Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gender Blank as a superhero

I went here and turned myself into a hero of some sort. I got to choose all sorts of things - skin, nose, companion, colors, insignia and pretty much everything else you see there. Note the hairy legs. And the hair in a low ponytail. And the gray cat. I never wear shirts that fitted, but mostly everything else is spot on. Except the weapons. I'm not into weapons. Also, I don't have an aura of leaves following me around. I don't think.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday cat blogging

Ernie and Gender Blank 12/28/07

Oscar and Ernie goin' at it. Again.

First Weigh-In (Round 2) - 12/29/07

All righty. So I'm a couple days late with the first weigh-in. It took a couple of days to finally convince myself I was going to do this again, and today is Day 1. If you'll remember, my last weigh-in was back in July when I weighed in at 183.2. Then all hell broke loose and I started eating everything in sight. And this morning I weighed in at 197.5. So, that's a gain of 14.3 pounds since July. Shudder.

But I think I'm finally ready to start. Witness the contents of our refrigerator. Not completely empty of crap, as you can see by the labels, but pretty good. If there were no opportunity for eating any crap, I don't think I'd make it.

And here's tonight's dinner, worth 8 points. Mini turkey meatloaf, baked potato, steamed carrots, spray butter. Not a shabby start to this whole thing.

Weight Watchers tells me I should have 24 points per day at my weight, and I'm sitting at 19.5 right now. Much better than I thought I'd do today. I think my typical intake hovers around 40 points or so. I haven't been counting, of course (which was the problem, really), so that's just an estimate. But it's probably pretty close. I don't meet many foods I don't like. Or that I can't cram down, anyway.

So, we're off (again)! I'm looking forward to not feeling bloaty in about a week or so. Gotta give it time to work its way out of my system.

I'm looking forward to next week's report. See you then!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Book Reviews

So, I finally finished The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I started it way back at the end of October, I think, so it's about damned time. I liked it from the beginning, but I got sidetracked by having to read a different book for my book club (that review a bit later) right in the middle of it. Also, I only read right before bed, and I had been going to bed long after MonkeyPants was asleep, and it bothers her to have the lamp on, and I haven't yet found a book light that's worth a shit. So, I spent several weeks not reading anything at all and just playing Bejeweled before bed. What I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't take my tardiness in finishing the book to mean that I didn't enjoy it.

Because I did. Like, a lot. So much so, in fact, that I put up with a shitty book light the last several nights just so I could keep reading. I was actually holding the book in one hand and the light in the other, shining down the page as I read because no position allowed by the clip-on feature lit the whole page at once. I might as well have been using a flashlight. But you make accommodations for things you love, and so I did.

If you haven't read it, it's about a white girl whose mother dies when she is young and who grows up being mistreated by her father. After springing her black nanny from jail, the two flee their home and go in search of answers about the girl's mother. They end up staying with three black beekeeping women in a pink house. The story is told against a backdrop of 1964 civil rights struggles in the south and ends up being a story about the feminine divine, the power of sisterhood, and the healing power of love. Which sounds like it came right off the book jacket, but it didn't. I think it came from inside the book somewhere.

Anyway, Sue Monk Kidd is the kind of writer I enjoy. She is inventive with the language, she fully fleshes out her characters, and she believably tells a story from a specific voice - in this case, the voice of a fourteen-year-old girl who she admits is not much like herself at all. The longing and the aching in the book were palpable. I felt that character. I identified with that character despite growing up in the 80s in the white midwest with two great parents. That's how expertly crafted the book was. Two thumbs, way up.

Contrast this with that fucking book I had to read for the book club, which, unfortunately, ended up being The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Now, I admit I'm no fan of the romance genre, so I was not excited about the book from the start. Also, I'm not a fan of books that become movies featuring James Garner. Just as a general rule. So The Notebook was going to have to work very hard to win me over.

But, as I'm sure you've guessed by now, it didn't. The story itself was okay for the most part, except that it was a sappy romance with an unbelievable subplot about true love conquering Alzheimer's. It's just that the writing was so different from pretty much anyting else I've read. And by different, I mean horrible. Absolutely uninventive, no creativity, no sophisitication. He did this. Then she did that. Then they went there. Then she said something. Then there was an awkwardly written sex scene. Then they cried. Then she got Alzheimer's. Then he saved her. I think I vomited syrup.

But as bad as the book was, I thought the movie was worse. And here's the weird thing - I was irritated that the movie was so different from the book, and I hated the book! Isn't it a sign of a shitty book when the story has to be changed so significantly to still end up being a shitty movie? Of course, I couldn't say any of this to my book clubbers (all two of them) because the announcement of The Notebook as our selection is what got them there in the first place. No, instead I said things like how different it was from most things I read, how I didn't really enjoy the writing all that much - fairly benign stuff. I didn't want to shit on a book they really liked and risk them not coming back again. My hope is that we can get a group of six or eight so there might be someone else who can shit on a book they really liked so I don't have to do it. And if someone decides not to come back, it will be no big deal. But for this first meeting, I played nicey nice and only sort of gave the book a thumbs down. In reality, it deserved about four thumbs down. But that's just my opinion.

Our next selection is The Devil Wears Prada, which I hope draws a bigger crowd. At least I know I already like the movie. White-haired Meryl Streep. 'Nuff said.

