C'est un blague.

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  • Tuesday, April 29, 2008


    The REI registry is still not online, and I don't think it will be. I'm pissed. We'll have to go back and re-do it all. Poop.

    But, the new invitation kits came in the mail today, and they are exactly what I wanted and match perfectly.

    So, all in all, I'm a happy girl.


    The Pudge Report

    Thankfully, my weight is headed back in the right direction this week (despite last night's chocolate pig out!). I'm now 16.5 TG, which is down a pound from last week. Still not below my lowest low (which was something like 14.5 TG, but, hey, it's progress).

    In other news, SM and I are working on wedding stuff. I had a fitting this past weekend, and the dress looks lovely. I wish I were thinner, but whatever. The shoes I had bought online go perfectly with the dress, despite my buying them completely separately. I had to get the shoes because the style is called "Infinity", which goes with our 08.08.08 infinity theme (ours, along with ever other couple getting hitched that day). But they do match perfectly, so I'm thrilled. And they are the right level of strappy, cute, summery, dressy shoe for the occasion. Yay.

    We also went to REI to work on our registry (one of many of our online registries). We wanted to go around the store to find stuff because you just can't do a registry without looking at and handling things. Well, I suppose you can, but it's less fun. So we went around with the zapper thingee (a scanner with enters the barcode of the merchandise into its memory, which can then be uploaded to the online registry). We spent about two hours wandering around the store, trying things on and zapping them into the do-hickey. It was a satisfying jaunt through the merchandise.

    Until we went to have our items uploaded to our registry.

    The do-hickey wouldn't connect, so they couldn't add our items. In fact, we left the store without knowing if our two hours were in vain. Even now, two days later, the items aren't up on the online registry, which has me nervous. I don't want to have to go back and do that all over again. What a pain. Grrr.

    The other issue that came up was about our invitations. I'm a DIY kinda gal, and I'm doing the invitations myself at home with a kit. I did the first box of invitations (50), almost all of which went to our families, and was going to start on the second box. When I went to open it, I noticed that they didn't match the first box. The SKU/item numbers were the same, but the invitations were distinctly different. So SM and I drove all over our neighborhood to three different Staples/Office Depot stores to find matching invitations. To no avail. They only had the second version, which is a light purple and more brown than the ones I chose. I was really actually pretty distraught. I wanted the ones I had chosen. Fortunately, I think I found the right ones online (not from the manufacturer, however -- they only had the other version), and I ordered them. We'll see what they look like when they arrive. And then SM also found a few boxes at a different Staples a few miles away. These are purportedly the same as the ones I chose, but in reality, the color is very different. But they are purple (just more of a blue purple than what I chose) rather than the imposters I had (which were more brown than purple). All of this is to say that I have a few options. The second and third batches of invitations won't be as pretty as the first -- because none of them match the first box -- but they'll do. I'm less distraught now, although I wish they all matched perfectly.

    And last but not least, I did meet with my stepmother and stepsister about organizing the reception. My stepsister, S, is designing the reception decorations. We discussed all sorts of options, and to be honest, she is much pickier about this than I am. I gave her some feedback but generally said to do whatever she wanted, within the budgetary constraints. I have started ordering favors for the reception, though, and boy is that fun! It's all going to add up to more than I could have expected though because little unanticipated expenses are popping up.... like chair covers. Apparently the chairs at the club are just hideous, so we need to rent chair covers. Ditto the silverware. Okay. I figure it's better to just drop the cash now and not worry about it. I'd rather have little niceties like that than notice how ugly the chairs are ('cuz you know I'd notice). So, we're working on the little things.

    The big things are still up in the air... like the cake, the DJ and what I'm going to wear for the reception (as opposed to the ceremony). D'oh! I had better get on it!

    Maybe the running around will help the weight to continue going in the right direction (that is, down!). But then again, cake tastings? I guess we'll see.

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    Monday, April 28, 2008

    Monday morning haiku

    Ahh, spring has arrived!
    See all the vivid colors...
    on the umbrellas.


    Friday, April 25, 2008

    And the verdict is?

    Yes, I did need to be admitted pro hac vice for today's appearance.

