Thank you for dropping by!

I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mama Bean's World: Scales and Photos Don't Lie

Mama Bean's World: Scales and Photos Don't Lie: I am so appreciative of all the support I've gotten as I've tried to get this weight thing under control. Seriously. This is just a comple...

Scales and Photos Don't Lie

I am so appreciative of all the support I've gotten as I've tried to get this weight thing under control.  Seriously.  This is just a complete and total vent and not some pathetic cry for "Tell me I'm beautiful..."

Okay, so at WW's this week they suggested we take photos along the way to record our weight loss.

Fantastic idea, right?

No freaking way.

To quote the woman as I weighed in (who, to her credit is normally a little perkier than she was this past Sunday) "The scale doesn't lie."  This was in response to my very candid, off handed remark when she informed me that I had only lost one pound and I said "Wow- really?"  It was directed more at the universe, not a personal affront to her ability to read the scale.  You see, my scale at home is pretty much the same as their scale.  So when I was surprised that somewhere along the 2 mile drive I had gained 1.5 pounds, I responded with what I felt was a natural response of "Wow- how did that happen?"

But to her point, the scale doesn't lie.

I know I should be looking at the "non-scale victories" as they call them at Weight Watchers, but darn it, it would be nice to actually see the scale move a little more than at a snail's pace.  I was so excited to have more than a 2 pound loss, but apparently I drove through some sort of weight gain invisible shower on my way there.

This week I did have a "clothing epiphany"- and please excuse the quotations-- whenever there is some hilariously cheesy WW phrase, I prefer to put in quotations so no one blames me for the cheese.  I would also like to caution you NOT to mock the phrases because I have, as stated earlier, drank the Weight Watcher kool aid.  It's like family-- I can mock mine, but you can't.

Anyhow, so my big clothing epiphany-- I took my jeans from the dryer and put them on without doing that little dance where you squeeze yourself into them and jump up and down to wiggle them on.  I put them on and they fit.  Loosely.  Damn the scale to hell.

So I was feeling pretty good.

And then I saw the video from our dance recital from December 2010 and I look like a shuffling Oompa Loompa.  I had seen it before but never on a big screen.  I do not do well on widescreen.  Now your next natural comment is "But you've lost weight since then."

No.  I haven't.

I am exactly what I was when that was taped.  During the last 3 years I have gained 20 pounds, lost 30, gained 25, and have most recently lost 14.  Which if you follow that, pretty much leaves me where I was 3 years ago.  Which is still 60 pounds overweight.  And that doesn't count the 30 pounds I lost 8 years ago and gained back.  In the past 8 years I have lost 74 pounds and ended up exactly where I started.  *&((*&(*&@#!

So woohoo!  I have almost lost weight that I've already lost.

Yea me.

Please note sarcastic tone in my typing.

And then I was looking at pictures from when my son was 2.  We were actually looking at pictures of my husband and how much weight he's lost (125+ pounds- pretty amazing).  For me, however, it was depressing.  It was the lowest weight I had been in my 30's-- still overweight, but nothing like now. I stayed there until I got pregnant with my daughter and got back down to it pretty quickly.  Then it all fell apart. 

ANYHOW, so I don't particularly find the idea of photographs very motivating.  Degrading and demoralizing, yes, motivating, no.

It's just I see the pictures and rather than get all jazzed at "Wow- I've lost 13 pounds!" I think "Gee- I'm almost back to what I was when I first started to lose weight and realized I was fat!"

See how that's not exactly motivating?

I think for me I might as well just be honest with myself.  The scale doesn't lie

Today at Zumba I was feeling all good about myself.  I finally had the nerve to look into the mirror.  You know what?  I've got some moves down.  The reason I looked was because I noticed the newbies were watching ME to see how to do things-- granted, the teacher was hard to see, but still- ME!  Tubby, oompa loompa me.  So I snuck a peak and thought "Shake it sista!"  And then right before the end of class, I caught a side view.

There was the Oompa Loompa staring back at me.

Listen, it is what it is.  That's what I told my tap teacher when I told how horrified I was by video.  She said the new costumes are more forgiving.  I told her "Millie, they were all black last time.  What could be more forgiving?  It is what it is."

