For you, the dress code is casual.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Here We Go Again. Bring on the Pain.

I'm nervous. The shower's running. Then I'm off to the gym for the first time since January of last year. And my first real workout since, oh... September.

Building the snowfort on Christmas day was cool. I stayed energetic. Much to my surprise. I expected weariness and pain. Had neither. Actually felt great the next day.

I'm curious what the gym will feel like. It's not like I've had no cardio -- I've been walking A LOT this fall. My cardio's probably better than ever for day-to-day, but not sure on the long hauls, since I've had none for four months. My expectations are higher, though, as I've cut out almost all milk, so my asthma's at a total minimum these days.

But I always get a little fearful before I start new things. I'm scared of committing to the workout lifestyle again. It was real fuckin' hard, and look at the price I paid with the back problems I had, man.

Still. It must be done. Again, I've something to prove to myself. Not anyone else. Just me. I can do it. I can do it sans injury this time, too.

And I guess that's where the fear comes from, 'cos I know what I got to expend in order to get what I expect.

So here we go. New sneakers. New yoga pants. New attitude. New chance. New year. New starting point. I'm ready. Hesitant as fuck, resisting like all hell, nervous to beat all odds. But I'm ready.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I Came, I Saw, I Played in the Snow

My nephew and brother just took off after staying the last couple days with me.

Again, it's snowing. A fresh new three inches today. Still coming down at an inch-an-hour pacing. It's madness.

Yesterday, we continued construction on The Snow Fort. I was resistant to helping, being in the "oh, it's too much work" former-fat-girl frame of mind I still get into too often, but grudgingly decided I was stupid to pass up this end-of-childhood playing session with my 12-year-old nephew.

And... much to my surprise, it wasn't too much work. I never even got tired. What? What happened to me? It was WEIRD.

This morning, he gave me a bone-crushing hug and it took me a minute to realize it was the first time he ever got his arms all the way around me to return the crushingness. :)

With their departure, away went every bit of candy, chocolate, and crap in my house. Now, remaining, I have... NOTHING. Wine, but that's it.

I've made it to the other side of the holidays and gained back only FOUR pounds. I'm still down 56. And that number's on the upping from here on out.

Fucking A. And I'm 35 and finally, for the first time in my life, played in the snow without feeling I was going to die. Nope. You're never too old to have THAT experience. :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Snowy Christmas Pictures

Have I really been that busy? Nine days? Well, hello. I've gained four pounds back this holiday season. Beats the shit out of 10! :D

Merry hoho, or whatever the hell it is you celebrate. Happy-it-all.

I'm just posting a few photographs while my nephew and I half-watch A Christmas Story.

This first shot's from our first snowfall about 12 days ago. Lovely. Quaint. A fraction of what we'd come to see.

The morning after the next snowfall yielded this shot from my balcony:

That 8 inches would seem quaint before the 18 you see here, the morning of Christmas eve, but still woefully beneath the 2+ feet we'd have by Christmas Day morning. Walked all of 6 blocks in it today, was exhausted and completely soaked. Lovely to look at, shitty to commute in. :)

Another angle on my street. The inch of fire hydrant poking out beside the sign there gives a clear indicator of the height of the snow. :P

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Well, That's An Improvement. 60 Pounds?

I've lost 60 pounds.

Yeah. 60. Stick that in yer pipe and smoke it.

My extra-large yoga pants I bought in late September are, dare I say it, becoming too big. I'm looking, it seems, like just plain large. And that's fine by me.

Weird, weird, weird, but hey. I mean, I busted my fucking ASS to lose 40 pounds -- cycling for hours every week, all that shit. These days I'm not doing any cardio -- ANY -- and I'm still shedding?



Heh. I'll still do it, too. I'm looking forward to having the time to go to the gym and stuff. Then I can start having a burger now and then. :D

I will say, tho, that the physiotherapy rehab exercises I've been assigned have been starting to tone some areas, like belly flab, I've NEVER been able to do. So...

Funny how life kind of acts to interfere yet you still get to where you were going. I think the blowing out of my back is going to result in me losing the remainder of my weight in a better, more healthy way, and that my body will be in a better place than it's ever been, both because of the reduced stress on my skeleton and because of learning how to retrain my body's kinetics.

How awesome is that?

Pretty fucking awesome. I've been doing my rehab exercises more regularly now, hence showing up late to work, because there's 45 minutes of weight-resistant poses at home (mostly hijacked from Pilates-type routines) and I HURT FIERCELY after them.

So, yeah, I haven't been doing cardio, but I'm certainly doing lots of stretching and my rehab. It's like doing yoga for three to four hours a week, I guess. Is good.

