188 - Ogres are like onions... hard on the digestion...

If Daphne were just a little bit bigger, she'd make an excellent pillow... but I'm afraid to crush her with my head, so I will have to suck it up and use a real pillow.

"An evil spirit returns from the dead... and innocent victims... face his revenge..." Have you ever heard anything so asinine? Innocent victims cannot 'face revenge', because revenge means these people would have had to have done something to warrant the actions taken against them, and then they wouldn't be innocent victims, they'd just be victims... They can face his wrath, his misplaced anger, his malevolence... but not his revenge. Who writes this crap? Oh yeah... SyFy...

While still not up to par, I am much improved today... as I said on my Facebook page... "Eh is better than bleh." Still mostly feel alright until I eat, and then it's me with my fingers crossed, hoping for the best. Today we went to the world's best barbecue restaurant... and I had a baked potato... not a barbecue baked potato... just a baked potato. It was almost painful to go there, smell it... almost taste it... but not be able to eat it. But I figured a potato would be easier on the digestive system than a potato with a ginormous scoop of greasy shredded pork on top of it... because to be honest, even when I'm not in gastrointestinal distress, it sometimes upsets my tum-tum. Normally I'd be all 'stomach upset be damned!' but I'm trying to be realistic here... I'm tired of feeling poorly... I want a good day...

We watched Julie & Julia this afternoon. It was really good. I'm a foodie, so I figured I would like it. Meryl Streep did an amaaaaaaaaaazing job... if I hadn't known it was her I would have thought it was Julia herself. Anyway, it made me hungry for Bouf Bourguignon, or as I like to call it (in a Mississippi drawl...) Beef Bur-gun-yun. I love to cook, and a dish like that is high payoff... not much prep... lots of flavor... I don't know why I don't cook more often... guess I just get hungry as soon as I get home and want the most expedient thing. That, and I would have a ton of leftovers.

I keep forgetting to mention the garbage men... When I woke up Friday it was raining sooooooooooo hard... it was like my house had been shrunk down so that it would fit under the faucet of the bathtub, and then the water was turned on full blast. And as I was talking to my boss on the phone, there was a crack of thunder so loud it had to have been directly above me...

But the garbage truck never stopped moving... those stupid *ahem* intrepid garbage men soldiered on.

I still don't like them. But I respect them -- they will do anything to get to my house before I put the garbage out, even weather a storm. A worthy adversary. Well played garbage men... well played.

So my parent's neighbor went to the emergency room this morning, suffering from symptoms very similar to the ones we had. Have to admit, a little part of me perked up to hear that BECAUSE they might tell him what he had and then we'd know what we had -- NOT because I want him to be sick or visit the ER. Long story short... he failed us... he has kidney stones. So we still don't have a name for it. Well... I do... I'm sticking with "The Jillian."

Speaking of Jillian, went back to level 2 tonight. What is this? Day 12? Or do I have to start over now? There were some modifications, but I made it all the way through (does it count as cheating if I skipped the stretches at the end?).

Also realized something... I said it before in a slightly different way, but the dots didn't connect. People tell me I analyze everything... that I think too much... I've already discussed how a billion thoughts explode in my head at the same time, but saying each one of them out loud to someone makes it seem as if I spent hours stewing over something... But what I am realizing is that the reason I think of all these different scenarios in the first place is because... I'm a writer... all I'm doing is coming up with my own choose your own adventure novel when I create these scenarios (I really liked those books...). When I am presented with a problem, it's like I'm standing in the middle of a junction of infinite possibilities... I finally realized it when I told my dad that when the shit hits the fan, I might set up camp in a graveyard... sometimes there's shelter (crypts), they're often near water, the older ones generally have trees, and not a lot of people will be thinking about a graveyard (well... maybe 51 other people will now), so it probably won't be ravaged and it might even be safe. Dad furrowed his brow and said not to get too concerned about it. I told him I'm not, but all these things I'm reading and learning have got me thinking about what I would do if I were faced with it, and that has got a story playing itself out in my head. That's when I really realized why I'm so analytical... as a writer, I have to be. If I weren't, there would be no story.

Oh, and P.S. the house next door finally sold.

P.P.S. Ian, it's 42F now. That's what is so irritating... all these 20-30 degree shifts play havoc with the immune system (and I never know what to wear). I know... cry me a river...


187 - Too lazy for a title

Last night I laid on the couch like a miserable beached whale, bloated past the point of comfort (seriously -- can a body explode?), and watched television because it didn't require me to move. Lying on my belly made me feel better, it seemed to stop the gurgling, or at least slow it down. I think the problem is that having ravaged my gut with the stomach flu, there is no longer any bacteria left... good or bad... so, not to put too fine a point on it, eating is a necessity that I quickly come to regret every time I do it, because the aftermath is very uncomfortable, and if I had a significant other, I would feel sorry for them and probably ask them to relocate for a day or two. And the cheese pizza was a very bad idea. But I am eating yogurt with the aim of rectifying that situation. Other than that, I'm much improved. Yesterday I cleaned the vomitorium (bathroom), did two loads of laundry and ran the dishwasher. Figured it's best to get rid of the germies and start anew. Made me feel better anyway, metaphorically speaking.

I had a sneaking suspicion... the cats didn't stop shitting while I was sick. So today I had to clean the kitty litter, because the house was beginning to smell. I really wish Daphne was smart enough to use the cat door so she could poop in the garage with Gracie... I love her... but I don't think she's very bright... Anyway, so much of my life this week has revolved around poop, why not one more day? As an aside, is it sad that I was excited with I finally had a solid poo? No? Alrighty, just me then. As an added bonus, Daphne, ever sympathetic to my plight, vomited yesterday... on the floor... in front of me... where I could see and hear it... and she never, ever misses a grout line. Nothing helps a fragile digestive system more than cleaning up warm cat puke... Good times.

I need to start back on Jillian. I may try level 2 tonight and see how far I get. I'm not going to push it. I may do one circuit, I may do two... hell, I might surprise myself and do all three. But don't bet on it.

So, to get back to my original point... as I lay there on the couch, I found myself in a zombie-like trance, fixated on a program called Operation Repo. It's about an extremely overweight repo team (and one huge body builder), and their adventures in repo...ing. As one would presume, repo people aren't very popular, and their activities are not very well tolerated (and that's putting it mildly). I find myself torn, I see them as I see tow truck drivers... people making a living off of the despair of others, necessary, but not necessarily noble... a lot of people are hurting these days, and the majority of those people are good, honest people who have fallen on hard times but would otherwise never, ever miss a payment... however... not everyone is good and honest, and some of these people do deserve to have their vehicles repo'd. Nothing is black and white in my world... everything is grey, grey, grey... maybe it's why I like rainy days. So Tru TV was apparently having a O.R. marathon last night, and I couldn't stop watching... it was so entertaining... but no repo... not one... came close to topping this very special repo of a Delorean. They're among us, people... they're among us...

Then I watched Dan in Real Life. I DVR'd it a long, long time ago... because I could... but every time I scrolled through my list I passed it by. I didn't remember good reviews, and (please put the tomatoes down) Steve Carrell isn't a big draw for me... I didn't find The 40-Year Old Virgin all that amusing and I don't watch The Office... But I was in the mood to try something different, and of all my reserves, it was the most appealing. I actually enjoyed it. It certainly wasn't a light-hearted romp, but it wasn't all dark and dreary. So there's that, for what it's worth.

Also, I'm excited, because on Wednesday, Bear (Man vs. Wild) is doing an urban survival episode. I started to realize that I've learned a lot about survival here lately, at least in theory... but I'm missing a pretty important piece of the puzzle... how to live after I survive. Eventually people have to settle down somewhere, resume their lives, and rebuild... most of us don't know how. 'Simple' things like planting crops, preserving foods, building houses... things a generation as recent as our grandparents would probably take for granted. And this part will be interesting... we have to learn how to interact again... there won't be any texting or blogging... we'll have to conduct conversations face to face... my oh my... Sorry to get back on the Apocalyptic kick, I watched After the Apocalypse this morning and it was very, very interesting. It tracks a fictional family through the initial pandemic and then through the ensuing weeks, showing likely scenarios they would endure. Sadly, the father endures the pandemic, evades looters, gets out of L.A., makes it through the desert, gets out of a sticky situation with a gang and finally gets his family to a new settlement... only to die of an infection from a small cut on his finger... so much for happy endings...

So tonight I'll settle in for more tv... then I'll take a bath and delve back into Circus of the Damned, book 3 in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K Hamilton... then back to the tv... and hopefully no beached whale tonight... If I can't wake up feeling better tomorrow I'd rather just spontaneously combust in my sleep... this is getting old.

Somewhere out there is a sitcom with Billy Zane in it... things are definitely on an upswing...


186 - A series of random thoughts...

As a kid I used to imagine living in an upside down house. I don't know what fascinated me about it, but I would lie on the floor, looking up at the ceiling and imagine life turned upside down. The ceiling fan would become a sit-n-spin, the doorframes were seating, the lights like little fire pits to sit around and warm yourself. It was a source of endless fascination for me.

Yesterday's television programming seemed to be all about how the Earth was formed (first part of the day), and how the Earth will end (latter part of the day), primarily the deterioration of the polar ice caps. It's interesting to hear scientists admit that this global warming thing is actually part of a natural cycle... so while I will admit that we are abusing the Earth, it's not solely our deeds that are causing these calamities, but a natural, though undesirable, series of events. All that, to say this: Why does the stereotype have to be true??? About 3/4 of the scientists they profiled were shaggy-bearded, bohemian-looking geek men (this isn't from the show, but it's one of the scientists they profiled)! It is truly astounding! (does that make me shallow?)

