Sunday, July 27, 2008


Cara may have created a monster. Oh sure, I have heard the stories about "blog addiction" but like most people, I thought, "It won't happen to me." I have always thought of the computer as a tool - a necessary item to use when I have to bring work from home, or check directions to a friend's place. I only occasionally used it for leisure, and then only to do some crossword puzzles or sudoku. Now, I turn on this same computer and become immersed for hours in the world of blogs, and often forget my original mission. Earlier in the week I thought, "I can quit at any time." And I can. I think. I am not as certain as I once was.

Since I have been so busy blogging about blogging, I bet you are wondering how the 'ole diet is going. For that, I did manage to drag myself out of the blogosphere (that's what they call it). I updated my spreadsheet, trying to sort through my hazy memory in order to determine exactly how many beers, chips, mozzarella-tomato thingies, and glasses of wine I had last night. My slight headache and gorilla breath indicate that it could be a few more glasses than I might like to admit. And then there was the cheesecake. I had been forewarned of this fabulous concoction, because my friend is actually considering marketing it. Anne, I think you have a winner, as I would definitely pay money to eat your cheesecake again. Luckily, I don't have to - there's more in the fridge!
But sigh....once again, the diet goal has not been reached. So close! Yet so far away. At least the glass is half-full, though. I got back to the gym, and after the storm on Wednesday night, we had three days of gorgeous weather so I took the mountain bike out. I had hoped this trend would continue a few more days, but alas, I am currently typing on my porch and sweating like a really sweaty thing. (Forgive me, I just want to go inside to my air conditioning now.)
Hopefully I can redeem myself from my shameful addiction to baked goods this week. Did I mention there's more cheesecake in the fridge??

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Best. Day. Ever.

...At work. (not of all time, or even top ten when considering the many non-work days I have thus far experienced). But I digress.

This morning, I entered the building, 10 minutes late as usual, when the alarm beeped at me. It had its desired affect I suppose, because I became alarmed - we have gotten angry emails from management regarding the accidental setting off of the alarm, and I did not wish to be the recipient of individualized reprimanding. As it was 8:10 in the AM, it took a few more seconds and another beep for me to realize that a) there are many other people in the office by now, b) the system clearly indicates that it is not armed, and c) the thing is beeping at regular, unalarming intervals. I then realize that we are out of power.

But not all power. We still have the kitchen, including the toaster and coffeemaker. And it is bagel day! This is my most favored of all days because, as you know, I love food, and especially free food. The power that we are out of? The phone and the computers, some of the lights, and the air conditioning.

What? You mean no one can call me or email me for the day, and that I can't accomplish anything? I probably wouldn't have been able to accomplish anything anyway, due to the obscene number of phone calls and emails I receive every 5 minutes, but now, I have an excuse!! It was great. We actually did get the phone back about 2 hours later, but I was proactive, and called some of my more prominent interrupters and told them not to call me or email me because I can't do anything they want me to do!! (I was later thwarted by the fax machine - I forgot that dinosaur still existed.) This also resulted in only 22 emails when I finally did get the email back, with 2 of them from friends about dinner next week. Had I not made that call, I would have easily had that many in about 2 hours.

And did you say the air conditioning was out? You mean I don't have to wear my sweater over my cute outfit? And I might actually be able to write without having to rub my hands and blow on them to get the blood flowing?

Needless to say, I got a ton of stuff done today. Literally. I have a stack of drawings to review for a construction job (wanna see it? Click here). I pushed three sets out the door and got a quarter of the way through the fourth. Yay, only 15 more. Maybe I will get to those the next time a transformer gets struck by lightening.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Warning - Many Hyperlinks!

My blog - guru Carabee, curator of "Land of Bean", has "tagged" me. Once again, my shameful newness to this not-so-new world of blogging becomes painfully evident. As directed, I visited her site (which I was totally about to do anyway, as it is part of my computer routine). Apparently, this is sort of like chain mail** and is a way to a) get more people to read your blog, and b) tell your current readers about new blogs. Honestly, I am a little gun-shy about both of these things. Many folks tell me they enjoy my blog, but they are usually related to me, or drinking a lot of beer with me (or both). I fear telling complete strangers to check out my blog. Also, I read only two blogs religiously: Cara's blog, and Jennsylvania, which is done by a "professional blogger" who already has a ton of readers (she gets like 500 comments on average, and would be unlikely to participate in said tagging.) It turns out I am very picky about blogs, and have found a few I like (Cara tagged another one, Blah Blah BLOG). However, there are MANY blogs which do not interest me. Despite this, I did some (eek! 4 hour!) research to find bloggers worthy of being tagged. I am sure there are more.

