Thursday, December 31, 2009

What I've learned this year from "The Macro" (and other things)

Today I weigh exactly 17 pounds less than I did last New Year's Eve. These are the things I do consistently since June to keep off the weight I lost this summer:

1. In the evening, eat lots of veggies and protein. Avoid carbs. Salads are the perfect evening food.
2. Broccoli. I eat it almost every day. A big helping at lunchtime.
3. Eat carbs (complex) early in the day.
4. Ezekiel low sodium bread and light butter with frittata for breakfast. YUM.
5. Stay away from beer (much as I like it).

I have been able to keep my weight off by sticking with the above (and being very serious with it during the week), but in order to lose the next bit of weight, I will need to recommit to The Macro and be quite strict about it. I will do that in the coming year. It is good to know, though, that I can maintain in my current range without being SUPER strict...and without a whole lot of exercise.

Having said that last bit -- my body has changed a lot the past few months since I have been back with my yoga practice consistently. My sister even noted in a photo on Facebook that my arms look "cut"...and that's in a turtleneck! ;-) My weight is still in the same range, but I am stronger and feel good about that.

My knees, however, are not doing great. I thought it was walking, but I am starting to think it's yoga. Talked with my teacher about it last night. It is VERY hard to have a well-rounded yoga practice without some serious stress on your knees. She tried to do a practice that would be easy on my knees (there were only two of us in class), but realized how hard it is! I am going to need to be REALLY careful these next weeks -- my intention in my practice will have to be to SLOWLY get stronger, not to focus on what I used to be able to do, not to be competitive with others or with that past me. I need my knees to be strong and yoga is a great way to get there...as long as I don't blow them out in the process. Mindfulness is going to be my big challenge the next months.

Ten years ago today, I was in a very different place in my life. I spent New Year's Eve 2000 with two of my dearest friends from college. The future was bright. Today, my heart is filled with gratitude that the future WAS bright for me -- I am grateful for my beautiful, loving and supportive partner, for my terrific family and friends, for my job (when so many don't have one) and for my home (when so many don't have one)...I can't wait to see what the new decade brings!

Happy New Decade!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quiet week between Xmas and New Year

Work is nearly silent this week...I have gotten ONE work-related e-mail in three days (usually would have gotten 100s) and no phone calls! I am using the time to organize my office and deal with things that have been hanging over my head. It is actually nice and relaxing to come to work so I'm not sad that I didn't take this week off (like everyone else in my business did). :-)

Eating over the Xmas weekend was, well, spotty. I did eat bad stuff and it showed up on the scale. But, to put things in perspective, I went back and looked at my weight records for last year...am happily at least 15 pounds less than I was last year at this time so I'll take it! I got back on the good eating wagon on Monday...and, of course, am still doing my yoga.

Speaking of which, DB got me some great gifts for Christmas -- one of which was a 3-month unlimited pass to my new yoga studio! (I am a LITTLE afraid that my yoga is hurting my knees...they have been acting up the past month...I need to talk with my teacher tonight and see what we can do about it...I have been modifying myself already.) He also got me...A KINDLE!!! We were supposed to not get each other pricey gifts this year so I never would have even thought to ask for either of these things...and I didn't. But my love knows me so well that he just KNEW that I would like these things...I totally burst into tears when I opened each of them...I couldn't have picked anything I wanted more! Christmas magic. :-)

We spent Christmas Eve with my mom...eating Indian food (I was good and didn't eat the rice or nan) and driving around to look at lights. Then two of the days over the weekend were with the PDs and the grandkids. Much fun was had by all. If you are my Facebook friend, be sure to check out the Dance of the Sugarplum Chipmunks on my profile. ;-) While gifts are admittedly so very nice, time with family and friends is truly what I love most about this season.

We're now gearing up for our New Year's Eve party...hopefully will be a little tamer than last year...or not!! This year our theme is frugality...everyone is supposed to come dressed in thrift store clothes and we're having cheap beer and snacks (amazing how expensive the "cheap" stuff can be when buying for a party though!).

Happy New Year to all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

This is beautiful: http://caronthehill.blogspot.com/

I appreciate all of your places on my Christmas tree. :-) Happy Christmas to all....and to all a good night

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm about ready to give in to the damn sugar

It is EVERYWHERE. And, even though sugary food is not my favorite, for some reason the past couple of days it has taken every fiber of my being to resist the candy, cookies, etc. that are veritably permeating my office. And I'm tired of fighting. I just may give in. Well, OK, to be honest, I did give in a teeny bit over the weekend -- I had a tiny 1/4 of a dessert at our office party on Friday, 5 homemade dark chocolate truffles with sea salt at our Yule celebration on Sunday night, two small pieces of fudge on Monday. And, other than that, I have been virtually perfect (including 4 yogas last week and on-track for my usual this week). My reward for this perfection is that I am sitting firmly at 3 pounds above my lowest weight. Firmly 3 pounds above where I wanted to be on Christmas. And where, at this point, it is clear I won't be.

I'm not sure where this sugar thing is coming from...I think it may be that it's the time of the month where my weight goes up and I'm more hungry than usual...and it just happens to have happened Christmas week...when chocolate, etc. is everywhere. And work is slow. So I have time to think about all those treats sitting over there in the basket on the table in my office...

I'm bummed out. I am feeling like my usual willpower is out the window. But I haven't given in really...yet. But I'm having a hard time convincing myself to wait until Christmas for a treat.

Other than this, all is well. Had a couple of great yoga practices last week...Saturday's was with a new teacher and really kicked my butt (men teachers are totally different than women)...I felt sore all over on Sunday (in a good way). Tonight is wrapping night -- with six grandkids you can imagine that it's a LONG process. Tomorrow I'll pick up my mom on the way home from work, (hopefully) go to 6 pm yoga, then our traditional Indian dinner and then driving (or walking) around to see lights. Friday we get up early, have breakfast and gifts then get ready for the big drive -- 2 hours north to PD1's house.

I am really ready for Christmas! Hurry Christmas, hurry fast (to quote the Whos -- not The Who, the Whos from The Grinch)!!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

End of the year slowdown

Work has been slow all week...I am catching up! And I have a couple of minutes to blog. :-)

I'm still inching down the scale...feel pretty good about where I am pre-Christmas. I'd like to magically lose 5 pounds before The Day (when I know I will eat some bad stuff and probably "gain" 5 pounds), but that's probably not going to happen. So I'm just hanging on to maintain, keeping going to yoga as many times a week as time and my body permit...and that's good.

As of today, I think I have pretty much finished Christmas shopping. There's a lot more work to do (wrapping for 6 grandkids, for example!), but I'm feeling good about this too.

I canceled virtually all of my holiday party plans for the past week -- my sore throat was really getting me down. Finally, yesterday, I took the whole day off work and just stayed in bed the whole time...watching movies and playing Jewelz on my Droid. And, miraculously, this morning I felt better. Yay!

Tomorrow is our firm holiday party. This year we're having a lunch with just staff rather than a full-blown nighttime party with dates. They're also giving us all of tomorrow afternoon off work (yoga!). When they first announced this, we all thought it definitely meant that we were not getting Christmas bonuses this year. I have gotten one every single year I have been here (16 years) and, while I always appreciated that it was a GIFT, this year I really NEEDED it. Well...they gave us a bonus!! A little less than last year, but...whew!!! I literally burst into tears when they gave it to me. I was SO sure that they wouldn't (we didn't get raises this year either). Oh happy day!! I love my firm...they really do try to do right by us.

After the holiday party, I'm planning to go to yoga then, after dinner, am going to work with a charity packing up boxes of food for disadvantaged families. We actually have neighbors (at the beach) who are homeless. It is getting worse. I find it particularly sad at Christmastime...last night walking to yoga I saw a homeless person with all their bedding sitting outside the local Xmas tree lot which is all decorated with lights, etc. (and, by the way, which also benefits a great charity). They were gazing into the lot with longing. At least that's how it seemed to me from the other side of the street. It was poignant.

Saturday is treat-Helen-Christmas day: haircut, mani-pedi, brow wax and yoga. I also have to cook up some treat for our solstice celebration on Sunday evening. Sunday morning, I'm taking brunch to a friend who is having surgery tomorrow...and we'll watch a movie (she gets awards screeners).