And it is.

The only thing I can do is keep trying.  I can't fix what was.  Pictures don't lie.

Looking at what I used to be is depressing.  The horror of how I let myself go is demoralizing.

I think for now, I'll keep on keeping on.  There's no turning back.  There's no Plan B.

Just don't expect me to be happy about it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Princesses and The Mom

I'm not going to lie, I've had a stick up my butt about the Disney Princesses my entire life.  I was a tomboy.  I have no memory of ever wanting to be a princess.  I grew up listening to Marlo Thomas singing "Free to Be, You and Me."  I am a product of the women's liberation movement and I have absolutely NO problem saying that.  Women burned bras, rallied and broke through the glass ceiling so that I would have the right to attend any college, any academy, and run in a marathon.  Yep.  That's right- not so long ago women WEREN'T ALLOWED TO RUN MARATHONS.  Personally, I have not done this, but at least it's an option that I can choose to pass on.  Because I would die.  But that's beside the point....

I remember being in a women's history class in college and I made the comment that I didn't consider myself a feminist.


Life changing comment.

"So you don't think women have a right to earn as much as a man?  You think women deserve to be discriminated against in the workplace?  Pay more for insurance?"  screamed a very passionate young women.

"Um... no..." I muttered.

"That's feminism!  What do you think a feminist looks like?!?!"" she continued.

And, being the smartass that I am I almost said "Hairy legged butchy women?" but considering that I was, in fact the only person in the room that shaved my legs, I opted to say "You know what?  You're right."  And she was.  I believe a woman has every right politically, professionally, academically that a man has.

I am always amazed that I am truly part of the first generation that had no limits.  There were always girls sports teams.  My calculus class was at least a third girls-- ten years earlier, that was probably not the case.  The junior high girls basketball team that I had played on was, in truth, only a few years old.  Wow.  

As a tomboy, I'm not surprised that I work in an industry that is male dominated.  But even that is changing.  I joke that I am happy more women are entering finance, but I never had to worry about buying a drink at a conference when I first started-- I was usually one of the few women in a room of a hundred men.  Now, not so much.  And I'm 20 years older....sigh.

ANYHOW, so when I found out I was having a daughter, I was concerned.  I am not a girls girl.  I don't giggle.  EVER.  I laugh.  I tell dirty jokes.  I belch.  I have cried over 2 boys in my entire life.  One worth it, the other not so so much.  I always said I didn't need a Prince Charming, I could build my own damn kingdom.  I do, however, shave my legs.  I wanted to point that out....

When I was about 8 months pregnant, I called my friend Kim from Target.  I had gone to buy a few things for my daughter.  I was having a meltdown.  EVERYTHING WAS PINK.  Everything.  And everything had kitties on it.  No dogs, just kitties.  I'm allergic to cats.  And the shirts said things like "Daddy's Princess"  "Diva in Training"-- I was horrified.  I believe my conversation went something like this:


Kim talked me off the ledge and I left Target ranting on my cell phone.  

I stand by my tirade.

My baby girl was born.  Her room was yellow.  Her crib set primary colors. Her clothes assorted colors- often pink, but not always.

But alas, time passed and I couldn't keep her from the vacuum of the Disney Princess phenomenon that hits every pre-school girl.

I vaguely remember "Cinderella" and "Snow White"- to be honest, they freaked me out.  Very dark.  I saw "The Little Mermaid" when I was part of the Big Sister program in college and was horrified when Ariel ditched her family, friends and peaceful life under the sea to follow Eric.  Seriously, I made a bit of a stink about it.  Aside from the music, I had a hard time understanding how people could like the movie.  Eric seemed like a tool-- really?  She was a mermaid for crying out loud and now she's some dude's arm candy?!?!  
My daughter's first princess obsession was Snow White.  Her teacher, who was awesome, dressed up as Snow White for Halloween, so it was reasonable.  We watched it 100 times.  During the second time, my daughter looked up at me and said "Can I have an apple?"  Cracked me up because it was right after the poison apple scene....  she didn't seem too mesmerized by the prince.  The story is more about bitchy moms.  Okay, fine.

