Week 2: Where's all the dancing?

So I made it through my first full week on Weight Watchers and lost 3.6 pounds.

Don't be too impressed with me, though. I think it was mostly due to the fact that I wore lighter clothes this week than last. I did not bow to the temptation to take off my shoes to get weighed, though. I'm saving that up for a week when I really need that two-tenths of a pound advantage.

I'm happy and proud of that 3-point-six-and-please-don't-call-it-a-three-and-a-half-pound loss and the program itself isn't bad. People said the ravaging hunger of the first week would abate and it turns out they were (mostly) right. I'm hopeful that the program will work for me. And I'm committed to keeping up with it. I'm actually eating more food than I was before -- it's just that the food I'm eating is healthier. And I'm definitely more active now, in part because going for a walk takes my mind off how badly I would like to eat a bag of chocolate, but mostly because you can earn extra points with exercise (which, of course, can then be spent on chocolate).

But the truth is I'm not really crazy about the weekly Weight Watchers meetings. They're a little too pop-psychology for my taste. And it's not even very good pop-psychology, like those stupid self-help books that are filled with utter bullshit but at least they make you feel better about things for, oh, an hour or two after you read them.

This week the leader talked about how people always feel like they'll be happier when they have more money, a more expensive car, a better love life, a more fulfilling job, etc. And I'm with him so far, because I totally get that you have to be happy in the moment, and that you shouldn't waste your life waiting and hoping and wishing for it to begin.

But then he goes in a totally different direction, saying that we should think about what will happen when we reach our weight loss goal. He gave us a blank scrap of paper and told us to write down something along the lines of "If I reach my goal of (fill in the blank), I will be (fill in the blank). And I'm thinking, Wait a minute. Are you seriously telling us that we will finally be (fill in the blank) if only we lose some weight? That flies in the face of every stupid self-help book I've ever read!

I stared at my little blank scrap of paper for a while, as I munched on some carrot sticks and dipped cherry tomatoes in a container filled with two tablespoons of hummus, which is actually a lot of hummus even though it doesn't sound like it. Everyone was writing except for me. And because I didn't want anyone to think that I have a bad attitude, I finally wrote something down, too. Here's what I came up with:

"If I reach my goal of losing weight, I will be thinner."

Probably not what the leader was looking for. But you can't fault my logic.

Here's the thing. I don't expect or depend on weight loss to change my life forever and make me live happily ever after just as I no longer look for Prince Charming to come riding in on a white horse (or for Richard Gere to pull up to my street corner in a stretch limo) and rescue me from the supposed drudgery of my life.

See, I thought the meetings were going to be more like they are on the television commercials -- a bunch of plump, pretty women wearing cute plus-sized outfits (bright red dresses! White cropped pants with strappy sandals and denim jackets!) dancing around arm in arm, "sharing what works and laughing about what doesn't."

So far there's been no dancing.

There has been some laughing and also a little bit of sharing tips and ideas and etc., though. Last week, for example, I learned that you don't wear jeans and sneakers on weigh-in day. That's a damn good tip right there. Also that fat free, sugar free pudding is only one point and tastes just the same as the fat free version, which is two points. So, you know, you can eat two of them.

But I wish there were more of that than the silly self-reflection and illustrative stories designed to help me understand why I've gained weight. I know why I've gained weight. I've gained weight because I eat too much and don't exercise enough. And if I eat better and exercise more, I will lose weight.

Simple as that.


Good lord, I hope it is as simple as that.

Pretty in Pink

Being a bridesmaid is a very girly thing to do. Yesterday I had not one but two pairs of pink shoes delivered to my house. And a third pair is being delivered today. With rhinestones, people. Sparkly. Pink. Rhinestones. I've never even tried on a pair of pink shoes before, and now I own three of them.

Don't tell anyone I said this, OK? But they're actually pretty damn cute.

So cute your head will explode

You know what I always say: Any day you see a bunny is a good day.

Seriously, you can ask anybody. I say it all the time.

Of course, the very best bunny sightings are live. But if I ever need a bunny boost, I know exactly where to go: the bunny page compiled by the cuteologists at Cute Overload™.

First of all, the photos are great -- and they don't just have bunnies, but all kinds of tiny-pawed, googly-eyed, floppy-eared, fluffy-tailed scrummyness.

The commentary is pretty funny, too. I love the rules of cuteness. And when they write dialogue in the animal's voice to go along with the photos.

Or write in a fake French accent a la Pepé Le Pew, eef you know what I mean, mon petit peanut brittle.

It's cute, but it's not sickeningly cute, you know?

OK, I take it back. It *is* sickeningly cute.


[via the comments section of this post on being jennifer garrett.]

Week 1: Pass the corn, please

I debated writing about the fact that I've joined Weight Watchers (especially since J9 recently complained that Gienna Writes has been "boring" lately). But then I said to myself: "What the hell. It's my site. I'll write about whatever I want to write about, yo."

