Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Road from Obesity

After two days of bing eating, Christmas Eve & Christmas, I'm happy to report that the scale thinks I only gained 1.5 lbs. I'm still in the not-yet-obese range. Whereas, the main Obese indicator is the % of body fat - which somehow has dropped 3% in the last few days. I'm safely under 30% now. I am happy about that, but my pants still don't fit right.

Each day, I repeat the positive affirmation, "I am losing weight." I'm reading, "The Power of Positive Thinking" which is all about self-talk, positive thinking and using visions to make your dreams come true. The book has a bit more bible than I would like in it, however it did come with this bit:
The way to happiness is simple: Free your heart from hate; your mind from worry. Fill your life with love. Sprinkle sunshine about. Live Simply. Forget self, think of others. Do onto others as you would be done to.
Oh - I can't remember it right. But you get the idea. Very good stuff.

And so I'm thinking about how I'm losing weight. How my pants are getting looser. How that piece of pie I just noshed is going to pass through me without leaving any trace.

I'm also thinking that the pooch will be a help in getting me fit. She needs two 30 minute walks a day and then a short outing in the early afternoon. That's an hour of walking - and I need to do my exercise on top of that. Unfortunately, the first of the two walks is at 5:30 am, before I get started on work for the day. This California Wuss is not big on the dark & 40 degree weather I'm finding out there at that time of day. I'm looking forward to the longer days.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dog Day

Last night we made the journey. I was sweating bullets the entire time. All 95 miles up to Sacrament to get the pooch. Now there is a little funniness about the dog. The breeder named her Jenny. Which might be fine, if her new owner wasn't named Jennifer.

We've decided to name her Tsunami instead.
Puppy check - she is panting & shivering on my lap as I write this.

I tried to take photos this morning. Not much luck. As you can see, the photo on the left is mainly of my hand.

She was never trained on a leash, but so far is doing well. The harness is working fine, no fussing from here there.

The walking is more troublesome. It is a bit noisy here, with the bay bridge and I think she is terrified when we take to the street.

Here's a head shot of her. I think we're going to get her whiskers trimmed today.

Last night, we got back to San Francisco, after about 3.5 hours of non-stop driving. We put the leash on her and put her on the street. Greg takes her and we walk her to a small patch of green. She does well and we head back towards the car.

At which point she stops. She seems to want to go onto the Embarcadero instead of heading back up Spear. Which is fine, until Greg drops the leash. His reaction is quick - he stomps on the leash, but then it breaks. Less than 10 minutes into the leash's maiden voyage, it is broken by a 7.5 lb dog. But she runs out onto the Embarcadero. Greg chases her in his couture suit. I'm almost frozen with fear.

Waving his arms, he gets the on coming traffic to stop, or at least slow down. The wee-one scurries onto the divider. Out of the way of traffic, but we're in trouble if the muni comes down the line. Finally Greg coaxes her to him. I run over, pick up my little baby and hold her all the way back to the car. So much terror and in the end, everyone was safe.

Here's my last attempt for a pre-coffee photo. Note how I get neither her nor me completely in the image.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Tree

In order to properly host my family for Christmas, Greg and I decided that we needed a tree. Since the loft has high ceilings, we were looking for something tall & skinny. Greg wanted the flocked, aka coated with white stuff tree. I think that he has great ideas and I'd go along with it. His vision included a white tree with all red lights. Sure, I have little experience with trees and decor.

So we took a stroll to the Delancey Tree Farm right across the Embarcadero from the Delancey Street Restaurant. They had large signs stating that their trees were environmentally grown and sustainable. Buying a tree from a group that supports people getting & staying sober evened out my guilt from purchasing a tree cut in the prime of its existence.

Once we took a look around, it was clear. There was only one choice. A 7 ft., flocked, noble fir. Now, having never purchased a tree. I had a bit of sticker shock. Neither Greg nor I have had a tree since leaving our parent's home, which made this super special.

To get it home was easy, he took the back and I took the top and we walked the 2 blocks back to our nest. Next we re-arranged a bit of furniture to set it in its location. This process was a blessing, as we found a new home for the side-board where it looks 1000 times better. The tree was now ready for lights. But we had none.

Off to Target. Now, I refuse to shop at WallMart, as I feel that they deliberately short change their employees, using our nation's safe net & medicare system to bolster their bottom line. Now, I'm not sure where Target falls in terms of corporate responsibility... but I do shop there.

We went through the insanity with our over-sized card. We found many household supplies, detergent, razors, a table cloth for Christmas Dinner. Then we found the Holiday section. The density of cart/person density was twice that of the rest of the store. After some jolly pushing, shoving and running over small children with our cart, we procured 10 boxes each containing a 100 little red Christmas lights. At $2 a box, it seemed like a bargain.

