Wednesday, December 2, 2009

At what point does a "plateau" become "your normal weight"?

Sorry I haven't updated the blog for a while, but you know the whole point of this blog was to track my weight loss progress - and for the past three weeks, my weight has been exactly the same: 185.4

Not that I'm complaining! Better to stay constant than to fluctuate or (God help us all) to rise uncontrollably - right?

But to be honest, I've also been spending more time on Facebook and other online networking sites. It's SO hard to keep track of all one's online multiple persona - ain't it?

Anyway, I'll try to do better.

And in a couple of weeks, I won't be able to say I don't have the time. Since my Termination Date (isn't that a nice way to phrase it?) from PwC is FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009. And after that - it's ME time, bebe!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

When is a gain really a loss, and a loss really a gain? Why, right here, of course!

To wit: This past Saturday, I LOST the Toastmasters Division 52 Tall Tales competition at the fabulous Jon Lovitz Comedy Club, right in the heart of breathtakingly exciting Universal CityWalk.

BUT - thanks to the generosity of the wonderful Jon Lovitz, I GAINED two free passes to any show at his Comedy Club - all because I prepaid my admission to the Club for the contest. At least that's what the nice lady who handed me the passes said, and who am I to doubt anyone who's giving me free passes to a comedy club run by someone I absolutely adore? Not me!

And - this past Saturday, I finally got an official weigh-in from Weight Watchers, which showed that I had GAINED 0.8 pounds since my last official weigh-in, two Saturdays ago.

BUT - if you recall, last Saturday I weighed myself at HOME and was UP a heart-stoppingly huge number of pounds - up to 186.0! And every time I checked our Weight Watchers brand scales at home during this past week, the number kept going up - and up - and UP!

So in my own happy little mental ward which I call "my brain", I have actually LOST 0.5 pounds! So there!

And this morning we started the Philip's Fast, so I'm temporarily back to veganism for a while. So I fully expect that number to creep down again.

Oh, and in other news, I think we need a new battery for our scales. At least, I keep telling myself that ... ;-)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Going back to veganism - but just till Christmas morning!

Well, I've just checked out my weigh-ins for the past month and I'm no dummy. Obviously the switch from vegan to non-vegan has had a negative effect on my weight.

Fortunately for me, starting Sunday afternoon (or evening, actually - after Vespers, to be precise), the Eastern Church begins what's called the "Nativity Fast" (also "Philip's Fast").

Basically, you go vegan for most days of the week - giving up red meat, poultry, meat products, eggs, dairy products, fish, oil, and wine - but are allowed to eat fish, wine and oil on Saturdays and Sundays, and certain feast days.

Well, being the rogue Christian that I am, I've decided to arbitrarily add a few more feast days - Monday, December 7 through Friday, December 11th - my last day of employment at PricewaterhouseCoopers! I've been invited to lunch with several people who really, sincerely hate to see me go (mainly 'coz now THEY have to do all my work - nyuk nyuk!).

So I'm just gonna schedule 'em all, every day that week, culminating in what I
fully expect to be the farewell party to end all farewell parties.

Er ... at least, it will be for me, since, like it or not, it'll end all MY farewell parties!

So anyway ... I'm prepared for a pretty shitty weigh-in Saturday morning. But hark! Saturday afternoon, I'm competing in the District 52 Toastmasters "Tall Tales" competition at the fabulous Jon Lovitz Comedy Club at Universal City (California, that is!).

And Sunday - after one last meat-and-cheezy lunch - it's back to the vegan - with a few exceptions - till bright and early Christmas morning!

Monday, November 9, 2009

GOING up but not GIVING up!

Didn't go to the Weight Watchers meeting this weekend, as Steve and I traveled to San Diego super-early Saturday morning to sing at a friend's memorial service for his dad.

But I weighed myself at home, on my official Weight Watchers(tm) scale, and am sad to report yet another gain. About another pound. Doesn't sound like much but in the past few weeks I've seen my weight slowly but surely creep up from 180 to what it is now, @ 186.0.

Before anyone suggests it, I did a pregnancy test this morning. Negatory, ol' pal, sorry! Nope, it's just plain ordinary why-aren't-you-exercising-more-Chrissy? fat.

I've decided to try a couple of things, as detailed below:

1. TRACK. I'm supposed to be in Weight Watchers, right? So why not actually do what they tell me to do and track my food every day? Sigh. Well, the reason is I really HATE having to track my food every day. And I got out of the habit of doing it. But I'll try, this week only, and see if there's something I'm missing in my eating habits.

2. MOVE. I did this last week and it didn't seem to have any effect; but I'll continue to do my treadmill workout every other day.

3. RELAX. I have to be careful about this one, because it might sound like I'm just giving myself permission to sit in front of the TV and eat bon-bons all day for the rest of my life. (Mmmmm ... bon-bons!)

That's not it! But perhaps I should relax a little and not worry so much about the numbers on the scale. Because here's the thing:

a. I'm eating good food, for the most part. No more marathon binge junkets between KFC and Popeye's anymore.

b. I do exercise fairly often - I have a nice leisurely walk of about half an hour every morning, from the train station to my office. At my job - which is going to end on December 11th. Which leads to:

c. When my job ends, I have faith that I will not just sit around and watch TV all day. The first week I'll cut myself a little slack, but I plan to work out a schedule that incorporates my online classes, working around the house and the garden, and yes, EXERCISING!

But meantime I'm not going to beat myself up if I get a little nuts about food issues for a while. I'm losing my job, dammit - if eating a Beard Papa Vanilla Cream Puff at Famima's once a week helps me deal with that, then so be it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Facing reality

Whoa, up another 0.6 pounds Saturday.

And it's time to face reality: the reason has NOTHING to do with food. At this point I KNOW the basics of nutrition and how I should be eating (whether vegan or non-v).

No, it's not the food - it's the movement.

Ever since Curves and It Figures closed down, I've been doing my best to go it alone. But it hasn't been the same. There's something about paying someone else that keeps you honest.

It's the same with Weight Watchers. Saturday after my weigh-in I decided to skip the meeting part and just go do a walk at Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Park (a great place to walk, by the way - lots of people around, so it's secure - but not so many that you feel crowded).

And it was great - I walked for an hour! So I started thinking, hmm, maybe I should just quit Weight Watchers and do this instead.

But then I realized - if I quit Weight Watchers, there's no way in hell I'd get up that early on a Saturday morning!

So even though I'm kinda bored with the meetings right now, I'll compromise - I'll still go to the Saturday morning weigh-in, and then just go do my walk. And try to do more treadmill workouts during the week.

After all, that thing cost me two hundred bucks - I should get SOME use out of it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Can't please everyone ...

Well, my Curvy Catholic pals, your friendly blogger has had the thrilling experience of being interviewed by another, and (IMHO) FAR superior blogger, over at!

The whole interview was conducted via a series of email questions, which I answered to the best of my ability. I'm still struggling to articulate all this stuff, so I fully realize I probably didn't sound too intelligent about all the topics at hand.

Still, it was a bit annoying to find that a vegan named elengberg re-blogged it, adding her own rather snarky comments throughout, and accusing of using "a fucking idiot to interview".

You might think I'd be more than just "annoyed" at that, but I'm not. See, a few years ago I became a Catholic again, after having been a very loud and vocal online atheist - and was nominated as "godidiot of the day" by some guy called the "Raving Atheist". (Who's apparently still going strong out there in the blogosphere. Mazel tov, dahling!)

So, nothing new here. Just be aware: if you're gonna post anything at all personal about yourself on the Internet, sooner or later, someone will call you an idiot. The real test of your character is how you respond.

Do you freak out and lock yourself in the bathroom and cry like a whiny little girl?

Do you quietly ask your Italian friends if they know anyone who can do you a "favor"?

Or do you just suck it up and accept the fact that, as the late, great Rick Nelson once sang, "You can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself"?

I choose the latter. (R.I.P. Ricky - 24 years as of December 31.)

So now that I've gotten all that out of my system, what's next? Oh yeah ... the weigh-in. Well, I cannot tell a lie - since going back to animal flesh, I have gained back a little weight. My weigh-in Saturday was 183.4. Yikes!

But at least I know why. It's because I gave myself permission to "pig out" (sorry!) for a week, and eat all the foods I'd been craving all summer long. Now that I've done that, I don't need to anymore. I can go back to eating like a normal person. Already started today, with oatmeal and an apple for breakfast. Yum!

Sigh. An interesting week lies ahead. But I feel good now. Like a locomotive that's been stuck on a sidetrack for days and days, and finally gets the green light to move ahead*. I just needed the proper fuel mix!

(*Steve, you'll have to let me know if I've phrased that right - since I'm still in "training" - nyuk nyuk!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hmmm ... as a Catholic, what should I do about this?

Because I agree with every word.