Next week at work will probably be even slower than this week...so I may be able to write more... :-)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Good Weigh Day

Of course, I have been weighing every day (and logging it) since June, but today was a good one. I am finally less than two pounds above my lowest (pre-NYC trip). I want to lose at least those 2 pounds (and maybe more...but that will be hard) before Christmas so I feel like I have a little leeway.

This week has been frustrating with the scale because I was being perfect and not seeing results, but I actually appreciate it so much. Since I've been logging my weight these past few years, I can always go back and look at where I was at this time last year and the year before. With all my fluctuations, this really helps (I'm sure you all think I'm on a rollercoaster -- really not -- just ups and downs on the SLOW way DOWN). While not HUGELY different, I am down 15 pounds from last year at this time and I feel it. :-) And I have lost all my Thanksgiving weight and a little more.

What have I learned from scale time this week? That it takes about 2 weeks to "recover" from not eating perfectly on plan (like at Thanksgiving -- when I gained 8 lbs). Two weeks to recover from 4 days. THAT is something to really think about. And I wasn't even really bad over Thanksgiving!! Just ate a couple of pieces of pie (in 4 days) and maybe an extra slice of bread each day.

This program has taught me that my body is very sensitive to what I put in it. It shows on the scale. It shows in my digestive system. It shows in how hungry I am and when. I am COMPLETELY convinced that carbs are addictive. Eating just a little sets off cravings big time for me. When I'm perfectly (or almost perfectly) on-program, I absolutely do NOT have those cravings!! It's kind of magic, really. I can't believe how rarely I crave food after dinner anymore. :-)

I've been keeping up with my yoga too...until this morning, I was thinking that maybe THAT was keeping me from losing (I am definitely getting more muscley). But I didn't (and don't) think that's it. While I feel myself getting longer and leaner even after such a short time back at yoga, I don't feel it really is impacting on my actual weight. It does impact on my disposition though and that DOES impact my weight. I feel SO GOOD being back at yoga. I look forward to going...and I never EVER looked forward to going to the gym.

This weekend is packed with Christmas festivities -- at my mom's place tomorrow for lunch, a friend's tomorrow night, the Venice canals Christmas boat parade on Sunday morning and another friend's open house Sunday evening. Then I have other holiday get-togethers next Tuesday, Thursday and Friday! Fun, but I get a little tired sometimes thinking about it...

I've been fighting a cold this week (DB got one)...this morning I thought that I had it beat, but the sore throat is kicking back in a little this afternoon. It's cold and rainy here...very very Christmasy, but makes me just want to cuddle up in bed in my Christmas jammies!

My knee problem from last weekend seems to be almost gone. My yoga teachers have helped a lot this week and I've been wearing a brace every day and icing and taking ibuprofen. Hopefully tomorrow I can try to go brace-less. The pain has been gone for about three days and now it just feels swollen...yay!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I wish I had more time to blog

But I don't.

Every free non-work minute seems to be filled lately with chores, social engagements and/or Christmas preparations.

I did ok this week...was very on-plan, but only managed to get rid of a little over 5 pounds. Still need to get almost five more to get to the absolute lowest that I saw on the scale one brief shining moment before I went to NYC on Halloween. So, yes, I'm still maintaining and SLOWLY losing.

I have been going to yoga 3 times a week...this is a lot more exercise than I've gotten in a few months. And it's weird that I'm not losing faster because of that. But maybe it's muscle building...I'm feeling really strong. BUT I did a number on a knee on Tuesday in class and today it was painful for me to walk to class (although the class itself felt good). Walking right now hurts. I'm icing right now and probably will stay home tonight to just rest my knee.

Didn't get everything done today that I wanted to...got a lot of Xmas decorations up, but we didn't get our real tree yet. DB has been working like a madman to get outside work done that needs to be done before our first winter storm (rain) comes tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow we can get the real tree. Right now I'm happily listening to Xmas music and looking at our other decorations including our fantastic 60s silver tree. :-)

Big news this week was that I got a Motorola Droid...finally I'm into the 21st century when it comes to a phone!!! I've been playing with it every free moment this week to try to learn all of it's MANY capabilities. So far, I LOVE IT. Believe it or not, I couldn't even text before I got this phone!!!! Droid is seksi. ;-)

Gotta go check on DB, finish laundry and see what's up for the coming evening...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bless me bloggers, for I have sinned

Although I had a perfectly on-plan breakfast yesterday morning, I went home afterwards and had a small slice of sweet potato pie. This is pretty much the story of my weekend. I ate better than I probably ever have during this period, but I still gained...and ate bad stuff along the way.

My "new" low-carb dishes on Thanksgiving were a hit -- I definitely will make the green beans cooked with bacon and onion and parmesan cauliflower again. YUMMY. I managed to not eat any potatoes and none of the stuffing from inside the bird (which I made with Ezekiel bread). But I did eat some of the oyster dressing (also made with Ezekiel) and the aforementioned pies. Oh yeah, and we got a great recipe for pumpkin martinis -- low-carb, but lethal. ;-)

I didn't manage to do anything at all that I planned this weekend (except two yoga classes -- one on Thanksgiving) because we ended up having 3 of the grandkids all weekend (and one other one for two days too). Whew. We had a lot of fun, but it was tiring!! We went over to the Microwaves' on Friday evening with turkey soup (which I made) and leftovers and our grandkids played with their kids. Saturday, after breakfast, we took the kids "sledding" on the sand berms at the beach and I went to yoga afterwards. Then took two of the kids for pedicures. That evening we had leftovers, played Uno (we played Uno a LOT this weekend!) and the kids watched a movie. Yesterday we had to take the three that were left (one left on Saturday afternoon) home to their new place about 2 hours north of here. When we got there, we helped them unpack and didn't get home until 7 pm.

Back on the plan today full-force. DB and I are both 10 pounds over our lowest weight after the debauchery this weekend. I have to go phone shopping tonight (if you have a particular smartphone that you love, chime in...decisions decisions), but will go to yoga at least two other nights this week (and the coming weekend). It feels great to be back to yoga...I look forward to every class! :-)

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving...and I hope that things slow down some so I can catch up with all of you...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'm ok...

...but I'm really REALLY stressed out. Work is a non-stop treadmill and the pile of work is not getting smaller. Plus I'm suddenly really worried about the economy...we are not having our traditional firm Xmas party at night with family invited -- instead we're having a lunch with just the people who work at the firm. I'm also feeling like we might not get a Xmas bonus (which will be the first time that has happened in my 16 years there). This is scary mostly because no matter how indispensable I think I am, I'm not. No one is. We've already had lay-offs...and I'm under no illusions that the attorneys can't do my job if necessary...even though they don't want to. My only consolation is that I am SO busy...they must need me. Right? ;-)

Maybe it's hormonal, but I've had the stressed out weepies all week.

There are a few good things going on though:

I am still maintaining in a 2-pound range...about 4 pounds up from my lowest right before NYC. Doing things like eating movie theatre popcorn last night at Pirate Radio (thanks, DB!) is not making that scale go down any faster.

HOWEVER, I have been to yoga three times this week!! Yay! I need it right now more for my mind and spirit than for my body...but my body is getting the benefits too. Without this I would have REALLY lost it this week.

I realized on our plane trip to NYC that I just couldn't breathe myself out of my flying anxiety the way I used to when I was practicing yoga regularly. THAT, more than anything, got me realizing that I had to drag my ass back to the mat. Breathing the way that is healing takes practice...that's why they call it a yoga PRACTICE!

I love this new studio. I love the teacher who teaches every night. She never teaches the same class twice (according to her) and that is the way I like it. I know some people like the comfort of doing the same thing all the time and I do see the meditative benefit to that but, to me, there is no challenge when you are just doing the SAME thing every time. The classes are totally my cup of tea and they are (generally) small -- with more than 12 people the studio is jammed and the most I've had in a class so far is 6 (today).

It is great to be able to walk to yoga (good little warm-up) and home afterwards. I am loving this so much...and am grateful to the universe for somehow putting this in my path just when I needed it most. :-)

Just cleared the larger size pants from my closet and am dropping them off at Goodwill on my way to Thanksgiving grocery shop...there's no going back now!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More Science Experiment

So, Sunday night I was hungry. SOO hungry. TOO hungry. I had had just a half a veggie omelet, green salad and some lettuce/cottage cheese snack all day. By 6 pm I was too hungry. I hadn't had my meals every 3-4 hours and I was cranky. So DB and I headed to one of our go-to restaurants (where I know I can eat something yummy and not off-plan). But I was so hungry that, in addition to my usual "treats" there, I ate three yes THREE small rolls. BIG mistake. I felt super-duper bloated and horrible. Went to bed early.