So, without further ado, the rules:
1. Link the person who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours…
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them…
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Parts 1 & 2 are easy. I link to Cara's site all the time, and I am equipped with many quirks. Here are six I thought of most readily - how this is going to get more people to read my blog is beyond me:

#1 - I have always liked well-starched sheets. This is because I like to fold the sheet and rub the base of my fingernail against the sharp edge. I especially like it when the skin has pulled away for some reason or another. Is this too weird?? Perhaps this quirk is too quirky…

#2 - Some people enjoy fresh fruit or sugar on their cereal. I enjoy those things, but for an extra-special (high calorie) treat, I like peanut butter on Cheerios. Do not knock it until you’ve tried it.

#3 - I HATE reality TV. Because it is the only thing on (I also do not get cable), I have been watching “Last Comic Standing” and “America’s Got Talent” on occasion. Can I just watch an hour of comedians doing standup?? Please? Why do I need to know the back story about how they all get along living in a house together? Ironically, while researching for part 4 of “the rules”, I found a convincing blog entry on “How Reality TV Can Make You a Better Person”. The best part for me is that others have endured the reality TV, and imparted the lessons in this concise article.

#4 - As a child, I ate the following items: Lebanon baloney, bread, cereal, blueberry yogurt, spaghetti without sauce (but with Parmesan), most fruits except pears and plums, carrots, and corn, peanut butter and jelly. Nothing else. I was a joy, and my mom carried an “emergency” PB&J in her purse in case we had to eat at some exotic place like McDonalds.

#5 - Many girls my age developed crushes on actors like Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, and Johnny Depp. I liked all of them, but I also had huge crushes on…I am still almost too embarrassed to say it….Dana Carvey and Alan Alda (in his MASH) years. I can only justify this by the fact that Adam very faintly resembles Dana Carvey….I cannot explain my love for Alan Alda other than to say that it was more a love for Hawkeye Pierce - a fun loving, yet smart guy.

#6 - When I get stuck on a problem, I have to pee. I guess it started as a way to procrastinate when I was supposed to be doing homework, but it is accompanied with, well, you know what it feels like when you have to pee. When I have a tough detail to figure out at work, I may frequent the bathroom as much as 4 times an hour.

And now, the blogs I found which were actually worth reading. (There are MANY in other languages, or dedicated to pictures of family members, or full of grammatical errors/religious righteousness. I found the most effective way to search was to click on the links in my profile under "Interests". It is amazing the diversity one may find, despite using a common interest to start the search.)

1. The Wind in Your Vagina - Ironically written by a stay at home Dad, better known in his blog as "Black Hockey Jesus".

2. The Ginger Files - I was originally drawn to her by the Fraggle she uses as a self photo. She loves Reality TV, but I think we could still be friends. I also enjoyed many of the blogs she links on her home page.

3. Catholic Girl in Sin City - I can relate.

4. Mission Improvisational - Can make buying a mattress into a hilarious tale!

5. You only live once - Small town girl who writes poetry. And her URL is "Making Bored People Mad" - how great is that?

6. Strange in the City - A lot like my blog actually...only this girl lives in NYC so there's a little more to write about.

**I wonder if the new generation even knows what that is?? Really, my teenage cousin asked me how those rotary phones worked once..

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I'm Back, Baby!

Today I planned out my meals for the week with a renewed sense of purpose. Just because I'm back to including a few more food groups in my diet doesn't mean I sacrifice taste. I chose "Farmers Delight Chili" for my lunch this week, and am making "Greek Bruschetta" for the third time for use as a snack. And I have just happily returned from the kitchen to rest a bit before making an Indian inspired stir fry that I love called "Mellow Yellow". It uses a lot of tumeric, so the chicken turns a golden yellow color.

Now that I have my awesome new apron (a recent birthday gift), I can sit rest-assured that I am not getting flour on the couch. It's a wonderful feeling. Now all I need is one of those tarps like they use at circuses during elephant performances. I am not the neatest cook, and I hate cleaning floors, which is why there may be a small ecosystem forming behind the stove. Or the refrigerator. Probably both. For the last several days, the cat has sat staring intently at one of these two appliances, tail switching in anticipation of....something. I am hoping that whatever it is just stays back there, because soon I will be forced to do something about this. It involves cleaning (deterrent #1), but also involves removing many items which are stacked decoratively on top of the surfaces (deterrent #2). But worst of all, it could involve extermination or exhumation of creepy, crawly, or even furry animals (huge deterrent.)