I know it goes against all rational thought, but I figured that as miserably bloated as I was (like a mylar balloon about to bust at the seams), maybe a little exercise might relieve some of that pressure. So I did the first circuit of level one. I didn't push it any further than that. I'm not sure it helped. Not sure it hurt anything either. Then I ordered a cheese and mushroom pizza, with extra cheese and extra shrooms. It was yummy, but I'm not sure it was smart. I've never heard so much gurgling. I think I need to eat yogurt to restore my balance or something... right now nothing makes my tummy happy. Nuh-thing. Sure tasted good though.

If I feel up to it this weekend I'm going to start my garden. I bought a bunch of seeds and am excited to start growing my own fresh veggies. I didn't do it last year, but I did the year before. I didn't take it too seriously, just threw stuff into the ground and watched what happened. Literally. I can't remember what all I tossed into the ground that year. I was just having fun with it. This year I want to see if I can grow enough lettuce that I don't have to buy any at the store. I know that in the grand scheme of things, $1.79 a head isn't much, but this way I know it wasn't doused in pesticides, and if I run out, I can just head out back and pick more. It will always be fresh. I also bought peas and spinach and beets and tomatoes and peppers... hell, I don't remember everything I bought... I went a little crazy...

Was watching Man vs. Wild last night, and found myself thinking -- 'no way in hell...' It wasn't because he was eating something nasty, it wasn't because he slept in a bivouac hanging from a tree so a jaguar wouldn't get at him... nope, it was the cave he went into. Going into a dark cave, crawling around in tight spaces, not knowing if you're heading for a way out or wedging yourself into a spot that you can't get out of. It's my version of a nightmare. I can't imagine people who enjoy it. I once watched a show where these two divers were following a city water route to see what all fed into it, and they were going through these incredibly narrow passages where sometimes they had to remove a backpack or push and pull each other through. It made me incredibly nervous. Maybe I'm just claustrophobic... it's the same reason I don't think I'd do well on a submarine or a space shuttle... I need to know I'll be able to breathe... in that cave there was water... and I don't have gills... It got really scary after the torch went out, if they hadn't had night vision on the camera they wouldn't have been able to see a thing... that's bad... and he didn't freak out... at least not visibly. Bear is a machine!


185 - The Light at the end of the Tunnel

Day 3. I feel better. Thank you for all of your well wishes, they must have helped.  =)

And before I forget, though I'm pretty sure 90% of you already follow Ian (and therefore you already know), Ian has posted an interview with moi on his site The Daily Dose of Reality. So if you don't feel like you know me well enough, head on over and see if I can further break down that TMI barrier! ;)

Speaking of... I was in and out of the bathroom all night last night, whether as a result of the State of the Union address or my illness is a matter of debate, but I'm finally past the worst of it, and I think my fever has also abated. Sometimes my fevers come back at night, but for now I think I'm out of the woods. I'm at home again today, because after everything my body has gone through in the last couple of days, I'm pretty worn out, and I don't want to pass this on to anyone else (well, maybe one or two people... spiteful? me? nah.).

It sucks that all of my sick time for the year has been used up and I didn't even make it past January. If we got two weeks' sick time like we used to this wouldn't be a problem... but get sick once or twice and you're done. I know, I know... grateful to have a job... but when you had something and it was taken away it still sucks...

So I finally ate solid food this morning -- peaches and cream oatmeal. Well, actually, last night I ordered some wonton soup, which is semi-solid. It was by far the most disgusting wonton I've ever had... usually wonton is either good or it's just bland, it's never really nasty... this was nasty... They put egg in the wrapper with the pork. Who does that? I'm not Chinese, but in all my years as an eater of Chinese cuisine, I've never had egg in wonton soup. Have I mentioned I don't like eggs? It was a rather nasty surprise. And the broth wasn't tasty, it was like salty water with cilantro... yes, cilantro... what kind of fucked up recipe is that? Wonton isn't Thai food. It just doesn't work. Suffice it to say, I tried a new restaurant, and I won't be ordering from said restaurant again.

I've lost a little over 3 lbs. I assume I'll gain it back when I start to eat again. But maybe not. Is it sad that I'm even a little happy about the prospect of losing weight? But fucking hell -- shouldn't I get something out of this???

Things I've learned from staying home for three days:
  • The neighbors dogs are annoyingly yappy
  • The squirrel who lives in my neighbor's tree runs across the top of the fence all damn day long. Since I've been typing this one sentence, he's done it twice... and there he goes again...
  • There's an awful lot of utility work going on in the 'hood
  • A lot of more of my neighbors are home during the day than I realized...
  • When the commercials are more amusing than the actual shows, there is nothing good on tv (still... I love the Charlie Daniels Geico commercial)
  • Daphne is co-dependent... wherever I go, she goes... I love my cat, but I want a moment alone... Gracie understands that... Daphne doesn't...
So, probably gonna take another nap, then eat something, then nap again, then eat something, then nap again. A girl could get used to this...


184 - Ick, continued

Feel slightly better today, at least from the aspect of not being hunkered over the toilet barfing up a lung. But I'm weak. I'm sleeping a lot. My brain feels hot and when I'm lying in bed, my legs want to crawl. I don't know if that makes sense... Have to admit that nothing does right now...

I've been watching DVR'd shows all day, though watching is a strong word since I can't concentrate on much. I feel like I'm in a fog... I don't know whether it's the illness or the fact that I've only had an apple, five Ritz crackers, two Sprites and a container of strawberry jello. I'm starving, but nothing sounds good except things that are cool and/or sweet.

Anyhoo, short post, sorry, but I don't have much to say... except ARGH! I HATE BEING SICK LIKE THIS!


183 - Four on the floor (a gross out story)

That would be two hands and two knees... with my head hovering over the toilet... puking my guts out... and then hastily winding that up so I can puke out the other end...

There is something really nasty going around.

Basically around 3:30 am I woke up and didn't feel right. I went back to sleep but kept waking up. 5:30 is when I called my boss to tell him I didn't think I was coming to work. After that is when the fun really began. Up and down every 10-15 minutes (if that long). I'm not sure how I haven't shriveled up from dehydration, because if my body is 70% water, there was probably only 15% left. But as much as I dislike puking through my ass, if I can, I much prefer to keep it coming from the south, because I hate to vomit. When I puke, it goes on and on. When there's nothing left I just dry heave, and wipe away the tears that are an inevitable part of the process... not from crying, but from the contraction of my stomach and not being able to catch my breath. I was in double jeopardy -- I couldn't take Immodium because I'd just puke it up... I used to have to take a suppository to stop the vomiting (because as a kid I literally couldn't stop), but I didn't have any, and... well, you can see how that would have been a miserable failure... I wanted to die. Again.

At one point I think my throat started bleeding. Then I felt great for a little while until it came back. (Thank God I had the foresight to put the trash out last night or I would have missed the garbagemen... and since I missed them Friday it would have started to get a little rank in my garage)

So normally when I miss a day of work I get a phone call from mom, asking if I need her to bring me anything, if I want to come over and stay with her, etc. I usually turn it down, because I'm not sick enough to warrant it and just want to be alone... or every once in a while it's just a mental day rather than a physical illness... and I just want to be alone. Today I thought, I'm really sick... I'm hungry... and I don't have cream of wheat or jello or soda crackers or anything I've been told to eat when I'm queasy... I'll call mom. Imagine my surprise when mommy was sick, too... same symptoms. So I took a deep breath, made the sign of the cross (even though I'm not Catholic), and waddled toward the kitchen, ever cognizant of the fact that I may have to make a run back toward the toilet.

I remembered that I had grapes, and they called to me. I also had Sprite leftover from a party. It was perfect. Nice and cool and comforting. Tastes alright when it comes back up.

Normally when I'm queasy, sleeping on my tummy is the last thing I want to do, but somehow, this time it was just the trick. I fell asleep for four hours, and when I woke up, I felt better. I'm not pushing it, but I've been able to get out of bed, and eat a couple of crackers. Dad is on his way over with jello and apple sauce... apparently he was also feeling queasy this morning, but he took an Alka Seltzer and it helped him. I don't know what it is that we all contracted, but I've decided I'm calling it either 'the nasty' or 'The Jillian' (because it hits you fast and hard and when it's over, you feel pretty good, all things considered...).

And here's something funny... I have 'the nasty' right? And the Apocalypse has been on my mind lately? I wake up to the emergency broadcast system blaring out of my television screen. Takes me a couple of seconds to realize it was just a test... not an actual pandemic emergency. Until the realization hit me, I was thinking, "I'm about to be taken out by a stomach flu. Shit...that's just great.. I was supposed to be one of the fucking survivors..."

Suffice it to say, I will be skipping tonight's workout. Though I'm tempted to try it, I don't think it's a good idea... I don't want to go through another bout of 'the nasty'. I figure I have lost a couple of pounds anyway, so it all equals itself out... and it's given me a new appreciation for Jillian... losing weight through exercise is sooooooooooooooo much nicer than puking your guts out...


182 - Rammalamma Bang Bang

I just about busted a gut watching this (warning, not suitable for viewing at work). Rolling on the floor with tears streaming from my eyes aside... it doesn't look like the most comfortable or efficient tool for the job. I don't know a single guy who would take an abrasive to that part of their body... and it looks like a hair collector to me.

