Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nine Years Ago Today...

...I started a blog, or a weblog, as it was called then.  Blogger wasn't owned by Google yet.  If you wanted to make a nice background, you had to actually program the style sheet yourself.  People didn't really use "widgets" yet, and "gadgets" were still the things my dad bought in the camera stores around Times Square.  When you updated your blog, it stayed on the Blogspot home screen for a good five minutes, because there were so few being updated.

I thought I was going to lead a bohemian Henry Miller type of life, only I'd be Anais Nin, and I'd fall in love with Henry Miller types of men, and lead a nomadic life, dependent on just my notebooks and my ipod.  I was still madly in love with an Unsuitable Man whose biggest assets were that he oozed charm and had a beautiful voice, but I had worked it out by then that nothing was going to happen with him, so I dated lots of other Unsuitable Men (I found them in the personals section of, and then would give a play-by-play recap of each date on my blog afterwards.  I got a lot of readership from teenage boys.

Here's my first entry (a brief warning: I'm 25 in this post.  So, you know, keep that in mind):


Wednesday, March 27:

I'm about as happy as I can be right now. It's Easter, so the stores are packed with Marshmallow Chicks, and there's really nothing better for the soul than marshmallow fluff with a thick coating of sugar. At least not when it's raining and miserable outside. I have become quite zen about my relationship to marshmallow chicks in my wise mid-twenties. I guess that's about as good a way as any to start off a weblog - sort of like starting a new journal.

When I was a kid I used to start each new journal with all my stats - parents' names and occupations, favourite colour, favourite New Kid on the Block, best friend... But then I found that most of my Hello Kitty journal would be filled with my personal statistics, and I was constantly writing them over and over, so then I just started numbering my journals and keeping them in order so I wouldn't have to rewrite my biog each time...

So I could start this weblog by telling you about myself. Stuff you might want to know, like how old I am (25), where I live (everywhere...don't ask...wherever iTunes is, is home), my favourite dead composer (Poulenc), favourite live composer (Arvo Part), or whether I'm in love at the moment (I'm happily not - happily because I was in love with someone who didn't love me back for two years...ahem, no names mentioned...g... Before that I was unhappily cohabitating for four years. So this is the first time in a long time where I'm happily into myself.)

But I assume that if you came here early enough to be reading these first few weeks' worth of posts, you know me, or you know NomadChick. So there's not really a lot I can say here other than telling you that this space is reserved for my own travel tales and daily adventures - while it's linked to, and is part of the website, it's really the place to see what sorts of scrapes I got myself into lately...go ahead, laugh at me...I'm sort of used to it...

So I'll tell you about my infatuation with Marshmallow chicks. I don't think they sell them in England. At least I didn't see them. But that's not the point. The point is that I used to be addicted to the creamy sweet gooieness of Marshmallow chicks from the time they'd enter the store (just after Valentine's day) to the after-Easter sales. I used to panic in April wondering what on earth I'd do for ten months without them, and I'd spend my allowance on a hundred packs at 12 cents each at the KMart sales. But then I'd get really sick of them by May. And I'd forget about them for another year and then be overjoyed at the first sighting in February.

See, this is where I've become zen-like...I've realised that the secret to true happiness lies in the cycles of Marshmallow enjoy it when you have it, not force it longer than it naturally lasts, and not get attached to it because, though it's sad when the Marshmallow Chicks leave the store, if you go outside everyday and play in the sunshine and have a lot of love in your life, suddenly a year will go by and the army of Chicks are back at WalMart and the cycle goes on...

Impressive, eh?


Just the other day I drooled over Marshmallow Chicks in Target, but I was strong and walked away, because of the whole dropping-pounds thing.  And besides, now they make them all year round - you can bite the head off of a marshmallow santa - so I'm not missing them too much.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Little Earthquakes

I've been listening to a lot of madrigals lately.  When I was a senior in high school, I got my first CD player for Christmas, and a $50 gift certificate to Coconuts, which was next door to Borders, where I worked.  I bought a bunch of classical Naxos CD's because I could get more with the gift certificate (not knowing that ten years later I would run a portion of their digital sales and skype with their President on a regular basis...weird).  The one disc that I spent the full $13 on (it was 1993/94.  Discs were like $12.99 then) was the Madrigal History Tour by the King's Singers.  A madrigal tour of Renaissance Europe.  Too many fa-la-la's to count.  I loved it!

I've been listening to that disc a lot lately - I've been trying to get all of my discs burned onto my computer so I can stick the physical CD's up in the attic, or even give them away (taking the simplicity movement to the next level) and I got hooked on it again.  

Tomkins' Too Much I once Lamented kind of sums up how I've felt this week.  Melancholy, but still hopeful for the future, in a morbid sort of way.  I know this song is about love, and giving up on the unrequited version thereof, but it's applicable any time you know you're miserable, but want to just hold on to it a little wee bit longer because it's become such a big part of you, and you don't know who you are without it..

I'm still doing pretty well, but having to give the pup back to a terrible owner, and worrying about her with all the snow we've had, has kind of thrown me a little bit.  One thing I've noticed is how easily I'm thrown in general.

Which brings me to the title of this blog post - the Tori Amos song, which I love.
"Oh, these little earthquakes, here we go again...oh these little earthquakes, doesn't take much to rip us into pieces..."

I would like to be someone for whom it takes more than a lost dog (no matter how great the dog) to rip into pieces.

I'm getting there, one step at a time, I guess.  I've made up a list of ten lovely things I'm going to do for myself tonight, none of which involve food.  Well, one involves wine, but just one glass, so that's ok.  And we'll spend the weekend cleaning up from all the storms, and then on Monday, we shall head to Long Beach to get on a boat, upon which I shall spend my time reading, napping, swimming, napping, reading, swimming, napping and maybe some more reading.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My favorite albums this week

I listen to a lot of music, and I realize that I don't write much about it.  I regularly try to listen to at least one new album every day.

My musical day usually starts with me listening to ClassicFM first thing in the morning.  I like that I get to hear the afternoon traffic on the A40 while I'm in my morning shower.  It makes me feel like they come from the future.

