C'est un blague.

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  • Friday, February 29, 2008

    And you thought there were a lotta law student blogs

    and mommy blogs... Let me tell you. There are a lotta lotta wedding blogs out there.

    For the record, this is not one of them.

    (Well, maybe it will walk and talk and smell like one for the next six months, but that's only a temporary hiatus from my usual rational existence.)

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    Happy Leap Day!

    Hope everyone enjoys the February bonus day. I have a coupla friends who were born on February 29th, so here's wishing them a Happy Birthday!


    Thursday, February 28, 2008

    How soon we forget...

    In MD, the bar was Tuesday and yesterday, and depending on where you are, you may still be taking the bar right now.

    I totally forgot that that dratted quizzie was this week until a friend reminded me last night. We both expressed how glad we were to have that misery behind us. For me, I took the bar two years ago. This time in 2006, I was recuperating and quickly forgetting all that I had studied for that two-day brain dump.

    I don't really know anyone who took the bar this week. One former classmate did because she moved and had to take it again (because she hadn't been practicing long enough to waive in). But that's about it.

    Yeah, it's a nice luxury to be able to forget about such things.

    Anyone out there who took it this week -- congrats on getting through it!


    Wednesday, February 27, 2008

    Wedding logo?

    Well, not exactly a logo, but kinda a logo. I developed this to use on the invitations for our actual ceremony -- the August 8th Friday event that only our immediate families will attend, not the Sunday shindig for all of our family and friends.

    We decided to use the infinity sign as a symbol of the wedding and our relationship. Ya' know, an 8 turned on its side?

    Whatcha' think?

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    My eeeeuw moment of the morning

    SM gets up and out earlier than I do. Always. His usual wake-up time is 6:00. He has a leisurely breakfast, walks the dog, reads the paper, showers, etc. and then he's out the door at 8:00. It's relaxing time for him.

    Getting up early is not a problem for SM. He's a morning person. Me? It would kill me. I tend to sleep in until the last possible second. I forgo makeup and opt for a ponytail for the extra two minutes it gives me to sleep. I'm a night person. I would rather stay up until 5:00 am then get up at 5:00 am.

    Today, SM had to be at work a bit early, so he got up at 5:00. Part of his routine is to make the coffee. We now have this awesome coffeemaker that doesn't use a pot on a warmer but rather an urn. This one. It holds the coffee in a warmer and then you serve yourself one mug at a time. The coffee doesn't go stale as quickly. So SM can make a pot for himself when he gets up and then I can have some when I get up, um, a bit later, without making a new pot (with our old coffeemaker, the coffee would have been baked by the time I got up). That's part of our usual routine.

    So, I went to get coffee this morning and saw that the coffeemaker was off. I remembered that SM had gotten up extra early today and figured that it had just switched off. So I did what I sometimes do and poured water into the reserve and turned the coffeemaker on again to brew a bit more coffee using the existing grinds -- and warm what was already in the "pot". Then I poured myself some coffee and added some milk. It wasn't very warm, so I put my mug in the microwave for a few seconds. Then I took it upstairs with me. I had one sip when I remembered that SM told me that he had left the milk for me (because we are low and he wanted to make sure I had enough for my breakfast -- isn't that sweet?). That means that SM didn't have his coffee this morning. That means that he didn't make coffee this morning. That means that the pot in the maker was leftover from yesterday morning.


    I didn't finish my mug.

    I need coffee badly now.

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    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    Just plain dumb

    Or should I say, "Just pretty dumb"?


    These girls allege that they were discriminated against because they are pretty.

    More likely they have bad manners, a huge sense of entitlement (to match their egos) and aren't used to being held accountable for their actions.

    Get over yourselves.

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    Nader is such an ass

    I know this headline is old. I know my sentiment is old too. But the man has an ego that surpasses his credibility.

    I understand the third-party argument. I even, sorta, get his defense about how it wasn't his fault that Bush won Florida, that no one can take away votes, etc. But what I don't get is why he's running again.

    He made his point about airing issues and engendering public dialogue the last go-round. What's to be added this time? And if he really was about running to give his issues/perspective a platform, then why didn't he run his little heart out and then drop out before the general?

