anyone has a sound clip of the most ridiculous "GOOOOOOAALLLLL!!!!" call, send it my way.

Until then here's my weekly goal update. Probably more for me and my accountability than anyone else.
  • Pages of fiction read: 143
  • Fiction read: Right in the middle of Big Girl Small.
  • Fiction listened to via audiobook: Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman (only about one more day left!)
  • Creative writing every day: yes
  • Calorie tracking: Done and averaged 324 calories per day UNDER my goal for weight loss.
  • Exercise: Firmly into two-a-days. 30 minutes of cardio in the morning with 25 minutes of toning every night.
  • Friends and family: Called a friend and got an email from a contact who connected me with potential writing help in LA.
  • Weight Loss: Down 0.6 lbs from last week. Just 2.8 lbs from my mani/ pedi. I'm hoping that my efforts are rewarded soon with a chunk of weight coming off because my feet need some pampering.
Over the hump day and coasting to the weekend!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Four Years Ago, I Ate Mexican Food And Life Hasn't Been The Same

I seem to do this post once every two years, so it was about time. On this day (actually August 1-but you'll forgive me), four years ago, I had lunch at Fiesta Azteca in Nashville, TN. I ate a chicken quesadilla and as many handfuls of chips, salsa and guacamole as I could handle. Then I went back to work and saw my friend Evon on the computer checking out recipes. It was a new company wellness program we'd just gotten.

"Those recipes look pretty good, " I said. "And that doesn't look so hard."

And from there, I decided it was time to work on my weight. I am still amazed at why this happened or how it worked this time when I'd tried so many times before to lose weight. But for whatever reason, it did. And I lost 88 lbs from my heaviest to my lightest. Most
of that was within the first year.

Now, four years after I first started, I'm still trying to fully incorporate all those things into my life. It's a struggle and I've done better and worse depending on the day or even months. I crept back up about 30 lbs from lowest point before I decided to kick my butt into gear again. Now, I'm once again about 10 lbs (okay, exactly 10lbs because I obsess over it) away from my lowest weight and trying to break through my last plateau number to go even lower.

Through this I always forget and then remember a few things:
  1. I actually like exercise. I like to sweat. I have more energy and feel better when I do it.
  2. There is always time to make better choices. That's never a good enough excuse.
  3. Nine times out of ten, I don't really care what I have for a meal. I need to just make a better choice, not the easier choice.
  4. When that tenth time hits, just cave in and get what I really want. Otherwise I'll eat about 20 things trying to satisfy my real craving.
  5. I always feel better with my life when I'm exercising, eating better and writing. If I can do all three on a daily basis, life's good.
  6. There are very few things I can't accomplish when I stop being afraid to try.
So, here I am today. Ten pounds away from my low and a lifetime away from the heavy girl I was before. And I'm determined not to go back. That chicken quesadilla was good, but not that good.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Things Animals Smell Like


It seems like all animals (particularly pets) have a certain smell to them. Some better than others, of course. And I'm not talking about the smell of feces or dog food or kitty breath. It's more like how their dander smells. And it's not something that every one can smell. It's more like an acquired smell of the owners or those who live in close proximity of an animal.

For example, I've known dogs that smelled like
cheese. My last dog smelled like cool ranch Doritos. But it wasn't until last night that I thought about how our cats smell. Chef leaned down to sniff Mila's head and immediately said "Her head smells like Reese's peanut butter." He was so vehement in his thought that he picked her up (she's loathed to be picked up) and stuck her head in my face. I smelled the back of her head, as you would a baby to take in that great powdery newborn smell, and sure enough. It was exactly like Reese's peanut butter.

This morning while vacuuming the apartment, I realized that our cats collective fur also has the odor of Doritos (normal flavor). It was upon that remark that Chef said "Do you think we really do have cats that smell like food or that we're just hungry?"

I think we have cats that smell. What does your pet smell like?

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