Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Belated Christmas!

Seven years and two days ago, this is what I found under my Christmas tree:

He (the Gum Zombie) was one week old. Hee :)

I hope everyone had a good one, whatever it is you celebrate!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Miscellany

My favorite Christmas movie of all time, Scrooged, doesn't appear to be set for broadcast by anyone this holiday season. I was forced to go out and buy my own DVD of the thing so I can watch it... probably during the gift wrapping frenzy later on this week.


I have finished all my Christmas shopping except for Choreboy. And I would have him finished too, except I left his shirt sizes at home on my cell phone. And I couldn't call him from the mall to get them from him because my cell phone was at home. With his shirt sizes on it. It was a cyclical kind of mess.


My local cable provider has the 2009 Yule Log in its "On Demand" lineup.

Worse yet, I watched it.


Merry Christmas, folks!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Marketing and PR

Disclaimer: I love Publix, and specifically I love the Publix Pharmacy. I get all my prescriptions there. It's easy, it's affordable, and it just makes good sense time-wise.

That said, it's time for another Open Letter to Publix.

Dear Publix Marketing Powers-that-Be:

I listen to the radio on my morning commute (Tampa Bay's Mix 100.7 if anyone cares), and over the past month or so there's been a new Publix Pharmacy commercial airing.

Oh. My. God. And you people paid good money for this? The mind boggles.

The first offense? It's done by one of those female voiceover artists who graduated from the the William Shatner School of Public Speaking where she was apparently taught to pause awkwardly, and then give one of those little half laughs in a semi-confessional tone to make it appear that she is Just A Regular Person, when in reality she is A Truly Dreadful Actor.

And then there is the meat of the commercial.

Kill me now.

[Note: text of the commercial is from memory because a) I don't have an audio of it close at hand, and b) even if I did... no. Just no.]

"My son ___ has always been a pretty healthy kid, but I knew the day would come when he would need a prescription."

Really? Gee, there's a shocker.

"I remember that day so well..."

Oh hogwash. None of us remembers that day because unless you've locked yourself in a sterile environment your kid has his first cold before he's 3 months old, and then you're squirting Augmentin down his unwilling little mouth, resulting in you then being stuck with the aftereffects in his diapers for days afterwards... not that I'm bitter or anything. But seriously, it happens so many times that the first blends into the tenth. It's just a part of parenting.

"After visiting his doctor we'd stopped by Publix to pick up a few things, you know, chicken soup, tissues, cough drops..."

Yep, been there done that. Countless times.

"When we were about to leave, he said 'Mom, what about my medicine?'"

WTH?? The kid is old enough to TALK? This is so not his first prescription. Good grief.

Anyway, more ridiculousness follows about how they didn't have a family pharmacy (with "oh how embarassing!" overtones), but then she got hit by a bolt of brilliance and realized they were loyal to PUBLIX!

So now Publix is their family pharmacy, it was a memorable experience, blah blah blah, and oh God will someone just make this commercial go away???

Newsflash, Publix Marketing Folks: people use Publix Pharmacy for their family because most parents (okay, humans in general whether parental or child-free) like to combine trips as much as humanly possible rather than making a separate run to a pharmacy. This goes quadruple if you're dealing with a sick kid. Come in, drop the scrip, grab the groceries, pick up the meds, and you're out.

Easy-peasy. Nothing "memorable" about it. And that's the beauty part.

Because if I can remember a trip to the pharmacy, that's a sign that something went terribly wrong.


Okay, rant over. Must finish actually working.

'Tis the Season

I've actually got a spreadsheet detailing my Christmas shopping progress. One of my friends (Tycho from the comments) informed me that spreadsheets are for calculating and analyzing data, so I'd be better served by a table in a Word document. To that I say bah, humbug... if only because the cells in the spreadsheet are already there and I don't have to come up with some notion of how many rows and columns I need for making a table. Formatting is just easier, period.

So anyway, the spreadsheet is done. Items yet to be purchased are highlighted in yellow, and holy crap there are a ton of them. Good news is, everything I've purchased from online has finally shipped.

Bad news is, the last item to ship went out today and if the Elder doesn't get his set of three micro wrestler action figures, Santa's ass is grass.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The 100% Weekend Challenge

For those of you who read Jenn over at Watch My Butt Shrink, you already know I joined her and Coley on the 100% weekend challenge. After inhaling most of a stuffed-crust pizza last Thursday (and the boneless chicken wings -- mustn't forget those!!!) I was determined to somehow get back on track since my scale reflected a weight of 168 on Friday morning, up from 149.99999999 a mere two months ago.

Again, please remember that I've been struggling to lose the last 30-40 pounds of a 70 pound overage for THREE YEARS. I've gotten as close as 15 pounds away, but that 168 is my high since I first started losing the weight since August of 2006. So it is absolutely imperative that I not put any more back on. Just give me a few months without watching my food I'll easily have 170 to lose rather than even that initial 70.

So I'm happy to report that I had a 100% Friday, Saturday, *and* Sunday. YES. It was a close thing on dinner last night because I was trapped at church for the younger son's Christmas choir doohickie-thingie, and they were feeding us. But it worked out very well because they had baked chicken (I took the skin off of mine), green beans, salad, rolls, and mashed potatoes with gravy. I ate everything with the exception of the potatoes/ gravy combo as I didn't know just what they'd made the potatoes with (i.e., skim or whole milk, butter, no butter, etc).

Anyway, hooray! Jenn was awesome with the text and email support, and I can only hope I reciprocated in some small way. She did a great job herself with severely extenuating circumstances.

For today, I'm well on track. Breakfast was an egg and a banana, and I just ate a SouthBeach Peanut Butter High Protein bar to tide me over until lunch, when I'm having mustard maple pork tenderloin, left over from Friday night, along with some broccoli and a roll of some persuasion.

I cannot begin to tell you how awesome that mustard maple pork tenderloin is. It's become a staple in our home. I nearly had to beat Choreboy off the leftovers with my cast iron skillet.

For those of you still reading, dinner tonight is buffalo chicken. I cook boneless skinless chicken breasts in a non-stick skillet. After the chicken is cooked through, I remove it from the heat and slice the chicken breasts. Then I return them to the pan and pour just enough buffalo sauce into the pan to lightly coat all the pieces. Toss on a bit of blue cheese crumbles, and we're good to go!

This works out especially well for us because the Gum Zombie prefers the chicken without the sauce, so I remove his before the saucing, and the Elder thinks blue cheese is disgusting, so we just sprinkle accurately measured amounts of blue cheese over individual servings rather than into the skillet.

In other news, the choir event yesterday was lovely. Gum Zombie was a marvelous little chorister and didn't need me to fling the Look of Doom at him even once. The Elder suffered through the concert beautifully. He did, however, proceed to tell the Gum Zombie that he really should join chess club next year... a chess club which conveniently conflicts with choir, which would thus save the Elder from EVER having to attend one of these gigs again.

Boy's resourceful... gotta hand it to him.

Friday, December 11, 2009





I just got on the scale at my mother's house this morning, and holy crap, the news was bad.


I've gained nearly 20 pounds in about two months. THIS is how I got to weighing 200 pounds back in 2006, y'all. The whole "eating as if famine is approaching" thing.

Now granted I know that if I eat well over the weekend and weigh myself on Monday that I could drop up to five of those pounds as I ate pizza last night (major water retention) plus I woke up late this morning and was totally off schedule with everything, so when I weighed myself it was with all my heavy clothing and shoes on...

But seriously? 168???????

Oh, no, no, no, no, no.

You know, sometimes I feel a bit weird prattling on about my weight when I'm in what so many folks term as "one-derland" and in fact barely broke over that even at my highest, but the truth of the matter is that if the Elder son (then seven) hadn't announced to the entire grocery store "Mommy, you weigh two hundred!!!" in August of 2006, I might still be eating like I was.

Wait. I am.

But I could have done it without a break for the past three years, and well... do the math. I am fully capable of gaining 10 pounds per month. The rate of weight gain would eventually slow, but I could easily be much closer to 300 rather than 200. All it would take would be for me to ignore the scale for about six months.

I have to get this in gear. I have to get my eating straight. I have to get my butt back on that treadmill and work on Couch-to-5K because the only way for me to beat this is to make sure my lifestyle is utterly changed, and parking my ever-widening ass on the couch or in the computer chair clearly isn't effective.

And what kills me is that I can say all this, and yet there's a huge part of me that's still thinking "Maybe tomorrow's good..."


No, today is good. I've got an adequate lunch. I've got more oatmeal than I can shake a stick at. I've not screwed up my eating yet today, and in fact even if I had that's no excuse for me to continue to eat as if all the food on the planet is about to disappear.

I have a treadmill and I know how to use it. Ditto the weights and balance ball.

