Friday, April 27, 2007

"The only difference between a dream and a goal is a deadline."

I saw this quote on a bodybuilding website and it's been stuck in my head ever since. It's got me thinking all sorts of things. Revisiting my budget, revisiting my larger goals, looking at my health from a long-term perspective... It's the right combination of words for me at this moment to kick my butt in gear.

Last night I had a new experience. I went to happy hour at Morton's Steakhouse and I did not order an alcoholic beverage or eat any of the free filet mignon sandwiches. When I ordered my Diet Coke, the bartender nodded, started to walk away then turned back and said, "No Whisky Sour?" I said, "No, but thanks for remembering." It was a little hard, but at least I got to hang out with people instead of hiding because I lack will power. I need to get better about not feeling like I have to explain why I'm not drinking as if I'm ashamed of my sobriety, as if I won't be as much fun because I didn't toss back a few drinks. Truthfully though, I don't feel like I am as much fun, but that'll be our little secret.

I guess I'm feeling fairly healthy with all this exercising and eating right, though mostly I just feel sore and tired. Also, I have muscles in weird places, places I didn't even know I could grow muscles. Poor Jer. I haven't stopped asking him to squeeze my arms on a regular basis. "Dude," I say. "What?" he says. "Look at my guns!" And he sighs because I made him look at my guns five minutes ago, and my guns they have not changed. Outwardly I haven't actually changed much at all. I need to burn off some more fat before anybody will notice the new muscles, but it's happening. Slow but steady.

In other news, my current pipe dream is to look into studying to become a financial planner. As with most of my pipe dreams, the likelihood that anything will come of it is slim, however I am looking into night/weekend courses and distance learning. There's a 9 month program locally that I could do while working at my current job, except that I still enjoy my current job and financial planning would be an awfully big leap. Also, I opened a 529 account several years ago and have been saving money in case I decided to go back to school. The amount in it now would pretty much cover tuition. So, you know, my mad money skillz already be paying off, yo. Or heck, maybe I will just buy some books on the subject and leave it at that.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Jer and I met in Belltown for dinner last night at Mama's Mexican Kitchen. I scoped out the menu ahead of time and decided I could safely order the steak soft taco plate with black beans (no cheese!) and still be within my daily calorie goal. To me that's almost exactly like having my cake and eating it too.

In my personal calorie death match, Mexican food always shivs cake in the colon. Right in the colon!

Then we went to Costco and I bought a gazillion pieces of fruit, including blackberries, Asian pears, and red seedless grapes. Apparently I eat fruit now. Who knew?

Then I made Jer take me to the regular non-bulk grocery store because I was out of non-fat yogurt, and you can't have blackberries without non-fat yogurt and flax seed cereal. It'd be criminal. I restricted myself to a hand basket but I still managed to also buy 100 calorie pudding cups, wheat buns for my veggie patties, English muffins, and frozen peas/carrots which I have recently become obsessed about. When I was eating my (heavily seasoned) brown rice the other day I thought, "I would kill for some peas and carrots in this. Make it so!" And then I made it. So. With only a modicum of killing.

In my quest to find other activities besides eating and drinking, not a lot of updates. I should probably ride a ferry somewhere since I've never done that. I found a contest for one-act plays that's due in a couple weeks... I could finally finish "Must" or one of the other re-writes. Maybe it's best if I make a list of places I haven't been yet, like Gasworks Park or the Arboretum and go visit. The Art Museum is almost open again, and I've yet to go through the Sculpture Park. My class starts next week (Project Management), so Thursday nights are booked for the foreseeable future. Oh, I could cook something difficult. Or get the action figures together to sell on eBay. Or clean the carpets. Or ride the monorail. Or go for long walks. Or see a play. Or, you know, watch a crap load of bad TV, like I'm already doing.

If you have any other suggestions for alternate activities to eating/drinking, let the comments know. Healthy living stumps me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The contest at my gym has begun and I am officially competing. My body fat percentage has dropped 2% in the last two weeks -- not all that strategic but I won't knock it -- which brings me down 4% since I started training a month ago. I still have a personal goal of losing another 6% during the contest.

I've been reading a bunch of weight loss blogs and obsessing. It's what I do.

Another personal challenge during this contest will be to find local activities that don't involve drinking or bars. Maybe I'll even take some photos! The water taxi starts again next Sunday; I'll definitely have to snap a few then. Of course the timing isn't great since Jer is starting a new shift next week, 4pm-1am. If I'm going to play the role of bold adventurer, it will be by my lonesome. Or, you know, I could write.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

My friends let me tag along to go see the Rat City Rollergirls last night, Season 3 Bout 3, at the WaMu Theatre. We saw Sockit Wenches vs. Derby Liberation Front and Grave Danger vs Bay Area Derby Girls.