Monday I got on the scale and, YUP, I was up a couple of pounds. And that is just from those three small rolls (I had been perfect the rest of the weekend). Despite continuing evidence like this in My Experiment, I am still amazed how fast and hard those night-time bad carbs hit. Fast.

Of course, I had lost those lbs by this morning, but that came from getting right back on program, perfectly and PRONTO. I am still up about 4 lbs from my absolute lowest pre-NYC-vacation weight. Still plugging away. Slowly slowly losing. No goal-time for getting to where I want to be.

But I did buy some pants this weekend that are the size I want to be -- 10!!! And, while tight, they fit. I also put on an old pair of 10s that I have kept and they were even a little loose (why aren't all sizes in all brands the same? arrrgh). I'm sure you all know how happy that makes a girl feel. :-)

Last night I went back to yoga...again. I found a studio very very close to my house (4 blocks or so... a quick walk) and have been wanting to try it but (as I've blogged before) just haven't dragged my booty over. Well, last night was the night. They offer candlelight flow (vinyasa) yoga from 7:30 for an hour every night. I loved it. I just LOVED it. The studio is tiny (love that), the instructor has amazing positive energy and it is SO not the trendy nightmare that invades so many big yoga studios out here. The emphasis is on healing and alignment and I love that. The instructor said to me when I arrived "this isn't workout/sweaty yoga" (or something like that). I said that was good because I have not been practicing regularly for a while. But, as I always find in yoga, if you WORK, you sweat. That doesn't mean speed, just work. It was perfect for me where I am now.

My body/mind felt so great afterwards last night. And today I am sore in all the right places. I can't wait to go back (Thursday night). :-)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thanksgiving

As you all know, I love Thanksgiving and cook for it every year. When I lost The Big Weight, I learned to modify my traditional dishes to be low/lower fat and I have kept that up for many years. This year, I want to try to incorporate some of my lower-carb philosophy into my T-day treats. I have come up with some ideas , but would love to hear any favorite recipes or ideas you might have that are low-carb (i.e., not potatoes, rice, bread, etc.).

I have already thought of these things:

- Mashed cauliflower with parmesan cheese instead of mashed potatoes (for me and DB only...other guests will still get mashed taters!)
- Green salad (which I've never had before at Thanksgiving)
- Green beans with bacon (again, a traditional thing I've never done for T-day, but YUM)
- Altering my famous broccoli casserole to remove some (or all) of the crackers (it's basically broccoli, cheese, butter and crackers)
- Using Ezekiel bread for stuffing

Any other fave lower-carb recipes you might suggest?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More than half of vacation gain is gone!

I'm down 6 lbs. since Sunday morning. It's amazing how the program works when you get right back on it! 4 more lbs. to equal my new low from right before vacation and I'm feeling strong.

Today I'm wearing some cute pants I bought at Goodwill in NYC...they just barely aren't too big so I need to wear them quickly! ;-) A good feeling while dressing in the morning...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Whirlwind NYC Week!

I'm baaaack. :-)

And I weigh a little under 10 pounds more than when I left. This is, of course, not great, but I was so low when I left that it is not a catastrophe. DB and I are doing carb deplete this week so things are back under control.

The beginning of the week we were pretty good foodwise and, of course, there is a lot of exercise with all the walking we do in NYC -- my sister is also on the program so we were doing well together. DB started to fall off the wagon with post-dinner ice cream with my brother-in-law and nephew early in the week. I fell off the cliff with the huge plate of nachos at midnight on Tuesday from room service. Oh oh. The abyss was reached Friday night when I ate pasta, popcorn and ice cream. Can you say carb overload? Yikes. So you can see why I'm actually not too upset about the 10ish pounds. It could have been worse and a lot of it is probably water.

On to happier subjects...

We arrived Halloween night. Went to the hotel (my brother-in-law works in fine dining at a very nice midtown hotel and he got us the family rate...and lots of other nice perks) and checked in then got on a bus uptown to meet my sister and kids at a party. My nephew was trick-or-treating in a high-rise building and my niece was out with her tween friends. The party was fun and, from the 26th floor apartment, we saw fireworks from Central Park to celebrate the next day's marathon. After we left the party (the rest of the family headed to my sister's for the night), DB and I ended up in Times Square. NYC is so fun on Halloween because it's a pedestrian city so you see EVERYONE in costume (I had a clown nose and devil horn headband...told everyone I was a scary clown until a little kid in an elevator told me I was neither scary nor a clown!). After Times Square we went down to the Village to try to catch the Halloween parade, but it was already over so we just wandered around in the drizzle (I do not miss rain) watching people and enjoying the vibe of the city. Got home after midnight (NYC time...this was just about 9 pm our time) and had a good Caesar salad for "dinner".

Sunday we got up late (even including the "fall back" time change) and went up to my sister's in Harlem to meet the family for breakfast (on plan) and then walked a few blocks to see the NYC Marathon. What fun! We were at about the 23-mile marker and were very impressed with how well most of the people were doing at that point. It was a kick to cheer people on -- a lot of them had their names on their shirts so you could cheer for them by name. One lady in front of us was high-fiving as many runners as she could. ;-)

The place we stood for the Marathon was right by my favorite NYC store -- Goodwill! So, of course, I had to shop a little. Found some amazing bargains (all really nice brands, in good condition)...and only spent about $40 total in this trip and another one on Monday!

Sunday evening we went to a 60th birthday party for a friend of my sister's family then DB, my sister and I went to dinner at a Mexican place for some grown-up time. Oh yeah...I guess those chips weren't exactly on program either...

Monday...hmm...other than another Goodwill trip, I think it was basically a quiet day hanging with the family while kids were in school.

Tuesday the kids were off school so it was their Special Day with DB and me. They both wanted to go shopping so we went to Toys R Us in Times Square for Nephew (7) and Macy's for Niece (12 going on 25). There is a huge ferris wheel IN the Toys R Us!!!! Wow. We went on it and had fun. Nephew was careful to buy just want he wanted (Legos, some Nerf swords, some Pokemon cards). We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square and we all loved it -- good, reasonably-priced food and a museum to boot! Here is where we first noticed that all restaurants in NYC have calorie counts on the menu. VERY eye-opening.

After lunch we went to Macy's and Niece and I had a ball shopping while DB and Nephew grinned and bore it. ;-) The lady who checked us out told us that we could get 10% off the already-low prices because we were visiting from out-of-town. That was a nice surprise! I got an adorable LeSportSac bag for about $30 and Niece got a few things she really wanted too...score!

Wednesday (post-nachos and sleep-in our last night in the hotel...my mom moved into the room for the rest of the week), I had a short business meeting at noon, then we headed up to Westchester to visit a very good friend of mine who is fighting leukemia. (I may have mentioned last year when she was first diagnosed. She went into remission after treatment last year, but came out of remission about 6 weeks ago. She has been in treatment in the hospital every since.) A friend of my friend drove us up there and that was so nice -- my friend has amazing friends taking care of her (no family) and that made me feel better. But it was really hard seeing her in that hospital bed. Once they get her stabilized, she will get a bone marrow transplant. Hopefully that will completely cure her. Be sure to register for the national bone marrow donor program...you never know when someone might need this from you.

Thursday was my mom's big 8-0. :-) My sister and I surprised her by taking her to the Today Show that morning. My sister had gotten huge 8 and 0 silver balloons and we carried them around all day. At 8:30 when the anchors of the show came outside, my sister shouted to Meredith Viera that it was my mom's birthday and Meredith came over and interviewed her on camera!!!! My mom was THRILLED. After about an hour there (it was COLD), we went inside Rockefeller Center for breakfast overlooking the skating rink -- people kept dropping by our table to tell my mom happy birthday and that they had seen her on tv. We dropped my mom off at the hotel for lunch with a friend and we went home to get ready for the rest of the day. My sister had borrowed a friend's car so we didn't have to use public transportation this day (my mom has a hard time walking, etc.).