I totally know what Susan means about the Crazy Woman who inhabits her head, because I've got one of my own and, damn, girlfriend's loud. She's also the one who's been telling me not to read all your blogs, because she KNEW that if I did that I'd be forced to get on the scale...

Well, I beat her yesterday. And I read over at Jenn's blog about her one day challenge, which got my mind going again.

I'm so tired of watching what I eat. I'm so tired of exercising. I've been doing the food-watching for over three years now, some months more intently than others obviously, and the exercising this round kept going for three months. There's part of me that wishes and hopes that I could eventually stop doing either one of those activities.

But I can't. So... one day. I pledge to eat well today. And I just "signed up" over in the comments of Jenn's latest entry to make it a 100% good choices weekend too.

I think I'll take a "before" pic tonight. If I don't manage to make it 100% this weekend, I'll post that sucker on Monday. If I do make it through, the latest I'll post the "before" pic is when I have an "after" pic I like.

The bottom line is that I can't keep hopping up and down like this with my weight. My health can't take it, and my wardrobe seams can't stand the strain.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just a quote

I've got a good rant boiling at Publix's advertising folks, but it's not quite ripe. In the meantime, here's a quote:

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." (Herm Albright)

Heh. I like.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Not that *I* have a new post...

... but Choreboy does.

Read it. Almost-live-and-in-action, folks.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

NaNo? Not So Much

I didn't finish my NaNovel this year. I didn't finish it in 2004 or 2007 either, so I'm a bit bummed over that.

However, my word count is over 27,500 which is well over my previous all-time high of 12-13K back in '04. So that's a personal best at least :) Plus I'm going to keep working on my wordcount until I can't anymore, meaning past 11:59 PM tomorrow night.

Will I finish this book, at least eventually? I hope to. Even though it's quite terrible, it would be nice to finally complete one, and also I can use some of the bits in this particular NaNo as a springboard for NaNoWriMo 2010.

Ah well, December is on its way. Time to crack down on restarting Couch to 5K, and also get that Christmas shopping done. Have a good one, y'all!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


The Gum Zombie is a creative child.

He and his Elder brother managed to get the football stuck on a flat portion of our roof and had gone through all possible removal methods short of, say, asking the resident grown-up, aka their mother, for help.

The Elder threw his hands up in the air and resigned himself to waiting until Choreboy came home without a word to me. But did the Gum Zombie do that, or in the alternative, decide to mention to his mother that maybe, perhaps, her assistance might be required?


He instead formed a lockpick out of a twig and was trying to unlock the shed to retrieve a ladder.

Twigs aren't very effective as lockpicks.

They also tend to break off in the lock.

Just sayin'.

So now I have Our Future Burglar in his room until I start breathing normally again (because hello, ladder???); I also have a completely jammed shed door.

Days like this remind me of just when my hair started its rapid descent into "obviously grey"... a time which perfectly aligns with the Gum Zombie's birth.

Go figure.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best. Video. EVER.

Seriously. Yes, clearly I'm a dork.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

That Time of the Year

Everyone who's commented, you all rock. I've recovered from my visit to The Mouse, and would have said, posted, and responded more but work has been INSANE this past week!

My NaNovel is about 10,000 words behind. Can I crank that out in one weekend? Sure. It'll be crap, but it's not as if the quality of writing on it otherwise is, say, good. So we'll see. I'm still determined to finish this year.

One thing that might get in my way of churning out scary (and bad!) wordcount though is the time of year we're entering. Unless you live under a rock or outside of the US you're aware that Thanksgiving is coming up this next week, which means my kitchen is going to be working overtime. My parents decided to fly the coop this year and are on their way to board a Caribbean cruise with my mom's brother and sister-in-law, so it's falling upon the local kids to generate our own Thanksgiving dinner.

Now this isn't a hugely big deal. We've done it before. And even when my parents host Turkey Fest, we bring the lion's share of sides, desserts, and appetizers. My brother and sister-in-law are hosting because The Nephew just turned three and is easier to supervise in his own home.

As far as the turkey goes, both my SIL and I can manage to roast a bird and not burn it into a crisp or anything, but rather than either of us taking that on I believe we've opted to purchase a deep fried turkey from some friends of theirs who've used this economic downturn to hone their barbequeing (and now turkey frying) skills to a fine art. It should be awesome -- I haven't had a deep fried turkey for over fifteen years.

What? It's Thanksgiving. I'm not obligated to eat the whole bird. :P

Tradition dictates that we have my maternal great-grandmother's congealed cranberry salad along with the bird. I'm torn on this. On the one hand, I do like the cranberry salad. But on the other hand, I want to try my hand at a standard cranberry sauce if for no other reason than to say "There, I did it!" So I think I'm going to go that route.

The ghosts of my great-grandmother and grandmother are going to get me for that. My mother might too, now that I think of it, especially since she wrote out the entire recipe for me to make and produce by Thursday.

Outside of my heretical cranberry sauce -- which no one will really eat because, really, who does? -- I'll be bringing the refrigerator mashed potatoes, which are deeply awesome although not deeply fried (note that with the fat content they might as well be). Additionally I'm bringing pumpkin pie, buttermilk pie, crackers, and cheese, as well as a couple of assorted beverages. My SIL has volunteered to handle the rest, God bless her, her logic being that she's a stay-at-home mother.

I know she's busy as all get-out regardless of what her job description is, but I'll take it.

This is also the time of year when I start getting the urge to make sour cream glazed walnuts. Choreboy also gets the urge to eat them at this time of year, which might explain the four pound bag of walnuts he brought home from Sam's the other day. We're going to take a tin of them with us to my brother's. They're ridiculously easy to make.

Glazed Walnuts
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb. walnuts

Mix 2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 2 tsp vanilla in a sauce pan on top of the stove. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring as much as necessary to avoid scalding. Remove from heat and quickly mix in walnuts to coat thoroughly, then spread on wax or parchment paper to dry.

Serves 1 Choreboy (or an infinite number of regular humans)

So I'm making up my grocery list, checking it about 80 times, and trying to also figure out what I'm cooking today and tomorrow for meals, so we have adequate leftovers to help me avoid cooking other than Thanksgiving stuff until Thursday.

I think I'll also make the walnuts today. [edited to add: make that tomorrow -- today's already getting away from me!]

I'm aware the recipes and what we've got scheduled for Turkey Fest 2009 aren't exactly on the healthy spectrum of foods at all, much less calorie-conscious. Honestly, I don't worry about food composition for these special events. I do, however, focus on portion control. It seems to serve me well. I may well jump way over my calories for the day, but what works for me is that it's once a year. And as long as I'm at least watching the size of what I put in my mouth, I'll keep the damage down.

Okay, off to brave the masses at the store once I figure out dinner tonight and tomorrow (potato casserole? chili? GACK!!!) Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Because I'm an overachiever, we hit three parks yesterday: the Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. I've lived in Central Florida most of my life, and when we were children my brother and I would study the map of the Magic Kingdom to plot out our attack on the park. We went about once a year, from what I can remember, and over the course of those years we got to know which rides required us to race to them upon park opening, which we could wander to at a more leisurely pace, and in what order we would accomplish these things.

So with that in mind, Choreboy and I had finished off all the "vital" rides at the Magic Kingdom by 11:00, those rides being defined as Pirates of the Caribbean, Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Haunted Mansion, the Carousel of Progress, Buzz Lightyear (what??), the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, and the Jungle Cruise. We then ate brunch, and grabbed a shuttle bus over to Disney's Hollywood Studios. It's a newer park, and although I've visited it multiple times I don't have the knowledge of it I have of Magic Kingdom, plus it's been about 15 years or thereabouts since I've been there. In that time they added the Tower of Terror -- I think it was under construction the last time I was there -- and also the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. I could have lived without the Tower of Terror. Freefall is all well and good, but this has freefall-stop-more freefall-stop-go back up-freefall-stop... GACK! My brain hurt after that. But the Rock'n'Roller coaster, well... rocked. Choreboy and I had done the dorktastic thing and both wore our NaNoWriMo 2009 t-shirts, and ran into a lady in line for the coaster who is also attempting NaNo this year. We were also scolded by a few Disney employees for not being at home pounding out wordcount. Heh.

We pretty much raced through Epcot, hitting just a couple of high points (Living With the Land, which had been closed on our official honeymoon, and Mission: Space), and then headed back to the Magic Kingdom so I could buy my "The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves" t-shirt that I'd decided was a must-have at Pirates. Why didn't I buy it earlier, you ask? Especially since it was clearly a "must have" item? Because it was 9:20 in the morning, and I had it in my head I was NOT going to tote that thing all around the parks all day. See, genius-level thinking at work.

