Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"No, there is too much... let me sum up."

(And if you're one of those people who thinks Princess Bride quotes are played out, booooooooooooooooo.)

I've neglected this booger lately, but as Inigo Montoya said, "Buttercup marry Humperdinck in little over half an hour so all we have to do..."

JK LOL [picture of Grumpy Cat]

Plum's secret shame is that dwarfism runs in her family too
(it just doesn't give her a frowny face) (well...)
What I've been up to:
1) Studying for, then taking the PHR certification test. Good news: looks like I passed!
2) Training for the Frank Lloyd Wright 10K, which I'm running with Mike and Kate. I'm up to 51 minutes of running with little 1-minute walking breaks mixed in; I can't even believe it sometimes.
3) Fostering Miss Mandell-- she is a lovely, shy cat, and I say this with all due respect and love but: when she sits around the house, she sits around the house. You know, like Big Mama. Or Big Momma. Or your momma.
But seriously, look at her face; after you make air-kissy noises, please  submit an interest form to PAWS
4) Getting the results of my two-month participation in "bootcamp" (or functional/metabolic training) at LadyGym: my BMI is now Regular Overweight instead of Obese! So I no longer sit around the house, which is great news heading into my doctor's appointment this Friday. Overall I'm down 54.5 lbs, so I only have 14 more to go before my first goal is complete.

This is a very cat-centric post: the one outfit pic I have from the past few weeks that is not a not-a-selfie-to-avoid-Kristen's-wrath photo are the ones Catt (!) took of me in the Asos Curve cat sweater I had from Gwynnie Bee this week...

Catt's direction to me appears to have been: "Be all, like,  'What?  Shut up. That's what I thought.'"

We saw this chalk drawing outside a friend's apartment and fell in love
Me with Princess Butterscotch Belly aka Ollie, Catt the Photographer's beauty

It is such a fun sweater I'm tempted to go and buy it (while I'm deciding, I'm holding onto it for this weekend). I worried a little that wearing it with those Martin Fit Banana Republic pants and flats would be a little Taylor Swifty, but as someone at Sunday evening's gathering said, in order to truly look Taylor Swifty, I would have been wearing white foundation, dark eyeliner, and a bright red lipstick. Eek. The mere thought of that look on me makes me think:
I knew she was trouble when she walked in/so shame on me no-o-ow

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Got Stripes Around My Shoulders

Not shared: the one where I'm being myself and am all "Nature, eew!"

Earlier this evening, I was reviewing the pics that Catt sent over to me for this booger post--and if you haven't already gathered this, either from being my Facebook friend or from the numerous photos I've used here, I love Catt and I love her photos; if you are a fan of looking at interesting, beautiful, or neat-o things, I suggest following her Flickr--I was lamenting my seemingly undefeatable, unreducable gut. That sort of pudgy look is cute when you're the Michelin baby or an elderly grandmother, but it's pretty frustrating when you're 36 years old and are have been doing stupid planks and Supermans and mountain climbers for nearly two months.

Luckily, after moping a bit, then showering off the Michelin-baby-tear sweat from my time at the gym, I then tried on my very last (for a while) eBay purchase, a size 12 green summery dress from Dress Barn. And while numbers don't matter and sizing is all relative, et cetera, female power, Dove True Beauty... I could have cried when it fit perfectly.

Suddenly, life has new meaning to me. There's beauty up above. And so on.

Fun fact: this song is also great for singing to your pets (or, like, a partner or spouse, if you have one of those, you weirdo), because it's flexible. For example, you can sing, "There's Buddy up above, things he never takes notice of" or "Plum wakes up, suddenly, she's in love." Try it! I guarantee you'll enjoy yourself.

On the outfit front, Gwynnie Bee sent me not one, but two stripey cardigans, so I thought I'd ask Catt to take better photos of me than my stupid cell phone provides so that I could do a theme-type post.

The first one was an Eloquii diagonal-stripe cardigan, and I was so excited that I finally had a reason to bust out my "signature" Lia Sophia Curio necklace.