    He is only going to spend a ton o' cash and stress, but to what avail? It can't be because he thinks he has a shot at this. He's not going to win. Even that must sink in beyond his ego into his thick skull. I truly believe that his campaign coffers are swelled by Republicans who are just using him to split the vote (but hey, they already got their revenge for Perot's participation when he siphoned off the votes in 2000!).

    Maybe he genuinely believes that there are no differences between the Dem and Repub candidates. Maybe he really does think that. But still, what is his real motivation in running? I think it can only be that he wants the attention.

    And that's all ego. And who wants a(nother) president with an ego bigger than his brain or commitment to public service?

    Nope. Nuh-uh. No way, no how. No Nader.


    The Pudge Report


    Craptastic. I gained back the weight I lost last week. I guess going out to dinner last night, the night before my weigh-in, wasn't such a great idea. Nor was eating out on Sunday, Friday or Thursday.


    I'm back up to -28.5. I've started slacking off. This is not good. And this month will generally be hard because of various birthday celebrations and our trip to Europe.

    But I suppose there will always be those issues, so I need to figure out how to do it Tim Gunn-style, that is, to make this work!

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    Monday, February 25, 2008


    We're now in the long haul stretch of no holidays until summer. Yes, that's right -- no federal holidays until Memorial Day, May 26th. That's 3 whole months of no holidays. From Presidents' Day (mid-February) until Memorial Day (end of May).

    Yes, I am complaining. This time of year is always very tough for me to get through.

    Of course, SM and I are taking off a week in March for a short vacay. That helps. With March. But then there's April. Well, at least the weather is starting to warm up in April. But then there's May. It seems a long way away, May.

    That's because it is.

    From here, it's a long, dark, difficult haul until summer and our next holiday. Ugh.

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    So I think I've decided to donate my hair after the wedding. And yes, I think that may be my annual birthday charity donation.

    It's kind of a cop-out since it really takes no effort whatsoever for me to do this, but then again, a foot of my hair will make quite a difference to someone else. I figure that with the wedding, I just don't want to add the pressure of another event/activity. I'm doing much of the wedding myself, along with family and friends, so one less thing to worry about this year is good.

    Also, while this is admittedly not much, we are also using our wedding as a means for supporting two worthwhile charities (the civil rights organization where I used to work and the animal shelter from which we adopted Gidget). The I Do Foundation is a website that provides all sorts of ways to support charities -- by straight donations, by donations of a percentage of items purchased through the site and when you use their vendors to buys stuff for your wedding (such as invitations or favors). The catch is that any purchases have to go through this portal, which is simple enough. With everyone using online registries, this is a no-brainer for most people. Indeed, I wonder if anyone will go to a store to shop off of our registry? I somehow doubt it.

    Anyway, I definitely think this site and others like it are a great way to make the massive spending involved in weddings go further than just that particular day/event.

    And if anyone is wondering, we definitely discussed whether or not to register. We really don't need much, and the stuff we do need -- driveway? new gutters? front storm door? -- you can't put on a registry. We decided, however, that people are going to want to give us gifts, no matter what, so it's best to provide guidance rather than end up with more crap that we don't want and can't return. Oh, we know we'll still get that crap, but this way, we can minimize it, hopefully. And we also figure that there are people invited to this wedding who would not feel comfortable giving us cash (our preference) but who will want to buy something, so this is the best solution.

    So far, we've registered for such sexy items as an intercom system, a snow thrower, a leaf blower, a safe, a Wii (actually, that is pretty sexy), some knives and a mixer. Since we already have more than a household full of stuff, we need to figure out what we actually do need or want to upgrade. I'm guessing I'll register for a nice duvet and sheets (because I would never spend a lot of money on something like that, but it does make a good wedding gift) and maybe silver (because when else would I buy that?). What I'd really like to get is a subscription to a cleaning service for a year and 10 hours of a handyperson to fix things around the house.

    Anyone know where I can register for those services or get a gift certificate?

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    Monday morning haiku

    It must be Monday.
    This morning, my mind is blank.
    Yeah, I got nothing.


    Here's our invitation...

    From a do-it-yourself packet I bought at the store. Purple text printed on vellum, ribbon-tied to handmade (not by me) paper.

    I really like it, although it will be pretty labor-intensive for me to put them all together.