I should have bought it earlier. Because we had to almost literally fight our way back to Pirates at about 8:00 that night, bought the shirt, then wrestled our way out of the park only to be stuck in a ginormous herd of departing folks bound for the Ticket and Transportation Center as we were. It was somewhere in here between leaving Epcot and trying to get out of the Magic Kingdom and get home already that my right hip finally gave out. I have a bit of sciatica and bursitis in that side, and the sciatica kicked in fitfully at first, but by the time we were trying to get to the parking lot I was walking ridiculously.

It didn't help that we lost the car, which had us wandering around the parking lot for probably an hour after we left the Ticket and Transportation Center. You'd think one of us would have been intelligent enough to mark where we parked, wouldn't you? You'd be WRONG. We got there so early the trams weren't running, and all we were concentrating on was the mad dash to the Magic Kingdom, not petty little details like, say, how we're going to get the hell out.


All that said, it was an awesome day. I'd better be well-rested to crank out the 5,000 words I want to have pumped out before I hit the office tomorrow. Eh, we'll see.

Now if I could just lift my right leg more than six inches off the ground...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaNoWriMo, Week 2

The Very Bad Novel is coming along. I'm right at 20,000 words into it, just slightly ahead of where I should be to finish this sucker on November 30th.

The plan today is to work on it more, because on Saturday Choreboy and I are heading to Disney to be silly newlyweds again. The timing isn't great, but the tickets we'll be using expire in December, so, goshdarnit, have to go play all day.

Yes, it's a hellish life I lead.

Here's the latest snippet from my NaNovel:

Chapter 11
Daniel stretched, and levered his body up into a sitting position from the cushions on the back of Ellie’s couch. He looked over toward the kitchen and watched Teddy pogoing at the gate.

What is it, small creature?

Potty potty potty!!

I don’t know why you call it potty – you hardly use the toilet, the large cat grumbled. I could use the toilet if I wished. I merely prefer the box.

Teddy ignored Daniel, as was his usual practice, and continued to bounce up and down.

Now now now!!

Yes, yes, fine. Very well. Let’s go outside and go “potty”. He stalked to the gate, leaped over, and held open the pet door for the tiny dog.

Teddy streaked outside so quickly he practically didn’t touch the porch, let alone the steps. By the time Daniel made it onto the porch for his supervision duties, the one pound mutt had finished the first order of business and was deep into location research for the second.

Well, it’s probably almost time for my afternoon nap, thought the large cat. Once he’s finished with his befouling of the grass I’ll get to work on that.

Is all you do sleep? came an unexpected query. Daniel lifted and swiveled his head to see Bob approaching from the Ostrofsky’s side of the property.

Unlike some felines, sniffed Daniel, I have embraced my true calling, which is to be highly decorative and primarily inert.

Except when you’re talking, the smaller feline pointed out.

There is that, admitted Daniel.

Emily wandered up onto the porch as well. She sniffed the air. Food? she wondered.

Mine, informed Daniel. Then, in a rare fit of generosity he shared, but Ellie keeps an extra bowl on the back porch for occasions such as this.

Thank you, responded Emily. Hungry.

And she hopped through the pet door and made her way to the back porch and food.

Words aren’t her strength, are they?

She is a cat of few words, and large appetites, agreed Bob.
It is pure crap, but it's my crap. It'll do.

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009

Yep, I'm giving it a whirl again. For those who are unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month -- more information here. Here's the first bit:
Chapter 1


“Dammit! EVERY year the SAME freaking thing!!”

Ellie pushed herself out of her desk chair with her left hand as her right was clutched to her nose. And yes, every fall, generally every November, she got the Mother of All Headcolds. It would have been annoying enough on its own, but the cold also generally tended to interrupt whatever her Self Improvement Project of the Year happened to be. One year she tried training for a marathon – got the flu. Another year it was NaNoWriMo – bronchitis. Ad perpetuum, ad nauseum.

As she dug through the hall closet looking for her tissue box, Ellie muttered, “I’d like to thank you, Mom and Dad, for blessing me with these abnormally active sinuses.” She finally spotted a box at the rear of the closet and, reaching for it, continued, ”It gives me such peace of mind to know that I will never have to use a decongestant, like, EVER, because ALL I DO IS FREAKING SNEEZE!”

And with that, she ripped open the box and wiped off her nose.

“Good grief.”

With a sigh of resignation, she figured the coffee was ready and headed into the kitchen. Immediately, Ellie was attacked by a small, brownish blur.

Me! Me! Me! Mommy mommy mommy pet me me me me me me!!

With a laugh, she picked up the tiny dog and cuddled him to her chest. “You missed Mommy, didn’t you? Well if you could learn that the carpet is not grass you’d have the run of the house sweetie. Want another chewie?”

Chewie chewie chewie mine mine mine please please please!!

Ellie chuckled and tossed Teddy a small, rawhide chew stick. “There you go sweetie.” He grabbed it in his mouth, glared at the incoming feline with great suspicion, and hurtled to his bed where he curled up and began contentedly to simultaneously chew and growl.

Good lord you ridiculous creature, I wouldn’t have that slimy bit of pigskin if you paid me. Daniel stuck his pristine pink nose into the air and swiveled his attention to Ellie. Really, Madam, was he truly necessary? And might I trouble you to freshen my water? It’s been nearly six hours…
Clearly I was without much inspiration, so I siphoned off my own life rather shamelessly. Teddy and Daniel are lifted straight from my house, and the cold my main character has?

Yep, sneezing like nobody's business here. Have been since Thursday/ Friday. And now I have a delightful rash all over my trunk and down my arms which is a weird little viral reaction I've gotten since I was 15.

Fortunately, though, NaNoWriMo isn't as affected by upper-respiratory yuck as C25K. That's got to wait another week. Again. Ugh.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This is The Title

Clearly, creativity-wise? I got nothing.

So the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 0-7. I am a lifelong Bucs fan by the sheer virtue of living within the team's geographical influence. I don't so much remember the first season (1976) and the 0-14 record, as I remember the over-the-top news coverage when they finally won one, against the Saints (still the 'aints!!) back in 1977. It was insane, and I know this simply because I remember it. I was seven then, y'all, and my interest in football was -- if possible -- even less than it is now. That said, I have to admit that it's refreshing to watch a team go back to its roots.

Yeah, some rabid fan's gonna get me for that.

Anyway, a big part of why my creativity is sapped is because I'm once again riding the hormonal tidal wave and that doesn't gel with my current attempts to be cheerful, dammit. And that's combined with the six pound weight gain from the flu which went up another two pounds this morning.

HOW in the hell did I gain nearly NINE POUNDS in two weeks? Please tell me this. I just don't see how it's possible.

So then the drama queen in me comes out and I want to whine about how my body is betraying me what with the H1N1 nonsense, still feeling like crap, and this mysterious metabolic garbage whereby the mere glance at a Double-Quarter-Pounder-With-Cheese is enough to pile on the pounds.

Then I feel like crap about that, because I have friends and other folks I know whose bodies actually have betrayed them, giving them chronic or terminal illnesses that impact their quality of life to a huge degree, and yet they keep going, and I'm sitting here whimpering over some stupid weight gain that I know darned good and well is partially due to water retention? And another portion of it is due to the brownies I ate that I should have just taped to my ass instead?


So there you have it. That's my lovely mindset at the moment. Damned scale hates me, stupid treadmill isn't my friend, and I'm a bit peevish into the mix.

The only bright spot is the Bucs are apparently going to resurrect their "creamsicle" uniforms next week or sometime later this season. The idiots. You've just gotta laugh.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Minimal Update

I'm still improving from the swine flu thingie. I didn't manage to get in any exercise last week, and also got on the scale to see that Choreboy's attempts to keep me fed and alive during my illness netted me a 6 pound weight gain.

Gotta hand it to the man -- he is an overachiever for sure.

My mother's dog, Dora, is with us for another week. She still hates cats. She's still barking.

I've invested in a good set of ear plugs.

The Gum Zombie's choir sang in church this morning for all three services. He did fine through the first two, but by the third he was pretty much done and kept squatting down on the risers and in general acting six until they actually started singing. Then he got his focus back.

The Elder continues his attempts to hijack my MP3 player. He has decided that he's a fan of Styx's Mr. Roboto. It's only a matter of time before REO Speedwagon grabs him too.

Hoping to restart C25K this week, or hop in on week 2 or 3. I'm feeling better than I did last week at this time, so that's a huge plus.

Time to appreciate the rest of this weekend -- have a good one, folks!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Won!!!!

Remember that contest Jenn over at Watch My Butt Shrink was having??

I won!!!

The muffin tops are mine all mine... muahahahaha...

Thanks, Jenn!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Begone, Swine!

Yeah, yeah, I know it's properly H1N1, but it's more fun to talk about swine flu.

