Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Electronic Work Out

Argh. Such a day. It started out brilliantly enough with a morning outing to 24-Hour Fitness for an 80 minute session on the Tread Climber. With only four machines that are sought and fought over by ardent fellow gym rats, I was thrilled to see that Santa had delivered six or seven of the premier Precor EFX576i Elliptical machines. Next to the Nautilus Tread Climber, these bad boys get my heart rate pumping and sweat glands flowing like nobody's business, so with more machines as an option to my cardio sessions, I won't have to trip old ladies and knock down old men to get to be one of the fortunate four.

Now, that was all fine and good but that is precisely when paradise ended and purgatory began because the rest of the day was spent attempting to get our home entertainment hooked up...television, cable, tivo, slingbox, universal remote and dvd recorder. Beginning after a naively calm and carefree lunch there's been a one hour in-house installation appointment with Circuit City's FireDog tech support, a return trip to Circuit City to return the tivo and the universal remote, a stop at Comcast to trade in my old cable box for a new DVR box, and five hours spent re-configuring the connections I'd just paid to have done by a trained tech from FireDog. As it turned out when he left the phone line was dead, the dvd recorder didn't record, and the slingbox had no sound; none of these being minor points in my little parcel of terra firma.

Given my limited take-no-prisoners approach to electronics I now have everything up and running, which is to say until the cat dashes behind the television, gets dangled in the mountain of cords, and pulls everything loose. Yes, all is running smoothly on all 457 channels but I wish I could say the same for myself. I haven't even one nerve left in my body let alone 457 of them, I'm as grouchy as a rain-soaked cat and I'm fairly convinced that at one point in the evening while I was lying on my back wedged behind the television with eight cords and only six jacks remaining to put them in, I invented a entirely new language. In reflection it had a rather harsh gutteral quality reminiscent of an ancient Nordic dialect calling forth visions of marauding and pillaging Vikings. No offense intended to the Nordic community.

A noteworthy detail is that Dana wasn't seen all night except when spotted silently slipping downstairs to grab her dinner plate only to dart back seconds later to the relative safety and serenity a closed (and bolted?) door. A wise decision given my temporary emotional and mental state.

Despite all that, it's great to be home from the holidays, preparing my own food, working out at my own gym, and being annoyed by my own cats. All this and 457 channels. Sweet.

[Phatgirl Note: The events of today are what are commonly known as "cadillac problems." In other words, when you have food on the table, a bed to sleep in, a roof over your head, a steady howbeit modest income, your health, and loved ones, the ordinary trials and tribs that pop up in a day are little more than annoyances at worse and opportunities to grow and learn at best. Perspective kids, it's all about perspective.]

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Nighty-Nite

Mom's on one couch reading. Dana's on the other napping. I'm on the Lazyboy blogging. Just the end of another Christmas Day and a fine one at that. The full stage production of a family Christmas took place on Christmas Eve with an ensemble cast of 31 siblings, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and an assortment of spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, significant others and a puppy named Reed. It was a wonderful, joyful, wild, noisy, and slightly chaotic clan gathering making the peace and quiet of this present moment a welcomed end to the holiday fanfare.

Christmas Day as a whole has been on the mellow side beginning this morning. I'm happy to report that Santa was able to locate Dana and I at the Embassy Suites where we're staying because this morning the Diet Coke and Rice Cake we left out for the white-bearded fellow (yes, we did) were gone and lo and behold, there was a stack of presents under the artificial Christmas tree I'd hauled over from Mom's house to our hotel room. As a side note, if you and/or the entire citizenship of Denmark ever runs short on Christmas decorations, just dial 1-800-mymomschristmasstuffisoutofcontrol. She has more than enough for you, every Dane living or dead, and then some.

After opening presents following a thoroughly scrupulous breakfast of scrambled rubber eggs and water tinted with coffee grounds ala hotel and watching the last half hour of "The Christmas Story," (the "You're-Gonna-Shoot-Your-Eye-Out" movie), we headed off with MapQuest directions in hand for Christmas Day worship at a small Lutheran church. There were about 20 people there and they couldn't have been a more hospitable crowd right down to giving Dana and I a gift bag as we departed that included a loaf of homemade banana bread. Now that's a welcome I can get behind! Then it was back to my mom's house for a lunch of turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and a re-heated plate of everything-else-that-was-leftover-from-Christmas-Eve-dinner, so that we could waddle into the den where we pick up where this blog began.

In the world of training, I managed during the holidaze to get to the gym at dawn on December 23 but haven't done anything since that would even remotely fall under the category of an active lifestyle, let alone exercise. And yes, I miss it and am eager to get my head and hiney and all parts inbetween back to the gym tomorrow upon my return home. The food has been marginally okay. Not great, but okay. The overall quantity of food was fine but the percentage of fat and carbs were at the high end and I feel it. Isn't it weird how your eating can be off for one day and you wake up the next morning fairly convinced you gained 23 pounds overnight, that none of your clothes will fit, and small children will run in fear at your appearance? Maybe it's just me.

Whatever the case may be, that's all I've got to tell you here on Christmas Day evening. Except Merry Christmas, of course. And a very sincere one at that.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Tagged at the Holidays

Jeanne tagged me and I'm not happy about it because my left foot was squarely on safe base! Seeing as it's Christmas and the time for goodwill, peace and all that there, I'm going to acquiesce and play nice. Just don't try it again o' ye who was not born to run.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Holiday or ordinary day, it's four shots of espresso over ice, four Splendas and a splash of whole milk.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? The old man had better wrap them! Unless it's a puppy. Than a bow will do just fine.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Always colored lights. And just let me add a public service announcement that I'm so over those white icicle outdoor lights, so please, by all means, lose them and go back to real single string Christmas lights.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No. I don't require props to get the desired results.

5. When do you put your decorations up? When the guilt becomes too overwhelming.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Mom's raspberry mold jello with whipped cream. Mom gave my sister and I the recipe years ago and to date neither of us have been able to get the jello to set up properly. Apparently, our Mom is taking the actual recipe with her to the grave.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Christmas at my Grandma and Grandpa's at the dairy. A table loaded down with food, bubblelights on the tree, stacks of presents that reached to my nose, singing "Joy to the World" accompanied by organ music, and Uncle Ulphin disappearing only minutes before Santa would appear to hand out our presents.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I don't know what you mean and I certainly don't like what you're implying.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Only when no one is looking. As a child I had the habit of carefully peeling the scotch tape off the end of my presents whenever my parents would leave the house to see what I was getting before putting them carefully back under the tree. One year, I discovered a clear plastic bear from Avon filled with bubble bath. I got so excited about it that I poured half the bubble liquid into the bathtub, took a bath, wrapped the half-empty bear back into the box and had it hidden back under the tree before Mom and Dad returned home from eating dinner with their friends. That Christmas as the family gathered around the tree to open their presents, I opened my bubble bath bear (for the second time) and before I could even finish my great "Oh boy, this is a great present, I'm so surprised!" performance, my mom looked at me, looked at the bear, looked at me, looked at the bear, and then hooked her finger in that "get over here now little woman" way. Suffice it to say, I don't know whatever became of the bubble bath bear and the remaining liquidy soap. Christmas after Christmas I keep waiting...and hoping....

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Colored balls and a weird assortment of this and that collected over the years, along with one handpainted wooden gingerbread man my mom and I painted when I was a little girl. The colored lights have already been established (see 3) although Dana has to string the lights because I get way too frustrated with the whole process.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it. Miss it. Want it.

12. Can you ice skate? Only if I don't mind going into the holidays with a few broken limbs and a sore behind.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? A little black and white color television from my grandma when I was about nine. I was in heaven.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? I'm going to have to opt for the birth of Jesus and the whole nativity, baby in a manger, angels exalting, shepherds adoring, Son of God in flesh extravaganza. That my little peeps, is the Christmas story and it doesn't get better than that, with all respect to the jolly fat man.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Mandarin oranges and dates. In childhood it was the three-tiered cookies that looked like little Christmas trees my Grandma made every year.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Going to a candlelight worship service on Christmas Eve.