How Veganism is Like Abstinence-Only Sex Education

Sorry, fellow Catholics (and former fellow Vegans!) but it makes sense. I've often thought the Church was unrealistic and extremist about sex. You can't have sex outside of marriage, and you can't masturbate to deal with those throbbing biological urges.

Sigh. I don't know where I'm going with this. I'm still a Catholic! But (just as happened with veganism), I get irritated at the narrow-mindedness and refusal to allow any compromise whatsoever.

Oh, and by the way - 180.4, down a pound from last week. Woo hoo!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Vegan no more! or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Cheese!

Sigh. Well, it actually lasted longer than my mother thought it would.

On June 8, 2009, I proudly announced on this blog that I was now a vegan.

But a few weeks ago, I encountered some of this stuff.

Plus I just couldn't give up sneaking some of these whenever my husband brought them in the house. (In case you didn't know, honey isn't vegan.)

I hung on valiantly, resolving to only indulge in these items very, very occasionally.

But then, last Friday, I realized something. I'd been eating vegan since June, and not only had I not lost any weight (as the veganistas insist you almost HAVE to, if you're a True Vegan (tm) ); but I was hungry ALL THE TIME.

I just kept wanting to eat, snack, munch, nibble - even after what should have been a filling meal.

And I was spending a lot of $$ at work for between-meal snacks - but being vegan I was limited to fresh fruits (apples and bananas), vegetables (edamame, salad) breakfast cereal, soy milk or oatmeal.

I ate them all. AND I WAS STILL HUNGRY.

So last Friday, I bit the bullet. Or, to be more specific, I bit the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich at my local Organics to Go (the most humane local source I could find for my animal cravings).

That's right. I ate the whole, mouth-wateringly delicious thing.

And guess what I ate the rest of the afternoon, before going home and having supper?

NOTHING. Nada, nil.

My hunger had been satisfied. And I felt GOOOOOOD.

Sigh. Does this mean I don't care any more about the poor animals who suffer horrible abuses on the factory farms?

NO! Absolutely not! I care just as much as I did before!

However, I'm realizing that it's possible to make their lives more pleasant and their deaths more humane - without making MY life more miserable.

It's possible to make good food choices. To insist that those who supply the animal products I eat meet high standards for humane treatment of those animals. To only shop at stores that hold their suppliers to those standards.

In other words - to LITERALLY put my money where my mouth is!

So I guess from this point (at least till the next fasting period - Advent, I think), I'll be what my beautiful niece, Rachel, described herself as when we went out to dinner together on my birthday: a Flexitarian. Most of my meals will be vegetarian, but from time to time, I will indulge in some sort of critter and/or critter byproduct, as long as I can be sure he/she/it has been dealt with as kindly and humanely as possible. (Not goat milk, though. I love the goat CHEESE, but the goat milk ... well, let's just say it's OK except for the GOAT part!)

Or a Frisbeetarian. That looks pretty cool too!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mondays ... Wednesdays ... when the hell do you update this stupid blog anyway, lady?

Well, sorry about that! I was pretty busy Monday recuperating from my 2/10ths of a pound LOSS over the weekend.

Yes, I am now 180.0, down from that whopping 180.2 of last week! It was pretty exhausting but definitely worth it to see that scale millimeter down ...

In other news: I won the Toastmasters Downtown LA Area 52 Tall Tales Contest last night! If you don't know what that is, it's ... well ... you've heard of Area 52, right? That restricted place out in Nevada where they hide all the Rosswell aliens?

Well, last night we told stories about them and then one of the Toastmasters actually revealed that he is, in fact, ONE of them! It was very educational and I'm sure Steve P. was honored to be there for the great unveiling!

Oh, and tonight they're bombing the moon. I'm ready to do my part (by getting bombed - get it?).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Back to Mondays? well ...

OK, let's start with all the positives:

1. I LOST all the vacation weight - now I'm back to 180.2 and feeling great! The trick (for me) was to actually schedule, in writing, my treadmill workouts - like making an appointment with myself that I just HAD to keep!

2. I WON the "Tall Tales" contest at my local Toastmasters! Which means next Tuesday I go on to compete in the district competition - which means I have to stay at work after dark! Fortunately Steve P. is willing to come and pick me up (health permitting - get better soon, sweetie!!).

3. I'm starting college today! Grand Canyon University online, that is! Today is the first day of my first class and I've already done the first assignment (posting a short bio in the "Cyber Cafe"). Hey - that was easy! Where's my degree? nyuk nyuk

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Changing My Patterns - Maybe That'll Change my Weight Loss!

Uh, gulp. To anyone out there who was actually thinking of me as any kind of MENTOR fawgawdsake -

This week's weight GAIN - 4.4 pounds.

(Moment of silence for my temporarily deceased Weight Watching efforts.)

But that's TEMPORARY and I am determined that, now that we're home and pretty much done with all the vacations and the super-exotic Amtrak vegan meals (HAH!!) I can get back on track (get it? Amtrak? back on track? I kill me!) and get the weight LOSS going again!

And I'm making a small but perhaps significant change to help jump-start that effort. Notice that I'm blogging on Saturday evening, instead of the usual Monday? Well, from now on I'm going to blog more often, basically whenever the mood strikes me.

Will still "check in" on Monday but won't be so OCD about it. If something interesting happens and I think, "Ooooh, I should blog about that ... if I can remember it till Monday!", well, what the hell, I'll just get to a computer and blog right away.

Speaking of which - I got a comment last week from a new member of the Conservative Vegan Club (a small but proud group, we are, eh?) -


Check it out! conserVegan self-describes as "Christian, Conservative and Vegan".

Hey - just like me! This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship! Or at least, a profitable cross-linkage for one or both of us (depending on who actually gets more hits, and I suspect it's conserVegan, but I'm gonna see if I can do something about that, nyuk nyuk!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back in the saddle - well, maybe next week!

This was the second Saturday in a row that I didn't do my usual weigh-in at Weight Watchers. Last Saturday we were in Phoenix, and this Saturday I was in Hell.

Well, not literally - but it felt that way! I've had the Toothache of the Damned ever since I drank a full bottle of Coca Cola Classic(tm) that my mom gave me for my birthday. (No, I don't THINK she was trying to kill me, though anything's possible.)

Anyway, in spite of all the pain and trauma I've been going through, I'm still keeping an eye on the scales at home, and my weight is still holding steady between 180 and 182 in the mornings.

So this week's weigh-in should be OK - if not a spectactular loss, at least I'm holding my own. Hope you're doing the same!

By the way, our church (St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic in Sherman Oaks) is setting up for a rummage sale on Sept. 26, and I went over there yesterday after church. All the circuit equipment from It Figures is there, looking forlorn but still strong. I have dibs on one of the upper body workout machines, but won't be too upset if someone buys it. Had fun showing some of the kids how the machines worked - and trying to explain to them why anyone would subject themselves to so much torture!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

And that's the tooth!

Eek - sorry I haven't updated the blog this past Monday as usual!

I didn't weigh in last weekend because we went to Phoenix to visit my parents. And probably the less said about that the better (nyuk nyuk!).

Anyway, I came back with a raging toothache - it's not hurting all the time but when it does, watch out! I may need to take out my frustrations on someone!

I'm taking Friday off to go to the dentist - I'm kinda wishing I hadn't had to burn all my bridges with "Downtown Dental" a few months ago as it would be a lot more convenient to just go there on my lunch hour. But on the other hand, I get to take the day off ... yay??

Monday, August 31, 2009

Vegan Meals on Amtrak, and a Vegan's Confession!

First of all, it's kind of hard to concentrate on this blog post because I'm looking out my window on the 49th floor in downtown Los Angeles towards the San Gabriel Mountains, and seeing what I can only describe as a mushroom cloud. And it just keeps getting bigger. So prayers and best wishes to everyone fighting the fires today.

Let me get my confession out of the way: I fell from Vegan grace this past week. Sigh ... yes, I ate not one, not two, but THREE animal products.

First, on Friday, I added a can of Trader Joe's Tongol Tuna to our regular supper casserole. I don't know why, but I'd just been craving it all day. My rationalization was: it had already been purchased, long before I became a vegan. And it would be disrespectful to the fish to have put it through all that pain and suffering, and then just throw it away. Right? OK, so also, I really like tuna. So I ate that.

Then I went to Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park, which has primarily vegan stuff but also vegetarian. And I gave in to yet ANOTHER temptation and bought real cheese instead of the fake "Chreese"!! (Well, actually, I bought some Chreese too, 'cause I like it. But I digress!). Actually a tiny little container of Goat Cheese from France. I figured whatever they sell at FYH is probably OK as far as meeting basic humane standards.

And finally, last week when we took the Coast Starlight from Van Nuys, California to Olympia, Washington (a great trip, by the way!), I didn't get my order for Vegan meals in on time for the trip up. I was able to find suitable meals at breakfast and lunch, but for supper, I had the Vegetarian Pasta ... which contains cheese.