It's over... and I feel that same sad sense of loss I always do when leaving something good behind. In short, I finished the book. I wrung every drop out of South of Broad, even going so far as to read the acknowledgement pages and the little blurb about the font it was printed in. What can I say? It was all at once the most endearing, disturbing, hilarious, witty, mysterious, unsettling, heart-breaking, heart-warming and intricate story I've ever read. I can't even explain what it's about because within this one amazing book there are at least ten different plot lines going on, but it's all so well done that it doesn't feel complicated. Pat Conroy is magic.

Today I was talking to a friend whose adult children still live at home. This woman is a wonderful person, but she has health problems, and her family just keeps taking advantage of her. Three kids who live at home, and one who has decided to dump her kids there so they can attend a better school. This is another reason I'm always so on the fence about kids... there's no guarantee they're going to grow up to be worth a damn. I don't know what I would do in this situation... it sounds so simple to just say 'throw their asses out', but putting that into practice is far more complicated. What pisses me off is that the constant stress is not good for her health, and they could literally be killing her.

I finally got a picture of the Extreme Makeover house. It's really pretty, and very welcoming, except for the 'no trespassing' sign on the lawn.... Those poor people, I imagine people drive by all day long... No good deed goes unpunished.

As you can see, someone took this from a car window...

Day 11 - I realized I'm a third of the way through my 30 days! I did all of the plank jacks today. I'm doing almost everything except the last set of abs... I still do abs during that time, just not that particular exercise, because my arms are so exhausted that I don't have the strength to hold myself in plank position as I twist my leg under and pull it back. And I'm using light weights for the V-flies because that particular muscle is pretty weak and it's an awkward move. I love that I can feel the progress every day! I don't think I have ever pushed myself this hard, but it is well worth it.


181 - Where does my day go?

Seriously, I want to know. As I'm living it, I feel like I have a pretty full day, but when someone asks, 'what did you do this weekend?' I can't come up with a damn thing. Actually it's not surprising... on any given day when confronted with a question like 'what did you do this weekend?', or 'how's it going?', my mind tends to blank out... I think "interrogation!" and shut down... or maybe it's just the vastness of the question... there are no parameters. 'Did you have a good weekend?' That's a simple question -- yes, it was great, thanks for asking. As for my weekend, my life is just a series of small episodes that end up taking up bits and pieces of time here and there, but there's rarely anything really exciting going on. It's all in how you spin it.
I'm going to fess up... I am developing a crush Bear Grylls... Man vs. Wild is certainly interesting, but I find myself distracted... I'm looking at his face thinking what a perfect face he has. And then he takes his shirt off... He's capivating. *drool* I realize this makes me a silly girl, that's fine -- I am a silly girl. Ah well. It's on the DVR list now. I learned how to get out of a swamp today. =)

Welp, just about to head out and meet the folks for lunch. Indian today. Yummy food, and a free colonic. Speaking of which, I don't think my body likes Truvia. I thought maybe it was the coconut oil capsules, but I didn't take one this morning, and I split a packet of Truvia between my cottage cheese and my almond milk. You shouldn't piss through your ass. That's all I'm saying, sorry for the visual. Maybe I'll try Agave nectar instead. I'm trying to get away from sugar, but there are prices I'm not willing to pay...

Wish I had something better to leave you with... go read another blog to cleanse your palate. I recommend Kato's, it'll take your mind off your troubles.


180 - Pssst... I'M BLOGGER OF THE YEAR!!!

Ian said I should advertise ;)

This was an interesting article. I'm ashamed to admit that I've fallen for some of these financial pitfalls myself... especially the $15 vs. $125 scenario. My brilliant plan to use fake cash to make money feel more tangible isn't having the intended effect; I still find myself buying more than I should. I let myself believe that my spending was tapering off, but clearly it hasn't. I did do better at the grocery store this time around, but I still spend way too much. I'll have to become more disciplined.

Discipline is a nice segue back to the Apocalypse... this will probably be the last time I post about it unless a) you ask for more, or b) I act on my impulse to write a story centered around it... which is what has kept this thing going, because the more I research, the more fascinated I become because I am finding the neatest stuff!

This is interesting reading (and free, so you may as well get your own copy)... It may not seem like something entitled, "Survival, Evasion, and Recovery" would be something we civilians need to know, but in the real world it's actually good information to have. We can easily find ourselves lost in the woods (been there), or maybe having just survived a natural disaster (been there, too). I haven't read it all, just browsed through it, but it's fascinating!

I guess one of the things that makes it so intriguing is that my grandpa's both knew most of this stuff, and I was always in awe of this 'magical' knowledge they had. I think it's worth knowing, I've just never put any effort into learning it because I've been a) lazy, and b) laissez faire. I assume it's taken care of, and it's easier to let other people do it for me. I think I'm immortal and infallible and never assume that I'm in any danger of perishing, so I thought it was silly to take the time. For the past several years I've become more interested in things like learning to garden... I've never had to know these things, but I like the idea of knowing them. After getting lost in the woods I also have a renewed interest in learning to navigate using a compass and/or stars. =)  I feel like we've become far too reliant on the few people who do know how to do these things, we're far too reliant on technology. It could fall apart so quickly. I'm not saying it will, but it can... 9/11 proved it. Katrina proved it. Ike proved it. Haiti proved it. There's value in knowing how to be self sufficient in times of upheaval. I'm just sayin'.

End of Apocalypse talk.

Okay so... the weight and measurement update... here goes...

Last Week                                This Week             Change

Weight - 172                            173.2                     +1.2 lbs

Bust - 39-1/2"                          39-1/2"                  None

Chest - 34-1/2"                        34-1/2"                  None

Waist - 36-1/2"                       35-3/4"                  -3/4"

Hips - 43-1/2"                        43"                         -1/2"

Thighs - 24"                           24-1/2"                   +1/2"

Arms - 14"                            12-1/2" (flexed)       -1-1/2"

So what does this mean?
1) Clearly, the most obvious change is that Kristy's brain has increased in mass by a whopping 1.2 lbs! Woot! I'm getting smarter!
2) My body gains muscle more quickly than it loses fat. I knew I would probably bulk up a little this week and hope to see more fat loss by this time next Saturday, because I've been through this before. So it's not as disheartening as it used to be.
3) As expected, the continuous arm work in the Shred has put my arms way ahead of the game, and I can see that pretty clearly illustrated by the fact that I actually flexed my arm and still lost 1-1/2" of circumference. I need to focus on my legs and make sure I'm doing proper form, I feel it in my calves, but until level 2, I wasn't feeling it much in my thighs and butt (and I probably should have)
I'm also pleased to see that my waist and hips shrank a little. I can see the beginnings of muscle tone on my tummy, and could see a slight change in my silhouette. So, onward ho! Tonight will be day 10... maybe I can do the whole round of plank jacks this time.


179 - I'm so embarassed...

Holy crap, I went to bed with 43 followers and woke up with 46! Wait... that doesn't sound right... I didn't mean... Oh well, the rumor mill will do what it'll do... ;)

On top of that I got two more awards! The first from Chuck Norris (via Ian at Daily Dose of Reality). I like Chuck Norris. I hope he likes me too. Little known fact -- the opening scene of the movie "Saving Private Ryan" is loosely based on games of dodgeball Chuck Norris played in the second grade. Mmm-hmmm. And the second award, the I Love Your Blog award, from Miss Lisa Marie at The Domestication of a Party Girl. I'm on top of the world! Whee! (and hyper -- it's Friday and payday)

On to the blog --->

Fair warning... I fear that you are going to lose a couple of ounces (possibly a full pound) of respect for me, because I am about to reveal to you the following... embarassing, and completely nonsensical reality television shows I am currently addicted to... Why I involve myself in the lives of these shallow, callous, aggravating, aggressive, immature people... well... I will never be able to explain it... even to myself. And yet... I'm sucked in... I actually DVR these shows... I'm going to go hide now...

Now in my defense, I'm usually blogging, doing housework, cooking, or other things as I listen to these shows in the background... but pitiful excuses aside, I'm still watching... so... yeah... here it is in black and white (depending on your monitor settings). This list is in order of their appearance on my DVR's 'To Do' list:

-- Jersey Shore - A group of college aged kids who call themselves Guidos and Guidettes. They are spray tanned to within an inch of their lives. The guys are ripped, in a scary way, like their flesh is so taut that it looks like a garbage bag about to split open. There is so much hairspray and gel on their person that I'm afraid my television screen will get clogged with it. Almost every episode usually ends with someone getting punched. It's frustrating. And after I watch, I realize I'm no fun.

-- Taking the Stage - This show takes place at a high school for the performing arts... and in this school, drama's not just for the drama department. I'm pretty sure some of these kids actually exceed FDA safety guidelines for shallowness and self-absorption. There were two kids last year that actually activated my gag reflexes. And yet... I'm going to watch season 2 because there's a talented musician and I want to see what's happening with her. And I'm a loser.

-- Secrets of Aspen - This is my version of Hell. I truly hope I never run into this crowd. Backstabbing, gossip, valley girl accents... If I were to judge Aspen on the basis of this show... please God let me never find my within a 100 mile radius! I don't have enough silicone in my body, or crystal gel on my nails...  I would surely perish.

-- Hoarders - These poor people... they make my grandmother look like a neat freak. There was a lady last week, who had to go through the garbage before she'd let the crew dump it... think about it -- it's stuff she'd already thrown away once. That's some serious shit! One minute they're pleasant enough, perhaps even a little timid, but the minute someone attempts to throw something away they turn into Rottweilers. I'm surprised no one's been bitten.