    Otherwise the hearing went just fine, although I did keep making a number of newbie mistakes. Fortunately, the judge cut me slack, and there was no opposing counsel.


    Thursday, April 24, 2008

    The itchy and scratchy show.

    Ugh. Allergies. Tree pollen. The car was yellow with pollen this morning. Nasty. It's driving me nutz.

    And in other news, I have my first hearing tomorrow, assuming the claimant shows up. It's not a real court hearing, but an administrative one. Kinda like a practice hearing or a hearing with training wheels. I can't even say that I'm in court tomorrow 'cuz that's not the case. But I am playing lawyer, even though I don't have to be one to present my case. But since I am, I did have to file a notice of appearance.

    The bigger question that I spent much time trying to get a concrete answer for was whether I needed to file a petition for admission pro hac vice because I am not a member of the DC bar. If an attorney is not a member of the DC bar, the circumstances under which s/he can appear in DC courts are proscribed by the rules on the unauthorized practice of law. While this is only an admin hearing, the hearing office follows the rules of the DC court.

    So what does that mean? Well, there are a number of exceptions that allow non-DC barred attorneys to practice in DC. And I do fit under the major exception -- an attorney working for the federal government and practicing on behalf of an agency.

    So you would think it would be clear that I am okay. I won't be violating the rules, so I don't need to file pro hac vice, right? You would think.

    Even though I clearly fall under an exception such that my appearance would not be a violation of the rules, there is still no explicit guidance whether an attorney who is covered by an exception must still file pro hac vice as a practical procedural matter. So even though I know I am not running afoul of the rules such that I, as an attorney, could get in trouble for the unauthorized practice of law, I don't know if the hearing office still requires a temporary admission to appear. The forms as written do not address my circumstances, so that makes me think that I don't need to file. On the other hand, the clerk at the hearing office says that I must file pro hac vice because all out-of-state attorneys must do so... but then again, it's clear that he doesn't understand the nuance of my situation. And he told me to read the DC rules. Which takes me back to the exception (which says I'm okay) but still provides no guidance for the actual court procedures.


    So, I called two lawyers who deal with issues of unauthorized practice in DC (they are on the committee), and both agreed that I was okay and clearly fell under the exception. The second lawyer worked for DOJ, and she agreed that, not only wouldn't I be in violation, but also that I didn't need to file pro hac vice. Her reasoning was that attorneys at the US Attorney's office appear in DC courts all of the time without filing pro hac vice, and not all of them are members of the DC bar. So I should be okay too. And even if it is a problem, I made good faith efforts to resolve them properly.

    All this for a friggin' administrative hearing. Sheesh.

    So that's where I am. Not filing it but appearing. We'll see how it goes. Tomorrow morning.

    Do you think scratching my eyes out from these allergies will detract from my presentation and case?


    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Ouch. Nothing like admitting you're an idiot before the bench.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, no less.

    Check this out. Here's the really fun part, IMHO:

    Judge: What do you do about Morgan**?
    Phipps: I don’t, I don’t, I don’t know Morgan, Your Honor.
    Judge: You don’t know Morgan?
    Phipps: Nope.
    Judge: You haven’t read it?
    Phipps: I try not to read that many cases, your Honor. Ricks is the only one I read. Oh, Ledbetter, I read Ledbetter, and I read that one that they brought up last night. I don’t know if that’s not Ledbetter, I can’t remember the name of it. Ricks is the one that I go by; it’s my North star. Either it applies or it doesn’t apply. I don’t think it applies.
    Judge: I must say, Morgan is a case that is directly relevant to this case. And for you representing the Plaintiff to get up here—it’s a Supreme Court case—and say you haven’t read it. Where did they teach you that?
    Phipps: They didn’t teach me much, Your Honor.
    Judge: At Tulane, is it?
    Phipps: Loyola.
    Judge: Okay. Well, I must say, that may be an all time first.
    Phipps: That’s why I wore a suit today, Your Honor.

    My fave quote? That's why I wore a suit today, Your Honor.


    Glad he's not a GULC grad (we've had enough to deal with because of Jack Abramoff...)