It could also be a cat toy, or nothing. For now, I am going with that.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

That's Better

Hilary Duff? I thought more like Natalie Merchant, but hell, I'll take it.

MyHeritage: Celebrity Collage - Family tree outline - Ancestory

Ummm...Lets Try This Again...

I thought it might be fun to find out which celebrities I most resemble. Now, I realize that this website is probably not 100% accurate, and that I shouldn't take its assessment too seriously, but I must admit I was rather disappointed to find Dave Farrell as the celebrity I most resemble. And, I have to say, I was even more disappointed to find some old dude named Freeman Dyson on my list (looks a little like Stephen Hawking? You know, the guy with a degenerative disease that left him paralyzed?)

Phew. Turns out the little box just to the left of my arm contains a face - and these celebrities are matches for a random guy in the background who was apparently at The Lion's Den on June 24, 2006. I'm just saying. In case he turns out to be an armed robber or something.


MyHeritage: Family trees - Genealogy - Celebrities - Collage - Morph


This week turned from a hiatus to an all out binge. I decided at some point that perhaps it would be good to get all my cravings out of my system in one week, so that I can start fresh on Sunday with a renewed commitment to calorie control. But first, my commitment to calorie consumption: with unabashed zeal, I ate cake, cookies, pizza, pasta, beer, french fries, burgers, crispy chicken, chicken wings, potato skins, cupcakes....I am a little embarrassed to say the list goes on.

And you know what??

I feel like crap.

My tummy hurts, my head aches, my breath could clear a city block, I am tired, and I don't want to see another piece of cake for at least 24 hours. (Okay, 6 hours.) I am so ready to eat salad again, drink water instead of beer and soda, chomp on celery, and eat fruit for breakfast instead of cupcakes. Hopefully I'll look back on this experience and remember how bad the body feels when it isn't being treated well. I do remember when I originally started this experiment, I felt better after the first week of healthier eating. I can't wait for that feeling to return so I can lay off the Pepto Bismol.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Beware of Bird

Each day, I walk for exercise during lunch, and despite my hiatus from the spreadsheet, I am continuing with this practice. (Though I walked to Subway...) Anyway, on the way there, I found this:
In case you cannot read it: "Attention all employees: We have received calls from several employees stating that they have been accosted by a bird outside of the front entrance. These birds aggressively defend their territory, even against much larger birds. Please be attentive to your surroundings when using the front path to cross Joppa Road. Perhaps it would be in your best interest to cross over to the Glory Days side of the road or to use your car to access any of the eateries close by. Thanks for your cooperation."

I have walked this path many times in the last few weeks and have never seen this apparent menace, and I decided I was not going to be bullied by a bird. However, this sign had similar affects as "Terror Levels" or airport security notices, and I nearly flipped out when a finch landed nearby: Despite his bad-ass mohawk, bitchin' tattoo, and bling, I passed by unharmed.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It Ends...For Now

As you all know, it is very hard for me to withstand the force field surrounding all buffets. I am quite sensitive to the calls of cupcakes - "Eat me!", they say, "Eat ME!" I try to walk away, but it is as though invisible tentacles have reached out and wrapped themselves about me. "No!", I say, "I already ate six of your mates!" And before you know it, the taco dip begins to taunt me, the salsa chimes in, and I am just done for.

Well, I discovered this weekend that there is something worse than attending an all-you-can-eat shin dig: hosting an all-you-can-eat shin dig. Not only do you indulge for a day, you bring home all the leftovers and indulge for a week.

I ate a danish for breakfast and cut myself a slice of cake for lunch. As I think about my week, I realize that I have another pizza meeting on Tuesday, a happy hour on Wednesday and Thursday, and a vet appointment which coincides with gym time on Friday. Not only do I have many food related activities, I have no time to plan my meals, go to the store, or work out at the gym. So I give up. For now. I know my limitations.

I'll be mindful of what I'm eating, but I just can't do it. Next week is the beginning of a new era! I hope.

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Routes

When Adam and I were commuting from Erie to Baltimore every other weekend, the drive began to get a tad predictable. More than once we found ourselves veering into the other lane or pulling off for scary naps in parking lots in which any random passerby could break the window and commit all sorts of unthinkable crimes (I think I have thought of most of them thanks to my affinity for murder shows and Stephen King novels). I usually opted for pounding caffeine pills so it would be mid week before I could ever sleep again.

The point is, the six hour drive became Boring with a capital B. So we began experimenting with alternate routes. Although some routes took as much as 45 minutes longer, the break in the routine was enough to keep us from (almost literally) dying of boredom.

