The move has happened

Ok, new site is up and running.  That was pretty easy, and it looks TOTALLY hot.  I'd love for all of you to join me over there and put me on your feed.  Whee!

While the site is up, it's still got a little work going on.  I have some links that I'm farting around with and working on, so have no fear.. it'll be ok.

Stop by and see me at


I'll love you forever :)

And, officially, blogger can suck my nuts because it often eats my posts and I'm tired of having to write a ton of html to make them look even halfway decent.  Also... this blog is going to be more interesting, because while I'm trying to lose weight, it's not like, a passion of mine.  This new site is more about passion.  I likes passion.

See you there!


I need your top five fitness dvds!  I'm in the market... :)

I've finally found it!

Since I started working at the Chabad House about a year ago, I've been desperately seeking information. is a good resource, and I frequently read the women's section. I also found an online FAQ about Chassidism that was pretty helpful. I even read a bunch of Chaim Potok novels... but they're novels, and so were more focused on the story than on the actual practice of Chassidic Judaism (which is as it should be, I think). What I was really lacking was a good perspective on the other side of Chassidism.  

I once heard a story on NPR (I'm an NPR junky) about Rabbis in Chassidic yeshivas (schools) molesting young boys, and the story delved briefly into the idea of the insular quality of these communities - how you can't rat out a Rabbi, even if he does something awful, and if you do, you're going to be shunned by the community, even if they all know that what this Rabbi did was totally wrong.  It was interesting, but, like Catholicism, I know that Rabbis molestering little boys isn't a norm, and shouldn't be considered as such.

Well, after a year of searching, I've finally found a critical perspective on Chassidism (or ultra-orthodoxy, as some people call it).  I know that this is also somewhat of an extreme example, but I really wanted an in-depth testimony from someone who had defected from Chassidism.  And I found it.  Boy did I find it.  And best of all, I found it while listening to my "This American Life" podcast (see?  NPR junky).  The author's name is Shalom Auslander, and his memoir is called Foreskin's Lament.  Amazing, right?  How provocative!  I'm about a hundred pages in, and already Auslander has ranted and raved about how God will punish him by killing his family and friends in horrific and ironic ways - "That would be so God," is his common refrain.  Already, he has called God a "fucking, fucking fuck."  THIS is what I needed.

I don't know why, but I really crave multiple perspectives on something.  I tend to wallow around in the opinions that are more closely aligned with mine, but that's just human nature.  I had a suspicion that Chassidism could be really restrictive and unfair.  I mean, I just can't imagine that EVERYONE who grew up in a Chassidic household would come of age as good upstanding Jews.  I mean, for Christ's sake, they still practice arranged marriages, women all have to wear skirts and "modest" tops covering most of their arms and their necks.  Married women are not allowed to show their hair, and usually wear wigs.  While I'm sure that many people are truly devout and accept that this is what they are supposed to do, and even derive joy from fulfilling these Mitzvahs.  But the fact is that they are a very small percentage of the population, and popular culture seeps in, whether they want it to or not.  I had to work the door at a big Purim event, and I saw kids coming in dressed up as lions or, as one kid proudly announced/screamed at Jon, "I'M A DUCK!!"  But there were also kids there dressed up as Shrek, or as a rappers, or as "teenagers," as one girl told me.  You can't hide from the prevailing culture, and it's going to work its way in.  How could it be that all of these kids are perfectly fine with all of the stuff they have to do, and all of the stuff they aren't allowed to do, when they are very much aware that there are other people out there who do it?

So other than the countless pages of blasphemy, Foreskin's Lament is actually very well written.  Told in snapshots from the author's younger years, it reads somewhat like a David Sedaris book - which is totally fine by me.  His is a format that I revel in, and I'm glad to see that other authors are really exploring the potential greatness of the memoir.  But Auslander is so... angry.  He is one pissed off fucker.  And it's entertaining on one level, but is so essential on another.

Also, Auslander utilizes what I'll call "refrains" throughout the book - little phrases he hits upon, drills into your head, and then brings them up later, completely out of context, to remind you that this is a man talking to you about the past, not a little boy's experience in present-tense.  The past is gone.  Buried.  And the refrains remind you of the Shalom Auslander of now, who is telling you a story about then.  It's really an ingenious little device that I've seen authors use, but never to the extend that Auslander does.  "Fuck" becomes a comforting mantra that you return to again and again, to assure the reader - "Don't worry.  I'm still pissed off about it."

So yes, I'd highly recommend it.  Even if you're not interested in Chassidism, and just want an interesting and entertaining read, you should pick it up.

AND, since I hate hard covers, it just recently came out in paperback - good news for the cheapskate in us all.  :)

Maybe moving???

I might be dragging this blog (and my others... because it's too hard to keep up with them all) to a new Mac supported site. I figure it's stupid that I own this really nice MacBook and have barely taken advantage of its capabilities. It also means no more blogging at work, which would probably be a good thing for me.

I got roses today :) 1 dozen big red roses. I feel special.

I also feel tired and achey and I just wanna go home, but it looks like I'mma be stuck here for a while. Boo.

My boss's promo vid for his Passover stuff...

pesach_690146 from JabMedia on Vimeo.

Because it's funny.


Had to show off my manicure, foos...  Purdy purdy... :)  And shocking, for some reason.  Don't you love Macs and the built in cameras?

I have all of these grand plans for the morning...  I'm going to CLEAN.  I'm going to GET IN MY STRENGTH ROUTINE.  I'm going to EAT WHAT'S IN MY MEAL PLAN.  I'm going to EMO MY HAIR OUT and GO WINDOW SHOPPING for fun.  I'm going to BLAST ENON ALL DAY!

Actually... I'm all giddy right now, possibly because I'm so overjoyed that it's the weekend.  Enjoy my "virtual mixtape" for all y'alls.  Yeah.  These be some jams I rock out to.  Don't make fun of me :(

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

K, that was icky fun. I started feeling self conscious about the dance rock, so I had to show how tough I am by throwing in some hardcore and some oi!. Aren't I amazing? :D

And, of course, it seems necessary that I round out a trilogy of multimedia with a video...  Maybe it's just us, but my best friend (who happens to be my ex... I know, drama drama drama) and I can't stop laughing at this one:

Hope you all have a marvelous weekend full of laughs and music and rockstariness.  I know I will.  WOOOO!  YEAHHH!!!!!

Relax: Embarrassing Confession

So last night I tried Tricia's method.  Unfortunately, I have a really shallow tub (it really is!  I thought that when I first moved in here), so the bath probably could have been better if I had Jon's jacuzzi tub (which doesn't work, by the way), but it did help.  I hit target after work and got some vanilla almond bath salt, which was nice.  Afterward, I felt like rubber, though, and just went to bed... around 7:30.  Suck.

So here's my embarrassing confession...  I should have no problems with stress.  I hold a psychology minor, so I understand a little bit about stress and aggression.  Not everything, mind you, but the thing about psychology is that you should be able to overcome a phenomenon once you understand it.  Example: there's this social psychological phenomenon (well-documented, by the way) called "the bystander effect," in which people will watch someone in distress and not do anything about it.  Several years ago, there was this woman walking in a mall, and she slipped and fell and broke her ankle... and then laid on the floor for two hours in a daze while people just walked past her.  It's not their fault.  It's something our brains just do.  We just kind of assume someone else is going to help.  Or here's something that more of us could probably relate to: how many times have you driven past someone on a busy road who was stranded?  But on a relatively deserted road, you've probably pulled over to help.  That's the bystander effect.  But now that I've told you about it, chances are you're going to be more self-conscious, and the next time you see someone who needs help, you're going to be more likely to help them.  That's how a lot of this shit works.

So... let's talk about stress and aggression.  Research proves that if you indulge those aggressive feelings (like your therapist might actually tell you to do, by punching or pillow, or "scream therapy," which was popular in the 70s), you're actually going to increase your aggression.  That feeling of catharsis you get after screaming or punching a pillow?  That's just you being exhausted from all of the screaming and punching.  So when you feel angry or stressed, the best possible thing you can do is something completely opposite - closing your eyes and counting slowly to ten, taking a leisurely walk, breathing deeply for two minutes.  THAT is how you relieve stress and aggression.

But the real embarrassing admission here is that I actually held a certification in clinical relaxation techniques a few years ago.  Yup.  I sure did.  I was certified to teach people techniques for de-stressing.  I could have whored myself out to big companies and taught those people certain techniques to relieve stress.  I didn't, but I could have...

So I have no excuse for succumbing to stress.  So, I'm going to dust off my knowledge about it and put it to use.  Part of the reason that I kind of shied away from it is that there was SO much emphasis on the spiritual, and if you haven't figured it out already, I'm an atheist... so that stuff just doesn't work for me.  But there were a few things that I did find helpful, and I'm going to share those with you now:

1.  PMR or Progressive Muscle Relaxation
In order to practice the PMR technique, you should take about 20 minutes to sit quietly by yourself (or with someone else who is practicing PMR).  Focus very carefully on your fingers, and try to consciously remove any tension from them.  You should be able to feel them go limp.  Then your wrists, your arms.  Next your toes, your ankles, your knees, your hips.  Then think about every vertebrae in your spine, and try to let go of all the tension.  Move up to your shoulders and let it go.  Your neck.  Your face.  By the time you're done, you should feel like you have no muscle tightness anywhere, and the 20 minutes you used to sit quietly and do this should help as well.