-- Teen Mom - Kind of interesting, but as you would expect, immaturity abounds. I can abide most of the couples on the show, but there is one girl who (along with her family) really annoys the crap out of me. I guess I think, no matter your age, once you have a child, you have to grow up to some extent. It's time to stop partying and going goo-goo gaa-gaa over guys while you leave your daughter with your parents yet again, and then get pissed at them for daring to grouse. When even your friends are telling you to stay home with the kid, maybe you should listen.

-- The Bad Girls Club - This is the one I really can't explain to myself. These girls are bat shit crazy. If I was in that house I would either gnaw my arm off to get away, or go find a place to hide until it was all over. There are at least two clinically insane girls in this house. Seriously. Flo is a nutjob. I want to like her, but she's c-r-a-z-y. Natalie make Narcissus look humble. The whole show raises my blood pressure. But I watch. Every Week. Mostly I think I'm waiting for Flo to kill Natalie...

Yesterday was day 8. I advanced to level 2 of the Shred. Suprisingly I liked it. I couldn't do it all without modifications (there are a lot of moves that are based in plank position) but I gave it my best shot, and saw it through to the end. Without vomiting. Or fainting. I'm already feeling it in my arms, so I know tonight is not going to be a cake walk (mmmm... cake...), but I'll live. She incorporated some different arm muscles this time. My arms are getting pretty buff... ask Greg, yesterday I invited him to the gun show... now if my stomach will just flatten and my thighs and butt will shrink... two more days and I measure myself. Fingers crossed.


178 - Award and Sharin' the Lurv

I got an award from the lovely Miss Katherine (Kato) over at Pandorah's Box, so I am both keeping with, and breaking from, tradition when it comes to passing it on.

First the keeping with: Ten Things That Make Kristy Happy (in no particular order)

1) Writing. I may not be writing anything more than blogs at the moment, but I know that someday I'll write again. For now, blogs seem to fill that void. In any case, I am compelled to write in some fashion.

2) Bubble baths. I look forward to the end of the day so I can sink into some warm bubbles, read a good book and relax.

3) Jillian Michaels. Without her dvd and books I'd still be a lump of lard sitting on the couch and getting fatter. I think this time I'm going to make the change and it will last. The food thing makes sense to me now. I like the feeling of exercising... yes it's uncomfortable, but I feel strong, and I like to feel strong.

4) Books. Kinda already covered it, but I love books and they really deserve their own mention. A good book is like a vacation to another world. South of Broad (my current read) is the kind of book I love... I can't count the number of times I've laughed and cried and been touched by something these fictitious people have done. It's a bittersweet experience for me, because I can't wait to read another chapter, but ultimately, if I continue to read... it's going to end...

5) Technology. My laptop, my iPod, my camera, the internet, tv, Tom Tom, my cell phone... they make life a little bit easier and keep me connected even when I'm in a reclusive mood (like now).

6) Trixie. Obviously I love my car. Who cries at the thought of trading their car in? Moi. Trixie is the car version of my soulmate. I still get giddy when I walk into my garage and see her.

7) My piano. I don't play all the time, but when I do I lose track of time. If I'm stressed, it disappears. If I'm happy, it's amplified. I heart the piano.

8) Rain. There's little that makes me feel better than a pleasant rainfall. The sound of water falling on the ground as the wind gently wafts through the trees... Heaven!

9) Travel. Wish I could do more of it, but I have a finite supply of time and money. I love seeing new places, especially places with a lot of history. I like to experience culture, try new food, and explore.

10) Cookbooks. I love to cook. I enjoy trying new recipes, techniques, and in some cases the science behind the recipe. I have more cookbooks than I know what to do with, but I still buy more...

Of course, friends and family go without saying, that's why I didn't put them on the list (and my cats are included in that, because I consider them part of the family).

And the breaking with tradition. I'm going to pass the award along, but I'm also passing it back to the person who gave it to me, because her blog is one of my favorites and I can't not acknowledge that. So in no particular order, because I love them all:

1) Pandorah's Box - I love this girl! Kato always brings enthusiasm to whatever she's talking about, and her comments always make me smile. She's an amazing writer, so good that when you read her blog, you feel as if you're experiencing whatever she's writing about. This recent blog entry made me laugh (and raise my fist at the injustice!), and this one is an excellent example of how she can make a blog experience almost tactile.

2) Sarah, Writer in making - I've been impressed by her blog since day one, and it keeps getting better. I think hers was the first blog I actually followed. We were each other's firsts, lol. This post cracked me up... I will never think of doughnuts the same way again. It's not the only one that will have you laughing though, she's another talented writer who I expect great things from in the future.

3) Bendigo's Rage - Sometimes his blog posts are a slice of life, sometimes they are incredibly poignant, either way, you're in for a great read. And if Bendigo follows your blog, you've got a steadfast friend who will always be there to encourage you. I consider him to be the heart of our little tribe. This is one of my favorites, but it's by no means the only one.

4) Daily Dose of Reality - Ian, Ian, Ian... there's no one who works harder in the blogger universe than Ian. How he ever made it through all those blogs to compile the best blog awards at the end of 2009 just blows my mind... And his recent interview with Lisa Marie blew me away! I can never think of questions to ask people but he had a gazillion of them! Good ones! He's also a great ranter... this is one such rant. I learn things when I read Ian's blog, and that's a good thing.

5) The Shadow of My Life - I'm fairly new to this blog, but it's rapidly become one of my favorites. Joe writes slice of life blogs that are both compelling and entertaining, and most of all, they are funny! This blog entry, in particular, cracked me up, and it's just one fine example of Joe's blog. Read it, you won't be sorry.

6) The Domestication of a Party Girl - Lisa Marie has such a varied blog. One day it might something light and whimsical, the next day, serious and thought-provoking. On any day, it's a good read. And she's a sweetheart. This blog entry really made me think.

7) Lisa and Laura Write - These women crack me up. How they manage to come up with blog after blog of great stuff is beyond me. And they have a book coming out (2011!). And they're incredibly nice. This is a great one.

8) A Writer of Wrongs - I recently started following this blog. Terry has finished writing a novel (that sounds amazing) and is going through the harrowing query process. As someone who has participated in this, it's interesting for me to read other people's perspectives on it. It's a great blog and I'm enjoying it. So check it out. This is the blog he posted after he received his first (impersonal) form rejection. But it's not all about writing, so if you're not a writer, don't let it scare you away.

9) Flora Isadora: Camera Obscura - I love photography. I take photos, and on occassion I'll take a 'wow' photo, the kind people comment on or want a copy of. Flora takes those pictures all the time. She can make something as simple as a gravestone look amazing. There's not a lot of writing, it's more of a pictoral, but I enjoy browsing, and I stow away ideas for my own photos in the future. This one is one of my favorites, but I'm blown away by them all.

10) The Non-Review - TS writes some fun stuff. So far I've read about movies I never knew existed, drinks I want to try but aren't available in the US (tease), etc. The most original part of his blog though, is the By the Numbers review, where he tallies the performance of all the films an actor/actress has been in, to scientifically prove whether or not he/she is a good actor/actress. It's very interesting to see how it plays out, and to see whether or not I agree.

So that about wraps it up. Some VERY honorable mentions Secret Office Confessions (like a serial soap opera, but hilarious instead of silly), Mass Hole Mommy (varied content, often humorous), B.R. Paulson (a writer's blog), Redhead Ranting (one of the best ranters out there), Nanny Goat in Panties (hilarious, sometimes about goats but not always... doesn't matter because it's always fun), and Nameless Babble (sometimes slice of life, sometimes very insightful observations). All the blogs on my side bar are blogs I enjoy reading, but for now, these are the ones I try to read regularly. Hopefully you'll scan through them and find something you like!

Phew! Awards are a lot of work! Now to notify the winners...


177 - The Apocalypse Continues...

Day 7. Used the weights for about 80% of the workout. My left knee was bothering me today, so I put that nylon brace on it and perservered. Endurance is DEFINITELY improving.

So I forgot to mention that one of the reasons the Apocalypse was so on my mind yesterday was the dream I had the night before. The end had come, now it was survival of the fittest (and like you TS, I figure I'll be one of the schmucks who makes it off pure dumb luck or the superb work ethic of my guardian angel). Apparently I had prepared ahead of time, but I was about to leave the house to go forage for supplies. I was clean, and one of the people in my dreams stopped me before I left and said that I smelled good, and I shouldn't smell good... smelling good could be dangerous -- people might notice, because they probably smelled bad. If I smelled good, it would alert them to the fact that I had been prepared, and had supplies, and they might jump me or follow me back to the house. Then I realized I should probably do my best to also make myself appear as masculine as possible so I didn't put myself at potential risk of a sexual assault. So that's what got me thinking about all the things I hadn't been thinking about previously. Things that could get you killed.

Guess what was on tv last night? Apocalypse Man. This guy (Rudy Reyes) had it set up as if Armageddon had come, and he gives tips to survive... sort of. Of course he never encounters anyone (even though he constantly tells you the only person you can trust is yourself, beware of other people), he is way more physically fit than most people are, and has enough communications knowledge to build a transmitter in the hopes of contacting other people... I think he as a Marine... so he's not your average Joe. Aside from that, there were some interesting tidbits. If you have steel wool and a battery, you can make a fire. Apparently when you frazzle the steel wool, contact with a battery is enough to heat the wool enough to catch it on fire. He took a bicycle pump and a garden hose and was able to siphon some gas at an abandoned station. He got a map of the sewer system from the library and used it to travel into the city so he could conceal himself... not too sure about that strategy... rats, snakes, cockroaches and alligators come to mind... not to mention sewage... (okay... I admit, cockroaches are the lesser threat in this scenario, but they still gross me out).