    Whatcha' think?

    You may notice the non-traditional wording of the invitation. We are assiduously attempting to avoid the word "marriage" (as well as all the patriarchal crap). We don't like how it's been co-opted by the religious right -- nor will we have any religion in actual ceremony -- so it makes sense not to use the M-word. Wedding, yes. Husband/wife, yes. Hitched, tied the knot, unionized -- all yes. Not the M-word. We're both very pleased with the tone this conveys. And I think the wording really captures the essence of "us".

    I'm also doing the "save the date" postcards myself... and, well, pretty much everything. Today, we went to the mall and took six sets of pictures in the photo booth -- you know, the things you went to in high school to take silly snapshots with your friends? We had so much fun taking all these pix, one of which will be our official "engagement photo" (which will probably make my mother roll her eyes and cringe). Here's the strip I photoshopped together to use for the save the date cards.

    I have to admit -- it's been fun doing all of this.


    Sunday, February 24, 2008


    All the major acting Academy Awards -- lead and supporting -- went to non-Americans.

    Just an observation.

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    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    What's it gonna be?

    Another year, another birthday... and another donation.

    Yup, I need to come up with an idea of a donation to celebrate another good year for me. Longer-term readers know that I celebrate my birthday every year by making a concerted effort to support a charity -- not with money but with something that takes me effort. I've donated several feet of hair, organized cell phone drives for domestic violence resource centers, collected clothes for women transitioning back to work, raised money for an AIDS walk (and walked it) and become an adult literacy tutor.

    This year, I thought I might participate in a local school clean-up. DC really needs all the help it can get to get its schools into reasonable condition. I need to see if there's something like that going on.

    In the alternative, I may donate my hair again, after the wedding. Yup, it's that long again. Mid-back. I guess I'm lucky that it grows so quickly. I can certainly afford to share the luck of my genes. If I do, it would be the third charity chop. So far, I've probably donated about 27 inches of hair (first time was about 15 inches, and the second time was about 12). This time, however, I might go for a short do. Previous cuts have left me with shoulder-length hair, but maybe a short bob this time? That would allow me to donate at least a foot to 15 inches.

    Anyone else have any suggestions for the annual birthday donation? I'm always looking for creative ideas!

    And, BTW, this year is the big 4-0. Gonna say "good-bye" to my 30s in about two weeks. Oh my!

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    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    I wonder

    if all this coughing counts as exercise for my abs? Sure feels like it.

    I ended up taking the day off work. Actually, I went in this morning, and the commute wore me out. I got to the office and was exhausted. The cold air and the walk to the metro really took its toll on me. I basically stayed at work long enough to check my email, cough at various co-workers and get a leave slip signed to get outta there. I left before some officemates even arrived. I came home and have done nothing all day.

    That's what sick days are for.


    The Pudge Report


    Back on track, but not taking it for granted. I'm down 30.5 pounds this morning. YAY! I finally broke that gosh darned thirty mark!!!

    I think that last week's weigh-in was an anomaly due to my period (water retention, etc.), especially since I took off so many pounds this week.

    And since SM is out of town, I'm 100% on pooch-walking duty, so that's a little more exercise than usual. Let's face it, I only exercise when forced to. Sad, eh?

    I may not make 40 by 40, but that's okay. I'm well on my way. I still want to lose another 15#s by the wedding in August, and that's totally do-able.


    Monday, February 18, 2008

    Gidget has figured us out.

    Over the past few days or so, Gidget has stopped following us/me from room to room. It used to be that she had to be in the same room as one of us. Now, not so much.

    Either her separation anxiety is finally easing up, and she's more secure that we won't leave her... or else she's finally figured out that we're so boring that it's not worth the effort to get up off of the sofa to follow us anywhere.

    I tend to think the latter. But I hope it's the former, too.


    Monday morning haiku -- the "it's so late that it doesn't even count" version

    A box of tissues.
    Multi-symptom cold tablets.
    And my nose still runs.

    As well as alternately being congested such that I can only breathe out of my mouth. The headaches are largely gone, but I still feel like my sinuses have a zip code of their own. My lips are chapped, and my nose is past raw from the tissues and to the point of chafed and cracking. My throat hurts from many violent sneezes, and I seem to have developed a chest cough.