    **I have not read the opinion and don't know what the case is about, but based on just this snippet, I can get it was an employment discrimination case. And I'm not even wearing a suit today!

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    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    The Pudge Report

    Hell, I gained a half a pound this past week. I blame traveling and birthdays, but the reality is that I haven't been with the program.

    Officially, I'm 17.5 TG.



    Monday, April 21, 2008

    A new spin on an old scam.

    This email:
    From: John Cole
    To: She says
    Subject: A WILL
    Date: April 21, 2008 8:12:30 AM EDT


    Please, kindly take your time to understand the content of this email.

    I wish to introduce you to a project that would be of immense benefit to both of us. Being an executor of wills, it is possible that we may be tempted to make fortune out of our client's situations, when we cannot help it, or left with no
    better option.

    The issue I am presenting to you is a case of my client who willed a fortune to his next-of-kin. It was most unfortunate that he and his next-of-kin died on the same day in an auto-crash. I am now faced with indecision about who to pass the fortune to. According to the English law, the fortune is supposed to be queathed to the government.

    However, I don't belong to that school of thought which proposes that the fortune of unlucky people be given to the government. I therefore seek for your assistance in presenting you as next of Kin to the deceased being that you share
    the same last name with the deceased.

    Please give your response to this email via return email. I will reveal other details upon your response to this email and as soon as we establish correspondance.

    Reward is negotiable.

    Yours in Service
    JOHN COLE Esq.
    Financial Attorney
    I give them points for creativity but not selectivity of their recipients. Not so smart sending it to a real lawyer. I am actually tempted to respond just to see what happens next.


    Lightning Strikes Two Planes Near BWI, Dulles Airports

    Yeah, comparatively my flight back from SFO to Dulles yesterday was pretty uneventful.

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    Monday morning haiku

    What the heck was that?

    Ouch! New pain, spasms. In my back?

    Officially old.

    I've never had back pains and spasm before. This, combined with the news that I have borderline high cholesterol makes me feel officially old.


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    I need this... ya' think?


    Saturday, April 19, 2008

    Quote of the day

    This totally cracked me up...

    Said by a guest at the board meeting to me: “You’re like me. You don’t care who likes you or not.”




    Omigawd, I am so tired. I'm tired in San Francisco. For a board meeting.

    And the weather here is so much colder than in DC.

    But then again, I'm inside. All day. So I guess it doesn't make any difference.

    (cranky, cranky, cranky me...)

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    Wednesday, April 16, 2008


    Today is one of those days when I find absolutely everything annoying. Even the things which usually don't annoy me are. And especially things things and people that are generally annoying are even more so. I'm grouchy that way today.

    Today is one of those days when I wish I had a different work situation or a winning lottery ticket or the confidence and irresponsibility to just chuck it and pursue my creativity as a vocation.

    Today is one of those days when I wish it were Friday. Except that I don't because this Friday I am flying out to the left coast for a meeting which will suck up my entire weekend and leave me drained of energy and without a counterveiling feeling of productivity. Usually, Friday brings a glimmer of hope of a reprieve from the tedium of the workweek. Sadly, the tedium will continue and be magnified this weekend.

    Today is one of those days that used to drive me to eat. I feel the urge now (coupled with real hunger), and I am resisting it. I know that I am a stress eater (um, how much weight did I gain during law school and while studying for the bar??), and I can combat it if I recognize it and call it out for what it is. Still, I want junk food right now, and fighting the craving is stressful and adds to my cranky.

    Today is one of those days when I just feel like complaining. Can you tell?

    Today is just one of those days.


    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    The Pudge Report

    More piggish behavior on my part. Back up to being down 27.5#. Yup, I gained weight last week.

    I'm disgusted.

    While focusing on the total amount lost is generally a positive thing, I think I am going to try something new: report out my number in terms of my distance left to the goal.

    So, officially I'm at G+17. Or, perhaps better stated as 17 to go or 'til goal (TG).


    Monday, April 14, 2008

    Monday morning haiku, the evening edition

    A sunny morning,
    The sun is still up at night...
    daylight savings time.

    Yeah, pathetic... I know. Just wasn't inspired.