Anyway, we all appear to be recovering well. The Gum Zombie and I were finally fever-free on Friday which means he's cleared for school on Monday, and I can head back to work without worrying about infecting the entire office. I still have a bit of a headache, but it's less than it was and the body aches are gone.

We also got well just in time for my mother's dog to come stay with us for two weeks while my parents go on vacation. Dora is a fourteen-year-old Chihuahua. Teddy worships her. The Elder offspring babies her. The Gum Zombie tries to make nice with her but she prefers to gnaw his hand. And God knows I love her, but she nips my younger son and my husband (she didn't know them well when she was younger; ergo, they're The Enemy), and she hasn't stopped barking for more than 30 seconds since we got here.

It's been over an hour now. I think my headache's making a full-force return.

Did I mention Dora hates cats?

Yeah. They're part of what makes her bark. Doing the math from the sidebar listing, I've got three of 'em. Ouch.

So. Two long weeks down, two more to go. On the plus side, I get to get back on my treadmill tomorrow, and I don't think I'll be able to hear her bark over the sound of the motor. I think I'll try Week 3 of C25K again, since I've had to take an entire week off (and as a side note, due to Choreboy trying to make sure I ate well while I was sick, I am almost certainly the only person who has gained weight while having the flu). I just got an MP3 player and I'm interested to see if having songs to mark off the running sections will help at all.

Well, that is if I manage to even get my hands on the player. The kids have hijacked it to the point where I'm thinking I'm going to need to erase my copy of London Underground from the lineup lest they come across it and ask me just what a few pertinent words mean.


Friday, October 16, 2009


Normal is...

getting up in the morning
dropping off the boys at school
going to work

eating lunch

leaving work
picking up the boys
arriving home

And never ever wondering what I'll walk into when I open that door.

Sound boring?


But to me, it's heaven.

Note: yes, odd as things can be,"normal" actually sums up my life. And I love it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Want These Muffin Tops, Dangit

And I'm not talking about what fluffs over the top of my jeans waistband either.

Jenn, over at Watch My Butt Shrink, is giving away an entire Vitalicious Super Sampler. I have been in minor lust with Vitalicious muffin tops since I first read about them at the HungryGirl website, but they don't carry them in my stores and I'm way too slackerly to order them off the website (yet). So since one way to enter for the giveaway is to blog about it, here I am, up from my sickbed, blogging about it.

Food is a major motivator. What can I say?

Don't let this encourage you to, like, go there and enter or anything. The less competition I have, the better.

Jenn's gonna get me for that.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Three Down

So when your coworkers make the sign of the cross behind you as you're staggering out the door to your car... that's a bad thing, right?

I went in this morning thinking I'd be okay; I just felt crummy because of allergies, PMS, and a relatively sleepless night.

Uh-huh. Riiiiight.

I really didn't want the children's Swine Flu Powers -- they didn't have to share.


Angel and Jenn, thanks for the kind words. The Gum Zombie seems to be following in his elder brother's footsteps with this illness and that's a good thing. This H1N1 is so frustrating because on the one hand (like Jenn said) they hype this SO much, but on the other hand you read that the majority of the cases are really mild; it's just in those few instances of folks with underlying conditions that we hear about.

And THEN you hear from your mother that one of her friends was diagnosed with H1N1 and her doctor's office told her that she must have a super mild case of it because she walked in under her own steam, and most folks were in so much pain that they weren't able to walk.

I give up. I'll never understand this thing.


So anyway, I'm down for the count.

The Elder is back at school.

The Gum Zombie's still running a fever but downed two corndogs for lunch.

Choreboy alone remains standing.

Stay tuned for the next installment of "As the Swine Turns."

Friday, October 09, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

Gum Zombie's down for the count with 101.5 degree fever.

I'm not sure I'm going to even take him in to the pediatrician to have H1N1 verified. What's the point of exposing all the other sick kids at the doctor's office to him when I'm 99.9% sure I know what it is? And calling the office first wouldn't help because they'll (correctly) state that it is of course my choice.

And in their voice I'll hear, "Oh good grief, I have to tell her this? She's been a mother for how long?" So the mom in me is slightly panicky, but the human who's been at this awhile is trying to just take it in stride.

Today is the Elder's last day home sick, so the plan is I'll restock on Motrin, make sure I've got a ton of juice for both of them, push fluids, and figure out how in the world I'm going to tell the office.


And of course, the news is showing a segment right now on the H1N1 pandemic saying it's "hitting young children especially hard." It seems that with the standard flu, 80% of the deaths are in those over 65. But with H1N1, 80% of the fatalities are in those below 65.

The Gum Zombie is six.

And right now they're showing the kids who are in the ICU, one of whom has been in a coma for a month.

Here's hoping his case is as mild as the Elder's. And yes, I'm knocking every piece of wood within reach.


Angel, I'll be over to check those blog awards in a few -- I was heading your way, then I had to wake up GZ for school (I thought), and well... you now know the rest of the story. Best laid plans and all that, LOL.

I mentioned this was going to be a long two weeks. It appears I might have been correct.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I'm Only Brain-Dead

The rest of me is just pining for the fjords.

I can spell Judy Blume's name. I really can. But I misspelled it not once but twice on the post below before finally typing the blasted thing in correctly.

First I got the vowel right: Blue

Then I got the pronunciation correct: Bloom

FINALLY I saw what I'd typed, smacked myself in the head, and typed in "Blume."

Remember, I majored in English, people. And taught it. Plus I've only read nearly everything the woman's written, including her adult novels.

Good grief.


As to the "pining for the fjords" comment, I just finished off Week 3 Day 2 of the Couch-to-5K program. If you need a refresher on just what this involves, please see my Procrastination 101 post and scroll down to the cut jpeg from my Excel spreadsheet.

Yeah, I'm on that week.

I upped my speed from W3D1, though, and did the running portions at 4.8 MPH rather than the 4.5 I had done. And the three-minute bursts? I think I feel about them pretty much like I did the ninety-second bursts at this time last week; i.e. much hate, but I definitely know I can do it.

I'm just going to whine about it.



Okay, seriously I'm tickled that I managed it today, because with the Elder having H1N1 (he's doing well, by the way) and me being naturally a major hypochondriac, I've been figuring I'm staring some sort of upper-respiratory infection in the face. But when I wasn't showing sure signs of becoming an invalid after a couple of days I figured, "What the heck, I'll do my run. If I can't finish it, I'm sick. If I can, I'm still healthy as a horse."

So here I am.


Are You There God?

If any of you were fans of Judy Blume's books growing up, there's a great interview with her over at Slate's XX entitled "I Was Margaret."


Edited because I *can* spell her last name. I swear it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Release the Pigs!!!

Yep, H1N1 has nuked us fair and square. The Elder Offspring is the first to fall victim, and his viral status was verified yesterday via nasal swab at his pediatrician's office.

I thought it was just a bad cold. Oops.

On the plus side, he appears to have a rather mild variant of it. So mild that, last night, he jumped in front of the Gum Zombie and shouted "Swine Flu Powers -- ACTIVATE!!"

The Gum Zombie, no stranger to drama himself, hollered back, "I have the hand sanitizer and I'm not afraid to use it!"

I didn't laugh. I wanted to. I choked. I left the room even. But I did not laugh.

Much. Heh.

Once I recovered myself, I did make the boy sit down. He's still looking tired in the eyes in spite of his antics. But it could be just so much worse, so I'm grateful he's on the less severe end of the spectrum.

Here's hoping the Gum Zombie's addiction to hand sanitizer sees him through.

What sucks about this for me is that I'm so darned suggestible I keep nearly giving myself H1N1. It's insane. A slight tickle in my throat? Swine flu! An allergic sneeze? Swine flu! Trouble running on the treadmill? Must be an incipient H1N1 infection!!

I've now banned myself from the CDC website. This could be a long couple of weeks.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Toad and the Blob

Mah bed.

You cannot haz it.


In actuality, it's Teddy's bed, but Bob translates "Teddy's bed" as "Bob's bed" -- clearly an easy mistake to make -- and since he's 1/3 again the size of the Toad in spite of being a year younger, his word tends to rule except in such rare moments of generosity as this.


In other news, I did Week 3 Day 1 of Couch-to-5K today. Seriously y'all, I must be crazy. I thought Week 2 was bad -- what drugs was I on?

I actually had to lower my speed to 4.5 MPH to make it through this round, but I managed it. Now I only have to repeat twice before all hell (also known as Week 4) breaks loose.

The scale actually cooperated though. I weighed myself around 1:00 p.m. today -- yes, after breakfast, snack, and lunch, AND with some PMSsy bloat to boot -- and the 150 lb. weight was too heavy. I'm seriously psyched, because this is the first time I've seen the 140's since I quit smoking back in March.