Mommy wanted her photo taken in Times Square on her b-day so the whole family headed there before dinner. Lots of fun and great photos. Then my brother-in-law had arranged for us to have an amazing dinner at his restaurant. Two of my mom's nieces and their husbands came and surprised her. It was really a lovely lovely dinner and a special day. My sister and brother-in-law outdid themselves and my mom was SO happy. :-)

On Friday, DB and I went to the Yankees' ticker tape parade in downtown Manhattan. Well, we got to within a block of it...it was JAMMED. So much fun to see so many people so happy. We also walked over to Battery Park City (where I had never been) and saw the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from there. One of these times, I'm going to take DB out to see them closer... ;-)

Friday night were were going to go to karaoke, but decided to just stay home and play games with the family (after the aforementioned pasta and ice cream dinner...the popcorn was later).

Nephew had a soccer game in Central Park at 10 am on Saturday so we were up early. Lugged our luggage down there and went to get my mom at the hotel afterwards. The whole family had lunch together then we got our cab back to the airport.

I hate flying, but I love Virgin America. I love their purple and red color scheme. I love the screens on the back of the chairs where you can order food, movies, etc. with your credit card. I love that part a little too much. I don't want to say how much I spent on the flight!! But I was less scared than usual thanks to too much wine, my mom enjoyed watching Julie & Julia and I enjoyed watching The Proposal. The flight went by in no time and we were home.

Much as I loved the trip, NYC and, MOST OF ALL, my family, it was nice to be home...and to have yesterday to recuperate. :-)

Back on program and feeling good...missed you all and will catch up soon...

Friday, October 30, 2009

New low today!!

And it's ONLY because of the program (on which I have NOT been perfect). Despite desire, never made it to yoga this week...NO formal exercise...AGAIN. But I am vigilant with what I ingest. And THAT must be important. I am not losing fast like the June - July period, but very very slowly moving down...and with NO real exercise. When I kick the exercise back in gear...WATCH OUT! ;-)

Leaving for a week in NYC tomorrow to celebrate my mom's 80th...I may be here or not. But I am reading you all and still WITH you even when not commenting. :-)

Happy Halloween/Samhain! :-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sad end to long-term relationship a/k/a U2 concert

I had a great time last night, but I thought the show sucked. From what I see on-line today, I must have been the only one. I feel like I broke up with my favorite band last night:

It was already bothering me that they give lip service to saving the planet but are hauling those huge stages around the world (not to mention that they must have had to take a private plane from NYC to LA yesterday to make the show -- maybe that's why they seemed so lackluster to me). Then to have tickets cost $250 (for where I sat -- luckily I got mine free) PLUS exorbitant parking fees (I loved the "party bus" we took, by the way...would do that again...so nice to not have to drive). And THEN to have them completely (in my opinion) not interact with the audience -- I mean they had those huge bridges moving around all the time and I think Bono came out to the outer ring ONCE and Edge once?! They seemed much more worried about filming their show for yet more dough than with giving a good show for the people who were THERE. I actually hear that it was good on-line. But I was THERE and I was very VERY disappointed. Very. I actually cried about halfway through when I realized they just aren't the band I fell in love with in the 80s. This doesn't mean that I don't still LOVE the music. But I really don't see myself going to any more of their shows... :-(

I'm pooped from not getting to bed until 2 am -- maybe I'm just OLD. Nahhhhh... ;-)

Good news is that I took all my own food and drinks so did very well on program. :-)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lazy lazy lazy

Lazy blogger, lazy exerciser, lazy is my middle name this week. But, with all that, somehow I have managed to really keep my weight down. This morning I am just tenths of a pound higher than my absolute lowest. I also am maintaining here at 30 pounds down from two years ago. While I am not thrilled that I am stalled with 10-15 more lbs to go, I am trying to pump myself up by patting myself on my back for my success and continuing vigilance.

Last weekend was a ball -- in some ways I like this "decompression" better than I like the big Burning Man event itself. It's a lot closer (3 1/2 to 4 hour drive instead of 12 hour drive), cleaner (sand instead of dust that sticks to your every pore...and even a hot springs and shower if you're into that!), and smaller so more friendly. We had a fantastic spot for our camp (under some trees -- which is nice in the desert -- and among the derelict train cars that are part of the art on this property) and ended up with 6 adults and three kids. Our camp was away a little bit from the two main camping areas -- one in a "wash" and one up a road on a hill -- so we were really in the middle of it. DB and Mr. Microwave did an amazing job of setting it all up on Friday so it was finished when we finally arrived at about 11:30 Friday night.

Saturday morning I woke up in our tent to the sounds of DB and the Microwaves chatting in our dome/living area and thought how nice it was to hear beloved voices as your alarm clock. The whole day I felt so much love for everyone -- it was very very emotional and wonderful. DB and I roamed looking at art, meeting people, etc. in our costumes (see below). I read a book a lot and chatted with people who came by our camp. Changed costumes late in the day and read and roamed some more. After dinner (yes, DB and I did very well staying on plan), we roamed some more to watch the big "burn" -- two guys dressed up in fireproof outfits with fire shooting through their hands somehow destroying a cardboard city that someone built -- kinda like a real-life Godzilla movie. It was fun. And then behind that they were showing Harry Potter with a silly voiceover...it was a night like that.

Sunday we spent several hours breaking down and packing up. As usual, some people help and some don't. It's disappointing that everyone doesn't pitch in for the WORK, but all expect the fun. One person who came with us actually showed up with no tent, just a sleeping bag, gallon of water, some chips and nuts and a box of wine. Seriously. She expected us (mostly DB) to do everything for her...including feeding her our meals. I told DB that we cannot invite this person anymore...she did a similar thing last time she went camping with us and I resent it. Oh well...

Despite what I half-heartedly thought last Friday, I did crap crap crappy at getting back to exercise this week as in I did NONE. :-( I'm not sure what I need to do to get that going again, but it's hard now that it's dark when I get home from work. I am focusing on this A LOT. Am determined to hit the local yoga studio at least once next week.

This weekend is going to be super-busy: tomorrow we have to unpack from last weekend and then I have to pack up for U2 on Sunday! It's going to be like a mini-camping trip. They are playing at the Rose Bowl and, while they are my favorite band of all time, the whole experience is going to be an ordeal. You have to arrive around noon or something, spend the afternoon picnicking or whatever in the parking/park area, then the show (Black Eyed Peas opening) starts at 7. After the show (probably about 11:30, I expect it will take HOURS to get out of parking and home). I'm a little irritated with U2 for choosing this venue...not the greatest for aging fans like me!! But Mrs. Microwave and I are going and we are going to have FUN, dammit!! ;-)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Helly & Gonzo in Dreamland


Yes, we had a ball. :-)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Camping in Costume

Yes, that is what I will be doing this weekend. Yee haw! I need a mini-vacation after the last couple of weeks at work. Jamming to try to leave the office a little early (it's a 3 1/2 hour drive...DB and Microwave daddy have already left...Microwave mommy, kids and I are following later), but wanted to quickly post.

Called the doc on Monday and described my breast pain...he thought it might be a nerve thing and told me to ice then heat the area that night and, if it wasn't better, to call. It's better. Whew. :-)

Still on a quest for shoes...bought some more Tevas and Earth shoes this week...walked about a mile this morning wearing Converse and my toe was hurting after a block. Sadly ('cause they are my fave shoes ever) I think I'm going to have to seriously curtail Converse-wearing unless I'm walking less than a block (which rarely happens). :-(

Weight is still staying in the same (lower) range. Not great 'cause I'm not losing, but not horrible. I know why this is happening: NO ORGANIZED EXERCISE. This has got to stop. It's great to know that I can maintain on this plan without exercise, but I still want to LOSE. It's been over a decade since I've gone this long without organized exercise. Bad bad thing. It's probably contributing to all my physical issues. I've got to get myself back into the habit.

Had a big talk with DB last night about Mexican food. He agreed with some friends that we would go have Mexican dinner without talking with me. I hate going to Mexican restaurants because they are the one place where it is really REALLY hard to stay on plan. I am powerless over tortilla chips when I'm hungry and almost nothing Mexican has good veggies (except fajitas...which aren't even real Mexican food!). I was extremely cranky because either (a) I was going to overeat, or (b) I was going to eat on-plan and be miserable watching everyone else enjoy "treats" that I can't have. This is why I avoid restaurants like this like the plague. I didn't do horribly, but the chips did suck me in and I felt FAT afterwards. I asked DB (probably not very nicely) to NEVER agree to go to Mexican again without talking with me (this is hard for him because Mexican is probably his favorite food). I explained my issues with it. He felt too full too and finally understood how I feel. Karma: this morning, my weight was down 0.2 from yesterday...and his was up 2 lbs.