Then by the time they get to the evening full works concert, I shift over to Napster.

This week I'm digging on:

The Tudors Soundtrack.  In 1992 I was pretty much addicted to the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves score for the same reasons I like this one so much, almost 20 years later.  I like it because it's atmospheric, evocative, and moody, like a soundtrack should be, but also because it brings in so many of the elements of the music from Henry's time without being overtly obvious- the dancing melodies, and the hints of polyphonic harmonies that were becoming so popular in the early 16th century, but with a modern interpretation and modern instruments and production.  I highly recommend listening to An Historic Love first, before anything else.  It will seriously make you wish that Henry and Anne hadn't worked out the way they did.

Adele: 21.  I first fell in love with Adele two years ago when 19 was on eMusic (don't even get me started on the hot mess that eMusic has become these days), and Chasing Pavements was one of their editor's picks.  I love how she sounds like all of the greatest women in jazz - she channels Billie Holiday and Etta James like a pro - and both her voice, and her lyrics are ridiculously mature for someone so young.  This new album is already in the running for Album of the Year, and it hasn't even been out for three weeks yet.  Sometimes, as with Mumford and Sons, pop music gets it right, and I'm not one of those music snobs who refuses to listen to anything the "Establishment" likes - if the pop world gets it right, then so much the better for them, and everyone who gets to be introduced to Adele.

Gallicantus: Dialogues of Sorrow.  In 1612 King James' son Henry died of typhoid, and this album is a collection of the grief recorded in music.  Gallicantus is an early music vocal group, supported on this album by the lute.  Grammophone called it an "outstanding disc" and they were right to do so - the voices are clear, the harmonies are lush, and you can almost touch the sadness, it's so real.  This is a recording that every early music fan should have, and if you're not already familiar with the world of Early Music, it is a fine introduction.  There's nothing more I can say that isn't already summed up in the Amazon review:  "...the singing is indeed exquisite in absolutely every way one can judge it. Each individual voice was incredibly attuned to the words and the meaning thereof."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On how I'm pretty much convinced that God is screwing with me

You know the book of Job?  The one where God and the Devil are hanging out and the Devil says, "well sure, all your followers love you because you're good to them.  If you took away all of their happiness, I bet they would curse you."  And God says, "no, that's not true, because my followers like to receive abuse from their God, and they'd still be totally down with worshiping me" (kind of like battered women who refused to press charges against their abusers, right?)  So God picks Job out randomly, kills his wife and kids, covers him with boils, takes his money, makes life miserable, and Job refuses to curse God.  Thus, God wins the bet, gets to say "nanny nanny boo boo" to the Devil, and Job gets to Pass Go, collect $200, get a new wife, new kids, and new life.  Because wives and kids are totally replaceable, right?

If you can't tell, I'm not a fan of this book.  To be honest, I'm not a fan of the Old Testament in general, and this book in particular.  People say, "oh, it shows Job's loyalty to God, and how even when you're miserable, God is still looking out for you."  I say that's pretty much bullsh*t.  This book shows God being petty, engaging in debate with the Devil, stooping to his level, and playing games with His most loyal worshipers.  If a kid is getting teased in school, most parents will tell the kid to ignore the meanie, to rise above their behavior, to be the better person.  Job shows that even God winds up getting caught by the need to prove Himself right from time to time, and I don't like it.

(Religiously, I'm a fan of Jesus.  If we all lived by what Jesus actually said, the words he told us to live by, we could all be closer to God and each other, no matter what religion we are.  I'm really not down with anyone who tries to get in the middle of my relationship with Jesus, and that includes other Biblical writers.  Like Paul.  I'm not down with Paul trying to tell me how to live my life.  Jesus said He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Not Paul.  Jesus said to turn the other cheek, to make peace, to treat prostitutes and tax collectors with kindness and love.  I can easily and happily have a relationship with Jesus.  Anything else is, frankly, superfluous, in my non-theological opinion.  On that note, I'm a big fan of John Shelby Spong, who wrote the books Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, and lots of other juicy morsels for liberal Christians like me to chew on.  I like him in part because he makes me feel conservative, which is a pretty rare thing.)

But I digress.

So we found the pups last Wednesday.  By Friday no one had claimed them yet, and the tan one ran away.  The black one was still with us, laying on the deck, being really great.  We woke up to her barking in the middle of the night on Friday night, and it had started sleeting/hailing/being a general mess.  We cleaned the cats out of the bedroom and brought her in, where she was so incredibly chill and mellow.  Saturday we open the door and let everyone meet each other.  It was a cat/dog love fest.  Seriously.  Everyone was so happy.  Still no one claimed her.  By Sunday we're thinking we might want to keep her, and it would actually work out.  Legally we're obligated to give it five days before finding a new home for her, so I figure she's ours by Monday.

Monday the owner emails.  After googling for a while, I find out she's a school librarian in the same district where one of my organization's Board members is based - weird small world.  She's been out of town on a family emergency.  When I ask why no tags, she says that the dog chokes herself with the tags on the deck.  But then when I ask where the dog would have gone during the storm (we got a foot of snow Sunday night), she says the dog is indoor.  So which is it?  Indoor, where the tag wouldn't matter, or outdoor?  And besides, why don't you get a freaking chip?  She says her petsitter has been frantically looking for the dog, but if that's the case, why hadn't we been called before?  We posted flyers, we posted online, we called the vets.  Why would you wait for six freaking days?  What kind of petsitter is that?   

It's all just too fishy.

The humane society called her and reamed her out for letting her dog get out, and she got really aggressive with them.  Frankly, I don't like anyone who gets aggressive with the humane society.  

So the long and short of it is that we gave the dog back to a crappy owner who didn't even care enough about a dog she's had for thirteen years to get a chip in the dog's ear so that she doesn't get lost.  That pup deserves a better owner than her, and she doesn't deserve that dog.  That's all I can say about that.

I don't know how the humane society gives back animals to crappy owners all the time.  It broke my heart giving this one back.  I don't know how you do it time and time again.  