Granted, I weigh about 149.999999999999999999999999 because I couldn't get a good weight with the 100 lb. weight and the sliding doohickie either, but still... I'll take it.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Responses and Updates and Bears, Oh My!!

Part of me wishes I didn't feel so duty-bound to title these blog posts, because that way y'all wouldn't be subjected to titles like the above.



Regarding my commenting post, thank you everyone for responding and patting my little writerly-ego-laden head. You know, the next morning after I'd posted that I was dragging my feet out of my room to the coffee maker thinking, "Good grief, Amanda, talk about a self-serving, whining post! Did you really have to go there? REALLY???"

So... hehehe... thanks y'all :)

And in the interest of fairness, Choreboy does always have something to say about a post although he may not, in fact, post it. Plus the timeframe over which I was kvetching was when he had some closes at work, which puts him home sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. I guess it's reasonable, perhaps, that his focus at that time is more sleeping than rattling on on my blog (although to be fair, he's capable of rattling on regardless of the circumstances -- he's gonna get me for that!).


In other news, I had a conference with the Gum Zombie's teacher on Thursday, and I'm feeling a bit better about the situation. She agreed that there were more negatives than should be in the children's agendas, likely because she has an intern and there are two sets of eyes watching the little buggers, so they need to adjust that. But GZ isn't a problem child by a long shot, and is near the top of the class academically. Reflecting that, he does fine at his desk -- it's just when they're on the carpet, in line, or walking somewhere that he kind of... zones out. As my father put it, "So his herd instinct needs to be tuned, eh?"

Yep, that's pretty much it. And I'd say the cause is an even split between his age and him just being the Gum Zombie. So I figure there will be a great deal improvement and "fine tuning" over the course of this year.

That said, expecting children to sit on the carpet still like little statues keeping their hands in their laps -- not even propping them up on the ground -- for the entire floor time? It just seems a bit too controlling to me. And narrow. And ridiculous, really. GZ isn't touching anyone, he isn't bothering anyone, it's just that his hands aren't in his lap. So yeah, I think it's idiotic that it's a bone of contention. If they're touching others it makes sense to call them on it, but I just don't think it's sensible to waste one's energy on children who are otherwise behaving.

Then again, I've always exhibited a great deal of care in picking the hills on which I'm willing to die. Perhaps his teacher has more resources than I and can pick an infinite number of battles. This just isn't one I'd choose to fight. Honestly, I think it's stupid.

Oh well, not my classroom. And I'll back the teacher up 100% in telling my children they need to follow directions. And that's the last I'll speak on this topic.


To address more comments:
Heidi, yes, you are TOTALLY lazy waiting to see if I survive Couch-to-5K before you try it. You think *I* wanna get on that stupid treadmill? You think I ENJOY feeling like I'm suffocating the last two intervals of Week 2? I swear I hate that shit.

And misery loves company.

So there. :P

(seriously, start it up and maybe we can find a 5K around this crazy town -- hey, two couch potatoes train for a 5K! see, an article series in the making... heh)

AD, LOL! Dude, I'm just tickled pink when you comment over here. I know you've got a ton of stuff you read, so it's all good. And Choreboy was duely chastened by your comment ;)

Angel, tell JM to pick up that slack! Just because you two have been married since before God was born doesn't give him clearance to avoid the bloggage. Seriously. I thought that boy was brighter than that! I'll sic the Gum Zombie and Elder Offspring on him at judo if he doesn't behave -- and my bet is JQ would watch and giggle if she knew why. Hee.

Jess, you're right of course, both on the awesomeness of my husband as well as the commenting thing. Ultimately I do do this for me, and I know I'd be keeping some sort of journal somewhere even if I never had comments. That said, part of the blogging thing for me is about the community, I'll freely admit. So yeah, it's a little bit of a bummer if there aren't any comments, but my biggest fear is boring you all to tears! And it doesn't help that this blog is such a hodge-podge of topics that folks don't know if it's a mommy blog, a patient blog, a weight loss blog, an exercise blog... GACK!!

And AA, did you clap three times for the blog fairies?? Because if you don't, I think Tinkerbell develops PMS. From what I hear, that could get ugly. And I've got to get over to your blog, woman! Thanks for the URL :)


Okay, that's it for today. The Elder Offspring is running a bit of a fever, I have a Second Life gig later this afternoon, and my college roommate is in town from Maine with her husband and 2.5 sons (the .5 is still in utero), so we're supposed to get together at a park tomorrow which the Elder's illness may preclude. Time to go push fluids and all that happy jazz. Have a great weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Like most bloggers, I live for comments.

Please, for the sake of my marriage, if you read this blog and get even the slightest enjoyment out of it, comment. Because poor Choreboy is currently being nagged mercilessly about just WHY he hasn't commented today.

Or on Monday's entry. Which I'll grant you was a rant, but still.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Procrastination 101

Tonight I'm supposed to do Week 2, Day 2 of the Couch-to-5K program. And I'll do it. For sure.

I just don't wanna.

I've been dreading this run today. And one thing I do extremely well (along with sit at the computer) is procrastinate.

I see my mother daily, so what did I do just now? I talked with her on the phone. For forty-five minutes.

I've been catching up on everyone else's blogs, even though hardly anyone has any updates.

And I've been reading message board posts about C25K stuff. Because reading about it? Beats DOING it at the moment.


Okay, posting this, then I'm going to hit the treadmill. After I make the Gum Zombie's Easy Mac. And I need to scoop the litter boxes. And the toilets need scrubbing...

After some intense Facebooking and Twittering (I managed to procrastinate myself out of cleaning the bathrooms), I got on the treadmill and did W2D2. I don't think I saw any improvement over W2D1 with the exception that I knew I could make it all six intervals this time. Okay, that's a plus. But this is what's staring me in the face next week:

Do you SEE that? I mean, the first interval is fine. 90 seconds. I've got that. But Interval 2 is THREE MINUTES STRAIGHT. And so is Interval 4.

I am clearly insane. Now I have to post this sucker and start on my weights.

Yep, I've lost it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday's Title Is...

Nonexistent. I seriously can't come up with one, so this is going to have to work.

I managed to gasp my way through Week 2, Day 1 of this Couch to 5K thing yesterday. Oh. My. God. There are only six intervals this week (as opposed to eight per day during Week 1), but that extra 30 seconds on each of them is a bear.

That said, I was pretty psyched that I made it. I'm also pretty psyched that I don't have to do it again until tomorrow because I managed to totally brutalize my hamstrings on Saturday's workout and they have yet to forgive me.


In other news, I'm currently at a loss with the Gum Zombie's first grade teacher. Now let me state clearly that HE seems fine with her. This is the same woman who had the Elder offspring for first grade, and although I wasn't her biggest fan that boy still goes by to see her even though he's in fifth grade.

So clearly, she is doing something right.

That said, I'm pretty frustrated at the moment. In all fairness, the Gum Zombie is historically one of those students who pretty much marches to the beat of his own drummer, so that can certainly cause an issue or twelve in a larger group setting. His Kindergarten teacher and I worked with him to help him focus a bit more sharply, and I know that in first grade the boundaries of acceptable classroom and group behaviour are more firmly defined.

I am a realistic parent. I think my sons are awesome, absolutely. I am also perfectly aware that both of the little darlings have the finely-honed ability to be obnoxious toads.

All that said, though, it feels like the child is doing nothing right. EVERY day (and I mean every single day, bar one) I get a detailed list from her of everything he's done wrong, and NEVER anything he's doing right. She did this with the Elder offspring as well, and I was equally frustrated. I'd forgotten that in the four years between the two of them.

What kills me is that at Open House she said that after a somewhat rocky first week he was doing very well. Not just "well", but "very well."

You couldn't prove it by me. Because still, EVERY day in his agenda (the notebook they use to communicate between the school and home), is the litany of his many sins.

And they are legion.

So where is the "better"? I'm curious. Because either a) he's not doing better, or b) she's nitpicking that boy to death.

This leaves me with trying to figure out how to communicate my concern to her without displaying the raging bitchiness that I am here. I want to be accurate, but fair. I also know I have got to communicate with her not only out of parental responsibility, but also because when similar difficulties occurred with my elder son she tried to throw me under the bus and claim I didn't communicate with her and that, gosh darn it, it had to be a two-way street. Fortunately, I was able to show the school administrator with whom I was speaking the many emails we had exchanged (more than 75% of which I had initiated) that disproved her little falsehood.

So.... yeah, not her biggest fan. Which adds an additional problem -- I need to be sure when I'm trying to resolve these concerns that I'm not reacting out of my personal emotions, but am instead being rational and reasonable about my child.

Wish me luck. I'm gonna need it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Still Breathing

Well, Day 2 of Week 1 of the C25K program went well.

