Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I Am Not Losing Weight, And I Don't Care

Or, In Which I Promise To Myself to Stop Talking About Losing Weight, The End, I Mean It This Time.

See, about two years ago, I started trying to lose weight, and you know? I kind of liked it, and I kind of succeeded at it. More than succeeded; I excelled. I lost twenty pounds in about...what...six months? About. I had fit into a size twelve, at my heaviest, and all of a sudden, I owned two things with size six labels. I fit into a pair of pants I hadn't worn since high school. And a bunch of things with size eights. I had some sexy-butt pants, and I fit into them, and you know? It was nice. Although I knew I was a long way from looking like a long-limbed Guess model, I looked at some pictures from then and I thought, you know? That's pretty skinny. I like that.

And so this time two years later, I started trying to lose weight, and I didn't really get anywhere, and I thought--what the hell? I looked at myself in the mirror, I looked at the scale. The scale said I was five, sometimes ten, pounds heavier than I had been. The mirror said I looked okay, and I was still fitting into my sexy butt pants--and even the high school pants, some days. So I weigh a little more, and I could stand to be a little skinnier, but you know? I still think I look pretty good. I'm petite, small boned--the LT can span my entire lower back with one hand--and all that mac and cheeze shows a little, just because I'm small, so that's no good, but I'm still pretty active, and therefore I can convince myself that the extra pounds are muscle, not fat, and that works for me.

Because last time I lost weight, I realized I was hitting the gym regularly--very regularly--which I loved, and counting calories obsessively, which I didn't love. And this time I canceled my brand-new gym membership, because I wasn't using it, and I'm not counting calories because I can't stand it. I feel dumber every time. And I hate feeling dumber.

And you know? Instead of gong to the gym, not that that's not valuable, or counting calories, which is barely valuable even at the best of times, I've been doing some pretty cool stuff.

Skiing and drinking on Cinco de Mayo

Helter and I climbing a rock, in the Wedge Mountains outside Leavenworth.

Me concentrating. (Off road-ing is hard!)

A very messy braid, and looking over the Wedges, at the snow level in late May.

Dave Fry and I taking a break on the frame.

Self-timed photo of the LT and I (in his full LT stripes!) in our hotel room, pre-Submarine Ball.

Official Picture.

After the ball, with my hair coming down.

See? And would I have time to do all that if I was obsessively counting calories and hitting the gym instead of, say, climbing great big rocks outside?


Even Titan's ear thinks counting calories is ridiculous.

Back From Camping!

Titan and I are back in my apartment; he's snoring away on the futon and I made a pan of mac and cheeze, and successfully limited myself to one and a half servings. (Wedding season starts in one month!) My dishes are washed and my bed is cleared off, although quite a bit of stuff from camping is still sitting out, and it is 1:20 in the morning and I am going to bed.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Flight of Fancy.

You know it is summer when you are not the first one to notice, when even your dog notices, and everyone in the city notices, so that on a sunny afternoon during the happy hour the conversation on everyone's lips is all the same, about how beautiful the weather is, and how summer is really coming to Seattle, and if you leaned to your left and jumped in on the conversation of the strangers next to you, you would know exactly what to say: "THIS is why we live here."

Titan and I are taking longer and more leisurely walks these days, partly because it's so gorgeous and partly because we don't want to work up a sweat. We stroll up and down Broadway, taking in the scene. Today especially was one of those days when I couldn't stop smiling, because it was so gorgeous, and everyone on the Hill seemed to agree with me. There were tons of dogs out, of course, and Cal Andersen Park was PACKED. There wasn't a spare bench or patch of grass to be seen in practically the whole park. Titan and I passed by an older gay couple with their dogs, Yorkies with matching bows (in different colors) and while I generally have a low opinion of the intelligence of small dogs, I have to say that these Yorkies were wonderfully well-behaved and had a distinct lack of neuroses. The men and their dogs were walking slower than Titan and I were, and the men pulled over, for lack of a better word, and their Yorkies stood patiently while my long-legged German Shepherd trotted by. I was impressed, and so was Titan.