Once home, we poured ourselves a cocktail and got to work. I started at the bottom and Greg started at the top. We wrapped and wound 7 of the 10 strands of lights. I gave out before Greg did. He, heroically, started on the 8th, but I coaxed him away from the tree - I just didn't see any space for more lights. It glows. It twinkles. It has no ornaments.

We then placed the few gifts we have underneath. They look puny and inadequate. But the tree looks great.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Puppy Dreams

Greg's getting me a dog for Christmas. I figured it out by shaking the box. It squealed and then a yellow fluid leaked out.

Kidding, he'd never box-up and wrap a dog. That would be mean.

She's 2 years old - we decided that we weren't ready for a puppy. We've got to ease into the whole caring for another creature thing. This morning we bought a wicker crate - attractive and cozy for the wee-one. This may negatively impact my travel plans - I suspect she's worth it. And if I can have my way, she may end up going on some rides with us. Or maybe, not - that trip to the Korean country side might not be the right adventure for her.

We head up to Sacramento to get her Thursday night. She's a mini-wienie dog. Long, blonde hair and only 7.5 lbs. So very small. We got to meet her last weekend. That went well. She didn't bark at all. She was mellow when held and lively when on the ground.

I've already finished The Animal Planet's book on Dachshunds. I'm now reading a book on house training, as I want to be sure we all develop good habits. Next is a book on training canines. Right now, I'm thinking of it all as a fun project - training the pooch.

This is so neat. I'm really excited to welcome her. At the same time, there are so many life-style changes. The good thing is that I can take her to work and keep her with me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cooking the Christmas Goose

So the Goose turned out well. We are still eating it, which is good. The meat was buttery and yummy and the gravy was the perfect compliment. The stuffing needed a little more salt. I highly recommend trying it.

I will be cooking this for my family at Christmas. There is some concern that the family may find it odd, so we're thinking of a 2nd meat to serve in case not everyone is good with the bird. I think that's it for now.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Duck, Duck Goose

So I was going back and forth with my friend in England. We've been friends since high school and now she lives in Bristol. To my sadness, she won't be coming to stay with her parents for Christmas, as is often the case. Her parents still live in California -lucky for me, as they fly her home and I get to see her.

Even better, is when her parents have me for a meal. Her mother is an excellent cook and I love her invitations. She was so surprised that a California Girl liked her British fare, she gave me one of the fantastic cookbooks she made up for her brood of daughters. The cover declares, "There Isn't Anything Else, A Cook's Book". To my shame, I've only tried 1 or 2 things out of it.

This year both my friend and I will be cooking the Christmas meal. For the first time, my family is going to come over to my house for the holiday. Likewise, this is my friend's first time not going to someone else's house. We're both over 30, so I'm thinking it is time to be adults. We were discussing menu and my friend tells me about how her mother would always cook a goose and how wonderful that was. She was thinking of cooking a goose. Fascinating! I've never had goose. I wanted to cook goose after she mentioned it. I'm unsure if it is out of my competitive nature or just the idea was fantastic in itself.

So, while getting some meat to roast for dinner at Mollie Stone's, I asked the butcher if they have goose and, yes, they do. Very surprising. I thought about it and then decided to get one. I went in on Monday and asked more details, it turns out that they have 2 cases of Goose in the freezer and could they move one from the freezer to the fridge for me on Wednesday? I agreed, and flew off to Washington the next day knowing that I'd have a semi-thawed goose waiting for me to pick-up on Friday.

And today I'm cooking it. The recipe is from The Cook's Book. I had a time searching Mollie Stone's for the stuffing requirements - chestnuts, dried apricots and such. My American Super-sizing instincts took over and I realized that the recipe is a traditional British. I realized that 2 British onions might be equivalent to 1 California Large Onion - but only after I chopped them up and saw the volume. I looked at the rice, the soaked apricots (the 8 oz seemed to have morphed to 24 oz) and the onions and just knew I over did it. There was about a cup left over after I packed the goose tight. The stuffing looked and smelled fantastic, a mixure of diced, cooked onion, apricots, chestnuts & wild rice. I was supposed to have brown rice, but I had wild rice in the cupboard and thought it would add some very American flavor to this British tradition.

If it is good, I'll be cooking it for Christmas. I've got 50 minutes of baking left and then 30 minutes of resting. It looks and smells great. I'm quite excited. Greg is fussy - we've got too long until we can eat it.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My Obesity

Greg and I are about to embark on a new exercise program. As part of this, we go ourselves a fancy-pants scale. This scale has 4 memory slots and reads your weight, body fat, muscle percentage & provides you with a number for visceral fat & body mass index (BMI).

Greg first tried it. And was not happy with his results. The scale worked fine, the readings were the problem.