I hope to see basket hats as a booger must-have accessory soon; also, mosaic dresses
Action! shot that gets you a little closer to the necklace
And Catt's favorite shot, which she affectionately named "Derp"
We went over to the Waters Garden for those shots; it's so pretty and full of screaming children, who you think may be getting kidnapped, but it turns out they're just loud jerks.

Today, I wore the Rafaella Zig Zag cardigan with one of my eBay Loft skirts I had yet to take for a spin. Once I decided on the cardigan with the red tank, it wasn't a stretch to add the skirt with the pink ribbons and my new necklace that I picked up at Banyan Tree on my weekend trip to Cleveland (on clearance) and go all-out with my Valentine's Day-walking Russell Stover heart-shaped-chocolate-box look.

I'm not trying to be Janice Dickinson; I'm just mid gum-flapping.
Adorable that my every attempt at Serious, Y'know, Like a Model ends up Smug A-Hole
Photographer's favorite; delightful, since I was basically trying to creep her out
So my big plan for the weekend is to wear my cute Jane Eyre tee shirt again, eat something BBQed, go to Hard Body, and for goodness sake, get back on the stick with Couch to 10K. Sadly, I don't think there will be any fantastic bxw glamour shots of me doing all of these things. But I think you guys will survive.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jessie's Biscuits + Gravy

So that's what I did with my weekend. How's about you all?

(I also pet the bulldog featured in the linked photoset, as well as the tiny kitten you see me holding... all in all, life is good and I call that a successful long weekend away from home.

I also talked to people. I guess.)

Thursday, May 16, 2013


So the minute I wrote the word "backsliding," I thought two things:


2) Mmm, sliders. I don't know what it is about those little guys! My introduction to the concept wasn't the best--one of the VPs at the captioning firm where I worked would buy a sack of White Castle for our potlucks, and by the time we got to them, they were reaching the unpleasant side of cool (not to mention being White Castle)--but I am obsessed with finding them on the menu of various area gastropub-type places.

How apropos that my second thought was a paragraph about sliders when I'm going to talk about my recent dabbling in backsliding on calorie counting. Or at least it felt that way. It was really only one incident--a delicious salty-sweet Chicago Mix of an incident--but combined with the fact that I then didn't do any kind of exercise for two days, I felt completely and utterly disconnected from my well-established way of doing things to get healthier.

I bought the Chicago Mix--for those of you neophytes who have not experienced the glories of Chicago Mix, it is half cheddar popcorn, half caramel popcorn--with the intention of eating one serving. But it had been quite a day Monday, largely due to work stressors and sort-of-half-ignored-Mother's-Day-makes-me-sad stressors and taking-Trumper-to-the-vet-which-wasn't-his-regular-vet-and-having-his-bladder-stabbed-with-a-needle stressors. And the latter two stressors sort of fold in on one another, because Mom was always so good and thoughtful with our various pets, and I am not very good or thoughtful if Trumper is having pee hose problems, and I wish she were here to talk to when the cats get sick, what am I going to do, Plum is 12 now, and I've never had to be in charge when a pet is heading off to the otherworld...

So you see from all that run-on sentence bologna that my solution of eating the entire bag of Chicago Mix, all 900+ calories of it, was the next logical step.

Duse and I have talked about our mutual shared fear that once you do something "bad," you can't come back. Like when you allow a vampire to bite you, and it takes your soul, only instead of a vampire, you're letting a Hardees sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit bite you. Twice. Maybe with some hash browns.

And clearly that's crazy defeatist logic. In my case--can't speak for Duse--I've always been a natural-born quitter. If something exceeds my God-given talents or capactiy, I like to quit, thoroughly and completely. When I was bumped from 1st chair clarinet to VERY LAST CHAIR when I moved from middle school to high school (because I didn't want to march in the GD marching band, which was sacred and holy at RFHS), rather than apply myself and work hard, I quit. Then I sold my clarinet to pay for an AOL bill. Ask Kate sometime about how often I said, "I'm moving back home" during our first two years in Chicago. And I was a mostly grown-ass adult at that point.