17. What tops your tree? Nada. Our tree is usually so small that putting anything on the top makes it look rather Charlie Brown-esque.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving without a doubt, not that I've ever turned down a gift...

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and in traditional carols, "Oh, Come All Ye Faithful."

20. Candy canes?
I avoid stripes. They make me look fat.

Merry Christmas from PhatGirlElf

A Special Greeting from Me to You. Not you. YOU!
(You'll want the sound on...and then again, maybe you won't.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Monday's Check-In Revisited

D_wn pulled out the measuring tape today and I'm encouraged, particularly the loss of almost five inches around the waist. When I was measured on November 28 my Lean Body Mass had dropped to 129 from 135. which meant I was losing muscle along with the fat as a result of not having enough protein in my diet. Over the past couple weeks by increasing my protein my LBM has gone back up to 133...a good thing.

November 6

  • Body Fat Percentage 37.1
  • Fat Mass 80.13
  • LBM 135.86
  • Upper Arm 14
  • Forearm 10.5
  • Chest 43.25
  • Waist 43.75
  • Hip 49.25
  • Thigh 25.5
  • Calf 17.5
December 20
  • Body Fat Percentage 34
  • Fat Mass 68.68
  • LBM 133.32
  • Upper Arm 13.5
  • Forearm 10
  • Chest 41.5
  • Waist 38.9
  • Hip 46.75
  • Thigh 25.5
  • Calf 17

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday Check-In

December 11 Check-In

December 18 Check-In

I'm not discouraged by the one pound weight gain since I've been staying on target with both the food and exercise. Call it water weight, trading fat for muscle, or a simple prank of the scale gods, but my jeans are looser and I know I'm doing what I need to be doing so I'm not bothered by it. D_wn will be measuring me in a couple days so we have a final set of measurements for 2006 and hopefully there will be some results there.

While I remain just as diligent around my food choices I haven't been as diligent in logging it at CalorieKing but I'm committed to continuing to do that because awareness around the food is something that can grow fuzzy for me unless I take the additional step after or before eating to writing it down. I can end up forgetting a mid-afternoon snack here or something I added to my lunch there and it all adds up, one bite at a time.

Daily Caloric Intake
Tuesday, 12-12
1700 calories
Wednesday, 12-13
1465 calories
Thursday, 12-14
1395 calories
Friday, 12-15
1498 calories
Saturday, 12-16
1357 calories
Sunday, 12-17
Approximately 1500 calories (didn't use Calorie King today)
Monday, 12-18
736 calories but no dinner or night snack yet

Daily Exercise Log
Tuesday, 12-12
70 minutes on Tread Climber
Wednesday, 12-13
50 minutes with personal trainer, 60 minutes on Tread Climber
Thursday, 12-14
70 minutes on Tread Climber
Friday, 12-15
50 minutes with personal trainer, 60 minutes on Tread Climber
Saturday, 12-16
Zippity doo dah
Sunday, 12-17
Nada mas mi hermanos y hermanas
Monday, 12-18
60 minutes on the Tread Climber, 45 minutes with personal trainer, 5 minutes on Elliptical

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Too Cozy for Cardio

This is Day 2 in the No Gym for Phatgirl saga. Yesterday was consumed with the gingerbread house extravaganza at the church which required no less recovery time than what's recommended for runners following a marathon. If you think I exaggerate then clearly you haven't spent four hours with twenty children and a truckload of sugar. That was Day 1.

Day 2 began at church where between the children's time and the sermon the congregation surprised me with a very sweet rendition of "Happy Birthday" and flowers presented by the children. Not your typical worship service granted, but that it happened on the exact anniversary of a very painful experience in another meant the world to me and was a God-moment if ever there was one. After church Dana took me to the Christmas Dicken's Fair at the Cow Palace in San Francisco as a late birthday gift and then it was home to nap. Oh sure, I could have gone to the gym tonight but that would have required changing out of my jammies that I've had on since early evening, turning off the electric blanket that I'm snuggly tucked under, and missing the season finale of Survivor. All I can tell you is it's cold out there people and I'm just not hip on going back out into it.

But the truth? Though I can't get my body to move out the door to the gym, I miss going. I can't believe I just said that with my out loud voice. Two days of no gym time since I began my committed "until my money runs out" relationship with D_wn, my personal trainer, and I miss it. I think I realized how much working out was meaning to me on Friday when I got teary-eyed during my work out. I was standing in front of the mirror lifting weights when I imagined what the 40 year old Anita would have thought to see the 50 year old Anita in the gym on her birthday feeling so good and looking so good. The 40 year old Anita would never have believed it and that's why the boo-hoo moment. And that's why I can hardly wait to go to the gym tomorrow where my Tread Climber and Personal Trainer will do everything in their combined power to whoop my butt. Ain't gonna happen!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Hardest Work Out Yet!

Who needs to pay a personal trainer, when you can simply organize a gingerbread house decorating party for 20 children between the ages of 2 - 11, corral them for games, herd them for lunch, flip a couple dozen grilled cheese sandwiches, benchpress a mega-pot of chicken noodle soup, chase down adolescent boys who repeatedly confuse the altar table for a fort, clean up the mess that remains when preschoolers are given squeeze bags of frosting and a quarter ton of candy, and bada-bing-bada-boom, you've had yourself a full-body work out and the time of your life! Be afraid D_wn, be very afraid.

It was a great day, a really, really great day. A funny, delightful, silly, and adorable day. It simply does not get any better than this, and the best part of it all? I get to be the really nice lady who plays games with them and shovels heaps of candy in their direction and then happily hugs them goodbye as they head home with their parent(s), wired up like the annual Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. The adored hero to preschoolers, the troublesome instigator to parents. It's a tough job but somebody's got to do it.

So what did you do today? And if it involved a nap, I don't even want to hear about it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

There's More than 10 Years Between 40 and 50

Today is my birthday. I'm allowed to be reflective and sentimental. I make no apologies.

I don't remember every detail of my 40th birthday but I remember enough. I was 325+ pounds and uncomfortable in my own skin. I was living in a house that never felt like a home. I had a job that was unfulfilling. I was in a relationship that never felt like love and was doomed from the start. I was unhappy. I was miserable. I excelled in self-loathing and was in every likelihood not the best candidate for a friend. I was, and I put this mildly, a physical, emotional and spiritual car crash. A bad one.

Ten years later and another world, another life. I weigh just under 200 pounds and enjoy moving this body, pushing this body, living in this body. I live in a home that feels like a home; a safe place in the world and sometimes from the world. I have a job that's meaningful and ministry that fulfills me, and I'm blessed beyond measure to be in a relationship that feels like love because it is love; the truest of love. A love I never could have anticipated and would have never had the nerve to ask for had I even known such love was possible. I'm more than happy. I'm overjoyed by my life and grateful for even the messy days, even the knock-you-down-and-suck-the-air-out-of-your-lungs days. I'm awed God has done all this for me, been so generous with me, so thoughtful of me. Thank you. Thank you so much.

And here is a simple thing but a wonderful thing. The best moment of my 50th birthday was this. . .listening to a message on the phone from my mom singing "Happy Birthday." Her voice was raspy and weak and the tune at times a tad off pitch but it would have put the Vienna Boys Choir to shame with it's sweetness.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sunrise Sweat

I went to the gym this morning. At 5:20 a.m. Were I Catholic I'd call for a priest to perform an exorcism because clearly something is alarmingly wrong with that. Even more alarming is that I enjoyed being at the gym at 5:20 in the morning sweating on my favorite Nautilus Commercial Series Tread Climber TC916, that being the one located the furthest from the mirrored wall right next to the step climbers and conveniently located so that televisions one through fourth are within close visual range. I love my Tread Climber, and the truth be told, I'm pretty sure my Tread Climber loves me. It's just a feeling.