    Sounds pleasant, eh?

    Thing is, this is better than yesterday. Ooof.

    Poooooooooooooor me.

    And this afternoon, SM took off on a work trip to "the district" for several days, so I'm on my own. It's always much nicer to have him around; he's a comforting presence, especially when I'm in a whiny mood.


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    Internet information

    I'm still sick, so I haven't done much all day. I took the dog for a walk, but that's about it.

    What does one do when she is sick and stuck at home, despite the gorgeous weather? Well, watch bad TV of course, and play online.

    I can find almost anything online. Out of boredom, I went looking. And I found out that a number of B-list celebrities need to do a better job protecting their privacy online -- meaning that I was able to find a number of home addresses, phone numbers and other personal contact info for them. Not the really big celebrities, but the ones who have faded from the limelight or who never really made it past minor roles or reality TV.

    It was tempting to dial one of those numbers just to see what would happen. But I didn't. Maybe I should, just to let him/her know that his/her home phone is available to any idiot stalker fan bored blogger like me.

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    Sunday, February 17, 2008


    When I first saw an ad for the new Knight Rider, my reaction was, and I quote, "Why?!? Why?!? Why?!?"

    And I'm stickin' to it. Even if the new K.I.T.T. is a Mustang.


    For the record

    I hereby assert that there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing the same clothes, not showering or even brushing your hair for an entire weekend when you're sick.

    I'm jest sayin'.


    Saturday, February 16, 2008

    I'm sick. Therefore, I meme.

    Why is it that I am developing this habit of getting sick over long weekends? This time, it's a headcold with sinus puffiness and achy muscles. No stomach eruptions. Thank gawd.

    And so rather than subject everyone to my whining because I am getting sick, I'll meme. This one courtesy Harmless Error.

    Here goes...

    The Rules: Pick one past posting about each of the following:

    Something you love.
    Something you choose.

    1. Family: Well, I could kvetch about what a pain my grandmother can be or why I am concerned that my future in-laws are treating SM unfairly... or I could remind everyone what a fantastic little nephew I have. He's always the light of every gathering, and his antics are so amusing. Stay tuned for another dozen or so years to see if this is just a fad or who he really is inside.

    2. Friends: This post is about friends in a peripheral way. My friends have helped me to amass this collection. And frankly, I consider these faces to be my friends. I could post about book club or other friends, but there aren't any pretty pictures to look at. So you get masks instead.

    3. Me: My vanity in being the only person in the world with my name was toppled with a recent google search that found another (but I'm the original!). But really, I should post about how I've lost basically 30 lbs. since the end of September. 'Cuz that's pretty darn cool.

    4. Something I love: So many choices. You pick (sorry, had to break the rules 'cuz I couldn't stick to just one).

    5. By Choice: Any edition of the Monday morning haiku. Because, as much as it's a Monday morning monkey on my back, they've been fun to write.

    I chose not to tag for this meme. I don't want to spread my germs. However, feel free to snag, absent the tag.

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    Dress fitting

    Went over to the seamstress's place today to try on the muslin version of the wedding dress. She did a good job translating what I wanted/described into fabric. No pattern. Just pictures, drawings and descriptions.

    And I am thrilled to say that the dress looks as good as I had hoped it would. There was no way to know if the image in my head was going to work on my body. But it did. And that's really exciting.


    This is going to be very special.


    Friday, February 15, 2008


    The metro near where I live has the longest single track escalator in this hemisphere. My nearly only exercise everyday is walking up and down it. At first, the hike used to wind me, but as I've lost weight and gotten used to the climb, it's not too bad anymore, even in heels. (Read here for one WP writer's account of tackling various metro escalators, including my hometown behemoth.)

    But yesterday, one of the three escalators was being worked on, one was halted (as in, it was stairs), and the third was working just fine.

    Now, you would think that anyone in their right mind, in that situation, would decide to halt the DOWN escalator to use as stairs and leave the UP escalator running.

    Um, no. Not our metro workers.

    So as we all got off the metro and headed for the escalators, there was this massive logjam as people were confronted with the reality of having to hike up the stairs. The station is 196 feet underground, and the escalator itself is 508 feet long. Most people pulled to an abrupt stop, stood there for a few seconds and then turned to go to the elevator.

