Looking Fine By 2009: 8 Weeks To Go!

I’ve lost two pounds since my last weigh in and I’d like to tell you it’s because I’ve been drinking loads of water and working out and being all sorts of productive, but I really think any fluctuation in my weight is just a fluke. In fact, if you look at my starting weight and my weight today, I’ve actually gained 2 pounds. I like to waver in and around this little 5 pound range and feel proud of myself or disappointed in myself accordingly. It’s my thing.

And some things need to change. I have eight weeks to make a real change my life – and then a lifetime to reap the benefits of a healthy active lifestyle with good eating habits and the tiny waist to show for it – that could be mine if I had any kind of will power or commitment. So far? I can honestly say that some nights I snack less when thinking about the upcoming Monday weigh in. And that I do drink more water than I used to, but that isn’t really saying much. So let’s make some goals shall we?

  • Netflix just launched a version of the Play It Now feature that should work on my Mac (in beta) – and a good handful of workout videos are available for that feature so instead of waiting on the mail and blaming my lack of activity on my mailman, I’m going to stick to videos in that section and workout right in front of my Mac, whenever I have the time – aiming for at least 15 minutes of activity every day, like our fearless leader Jen.
  • Drink 3 glasses of water every day, even on the weekends.
  • Eat my modest pile of Halloween candy as quickly as possible so that it will be gone from my sight.

How about you? Are you making any progress or coming to any big realizations about changes you should be making? Jen @ Daily Mish Mash made this comment on her post this morning:

I had 57 people comment on the original post and most said they were going to participate in the challenge, however I’ve only had about 7 or 8 people checking in each week. I’m thinking we need to rededicate ourselves to our goals.

If you are participating in this challenge, make sure you are linking up your posts over @ Jen’s blog via the Mr. Linkey or leaving a comment if you are doing the challenge minus the blogging about it bit.

Has Anybody Seen My Willpower?

Conversation with husband last night (who was using his laptop the whole time):

Me: I decided I’m finally going to read Mayflower. I’ve had it for years now and have never read it.

DH: Uh huh.

Me: Why go to the library for new books when I have books here that I’ve never read?

DH: Ok.

Me: It actually looks very interesting. I don’t read nonfiction often enough. And with Thanksgiving coming up, it’s a very timely read, don’t you think?

DH: Mmhmmm…

Conversation with my son at the library, while returning Well of Lost Plots & In The Hand Of The Goddess:

Me: I’m just going to return these books, I won’t get new ones, because I’m reading Mayflower. If we hurry, we can still catch Elmo’s World when we get home.

MM: L, M, N, O, PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

Me: But I did just drive all the way over here, I aught to at least look at what’s new…

MM: ELMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Me: I wonder if they have any of the books I’ve been thinking of reading… I could at least check.

MM: TOES!

Me: Hey look, they have the next Jasper Fforde book!

MM: BOOK!

Me: I’ll just check the young adult section real quick, okay?

MM: No.

Me: They have the next Alanna book, too…

MM: blah blah blah

Me: OH!!! They have Rumors, too! They never have Rumors, I’ll just grab these two to check out…

MM: Elmo?

Me: I probably shouldn’t get the next Fforde book, because his books take so long to read…

MM: Now I know my ABCs….

Me: But these two should be quick reads… And Rumors is NEVER in stock. I should probably jump on that.

MM: babble babble pop babble

Me: And I can always read Maylower during your naps and the other two at night…

MM: Noope!

Me: While writing a novel…

MM: ELMOOOOOOOOOOO

Me: And potty training you.

MM: I go potty?

Me: Oh well, life isn’t fun if you aren’t piling on more than humanly possible, right?

When we got home, Elmo was just ending, but I got these, so I don’t care:

And I think MM will forgive me…

Lessons From ‘The Well of Lost Plots’ by Jasper Fforde

It took me a full month to finish reading The Well of Lost Plots, book three in a Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. Usually I fly through books, so the fact that this one took me so long might mean it wasn’t very good. Might. I assure you, this wasn’t the case. The truth is, reading The Well of Lost Plots was a lot like taking a crash course on Everything You Never Knew You Didn’t Know: Dramatized.