Next came "Beauty and the Beast."  I have to say, at least Belle was a nerd.  A knock-out nerd, but next to my favorite Tiana (oh yes, I know them all), she's pretty good.  She has no interest in the burly, buff dude.  She's smart.  Yes, she also has a 12 inch waist and 72 inch chest, but she was more than that.  

I watched it with my daughter on the couch and at the end, as I turned to tell her "You know this is all crap..." she had GIANT tears in her eyes and sobbed "Mommy, it's so beautiful-- they're in LOVE...they finally got married...."


So I said "You know it doesn't really work that way, right?"

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"There are no princes in castles," I replied.  "The real story starts AFTER they get married..."

"But what about Daddy?"  

"What do you mean?" I asked curiously.

"Isn't he your prince?  Didn't you just look at him and know?  I thought that's what you said?"  

Rats....  that is what I said.

My husband and I spent an entire day together for our first official date.  That night, as we were saying good night, we were standing on opposite sides of my car, we looked at each other and that was it.

No joke.

Just like that.

Just like in the freaking movie.

So even though I am absolutely free to be whoever I want to be, it doesn't mean that I still can't live happily ever after. And shave my legs.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Seredipity and Drew Carey

This is not the blog I meant to write today- I had a few ideas- write about my party and fantastic friends, about some people's implication that they are so "busy" and the rest of us eat bon bon's all day... but this is the one that needed to be written.

According to Merriam-Webster's serendipity is defined as the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.

Serendipity plays a role in my life often.  I am a collector of friends.  I find that they find their way into my life always at the exact right moment.

As did Drew Carey.

For about the past 14 years,  I've been meaning to thank him. 

No, I don't actually know him.  In fact. since I don't actually know him, it's been a little difficult to follow through on my karmic mission of thanking him.

But suddenly, he's popped up again- twice in the past week.  When I was at the manicurist, The Price is Right was on. Not shocking, but I thought "Ah, Drew Carey... I never did send a thank you..."

Then today, I was playing "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" on Facebook and the question was "Which comedian replaced Bob Barker on 'The Price is Right?'"

Drew Carey.  (And by the way, only 4 people got that right-- seriously??? )

Anyhow, I thought "Hmmm.... it's a sign.  I should start my mission to thank him..."  I'd gotten nowhere over the years.  Those silly laws preventing celebrity stalking... ANYHOW, he does  have a blog on Blogger.  So I thought, well, I'll give it the ol' college try and send this as a shout out. 

Thank you, Drew Carey.

Oh wait-- you're probably curious as to why I would thank him....

You see, 14 years ago, Mama Bean's World did not exist.  I was Lori, alone in Las Vegas, recently had called off a wedding after finding out that my lovely fiance had had a pretend diploma, pretend job and oh, had kited a bunch of money from my bank account.  The good news, I found out 6 weeks before we were supposed to get married.  Nice save.  Great, huh?  Sure.  Then, my go-to guy-- the one that had always been there waiting for me-- well, he finally found someone else.  Someone who appreciated him and didn't use him perpetually as Plan B.  That hurt worse than the fiance because I deserved that.  Really deserved it.  Work sucked.  Beyond sucked.  As in a major class action lawsuit the next year (apparently, I wasn't the only one who was having issues).  All my friends were married and having babies.  It was not a fun time. 

And then I got strep throat.  Bad.  On a three day weekend. Everyone was out of town except for 1 work colleague who was nice enough to drive me to the quick care.  Actually, he followed me in my car because he couldn't stay.  I figured I could call a cab if I couldn't drive back home.

I was sick.  I was depressed.  Really depressed.  Not in the hormonal-imbalance-medicatable way, but in the holy-shit-my-life-really-and-truly-sucks way.   Yes, me.  Miss Sunshine and Roses.  Miss I Was a Motivational Speaker in a Previous Life me.

To make it worse, I wasn't sure how I ended up in that spot.  I had dated some great guys- turned down some proposals- had quit fantastic jobs- had traveled the world.

All to end up, sad, alone on a futon with 102 degree fever.

You'd have been sad, too.  It had all looked so promising yet at that  moment, looked nothing like the picture in the brochure "Lori's Spectacular Life."

Earlier in the week I had picked up the book "Dirty Jokes and Beer" at Borders.  I think it was in the discount bin.  I lived in Cleveland.  I liked Drew Carey.  I'm a John Irving fan, a contemporary literature gal, so this was not my normal genre. I have no idea why I picked it up.  But I did.

I grabbed it from my coffee table.

I read the forward.

Drew Carey and I have lead oddly parallel lives.  We grew up in NE Ohio.  We are band nerds.  We attended Kent State- although mine was only a semester junior year.  We even both lived (I still do) in Vegas and here, both did not find our lives heading in the direction we had chosen.

I started to smile. 

The first part of the book is comprised of some of the funniest short stories I have ever read.  I still laugh to myself when I think about the guy getting chased by Jim Brown-- I don't remember the details, but in NE Ohio, Jim Brown is a god. 

I started to laugh.

A lot.

The stories incorporate life in Cleveland, at Kent, in Vegas... all hilarious, twisted and right up my alley.  Disturbed, in fact.  All with references that seemed custom made for me.

Then the joke sections...

There is an entire chapter dedicated to Big Dick Jokes.  Holy cow, I have never laughed so hard in my life.  He and a friend had apparently started a battle of whose dick was bigger and the jokes were born.  And they are hysterically funny- grossly inappropriate for dinner conversation, but at the time, exactly what I needed.

Serendipitous, in fact.

So there I was, on my futon, running a fever with tears running down my eyes from laughing so hard about penis jokes.

My 6 month funk ended in that moment.

No joke.

A crass, crude, juvenile book of some of the bawdiest jokes ever pulled this Ivy League prima donna, Debbie Do Right out of the worst funk of my life.

Silly, huh?

For the next few months any time I felt myself start to slip back into that funk, I would pull out the book and start laughing. 

It sorta saved my life.  I wasn't suicidal, but to be honest, had I not gotten off that futon, I probably would have become a bitter, angry person.  I was sliding and that's what got me to turn it around.  Who knows where I would have ended up? 

The jokes were also useful on the dating scene- trust me, big dick jokes sound extra funny coming from sweet, little ol' me.

So, Drew Carey, if you're reading this, thank you.  I'm sorry it's taken me so long to tell you.  I just thought that as someone who had a few funk periods yourself, you might want to know that your silly little joke book turned it around for me.  I know, it's ridiculous, but it really, truly did.

Life is quite good.  I've never gone back to that dark place on the futon again. 

But when the clouds start to creep in, I hear a tiny voice that says...

"My dick is so big it has it's own area code...."

And I know everything is gonna be all right.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Birthday Party

This Friday is my birthday.  On Friday I will go out to dinner with my family.  On Saturday I will be celebrating it with 50-80 of my closest friends (and if this has you upset, please check your Events tab on Facebook-- you were probably invited and didn't realize this....).

Yes, most years since I've been an adult, I've thrown myself a birthday party.

Apparently, this is weird.  Or selfish. Or something.  People often have an odd reaction.  It surprises me.

Seriously- what is so weird about having a birthday party?

I love my friends- I actually adore them.  They make me laugh.  They are there when I need them.  They are my home team, so to speak.  They are funny.  They are vivacious.  They are smart.  I cannot think of a better way to spend one night a year better than gathering all of these spectacularly unique people into one room and getting them drunk.  It's a blast.

I used to have 29th birthday anniversary parties usually at restaurants, then at 36, I started to focus on theme parties.

Don't cringe-- they've taken on a life of their own.

The first theme was "Party Like You're in College"- everyone wore their college shirts, we got a keg, there were jello shots and all the food came in a bag and was generic.  To say it was fun, is an understatement.

Then there was the "Come Stand in my Kitchen and Drink" party-- actually there was no theme, but that's what happened.  I think it was supposed to be Italian theme... oh well... it's a blur...

Then the cocktail/Rat Pack party.  Everyone got all decked out- I had a beehive.  I found out that I LOVE Harvey Wallbangers.  Way too much fun.

Last year's theme was red.  I had red balloons, sangria, red velvet cupcakes, everyone wore red.  Again, fun.  One of my friends who had never come before said "Now I get what the big deal is...."

This year's theme is Tacky Tiki - a cheesy luau party.  Pina colada punch, mai tai's, pineapple, spam- and jello-- I always have jello at my parties.

My kids used to spend the night at my mother-in-law's, but starting last year, we let them stay.  They stay upstairs and go to bed at 10 instead of 8.  They have been excitedly helping me shop and get ready.

Now before you get this crazy idea that the party is this faboo catered affair- it's not.  Not remotely.  The food is good, but nothing special.  I use paper plates and plastic cups-- it's down right tacky from a Society Page standard.

What makes my parties so much fun and makes everyone get excited about them is the fact that I have the coolest friends ever.

They embrace the theme.  They come to have fun- not out of obligation or commitment.  They are the most assorted group of characters you'll ever see.  They are collected from various stages in my life.  And if you haven't figured it out yet, I have a lot of hobbies.  With that comes people from every walk of life.  Throw them all in the room together (usually standing on each other in the kitchen) and it's simply magical.

I love how my kids peek down the stairs and see grown up's having fun- especially their parents.  I hope that somehow they are learning the importance of having friends and staying young.  That you don't necessarily have to wait to be invited to a party-- simply throw one.  You don't have to be 21 to have a good time.  I plan on having fun with my friends well into my 90's, should I be so fortunate.  I want my kids to know that you make your own fun.

And I'm not uptight about hosting a party.  My theory is if it's not perfect, my real friends don't care.  And if someone does care, they're not my real friend so I don't care what they think.  My parties are borderline tacky- Martha Stewart would cringe- but I also think Martha would have a blast. There are no caterers, no fancy invitations.  The conversations are lively- there are no quiet moments or need for cocktail party conversation starter games.  They aren't expensive, my house isn't immaculate, but I don't think I've met anyone yet who doesn't say "What are you doing next year??" on their way out the door.

My friends are one of my greatest gifts in life.  I think my birthday is the perfect time to celebrate that.  Every year I step to the side and watch all these fantastic people interact.  My thoughts eventually turn to "Why does everyone cram into the kitchen....." but it still gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.  Often accentuated by alcohol, but not always.

So yes, you might think it's sad that I throw my own party.  I would take your pity, but I'll be too busy having fun.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Losing Weight Publicly

I started a weight loss blog and to be honest, it's been too hard to keep up on both, so I am now, officially combining them.  As my friend Helen pointed out, losing weight is part of Mama Bean's World, so starting a second blog, just focused on it, might be hard.  My thoughts were to separate them because I didn't want this blog to become a bitch session about weight loss.

Oddly, it's been going along okay and it really has been incorporated quite nicely into my "real" world.

So, as you may or may not know, I started Weight Watchers right before Labor Day.  I'm down just over 10 pounds- nothing to write home about, right?  Except here's the thing-- I'm fine with it.  Most people gain 7 pounds over the holidays.  I didn't.  I've only had 2 weeks that I gained-- one week was only .2 lbs.  I've had 4 that I stayed even.  Other than that, I've been down every week- sometimes a 1.6 pounds, sometimes only .2, but I'm completely happy.

I would be lying if I didn't wish that something magically had happened and I was down 20 pounds.  But here's the scoop-- I already was exercising and I already eat fairly healthy.  Then why am I not skinny?  Well, I gained my weight fairly slowly- except for one chunk of it.  It was a lifestyle change.  I always say that switching from black tea to coffee with creamer = 1 pound a month = 12 pounds a year = 60 pounds over 5 years.  I also have a very sedentary lifestyle.  Throw in having kids and even though I love, love, love working out, the time to do it has been limited.  And those aren't excuses, they are facts.  I used to work out at 5 am.  My husband now teaches an early bird class and leaves the house at 5:45.  I'm not working out at 4.  I work too late to make that anything I would stick with.  Trust me, I've lost lots of weight-- and I've gained it back and then some.  Largely because I get all gung ho, start out with this killer work out plan and then either get hurt (ala my back) or get burned out.

This time, I very clearly decided to do it slowly, with a plan I can stick with.  I add something every month.  I am making small adjustments.  I am going to my WW's meetings (I've only missed two).  I'm fine.  I'm keeping pace.  My weight gain 2 weeks ago had me concerned--it was significant and literally over night.  Let's just say, um, things have worked their way out.  I've lost it all and then a little more.  Fiber is my friend.  And now I'll stop talking about it.

What is KILLING me is all the unsolicited advice I am getting.

Granted, I have made this public, so I expect to get "feedback."  When I ask a question at a meeting, I like everyone's input.  However, the constant insistence that I must be doing something wrong- not measuring, not tracking, not exercising-- it's annoying.  I am. And hey, you know what?  I AM losing weight.  I am doing it slowly and permanently.  My "bad" eating was limited to a few late nights a week of munching and not caring when I went out to eat 2-3 times a week.  I now am more aware.

So if you want to give me advice please do not take time out of your day to explain that fruits and vegetables are healthier than ice cream.  No shit.  Or tell me that if I exercised more, I would lose more.  Really?  Golly gosh darn, I'd never heard THAT before....

Here are the tips that I've actually found useful:
  • Park at the end of the parking lot to force yourself to walk more.
  • Set up a puzzle to work on so when you have the munchies, you have something else to do (I did point out that I would still have a free hand to munch with....).
  • Go to bed early and read.
  • Write down what you're going to eat the night before so you'll tend to stick with it throughout the day.

Here's what I have not found useful:
  • You should measure your food.  Thank you.  I have a food scale. I've done this so long I could win a game show called "How much does that weigh?"
  • Count your points.  Again, thank you.  I pay $49 a month.  I count my freaking points.
  • You should exercise more.  Okay, Einstein, here's my week.  If I exercise after 8 pm-- my only "alone" time- I will not be able to sleep.  It does not make me tired. I get 3 hours of cardio in a week at a minimum. 
  • You must not be tracking your exercise accurately.  Yes, I am.  I wear a heart rate monitor.  I know when I dial it in (which some days I do) and that the fitter I get, the harder I need to work.  It tracks that.  While nothing is fool proof, I trust it more than your assessment from afar.
  • Work out at home.  HA HA HA HA!  I can't even take a dump without an interruption.  Between an old dog that I've stepped on 100 times, a young dog that thinks I'm playing and 2 kids that suddenly find me the single most fascinating person person in the world--- it doesn't work for me. I'm happy it works for you.  Not me.  And I've tried it at 5 am.  Same thing.  It's frustrating and upsetting.  I HAVE lowered the bar and now try to do a 10-20 minute Wii Fit.  But even that is a struggle to do without ending it wanting to kick a pet or strangle a kid.
  • Anything cooking related.  I don't own a deep fryer.  I know how to prepare vegetables.  The fact that YOU just figured out how to steam broccoli in the microwave, makes me laugh.   I don't think I've ever served my children a canned fruit in my life.  Sometimes I go on a kick and even make my own bread. 
  • Don't eat fast food.  Wait- you mean a cheeseburger, fries and a milkshake are bad for me???  Thank you for the enlightenment.  
So if I seem a little pissy, it's just that this past week I got a barrage of helpful tips. 

I appreciate that every one of them came from the heart.  Truly, I do. 

But, please, I'm good.  I may need to vent here and there, but I'm good.  It may take me 2 years to get all this weight off and I'M FINE WITH IT.  I'm very truly changing my lifestyle.  I don't have "my" food and then everyone else's food. We all eat the same, healthy food at dinner.  I'm doing things I can stick with-- and sometimes that means having ice cream.  Because you know what?  If I ban it, the second I'm not "dieting" I will eat a ton of it.  Exercise is the same thing-- I'm doing things that I love, not just like.  If I love it, I will stick to it.  Running (or my attempt at it- which looks like speed waddling) and eating non-fat nasty ass cheese are not going to work for me.  Walking the dog and eating less of good cheese- that works.  If that means it takes a little longer, so be it.  And I refuse to eat diet foods.  I need to break the habit of eating cookies, ice cream, crackers-- period.  The diet foods only make me miss the real version more.

It may sound like I'm being obstinate, but I'm not.  I'm being realistic.  I know me better than anyone else.  If I ask for your advice, I want your input.  If I don't ask, I don't want it.  And if you've never had to lose weight- and I don't mean 15 pounds after having a baby-- SHUT UP.  You have no idea what it's like.  Period.  You know how to stay fit.  It's completely and totally different.  Trust me. 

Besides, at the end of the day, what I'm doing is working.  And that's all that matters to me. 

The reason I'm sharing this journey is because I hope, at the end of the day, my "little steps" process makes sense for others trying to lose a lot of weight.  It's not all or nothing.  It's really something is better than nothing, but adjust your expectations. And stick with it.  I have no doubt that I will be at a healthy weight a year from now.  No doubt.  It will definitely take another year to "get in shape"- but I will easily make my goal of being in my weight range in another year.

And I hope that if you aren't happy with your weight, you will join me!  I love that I have 3 friends that are losing weight and I was what got them started.  I LOVE it.  My little engine that could attitude- not an Jillian in your face attitude- motivated them.

Because I can do this.  I will do this.  I am doing this.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Barista in Flannel

My husband as a new obsession.


And it is hilarious.

I would say I take full responsibility, but I don't.  His switch from beer to wine, is completely my fault.  This, however, I did not see coming.

I am not a huge coffee drinker.  In fact, I came to coffee later in the game.  I was a die hard tea drinker and gradually converted over to coffee.  I am a one cup a day girl.

In fact, we got a very cool brew and grind coffee maker for our wedding 10 years ago.  Up until about a year ago, it was at my office.  We had it at the house, but used it so rarely, I just took it to the office. 

Then my husband discovered the caramel macchiato at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. I am a vanilla latte or tea latte girl.  I started going to either The Coffee Bean or Starbucks on my pay day.  I figured, during the poor years, if one day I could afford to spend $4 on a cup of coffee without being stressed, I would have "made" it.

I had no idea that my casual treat would become an addiction for my husband.

He discovered the Skinny Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks.  There was a drive thru on the way to work.  And here the addiction began.

Then, we got a Breville for the office and the coffee maker came home.  I assumed it would go into the pantry and pulled out for special events.  After all, my husband HATES appliances on the counter.  The toaster, the mixer- everything used to be carefully stored.

But no.... our coffee maker suddenly made it's way on to the counter.

It should have been a sign of what was to come....

I had a french press for the times when I wanted coffee at home.  But I thought, okay, what the heck.

We used it so much that it broke (if you're a regular reader, the fact that my husband killed a kitchen appliance is not a shock).  To his credit, it was 10 years old- pretty good track record.  We couldn't find a grind and brew replacement.  Then we were out at Fry's, saw an cappuccino/espresso/coffee pot combo and brought it home.

And he put it on the counter.

And of course we had to get a coffee grinder because he really liked the freshly ground coffee.  No joke.

And he put that on the counter, too.

The good news, I used these appliances as leverage to get my toaster oven....

The bad news, I'm not particularly a fan of appliances on the counter either.

My husband became a full fledged barista.  We now have 6 bottles of Torani syrup in the cupboard-- not one, not two, SIX. 

My husband cared for this machine as if it were a Porsche.

Then it died.

And he was sad.

I bought an Aeroccino per my friend Candi's recommendation.  It quietly and quickly makes frothed milk for lattes and cappuccino.  He didn't understand how we could still make coffee.

I introduced him to the French Press that I had been using for the past few years, apparently unnoticed.

Ahhh... a new way to imbibe.

But alas, he was still not satisfied.  It wasn't strong enough.  The man who used to say coffee tastes like dirt.  And trust me, if you'd have my french pressed coffee, it is very strong.

For the past few weeks, he's been surfing the net, hanging out in appliance sections- it's been hilarious.  He is not a metrosexual.  He is a giant man who likes to shoot firearms.  Looking for the perfect cappuccino maker- never saw it coming.  The man wears flannel.

I finally suggested that rather than take out a second mortgage on our house to get a full fledged coffee system (and taking up our counter space which was now driving ME nuts), he buy the stove top version.

Again, he was mesmerized.

I said "You know, make coffee on the stove- that's how my grandma did it."

So now he discovered the Moka- a stove top espresso maker.  The old fashioned kind. He is in heaven.  He was concerned that it didn't make enough. I explained that it was espresso- you serve it in tiny cups, not giant tumblers.  And even better-- it doesn't sit on the counter!