I wore my favorite gym teeshirt, the one I recently bought from Threadless T-Shirts in preparation for turning 50 tomorrow that reads "So far this is as old as I've ever been." I love it so much I bought two. One for the gym and one not for the gym. Of course, I've already mixed them up and so I'm not sure which is which. Kind of like a parent with their twin newborns. Okay, maybe not just like that. I'm not sure if I should tell you why it's my favorite. Maybe that would be too much information. Wait. I forgot it's you I'm talking to and these are the kinds of things we share, being blog buddies and all. Okay, my "So far..." shirt is my favorite for the gym because my sweat really shows in it and I love looking sweaty because it makes me feel so athletically hipslick'ncool. Tell me truthfully, did I cross the line by telling you that? Of course, if I did, it's not as if it would be the first time and all odds suggest it won't be the last. In other words, if you continue reading my blog, you best get accustomed to useless bits of too much information.

So here I am. An hour and a half of cardio behind me, a stop in at the local coffee shop where I just had to say "my usual please", a long hot shower, time spent sipping coffee and talking in bed with my significant other, a bowl of yogurt and fresh raspberries, and a blog entry. All before 8:30 a.m. and the entire day is still in front of me. Sweet.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Biggest Loser and a Box of Kleenex

I'm watching "The Biggest Loser" finale on Tivo at the moment and I have no problem admitting I'm teary-eyed and snotty-nosed. These are my people after all. Century people. People who were morbidly, dangerously obese and have lost a 100 or more pounds. We might not have a clubhouse or a secret handshake but we're all connected in a way that's hard to explain, but it boils down to this. We know.

We know what it's like to have looked in the mirror and not been able to see ourselves, who we knew we really were under all the flesh and fat that hid us. We know what it's like to have had the other passengers on a plane watch as we squeezed down the aisle with a look on their faces that said "I hope that huge person isn't sitting in the seat next to me." We know the humilitation of not having fit through a store turnstile or into a restaurant booth, and to have been treated in public as if we weren't there because somehow the bigger we were the more invisible we were. And most of all, we know what it was like to have wanted more than anything to just fit in, to look normal, to have tried everything and anything to lose weight only to find ourselves powerless in the end to change anything. And after trying and trying for so long we had given up. We had said that was how we were and how we would always be. Nothing had worked and nothing ever would, and so we gave up all hope and accepted that we would die fat and we would probably die young, and we only hoped when the end came they wouldn't need to bury us in a piano crate.

And then something happened; a something that was different for all of us. Maybe it was the burning desire to live long enough to accompany our newborn child into their adulthood and not miss a single minute more of their lives than was our destiny. Perhaps a doctor looked us in the eyes and suggested that the next time we wanted a donut we should consider picking up a handgun instead because it would be quicker and less painful in the end. Maybe it was growing so sick and tired of how our lives were going we couldn't bear it another day. Perhaps it was hitting the bottom of despair with a thud and having no other way to go but up and accepting that nothing we had tried on our own worked so we reached out for help and support from others, some to a 12-step recovery meeting, some to Weight Watchers and others to "The Biggest Loser."

So I'm teary-eyed and snotty-nosed because just as I know the pain and humilation they've been through in their lives, I know the joy they're experiencing now in hope restored and a the goal of a lifetime reached. I know when they look in the mirror today they see the person they knew was there all along just waiting to get out. I'm so happy for all of them, for their chance to participate in a life that up to now they've only watched from the sidelines. They've done an incredible thing; so incredible that only those of us who have "been there and done that" can really appreciate...because we know.

Just So You Know. . .

I haven't forsaken the whole notion of marathon walking. Be assured there are no future plans to rename my blog PhatgirlCalorieCounting or PhatgirlGymRat. The truth is that behind the scenes I've actually been wrapping my little pea brain around getting ready for my upcoming two half-marathons in April and July and my second stab at the Portland Marathon in October. This is what I've done to prepare:

  1. I've registered for all three events.
  2. I've booked hotel reservations for all three events.
  3. I've reserved a portable refrigerator (mother of all necessities) for all three hotels at all three events.

And then there's actually training for the events, she said while slapping her forehead in mock astonishment, and that's why last night I pulled out my worn torn but never forlorn copy of Marathoning for Mortals by the Most Penguin John Bingham and plotted out my training schedule for 2007. Let me just say two things. Two things for now. Later. More. Much more.

    Thing Number One: My training schedule for the coming year is different from my previous training. Most significantly, there's only one 20-mile training walk instead of the two 20-milers I did last summer and rather than only having two weeks between the 20-miler and the marathon, I'll have three weeks. I could just about do a happy dance over thing Number One. Actually, I'm going to step away from the computer for a moment to polka. I'll be right back.

    Thing Number Two: Okay, follow this little sychronistic happening. When I track my training schedule backward from the date of the marathon in October to the half-marathon in July my long distance walk for that weekend is 12 miles, and when I work forward from the April half-marathon to the July half-marathon there are just the right amount of weeks to keep to an exact training schedule. Smooth as glass baby, smoooooth as glass.
So there you go. While D_wn, my Personal Tyrant, rules my universe at the present, in the future I will return to the hills and dells and trails with hoofers pounding the pavement.

By the way, Dana told me today that I needed to blog more regularly or my fanbase would disappear. You wouldn't abandon me. Would you?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Check - In

November 20 Check-In

December 11 Check-In

Weekly Caloric Intake and Exercise Log
While I continue to log every calorie in (food consumed) and calorie out (toil and sweat) on, I won't bore you with the play by play day by day, but will instead dazzle you with these little stats:

Tuesday, December 4 through Monday, December 11
1400-1850 calories per day
60 minutes cardio on the Nautilus Tread Climber and 100 crunches per day

That's what I'm talkin' about! So, it looks like I'm averaging a weight loss of about 1.0 - 1.5 pounds a week and while that wouldn't keep me above the yellow line on "The Biggest Loser" I'm content with the progress. Content and hopeful in that this might be the time when Phatgirl finally sheds the surplus. And on that happy thought I'm calling it a night Boys and Girls.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Catalog Chaos

Dear Land's End, Eddie Bauer, PotteryBarn, Nordstrom's, Levenger, Savannah's Candy Kitchen, Solutions, Garnet Hill, Bloomingdale's, Hammacher Schlemmer, Harry & David, Hickory Farms, Monterey Bay, Plow & Hearth, Williams Sonoma, Sony, Dell Computers, Appleseeds, Carol Wright Gifts, Abbey Press, Frontgate, Sharper Image, Red Envelope, Hallmark, Lennox, Chiasso, Crate and Barrel, Popcorn Factory, Disney Store, Hershey's, Omaha Steaks, House of Almonds, Vermont Country Store, Lane Bryant, Silhouettes, Roaman's, Sierra Trading Post, Touch of Class, Ross-Simons, Current, Museum Store Company, Barrons, Oriental Trading, Discount School Supply, Kipp Brothers, ShindigZ and Lillian Vernon,

Stop. Sending. Me. Catalogs.

Have I ever bought a single item from your catalogs? Have I ever phoned one of your operators who are always standing by, read you the customer code off the mailing label conveniently located in the pink, red, green, yellow, blue or gray box, referred you to the page number where a desired item was located and then read the 23 digit item number printed in font type so miniscule that an ant standing in the center of the 23 digit item number would need a magnifying glass to decipher it? That's right. I never have and I never will.

Stop. Sending. Me. Catalogs.