And while I'm reading that, I'm also going to start one of the books we got from Mama MonkeyPants for the holiday. Wanna help me pick? The choices are A Thousand Spendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, Atonement by Ian McEwan, and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire.

Also, anyone know of a good brand of book light?

Remember all the stuff about fatness?

Well. Last year at this time I decided to do someting crazy and start an online journal of my weight loss, knowing full well that people I actually know in real life would be reading it. I thought that if people were keeping up with my progress, it would encourage me to actually stick with it. And it did, so yay on me for the brilliant idea.

I reported a weekly weigh-in every Friday, and after six months of doing Weight Watchers (without meetings), walking, and reporting to you folks, I had lost 30 pounds. I was starting to feel good in my body again - strong, athletic, much less likely to die of a heart attack.

And then I moved. MonkeyPants and I took moving week off from Weight Watchers on accounta we knew we'd be eating all kinds of naughty things while in transition. But we sorta forgot to start up again. I started working and found that I didn't have the time to blog like I'd hoped (or, rather, that I was too exhausted to make time for the computer - the desk job was so much more conducive to blogging!). And I didn't feel like cooking at the end of the day, either. And I didn't feel like counting Points. Or walking. And also there are vending machines right upstairs.

So, you see, it was just a perfect storm, and I was the brave captain going down with the ship. There was no fight for survival, no rising fact, there wasn't a whole lot of anything but eating going on.

And so I am both sad and happy to report that tomorrow (or later this morning, actually) I officially start considering going back on Weight Watchers. Happy because I haven't felt this motivated to do anything about my fat ass in awhile. Sad about the twelve-pound (or more) weight gain that is necessitating the motivational search.

I will weigh myself in the morning and report the damage directly to you. Well, first to MonkeyPants, as she is my partner in the whole dance, but then right to you all. And I know that none of you really gives a shit whether or not I am fat, but I will feel more inspired knowing there are witnesses. And by inspired, I mean under tremendous pressure not to disappoint you all by failing, again, to attain a patriarchally-approved body (even while sincerely believing that everything that comes with the Patriarchy's stamp of approval is either illusory or just plain evil - but that's my baggage to haul around...four devoted readers can't erase thirty years of cultural brainwashing as easily as you might think.).

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you all for existing, 'cause without that, I couldn't rope you into the whole witness gig. You don't have to do much, really. Mostly it's just saying "keep it up" and "that's okay" and "you're fucking fantastic" every few weeks. I'm pretty easy to take care of. Unless it's me doing the caretaking.

That felt like a breakthrough moment.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Finish the thought

Phydeaux has tagged me with this meme from pidomon:

I at McDonald's...liked reading when I was growing up...wear a thong...thought I'd live in New York...wear navy blue and black together...color my hair anymore because it covers up the gray...slept with a boy...learned to juggle like I promised...sent about eight wedding thank-yous - is eight years too long?

I at Wal-Mart (and wouldn't ever do such a horrid thing if we had more options in this town)...dress to impress - I leave all the impressing to my winning personality...believe in myself enough...wear makeup - I average about once every two years or other people enough...leave the apartment on Sundays

I Cry...when people do nice things for other people...when my students make me proud...and when my students disappoint sappy television shows...when my family leaves...when I laugh too hard...more often than a grown woman should...less than I used to

I Am Not patient as I would like to organized as I could be if I spent a tiny bit more time at the mood to joke...fair to people who subscribe to stupid ideologies...a perfect radical feminist...prepared for the things 18-year-olds say...busy like I pretend to be - sometimes I'm doing a jigsaw puzzle

I Lose...umbrellas, like, all the time...packs of gum...pens I really like...touch with way too many people because I put off writing or calling until the point at which it will be too awkward to write or call...weight, every few years or, unfortunately

I'm people who foam at the mouth to try to get poor women to have babies they can't afford and then treat those women with contempt when they need help affording those poor people who vote for the Burger King giant people who don't ever consider that other people exist in the people who think that Reagan was awesome

I Miss...being uncritical of and excited about nephew, who calls me athletic body...having evenings free...cornfields...Jose Ole mini chicken tacos...good ranch dressing...New York City

I go back on Weight Watchers...hugs...naps...blogs...students to go the fuck home...crossword puzzles...reassurance...more security...winter see Bobbi and pee...plenty of lead time if my plans are gonna be go to the dentist...Phydeaux to kick me in the pants every few weeks

I Should...go back to bed...put more time into about twenty different projects...stop bitching so much...finish The Secret Life of Bees someone I will probably continue to barely better at confrontation than I less television...quit eating meat altogether

I LOVE...Tivo...books - reading them, shopping for them, talking about them, looking at them on the shelf...MonkeyPants...animals who family...eating...PhotoShop... ice cream...bad 80s movies...being pleasantly surprised...having my faith in people restored by silly things...planning junk...saving money...making people laugh...buying things on sale...nature from a distance...getting up early and then taking a nap before lunch...quiet hours

So, I met my challenge of getting this post up within two days of getting tagged. I won't tag anyone else because I would hate to heap that kind of pressure on you, but I encourage you all to play!

Thanks, Phydeaux, for the kick.