    The other version of this was:

    A sunny morning,
    flowers, hay fever, taxes...
    It must be April.

    I wasn't at my most haiku-ish today.


    Sunday, April 13, 2008

    I didn't realize just how much of a geek SM is.

    We've got Return of the Jedi on TV in the background.

    SM is speaking Yoda's lines along with the movie. He has the dialogue memorized. From watching the movie so often as a teenager.


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    My yuck moment of the day.

    A boy, who liked like he was about 15, driving a Pontiac Grand Am and grooving out to the beat on his radio, waved and flirted with me on the road today.

    It creeped me out. Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau, I am not.


    Second dress

    I think I've mentioned that I am having two dresses made for my wedding and reception. One with be for the Friday night ceremony, and one will be for the Sunday reception.

    The Friday ceremony dress will be off-white silk crepe with coral colored flowers. I "designed" it with the seamstress, and it will be made out of an old kimono and obi. The Sunday reception dress will be a little more casual but also made out of a kimono. This one will be made from a pattern though.

    Can I tell you how hard it was for me to find someone who would make a dress from a pattern? I got a number of recommendations for seamstresses, but when I called them, I found out that they would take alteration work, but not dressmaking. It was very frustrating. I finally found someone on Craig's List. I have no idea if she's any good, but I figure that a pattern is easier than making a dress based on a conversation (which is what I did for the Friday ceremony dress).

    I am going to meet the seamstress this afternoon. She said she'd charge only $50 to make the dress, which sounds really cheap to me. I decided that I would have her make a "practice" version -- that is, I am going to give her the pattern and buy some fabric. If I like how that dress comes out (not only the quality of her work, but also fit, etc.), then I'll have her cut the kimono and make a second one. I don't want to risk the kimono on something I may not like.

    So, here's the pattern for the Sunday dress. I'm having her make the straight version without the bows (the blue version on the right in this picture). I'm not a bow kinda-gal.

    Now imagine this this in a vivid purple with bright flowers towards the bottom of the skirt. Fingers crossed that it will turn out as I am imagining it.


    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    495 to 95 to 295 to 70

    Those are the roads I took to the meeting I had in New Jersey today.

    The driving was good. The meeting was good too. Kinda too bad that I spent (slightly) more time driving up and back than at the actual meeting, but it certainly could have been worse. I could have hit a lotta traffic.

    While on the road, I saw Obama stickers plastered all over bumpers going both ways. So many that it really made an impression on me. They seemed to be everywhere. I don't recall seeing Hillary stickers, although I must have. I did see at least one McCain sticker too. But then again, I also saw a number of Kerry/Edwards stickers.

    The most interesting thing I saw? A cop in an unmarked car that had pulled someone over.

    What made it so unusual was that the unmarked police car with which the cop nailed the wayward driver was a Mustang GTO.

    My first reaction? ::drool:: I think that's a way cool car.

    My second reaction? Ha! That driver got suckered!

    My third reaction? Poor guy. That's an unfair advantage for cops against speeders. I mean, who is going to expect a muscle car like that to be an unmarked police car? (But, tres fun for the the cop who gets to drive it.)

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    Friday, April 11, 2008

    What's your happy thing today?

    No, that's not a euphemism for something dirty. I mean it literally -- what has made you happy today?

    I routinely ask SM what his happy thing is. It is so easy to get caught up in the stress of work and focus on negative things that we both make an effort to proactively focus on positive things. We think that the power of positive thinking is all it takes to "happify" yourself, to switch gears and improve a mood.

    Sometimes SM's answer is as simple as "I had a great turkey sandwich for lunch" or "I finished that project that's been hanging over my head." And that gives me the opportunity to positively reinforce his good mood or accomplishment.

    Sometimes his answer is sweet and sappy like, "Getting to see you at the end of the day" -- for which I make fun of him (because yes, that is our relationship -- he's the mush-head) and then give him a big hug.

    And sometimes, he has to think a bit before he comes up with an answer. These are the times that the "happy thing" question is most valuable -- because it pulls him out of whatever mood he's in and makes him think about how his day was good, if even for a moment.

    While there may be more, I've already had a "happy thing" today.