OK, I didn't actually say yo.

Anyway, there's a WW group that meets at work, but I wasn't completely sure I wanted to join that one. I thought it might be weird or awkward or embarrassing or something. So last weekend I went to a meeting in Salem, just to check it out, kind of see what it was like.

And I sat there looking at the tables and shelves filled with Weight Watchers crap for sale, and the brightly-colored motivational posters, with pictures of fruits and vegetables and fat free milk spilling out of a cornucopia, and fuzzy photocopied before and after pictures of Weight Watchers' success stories covering the walls.

And I listened to the people at the meeting complaining about how they are sick of eating salad all the time (whiners) or how they actually like salad (liars) and how they wish their mother wouldn't make quiche for Easter because that's their favorite food and they can't eat it anymore (they say you can eat anything on Weight Watchers, but I'm not 100% sure about that -- more on that later).

And I listened to the leader tell a corny story about a daughter and a mother who made an Easter ham every year and every year they cut off the ends of the ham without understanding why except that that's the way the grandmother always made it and when they asked the grandmother why she cut the ends off the ham she said it was to fit it in the pan and that was supposed to illustrate the fact that we all do things out of habit without really understand why, like, you know, sitting down in front of the television at night and eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream straight out of the container.

And then I read the little pamphlet that has the chart of ideal weights based on your age and height and that's when the little out of body experience I was having kind of peaked and I had to cross my arms and lean back in my chair and act all disinterested and skeptical and jaded to keep myself from just actually bursting into tears.

And when the meeting was over I tried to duck out without drawing the attention of the leader so he wouldn't ask me whether or not I was ready to sign up, but naturally that didn't work and the only reason I could think to tell him why I didn't want to sign up was that I was "feeling a little freaked out right now."

And then I realized that this was probably going to be weird and awkward and embarrassing no matter where I attend the meetings and so I signed up for the at-work session, because at least that way I can attend the weekly meeting on my lunch break.

You know, while I'm eating.

So anyway, this is my first week on Weight Watchers (I'm signed up for 15, I think). And so far it's OK. My first meeting at work was fine -- there was still a corny illustrative story (this one was about how rowing a boat is like being on a diet) but the people in the group are all friendly and funny and the fact that there were some familiar faces there actually made it slightly less weird.

I chose the points plan (everything you eat is assigned a point value and you can't go over a certain number of points each day) over the core plan (you can eat all you want of the core foods every day, plus a certain number of non-core foods per week) because, so far at least, chocolate and wine are not considered core foods.

And I'm learning how to use the little points calculator and diligently writing down everything I eat and its point value. And I'm new at this -- I've only been at it for three days -- but there is one thing right off the bat that really stands out for me about this plan, my first thought on the whole Weight Watchers experience, and it is this:

I am friggin' starving.

On the first day, I ran out of points at 7:15 p.m. I spent the rest of the night feeling sorry for myself and wondering if it would be cheating to get up at midnight, when my points would theoretically re-set, and eat a bowl of cereal. I was so hungry my stomach actually hurt. I finally cooked an artichoke -- it was the only thing I had in the house that was zero points.

On the second day, I went for a 45-minute walk just so I could earn a couple of extra points for the day. And I was *still* hungry when my points ran out at the end of the day. I went to Whole Foods and bought more fruits and vegetables in one trip than I have in all of 2006. And, despite the fact that I can't stand water, I suddenly find myself drinking a lot of it.

Turns out this is why you see people on diets drinking so much water. It's not that it's good for them -- it's that they have to get something in their bellies to drown out the rumbling noises!

No soup for you!


There are some new images up over at my mom's blog, including the one above, which is marked NFS. In case you were wondering, that means "no free soup."


What to do when the boss isn't a people person

Have you ever told your boss to go f*ck him- or herself?

I did once.

OK, so it was more like five times.

But in my defense, I had some very bad bosses. Very, very, bad bosses. Bosses who were, I imagine, a lot like Scott, the inconsiderate, ungrateful, untrusting boss at Blenz coffee shop.

That bastard.

There was the boss who locked me in a windowless room and made me count a cash-drawer full of pennies, nickels, and dimes over and over again because my register came out a penny or two short.

There was the boss who would reach down and touch my legs to make sure I was wearing pantyhose, as the dress code required.

Then there was the boss who used to criticize the way we responded when he asked us how we were -- we weren't effusive enough for him.

There was the boss who told me to work in the bar area one night even though I was way underage and then called me the c-word and fired me on the spot because I left to get some fresh air around midnight -- I was feeling sick from the thick haze of cigarette smoke in the bar and the nasty old men who kept trying to pinch my ass.

And there was the boss who was the very dirty cook at a certain restaurant (he often touched the food with his disgusting fingers and flicked his cigarette ashes in people's drinks) who made us all order cookies from his kid and then quit, taking our money with him.

This is why you should go to college, kids. Trust me.