Sigh. Well, in my defense, I've said all along (and my husband can verify this) that I don't think it's intrinsically wrong to consume animal products, just to do so in any way that causes pain and suffering to the animal. And I'm going to continue to aim towards veganism.

However, once in a while I will probably indulge. You know why? Because I'm a human being, and human beings aren't perfect. (In case you hadn't noticed.) But I will at least do the best I can to find the most humane possible animal products available.

Now, about those Vegan meals on Amtrak ... I did manage to get them on the way back. They insisted on the phone that I select from three different styles - Moroccan, Chicken, and Veal (I made sure they meant FLAVORS, not actual Chicken and Veal!!!). So I picked one of each.

And guess what ... they all looked EXACTLY the same. (Sort of like that Simpsons episode where they show Duff, Duff Light and Duff Special Brew all coming out of the same tank!). Half the plate contains a big fake-meat cutlet which tastes sort of like chicken-fried steak, and the other half contains rice.

And that's IT. That's the "vegan option" on Amtrak! I had this exact same meal FOUR TIMES IN A ROW, and by the third time I was stealing salad from my husband's plate just to get some variety!

Hey Amtrak, guess what? There are all SORTS of Vegan meals you could provide which are easy, cheap, delicious and provide variety to your customers. For example, all your salads could have the option of being served without cheese. You could have the fake meat and rice, but dump some frozen veggies on top.

You could even have soup! In fact, next time I travel Amtrak, I'm going to skip the "vegan option" and just bring my own stuff. Because by the time the second dinner rolled around, I was ready to roll off the train at the next station and start eating the grass!!!

(P.S. - weigh-in 181.4 - up by 0.6 - not too shabby for two weeks' vacation!!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

On the Road Again!

Hi gang! No weigh-in this week - I'm in beautiful downtown Lacey, Washington, trying my best to write this week's entry on Steve's Netbook, which has a teeny tiny keyboard - actually it's 92% the size of a regular one, but that's JUST small enough that I keep hitting the wrong keys! At least I know where "backspace" is (nyuk nyuk)!

We have been visiting the Pacific Northwest, specifically the Lacey-Olympia-Tacoma-Seattle area, and today had a wonderful time on Vashon Island - among other things, Vashon was the home of the late great Betty MacDonald, author of "The Egg and I" as well as many other wonderful books. We visited her farm and I got some great photos, but we didn't stay long because (a) no one was there who really seemed interested in showing us around and (b) I really, really had to use the restroom!

So we sped back to Vashon (after I bought - on the honor system - two bars of soap labeled "Betty MacDonald Farm" as well as a jar of honey, which I don't know when/if I'll ever use as it's not really vegan - anyone want it?), hit the restrooms at the library, and spent about an hour just walking around and enjoying the ambience.

After that, we drove over to a really cool lighthouse (? Robinson Point? can't recall but Steve is looking it up on the map even as I write), then to an Orthodox monastery, which was nice except yours truly had to wear what basically amounted to a burkah in order not to scandalize the monks. Which I wouldn't have minded except it was really HOT! Muslim men should be really careful around their wives - they're probably seething with heat-induced rage under those things!!

(And it was Point Robinson - thanks, sweetie!)

So all in all a very nice vacation. Tomorrow morning we climb aboard the Coast Starlight and head back to good ol' Southern Cal.

And then ... there WILL be a weigh-in. (Shudder ... !!!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Git along, little bloggie!

Dear Blog,

So sorry to give you so little attention this week! Especially since I had a LOSS - a big one, 3.4 pounds! Whoopee!

But you see, Steve P. and I are preparing for our Big! Summer! Vacation! And frankly, I'm kinda stressing out, what with running this way and that, trying to get all the little last-minute details worked out.

And not always succeeding. For example, I tried to arrange for a vegan meal on the train (we're taking the Coast Starlight up to Olympia, Washington - did I mention that? No? Sorry!). But unfortunately you're supposed to call them 72 hours before the train departs - and silly me, I waited till an unpardonably late 69 hours!

So on the trip up, I'll just have to forage for myself. I'm not really worried - a loaf of wheat bread, some peanut butter and jelly, some soup mix, and some powdered soy milk, and I'll be just fine. I figure they'll have fresh fruit at breakfast.

And coffee. I could probably live for 36 hours on a steady stream of coffee!

Anyway, Blog, as I said, sorry about the short entry. Next week will probably be a little sparse as well, since we'll still be on the road. But Steve's taking his Netbook, so I may be able to post some nifty photos!

Take care, little Blog (and all the millions of readers thereof) - have a great week!


The Curvy Catholic

Monday, August 10, 2009

No fat Vegans? Who told you that???

OK, so a few weeks ago I became a Vegan, which means I no longer eat anything with animal products in it, if I can avoid it.

Occasionally I use the "non-dairy" creamer at work, which does have casein in it - derived from milk, which makes me wonder how they can get away with calling it "non-dairy".

But I digress! The point of this blog post is, I somehow got the idea that just "going vegan" would automatically result in a fantastic weight loss.

Instead, I've GAINED almost a total of 5 pounds! (Including this past Saturday's weight gain of 2.4 pounds!!!)

However, after sitting down and reflecting on it, I've FINALLY realized where I went wrong.

Turns out it is, after all, quite possible to "go vegan" and still lose weight. See, I'd stopped counting my "Weight Watchers POINTS" every day, and once I did, I was shocked to find out just how much fat I'd been eating.

The Tofurky sandwich on sprouted whole wheat bread was fine - till I added the Vegenaise! Fat City!

And the vanilla soy milk? Terrific! Till I started chugging two or three bottles a day!

The good news is that I made a couple of resolution - to track my POINTS every day this week, and to get on the treadmill at least 3 times this week - and so far I've stuck to them.

And this morning's UNOFFICIAL weigh-in on our bathroom scales shows that it's working!

If I can just sustain my resolutions the rest of the week, I am pretty sure - not 100%, but, let's say 85.5% sure - that next Saturday I'll finally see a fairly dramatic loss, once again.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Up Oh!

Since my husband loves my puns – or at least CLAIMS to – this week's blog title is just for him.

Because – whoops – somehow I managed to go back UP two pounds – back at 182. OH no! (Up Oh! Get it? Wink, nudge, smirk. Don't make me explain it!)

Oh well, I'm not really worried. The nice thing about doing a weekly weigh-in is that I almost always have a pretty good idea of what's going on and what needs to be fixed.

Last week I didn't really exercise enough. So this week I will hit the treadmill (in the evenings, rather than early mornings) and see if that makes the difference. I predict a loss of AT LEAST 3 pounds next week.

If not – well, worst-case scenario, I'll have to come up with another pun!

And I KNOW you don't want THAT to happen – right? (Nyuk nyuk!)

On a lighter note, we went to yet another great vegan restaurant yesterday - Bodhi Tree in Huntington Beach. We were visiting Steve's brother Joe and his wife Deb.

The four of us enjoyed a great lunch (I had the sweet & sour "pork" – mmm!) and had a great time meandering up to the end of the pier and back afterwards. If you're ever in Southern California, I highly recommend it – it's a lot of fun!

And the weather cooperated by being only in the 80's. Gorgeous!

This morning hasn't been too shabby either. There was a beautiful sunrise this morning – lots of high, fluffy clouds turning various shades of pink, orange and read. Almost made it worth getting up to go to work.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Whew - that was a close one!

OK, whew! After last week's devastating gain of almost 3 pounds, I re-lost 1.8 pounds this week.

So I'm feeling better now.

But I think most people who've lost a substantial amount of weight have this fear, deep in their hearts, that one morning they're going to wake up after a really good night's sleep and WHOMP! All the weight came back, and brought its little friends.

But that hasn't happened (yet!). And one of the reasons I continue going to Weight Watchers every week, same time, same place, is that I really believe the "accountability factor" (i.e., paying someone else to weigh me so I can't cheat) makes me psychologically less likely to slack off and go back to binge eating.

In other news:

1. Following the sad demise of "It Figures" (the better-than-Curves gym in Sherman Oaks which went under almost immediately after I'd joined ... just a coincidence, I'm sure!), I snagged one of their treadmills at the RIDICULOUSLY low price of $200.00. Seriously, this is a QUALITY piece of equipment! It's out in our backyard and Steve and I are both putting it to good use.

And Princess likes to sleep on it when it's unplugged, so it's fun for the whole family (nyuk nyuk!)

2. Don't know why I didn't mention this in the blog before this, but a few weeks ago I joined ! I've already given the first two speeches out of the Competent Communicator Manual.

In Speech #1, the "Ice Breaker", I described and contrasted the four major changes going on in my life recently - the impending job loss and the premenopause (negative) and the weight loss and switch to veganism (positive).

In Speech #2, "Organize Your Speech", I described the "Three Tools for Permanent Weight Loss" (in case you're interested, they're Exercise, Healthy Foods, and .Accountability).