So the reason why God is screwing with me in all of this is that after we gave her back, I said to J that it was clear that God didn't want me to take care of anything right now.  He takes away my first baby at 21 weeks.  He takes away my second baby.  Now he's taken away this dog who is clearly being taken care of by a negligent owner.  I would have been thrilled to give the dog back if the owner had shown a little gratitude for us taking her in; had, say, offered to reimburse us for the food we bought, or even said, "wow, thanks for taking her to the vet to see if she was chipped, and you're right, that's a really good idea," or said anything that made me think she gave a damn about the dog other than, "we've had her for thirteen years."  

J says, "no, it's the opposite.  God sent us the dog to care for because He knew a snowstorm was coming, and He knew that she would have frozen, so He sent her to us to take care of during the storm."

And that really set me off.  Because it's a joke.  The negligent owner couldn't have called on Wednesday or Thursday or Friday or Saturday when I wasn't attached to the dog, could she?  No, she emails on Monday, when we're already snoozing by the fire with each other, and she's laying on her back with her feet up inviting me to rub my face in her belly.  

The second miscarriage couldn't have happened the entire weekend when I was spotting and was sure that I was miscarrying.  Noooo.  That would have been too easy.  We need to take Heather to the doctor first and do an ultrasound and let her see a heartbeat first so she relaxes a little and thinks it will all be ok.  Then we'll have the miscarriage happen the very next day.  Yep, because otherwise it would have made too much sense, right?  

I am so ready for our cruise.  I'm pissed off, and that's all there is to that.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Getting Fit Project Update

It's Tuesday, which in my new Fitness Project is Goal Day.  That means it's weigh-in day (though I weigh myself every day anyway), and if I make my goal, I get a reward (this week it's a loooong backrub from my hubby).  Every other week I take my measurements - I don't expect to see a lot of change in just 14 days, but it keeps it present for me, otherwise it would just slip away into the dark recesses of my brain where random Monty Python quotes and facts about the French Revolution are collecting dust.

So, the results are in.  I lost another 2.2 pounds this week, bringing the total to just about 4.5 pounds in 2 weeks.  I lost half an inch from my waist and hips, each.

On Saturday, I had a long heart-to-heart with hubby about food, and it was so clear how similar the addictions to food and alcohol are.  One example is my utter conviction that any occasion is more special if you have food.  For him it was alcohol.  I mean, if you're going to do something nice, why not do it with food, right?  When we go to England, I have a whole list of food I need to eat, otherwise I feel like I'm really missing out on something.  I need to get Muller rice (I love that stuff).  I need to eat chocolate mini-rolls from Marks and Spencer (I also love them).  I absolutely have to drink at least two Cafe Nero hot chocolates a day.  I mean, what's the point of wandering around Soho if you're not doing it with a hot chocolate in your hand, right?  I can't imagine going to England and NOT eating Cadbury chocolate, or those Belgian waffle things that they sell in little individual packs in the grocery store.  It's almost like there'd be no point.

But that's just ridiculous.  The point of England is Evensong services, and train rides, and walks by the Cam, and wandering around in Bath, and getting lost in Whitby.  The point of England is most definitely NOT chocolate mini-rolls from Marks and Spencer.  I can see having one or two things that are your special foods that you look forward to when you travel somewhere.  J loves the 7-up in England because it's not as sugary as here.  To me, that seems normal.  If I only had the mini-rolls, that would be ok.  Or just the Cafe Nero hot chocolates.  That would be understandable.

The problem is when everything revolves around food.  I plan where I'm going to eat, what I'm going to eat, what I'll drink with what I eat, how I feel when I'm eating it.... which kind of talks and walks like an addiction.

So I guess I'll check out Overeaters Anonymous.  I really don't want to.  I went a few years ago - well, eight years ago - and I had a really bad attitude because everyone there seemed like they were fat and ate too much and had problems, and I sat there all holier than thou, thinking I was different.  Who am I kidding...I still think I'm different.  But one thing that J taught me is that all the alcoholics think that they're different, too.  He's convinced that he's the one person who can handle alcohol, and everybody else has a problem.  But he sees that everyone thinks that - the more you think you're different, the more the same you are.

The other thing I'm learning is how to take things one day at a time.  Not even one day - one minute.  If I'm not pigging out in this moment, then that's a good thing.  I don't have to worry about how to get to 40 pounds, or 50 pounds or 70 pounds.  I don't have to worry about how I'm going to go on a cruise and not completely lose all this progress I've made (the answer is, I'm taking my scale with me...hey maybe I'll weigh less at sea...who knows).  I just have to worry about this moment, right now.  And then this next moment.  And so on.  Eventually you get to where you need to be, one moment at a time, right?

I had my follow-up appointment after the D&C today.  I love my doctor.  I just love him.  I wish I had a little miniature version of him that we could keep around the house, telling me random stories about when he bought his first CD player in the mid 1980's, and only had three CD's for it.  He was at a meeting about high risk pregnancies during the time I was miscarrying three weeks ago, and he said he'd been thinking about me when they were talking about treatments for inflammations, and thinking about what he would do with me when we got to the point where I lost Baby T.  Then he comes back, and finds out that I, as he put it, "got into trouble."  But he's super-excited for me to try again because of all these new treatments he's learning about.  I'm now Dr. J's guinea pig, I guess.

Anyway, I told him that we're on a full-scale assault against fat, and we talked about my plan of attack.  He was totally supportive, but wanted to make sure I wasn't doing some crazy crash diet, and I assured him that I was trying to eat 1600-1800 calories a day.  And he said words that will be forever etched in my brain as a defense against the BMI calculators and height-weight charts I used to study when I was a kid.  He said, "I think more like 1800 calories a day for you.  You're not short.  And you have a big frame with a lot of muscle.  We'll lose the padding around the frame, but that frame's not going anywhere."

Praise the Lord, and Big-Boned Girls Unite!!! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Things that Piss Me Off

You know what would seriously piss me off?  If I was living in Japan, and eight days ago I was doing fine, living my life, shooting the shit, and then the next day, bam, I lose my house and all my possessions in an earthquake and tsunami, and then, let's say I look at a newspaper, and I see this headline:

Japan Raises Nuclear Crisis Warning Level Retroactively

But really, what are you supposed to do with that?  Retroactively stay inside?  Retroactively dust off your hair?  Retroactively do something?  

