Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Water for Fun and Profit

Let's get public accountability out of the way. I'm down a total of 8 pounds in 28 days, so I've gone down, up, and down again in the span of time it takes a zombie rage virus to infect Great Britain. The WeightWatchers web site warns me I am losing too quickly and that I should slow down. And to that I wag my finger and say, Don't fence me in.

It rained today and my rain barrel is full. Cause, effect. You could say it runneth over even, right into the overflow hose.

So I find myself in need of things to water. Maybe I should outsource my sweet H20 supply to California. I could auction liter bottles on eBay and ship them via USPS flat rate shipping. Get rich quick scheme, here I come.

My car is in the shop. Apparently Jer was "concerned" about the "noises" it made when "braking." And the "worn tires." I say he's missing the point. My car is aging "gracefully." It has "character." And if I crank the radio loud enough I can't even hear the noises anymore. So, you know, there's that.

I am too busy building my billionaire water baron empire to worry about these pesky details.

Monday, August 30, 2010

For the love of weird

I've been obsessing about weird fiction lately, as well as assorted fiction that I think of as "weird" but may not technically be in the category (according to Wikipedia.)

I'm thinking of Harlan Ellison, Caitlin R. Kiernan (Unfit for Mass Consumption), Thomas Ligotti, Lovecraft... Maybe I mean speculative fiction? I can't keep the labels straight. Then there's Haruki Murakami. What label is he?

If I'd studied English at the university I could probably keep my labels straight.

So what do all these have in common? Unpredictability, a heightened psychological mood, darkness.

This is what I like. I'll be finishing my reread of "Pillars of the Earth" soon, any unpredictably moody and dark suggestions for what I should pick up next?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Infomercials and rain barrels

I'm watching the P90X infomercial. I shouldn't torture myself like this. Did I learn nothing from the Body By Jake Ab Rocker?

We had houseguests over the past week, which while most pleasant, meant I ate a bit more than my points allowed and did not go to the gym. Maybe we'll just pretend for the purposes of the food log that last week never happened.

Next weekend is the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) and another round of visitors -- I'll just have to see if I learned anything and plan ahead. Shortly after that I hop on a plane for a business trip. So there are some challenges coming up...

On the house front, we are now the proud owners of a fully functioning rain barrel, thanks to the houseguests. Yesterday I watered my plants with water from the barrel and it was just as exciting as I knew it would be.

Between the rain barrel, my window herb garden (ignore that I killed everything but the oregano and parsley), and my kitchen compost pail my transition to Seattle hippy stands at 2 of 6 bars.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Parasite Diet

So how's the diet going, I imagine you asking. Confidentially leaning in, reaching out a hand to rest lightly on my arm, eyes filled with concern. Oh yes, I know that look. The look of pity. I suppress the quick answer, HOW DO YOU THINK. And fling myself towards the nearest exit.

Or, you know, I just talk about it like always.

Not good and not exactly. I haven't been to the gym in a week. My sister paid me a surprise visit, and I chose not to be as strict while she was here -- although I did split all my meals in half. However I've had this stomach bug for the last couple of days, so I'm not gaining.

So basically point tracking is a failure, exercise is a failure, but this stomach bug is fantastic!

I have this image of me in the next meeting, asking the leader how to record points for upchucking. Does it go under the Activity Tracker? Or should I just subtract a few points from something I ate earlier. Because it didn't really count, right?


Friday, August 20, 2010

Internet Trapz

Guess who got a computer virus? Awww yeah. Joke's on me for trying to find a recipe for pigeon peas.

Situations like this I am grateful for 2 things:

  1. I married a computer nerd with a lot of patience.
  2. I don't work in desktop support anymore.
It was a good one too. I was fast but it was faster. Before I knew it, it installed a fake security program, disabled all of my executables, and periodically opened a web page to display a rotating cornucopia of adult-themed sites -- well, it tried to. I unplugged it from the internet the moment it got all pop-uppy.

So now we're running the MS Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool on a Friday night, as couples do.

Those pigeon peas better be damned tasty, I tell you what.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Weigh-in update

I'd hoped for a two pound loss and ended up with a 3.4 pound loss, bringing the two week total to 7.8 pounds.

This is about the time I get cocky and eat a cheeseburger. Or six.

Two weeks in

This is going to be another WeightWatchers post.

On this, the first day of week 3, my motivation for a healthy lifestyle is waning. It'll be good to have the weigh in and meeting tonight because I could really use a kick in the pants.

I went to the gym four times in the last week. I usually spend about 30 minutes doing some sort of cardio. Then I switch to the strength training machines and free weights for about 20 minutes. Years ago I worked with a personal trainer so I mostly just repeat the routines he used to put me through. I'm easier on myself though, which is both good and bad. I'm starting this process way out of shape; I expect to build up to former glories in time.

I also had my first challenges this week. I went to a party, where there were lots of finger food options and booze. Over five hours, I kept it to the equivalent of a couple of glasses of red wine and had a few carrots with roasted red pepper spread. And a bite of Jer's cookie.

