Tuesday, July 31

Etiquette for the Severely Tacky

Ever wondered whether you might have a touch of the white trash? Ever wish other people would secretly describe you as gracious? Classy?

You’re in luck. Today we’re offering a course in good manners, open to the general public, and absolutely free of charge.  

Instructions: Rate yourself on the following behaviors. We grade on a scale of Jacqueline Kennedy (5) to Britney Spears, circa 2007 (1).

Have you ever:

  • Asked people who’ve obviously been losing weight what their secret is: 5.
  • Brawled in public: -1.
  • Asked women when their baby is due: 2.
  • Asked people who’ve been losing weight whether they’re seeing a doctor: 2.
  • Offered fat people candy bars: 3.
  • Refused a candy bar to a fat person because “you don’t need that”: -1.
  • Asked people whether they’re on a diet: 2.
  • Told other people they need to go on a diet: -1
  • Browbeat people who are dieting into eating things they’ve declined: 1.
  • Told people who’ve declined food that they need to eat more protein: 2.
  • High-fived people who tell you they’ve achieved some goal: 5.
  • Tried to one-up them: 3.
  • Told them they’d never be able to sustain their achievements: -1.
  • Offered encouragement to your friends: 5.
  • Had more than two enemies: 2.
  • Bullied people because they’re shy, nice, fat, busy, pimply, unhealthy, or otherwise reluctant to do what you want them to do: -1.

Score yourself:
25+ : When you become first lady, people will worship at your feet.
18 to 25: Time to pay a little more attention to the way you treat other people.
9 to 18: Did you lose the key to your trailer? Or did the sheriff lock you out?
Below 9: When other people call you a jerk, they’re probably being nice. Be grateful they’re not armed.

So there you have it. You want a high score from the Hundred Raw School of Etiquette? Be kind. Be polite. Be encouraging. Ask, don’t order. And above all, don’t make public scenes. Live your life so that nobody ever, ever, ever invites you to star on an episode of the Jerry Springer show, and you’ll graduate cum laude from our little university.

Score a little low? Don't fret. Jerry Jeff Walker likes his women just A Little on the Trashy Side.

Monday, July 30

Good Evening, Sports Fans

The Olympics is killing me. My daughter is obsessed with women's gymnastics, so we're staying up past our bedtime, foregoing my commitment to sleep, failing to get in sufficient gym time, and allowing her to sleep in in the mornings. Worst of all, I'm failing to get my blog posts written in a timely manner.

Wait. Is that the worst part?

Priorities. Get 'em straight!

* * *

We were at my parents' house for a holiday and the television got turned on so the fans could watch some sporting event. My brother-in-law looked at me and rolled his eyes.

"Well there goes the day," I muttered.

"Sports is like sex," he whispered back. "You're not supposed to watch it."

That got him a high five.

* * *

You'd think all this Olympics stuff would inspire some doubling-down on workouts. As far as I can tell, though, it's having the opposite effect. Seeing Jordyn Wieber in tears over a darned-near perfect athletic performance is just freaking depressing. If a seventeen-year-old athlete in peak condition is a failure, what are the other six billion of us? I'm willing to bet money that sales of Pringles rise substantially during the Olympics. How else to drown the planetary population's sorrow at being a race of losers?

* * *

My friend C. found the best response yet to Olympymania. She has her kids participating in housecleaning Olympiads. Whoever works hardest, gets to stand on the tallest chair for the medal ceremonies.

Hey. Daughter o' Mine! Get over here! It's a race to the sink!

- - - -

Today soundtrack: Bugler's Dream, the Olympics theme song.

Friday, July 27

Mid-Term Exam

Hey, boys and girls. It's time for our first mid-term exam. Your answers must appear in the comments section below.

1. Which of the following announcements will generate the largest volume of public excoriation? "Guess what, I'm going to:...
a. ...become a Scientologist."
b. ...go to Thailand for gender reassignment surgery."
c. ...quit my job and live on a beach."
d. ...fast for three days."