And for those of you merchandising mavens who are under the impression that a colony of individuals live in my house whose names happen to contain the same letters of the alphabet as mine but in varying order, let me assure you right now, there is no one at my home by the name of Aneeta Cadnaugh, Danita Husby, Anita Cadhusey, Anita Cadonay-Hooseby, Atecka Cadnerry-Houseby, Anna Calonua-Husbey, or whatever other deviation of my name you have slaughtered beyond the point of absurdity. Even if such a group of people existed, since we all happily share the same letters of the alphabet wouldn't you think it in our collective nature to be able to share one copy of your catalog? And by the way, as long as we're on this, I'm not Miss or Mr. and if I heard someone shout "Occupant!" or "Resident!" on the street I wouldn't turn around and say "What?!" because those are not my name.

Stop. Sending. Me. Catalogs.

I give you credit. You are relentless. Three identical catalogs sent on three different days. Did you think I wouldn't notice? Are you so naive as to think I might have regret I didn't take the opportunity with the first copy you sent to purchase something that would complete my life and so now, in your good mercy you're giving me another chance? Pay attention here. Read carefully so you miss nothing. There was nothing I wanted in your catalog the first time you sent it. I have not changed my mind.

Stop. Sending. Me. Catalogs.

Stop sending me catalogs that are exactly the same as the one you sent me a month ago except for the new cover you've slapped onto the front. YYes, I noticed and no, you're not fooling me! Stop depleting our forests with catalogs that never get further than the recycle bin that waits open-mouthed to consume them whole. Stop making me get soaked to the bone by forcing me to wrestle your mangled catalogs out of my mailbox in the pouring rain. Stop giving people the impression that the true meaning of Christmas revolves around merchandise and spending and getting. What I'm trying to say is,

Stop. Sending. Me. Catalogs.

Oh, and could you please have someone from your online store send me an electronic receipt for the item I ordered off your website yesterday? Thank you.

Anita Cadonau-Huseby

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday Check - In With a Major Detour

I was there at the appointed time. D_wn, the Glutes Goddess, the Abs Administrator, the Perveyor of Pain, the Sargeant of Sweat was not. I was informed she had a fever or so the story goes. But I wonder. Could it be she has come to fear me? Let's just say that after an hour of cardio the other day, followed by 40 minutes of core training, I probably could have responded with a little less aggression when she suggested I conclude my morning with....the plank.

The plank. Who is the sick son-of-a-gun who thought this one up? I mean seriously. Either lay down or get up off the ground but make a commitment one way or the other! Oh fine, maybe the rest of you perky little runner types are all over this bad boy but for a phatgirl like me, .....the plank is nothing short of sixty seconds of misery a la elbows. I really don't think it's good to do anything that makes your glutes burn so intensely that you find yourself looking over your shoulder for a man in a flame retardant suit wielding a blowtorch. Let me offer you a piece of advice. If you're doing something that burns that badly, S-t-o-p. I-t! Besides, around forty seconds into.......the plank noises start coming out of my mouth that are disturbing at best. I suppose one could liken it to the death rattle of a lost soul tied to four stakes in the mid-day sun of the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa at the very second they glimpse a ravenous cheetah approaching from the east and a wild-eyed leopard with an undenible agenda moving in from the west. Imagine the sub-human noise a person in such a predicament would produce and that's phatgirl from 40 through 60 seconds of......the plank. Grown men have been known to cower and weep uncontrollably at the sound.

And my point in all this, aside from listening to the clickity-click of my own keyboard that is, is to suggest that D_wn had no fever but that she was merely avoiding the unavoidable. That is, as long as she insists on....the plank.

While I didn't get on the gym scales today and thus have no weight stats, here's the rest of my check-in and people, it's so thrilling that if you're operating heavy-machinery while reading this, it's advised you pull over to the side of the road and turn the engine off before continuing.

Weekly Caloric Intake and Exercise Log
Monday, 11-27
1092 calories, 60 minutes on Tread Climber, 50 minutes cross-training

Tuesday, 11-28

1411 calories, 60 minutes on Tread Climber

Wednesday, 11-29

1423 calories, 60 minutes on Tread Climber, 45 minutes cross-training

Thursday, 11-30
1173 calories, 60 minutes on Tread Climber

Friday, 12-1

1475 calories, 40 minutes on Tread Climber, 50 minutes cross-training

Saturday, 12-2

1261 calories, rest day

Sunday, 12-3
1490 calories, 60 minutes on Tread Climber


  1. I need more calories. It's been recommended I consume 1485 calories for three days in a row and then 1900 on day four. Rinse. Repeat. I'm not intentionally coming in on the low side but by the time evening comes I'm not wanting to dump in calories just to dump them in. As a solution, I'm probably going to try and eat a little more than my usual yogurt and fruit breakfast, probably by adding in some grain.
  2. The good news is that in terms of the Three Amigos (carbs, fat, and protein) I'm falling right into the recommended percentages though the protein percentage could still be a wee on the higher side.
  3. As you might have already guessed D_wn is adorable, funny, professional, and very motivating. In other words, she's ideal as a trainer but much too Pollyanna for a blog and so I take creative license whenever the mood strikes and the mood strikes without ceasing. Maybe if she's drop.....the plank, I would be willing to negotiate a more favorable portrayal in the future. Until that time, she will remain so much blog fodder.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Irony Of It All

Later this month I'll be turning 50. No big deal, just another year. I'm looking good and feeling good. In short, I'm happy and peppy and bursting with love.

And then it happened. Today in the mail was my formal invitation to join the AARP.

And here I am, still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

75 Crunches And A 6 Pound Ball

The only thing I love more than going on vacation is coming home from vacation where our couch, bathtub, and pathelogically insane kittens wait eagerly for us to return so they can systematically ignore, snub and revile us. Nothing like coming home and feeling the love.

Despite the rather chilly reception waiting for us at home, Thanksgiving in Mendocino was spectacular. Long walks along the coastal headlands in crisp fall weather, browsing through the bookstore, starring up into a cloudless night sky and counting the shooting stars, purchasing a baking soda powered submarine at the toy store, Dana spotting a 20 dollar bill o the sidewalk only to donate it a few hours later to an animal shelter (another reason to love her as if there weren't already enough), eating a leisurely Thanksgiving dinner in our favorite restaurant, long soaks in the jacuzzi tub, flannel jammies and a bedroom fireplace, and talking with Dana about everything and nothing into the wee hours of the morning.

A quality weekend and all the more so compared to last year's Thanksgiving that arrived while Dana and I were walking through a time of disappointment in people and a wider church we had loved and respected only to have been betrayed and abandoned by them. (Blog Note: If that sounds overly-dramatic, it's only because there are times in all our lives when the most critically-acclaimed soap opera has nothing on us and if you don't know what I'm talking about then count your lucky stars, throw salt over your shoulder and spit three times into the palm of your hand post haste. Exit parenthesis at this time to resume original stream of consciousness.) Looking back over the year we've come through Dana and I found ourselves expressing genuine gratitude for what God has brought us out of and where God is taking us, wherever that might be. There's a passage in the Hebrew Scriptures, words spoken by Joseph to the brothers who had once abandoned him, selling him into slavery; "Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good." I thought about those words this weekend and while by no stretch of the imagination do I compare my life to that of Joseph's, I think I just might know what the my slave-turned-Egyptian-prince-of-a-brother meant when he said those words.

There was something else that awed me this weekend. The night sky. I was blown away by it. Not just by the dazzling sight of all the stars but by the idea of how humongous it all is; that there are lights in the sky from stars that don't exist, whose light has only just reached us here on this puny little planet even though the star turned to dust long ago, like the spot of light that lingers in your eyes long after the flash of the camera. And the expanse of the universe, one galaxy beyond another one beyond another one after that. God without beginning and end, space without limit or boundaries. Doesn't the whole notion of infinite and eternal just rattle your brain on occasion? I love, I mean really wildly love how little it is that we know. Who needs to read reformulated stale mysteries when we're living right in the middle of the most incredible mystery of all!

