Friday, December 28, 2007

Why do I even weigh-in the week between Xmas and New Year's?!

I have gained 5 (almost 6) pounds in the past two weeks. Four have been this week. How is that even possible? I definitely have been overeating, but I can't see that I've been overeating THAT much and I still have been exercising. :-( Oh well. The good news is that it should come off FAST as soon as I get a grip and stop indulging...after this weekend.

Happy New Year to all!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Some stuff I forgot

I guess the long weekend was so eventful that I totally forgot a big thing when summarizing below: my brother-in-law (a/k/a The Good One) saved my mom's life!! While we were out to dinner on Christmas Eve, my mom started to choke...badly. She couldn't breathe. The restaurant people were asking if they should call 911. Luckily, The Good One was very good...with the Heimlich -- got the offending thing out of Mommy's air passage with two tries. Whew. It happened so fast that I didn't have time to be scared, but in We all practiced the Heimlich the next day!

Here are a couple of photos from Xmas Eve -- the lights on the canals and don't you love our jammies? ;-)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

All the Christmas News

While the long-awaited four-day "relaxing" weekend was anything but, I still had a great time!

We saw Sweeney Todd on Friday night (I have seen it many times on-stage and I loved it, DB called it a "slasher movie"). It was super-fun to see a movie in a's been a long time! And there are SO many I want to see right now: Charlie Wilson's War, Atonement, Juno, Dewey Cox...

Saturday I went shopping for last-minute things (we just found out that DB's brother, The Good One -- yes, Lori, the one we're hoping comes to Burning Man with us next year -- was coming in for Xmas so we had to scramble a little), did some yoga, then went over to some good friends' (my ex-house actually!) for some take-out and Christmas cheer with them.

Sunday The Good One arrived and, after we took him out to breakfast, I baked -- made two kinds of cookies and our family's version of a fruit cake (which tastes GOOD). I used low-fat/cal ingredients as much as possible. Sunday night we went with a friend of mine to our "local" restaurant (right behind our house) for happy hour dinner, then back to our pad where DB and I wrapped and wrapped while The Good One and our friend drank and chatted with us. (I think we literally wrapped for about 8 hours total over the long weekend!)

On Christmas Eve, we...WRAPPED. ;-) I did even more last-minute errands, including a brow wax and a manicure. My mom came over about 2:30. At 6, we went for our traditional Christmas Eve Indian dinner, then walked the canals (I'll try to post some photos's really beautiful) with Doglet.

Christmas Day was busy, but fun. We woke and opened presents with our coffee and apple fritters (traditional breakfast). DB spoiled me! We had a 5-gift limit and I don't even want to count how many he went was hard to be mad though because it was sweet. :-) My best gift? A wetsuit!! I had been wanting one, but I don't think I ever really said to DB "I want one". Somehow, though, he figured it out or thought of it himself and it was SO great because I really wanted one and it was a HUGE surprise. I want this to be able to boogie board in the winter and snorkel locally (our water never gets too warm). I have to take it back because it was a size too small, but I can't WAIT to get to use it!! Boogie boarding can be very good exercise too. ;-)

DB also got me some spice racks that I needed and will be a lot easier to cook when they are up and ready! He also got me a beautiful teak stool for my shower (it's hard to shave legs with no tub side to rest feet on -- we don't have tubs) and a cool hoody for my beach walks. My mom got us some great kitchen stuff and got me The Notebook DVD that I really wanted. My sister took photos in her neighborhood in Harlem of "Helen" as it appears on some buildings and framed them...fantastic gift! My biggest gift to DB was our Surprise NYE Getaway -- we'll be leaving next Monday at noon and back on Tuesday. Not posting details here yet in case DB reads 'em, but I am very excited to get away and just RELAX.

Yesterday afternoon I made some broccoli mashed potatoes and some low-fat egg nog (which turned out GREAT) to take to the pitch-in Jammy Party. We got there about 5:30 and had a was a total gift orgy with all the grandkids and we loved getting to see them (and the parents!) enjoy the things we had gotten for them. I love DB's family so really is a treat to be considered one of them (The Good One calls me his "favorite sister-in-law"...which might not go over too well with The Evil One's wife!!). We finally left there about 10:30 and didn't get to bed until midnight. I guess now I'm looking forward to an actual relaxing 4-day weekend coming up!! ;-)

Luckily work is slow this week...and I'm digging out some "stinky fish" that have been smelling up my to-do pile for too long!!

Food and other health news: I went down to 1/2 grain of thyroid meds on Tuesday (from a high of 2 1/2 and from 2 last week). I finally feel a lot better (I felt pretty bad on Christmas Eve). Still waiting for The Toe to get really juicy for a culture. And food? I can't pull my stomach in. I really have overdone...although much less than I used to do. The weigh-in this Friday will be sad. But I'll be taking Doglet for a beach walk tonight to celebrate our 9-year anniversary together and I'll be back to yoga-ing tomorrow.

I hope you all had a magical holiday. :-)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmakwannukah!

DB's brother (the Good One) was unexpectedly able to get out here and has been with us since yesterday...what a treat!! He should be able to stay until at least Wednesday and we are happy. :-) Right now we're all just resting and it's very's about time!! ;-) My heart is racing again today and that doesn't feel too good...tomorrow I reduce the thyroid meds a little more.

I baked yesterday afternoon -- only two kinds of cookies and a cake -- used low-fat/low-cal options when I could. I can't wait to taste the goodies.

DB and I still have a lot of wrapping to do (for his family)...we've been at it since Friday night and there's still a pile to go! I've done all the grocery shopping and my mom should be coming over in a few hours. Tonight we'll go for Indian food and then for a walk on the canals -- the Christmas lights are so lovely -- as is our tradition. Tomorrow after gifts, we'll snack and then over to DB's daughter's for her pajama dinner party.

Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Warning: Food Porn Ahead

OK, so I gained 1.8 pounds this week. While I did overindulge yesterday at our firm potluck, this is WAY more than I should have gained since that was virtually my only really BAD cheat this week. :-( I'm in the "it's so unfair" mode about how other people can eat and not move and not gain weight. Grrr. So what am I doing now? I'm uncelebrating by eating a cookie I saved from yesterday for when I hadn't used up all my calories for the day -- it's some kind of chocolate bomb with brownie-ish stuff outside, fudge inside and covered in powdered sugar. It IS good, but only time will tell if it will be worth it.

I did some yoga last night -- tried out a Yoga for Weight Loss DVD and it was OK. I felt great though getting my body back into those shapes with which it is so familiar. But it was frustrating and took a lot of breathing to get through the fact that there are so many SIMPLE things that I just can't do anymore (at least not yet). Any bent-leg weight-bearing pose is really BAD on my bad knee...I'm hurting today from trying some warriors and side angle poses. Surprisingly, child's pose wasn't as hard as I thought it would be (I made sure to pad my knees -- as always -- with a blanket). Most of the poses -- even lunges -- felt good bending The Toe. This was a very "easy" practice compared with what I am used to, but it is probably good to start slowly.

I'm also giving myself a yoga gift for Christmas -- a former yoga teacher of mine who has become a friend is running a holiday special where she'll give three private pilates or yoga sessions for a reduced rate. I'm hoping she can help me figure out things I can work on without hurting my knee.

The thing about yoga is that I really LOVE to do it...when I do pilates I always watch the clock and can't wait for the 1/2 hour to be over. I never looked at the clock once during the 50-minute practice last night!! Of course, I'm used to yoga classes which last at least an hour and a half, but still the non-clock-watching was very telling to me...

If I'm not here again before Christmas (I will try to be), I wish all of you the happiest, most relaxing and most joyous Christmas you can imagine!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thyroid update

I heard back from my GP today and he told me that the results from my blood test show that I am now HYPERthyroid which, of course, would explain my symptoms from earlier in the week. My symptoms got substantially better when I reduced the amount of medication I take daily on Tuesday, but my heart still feels fluttery, I am still jittery and nauseous, etc. My GP told me to stay on the lower dose grains until next Tuesday and then to go down again. I am to go back to him for another blood check in January. I must admit I'm kinda mad at my gyne over this...I just sent her an e-mail with all this info (plus details of the blood results)...

The ONLY way I will have lost this week is from the hyperthyroidism: we had our firm potluck holiday lunch today and I'm finding it hard to breathe in my clothes! I will be ecstatic if I have maintained.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

3 doctors in 3 days

Here we go...