Both times I came home with the "Best Speech" ribbon! (Of course, the second time, I was the only actual speech maker. But hey, I'll take what I can get!)

I've already started doing research for Speech #3, "Get to the Point" - tentative subject is Internet Scams and how to recognize them.

So if any aspiring scam artists out there would like to give me some real-life examples, just leave them in the Comments section. I usually erase them, but this time I'll leave them there and mock you for them next week! So go nuts!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Whoops! Almost forgot to blog today!

Maybe that's because I had a GAIN this week - 2.8 pounds!!!!

Whoa, yeah, that's kinda my reaction too.

Almost 3 pounds? Where the h-e-double-toothpicks did THAT come from?

Honestly, I have absolutely no idea.

Flora, the Weight Watchers leader who weighed me in, said I was probably "retaining fluids". I must have retained a whole koi pond or something, because that's quite a chunk o' fluids!

Oh well, I'm sticking to my plan and lifestyle choices anyway! So there, body!! (nyahh!!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Compliments are hard ...

If you manage to drop enough fat off your frame (like how I lost 0.2 pounds last week, bringing me to an even 179.0), you will start hearing compliments.

Like for example, "Wow! You've lost SO MUCH WEIGHT!"


"Your waistline is SO SMALL!"

and my personal favorite

"You're just SHRINKING!"

All of which are, on one level, really nice to hear. And I'm not meaning to sound ungrateful with any of what follows.

However, if you've been fat for any length of time, you know that there's a tendency to be suspicious of compliments. Because usually the compliments you get as a fat person are, well, shall we say, "diplomatic".


"You look so GREAT today!"


"You're so fashionable!"

and the classic

"You have SUCH a pretty face!"

So we do have a tendency to be suspicious of compliments in general, no matter how genuine and well-meaning.

There's also, with the first set of compliments, the unspoken implication that you look SO MUCH BETTER than you used to! Which isn't really a compliment to your Formerly Fat but Fine Self, now is it?

So if you compliment a Formerly Fat Friend, and she doesn't respond with the enthusiasm and gratitude you think she should have, cut her some slack. It's probably nothing personal.

Maybe she's just not quite ready to hear it yet.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Back to the '70's, baby!!!

Weighed in at 179.2 - it's been DECADES since I've been in the '70's, baby!

So let's CELEBRATE!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hooray for summer!

Just a miniscule loss this week - from 180.2 last week to 180.0 this week. Still, a loss is a loss, right? I'm not complaining!

It's FINALLY summer here in the beautiful San Fernando Valley area of Southern California, and I'm jumpin' for joy! Yeah yeah, I know my hubby hates it - poor guy - because he works in a place with little/no air conditioning. So my sympathies, sweetie.

But see ... I'm a morning person. And there's just something tremendously wonderful about it being over 60 degrees already at 5 a.m.! This morning when I got up (primarily to look for our "lost" cat, Princess, who, from what little I can gather, spent most of the night in the neighbors' back yard, patiently waiting for THEIR cats to be fed so she could mooch some), the stars were still out (as was Princess, nyuk nyuk!).

There were just a few little clouds scattered throughout the dark blue sky. The sun was still below the horizon, but you could see that the light was on its way. As I pumped the pedals on my exercise bike, I heard first one, then two, then a whole flock of birds chattering away about the best places to find worms.

I saw a baby possum skittering through the ivy at the back fence, patiently looking for unguarded garbage to nosh.

And it's hard to explain, but I really understood the cliche about how "it's always darkest before the dawn." See, all night I'd lain awake, tossing and turning, from (a) my worry about Princess (which turned out, as usual, to be completely unfounded), and (b) an annoying headache which had been troubling me, off and on, for the past 24 hours.

But in this early morning light, with a whole new day about to be born, all my worries seemed to drift upwards towards the distant stars ... and stay there.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Back to the Back!

This has been an, ahem, interesting week. Thursday afternoon I suddenly had a horrendous muscle spasm in my lower back, causing me to seek relief in all sorts of interesting positions involving the floor, the couch, the coffee table, etc. None of them really worked for long, but if nothing else, I got a really good look at our living room carpet. (Um, I think it's time to replace it - or at least invest in a really good steam cleaning service!)

And the litter box odors that aren't that noticeable at 5 feet up are VERY noticeable at 5 inches!

Fortunately, after about 24 hours of unrelenting pain and torment, the spasm subsided and I was able to make my way, moaning and groaning, to my WW weigh-in, where I was pleased to find I'd lost a whopping 2.4 pounds! Pretty sweet, after such a long period of maintenance, to finally start droppin' the flab again.

Let's see if it lasts. And yeah, I'm hoping it wasn't just from the pain and loss of appetite. I don't think it is, as I weigh myself every day and had been seeing a slow but steady drop all week. But I won't be too upset if it goes up a little next week.

I must say, being from Missouri (both literally and figuratively!), I'm pleased to see such immediate results from my decision to "go Vegan". I've tried this in the past, with varying levels of success, but obviously didn't succeed for long, since I keep having to start over. Maybe this time it's working because (a) I'm more motivated and (b) I have a support system (hi, sweetie!).

Anyway, I'm back at work now, surrounded by incompetents but trying to keep it real (nyuk nyuk!). Hope your week was a little LESS interesting than mine!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hey, this Vegan stuff really works! and a fun hike through Chatsworth history

Wow, folks, after just one week of being a Vegan, I lost 1.8 pounds!!

My official current weight as of Saturday morning is 182.6, in case you're keeping track.

Not only do I feel great, but my husband and I did a moderately serious hike yesterday! Things did get a little hairy there for a while, as you can see in this video:

However, we got back on track and had a great time! Where we were was this neat old stagecoach trail in Chatsworth, California - all the way up to this sign:

Part of the trail is called the "Devil's Slide", and boy, is that ever accurate ... I kept thinking I was going to slide all the way down from the top!

But fortunately I had a sure-footed guide (my hubby) to lead the way (and catch me, just in case)!

All in all, it was a great weekend, and a great ending to my first full week of Goin' Vegan!

P.s. Steve confessed that he was afraid I was going to become one of those tree-huggin' hippie liberals. It's true - there does seem to be this, shall we say, interesting mental image that comes to mind when you think of "vegans":

As for me, every time I think "Vegan", I think of "Vulcan" - or worse yet, "V-ger" from the first, worst Star Trek movie. (I won't post a photo - that sorry piece of you-know-what doesn't deserve any more free publicity!)

So anyway, either I come up with a different name for "a person who tries to avoid consuming animal products" - like maybe CCV (for "conservative Catholic vegan) -

OR - we just shout it out loud: I'm a conservative Catholic vegan and proud!

Decisions ... decisions!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Curvy Catholic ... Vegan???

Yes, that's right, friends and neighbors (and husbands, lol!) - I, the infamous Curvy Catholic and Stooges Woman, made a major life decision over the weekend.

I'm goin' vegan!

It's one of those decisions that seems to happen in an instant, yet if you look back, it really was percolating under the surface for a while.

I broke the news to my husband and, while he's somewhat nonplused, is supportive. (The fact that I promised not to make HIM give up his Trader Joe's Mini Tacos and Turkey Meatballs helps, I think.)

Also, I promised him I wouldn't preach to him. And I won't!

However, I didn't promise I wouldn't write about it in my blog - nyuk nyuk!

So here, in a nutshell, are just a few reasons why I've made this decision, with links you can check out on your own, or not (because I'm not preaching!):

1. In spite of what our enthusiastic Weight Watchers leader keeps telling us, apparently dairy - particularly cow's milk - is not quite as good for you as the milk industry would want you to believe. Cow's milk is linked to all sorts of health problems in human beings - for example, chronic sinus and ear infections. (Link for you to check out, if you want to:

2. Not only that, but the poor critters themselves don't seem to lead particularly happy lives. Now to be honest, I'm not 100% opposed, in principle, to eating meat or using animal products. If the animals in question are treated humanely and euthanized in a painless way, then I think it becomes more of a philosophical issue, rather than a humane one. The Compassionate Carnivore makes a good case for humanely raising meat.

3. But you know, even from a humane standpoint - which IMHO all Christians should have - it's hard to deny that animals kept in "factory farms" and killed in slaughterhouses are not being treated as humanely as they could be. And that, if there were less of a demand for meat products in general, then, naturally, ipso facto, ergo sum - fewer animals would suffer these abuses. Right? (Link to check out:

4. I know there's a tendency to stereotype vegans and animal rights activists as "liberals", so I thought I'd see if there were any good conservative reasons for opposing factory farming - and I found one! Did you know that one of the biggest employers of illegal immigrants in the U.S. is - you guessed it - the meat industry! Particularly in slaughterhouses. (Link to check out:

It's a cliche to say that "illegal immigrants do jobs that Americans don't want to do", and with the economy tanking, I seriously doubt that's going to be true anymore, if it ever was. But boy, I don't know about you, but even if I weren't a vegan, I don't think I'd be too thrilled about having a job where I spent the whole day killing animals who didn't want to die. Even if you were killing them as humanely as possible - like in a vet's office or an animal shelter - there's gotta be some kind of toll on your spirit.