Enough ruminations.

So. While I was spending a relaxing, and apparently, mind-altering Thanksgiving weekend in Mendocino with Dana, she, and you well know to whom I'm referring, was diabolically and systematically plotting how to make me suffer until I begged for mercy. Today I came close and in doing so I learned something important about myself and it is this; my breaking point, the moment I will morph from complete composure into a drooling, whimpering mess of a human being is somewhere just after 3 sets of 25 crunches. I don't know the exact moment because I didn't reach it. I only know I was teetering precariously on its' edge.

Apples and oranges you say but I assure you that my pontifications over the universe are not as unrelated to core training as you might first imagine because there is an interconnection between them that has led to a heightened self-awareness. It is this. I prefer mystery over misery and stars over sweat. Hands down.

Monday's Check-In on Wednesday

Monday, November 27 Check-In
205 Pounds (1 pound weight loss, 11 pounds total)
Chest: 41 (2 inches lost)
Waist: 43 (no change)
Hips: 48 (1 inch lost)
Thigh: 25 (no change)
BMI: 35.3 (down 1.9 points)

Weekly Caloric Intake and Exercise Log
Monday, 11-20
1469 calories, 60 minutes on Tread Climber, 40 minutes cross-training
Tuesday, 11-21
1301 calories, 60 minutes on Tread Climber
Wednesday, 11-22
1385 calories, 30 minutes on Tread Climber, 40 minutes cross-training
Thanksgiving, 11-23
2398 calories, 1 hour walk, 20 minutes core exercises
*Friday, 11-24
Undetermined calories, 1 hour walk
*Saturday, 11-25
Undetermined calories, 1 hour walk
*Sunday, 11-26
Undetermined calories, 60 minutes on Tread Climber

*Away from home for the holiday weekend so unable to accurately track caloric intake due to restaurant dining.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Every Day Thanksgivings

There's nothing I could offer in the way of Thanksgiving gratitudes that would be more eloquent than those offered by Rose of Hit the Ground Running fame. Do yourself a favor and take a minute in this turkey (or tofuty)-filled day to read her Thanksgiving entry. It serves as a wonderful reminder that often our greatest blessings are hidden in the mundane of everyday life.

For all things, both that which brings us ease and consolation, and that which causes us to strengthen and mature, thanks be to God forever more.

"For from God and through God and to God are all things."
(Romans 11:29)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday Check-In

I've made a decision and there's no talking me out of it so don't even try. Every Monday, whether you want me to or not, I'm going to chart my progress in terms of weight loss as noted by my weekly check-in at 24 Hour Fitness, along with my monthly measurements. I'm also going to list my caloric intake and work-outs for the week.Why you ask? Let me give you two answers. One: Oh Heck, why not? I'm telling you everything else about my life as it is. Two: It motivates me to be accountable to others even the others are a ratty bunch of blogophites like you! And so, here is the first thrill-packed installment of calories and cardio.

Starting Check-In

October 27
216 pounds
Chest: 43 inches
Waist: 43 inches
Hips: 49 inches
Thigh: 25 inches
BMI: 37.2
November 13 Check-In

November 20 Check-In

Weekly Caloric Intake and Exercise Log
Monday, 11-13
1117 calories, 60 minutes x 2 on Tread Climber, 40 minutes cross-training
Tuesday, 11-14
1495 calories, 60 minutes on Tread Climber
Wednesday, 11-15
1503 calories, 60 minutes on Tread Climber, 40 minutes cross-training
Thursday, 11-16
1465 calories, 60 minutes on Tread Climber
Friday, 11-17
1481 calories, 60 minutes on Tread Climber, 40 minutes cross-training
Saturday, 11-18
1313 calories, 60 minutes on Tread Climber
Sunday, 11-19
1167 calories, 3 mile walk

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Just a Baking Babe

These days when I'm not counting my calories, sweating on the cardio equipment to Annie Lennox belting out "Missonary Man", or submitting to some new torture designed for maximum burn by D_wn, my personal painmaker trainer, I'm standing in the middle of my flour-coated kitchen baking the sides, roofs, and chimneys for 30, count em, 30 gingerbread houses. Wrap your head around that for a minute. Imagine 90 cups of flour, 15 cups of brown sugar, 30 eggs, 18 3/4 cups of molasses, 8 pounds of butter, and a cereal bowl of spices. It took one day to pre-measure the dry ingredients, another day to mix the dough and most of today and tomorrow to do the baking before wrapping and freezing enough gingerbread walls that if laid side by side would reach all the way to somewhere and back again. And I, Phatgirl, am having a blast!

I'm rather fond of Christmas, it being the Baby J's birthday and all.
And children. I'm totally smitten by my waist-hugging buddies.
And church. One of my favorite hang-outs. Dio's casa mi casa.

Put it all together and you end up with a Children's Christmas party that's gonna rock da' house with games, a showing of Disney's "Small One" (my favorite Christmas animated film of all time and required viewing for all children in my life), a haute cuisine luncheon of grilled cheese sandwiches sans crust and chicken oodles' of noodles soup, concluding with gingerbread houses buckling under the weight of thick blobs of royal icing festooned with obscene quantities of candy and liberal doses of child spit from finger-licking and stolen nibbles. This, my people and peeps, is the good life in a chestnutshell.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Painful Pec Prohibitions

In the event you should ever find yourself burdened with pain in your pectoralis major muscle then let me share some wisdom gleaned today in my ventures through life.

  1. Do not attempt to stir milk into your coffee. Either hire someone to do it for you, ask for the support of a friend, or drink it black.
  2. Do not consider lifting anything weighing more than 7 ounces over your head. This includes your own arms.
  3. Do not attempt to get dressed and if you must get dressed, avoid anything that slips over your head, or uses a zipper, snaps, ties, or buttons. This will limit you to a poncho or a garment utilizing velcro.
  4. Crying doesn't help but it doesn't hurt either. Unless you sob. Sobbing increases the likelihood of shoulder movement. Don't do that.
  5. Do not engage in rigorous tooth brushing. This would be a good time to invest in a Braun Oral-B Advance Power Electric Toothbrush. To limit pectorial movement when using your new Braun Oral-B, bring your chin down to your chest before attempting minimal elevation of brush to mouth.
  6. Take a lesson from our ape ancestors and drive with your feet, keeping arms dangling limply on your lap.
  7. While coping with painful pecs do not participate in active sports that include, but are not limited to the following: bungie jumping, hand-gliding, para sailing, deep sea diving, and alligator wrestling. Fire walking and cat lassoing should only be attempted with extreme caution.
  8. Do not polka. Even an Irish jig could result in undue suffering.
  9. Take aspirin and plenty of them. This advice is contingent on being able to open the aspirin container in the first place.
  10. Learn to type with your toes. How else do you think I could have made this entry?

A Pain in the Pecs

I was pretty sure it was just my imagination. A glint in the eye. A wink. A smirk. I was standing before a huge white metal freestanding cross-training contraption with pulley's and weights and levers and random bits and pieces. As I began the first series of reps she had just demonstrated for me, I could have sworn I heard her say, "You're going to feel these tomorrow in your pecks" and that's the very moment I thought I saw a glint, a wink, and a smirk. But I was sure I was mistaken. She looks too cute and seems too nice to take pleasure in the suffering of others. Besides, I didn't even know what pecs were and if I had any, and so I went ahead naively, trustingly, foolhardly and did precisely as D_wn, my personal trainer instructed me to do. And as the day wore on, I forgot all about what I thought I'd seen.

