February 25, 2006


I was tagged back in January by Mystic to name five of my weirdest habits. I promised I’d play along and in typical style – here I am one month later making good on that.

1 ~ I cannot work in an office setting unless my back is against a wall. If I have to look at a wall all day, you might as give me a nightcap and tuck me in. In keeping with this quirk, when I dine out, I must sit facing most of the restaurant. I cannot eat comfortably with my back to the unknown. At home, however, I can eat anytime, anywhere … my computer chair faces the wall and I am perfectly comfortable. Go figure.

2 ~ At home, I eat dinner with a desert-size fork. On rare occasion, if I sit down and someone has set the table mistakenly giving me a regular fork, I will actually get up and change it before eating. I have no explanation for this. I also used to prefer a small luncheon plate to a large dinner plate but somehow I broke myself of that habit some years back.

3 ~ I don’t know if this constitutes a habit or not, but I will not take off my shoes in front of people. I hate feet. I think they’re yucky except on babies (which I LOVE) and little kids and perhaps this is why I don’t want to remove my own shoes around others. I don’t mind being barefoot at home, but in a public setting? Never.

4 ~ I take forever to eat a meal. For this reason, I rarely ever used my lunchtime at work for eating. I would rather eat at my desk before or after lunchtime and enjoy my free time without having to choke my food down. If there was a reward for being the last to finish at the table, I would win every time – hands down.

Now that I think of it, I guess I have a few eating issues. I cut my meat into tiny, kid-size bites before eating it. I’m sure many other people have noticed this about me in the past, but it took Ed to point it out to me and make me fully aware of it. The first time, he just stared and smiled while I continued cutting and eating until I asked him what was up. I think I know why I do this, but I’ll save it for another post ~ besides, I’m sure it’s not on your list of “top ten things I simply must research.”

5 ~ I belch in words, and quite loudly. PLEASE don’t misunderstand. I don’t do this in public and always keep it in full check in the company of others … but we all burp, and I guess somewhere along the way, I thought it handy to multi-task this evil little activity. What better way than to suddenly come out with “WOW” or “WHAT” (or heavens, even people’s names!) while you’re expelling unwanted air.

Now I’m supposed to tag five more people but I have a feeling many have already done this. Instead, please feel free to toss out a couple of odd quirks about yourself here in comments if you’d like to.

“Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks”Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

February 21, 2006

To Gain or Not to Gain ...

Hoo boy. This is a difficult topic for me. I want to record my small progresses as I move along this road to better health, but the bad guys inside me keep trying to make me give up. Who are the bad guys? They are my cravings for laziness, nicotine, caffeine and other assorted legal drugs, like chocolate.

The one thought that prevails in my head (for what reason I do not know) is that it took me twenty some-odd years to get this unhealthy, I must be patient in my hellish “detox” attempt.

Another thought that keeps me going is “It could be worse.” I could be 80 pounds overweight rather than 40, and I could be addicted to things that make me see pink elephants flying around the room rather than things that make my hair smell and my clothes too snug.

It’s time to admit that I’m going to Curves for Women. Bleh. I totally hate the name of the place. Don’t know why, but my daughter thinks it’s hilarious that I refer to it as a gym and not “Curves.”

In truth, it’s a rather cool place. It’s small and cozy but they have some of the neatest machines on which to work out (it’s circuit training with resistance machines rather than weight lifting) and the people I’ve seen there are people just like me. We just don’t wish to compete with the latest workout-fashions and feel a tad intimidated huffing and puffing next to Hourglass-Annie or Johnnie-Muscletard.

One reason I don’t like to call it Curves is because I have spent the past four years making fun of the very name of the place and I haven’t yet accepted the fact that I’m now a part of it. Look ~ it has exercise equipment, upbeat music and people in sweats and it’s sole purpose is to help me whip my lazy self into shape … it’s a gym. So there.

Okay, on with the progress report.