And I've lost 60 pounds. I'm gonna go wander off grinning now.

FYI? My goal to lose this year was 75 pounds. I told myself I'd be happy with 50, but was secretly ready to make my peace with 40. To get to 60 is kind of like reaching within 20 feet of the top of Everest. It's semantics, as far as I'm concerned, and I'm fucking pleased.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

TeddyBears Come to Life: Horrible Story on My Ornament

My mother had a thing for Victorian-style ornaments. I mean, hey, we had wooden garlands and lace on the tree. I still use them, hung them last night.

One of the ornaments is this 2x2.5-inch book called "The Teddybears Come to Life", and it is a horribly brutal story inside a pretty innocuous-looking little cutesy book with an adorable old-school brown bear with a red bow on the cover, and nothing else.

I've gotten into the habit now of reading the booklet amongst friends when we decorate my tree as a group every year, and it never fails to get gasps and guffaws from all my friends.

It's horrible on two fronts: The writing's fucking awful, and then it's just cruel, too.

And since I've decorated my tree alone this morning, I thought I should keep the sharing tradition alive and share it with all of you. FYI, book's made in Taiwan. The last page in the book is blank, with "Did you enjoy this story?" and space to answer. I'm tempted to fill it out sometime. Try and guess my response.

Without further ado, The Teddybears Come to Life, author unknown:


Professor Wiseman lately found
A truly wonderful compound
"With this," he cried,
"I believe I could
Put life in a stick of wood!"

Forth rushed the prof to tell his frau
Then up rose Johnny and said, "Now,
I'll take this stuff, while pa's upstairs
And try it on my teddybears."

He gave his teddybears six sips.
You should have seen the little rips!
They bounced six feet up in the air,
As lively as a real live bear.

One fellow seized Pa Wiseman's neck
And made him yell and say, "By heck!
I wish I'd let you all stay dead."
And one caught Johnny by the head.

The baby yelled to beat the band,
And Johnny's ma just said, "My land!"
And fainted dead away six times,
While teddies cut up monkey-shines.

Then out the door the rascals flew,
To find more mischief still to do.
One chased a dog, three climbed a tree.
What more they did was fun to see.

Now Johnny is a funny kid,
He knew some cookies sweet were hid
In a pantry jar, so he slipped away
And left the teddybears at play.

But teddies soon got wise, and you
Can guess how hungry they were too
[For they had already lived a week]
So they followed him and took a peek.

They pushed the door and in it flew--
Six hungry teddies flew in too.
Poor Johnny thought it was the cook,
you should've seen his frightened look.

And how those greedy little elves
Went at the goodies on those shelves!
You see, twas their first chance to do
What you've done your whole life through.

They put more on the outside than in,
They filled themselves clear to the chin,
Then spilled out what they couldn't eat.
That pantry's wreck was most complete.

And now like naughty boys they stand
To taje what cook has in her hand.
Those stars will show you mighty quick
Just what she's doing with the stick.

[So, the final picture's of all these teddybears getting beaten. Sigh. What a depressing Christmas story. Way to get into the spirit of the season, Taiwan.]

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

And Then There Was Steff. And a Blender.

I have a new blender. I thought you should know.

I'm so happy!

It's one of my little splurges as a result of the lovely bonus I received for Christmas from Ze Cheeses That Be at work. I plan also to buy 6 months' gym pass. Won't need it in the summer, 'cause, like, I kicked ass and took names this last one, so 6 months'll do sweetly.

I still haven't gotten to the gym in the two weeks that I've been saying I was going to, but I'm not about to beat myself up about it. Life's kinda gruelling right now, and it's all about coping.

Let's face it -- I've been through the ringer since July! Bronchitis for three weeks, felt well for one, insomnia for three weeks, got well for one, worst-eye-infection-ever for two weeks, became well for one, blown out back [with three full weeks completely incapacitated, on the floor] for six weeks, and now here we are, about three weeks after that, and I'm thick into overtime at work now while trying to do the whole "prepare for Christmas" thing whilst also having had to shop to replace my whole wardrobe [not something I can physically do even yet for stretches longer than 90 minutes] after having lost a whopping 50-plus pounds this year [haven't weighed myself since Remembrance Day but my formerly painted-on tight jeans are noticably loose now, hence the "plus"], trying to get my house sorted out after weeks of being incapable of doing ANY cleaning, doing all the appointments I need to do for my back [physio, chiro, massage] and other shit like haircuts and dentists and stuff, and, FUCK, MAN, am I overextended.

I got ELEVEN, maybe TWELVE days off at Christmas, and I'm fucking elated. I need that. I'm barely, barely hanging on here.