Until this morning. This morning when I went to push the covers off me I discovered I have pecs. Raw, throbbing, pounding, screaming, angry ones. It was foolishness on my part. I shouldn't have attempted something so reckless. If I had it to do all over again I would do it differently. Hinesight is always 20/20 they say and they're right. If only I had moved one blanket at a time but oh nooooo, I had to push all three off at once in my rush to get out of bed. I'll think better next time. After a session with D_wn, it's always best advised to move cautiously in the hours that follow. Speaking of which I'd write a longer blog entry but I'm beginning to feel a twitch and pull and ache in my pecs. Oh yes, I have them and I know just where they are, thank you very much.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Confession Session

The gracious comments of family and friends to my initial nine-pound weight loss requires that I share a teeny-weeny detail with you. While it's true I lost nine pounds in two weeks it's equally true that following the Portland Marathon I managed to pack on sixteen pounds in one month. Impossible you say? Perhaps for an amateur such as yourself but not for a professional Phatgirl! All it required was consuming the same quantity of food while mending motionless from my injury that I was consuming when logging 20-25 miles a week during training. Here's an equation that will help you avoid the same mistake. I'll wait while you grab a pen and paper. Ready? Okay, it goes something like this:

-Calories In
+ No Calories Out
.Weight Gain

There you go. Don't ever say I never did anything for you. Anyway, the plan as it stands now is to dump the remaining seven pounds as soon as is feasibly possible so I can move on to tackling the original forty pounds. Forty pounds. That translates as a four year old child. In other words, I'm carrying around a preschooler. Let's call her Edith, shall we? Even as I blog, I see a radical new weight loss book in my future. Know your fat. Love your fat. Name your fat. Someone call Random House so they can get the presses rolling!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Nine is Fine

Just when you thought Monday's couldn't get more brutal, D_wn, my personal torturer trainer decided to up the ante and designate all foreseeable Monday's in my future as check-in days.

    Check-In (verb) chek-inn
    1. register at a hotel - to register as a guest, or register a guest, on arrival at a hotel. Has my colleague checked in yet?
    2. arrive for a trip - to register and go through the necessary formalities before beginning a trip, especially by air. All passengers should check in at least one hour before departure.
    3. make contact - to make routine contact with a person or organization to exchange information. The patrols are suppose to check in by radio at half-hour intervals.
    4. weigh in on scales - the occasion upon which an individual is compelled by their physical trainer to get on the scales, most commonly located in a high traffic area in the center of a fitness club to register their weight. The cruel and diabolical personal trainer made the unsuspecting phatclient climb on the scales to check in on her progress.

If you're leaning toward option four as the applicable definition then you're tonight's lucky winner and your prize will be arriving soon to a mailbox near you. Not your mailbox, but one near you so the sooner you start rummaging through your neighbor's mailboxes the sooner you'll find it. Go ahead. It will be fine. Really. Now, back to the topic at hand. Me.

The results of my first offical check in after two weeks of daily cardio, core training, and precise calorie tabulations have led to a nine pound weight loss. That's right Happy Campers, nine big ones. Step aside "Biggest Losers" because Phatgirl is nipping at your sneaker struttin' heels!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Soaking with the Snowman

Phatgirl is blogging on location from Kansas City, where I've been for the last five days while attending a work-related conference and from where my flight departs for home in an hour. The conference was a conference as conferences go. Five days of workshops, films, plenary sessions, networking, nametags, exhibit booths, and hotel food. It was much better than root canal surgery but not up to par with Disneyland. It would safely fall some where between the two.

The best part, aside from meeting some radically incredible people, was the hotel gym. For five dollars a day I had full access to their workout facilities and I managed to get my money's worth and then some. Every morning by 6:15 I'd be on the elliptical for an hour with a second hour clocked every evening. My daily cardio ranged from two to three hours a day which is way outside the norm for this girl. I also used the pool and jacuzzi which I mention here because on one of my jacuzzi dips I took a soak with Frosty the Snowman. A memorable experience whether in Kansas City or Disneyland though additional details are probably needed.

It goes like this. Follow along closely. The Westin Hotel where I stayed is attached to Crown Plaza. Crown Plaza is attached to Hallmark Headquarters. Hallmark owns just about everything within shouting distance. Apparently, Hallmark has an arrangement with the Westin Hotel allowing their card-carrying-card-making employees to utilize the hotel's cardio equipment, workout room, pool and jacuzzi.

This brings us full circle back to the snowman. Please discontinue reading if to this day you believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and the statement that "One Size Fits All" and rejoin us at the start of the next paragraph. Okay then, now that those people are gone, let me explain. Frosty the Snowman is actually a 18-year African American man named Gordon. Reverse that. Every winter Gordon, hired as Hallmark's official mascot, becomes Frosty the Snowman. In the jacuzzi Gordon appeared as Gordon, a very friendly, handsome young man, and not as Frosty the Snowman, a very fat, jolly and frigid fellow. I only know Gordon's other identity as Frosty the Snowman because it came up in conversation. I thought it was important to clarify the specifics for those of you who wondered how a snow-rolled character could hold up against a slow boil in 100 degree water. Okay. Now let's move on to the next paragraph so that our delusional friends can rejoin us.

Hi. Glad you're back. So what were we talking about? Ah. My workouts. You should be impressed by my dedication. I am. In addition, I kept record of everything I ate though I didn't blog it here, as fascinating as it would have been for you to read because of our previous in-ci-dent which, by the way, has been forgiven but not forgotten, but I digress. Rightly so, but a digression all the same. Anyway, between the workouts and intentional choices with my food, I'm going home without the standard sluggish feeling that results from the usual conference inactivity and away from home dining. That feels good. Really good. Speaking of which, I have a plane to catch. And that my friends, feels even better!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Orange You Glad It's Fall

I love fall. I love my crocs.

I love fall because of the crisp cool air, the crunch of fallen leaves under my feet, the colors of the season, rain storms, wearing long pants and sweatshirts after months of teeshirts and shorts, early sunsets that make for long evenings, foods that taste of pumpkin, spices, apples and the comfort of a bowl of hot soup at supper time.

I love crocs because of the wild choice in colors, the ease of putting them on, the comfort of wearing them, and that I can wash them with Windex and rinse them under the faucet so that they shine like new.

Put the two together and that is one sweet moment in life.
And Christmas is going to be pretty spectacular too! Just wait and see.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tickled Pink by Autumn's True Colors

Okay, THIS is why I love the internet! Autumn, of Autumn is More Than A Season fame found my blog entry on her finish in the Portland Marathon, and along with a host of her compadres posted a comment to my blog! How insanely cool is that?!

If you remember that particular entry, and how could you not considering the unforgettable quality of my verbiage, take a moment to digest that while I remove my tongue from my cheek, I compared the individual victories of Mike Heidt and Autumn Jones, two marathoners who crossed the finish line with times that separated them by nearly eight hours and twenty minutes. I read about Mike in the local paper the next morning and so I knew the story that brought him to the marathon and carried him across the finish line in record time. But there was no article about Autumn Jones. I'm still wondering why. Isn't the story of a solitary athlete who perseveres to the finish line after most of the crowds have gone home, the roads have been re-opened, and the aid station tables folded and stacked away just as compelling as the elite athlete who crosses the finish line to the cheers and applause of thousands? The story the newspaper failed to provide, Autumn offers in her own words. I think so.

    Thank you for posting this. It was very inspirational.This was my first attempt at a marathon and I am very proud that I've completed it. I did overcome some obstacles to get to the finish line. I came down with a horrible case of bronchitis half way through my training. After the marathon I had a hip that needed some therapy and the worst blisters. I threw the towel in at mile 21 and called around for a ride home. I got to mile 22 without anyone picking me up and I decided to push forward. I will do this again next year. Thank you for writing about me. It's amazing what comes up when you google your own name.

First marathon. Bronchitis. Blisters. Painful hip. And she's going to do it again next year. Now, you tell me if that isn't the story of an athlete! And if I may be so bold, I wish at this time to extend my personal thank you to the person or persons who failed to pick up Autumn when she called for a ride out of the race at mile 21.