So I heard back from my GP first thing this morning with a recommendation to an infectious diseases specialist. I called his office this morning and they told me that he didn't have an available appointment until January 14. I said "ok, I'll take it, but I might have to cancel if I find someone else because I actually have an infection NOW." That woke up the person on the phone (who was actually very nice from the get-go). She wanted details so I gave them to her. She asked me if I could come in today if the doctor had time...I regretfully told her no because I had to drive DB back from PT on my "lunch hour", but told her that I could come any other time because my office is close to theirs. She said that she would get back to me this morning or this afternoon.

At about 3:30 this afternoon my phone rang and it was THE DOCTOR HIMSELF. OK, now, in my experience the ACTUAL DOCTOR doesn't ever call you (except my GP) and ESPECIALLY when you've never even been in to see him! He asked me to tell him what was going on and I did. He asked if I could come in this afternoon and (thinking "wow, this doctor actually will SE me!") said I could be there in less than 1/2 hour. And I was.

When I got to the office, after I filled out paperwork, they took me RIGHT IN. The doctor himself weighed me and took my blood pressure. He heard my story and, lo and behold, he didn't think I was crazy or a hypochondriac (which I was worried about). He said I definitely have a serious infection in my toe, that it is nuts to think that it should take this long to heal. Validation was good!

He spent a whole HOUR with me (after the two hour wait for the honor of 10 minutes with my ortho yesterday, this felt like the universe balancing right out!). Told me lots of stuff, but the bottom line is:

- Oral antibiotics will not kill this infection (he took my off mine today).
- He can't determine what antibiotic to prescribe without knowing what exact bacteria is in there.
- In order to find out either I have to get a readable swab of the discharge from the toe (sorry for graphicness) or, if it doesn't start to ooze again after being off the oral antibiotic, we have to remove the pin that's still in there (this will have to happen sooner or later anyway to determine whether the infection is on the pin or in the bone or both) and swab it.
- Once the pin is out, that will be better, but then we have to treat with IV antibiotics.
- That means they will have to insert this thing in my upper arm into which they can pump antibiotics "once or twice a day"...for how long, I asked? Gulp. SIX WEEKS. I told the doc this might be a problem as I'm pretty sure insurance won't pay to have someone come out and inject me when we're in Utah for a week in January! He reassured me that they will be able to teach me how to handle it.

It sounds a little daunting...and part of me hopes that ALL of this doesn't really have to happen. But I am SO HAPPY to have a doctor who seems really really on top of things -- he tried to get through to Dr. Toe today with me there and couldn't (no big surprise).

I am hopeful...and a whole new adventure awaits!

Not to mention that I got my "Yoga for Weight Loss" video from Netflix today...I'll try it tomorrow night.

One day closer to my 4-day weekend...and I NEED it! ;-)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Michael Moore was SO right (when is he not?)

I've had two doctor appointments in less than 24 hours...something I do NOT have time for at this time of year. :-(

For a little over a week, I've been feeling "fluttery" in my chest about once a day. My gyne (who prescribed my thyroid meds) told me to let her know if I ever felt anything in my chest so I sent her an e-mail last week. She said to keep up with my same dosage and not increase as she had told me to and that the feeling should go away. Over the weekend it got worse and by Sunday night my pulse was 92 when I was lying down (it's usually in the 60s). Yesterday morning I was feeling fluttery, jittery, tired, nauseous and dizzy. I e-mailed the doc again and she said to take one grain less of the medication than I had been. But I felt really sick and worried so I made an appointment to go see my GP. He took an EKG (all good), blood, and told me to start reducing the thyroid meds. My thyroid levels in April were "good" via the blood tests he ran when I was in for my physical. Then in Sept. when my gyne did the Thyroflex (not blood test) I was hypothyroid so I started the meds. My GP is not familiar with the Thyroflex, but he says he's pretty positive that my symptoms were from taking too much medication. We'll know for sure when he gets the blood work back later this week.

Then, this morning I had a follow-up with the toe doctor. After waiting for TWO HOURS, when he finally came in I let him have it (nicely) -- this is far from the first time that I've had to wait this long in this office. I told him that at my job if I kept a client waiting for two hours, I would expect to be fired. He got very defensive saying he was "working me in" (what? I had an appointment!) and that "lots of people need to see me". I told him maybe he needs to take less patients. I absolutely HATE certain doctors who think their time is more important than mine. Grrrrrr. I am furious at this point and trying very hard not to cry (which I tend to do when I get furious). I didn't cry and we went on to the meat of the appointment (he never apologized!):

My toe is infected. It has been off-and-on for probably two months. I took a 5-day course of antibiotics back in November and it seemed to clear it up, but then it came back. I'm now on day 6 of a 10-day course of the same antibiotic. My toe looks better, but it still is red and the wound is still not completely closed (3 1/2 months after surgery!). I told the doc I am worried about creating a "super bug" in there that is resistant to antibiotics. I asked him flat out if it was normal for the toe to look like this after such a long time...NO. He said maybe I should go see an infectious disease specialist. Ya think? Grrrrrr. Why didn't he recommend this? Why did I have to ask? It doesn't make me feel good to have my DOCTOR say "oh, ok, I agree with you". I made sure he wasn't just saying this to appease me...I believe he does think that I should see someone and he is out of his depth. :-( So he recommended me to someone...yeah, right, I'm going to go see someone you're in cahoots with? I think not! (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I dropped the lawyer-bomb with him and his assistant today...saying "in my law firm, we wouldn't leave someone waiting for two hours and expect them to happily stay". Funny...all of a sudden, they got a wee bit more responsive...worried about malpractice much?! Not that I think this is malpractice, by the way...just shoddy practice.)

Anyway, I called my GP immediately from the car when I left Dr. Toe to get an infectious disease recommendation. As I hung up, Dr. Toe's office was on the phone -- "these are the blood tests you need to have done before going to see our infectious disease doctor and I've made an appointment for you on January 3 at 11 am."!!! NOOOO. I told them I was probably not going to go to their person but to another doctor of my choice but that I appreciated their "help". UNBELIEVABLE.

Sigh. Michael Moore was so right...I actually HAVE insurance and it's not MY problem with our health system in the U.S. My problem is the medical CULTURE here. And I'm afraid nothing will ever change. Go rent Sicko.

On to happier things: weekend was very fun if still way too busy. I finally got some time to just sit and look at the internet late on Sunday night. Food has been ok. Booze too. Although I must admit I did have two teeny cookies yesterday from a gift basket in the kitchen at work...I think most "normal" sized people can do this and not gain weight...why do I gain the minute I cheap a little bit? Well, I'm not going to assume I'm going to gain this week...I'm still sticking with the program...exercise and eat right and try to at least maintain.

Oh yeah, and I'm going to get my yoga going too...not this week probably...way too much going on...BUT I do have a yoga DVD coming to me next on my Netflix queue so maybe on Thursday night... :-)

Thanks for listening to me rant... :-)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday weigh-in, Fun and The List

Happily, my weight stayed the same this week! I am lucky for this because (a) I drank a bit more than I have the past several weeks, and (b) I missed pilates on Tuesday due to DB's procedure (although I threw in an extra walk with Doglet on Wednesday). I truly am happy with a "maintain" this week.

I am really excited because tonight DB and I are going to a benefit for the workers who have been laid off due to the WGA strike -- among the performers are Eddie Izzard (the funniest human on earth in my opinion), Tenacious D (LOVE Jack Black), Sarah Silverman and Patton Oswalt. I am looking forward to laughing my head off for a few glorious hours. :-)

Now The List of Asanas, etc.I can do TODAY (to be amended and expanded):

Pranayama (breathing...REALLY need this) -- alternate nostril, ujayii, kumbaka (retention), kapalbati (skull brightener)
Downward dog
Vrksanana (tree pose)
Suryanamaskar (sun salutation -- not sure about this one, will have to modify for toe)
Tadasana (mountain pose)
Savasana (resting pose)
Dolphin (but not Dolphin push-up due to toe)
Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose)
Danurasana (bow pose)
Halasana (plow pose)
Matsyasana (fish pose)
Nagasana (cobra pose)
Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)
Shalabasana (locust pose)
Shirshasana (head stand)
Trikonasana (triangle pose) and variations (side angle, etc.)
Navasana (boat pose)
Virabarasana I, II and III (warrior -- but must not bend knee too much)
Chair pose (w/ twisting variations)
Forward bed and wide-legged forward bend (standing -- uttanasana -- and seated)
Janusirsasana (head to knee pose)
Dandasana (staff pose)
Seated twists
Sphinx pose
Bridge pose
Vipirita Kurani (legs up the wall pose)
Supta badakonasana (supported butterfly)
Reclining big toe pose and twists

The List of Poses I can't do TODAY:
Plank and chattaranga (too hard on toe)
Virasana (hero pose -- too hard on knees -- probably won't be able to do this ever)
Padmasana (lotus - same)
Hanumanasana (splits -- yes, I used to be able to do this!)
Hand stand (arms have lost a lot of strength)
Balasana (child's pose -- way hard on knees)
Crow pose (I haven't been able to do this since I was a kid)
Wheel (backbend -- need more arm strength back)
Urdva Mukha Savasana (upward facing dog -- too hard on toes)
Forearm balance (I did this maybe one at the height of my yoga jockitude)
Pigeon pose (hard on knees)
Badakonasana (butterfly -- knees, hips, you name it....yuck!)