We circled the fountain and I saw these words scrawled in chalk on the wall: HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN, making me laugh. The day was so pretty that I even SMILED at some COPS, although generally my relationship with law enforcement can be described as antagonistic, and the cops scratched Titan's ears as he sniffed at their bicycle wheels. Rounding the final corner by Volunteer Park, on the way home, I looked up at a window decal reading, "He's not MY president" and was startled to see a big gray cat watching me intently. A pink tea rose bush shone on my right side as I was passed energetically by a young woman, carrying a pink cello case on her back, and I was strongly reminded of the poor knights who have to paint the white roses red in Alice and Wonderland, and therefore knocked sideways when the young woman looked at her watch and said, into her phone, "I'm so late!" I wanted to say, "Oh, my paws and whiskers!"--but assumed she would think I was just talking to my dog, who does, yes, have paws. And whiskers.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I Biked to Work Today!

It was necessary.

Not long ago, I was tutoring three girls, for a total of eight hours a week, not including the driving time of three and a half hours. I was gone from my house about fifty hours a week, maybe more. And that was fine--I was making a little extra money, I loved all of my girls, and I had excuses to eat out because I was always driving somewhere!

The problem is, between the eating out, the driving around, and the occasional stops at Target while driving around (!) I don't think I ever broke even. Whoops.

While I didn't want to cut back on my tutoring--after all, I liked having more pretty things, and boy do I like going to Target--that decision was just made for me last week, as two of my girls apparently got LIVES, and decided they could no longer squeeze me in! BOO! (You two--if you're reading this, I miss you!)

And that is the problem with tutoring, especially tutoring for something specific, like the SATs. If you're good (and I am) you end up tutoring yourself out of a job!

Oh well. All good things must come to an end, and all that. The point is, with all this free time, can you guess what I've been doing?

a. Rebuilding my sofa so that it doesn't break anytime anyone heavier than I am sits down on it.
b. Sewing my ceiling valance.
c. Preparing my house for my houseguests at the end of JUNE.
d. Sitting on my butt and eating Mac and Cheeze by the panful.

(If you guessed a, b, or c, I AM a tutor. I can help you with this block about standardized tests. Call me.)

Therefore, biking to work was ABSOLUTELY necessary today. However, it does occur to me that perhaps I should have gotten on the bike for a few test runs, as the last time I remember riding a bike was in middle school, and I'm embarrassed to say how long ago that was. Perhaps jumping on the bike and riding for ten miles, the very first day I had ridden a bike in over ten years, was a rash decision.

And I do mean rash. Thoughts on bike-riding:

1. I either need to get a more comfortable seat or padded pants. Or both. Ouch.
2. Biking in full daylight seems pretty safe--everyone saw me.
3. I was worried about sweat. I do have a little sweat, but no one has keeled over yet, and most importantly, I have no sweat on my face--probably because of the wind.
5. Eat more fruit! For some reason, I'm craving fruit--I brought an orange with me, but sadly, it's mostly bad--I ate a few sections and threw the rest away. I'm dying for a banana. Why? WHO KNOWS.
6. Airport Way seems really flat in a car. It's not so flat on a bike.
7. If I had known it would be that hard, I never would have done it...
8...But I have a huge sense of accomplishment and might do it again tomorrow!
9. Pretty sure I'm taking the bus home--the few hills I had to climb killed me. And it's ALLLLL uphill on the way back.
10. I thought my bag would be pretty light, considering I took almost everything out except my computer and my food. It wasn't anywhere near light enough.

But hey, I burned calories and saved money, and I defy anyone to come up with a better way to do both things at once!

Because I have 486 weddings and a bachelorette party on a cruise coming up. And I WILL look good. If it kills me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

High Roller

I haven't talked a lot about it in this blog, but I've been trying to budget.

Okay, a little. I mean, I'm less cavalier about buying stuff now.

I swear! Really!


Anyway, I did the unthinkable today: I both bought my lunch, unusual in and of itself, and I BOUGHT A BOOK. At full price. (Okay, not--I had a coupon, and it was on sale at Barnes.)

But to buy a book--NEW--off the shelf, well, I felt pretty indulgent.

And no, I can't believe I'm getting excited about this, either.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Apparently I Suck At This Whole Blogging Thing

Highlights for today:

I opened a Roth IRA! Thanks to the encouragement and butt-kicking in Suze Orman's latest book, Women and Money. This book was so good that I bought it at full price, AFTER I checked it out of the library. It's really, really good.

I have to go to the dentist. Hope he doesn't mind the fact that I just ate a whole tub of Tahini Sauce on a fork.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

In Which I Celebrate Mother's Day and Learn How to Clean

To say that I am not organized would be sort of an understatement.