And you shouldn't thank me for blogging about you Autumn. I'm the one who should thank you. Thank you for helping me get out of my DNF pity party to find inspiration in your story. Thank you for encouraging me to not give up. You are a big part of why I'm trying again next year. I tell no lie.

Every story is different. Never discount yours, whatever it may be, whoever you are. Everyone overcomes something. Everyone climbs over obstacles. Everyone has a motivation and purpose that drives them to do something that at one time they never believed they could do. To finish a marathon is to finish a marathon. If you walk, if you run, if you crawl and whine like a baby every step of the way, you've done something so remarkable, and this phatgirl salutes you!

Friday, November 03, 2006

D_wn Is Whomping My Hiney

I realize there's a tendency for exagerating in the blogosphere but this is not one of those times. She's trying to kill me. I'm not kidding. The woman is brutal and relentless. All 103 pounds of lean muscle mass cuteness. Cute to the point where I want to slap her but instead I cower in her svelte shadow because she has the power to add ten crunches or five squats on a whim. And so she says "Jump!" and I say "With or without a net?"

The truth is I'm loving the gym and working with a personal trainer. On the days when I can shift my work schedule around I'm getting to the gym for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Me. The gym. Twice a day. I'm motivated and sweating like a wild woman. Not a casual sweat, not the genteel glow on a dainty lady's pallid flesh, not a summer's heat perspiration. I'm talking about bare arms glistening, tributaries of salty sweat flowing freely across the facial terrain from forehead to eyes, and rain forest humidity under the hair dangling over the nape of your neck. What really pushes my sweat button is a solid hour on this bad boy, the Nautilus Tread Climber. For the uninformed by appearance the Tread Climber looks like a treadmill that's split down the middle so while one side is going up the other side is going down. Think of it as the love child of an evening interlude between a treadmill and an elliptical machine. It burns abought 17 calories per minute which is a nice click up from my usual burn rate on 100 calories per mile walking. The downside is that I can't get an arm swing going because my klutz factor has me holding onto the handlebars for my sweet life, with my full attention on my foot fall. Perhaps one day I'll get comfortable enough to release my death grip but in the meantime, my profuse amount of sweat can be attributed to equal parts cardio work out and ice-cold fear sweat.

My personal trainer also turned me onto a great online resource, For the past four days I've logged every minute of exercise and every ounce of food. I've used other online food and exercise journals in the past but this one is by far the best and is just another extra little motivator and keeping the motivation up keeps Phatgirl moving in the right direction.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween Recap

I'm soon to be 50 years old and for the past month I've been driving around with a ghost strapped in the back seat of my car. There's nothing wrong with that. Is there? Seriously, it's not like I'm using a ghost to access the carpool lane in rush-hour traffic. I know how ridiculously wrong that would be. It's just that I get so lonely out there on the open road and Casper is a perfect passenger. No back seat driving. No whining for an ice cream cone every time we pass a Dairy Queen. No unplanned potty spots. No spilled soda or fingerprints on the back window. No Blue's Clues on the car CD player. Just a quiet and agreeable poltergeist to keep me company. I only hope I can find an elf to take his place soon.

Halloween. I was always a hobo; hobo being a socially acceptable word in the 60's. It wasn't that dressing as a princess or a Musketeer or a hippie wasn't more desireable but nothing could replace the ease of preparation in being a hobo. Dirty play clothes, a light coating of ashes from the fireplace, a pillow case tied to the end of a stick to haul the evenings sugar-booty, and you were good to go.

3.2 seconds after sunset and every door in our neighborhood swung open to release hordes of marauding children on the yearly candy pilgrimage. Call it Heaven. Call it Nirvana. Whatever your faith tradition, it was one entire evening of unrestrained bliss. Oh sure, it wasn't without it's downside. There was for example, the house two doors down and on the opposite side of the street that in one year went from handing out sticky, gooey, yummy homemade caramel apples rolled in peanuts to dispensing single shiny nickels the next and every year after. One nickel per child. What were they thinking? On all the Halloween nights after as we turned our backs to their front door we'd flick our buffed nickels in our bags and reminisce fondly about "the good old days."

But aside from that, these were the pre-snacksize days when a candy bar was a candy bar. Today's snack-size candy bars are barely big enough to fit in the molar cavities our full size, multiple bit candy bars produced. Caravelle. Nestles Crunch. Look. Big Hunk. Regular size bags of M&M's. Boxes of Jujubees that were so big you gripped them with your entire hand. We laughed at penny candy. Don't bother us with such empty offerings. Bring on the real stuff. Hand over the boxes of MilkDuds and Good & Plenty. Rustle up a herd of Black Cow suckers. Light up our candy cigarettes. Adorn us in candy necklaces, bee-stung beautiful red wax lips and black wax moustaches. We loved sour before sour was cool. It was the decade that gave birth to Lemonheads, SweeTarts, and Starbursts. It was sour enough to pucker your face but not to erode brain cells like their contemporary counterparts.

When the last house porch went dark, weighted under the burden of pillow cases ripping at the seams, we headed back to survey our sugar swag and begin the arduous process of negotiating trades. I was a shrewd sugar trader. I'd give up five non-chocolate items for a single coveted cherry cream filled Mountain Bar, my personal Kilimanjaro, but only after the acting performance of a lifetime.

"Trade my Jolly Ranchers?! No way! There's no way I'm letting go of my grape and watermelon Jolly Ranchers for. . .what? That one Mountain Bar? It's not even a bar. It looks like dog poo! I can't believe you'd even. . .sigh. Okay. Here's the deal I'm offering but listen close because I'm not going to say it again. I will give you 1, no 2 grape Jolly Ranchers and 3 watermelon Jolly Ranchers for that ugly chocolate mound thingy but you have to throw in a Tootsie Roll. That's the deal. You want it?"

I consumed a lifetime of parleyed cherry-cream filled Mountain Bars before I retired from the trick-or-treat circuit. I knew my stuff.

Last Halloween Dana and I bought a bag of snack-size Snickers. No children came thus salvaging my humiliation at having succumbed to purchasing snack-size anything. It was a low moment in my Halloween career and so this year we went all out and bought seven nylon mesh bags, each one holding 5 foil-wrapped bloodshot eyeballs and 4 dismembered foil-wrapped fingers that makes a shiny new nickel look like the chumb change it is. And so as the sun set we waited and waited to dispense the gory sugar booty but no children came. It was only when I was in the middle of putting on my jammies that I heard the nostalgic sound of children arriving on their candy quest. From where I stood listening at the top of the stairs I overheard the following interaction:

Dana: Hello!
Very Small People: Trick or treat! Trick or treat! Gigglegigglegiggle.
Dana: Trick or treat huh? Well, I think I have something here for you. Here's something for each of you.
Very Small People: Oh Boy! Wow! Oh! Thank you! Thank you! Assorted exclamations of delight and overwhelming happiness.
Dana: You're welcome Kids. Bye!
Very Small People: Bye! Faces and hands buried in their bags as they walk away.

The bag of foil-wrapped chocolate eyeballs and fingers were given in loving tribute to the people two houses down and on the other side of the street. Kind strangers who once went to all the trouble to unwrap hundreds of Kraft caramels, melt them down into a sticky mess, plunge sweet apples on sticks into the sugary goo, and roll them in crushed peanuts before setting them onto individual wax-paper circles just to make a bunch of sugar-greedy little children squeal with happiness. They gave me more than a caramel apple. They gave me a perfect memory and for that reason, I'll forgive them for the shiny nickels. I'm sure they meant well.

She's Back!

Well then, I don't know about you but an hour at the gym and I feel all better. Shall we proceed?