2. After having already been removed from life support, and having had her feeding tube removed and reinserted once, Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was removed a second time on March 18, 2005. The already lethally thin woman lived how long after being taken off all food and water?
a. 24 hours
b. 48 hours
c. 72 hours
d. 13 days

3. You have personally known the following number of individuals who have suffered a protein deficiency:
a. zero
b. none. But it doesn't matter because you will die if you don't eat this hot dog.
c. When I was eight I forgot to feed my goldfish for a month. Maybe it died of a protein deficiency.
d. Actually, why don't horses die of protein deficiencies?

4. The world would be a better place if Madonna:
a. put on some pants.
b. stopped gasping at the end of each measure.
c. ate a sandwich.
d. stopped speaking with a fake British accent.
Today's soundtrack: Boy George didn't get this much blowback! And he was a serious Karma Chameleon!

Thursday, July 26

Baby The Skies'll Be Blue

This morning, after sleeping only an hour and half, I missed my hill climb to attend a seminar. Big regrets. Not for the seminar, which was terrific, but for the miserable time I had the rest of the day.

A certain family member has dramatic mood swings when she doesn’t eat enough. When we find ourselves at the receiving end of a bad mood, we stop the conversation and tell her to eat a banana.

Food-addled mood swings were never a problem for me, for two reasons: First, it's a rare day when I don't get enough to eat. Second, I simply don’t have mood swings. Other than when dealing with outrageous people (ie, snarky, eye-rolling teenagers and nutcase strangers who yell at me in grocery stores), I’m a pretty steady Betty. I wake up happy, I go to bed happy, I laugh a lot throughout the day. Even when I skip a night of sleep (and I frequently do), I don’t get fussed about it. I just sleep very soundly the following night.

So it was in this frame of mind that I was beginning to believe that exercise has no particular benefit. I may still be right, because the weight loss is grindingly slow.

But now it seems I was worse than right. I had it backwards. Exercise doesn’t have much benefit, but failure to exercise has an anti-benefit: It makes me awesomely cranky.

Since beginning an exercise regimen, I find that if my workout is delayed, I’m appallingly sad and grouchy. The mere presence of other people aggravates me. Television annoys me. The weather is bad. The floor is uncomfortable. My feet hurt. I hate you. Shut up. Go away.

Perfect. Now I’m addicted to working out. I may have been better off sitting on the couch.

Maybe if I practiced the piano longer than 20 minutes a month, I could trade in one addiction for another. It works for Steve Nelson, the Piano Guy: Me and My Cello: HappyTogether.

Wednesday, July 25

Lighten Up While I Still Can

As we were walking up the Big Hill this morning, my friend G. and I compared notes on our childhood careers as itinerant fruit pickers. Though I grew up in Seattle, and she grew up in New Zealand, we each got shipped off, with our siblings, to the berry fields every summer to earn money – me, strawberries and raspberries; her, blueberries and strawberries.

We both copped to eating about half the berries we picked (I’ve never let a generous portion of dirt spoil my appetite.), but G.’s sister had an envious talent for holding her blueberry bucket in just the right way so that she could efficiently and quickly pluck hundreds of berries to every handful that G. managed to collect. Consequently, she outearned G. day in and day out...not because she was a harder worker, but because, in fact, she was lazier.

* * *

And here we run headlong into today’s theme. To quote me pappy: “The best workers are the laziest workers.”

Lazy waitresses, he says, figure out how to carry six plates of food in one trip. People who aren’t as lazy just make three trips. I’m lazy, so I write macros to automate every repetitive bit of editing I do. I’m a very efficient editor. My grandpa cut a hole in the bathroom cabinet over the laundry room so he could toss his undies down the chute without hauling a laundry basket to the basement.

In fact, my father theorizes, all of human progress can be attributed to one human characteristic: We’re lazy buggers. We get tired of limping, so we invent shoes. We’re too lazy to walk, so we tame horses. Riding horses is too much exercise, so we invent cars. Driving takes too long, so we invent airplanes.

Remote controls were invented because making your kid jump up to change the channel required too much shouting. We invented calculators and spreadsheets because we’re too lazy to do long division. Air conditioning is easier than hand-held fans, rust-resistant paint is easier than repairing rust spots, scouring pads are easier than using fingernails.