What a clusterf*ck.  There's nothing else to say about that.  

Ann Coulter just wrote a column saying that radiation is good for you.  Is she getting a little upset that Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman are suddenly gracing conservative pin-up posters, and she's feeling a little left out, so she has to up the crazy ante to get some attention?  

Found this online at a blog called The Final Thread, which is pretty conservative, but still funny

Two things:

First, I love how she says that this new science saying radiation is good for you gets no attention from the press, but then quotes articles in the New York Times...I guess that's not press.  But actually, maybe it's not, since she's usually so disparaging of the liberal-leaning New York Times.  Except when it serves her purposes.  Seriously, I can't follow the circular logic.  

Second, you know it's bad when Bill O'Reilly thinks you're a nutjob.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lost Pups

I don't know how many local people in my mountains area read this blog, but I'm thinking at least a few, since I have my gig writing for the Rim of the World website.  So if you're local, this applies to you.  These two pups were running around our street yesterday, and when Jonathan called to them to get off the street, they trotted right up our steps and plopped themselves on our deck, and haven't left yet.  They're clearly cared for, but there are no phone numbers on either of their collars (grrrrr), so we can't call the owners.

We called the vets and humane society, posted on ROTW, and will post flyers at the post office and grocery store.  If you know these dogs, can you please email me?  They're scared and frightened - I'm guessing last night may have been one of the first times they slept outside because they were freaked out at everything.  And the black one is getting old and has a bit of a limp, and you can see cataracts developing already.  We put a bunch of blankets out, so they're comfy, and we bought food, so their bellies are full.  But I'm really not interested in becoming a dog owner right now, as sweet as they are, so I want to find their owners asap!

And people, please, if you have dogs, put your phone number on their collars!  Even if they're indoor - you just never know if there's an emergency (ie a fire or earthquake) and they get separated from you...well...not having a number on their collars pretty much guarantees you won't see them again unless people like us take them in.  And frankly, they barked so much last night (to which our neighbors can also attest) that I didn't get a lot of sleep, and was pretty tempted to just shoo them off the deck by 2am.  The only thing that quieted them is that Jonathan, channeling St. Francis, went and slept outside on the deck with them for three hours.  And I don't think he's going to want to do that again tonight.

So please, for the peace and quiet of the neighborhood, as well as the well-being of these girls, somebody please tell me that you know these pups and can get me the phone number of their owners!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sociology behind MTV reality shows

I have two new favorite TV shows.  First off is Celebrity Apprentice, which I started watching last year, and am already addicted to this year, after only two episodes.  Though I was seriously upset after this past episode.  Dionne Warwick is a nutjob, and should have gone home, in my humble opinion.  I'm predicting a John Rich win, just because I think he's smart, and playing sly already. And with the level of crazy on the women's team, I think all the men can coast for a little while.

My other favorite show is Bully Beatdown on MTV, which I randomly came across, and couldn't switch away.  People who are being bullied send in tapes of their bully treatment, and then they ask the bullies if they would be willing to fight a professional MMA fighter for the chance to win $10,000.  The caveat?  If they lose, the money goes to the kid they bullied.  I've only watched a handful of shows so far, but I like it for several reasons.

First, the bullies look like serious tools.  It makes bullying look like the most dumbass thing a person could do.

Second, the MMA fighters are always there fighting for the little guys, so it portrays these tough MMA guys as being really supportive of the bullied kids.

Third, the bully always talks a big game, and always winds up losing, thus looking like even more of a tool.

Fourth, I find it a fascinating study into the human psyche.  You know how in the days of the Romans there were gladiator fights and duels where they'd pair a human against a bear and stuff like that?  And then how later, punishments were always designed to humiliate people, which was such a big thing because the societal unit was so much stronger when people didn't travel, and you lived your entire life in one town and were known by the town, relied on the town for protection, etc.

From the simplest punishment of putting people into stocks so that their fellow townsmen would see their crime and throw rotten tomatoes at them, to the final act of torture bestowed upon those headed for hangings - to be carried publicly through the streets tied to a cart, in full view of everyone, so that the entire town could beat you, or throw things at you, etc., punishments always had this level of humiliation in their design.  And we look at that now and tend to think how inhumane those kinds of things were, and how we're so advanced now because we do civilized things like private electric chair executions, or whatever they do now.

But when they announce the Bully and he comes into the ring, the crowd goes absolutely nuts.  They boo, and make fists, and scream and yell and go crazy.  They're rabid.  Which makes me think that there's something deeply ingrained in the human psyche that we feel this need to inflict group humiliation on people who have hurt us, or others.  Even though we live very independent lives now, and don't reside in small villages where we depend on each other for our very lives, the idea of being part of a group, and wanting to banish the bad people out of that group, is a basic instinct.

I think I'm going a little deeper into the show than they probably intend for people to go, but it's still fascinating to watch.  Oh, and the Bully usually winds up looking like such a dumbass that he winds up apologizing to the kid he bullied, which is kind of heartwarming.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Getting Fit Project Update

Ok, so it's no secret that I'm a Big Girl.  I've always been a Big Girl, and I've never really had a problem with it.  I like to exercise, and I have lower blood pressure than my hubby, even though I weigh about 80 pounds more than him.  I always joke about how I'm in great health, except I just like to eat chocolate too much.

But that's actually a lie.

The truth of the matter is that I've been yo-yo dieting since I was about 13.  Over the course of all that dieting, I must have lost well over a hundred pounds, but then they come back, plus more.  I've actually had a secret weight-loss blog going on for a couple of years, on and off (mostly off), which has lots of followers and everything.  The idea of putting it out there for the people who know me to read - well, that scares the crap out of me.  But I'm experimenting with doing things differently, and this is definitely different.

After I lost Baby T and started blogging about that, people told me how open and vulnerable I was, and I would think what a lie that was.  Blogging about losing my baby wasn't hard.  Blogging about how I thought it was my fault because I'm overweight...that's hard.