After the disappointment of being a certified DNF princess at the Portland Marathon in October, followed by a full month of physical therapy and no training that left me withering like stale human vegetation on the vine, Phatgirl was feeling like Blahgirl. But no more! Phatgirl has her groove back and wishes to thank the following for contributing to her revitalization:

  • Jeanne, and her incredible, glorious, hysterical, and at times stomach-churning marathon report of her adventures at the Marine Corps Marathon. Marvelously-made indeed!
  • The new issue of Running Times and it's listing of 259, count them, 259 marathons in 2007. Bliss.
  • An online preview of Land of the Gods: The Legend of the Marathon, a full-length documentary on five people training for the Chicago Marathon that's soon to be released.
  • D_wn, my very own I'm-going-to-make-you-sweat-and-hurt-and-ache-all-over-and-you're-going-to-thank-me-for-it personal trainer.
It's all good my little fleet-footed friends!

It's dinner time so I better get into the kitchen and finish preparing the . . .oh wait. That's right. That's classified information reserved for those rare intelligent and refined individuals who appreciate the details of life and apparently that doesn't include any of you. I bet you're sorry now.

Are You Paying For This?

It seems you aren't interested in the thrills and chills of my daily dining. Okay. Fine, you bunch of elitist blogifites. I've removed my menu entries and won't ever again impose them upon you. But just be aware. Someday you're going to be gathered around a table with friends celebrating a special occasion, let's say your birthday or perhaps National Bunion Day, and as you lift a forkful of calves' liver with melted onions in marsala sauce to your rosebud lips you're going to ponder to yourself or exclaim to the entire company of guests gathered round about you, "I wonder what that sharply-witty and deeply-insightful Phatgirl is eating right now." And. you. will. not. know. Why? I'll tell you. Because when given the chance to enjoy, to relish, to, shall I say, savor, the magnificent distillation of my thrice daily fantastical consumptions, you considered it as verbal fodder to be cast aside. Therefore, no more, no matter how much you plead with me for another chance. Begging will get you nothing but sore knees.

I'm leaving now for the gym and while I'm gone I'd encourage you to use the time to take a long, hard look at yourself so that this kind of situation will not be repeated in the future.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Dana's Birthday Mystery Tour

For the grand conclusion to Dana's annual month-long birthday extravangza, we spent the weekend outside the small town of Murphy's at the spectacular, blow-your-mind-one-of-a-kind Querencia Bed and Breakfast. I first learned about Querencia through a recent article in Sunset Magazine when they devoted a section to autumn in Gold Country, one of the nearby wine regions Dana and I had yet to explore, and while you all know that Phatgirl is no Winegirl, this seemed a perfect getaway for my little Master Sommelier. The website for Querencia was included in the article and all it took was a five second glance at the photo of a jacuzzi tub with a breath-taking view of Blue Mountain to get me to call in for reservations. I believe that's called an "easy sell."

As a side note, I told Dana over two months ago that I had a weekend planned for her birthday but under no circumstances was I going to tell her anything about it. It was going to be a surprise and nothing she could say would get me to reveal the details. My proclamation was met with total cynicism followed up with a side helping of mocking, teasing, and taunting. For some reason of which I know not, Dana seems to be of the opinion that I lack the emotional fortitude to keep a secret, and the numerous examples she offers up of when I've cracked under the least bit of pressure, notwithstanding, I meant it this time! For days, and I'm talking more than one or two here people, I held strong despite her coy little Dana-ways to coax it out of me. I gave nothing. No clues. No hints. Nada. That is, not until the evening of my uncompleted attempted at the Portland Marathon, when desperate to exchange my present suffering for a future joy, I spilled every last bean in the proverbial pot. I'm just going to say this once. She may mock me all she wants but there's no way I'm telling her what I'm getting her for Christmas. Not a chance. No way. Nope. Even though it's really really awesome and she's going to love it so much and it's something that . . . nevermind.

Anyway, suffice it to say that our stay in Murphys or Querencia was one of the most delightful weekend getaways for two girls who are perfectly content to stay at home 365-24-7. The hospitality and graciousness of Mike and Mary Jo, the innkeepers really made us feel like we were at home and the view from the tub....even better than the photo!

And for the curious among you, the word Querencia has several different meanings; one of them alluding to an unspecified location in a bull ring where the bull will instinctively be drawn to, imagining it to be a safe place where nothing can harm it as long as it remains there. Querencia is a place in life where one feels most safe and serene, whether that place be in a particular location or in the arms of a particular someone. It's about coming home.

お祝い Marathoners!

Once again, thank you to BabelFish for allowing this English-speaking only Phatgirl to offer congratulations in Japanese to Jeanne, Beth, and all the rest of you incredible, amazing, feet to the streets Marine Corps Marathon finishers! How sweet it must be!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Kabbalah and Soup

The older I get the more I appreciate the simple pleasure of a good bowl of soup, and when it's shared with a generous helping of good people on the side it's even better. Last night Dana and I had a few peeps from our church over for a soup dinner before heading out to the local independent bookstore to hear an author's reading. Before the book reading, I present the soup recipe which I lifted from Williams-Sonoma SOUP cookbook and altered enough that I feel comfortable calling it my own, unless of course, a legal representative from Simon and Schuster, publisher's of Williams-Sonoma SOUP cookbook calls and then I'll disavow all knowledge of the recipe, this blog and beans in general.

Anita's Too Many Beans for One Pot Soup

1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained
3 (15 oz) cans white beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can cannelloni beans, drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and yes, go ahead and finely chop away
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
8 cups (64 oz) low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 pound cooked ham, cubed (optional for you vegetarian-types)
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, and more of that fine chopping
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf

In a soup pot over medium high heat combine olive oil and chopped onions, occasionally stirring until onion has softened slightly. Three minutes should do. Add the carrots and celery to the pot and keep things cooking for three more minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the ham (or bacon or turkey or tofu) and the drained cannelloni beans. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour to soften the beans and combine the flavors. Remove from heat. Search out that bay leaf and get it outta there!

Remove half the soup from the pot, puree it in a blender and add it back into the pot. Add the can of cannelloni beans and the ham. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Serve immediately or transfer to a crockpot for a few hours until dinner.

When serving the soup here are a couple little added treats that can kick it up over the top. Add the zest of one lemon into a container of sour cream and stir. Drop a big dollop of it right onto the top of the soup. And if that's not enough and you're pulling out all stops to impress, add the zest of one lemon and 2 minced garlic gloves to a handful of finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley. This little mixture is called Gremolata in Italian. Toss a sprinkling of it over each serving. As a side note, lemon compliments the earthly flavor of the beans. "Oh Beanie, you're such a hearty and nutritious little fella." "Why thank you for noticing my little citric acid chum!"

Recipe feeds eight normal people or five Phatgirls.

Okay, here's a little bonus I'm going to share just because I like you. The next day heat up your now thick as chili soup leftovers and serve over a shredded bed of lettuce that has a light drizzle of low-fat ranch dressing. Trust me people, this is so good you'll slap your momma. Just be sure it's your momma, not mine.

So after filling up on copyright enfringement soup, rosemary potato bread, and cookies, we headed down the road to hear Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, not to be confused with Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" even though Rabbi Kushner, Lawrence not Harold, said he'd more than happily sign any books by the other Rabbi Kushner as well as his own. Rabbi Kushner, Lawrence not Harold, was reading from his first novel, Kabbalah: A Love Story. He told a few wonderfully engaging stories from his life, read some short selections and concluded with time for Q&A. I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation and when he autographed my copy of his book I couldn't help but notice his incredibly elaborate and unique signature. I made a comment about it and Rabbi Kushner, Lawrence not Harold, looked at me, smiled and said, "One day you'll need to sign your name many times as well so you should come up with a really fun signature you enjoy writing. Start practicing."

And so, if you would like an autographed copy of my plagerized soup recipe, please send a five dollar bill and a photocopy of the recipe along with your request in a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
Phatgirl, #38530128445
California Correctional Institute for Crockpot Criminals
California, USA