    Like I said, logjam.

    Well, SM and I decided to hike it. We always walk it when it's running. A typical hike up the escalator is about 100-107 steps, depending on how fast you're going (the faster you walk, the more stairs you climb because you're doing the work, not the escalator).

    Well, when it's not moving, it's 174 serious steps. Phew.

    And we made it without stopping. Thank goodness I was not wearing heels. I definitely would not have made it. By the top, both of us were winded, and the back of our throats hurt from breathing the coldish air.

    If you want to see what it's like to just ride the escalator, see below (not a very exciting video, but it shows you just how long this sucker is).

    If it's out again tonight, I don't know what I'll do 'cuz I'm wearing heels. Ooof.

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    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    Wedding planning update

    Well, it looks like we have our final list of folks to invite. I'm really, really hoping that some of my cousins who are getting the obligatory invitations don't bother to make the trip. Please don't! I need our "guestimate" of "yeses" to be accurate. Or else we're squished.

    I've also chosen and started to print the invitations. They aren't the ones I posted about, but a do-it-yourself kit bought at the store.

    I have to say, they're really lovely.

    Of course, they will be a lot of work to put together. They consist of a piece of handmade paper with purple petals in it, an overlay of vellum (on which we're printing in purple) and a ribbon to keep them together. We actually bought a color laserjet printer for the invitations. We figured it would be cheaper to buy the printer than to pay for them to be printed (even online).

    The biggest news though is that the person we asked to be the officiant has agreed. That means we are definitely getting hitched in DC. Because the man who will be dishing out our "I dos" is a member of Congress. And we have to work with his schedule.

    Definitely much more fitting for us to be hitched by a member of Congress than a member of the clergy. A judge or justice of the peace would have been good, too.

    And, I go for my first fitting on Saturday. I have been trying to find the right bra to wear -- one that fits, sucks in my gut but doesn't have straps that will be visible -- and let me tell you, it's a nightmare. NIGHTMARE. Little boobs definitely have their advantages. I wouldn't have to worry about this if I were a little boobed gal. But I'm not.

    Oh well.

    Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!


    We now return to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress...

    That's how I feel. Like I've been on lifeus interruptus for the past week. Ya' see, I had a reply brief due today. I submitted it about an hour ago, so now I'm having lunch. Yay.

    So, back to my regularly-scheduled life. Whatever that is.


    Wednesday, February 13, 2008


    Hey all you wanna-be writers, here's a challenge for ya'. Feed the world 20 grains of rice at a time, test your vocabulary and waste as much time at work as you want.

    Let me warn you: it's pretty tough... and addicting.

    Go for it!

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    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    The Pudge Report


    Meh. Gained a pound and a half this week. First time I've done that on this diet. I'm at -27 now.

    I admit that I've been bad lately. The trip to LA, goodies brought back from LA, generally not adhering to the regime. No exercise. Bad.

    I have no excuse.

    Worst of all, I have a fitting for my dress on Saturday. Instead of losing weight since the seamstress took my measurements, I've gained (only a little, but still).

    I used to be serious about this weight-loss thing. Seems I have lost my focus. Time to find it again.

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    Monday, February 11, 2008

    Oh yea and...

    My re-tests came back normal. It was just a screw-up with the first test.



    Cheapeake primaries tomorrow

    For the first time in a long time (ever?), the voters in MD, DC and VA will actually make a difference in the primaries.

    VOTE, people, VOTE!

    UPDATE: BTW, my predictions for tomorrow -- Clinton will take MD, but Obama will take DC. I think he'll take VA, too, but by less of a margin than he wins DC.

    We'll see.

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    Monday morning haiku (the "I just got around to posting it" edition)

    LA is sunshine.
    DC means work and no play.
    Cold reality.

    Literally. I was in LA for the weekend. It was something like 80 degrees. OMIGAWD. People were walking around in shorts (which just seems wrong in February) and little tops. I was overdressed in a cotton shirt and jeans.

    But it’s a good thing that cotton shirt had long sleeves because when I landed back in DC last night, it was 20 degrees out.


    Talk about cold reality smashing you in the face.

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    Thursday, February 07, 2008

    Happy New Year!

    Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year.