I am so disorganized, both in my tangible properties and in my brain, that when I decide I want to leave the apartment, I end up running back and forth from the front door to various places, picking up things I've forgotten, no less than four times, and occasionally as many as ten times, every time I leave the apartment, including quick trips where I just walk Titan to the end of the block and back. It seems to be impossible for me to decide, "I want to walk Titan", and then think, in geographical order, "Put shoes on, sweep through kitchen to grab plastic bag, bring phone and a few bucks, grab keys and leash off the hook by the front door, leash Titan, walk out door, lock door."

Instead I put my shoes on, THEN leash Titan, grab my keys, remember that I need a plastic bag, go to the kitchen with Titan still leashed, dig out a bag, set my keys down, stand there for five minutes as I determine if I need my phone and wallet, search for phone and wallet, walk to front door, feel around for my keys and realize I've set them down somewhere, search for my keys, hampered by the fact that Titan is whining because he's leashed and ready to go, run to the front door, go out the door, lock it, and get to the coffee stand before I realize that I've still left my wallet at home.

The very first day that I realized that I COULD, even, grab a bag BEFORE I put Titan's leash on was a big day for me, readers. I do not know how or why my brain works so non-linearly compared to everyone else, but my god, no wonder the LT has so much more time than I do! Were someone to stand over me with a stopwatch, I think I would cry to see how much time I waste running in circles in my own, 850-square-foot apartment, like a dog chasing its tail, not to insult dogs. Because even Titan has more sense than me.

Therefore, on previous cleaning sessions, I would: strip the old sheets off the bed, sit on the bed to pick at my toenails for awhile, suddenly jump up and put water in Titan's bowl, decide while I was there to wash dishes, get halfway through that and decide I should organize my shelves better, pull half of my spices off the shelves, see a can of soup that would remind me that I have a coupon for that very brand in my purse, find my purse, decide that my purse needed to be cleaned, dump everything out on the table, find a magazine, and sit down at said table with the magazine for the next hour.

You can imagine the resulting cleanliness of my apartment, no?

But I'm getting better. I found a site that is so cheesy I'm almost embarrassed to say I depend on it, but since I do, I might as well come clean (HA!): FlyLady. The terms are sort of cheesy, and the site is mainly geared to homemakers with kids, but the genius of the site is its special mentality: JUST. DO. SOMETHING.

Flylady doesn't tell you to make lists: she tells you to stick up post-its. Don't be perfect, she says. While you're stuck in perfection, afraid to start cleaning for fear you won't do it perfectly, someone with a less stellar job and five kids who has never even heard of Gloria Steinem has a clean house, a balanced checkbook, and food on the table. Who is really ahead, here?

Therefore, when I got the call from my mother, and learned that I would have 10 people crammed into my tiny apartment on Mother's Day, I relaxed. I had already been washing my dishes and making my bed on a regular basis, now I just had to dust, sweep, and wash the windows. I did it in order, first washing the windows, all of them. Then dusting and cleaning, all surfaces. Then sweeping the floor, thoroughly. I even went to the LT's the night before and watched a movie with him! The family showed up and the place looked quite passable.

If that's not a victory, I don't know what is. (I mean, I didn't take a shower or scrub my shower and tub, and I DID have to run to the convenience store on Mother's Day so I could get toilet paper and handsoap, but you know. Progress!)

And while we're on the subject of Mother's Day: my mother, for all the time that I've known her, has been completely useless after dinner. (Not ALL the time, and not right after dinner--she and dad pick up the kitchen every night, after all.) But about 8:00 pm or so, she will sit down on her bed, or maybe at the kitchen table, with a book and at 8:07 p.m., she is asleep and drooling. (Hi mom!)

My new ongoing really old, but still unachieved goal in life is to beat this genetic habit. So far my process has been abysmal. But last night, you know, I came home from Date Night, looked around, took Titan out, looked around a little more, and thought...hell. I can just go to bed.

And I did!

A Look Back and a Thank You

Sometimes, when I can't blog--when I know I should be because I'm all knotted up emotionally, or maybe when I'm not that knotted up but just a little twisted, and I can't start, I go back and read my previous posts.

Not because I think I'm that good. But because I realize how far I've come. And that's sort of inspiring, this reminder that I only know how far I've come because I WROTE IT DOWN, and therefore, this benefit jars me into blogging again, at least most of the time.