Ever try beating your enemy with a stick? Enter, guns. Wrestling violent criminals to the ground is too much work, so now we just taser ’em. Ditto with every other device that distinguishes us from animals. (Or makes us worse than animals, but you get the point.)

* * *

Johnny Walker has a theory about exercise. Your body, he says, is lazy. It knows how to be very, very efficient. The thinner you get, the harder you have to work, because your body learns how to maximize its ability to get work out of itself without wasting calories – or fat.

So 20 minutes of exercise when I’m pushing Porky the Pig’s backside around the gym is hard work. But when I drop 50 pounds, my body can take a nap while I put in my 20 minutes, because I’m suddenly way more efficient. Not only is it pushing less weight around; it’s also simply better at pushing, and takes much less effort to do the same amount of work.

That’s good news if I’m a construction worker.

But if I’m a chunky lardo runnin’ down the road, trying to loosen my load, it’s maybe not such a great thing. It means every day I have to work longer, and harder, than the day before to get the same results.

And that stinks. Almost as much as my sweatshirt. Because now, instead of binding up dainty girl damp, my sweatshirt actually earns its name. I'm doing real workouts, where sweat collects in places I didn't even know had pores. And I have to peel the darned thing over my head and toss it into the wash when I get home each day. Like I said. Stinks.


Today, still flyin’ with Eagles: Take It Easy (1972).

Tuesday, July 24

Deep Sigh

Ever have one of those days?

Today's soundtrack: The Eagles: One of These Nights (1975). Am I showing my age?

Monday, July 23

Recipe File: Pico de Gallo

The other day I was out and about, without my fruitcase.

What, you ask, is a fruitcase?

A few weeks ago I up and bought myself a large insulated lunchbag that holds a couple of ice packs, and normally, if I'm expecting to be out running errands during the day, I pack it with plenty of fruit and veggies to keep me in the bloom of health.

This particular day, however, I hadn't had the foresight. And by early afternoon, I was crawling the steering wheel.

I pulled into Safeway, determined to get me some raw grub. Fruit, however, wasn't seeming very appealing. You eat a banana or two, and a cup of blueberries, and your mouth feels as though you've downed six sticks of Twix.

I went straight to the veggie aisle, and found Nirvana: bags of chopped broccoli and baby carrots. And best of all: Fresh pico de gallo.

Off to the deli for a bowl and a fork, and I was all set. Dumped the veggies in the bowl, tossed in the pico de gallo, and I had a spicy salad that cleared all the candy taste from my gob and left me fat and happy. Well, thin and happy, but let's not nit pick.

Now I keep fresh pico de gallo on hand all the time because it's just yummy. Here's the ingredient list:

  • 2T lime juice
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2t sea salt
  • 1/4t ground black pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (seeding it first makes it less spicy)

  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 small red onion

Pulse first seven ingredients in food processor until well blended. Add tomatoes and onions, and pulse briefly until chopped, but still chunky. Keep refrigerated.

Use as salad dressing, or vegetable dip. Or a wall hanging. Or a foot scrub. Oh, do whatever you want with it. Mail some to the president of Peru, if you like. You're a grown up.

- - - -
OK, it's not salsa, but Scott and Fran doing the Paso Doble is about as spicy as it gets: The final scene from Strictly Ballroom.

Saturday, July 21

OMG, Becky!

Double celebration day: I’ve officially dropped out of the 200 Club! And I’m fifty pounds lighter than I was seven and a half weeks ago.  Woo hoo!