It was a lot of fun. Those women are really freakin' tough! (Not like you need me to tell you that, I mean it's a sport that involves strapping some wheels to your feet, limited armor on your soft and pointy parts, and defending turf at a very high rate of speed.) I celebrated their toughness by drinking a lot of wine, which I HAD to do because the only alternative I saw was Budweiser and I just... couldn't. Not after eating dinner at Pyramid.

Here are some pictures I took with my crap cam:

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Next week I start working out in earnest, which is not that different from this week. I give up the grape... and the hops and the juniper berry. I've already been invited to two events next week that involve alcohol, and one is a birthday party so I can't just blow it off. How do people hang out without drinking? Because I have absolutely no idea. Where do you go? What do you drink? Do you live on soda and iced tea? Sub-question: Aaarrrrrgggh?

I can't even think of places to hang out that don't involve alcohol or things I have no interest in. I don't have social hobbies like team sports or golf or panning for gold. Sometimes I write or read or take photos, but none of those things can in any way be considered social. I've also cut down caffeine so there goes the coffee shop -- decaf's not for me and I already drink enough tea. I don't play board games or knit or shop... I pretty much define myself by my drinking and eating whatever the hell I want.

Luckily "Celebrity Fit Club" starts again this Sunday. So I can follow along on my adventure of hunger pangs and muscle aches. Whee.

Sobriety has become a strange and terrifying territory for me. I guess it's good then that I take this break and remember that for most of my life I didn't drink, that I didn't actually start until about 7 years ago. I just happened to embrace it with both arms wide and welcoming. Maybe I'd feel better if I wrote out all the reasons I'm doing this so I can remind myself in moments of weakness.

Ugh. This'll teach me to enter contests on a whim.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I signed up for a contest at the gym. It's to see who can lose the most body fat between April 24 and May 31. I'm not all that confident I can lose the most, but this will help me stay motivated for something I'm already doing. Also, during the contest I get a few extra discounts on things like training and supplements, which I would be buying anyway.

Plus I'm kind of competitive. Chances are I'll quit drinking for a month or will actually commit to following the crazy meal plan my trainer laid out. And even if I don't lose the most, there are still prizes for 2nd and 3rd place. Not to mention the added bonus of a trimmer waistline.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I've been using my digital food scale a lot lately. It's a Salter Digital Food Scale, and I highly recommend it. For example, at breakfast I used it to measure 30g of Flax plus Granola Cereal and 4 ounces of fat-free vanilla yogurt. (The cereal is way tastier than it sounds.) And on Monday I used it to weigh the asparagus for my homemade asparagus soup.

The only way my life could be any more exciting is if I actually broke down and became a professional indexer. Not that there's anything wrong with professional indexing -- the money is definitely ripe for the plucking -- and I don't mean to insult you if that is your chosen trade, but you have to admit, it is a bit dull. If not as dull as me writing about weighing flax seed and granola, then it is right up there.

I have to pat myself on the back because I did not drink alcohol today, and so I only consumed 1500 calories. Go me. I still have not adhered to the official meal plan because it wants me to eat 4 egg whites for breakfast and then have 5 nuts or something, but I'm trying. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and poultry are my new friends. Though I prefer the clandestine comfort of my long-time pals: whisky, vodka, and fried mac-n-cheese wedges...

In short, when I wish on the first star of the evening with my eyes shut tight, I wish with all my heart that I could get buzzed on fewer calories.

There really is nothing else going on right now. Except that my scalp itches. Alert the media.

Monday, April 09, 2007

weight for it

I took a vacation day, just for fun. No reason. I just needed a day where I was free to wander around and not do anything. And not think anything except maybe, how the heck will I get downtown without a car?

I accidentally made a trainer appointment for my day off, but it worked out all right. I took an express bus into downtown at 10am and then hung out until my 1pm appointment. I set up my first Seattle library card, wandered around the library for awhile, used their nifty self check-out, window shopped at Daiso and bought a few frames at Aaron Brothers for the photos I'm donating to the auction. After my session I took a longer bus home and walked the half hour back. It was a little windy, but not too bad.

Now that all that's out of the way I was just entertaining myself by surfing the Internet and I found this CNN article. Since today was weigh-in day and body fat check at the gym, my weight was already on my mind. (I lost 3 pounds and 2% body fat since two weeks ago, w00t.) I guess I didn't realize or it hadn't occurred to me before, but I fall into the obese category. That seems really weird to me, since that's such a (excuse the pun) big word, with so many meanings packed into it. And not a small amount of judgment. When I picture an obese person in my head, it certainly isn't me. But there you go. It's just math, and you can't argue with math. Even if you want to.

Well, one good thing. It gives me a clearer focus on what my goal should be. (Lose 6%, 6%, 6%) I always kind of knew what it should be, but this article really drives it home. But I mean, really? Obese? It shouldn't surprise me, but it kinda does.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

more on food

Today was about cooking. I woke at 6am to feed the cats, take a shower, and go grocery shopping. Then I made a Shepherd's Pie with ground lamb and garlic mashed potatoes. Then I made guacamole, since avocados were so cheap at Costco and I had to use them up. Then I marinated some boneless skinless chicken in barbecue sauce and threw them on my Le Creuset grill. Somewhere in there I fell asleep for a half hour and when I woke up it was raining again.