2.  Yoga-form Stretching
This is similar to Yoga, but can be done from a chair.  It's hard to tell you how to do this, but try sitting quietly and slowly stretching.  People who want to try this at home and LIKE Yoga can certainly do it, but remember that the purpose is not for fitness - it's for relaxation, so you shouldn't attempt poses that are particularly difficult for you.  Do what you can, or modify it so that you feel the stretch and so that you aren't expending a lot of effort in concentrating on balance.  It should be easy and relaxing - not challenging like Yoga for fitness and balance should be.

3.  Meditation
I'm sure most of you are probably familiar with some form of meditation.  Really, it's not too difficult.  Just sit quietly for about 20 minutes or so, and clear your mind.  To do this, it might help you to first mentally construct a room that is really relaxing to you.  Focus on what it would smell like, if there's a breeze or not, the tactile sensations you get from sitting or laying down on the furniture in the room.  Once you've settled yourself into your room, try to really place yourself there and focus on nothing but the sounds and smells and feelings of the room.  More traditionally, many people like mantras.  Mantras, in a meditation sense, are simple sounds that you can repeat over and over again to yourself, either out load or in your head, that are comforting to you.  The ultimate goal of the mantra is block out unpleasant thoughts to keep you focused on... nothing.  "Ohm," which I'm sure you're all familiar with, is probably the most popular mantra.  Try just focusing on "ohmmmmmmmmmm" and nothing else.  The goal is to not think about ANYTHING... we could get into eastern/buddhist/hindu/zen philosophy, but we won't.  The goal is nothingness.

If you wanna try any of these, I'd love to know what you think.  There are a couple of more techniques, but I prefer not to use them because they focus more on spirituality and "finding something bigger than yourself," and cynical me... I think that's bullshit.  I think I'm going to devote some good time to meditation after work today.  :)

Diet: Solution? Spa day.

Have you ever had a spa day?  I've never had a full day when I get a bunch of treatments at once... the closest I've ever come is that Jon and I went and spent Memorial Day weekend at the W downtown just for fun, and the morning after I had a massage and a manicure.  But after I get a facial or a massage I always feel this desire to do better for myself.  I come out full of lemon water and feeling all clean and pampered and so zen about everything.  I think it kind of points to the fact that I'm a stress-eater.  When I'm really and truly relaxed, I want salads and water and good things for myself.  When I'm stressed out, like I am most of the time, I want convenience food that I don't have to think about.

Hmm...  Insight?  How do you get that spa-day, totally relaxed and at peace with the world feeling without going to the spa?

NOPE: Not One Puff Ever

I need to quit smoking, y'all.  That should be my first damned priority... ok, one of them.  But I find myself out of breath when I really shouldn't be, and I taste that nasty phlegmy stuff when I get my heart rate up and start breathing heavier...  It's nasty.  Good god.  Smoking makes me look so COOL though, and it's the only break I get during the day at work!

Ok, so I need to change my perception.  Smoking doesn't make me look cool.  It makes me smell stinky and it's holding me back from being healthy.  The nicotine addiction is part of it, but I'm kind of a balls-to-the-wall person, and smoking reminds me to take a break to de-stress for a moment.  I know the act of smoking doesn't actually relieve stress.  Nicotine is a stimulant.  I know this.  I'm not stupid.  But it's a lot less stressful than staring at spreadsheets at work for 8 hours straight and trying to find more money than there is...

My dad was a life-long smoker, but he told me to try drinking a big glass of water every time I feel like I want to smoke.  That might help me get my water intake for the day...  But how am I going to get my 5 minute breaks at work, and what am I going to do with those breaks???

Tonight the goal is to go for a walk when I get home from work, and then go to the grocery store.  I also need to call my bank because I never got my replacement debit card... March 09 has come and gone, and I now have no access to my cash.  Boohoo.  Not like there was a ton there to start with...

I'm afraid to do higher-intensity cardio because I know my lung capacity is shit from the smoking.  Maybe if I just ease in... something is better than nothing, I keep telling myself, but I'm finding that the scale says that that's not true.  I'm sitting steady around 240, and that's no good.  Even though I've changed the way I eat during the daytime, I'm still gorging at night with Jon and not getting any exercise.  I need a dramatic weight loss in the first week like I used to do when I was a teenager and would sporadically count calories...  Now I know that I'm 10 years older and I can't expect 20 pounds to come off in a week, but come on now...

But the smoking is a real hindrance.  That needs to stop.  Cold turkey.  But it's so much fun...  Grr.

I've told myself I'm not allowed to go to grad school until I'm at a reasonable weight (say, under 190).  Is that stupid?

I am so fucking frustrated right now...  I cannot WAIT for passover so I get that week off...  5 1/2 more business days, y'all....

Diet: How do I keep it from happening?????

Jon is tormenting me!  I did so well yesterday until dinner.  I had a TERRIBLE day at work.  Sunday I had to go in for a couple of hours to participate in a phone-a-thon, which sucked, and yesterday was devoted to writing letters (of course, a project I had to do myself), mail merges, stuffing envelopes...  And my boss was bugging me about shit ALL DAY.  Finally, I was like, "Do you want this to get out today?  Because if you do, I have got to concentrate on this, and what you're asking me to do right now isn't going to happen until tomorrow."  That still didn't work.

So, I got home last night with a raging headache.  I started some laundry and fell asleep on the couch.  When he got here last night, he was like, "Yeah!  Thai food!"  I'm a sucker for Thai, I was cranky and didn't feel like cooking, and I just simply don't have enough food in the house to feed him - he's big (like, 6'6).

I don't want my diet to effect Jon, and I know he needs to eat a lot more than I do.  I really don't want to cook for him because a.) he can't eat what I eat as far as portion size goes, and b.) I can't afford to feed him.  What do I do?  Just tell him he's got to fend for himself for dinner?  

In the evenings, I feel like I just have to satiate him and entertain him and I can't do anything for myself.  I have to field his well-intentioned questions about my day, even though I'd rather not talk about it (I've told him I don't like talking about work because it pisses me off... and it should piss him off too, because every time he drops by my office when his store is closed or he decides that it's just not worth him being there, they put him to work packing or delivering Matzo or something...).  I have to eat with him, and he's always like, "Burgers and pasta and sushi, oh my!"  And then there's the nightly MSNBC routine - Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow - which eats up two hours of my time.  Then there's the sex, which if I don't give him at least a couple of times a week, he gets pissy (not like it's necessarily a chore to have sex with him, but that eats up an additional hour of my night).  By the time 11:00 rolls around and he's ready to go home, I feel like I've devoted my entire evening to him, and haven't done ANYTHING for myself, and oh god, I have to go to bed now so I can get up and go to work in the morning and do the same bullshit all over again.  

How do you cram boyfriend time and exercise and separate meals into your routine?  Most importantly, how do you manage to keep your diet going when the people closest to you aren't dieting?  I have a really hard time with limits and goals and keeping myself on track, so I'm really asking for advice.  What am I going to do when Jon and I eventually live together??

Bitch Fest: Beth Ditto

Okay... I really want to like Beth Ditto.  I really do.  She's got some amazing talent on her.  As a (former) singer, I really respect her vocal agility.  She's bold and in-your-face and confrontational, and really has the potential to be inspiration to anyone who thinks that something could hold them back.  Fat pop star?  What?

But I just can't get over... this.  I mean, I'm all about fat people being able to do anything a thin person can do.  I think that it's unfair that society as a whole says I can't be a sex symbol.  I don't like having a "complex" about myself.

But Beth... Beth...  You could do it with a touch more class, couldn't you?

I was in a store with my mom looking at shoes for her wedding.  There was a pair she really liked, but her toes just wouldn't go to the end of the shoe, and the guy said, "These just aren't going to work for you."

I agree that everyone should be able to look and feel beautiful.  Fat girls shouldn't be be confined to sweatpants and mumus, but should they also go running around in hot pants?  One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing fat girls in clothes they really have no business wearing.  It's like, you could go with this outfit that accentuates your muffin top, or you could go with something that shows off your fat girl assets, like your big titties or your hot waist-to-hip ratio.  I'm just saying that there are things that are sexy about big girls.  The boyfriend I had pre-Jon always loved my curves - my hips, my butt, my boobs.  These are things to be proud of.  I look better in a clingy, low-cut dress than a thin girl does because I have the curves and the tits to fill it out!  That's what I can't freakin' stand.  It's kind of like the women who try to prove that they're as good as men by adopting the mannerisms and machismo of a man.  I don't want to be respected by men by becoming a man... I want to be respected by men in the skin that I have.

I think Beth Ditto sends the wrong message to fat girls...  No, you can't do hot pants or skinny jeans or tighter-than-tight clothing... But you do wear other things better than a thin girl could.  Why don't you flaunt what you've got instead of pretending that you don't have it at all?

This all could make sense and be true... or it might not.  What do U think about fat-shion?  Isn't there a way that you can be sexy or look good at any size?  By trying to pull off clothes meant for thin girls, aren't we essentially saying that it's ok to let everyone judge us based on those standards?  That it's very clear that we don't "fit" into a thin world?

Diet: Vitameatavegamin and the placebo effect

So this lady that I sometimes work with has been bugging me for weeks to let her give me a presentation on Shaklee.  I'd never heard of it, but I felt bad so I let her give me the presentation.  She's a pretty good salesperson.  She just bugs you until you say yes.  So I ended up with a multivitamin, a vitamin C supplement, and some handy dandy cleaning wipes.  They were waiting by my front door when I got home yesterday.