This is how resigning from the 200 Club feels:

  • When I cross my legs at the knee, the top leg hangs vertical. It no longer shoots out sideways like I’m pointing at dinner.
  • My arms drop straight down at my side. I guess they’re supposed to.
  • I can’t find two of my three chins. (And I really don’t wish to track them down.)
  • My eyes are actually roundish. I no longer look Asian.
  • My wedding ring is in a drawer. No point wearing it for awhile.
  • My eyebrows have grown back in. They’d mostly disappeared, which was sad and weird. Better nutrition seems to have an upside -- if only because it employs eyebrow waxers.
  • I haven’t needed Prilosec, or Tums, since quitting meat.
  • I now sleep through the night, undisturbed. And it seems I’m no longer a snorer. Dear God: My husband thanks you.
  • I’m pretty much living in sweats, because everything else now requires a rope to stay up.
  • When my back starts hurting, I can do some stretches to repair it. Fifty pounds ago, no way. Instead, I’d just lie around until my sore back healed. That was a whole lot of lying about.
  • I’m no longer hiding out, hoping nobody looks at me. Now when people look at me, I assume it’s because I need to brush my hair, and not because I’m larger than an automobile.
  • Strangers haven’t been rude to me since about 20 pounds ago. Can this be a real thing? Did strangers feel entitled to berate me just because I was huge? Because, yup, it happened. A lot. And now, not so much. I may become my own psychology experiment.
- - - -
Today's soundtrack: Sir Mix-a-Lot, of course. And the accompanying Dance Central workout.

Friday, July 20

The Hand Which Bears All Nature Up

My sister’s friend Kelly has been thin her entire life; my sister works like a dog to stay trim. They were talking one day about how Kelly manages to keep her svelte figure.

“What do you eat all day?”

“Ermm, I don’t know,” Kelly answered. “Whatever. Sometimes I just forget to eat. I guess I don’t pay much attention.”

“You don’t pay attention?!”

“No. I just don’t think about it.”

“Are you joking? While I’m eating one meal, I’m sitting there planning my next meal!”

* * * *

When I was young we attended church...rarely. If we went to church at all, it would be because we were visiting my grandparents, or they were spending a Sabbath with us. But it didn’t take me long to figure out my favorite part of sacrament meeting. I’m told that we parked ourselves on our pews one Sunday, and when the announcements were taking too long, I asked in a loud voice: “When are they serving the refreshments?”

* * * *

Thus began my (and my sister’s) life-long habit of plotting life around refreshments. And thus I now find myself trying to decide how I’ll spend my post-contest food life. Will I stay raw vegan? Will I eat cooked food again? Will I eat animal by-products? Will I eat fish? (Hey, Catholic husband: Explain again how it is that fish isn’t meat?) Will I light into a scrumptious 7-11 meal of chili dogs, donuts and Slurpees?

* * * *

More about the revelation thing. I have a favorite hymn: How Gentle God’s Commands (Number 125 in the hymnal, if you’re following along).

God speaks to me. God speaks to you, too, I suspect. That voice is “heard” in quiet promptings, new insights, bits of wisdom, reminders of things you once knew, and recognition of God’s “tender mercies” that might otherwise seem like nothing more than fortuitous coincidence. Sometimes God’s voice comes in dreams, sometimes in whispers, sometimes in discernable words.

So in this way I acquire bits of information as I pray and meditate, one bit of which is that I will live a very long life. Clear words. Unmistakable. It’s a conditional promise, I know, but it’s one I’m banking on. (Literally. I cancelled my life insurance.)

As I’ve mulled those words over the past couple of years, I’ve inquired about the conditions required of me, in order for the promise to be fulfilled. The answer came quite quietly, and without even a bit of pressure: “You could stop eating meat.” If I want to. Or not. My choice. But I must say: Gentle admonitions are the most difficult to ignore.

So my post-contest diet won’t involve eating meat. It can’t. And by extension, eating animal by-products, which I know darned good and well are produced under pretty inhumane conditions, is equally tough to justify.

A fundamental tenet of my religious life is a bit of doctrine called the Word of Wisdom, which advocates a diet based on fruits, veggies, herbs, and grains. Sure, God made meat  available to us to get us through famines and winters...but since I’ve never even met anyone who has spent a winter without central heating, I have a difficult time under that doctrine justifying cow consumption.

So here’s the bottom line: Chili dogs, out. Ice cream, out. Plant-based diet: Obvious. Will I stay 100 percent raw? I might. I’m still mulling that one. But yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m now a life-long vegan. I don’t know how I’d look myself in the mirror anymore if I were to fry myself up a side of pig. Just can’t do it.
And here it is, in Portuguese: Deus Nos Rege Com Amor.