That's just the beginning... :-)

Next I will work on some flows based on the above. :-)

(Just typing this has cheered me up and gotten me excited. I like going to classes better than solo practice usually because I'm more challenged and don't have to THINK as much, but this will be good...)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Vickie's last comments challenged me. I have been saying for a long time how much I miss my yoga asana practice. To understand this, you have to know that I started yoga in my teens with Lilias on PBS. The only exercise I ever liked as a teen. I came back to yoga in 1999 after I had lost a lot of weight, joined a new gym, decided to try yoga again, and ultimately met a teacher who led me to the studio where I practiced for 5 years. And I practiced close to 5 days a week for those 5 years...I practiced with a myriad of different teachers with different lineages and philosophies...I practiced when I was sick...I practiced when I was sad (one of my most amazing practices was on 9/11...I went to my studio like a lot of people when to church)...I practiced after almost every long day of work...I got up early on Saturdays and Sundays to practice. And I LOVED it. Yoga became a part of me.

In August 2004, the studio where I had been practicing for 5 years closed. I was adrift. At about the same time I met DB and going to long hours of yoga practice when I could be staring into his eyes, walking hand-in-hand on the beach and generally falling in love seemed to be a better way to spend my time. And it was.

I half-heartedly searched for a new studio where I would get the breadth of theory and practice I had at my old place and every place I went was disappointing.

In mid-2006, by chance, I went to a class at the same space where my studio had been (I had been resisting going there because they are more of a strict d0-it-our-way-or-the-highway type of yoga). I cried that night in savasana. I had come home. I could still cry thinking of that moment.

Then in late 2006 I had knee surgery. My doctor told me I could be back to my yoga practice "almost immediately". This was a lie. Well, of course not totally a is not just the asana practice...I can (and do) practice the other arms of yoga all the time...but without asana I feel like I'm missing a limb. And I haven't been able to do asana consistently for over a year.

And the other day I read an article in Yoga Journal about how yoga is for everyone and it detailed a lot of people with a lot of physical challenges finding the ability to do asana in their lives. And today I read Vickie's comments on my last post...and she is right. I know so much about yoga that I could totally make a list of what I can do right now and what I can't. (Not to say that I will never be able to do them again, because I will...if I PRACTICE.) In the midst of my discombobulated day of work stress, holiday stress, DB hurting stress, I have been thinking about this a lot. I wanted to sit down and write this list ALL DAY. And I had no time. But I will do it. And I will do it here where I can go back and look at it and...grow.

Last night while working with DB on manipulations of his very painful and hard-to-move shoulder, I tried to help him do yoga breaths. I tried to have him breathe into the movements. I was reminded of how I can apply my yoga practice not only to MY everyday life but to others' because I FELT the difference his breathing properly made in his ability to move through the pain. I'm not sure he felt it...but I did.

And then this morning, Vickie's comments. I hear the message. Now I just have to find the time to act.

Speaking of messages...I had a Christmas miracle happen tonight. Yesterday I went to make coffee and my coffee scoop which came with our coffee maker that DB bought for me last Xmas was missing. I felt my stomach sink...DB had made the coffee the day before. I went to ask him..."where's the coffee scoop, honey?". "I threw it was in the tin and I thought it came with the coffee." ARGH. I promptly found him the link to a place where he could get me a silver-plated monogrammed coffee scoop for my stocking. Then tonight when I came home our discarded coffee tin was on the top of our garbage can in the alley. I said to DB, "did you take that out?". "No.". I went over to it...and there was our scoop sitting outside the can on top of the garbage can!!!!!! There is no logical explanation for this except that the universe (a/k/a Santa) is kind.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Procurement Officer

Oops...I meant I filled up my CART, not my CARD!! ;-)

I love shopping. And that's almost literally all I've been doing during non-working and non-sleeping hours the past few days! We actually went to a mall on Saturday -- yikes, I know why I prefer on-line shopping. Sunday I went to Ross (off-price great stuff -- those of you not out west don't know what you're missing) and shopped for 3 hours. I totally filled up my card. Spent $300 but it would have been over $1000 at a regular place. With my family and DB's, we have a LOT of gifts to get and I'm the official Procurement Officer of the team. It's very fun, but I'm just about shopped out. Luckily, I'm also just about finished shopping...ahhhh...I need a rest and to catch up.

Food has been good. Booze not so good over the weekend. I do have a hard time with moderation in all things. But luckily the non-drinking during the week is now a habit so I don't miss it at all. :-)

Tomorrow DB has yet another procedure on his shoulder -- they knock him out so I'll be missing a half day of work again, but this is FINE WITH ME. I need a vacation though...a real vacation...soon!

Now I think I'll head to bed and maybe watch part of a movie...if I'm lucky maybe I'll meet DB there! :-)

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Twiglets didn't get me...

...I'm down another pound this week. The ONLY explanation is the SSO drinking. I'm keeping that up...and dreading the days when treats start arriving at the office! ;-)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

SO much to catch up on...

...and I made a list at work today so I wouldn't forget anything...and left the list at work!! Yes, that is very indicative of just how discombobulated I am this week.

Of course I have barely read any of your blogs...but I will catch up as I can...maybe tomorrow. I actually kind of like having a few days to read. :-)

Let's start back with last Friday and the Firm Party. Always not so very fun...the partners don't really know how to let loose and have fun and this trickles down. There's also a very weird corporate culture that means that lawyers and staff don't really socialize very much (with few exceptions). When I first started at the Firm over 14 years ago, this really bugged me. I guess I'm pretty used to it now, but it really comes to light at the party where all the Esqs. sit with each other, all the paralegals sit together, all the assistants, etc. There is some cross-pollinating (we had a partner at our table with 3 other paralegals and their dates) but it's rare. There are no seating charts or anything...this is just how people choose to sit. Anyway, the wine is usually great because one of my bosses is a real connoisseur. This year was no exception -- he found some Australian Shiraz that was truly delicious. Unfortunately, it also had a much higher alcohol content than most wines. This we did not know until much later...

They served food late so I had had three glasses of wine before dinner. No, don't ask me how many I had with dinner...two? Three? Who knows? It could have been more, but I am no lightweight and this wasn't vodka for God's sake. However, I got SO drunk that I woke up the next morning in my bed and did not remember coming home. I was mortified. At least DB promises me that I didn't do anything bad in front of anyone from work. Monday I learned that at least two other women who drank the wine had similar experiences. And my assistant told me that the Wine Boss told her that the alcohol content in that wine was unusually high. I wish I would have had a warning!

Anyway, Saturday when I had gotten a little over my mortification, DB and I had to jam to get stuff ready for the party. We had to take delivery of a futon chaise for my upstairs office, shop, clean up, pick up some more furniture that we bought on Craigs List (a queen sized futon for our front yard -- nice to sit on and we can actually sleep out there in the summer because it is totally private!), etc. One of DB's daughters and her family arrived at 6:30 (the party was supposed to start at 7) and I didn't have my hair or make-up done! Yikes. They wanted food. Yikes X 2 as we hadn't gotten anything ready yet! Luckily they went out to get some food and came back later!