I wish food wasn't such a big issue in my life. But it is. Coping with that is, I guess, one of my life's great lessons. But I don't have to like it. ;-)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So freakin' busy

Thanks to everyone who is still checking in with me even though I've been MIA for over a week....

Last week was incredibly busy at work...a couple of big deals and juggling all my usual stuff left no time for blogging and only limited time for reading the rest of you. It was one of those weeks where I really earned "the big bucks". ;-)

No, I have not yet been to the doc, but I'm calling tomorrow. The pain is bad some days, but not debilitating most days. However, it's been going on long enough that I don't feel like I hypochondriac going to check it out.

Weight-wise, I had a good week. I feel like I'm back moving in the right direction. This morning my weight was just 1 pound above my absolute lowest...and that's unheard of for a Sunday (Saturday is carb-up night and I had a couple of beers last night).

Yesterday I went to Goodwill to buy some jeans that fit...most of mine, while they are not falling off, don't look so great because they are baggy (I think that makes me look fatter than I am). It was fun to have almost every one I tried on fit. :-) I have some good-fitting jeans now and some that will be perfect in 5 pounds. And they are only $6 each! Can't beat that.

I've also been haunting ebay all week...trying to find cheap deals on different brands of shoes to try to find some that work for my wacky feet. Got some Merrells -- they are nice for my bunion, but they don't work well with my bad toe. The Teva boots are really good so far. Am going to try to get some Earth shoes this week because it seems that the shoes that go up in the front help support the bad toe (many Tevas do this). Even in Tevas though, sometimes (this morning) my toe hurts after walking not even that far. So I'll still be checking out more brands on ebay...trying to find ones that work for cheap.

Today we're working to pack up for a camping trip we're going on next weekend...yay! :-)

P.S. For those of you who aren't my Facebook friends, I went roller-blading for the first time ever on Thursday night!! I was slow and scared, but I didn't fall down a single time and I think that's pretty darn good for a 47-year-old who had never been on blades before! :-)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ouchy body parts

Maybe I'm just getting old...

The past two mornings I have woken up with really bad pain under my left arm, up around my breast and radiating down my arm. Yesterday, the pain went away by afternoon. This morning it woke me up early and hurt so much I couldn't go back to sleep. I've promised DB that I will go see a doctor (but which doctor?!) early next week if it's not better. It's probably hormonal (started the day after I stopped progesterone for the month), but it is worrying...even though I just had a clean mammogram two weeks ago, I worry about lymph nodes, heart, etc. I am a great hypochondriac.

It also may be caffeine...I've been having a little more lately than usual...but usually only on Saturday and Sunday.

This is in addition to kind of ouchy swollen knees for the past couple of days. I can't figure out what made this happen because (unfortunately) I haven't done any odd exercise that would have caused this. I did eat some bad salty nuts on Tuesday night while I waited for the tsunami (oh yeah, we had a tsunami advisory...ended up being nothing) and that probably contributed. I also am having trouble with a bunion...

Sunday I walked almost literally all day. Half the day was in my good Tevas (the only shoe that is REALLY comfy on me with my foot issues) and half the day was in my Converse (which I love, but which definitely are not made for walking...at least for me). Monday, my right foot (where I have a bunion) was incredibly painful. I got some spacers at the drugstore and also some toe spreaders to wear each night for 10 minutes. These seem to help, but I wonder if this foot stuff didn't also contribute to the knee stuff...

I have to find some more brands of shoes that I can wear...my mom has/had horrible bunions and I have her feet. I don't want to have surgery so I'm trying all these other things. And I need to find a brand of shoes that works on my feet (Clarks and Birkenstocks and Crocs, for example, which work for a lot of people do NOT work on my feet). I also need to find a brand that makes nice "work" pumps that I can wear with dresses that don't look like old lady shoes. So far, I have been unsuccessful in finding such so if anyone has any hot tips, please chime in!

Tonight we have Princess staying with us before we take her to the airport tomorrow to go visit her daddy in the South. I'm really looking forward to this because we rarely get just Papa/Helen/Princess time alone anymore now that she has three siblings!!

My mom moved into her assisted living today and I went over at lunchtime to see her progress. It's a really nice place and she's excited to be moved (even though there's a LOT of unpacking to do!).

And, oh yeah, the beer took its toll -- I'm up 2 pounds from last Friday. But I seem to stay in ranges until my body adjusts to new lows -- now the range I'm in is about 4-5 pounds less than it was a month ago. And that's a good thing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I fell off the program into a keg of beer

But the damage was not too severe! ;-)

Did great at the party on Saturday evening -- had cucumber with fat free cream cheese and smoked salmon, drank sparingly, and finally had two piece of pizza. Not bad at all for a carb-up night.

BUT, no one was drinking the keg of beer we got -- everyone seemed to want wine. So, on Sunday, we had a huge lot of beer to get rid of. And a lazy Sunday to make that happen. So Sunday was beer-drinking but I was careful to not eat much knowing that I was having beer calories and we also did A LOT of walking and biking all over Venice (a big street festival was going on a few blocks from our house and we wandered around that off and on all day). Result? Damage yesterday morning wasn't TOO bad.

After I helped my mom pack for her move all day yesterday (my office was closed for Yom Kippur), last night we went to get the keg from our friend's house where we had the party and brought it back to our house (we had to return it today). I apparently took it as a personal challenge to make it as light as possible for DB to have to carry when he returned it today. Sigh...scale this morning wasn't horrible, but up.

I'll be ok...it was a really fun weekend. :-)

Friday, September 25, 2009

New Territory reached!

Just in time for pizza and beer party tomorrow night. :-(

But it felt really good to see that new low on the scale this morning. And, while I'm always less "good" on the weekends, I am going to TRY...harder than I did last weekend. I dodged a bullet there and I hope I can remember that when temptation comes knocking.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My weird body

Today the scale is equal to the absolute lowest it has been since starting the Macro (right before we went on vacation to St. John, for ONE day, I was this weight). Can I have "lost" 8-plus pounds since Monday? It actually feels like "yes". I definitely FELT the 8 pounds on Monday. The results of getting back on the wagon this week are so dramatic that I am SURE that a lot was pre-period water. And those sugary desserts.

I've been thinking a lot about where I've been the past few months = in the same 5-ish pound range, never lower than just before our July vacation. It's been two months of maintenance -- even though the scale has gone down often, it has also gone up. I call it a rollercoaster, but it's really just maintenance.

It's funny: in July when I was this weight I felt very skinny; now, after two months in this neighborhood, the former skinny feels fat. Well, maybe not fat (I'm about 4 pounds from the "normal" range for my height according to BMI), but definitely not skinny. I'm pondering what this means for an ultimate REAL maintenance time. Will I constantly feel fat? The answer lies in my past experience: yes. I will always feel fat. :-(

Having said all that...I am ready for NEW TERRITORY. I'd like to see a number even a tenth of a pound less tomorrow. I still am saying no beer or pizza on Saturday night at our party -- trying to think of ways to treat myself while everyone else is indulging.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I think it was less the food...

...and more the time of month. Period came full-on yesterday and this morning I am down to just 3 lbs. over Sat. weigh-in -- so I might get back to even by this weekend. I'm still less than last year at this time. But I have to get off this maintenance plateau and lose the final 10 I want to. It's easy to maintain in the range I am right now...but I think I can go lower without suffering too much! ;-)

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm pretty sure that exercise (or lack thereof) is a factor too. (To answer Vickie, DB is not exercising much lately -- has been having back problems.) I found a new yoga studio much closer to our house than others and with classes at a perfect time (7:30 pm) every weeknight. I am definitely checking that out SOON. I also finally bought rollerblades last night (along with all the "armor" -- knee, wrist, elbow pads and helmet). They were $30 on Craigs List and I love them. I may hate them after the first time I fall down (or if I can't figure out how to stop without running into things!), but so far, from rolling around the house last night, I think these are going to be really fun exercise! :-) Once DB's back is better he can go with me too -- he hasn't rollerbladed since he met me!