Thursday, July 19

I Was Alright for Awhile

Ate nothing. Walked 10 and a half miles. Gained a pound.

That’s not possible.

And yet.

Whinged to everyone who’d listen.

Christina: “You’re in starvation mode. You have to eat.”
Me: “OK, but still. Where did the pound come from?”
Christina: “Eat!”

Hubby: “It’s the humidity. It’s causing the scale to misread your weight.”

Kelley: “Maybe you’re sleepwalking and sneaking food out of the refrigerator in your sleep.” (Actually, that may be the winning explanation; it’s the only one that makes scientific sense. Except that I still can’t get down the stairs without nearly breaking my neck when I’m not asleep. Seems unlikely I’d negotiate the stairs safely while unconscious.)

Robin: “Your body can’t just ‘tell’ itself that it’s starving. It’s not like you carry a spare brain in your butt that secretly plots with your cells. And even if it could talk to itself, it can’t make fat out of air... but nothing else makes sense, so I guess it's just magic.

Johnny Walker: “Maybe the scale’s miscalibrated. Stop weighing yourself.”

Me: “Sob.”

- - - -
Roy Orbison, are you Crying too?

Wednesday, July 18

Couple of Tourists, Covered in Soil

Once my sister and I boated up to Guangzhou and rented bikes for the day. We had no master plan, and eight hours to kill, so my sissy had a thought: “I want to find out how people here live,” she said, and pointed to a random man on a bike. “Let’s follow him and see where he goes.”

We did. For the first mile or so, he rode in a straight line. Then he began turning corners, and glancing over his shoulder. Eventually, he started circling a single block. Finally, he stopped, got off his bike, and glared at us.


My sister pointed to another man. “Follow him!”

And that’s how we spent the day. You’d think that in a city with 4.5 million bicyclists, people wouldn’t pay much attention to a couple of large sweaty white chicks on one-speeds. But I don’t think we ever got more than a mile or two before our “guides” would spot us, and start riding faster, slowing waaaay down, or dodging around corners to lose their tails.

And in the end, we probably learned nothing at all about how people in Guangzhou spend their days.

That evening we were back home, and when we arrived at the house I hopped on the scale. A full day of bike riding had netted me a six-pound weight loss.

Totally worth it.

* * *

The exercise watch I ordered off EBay a month ago finally arrived. It measures my pulse, and keeps track of the number of steps I take each day.

I’m childless this week (Wee one is up a mountain at girls’ camp), and I’ve been quite frustrated at a week of no weight loss.

So I decided to spend an entire day exercising. Yesterday, I put in 23,000 steps. Today: 24,000. And I think I’ve blown out a pair of trainers.

Net: One pound down.

Totally worth it.

Tomorrow: 25,000 steps or bust.

- - - -

Some people claim that I’ve a sister to blame, but I know: It’s my own darned fault. Jimmy Buffet knows how I feel.

Tuesday, July 17

Not the Kinda Girl Who Gives Up Just Like That

Grrr to the scale.

* * *

Last night during high tide, Hubby and I walked the boardwalk at Redondo, our closest beach. Went to bed, realized my once-too-tight wedding ring was gone.

Darned thing must have fallen right off my hand.

So this morning my friend Kathleen and I said a prayer, then rewalked the boardwalk, down in the sand and up top, looking for the ring.

Gone. Forever. Swallowed up in the belly of a whale. (Yes, we also have whales in Puget Sound. Very cool Orcas. Now are you jealous?)

Kathleen brought over a metal detector this afternoon, and I checked the tide tables. Super low tide tomorrow morning.

This evening Hubby got up and checked under the bed one last time, on a hunch.

And there it was. The wedding ring. Yay.

My husband: "I told you God likes me best."

- - - -
Today's soundtrack is just too obvious. But Debbie Harry is such a bad dancer it's actually funnny: The Tide is High.

Monday, July 16

Wonderin' How I'll Get Down the Stairs

One of my freelancers came by my office one day to chat, and half an hour later I got a phone call:

"Did I leave my wallet on your desk?"