Instead of responding to the plethora of yesterday's comments on yesterday's blog I decided to answer them here, since I was continuing the Apocalypse theme:

TS said... Me to the apocalypse, "bring it." What's really funny is I've already been prepping material for next week on my blog. The theme next week? The end of the world. Course I always felt that when the end come I'd be one of the poor suckers who survives. *sigh* Rebuilding just sounds like work.

Kristy responds... I don't know about the "bring it" part, but I'm not going to take it lying down. I always wonder if I have it in me to survive, but I'm pretty sure I do if it comes to that. Rebuilding sounds good to me, as long as I find people who don't want to kill me to take what I have... the hardest part of this scenario, to me, would be trusting people.

Bendigo said... The Stand....my all time favorite....Movie and book...just remember rifle and handgun and might wanna learn to load your own :) also remember charcoal can be crushed and put into a towel or perforated bag and it will filter your water if you don't have fire..(marine corps taught me a few things.) Yeah the whole Mad Max scenario has come into my mind more than once. I don't sweat the whole global warming (oops climate change) thing too much, but I do wonder about a breakdown in society sometimes (I"m crazy too I guess). Oh yeah back to The Stand...I would be a scout (which means I would die for a noble cause..right? right?) Good to see the exercise is making a difference for you..Keep it going!!!!

Kristy responds... Nice tip on the charcoal! Hopefully you wouldn't have to die... My dad used to make bullets, I don't know how to do that... I can load and shoot a gun, but I think in this scenario I'd want a different gun than the one I have... something with more more potent... I think a .38 would just piss someone off... But... maybe I could shoot a squirrel or something.
Kate said... Haven't read or seen the Stand although I really want to now. Kind of hoping to not find out what happens though! I read somewhere supermarket plastic bags will survive longest which i thought was weird.

Kristy responds... It's a great book, even if you're not a huge Stephen King fan. I think we all hope to not experience it! Gah... plastic and cockroaches will outlive us all...

Joe Cap said... I'm with you...I have always thought that if civilization collapses, it's time to just abandon the house and all the crap and head out to the wilderness with my family. Love the cats, but my family is more important. I would rather fight nature and wilderness than crazy humans.

Kristy responds... The hardest part is getting to the wilderness from where I am. Right now I can't imagine leaving my cats behind, but I guess they could manage on their own if they had to. I know Gracie could... and hopefully she'd share her kills with Daphne... If I can though, I'd take them with me.
Ian said... This was a great post. This type of topic always fascinates me and I hope I'm long gone before I have to even think about it. Titling after sitcoms is great. For an entire year I used to pick a song title that was along the lines of what the subject matter was going to be. For example, this one would have been titled "It's the End of the World" (REM)

Kristy responds... Me too, but my spidey senses are starting to tingle, and it's better to be prepared than to find yourself in the middle of it and think 'well shit... guess I wasn't paranoid after all...'. That song thing is a great idea! Love the title you picked!
Lisa Marie said... Oh No! The 2012 shows are getting to you! They are everywhere aren't they? I am not sure I could survive a fallout or Apocalyptic event. I feel I may be too reliant on modern technology. I am no Bear Grylls or Survivorman, I mean who am I kidding? Love this post... very thought provoking indeed :)

Kristy responds... Yeah they are! I think you're selling yourself short. If not for yourself, I think you'd do everything you could for your son. You'd find strength you never knew you had. Or you'd find someone who had survival skills and ally yourself with them. Either way, I doubt you'd just throw your hands up.
Flora Isadora said... The cats will be fine in the Apocalypse. Don't worry about them. ;)

Kristy responds... You're right, but I can't help worrying... they're my babies...

Sarah said... Wooooww! To be honest, I don't really think about that. I figure that if it happens, it happens. That's it. :P Since I won't be prepared, I'll come over to your house when the Apocalypse starts! :D

Kristy responds... You're welcome to do that, but you live in Canada and I live in southern Texas... so you have a loooooooooooooooong way to go!  Maybe we should meet in the middle. =)

Lisa and Laura said... Ooh The Stand still creeps me out. I can't drive through the tunnels in NYC without thinking about that scene. And congrats on the exercise. It feels so good to get back into it. I'm working on it!

Kristy responds... I want to go to NYC someday! Exercise hurts, but in only 7 days I can tell a MAJOR difference. Good luck with your routine!


176 - Now... this is a story about how my life got flip turned upside down

Good blog titles are hard to come by, so from now on I'm going to pilfer from 90's sitcoms if I can't come up with anything else.

For some reason I've gotten on a 'what would I do if there was an Apocalypse?' kick. I've always had a bizarre fascination with it, but lately I find myself starting to think of it in terms of reality rather than mere fantasy (The Stand, awesome book, favorite #2, second only to 1984). I guess it's a combination of having made it through Ike, the hype about the H1N1 virus, 2012, remembering 9/11, hearing Capt. Sully speak, and now Haiti... whatever it is, I'm starting to feel like I should prepare for something.

Only problem is... I don't know what kind of Apocalypse I'm preparing for (or even if I'm spelling it correctly). That makes it hard to prepare... Am I preparing for another hurricane, a big flood, meteorites, a pandemic, terrorism, global warming, zombies or Skynet?  ;)

I usually start out thinking 'pandemic,' so I think along the lines of staying home and sheltering in place. I can get filters and water purification tablets, I can cook on the grill, if I stock up on certain items (powdered milk, vitamins, toilet paper, pre-moistened cleansing cloths, hand sanitizer, canned goods, water, jerky, cat food, water) I can probably last a while. Especially if water and electricity stay on. If not, things start to get more complicated.

Then I start to consider the breakdown of social systems... the police force isn't necessarily immune to all this, what if they aren't in the equation? Lawlessness, vandalism, roving gangs of thugs looting people's empty homes a la New Orleans... the scenario morphs to something much more dramatic... now I may have to leave my home and head for a more remote area (or find a more secure home).

So in the new scenario I need a compass, thermal blankets, MRE's, a flint so I can start a fire, something to carry water in and cook in, some fishing line and hooks, a first aid kit, a crankable flashlight, an inflatable boat -- I'm getting serious!

And, admittedly, a little paranoid...

I know how bad the roads were when we evacuated for Rita... I can only imagine an emergency where sick people are also stubbornly trying to leave, then they die on the roads and clog the freeways, cars break down, people have accidents... that part is all too real to me. During the evacuation for Rita, we spent 18 hours on the road, going to a family member's house that is normally less than 7 hours away. For hours at a time we sat in the car and didn't move, not knowing if the car was going to overheat, the cats were in cages, we were exhausted... That experience is the reason I stayed behind for Ike. That experience is the reason that if traffic doesn't move -- to this day -- I literally start hyperventilating. I don't like to feel trapped.

In this scenario I don't know what to do with my cats. I don't know if I'll have a vehicle, whether I'll be in a group or flying solo. This scenario is more terrifying because it's outside the box and if I encounter other people I don't know if they're trustworthy. There are no locks on a tent. And when everyone is desperate, all bets are off. And animals get hungry when they aren't fed...

Of course, the worst case scenario -- hands down -- is the Skynet Zombie Apocalypse.

That was a joke to lighten the mood.

The other stuff I'm a little serious about...

Good new is, there's so much neat stuff out there... There's a collapsible straw with a filter in it that's good for 20 gallons of water, and it filters out nasty bacteria. It doesn't take up much space and if you can't get a fire started, it's a way to get some water into your system. Some of the survival knives have hollow handles for carrying water or stowing things like needles and thread, matches, etc. Some of these things might even be good to have on hand in case there's another hurricane that comes through. Last time wasn't too bad for me, three days with no power, questionable water supply for a few days... if I had some of these supplies they might have been helpful. As it was, I had plenty of charcoal, my refrigerator kept things cold, and I'd stocked up on water. If it had gone on much longer I might have had to improvise.

Am I the only one who sometimes thinks 'what would I do if I had to survive?' Is that paranoid or is it just me testing myself as a writer? I tend to put myself into the story when I'm reading a book or watching a movie, so I start thinking about these things... what would I do if I were in that situation? As a writer, I try to write myself out it, I think of every possible scenario. I think that's probably a good tool to have in an emergency... like an Apocalypse... but sometimes I wonder what it does to my psyche...

Day 6. I can definitely tell a difference in my endurance. I don't breathe as heavily during the cardio. I used my 5 lb weights for about half the routine. Attempted regular pushups and failed miserably... The muscles in my biceps are certainly more toned though (they might actually be a little swollen, because they're pretty big when I flex.. ba-BAM -- welcome to the gun show...). My jeans don't fit differently yet, at least not that I can tell, but I do think my belly is flattening a bit. I'll do level one for a couple more days, then (God help me) attempt level 2... I have a feeling the pain is going to come back stronger than before...


175 - It's Complicated

Day 5 and I woke up this morning with no pain in my legs or under my arms! Woot! I'm making progress!

Went to the movies this afternoon with a friend and saw It's Complicated. It was pretty good... a couple of really hilarious scenes, but all in all I felt it was a poor imitation of Something's Gotta Give (which I thought was a really good movie... meaning I can watch it multiple times without tiring of it). There was a GORGEOUS garden in the main character's backyard that I want! Ripe tomatoes... lettuce... all kinds of veggies... and it was so pretty... Hell, I'd take the whole house and be happy. Guess the garden is not meant to be though... at least not according to this. Damn Hollywood and the unrealistic expectations they create.

