Thursday, May 31, 2007

fitness challenge update

According to the calipers of capriciousness I only lost 2.78% body fat in 5 1/2 weeks. I highly disagree. Not only did I work out at least 5 days a week (training 3 times per week), but I also cut out alcohol and limited calories to around 1500/day.

Then there's the fact that I'm fitting into clothes I haven't worn in several years, plus the 12 pound weight loss. Also, the first time the guy measured he said I didn't lose any body fat at all (NOTHING) and I just shook my head and quietly asked for a second opinion. When my trainer tested me last week I was down 4%. So no. I don't believe it. In fact, I reject it.

It should be enough that I look in the mirror and see a thinner me and it should be enough that I'm on the final notch of my belt and my pants are about ready to fall down. And I guess it is enough, but I really really would've liked to win something. It all just feels so anti-climactic.

By the way, I said in my second to last entry it'd been 4 1/2 weeks since my last drink, but I was mistaken. 5 1/2 weeks, baby. And I never want to do that again, in case you were wondering.

geese season

I returned home a little early from class and it was still sunny and warm outside. The baby Canada Geese were roaming and nipping at the grass, and all was right with the world. Here is what the fuzzy, little creatures look like:

They are much cuter when they are not crapping, which they do A LOT. Also, they cross in front of traffic and all the cars screech to a halt. I am undecided on whether I am pro-bird or not. Leaning towards not.

You can view the full-sized photo at the store.

Last night I was rudely awakened by the moon trying to steal my dreams, or my wallet. Luckily I don't own a wallet. Take that, moon!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

the wrath of the calipers

Last day of the fat loss challenge = tomorrow. I find myself trying not to think about water. Also, food. The food is not as difficult though since I just ate my brown rice and Agra Peas and Greens (Tasty Bite) combo... then I ate a small slice of the Weight Watchers' cake I made for our out-of-town guest. Yes, purely for the guest. It just so happens the guest was unable to eat the entire 13x9 pan by himself, and so I was forced to eat a square. For science. Er, hospitality.

This also means on Friday I get to drink alcohol again. 4 1/2 weeks without a drop. I believe I will begin with a nice cold pint of Manny's. And then I will let the universe surprise me.

It is 85 degrees outside. I would like some more water, please. But what you don't know, is that I've already drank a gallon today and I should really stop and try to dry out before I get measured tomorrow. I want to be like a bodybuilder -- only without the diuretics and more cake -- so fierce.

Mmmm. Manny's.

I entered a challenge at The topic was "futuristic." Here is my entry. You may recognize it as Disney Hall in Los Angeles. And one astute reader (George) may even recognize the person in the photo. (Hint: It's not George.) It's a photo I snapped on a work outing several years ago. Say that five times fast. Or just rewrite it, because that sentence sucks.

Monday, May 28, 2007

New look!

Your eyes do not deceive.

I am playing with the "new" Blogger templates and settings.

Boo yeah.

I spent the day working on the photoblog, but I don't have a lot of tangible results to show for it.

  • I added 2 new ways to bookmark the blog: technorati and

  • I pre-posted through the end of June.

  • I added tags to all the posts and custom titles to optimize search engine results.

  • I rearranged the sidebar.

  • I added 3 new photos to the store.

  • I submitted an application for Google AdSense.

I think that's all. It sure doesn't seem like enough for five hours worth of work.

I'm itching to start advertising, but there isn't enough content posted yet. Also, I haven't been picked up by all the search engines. I'm having fun though and am pretty pleased with the way it's turning out.

If you have a blog and the space, please feel free to add a link: I'd love to start getting the word out. If you email me (christyv AT gmail DOT com) and let me know about the link, I'll send you a coupon for 30% off your first order from the store.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Folk Life Festival, May 2007

On Friday night, my friend (who is visiting from Santa Barbara) and I went to the Folk Life Festival at the Seattle Center. Also, we went to Daiso Japan and he bought a scary ceramic dog for $1.50.