So even from a right-wing, humans-first viewpoint, there's a case to be made against killing animals for food - or at least, against the factory-farm-to-slaughterhouse routine.

Now I know that there's sometimes a disconnect between vegans, who tend to congregate on the "left", and pro-lifers, who tend to be on the "right". But you know what? I think there's common ground.

If we truly believe that all life is sacred, that all creatures are God's creatures, then we must treat EVERY life - human and animal - with as much respect and dignity as we possibly can.

That includes unborn human beings, floating peacefully in their mothers' wombs, blissfully unaware that they are about to be torn, limb from limb, and discarded as "medical waste".

That includes just-born baby male calves, blissfully unaware that they are about to be torn away from their mothers' sides and turned into veal, or thrown into a ditch and shot.

It includes disabled human beings whose relatives would just love to have them "humanely euthanized" so they can collect their inheritance.

It includes a holding pen full of pigs, each one just as bright and friendly as your favorite pet dog, waiting to be turned into pork chops.

It includes every chicken, every cow, every goat, every turkey and yes, every human being - no matter how unloveable they might be or how "convenient" their deaths would be for someone else.

That's it. That's my reasons. And if I come up with any more - or if you post any really good arguments to the contrary in the "comments" section - I promise to deal with them next week.

(P.S. - weight loss this week - 0.8 pounds! yay!! Also, some sad news - "It Figures", the Curves-alternative I joined a couple of months ago, went out of business. Their website is down, but I encouraged them to consider retooling it as an "online personal trainer" site; so I'll keep the link over there on the right, and if it reopens and/or changes, I'll let you know. Thanks, Kathy, Danielle & Tommi, for your help getting/keeping me fit!)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Up AGAIN, dagnab it!!

OK, you know what? I need to step away from all the other topics I've been focusing on lately (like my upcoming "Three Stoogettes" movie) and pay more attention to my continuing efforts to lose weight.

'Cause I have NOT been doing well, lately. It's been up one week (like 1.2 pounds up this week) and down the next (let's hope!), but overall I have not lost ONE pound since January of this year.

So I'm going to step up my efforts from now on, and really make a commitment.

I know exercise is the MAIN key to my fat-busting efforts - and I'm doing something, every day - but I also know that I've been slacking off a bit in my nutritional efforts.

Weight Watchers (like all other legit weight loss plans I've seen) recommends that you keep a food diary - write down everything that you eat (bit it write it, drink it ink it, chew it review it, etc. etc., as the Weight Watchers mantra goes).

Well, here's my problem - I HATE DOING THAT! I hate having to keep track of a piece of paper or a notebook or an electronic menu or anything else that distracts me from that

sweet, sweet candy ...

BUT - I should do it, I guess. I have kind of been thinking that since I bring basically the same food with me to work every day, I don't have to worry too much about counting the points, just assuming that they're adding up to 23 (my limit).

But you know what? I have a funny feeling maybe I'm going over by, oh, maybe one, two ... five ... twenty ... who knows?

Anyway, I have these teensy weensy little notebooks I got at the MOCA gift shop a couple of weeks ago. They fit right in my pocket and I also found one of those tiny little "golf pencils" (kind like

this one) which also fits in my pocket. So I'm gonna make a commitment.

I'm going to "Bite it? Write it! Drink it? Ink it! Chew it? Review it!" all week. JUST this week. And see if it makes any difference at my weigh-in next Saturday morning.

Hey - it sounds crazy, but it JUST MIGHT WORK!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Quickie!

I'm going to keep this short because - hey, it's a holiday!

I'm home with my hubby, celebrating my 1-pound weight loss on Saturday (yay!), as well as honoring our brave men and women in the service. (Hardly on a par with me losing weight, I know! Sorry about that!)

Anyway, we're both puttering around the house, working in the yard. Would you believe I just spent a whole hour on my hands and knees (not to mention other parts of my anatomy, at various times, ouch!) clearing out weeds from an ugly little patch of ground by the driveway? I have big plans for that little patch this summer.

Not sure quite what, just yet - but frankly, anything will look better than what's there now!

I'll post pix as the work progresses. But not today - I'm too lazy to dig out the camera!

So - happy Memorial Day, y'all! See ya next week!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Another good thing about losing my job ... (a dental rant)

Wow, when you lose your regular source of income, you really find out who your true friends are ... and who's just into you for the money.

Today I found out my dentist of @10 years (name on request), falls into the LATTER category.

I had had my checkup and cleaning last week, and he'd told me I needed to have some expensive work on the veneers on my bottom front teeth.

The estimate he gave me showed that my part would be between $2,000 - $3,000 - that's over and above the part that my dental insurance would pay.

I told him I just couldn't commit to that, because (as I kept telling him, over and over, then and today), I'M LOSING MY JOB DAMMIT! and I can't take on any huge new debts! So he says, OK, we'll just do the one filling (last week he was saying I only actually needed one filling) and maybe you can do the rest later.

So this morning I show up at 9:45 a.m. for my 10 a.m. appointment, and finally get into the chair at 10:30, all psyched up to get the usual Novocaine and the scraping and the drilling and the filling (say that last part in a Bill Cosby voice, it sounds totally cool), only to be informed, first by him and then by his perky assistant, that they have to SHOW me, AGAIN, why they really need to do all that other stuff that I had already told them I couldn't afford to do!

Seriously, Dr. Mungcal, are you even paying attention to your patients anymore? I know you're all super successful and #1 Dentist of L.A. and all that great stuff, but you know what? It's patients like me, who came to see you when you first started, that put you there. Yet you can't even show a little tact and understanding towards me at this, a major turning point in my life?

Grr. Well, anyway, climbing down from the Rant Tree now. But I felt really angry about it. To the point where I allowed my feelings to come out.

Yes, that's right - I started to cry! In public, which I really hate. But you know what? Sometimes you just have to let people know that they're making you feel bad.

So with thinly disguised looks of disgust, the perky assistants allowed me to climb out of the chair and leave.

And leave I have ... for good! I've got a copy of their "recommended treatment plan" in my purse. NONE of the cavities he said I've got have caused me any pain or discomfort yet. So sometime in the near future, I'll make an appointment with my husband's dentist, show it to him, and if he agrees that all this work is really necessary ... well, we'll just have to work it out somehow.

See, I don't really mind the fact that he recommended this work. It's that even after I refused it, and explained why, he STILL kept trying to push me into it, with the ol' dental "guilt trip" about how if I don't get all this work done now, my teeth will all fall out and my gums will rot (or words to that effect).

And the really annoying thing is - yeah, he's probably got a point. This work probably should be done, if not now, then perhaps in the next few years. But it's the WAY he pushed it, trying to make me feel guilty for not spending money that I simply can't afford to spend right now, that upset me.

Deep sigh.

Well, at least now I know the awful tooth now - dentists simply have no fillings whatsoever!

P.S. Gained back the same 1.4 pounds I lost last week - oh well! Pretty soon I'll have plenty of time to work out!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sacked! or, what I've got that Bob Cratchit didn't

Well, last week I lost 1.4 pounds - and my job!

Yes indeed, I was called into my company's office at around 4:30 Tuesday afternoon and told that my department was being "phased out".

Translation: "You're fired!"

Actually, it wasn't that cold, or that bad. Unlike Dickens' poor Bob Cratchit, I'm getting a pretty decent severance package, as well as AT LEAST three months' notice. So all things considered, I'm reasonably unflustered.

And also unlike Bob Cratchit, I've already got a job offer - helping my pal June Taylor sell doggie lingerie to local pet stores!

Now, I've sold stuff online before, but have never actually gone into a store and tried to convince a real, live person to give me money. So it'll be a learning curve. But I figure, hey, what have I got to lose? The worst that can happen is I'll suck, in which case I'll go back to my list of sure-fire moneymaking ideas, like, for example:

1. Wine taster for alcoholics - slogan: I drink it so you don't have to!

2. Food taster for the morbidly obese - (see #1).

3. Reality show participant for a new program, "Who Wants to Be Downsized?"


Hey, folks, I got a million of 'em, nyuk nyuk, rimshot!

But seriously, folks ... I'm kinda sad, and annoyed by the inconvenience. But look at it this way - yeah, I got fired - but so did my boss! (nyuk nyuk!)

(P.S. need I even add that last week's dilemma - which fitness club to join - is now resolved, in that I'm not going to join either one? I'll just work out at home, thanks. And who knows? Maybe I'll even tell you how I'm gonna do that, in a future blog post!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

It Figures or 24 Hour Fitness? A moral dilemma for your Monday

Up @ a pound - I'm at 185 now. And I attribute this gain to the change in my exercise program.