    Just as Zuska celebrates the winter solstice instead of other winter holidays, I send out New Year's cards (either January 1st or the Lunar New Year, depending on how well I get my act in gear) instead of other winter holiday cards.

    So, peace, prosperity and good health in this auspicious year of the Rat!

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    Romney suspends presidential campaign.

    Maybe I shouldn't be shocked, but I am. I thought he'd gut it out until the bitter end.

    I guess this is his bitter end.


    Trainwreck TV

    I admit, with the writers' strike, I am watching more reality TV. Some of it is really trainwreck TV... the stuff you watch because it's sensationalistic and, for that reason, riveting -- but not really good programming. In fact, it's pretty bad programming.

    Shows that fall into that category: My Fair Brady and Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant.

    Okay, I am not proud to admit this, but I have been known to watch those shows -- because I was a huge, HUGE fan of the Brady Bunch and Happy Days in my youth -- but I can't say that they are very good. Can you say schadenfreude? Trainwreck TV.

    I also watch Project Runway and The Biggest Loser. If there is a quality hierarchy in reality TV, these shows are definitely one or more notches above the other two, which can only be described as tabloid television. At least PR and TBL are somewhat constructive. And I really think PR is pretty good stuff.

    This is what it's come to... yup.

    Anyway, for the record, I can't not say this -- on TBL, Mark is a complete ass. But he plays the game well and may win. But there is not a more obnoxious jerk on television.

    And on PR, I think Christian, Jillian and ... Chris? Maybe Rami? will make it to the final three. I hope that it's not Rami because he seems to have only one look. Plus, he's snotty and is already somewhat established in the business with his own boutique. That's why Christian, who is whiny and immature, should be in the final three. He's just starting out, and he's one of the most talented designers on the show.

    You would think that I have other things to think about, wouldn't you? You would think, but no. Hmmm.


    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    Random other tidbits

    1. I got jabbed again for blood this morning. No call as of yet from the doctor telling me I have some mortal disease. Fingers crossed that it's just the result of a viral infection.

    2. Bought a bunch of Old Navy pants and skirts online (uber cheap!) in a size 8. They all fit fine. The skirts may even be a tad large. Yippee! (Okay, I know that Old Navy engages in vanity-sizing, but I'm ignoring that fact right now... let me live my life of delusion for just another day.)

    3. Super Tuesday. Wow, already? I support Hillary Clinton. I have my reasons. It will be interesting to see the outcome of today's voting...

    4. I'm going to LA this weekend, but not for the ABA meeting. Too bad.

    That's my random other tidbits. For now.

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    The Pudge Report


    Stasis, baby. No gain, no loss. Same -28.5 lbs. as before, which considering how piggy I was last week (um, can you say "apple pie for dinner"?), is just fine with me.

    Or else, I may have plateaued, which means I have to start exercising. Bleh.

    And just what is this "diet"? A reader commented the other day, asking about my diet -- what I was doing, etc. -- and I promised to post about it. So here goes.

    I started out on Nutrisystem on September 24, 2007. Both SM and I have found it to be highly effective. But it is expensive (almost $300/month). Nevertheless, I think the general eating regime imposed by this diet has caused me to change some of my eating habits, which, in and of itself, has been worth the money.

    My observations of why this diet has worked for me...

    First, it is structured, and it imposed structure on my eating. My eating habits had been haphazard, sloppy and just not good. I would eat what I wanted when I wanted, skipping meals often but also binging (but not purging) whenever I was stressed. This diet laid out a timetable of when to eat -- breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. I never used to eat breakfast, and in the beginning, it was tough to eat first thing in the morning. However, I learned that breakfast jump-starts your metabolism so you start burning calories earlier in the day. Now I always eat breakfast, and I think this has been key to my weight loss. Additionally, by keeping to the eating timetable prescribed by the diet, I never get really hungry and I keep my metabolism working at a higher rate all day. I burn more calories than I used to, without upping my exercise level.

    Second, the diet taught me was a serving size truly is. I have to say that both SM and I were shocked at how small a serving size is according to conventional standards. And the diet's serving size is an actual one, as opposed to the heaping mounds that both SM and I used to eat for dinner. The diet readjusted my expectation of what I should eat for a meal. So now, instead of two large plates full of Chinese food, I eat about half of one. I can't even imagine the calorie differential there. But the diet did show me that I was eating excessively.

