Thursday, September 20, 2007

Not Quite the Biggest Loser

So here I am trying to lose weight. I've joined a club here at work based on the TV show Biggest Loser... and though we don't do "challenges," nor do we have public weigh-ins where we are judged and humiliated by pseudo-celebs, we do have teams, and we have weekly lunchtime get-togethers for support and discussion.

The first week, I did exercise... I started a regimen of twenty minutes on the elliptical machine, followed by some light work at the weight machines, at lunchtime on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. But while I tried to stay away from sweets, I didn't really pay much attention to what I ate. And at the first weigh-in, I had gained three pounds!

I'm telling myself that was muscle weight, and it probably was. But we get "fined" a dollar a pound when we gain (there's a cash prize at the end, and fines go into the prize pot), and I was very irked to have to cough up three bucks when I wasn't expecting to.

This week I have combined the exercise with the dread practice of Counting Calories. This has been something of an educational experience, as I've never really thought about how many calories there are in the things I usually eat, especially as compared to the things that I can eat instead. For example, this morning I had the tiniest wee little miniature bearclaw pastry and a big handful of sliced melon... the latter was sixty calories while the former was two hundred and fifty. Yikes.

I was also surprised to discover that two slices of whole-grain toast with butter or margarine was two hundred and eighty calories, while a bowl of oatmeal with raisins and milk is only two-twenty and a whole hell of a lot bigger and more filling.

If I don't lose weight this week, I'm gonna be pissed! Especially since that bear-claw means that I have to either skip my afternoon tea snack, or else eat a very light dinner. Of course, a lot of the problem is being prepared with low-calorie snacks, and the only thing I have with me right now are Clif bars, which are 250 calories...healthy as all get-out, but that will leave a scant five hundred for dinner. So I think I'll just drink a lot of water instead.

But what I wouldn't give for a chocolate chip cookie... with one calorie.

In other news, my new mood stabilizer has an interesting side-effect: akathasia! It's fun to say and it's fun to have... the inability to sit still. It's a very mild case, and my doc thinks it will wear off, it usually does, and if it doesn't we'll try something else; but in the meantime, it does make exercising easier. I've been doing isometrics at my desk for the last couple of days, and I had this enormous energy-burst on Sunday morning that gave me the ability to rearrange my bedroom (which I've been wanting to do for a couple of weeks now).

Well, I'm going to get up and do some pushups against the Reception counter. Talk to you later!

PS ~ Friday, 8 p.m.: I weighed in this afternoon, and I lost three pounds. Yay me! And considering that I know I gained muscle-weight as well as losing fat, that means I lost quite a bit more than just the three pounds; my pants fit again, and the pads of fat under my arms are visibly diminishing.

God, I love this akathasia! The calorie-counting I could live without, but the strange desire to exercise is da bomb!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My Baby's First Birthday!

You might remember, last October, I bought two little baby turtles from an apple-doll old woman in Chinatown? Sure you do. Though one of them didn't survive six weeks with me, the other thrived. But anyway, judging by their size when I bought them, I figured they were a month old; and so this month is their birthday!

Claudius, the survivor, has been a surprisingly entertaining pet. He isn't cuddly, in fact he hides from me most of the time. He doesn't even like being held or played with. He's like a fish, but with a larger repetoire of movement and mood.

Anyway, in honor of his birthday, and the fact that I was cleaning his tank and so had to disturb him anyway, I took him outside for a little celebratory photo shoot.

Claudius is quite huge, now... according to my research, they grow about an inch a year, so I was under the impression that he should now be about two inches long; however, he is three and a half inches long (just the shell, not counting his neck or tail extended). The Red-Eared Slider (to which variety Claudius belongs) usually grows to be about five or six inches long on the shell, and live ten ten to twenty years. So if all goes well, he'll be with me for a while.

I didn't realize until quite recently that he moves pretty fast on land. Sliders are so called because they like to bask in the sun most of the time, but if any other animal happens by, they slide into the water post-haste; so one doesn't see them just walking around on land all that much. So I was surprised when Claudius finally got sick of being photographed and took off for the flowerbed at a rather alarming speed. I just caught him before he reached the asparagus fern, which I don't think he'd have liked much (it's prickly, you know).

So anyway, I'm very pleased that Claudius has lasted this long, and I look forward to another decade of his rather diffident company.

Now I want to see how long the crowntail betta I bought two weeks ago is going to live. I'd show you a picture of Mr. Fandango, a gorgeous creature of irridescent peacock blue with brilliant magenta fringe, but he's at the office... he lives on my desk and everyone in the office is enchanted by him.

And speaking of enchanting...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oh, Fiddlesticks!

OK, so I finally heard back about the job I wanted here at my company. Unfortunately, what I heard was that I didn't get the job.

On the plus side, though, nobody got the job. After the process of interviewing a whole lot of people, the principals of the department had such a hard time agreeing on the qualities and qualifications they wanted in an Administrative Assistant that it eventually occurred to them that they didn't need an Administrative Assistant, they needed an Operations Analyst. Which I am not. Not even close.

Another plus is that I was told by the HR Director that, before the job changed, I was the top candidate; so I wasn't to think it had anything to do with me, it was all about the department and its changing needs. So that was a load off.