    Here it is... I had bought a light spring-weight jacket uber cheap sometime last year in the winter. It was so cute and on such a good sale that I couldn't pass it up. The problem was that the only size available was smaller than I took at the time. Did that stop me? Of course not. I'm a shopping kinda gal, and we gals sometimes buy stuff that is a size too small with the intention of shrinking ourselves to fit.

    Yeah, I know. Who is kidding whom? Not exactly prudent spending.

    Well, that's what I did with this coat. I bought it anyway. I figured that it was so cheap that if it didn't ever fit or I decided I didn't like it, I wasn't out a lotta money so it didn't really matter. And it went in my closet. For more than a year.

    This morning, I decided to try it on. Low and behold -- yes! -- it fit perfectly (not even any pulling across the chest). So I ripped the tags off the jacket and wore it to work.

    Yay. That's my happy thing. What's your happy thing?

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    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Check this out...

    For my 40th, I got an unusual kind of gift certificate. It was from Kiva

    I had never heard of it before, but the certificate had a photo of a woman standing with some fruit, and it read "loans that change lives."

    Turns out that Kiva is an online microfinance lending organization. Basically, what you do is fund a small loan to an entrepreneur in the developing world (who is partnered with a local "field partner" -- an organization which assesses the business, loan risk, etc.). The entrepreneur then repays the loan under certain terms and conditions (I don't know if interest is paid to the lender or if it gets donated to Kiva or someone else). When the loan is repaid, it comes back to your account so that you can re-lend, donate or keep it. Kiva does not take a cut of the loan.

    Here's Kiva's outreach blurb (for emailing to friends):

    I wanted to let you know about Kiva (www.kiva.org), a non-profit that allows you to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur in the developing world.

    You choose who to lend to - whether a baker in Afghanistan, a goat herder in Uganda, a farmer in Peru, a restaurateur in Cambodia, or a tailor in Iraq - and as they repay their loan, you get your money back. It’s a powerful and sustainable way to empower someone right now to lift themselves out of poverty.
    So far, I've lent $125 -- $50 to a woman who sells souvenirs in Samoa, $50 to a woman who owns/runs a food stall in Paraguay and $25 (that's all they needed on their loan) to a group of women selling charcoal in Tanzania. I'll let you know in a few months how it's going.

    don't know that you or I will get rich making these loans -- and, more than likely, neither will the entrepreneur on the other end of the loan. But it's still a cool way to make a difference across the world.

    Check it out.

    Kiva - loans that change lives


    Wednesday, April 09, 2008

    How's this for a rude wrong number?

    Got a call on my cell phone today. I didn't recognize the number, so I answered, "This is [She says]." (which is my general "putting on my professional demeanor" telephone answer). The voice on the other end, which was almost unintelligible, grumbled and growled some name at me.

    I couldn't understand what he said, so I asked, "Who are trying to call?"

    His response, "Well, it sure ain't you."

    My response? [click]

    (Then I tried a reverse look-up to see if I could find out who my lovely wrong number was, but, alas, no such luck -- not that I would have done anything with that information anyway.)


    The big squish.

    The great rite of passage for women who are 40 -- our first mammogram. I'll spare you the gory details because I don't want to relive them, but suffice to say -- owwwch (x 5 because the tech took five pictures).

    And now I'm back in the office after that fun experience. I took the bus across town to get here and saw something you don't often see on the streets of Washington, DC -- a line of women in sashes with one wearing a sparkly crown.

    And no, they weren't drag queens. (At least, I'm fairly certain they weren't.)

    I think they were the queen and her court of some Cherry Blossom festival. They may have been the DC version (it is that time of year, after all) or imports from Japan. I couldn't tell. They were all Asian, however, and wearing pink suits, which leads me to think they were the imports. That and the fact that it looks like the US Queen will be crowned this Friday.

    Last but not least, LissyJo might be happy to learn that the building where I got the big squish also had a breastfeeding center. I don't know exactly what a breastfeeding center is, but it sounds like something that might interest her.

    Now back to my lunch.

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    Tuesday, April 08, 2008

    The Pudge Report

    The whim of the scale. Yesterday, I was down 31.5 pounds. Today, the scale said I had gained 2 and a half pounds overnight such that I am only down 29.