As you may recall, my beloved Curves of Downtown Los Angeles closed a couple of weeks ago, and at the time, I thought, "Oh well, at least I can now join It Figures of Sherman Oaks, which has a similar circuit training setup, as well as treadmills, stationary bikes and other types of fitness equipment available."

Well, my initial enthusiasm for the opportunity to join It Figures has waned a bit. (And at this point, my husband will chime in, "Hmm … IT FIGURES!"

Here's the problem – and I had a feeling when I joined that it might be a problem, which is why I got the month-to-month membership rather than signing a long-term contract (always a good idea, by the way, with any sort of commitment like this).

It's the schedule. It just doesn't work well for me.

See, when I had the Curves available, right next to my office, I could go there first thing in the morning, or during my lunch hour, or even (when they had longer hours, up till a couple of months ago), on my coffee break when I was super-stressed and needed a quick break. It was great!

I can't really do that with the It Figures of Sherman Oaks. It's located in Sherman Oaks (hence the name, duh!), so really the only time I can go there during the week is in the evening, after work and on my way home.

But wait, there's more (problems, that is)!

See, one of the cool things about It Figures is that they offer regular exercise classes. And they have one every afternoon – right in the middle of the circuit training area – from 5:30 to 6:30. Which means, for all intents and purposes, that if you want to do circuit training, you pretty much have to wait till the class is over, at 6:30.

Which I kind of have to do, since I simply can't get off work early enough to make the class.

Last week I faithfully went in at @ 6:15/6:20, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and puttered around on the treadmill or the stationary bike for the @10/15 minutes it took for the class to finish up. Then I was able to start the circuit training.

But even then, due to having to chat up the class participants as they were exiting, check phone messages, etc. (she's the only one there, so obviously very busy), Danielle wasn't able to get everything back in place (like the exercise balls & the step) till @ 6:45.

Now since I'm the one that wanted to use them, I suppose I should have just gone and gotten them out for myself. But I didn't know if I was supposed to, and also, being horizontally impaired (I'm only 5'2"!), I couldn't reach the shelf that the balls were stored on (it's wayyy high!).

So I just did the basic Curves-type workout, and that was, well, meh, it was okay. But not really as exciting as it was the last time I was there.

Maybe because last time I was disillusioned enough with Curves that I was getting the "grass is greener" effect. Hmmm ...

Well, anyway ... this morning, I took advantage of a 7-day guest pass membership at the 24 Hour Fitness in downtown Los Angeles. Which isn't exactly next door to my office, but at least is within a reasonable walking distance.

And actually, since I started getting off the subway at the 7th and Metro station and walking up to Bunker Hill, it's literally right on my way to work and only about 5 minutes from my office, at my walking speed.

So I went there this morning, and after a couple of false starts with the coin-operated lockers*, I spent about half an hour wandering from one strength training machine to another, lifting various weights with various parts of my body and actually feeling like I got a pretty good workout.

So … bottom line … I may drop It Figures and pick up 24 Hours. Which is too bad, because It Figures is actually a great IDEA for a women's gym. And it undoubtedly works wayyyy better for women who actually live and work in that area, as they can probably get there at non-class times and do whatever they need to do. But for me … it's just not working out.

Oh well … IT FIGURES!!!

*Guess what I learned? If you put your stuff in one of those coin-operated lockers, and put in your 50 cents, and then take the key out, and then realize you forgot your towel, and then put the key in and open it up again, and get your towel out, and close the locker door – you can't open it again unless you put in another 50 cents!

Which is kind of difficult when your purse is INSIDE the locker!

Which is why I had to borrow 50 cents from the nice lady at the front desk, who was happy to help me, but only had dimes.

Which is why I had to go to Famima! and get the dimes changed to quarters.

All of which helped me to get my heartrate up nicely, thankyouverymuch.

Perhaps that's a good motivation for me to actually buy my own lock!

Monday, April 27, 2009

... hello, It Figures!

All right, friends and neighbors! Dry your tears and wipe your eyes. Just because my Curves closed, and just because I gained 0.2 pounds last week (current weight: 183.2), does NOT mean that all is lost!

Remember a few months ago, when I told you about my visit to It Figures in Sherman Oaks? Well, as they say, when God closes a door, He opens a window.

So with the unfortunate demise of my flawed-but-oh-so-convenient Curves (waah!), I now have the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is, and see if It Figures will really provide me with better results.

I think it will, if I can overcome the inconvenience factor. See, it not only has better equipment, but also has a variety of equipment. If I don't feel like going round and round (circuit training), I can use the treadmill or the stationary bike.

And even when I do feel like going round and round, I'll warm up on the treadmill or the bike before and after each workout - and working out for a full hour, instead of the 30 minutes I was doing at Curves. (Since I'll be going there after work, instead of during, I don't have to worry about rushing through to get back to work on time.)

So there are very definite advantages to this change. I am in high hopes that this will break the weight loss plateau I've been in for about six months now. Not that that's a problem - some experts think it's better to lose for a while and then maintain for a while. So as long as I'm staying about the same weight, that's fine!

But I do think I still have more to lose, so here I go!

* * *

In other news, sweet hubby Steve P. and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary this past weekend (yay!). We went to the Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach. There were a few glitches, but overall, we had a very nice time. However, if you're thinking of staying there, be advised: Even if you make a reservation for a room with a harbor view, as we did, you may not GET that room with the harbor view. I understand Seinfeld had a similar problem with a car rental company:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Goodbye, Curves ...

An open letter to the staff of Curves for Women, in downtown Los Angeles (on Bunker Hill)

Dear Mickey, Lu, and Vicky (pictured):

I just went downstairs for my workout, and got the sad news that your location is closing as of this week!

I am really sorry to hear this. As you may remember, I have been an "on again off again" member since you first opened, but during the past year I have stuck to it, and really benefited.

As of last week's weigh-in at Weight Watchers, I've lost 42 pounds!

And it's not just the weight loss - I also feel much stronger and healthier overall - mentally as well as physically. I often tell my friends that your Curves is a "stressbuster" for me - whenever things are going badly at work, or I'm bored or upset, I take a break - and do a workout! And I ALWAYS feel better afterwards!

I have decided not to join another Curves location after you close. Some friends of mine own a club in Van Nuys called "It Figures". I've visited there as a guest, but told them I wouldn't join as long as my Curves was still available.

Well, now that you're closing, they'll be getting a new member at last!

But I will miss seeing you and Lu and Vicky, and having my workout so easy to get to - right downstairs from my office!

Thank you all for everything! I have really enjoyed and benefited from my membership at Curves in Downtown Los Angeles!

Christine Lehman - aka "The Curvy Catholic" :-)

(P.S. - last week I gained 0.6 pounds - but since I was expecting to gain at least two pounds from all the kielbasa, I consider that a win!)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Christ is Risen - Let's Eat!

Christos Voskrese, y'all!

Yes, it's Easter again and what a wonderful celebration we had! That's me and my beloved hubby Steve, up top there, on the patio outside our beloved St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church in Sherman Oaks, California.

And ... during the last week of Lent (aka "Great and Holy Week" in the Eastern tradition), I lost a whopping 4.2 pounds - yay for me! (I'm quite vainly pleased to report that the pretty flowered dress I'm wearing in the photo above is size "L" - no "x's" anywhere on my bod!)

Which is good, because in another Eastern Christian tradition, we're commanded to FEAST this week. So what with the kielbasa, the Pascha bread, various cheeses, Ukrainian eggs*, etc., I'll probably be gaining most of it back.

Not that there's anything wrong with that! After all, there's more to life than watching your weight, counting POINTS, curving, etc. - all of which I have every intention of going back to, next week.

But for today, I'm celebrating the fact that "Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!" in style - with a jalepeno hot dog from Famima! Mmmmmm!!!

* We didn't actually paint them ourselves - unfortunately, neither of us had the time. But thanks to modern technology:

--- we didn't have to! (nyuk nyuk!)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Great and Holy Week Begins!

Well, I was up 1.2 pounds last week - not so good.

But I should be able to make up for it this week.

It's Great and Holy Week - the days leading up to Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the great Easter Vigil of Saturday, and Resurrection Sunday - Pascha.

And now that the solemnity of that week is upon us - including a liturgical service of some kind EVERY SINGLE NIGHT between now and Saturday, which means no time for dinner - perhaps I'll manage to drop that 1.2 pounds again.

Just in time for -- the Pascha Kielbasa!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

On Purgatory and swimming pools

Down half a pound, now at 185.4 - yay!

In my alternate Web persona as "theistgal", I have come across threads on two separate forums asking what Eastern Christians/Catholics believe about Purgatory. One thread is at Orthodox and the other at
Catholic Answers.

This is one of those arguments that will never end till we get there and find out for ourselves. Frankly, I am suspicious of anyone who says they know, for a fact, what happens to us after we die. I think we just have to make the best guess we can, based on the best information we can find, and hope God is merciful. (And that He has a really, really good sense of humor!)