With this philosophy in mind, I have created a new spreadsheet. This one focuses on servings rather than meals, and will hopefully be more accurate. It does basically the same thing and is just a different means to achieve a smaller rear end. I thought of going cold turkey and scrapping the dang dorky spreadsheet, but I don't think I can handle it. It is simply too easy to lie to myself when it is not spelled out right in front of me. It is not as though I try to forget the brownie I ate on my way to the printer, but I do - or at least I forget to factor in the calories.

I also went back to my old strategy of the mini-goal. This week's goal is to adopt a trick I read in "The Dorm Room Diet": drink a glass of water before every meal. I know I don't drink enough water - unless the kind mixed with malt and hops counts**. As a result, I often feel achy, crampy, and just plain icky. I have also read that many hunger pangs are actually triggered by thirst. Most of us are apparently just ignoring or misinterpreting the thirst, which I have never understood. Why can we not accurately listen to our own brains??

** It doesn't.


I just realized - I forgot to list that caramel banana cake in my last entry....even I think that's excessive....

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Quiz Time

Well, it has finally happened: I officially strayed this week to the point of no return. Was it...

a)...the cake? No exaggeration - I ate chocolate, vanilla, walnut, brownies, burnt, blueberry, lemon, and ice cream cake this week. Burnt? You say? Yes - I unsuccessfully made cupcakes for my upcoming party, but did not throw them out. Instead, Adam and I have been nibbling away at the good parts.

b)...the lack of exercise? Only went to the gym twice this week, and haven't walked since Tuesday.

c)...the margaritas? With extra strong tequila?

d)...all of the above??

I think you know the answer.

However, it is Sunday morning, and I have a renewed sense of purpose in this weight loss thing. I returned to my old habits last week, and I realized that I am not ready yet. For the last few weeks, I have been very happy that I managed to achieve half my goal, but the fact is I still do not fit into the range on those blasted charts which tell me how much I should weigh. I do not ever remember fitting into the range on those charts. Quitting now will only make me have to start ALL OVER again. Again. (I have been attempting to reverse my natural cake consuming character unsuccessfully for years...)

You know, I blame the cake for my plateau, and that certainly has had its affect, but the real reason is that I have been HAPPY with myself. It is an extremely bitter catch-22. (At least in my experience), one must feel BAD about oneself before making a lifestyle change. To achieve motivation, I have to look at my lumpy legs and extended belly, or try on clothes of a size I wish would fit. Now how poopy is that?

Well, I am going to try something new - be happy with myself, and strive to change. Is it possible??? We shall see.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Whose Boobs Are Those??

...I asked Adam accusingly yesterday when I finally got around to downloading pics from my camera:

...Oh. They're mine.

I took this picture of myself in the mirror, so there were multiple attempts to avoid flash issues. The reason? You, my constant reader - I had a very funny story in mind for my blog. The splotch you see on my shirt was created when I was out "in the field" measuring cracks in concrete. (I often look at cracks, and enjoy cracking cracks about my crack attacks. Ha!)

So: My car was parked at a meter which was very close to running out so I hurriedly bent to measure, and logged the results. Apparently, each time I bent, my pen was pressed against my bosom and created the fashion statement I most often make: "I am a slob." I did this in the morning, so I got to walk around the office as people did double takes on my chest all day.

In the shower the next day, I realized that the stain went through to the skin.

Now, it is nearly two months later, and I was honestly confused as to why I had seven photos similar to this one on my camera. I guess I lost interest sometime after I arrived home from work. I am very good at starting things - but a little slow on the follow through. In fact,

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Best Laid Plans....

What I Planned to Eat Today:

Breakfast - 1/2 cup of cottage cheese and 1/2 grapefruit

Lunch - Healthy Choice Pannini Sandwich and 1 piece of fruit (an orange)

Dinner - Pork Chops with Peach Sauce, Rice, and a Salad

What I Actually Ate Today:

Breakfast - one piece of walnut cake and one cup of hot chocolate

Mid-morning Snack - one chocolate cupcake

Lunch - Pannini and one piece of vanilla cake (burned my tongue on pannini due to inability to wait any longer for deliciousness)

Dinner - Turkey Sandwich and a Salad (the pork is not defrosted yet)

And the day's not over! I still have that banana caramel cake in the fridge....

...our actual bananas are starting to get overly ripe. I would eat them if I had room, but there is an intern at work who likes to bake. Perhaps the world is against me? I returned from lunch today to find an email: a vendor stopped by with an ice cream sandwich for me, and it is in the freezer. I must admit this is an effective way to make people remember your company. I would have devoured it instantly of course, but I was too full of cake.