Each month they will measure and weigh me. Saturday was my one-month mark, so I was feeling p-r-e-t-t-y excited when I walked into the place. First things first, I stepped onto the scale and learned that I GAINED two pounds*. Joy of all joys. Anyone who knows me can tell you that this killed it for me for the rest of the day. It wouldn’t have mattered if they told me I lost 18 inches and 10 percent bodyfat. All I knew at that point was that I joined a gym, broke my ass to get there every other day for one full month and GAINED weight.

They claim this two pound gain could be muscle. Okay, I’ll take it. But I don’t have to be happy about it.

I lost an inch from my upper arms and two inches from what they are calling my stomach – though I always believed the stomach was between the navel and chest. The area I lost it from is just below beltline. Not too bad, I suppose, as far as progress goes.

I GAINED a half inch on my calves. Oh yes, now that’s what I’m looking for – muscular calves. Pulleeze.

Aside from losing an additional fraction of an inch from here and there, everything else remained the same.

The thing is, I wanted more. I wanted to go in there and say “HOLY COW … GOOD JOB ME!” and to be so excited that I whipped right through my little workout with nothing on my mind but coming back for more. That’s my problem right there in a nutshell. I set ridiculously unrealistic expectations for myself and wind up getting bitch-slapped every time. I need to stop that. Anyone know how?

The flipside is, there have been wonderful ‘other things’ going on as a direct result of all my efforts at the gym. Let me list them for you.

1. I’m getting my ass out of the house every other day, sometimes two days in a row.

2. I DO feel more energized. (I fight this … I really do … but it happens)

3. I know this might sound silly, but my mind seems more tuned-up than it was a month ago

4. I seem to be sleeping more restfully, and through the night

5. I enjoy the social aspect and don’t feel so ‘alone’ in my battle

6. (this one is huge) I’m actually looking forward to the nicer weather so I can walk outdoors on my off-gym days

7. I suddenly have a desire to quit smoking. I haven’t yet, and I’m skeptical as hell that it will actually happen … but my thoughts lean heavily toward trying rather than giving up on myself. Thanks to Dan I’ve ordered a book that is supposedly the end-all in relieving oneself of this wretched habit. We'll see what happens when I give it a read. And thanks to Don and AG for offering encouragement and genuine moral support without any bashing.

8. During my first week at the gym, I couldn’t even hold conversation while working out. No way in hell. I huffed and I puffed (literally) and really had to push myself to be able to finish the program. Four weeks later and I can talk up a blue streak throughout the entire process. (I fear the people at the gym are sorry to see this particular type of progress in me). I never would have believed this possible if I hadn’t seen it myself.

9. My favorite little black Mary Tyler Moore stretch pants are starting to fall off my tummy while I work out. I actually have to pick them up several times while in the process. Is this more information than you really needed?

10. My funks seem to pass quicker than they did before. They still happen but not for long.

11. My bad cholesterol (the LDLs) has dropped by 30 points! It’s actually at an all time low for me – 56. So there you have it. Some good changes, some not so good changes.

The only BAD thing that has happened to be as a direct result of joining this gym is that one day, after really pushing myself to get there and workout, I was apparently in quite the hurry to get back home and bought myself a $100 speeding ticket right in front of Foxwoods. I was in such an ‘up’ mood at the time that I forgot all about my expert ‘talk yourself out of it” skills (well honed throughout the years) and even thanked the bastard when he handed me the ticket!! I had to look at myself in the mirror as I drove off to make sure it was really me. Sadly, it was.

So the long and short of it is that I’m still going – I’ve signed on for another month and the penny pincher in me will not allow this money to be thrown out the window. Gee, I wonder if I’ll put on six more pounds before the month is through. I can hardly wait to find out. [insert furrowed brow]

*Incase anyone is wondering … we’ve been careful with our diets in this house for three years now, so the weight gain probably isn’t from fat. I just need to work harder on meal portion size and the occasional piece of scrumptious, smooth, sweet and comforting candy.

February 12, 2006

Life Update and Olympics Chatter

During my current state of January-through-springtime blues, I decided I should take certain steps to make myself feel better. So far, so good.