Our party was super fun. We told everyone to wear hats and most people complied. The main thing I don't like about having parties is that I don't get to spend any quality time with anyone and lots of people come that I almost never see so that makes me sad. But all our friends love chatting with each other and meeting each other and everyone said they had a great time. They loved our mod 1960s aluminum tree (we've now also gotten a real tree to decorate and smell up the house -- yay!) but, of course, no one really realized we were dressed up 60s -- DB as a hippy and me as a mod. ;-) Anyway...our last guests (except one of DB's daughters and her three kids) left at 2 am. I guess they were having fun! :-)

Sunday we spent the whole day at the house with the kids. You'll see the photo below where I was showing Princess (DB's oldest granddaughter) how to make French toast. She loves helping in the kitchen and is so cute. I love her so much! She said "Helen, don't we need aprons?" (I taught her to use an apron when she helped me with the past two Thanksgivings). SO cute. :-)

On Sunday I also made The Turkey Soup. Yum. I've been eating it all week. I'm afraid it's not too great for my waistline, but it's a tradition and soooo good!

So Monday came around and I wasn't too relaxed...and I had to deal with the identity theft some more. It's a very very long story, but I got my credit report (and we figured out that the thieves must have a copy of it) and had to call all my credit card companies as well as several companies where the thieves had applied for (and mostly gotten...I have great credit) new cards. It looks like they probably only got about $6500, but if I wouldn't have called a few places to stop it last Friday, they would have gotten at least $10,000 more. They were ordering things on-line and returning them to stores for cash. Very professional. The retailers I talked to were understandably pissed off. The policeman who came to take the report last Friday was very nice and helpful, but I haven't heard from the detective (even though I left him a message with more info) and I'm sure this is pretty low priority for them. Which pisses me off more because we had an actual address where the shipments were going and a name the guy was using (I actually got a credit card on one of my accounts in his name in the mail last Saturday!). These people know everything about me: my name, address, social security number, and even my mother's maiden name. It is very very scary. I have had to close all my credit cards (no sweat) and have changed around all my bank accounts/debit cards. I have passworded everything with new passwords (not my mom's maiden name -- you all should change this too -- it is too easy for these professional thieves to get information like that -- all they need is your SSN). Guard your SSNs, people.

I am super careful and have no idea where these people got my info. The retailer who first alerted me to this last week said it often happens right after real estate transactions because a lot of your personal info is on those papers and they go through a lot of hands at brokers and banks. I'm afraid this is what happened to me. AND these EVIL professional thieves started their offensive the day after Thanksgiving. It was comprehensive.


Work has also been super-stressful this week and it's not been easy to shop (I do a lot on-line) without my debit card. But I got a new one activated yesterday and now can shop to my heart's content!

Very sad news today. We found out this morning that DB's oldest sister's breast cancer has come back (she had it two or three years ago, did chemo and had a radical mastectomy on both sides). It is now in the chest wall and at least one lymph node and her doctor tells her it's inoperable, but "probably manageable". She starts chemo again on Monday. Her spirits seem very good and she told the siblings not to THINK of taking her week in Nearby Town (Xmas week) away from her. Her youngest child is only about 16. DB is understandably upset and I ache for him. His sister asked for everyone's prayers and, among other really inspirational things, said to remember this season is about "new beginnings". So please add her (and her family) to any prayers or talks you have with God. Thanks!

Thanks for your nice words about my red tights -- I love them -- DKNY are the best. And the first time I wore tights (or even socks) since The Franketoe happened (yes, it's better, but still not well).

Hey, do any of you know Twiglets? My best friend is Welsh and she introduced them to me a long time ago -- they're a British snack food, pretty low in calories and fat and YUMMY. Unfortunately she was in Wales for Thanksgiving and brought me some back. Fortunately, she brought a big bag with a bunch of little 97-calorie bags inside. Smart!

I don't know how I'll be at my weigh-in tomorrow. I'm feeling pretty fat even though I've been sticking with my good eating, exercise and SSO drinking. This is my period week (it's supposed to start tomorrow) so I guess I can blame it on that if it's bad...but it's probably the salty Twiglets. ;-)

Finally, I'm still waiting for the great infomercial thing to happen. If it does, I'm going to need all of your help pronto. We need to find 50 people located in west L.A. county who have at least 30 pounds to lose and are willing to eat only this food they provide (free) for 3 months. I'll let you all know details when I do, but if you know anyone who fits the criteria (area and pounds to lose), get them ready for when I post the details!!

I've missed keeping up with you all...hopefully will be able to catch up this weekend at some point. :-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dashing in and back out until later

Argh...I am so bad at putting up photos...totally screwed up my post. :-(

I'm sure a lot of you have seen this article from Newsweek, but I thought I'd put it out there for those of you who haven't. Very interesting. Loving our bodies AS THEY ARE may really affect our ability to lose weight. :-)

Now, some fun Holiday/Housewarming Hoedown photos:

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I'm still here

But so swamped with life that no time to do any kind of in-depth post (or even to read most of your blogs, sorry!). Identity theft takes a lot of time, plus work, home and ho-ho-holidays (difficult to Xmas shop after cancelling all my credit cards. ;-)

Anyway...our party on Saturday was fantastic...I hope to have some photos to post when DB has a chance to upload them. More details then.

Food is pretty good. SSO drinking is very good so at least I'm proud of that. And I'm exercising. I read somewhere that the goal until January should be MAINTAINING. Of course, I want to lose, but I guess I'll be happy to maintain...and that might take a miracle.

Friday, November 30, 2007


I lost all the 3 pounds of Thanksgiving weight so that feels better.

DB was so beautiful and loving to me last night so that feels better.

Only bad thing today is that I found out that I am the victim of identity far the thieves have charged over $6600 fraudulently. :-( It's been a dramatic day...I even had to file a police report. Hopefully have nipped it in the bud, but it's damn scary to know that someone has my name, address and SSN and is using it for crime. :-(

Leaving office soon for our holiday party...will TRY not to overdo. ;-)

Thanks to all for your incredibly sweet words yesterday...I cried more tears yesterday than I can remember crying in one day in a LONG time. So many that I had to wear my glasses to work today 'cause I couldn't wear my contacts. What happened yesterday really made me think about a LOT of things...and much more pondering is required.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I am miserable. In both senses of the term: I am unhappy and I am a horrible person.

DB came in all excited this morning to tell me that he has lost 10 pounds (in the past two or three weeks -- including food-orgy-Thanksgiving-week!!!). Struggling to lose the 3 pounds I gained back on Thanksgiving (I've lost 1.1 as of today), I found it impossible to be happy for him. I tried to explain to him but this stuff is so deep and hard for me that I ended up going into my bathroom to cry and try to regain my composure.

To give you some perspective: DB's pre-10-pound-loss weight BARELY put him in the highly-strict (and unrealistic, in my and many others' opinions) BMI range for "overweight". With the loss, he is 1/2 point into that range and thus thisclose to "normal". My post-Frankentoe weight put me at the very high-end of the "overweight" range. At my current weight, I am still on the high end, although closer to the middle.

I know that men lose weight faster and easier than women, but it is extremely hard for me to watch him eat (for example) double the pie for Thanksgiving, almost an entire bag of nuts, candy regularly and have 800 calories of chips plus cottage cheese for "brunch" every day and STILL lose weight with his only exercise being post-op shoulder exercises (which are quite limited) while HONEST TO GOD I eat right most every day, exercise, and I can hardly build up a consistent 10-pound loss over a YEAR.

DB says he's lost because he has cut back on booze. Well, so have I! Sorry, that doesn't make this any better. :-(

On top of this, I feel absolutely CRAPPY that I can't be a supportive enough partner to DB to exult in his success. I should be better than that. I am disappointed in myself that I am not.

And all this while facing the upcoming food challenges of Christmas season (two parties just this weekend)...and I don't want to be totally depriving myself during that time because then I will be just even more miserable.

I feel ugly today. In every way.


Stealing this from much of this hits me right in the gut. Although I love it when people tell me I look good...if it's true.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I had a little surger-ette this morning at the doctor's office. He numbed me, made a couple of incisions and pulled two of the remaining 3 pins out of my toe (including the one that was coming out of its own accord - yes, it was coming out the interior side of my toe!). The only painful part was when he was giving me the shots to numb my toe -- OW. I got nauseous and had to lie down. But when he was doing the actual surger-ette, I hardly even felt pressure. But there sure was a lot of blood!! Icky. I'm super duper happy to have that one that was sticking out and hurty gone though! He's a little worried that the incision isn't totally healed and looks a little infected, so he's putting me on an antibiotic for a week and I go back next week to see him. I'm happy about this too since maybe the antibiotic will kick this cold (that I've had for over two weeks) out of my system once and for all too!! :-)

Anyway, I've now got two new steri-stripped incisions on my toe and it's all bandaged up nice. I can shower tonight though as long as the new incisions aren't bleeding. And I have to make sure to wear a bandaid or sock all the time until it's healed (unless I'm in flip-flops).