So this morning, I took the vitamins and wiped up my bathroom with the cleaning wipes.  My faucet is now sparkly shiny, and either it's the vitamins, or it's the placebo effect, but I feel SUPER.  It's so NICE for a change... to feel awesome.  I've been really down in the dumps lately about work and boyfriend and life...  But today, I felt amazing.  It also probably has to do with the fact that I have just been playing X-Box all day...  GOD!  I love non-productive days on the weekend, where the only thing I get done is unlock a couple of achievements...  Ahhhh....

But if it's the pills... be it placebo effect or actual effect...  That's wonderful.  I could get used to feeling amazing all the time, and not feeling tired.  Maybe I will make myself actually work out.

On another note, having to do with the wipes...  I'm a sucker for good industrial design.  If it looks cool, I want it.  This is why I have Method soap in my bathroom.  And the wipes have a really cool container design, and I suddenly find myself wanting everything in my house to be Shaklee.  Fuck.  That stuff is expensive... :(

Bitch Fest: Work Again

Top Ten:  Reasons it would be AWESOME if I didn't have to work

10.  I am tired of the fucking skirts.  Don't wanna wear them anymore.  Wish I could stick to sweatpants and jeans.  Grr.
9.  I could sit around all day writing top ten lists.
8.  I could finally devote some real time to writing exercises... because blogging about how fat I am isn't going to make me a novelist.
7.  Red streaks in my hair.  Awesome.
6.  I'm a night person.  I like to stay up till 3 am and sleep till 11.  That's how I roll.
5.  I would have no more excuses about being too tired to get to the gym.
4.  I could sing to myself all day.
3.  I could tat myself up like I've been DYING to do.
2.  Running errands is much easier during the middle of the week while all of the other suckers are working.
1.  I want more piercings.  I want to get a Marilyn.  I want to gauge my ears.  I love metal in the face.  Sexy sexy sexy.  And uber addictive.

Notes from the Blogosphere

So yes, HopeFool gave me a Creative Blogger award!  Yay!  Thank you!

And I was going to fill it in... until I realized that all of the people I would give an award to she already hit up.  Damnit.

Soooooo.... I'm going to use this opportunity to just send love to Tricia at Fight Fat Phobia, because I know she's been having a tough time lately, and also because I want her to know how unbelievably talented she is.  She is, hands down, probably the most interesting blogger I know of, in that I'm never, ever bored by her posts.  She writes about things that I might not know about first-hand, but she does it in a way that is so engaging and entertaining... even if it's totally heartbreaking.  Forget weight loss blogging, or fat blogging, or whatever.  She's just a stellar writer, period, and if you haven't already, you should really check out her blog.

Notes from the Blogosphere

I know... I've been busy this week...  I'm going to have to have a bitchfest about Jon soon... he's driving me fucking nuts!

But!  That is not the purpose for this post.  The purpose of this post is to say, THANK YOU!

I started this blog a month or so ago(?), and I never expected anyone to read it with any kind of regularity.  I thought maybe someone would pop in every so often, say, hey, that's nice, and move on.  And now I have 10 followers!  Shit, I've almost got enough for a team of disciples!  Rock on, Messiah!

Just kidding... I know that was heretical.  I'm sowwy :(

But anyway, I never figured that I'd find other bloggers struggling with weight who are so down-to-earth and funny.  It's always so pleasurable to go through my blogroll (when my boyfriend's not breathing down my neck) and to see what clever things you all have to say!

So, I have the weekend off (Jon's going to be in Texas), so I PROMISE I am going to get caught up on comments, and I WILL accept my award (which makes me feel so special - thanks!), and I will blog something worth blogging about.  I am getting going on SparkPeople, and I have to say, I like it a LOT.  It's soooooo comprehensive.  Never seen anything like it.  I'll talk about it... later.

Also!  Good news!  I've been off Weight Watchers for... oh... about a week now.  No weight gain, which is good.  I've been binging out a little (like last night, I ate so much Panang curry I was afraid I'd explode), but Jon is incapable of making good choices for himself, and so I'm one of those people who just kind of goes with the flow...  Which I need to stop...

Anyway, gotta get my ass to work.  Keep up the good work, y'all!

Bitch Fest: Wells Fargo

So on Friday, I got a call on my cell phone from a collections agent at Wells Fargo bitching at me about my student loans.  This comes as a surprise to me - I thought I was paying my student loans?  I had a consolidation about two years ago, so I was dutifully paying... or so I thought.

The lady gets on the phone and has this attitude with me, telling me I am behind like three months and owe them $200.  Now, I don't make a ton of money, so this is a little bit upsetting to me.  I tell her I want documentation - is there something she can email me?  No, she can't do that... but they stuck something in the mail to me a few days ago.  Ok, then.  I'll pay it when I see it.  Well, can't I pay a little something right now?

I proceed to get my own attitude, and insist that I have been paying.  She looks into my account, and tells me I've been paying on ONE of my loans, not the other.  I tell her that I get the statement in the mail, and I pay it.  She says, yes indeed, I am current on one of my loans.  And I say, "Well, this just doesn't make sense.  OBVIOUSLY I'm not being irresponsible here.  I am current on one loan, why wouldn't I be current on the other?  This is obviously a failure of communication on your part.  I have not been getting my statements from you.  Had I been getting my statements from you, I would have been paying them."

She doesn't quite know what to say to that, so she just asks me if there is any way I can pay a little something right now.  No, I tell her.  I want paper documentation.  She proceeds to tell me that I should set up automatic payments online so this never happens again.  I laugh... I don't authorize ANYTHING to automatically come out of my checking account.  If it comes out of my checking account, I am either swiping my debit card or writing a check.  I work in accounting.  I like paper trails.  I continue to be a bitch right back at her until she hangs up.

This pisses me off so bad.  No wonder people tell you to check your credit report.  I'm sure mine is in the tubes right now because of this bullshit.  I probably could have seen this coming and called them up and been like, what the fuck?  But now I owe $200 on a student loan I didn't even know I was supposed to be paying, and I don't really have an extra $200 sitting around.  I'll figure out a way to pay it - that doesn't really concern me so much.  It's the irresponsibility and fucked-uppedness of the whole situation that pisses me off.  Seriously?  No ounce of understanding.  There is no putting two and two together.

Also, I'm pissed off at my mom.  She has always claimed me as a dependent...  Well, last May - EARLY last May, I got a full-time job, graduated from school, and immediately started supporting myself.  AND SHE STILL WAS ABLE TO TALK ME INTO LETTING HER CLAIM ME AS A DEPENDENT AGAIN.  I am going to get fucked AGAIN.  Out of my refund, out of any stimulus money that could possibly come my way...  I told her about the $600 I missed out on last year, and she felt really bad about it.  She tells me that she would save more money than I would if she was to claim me as a dependent, but I'm going to get fucked in the long run... maybe I'll even have to pay.  I just don't have that kind of money.  Last year she says, "Please, I'll make it worth your while."  And did she?  No.  No, of course not.

I just let everyone walk all over me and fuck me over.  It sucks.

Diet: Spark People

Has anyone seen or heard of Spark People?  It seems almost too good to be true.  It has a lot of the things that I really liked about Weight Watchers, and it's REALLY customizable.  Like I said, I have a difficult time making choices, so one of the big issues for me is that I want someone to tell me what to do, because I'm completely clueless.  So, this site gives you a meal plan with shopping lists and recipes (excellent), tells you what kind of exercises to do, and tracks calories, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, calcium... whatever you want it to do.  Plus, there are tools for improving other areas of your life, too... which I totally need because (shit, confession time) I am a pretty heavy smoker and I've been thinking about quitting.  Additionally, you can turn off the meal plan or the exercises, and just enter your own food or exercise if you're disciplined... not like me.

And it's free.


Yeah.  Usually, the free plans come with some kind of catch - like you have to drink SlimFast or use that Alli crap (which might not be crap, but whatever).

I'm going to try it.  Free doesn't hurt.  If it can help me quit smoking, that would be awesome too.  It's nasty.  I know it's nasty (but I'm kind of reluctant to quit, because I don't get breaks or anything at work... so I take three cigarette breaks throughout the day just to get outside, and nobody bugs me or anything).

I noticed something this week... I feel more energized.  I don't feel like I'm lumbering around anymore.  That's weird, because I've only lost 5 pounds so far, but it feels like there's been a difference.  Maybe it's in my head, but I like it.  I felt like getting out and doing something... only yesterday I started getting some weird effed up congestion, which I'm not sure if it's allergies or a cold...  I feel a little better today, but my ear is all plugged up and my throat feels funky.  It kept me up for most of the night (I finally fell asleep around 6:30 this morning.... thank god for Saturdays).  I'm going to just fart around and relax for a couple of hours, and then I've got some cleaning to do, and hopefully I'll feel ok enough to go do something with Jon tonight.  I feel bad, because I was sick early in the week, too with bubble guts, and then I went out with another friend on Thursday night (I had pizza... I'm sorry, but if you live semi-close to a Lou Malnatti's and you like Chicago deep-dish pizza, you know it's like crack)...

So this ended up being a ramble, but the main thing was about the Spark People thing.  What do you guys think?  I need to learn better habits eventually, but I just don't trust myself to do the right thing in most situations.

Diet: No More Weight Watchers

I just wasn't using it.  I should have been, but I wasn't.  I get too busy to log in and look up food.

So!  Next step?  I don't really know.  I'm going to continue forward as I have been (because it's been working), but I'm shopping around for new ideas...  Suggestions welcome.

Fat News: Something else you can blame on your parents...

A blip in the "Morning Rounds" in the New York Times reported on a experimental procedure to help prevent childhood obesity - by intervening before birth!  According to the study, women who gain a lot of weight during pregnancy are more likely to produce overweight children and children with Type II diabetes (that'd be "adult onset" diabetes, which is, disturbingly, occurring in a growing number of children under the age of 18).  The study attempts to help pregnant women control and manage their weight during pregnancy.

More and more of what I've been reading blames obesity on childhood.  I know I read somewhere that as we are growing, we develop fat cells, too.  These never, ever go away.  It just depends on how much fat we allow to be stored in them.  This is why so many of us have such a hard time losing weight, and such an easy time gaining it back.

Of course, correlation does not prove causation, so I'm interested to know what the exact relationship between fat pregnancies and fat kids is.  A "link" is very vague, so I'm curious to know if this new study will show that childhood obesity can be shown to be caused by significant weight gain during pregnancy.  Of course, another possibility, which I'm sure this study will point out at its conclusion, is that women who gain weight during pregnancy have a predisposition to obesity, or a fat gene or something, that gets passed on to their kids, and it might not really have anything to do with pregnancy weight gain at all.

Science and statistics are fun, and the media counts on us being too ignorant or lazy to consider that a "link" really means jack shit.  But if they do discover that this particular "link" is an actual cause and effect relationship, I'd sit up and listen.

So questions I have for the researchers and for the New York Times:
1.) What does your sample look like?  Are these thin women, obese women, what?
2.) Are you trying to show that it is only weight gain during pregnancy that affects childhood obesity?  If so, you should have obese pregnant ladies in both your experimental and control groups.
3.) How are you going to control for genetic factors that may result in obesity (the "fat gene")?

Something to think about... and to blame your mom for.  "You gained 50 pounds while you were pregnant, and that's why I'm a cow!"

Bitch Fest

I'm introducing a new category, and there's a story behind this one...

Let's get personal.

When I was in high school, I was all edgy, and buzzed my head.  Ok, I asked for a "pixie cut" when I went to the salon, and came out with 1/2" hair all over my head.  I was really embarrassed about it for two days, until I discovered how amazingly easy it was to have no hair, and then I continued to buzz it.  And because high schoolers are mean, this prompted a rumor that I was a lesbian.  I remember one girl coming up and asking me if I was, and then telling me when I said no that it's nothing to be ashamed of.  Lesbians are cool.


Enter my "best" friend at the time, who invites me out for coffee to "break up with me."  She can't be friends with someone who is a lesbian because she'll always be worrying if I'm looking at her, you know, that way.  Huh?  First of all... ok, first of all.  Second of all, even if I WERE a lesbian, she'd be the last poontang I'd go for.  Ginger kids just don't do it for me.

After that, the Bitch Fest was born.  My friends and I would get together for coffee and bitch about this girl.  And then it evolved into other things.  We'd bitch about everything.

So, I'm going to bring back a high school tradition and bitch about my job.  My boss told me today about a Phone-a-thon he is planning for some Sunday at the end of the month.  Ok, I'll help... reluctantly.  Then he asked me if I could ask my friends to come.  I'm like, yeah right, like a bunch of my friends will want to show up to call people to ask for money for some obscure Jewish Organization on the very very NORTH side of the city (like, Evanston is the other side of the street, and Skokie is just a few blocks west).  But, because I'm diligent, I posted a Facebook event on the thing, which I'm sure is going to garner a TON of support (notice the sarcasm?).

Sometimes these guys are so clueless...  They think they are a driving force in the world, but they listen to Rush Limbaugh and don't know who Will Ferrell is.  NOBODY cares about this outside of their own community.  It's really frustrating when they expect the world and nothing happens.  I'm made to feel like it's a failure on my part, when really, it's just that they don't quite have broad enough appeal to make it worthwhile for most people to participate.  It's frustrating...

Weigh in: 3/17/2009

Starting Weight: 244.4
Weigh In: 239.0
Total Lost: 5.4 lbs

I was not looking forward to getting on the scale this week.  I thought for sure I would have gained, because much of this weekend was eating out with mom, and I binged on Sunday (which probably brought on the sick) because Jon got mad at me...

But I guess diarrhea has its uses.  It seems to have cancelled out what I would have gained over the weekend, and I am happy to say that I am below 240.  That feels like a milestone to me.  Getting below 230 will feel good, too... and 220...

I wish I could express how happy I am...  I know it wasn't lost in the safest way, but I thought for sure I would have gained, which would have made me really upset and tempted me to quit...  But I'm back at it today, with my meal bars and water and raisins and yogurt...

I need to start planning better meals, because the bars get old.  I think tonight I'll sit down and plan out next week so that I have something to go with.

But this is the face of a happy girl.  Well, you can't see my face... but I finally made it to 5 pounds.  Took long enough, but I did it!

Weekly weigh-in? Not yet...

So my mom was visiting for a few days.  It was fun...

And then came the sick.  It started yesterday.  I'm not exactly sure what brought it on, but I have been in, on, or around the toilet for over 24 hours now.  Ugh.  I am wicked tired, because I'm sure I'm dehydrated, and all I want to do is take a nap.  I really want to make it to work, though, because I've missed the past... well, two days and change.  Not terrible.

But it seems like I always get sick when I get back from vacation.  My boss jokes about it and says that I'm allergic to vacation, but I think I'm allergic to work.  I'm afraid they think that I'm faking it, but something always happens...

Ok, not always.  But I went to California for a couple of days in December, and was home for a week with the worst flu I've had since I was a little kid (raging fever, delirium, chest congestion, ugh).  And now, this.  I didn't miss any work besides... you know... the work I knew I was going to miss anyway... after New York.

But this isn't fun play hookie sick.  This is, hey, I get to play my X-Box for five minutes before I have to go hang over the potty again sick.  My tummy keeps talking to me and telling me it hates me.  And I just want to nap.... Ugh.

It's getting better.  I haven't spewed anything from any orifice in about a half hour now, but my tummy is angry and I don't want to call out...

It's only 10:30...


Gusher: Happy Purim!

So I told you about the traditional giving of food for Purim?  Well, when I got into work yesterday morning, there was a cute little bundled wrapped in clear cellophane containing some cool food.  Not like fruit snacks or candy, but like... weird snacks that you don't see very often.  Japan nuts?  Australian red vines?  Kosher bunt cake?

I'm proud to report that the food did not tempt me.  I don't even want to unwrap it because it's so cute.  I complain about my job... a little... but the guys I work for are some of the sweetest people on the planet.  For reals.  I simply adore the pants off them.  For Rosh Hashana, I got a honey cake, a bottle of wine, and a jar of special Kosher honey.  For Chanukah, they gave me $100 at Carson's (nice... still haven't used it yet, though).  And now this for Purim.  I don't think I got anything for Shavuot next year, but Pesach is coming up, and I'm sure I'm going to get some sort of gift, because they're sweet.  I think they respect me because I haven't run screaming yet.

So today is Purim.  I have to work this evening for a little while, but I have today off otherwise.  Tomorrow is still Purim, and my mom flies in!  I'm going to go into work for a little while tomorrow.  I have some filing to do, and some emails and calls to make (which I'll actually probably do on Thursday in the morning so that I'm not in violation of the holiday).  And I'm waiting for the cable guy to hook me up.  Why does the cable guy take FOREVER?  The internet guy is always there at the beginning of the window, the furniture delivery guy, too.  But what's with the cable guy?  Fuck you, Comcast.

Fat News: Not really fat news

I need to quit obsessing over the diet thing because it's slowly but surely driving me crazy.

So! Here's some news for fat people, because it's obviously only fat people who enjoy Shakespeare, because reading Shakespeare and understanding it means sitting on your ass and positively poring over it...

Ok, that's a severe stretch. It's more just an homage to my obsession with British literature. In reality, I like Old English and Medieval literature better than the Early Modern period, but I won't bore you with that because it's, well... boring.

But anyway, the New York Times' Lede Blog posted an article today about the unveiling of a portrait believed to be of William Shakespeare that was painted from life, and not posthumously like the famous etching that you see on the front of every single Folger edition play. This is kind of cool in and of itself, but what I REALLY like are the comments to the post, with people quoting Shakespeare all over the place and generally making themselves out to be weirdo nutjobs. That's funny.

But what I really REALLY like in the comments is the argument taking place regarding authorship of Shakespeare's plays. I find it so fascinating - why are so many people so keen on proving that William Shakespeare of Stratford Upon Avon did not write the 30-some odd plays that are attributed to him? I mean, people get positively vicious about it! I'm like, rar... it was 400 years ago... authorship wasn't such a big deal then. Copyright laws as they existed back then made it so that the theater for which Shakespeare (or any other playwright wrote) owned the plays, not the author. They didn't think it was such a big deal, so why do we? (By the way - there is very little evidence to support any other person as author of Shakespeare's plays, and very little evidence to disprove that Shakespeare wrote them, while there is a wealth of information pointing to the fact that he did write them.)

I personally am a "Stratfordist." I think he wrote 'em. Analysis of his plays shows that it's the same style throughout. They can even tell that he did collaborate a few times (which was common then... you have to spit out like, a couple plays every few months - who wouldn't want some help?), but I just don't care enough, really. I like Marlowe better. Edward II, which I like to call "the gay play," is amazing. And I think Ben Jonson's comedies are funnier than Shakespeare's. The Alchemist is pure gold.

A lot of people focus on the "genius" of Shakespeare, so that we often forget that he had contemporaries. It really kind of humanizes him once you read other stuff from the period, because you realize that the individual things he wrote weren't so miraculous in comparison to a Marlowe play, for instance (and a lot of speculation says that Marlowe would have been the playwright of the period instead of Shakespeare if he hadn't been murdered). What's interesting about Shakespeare is that he wrote so in so many genres. Marlowe, for instance, sticks to tragedy. Jonson, to city comedies (a genre that Shakespeare, by the way, never touched).

But it's really fascinating if you've spent years studying this kind of stuff, only to see it argued over by third- and fourth-rate scholars on the internets (I'm not claiming I'm first- or even second-rate, but I know my facts and my limitations).

So if you're a wee-bit bookish, like I am, you might enjoy the article, and you'll enjoy the comments following it even more. And if you aren't bookish, you've probably seen that etching around on something, so this "new" image of Shakespeare is kind of thrilling, in that he appears so awake, so alert, and with so much humanity instead of the pomp and double-chinnedness of other representations. Also, check out this slideshow of other images of Shakespeare, all of them, at some point, either debunked or dismissed as accurate representations of William Shakespeare.

One more note... A lot of people were bitching about how Shakespeare looks bald in the etching, but doesn't in this "new" portrait. I have an explanation for that. In Early Modern England, people were stupid enough to believe that big forehead = big brain. Queen Elizabeth I actually plucked her hair out to about halfway to the back of her skull to present the illusion that she had this big ol' forehead, and was therefore smarter than everybody else. This perhaps could explain the baldness vs. full hairline phenomenon that we see between the Cobbe painting and the widely accepted Folger etching.

Everyone make fun of me for being a dork now, ok? I don't even LIKE Shakespeare that much, but anything related to early British literature makes me sit up and go, "Wha???"

Check out the full article, and the lovely, lovely painting, here.

Diet: Oh, the humanity!!!

I am having a really hard time with my diet because I am a foodie.  I am not one to mindlessly eat.  I don't just shove stuff down my gullet because it's there.  I eat because I really, really enjoy it.  I especially love restaurants.  Not Mickey D's or Wendy's or something stupid like that.  Not Olive Garden or Ruby Tuesday.  I like GOOD restaurants, like this one.  So this diet has been really hard for me, because I love good, creative food.  I like wine and beer (again, I'll drink a Bud Light, but I'm kind of passionate about those thick, Belgian ales).  It's almost devastating that I was telling myself that I can't do that...

So Jon called me out on being a bitch today.  He slept late, and by that time, I'd already been up for a couple of hours.  I'd swept and Swiffered the floors, dusted my furniture, vacuumed (with my new vacuum cleaner - yay!) and cleaned the bathroom.  He had some things to do this morning, so I was kind of pissed, because I had to go back to Target and pick up the stuff I'd forgotten the day before.  Today was picture-hanging day, and tying up loose ends.  My "office" is fully functional now (I had to get a mouse pad because my Mighty Mouse just won't work on my metal desk... along with some other things to sew up), got a new DVD player for the entertainment system (which consists of a REALLY nice TV... which is Jon's, but he's not using it because he has an even bigger, nicer one mounted over his fireplace in his condo, an X-Box, and now the DVD player)...  Whatever.  I was mad, though, because I thought he was going to go do this with me, and he just had to go and sleep till 11 because he's a weenie.

So I went by myself, picked up the stuff, came back and we hung all of my art (it looks really awesome now, by the way... couldn't be happier), and I guess I was being a bitch.  This isn't too weird, because I'm usually kind of a twat... I just attribute it to my cantankerous but charming personality... but I guess it was more than usual.  So we had a sit-down talk of our expectations for each other regarding weight.  I guess last summer, after we started dating, Jon practically starved himself to lose weight because he thought I wouldn't want to be with him because he was fat.  And I confessed that my main motivation for this whole diet is to keep him from dumping me for better-looking tail.

And for three weeks, we haven't gone out to eat like we used to.  Granted, it was excessive sometimes, but sharing a really excellent meal is something that we really used to like doing.  This diet has gotten in the way of it.  I haven't even had a drink for two weeks!  Not one ounce of alcohol has passed my lips.

So... we went all out.  We went down to Uncommon Ground on Devon, which is SUCH a great restaurant (everything is local, organic, etc.), and we overdid it.  And I don't feel guilty.  Because the conversation was good.  The wine was excellent.  The food was amazing.  I had a chicken breast over swiss char with butternut squash and a little bit of melted brie on top, served in some sort of apple liquor reduction... and it was amazing.  And we even split an apple crisp with salty peanut gelato for dessert.  I haven't eaten like that for a long time, and I was pleasantly buzzed, not too full (because Jon finished my entree and ate most of the dessert), and it was awesome.

I need to make sure that I don't make myself give that up completely.  Good food and good booze are actually passions of mine.  I like writing about it, analyzing it, savoring it...  I actually feel guilty that I don't feel more guilty about it.  But it's something that I've really come to enjoy while being with Jon.  We've eaten at some amazing places in the past year, both here in Chicago and whilst traveling.

So, we decided that we need to do this once a month.  That's limiting ourselves from our pre-diet habits, but indulging compared to the past three weeks.  It's just something that I'm not willing to give up.  I wish I could explain it better...  Because it sounds like I'm quitting or I'm giving up, and I'm not.  I'm just kind of adjusting what I've been doing to allow for something that I really enjoy doing with my boyfriend, and have since we started dating.

I wonder how it's going to be this week...  Overall, I was at a loss.  I lost 1.8 pounds to be exact, which isn't terrible.  At least it's a loss.  The last time I really indulged (and I still didn't let myself REALLY indulge) was when Jon's parents were in town, and I drank like it was going out of style and ate gnocchi, of all things...  And I lost 4 pounds that week.

Maybe I'm being ridiculous?  Or trying to talk my way out of something?  But I'm still savoring the atmosphere, the wine, the brie...  Is that something I have to give up, or is there a way that I can still have my cake and eat it, too?

I guess the scale will be the ultimate decider.  But I'm a foodie, tried and true, and I can't just ignore that big about myself, can I?

Gusher: Off topic, and totally yay!

So, I'll post something non-related to my fat ass.  Because I can.  And also, because I do things other than just be fat.  Most of those things involve sitting on my ass and contributing to the fatness (why do the things that make you smart, like reading and writing and learning Hebrew also require you to sit down and give it your full attention... well, I guess reading doesn't have to, but I was an English major, so I'm a very intense reader), but that's neither here nor there.  Or at least I'll pretend it's neither here nor there.  Whatever.

I got my birthday present today!  I turn 24 a week from tomorrow, and Jon is the breast, seriously.  I had some last-minute shit I needed for my apartment, like cleaning supplies, new cookware (because the non-stick coating was flaking off when I steam my rice, yo), a vacuum cleaner.  I know, it seems like a travesty that I only am getting a vacuum cleaner now, and I'm 24 years old, but the place I'd lived in for the past two years had hardwood.  My apartment before that was carpeted, but when I moved I bequeathed my vacuum unto a friend who had a carpeted apartment.  But never fear!  I still have hardwood throughout the new place, but the bedroom is carpeted, which is actually kind of nice on cold tootsies in the morning, I'm discovering...

ANNNYWAY, we did a Target run and I was prepared to drop about $400 on all of this shit, but surprise!  Jon whipped out his credit card and paid for everything because he's a dear.  Side note - don't you just love Target?  In Chicago, I think only one Wal-Mart was allowed to squeak inside city limits, and it's on the south side or the west side or something, and I'm on the far northeast side, so we have Target.  It feels so much better than Wal-Mart.  It's always bright and clean-looking, so you just don't feel so dirty as you're buying your toilet paper and shampoo.  But, I was surprised that Jon paid, because I knew that later that day we were going to go get my birthday present.

Now, I know most of you have probably never seen one of these, because there are only four stores in the whole USA (one in San Francisco, one in Soho, and two here in Chicago), but we hit up CB2, which is the modern version of Crate & Barrel to get me some office furniture, because I finally have the space to have a little mini office.  I was kind of stumped about what to do for a chair, but we found one that was on sale for $50.00 and snatched it.  It all looks SO AWESOME!

So tomorrow morning, I'm going to scrub the shit out of this place because my mom is a super clean freak and I fear her judgment raining down upon me.  The art is going to go up on the walls, and then it will finally be DONE!

I should post pictures, really.  I have the most beautiful apartment in the world.  Well, maybe it's not THE most beautiful, but it's certainly the nicest place I've ever lived.  I have a kitchen with real live counter space (a serious rarity in Chicago... seriously), and... wait for it... a DISHWASHER.  If you've ever washed dishes by hand for six straight years when you grew up with a dishwasher, having one again is kind of an emotional experience.  I personally think that I have the best taste in the world... well, maybe it's not to some, but I just love bright, happy colors, big bold prints, and uber modern lines in my "design" concept...  It's taken years to acquire my art pieces, and they all mean something to me (like the big mixed media canvas of a motorcycle I have hanging above my sofa).  

Speaking of which, I will be so friggin' happy when the new modern art wing opens at the Art Institute.  I think it's been years that they've been rotating their collection, which is really disappointing when you REALLY want to see "American Gothic" or Warhol's 18' Mao, only to get there and discover that it's not on display.  Grr...  I guess I could go to the Museum of Contemporary Art, but I'm usually disappointed by the bullshitty self-importance of artists there.  I mean, artists these days have this "rock star" complex that I find utterly annoying... and most of the time, they're not even good, in my opinion.  No... I don't think that a woman meticulously slathering herself with mayonnaise (true story) really counts as art.  That's my opinion, though...

Gusher: Work, diet, 4th circle of hell

This week has been awful.  Truly awful.  Yesterday should have been happy, but it was not.

So I work in the nonprofit sector... specifically for a Hassidic Jewish organization in Chicago (ok, so my anonymity is starting to fly out the window... if someone is so inclined, they could probably figure out who I am just from that).  I am not Jewish, though, especially not Hassidic.  I bet you can tell.  Anyway, does anyone know their Jewish holidays?  Purim starts at sundown on Monday evening, and besides being a Jewish version of Halloween, Purim, like many Jewish holidays, has a big emphasis on food, but more specifically, gifts of food.  This is where my week turned into a nightmare.

Our organization sends out over a hundred little food gifts, but we didn't just go to a Kosher grocery and pick out little kits.  No.  We got the little round plastic tubs with four compartments, the lids, and had special stickers made to stick to the top.  Then, we ordered huge amounts of peanuts, dried fruit, candy corn, and hamentashen (these little cookies that are traditional for Purim).  Then, we had to individually fill maybe two hundred of those plastic tubs - two hamentashen each, a scoop of candy corn, a scoop of fruit, a scoop of nuts, put the lids on them, and then put the stickers on the lids.  They ended up looking nice.  Being around the food wasn't the problem.  I wasn't tempted to eat, even though everyone else was chowing down.  I was just really focused on trying to get everything done.

But then, we had to put them in boxes, slide letters and promo materials in there, tape up the boxes, label them correctly (because each letter, of course, was personalized), stamp them with our return address... and then what?  They all got dumped in the back of my car, because of course, I had to be the one to take them to the post office and ensure they got mailed out.

That's a lot of stress.  Over two hundred boxes?  And I got only one thank you from the rabbis.  One.  They went to the post office yesterday.  I had to enlist my boyfriend to come and help, because the rabbis wanted nothing to do with it.  Then I had to convince my direct boss to let me bring a check for it - his usual response is to just have me pay for it, and then he'll reimburse me, but when I got suckered in to shelling out almost $500 in one day, including $300 for his kid's birthday invitations, I decided that it kind of has to stop.  I mean, I trip to Office Max or the grocery store now and then is no big deal, but I knew that this thing would end up costing at least $500, and I first of all don't have the liquidity at the moment to support it.

So, we went to the post office.  And I stood at the counter while Jon brought stuff in from my car.  Added to that, it was unseasonably warm yesterday, and my poor boy was getting hot and sweaty and I felt bad about it... and the people who work at the post office are seven kinds of retarded.  I mean, this lady was perfectly nice about it, and I was afraid someone would flip out on us over all of the packages we were sending.  But she was so SLOW.  By the time we separated out the ones that needed to be sent from the ones that should be hand delivered, we ended up with about 150 boxes at the post office.  And this lady, no joke, took TWO HOURS to weigh and meter each one, and load it into her cart.  TWO HOURS.

Now, I had called beforehand about paying with a check.  I told them that I am not the signer on the account, so they said I just needed a letter from the business giving me authorization to pay with a check.  So I typed one up, had my boss sign the letter and sign a blank check for me to use...

And when it was all said and done (I checked to make sure it was ok before we got started, too, just because I didn't want to have to end up paying for it out of pocket), I went to write out the check, and there was a huge problem because my name is not on the check, and because I didn't sign it.


I had the letter, I had the check, and they were like, "you have to sign it."  Well, I'm not a SIGNER on the account.  The bank won't release the funds unless the signer on the account signs the check!  The lady said that the letter authorizes me to use the check... whatever.  I just signed my name under boss's and left utterly pissed off about wasting two hours of my life with some of the stupidest people on the planet.

And then... the craving came.  I wanted a milkshake.  Oh god, I wanted a milkshake!  And, damnit, why did I tell Jon about the diet?  He's FORCING me to be accountable.  I can't have a slipup without him staring down his nose at me.  It's AWFUL.  So I went up to my apartment, told him to go home, and cried for an hour.  Then I binged (which wasn't as bad as it could have been, because I have no junk food in my home).  Then I slept.  And he just wouldn't leave me alone.

Maybe my problem with the weight for the past week and some has been because I'm so stressed.  I have read that stress and weight loss are not conducive, that stress tells your body to store fat because it raises your adrenaline, fight or flight response, and your body turns on survival mode.  What the fuck?  I would think that stress would make it just fall off.  But my fat cells are like, "Hold, hold brothers!" and I'm constipated and pissed off that the rabbis I work for are lazy, unorganized, and expect me to all but wipe their asses for them.

Fuck it.

My mom is coming to visit this week.  She flies in Wednesday evening, and I'm taking Thursday and Friday off of work.  Tuesday and Wednesday are Purim, so while I will be working, it will be weird hours (evening on Tuesday, morning on Wednesday), and Monday will probably be a leave early day.  Being at work pisses me off these days.  It's a shitty job, I don't get paid enough, and these people just rely way too heavily upon me.

Le sigh.  Thank god the weekend is here.  If I just lose one pound before tomorrow, I will be sitting happily below 240, and that's the best I can hope for considering what this week has put me through.  This weight loss thing has got to put into perspective for me.  I'm not looking for a get-hot-quick scheme.  I'm looking to keep it off.  So if it takes a long time, well.... it takes a long time.  Them's the breaks.  I needn't be so concerned with what the scale reads every day (or every week), but with what I'm doing, how I'm feeling, etc. etc.  I just need to keep it in perspective.  I WILL lose it... it just might take a couple of years.

The way my body is, I don't think I look too bad at 200.  Most of it lives in my tits, anyway, and I'm proportioned ok.  My face is slim at 200.  200 is a good short-term goal.  It'll happen.  I'll get there.  I just need to cut myself some slack and focus on the shit that's REALLY important... like Jon, like getting through the busy shit at work, like my cat... 

Wedding Blather: THE dress (but not what you think)

Ok, so this isn't for my wedding, it's for my mom's.  I generally check Torrid every day, because I always get excited about cute clothes that I can actually wear, and lo and behold... here is this dress!  I have ALWAYS wanted something like this.  I figure I'll probably get a little cropped black cardi to go with it so I can hide my fat arms (because I HATE my arms), pair it with a cute pair of summery shoes, and BAM!  Instant hottie.

I'll blog about wedding dresses I've been thinking about too.  The only part of me I really like are my ankles up to about mid-calf, and I'm short, so I think a shorter dress would probably be best.  Plus, Jon and I just want a semi-traditional wedding (emphasis on the semi).

But yes, my mom is getting married in June.  I like the guy she's with.  He's a little weird, but that's ok.  She likes him, and that's all that matters.  Seriously, my mom stayed single after my parents divorced for 16 years before she started dating again.  She always joked that her virginity grew back in that time.  She really deserves this.  And I'm going to be her maid of honor... but this shindig is going to be very casual, so I get to wear whatever I want.  Yay!

I have to give her and her fiancee credit for doing it their way.  Mind you, I think their way is a little cheesey (it's going to be Indian - as in Mumbai/Bollywood/Ravi Shenkhar Indian), but it's going to be ultra-casual.  They're going to roast a pig over an open pit instead of having a traditional sit-down meal.  They're trying to attain a spontaneous and fun kind of atmosphere instead of something where you go and just want to leave...

I want that at my wedding.  I want the guests to be having a blast.  Which is why we're thinking about setting up Karaoke instead of doing the traditional dj or band and dance floor.  Good idea, or stupid?  Whatcha think?

Gusher: My apologies

So I had all of these grandiose plans to post something worthwhile today.  That got swallowed up because, 1) I was busy at work, and 2) my hometown EXPLODED.

I guess there was a gas leak in a downtown restaurant, which caused a massive explosion, leveling a couple of buildings and destroying two bars, two restaurants, an art gallery, and a chic children's boutique.  The last I'd heard, the fire is still raging, and they're letting it rage while they dig to try to turn off the gas line.  Miraculously, there is only one person unaccounted for, but if s/he was in one of the demolished buildings, there is a dim chance of finding her/him alive.

This just got me thinking about all of the bad things that have happened in the past sixteen months.  It all started spinning out of control when my father died.  Then a great aunt died, a childhood friend's grandfather (I spent a lot of time at his house when I was a kid), the founder of my father's company, two people I went to high school with, a friend's 19-year-old sister, and an ex-boyfriend's father.  Aside from this - the RECESSION (all caps because it deserves it), Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and now this massive explosion, which demolished half a city block in my hometown.

Is this all my fault?  Most of these bad things have been eerily connected to me - friends, family of friends, people I personally knew, my family... dying.  And now a disaster in the town I grew up in.  What gives?

Please excuse me for not posting something a little more meaningful.  It's been another hard day.  This weekend, I promise, will see a little food for thought.  I'm just kind of tired of living the definition of Murphy's Law.

Notes from the Blogosphere

I want to thank everyone for commenting and for reading.  I'm always amazed at how supportive everyone is out there on the internets about this kind of stuff.  It is SO HARD, which seems unfair because putting it on was so easy...

But I've been writing a lot of uber-personal entries lately (the "Gusher" labels), and while they might be interesting or relatable, I don't want this blog to just be entry after entry of me crying about how difficult it is to diet.  I promise I'm going to begin scouring the New York Times again for fat news, and coming up with something a little more thoughtful than "woe is me."

But please remind me to write a blog on infertility.  I have had ovary problems my whole damned life.  The boyfriend and I, while we're not getting married for about a year and half, have decided that we want kids, so we're trying now in the hopes that something will happen.  I think that my dead ovaries are a product of my being fat, so I'm going to have to look into this.  I've been doing some blog-reading and have discovered that there are other fat chicks out there who have this problem, so I'm going to be researching for the next few days on obesity and infertility.  Maybe I can get a handle on why my baby-maker just don't work.

Also, because I really don't want to be THAT girl (see previous post), I need to start blogging about my wedding plans.  They are kind of in motion.  I've been looking at dresses and we've been considering concepts.  I have my Maid of Honor backed into a corner that she can't get out of, so that's positive.  In all honesty, one of my biggest reasons for losing weight is that I don't want to be a fat bride.  I want to look back at my wedding photos and not be shaking my head about it, you know?

I think, come September, I'm going to get a personal trainer.  The hope is that by then, I will have lost around 30 pounds or so... (I would DIE if I could get below 200, but I know that that might be asking too much), and I think at that point I'll be emotionally ready to have someone else assess my fitness level.  Right now, it's still tender, but I've "come out of the closet" on Facebook about being fat, and it's actually been met with a lot of positivity, like "I feel your pain, I'm right there with you, etc. etc."

I think that fatness is such a sensitive topic that no one likes to talk about it.  So even though about 60% of American adults are overweight or obese, it still feels like we're suffering through it by ourselves because it's just not something you publicly discuss.  The majority of us might be fat, but we don't like to admit it... because fatness is a weakness in the eyes of most (including ourselves).  We need to really claim it for what it is... it's a challenge in so many respects, I won't even bother listing them.

So I'm finally back down to pre-New York weight, so I think that's one of the reasons I feel good.  If I see that scale drop below 240 on Sunday, I'll be elated.  But thank you all for the support.  It really does help.  Keep your eye on the blog.  I promise, it's going to get more interesting from here on out.

Gusher: My mini-breakdown

Today was rough.  Some good things came out of it, like I sewed up everything from the old apartment, had my electricity transferred, stopped my internet service and returned the equipment...  It was personally productive, but I was busy as shit at work.  By the end of the day, I had only consumed 14.5 Points, leaving me with 16.5 for dinner.  That's a lot.  I felt awful that I hadn't eaten, and while I was starving, I just didn't want to eat... because I knew I'd probably end up eating too much, and because of the nature of what had to happen after work (run down to drop off modem, pay rent, with boyfriend), I knew it would end up being another night where we eat out, and then I have no clue as to how many of my points I've consumed.

I was tired and reckless.  I cut somebody off when I was driving, just because I forgot to look (I ALWAYS look).  I had a fuck of a time parallel parking.  And I cried.  I cried because I'm not suddenly 20 pounds smaller in three weeks.  My boyfriend had to talk me down.  Six pounds, he said, at the end of three weeks is good progress.  I guess I just have to remind myself that I'm not sixteen anymore.  I'm twenty-four.  And while I still feel like a little kid, my body doesn't act like one.  I can't take off twenty pounds by blinking like I used to.  It just doesn't work that way anymore.  That's kind of a sad realization...

I freaked out.  Not only because my diet isn't as effective as I had hoped (unrealistically) that it would be, but because I dread being THAT girl.  The one who's constantly talking about exercising and food intake.  It scares me that I'm the type of person who must constantly consider and reconsider everything that goes into my mouth.  It's so much work!  My mother used to be that person.  She'd call me up, and the only thing she had to talk about was going to the gym, going to spin class, going to her running club, going to yoga class, which triathlon she was competing in, how she'd gone three days without eating a cookie, how she gained three pounds because she drank some beer...  This sounds horrible, but luckily she ended up injuring both her foot and her shoulder, landed in physical therapy, and has a healthier relationship with her own health.  I'm sorry, but I don't want to spend my life talking about my carb intake.  My boyfriend's mom is like that, too.  Apparently she had the predecessor to gastric bypass surgery, and experienced a lot of awful health problems as a result, and then ended up losing a buttload of weight on Atkins.  I like his mom, but all she talks about is food, and what she can and can't eat.  It's sick.

I don't want to be like that.

Sometimes, I wish I could just be happy with fat.  I mean, I should be eating healthier, I know, and I'm trying to.  I've stayed disciplined for three weeks, which is more than I can say about any of my other attempts.  But I'm honestly jealous of the fat girls I know who are ok with being fat.  They have such vibrant personalities, and great senses of style.  They do more than I do because they're ok with themselves.  They wear tank tops and white pants and flashy jewelry and colors other than black.  Why am I not like that?  I talk about self-love, but do I really believe it?  Well, yes, but I have very little for myself.

I think I need to focus more on being happy with myself regardless of size or weight.  I can continue with the diet, but if I don't feel pretty or confident, I'm going to be plain miserable.  I deserve to have better things to talk about than the food that goes into my mouth.  I am more than that.  I need to accept what I have now, because it's not going to go away quickly.  In order to lose the amount of weight I want to lose, I'm probably going to have to commit to a full year of this... and then to maintain it, I'm going to have to do this every day for the rest of my life.  My body would prefer to be fat, I think... I wish my mind could be more progressive and accept me for who I am.

So I'm setting out a few non-weight related goals... because I, nor anyone else, don't deserve to be a slave to obesity guilt.
1 - I promise to buy (and wear... frequently) a pair of white pants this summer.
2 - I promise to buy tops that are NOT black.
3 - I promise to wear big, gold jewelry and metallic accessories.
4 - I promise to read more books, watch more news, and have something to talk about besides how much I hate my job and how fat I am and what I'm eating and how I'm exercising.
5 - I promise to stick to my diet... while accepting what I am at every moment.

Fat girls shouldn't be punished for what they are.  I didn't choose this for myself.  I'm not denying that I've taken certain actions that have gotten me here, but I didn't decide at any point that I wanted to become a fat person.  This is something that happened gradually, and it's something I feel deep shame about... and I shouldn't have to.  I deserve to love myself every bit as much as a thin person does.  I deserve to be happy, even while I'm dieting.  I deserve all of this, and I'm not going to talk myself out of it.  Fuck you if you don't like looking at a fat girl in white pants.  I'll do what I want, because I deserve it.

Gusher: I am STARVING

I don't know what my problem is today.

Maybe it was the stress at work.

I missed Thursday and Friday, and I came back to twenty messages in my voice mail box, and a whole buttload of work to do.  I barely ate all day.  I actually felt lightheaded as I drove home.  Not a great feeling.  I probably didn't drink enough water.  I just didn't have time to.

The argument with my boyfriend didn't help matters either.  I ended up just a half point over my allowance for the day (awesome), but all I want is Wendy's.  How sick am I?  I am sick.  I am also STARVING.

I think today is an emotional eating day.  I just want to munch on EVERYTHING.  I'm trying to think of something I have around the house that counts as zero points that would also be considered comfort food...  But it's almost 11, and I have plans to get up and out of the house early tomorrow to run a few errands before work.  I'm not sure how well that is going to go.  Yikes.  Double yikes.  Triple yikes.  I feel like I'm a mess.  I feel like I'm utterly out of control.

And I gained almost three pounds over the weekend???  What????  I mean, I know I ate like shit, but how come it's so easy to pack it on and so hard to whack it off?  It's just not fucking fair.

I just need to go to sleep so I can forget about it... but how does one sleep when one's mind is racing about how starving one is?

I think the answer might be The Decemberists....

But I worked it out so that tomorrow I can have my damned Wendy's.  I can nom a salad and a baked potato for 19 Points.  I usually get in 15 during the day, so that would only put me three over, and I have 34.5 flex Points to work with for the rest of the week.

God, I am so sick.  I hate this relationship I have with food.  Sometimes, I wish I could be one of those people who don't really care about food, and only eat it to maintain bodily functions.  They're all like, man, I don't feel so hot... oh yeah, I forgot to eat.


How is that even possible?  How can one "forget to eat?"  It is the one activity that I look forward to during my day.  I cannot WAIT to chow down on something - anything.  Eating is so glorious...  And beautiful... and goddamned wonderful...  I wish I didn't like it so much.  Everything would be so much easier if I didn't love food.

But I am going to do this.  I have to do this.  I am so TIRED of being fat!  I don't like this little bulge I've developed that makes the front of my jeans look all lumpy.  It used to be flat... or at least, it could be disguised as being flat...

I guess nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.  Sick as it is, I stole that from an anorexia blog.  Talk about will power... holy crappola...

Grr at my fat self.  GRR!

Diet: Always Hungry

I think I want to eat when I'm bored.  But I'm not kidding you, I just consumed 16 Points worth of food (because I hardly had time to eat all day), and I am STILL hungry!  I might have to dip into my weekly Points allowance just to get rid of this empty feeling.  And then I consider why I feel empty...

Fight with the boyfriend.

Don't eat.  Make the fight better.  Don't eat.

Diet: Spoke Too Soon

I was tickled pink by the 5 pound loss in my first week.  I was like, oh, this isn't so hard.  No problem.  I can do this.

So I didn't keep track of dinner.  If I got through the day on 15 Points, I'd just pig out at night and figure, whatever.  I need to eat 16 points anyway.


I got on the scale this morning, and it said 241 even.  WHAT????  How is that possible?  And I'm going to New York today.  I'm not planning on taking my laptop or my scale, and I KNOW I'm going to eat something that I reeeeeeallly shouldn't.  In fact, I'm probably going to eat a lot of things that I really shouldn't.  Solution?

Well, I don't have a solution.  I guess I'm just going to try to eek it out as best I can.  When I come back on Sunday, maybe the scale won't have jumped too terribly high.  But it's really shocking, that I have been consuming MUCH less than I used to, and I still gained a pound back!  I kind of think that I might start my period here pretty soon... I just "feel" it coming... so maybe I'm just retaining water...

No more excuses, though.  As soon as I get back from New York, I am putting my entire faith and trust in Weight Watchers and Slim Fast.  The Slim Fast plan keeps me within my points for the day, and it tells me what to put in my body.  I need that.  Obviously, I can't do this on my own.  I thought I had relinquished control, but I hadn't.  I was still bucking it.  I don't WANT to be this heavy, and I'm not going to stand for it anymore!

I'm not going to beat myself up about it.  I'm going to enjoy my vacation.  I'm going to try to make better choices than I would have, but I'm going to have fun.  And come Monday, I relinquish control.  Because my sense of control isn't hacking it.

Gusher: Eating Disorders

I've spent a lot of today reading anorexia and bulimia blogs, and it just breaks my friggin' heart.  It really does.  I mean, I found some inspiring words... inspiring, in their own twisted context.  Things about how no food tastes as good as being thin feels... I think I'm going to use that every time I'm thinking about shoving something bad in my face.

But the thing that just really irks me is that I see these people freaking out about their boyfriends and girlfriends, or potential boyfriends and girlfriends, not wanting them because they are "fat."  Now, I realize that sufferers of eating disorders experience intense body dysmorphia and see themselves as "fat" when they're on the brink of "skeleton."  But I just want to grab them by the shoulders and SHAKE THE SHIT OUT OF THEM!!!!

I am a fat girl.  I am also engaged.  I have been fat most of my life (there were brief periods of thinness, but they didn't last long).  I have had a lot of boyfriends.  And a couple of girlfriends (ooh la la!).  I have had a lot of sex.  And I'm not lying about my weight.  That is how much I weigh.  I am a big girl...  I flatter myself and tell myself that I carry it rather well, but that's beside the point.  I have a flabby belly and fat arms and thighs that touch and back fat...

But that all is relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things.  It doesn't affect the kind of music that I listen to, the books I read, the perfume I wear, the bags I carry, the shoes on my feet, my ability to play the guitar, or my singing voice.  I think I have a pretty face, still, and I do my makeup every day, and I straighten my hair, and I go to work.  I have an eyebrow piercing, and I used to have my lip and my nose done, too.  I go to concerts and I go shopping.  I like tequila and I laugh my ass off at websites like  I like The Mighty Boosh, and I swap fart jokes with my fiancee, and I email my mother...  All of this I do, even though I'm fat.

Being fat doesn't make me a different person from what I would be thin.  I know I would be happier thin, but I'm still damned cool, no matter my size.  So if you think your significant other or your potential significant other wouldn't be interested if you were fat, I think it says more about THEM than it does YOU, doesn't it?  You're just assuming that these people are that shallow - that they wouldn't love you if you gained weight.  Maybe your body was what initially attracted them to you, but the reason they've stuck around is because there's something else going on there... like a shared passion for John Denver or something, I don't know.  But it's there.

Anyone struggling with an eating disorder (whether you're fat or thin) needs to realize that your size isn't the determining factor for who you are and what people see in you.  I hear a lot about exercising CONTROL in your life through controlling the calories you throw up or that you consume during the day.  Fantastic.  Why don't you take that energy - that need to control things - and become a mother?  They're fantastic at that.  Or why don't you control the onslaught of mold in your tub?  Why don't you take up baking, where a lack of control over the ingredients you put into it results in some pretty effed up cookies.

The point I'm trying to make here is that self-love is so vital.  It's so important to understand that the love you receive from significant others, family, and friends is unconditional (in most circumstances).  It doesn't revolve around your size.  It revolves around who you are as a person, and if you think you have nothing to offer as a person... I hate to tell you this, but nobody else in your life feels the same way.


Phat Food: Commune for Foodies?

If you haven't already noticed, I'm kind of a New York Times fanatic. I read it online obsessively, every free moment I get, at work.

Another disclaimer: I love food. You hear a lot of people trying to lose weight talking about unhealthy relationships with food and how they need to beat their addiction, and I am more than ready to admit to the same behavior. But I also love food in a different way. I love unique food. I did tend to just shove whatever in my mouth when I was hungry, but I also know that there is nothing better than eating out and experiencing new and different things. I have a special place in my heart for tasting menus - meals that consist of several courses of mini portions of hot sellers or specials. These are usually pretty pricey, but totally worth it to just get a taste of everything. My favorite tasting menu in Chicago is at MK.

And one more clarification: while I am all about trying to lose the weight and counting calories and all of that, I think it is unfair to deprive yourself of the stuff you love. What are you going to do once you get down to your goal weight? Are you just going to give up those indulgences forever? I don't think so. Health is not about cutting all sugar, all carbs, all soda, all non-green vegetables, all white food. It's about learning to develop healthy relationships with those types of foods. What is the point of being healthy if all you're going to do is eat cardboard for every meal? Uh uh. Not for me. So while I track my points dilligently through the week, I don't freak out if one night, we go out and I eat something that's a little bit bad for me. That's part of living. As long as you eat that kind of food in moderation, you're ok in my book. I found that over the weekend, I ate two meals out... and I still lost almost five pounds in a week.

So, I'm going to start up another "series" called "Phat Food," in which I'll cover restaurant reviews, or other food-related news. If you're miserable on a diet, it's not a diet worth being on. The more you deprive yourself, the more likely you'll be to freak out and eat a baby or something...

So! For the first installment of "Phat Food," I'd like to draw your attention to an article posted in today's New York Times about a food movement in Brooklyn that bears a lot of resemblance to the artist/musician communes that we've heard about/taken part in/escaped from. I love how our culture has become so DIY -, by the way, is one of my favorite places to drool over on the web. Here is an inspiring story about a movement of young people who liked to cook, and were able to make money with it. Awesome, huh? I guess the reason I like this article isn't so much because of the food, but because of what the food represents: a reclamation of the American dream, where with a little creativity and gumption, you can achieve anything. This is a message that seems so fake in today's shriveling economy, so it's really heartening to see real live examples of young people doing what they love to do.

And by the way, we leave for our New York trip tomorrow. I might just have to hit up the pickle place. I love pickles.

Click here for the full article.

Diet: Already Doing it On My Own!

I'm exactly seven days into my diet.  This is the longest I've ever stuck with a weight-loss regimen.  No joke.  I think it's because, before, I was embarrassed to admit that I needed to diet.  I was embarrassed to admit to the world that I am fat.  Well, I have, and instead of being ridiculed for being fat (like no one could tell that already), I've been greeted with open arms.  What a feeling!  The diet is still not something that I really like to inject into everyday conversation, but it's not the source of shame it would have been for me six months ago.

So, that said, I'm already kind of working it on my own!  I'm still using the Slim Fast products, because they're convenient, and they actually do what they're supposed to, if utilized properly.  For example, a Slim Fast meal bar, in and of itself, isn't enough to fill me up.  But when paired with my morning coffee and a light yogurt, I actually feel stuffed, all for about 6 Points!  That's pretty good.

Being busy at work has ended up frustrating me, though.  I don't have enough time to eat the food I bring with me.  Today, I got my coffee, my meal bar, my yogurt... and then I made myself break to suck down a shake, a South Beach Diet bar, and some peach slices... but that was all I had time for.  By the time I got home, I discovered that I still had about half my points left!  I wasn't ravenous or anything, but I still had to cook for Jon.  I hadn't thawed any meat or anything, so I improvised a Mexi-style omelet, with carmelized onions, mushrooms, spinach, and chihuahua cheese, which I served up with fresh salsa, tortilla chips, and corn.  It ended up being a nice, easy dinner.  I really didn't feel like analyzing it with the Points Tracker.  I'm still getting used to it, especially since I'm kind of a sporadic cook - I tend to improvise, and not really keep track of how much of what I'm putting in something.  I should get better about that.

Prepared food is easy, but cooking sometimes seems like a daunting exercise.  It takes a while to build a meal in WW so you can calculate the points... but I need to use it, so that I'm conscious of what I'm eating, and what these foods are doing for me (or to me, as the case may be).  But I'm not a WW freak.  I don't know if that will ever suit me.  I track diligently throughout the day, but in the evening, I'm either too tired or two lazy to sit down and calculate dinner out.  I figure I must be doing ok... I've lost almost five pounds in my first week, and I couldn't feel better about it.

But building day food for myself?  Not a problem.  I have such a crazy schedule while that I just generally throw in things I can munch on while I'm working, and overall, I know the points values for those types of foods, or can make some sort of educated guess.

Let's hope the luck continues, shall we?