It was my first time riding the Monorail, and it was awesome. Not long after Jer and I moved to Seattle, the two trains collided in the air, and they had to evacuate people with ladders. Now it's fixed. It leaves from Westlake Center (home of Daiso Japan) and only goes 1 mile to the Seattle Center:

Vendors travel far and wide to display their wares at the Folk Life Festival. Here is some tie-dye:

Like all festivals I've been to in Seattle, this one was crowded. There were many street performers and food booths to keep the mob pleased:

For many minutes I focused on the big fountain. For some reason, hippies avoided the water. An unlucky few were dragged forcibly into the danger zone:

I call the next photo, "Scary dog with catcher's mitt glued to his chin, in front of the Experience Music Project":

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hi. I'm sleepy but that's okay. Before work I checked on my friend's cats and they were happy I gave them wet food, but sad I wasn't the correct human giving them wet food. At least that's how I've anthropomorphized the situation.

I was measured and pinched and weighed yesterday to see where I'm at:

  • Since the start of the contest I've lost 4% body fat and 10 pounds.
  • Since the start of working out I've lost 8% body fat and 13 pounds.
  • Since last year I've lost 11% body fat and 18 pounds.
This puts me at 30% body fat, which is still higher than what is considered healthy, but no longer in the obese camp. (Obese camp sounds like the best vacation ever. I would only pack tater tots. And maybe a CamelBak full of vodka.)

I've posted 17 photos at the store so far. Before I officially advertise I plan to post at least 50. Don't forget to subscribe to the RSS feed.

Tonight is the Project Management class. I'm thinking of taking a one-time 3-hour class next month on starting a small business. Then I will be done with classes for awhile. Don't want to burn out.

I need caffeine.

P.S. Manager and manger are two very different words. Like, night and day different. Stop confusing them, unknown person who I am indirectly referring to.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I think I am crashing from the four large Diet Cokes I drank at lunch. I drank them because lunch was at the Cheesecake Factory and I am only so strong. I am pretty much done with this diet, but the calendar tells me there are still nine days left. Nine long days. For dessert, instead of cheesecake, I ate a goblet full of strawberries, which was exactly what it sounds like. Everyone else ate cheesecake, as they should. And I should. But strawberries are okay, I guess.

I may be a little bitter.

I am in a foul mood of my own devising. Mostly because I feel like I deserve things I don't deserve, like rivers of fudge and lakes of cream and oak charred barrels of whisky. It's a privilege, not a right, right? You know what? I don't care that I'm thinner (I don't!) and I don't care that my head is relatively clear. No sir. Not if it means I can't eat my Shepherd's Pie covered in cheese and eat tater tots at my favorite bar and then drink my favorite beer at my favorite bar. I am not feeling altogether generous with the universe.

Also? I can't even blame anybody else because I volunteered. I think that's what I hate most of all, is that I brought this on myself. I must really hate myself or something.

Okay, let's go over the basics. Why did I do this again?

I signed up because:

  • I need to buy new clothes.
  • I am saving money for retirement; I should be healthy enough to live that long.
  • My previous fitness level was embarrassing.
  • It gets hot in the summer. I want to wear sleeveless shirts without being self-conscious.
  • Because that whole thyroid thing was scary.
  • Diabetes sounds like a buzz kill.
  • I've never been fit, it's time to try something different.
  • Of the scene in Terminator 2 where Linda Hamilton is doing chin-ups because Armageddon is on its way and she has to be ready.
  • Of the scene in the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Kristy Swanson has her exercise montage.
  • I went to the Bodies Exhibition and saw what my muscles look like under my skin and it's not pretty.
  • Competition is good for me and I could win a prize.

Okay. I'm not convinced but I guess I'll keep it up. For Buffy. (Kristy Swanson's Buffy, not the other one)

Monday, May 21, 2007

new and improved photo store

Last night I installed Ktools PhotoStore at On Focus Photo, and I am pleased at how easy it was. My web host is Dreamhost, and they are also awesome.

Because I am slow and methodical (definitely not anal and nit-picky) it took me about an hour to get the store up and running. I only have one photo up at the moment, but will be adding to the supply everyday for the forseeable future. This new software gives me a lot more flexibility in how I charge, accept payment, and display photos, and it makes the geek-in-me very happy. I can't wait to get home tonight and play!

Also, if you haven't subscribed to the RSS feed for my photo blog, you are missing out. Today we offer a lovely closeup of two pretty pink roses from my friend's auction to benefit the 3-day breast cancer walk.