But I've tried to get better since then, accept that I will not be the best at some things (when I was getting all wound up about the 5K, Kate said, very deadpan, "You're not going to win, okay?" Which was both such a relief and SO INFURIATING to hear) but that it doesn't mean I shouldn't try them or keep working at them.

I've done pretty well on this whole lifestyle-change, lose-weight-thing overall, but sometimes the most important thing for me isn't to go to the gym or yoga or count my calories. Sometimes the most important thing is to remember the 3+ years of counseling I had after Mom committed suicide. To remember that the things I can control mostly relate to me and working to make me better, whether it's finding a new job or a volunteer opportunity or whatever else, is way more rewarding and far less frustrating than trying to change the past. And sometimes the things I can change about me don't necessarily pan out, but not panning out isn't failure, even if it really, really, really feels and smells like failure, and the only solution to failure is to quit trying and also to eat a bag of Chicago Mix.

And then something about the journey that's super profound goes here. I don't know. Kristen said something to me about the changes that happened after leaving Girl Scouts. Ask her for more details. (WINKIE.)

So I ate that Chicago Mix and didn't go to the gym. Two days later, I ran 3+ miles. My body still remembered how. And more importantly, me and my big juicy brain remembered how.

I haven't had very good pictures of my outfits lately, but I'm awfully proud of this one, where my goal to kinda sorta dress like Joan from Mad Men came together:
Next stop: red hair dye

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Also: I wish to know how to do yoga right, and I don't want to hear any of that hippie bologna about how there's no right way

I was telling Duse this morning--before my phone died, and may I just say, for the millionth time, I HATE MY PHONE AND EVERYTHING IT STANDS FOR IT IS THE WORST I CAN'T WAIT FOR JULY AND MY UPGRADE--that I like a lot of things about yoga: I like that it slows me down and stretches me out and makes me think about being nothing more than a grain of sand (TM Jack Black Version of Paul McCartney).

But one of my frustrations with yoga is that the instructors often talk about the impact on certain internal organs. "Breathe in the bottom half of your lungs" or "Can you feel that in your liver?" Answer: no, I can't, because I don't know where half of that garbage resides in my body. I'm sort of confident I know where the lungs are. Uh, the heart is below or around them probably? The rest is just assorted glop. I picture it being kept in a plastic bag like the giblets in a turkey.

Exhibit A:
Be careful when you remove my water on the knee; BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT!
I was not a very attentive student in science classes... is what I'm trying to say. Also, I got a C+ in Human Sexual Biology, so you probably shouldn't ask me (or Coach Cutlip) (does anyone remember that Wonder Years episode?) to draw the female reproductive system.

I'm not saying that the instructor should adjust her questions to more directly address my concept of my body, e.g. "Do you feel this in your butts?" Just hope she gets used to my puzzled expression any time I'm supposed to check in with my appendix or vestigial tail.

Tonight I'm doing the boxing challenge at LadyGym. Can't wait for that. That's more my speed (punch kick HADOUKEN hee hee).

Catt took fancy pictures of me when we were on our way back from eating delicious, delicious fried chicken at Stanley's Kitchen and Tap--side note: ooh, BBQ Wednesdays!--because we finally found horses that don't scare me because they can't bite or kick:
On a steel horse I ride/I'm wanted/wanted! (and yes I know Bon Jovi is referring to a tour bus; don't argue semantics)
I'm wearing a top that Duse handed-me-down with a hot pink Loft tank underneath. I wish you could see the super cute Lia Sophia necklace I'm wearing. For reference, it's the one in this Pinterest collage:

But personally I like the black and white photo more because you can see my kinda-bicep muscle:
I'm strong to the finish, 'cause I eats me spinach

My friend Jill shared this CORE Salsa Meatloaf recipe earlier this week, and because I had a pound of ground turkey in the fridge, I made a quick produce market run and pulled it together Monday night. I do not share the reservations of the blogger about putting delicious salsa on top of meat and baking it, and it turned out great. The zucchini and thyme in particular really give the turkey a flavor boost, and it is great to have something handy for lunches all week.