Fortunately, though, I'm eating super-healthy compared to my old ways -- most of the time -- as of the last couple weeks, and it's making a big difference. I really want to get some exercise this week, but looks like the weather's going major cold so I'll be bussing a lot anyhow, hence walking more of this ass of mine into oblivion, so the exercise'll come without pushing myself, which is probably wise, given my bosses cannot lose me right now.

It's too bad it's so busy at work right now. I know that if I said, "Well, no, I can't..." they'd understand, but the truth is, I can. It's just real, real hard. But I can get through it, I think. It's hard on everyone, and this too shall pass. In, oh, say 14 days.

Doesn't hurt I make decent money doing it. Rather, that I can bank that time and NOT use vacation time for it. Because fuck knows I've earned the full three weeks off this coming year with all I've accomplished this year. Man, have I. So, yeah, I'll likely use the time bank. We'll see.

Physio was tonight. He's really impressed and happy with my improvement and my performance whilst demonstrating the exercises for him, even though I only did half of what I've been prescribed, and have felt guilty. But I've been so fucking tired that I just can't motivate myself beyond doing what needs to be done for my life and job, you know? Sometimes ass-on-couch seems like the best way to go. Easiest.

Yet still I'm doing it enough to see new toning on my body. I'm trying, however, to be super-conscious of contracting the right muscles when walking, using my core in day-to-day activities, and focusing on structural integrity of motion... all the founding principles behind physiotherapy in the first place.

He's been giving me harder exercises each time, and is thrilled to assign me my first balance ball exercise. Eek! Scawy.

I wasn't feeling very good about my back progress, but, yeah, I guess I forget sometimes just how intensely I was injured. Very, very bad. Worst. Injury. Ever. Poor, poor Steff. Way to heal.

Sometime on the other side of January, the realization will hit me that I'm suddenly feeling strong, fit, and healthy. All at the same time. For the first time ever.

If there's anything this series of chronic sickness and illness (because I've had a variety of candida infections throughout all this) has given me, it's the desire to Never Ever Feel Like This Again.

Fuck injury. Fuck sickness. Fuck fat. Fuck it all. I'm done with it. I'm the victor. Its ass is mine.

This crap couldn't beat me. I'm still down 50 pounds.

Hell, I threw out four bags of fat clothes on Sunday. I replaced my whole wardrobe in the last two weeks (except a few recent purchases from the last three months, but they'll be gone soon, too, as they're now all a size too big, at least, as well!) and Sunday was the day of reckoning.

Fantastic. And I know I've lost my weight the healthy way. My technique and approach, attention to healthy food and eating lotsa veggies and salmon is still improving. A lot! I'm constantly trying to be better. And succeeding.

This Christmas will probably be my best Christmas ever because it's the first time I'll ever get to the other side and say, "Yeah, I did EVERYTHING I set out to do this year. Done. Next?"

After I sleep for a week, of course. :)


BTW, hi. So, I've been busy. Will get back into this blog as life settles down, don't you worry your pretty heads. Just can't write these days; don't have the time nor the stillness of mind. With that, outtie.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Invent-a-Supper: Mixed Veg With Italian Sausage and Artichoke Tapenade

I invent-a-suppered it for dinner tonight. Crap photo, sorry.

Back in the day, that'd mean something with butter and cream. Nowadays, it's with veggies and crazy things like that.

Tonight's? Mixed veg of many kinds, Italian sausage meatballs, and artichoke heart tapenade. Total score!

Here's how it went.

2 hot Italian sausages, meat squeezed out and shaped into 3/4-inch balls
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium leek, chopped
1 green pepper
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 a medium zucchini
1/2 cup snap peas
1-2 baby bok choys, chopped
8 asparagus stalks, chopped
4 large cloves garlic
1/2 lemon
1/3 cup artichoke tapenade (mine is a President's Choice product here in Canada -- olive oil, artichokes, and parmesan -- you could probably mash 1/3 c canned artichokes with the parmesan [2-1 ratio?], add a little olive oil for texture, lemon juice for kick, and get the same results)

Cook the meatballs until they're good, then reserve until we're there.

In the same saute pan or wok, add a little olive oil. Saute the onions and leeks till the onions are translucent. Add the rest of veggies and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. After the veg start to cook, add the meatballs back in, and keep cooking for a couple minutes, then add your artichoke tapenade in, mix well and cook long enough to warm through. Check your seasoning, add more s+p if needed.

Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Eat and be merry. Mine, I'm being bad and enjoying with roasted potatoes, but it'd probably be great tossed with some pasta, or just served with crusty bread, or something.

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