This all makes me say "oh well, no exercise tonight". But nooooooo. I will still be doing pilates. I can do the mat stuff without putting any weight on my legs/feet. Gotta keep the tummy reducing. After eating well and not drinking for just ONE DAY (yesterday), it's amazing how much less flabby I feel. Good reminder not to get discouraged and give up after overdoing it. And there will be more overdoing it this weekend: my firm's holiday party is this Friday and our housewarming hoedown is on Saturday night. Sunday we will stay home and I will make my famous post-Thanksgiving turkey soup. :-)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Amazing what a few days of eating can do...

I can hardly breathe in my pants. Thanksgiving wasn't TOO bad food-wise...I make everything as low-fat/low-cal as I can. But eating that food for the next few days with NO exercise takes it's toll. On Friday when I weighed I was 3 pounds over what I was on Wednesday. THAT's how much I fluctuate. And it's kinda depressing when I watch DB eat a couple of pieces of pie a day an he LOSES. :-(

We spent Friday and most of Saturday at the house healing...him healing from his shoulder surgery and me from my cold (which is finally feeling better, but not BETTER yet). It was nice, but no exercise and my tummy feels bigger and bigger.

Today we ran around all day. Our new pad is very 60s mod and we are having fun thinking of planning our holiday/housewarming party with a 60s mod vibe. We bought an antique aluminum tree today and DB is right now putting only red bulbs on it. I love it for our party, but I still want a real tree for Xmas!! We're gonna try to dress very 60s housewifey mod for our party...I'm thinking a teased 'do like Amy Winehouse/Jackie O. DB is looking at striped corduroy pants. ;-)

I wish you all could be in for Saturday? :-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving thanks

It is highly unlikely that I will be able to write tomorrow with cooking, prepping and guests so today while it is slow at the office I thought I'd do my annual summary of things I am most thankful for:

- DB. My number one. My love, my playmate, my friend. I waited so long to find him and I am grateful to have him in my life every single day.
- The rest of my family (Mommy, Sister, Brother-in-Law, Niece and Nephew, DB's Kids and Grandkids). My heart is filled with love and appreciation for all of these remarkable people. I am so lucky to call them my family.
- Friends. My friends are like family to me. They enrich my life every day. (That's YOU, dear readers!)
- Our new house. HOME. Ahhhh. :-)
- My job. Stable here for just over 14 years. Unbelievable. It still challenges me most every day. And my assistant, bosses and clients? The BEST.
- My (relative) health. OK, so I've had a couple of surgeries, have had a cold for 10 days and am 20 pounds over what I'd like to could be a LOT worse. I'm in great shape really. But still working on getting better...and I'm grateful to be ABLE to work on that. :-)

It's been a big year with lots of exciting and stressful times -- and I am thankful for every minute.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Soup Week

I guess it's Soup Week here at Helly's Belly...the curried fish chowder I made the other night was just so yummy (we had leftovers tonight) that I decided to share with all of you. I adapted the original recipe as I have noted below to make it less fatty, but the nutrition information below is for the full-fat version:

Curried Fish Chowder

1 T vegetable oil (I used MAYBE 1 t of olive oil, probably less)
1 c diced shallots or onions (I used onions)
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 t salt (I omitted this)
1 c minced celery
2 to 3 t curry powder
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t ground black pepper
4 c diced potatoes
1 c diced yellow squash
1/2 c peeled and diced carrots
4 c water or vegetable stock (I used fat free veggie broth)
1/2 c dry sherry or dry white wine
1 lb. mild white fish fillets, such as hake, sole, or scrod (I used sole)
2 T cream cheese (I used fat free)
1 c milk or half & half (I used skim milk)
minced chives or shallots
a few lemon wedges

In a soup pot, heat the oil on medium heat. Saute the shallots or onions, garlic, and salt for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the celery and saute for about 5 more mins. Add the curry powder, turmeric, and pepper and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the potatoes, squash, carrots, water or stock, and sherry or wine. Cover and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes.

Rinse the fish fillets and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Add them to the pot, cover, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the fish is no longer translucent. Remove from the heat.

In a blender, combine the cream cheese, milk or half & half, and 2 cups of the hot soup and puree until smooth. Stir the puree back into the soup and reheat gently, if needed. Serve hot topped with chives or shallots and with lemon wedges on the side. Accompany with mesclun salad and a crusty baguette.

Per 12 oz. serving: 266 calories, 18.9 g protein, 5.7 g fat, 32.4 g carbohydrates, 2.3 g saturated fatty acids, 28 mg cholesterol, 1,077 mg sodium, 3.3 g total dietary fiber.


Still sick...

...and it's been a week. I'm not getting worse really, but I'm not getting better at all and I'm starting to get an aching feeling in my chest (this has been all about a chest cold/cough). Trying to take care of me and DB and I'm afraid I've felt taking care of DB was more important. He's doing better...still in a lot of pain, but motion is coming back and he's doing PT every day. I went with him yesterday to learn some stuff so I can help him over the long PT-less weekend. Basically I just can't wait until we BOTH feel better.

I've been doing well on food and SSO drinking, but no formal exercise since last Thursday night. I hope I have the energy to do at least pilates tonight.

Despite everything, I'm still looking forward to Thanksgiving a lot! I'll bake my pies tomorrow night, get up early Thursday to get the turkey in, do some yard clean-up, then finish everything before people show up at 3. I'll have about 8-10 people....including the man we bought our house from and his wife and one of my oldest friends from college (who is visiting in town this week) and his wife. :-)

Trying to get a lot done at the office today so I can leave early and go home to bed...cuddling up with DB in bed for days at a time would be so much more fun if we both felt better!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tag, I'm It

Whew, lots of typing last one before I head to the showers and early bed (maybe Ocean's Thirteen before).

Thora tagged me and this seems like a fun one so here we go:

Four dishes I like to cook:
1. Thanksgiving dinner -- yes, the whole thing! My favorite since I was 13. :-)
2. Turkey soup post-Thanksgiving -- I love how the rosemary infuses the air of the house.
3. Moroccan tagine -- delicious spicy different stew. Yummy.
4. Whatever the latest thing is that I've tried! Tonight I made Curry Fish Chowder. Delicious!

Four qualities I love in people:
1. The ability to laugh -- This is akin to humor, but somehow something more.
2. Intelligence -- I'm a super snob about this. Can't bear stupid people. That's you, Mr. President. ;-)
3. Open-mindedness -- Judgmental is the worst thing I can think of. This is the opposite.
4. Passion -- for something, anything. Your job, your dog, your politics, your sex life, your skillet. Anything.

Four places I have been (this is hard, I've been a LOT of places):
1. France -- All over. I lived in Brittany and Alsace while in school and have been back many times. When I was 16 I lived with a family and they are still my family of my heart. :-)
2. New York, New York -- My second hometown. I became an adult while living there. And fled for a better standard of living at 30. But my heart (and my sister and her family) still lives in the greatest city of all.
3. Catalina Island, California -- My special anniversary spot with my sweetie. It's 26 miles off the shore of Los Angeles, but it feels like a Mediterranean paradise. No cars, just golf carts, gorgeous scenery, snorkeling (I learned there on our first anniversary), jet skis, fabulous dinners, a paradise for vacation.
4. Punaluu and North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii -- In December. I adore the huge waves. I adore watching the surfers. I adore Kahuku shrimp. I adore spam sushi. I adore poke. I even adore the fact that DB dumped me off a jet ski in the middle of the ocean! I adore the utter relaxation of a special vacation there.

Four things in my bedroom:
1. DB -- if I'm lucky.
3. A book.
4. Dog bed (with dog, if I'm lucky).