None of this comes naturally. I can't wait for this to become more of a habit and less of a constant conscious effort...

I'm not looking for rewards or sympathy. I'm just trying to explain what this process is like for me since maybe it will ring true for someone else as well.

Last night I went to happy hour and splurged a little, but was still well under my points for the week. One side effect of this process is I feel guilty about drinking because of the effect it will have on my metabolism, even if I have plenty of points to handle it. Awesome. Booze is one of the areas I need to ease up on the crazy or I *will* crack under the pressure.

I highly recommend this recipe for an Easy Enchilada Casserole. When I made it, I used extra lean ground turkey breast and added some taco seasoning to the meat. The whole site is full of excellent WeightWatcher's friendly recipes and is worth a look.

Two weeks down and I'm hoping for a two pound loss tonight. Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

On the subject of boundaries

The theme that's run through my last entries has been how much do I share. It may be strange bringing this up now since I started online journalling a whole bunch of years ago (RIP Geocities CollegePark), but the question has been implicitly behind every word I've ever written online. So I appreciate reading how other people approach these same boundaries.

I read a great article the other day that touched on this, "Life After Debt: What It's Like in the Third Stage of Personal Finance." Granted, the subject is personal finance and the author uses real numbers. He also has a very vocal audience with strong opinions. Basically he's really putting himself out there.

And after all his disclaimers and explanations, there are still people who just don't get what he's trying to convey, I think, very clearly. People who lash out in the comments about nothing. A long time ago I quit blogging for a year because my own skin wasn't thick enough. The emails people would send me, just horrible stuff. And I wonder what compels me to keep posting words and pictures linked to myself that could linger out there forever? A sickness, maybe?

Anyway, the subject of the article is what I found really interesting. There's so much information now about how to pay down debt and how to live frugally, that nobody really talks about what's next. I love the article because it gives us a glimpse into what it's like to be comfortable. To have planned well and have choices. To show what happens when you finally don't have to live paycheck to paycheck anymore.

Hardly anyone writes about that. Getting out of debt is the sexy stuff, building and maintaining wealth is the boring part -- unattainable until you attain it, and then you're afraid to talk about it because you don't want to rub it in.

I expect I'll never fully work out the balance of private/public. For now I'm just glad all the angry commenters have been drawn to the bigger blogs and have left me my little soapbox in the corner.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The gym part

The best part of working out at the gym is coming home, getting clean, putting on my pajamas, and sitting still. I'm an old fan of self-sabotage, so sometimes I won't let myself go -- just to be contrary -- and the next thing you know I've forgotten this feeling and it's nearly impossible to pick up the habit again.

I don't know why. Easily distracted?

Hey, a cat.

In full disclosure I'm not going every day. I try to keep it at 3 times a week and see how that works out. Just like the WeightWatchers admission in the last entry, I feel weird about being open about it, like putting it in writing will automatically jinx me.

Eh. It's time to try something new since not talking about it didn't work. I like to think success is likelier when you're flexible and persistent. It's also likelier you'll be able to touch your toes if you're flexible and persistent. Just saying. All sorts of applications.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So this is WeightWatchers

Hopefully this post doesn't set me up for failure. But here it is. Best to get it out in the open.

Last week I joined WeightWatchers. Yesterday was my birthday as well as my second meeting, and I'm pleased to report I had a loss of 4.4 pounds. (Thanks to everyone who left comments in the previous post on healthy snacks. Very helpful.)

About six months ago I said to myself, "You have one more chance to get healthy on your own. If it doesn't work, you're doing something drastic." And, well, it didn't work. So here I am. I've never diligently followed a meal plan or a points system. Back when I had the personal trainer I kept a food log on fitday.com, but I was complacent about it. I figured if I exercised I was doing fine.

So this is all new to me. I'm very aware this new habit is fragile like a frightened little bunny. To keep me motivated I set up my camera on a self-timer and tripod for the customary "before" shots -- there's nothing like staring at your un-Photoshopped self to force your delusions firmly back into reality -- and I made those photos the desktop background on my home computer.

It's not all about vanity, it's also about health and the way I feel. (Squishy, by the way, is how I feel.)

And that's it, that's what I'm up to. I go to meetings. I abstract nutritional values into points. And I've admitted I have a problem -- though technically that's not part of this particular program.

Part of my "drastic" approach is public accountability, however this post more than any other makes me feel like I'm oversharing, so let's all just play it cool and see where this adventure takes us. Just one day at a time, Bonnie Franklin, one day at a time.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Requesting your healthy snacks

Technically I'm not asking you to give them to me outright like a snackz begz0r. What I'm looking for are some ideas about midday snacks that are closer to the healthy side of the spectrum than the not-healthy.

I'm over carrot sticks dipped in hummus or smeared with Laughing Cow cheese. My go-to snack is 20 raw almonds or a slice of wheat bread with a tbsp of reduced fat Peanut Butter. Golly that makes me sound old. I might as well tell you I tried prunes once and found them to be delightful, which is to say, I am not a picky eater.

Any creative ideas out there to help keep me out of the cookie jar?