Hmmm. Nope. It wasn't there. "I don't see it anywhere. You must have taken it with you." The phone went quiet.

"The empirical evidence," he said, "would suggest the contrary."

* * *

These weight plateaus are just so darned discouraging. And so illogical. Eating pretty much the same number of calories every day, doing roughly the same volume of exercise. Weighing myself at roughly the same time. Drinking nearly identical quantities of water. And some days I'll drop three pounds; other days I'll gain a half a pound or more.

There must be other factors at work. Weight fairies? Fat demons? Leaden tumors growing under my kneecaps? Scales with an attitude?

No, says the logical mind. It's simply calories in, calories out.

But the empirical evidence -- I must admit -- suggests the contrary.

- - - -

Food to the left of me, workouts to the right, but here I am, Stuck in the Middle with

Saturday, July 14

A Concert of Veggies

It’s been a busy day ‘round these parts. Woke up at o’dark hundred and waddled down to the valley to collect baskets of produce from the local farm co-op.

Today’s haul: Eighteen pounds of cherries, bags of green beans, tomatoes, radishes, bananas, plums, and much more. For a very small outlay of...well, not cash, but definitely credit card.

Little Missy and I spent the better part of the day pitting and freezing cherries. So. Many. Cherries. And another part of the day fending off Papa Bear, who has decided that pitted cherries are infinitely more tasty than the usual sort.


So today’s workout consisted primarily of building upper body strength working the cherry pitter. It was fully 9 pm before yours truly climbed aboard the treadmill to put in some well earned Tivo clearing.

- - - -
While I was working at the hoity-toity furniture store, one of our co-workers sent her man to Ticketmaster to buy tickets to a Neil Diamond concert. Just as he got to the front of the line, the last ticket was snatched up.

He turned to leave, but the clerk told him to hold up. They’d just learned there’d be a second concert. And that’s how we scored front-row-center seats to the best concert I'd ever attended. Today’s soundtrack, courtesy of my second-favorite Jew: Cherry Cherry.

Friday, July 13

Dog Daze

This started out as a rant about breakfast and anthropomorphizing our digestive tract. But sometimes, you go down a bunny trail, and end up with this: A diatribe about people who don’t train their anthropomorphized “babies,” by which they actually mean non-human children that I suspect they nevertheless claim as tax deductions.

I live in a part of the country where folks are inordinately fond of their pets, and suffer under the delusion that everyone else should find their hairy little animals as charming as they do.

In other places I’ve lived, people feel this way about their children. Here, it’s dogs. So in our town, dogs ride in shopping carts (ewwww!), spreading parvo virus on your produce. They are illegally unleashed to play in designated swimming areas, and poop in public parks and on my front lawn (Seriously! A woman walking her dog past my house recently stopped to let the dog take a squat in my front yard. When I called her out, she said “I was going to pick it up.” Yeah, so never mind then. Because my daughter, who practices handstands on our front lawn, doesn’t mind at all putting her bare hand in your dog’s tapeworm-laced defecation.)

This morning, a man walking up the Big Hill assured me his off-leash, untrained, disobedient, wet smelly dog wouldn’t hurt me, though it would lick me to death. Oh, well that’s okay then. Because everyone knows that when you say your dog won’t bite, it’s perfectly safe to bend over and kiss the thing right on the mouth. That never ends badly. (And who wouldn’t want slobber and hair from a strange wet dog on their freshly laundered clothes?) Dude. I wouldn’t trust my own child not to bite a stranger. You can’t know what your yappy little spaniel might do. You can’t even get it to walk on leash. Train your unruly dog and keep it leashed in public. (By the way, I’m not afraid of dogs; I’m just not keen to reek like your wet English Springer.)

Yesterday, a nice man on the Big Hill was trying to train his Shiba Inu – unsuccessfully, it turns out – but he did at least have the dog on a leash. Poor beast. I couldn’t watch. The dog was wrapped around his legs, had its choke on backwards, and was gagging and confused. I suggested he at least turn the collar the right way around, and offered to help. He held the dog’s hindquarters while I wrestled the too-tight choke collar off the dog and put it on correctly. Of course, in the process I got Shiba Inu dander all over my hands, and when I rubbed my eye, it swelled up like a cantaloupe. I had to drive one-eyed to Safeway to score some Benadryl, which I swallowed right there in the aisle. Thirty hours later, I still look as though I suffered a small stroke.