Now, having lost another baby, I'm seriously sick of feeling like it's my fault for being chubby (oh heck, if we're really being honest, let's just call a spade a spade.  It's not "zaftig" or "pleasingly plump" or any of those endearing names that my hubby calls it.  It's fat.  Capital F.  Capital A.  Capital T.  F-A-T.).

Given the fact that we're taking a break from the whole Project Pregnancy for at least 6 months, I figure that this time is a gift for me to learn how to take wonderful care of myself, and the biggest part of that is learning how to eat well; learning how to use food as the fuel that it was meant to be, and not as a friend-substitute, or an alternative to a good massage when I'm stressed out.

So this six months is it for me.  I'm looking at this time as a gift from my babies to me, to get myself in the best shape of my post-college life, so that when I get pregnant again, I'll already be that much further ahead in being able to take care of myself.

I'm not ready to post actual numbers yet...maybe at some point I'll do that, but not yet.  Let's just say that if I were to get back to my super-healthiest college-weight, I'd have to lose about 80 to 90 pounds.  Looking at that number freaks me out, so I'm not going to focus on it at all.  I'm going to focus on being healthy one day at a time, one meal at a time, and if that leads to a weight loss of a pound or two a week, then that's a great target.

So here's what I've started doing this past week to reach that healthy goal:

First, I am weighing myself every day because I've found in my previous weight-loss attempts, that, at least at the beginning, I have to make weight-loss the number one priority for me, and keep it at the front of my mind.  One way to do that is to weigh myself every day.  I know the experts say that once a week is when you'll see results, and if you do it much more than that you could get discouraged, but this is one area where I really know what works for me - if I don't presence that weight for myself every morning, it goes right out the window.  And then the weighing-in day comes, and I'm all, "oh, hey, am I supposed to be losing weight?  Wow, I forgot. Bummer."  Facing the scale every day takes some of the significance and scariness out of it for me.

Second, I am keeping a food diary.  But it's more than a food diary.  Every morning I write my weight, and the top five reasons I wan to lose weight.  Again, this presences it for me.  Otherwise I tend to forget why it's important - it's amazing how quickly stuff like this just goes right out of my head - until I'm at Target buying Breathe-Right strips and eating a pretzel, and I think, "Oh, yeah, I wanted to lose weight so I don't snore as much... bummer..."  Then I write down everything I eat as I eat it.  At the bottom I keep track of my water, and the exercise I've done.  And then at the end of the day I put my thoughts about the day, ie, "I should have had a snack before dinner so I didn't eat such a huge bowl of pasta," or, "I'm proud of myself for eating a salad at lunch."  And finally, at the very bottom, I write something nice I did for myself that day.  This is important to me, because it shows me that rewards and happiness don't just come from cupcakes.  It allows me to build up an arsenal of treats that don't involve calories, so that the next time I'm bored/sad/lonely and I feel like eating an apple pie, I can say, "oh, hey, that time I played with flowers made me really happy.  Maybe I should do that instead."  And thus, the pie-crisis may be avoided.

Third, I'm drinking craploads of water.  Nothing in it.  No flavor.  Just plain, boring water.  I pretty much hate it.  I can't see myself ever drinking water for fun, but who knows.

Fourth, I'm embracing hunger.  I'm pretty much convinced that the people who say you can lose weight without being hungry are all liars.  You don't go from eating 2700 calories a day to eating 1800 calories a day and not feel any hunger.  You just don't, I don't care how much fiber and protein you stick in your diet.  I'm going down slowly.  As in, last week I averaged around 2400 calories a day, and this week, I'm going to try to keep it under 2200.  Eventually I'll get it down to around 1700 or 1800, but I need to work into that.

The fifth thing I'm doing is taking my measurements every two weeks.  Well, I took them last tuesday, and I'm going to take them next tuesday.  I figure I won't see much in the way of change every two weeks, but again, it's a way of keeping it at the top of my mind.  If I only did it once a month, I'd probably forget all about it in between.  And if I did it every week, that would just be redundant.  So I figure every two weeks is a good compromise.

The sixth thing I'm doing is structuring a rewards system.  Every ten pounds gets a reward, with bigger rewards as we go up and get to 40 and 50 pounds.  I'm not sure what the rewards are yet, but I'm going to think of good things, for sure.

So how did I do the first week?  I lost two pounds, thank you.  I'm hoping that I can keep the pace of 1-2 pounds a week, which they say is the healthiest pace to lose weight.  I'd love to say, "oh, I'll lose ten pounds before our cruise," but that's just setting myself up for failure, which then triggers a cupcake-crisis.  The first goal I'd like to reach is to lose 40 pounds by mid-August (well, 38 after the 2 pound loss this week).  After that, I'll reevaluate and come up with a new goal, but for right now, 40 pounds looks reachable, and not-too-scary.

I'm going to report back on this a lot, because it will give me motivation to keep going.  That's another thing that I've found is important to losing weight - having a check-in structure to keep you accountable.  So this blog is my new weight-loss accountability tool.

Scary, but if it works, it'll be worth it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Season of Heather

If you have to grieve, I highly recommend Springtime as the best season in which to do so.  All the renewal, the world getting lighter, and birds singing, the snow melting...all of it reminding you that life goes on, and that you will get strong again.  October is a pretty nasty time to start grieving...the world getting darker, things dying all around you, it's getting cold, the nights are long.

We're in the season of Lent, which is supposed to be marked by quiet thoughtfulness, meditation, and reflection.  But I think I'm a liturgical season ahead, because I'm not feeling very quietly reflective at the moment.  I'm ready for the Resurrection, and the daffodils and celebration.  I've had enough of all this sadness.  I'm sick of it.

So, in a spirit that I'm pretty sure God will understand, I'm giving up being miserable for Lent.  I've spent five months being wound-up and miserable, and I think I could use a 40 day break.

But I'm not just saying this willy-nilly.  I'm serious about it.  I'm taking actions that will forward my commitment to non-misery.  I'm quietly and thoughtfully throwing off all the darkness that's been following me around for the past five months.

J and I have decided that we're not going to try to get pregnant again until the fall.  So, in true George Costanza fashion, I am declaring this: The Season of Heather.