Having my annual mammogram today -- not fun, but necessary, of course! Also heading to my mom's tonight with a blow-up mattress -- she sold her bed yesterday (getting a new, smaller one for the new place).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bad food...or too much of a good thing?

I'm not sure which it was this weekend, but I literally gained almost EIGHT pounds from Saturday morning to Monday morning. That is not a typo. No wonder I didn't feel like blogging yesterday. I know I did not eat perfectly, but I truly do not think that EIGHT pounds is deserved. I definitely felt the weight though so it wasn't fake. My body constantly confounds me...

Saturday I had good breakfast, good snack (although probably after waiting too long -- 6 hours), then went out to friend's for equinox (sorry, not solstice...I'm learning!) celebration (and birthday since it was hers). I drank vodka (very safe, no carbs). We didn't have dinner until 10 or later so I needed a snack before and I ate what I thought was ok (particularly since it was carb-up night): cheese, some chips, some crab dip (2g carb per serving) and some guacamole (no carbs/serving). I felt kind of yucky in my tummy after that so when it came time to eat, I ate very little -- just some turkey and (this is probably the mistake) some of the casserole I brought. I made this casserole and it was very low-carb (broccoli, cheese, crackers, butter)...but VERY fatty.

Sunday morning...I was up 3+ pounds. We had leftover casserole for breakfast. Then salad for lunch. Then went to another potluck for dinner. I took the same casserole (didn't feel like being creative, but I did make a new one to take on Sunday!). I ate cheese and hummus dip on whole-grain chips (not ok since it wasn't carb-up night). Then, for dinner, I had some casserole and a sausage. Again, I thought I was being PRETTY low-carb. But was aware I was being FATTY.

After that potluck and fantastic equinox ritual at the Church of the Backyard, we went to meet my birthday friend for dessert (it was her actual b-day -- I had NO cake on Saturday night). We arrived at the restaurant where she and her hubby had dinner and there were two HUGE desserts on the table. I ate some. Definitely too much. And had non-vodka drinks (not ok). Monday morning...4 more pounds up.

Lessons from this:

1. Cheese, while low/no-carb, is not something I can eat freely.
2. Butter, while no-carb, is not something I can slather on things (during the week, I use light butter on my Ezekiel toast). The casserole, which is totally delicious, can be made with much less.
3. Sugary desserts -- NO NO, HELEN!!
4. Low-carb/high fat is not workable.

I'm down 3 of the 8 pounds today and more will be gone soon, but I totally sabotaged my going into new weight territory this week with my behavior this weekend. And DB (who I'm starting to call Anorexia Boy...not nice, I know) barely ate or drank anything Saturday or Sunday night. I guess he gets to have pizza and beer at our post-Burning Man party this coming Saturday. I DO NOT. :-(

Friday, September 18, 2009

Back to weight loss...and blogging about it!

Buckling down this week and finally letting go of "it's vacation, I can be a little bad" mentality worked. As of this morning, I am now just a few tenths of a pound above my absolute lowest ever since starting the Macro. I am planning to get more of the weight off before our NEXT vacation (going to NYC for the first week of November to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday). Go me!

It's still a struggle not to get frustrated that DB can eat a milkshake and an ice cream (one day this week) and is closing in on 30 pounds off while I have been nearly perfect and struggling to get back to my 20 pounds off (yes, I'm there now). It takes a lot of deep breaths...and denial. ;-)

My sister is going on the Macro next week...she doesn't have a lot to lose, but has been struggling with how she eats. And another friend started this week. I guess my and DB's results are a good advertisement for this plan! I honestly believe it's a really good basis for long-term for me.

My new assistant started the day I got back from Burning Man last week and (at least so far) I am very pleased. She has had to learn virtually everything from scratch and is making great progress. This reduces my stress level A LOT.

Tomorrow I'm going over to my mom's to help box up some stuff for her move (she moves into assisted living two weeks from today and is very excited -- it will be good for me too -- while her place will still be about the same distance from my house, 30 minutes, it will be only 5 minutes from my office so getting to her will be a lot easier). Then tomorrow night I'm going to my Wiccan friend's solstice celebration/birthday party in the garden where I worked a lot this summer. Sunday is another solstice celebration with some pagan friends. Lots of potluck eating this weekend! ;-)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Burning Man Photos

Kind of in order...word narrative in post below...























Friday, September 11, 2009

Thanks for your patience...I'm baaaaack!

Things have been so busy since we got back that this is the first I've had a chance to write ANYTHING. Photos will take longer...we took a lot...and lots of video too! DB is culling through it all right now (we spent the past two nights at home just watching them) so I'll post some photos at some point. We both took cameras this time so more photos!

In the meantime, I'm very pleased to say that I gained WAY less on this vacation than on our trip to St. John! 6 pounds and 4 of those are already gone. :-) I love how getting back on the Crack/Macro wagon really mitigates the damage quickly. :-) We ate and drank a lot less than we have in prior years -- I also made sure that we took a lot more protein and a lot less carbs to eat. That worked. Every morning DB made me a yummy big proteiny breakfast -- usually bacon, egg substitute, some feta cheese and sometimes some veggies in the scramble. It was a hearty breakfast and I noticed that I really didn't get hungry the whole rest of the day! We snacked on nuts (small quantities) and canned veggies rather than a lot of chips (we did take tortilla chips, but ate about half of what we took). Anyway, I am proud of us...DB gained only 5 pounds too. :-)

Sooo...here's the narrative of our fun trip:

We dyed our hair on Saturday night before we left with Manic Panic product (semi-permanent). We had no idea how it would come out or how long it would last -- they say it lasts longer if you pre-process your hair (bleach) and neither of us wanted to do that -- way too permanent! DB dyed his hair (and his half-beard -- you'll have to see photos to appreciate this!) bright purple; I dyed my hair bright red. It was fun, but very messy! My bathroom looked like a major bloodbath...but I got it all out...mostly... ;-) DB's color washed out as soon as he used shampoo on Tuesday night (and he had gotten a special "protect your color" shampoo)...mine lasted all week because I didn't use shampoo until Friday night (I would rinse my hair with water, no shampoo). When I did use shampoo, it was the "no-rinse" kind that I take to Burning Man and it seemed to be less harsh with washing out the color. I still have a few streaks today after a full week of washing with regular shampoo...and it looks really good with my natural color. BUT I don't think I'll do this regularly -- no way would I not shampoo for a week in "real" life!! ;-)

We left town about 7:30 am on Sunday morning -- in our trusty Burner van, Vera, and pulling a small U-Haul trailer (we rented that this year because it was WAY easier to pack with more space -- usually takes us a long time to cram everything into Vera -- this was GREAT). We had to go a little slower than usual so it took us about 12 hours to get to our hotel in Reno (including stopping for groceries). It was a long day and DB (who did all the driving) was pretty cranky. I was so excited that I tried to maintain a happy mood the whole day...despite the fact I still had a cold (which I had gotten the Wednesday before we left...and which I STILL HAVE).

Monday morning (August 31) we got up early and headed out of Reno around 7 am. Stopped for breakfast and gas and we were on our way! Got to the playa about 10 am and got to our spot in our village (Alternative Energy Zone) by 11 am. This is the earliest we've ever gotten there so this was great! I was feeling pretty sick -- runny nose, cough, etc. -- but we had a lot of work to do! While hugging and saying hi to all our friends who were already there, we figured out how to configure our camp, put Vera and the trailer as wind blocks, set up our dome, tent (dressing room) and hexayurt (sleeping pod). I think we finished around 7 pm...hard working day in hot sun, but it looked really good when we finished and we were HOME. :-)

Monday night we didn't have hot water for shower (hadn't set up the solar shower yet), so we washed off with baby wipes, changed clothes and headed out on our bikes to see if we could find a friend who had invited us to a party. It was very windy and dusty and hard to see much so we didn't stay out long...we both crawled into our bed by 10:30 that night...

Tuesday (and every day for the rest of the week through Saturday), we got up around 9 and did our usual routine: iced mochas at the Center Camp Cafe (they only sell coffee and ice there), breakfast cooked by DB, I get water out of the cooler to put in our solar shower, then it's time for me to be the Tour Guide! When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a tour guide...and at Burning Man my dream comes true! This year I took the laboring oar and organized the tours of our village -- at 11 am each day, I took people around to see all the great alternative energy projects that everyone in our village brought. This is so fun and inspiring!!! We had tons of solar energy, wind energy, etc. People run lights, swamp coolers, ovens and so much more on renewable resources and we also work hard to conserve (using both passive and active means) - it's amazing how well you can live while using less. We even had a villager who ground his own wheat and baked bread using solar energy!! So very much fun!!