That’ll teach me to help strangers. Or animals.

Now, anyone want to talk to me about my kid kicking the back of their airplane seat all the way to Singapore? Such a cute child. Don't you just want to squeeze his darling little cheeks while I ignore his screaming and take a nap? (Oh, and you don't mind if I change his dirty diaper here on the tray table, do you? I'll wipe it off with this tissue when I'm done.)

- - - -

Today’s soundtrack: Skinny Elvis, in head-to-toe black leather, singing Hound Dog. Mmmm-mmm good. Anthropomorphize that!

Thursday, July 12

Pour a Little Sugar on It, Honey

In my late teens my best friend and I worked together at a hoity-toity furniture store where most of the people were surprisingly kind. But one of the designers there seemed to have it out for us.

One day, as my friend and I were getting ready to leave, I mentioned that I was planning to go to a dance that night. This particular designer was standing nearby, apparently listening in on our conversation. She whirled around, and asked: “Who’d dance with you?”

It was so bizarrely nasty – we were, after all, teenagers – that we just doubled over laughing. There was no other response.

* * *

Today I got not one, but two, “Who’d dance with you?”s.

The first came from a long-time friend. She asked how I was doing on my diet.

“Pretty well,” I said. “I feel healthy and I’m losing lots of weight.”

“Well, so far,” she replied.

“Whatever do you mean?”

“I mean, you won’t keep it off. You’re just going to gain it all back.”

“You think so?”

“If you go back to eating the same way you did.”

“Well, yes,” I said. “I suppose that goes without saying.”

* * *

I told Johnny Walker the story. He just laughed. “You should have that engraved on your tombstone. ‘You’re just going to gain it all back.’”

And here’s one of many reasons having a personal trainer is awesome. Johnny added: “People who want to drag you down, you don’t need them in your life. They make themselves feel better by trying to keep you where you were. They don’t want to change themselves, and so they hate you for changing.

“People who cheer you on are people who don’t measure themselves by whether or not you fail. They know who they are, and they’re happy to see you make progress. It doesn’t demean them when you succeed.”

* * *

Tonight we had a gathering for my youngest daughter’s birthday. A family member, commenting on my weight loss, announced to everyone in hearing: “It’s not sustainable. You’ll never keep it off.”

So, yeah. Dieting is a strange way to learn about other people’s character. Who knew it could be a truth serum?

- - - -

Today’s soundtrack (and if you didn’t see the original video – as I did in 1969), you’re missing out on a real treat! The Archies: Sugar Sugar.

Wednesday, July 11

I Get Up, Nothing Gets Me Down

And then sometimes you have a good day.

For the record, Princess Dophina and I have started swimming our lake every day.

Yesterday, we crossed the lake twice because...well, because you don’t waste a sunshiny Seattle day. They’re simply too rare.

Today, she was so excited to go back to the lake, that she actually cleaned her room. Now that’s a good lake!

Here’s what we love about our lake:
  • It’s warm – y’know, for Seattle.
  • It’s small enough to swim across (I’ve been doing exactly that multiple times every summer since 1965).
  • The milfoil has been eradicated, so it no longer entangles our legs while we swim.
  • The lake has leeches.
Leeches? Yes. The Princess and I love the leeches. Well, we don’t love having the leeches attach themselves to our feet, but we do love that the leeches freak out most people, and keep the neighbors out of the lake.

Besides the leeches are clean – ask George Washington – and rarely find us, because they live in the sand...meaning they crawl all over visiting two-year-olds, freak out the kids’ moms, and chase families permanently from this particular lake. The Princess and I know the secret, though: We jump into the lake wearing flip-flops, and evade the whole leech thing entirely.

So there you have it: Our own private, very clean lake, free for the swimming.


Today’s soundtrack, courtesy of Van Halen: Jump!