But when I think of Purgatory, I think of ... Sunnyside Park, in what's now called the "Waldo" area of Kansas City, Missouri. Sunnyside is a really nice, big park, with walking trails, tennis courts, a playground ...

and it USED to have two small but wonderful swimming pools, which have been replaced now by "spraygrounds".

They weren't your standard rectangular pools. They were round. There were two of them. Both were concrete, painted sky blue. One was the "baby" pool - wading pool, no more than about 6 inches deep at the most. The other was the BIG pool - 3 feet deep and intended for us BIG kids (well ... bigger than the babies, anyway!).

But you couldn't get into EITHER pool till you walked through -

The Antiseptic Foot Bath!!!

Yes, that's right - you had to wash your filthy dirty feet before going into that clean, chorine-filled water.

To me, that's what Purgatory is - the place to wash off all the dirt you've accumulated before you enter Heaven. After all, it does say, somewhere in the Bible, that "nothing unclean may enter Heaven" - but it doesn't say there's no way to GET clean, before you get there.

And I'm relieved to find I'm not alone in this opinion. C.S. Lewis, an Anglican, also believed in Purgatory as a place to get clean. In his "Letters to Malcolm", he wrote:

Our souls demand Purgatory, don't they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, 'It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy'? Should we not reply, 'With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I'd rather be cleaned first.' 'It may hurt, you know' - 'Even so, sir.'

Hence ... the Purgatorial Foot Bath! Enter into the joy, my friends - just wash your feet first!

(P.S. I'm sad to say that the pools at Sunnyside Park were dismantled a few years ago. I was fortunate enough to be in town, shortly after they'd been torn up, and found a few small pieces of concrete scattered around the area, still spattered with that sky-blue paint ... and still smelling of chlorine.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's Spring! It's Spring! The Bird is on the Wing!

Absurd! Absurd! The Wing is on the Bird!

Tee hee! I read that a loonnnng time ago in an olllld Dennis the Menace comic book, and it always stuck with me.

But anyway, it's now officially Spring! Yahoo!

And I'm up this week, but only a little (+0.2, total 186). Not too bad, considering all the Italian food I've been scarfing down this week.

Hey - when your employer is economizing on catering, and then one day, out of the blue, you're told that there's leftover Italian food in the break room - well, what could I do? I'm only human! (nyuk nyuk!)

Anyway, I'm wrestling with a moral dilemma, so perhaps someone reading this has had a similar situation and can give me some advice.

I got an "email chain letter" which reads as follows:

I am supposed to pick 12 women (who have touched my life) and who I think would want to participate. I think that if this group of women were ever to be in a room together, there is nothing that would be impossible. I hope I chose the right twelve. Please send this back to me (You'll see why). In case anyone is not aware, Saint Theresa is known as the Saint of the Little Ways. Meaning she believed in doing the little things in life well and with great love. She is also the patron Saint of flower growers and florists. She is represented by roses.

REMEMBER to make a wish before you read the prayer. That's all you have to do. There is nothing attached. Just send this to twelve people and let me know what happens on the fourth day. Sorry you have to forward the message, but try not to break this, please .. Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. Did you make a wish yet? If you don't make a wish, it won't come true. This is your last chance to make a wish!

St. Theresa's Prayer:
May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.

Now, send this to 12 women within the next 5 minutes. And remember to send this back. I count as'll see why. Suggestion: copy and paste rather than forwarding.

Now normally, when I receive something like this, I just hit "delete" as fast as my little fingers can pound. But here's where the "moral dilemma" part comes in:

It's from my boss.


So what would you do? I'm gonna set up a poll - please vote within the next 5 minutes or your wish won't come true! (Nyuk nyuk!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Seven themes for a Monday morning

First: I lost 1.4 pounds, woo hoo! Official weight: 185.8! Yippee skip!

Second: I have gotten into what I think is an excellent habit: getting off the subway (L.A.'s world famous Metro Red Line, in case you didn't know) one stop before my "official" stop and WALKING. I walk every morning through the heart of downtown Los Angeles and it has really made a difference - not only in my fitness level but also in my morning mood. By the time I get to the office I feel awake, energetic, and - hungry!

Third: Which is why it's a good thing I've developed yet another healthy habit: Oatmeal for breakfast - every day! Usually it's the Weight Watchers brand (Maple sugar, 2 Points, with 8 grams of fiber, yum), but if they've made it by the time I get there, I really prefer the buckwheat oatmeal at Organic to Go at California Plaza (near my office). Only problem is, they recently changed their hours and don't open till 7:30 - and apparently don't even start cooking the oatmeal till then either! And since I get into town at 7:20 a.m. for my Big Morning Walk, that doesn't do me a whole lot of good. So, default Oatmeal Option: Starbucks!

Fourth: Still loving my eBook readers: the eBookwise and the Amazon Kindle 1.0. However, the eBookwise dropped dead this weekend, while I was right in the middle of my tenth rereading of "The Mists of Avalon" (that's right! I'm a Catholic and I read "The Mists of Avalon"! What can I say? I like good writing, no matter what viewpoint it comes from).

So anyway, I was just at the point where Igraine and Uther had gotten married and Morgaine took over the narration, and little Arthur was running towards her, crying, with a bump on her head, and WHOOPS! There goes the battery! I thought I'd be able to recharge it, but nope, it didn't seem to be taking a charge. So I've sent an email in to the trusty folks at eBookwise and will keep my fingers crossed that they'll exchange it, so I can find out what happens next.

Fifth: Yeah yeah, I already know what happens next! But I'm a rereader, OK? I like to pretend I haven't read it before, each time. My other favorite rereads: "David Copperfield", "Gone With the Wind", "Little Women" ... and yet I've never been able to read "Moby Dick" more than once, all the way through. I've tried. I get through the interminable list of quotations at the beginning, and the "Call me Ishmael" ... narration, and Ishmael's fun first night with Queequeg. But then, right around the time they're going to that church and that preacher starts in, I lose interest and go on to something else. ("Chapter One. I am born.")

Sixth: It's Monday and I'm happy. That's probably the biggest change in my life. After all the years of being alone, depressed and fat, I'm married to a wonderful guy who, with all his flaws (and he doesn't a whole lot, at least nothing I can't handle, nyuk nyuk), is the best thing that's ever happened to me. And being married is great - nothing like what I thought it was going to be. We're almost up to two years now and I can honestly say that it's better than it was at first - and it was pretty great at first, so that's saying something!

Seventh: We're planning to spend our second anniversary at the fabulous and reputedly haunted Queen Mary in Long Beach. Will let you know if we see any ghosts. I'll just be happy if I can see the ghostly screen of my eBookwise reader by then!

Monday, March 9, 2009

At Long Last Loss!

Yes, after a couple of weeks in the doldrums of "no change", I've finally lost 2.2 pounds, one again shocking the Weight Watchers computer into wagging its li'l finger at me and warning me about losing too quickly. For shame!

Oh well ... I'm doing my best, li'l computer, but you know, weight loss is an inexact science at best. And programming my body to lose in exact increments of two pounds at a time is a little tricky.

However, I'll upgrade my system to Chrissy 2.0 and see if that works. I've heard these newfangled computer programs can do wonderful things!

Still enjoying both my ebook readers! Today I decided to bring only the Kindle with me to work. Mainly because the eBookwise, while beloved, is also somewhat heavier. And I'm enjoying the experience of traveling light.

So how is your day going? Hope all is well. If you're experiencing the economic downturn in a personal way, let me offer my sympathies and, if you don't mind a little Catholic/Christian theology (this is, after all, the Curvy Catholic!), please remember Matthew 6:19-21:

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Where is your treasure? Perhaps it's time for an "account transfer". ;-)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Better late than never, and falling in love with ebooks!

Hi! Sorry to be late! I usually try to update my blog first thing Monday morning, but today was awfully busy!

Weight first - it's exactly the same as last week. I won't tell you what that is, so as to encourage you to scroll back to last week's entry. I need the hits!

About the post title - a couple of weeks ago I discovered the joys of ebook readers! I was sitting next to a woman on the subway who was reading an Amazon Kindle. When I got to work, I started reading everything I could find about it.

Unfortunately, the price tag - over 350 smackeroonies - discouraged me. I really wanted it BUT just couldn't justify it.

And then - I found the eBookwise 1150! At only $135.95 it was obviously way more affordable than the Kindle. And everything I read about it at places like the MobileRead forums (where I'm registered as "stoogeswoman" - drop by and say hi!)* led me to believe it would be a good alternative.

Did I say "good"? Make that GREAT!! Because I really, really love it! I've put about 50 books on it and there's room for more!

I carry it with me and read it on the subway -- and now I'm the one inspiring other people to research ebooks!

But does that mean I gave up on the Kindle? Not hardly! What I did was get a used Kindle 1.0 (a real steal at $200!) and it just arrived in the mail today. It's very different from the eBookwise - for one thing, much lighter in weight, and the buttons are in different places, so it'll take some getting used to.