    Related to that is the restriction on calories that is inherent in any diet. My plan on NS is limited to something like 1200 calories a day (I think SM gets 1600). At first, that was hard to adhere to because I was used to eating so much more, but I quickly got used to the lower intake. And my body got used to it to, so as long as I keep eating throughout the day, per the diet, I don't feel like I'm not getting enough. And 1200 calories is something like 400 calories/day fewer than I need to maintain a sedentary lifestyle, so it was easy for me to drop the pounds.

    Third, the diet requires "add-ons" -- that is, NS sends prepared food, but you have to add fruits, vegetables and dairy to it. By following the NS requirements, both SM and I changed our previously produce-free diets to ones chock full of greens and other good stuff. We have totally changed our eating habits to include fresh fruits and veggies. We are eating so much more healthy now than ever in our lives, and I am sure the health benefit is enormous. That alone has made this diet worthwhile. Also, most salad items are "free" on the NS diet, which means you can eat as much as you want (which helps when you're hungry!), so I now have a mondo big salad for lunch everyday. Before, I would eat salad, but now I'm eating it twice a day. That's because NS required it. But now it's a habit.

    Fourth, the diet requires us to drink lots of water. Eight 8 oz. glasses a day. I admit, however, that I maintained that level in the beginning, but now I don't. I should though, because the water intake flushes your system such that your body is less inclined to retain water. And I've heard that drinking more water revs your metabolim, too. Also, all the trips to the bathroom is extra exercise!!!

    Fifth, this diet is incredibly convenient with all of the prepared, portion-controlled entrees, so all those excuses I used to have about why I fell off a particular diet (didn't have time to cook, got home late, etc.) don't work anymore. It's very easy to grab one of the prepared meals and go with the most minimal of planning. For example, dinner entrees take only 1 and half minutes in the microwave. How easy is that? In the early stages of the diet, this helped a lot. It really took a minimum of effort to stay with the program, and fewer chances to fail certainly reduces the probability that I will.

    Sixth, the food isn't bad -- once you figure out what you like. And you are also given snacks and desserts, so you don't feel deprived (and deprivation is what often lead to major departures from previous diets). The desserts aren't as good as "the real stuff", but they are pretty darn good. And guilt-free. Also, being on the diet has generally reduced my craving for other stuff. I went for months and months and months without any chocolate, and I didn't miss it a bit. Then, when I had some, it was too rich to eat much. Easy calorie control there, when your stomach says, "Um, no."

    Seventh, this diet is not absolutist. It recognizes that folks will slip up and fall off the wagon once in a while. The overall goal is to remember that one episode of falling of the wagon should not lead you to get stuck in a rut. It's okay to eat out every once in a while, just make good, healthy choices. Also, if you do mess up, don't use that as an excuse to throw in the towel and claim failure. Get back on it the next day. So, I do eat out once in a while, and I do go back on the diet afterwards. And that works well. Absolutist approaches are tough to live up to, so this approach is very helpful.

    Finally, this diet comes with a support system through its website, the chatrooms and the advice contained therein. Some people need it and use it; others never venture there. However, the info on the website is very helpful -- like recipes to use the NS food to make something yummy and different while still staying in the basic dietary guidelines.

    All in all, I found NS to be a great way for me to change my dietary habits with minimal pain. I needed something to really kick my butt into eating right, and this worked for me.

    That being said, now that I've been doing it for a while, I KNOW that I could replicate the diet without the monthly food subscription. I KNOW how to eat right now, and I KNOW I will be able to maintain these habits sans NS. The initial kick to get me on the right track has been totally worth it, but if you don't have the cash to pay for the diet, it's still possible to do it yourself by eating a small breakfast (I usually have one cup of non-sugar cereal with 1/3 cup skim milk, 8 oz. fat-free, sugar-free yogurt and some fruit), a snack (another yogurt or fruit or a cheesestick), a reasonable lunch (like a salad without dressing, mayo or cheese) and a reasonable dinner (like grilled chicken or fish with veggies). And drinking lots of water. And not getting caught up in your failures, but rather celebrating your successes. Those are my lessons learned, so when I decide not to get the food anymore, I will be able to continue to eat as if I were still on it.