If RSS is new to you, I suggest checking out Bloglines. It makes your online life a lot more efficient.

In other news: Still losing weight. During the contest I've lost about fifteen pounds and an unknown amount of body fat. Only two more weeks 'til I can drink again (that's 4 weeks of no drinking to date). w00t

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I took the water taxi downtown to meet my trainer and then stopped by the Cheese Festival. Unfortunately, I tried no cheese because it was already too crowded and I couldn't have wine to dull my nerves.

Here is how crowded it was:

Then I saw this typo and it put me over the edge:

So I went home on the water taxi:

Then I made cheddar stuffed buffalo burgers and grilled corn, which were both very tasty. The end.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I'm really enjoying working with Wordpress. It's incredibly user-friendly and easy to customize. I spent the last few evenings working on behind-the-scenes features for my new photo blog like setting up watermarks, scheduled posting, and Google analytics. I realize I have a lot more work to do on aesthetics, but it's coming along.

Diet/exercise continues. I've been slack in my eating habits -- still eating the right things (no cheeseburgers) but not necessarily the correct portion sizes. Overdosing on the grilled mahi mahi, green beans, and rice Monday night was worth it though. I bought some ground buffalo meat for a recipe in my Weight Watchers cookbook to make a healthier burger. That'll be my Saturday project.

It's tough not seeing Jer in the evenings, but on the plus side it gives me no excuse not to buckle down and work at night -- either on the website or my writing. I've been calling him before he goes to work to check in, at least to hear his voice, and see if there's anything I need to know.

Last night when I went to bed, I realized I hadn't seen the cats in awhile. So I go into the bedroom, flip on the light, and see both of them stretched out asleep. Vash was in bed, Chiana was on the floor with her head resting on a stack of books. They both blinked at me, confused, then put their heads back down. Not being Jer, I didn't rate a second glance. I had to push all fifteen pounds of Vash out of the way so I'd have room to sleep.

He wasn't happy about it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

new photo blog + photos for sale

Check it out: On Focus Photo Blog

You can even add the RSS feed to your blog reader! I'll be updating the photo blog three times a week.

To purchase my photos, go to: On Focus Photo Store.

It's all very "first draft/stage 1," but it's coming along. Thanks for looking!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I mailed an entry today for a playwriting contest. It's for a one-act play that clocks in at 45 pages. The deadline is Tuesday; I hope it arrives in time. It's called "Break the Moon."

Half-way through the fat loss challenge and my motivation is waning but I'm hanging in there. Spent 6 of the last 7 days at the gym and met three times with my trainer.

Sure, I can see results, but I still want a cheeseburger. Dinner was a can of tuna. When you have to fight with a cat for your dinner, it's time to take stock.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Stretching at the gym, I overheard two trainers and their clients discussing the fat loss challenge. So of course my ears perked up. They were arguing about who was winning so far. All I heard was: blah blah blah lost 13 pounds since the start blah blah.

13... pounds?

But it's only been 19 days! Are you starving yourself, woman? How is that even healthy? And by the way, I think you're too skinny already and need to stop.

Then I figured out I've lost about 9 pounds, so I guess it's not that crazy. But now I feel like I have to step up my game, though I'm not sure how. I'm still eating well, exercising once a day and taking my fat burn pills. I could exercise twice a day, I guess, but that's not appealing. Maybe I'll just resign myself to being happy with my personal fat loss and not compare myself to strangers at the gym. Yeah, and monkeys could fly out of my tight toned butt.

Hey, you know what'd make me feel better? A pitcher of Manny's, that's what.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Today I learned: When my trainer shows me a new exercise, I should not immediately ask if it will give me "man calves."

Then I bought some Accelerade that tastes kind of like fruit punch (and spackle if you don't mix it enough.) It's okay. It has something to do with endurance and hydration and has a super special ratio of 4:1 carbs to protein.

I'll let you know if it makes me grow man calves.

Last night I went golfing for the first time ever! My friend let me use her clubs and showed me the ropes. (Editor's note: there were no ropes) It was a 9 hole par 3 course at Jefferson Park Golf Club. I did not suck nearly as badly as I expected. I'm not good at hitting high and far; my skills cater more towards the miniature golf circuit. I am good with the putting.