Since I was feeling under the weather all week, after the tours each day (they lasted until noon or 12:30), I would grab a drink and lie back in my lounge chair and READ for hours. It was wonderful. I got through 2 books. Sometimes DB and I would head out to the playa to see art projects for an hour or two. Sometimes not. DB played several times with the Burning Band (marching band) and I went to see him a couple of times, but mostly he just banged his drums with them and had a ball. It felt really good not to push myself too hard.

After dinner each night, DB and I would go out for a few hours...then I would come home around 10 or 10:30, sit on our "playa bench" (like a park bench), have a beer, look at the lights and stars (one night I saw a shooting star SO bright!), then go to bed. I literally did not go to bed later than 11 pm any night except one until Saturday night!! DB would usually go back out until 2 or 3...that's much more his thing than mine. We both were happy!! In our fifth year there, I think we finally found the balance where we were taking care of ourselves and each other in just the right way. Yay! :-)

I had fantastic outfits this year -- several tutus, some beautiful bustiers and DB surprised me with a lighted-up white fake fur boa!!! This was worn EVERY night, needless to say! ;-)

The art was not the best ever, but there were fun things: the base of the Man was huge (great fire the night he burned), the temple was the most beautiful ever (looked like a lotus -- it's amazing when they burn it the night after The Man -- Man Burn Night is a loud and crazy part -- temple burn night is quiet -- thousands of people sit in silence while it burns -- this is my favorite thing), there was a big silver rocket and (best of all) there was a huge slide that was about 4 stories high made from Astroturf. On Thursday night (after we had a really fun and delicious potluck dinner in our camp -- DB and I made a gingerbread house!), I was so excited to try it! We went out after dark and I crawled up and slid down on a garbage can lid -- sooooo fun, but...I got a huge Astroturf burn on my back. OUCHY. Major ouchy. (It's still healing...I have a huge bandage on my back and antibiotic cream at all times.) I couldn't wait to go back though...with more protective clothes on! ;-)

Temple Burn Night (Sunday) was when I got back to The Slide -- completely covered up. ;-) After the temple burn, DB and I headed to The Slide and went down it together on our sleeping bag -- SO FUN!! Then we headed far out on the playa where it was quiet and laid there looking at the stars and cuddling. It was a perfect night. We had worked hard all that day breaking down camp so we were ready for bed a little after midnight...and had to get up at 4:30 am to get on the road (leaving the city, Exodus, is rough -- 45,000 people leaving at close to the same time -- sometimes it takes 3 hours to go 2 miles).

We got up at 4:30, broke down the hexayurt (the last thing to do), got it and our mattress and sleeping bag into the trailer and were on the road by 5:30. We were very pleased to get to the pavement (2-3 miles) in about 1/2 hour. We were in Reno by 8:30 for breakfast. Stopped at a Walmart for some supplies to help my ouchy back, then were to our hotel in the Eastern Sierras by 11 am. We took an hour-long shower, and were down for a nap by 2 pm. Ahhhhhhh! Got up at about 4:30, gambled a little in the casino, had a yummy dinner, then were asleep by 9 pm. Ahhhhhh...

On Tuesday, we got up early and, after a hearty breakfast, were on the road by 9:45. We got home about 6 pm...unpacked the trailer, parked it and Vera on the street, went out to dinner and did a little computer work before bed.

I'm still recovering but it was the Best. Burning Man. EVER. :-)

P.S. I'm sure I'm forgetting things...will amplify when I post photos.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gone to Burning Man!

No time to blog this week...struggling with plateau and watching DB keep losing...depressing. But now we're on vacation and will try not to worry about weight too much while gone.

Tonight we're dying our hair (I'm going for fire engine red, DB for purple). We'll see how that works!! It's MESSY.

Van and trailer are packed...leaving tomorrow morning before 7 am.

See you all after Labor Day!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Finally!

This morning I weighed 0.2 pound over the weight I was before we left for our vacation in St. John. :-) Just in time for the Burning Man vacation... ;-)

Speaking of which, here's a photo of me trying out one of my special day-time costumes for this year:
I'm also going to try to get my hair to go red (fire engine red, not natural red) with a temporary hair dye. Trial run yesterday didn't work so well...most of it washed out on the strip I dyed. I don't want to bleach my hair before dying...just want to fade back to my natural color gradually (as this brand is supposed to do). I love my real hair color!! :-)

Had a great day yesterday doing fun prep for the trip, including walking a lot on the boardwalk shopping. Also spent a while boogie-boarding which was a blast because the waves were big and strong. Last night we saw District 9 (liked it, didn't love it).

Tonight we're going on a bike ride after work... :-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Deprivation vs. Abundance

First off...I am now hovering one pound above my pre-vacation weight. I might just get back down to the same place for my next vacation (Burning Man) in a week. It's going slowly now, but I'm not being perfect and not doing formal exercise (although biking, beach walking and Burning Man packing definitely count as exercise!). DB is now down about 24 pounds and is also longing for that "virgin territory" below the lowest he's been. We're both hovering. He's just hovering at 5 pounds more lost than me! ;-)

Last week we were at dinner on my carb-up night and DB said something that kind of made me go "aha!". Here's the idea: people approach life with a perspective on a continuum between abundance and deprivation. I immediately identified in my gut with deprivation even though my head knows abundance is mine. I have been thinking about this off and on...and how it impacts on my approach to food...and maybe everything else. DB said that about 15 or so years ago he switched his outlook from deprivation to abundance. I think it would help if I could do likewise.

Why do I feel deprived? Was I ever really physically deprived? NO. Food food food and more food was mine. As I've said before, in my family growing up, food was LOVE. "Here, have some ice cream" was pretty equivalent to "I love you, you have value". I've always said this in a joking way, but I've just realized that, at least on some level, this is no joke. I probably will need more therapy to figure out just where the feeling of emotional deprivation comes from. I truly have had so much love for so much of my life, it's hard to understand. But the place where my gut really identifies with feeling emotionally deprived is when it comes to romantic relationships. Until I met DB, I just wasn't too lucky with that. And I'm sure that being overweight and downright FAT a lot of my life probably added to that. Vicious cycle, eh?

So what do I do? If I have something delicious in my mouth, I want MORE. I want MORE because maybe there won't be any later. My tendency is to eat and drink like there is no tomorrow, like there will never be another tidbit like this again. I think I've acted like that in relationships too.

So much food for thought here...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A plug

So here's a little story:

Last Saturday night we were semi- (or full-out-) drunkenly strolling down the Venice boardwalk and I heard a singer. Unlike most of the people I see down there, she captured my attention. I listened to her for (what seemed to pretty-drunken me) a long time. I gave her some money. I hit up my companions to give me some more money to buy her cd.

Yesterday I popped in the cd just to see if I loved her as much while non-drunk. I do. Love her voice, love her lyrics. I'd pay to see her (and I don't do that for too many people -- went to see Elvis Costello & Lucinda Williams last night on ebay-bought cheapie tix). So I went to look to see when I could go. Boo hoo, no upcoming shows in CA, but maybe there might be some by you. Check out the list of shows here: http://www.myspace.com/sistaotisandthewhollyrollers

I'm sure her shows are cheap or free...and I'm pretty sure you'd like her. :-)

Elvis and Lucinda were great...two of my favorites who I had never seen live...classic voices. And our seat were great! :-)

Back in the saddle with The Macro. Hanging on tight. 12 days until Burning Man...