Sadly, we tested it out last night. At 7 pm.

So at midnight, we were lying in bed, WIDE AWAKE.

I told him that I was concerned, I thought he may have a problem.  If you've seen the Will Ferrell scenes in "Kicking and Screaming," he's about 2 steps from this.  I apologized for introducing him to coffee.  I had no idea.  I had been a casual drinker for years.  I can handle it.  I didn't realize he couldn't. 

The good news, he makes a mean hazelnut latte.  Delish.

The bad news, when he talks about frothy and full-bodied, he's not talking about me any more!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Kindle versus "real" Books

If you know me, you know I am a voracious reader.


I mean it.

I know a lot of people who say they "read."

I usually ask what they've read lately-- because I'm always into reading something new and different.

When they say "I read yada yada a few months ago..."  I stop listening.

Or when people ask me about joining the book group that I'm in, I ask "How many books did you read last month?"

If their eyes get BIG and they are stunned that we meet every month and read a book, I just make up some vague excuse about how we're "full."

Everyone in the book group is a voracious reader.  We all read the monthly book and then a few more.

Books are my crack.

My husband knows this.  He asked me if I wanted a Kindle a few years ago.  They were $500.  That buys a LOT of books.  Plus, I am a purist.  I didn't want to give up my books.  Well, Christmas of 2010, they had dropped to $129.  I told him go ahead.  If I didn't like it, I would give it my kids (both avid- not quite voracious yet- readers).

I did not like it.  It reminded me of my blackberry and I felt like I should be working.  Between the computer, my blackberry for work, my Android-- I was teched out, so to speak.

My 76 year old client a few weeks later, was asking me what I was reading.  We started talking about my new Kindle.  She LOVED her Kindle.  She has no idea how to use a computer and yet here she was, embracing technology.  She gave me some tips--

First, she said, you have to adjust the font type to something you like.  Then, adjust the font size.  Then the spacing.  And she suggested that I buy a cover with a book light on it.  She said it would feel more like a book.


I found out that I am a sans serif kind of girl.  I like a little bigger font and a little more space when I read.  Those reading glasses I was considering?  Put on the back burner for now.

I traveled for business quite a bit last year and it was great to have it with me-- with the exception of short flights.  Since it's an "electronic device" I couldn't use it during take-off's and landings.  That sorta sucks.

I love that I can download any book any time.  I can even check books out from the library.

So, with that said, I asked to be upgraded to the Kindle Fire for Christmas this year.  I wanted it to do a little more-- you know, so I could waste even MORE time on Facebook--- anyhow, while I love everything my Fire does, I have to say, I prefer the older ink based model for reading.  It's just easier on my eyes.

There I go again, hanging on to the past.

What I do like about having 2 now, is that I can keep one upstairs on my nightstand and the other downstairs.  If I connect to the wireless before I turn it off, I can sync where I am on one device, and open up to the where I left off on the other.

How freaking cool is that???

And here's the funny thing-- I still have a few books I need to finish.  And me, the lover of all things book, the purist, now hates to read "real" books- they seem so heavy and cumbersome.  Talk about a conversion of spirit.

With that said, it still saddens me a little.  I like my book shelves lined with books.  I tend to give away books and this makes it harder.  I wonder what libraries will look like in the future-- I spent the large portion of my childhood in the stacks of our county library.  Will my grandchildren know that amazing smell?  Will textbooks go electronic?  Will the slate tablets of the past be replaced with tablet computers?  Will it make it easy for me to self publish?  Will it result in a lot of amateur writers clogging the shelves with self-published books?

E-readers have been around for quite some time now.  They have clearly taken off this year more than ever.  Kinda like how a few people had cell phones 10 years ago, and now everyone has one.  Even second graders.  It's a transition period, most definitely.  Amazon has figured it out- it now costs more for e-copies than paperbacks.

So part of me feels guilty for embracing this new technology and possibly adding to the end of a very wonderful part of my own personal history.  The other part is happy to have access to unlimited titles, flexibility, portability and a whole world of knowledge and stories to explore.

In the end, I am simply a voracious reader.  I will take my crack any way I can get it.