We're both on a cleaning-spree, which has already led to two trips to the thrift store, with another one planned tomorrow (they're closed Monday or it would have been today).  The bookshelves are dust free.  And I'm completely caught up on laundry.

Since last Tuesday, when I started keeping count, I've exercised five times.  I've been averaging six glasses of water a day.  And I even plucked my eyebrows again today, twice in as many weeks.  My hair is cut well and highlighted, and every day we're doing small chores around the house so that when the weekend comes, I don't spend six hours on Saturday catching up on housework, like I've always done in the past.

I'm eating at least one big salad a day, and I've got flowers all around me.  I've started The Artist's Way again, and I've learned how to make the most amazing iced mocha's with my blender and espresso machine, which I can drink because I'm not pregnant.  And I've even booked the petsitter for our cruise already, and didn't wait until the last minute and then stress about it, like I've done in the past.

I think God will be ok with me throwing off misery for Lent, as long as I'm really taking it on, and not just doing it to say I'm giving something up, but it doesn't really mean anything.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Artist Dates at the Flower Market

If I had another life, I'd totally open a flower shop.  I could definitely get myself out of bed at 5:45 a couple of times a week if it meant I got to play with flowers all the time.  The LA Flower Market is the most awesome place on the planet, and the best place for an Artist's Way Artist Date...

Wrigley came out on the deck to lay in the sun and play with the flowers.

Thousands of orchids...
Row upon row of gerber daisies
Lots of roses

What $35 at the Flower Market will get you
With which you can make lots of arrangements

A day with lots of flowers is a Good Day

Friday, March 11, 2011

In the mood for Spring!

Wrigley explores the snow 2 weeks ago - it's all melted now!
Crazy how things can change in two weeks.  Two weeks ago we had a massive snowstorm coming, which knocked out our electricity for 40 hours, and dumped three feet of snow in our yard.  I was still pregnant then, though I had started spotting and was trying to stay chilled out about it, because I knew that lots of pregnancies had spotting.

Two weeks later, I've lost a second baby, and the weather has warmed up so that the snow has mostly melted, except for some of the big piles and berms made by the plow.  I'm looking forward to springtime, and spring cleaning, which we got a head start on today.  I'm working at home today anyway, so at lunchtime we spent an hour cleaning the last of the snow off the deck, taking up the mats and rugs that were wet so it could dry underneath, and hauling a crap-load of junk to the dump and thrift store.  Our deck is empty of old crap, the kitchen has more space, and my office doesn't have the extra big chair which we were keeping around because the cats liked to lay on it.  They might enjoy the chair, but when you live in less than 800 square feet, which we do, you can't have extra giant office chairs laying around.

I've been on another Peter Cetera kick - he's my go-to-guy when I'm sad - and this morning I told J that I was going to rock out to PC, and he wasn't allowed to make fun of it.  So half an hour later, J comes in to ask me something, purses his lips, stifles a snort, and walks out.  I ask my Rise Against-loving hubby what's going on, and he says, "I'm not allowed to comment.  I'll be back in later."  So I turned it up and sang along even more.

AND I bought two bottles of wine last night, since, you know, I'm taking a break from the whole getting-preggo-scene.  I might get drunk for the first time in almost a year!  Not tonight, though.  I'm waking up super-early tomorrow to go to the LA Flower Market.  It's the giant market district where all the professionals go to get their flowers, which they open up to the public two days a week, and it's the most magical place on earth.  If I had another life to live, I'd totally be a florist.  When we lived by Dodger Stadium, I'd go to the flower market once a month or so, and for two weeks the house would be filled to the brim with gerber daisies and lilies and tulips and all kinds of colorful things.

For our wedding, we went to the flower market early in the morning the day before the ceremony, and loaded up the car with roses of all colors, and tons of gorgeous fall flowers, and for less than $400 we made all the bouquets, centerpieces, and corsages, and had enough left over to cover the archway in ivy and autumn-colored flowers.  I'm lucky to have crafty ladies in my family circle, who know how to arrange flowers, and we had so much fun that day - buckets of flowers in the bathtub, clippings all over the floor, vases filling the refrigerator, flower wire caught in our was the best part of our wedding, I think.

So tomorrow, for my Artist's Way Artist's Date, I'm going to haul my butt out to the flower market early in the morning (to get the best selection you have to get there before 8am, and it's an hour and a half away) and drop $25 and get enough flowers to brighten up every spot in the house.  I only hope the cats don't go crazy on them.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

history, marriage, and Monty Python

So last night hubs and I are turning in, and he's already laying down, with a pillow over his head.  The lights are off, and I'm doing my little nightly moisturizing routine, sitting on the edge of the bed.  I say to him, "you know, I've noticed a direct proportional relationship between the amount of time I spend moisturizing, and the care I take of myself in general..." and I proceed to tell him everything that I blogged about the other day.

He lifts the pillow off his head and says, "I've noticed a direct proportionate correlation between the amount of time you spend telling me 'interesting' stories when I'm laying in bed trying to go to sleep, with the amount that I love you."

Silly hubby.

One other thing to share.  I've become completely obsessed with Rhys Bowen's mystery series, Her Royal Spyness.  I've never been a big mystery fan, but this does it for me. It's set in 1932, Depression-Era England. The heroine, Lady Georgianna, is 34th in line for the throne, but her family is completely destitute.  Her father, a Duke of some godforsaken place in Scotland, took his own life after he lost everything in the stock market crash, and left her brother peniless with death duties to pay.  When the series opens, Georgie is still living in Scotland with her brother and sister-in-law Fig, but they're trying to marry her off to some Prince in Austria, and she doesn't want to be married off, so she high-tails it off to the family's house in London.  For the first time in her life she's living without a maid, and she has no money, so she has to figure out how to make it in the big city.  Things like learning to light a fire and dress herself are obstacles to be overcome.  And then people start dying around her, and she has to solve mysteries and save the day even though she is continually underestimated.  I inhale these books, and I'm bummed because I'm on the last one now.  I highly recommend it.