I got on and found that I am about 10lbs heavier than when I last checked - I could kinda tell, as many things have been tighter this last month. Not ideal, but not an issue. It was surprising to see that I am 20lbs above where I was two year ago - I'm still wearing the same clothes.

More than that, the body fat reading freaked me out. I am about 30.5% or 31.1% (last night vs. this morning) body fat. That seemed really high. It was 26% the last time I checked.

That said, someone thought his results put him into the obese realm. He's far from it... as I thought I was. But to calm someone's nerves I looked up the medical definition of obese online. There are 3 main criteria. First, a BMI of over 30. Whew - I'm lower than that one. Next, 30 lbs over one's healthy weight. Well, I'm only about 15 above a healthy weight for my height, and 20lbs from where I'd like to be. Finally, a body fat percentage of less than 30% in women. Uh-oh. I'm above 30%. I could be clinically called obese. Wow.

I keep hearing in the back of my head, "I'm obese, I'm obese, I'm obese."
But I'm fit. I did 45 minutes of cardio 3 days this week so far.
I don't need 2 seats on the airplane.
I wear a size 10.

The bright side - I've now got some serious motivation to adjust my diet and exercise to get back down to my ideal, I'm-getting-a-divorce-and-am-an-emotional-wreak weight. Let's hope I can drop the spare 20lbs with happy, healthy diet & exercise.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Winter Wonderland

My co-worker tells me, "Hey Jen, it's cold here. Be sure to bring warm clothes." And I think that I do. I saw that the temperatures in Washington were about 10 degrees colder than San Francisco, so I bring my warmer black jacket. I don't bring my mid-calf length coat, thinking that if I did, I'd look like a wussy Californian. I also skipped the sandals, skirts and brought nylons to layer under pants. Smart girl here....

But I didn't realize he meant, it-isn't-going-to-get-above-freezing-during-your-stay cold. So I'm now the proud owner of a lovely black down Burberry jacket. But the zipper isn't working and I've gotten stuck in my coat. I'm thinking that a jacket that cost what this one did should say, "OH! don't you look smart today!" each time I zip or unzip it. But instead is sticks and often tries to zip the fabric. It may not be my jacket for long.

I haven't seen snow for years. It started coming down as little specs. During my morning meeting I was up on the 5th floor of a high rise. At times the snow would be falling down and then it would shift directions and flow up past the window.

The streets slowly accumulated white and the taxi's tires would spin occasionally on my drive to dinner. Out the window as we drove to Arlington were the dark stencil of leafless tress against a white cloud background. It was like all the images of Christmas were coming to life. The stores and houses decorated with balls and lights all topped with snow frosting.

So pretty. I feel luck to be here. Like they knew I was coming and planned the Holiday Show for me.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Early Christmas Gifts

Greg and I are letting Christmas come early this year. According the the chocolate advent day calendar my mother gave me last week, we have 3 weeks to go, but Santa dropped of Greg's gift Saturday night - well he came along to Best Buy & Circuit City, then took us on a quick side trip to BevMo.

Ms Santa, I should say, treated the man to a PlayStation 3. I have been asking myself, "what have I done - followed by out, out damn spot!". Bethatasitmay, I love him and want to spend time with him, yet I'm giving him a gift that may prevent quality time. Sony's plan worked - I was OK with getting him the toy because it also plays blu-ray DVD's. I would like to be able to watch HD movies on our projector system. Score one for Sony and their "honey we can play blu-ray DVD's on my new toy" playstation.

Sony did strike out on the receiver/tuner - whatever you call the piece of equipment that is the hub for all the other equipment. Ours does do HDMI input & output - which is great. Except it doesn't do HDMI audio & video - only video. This was discovered at about 10:30 pm Saturday night, post 3 drinks... we had visuals, no audio and a frustrated, tipsy boyfriend. After a quick check to the online manual, I found that to get the sound from the playstation, we need a optical digital audio cable.

Let me repeat that - optical digital audio cable. How much more scambled can a cable be? Optical & Audio, but it only caries audio - however the audio is in a optical format. I'm picturing subtitles and sheet music images floating down the pipe. But no, it is just a fiber optic cable. We ordered one, should be here tomorrow. I'll be in Washington, DC - good luck Greg, I hope we can wow Sal & Erika Friday night with some post dinner blu-ray.

But back to the story... 4 drinks to the wind and we're moving the playstation upstairs to the TV in the bedroom - it uses the full capacity of the HDMI and instantly worked. Good thing, as Greg was itching to start his engine. Well, start it virually... I tried to follow, but quickly passed out on the bed. Only to be occasionally awoken by gleeful squeals. I lie. What woke me up was him switching to a kill-kill game and I think the grenade was the culprit.

Much fun - now I think we'll be getting a dog in 3 weeks, this bitch will have her day.