I somehow mustered enough motivation to join a gym and start working out. Mind you, at the time I signed up, I was pretty well convinced that this was NOT going to help my mood, NOT going to give me any more energy and certainly NOT going to whip me back into viewable shape. After one month, I am happy to report that I was wrong – no matter how much I tried to hold onto the fat and the blues, this new routine has now set in pretty nicely and try as I might to fight it, when I come home from working out, damned if I don’t feel better!

I’m not sure of any real weight- or inch-loss progress as yet, though I seem to notice a slight difference in the way certain clothes fit. I’ll keep you posted when I get measured and weighed again.

Another attempt to chase away the funk was to redecorate our living room – top to bottom. It’s amazing what new furnishings, fresh paint (especially when it’s done by someone else), and new window treatments can do. It’s still not completely finished, but the newness of it all, so far, has really lifted my spirits.

A third attempt and perhaps the most trying for me, has been to sit down and force myself to write something new every day. None of this material has been blog-worthy, trust me. Much of what I’ve written in the past month has been deleted almost immediately – a practice I’m usually dead-set against. It’s all good though … it has given me some ideas that can be bored-and-stroked (gear head talk) for future posting.

Now, with the Olympics in full swing, I will have something to watch other than perfect looking people on television either getting laid or complaining about not getting laid. Well … ‘tis true, isn’t it? That is what most sitcoms come down to – bottom line.

Watching the Olympics is a sport in itself. They should pass out medals for this activity. I’ve learned to sprint, full-out, from my couch to the bathroom or kitchen in between events … just so I don’t miss out on some history-making moment. My adrenaline races as I imagine someone going head first into a wall – even though this rarely happens. My brain gets a workout trying to recall past participants as Ed and I discuss who was better than “this” or “that one.”

It has also occurred to me that there are several phrases we will hear over and over again during the games – some worth mentioning here. Perhaps the most popular phrases we can count on during the Olympics are:

“I’ve been doing this since I was two” – as stated by just about every participating athlete.

“I’m just happy to be here, winning would just be a bonus” – as fibbed by just about every participating athlete.

“I’m hoping to set a record” – as stated by MANY participating athletes.

“If not for my (insert relative) who died in (insert year), I wouldn’t even be here today” – as stated by SOMEONE during EVERY Olympics I’ve ever watched.

“I have my own definition of winning … this system is all corrupt anyway” – as stated by someone who will remain nameless so I don’t get sued.

In my living room, there are also several phrases which get repeated throughout the games. Some of these are:

“Yeah, let me guess … you’ve been doing this since you were in diapers” – as stated by any one of us sofa spectators.

“Mm…hm. It’s not about the gold, it’s just about the game. But of course … who really wants the gold?” – as stated quite sarcastically by a certain male in the house.

“Nice fall … talk about hanging your partner out to dry” - as stated by any one of us in the room.

“Ohhh good! Is this the event where you could die if you make one wrong move?” – as stated by a young goddess in training.

“Oh yeah, they lost, I saw it on the news earlier” – as stated by same young goddess who likes to reveal the end of movies before we get to see them.

And perhaps the single most popular statement one might hear in our living room while watching the Olympics …

“You know, I could do that if I were an entirely different type of person” - as stated by a Hag of much Weariness.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a great admiration for the young men and women who dare to compete in such a stressful and mind-blowing event as the Olympics. I really do. It always amazes me to realize there are such strong, seemingly fearless young people throughout the world who are willing to put their entire ‘normal’ lives on hold to compete with the best of the best.

I just think one more medal should be issued in each event. A prize should be awarded to the person with the most obstacles. I say this because for some reason, the media seems to feel that we all need to know JUST how many injuries, how much strife and how much sadness these people have had to endure before arriving at the Olympics. If we are going to learn about all these obstacles, I think the least they could do is award a prize for them.

I’m glad the Olympics are on this year … it has really given me a point of focus for the next couple of weeks. I just wish I wasn’t watching yesterday’s events. I like it better when they’re held somewhere within three-hours or so of my time zone.

In closing, I have two questions? Curling. If you participate in this event … are you a Curlist or a Curler? And who the heck named it “Curling?”