To celebrate our successful round of golf (and get warm) a bunch of us went to Beveridge Place Pub after, which I'd also never been to before. I can't wait until I'm drinking again so I can go back. I find it hilarious that before this challenge I never even wondered if bars/pubs served soda. It just wasn't on my radar. So I find myself going into these places and timidly asking if they happen to sell Diet Coke... and if so, kind sir, might I trouble you for a pint of your finest carbonated sugar water?

It is day 18 of my sobriety. Only 22 more days to go. :(

Monday, May 07, 2007

donated photos

Here are two of the three photos I donated to the auction (the organizers did an incredible job displaying all the items):

Snoqualmie Falls

Sunrise in Seattle

I bought a domain name today, specifically for selling photos online. After the auction I got an email from someone who wanted to purchase one of the sold out prints, and so we worked it out. Then I thought, why not resurrect the site where I sold photos online? Yes, the one I eventually stopped using because I couldn't stand to look at another damned photo ever again because photography school sucked all the enthusiasm out of me. Okay, I thought. Let's do it. And so I did.

Good story, huh?

I plan to have a version of the site go live, May 15. I'll keep you posted.

I would really like to celebrate with a ginormous cheeseburger, but instead I will settle for this can of tuna.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Quickly, because I am sore and tired and transferring photos from my camera to my computer... today was good. I helped a friend move into his new house and I took photos at another friend's auction. Apparently I took 403 photos, which is even more than I thought. I thought it was closer to 200.

The three photos I donated sold! The fireworks/lightning photo and the sunrise photo sold for the maximum I believe and the waterfall photo made a decent return as well. Yay. Thanks for everybody who made suggestions in the comments about which ones to donate; it paid off.

Almost two weeks without alcohol now, though I did slip at the auction tonight and nibbled the appetizers. There was some cheesy goodness in there that doesn't need to know about.

Also, I got lost a lot today. I love you, Seattle, but randomly closing the 99 makes me think the feeling isn't mutual. The end.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I realize I've been writing entirely about my weight lately, which I don't actually obsess so much about in real life (tempted to write IRL). Probably the hardest part in this whole competitive process is quashing the deeply ingrained urge to order a drink when I go to a bar or take a sip of a friend's cocktail when offered. This whole fat loss contest just gives me so much to talk about because the rest of my life isn't terribly exciting. I don't write entries about work and I won't see Jer much for awhile (4pm-1am shift). The water taxi only holds so many stories since I basically get on it and read or stare out the window. I don't feel outrage about anything at the moment -- though I've had some trouble setting up a new bank account, whee. So there ya go. I'm left with the fat loss contest. Unless you want to hear about my cats. You don't, do you, want to hear about my cats? Because I could tell you stories... Wait, where did everybody go?

I haven't stated it here yet, but I want to get down to 28% body fat during the contest. To put it in perspective, when I started working out a year ago, I was at 41% body fat. This goal is completely possible and I believe I can do it. Just 4 weeks until we see for sure.

And then I can write about all the new clothes I get to buy!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Week 1 of the fat loss challenge went well. I splurged last night and ate a pork chop stuffed with Gorgonzola and pine nuts, but that was my only downfall. I won't beat myself up too much though because it was to celebrate our 7 year anniversary. I think that's worth a pork chop.

Still no alcohol but lots of water. Still eating fruits and vegetables and brown rice, worked out 6 of the 7 days last week, with 3 visits to the trainer, and keeping track of my calories at The scale tells me I've lost a few pounds, which is great, and my pants tell me I'm going to need a belt soon, also great.

I looked into taking financial planning classes and found out the local program is being discontinued. For now I'll go ahead and see what the library has to offer.

Water taxi season! I rode in to work and home yesterday and in this morning. Nothing beats a watery, stress-free commute.

Thursday I start my class, and Saturday I do some volunteer photography for my friend's auction, which I need to post an announcement about. Until I get my act together, here's the flyer. If you're around Queen Anne on Saturday, May 5, 5pm-7pm, come to her silent auction to raise money for the Breast Cancer 3-Day. I even donated a few photos -- which I could post samples of if I were anywhere near my camera where the pics currently live but I'm not. There are tons more things to bid on than my pictures though, like 100 items of really cool stuff donated by local businesses and artists. You should go.