As I waited for my friend to get here, I watched an episode of Survivorman, and then I DVR'd a second one. It was interesting, and yet... a couple of times I found myself wondering if he actually knew what he was doing... He'd do something and then say you probably shouldn't do it, or in the second one he said he should have paid attention to where the sun was in the sky so he'd know east and west and therefore know which side of the water would be in the sun the longest. Now... I know that I wouldn't think of something like that, but he does this for a living... seems like he should have it down by now. Or he gutted a fish at his campsite and then said bears might smell the fish and come sniffing around... so shouldn't he have gutted the fish away from his campsite and then taken it back to cook? And once he was done eating, wash anything that smelled like fish, and dispose of the remains of the fish away from the campsite?


Last night I had a dream that McDonalds was giving away Halloween costumes. I wanted the red version of a flapper's outfit. My friend did, too. They tossed two packages on the counter, one was a bronzey-gold, the other was red. We asked for another red one. The girl behind the counter disappeared and came back with an entirely different costume. I told her I wanted another flapper costume and held the red one up. She came back again, with a flapper costume, in white. I told her I wanted a red flapper costume. She got an attitude and said there was another lady who'd been waiting for an hour while she was back there looking for my costume. I asked to talk to the manager. The manager (on the phone) agreed that it was ridiculous, but turned it around on me and said his employee shouldn't be wasting an hour looking for a free costume, so the promotion was off and now no one would get a costume. I told him it was his employee's fault, not mine, she spent 10 minutes back there each time, and if she'd paid attention to what I was asking, she wouldn't have wasted so much time. He said it was a freebie and I have to take what I get, no requests. I woke up tired of arguing...


174 - Batting a hundred

Remember when I made that comforter? Yeah me neither. It's been... awhile. Well after lunch today, mom wanted to go to the fabric store, so I finally got around to buying batting to stuff into it. Managed to wiggle that in, which wasn't as easy as it sounds, and since it's in the cat litter room, I think the fabric has gotten dusty... because I'm getting really sneezy now (meet the new me... sneezy dwarf).

So now it is not just two pieces of fabric sewn together... nope -- it is a real comforter (Pinnochio reference).


I just have to close the top of it and probably sew some buttons in random spots to keep the batting in place (I'd try to make a pretty pattern, but I'm not a good sewer... seamstress... person who barely sews). Maybe at some point if I feel real fancy I'll buy some ribbon and sew it around the edges to trim it out and (also) keep the batting in place. I don't know when I'll ever feel that fancy though. Anyhoo, it looks pretty good.

Maybe when I get done I'll take a picture, then you can show it off to your friends -- 'Look! I KNOW the girl who did this!' you'll say proudly. And they'll look at you all funny, and begin to edge toward the door... but that's life in Kristy's World.  =))) (why doesn't blogger have emoticons? it would be so much easier if I could just use emoticons to tell you how you're supposed to feel when you're done reading a sentence... unfortunately I have to put the onus on you and hope you know what to do... it's like a little muscle we don't get to flex very often, independent thought... everyone tells us what to do these days... hold the handrail... stop at the red light or we'll take your photograph (which only punishes camera shy people)... this coffee is hot... door opens this side... what would we do without signs???)

Abrupt change in thought: Usually cottage cheese tastes like ass (or what I imagine ass to taste like anyway), but I'll be durn, half a packet of Truvia and some cinnamon, and it is actually palatable. I was a doubter, but now I believe... that's the power of actually trying something before you write it off (for the record, there are things you can go ahead and write off without trying... pretty obvious things like ass, chocolate covered roaches (or insects of any kind)... liver... sweet meats...). I ate some (cottage cheese) after my Day 4 workout (you may applaud me if you like). And I had half a pear (I love parentheses). And a handful of granola (Bear Naked... yummmmm... my favorite is the chocolate, but the apple cinnamon is awesome, and the vanilla almond isn't bad either... haven't tried the banana nut yet). For dessert I had a fish oil capsule, a coconut oil capsule and a multivitamin... sooooooooooooo decadent. (Let's overlook the cheesecake I had at lunch, shall we?)

By the way, mom and dad thought the gay waiter was flirting with me at lunch. Granted, he was making a lot of eye contact, but I'm pretty sure he was not only (unconfirmedly) gay, he was also about 13 years younger than me. You can't trust the attentions of a waitperson anyway, some of them flirt because they know if you like them, they get a bigger tip. They must be getting desperate. My parents, not the waitstaff... Gah! I'm hyper!

Made the mistake of telling my mom, the R.N., about my first day with Jillian... Why do I do things like that? I'm 36, I should know better by now. My point was supposed to be: first day sucked, I perservered (is that spelled right?), I like the workout, yea for me! *clap* *clap* I think she started hearing intermittent phrases, 'almost fainted... kaleidoscope of stars...' and she missed the 'getting easier... only a little pain...' because a look of horror began to cross her face... and stayed there. I suppose from her vantage point it did sound pretty bad... But I'm okay now... really. Maybe subconsciously I like to shock her.

Oh -- more about the batting... Wanna know something fun you can do with it? Hit people with it. It's all soft and cushy, but it comes rolled up and it's perfect for bopping people (like your dad) in the belly when he gets a little too sassy... gotta keep those old farts in line... (laughing emoticon goes here X)

Note to self: Tomorrow is a holiday -- DO NOT go to work.


173 - I'm so twisted

I was watching a commercial for The Biggest Loser and it suddenly occurred to me that Jillian must be one scary lady in the bedroom:

Don't quit on me! Get up, keep going, DON'T STOP! Do you want this? DO. YOU. WANT THIS? Answer me! Don't look at the floor, look at ME! I asked you a question - do you want this?!? Yeah? You want this? Then SHOW me how much you want it. I don't want to hear 'I can't'! You CAN, and you WILL! Push through the pain, if it hurts that means you're doing it right. That's it! Keep going -- let me hear you scream! Good, now one more big push aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand done... Wait, are you... are those tears? Are you crying? Why are you crying?

LOL, wouldn't that give you ED if you had a woo-woo? (I only ask it that way because I don't personally have that kind of woo-woo)

So day 3... gonna wait until the time I would normally come home from work so my muscles get at least some rest, but I'm ready to go! Right now I'm walking like a cross between Frankenstein and an old woman but that isn't going to stop me... I actually tried to walk normally but I literally couldn't...

This morning I recorded a Bollywood dance workout so I can try that, because they look fun (but I also know that they're physically taxing). I know -- I'm crazy! It's probably something I'll do later once I've done my 30 days and start to do the Shred every other day instead of every day. Depends on the ratio of fun to exercise in the routine... if I feel like I'm working out it'll definitely wait. If it's fun, then what the hell! What I really love about this 30-day Shred is that in 20 minutes I'm done, and I don't get bored... there's no time to get bored because you're constantly moving. And the exercises get changed up so it doesn't feel like 20 minutes (odd to say that since sometimes, when my muscles feel like they're on fire, it actually feels like eternity to the nth degree).

I should take my measurements so I can see how much I'm losing. I'm probably imagining it, but I think I already see a small change in my body. I can post measurements as an incentive to myself... a picture would be too embarassing, but measurements are alright. So yeah... enough talk -- here goes, I'll update it once a week on Saturdays (good intentions anyway... I only have a metal tape measure, not one of the more flexible plastic ones... so this may be a little skewed):

Weight - 172 (unfortunately, that's not a negative 172... it's just a dash)
Bust - 39-1/2"
Chest - 34-1/2"
Waist - 36-1/2"
Hips - 43-1/2"
Thighs - 24"
Arms - 14"

So there you have it... my waist is currently 3-ft around... good gravy... Hopefully I'll start to see these numbers go down (and feel it in the way my clothes fit).

So... didn't do much last night that's worthy of writing about, and all I plan to do today is some organizational stuff (that's right Joe... I do have a problem with relaxation... every time I try to sit and watch a movie, I end up off the couch washing dishes or putting stuff away... I need to learn to chill out) and go to the grocery store. Oh -- and I should also make a backup disc while my computer is running like it's supposed to... just in case someday it doesn't... yep... I should definitely do that.

Also, to give myself a sense of accomplishment, I should (notice I didn't say 'will'?) finally take care of what seems like such a simple thing that I keep putting off -- I should paint those two small spots I've been ignoring for about a year now. The one in the kitchen, anyway. The one outside should probably wait, since it's raining and all... They're literally spots. I can take a paintbrush and dab once and be done... well... except for the cleanup... I'm such a procrastinator... Gah!


172 - Owie

My underarms and the back of my calves are very, very tender today, but all in all I'm surprised more things don't hurt. I actually made it through the second day of exercise without killing myself. I used tomato cans instead of my 5 lb weights for the majority of the routine, but I did incorporate them in the last set. Now I'm moving like an old woman, but at least I didn't have to sprint for the bathroom this time. Tomorrow I'll use water bottles, the tomato cans didn't feel like they had much weight to them... not that it stopped the pain...

Now that I've said all that, I notice it actually hurts to type... I never knew I used my biceps to type but I do... they feel all tight and uncomfortable so this is going to be a short one (no laughing -- I'm serious).

So tonight I'm going to be cozied up on the couch, listening to the rain, not doing much of anything... especially moving around. I've ordered in because I don't feel like driving and I don't feel like cooking. I feel like watching bad movies and taking a nap. Zzzzz...