That is, if by "well" you mean "is Amanda still breathing?" Because as a very basic person at my core, that's how I define "well."

To answer JAFG's question in the comments from Sunday's entry, Day 1 - Day 3 (the entirety of training for Week 1) is all the same: 5 minutes brisk walk to warm up followed by 1 minute running, then 90 seconds of walking; repeat as necessary for 20 minutes. And because I'm super-anal about stuff like this, here's a screen shot of the nice little grid I laid out so I wouldn't have to think about when I'm next running:

So according to my calculations it's 8 minutes running total, broken up by 7 90-second walking sessions. The end has a bit more walking on it, but cooling down is a good thing.

Having survived the first two days of Week 1, I'm not worried about Day 3. What's got me all freaked is Week 2, which has 90 seconds of running followed by 2 minutes of walking, again for 20 minutes total. Problem is, I tried running 90 seconds at a time a couple of weeks ago, and did three intervals with a 3.5 minute walking phase, and I was gasping for breath by the end of the third interval. I can't imagine doing it for six intervals. GACK!! Granted, it only totals nine minutes which isn't much more than this week; but, again, see "Voted Most Likely To Become One With the Couch".

By my parents.

Here's my Week 2 grid, just for grins:

So if you don't hear from me next week? It's because my lungs have imploded.

*Note: Choreboy is FOS about sitting on the couch. While I was walking on the treadmill tonight (just because I'm not running doesn't mean I'm not moving), he was outside. Running. Like, where people can see him and everything. GACK!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Couch to 5K

Looking at the title to this post, I think it's safe to say I have clearly lost my mind. I started the "Couch to 5K", or C25K training program today.

Me. The one who's in danger of her body rooting itself to the computer chair.

When I stop laughing long enough to breathe, I'll keep y'all posted on how it goes. The good (and obvious) news is that Day 1 hasn't killed me.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Survey Says!

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner, folks! Since last month's cycle was 47 days, this month we had a whopping TWENTY-FOUR day cycle!!!

Holy crap. Yep, welcome to my little hormonal hell. Either the period never arrives, or it flies in with a vengeance several days before it's even due. Our next fun trick will involve learning just how long this sucker's going to drag itself out (she says as she glances at her sidebar in trepidation).


In other news, my scale is cooperating with me at the moment. I finally dropped down to 153, and pretty much continue to hover around that number even with the PMS-bloat-fest, which means on the plus side that I've likely actually lost some weight. On the minus side, it means my scale has been stalled for well over a week and will continue to behave like this for another week or two, so I can almost guarantee another whining session about how the stupid thing won't MOVE already, dammit, within that span of time.

I never claimed to be completely rational, y'all.


Also, an update on the school zone speed limit. Seems Mr. Deputy was a bit over-zealous in the tone he took with me. The sign stating that it's a 15 MPH school zone is supposed to sport a flashing light to help draw attention to it. This light is to be flashing when that speed limit is in effect.

Sadly for Mr. Deputy, it does NOT flash, which would be another HUGE reason why I had zero clue that the school zone speed limit had kicked in. The sign -- in addition to being out of the way of the standard driver, as evidenced by other signs they've actually moved to the correct, albeit temporary, locations -- also fails to include the hours that the speed limit is in effect, only stating "while flashing".

Which, again, it doesn't. Flash, that is.

So his overwhelmingly "You ARE a special, slow, idiot who can't read a sign and is obviously trying to kill small children" snarly tone of voice that he took with me? Can take a long walk off a short pier.


I know, I know, cops run into morons who truly don't give a rat's rear end about safety, either their own or others', and I understand that after a time one can get burnt out and assume everyone's an asshole. I used to be on the reserve police force. I get it. Really.

Problem is, sometimes the driver isn't an asshole. Sometimes, even, your equipment is malfunctioning.

Sir. Ahem.

But anyway, all's well that ends well. It's not as if he gave me a ticket, so I don't have a financial fallout from his "tone" or anything, and I can guarantee you I won't forget that school zone. Ever.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday... pffft!!!

So I can see on my Dashboard that I have one new follower.


Sadly, Blogger's "Followers" feature is busted at the moment so I can't read who it is.


Edited to add: it appears that the "Followers" function is only invisible with Firefox. Stupid thing shows up fine on Internet Explorer. It's worked fine up until today. I call shenanigans!


In other Monday news, I nearly got a $500.00 ticket this morning on my way in. The state has been doing road work outside my children's elementary school for about six months, and decided at the start of this school year to put in one of those blinky "school zone 15 mph" signs because they've just now put in a crossing guard (after twenty years of none and the school zone speed limit being 45 MPH).

The sign is on the far right-hand side of the road, as one might expect.

However, the road construction being done is expanding the road to four lanes, and currently traffic is all funneled on the two LEFT lanes, thus rendering the blinky-light less than obvious.

It doesn't help that it's right at the intersection where drivers' attention is distracted by the more pertinent red-light-stop-green-light-go-yellow-light-go-very-very-fast device.

Also, they don't start supervising children until 7:40 according to the school paperwork, but the school zone speed limit goes into effect at 7:15 AM? RIGHT outside the school? WTF???

Anyway, obviously since I said I "nearly" got a ticket, the nice deputy just gave me a warning, and I'm finding some BRIGHT green neon paper to write myself a note in the car so I don't forget to slow my ass down WAY before that stupid-almost-invisible blinky light.

I was going 38, for the record. Below the normal posted speed, but definitely NOT 15 MPH.


And adding insult to injury, I woke up this morning with a case of PMS from hell. It's precisely 21 days from the start of the last cycle, so for a normal person this would be expected. But bear in mind, last cycle was 47 days, with three weeks of PMS. So this could be the start of close to a month's worth of weepiness, chocoholism, and scale-based rage.

Fortunately since I know what's up I can at least mitigate any outbursts by reminding myself that I'm merely temporarily insane; also, the exercise I'm getting is actually keeping me on a more even keel (along with regular infusions of dark chocolate).

But let me tell you, if there were fully-elective medicine available with insurance coverage and all of that, I'd totally schedule a hysterectomy. Yeah, I know... rationally it would be a bad idea (this is one reason why we have doctors). I just don't care about that at the moment. I'm done with the equipment, the plumbing's obsolete, let's move it out!

Uhm, have a good week y'all :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Widgety Goodness

I'm doing a bit of blog maintenance, so I've started using Blogger's tool for listing blog links on the side, and since I'm a total slacker I had it first load up the blogs I've got set to "follow". So if I follow you, there you go, right there in the sidebar.

And for those who follow me, yep, you're there too (god help you).

My plan is to update the blog list with all the blogs I read, not just the ones I've got set to follow, so hopefully that will happen soon. Meanwhile, I've got a date with the boys. The local SPCA is having its thirtieth anniversary, so we're heading out to the facility for the free pizza and the bouncy house.

Okay, we're also going to do penance, because while we support the SPCA, we've not managed to get an animal there yet. Daniel is the closest, and although we technically got him "at" the SPCA, i.e., on their property, he was more of an illicit parking lot adoption. We're not getting another animal, because a) we can't afford another, and b) I like being married and I think one more four-legged resident might push Choreboy over the brink. But I'll be looking for things I can reasonably spend money on for the beasties we currently have.

Must go. Offspring are hollering. Enjoy the weekend, all!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

An Open Letter to One of My Bosses

Dear Random One Who Signs My Paychecks,

Never ask me to bill one-third of forty-percent of the contract amount again.

Your secretary*

*Whose brain didn't hurt until you told her that you wanted the precentage figure to be 'pretty'. One-third of forty-percent is .13333333333333333333333. And then some. Ad infinitum.

Ain't no way to make that look pretty. Ever. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I'm Calling Foul

Well, Jon Gosselin is in the headlines again, this time for apparently stating (during an interview to be aired on national TV, no less) that he despises his estranged wife, Kate Gosselin.

I've watched this debacle unfold, and from my experience both in my own divorce as well as my professional exposure working for family law attorneys, Jon's been way out of line for awhile and this latest gaffe of his really takes the cake.

Understand, I don't think Kate's any saint. She has talked rudely both to and about Jon for longer than I can remember, and has done this in front of all TLC's viewing audience. I actually think Jon has every right to be furious and, yes, to even "despise" Kate. However, Rule #1 in divorce cases with marriages that involve children is that you must love your children more than you hate your ex.

Loving your children more than you hate their other parent means that you don't get to go on vacations with your current paramour(s) when you know full well you live in a fishbowl and your antics will be recorded for posterity (and your children's future googling pleasure).

It's not fair? You should be able to have a life? It's not your fault you're a public figure because you and your estranged spouse have ridden your children's coattails to fame and fortune and are continuing to do so even during the upending of your beloved offspring's entire lives?? I'm sorry. See "I'm a Big Kid Now!", Paragraph 4, Section 1.1 entitled "Life, It Isn't Always Fair."