The main advantage to it, however, is that it has a direct connection to Amazon - so I really have to be careful, in these tough economic times, not to blow our entire bank account on ebooks!

(Um, sweetie ... just pretend you didn't read that ... ok?)

(*P.S. here's my thread at MobileRead with a slightly more detailed review of my two beloved readers!)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Kind of in Limbo, not to mention DOIN' the Limbo!

189.4 - up 0.4. Not surprising, since hubby and I went to a Mardi Gras dance this weekend!

It was held at St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Fontana, California (sister church to our own St. Mary's in Sherman Oaks).

The food was EXCELLENT: real Southern fried chicken (not that fast-food crap!), cornbread (yum) and jambalaya with sliced kielbasa - MMMMM! Really good!

Not to mention really SPICY! Which of course meant that we had to imbibe lots of cool drinks to compensate!

The dancing part wasn't so great. Steve and I are not, um, shall we say, accomplished dancers? Actually, we kind of suck. And we also kind of suck at compensating for each other's goofs.

It didn't help that the music was SO LOUD WE COULDN'T HEAR A THING WHAD'D YOU SAY HUH HUH HUH??? I know, we're old, but still ...

At one point we actually came close to having a fight, about which I won't go into detail except to say we've made up, but we did leave the dance early because THE NOISE THE NOISE OMG IT WAS DRIVING US MAD! MAD, I SAY!!!

It's so nice to be at work, where it's vewy vewy quiet today. Perhaps a lot of rabbit hunting. ;-)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day, Mr. President!

Originally uploaded by stoogeswoman
Um, ok, well, Valentine's Day is over and it's President's Day, so that's why, so um ...

Hee hee! Sorry. I'm a little waterlogged today! It's POURING down rain here in beautiful downtown Los Angeles, California. I did my usual walk from the 7th & Metro subway station to Bunker Hill, and boy, is it a good thing I keep an extra pair of shoes in my desk, 'cause by the time I got here, I was walking on water - and NOT in a Messianic sense!

Oh yeah, weight loss 0.2 pounds, 189.0 - gotcha!

We had a really nice Valentine's Day - our church had a dance-slash-spaghetti dinner. Spaghetti and disco balls, yummm! And yes, my sweetie and I actually did dance! If you really want to you can find a few photos in my Flickr photostream which Steve's mom snapped on my camera while we were out on the floor. If I feel ambitious - and warmer! - later on I'll come back & post one here myself.

Boy, is it COLD! And WINDY! What I want to know is this: if you live somewhere other than sunny Southern California, what's it like where you live? And if it's over 50 degrees right now, can you find me a job? I'm ready to move!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cute Cat Saves Economy!

Well, at least that's my hope, as I embed the following video for your Monday morning pleasure:

That's my hand reaching up from the bottom left, adorned with a wristwatch given to me by sweet hubby Steve. We have both gotten in the habit of getting down on the floor and playing with Princess in the evening. As you can see, her "official" play area is small but potent! That mat is hollow and can easily be filled - and refilled - with the highest grade catnip available to mankind!

Which makes it a lot easier for me to let you know that I gained back a little of the loss from last week - 1.6 pounds, so back up to 189.6. Oh well! Down a lot one week, up a little the next, that seems to be my pattern, so I'm not worried about it.

Also, here's something else that cheered me up - I found an old file on my computer with my measurements from last April, when I started all this. My hips then were 55 inches - and today they are 47!!!

Even if I never lose another pound, I'm thrilled with that result!

Monday, February 2, 2009

What a weekend!

Well, the good news is I lost 2.2 pounds - weight is now 188.0, yay! I hate to say it, but I think going back to Curves was a good decision. It may not be the best place to work out, but it's the most convenient place for me right now, and if I alternate it with my Fabulous Downtown Lunch Hour Walks, I should see some good results.

Now for the bad news - my husband and I were puttering around the house yesterday, enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon and even seriously contemplating some, ahem, romantic activity, when ... RING!!! It was my mother-in-law - she'd just fallen asleep at the wheel and plowed into a parked car!

So we had to drop the romance, and get down to business*. First we drove over to the scene of the accident. Wow, it really looked awful. I had thought, ok, going slow, hitting a parked car, probably nothing serious. But mom-in-law's car is a Honda - and she ran into the back of a Suburban! The Suburban had maybe a couple of scratches - but the poor little Honda was smashed all the way in on the front!

The windshield hadn't shattered but it was a maze of cobwebby cracks, and BOTH airbags had deployed. That's what caused mom-in-law's injuries (looks like they're mainly going to be deep bruises - apparently no internal injuries, thanks be to God!), but man, imagine what it would have been like without the airbags. Shudder!

After spending hours in the ER waiting room, surrounded by other sick and/or cranky people (all of whom took great and noisy pleasure in watching the Super Bowl - including a resident who kept wandering out of surgery, in full scrubs, to check the score), we went home, only to get another phone call saying she might be released tonight.

So poor hubby went back (letting me sleep the peaceful sleep of the guilty-but-not-guilty-enough-to-get-back-out-of-bed), only to return an hour later after being told they were keeping her overnight. Hospitals! Gotta love 'em, right?

Anyway, if you're a praying sort (and if you're reading a blog called the Curvy Catholic, one hopes you would be!), please keep mom-in-law Anne - and devoted hubby Steve - in your prayers today. I think everyone will be OK, but we're all sleep-deprived zombies this morning!

Did get some nice videos at an Eastern Orthodox Vespers this weekend - here is a nice one from the very beginning - listen to the bells ringing in the background:

(note - it's still being uploaded as I post this - sorry if it doesn't play right away. I'll come back later & see if I can fix it.)

So - how was YOUR weekend?

(*though any marriage that can't survive a situation like this probably doesn't have any romance to it anyway!)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Down a pound - and back to Curves????

Yes, that's right - I lost a whole entire pound (weigh-in: 190.2) last week. And yes, that's right - after all my fussin' and feudin', I'm back to working out at Curves regularly.

What can I say? The proof is in the pudding - more specifically, in the pudding-like flesh that was developing under my arms!

See, I quit Curves for a whole month, and went for a nice long walk every day on my lunch hour - which felt really great and wonderful (not to mention FREEEEE!).

But - with all that walking - I didn't lose any weight! (well, except due to the "D-word", but I ain't countin' that!) I did maintain my weight loss - so maybe the walking is best for when I want to let my body absorb the loss of flab, and work what's left into more pleasing shapes.

Yet during the last week, before I caved in and went back, I was definitely feeling the lack of movement in my muscles. And craving my Curves circuit!!!

Sigh. For better or for worse, the Curves workout, for all its flaws, does seem to have an effect on the fat.

So for now - at least for another month - I'll do the 3-times-a-week circuit, and just do whatever I can to keep it from being boring.

And I'm definitely NOT going to stop walking! Especially when I can use my wonderful digital camera, given to me by my wonderful husband, to take kick-ass videos and post them to Youtube - like this one:

Unfortunately, as noted in the Update I added to the description, that video had a sad aftermath - I found out that there was indeed a fatality in that accident I saw. A woman named Gwendolyn Coleman, age 58, of Burbank, CA, was struck and killed by that DASH bus while trying to get across the street.

And if I hadn't gotten in good enough shape to walk that route every morning, I would never have known about it. It wasn't splashed all over the news or anything. If you're not a celebrity, nobody cares in this town. But I care. Rest in God's peace, Gwendolyn, and may He bless your family and friends.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Irony, thy name is Curves!

OK, I was up a little bit again this week - weighed in at 191.2.

So I says to my husband (shown here napping with Princess, the cat who adores him and imitates his every move), I says, "Hey, maybe I'll try going to Curves again this week. You know, just to see if it really makes any difference."

And my husband says to me, he says, "Hey, yeah, that's a great idea!"

So I goes in to work, all psyched up to do my first Curves workout in - what? - a month?

I gots my shoes, I gots my socks, I got my hideous purple shorts - in short, I am ready to WORK OUT, baby!

Only to get to the door and see the following sign: "Closed in honor of Martin Luther King Day."

Whoopsy daisy! Forgot about that li'l detail, yes indeedy!

Oh well, as Scarlett O'Hara* famously opined, "Tomorrow is another day!"

And I really do feel the need to change my workout again. Yesterday I did about 40 minutes on the Tony Little Gazelle out in the driveway. And it felt really good! So although I've been enjoying my daily walks in L.A., I think it's time to switch back to Curves, for a while at least. Get those biceps and triceps and quadriceps and quintupleceps in shape again.

So get ready, Curves of Bunker Hill - I'm comin' back! 'Cause tomorrow is another day! (And also 'cause I'm still paying you $39 bucks a month, so I should probably get something out of it.)

*apologies to the politically correct amongst you for referring to Scarlett O'Hara on MLK day - not to even mention the dawn of the Obamanation tomorrow! Mea culpa, y'all!