Tomorrow maybe I'll get around to round three of cleaning out my closet. I still go in there every day and feel overwhelmed by the amount of clothes I have, so I reach for the same five to ten shirts. Then again, I should probably wait on the results from working out... some of what I don't wear just doesn't fit right at the moment. Hmmmm. Conundrum.

I haven't started on the garage organization yet, other than hanging a rack to organize shovels and brooms and such. I need to buy another shelving unit to replace that useless space-consuming workbench. I am procrastinating... because underneath it is a stack of tiles the previous owners left behind. I really dread lugging those out to the curb... but I have no use for them and some are actually broken, so they're trash. That kind of thing was typical of the people who lived here... they welcomed me home with a smear of cat piss in what is now my library, and a toilet that didn't flush. The bastards knew it too, they adjusted the chain to where the water level wouldn't overflow... but it tried to. My very first flush was not a happy one. I definitely recommend a walkthru before you sign those papers... just to make sure the plumbing works and the floors are reasonably clean.

I saw a picture of the house Extreme Makeover built... I can't find it at the moment because someone else showed it to me and I don't know where they found it, but it was beautiful. I can't wait to see the episode when it airs in March (?). I was reading that Jessica Alba donated some solar panels for the roof and the company the husband works for donating a year of free energy. Sounds pretty awesome to me!


171B - Torture Chamber

My computer is home and fully functional (both drives!) as some of you may have already guessed by the profusion of comments I've already left on your blogs... Whee! So happy! *twirling in delerium* Decided to hold off on the software upgrades until after the tax return comes and I have the money to spare... but mostly I wanted my computer back... I missed it so. I need to give it a name. Computer is so sterile. Maybe I'll name it Hal... kidding.

Got my 30-Day Shred dvd in the mail today... I was gung ho... pumped... ready to go... I ripped that sucker open and roared (or maybe I just whimpered a little... Jillian didn't look too happy, she looked downright serious and I know that look -- I watch The Biggest Loser... I know what she's capable of). One of my friends has been doing this dvd for about 15 days and I can really see the results, so I was eager to get going. So excited that I sat down and read my Martha Stewart magazine and ate dinner... Well, I was hungry... as it turns out, eating was probably a good idea. I found myself with a couple of hours on my hands while my food settled, so I read through some blogs. Yea blogs!

When I did start the dvd, Jillian was surprisingly kind. Well... let me clarify that... her demeanor was kind. Her exercises were a cruel, but effective, form of torture. When did I become so frickin' weak??? We started out (Jillian and her two cohorts and I) with a pleasant warmup. Piece of cake. Chocolate cake. Delicious ca... 'scuse me, lost my train of thought there for a second. Then we hit the floor for some pushups. I was going to attempt real pushups because I was serious -- serious ya'll -- but my spaghetti arms are weak and after one mere half pushup, I succumbed to girly pushups. Made me wonder what's so girly about them? They hurt!

Girly pushups or not, I thought I was going to lose control and fall flat on my face because it wasn't just 5 or 10, it was more like 20-25... I would have counted, but all of my energy was going into not falling face-first into the floor.

So I survived that. Then came the plies (is that how you spell it? Plee-Ayes?) and pushing your arms straight up as you straighten your legs. Those about killed me. My legs were okay, my arms were screaming at me to stop. I ignored them. Next came cardio, 30 seconds of jumping jacks, 30 seconds of pretending to jump rope, repeat. Then we did crunches. Is it scary that I actually looked forward to the ab work?

Feeling a little proud of myself at this point. But then we repeat the cycle. Fuck. It hurts.

Next comes the second circuit. More squats and arm work. Crap. Then cardio, running with our legs attempting to kick our butt. Then punches while squatting. About this time I started feeling the distinct urge to run to the bathroom and vomit. Unfortunately I didn't have the energy to run, so I sauntered to the bathroom and fell in a heap in front of the porcelain god. Nausea settled into the pit of my stomach, I began to salivate. My ears closed so that it sounded like I was in a barrel. I began to see stars. One or two at first, then a pattern of them began to emerge like a black and purple kaleidoscope. I've never fainted before, but I figured I was about to.

I did not feel good. If someone had given me the choice just then, I'm pretty sure I would have chosen to die. But eventually I found enough strength to lift myself off the floor and plant my butt on top of the toilet lid so I could lean over and put my head down like I see people doing on the television. Guess it helped because eventually I shuffled my way over to the bed, where I started feeling slightly better... until I got cold.

This isn't my idea of fun.


After a while I started feeling normal again (as normal as I ever feel) and I decided to get back on the horse and finish the damn workout. I was halfway through before I almost fainted. And you know what? I made it. I took it a little easier (not that I was doing any advanced moves before, but there was a lot less pep in my step this time around), but I finished. Go team Kristy!

I was going to give up, but I realized that I always quit. Not only that, but only yesterday I was watching 400 lb people work their asses off (literally) and it finally hit me that if they can do it at 400 lbs, I can do it at 173 (there you go Ian, I've put my weight out there, too... and as a girl it's 10x more horrifying to me, at least on paper!). I'm not going to quit this time. It may take me a while to be able to go full throttle on this workout, but I'm going to keep at it. I'm tired of being fat. I'm lucky enough that my weight is pretty evenly distributed, so people claim that I don't look fat... but I am, and I know it because I know what normal weight Kristy looks like. Every day I look in the mirror and wonder who this person is staring back at me, because she doesn't look like me. I want my life back. And I'm going to get it in 20 minute increments.

So there.

As I relaxed in the tub afterward (a well deserved rest) I realized that South of Broad may be one of the most enjoyable books I've ever read. I am loving this book! Pat Conroy isn't afraid to talk about anything, and I love that about him. I looooooooooooooooove the witty reparte between his characters. Sometimes I cringe, but that's okay, I've read all of his previous novels so I know to expect a cringe every now and again, but it's part of his charm... and he is oh so very charming. I wish I were half the storyteller he is. Someday I will visit South Carolina solely based on the evocative imagery he created in my mind. It sounds like heaven, even when the story is as twisted as The Prince of Tides was, South Carolina comes out smelling like a rose. (and FYI, so did I)

Oh, and he used a phrase that made me giggle... he said "my train of ideas got derailed." Just like mine always do...

171 - Quick slightly uninteresting post

I may be computerless tonight (thinking about getting some upgrades done and software installed), so a quick post while on a short break from work.

I was wrong about the BMR formula in my previous blog, the female formula was correct at 655... Anyway, I've been waaaaaaaay underestimating... I subscribed to the 1,200 calories per day and you'll lose weight school of thought. I was actually surprised to find that when I did food journaling that I was not even eating 1,200 some days... My meals at one point consisted of CheezIts and Pepsi for breakfast, a 300 calorie frozen dinner for lunch with water, and a Greek salad for dinner with more water. I might have a frozen fudgesicle for dessert or a snack cup of Jello pudding, or I might not, and then a handful of almonds before bed. And I was burning 300 cals on the treadmill 3x a week. Not only was it not the healthiest of diets, but I probably put myself into starvation mode without realizing it. And heating those frozen meals in their plastic containers probably screwed my hormones up royally...

According to this calculation I should be eating between 1,700 and 2,000 calories a day if I want to maintain my weight (which I don't). I know that in order to lose weight I should eat less, but probably not 500 calories less... not in addition to exercise... This is going to take some adjusting to... eating is a frickin' science! Why can't we just come into the world craving only what we should eat, knowing when to stop eating, knowing when to snack, and feeling compelled to be active??? If that could happen, and we could be paired with a mate (not in an arranged sort of way, but a cosmic destiny without the searching sort of way) that would be awesome. And if we could know from an early age what to do for a living that would not only sustain us but also make us happy, I might be satisfied. And this thermos... a good diet, the perfect mate, an awesome job, and this thermos... that's all I need... and these sunglasses...


170B - Hey Lookey! I'm Blogging!

I'm typing this blog from my semi-functional, slightly bi-polar computer. I still have to take it back to work tomorrow for it to be put back mostly the way it was, but as you can see, I can access the internet and...

HURRAY MY FILES WERE RECOVERED (!) and are now safely copied to my external hard drive and a thumb drive. I'm now redundantly redundant. This is a good reminder for me to become more fastidious about making backup copies of my most important-est files... and to make that recovery disk I kept putting off.

As to the bi-polar part... oddly, my 320 GB hard drive is really two 160 GB hard drives. I think I do remember having two drives when I first got the computer, but somewhere along the way one of them disappeared and I slowly forgot that it ever existed... Good thing I don't have children, huh? So my C drive is probably fried, but I can use my second drive as a primary drive, and I'm good to go, and Bob's my uncle (he really is... I have an uncle Bob).

So I'm back among the living, able to search for answers to my most pressing questions, and best of all, my budget was saved so I don't have to spend hours sorting through bank statements to recreate my check register... all is right with the world again. Or as right as it ever was... ;)

170 - Day 2...

So this is what the Apocalypse feels like... no computer... no internet... no way to communicate with people or share my thoughts... how could the human race possibly be expected to survive such a catastrophe (the real catastrophe being that no one can share my thoughts, lol)??? I tried sending smoke signals last night, but no one smoked back so I guess my messages sort of blended in with the smoke coming from people's fireplaces. I may have to start writing letters soon. If I go that route, this will have to become a paid subscription to cover the costs of writing materials and postage...

As I type, my beloved computer is sitting behind me (hopefully) being repaired by the office computer genius. So far the program has found 18 bad sectors, and 18 bad sectors have been recovered. It sounds promising. I will be sooooooooooooo happy if everything is repaired and recovered. So happy.