That's the short version. Also, I discovered the wonders of beef base to make stock for the Shepherd's Pie. I am not proficient enough to make my own stock from scratch yet and this worked perfectly. I used the Shepherd's Pie recipe from the Joy of Cooking, only I added a bit of shredded cheese, garlic, and seasoned salt to give it more flavor. Last time I made it I thought it was bland.

We had the chicken breasts for dinner and after they were grilled I added some more barbecue sauce and a couple spoonfuls of guacamole on top. Very tasty.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I'm not normally awake and watching TV at six on a Saturday morning, so I miss most of the infomercials. And the sunrise, which was pointy and orange.

Most of the infomercials on right now are about miracle weight loss "cures" and body shaping products. They tell me not to waste my money on a trainer or the gym and instead to buy their super awesome kick ass slimming product. Did we mention it's a motionless program? If you can stand still, you can lose weight! And oh, it is a little tempting. Except then I remember that time I bought the Body By Jake Ab Rocker or the other time I bought a ThighMaster and promised myself I would never do that ever again.

Still it tugs at me. Especially because there is a fire along the back of my arms and legs and in my abs, so really a quick fix sounds pretty damn good. Sign me up, infomercial. Er, no. I don't have any space to store your bean shaped rocking chair that deflates in seconds. Or the assorted slimming tubes you want me to wear around my offensive mid-section. Or all the hip hop DVDs that I can never use because the floors are too thin and my neighbors are not fans of the clomping. Then there are all the pills and also, colon detoxification. You've got 5-25 pounds of shit and parasites just waiting to be flushed out! You're irresponsible if you just let it take up residence in your gut, killing you. All these infomercials say the same thing: we love you but we would love you more if you weren't such a lard ass.

The idea of a shortcut is appealing, and I guess that's why I keep clicking back to see what the fake doctors say and do next. Tell me what I want to hear, baby. Oh, yeah. Tell me how easy, how fast, show me how sexy I can be. Don't. Ever. Stop.

Or maybe I will go read a book instead.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Between physical training sessions, I tend to forget about the pain. I am suddenly blissfully ignorant and spend a lot of time squeezing my new muscles and checking out my sweet ass in the mirror. But after a training session, like say right now, I feel what I think must be every muscle in the area I worked on. In this case, my arms and chest. And I'm pretty sure every muscle is mad at me and is hell bent on bringing me to my knees. Also, thanks to the Bodies Exhibit, I can picture what those muscles look like exactly, down to the stringiness and overlapping bands. There is no mystery to my insides. Only Zool.

I've decided I love the Killers. A lot.

It is the prettiest day outside. In the 70's, with a bright blue sky. Jer is working the night shift so I have the apartment all to myself. I plan to torment my little kitties and watch television or read or write or stare at the water. And I am taking Monday off. Because I can. But I was stupid and scheduled another training session smack dab in the middle of the day, so I have to find a way downtown on the most inconvenient bus line evah. Please City of Seattle, send me more buses where I live. I promise I will ride them. I will ride them all night long.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Request for comments

Hi. I am donating a couple of my 8x10 photos to an auction and I'd appreciate your input. Below are six photos I'm considering. I'm asking you to rank the top three you think someone might bid on and leave your note in the comments. It'd be a big help because this auction will benefit the 2007 Breast Cancer 3-day, specifically Courtney's team and I want to help them make some money.

Please tell the comments what you think. Thanks!

Image #1:

Image #2:

Image #3:

Image #4:

Image #5:

Image #6:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

note to self

Lessons for Wednesday:

  1. Leftovers are okay.
    Sub-lesson: Clean plate, optional.
  2. Don't compare yourself to others.
  3. Buy low. Sell high.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

another recap

We only went to five wineries today -- or it might be more appropriate to say tastings because some of the places we went to were in industrial building complexes and it didn't really feel very winery-like. My favorites today were Columbia, which I always enjoy, a Cabernet Sauvignon called Dussek from Woodhouse Family Cellars, and a 2005 Syrah from Matthews Cellars that hasn't been bottled yet.

For food, we ate breakfast at Hector's in Kirkland, which I highly recommend. Nice atmosphere, large place, pretty bar, good food -- one screaming, wandering child, but we'll just blame the parents. I had the Croque Madame, which was tasty. Next time I'll have to try an omelet. The ham was a little too salty for me. For dinner we went to the Mongolian Grill in Woodinville. It offered a wide assortment of vegetables and sauces that they grill in front of you. Tasty, inexpensive, and a lot of food. I recommend it.

We sobered up for the drive home by watching "Blades of Glory" at the Cineplex Odeon in Woodinville. I liked "Talladega Nights" and "Anchorman" slightly better, but maybe that's because they've had more time to ferment in my brain. You should go see it; it's funny. Shazam.