In a completely different time period in British history, I'm also obsessed with Bernard Cornwell's The Saxon Stories, about life in England when it was just a collection of individual kingdoms like Wessex and Mercia.  The leader of Wessex, Alfred the Great, built the first "English" navy to combat the Viking invaders, and foresaw a time when the entire island would be united in one kingdom.  I know next to nothing about this time period, though I want to get some non-fiction about it now that I'm getting into it through these books.  When you say Mercia to me, the first thing I think of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Arthur riding since the snows of winter covered this land, through the kingdom of Mercia, where you can't find coconuts, given that it's a temperate zone.  But I'm completely into this period now, and that's one of the reasons I love historical fiction.

It's not a question of where he GRIPS it!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Funny Local News: Put-Down Edition

You know those Saturday Night Live skits where the anchor has to tell the reporter how to do his job?  I think this is where it came from.  These guys both need to learn some professionalism, but it's pretty funny to watch.

I was your boss once!  Yeah, and you're not anymore.  How'd that happen?  SMACKDOWN.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On Grooming...

The Music for the day is Dido, because Dido makes me feel girly and 24, and I just really like her.

Given the fact that I'm not pregnant, I am dyeing my hair.  I also did a serious eyebrow plucking this morning.  You know, the kind you do once every 6 months or so, where it takes half an hour, and your eyebrows get all red and irritated, but dang, do they look good, and you think, "man, why don't I try to keep this up?  It looks so good!"  But then you don't, and eventually the cycle starts again?  That kind of eyebrow plucking.

All of this self-improvement is making me think about grooming in general.

I've never been a fan of grooming.  It reminds me of something you do to a dog.  I have always been a nail-biter (though since they look really good now from being preggo, I'm going to try to keep them that way).  My hair was a complete disaster until I was about 23 and went to a good salon for the first time.  And the best thing?  When I was 20 I got my eyebrows waxed for the first time.  And fainted.  And woke up in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.  No joke.  That eyebrow waxing cost me a $500 deductible.

Nope, grooming and I do not get along as a general rule.

But as I get older, I realize that appearances do matter, as much as I'd like to pretend they don't, and it doesn't matter how firm and confident your handshake is if your nails look like they've been through a shredder and the cuticles are bleeding.  So I put a clear topcoat on a couple of times a week, and that keeps me from biting too much.  It's a small annoyance, but it's worth it.

I used to dye my hair fun shades - like green, or blue - for fun.  Now I've reached the point in my life where I dye it because if I don't, the silver appears, and I'm still not ready to embrace the silver.  I used to get it done pretty regularly by professionals, but I spent enough hours sitting in the chair watching what they were doing to be able to figure out how to wield the highlight foils without making it a complete disaster.  I have bigger priorities now than dropping $150 on getting new highlights every 8 weeks.  Like cruises.  And clothes for cruises...

I have realized that there is a direct proportionate relationship between the amount of time I spend on these small annoying grooming tasks, and the care I take of myself in general.  For example, on the days when I'm too busy to put lotion on before bed, and wake up with flaky skin, I generally don't drink a lot of water either, and I probably ate fast food.  However, on days like this, where I'm plucking and dyeing, I'm also fixing a big salad for dinner, and made myself a fruit smoothie for breakfast.  And have had five glasses of water so far today.

It makes me think that the grooming isn't a cause, but it's an effect.  If I spend time taking care of myself, making myself a priority, good grooming is the natural outcome.  Which means I need to think less about the grooming as a "to do" and more about the big picture of the Care and Feeding of Heather.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I was just listening to Robbie Williams songs on youtube, and realized that my boyfriend before I met Jonathan kind of looks just like him, especially in the face.  He didn't have dark hair, but he totally had the same face and expression.  I wonder if that's why I liked him, on a subconscious level?  It certainly wasn't his gift-giving ability (as witnessed by the gift card he gave me for our first, and only, Christmas together).  And his personality did leave a lot to be desired.  But he had a really sweet dog.  You can put up with a lot for a man who looks like Robbie Williams and has an adorable black lab.

Commuting Fun

Driving to the office this morning I put in an old, scratched up CD that I made when I lived in NYC.  I used to go home to PA most weekends, and one of my favorite things was to drive out into the countryside, blasting my favorite music.  I've always been a big fan of driving.  And mixing driving and music is just about the best thing in the world.  I still remember the first time I drove on my own.  Even after I passed my license test, my dad wouldn't let me drive by myself until I had logged something like 2,000 miles with him.  We reached that on a daddy-daughter vacation in Canada.  We were at a hotel outside Quebec, and he was in the shower, and yelled out asking for me to drive down to the gas station down the road and get him a coffee.  I was like, "by myself?"  And he confirmed that I was allowed to drive by myself to the gas station, procure coffee, and drive back.

The Colt Vista Partyvan!
I went out to the silver Colt Vista, and the first thing I did was root around my box of tapes, trying to find the Perfect One for my First Solo Drive.  After much deliberation, I finally settled on The Cure's Friday I'm in Love.  I drove about 3mph to the gas station, just to make the drive last longer.  It was exhilarating!  I imagined all the places I could go in the Colt Vista.  I could just leave my dad in the hotel room if I had wanted, and I could drive to California!  Or Alaska!  Or Chile!  OMG, the whole world was practically available to me now.  What a rush.

When I lived in cities where I didn't drive, I really missed that feeling of freedom.  When I lived in London, I used to take cheap weekend flights to Lubeck regularly, just to rent a VW Golf that I would drive around the Autobahn to random places like Bingen (as in, Hildegaard of Bingen - one of the first famous women composers, and a crazy mystic chick from 1000 years ago).  Bon Jovi's, "It's My Life" was popular then, and I remember one early Sunday morning blasting the radio in Munich, screaming along, and waking up all the sleeping Germans.

It's ironic, because you're much more free, in many ways, when you don't need to rely on gas, or car insurance, or a license to go places.  In Europe you can just hop on trains and go anywhere.  But it's really and truly not the same.

So, the point is, I love driving and driving with music.  So when I used to come home for the weekends from NY, the first thing I'd do is take a CD out to my dad's car, and go for a nice long drive.  I was on a Robbie Williams kick then, and I thought I was ever so poetic, driving along the river, singing about coming undone.