Loving your children more than you hate their other parent means that you don't get to make fun of that parent on national TV.

What, you're just playing around? Joking? Having a rip-roaringly good ol' time with the kiddies? I'm sorry, see "I'm in the Middle of a Divorce Trial - What Now?", Paragraph 8, Section 1.2.9 entitled "Things You Shouldn't Be Doing in Front of Your Children, Especially With Witnesses. And Cameramen."

Loving your children more than you hate their other parent means -- and listen closely Jon -- you don't get to share for broadcast with the entire world that you despise their mother (or father, depending on the case at hand).

You just don't.

One thing that was really stressed to my ex and me during the Parents, Children, and Divorce class that the State of Florida requires all divorcing parties with children to complete is that children take it personally when you talk about their parents -- and it doesn't matter who's doing the talking. If you're talking poorly about a child's mother or father, that child is going to extrapolate what you're saying and reflect it onto him or herself, because that child is 1/2 of the person that you hate. Saying you hate a child's parent (and I think it's increased when it's their same-gendered parent) translates in kiddie-speak to you hating the child.

What, your children know you love them? Great! That's wonderful, and I'm sure they do. But what sticks in the back of their head is that while you love the half that's you, you hate the half that's not.

Both Jon and Kate need to realize it's natural at some point in the divorce process that one's fondness for the other party suffers a significant drop. Face it -- if you were both able to treat each other decently on a consistent basis, chances are you wouldn't be in this mess, now would you? So get it out of your system. Talk to yourself, talk to a therapist, talk to SOMEONE discreet.

But by all that is holy DO NOT MISTAKE YOUR INTERVIEWER FOR A COUNSELOR. The press is NOT your sounding board, and the media is not your best buddy.

And the American public is starting to think you both pretty much suck, quite frankly, if what I'm reading on message boards and comment threads is anything to go by.

Your children didn't ask to be brought into this situation, and continuing in this manner is going to ultimately harm them, not your ex.

Your ex already thinks you're an ass. Trust me on this. That goes for both parties -- don't fool yourselves that either of you are entirely innocent or injured. That honor belongs to your children alone.

At this point, only you can shield your children from the poor decisions their parents made. It's the least you can do for them.

My kingdom for five minutes alone with these people. Good GRIEF.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


I know not everyone is as attached to what they've eaten/ will eat/ are planning to eat WEEKS out like I am, but there is a reason I struggle with my weight, and my adoration of food would play a large part in that. Since I'm obviously over-invested in what goes in my mouth, I track it like a demon to make sure I'm both eating enough of the right stuff and not overdoing on anything.

Yeah, I've lost fifty-ish pounds, depending if you go with my overall low (145) or my current (153), but the goal was 70 pounds, and for two years now I've worked on gaining and losing the same fifteen-plus-or-minus pounds about four times rather than getting those last 20-ish pounds gone.

Note: just for reference sake, the 130-pound goal weight is cleared by my doctor. I'm 5'-7" tall with a small frame, and the optimal weights for that height and build can range from 123 - 138. I figure 130 is a nice, pleasant happy medium, giving me room to indulge while not having me resemble Skeletor. That said, if I can't live with 130 as a healthy, fit person I will cheerfully up it so I can eat a bit more. Food is good.

Anyway, because it amuses me, here's today's breakfast:

The number columns represent calories, carbohydrates, fat, and protein, in that order.

I scramble eggs with one whole egg and two additional egg whites for more protein punch for my calories. Some days I go with entire eggs, but today, well...

For the rest of the day I will continue to eat. And eat. And eat. In just under two hours we're heading over to my brother's for a cookout that is going to include either barbecue or burgers (or both), chips, dip, the vegetables I'm bringing and MORE dip, Diet Coke, more dip...

Food is quite the theme with our family gatherings. Weddings, holidays, funerals -- my great-uncle personally planned the menu for his own wake a week before he died -- random social exchanges, they all revolve around food. So we make adaptations and have some healthier choices around, then just dive face-first into the trough.

I have a sneaking suspicion there might be brownies also. And perhaps some shortbread cookies if I ever get off my butt and put them in the oven.

So that little picture is my single salute to healthy eating today. Enjoy the Labor Day weekend, folks!!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

More wedding pictures...

...are up at my Facebook page. So if you haven't friended me there, you might want to consider it. Or friend one of my friends... or something like that.

Nothing new here to report. The scale is still being a total pain in the ass.

Of course, the french fries I had at dinner last night likely aren't helping matters. Adding insult to injury, they really sucked -- I just ate them because they were on my plate.

Good grief.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


I! Hate! My! Scale!

That is all.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Garbage Man

The Gum Zombie has become our house's garbage man. This wouldn't be a bad thing except that he's rather indiscriminate about what he chooses to toss.

The twenty plastic kiddie cups I'd carefully hoarded from our few trips out to eat because I'm too damned cheap to buy a set? All gone except for four, and those would have disappeared as well if he hadn't been caught.

Two of the four juice-sized glasses I actually purchased? Gone.

My good stainless steel silverware? Also partially gone, specifically the salad forks. I guess small forks, being closer in size to plastic forks, don't deserve drawer space.

I have two left of the original eight.

I have no idea what else he's thrown away, but I'm afraid the candles I was looking for yesterday have met their maker, as well as countless other "disappearances" I've erroneously blamed on the reshuffling of household goods with Choreboy's move-in.

Most folks beg their kids not to hoard or clutter. I myself remember being given a large black garbage bag and pointed toward my room with orders to de-muck or suffer the consequences. The six-year-old, however, is now under orders to throw nothing away without permission, unless it's a used paper plate.

And even then, I'm having my doubts.

Friday, August 28, 2009

It was not that they lived happily ever after...

... but that they lived.

And yes, those are ham-and-cheese croissant sandwiches in the foreground. This was my wedding, thankyouverymuch -- not Martha Stewart's.

Here's me wiping some lipstick off of poor Choreboy, with my Diet Coke conveniently clutched in my left hand.

And before I get back to being productive...

Here's one last one, after my sister made me put down the Diet Coke. For some reason she didn't think it was appropriate.

It even matched my theme. Sheesh.

Oh, and if you squint really tightly and look just to the left of Choreboy's face, you can see the Gum Zombie peering in, sneaking into the picture. Typical, and perfect.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What IS That???

The above was the response today when I showed the folks at the office this picture:

That, my four dear readers, was dinner last night. Remember that link of the dinner I was considering for Saturday night? Well, yeah. I caved. Hard.

2 pounds of ground beef.
Most of a pack of bacon.
8 oz. block of cheddar.

I was worried the picture wouldn't do full justice to the lake of grease surrounding the thing, but clearly my concerns were unjustified. The irony of the steel cut oats, Newman's Own Sweet Enough Strawberry cereal with No High Fructose Corn Syrup, and fresh nectarine pictured in the background of this salute to atherosclerosis is not lost on me.

And for the record, Dad's Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Meat Loaf packs a 589-calorie-per-serving hit.

The result from my taste-testers, though, was a nearly 180 degree turnaround from the grits. There was no gagging, slight or dramatic. There was, instead, massive plate cleaning and requests for more, both at dinner last night and for me to make this again in the future.

"Mommy can't eat this too often, boys. In fact, I can feel my arteries clogging as I sit here."

"Well then, what about once every 3-4 months?"

"We might be able to do that."

Choreboy, needless to say, was in heaven.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I would blog about the wedding, but I'm still lacking pictures because they didn't manage to load into Choreboy's flash drive (the thing has an attitude problem), then my mother tried to zip them into a file but the file was too big and... bleah. I give. They'll come in time, and you'll see 'em when you see 'em.

In other news, I actually made grits yesterday.

I realize that to most people, making grits just isn't a landmark event. Even down here in the New North, aka Florida, grits are a staple. You can't walk past a breakfast buffet without finding a ginormous tureen of the corny stuff staring back at you.

But I've managed to avoid grits most of my life until this point. Neither of my parents grew up in the actual South, and my mother shockingly served Cream of Wheat to her young, impressionable children. So imagine my confusion when I entered grade school and saw this lump of white-ish stuff in a compartment of my green cafeteria tray:

"Uhm, excuse me, but what's that?"

"What's what?"

"That. The white stuff. It looks a little like Cream of Wheat."

Blink. "Cream of what? Those are grits."

"Oh. What are grits?"

And this was the point where my little classmate did the first-grader version of a headdesk.

I tried the grits, due in large part to their slight resemblance to my beloved Cream of Wheat, and EEWWWWW!!! Oh they were awful. First off, I always had sweetened Cream of Wheat (to the point where I'd grab the sugar behind my mother's back after she'd cut me off and dump more in), so the fact that the grits were not at all sweet was a huge turnoff. And then there was the texture. It wasn't just awful, it was Heart of Darkness awful. I remain convinced to this day that the library paste was in large part made of the grits the cafeteria ladies scraped off when we loaded our trays into the dishwashing window.