Four dirty words I like to use:
Fuck (and so many beautiful variations thereof), Shit, goddamn it, and fuck again for good measure. ;-)

I'm tagging Vickie, Grumpy, and Cindy...and anyone else who thinks this might be fun! :-)

Tomato Soups for Vickie

It's been a lazy weekend here with me feeling yucky with my cold and DB healing. Nothing much new...I did shopping for Thanksgiving today and that took a lot out of me, but I'm ready for my modified, low-fat feast! :-)

Vickie asked about tomato soup recipes. I'm not a big tomato soup fan, but found these three in my favorite cookbooks (to avoid sodium, I'd put tomatoes in a food processor and make my own "juice"):

Lightly Spiced Tomato Soup

Very fast and easy recipe. Serve chilled in hot weather, hot in chilly weather.

1 c. finely chopped onions
1-2 T vegetable oil (I'd use less)
1 small chile, seeded and minced (or a pinch of cayenne)
1 t ground cumin seeds
1/2 t turmeric
1/4 t ground cardamom
1/8 t ground cloves
6 c tomato juice (46 oz. can)
1 c water or vegetable stock
plain yogurt

In a small soup pot, saute the onion in oil until translucent. Add the chile and spices and saute another minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomato juice and water and simmer for about 20 minutes to blend the flavors.
Serve topped with a spoonful of yogurt.
Variation: For a more hearty cold-weather soup, add one cup of cooked rice while the soup is simmering.

Chilled Moroccan Tomato Soup

2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 quart chilled tomato juice
1/4 c chilled orange juice
1 T olive oil (I'd use less)
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t cinnamon
2-3 T fresh lemon juice
Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce to taste

In a small saucepan or large refrigerator contained, combine the tomatoes, celery, scallions, tomato juice, and orange juice.
In a small skillet on low heat, warm the olive oil. Saute the garlic, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon for just a minute, being careful not to scorch them. Stir the spice mixture into the soup, and add lemon juice and Tabasco to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Per 8 oz. serving: 71 calories, 1.9 g protein, 2.8 g fat, 12.1 g carbohydrate, 562 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol

Tomato Bulgur Soup (this one sounds best to me!)

3 c vegetable stock
1 c finely chopped onions
1 c peeled and diced carrots
3/4 c diced celery
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 t salt (you could leave this out)
1 t dried dill
1/2 t ground fennel
2 c undrained canned tomatoes, chopped (16 oz can)
1/4 c bulgur
ground black pepper to taste

In a large pot, combine the vegetable stock, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, dill, and fennel. Bring to a boil, the reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice. Add the bulgur and mix well. Return to a boil and simmer, covered, for another 15 minutes, or until the bulgur is tender, stirring occasionally. Add pepper to taste.

Per 8 oz. serving: 78 calories, 2.9 g protein, .5 g fat, 17.2 g carbohydrates, .1 saturated fatty acids, .1 g polyunsaturated fatty acids, .1 g monounsaturated fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 538 mg sodium, 3.4 total dietary fiber.

YUM. :-)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday stuff

As you can see from my headline today, I'm not feeling too creative. I'm sick enough that on a regular week (where I didn't have to deal with DB's surgery) I'd be home in bed getting better. But I'm not sick enough that I have to stay home so I'm at the office. I feel crappy though. Just getting by with over-the-counter decongestants and cough meds.

DB's surgery went very well -- the problem was not as severe as they thought so his healing time will hopefully be faster. He was very drugged up yesterday -- and he had a nerve block that even made his voice sound funny for a while, poor thing! It was hard not to laugh actually! He stayed in bed most of the rest of the day yesterday and overnight. Today he's up a little bit on a lot of drugs and we're headed to PT at 5 pm (he has to start up right away so the shoulder doesn't freeze up again).

DB kept saying to me yesterday "I'm so in love with you.", "I love you so much, Helen.", etc. The drugs made him mushy and I loved it. (P.S. He actually says this stuff all the time usually, just more frequently and emotionally yesterday.)

Probably due to SSO drinking and back to pretty regular exercise, I'm down 3 pounds this week. That was a nice surprise this morning because I have been good but not perfect with food this week.

Gotta get back to work...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nurse Helga

It's already started...DB is practicing being helpless. This morning he decided to get dressed with just one arm. He discovered that I had to button his pants and that he could not put on socks. LOL So I may be looking at several weeks of flip-flops, Uggs and sweatpants (if he had any!).

We go in for the surgery (arthroscopic for labral tear in shoulder) at 9 am. If it's anything like my arthroscopic surgery last year, we should be heading home by 1. And then the real fun will begin. ;-) We're stocked up on drugs from the doc. I'll be home tomorrow all day, but anticipate that he'll be sleeping most of the time so I'll be able to work at least a little.

It's gonna be hard to see him in pain like this...although he's been in pain for the past 5 months with this problem so at least there's an end in sight. And he has a sinus infection. And I am still fighting this cold (although I feel a bit better today, I still cancelled our dinner plans for tonight -- soup and bed sounds better). Maybe we'll spend tomorrow afternoon in bed together recuperating! ;-)

The food and exercise and SSO drinking has been good this week. After just a week, I find I do not miss the booze -- it's all about getting out of the habit. Same with food: we're having fish and a vegetable for dinner pretty much every week night and that feels good. We're watching post-dinner snacking. I'm finding it a little harder to go to sleep without the drinking, but hopefully that will get better as I can exercise more. And taking care of DB post-surgery will be exercise in more ways than one! He has been such an angel taking care of me post-TWO surgeries...I want to be as good for him as he was for me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Just what I don't need...

...woke up in the night with a coughy feel in my throat. Took ecchinacea. Woke up this morning still with coughy feeling and took more ecchinacea. Now I have sore throat and sneezy. I DO NOT NEED A COLD RIGHT NOW -- with DB's surgery on Thursday, me doing so well with The Weight and it's exercise night. :-(

I really REALLY hope I can kick this. Immediately.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Another Weekend Whirlwind

Why do weekends go by so quickly? I think there is an inverse relationship to the length of the prior week (my last week was loooong). ;-)

Had a friend over for dinner on Friday and I had some drinks and was surprised how fast I was DRUNK! just takes a week to lose all my tolerance, I guess. Not a bad thing. :-) Still doing well on the SSO (social/special occasion) drinking. Feels good to have a grip on that again.

Saturday I went shopping for some new Ugg-like shoes. Finally found some at a TJ Maxx (and a place I would never normally go, but I was scouring town!). I was trying to shop for some other stuff I need (work pants, skirts, bras), but I didn't manage to find anything. I told DB I thought I was SICK...I can always find something when I'm shopping!!! But I still feel so fat that I'm not really interested in trying anything on (having said that, I did find some great work pants -- Talbots -- at a thrift store yesterday for $1!).

DB was supposed to be home in plenty of time on Saturday for us to make a show in Hollywood at 8 pm (an old friend was in The Merchant of Venice). Of course, he and his crazy family do not communicate so his brother went out at 1 pm for "2 hours" and didn't get home until after 5 (and Nearby Town is, at best, an hour and a half away from our house...more like 2 hours...and Hollywood is, at best, an hour from us)!! I don't know why DB didn't just say to his brother "hey, I have to be out of here by 4:30 at the latest". We managed to hook up by driving in separate cars, but FOR GOD'S SAKE why can't his family TALK to each other about the simplest of things?! Grrrrr. We had a really good time though and...

It is great to have him home...very very VERY great. ;-)

Yesterday it was a wonderful rainy day and I had a ton of stuff I wanted to get done around the house before DB's surgery on Thursday. He is soooo ADD that he cannot was hilarious to watch, actually. ;-) We still managed to get all the boxes gone from his office. :-) It looks a lot better...good enough that people could be back there during our party in December...but it's still cluttered and I hope he works on that some this week too. I took two huge loads of stuff to Goodwill (ouch, my back!). I also was obsessively putting cds into my iTunes (I've sworn that I won't put cds away until they are in, so my whole office is stacked) and worked a bit on MY space upstairs (I think I can finish that next weekend so we're set for the party). We spent a lot of time going through some old photos of DB's and tossing loads of doubles...that was really fun. I so love the times that like when we are just doing something simple's special. :-) Then I did pilates, made dinner and we watched Dogtown and Z-Boys (a documentary that takes place in our neighborhood). Whew!!

My body is really sore today, but that's good...I like getting "inadvertent" exercise! :-)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Well, it worked...

...or something did! I am down over 2 pounds this week. So, it's either the New Regime or the fact that I actually exercised my "usual" number of days this week for the first time in a few months. I guess I have to stick with the New Regime now! ;-)

I still am about 6 pounds over what I was when I broke my that weight I was pretty comfortable and heading down...10 pounds below that and I'll be VERY comfortable.