But that brings me back to today.  Driving to the office, I randomly grabbed a CD from 2003 that I used to play on those weekends home.  The first song was U2's Beautiful Day.

I'm not a huge U2 fan.  Went through a phase around 1992 where I really liked them, but then Bono started taking himself really seriously, and one thing I can't stand is people who take themselves too seriously.  So I stopped liking them.  But I liked this album.  I like this song especially because it was used during the introductory montages for football matches in the UK, so you'd see these awesome goals set to this song, and it really worked.

And I was driving down the mountain, singing along, drinking my tea.  It's raining up there, and it was super-foggy.  I came out of the fog, and saw the entire LA and Inland Empire basin, spread out before me, with light streaming in through the clouds, and the hills all green and lush because of all the rain, and I thought to myself, "Self, it really is a beautiful day.  There's stuff that sucks right now, but that doesn't change that it's still a beautiful day."

So with that, I'm taking a lunchtime walk.  How's that for a long random story?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I officially want to eat my words about an 8-week loss being a piece of cake.  The reason it seemed like that to me was because on Wednesday, when I posted, I hadn't passed everything through yet.  Thursday I go to the doctor, to my regularly-scheduled appointment, and it turns out there's big pieces of tissue that can't pass through, and I need a D&C quick-like.  So what I thought was a routine appointment - where we'd talk about what happened, and how we're going to wait to try again, and other interesting tidbits about my reproductive health, with a nice lunch at the Soup Plantation afterwards - turned into a day at the hospital with anesthesia, throwing up Jell-O, and surgery.  Not a fun time.

So I started getting into Serious Healing mode this weekend.  Here are some things I recommend doing when you're Trying To Heal.

1) Wake up first thing in the morning and rearrange the kitchen.  This may involve pushing heavy pieces of furniture around.  If you do that, be sure to put towels under the legs so that your husband doesn't yell at you for scratching up the floor.  Listen to NPR as you're doing this.  Even though it's fund-drive time, nothing's better than pushing around buffets while listening to Weekend Edition.  When your husband comes out and sees the giant mess that you've created, rubs his eyes and says he's going back to bed, let him.  He'll just get in the way anyway, what with his need to do things Right.  You can wake him when you've cleaned the mess up.

2)  Buy a New Toy.  Look, I'm not advocating pointless consumerism here.  But nothing helps you take your mind off crappy things like reading an instruction manual and playing with a new toy.  So if you can afford it, do it.  We bought the PlayStation Move attachment for the PS3.  It's a camera attachment and controller that turns your PS3 into something like a wii or kinect - it recognizes your motions.  The game that was included was a collection of sports, so we played table tennis, frisbee golf, gladiator duels, archery, and beach volleyball for a couple hours.  It was tons of fun, and I'm a huge fan.  Can't wait to see the fun developers have with this.  There's a new Elder Scrolls game coming out in November - it would be beyond awesome if it had some of this technology built in - the swords, bows, and hand-to-hand fighting could all totally utilize it.  There's a gun attachment so Black Ops could go nuts with it, too.  If that happens, J and I will need to get two tv's and PS3's, because neither one of us will want to give it up.

3)  Book a cruise.  Growing up in landlocked Pennsylvania, I always thought cruises were for people who were beyond wealthy.  Mostly, I guess, because you had to fly somewhere first before you could even get on the boat.  But LA is different.  There are boats that leave Long Beach and San Pedro every day.  And we're going to get on one of those boats in a couple of weeks.  They even offer a resident discount, which makes it about the same price as staying in a nice hotel, albeit a floating one where you get fresh sea-air every day, and lots of pools, and free food.  I'm totally stoked.

4)  Go to your Happy Place.  Mine is Target.  Even if I don't buy a thing, I'm called like a honing pigeon back to the red carts.  Target is like a spa for me.  It's quiet, it's peaceful, I can do good thinking there.  Or I can just be distracted by the pretty shiny jewelry, and the designer-knockoff bags, and I can daydream about springtime in the garden section.  Oh, Target, how I do love you.  I love that you have fresh food in most of your stores now.  I love that everything in your store is just so...hip.   I love all the good memories I have planning new apartments and new lives in your stores.

5)  Drink lots of water.  It's good for you.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I know you all think I disappeared...

...but I didn't.  I'd like to, though.  I had another miscarriage.  I was only 8 weeks, so it's not nearly as traumatic as it was with Baby Teysko - I don't mean to minimize 8 week losses for anyone reading this who has had well and truly sucked - but after you had an emergency ride to the hospital with clots the size of grapefruits falling out of you, and then go through 8 hours of active labor under bright lights with IV's sticking in you, and sign death certificates and deal with mortuaries and your milk coming in...well, a loss at home sitting on the toilet involving nothing more than lots of pads and extra towels to lay on is kind of Club Med in comparison.  I didn't even go to the ER.  I talked to the labor & delivery nurse and doctor, and they both agreed that it would be safe for me to be at home.  I mean, women have been losing babies in the comfort of their own home for millions of years, right?   I'm so sick of paying ER bills for dead babies.

So, yeah.  That's what's going on.  I will write more about this later.  Right now I'm just trying to keep my mind off it, playing lots of Oblivion, hugging on to my hubby something fierce, and thinking about spending the springtime getting healthy and healing, and taking more time off before we try again.  Eight months ago I didn't even know I was pregnant the first time - I was just finding out.  In 8 months I found out I was pregnant, carried Baby T to 21 weeks, lost him, got pregnant again, carried to 8 weeks, and lost that baby.  It's freaking exhausting, and I need a break.  I need to spend the springtime walking by the lake, and reading books, and eating well, and taking a vacation, and writing...and not be obsessed with temping and charting and all the other high-maintenance trying-to-conceive stuff I was doing.

The one thing I'm taking heart from is that I got pregnant again so soon after losing Baby T.  It was only three cycles.  Which shows me that I don't have to worry about my fertility too much right now, and we do truly still have time to heal and get strong before going down this path again.

If anyone wants to send good thoughts, I'll take 'em.  If you're the praying kind, I'll take those, too.