[photo via beyondrobson]

I have completely run out of things to say

You really don't want me to tell you about going bra shopping this weekend.

With my mother.

Do you?

That would just be some really sucky writing

When I was in the sixth grade I wrote a science fiction story with a ton of charismatic characters, a really richly-drawn setting, and a ton of wild plot twists and turns. But when I got to a certain point in the story, I couldn't think how to put all the pieces of it together so it would end in a way that was satisfying and that would make sense. So I wrote, "And then she woke up and discovered it was all a dream!"

Actually, that's not true. Even in sixth grade I was a better writer than that.

Let me just tell you (and stop reading if you have TiVo and haven't watched this week's episode of Lost yet) that if we get to the end of this season and it turns out that this whole story is the subconsious mind wanderings of lard ass Hurley, who is lying in a coma in a mental ward, I am going to be f-ing bullshit.

As someone at work said, it's all just a little too much like that lame season of Dallas when Pam came downstairs and found Bobby Ewing naked and sudsy in the shower and he was alive after all because the whole previous year was just a dream.

Or like the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy woke up, and looked at her aunt and uncle and the farmhands and said, "Oh, but it wasn't a dream! It was a place! And you, and you, and you, and you were there! But you couldn't have been, could you?"

Good thing there haven't been any allusions to the Wizard of Oz in Lost, huh?

Anyway, if he was in a coma, wouldn't he have lost weight by now?

I'm not really sure why suddenly I sound like a turn-of-the-Century snake oil salesman

Hey friends! Did you know you can hire a Professional Artist to make Customized Illustrations for your own Personal Use? Well, it's true! And here's the best part: All it will cost you is one Dollar.

That's right, friends. One dollar.

You want a drawing of a woodchuck playing ragtime piano and singing? That'll be one dollar.

Daring space heroes? 100 pennies.

A moutain scene? One buckaroonie.

Eoghan and his rabid dog, Tipper? A single smacker.

A man in a stylish suit and tie with a donkey head sitting across from a large fat carp, both drinking iron city beers?

Well, that kind of an illustration is a mite more complicated, my friends, and (naturally) more complicated illustrations take more time and cost more money to produce. So that illustration of a man in a stylish suit and tie with a donkey head sitting across from a large fat carp should really cost more than a dollar. It should cost at least, say, ten dollars. But for you?

Today, my friends, it is only one dollar.

Check it out, and if you do buy a sketch from Sketch-it for a dollar (and, seriously, why wouldn't you? I mean it is only one dollar for cryin' out loud) please mention that you saw the link on my site and I will get a free sketch. Not that I need a free sketch. Because -- as I may have mentioned previously -- they are only a dollar.

UPDATE: I'm bumping this back up to the top of the page so I can post my one dollar sketch, which arrived today! It's the best dollar I ever spent! (Plus, look how skinny the illustrator, Michelle Bridges made me!)


Don't you know who I am?

All I could think of when I saw the picture on the left, which was the tease for this article on CNN, was "Why the hell is there a picture of Vanessa Huxtable on CNN?" Do you think Cynthia McKinney will punch me in the face if she finds out? OK, that's bad, I know. But I just have no respect for a politician who makes Jerry Springer show guests look like church mice.

You have to love this story, especially the "high and the haughty" and the "much ado about hairdo" lines:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U. S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said Wednesday that Rep. Cynthia McKinney turned an officer's failure to recognize her into a criminal matter when she failed to stop at his request, and then struck him.

He reached out and grabbed her and she turned around and hit him," Gainer said on CNN. "Even the high and the haughty should be able to stop and say, 'I'm a congressman' and then everybody moves on."

"This is not about personality," added House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois. "It's not about racial profiling. It's about making this place safer."

For her part, McKinney wasn't backing down from the argument. She charged anew that racism is behind what she said is a pattern of difficulty in clearing Hill security checkpoints.

"This has become much ado about hairdo," she said Wednesday on CBS's "The Early Show." McKinney, a Georgia Democrat, recently dropped her trademark cornrows in favor of a curly brown afro.
(It goes on but I'm stopping there because -- surprise, surprise -- Tom DeLay says something stupid.)

It's all Jen Garrett's fault

Because she wrote this. And now it is snowing. On April 5th.

And, by the way, the dog and I met the cutest little puggle puppy at the beach this weekend. You know, when it was warm.


One of these things is not like the others

So I did this thing where you upload a photo of yourself on a site called and it spits out your celebrity look-alikes.

And here is what the computer came up with.

In case you were wondering, the smokin' babes in this lineup are Michelle Wie, Hitomi Yoshizawa, Lucy Liu, Namie Amuro ... and some goofy-looking white chick.

Meanwhile, I also matched with Britney Spears, Anne Rice, and Michael Jackson. That's right, Michael Jackson. And not the old, cute, Michael Jackson with the button nose, either, but the perverted, creepy, Jesus-juice drinking one that looks like an alien.

That one really cut me deep.