    The scale sucks.

    But I gotta report out the weight, so there it is.

    No "progress" line today because I'm just disgusted -- mostly with the scale, not my weight because gawd only knows what it really is.


    Another Monica Goodling?

    This is the new GC for FLRA? His educational history reads uber-conservative all over and just makes me want to throw up. Is he really going to serve the spirit and intent of the FLRA and protecting workers' rights? Really? Personally, I gotta wonder.

    President Bush sent to the Senate the nomination of Brandon Chad Bungard, of Virginia, to be General Counsel for the Federal Labor Relations Authority, for a five-year term. Mr. Bungard currently serves as General Counsel of the United States Merit Systems Protection Board. Prior to this, he served as Chief Counsel and Deputy Staff Director of the Committee on Government Reform's Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce and Agency Organizations in the U.S. House of Representatives. Earlier in his career, he served as Counsel on the Committee on Government Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mr. Bungard received his bachelor's degree from Liberty University, his JD from Regent University School of Law, and his LLM from the George Mason University School of Law.

    And I want to know when Regent University School of Law got accredited. Was it accredited when this guy attended?



    Monday, April 07, 2008

    Monday morning haiku

    Washington, DC
    NOT the Pacific Northwest.
    Enough with the rain!


    Sunday, April 06, 2008

    My brother is the family genealogist

    No, not gynecologist. Genealogist. As in rooting out the family tree. He has for years and years been researching our family history. He's been lucky that the Japanese keep family registers (a legal document) that go back generations and generations. That has allowed him access to names of very distant ancestors. Of course, my brother reads no Japanese, so he's had to rely on friends and family to translate for him.

    On my mother's side, he has collected information directly from Croatian relatives. I don't know how far back he has records for that side, but his research has been extensive.

    A few complicating factors in my family history was emigration in the late 19th century and this pesky little thing called World War II, when my father's family was interned. Like most Japanese American families, we have little ephemera that pre-dates the war. I have seen a few pictures, but not a lot. So, for example, I think I've seen maybe three baby pictures of my father. And he was the first son in a middle class Asian family -- and knowing my grandmother -- so I bet there were many more that were lost during the war.

    Surprisingly, my brother did come up with several pictures that were taken during the internment, in the camp. Given that cameras were contraband and confiscated, I don't know how they had these taken -- or developed! I'll have to ask my grandmother. But clearly, it was planned because my dad is in a little white suit. Isn't he cute?

    So here they are. Pictures of my father, grandmother, grandfather (whom I have never met because he died in 1964) and some little girl (I don't know who that is, unless my grandmother had the habit of putting bows in my uncle's hair back then).

    From the Gila River internment camp in Arizona, circa 1943.

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    Thursday, April 03, 2008

    Conference proceedings

    Been at a conference for work since Tuesday. The biggest development? I twisted my ankle. It's all puffy and sore and slightly discolored (as opposed to being off-color, which I can be too). Owch. No fun. Wonder if I can claim workers' comp for it?

    The conference ends tomorrow, after which we are all going horseback riding. Woo-hoo! Hope that the angle of ankle in the stirrup won't hurt tremendously. Uh oh.

    We fly back on Saturday. It's been a good week.

    I'd blog more about how much I've misbehaved during this conference, but I'm smarter than that.

    This time at least.

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    Tuesday, April 01, 2008

    The Pudge Report


    Back to -30 lbs. I have no idea how the heck that happened since I ate most of a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints last night. D'oh. But they sure were yummy!

    I am mostly off the Nutrisystem program now, even though I still eat the dinners. I don't eat much else of their food, although I do certainly follow their guidelines -- and it seems to work for me.

    In addition, I am trying to implement the following Paul McKenna rules:
    1. When you are hungry, eat.
    2. Eat what you want.
    3. Eat consciously.
    4. When you think you are full, stop eating.

    Fairly commonsense. Basically a way to reduce food intake and stave off cravings (which are likely to lead to binges). I am still adhering to the portion-control I learned from NS, so I hope what I've learned will permanently change my eating habits.

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