One thing I do notice: there are so many posts, especially over the winter, to which I got strings of wonderful comments that I did not deserve, especially as I barely responded to anyone. Karen Mc Cullaugh, alex, beth and merideth, ramblin' girl and glitter, kt, m.thom, I love all of you--and if there's someone I missed, please consider yourself loved as well. All of your comments kept me going, and I was in too dark a place to respond much or read any of your blogs; it was all I could do to get to work every day and force myself to go skiing on the weekends, which may seem like a luxury, but I believe was truly the best thing I could have done. I leaned on a lot of people during that time, some of them without even knowing: my fabulous landlord M, who insists that he did nothing altruistic as he charged me rent (barely) but I pay no attention to that because he offered his very private house at a time when I desperately needed a friend, and more than that, a place to stay. My friend "Bobby", who carpooled with me, forcing me to get up on days I did not want to, therefore ensuring my continued employment. My wonderful boyfriend LT, who I leaned on so much that I think he actually carried me at times. And the mountains, who froze the depression out of me, forced me to exercise, and allowed me to transfer my fears of dying friendless, dogless, and poor to a fear of jumps instead, a much easier fear to conquer.

And some day in the future, when I'm really down and no immediate comfort is handy, I'll look at this picture and think..."Damn, Dave really makes me look skinny! Awesome!"

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

This Just In: Trips to Target do NOT Clean Your House!

Shocking! Horrifying! But there it is.

I have been spending a long time away from this blog, not doing anything constructive, but rather reading OTHER blogs. I have been going to the gym, and I have been buying groceries and cooking the food in my house as opposed to buying food on the way to tutoring and back (or trying to) and I have been making my bed every day (most days) and occasionally doing dishes BEFORE I need a clean dish. (Although in the case of my large cast-iron skillet, this may never happen.)

Yes. I have begun the long and horrifying process of Self Improvement. AGAIN.

Because I have learned even though you clean your house once, it does NOT stay clean, no matter how much you wish and hope it will. Laundry does not stay done, dog hair does not stay on the dog. Once you lose weight, the pounds do not disappear to the wind, never to be heard from again.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Got An Interesting Email

My close friend Not-Aarwenn (she has the same name as I do in real life!) sent me an email just the other day:

Hi Aarwenn,

I was reading your blog, in which you raved about some stationary, which was linked to this other blog and then just a one more link later, I find a blog that has a great recipe for gluten-free cupcakes! What a day! :)


All I can say is, my life has not been in vain.

*And while you are reading this--you're on the internet anyway--please click here. There's several sites on the web that have a Click To Give Campaign, in which all you do is click, and the sponsors of the program give a little bit for each click. (It's legitimate--featured on Snopes.com and all that.) There's six sites, making twelve clicks in all (you have to click on the site, THEN click on the "Click here!" button) and it will make such a difference! All you have to do is click!

*Because you know (and all my co-nerds, I'm talking to you) that you'll spend easily that many clicks on ThinkGeek today alone.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Tale of Three Butts

Dog Butt
LT Butt
More LT Butt, because this is MY blog!
My Butt

It looks like the sun is finally out here in Seattle, for at least a short time, and I am working from home, which gives me the chance to get a few things done around the house...and by "a few things" I mean "maybe put away stuff that's been sitting out since I moved three months ago."

Surely a trip to Target is in order?

You just want to go buy more stuff for the house, when CLEARLY I need more toys instead!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I got Helter Washed and a Very Nice Cop Told Me I Was Gorgeous

Comparatively, the rest of the day has been slow.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Not Really Alike

LT: "So, whatcha doing?"
Me: "Cooking my tofu scramble, finally!"
LT: "Good! 'Cause I'm sick of you blogging about it!"
Me: *Bursts out laughing*
LT: (Breathing a sigh of relief) "You know, I'm really glad you took that joke the right way." (Pause.) "In fact, I'm really glad you take ALL my jokes the right way!"
Me: "I don't think a lot of other girls would."
LT: "They sure wouldn't."

He politely didn't mention that most OTHER boys would require me to brush my teeth AND shower on a regular basis. Hello! I only have time for one or the other! The internet isn't going to surf itself!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I Have Found the Most Wonderful Site Ever, Plus Other Internet Beauties

Please see below:


It's me with Titan, in case that wasn't clear.

I made it at DesignHer Gals, which I found from a wonderful site called Seattle Picks, which I found from ANOTHER wonderful and pretty famous site, which I have been reading on and off for years.

Also, I have recently bought a makeup sample (a whopping $3.25) from Everyday Minerals, which I discovered on THIS amazing site, and all I can say is, I have to make more money.

Thank you and have a nice day.