Another load off is that she told me everyone here loves me and they are very interested in keeping me around; she didn't say so, but she implied that they'd rather create a position for me rather than see me go. They are very happy with my performance at the Reception Desk, and the Hospitalist Manager I work with the rest of the day is also very happy with me, so I'll be able to stay in my interim position pretty much indefinitely, which is certainly what my finances wanted to hear. Heck, if that division can budget out a department assistant, I think I'd be a shoo-in.

So I didn't get what I wanted, but I do want what I got, so I guess it evens out.

So elated am I (and so lacking in anything to do here at the Reception Desk... the regular receptionist is on vacation for the next three weeks, so I'm stuck up here all day) that I was finally finally able to finish the first half of Chapter 9!

I think it's pretty good, but I had a hell of a time getting Danny out of that hotel so that I could have him at home for the next scene (which I also started writing quite some time ago). But what I think doesn't matter to me near as much as what you think, so please go give it a read and let me know your thoughts.

In other news, I've started a new mood-stabilizer (brand name Abilify) that my new doctor (who looks suspiciously like Christopher Guest) thinks might work better for me than those I've been on. It has the least number of side-effects, for one... so hopefully it won't be too hard to lose this weight, and maybe my demophobia will simmer down. And the best thing is, since it doesn't do the exact same thing as the Depakote I'm already on, I don't have to switch... I can take them both at the same time! That in and of itself is a recommendation.

Well, that's all I have to say just now. Here's your serving of pretty, and I'll holla atcha laytah!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Depression + Insecurity = Dollhouse Obsession ?

I've always been fascinated by dollhouses, as you might remember from this post not so long ago; but my fascination seems only to turn to obsession when I'm unhappy (as I was when I wrote that post and was on another dollhouse obsession).

And now here I am, my meds going a little flooey again, my employment shakey (I still haven't heard back from the job I applied for, yea or nay, and am on tenterhooks... which aren't very comfortable, ask any dead cow), and my general outlook just a little unhappy... and I've gotten sucked into the world of dollhouses on eBay again.

I'm particularly obsessed, just now, with dollhouse kits, and the pleasure of assembling one... one of the larger and more complicated varieties, of course. My first choice for such a venture is the Greenleaf Garfield kit:

My second choice, also from Greenleaf, is the Beacon Hill:

But after a few moments (or hours) of fantasizing about putting these ginormous and complex objects together, I remember that I totally suck at that sort of thing. And so I think maybe I should start smaller on these kits, or at least simpler... something like a nice Federal saltbox with no gingerbread, such as the Willow from Corona Concepts (which is a division of Greenleaf; there are only a few major dollhouse manufacturers, of which Real Good Toys, Greenleaf, and Dura-Craft are the top three, in order of highest prices):

Of course, what I'd prefer is to have one pre-made, but those things cost like you wouldn't believe. The kits are expensive enough (about $300 for the Garfield down to about $100 for the Willow), and don't even come with glue and paint; the assembled and painted versions cost two or three times as much, with absolutely crippling freight charges.

The worst is that I totally cannot afford this right now. I just spent over $700 getting my car registration taken care of (I put it off for a whole year, so had to pay twice the usual rate, and had a bunch of parking tickets on it as well), and yesterday got dinged another $450 because something went astray in the engine (the PCV hose and valve, whatever they might be).

Plus, before I got locked into this dollhouse obsession, I've been working on assembling this year's Halloween costume. I can't decide if I'm going to be a pirate or a vampire, or maybe a vampirical pirate, but I'm going for a very Gothic/eighteenth-century look that incorporates a few pieces from last year's costume (in which I looked haaaaawt!) The purchases for that folly have so far included a $200 brocade coat (totally not worth that much, but it seemed the better buy at the time...the other period coats I found were upward of $275), a $60 flying dragon sword, and another $60 for a custom made shirt... so far I've spent more sprucing up last year's costume than I spent on last year's costume itself!

Well, back to topic: I have been placating myself with small dollhouse purchases, furniture kits and whatnot to practice on, and keeping a passive eye on the larger house auctions. Hopefully, if I take my time and don't let myself get too hasty about bidding, as I did on the Marx dollhouses last year, I might actually come up with a bargain or two.

Though I also have to remember that I never touch my Marx dollhouses anymore. They've been down in the basement since last July and are just sort of in the way, now. I don't even have any kids around of an age to play with them (too sharp for toddlers, too dull for teens), or I'd consider giving them away.

On the other hand, scale miniatures are a different battle from vintage toys. There is absolute endless variety. People work on single dollhouses for their whole lifetimes. And as hobbies go, after the initial "real estate" expense, it's not a terribly costly pastime... certainly not as costly as my Suzanne Somers jewelry fetish.

Well, anyways, I'd better get on with my day. Speaking of basements, I have a lot of stuff in the hallway that needs to be hauled downstairs, and I think that while I'm down there I'll take a stab at organizing my drag room. Now that I'm in almost-complete-but-still-nominally-semi-retirement from drag (the occasional Court appearance, and the upcoming Fall Follies, are all I intend to do until I can get back into a sixteen), I need to get that whole area tidied up so I can find things when I need them but so that they're not taking up so damned much space.