    Of course, I'm also supposed to be exercising, but we all know that I haven't been doing that. How much weight could I have lost if I had???

    So, even if you don't plan on buying Nutrisystem, the basics on which the diet is premised apply. Eat breakfast always. Eat throughout they day. Portion control. Balanced eating (protein and carbs) with lots of produce in there. Drink water. Don't beat yourself up over small (or even large) deviations. Watch where you take in "hidden" calories (e.g., soda and dressings). Exercise. I figure that the $$ I pay for the food is a convenience tax, and being the lazy soul that I am, I needed it.

    Wow, that was quite the treatise. Apologies if that sounded like a sermon or a commercial for NS. I believe in the program, but I also know that the most important element to it was my changing my eating habits, rather than seeing it as a "diet" per se.

    Hopefully, next week's weigh-in will show progress commenserate with my enthusiasm for the program. Still, I'm pretty darn proud of -28.5.

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    Monday, February 04, 2008

    That's what I get for going to the doctor!

    I get a call from her, telling me that my blood work was abnormal. And she wants me to get more tests immediately. Tomorrow morning at the latest.

    Okay, tomorrow morning it is.

    Seems I have a low platelet count. "Normal" is about 150. Me? 36. Um, yeah, that's pretty low.

    I asked her what the implications of this count are and what might explain it -- and her answer included malaises ranging from leukemia (yikes, scary!) to a viral infection (not scary) to a mistake in the test (just plain annoying).

    I'll take the mistake option, thank you.

    Actually, I'm not at all worried, but SM is completely freaking out. I figure, why worry until there is something concrete, rather than imagined, to worry about. SM, of course, googled it and came away with all sorts of scary and incomplete information.

    See? That's what I get for going to the doctor! I feel fine and perfectly healthy... until the doctor told me (potentially) otherwise.

    Clearly, doctors make you sick. Better not to go. (KIDDING)

    I'm such a guy that way.

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    Monday morning haiku

    A Giant upset.
    New England, very upset.
    All Beantown wears black.


    Sunday, February 03, 2008

    Huge upset!

    Yeah, I'm not talking about the Patriots losing the Super Bowl. I'm referring to SM's mood in the aftermath of the game.

    We are not happy in the SS/SM/Gidget household.



    For the record

    I'm feeling pudgy this week. I think when I step on the scale on Tuesday, it's gonna be bad news... upward bound news.


    Think I'll take the dog for a walk.

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    It goes without saying

    but in case I have to say it...


    Saturday, February 02, 2008

    Saving Fish from Drowning

    I finished Amy Tan's most recent (I can't say "new" because I think it's been out for quite a while now) book, Saving Fish From Drowning a few weeks ago.

    Told from the perspective of a ghost, it's a contemporary adventure, mystery, political novel... while actually truly being none of the above. What I mean is that the story incorporates elements of an adventure tale; the book is somewhat structured around a mystery (although not really), and you can't miss the political/cultural... well, not message, but attempt at education. At the same time, none of these are really the style or structure of the book.

    It's just eminently readable and interesting, even if I could not for the life of me keep many of the characters straight. While I have found some of Tan's books to be a bit trite, this one was fresh. I think I enjoy her contemporary stories -- that is, the ones that don't rely on the ancient traditions behind and personal histories of her characters but rather focus on and follow their lives as they are living it (not through flashbacks) -- more.

    So that's a recommendation for Saving Fish from Drowning from me.

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    Friday, February 01, 2008

    First time ever

    I've been a registered voter since I turned 18. More than 21 years.

    I've also been a registered independent that entire time (although I have always caucused with the dems).

    Well, today, I got a new driver's license, and when I went to the MVA, I updated my voter registration (which was still in DC).

    I registered as a democrat.

    In MD and DC, the local elections are determined by the primary. Whoever wins the democratic primary tends to win the whole shebang. So rather than be marginalized as an independent, unaffiliated voter (because both DC and MD have closed primaries), I wanted to exercise my vote by helping to decide who would be the nominee for the big race. So, now, I am officially a democrat.

    But, sadly, too late to vote in the primaries this month.

    Oh well.


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