Tuesday, July 10

Resistance Is Futile

Each day the scale fails to drop by the expected number, I say mean things to myself. “Dummy,” is a favorite. Also high on the list: Stupid. Lazy. Sometimes I even direct my venom at the scale: Stupid scale. Dumb scale. Lazy scale.

It seems my “mean” vocabulary is fairly limited. Stupid vocabulary.

But it gets worse. While I’m saying cruel things to myself, I make myself too mad to write. Dumb blog. Stupid computer.

That’s happened twice now.

* * *

I have a former boss whom I much admire. One day, when I was beating myself up over a fairly serious mistake, he stopped me. “Once is never; twice is always.”


“You make a mistake once, you get to write it off. It was a bad day, you were tired, you didn’t read the situation right, you married badly, you had a bad boss. Whatever. It happens.”

“Okay. But I’m still an idiot.”

“No, you’re an idiot if it happens twice. You get fired from one job, you can blame the boss. You get fired from two jobs, you have to blame yourself. One divorce is a freebie. Two is a pattern. One arrest is a corrupt cop. Two arrests makes you a criminal. Get it?”

I got it.

“Now get back to work, and don’t miss another deadline...because forever after, that’ll be who you are: The editor who misses deadlines.”

It was a complete paradigm shift. And it applies to everything. If I break a diet once, it’s an aberration. Twice, it’s a pattern. If I skip the gym one day, I had an injury or a bad night’s sleep. Two days, and I’m just blowing off my commitments.

Which is why, despite my throbbing ankle, I walked the Big Hill this morning. I’ll eventually have a better excuse to skip a day, and when that excuse arises, it can’t be my second miss.

My family wanted burgers for dinner on Sunday night. Oh. My. Goodness. Those burgers smelled like little whiffs of heaven. But one bite, and there’d be no stopping me next time. I’d be the fat chick who can’t master her appetite.

And it’s also the reason I must continue blogging. Because by missing yesterday’s entry, I just became the dummy who allows the Stupid Scale to control her behavior, instead of the inverse.

But I’m back on track, I am. From this day forward, I am the master of the Stupid Scale, master of the blog, master of my own personal universe. I make the decisions for me. I am borg. I am. We am. We are.

- - - -
Today's soundtrack: Picard goes to the dark side. But never fear! Even Jean Luc's mistake was fixable!

Saturday, July 7

Recipe File: Sliced Everything

I own a too-large food processer that sits in a cupboard collecting dust, all because it lacks some tiny plastic part critical to its operation. I secretly believe that if it sits in the cupboard, undisturbed, while I play romantic background music, the machine will magically impregnate itself and give birth to its own missing part.

It’s been a year now. The food processor’s gestation period, like its size, appears to be elephantine.

So I’m now the proud owner of a replacement device: A mandolin. It slices. It juliennes. It fits in the silverware drawer. And its tiny bits stay attached. (Which is only right.)

I celebrated my bounty by making the most amazing salad I've had in...well...38 days.

Here's the recipe:


2 small ripe tomatoes
Jicama, partially peeled
2 basil leaves, chopped
1T capers
Sea salt, ground pepper to taste

Using mandolin, slice tomatoes into a bowl. Julienne about 1/4C of peeled jicama. Top with chopped fresh basil leaves, capers, and salt and pepper. Toss and enjoy.

Calories: 44
Carbs: 9
Fat: 0
Protein: 1
Calcium: 3

- - - -
Maybe if the machine could actually see how adorable Paul McCartney was in 1976, I'd have more success: Silly Love Songs.

Friday, July 6

Not Even a Real Country

So. Guess what they don’t have in Canada?


Yep. I blame the metric system for my vacation weight plateau. Getting back on the gym scale Thursday and registering a half-pound weight gain was so depressing, I couldn’t even blog.

Worked my guts out Thursday, and today, I was down two-and-a-half pounds.

So that’s good. Ish.

(On the plus side: Found a terrific vegan buffet (seriously!) in Victoria's Market Square: Green Cuisine. Come to think of it, that may actually BE my plus side.)


Today's soundtrack, courtesy of South Park, which I do not watch: Blame Canada!