Had a bad encounter with a mirror today...kind of took the glow away from the loss. But trying to balance bad mirror news and good scale news.

I'm also feeling a little bummed about the toe/foot situation. At the moment I can't wear any shoes except flip-flops (which are pretty chilly at this point) or Ugg-like boots. Needless to say, my usual office chic is a little hard to maintain with these restrictions.: much as I love Uggish boots, they don't really go with nice office dresses. And now I'm looking toward holiday parties...nice black tie dresses with Uggs. Ugh.

I'm also trying to replace some of my Ugg-ish boots and can't seem to find any for under $60 that are nice and cozy. I even have a friend who works at a big famous shoe company who got me their brand of Uggs, but they are hard and don't fit right over my toe so I wasted $22 on those -- anyone a size 10 who wants some nice Ugg-ish boots? ;-)

The REALLY good news is that DB is home tomorrow and then will be home for a whole month!! The past 4 weeks, he's really only been here for 1 week...he hasn't had any real chance to feel at HOME in our home. :-( But next week he has surgery on his shoulder and will be home for 4 weeks -- during which time we'll have our first Thanksgiving in our new house, our holiday/housewarming party, and lots of "pissing and moaning" from the patient. I can't wait!!!! :-)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Pumpkin Soup

As mentioned below, I want to share this pumpkin soup recipe...yum!

Serves 6 (I made 1/5 of this for me alone and it was a good amount)

2 lbs. pumpkin peeled, seeded & cubed (or 5 cups canned -- I used canned organic)
3 garlic cloves (I used crushed garlic from a jar)
2 onions, chopped
2-3 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped (or 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes)
5 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup dry white wine (just don't sip it if you're me!)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (I added this at the end)
1 cup heavy cream (I used non-fat half and half)

Place all the ingredients, except the cream, in a large saucepan. Simmer until the pumpkin is soft (or, if using canned pumpkin, until the onions are pretty soft). Remove the bay leaves.
Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor (let me get a plug in here for my Vita-mix...blender and food processor all in one and a great investment) in several batches (I only needed one since Vita-mix is big). Return the puree to the saucepan on low heat and gradually stir in the cream. Heat through but do not let the soup come to a boil.

YUM. It took me less than 1/2 hour to make this. Enjoy!

The Mirror in Balance (and how I feel)

I know how to look at myself in the mirror to look best. I know how to turn my torso a little to the right and look to the left and not see the real sideways me. I know how to look at my face so I see the left side, not the right. I know to let my eyes linger on my eyes, chest and lower legs (my best features, in my opinion). I know not to look at the front- or back-side of me full-on. If I am careful to look at myself in these ways I feel like I look ok.

But sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself without being careful. Sometimes I'll see myself in a plate-glass window as I walk by and I can't turn my torso just so. Sometimes I'll see a photo where I haven't been able to mask my deficiencies. And those are bad times. Because then I really SEE how much weight I have let myself gain.

I try not to focus on the reality in the mirror too much...that would be too depressing and I would never feel pretty. But I have to focus on the mirror at least somewhat or I will allow myself to keep thinking I look ok. It's a delicate balance.

In the meantime, I'm feeling pretty good this week (despite some toe pain -- the interior pins are starting to poke and OUCH). After tonight I will have gone more days without an alcoholic drink than I have gone in a good long time (I don't remember the last time I went 5 days without a drink...probably in 2003 or so) -- when I was doing WOW earlier this year, I was only "dry" 4 days a week. I feel good that I have been able to be disciplined in this way. My belly feels a little flatter, but not a lot. And that could be from some good regular pilates this week. But the scale tomorrow will show whether the New Regime has made a difference. And the truth is that I won't feel good unless this has made a difference (although I will need to be nice to me since tomorrow is the day my period is supposed to start so I might be bloaty).

[The pumpkin soup last night was delicious and super-simple -- I'll try to remember to post the recipe -- a great autumn dinner with a roll and salad (I skipped the salad actually).]

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Regime Change

So far, so good. I haven't had an alcoholic drink since Saturday night. I don't think I have eaten more because of cutting that out...I may have eaten less because I am not trying to soak up the booze with food so I don't get drunk. In general, I don't miss it that much...what I really like is having a drink by my side at all times...this week it's my Tropicana light lemonade instead of wine. And that's fine.

I don't feel any different waking up in the morning after a "clean" night. I actually think I'm not sleeping as well...lots of nightmares. But I'll get used to it and those will probably go away. At least I hope so...I had one about a werewolf chasing me and some friends last night...not fun with DB not there to turn to for comfort when I woke up! ;-)

I did really want a drink at one point last has been super-stressful the past couple of weeks since my colleague left our firm and so I've got more work volume. I had a bad day yesterday and just wanted a TREAT, damn it! But the treat had to be feeling virtuous for not drinking, taking a long walk with Doglet (well, long for me and my toe...about 18 blocks), doing pilates, having a salad for dinner and working on the evite for our housewarming party in December.

I've been thinking about The Weight more too. I realized last night that I didn't get on a scale for over 3 years...from the time I quit smoking in early 2003 until last autumn. And that is when the weight crept back like a squatter moving into an empty building. I know I've written about this before, but this is SO KEY to keeping the weight under control for me. I know that I needed to "step away from the scale" in 2003 in order to hold on to my quit, but I shouldn't have stayed away so long. It is too damn easy for the pounds to slip back on. And oh so hard to get them to go away again. :-( This week I'm actually weighing every weight fluctuates by 2 pounds or more's a good tool for me to be more aware of the scale.

I have also been looking in the mirror more (Vickie mentioned this today too)'s important for me to SEE what's really there...I have such a distorted image of myself...I either look fine or horrible to myself and neither of those is the reality right now. I felt fat even when I weighed a LOT less than I do now. And I'm starting to wonder if I will ever be able to just be....whatever weight I am. That is a very disturbing thought to me. I want to be able to relax and not be vigilant all the time...

Yes, Vickie, I do think the 3-month food delivery thing sounds like a worrying about what to eat and when because it will be prescribed by the program. BUT, when that three-month period is over (assuming I even get "cast"), then I will have to be very VERY careful with "real-life" eating. This is why I have always stayed away from weight-loss programs like Jenny Craig and fasting programs because there will be a point where I have to deal with real-life food and you don't learn how to do that on those programs. The way I have been most successful at keeping weight off is by changing my routine...eating right and exercising and making it a HABIT.

I have to get back to the consistently good eating and yoga (both for body and mind). When I sit and meditate or think all I see is how much more peaceful and fit (in all ways) I want to be again. Sigh...

Very discombobulated post today...just typing to think, I think...

Tonight I'm trying a recipe for a low-fat pumpkin soup and is a good way to occupy my evenings and concentrate on food in a PRODUCTIVE way. As long as I don't crack open that bottle to sip while I cook...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Maybe something exciting

There is a possibility that I will get to do a weight-loss infomercial where I get free food for three months and get to lose weight...cross your fingers! I will have details in a few days...keep checking in as this might be good for some of you who are in SoCal.

I've done really well with my new regime since Friday. I went over to a friend's on Saturday night (this was the one who was maybe going to be on Wednesday) so I had some wine. Not too much. And we had Souplantation for dinner so that was good. Yesterday I did have some sugar (my mom is staying with me because it's her birthday and she's got a real sweet tooth), but I had no alcohol. Same on tap (ha ha) for tonight. We're ordering in Indian and got a low-fat cake.

I made a scrumpdillicious dinner last night -- low fat and so satisfying: Asian fish in a packet. Got it from one of the Moosewood books and adapted it to remove a lot of the oil. It was super yum. I'll make it again. :-)

The rest of the week, I'll be going home each night and walking Doglet and doing pilates on Tuesday and Thursday and NO BOOZE. It helps to write it down. It's like a commitment or something. Truth is, I don't really miss the's just a matter of getting into the habit of not pouring that first glass every night. I'm a rut kind of person and that's one very bad rut!!!

Friday I have dinner with a friend. Saturday DB comes home! :-)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Being honest and not giving up

I left my last post up top on my blog for a whole week so I looked at it every day and thought about it a lot. Today when I weighed in, I was up a pound. So for the last three weeks that I have been back to weighing in, I am down less than a pound. At my weight, this is not losing, it's barely maintaining. Now maintaining is great...if you are at a comfortable weight. I am not. I am only 5 pounds less than I was last year when I saw The Horrible Number.

I've been thinking this week about what it will take to lose these 20 (or 30) pounds that I want to lose. I don't HAVE to lose them. I feel pretty healthy at the weight I am. I watch what I eat. I exercise (as much as I can with all my body issues!). But I don't like what I see when I look in the mirror...and photos? HORRIBLE.

Why do I WANT to lose these pounds then? Because I feel uncomfortable about how I look. Because eventually my overweightness might affect my health. But it's mostly about how I look. And that affects how I FEEL. I want to feel like I look beautiful and sexy again and, for me, that means I NEED to lose this weight.

How can I do this? Being honest, I really do eat and exercise well (not perfectly, but better than most people, I'll bet):

- breakfast during the week is low-fat granola with almond milk, on the weekend is usually a frittata with no-fat egg substitute and veggies and a little parmesan cheese and maybe one slice of bread with low-fat cream cheese;

- lunch during the week is usually a frozen meal less than 300 calories (usually no lunch on weekends or Taco Bell things that I tell them how to adapt so they are low fat and low cal);

- dinner during the week is usually fish and a salad or vegetable and sometimes a no- or low-fat dessert (often a no-fat meringue or two);

- weekends are less predictable, but I always take the low-fat choice when given one;

- I drink caffeine rarely;

- I drink lots of water and decaf green tea every day; and

- I exercise three times a week at least (except during The Frankentoe period): walking, biking, pilates, yoga.

So why am I not losing? I know the answer. It's my last "treat" and I'm so reluctant to give it up: wine (and occasional other spirits). I drink EVERY DAY. I drink too much because it tastes good. I don't think I'm an alcoholic, but I do think this is a problem and a habit that is proving very hard to break. (When I did WOW -- wine on weekends -- earlier this year, I was losing...slowly, but losing.) I think I have slowly worked my way up to this every-day drinking since I quit smoking almost five years ago. I used wine as a substitute for my evening cigarettes when I first quit smoking. And now I see it as my last treat. :-(

I'm not good at moderation of any kind. I am a person who needs to set pretty strict guidelines when it comes to indulgences or I get out of control. That is what happened with food, cigarettes and now alcohol. I have to set very strict guidelines for myself. WOW worked pretty well, but it didn't allow me to have flexibility that I want -- if I go out on a weeknight, I want to be able to have a drink with my friends. So what I have been thinking about this week is a new regime: no drinking except when it's a social/special occasion. A social/special occasion is not being at home, cooking dinner and eating with DB. It is not having a bad day and wanting a "treat" when I get home. It is not making sure friends come over every night so I have an excuse. It is watching, being careful, and paying attention to when I'm satisfied (another theme I've been thinking about this week as you will see from my last comment on my last post). This requires real vigilance for me...I've always live a "if some is good, more is better" philosophy. My new philosophy needs to be closer to "Some is good. More isn't." (Yeah, I know it's not exactly catchy, but I'm not feeling very fun and creative today...just honest and serious.)

So, in the coming week, what will I do? (I have to plan ahead...I do this with food all the time.) Tonight we are going out with friends and that is an acceptable drinking environment. Tomorrow night I will be home alone. Not acceptable drinking environment anymore. Sunday through Tuesday, my mom will be with me (DB is in Nearby Town next week) and she doesn't drink so that's not an acceptable drinking environment anymore. Tuesday and Thursday I will be home alone. Ditto above. Wednesday I may have dinner with a friend -- marginally acceptable drinking environment. Friday and Saturday I have social engagements -- acceptable drinking environment.

If I stick to this (which I fully intend to), let's see what the scale says next week. It's a new regime of honesty and of not giving up...I'll bet I'll be writing a lot more as (as Cindy says) things "are revealed".

Friday, October 26, 2007

The weight

I'm up 0.2 this week. Not horrible, but not the direction I want to see the scale moving. But how much do I really REALLY want it? That's what's been tormenting me this week. If I really REALLY want it, I'll make it happen. I've done it before. I can do it again. But I have to REALLY want it. I have to really sacrifice. And, so far, to be brutally honest, I haven't been willing to do that. Even though I'm miserable when I look in the mirror.

Vickie inspired me to be really honest today. And that's it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I love the moon like some people love the sun

Tonight the full moon here is as orange as the top of this blog. Dark coppery orange. From all the smoke in the air. The fires are diminishing, but who knows what damage is happening to our lungs (and other organs which I understand also soak up the particulate matter). I've heard some people say that in a few years we may have similar diseases out here as the post-9/11 rescue workers are suffering from. I'm not too worried for me, but it's scary to think that something you can't see or smell is potentially hurting you.

Tonight I walked a little less than the past two nights at the beach, but I did my pilates DVD. Felt really good. I want SO much to get back to feeling comfortable in my body.

Which reminds me...there is something wrong with the toe next to The Toe. It just hangs there and it's numb. I talked with the doc about it this week and he says it's possible that there's a stress fracture from walking funny for all this time. DB thinks maybe I broke it too originally and we just didn't notice. I have to find time to go to the doc to check it out. :-(

DB has been gone all this week and I can't wait until he's home tomorrow. He's been gone most of the past two weeks and that has been hard. He's home for one week next week, then gone again for a week. After that, we have a whole month with him at home...yippeeeeee!

Almost time for 30 Rock and The Office...gotta go!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


It's very hot here...and smoky. Just went out to lunch (haven't been out of the office at all this week until evening) and it's hot and the air smells of smoke. There's a haze over the whole city. I also realized that I've been sneezing a lot this week...probably because of all the particulate matter in the air. Yuck.

Just heard from a friend of ours in San Diego -- the fires aren't to their area yet, but they still have their trailer packed and ready to go. The San Diegans are getting it worse than we are.

My French family e-mailed this morning to check on us...I guess even in Europe they see our beautiful area burning.

I wish it would rain.

In the meantime, I'm trying to do a 10-block walk every night this week...getting back in the swing of exercise slowly. It's very hard for me not to just jump in, but I know that I need to rehab or I'll be sorry later.

Food has been good this week (until we just had a going-away lunch for a colleague...the salmon and mashed potatoes with spinach was amazing, but large portion and probably full of butter). I really need to get back to WOW...I've been drowning my sorrows way too much in wine. :-(

P.S. I got sucked in to watching The Biggest Loser last night for almost the whole show (I rarely watch TV except for The Office and 30 Rock)...I liked it, but am not sure if I want to keep watching it. Although the "poker game" they played last night put me off food for quite a while!!!

P.P.S. I got bored with my old template...don't know how to change HTML so just picked a new one from the ones they provide. I think I like this one..."Sand Dollar" seems good for a beach girl like me! :-)

And one last thing...check this out. This was used as a tool in the natural vision improvement class I just's cool.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Photo from Little Mom's driveway this evening

They are safe. The interior of their house is covered in ash (not to mention the outside). The kids can't play outside and are off school probably at least through tomorrow. The sunlight even here (far away) is orange. The sunsets are kaleidoscopic...purples and oranges and pinks...all glowing. I can see the Malibu fires from the beach right at my house...they are far away and eerie.

Update from the disaster area

Little Mom and her family stayed with her sister-in-law last night (she lives closer, but not, so far, in the danger zone). It looks like the fire in her neighborhood is less scary today, but these things can change quickly depending on the winds. It's supposed to be in the high 80s and up to 100 today too...not good. But I think our family is ok. :-)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Southern California is on fire

And not in a good way.

I've spent a lot of today worrying and working on getting DB's oldest daughter (Little Mom) and her three kids (including our beloved Princess) out of the fire area (in the Santa Clarita Valley north of here). They had mandatory evacuations just a block from her house and she was there with her kids, some other kids whose parents had to go to work (schools were closed), and NO CAR. :-( I was thisclose to jumping in my car to go get them this morning. Luckily her sister-in-law came and got them and they are now ensconced in front of a tv at a restaurant waiting for Little Mom's man to get off work and decide what is next. I really wish they'd all come down and stay with me (especially since DB is gone), but I understand they want to stay home as long as they can.

It is highly unlikely that a fire would get us at our place...the fires usually are worst in the hills and we are in the flats by the ocean. But I sure am glad I sucked up all the dry leaves by our house yesterday.

It's unbelievable...I've never seen it this bad here (and we have fires every year). Tonight I'll walk Doglet down at the beach and see what I can see up toward Malibu.

Doing a rain dance...