I also made Catt's Not Written Down Anywhere Spinach, Mushroom, Egg, and Toast breakfast. It's sort of labor-intensive for my morning routine, but it's so wonderful and--argh, sorry, I normally hate this adjective but--earthy. Plus, as an added bonus, I can get a substantial vegetable and protein. It goes like this:

1) Saute a handful of mushrooms (I usually use baby bellas)
2) When they're starting to look like they're mostly tender, throw in a couple handfuls of baby spinach leaves
3) Put a cover on it and wilt until wilty
4) Make an over-easy egg and toast a piece of toast
5) Assemble
6) Eat

Kate shared that she does a similar thing only with avocado mash in place of spinach. Anyone else have a favorite buncha-stuff-on-toast recipes?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Nifty Nifty Look Who's [punch in face]

I know it's just a number, but it seems pretty signifcant: as of this morning, I have reached 50 lbs lost overall since late October 2012.

Thanks. I will.

Duse helpfully researched for me when I told her last night, so I would like everyone to know that not only am I down 2+ bags of kitty litter, I'm also down 2 hay bales (she did not specify round or square, Dad, so I don't know and don't ask), a lawn mower (I'm guess a push mower, not a rider), a window AC unit (reminder to self: I need a window AC unit for this summer), or 7 to 8 large college textbooks.

Take that, Oprah's wheelbarrow full of butter!

I think that more than the number, it's encouraging how my thought process around exercise has changed: even though I was doing fine on calories yesterday, when I missed my functional training class--because I am a bonehead and REALLY need to start putting the times on my Googledy Calendar--I could have headed home to the couch. Instead, I jogged the 1/2 mile to Chase to deposit a check, then walked over to Wells Park and did three laps around the jogging/walking path, which seemed to work out to a mile or so, then walked home. Then I did the Bethany Frankel strength training portion of her Skinnygirl Yoga DVD with my 5 lb hand weights (which Bethany points out is a LOT, and it is).

I called this photo "Fireplug Katherine Hepburn"; raaaaaaaaaaaaahlly I am
I was telling Kristen this morning that Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story had a big impact on me as a teenager. I thought it was so glamorous when she showed up in tailored horse-riding gear. So I try to dabble in a version of that look, even though I do not have striking cheekbones and am very clearly not 5'8" tall. Also, I am not from the East Coast. Also, I am kind of afraid of horses.

The orange ruffled shirt is from Target via Duse, and I absolutely freaking love it. Over it, I'm wearing a Banana Republic blazer with very preppy crown-embossed buttons I bought off eBay for $6.50. Bootcut jeans from Old Navy so I can wear my ankle boots... I didn't go so far as to get knee-high equestrian rider boots (yet).

So my plans for tonight are to volunteer at PAWS and then meet Jimmy Stewart out by the pool...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Just a quick update to say...

...that I am dressed like Donna Reed attending a tea party or some shit, and I love it.

Dress Barn dress picked up from eBay for $8.90, belted with my new favorite all-purpose belt (also from eBay... you know, the one from the Goodwill in San Francisco, like in the song, "If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear gonzo bananas flowered dresses and a Banana Republic belt/also, you'll meet some gentle people there/but not gentle, like, Lenny from Of Mice and Men/more like really stoned people/also, Lenny wasn't really gentle, I guess, based on the fact that he killed that puppy and a bunch of mice and also Curly's wife/Spoiler alert"), a coral Old Navy cardigan handed-me-down from Kristen, and a dangly necklace from the Loft outlet.

Of course, I didn't wear a jacket this morning, because none of my jackets really went with this ensemble, so I was cold and crabby while walking up North and Clybourn. At least I look spring-tastic and sunny.