Monday, August 17, 2009

I hate Mondays

Too much frickin' stuff going on in life (work is slammed, Mommy moving, Burning Man prep, etc.). While I had lots of fun, I feel like I had no weekend at all. :-( That, plus I ate rice last night...big mistake. I know what went wrong and I am DONE with it:

DB has decided to play fast-and-loose with the Macro. He's not eating the right number of meals a day ("I'm not hungry") or in the right combinations. It still seems to be working for him (he's down a teeny bit from pre-vacation weight...some days). Trying to do his way is NOT working for me. Yesterday is a perfect example. I had a salad (yes, a salad) for breakfast. He had an omelette (huge), hash browns and two pieces of rye toast. Later in the afternoon, I was so hungry that I had to get some turkey while out and about, then had an egg on Ezekiel bread. Here's where I screwed up: I waited and didn't eat dinner until 8:30 pm when DB finally was hungry. That's a total of two meals that I had before 8:30 pm...and was physically working a lot too. I was WAY too hungry. I had no desire to have control so I ate a lot of sushi with the rice. Bad plan. Scale was up today. :-(

So, I told DB that I am sticking with the program...if he doesn't want to eat breakfast or doesn't want to eat the required number of meals, that is fine, but I need to do it. My body is different than his and this program (when I stick to it...which I have not been all the time lately) works for ME.

Sigh...learning learning learning all the time...what works, what doesn't. And no time to blog much either...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

French Fry Fiesta Lbs. Gone

Yay! :-)

Did the long beach walk with DB last night, then had dinner (carb-up night) at this place that has amazing smoked salmon salad. On the way home, we heard this cover band playing in a bar and walked in...fun surprise, they were great! Played songs you really like, but not cliches...kind of obscure covers. And the band was really tight. Fun!

Maybe will get down a bit more tomorrow...hope so! Biking tonight to concert at pier... :-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm a moron

I "gained" 5+ pounds over the weekend due to corn-on-the-cob, tortilla chips, French fries (what was I thinking?) and rice. :-( Two plus are gone today, but I am very disappointed in myself. Eating around kids is hard and, in case I didn't mention, I am a moron.

We did have a whole huge lot of fun though. :-)
Saturday we went to the children's parade which was fantastic -- all these little kids in costume, floats that are pushed or pulled by parents, etc. Smiley said to me: "Helen, I really want to be in the parade.". :-) Maybe next year.

Then we went to the beach for about 3 hours. When we got there, Little Dude (formerly known as Crybaby) wailed "me no beach" and wouldn't go another step onto the sand so I picked him up and planted him on the coverlet on the ground...by the end of the afternoon, he was happily playing in the sand. I think he was just afraid of the ocean.

After the beach, we washed the kids off and went to the carnival and after that we barbecued burgers and they watched a video before sleep. Sunday we just played around the house in the morning, then left about 12:30. Did lunch and mani-pedis (for all six of us!) on the way home. Little Dude had been hearing "mani-pedi" so joyfully all weekend from all the girls that by the time we got there he was shouting "mani-pedi"!!! He had a ball and his little chubby hands are so cute with the nail polish that matches his Papa's.

Princess is a beauty...such a sweetheart...getting to be such a grown up girl...we keep trying to encourage her to still be a kid...she's a real "little mommy' to her younger siblings.

Our other granddaughter (from PD2's family...oy, what is her secret name here? I forget! I'll call her Sweetheart) is not as effusive as the rest...and I think it's hard for her a little because the other kids have been on many more adventures with us so know that it's going to be lots of fun. She misses her parents a lot too...oh well...she did have a fantastic time. :-)

Little Dude actually smiles at me and talks with me now. FINALLY. :-)

I may be a moron, but I love being a grandma. :-)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Finally off the plateau

It worked. No surprise. I ate my starches as and when I was supposed to and I'm finally out of the 3-5 pound UP that I was lingering in. Now I'm just two pounds over what I was when I went on vacation. I don't feel bad about this progress...even though I wish it was faster. My skinny clothes fit and some (like pants I have on today) are even a little too loose to look flattering. Nice. :-)

Last night we did our usual beach bike ride to the pier for the free concert there (every Thursday during the summer) and had so much fun as usual...last night was blues music and I'm a blues girl at heart. :-)

We're headed to Nearby Town this evening with four of the grandkids (ages 9, 6, 4 1/2 and 2 1/2). The PDs are getting a little break this weekend -- each of them will just have their youngest to contend with. For PD1 this will be huge since she's got the new baby plus three kids! ;-) I can't wait...we're gonna have a ball!

The next two weekends are going to be all about getting ready for Burning Man. We are running quite late this year, but we've done it all before so should be ok. I am getting VERY excited!! I have taken over as co-coordinator of the tours of our village (Alternative Energy Zone) this year because I had SO MUCH fun doing them last year. I always wanted to be a tour guide when I was a little girl...Burning Man lets us live our dreams! :-)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Back to weight loss blogging!

I'm still struggling to get the lbs from vacation all gone -- I'm fluctuating between 3 and 5 pounds up from when we left. Today it's 4. Today is up from yesterday even though I have been totally PERFECT since the Great-Wagon-Fall-Off of Sunday. Not to mention that we took a LONG beach bike ride on Monday night and a LONG beach-walk last night. I feel like I really SHOULD be losing....

BUT...until the past couple of days I have been playing fast and loose with The Plan. I have been on-Plan more or less, but have not always had every type of food I should be eating in the magic order/time of day, etc. that is The Plan. I know there is something to eating the starches as and when she says...I've been erring on the side of less starches and that is probably not good.

So, tonight I will eat my Wednesday "up" carb day starches. And I'll keep going.

DB is cheating a little more than me some days. Yesterday (supposedly a carb-down day) he had five pieces of bread and a bag of peanuts right before bed. If I would have done that, I would have "gained" five pounds! He "gained" a pound (and I "gained" a half pound being absolutely perfect). No fair! ;-) But he had digestive distress. Stinky digestive distress. ;-) That is something I don't miss...not a lot of stinky when we're eating clean. :-)

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Best Honeymoon I Never Had: Part IV

Friday (July 24) was our last full day in paradise...

We lazed around in the morning and then went for "brunch" to The Tourist Trap, a restaurant just at the bottom of our road. We had heard the lobster rolls and Bloody Marys were really good and they were...but seating was outside under a cheap canopy and it was HOT with no breeze so we didn't stay long. But it was a cute place!


We had a couple of ideas of things to do -- and agreed completely on one: we wanted to do a short hike to the ruins of a sugar plantation (Annenberg). It was a very beautiful hike up through the jungle to the top of a hill. Very interesting to learn a little about the sugar trade.



DB calls this one "Master and his Sugar":


Nearby was the famous Waterlemon Cay where snorkeling is supposedly really great...DB was into the idea of snorkeling there, but I had heard the currents around the Cay were bad and it made me a little nervous...so, after our Annenberg trip, we realized it wouldn't be fun for me to have stress on our last day so decided to go back to our favorite spot, Cinnamon Bay. :-)

We had a very great snorkel there...went way around the island and saw lots of very beautiful fish, including the fish I had seen there the day before that I think are little sharks. AND, as we were headed in, WE SAW A BIG SHARK!!! Wowza. I think it was between 3 and 5 feet long, DB thinks it was 7 feet long. However big it was, it was bigger than anything else out there by far. And, oddly, it was not THAT scary to me (I'm more scared of the rays although they are really pretty -- and we saw some there that day too -- this was "just" a nurse shark and I knew they are not dangerous to people), just really exciting...he was a very fast swimmer!!! After that, we figured we had hit the jackpot and that was a good way to end our snorkeling for the trip. So we went back up on the beach and lounged with a beer...enjoying the beautiful view.



It was time to go back to our favorite bar, Island Blues for a last round of LCs, then to shower and make our way to Sweet Plantains again that night (curry night, which we had heard was fantastic...it was!).

The next morning, we got up fairly early (8-ish) in order to enjoy our last morning at the villa. We had breakfast and just lounged around until it was time to go. I almost shed a tear, it was that perfect a vacation, that perfect a place.

We left the villa around 11 and raced to get the noon ferry over to St. Thomas. Then a long cab ride to the airport got us there around 1 (for our 3 pm flight). We had some greasy (but delicious) airport food and, as I realized our vacation was almost over and I had had ice cream a grand total of one time, had a Dove bar. DB tasted mine and decided he needed one too. ;-)

Our plane left pretty much on time and we started the looooong trek back home. Flights were pretty bumpy (which I really do not like), but we watched Duplicity on one leg of the journey and played games too (loved Delta). During the long layover in Atlanta, we talked with PD1 and made plans to come see her family and the new baby the next day. :-)

We got home at 11:40 pm LA time...just about 3 am our bodies' time...yawwwwwn. But such a great vacation that I still have the afterglow over a week later!

Here's the view of beautiful Coral Bay from Bordeaux Mountain....ahhhhhhh: