Monday, August 30, 2010

Who Am I?

According to a certain Parks Department worker who can't seem to keep from shouting at me as I bike past him in the morning, my name is "Big Momma."

That's right - that's what he shouts at me every time he sees me.

"Big Moooommmmaaaa!" He yells it across fields, even. I'd like to kick his teeth in, except I realize he's actually doing it as an expression of appreciation. He waves at me, smiles, gives me thumbs up, pumps his fist and so on.

Is it really so hard for people to believe that larger folks can be very fit and active? The other day he gave me a big grin because I made it up a small incline in Central Park. I felt like bashing him over the head with my bike lock -- I'm hardly so out of shape that I can't peddle up a minuscule hill!

Anyway...I feel like I am finally climbing out of a strange sort of entombment. Buried alive, if you will. For the first time in about....oh, six months, I don't have a deadline looming over my head. I shipped the last extra project off today via e-mail, and heaved a massive sigh of relief.

Now I have to fight my way back into my "normal" routine. It's been a summer of tension and distress; not without its pleasures, but a lot of challenges.

Who am I? Big Momma, I suppose. For the moment, at least. Time to change that perception of myself and get back to when I felt like Lean, Mean Momma. And I want to drop two jean sizes by Christmas.

So...there's the gauntlet, well and truly thrown.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Let me start this post with a refrain I'm sure you are all sick of hearing (as sick as I am of saying it): I am soooo damn tired right now. Yawn. :-O

Here I am at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon in Manhattan in a Starbucks on 75th and First Avenue. Not at work. Called in sick. Truthfully, I am still a little sick from my cold. But that's not why I called in to "tap out," as firefighters say in NYC.

I am walking around right now in the only clothes I own that are not currently at the dry cleaners or at the laundromat. Not one single stitch of clothing remains in my house. Can you guess why?

Bed bugs. Effing bloody bed bugs.

Now, technically speaking, we still don't have them. No infestation, no biting, no midnight marauding. Yet.

But they're coming. They are in our building, and I'll be damned if I'm going to sit there idly while they infiltrate. I will go Hiroshima on their asses before I let that happen.

So this weekend, the B/F and I strained ourselves to the breaking point packing up our entire bedroom. Every. Single. Item.

Thrown out were: one formerly elegant Turkish rug bought for about $400 several years ago, a dresser bought from a flea market, also many years ago, and tons and tons of clothes. Since I have to pay for all these clothes to be washed, I ruthlessly pitched anything that I do not regularly wear (that part felt good, actually).

We threw out boxes, old shoes, ill-fitting jackets, tatty drapes. Anything and everything we don't need.

It took hours. And hours. And then we hauled everything else to the dry cleaners and the laundromat. The total bill for that alone? Easily $400.

The exterminator: $375 with tip. Then there's the $200 we spent on protective gear for the mattress and pillows. Another $50 for kennel we had to haul the cat to for the day (neither the cat or either of us can be in the apartment for six hours after the spraying).

The cat's in the kennel, the B/F's at work (late, wearing his only clothes) and I've joined the ranks of vacant-eyed, computer-carrying Starbucks seekers. When one gets too crowded, or the music too annoying, I move to another.

What I really want is to lay down on the bench seat here with its pretty brown cushion and take a nap. But I'm afraid I'll get bedbugs. So I won't.

There are many people in here, but only two of them are talking to each other. I guess this is why Manhattan can feel really lonely sometimes.

As I ramble between Starbucks, I am hoping to burn off the 500 calorie cookie I ate after lunch. Guys, it was a doozie of a cookie. I'm okay with eating it. It wasn't on plan, but heck...I have no plan for today other than to survive until 7pm when I can go get my scared-to-death cat and go home.

As I ate my cookie (which I did after a bowl of oatmeal with raisins this morning, then a lunch of miso soup, chicken and broccoli and brown rice), I had a thought: Can I retrain myself so that for the rest of my life I can eat less and be happy?

As I work to lose 25 pounds, I'm also going to be working on this mental/emotional goal.

I'm going to try and use a self-hypnosis technique: I'm going to picture a big rubber band around my stomach. (Essentially, I'm imagining I've had lap band surgery, but without the anesthesia, possible death from complications and whopping medical bill.)

My task will be to eat, but without stretching the rubber band. And to walk away content and sated with what I've consumed. Not stuffed and heavy.

I'll report back as soon as my vagabond shoes are back at home and in my regular routine. Tomorrow, if all goes to plan.

And thanks for the comments to my last post. Big hugs to you all. (Sans bed bugs, of course.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer's Over

Time to get some goals lined up for the fall and winter.

I have one: 25 lbs.

They've got to go.

For a long time I've been a little afraid of something. Just in the back of my mind, I've wondered, "Am I done losing weight?"

I hope not. I want to lose more. But my losing just stopped. For a while. For a good long while.

I'm happy I have not gained. I have fluctuated, but I haven't significantly gained.

But there's more ahead for me in the journey. Why aren't I forging ahead?

These are things to contemplate, obviously.

Sometimes I look at people who lose all their weight at once and I feel bad that I haven't done the same. I've gotten about halfway, and held.

I guess, like many of us are scared we will regain, I am also scared I can go no further. I know that's not true, but it's a fear, nonetheless.

On the update front, no workouts this week, got a cold. Post-nephew, post-deadlines, I'm sick. Just the tail end of all the stress, I think.

Time to refocus and see what's around the next corner. No need to be afraid. I can handle it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Massive Screaming Relief

I promise reams and reams of fascinating weight loss/diet blogging will come soon.

But first I must celebrate the very fabulous news I just received. (From an exterminator, no less.)

I. do. NOT. have. bedbugs.


There is a serious epidemic of bed bug infestation in NYC these days and I have been living in abject fear that I will catch them. Or, transport them home unwittingly on my shoe or something. Yesterday the BF saw what looked to be a bedbug on his shirt in the closet.

OOOOOOOMG! Major freakout, total screaming fit, much distressed blabbing on the phone to building management, and STRESS.

Tonight the exterminator came. It's not a bed bug! I do not have an infestation!

Really and seriously, I thought I was going to die of shame and distress. I swear that my apartment is not a pigsty. It's just that NYC is really really really under siege by these bloodthirsty monsters. It's disgusting, and gross.

Another massive relief: I put on the jeans that as of June were way loose on my stomach but tight on my hips and thighs -- and they are still fitting exactly the same as they did earlier this summer! Relief! Relief! Relief! I have gained some weight, but am still about the same size I was in June.

My nephew left this week, we had a lovely time. He's adorable -- when he's not being a horrid teenager.

We went to two art parks in upstate New York. We rode bikes, he went to his theater camp every day, we answered phones at the pledge drive for our PBS station, and much much more. He tasted wine and said he got drunk, but I don't see how that's possible: he sipped an amount equivalent to a hummingbird's intake.

Now it's back to being all about me, and I must admit I'm ready for it. All the big freelance projects are done, one last small interesting one for the BBC: a walking tour of Manhattan.

If you were here in the city, what part would you most like to walk around and see?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

More Family Fun

Nephew is back for Round Two tonight. Picking him up at the airport soon.

Tomorrow I've planned a day of adventures involving a Metro-North train ride upstate, biking in the Catskills, swimming in the Hudson River (we shall all ingest PCBs, I'm sure of it) and possibly a visit to the local art museum, which is a doozy, if I can coax the kids inside.

It's all part of Camp Ishmael.

Monday he is getting dropped off at theater camp, then I am hitting the gym for a long, long, long overdue workout. Final projects to be filed Monday. Relief, relief, great relief.

We are buying him a second hand bike which I will store in the basement when he's not here. Finally realized that it's smarter and more economical to do that than pay $40 to rent him one every day while he's here.

We're going to bike every day to his theater camp, then me to work, then me to pick him up, then both of us back to my work, then both of us home.

Cheapest and fastest way to get it all done, really. And it burns calories, which I desperately need, so.... there you have it.

More to come. Must head to airport now.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I ate them tonight, in a shallot, white wine and butter sauce.

There was also a piece of bread with it -- crisp, with a touch of creamy butter on it that when dipped in the mussel broth softened and got beautifully salty.

I almost never eat mussels, but I was out with three women I know for dinner at a seafood place. I know two of them as passing acquaintances. They live near by and we have a mutual friend in common but never hang out just us. I saw them last week by chance, and they asked me to join them and one of their friends for dinner tonight.

It's been a long time since I went out by myself with people I don't know well. I felt awkward, and a little girlish, and kind of funny. Weird how you get used to always hanging out with the same people (ie your friends) isn't it? And how you get attached to having your boyfriend on your arm all the time.

It was a challenge for me. A way to step out from behind my security blanket (boyfriend) and reconnect with the person I used to be: aka, myself.

I ate mussels, which I almost never do, and drank a beer. But I didn't eat any fries, and I didn't dip into the bread basket for extra bread.

Today when I was hungry before lunch and I walked past the "snack table" at work there were cookies laid out. Not chocolate chip, not particularly rich looking. I said, 'Oh, those don't look fattening.'

I was going to have one, then I reminded myself: 'You are not a person who eats while on the move. You are not a person who eats standing up. You are not a person who grabs food off the snack table without being consciously aware of what you are doing.'

You see, I've been thinking a lot about what kind of person I want to be. A healthy one, a fit one, of course, and a person who controls food, rather than the other way around.

I also told myself tonight, when I considered canceling dinner because I was tired, and had to much work to do, and so on and so on, that I am not a person who is afraid to step out on her own. And so I went.

I hope they enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed theirs. It's never easy to feel like the odd person out -- the other three knew each other well.

So the wedding: it was amazing.

Very happy for my friend, who looked gorgeous and happy. My feet were KILLING me by the end of the night, but I danced every song (almost).

I did notice at that at our table most of the women ate a little of the crepe dessert, and none of the wedding cake. I ate all the crepe and all the cake. I wanted to.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I shall turn an ankle in my killer heels and likely spill something on my dress, but I am excited for my friend's wedding today.

This being a fancy event full of all sorts of people, I'm naturally beset with a bit of anxiety and worry. There are a million negative thoughts that keep trying to get in my head -- what another blogger I know might term "evil little voices."

At various times today I've had panicked, can't breathe moment because:

1) My dress is a plain gray sack that I grabbed off a sale rack yesterday. It's not the ugliest dress I've ever seen, but I look sedate and matronly rather than young and vivacious.

2) The color does not go with my strawberry blondish hair at all.

3) Riding my bicycle in sandals has given me a zebra-stripe tan on my feet that is all too visible when I don my new killer heels. It looks like I have dirty feet.

4) The biggie: I feel like a fat cow in my dress and in my shoes, not a graceful butterfly.

Maybe all of these are true. Maybe, in the grand scheme of things, I am a fat cow with odd-colored hair and dirty feet who looks like somebody's grandmother (in many cultures, I am old enough to be a grandmother!).

But for this day -- and who knows, maybe forever -- I have decided that I just don't care.

Nope. I don't care. I don't care if I look like I weigh 400 lbs. I don't care if I'm the worst-dressed woman at the wedding.

I am going to go and have fun -- and that doesn't mean pig out, or get drunk, or do anything extreme so I can take myself "out" of the experience.

I'm going to be comfortable in my own skin. And I'm going to stay present in the beautiful moment so I can really celebrate with my friend.

And I am not -- NOT -- going to twist an ankle. And if I do take a misstep, the BF is going down with me. At least there will be two of us in an embarrassing sprawl on the floor then and not just me!