So yesterday I went to the orthodontist. He said I could correct my teeth with regular braces, clear braces, or Invisalign without having my wisdom teeth removed. I think maybe it just takes longer or something. He did ask why I didn't want my wisdom teeth pulled.... a question I momentarily couldn't answer because it was such a silly question -- I don't think anyone actually wants them pulled. I went with, 'because it'll hurt...' Seemed like a pretty solid answer, and one he couldn't argue with. So now I have to wait for my insurance to review the paperwork and agree to the charges, and then I would take molds of my teeth, have those molds sent to the lab that creates the plastic braces, and in a month or so I can start my treatment. Ironically he said with Invisalign it would take 24 months to straighten my teeth versus 18 with regular braces... but regular braces will still allow me to bite my fingernails and the insides of my cheeks, which is one of the reasons my front teeth are so crooked. And regular braces seem like they'd be hell to keep clean.

Also, Tom Tom took me on a strange route that I wouldn't have ever come up with in a million years, but it got me there in 15 minutes when Tom Tom and I were estimating more like 30, so I was pleased and will continue to use that route on future visits. Irish Tom Tom and I are getting along wonderfully. Hannibal Lecter didn't last long, couldn't hear him, and the schtick got old pretty quickly.

Last thought before I go... I hate when there are big trucks, SUV's or sedans in front of me and they slow down to 2 mph to go over a speed bump or railroad tracks... My car is so much lower to the ground than they are, and my shocks are designed so that I feel the road, which means it's not as smooth a ride, but I don't slow down... Wusses.


169 - Argh!

I'm at work so I have to make this quick... no editing...

So yesterday I stayed home because around 8 pm on Sunday I began smelling something I can only describe as a hot electrical smell, or a plastic-y smell coming through my airvents. Well... first I didn't know where it was coming from, but eventually I realized it whatever it was, was being circulated by the vent system. I didn't know what was happening but I wasn't liking it.

Went to bed, woke up around 3 am and the smell had gotten worse. Figured that since it got colder as the night progressed, the heater was kicking on more frequently, and the smell had built up. I got out of bed, turned the heater off, cracked some windows to air out the house (figured it wasn't good to be breathing it), turned the fan on low, and snuggled deep under the covers. Was really cold when I woke up... Dad said it was 22 at 6 am when he left for work... we live 8 mins apart so I figure it was 22 at my house as well.

Called in, said I needed to figure out what was going on, if something was burning, I wanted to stay home in case I needed to grab the cats and some papers and get out of the house. Called the A/C guys, they said they would be at my house between 1 pm and 5 pm. I turned the heater on to warm things up and the smell returned, but it was less than before.

Long story short, it was a wire nut, melting where the high voltage wire came into the unit. I guess if you don't screw them on tight enough, or if they are somehow defective, that kind of thing can happen... So my house could have burned down. Good times.

Also thought the smoke alarm closest to my bedroom had stopped fuctioning (checked it before I went to bed because it seemed like the wise thing to do). Turns out I needed to push harder and at a certain angle to get the test beeper to shrilly beep at me. But it didn't beep before I went to bed, so I slept lightly.

While all that was going on, yesterday morning I tried to get on my computer, and it wouldn't boot up (that's why there was no blog yesterday). It keeps telling me that it can't find Windows. I've tried using the recovery tool but it isn't working, I've tried every combination of data restore, tools, systems check and such that I can come up with, says there's nothing wrong with my hard drive, I just can't boot up. So when I get home tonight I'm probably going to have to restore the C drive to its factory settings and lose anything I hadn't saved to my external hard drive.

I admit, I felt lost without my computer. I'm used to having a question and being able to go online to answer it. I'm used to blogging and emailing and such. I'm really unhappy about potentially losing the budget I've worked on, especially since my checkbook register is part of it... that means I'll have to slog through months of bank statements to re-create it again. Most everything else is safe. Not sure if the latest version of my book is on the external hard drive, but all the old iterations up to the point where I began submitting queries, is. Sometime in August I cleaned off my laptop and moved a bunch of stuff to the external HD. The new story I started though... is gone. Idiot me bought an 8 GB thumbdrive on Black Friday specifically to store a copy of my budget and my writing and anything else I might want a second copy of, but I never did anything with it.

Gonna make a call to Sony this afternoon to see if there's anything else I can do, but I fear I'm going to have to start over. Can't help but wonder if Your Shape has anything to do with it. Things were working fine until I loaded that, and then I had problem after problem. Wonder if I can somehow get that off?


168 - A different kind of Sunday

Most Sundays my parents and I have lunch and watch a couple of dvd's. I like Sunday to be really low-key because I know that, even though I try not to think about it because it's such a buzzkill, Monday is a workday. Still, after a while, routine can become boring. Every once in a while it's nice to shake things up before you resume business as usual. Today, we did something a little different and it was a nice change, but definitely something I can't do all the time...

After lunch they mentioned that the B. Dalton Bookstore at one of our local malls is going out of business, and knowing how I love to read, asked if I wanted to drop by. I wasn't all that gung ho because I'm trying not to spend money (and not doing a very good job by the way), I have a cabinet full of books waiting to be read (in my bathroom... I read in the tub so it made sense to put them there), and a bookstore going out of business is never a happy event. Eventually though, the thought of potentially getting books at 60% off won out and I said 'okay'. As I expected, the shelves were chaos, and there wasn't a whole lot that piqued my interest... and yet... I still came out with:
  • Two Laurell K Hamilton books - books that, mind you, I will have to buy the rest of the series prior to the two books I bought in able to be able to read. The new Merry Gentry book, Divine Misdemeanors (like book 7 or something of a series I haven't even begun to read), and a paperback that I assume is the one prior to that... can't remember what it's called... Midnight something-or-other. I know DM because she's been talking about the release on her blog, which I'm sure you guys already know I obssess over. I was hoping to find more of her books, but those were the only two I could hunt down... I could have gotten the entire Sookie Stackhouse series though... it's just that True Blood kind of turned me off of it, so I don't really want to read the books. (I actually cringed when I wrote that because I know people have strong feelings about the series and I'm due a tongue lashing)
  • The latest Sophie Kinsella novel, Twenties Girl. I love the Shopaholic series because they make me laugh, and even though this isn't a Shopaholic book, I like Kinsella's style enough to venture out. I know some people don't like Shopaholic, but with 4-5 titles in the series I can't be the only one who finds them enjoyable. Yes, they're far-fetched, but they're fun!
  • A Barefoot Contessa cookbook with some yummy sounding recipes. I'll be honest, she bores the crap out of me on television, but I'll admit, sometimes I watch anyway because the food looks delicious.
And it appears that I'm attempting to single-handedly fund the Jillian Michael's retirement fund, because I also bought:
  • Hot Bod in a Box, which is a set of workout cards... I bought this knowing that these exercises are probably duplicates of the dvd I just bought
  • Making the Cut, which has a 30-day meal and exercise plan, probably duplicates of the book and dvd and exercise cards I have already purchased
In addition -- I bet you didn't know you could buy makeup at a bookstore -- but I bought about six different shades of Burt's Bees lip balm, a jar of the almond beeswax hand salve, and three Lindor truffles (I realize they aren't makeup, but they also don't warrant their own paragraph so I'm sticking them here thankyouvermuch).

All in all I 'saved' $104.76, and spent $62.35 (and $5 of that was tax). I feel pretty good about it, all things considered.

Then we went to Bath & Body Works... I don't need more bath products, but I'm a bath product whore. They were having a buy 2 get 2 free sale on the stuff I bought, but there was also a buy 3 get 2 free and buy 2 get 1 free sale (I think I got the better deal)... what was I supposed to do? I wanted to smell some of the fragrances I'd seen online... hard to buy online if you haven't smelled the scent... I mean, what does Twilight Woods smell like? Anyone? Blood and dirt and sparkles, perhaps? It does not. It smells mild and flowery and lovely. But it does sparkle. Just like Edward. Oh - I could have bought an Edward doll at B. Dalton, but it was even less attractive than... whoa... I should stop there lest I really do get people all riled up...

So I guess the Extreme Makeover people read my blog and took me seriously when I joked that I was starting to hope they wouldn't call... I didn't really mean it... I would have gladly taken a nap or put on several layers of clothing to have gotten the call... Now the website says the volunteer slots are filled and they had over 3,000 responses, so I guess that's that. I'm sad that I didn't get to be a part of it, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter... the family is benefitting whether I'm there or not, and that's what really counts. The show that features this family is supposed to air in March. Here's more info on the Extreme Makeover build if anyone is interested. Been meaning to post it but it slipped my mind.

So I will do as I had already intended and contact someone from Habitat for Humanity to volunteer for that program, and see how that goes. I think it'll be right up my alley.

One last thing before I go... I'm currently reading Pat Conroy's South of Broad. He is absolutely one of my favorite authors, top five, maybe even number two, just after Dickens. He is such a talented storyteller that he can make anything interesting. Seriously. I read two of his non-fiction books and I rarely read non-fiction (thus far in my life, except for diet and exercise books, I've only read four voluntarily). I don't even watch basketball unless The Rockets are going to the playoffs, but I read My Losing Season and loved it. I had no idea The Water is Wide was autobiographical until I started reading it, but I was captivated. But back to South of Broad... I think chapter 4 is my favorite chapter ever, of any book I've ever read. It is so witty and fun to read that I told myself specifically to blog about it -- and remembered to do so. You can check out some of it if you follow the link above and click 'preview this book'. I want a whole book of banter between these two characters...