My impression of grits didn't improve over the course of my school career. In junior high (yes I know I'm dating myself) the school foolishly chose to serve our grits to us in styrofoam bowls that fit right into the round compartments of the cafeteria trays. Since school grits are almost universally unpalatable, we would all drink our little cartons of milk at the beginning of the meal and use four of them to support one upended bowl of grits. Over the entire year of seventh grade, those grits never even budged from the bottom of the bowl.

Not once.

I had friends try to convince me that grits were actually good, that school grits were nothing to judge by, but I was having none of it. By high school I was a self-described grit-hater. My friend Eric used to get really irritated with that term, "Grits are always plural! They are never singular! You cannot go into a restaurant and order a single grit!!"

And then he'd commence with the headdesking. I seemed to have that effect on some people.

Flash forward to this past week. Choreboy and I were at Epcot and had lunch at the Coral Reef restaurant the first day. One of the offerings was fried catfish on a bed of -- you guessed it -- grits. Pepperjack cheese grits, but grits nonetheless.

All I could do was wonder what in the world the catfish ever did to deserve that fate.

At any rate, we finally made it past the mandatory 90-minute waiting period for seating, and of course Choreboy ordered the Grits Special... erm, I mean the fried catfish. With the grits. But when it arrived at our table it looked... inoffensive. And even, dare I say it, potentially tasty. I sucked up nearly four decades of disgust and tried a little forkful; after that, the man was lucky he got to eat any of his meal.

So yesterday we were at a loss for what to do for dinner. We'd gone with frozen pizza on Friday night and a repeat just wasn't in the cards. There had been a healthy-eating overload which made us consider making this (entitled Dad's Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Meat Loaf, for those who don't feel like clicking -- clearly not health food), but I had only one pound of ground beef, and an iffy pound at that.

Fortunately for us, Chopped was on TV. For the sake of reference, Chopped features four chefs who compete by creating three different meal courses with a box of mystery ingredients they are given at the beginning of each round. At the end of each course/ round, one chef is "chopped" from the competition, resulting in the final two chefs battling it out over dessert (which last night involved celery -- I kid you not). Anyway, one of the surprise ingredients for the main course on this episode was quick grits. And that got my little mind churning.

"Honey, do you have any grits?"

"Yes, baby. But don't worry -- they're out of sight so you won't be damaged by their presence."

"Want to cook some grits?"


After I peeled Choreboy off the floor, we headed into the kitchen and located the box of quick grits in the far upper reaches of the pantry. Since the pepperjack was excellent at Epcot, and we had almost two whole bricks of it, we sacrificed the almost-whole block of cheese to the shredder. We also had about half a pound of pre-cubed ham, which went into a small pan for heating/frying.

Tossed in some butter, a dash of milk, salt, coarsely-ground pepper, and a dash of garlic powder, mixed it all up, and wow.

Choreboy was in heaven, and said at least five times that he couldn't believe I actually made grits. He knocked back two large bowls of the stuff, and I had two small ones.

There was not total joy in Mudville, though. The boys were disgusted by even the sight of grits. To be fair, the Elder tried a taste, bravely swallowed, and politely declined further servings.

The Gum Zombie just gagged dramatically and flailed about on the floor in a feigned fit.

Clearly they are my spawn.

Friday, August 21, 2009


I'm alive, y'all. Just on vacation/ my honeymoon/ clean-the-house week.

Pictures will be posted once someone moves them from the flash drives onto a mutually accessible drive.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oh Time, Time, Time...

I know I'm not alone in thinking that Time Magazine totally dropped the ball with its "Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin" article. A response by Shari Roan in the LA Times opens with "Fitness and health experts say Time magazine got it wrong this week with its cover story, "Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin,"" and's Dean Anderson really nails it, in The Daily Spark: "Unfortunately, this article is riddled with headlines and statements that seem more designed to attract attention and readers than to provide useful information—a common problem in this age of declining readership. But if you can get past the sensational headlines and faulty logic (a connection between two things doesn't mean one causes the other), the actual information in the article is nothing new or surprising."

Because, well... it's not.

Gee, burning 300 calories on the treadmill won't take care of the 740-calorie Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese I ate for lunch? Who knew?

And that's the kind of brilliant "non-conventional" information Time's John Cloud offers in his treatise regarding how exercise not only won't make you lose weight, but could even result in you gaining weight as you compensate for your virtuous exercise with a ginormous blueberry muffin from Starbucks! Oh the shock and horror.

See, the key to losing weight is very simple: expend calories in excess of those which you take in. Now the follow-through on that isn't necessary easy, as thousands of dieters in this country can attest (including me), but the basic formula just isn't that difficult to comprehend.

John Cloud cites that a pound of fat will burn 2 calories while at rest, while a pound of muscle will burn 6 calories at rest; ergo, a person who puts forth the tremendous effort to convert 10 pounds of fat to muscle can only eat 40 more calories per day. This limited gain, in Mr. Cloud's eyes, apparently utterly negates the extra calories the individual burned while converting those ten pounds, and also discounts the calories that will also continue to be burned as our hypothetical athlete maintains this change.

It's a given that exercise alone won't make a person lose weight. However, it's also a given that the proper combination of food intake and caloric expenditure will result in weight loss, and that adding to that caloric expenditure will increase that loss.

For example, at 155 pounds I need approximately 1700 calories per day to maintain my current weight at a minimal activity level. I consume a weekly average of 1300 calories per day, resulting in a daily caloric deficit of 400. It takes a 3,500 calorie expenditure to lose a pound, so at 400 calories per day I can expect to lose a pound about every nine days.

However, I also exercise 5-6 days per week and conservatively expend 300 calories a day in that activity. If I did that 7 days per week, just to pretty up the figures a bit: 300 calories from exercise + 400 calories from food intake = daily caloric deficit of 700, and a loss of a pound about every 5 days.

That's nearly HALF the time it would take if I weren't exercising. Believe me, I know. I struggled for almost three months at the beginning of this year to drop 13 pounds, only to gain it all back and then some since I quit smoking/ started putting more food in my mouth rather than cigarettes. I am now down from a high of 164 pounds (there, I've admitted it) to 155 pounds in just under one month, simply by watching what I eat and adding exercise to my life.

As for that post-workout blueberry muffin, are we not capable of getting pencil and paper and calculating that a 400 calorie reduced fat blueberry muffin from Dunkin Donuts will utterly wipe out any caloric benefit from the 300 calories we burned due to exercise? We as a nation need to look at what we're feeding our bodies, wake up to the calorie nightmare some of our foods are, and just do the math.

Do we need to exercise to lose weight? Nope. Not one bit. But it sure helps.

Note: don't even get me started on chain restaurants refusing to give nutrition information for their menus -- Florida, it's time to follow New York's lead. Good grief.

Monday, August 10, 2009


My children love me. I know this because this morning I asked each one if he'd brushed his teeth. Each delightful, innocent child chriped "Yes, mama!"

And because I am an adoring mother but not a fool, I asked to sniff their breath.

Both of the little darlings clamped their lips shut.

I looked at them, "Your breath would fell a full-grown rhino, wouldn't it?"

They giggled, and ran off to the bathroom to de-offensify their teeth. Their daycare will thank me.


My brother, on the other hand, is in league with the cats to do me in. We were discussing our workouts yesterday and he recommended I added more of an interval blast into my treadmill bonding activities, so when I got home I resolved to give it a whirl.

I got on the treadmill and did my first mile in 20 minutes. The second mile is also 20 minutes, but at a 5% incline usually. Well, this time I went up to 10% incline for 2 minute intervals every five minutes on Mile 2 and let me tell you, that kicked my ass. It about killed me.

His wife is getting a text alerting her to her husband's homicidal tendencies.

Monday, August 03, 2009

DJing Again

I know, I know... the last time I mentioned DJing and me in the same entry I also said it was extremely rare. Well, usually it is, but tonight it's happening again at 8PM eastern, which means that once more the internet airwaves will be filled with the dulcet tones of Whatever Amanda Feels Like Playing Tonight. Hee.

My host this fine evening will be the always Glamtastic Mackenzie Rasmuson of Second Life, which is where this event will be taking place -- in Holmesk at the Glamshack, to be precise. For those of you who spend 100% of your days outside of a virtual reality construct, you can still listen in via remote stream:

If you have any requests, just holler. As before I can promise nothing more than to make the attempt so the sooner you get those requests in, the better! Hit me up here in comments, on Twitter (amandajustice), or on Facebook (

Or not. I just lost two more pounds so it's all good :P