Fforde creates his own little universe inside this series and you have to know the language to understand it all. The language, for the most part, you can learn by being a well studied English Major, but that will only get you so far. Still, even the biggest of dolts can get through this book (I’m guessing) if you are up for the challenge. Here is a small sampling of the things I learned from reading The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde:

Grade: A

  • Books are not written by authors, in the way that you would think. The ideas for a book are transmitted to the author from the Book World using an Imagino Transference Recording Device (ITRD). “The ITRD resembles a large horn (typically eight feet across and made of brass) attached to a polished mahogany mixing board a little like a church organ but with many more stops and levers. As the story is enacted in front of the collecting horn, the actions, dialouge, humor, pathos, etc., are collected, mixed and transmitted as raw data to Text Grand Central, where the wordsmiths hammer it into readable storycode. Once done, it is beamed direct to the author’s pen or typewriter, and from there through a live footnoterphone link back to the Well as plain text. the page is read, and if all is well, it is added to the manuscript and the characters move on. The beauty of the system is that authors never suspect a thing – they think they do all the work.” – chapter nine
  • Footnotes are both very useful and potentially very annoying, much like cell phones, they can be used to communicate important advice, send junk mail to the masses, or gossip with your gal pals about the Karenin’s scandalous affair.
  • Problems in grammar are often the fault of a grammasite, “a parasitic life form that feeds on grammar inside of books. Technically known as Gerunds or Ingers, they were an early attempt to transform nouns (which were plentiful) into verbs (which at the time were not) by simply attaching an ing. A dismal failure at verb resource management, they escaped from captivity and now roam freely…” Chapter 6
  • If you should happen to forget that you are pregnant and go on a drinking binge, when you remember that you are in fact pregnant, you will need a spoon.
  • Another example of a difference between our world and BookWorld is that in Book World, no two people ever speak at the same time, breakfast is almost never eaten, as it’s never mentioned in books and there are rarely two people in a given book with the same name. There are also often countless people in a book with no name or personality at all. It is sort of like walking through a movie set, with lots of Extras milling about.
  • Unlike our world, in Book World there is no TV. So when things like the Book Awards (or Bookies) come up, the main characters all go to the show, leaving behind Generics to keep the stories in order. The Generics are kept up-to-date of the Bookies via footnoterphone updates. With all the usual characters away at the Bookies, fiction isn’t quite so good, but usually nobody notices. This is often the reason people in our world argue over the quality of a recommended book. They had read it during the Bookies.

I’ll stop there. My point is, this book was brilliant. The amount of information Fforde gives, the details he thinks out, it just blows my mind. I don’t think I could hope to be doing it justice in this review except for having quoted it so much. I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves literature and comedy and has the patience to sift through Fforde’s mind. The first book in this series is The Eyre Affair.

What’s On Your Nightstand: October

Last month I said that I planned to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Well Of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde, In The Hand Of The Goddess by Tamora Pierce and Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick. When I wrote last month’s What’s On Your Nightstand almost none of the books were actually in my possession. Similarly, this month the only book on my TBR list that’s on my nightstand is the book I’m currently reading. But first let’s talk about how I fared in the last month.

  • Jane Eyre I never finished. I really wasn’t enjoying it. It was kind of depressing me and I decided that life was too short to spend reading bad literature. I wrote more on that here.
  • I just finished reading The Well of Lost Plots a couple days ago and LOVED it, but it seems like it took me forever to finish it. Fforde’s books are always so detail-rich and complex in plot that it’s not something I can devour in one sitting. You have to immerse yourself in his world and if you don’t love that world, you probably aren’t going to make it. I LOVE it though so it was well worth the effort. I think this was the best of his books that I’ve read so far. My full review is located here.
  • I am reading In The Hand Of The Goddess right now and liking it a great deal. It’s picking up much quicker than Alanna: The First Adventure did and so it took me no time at all to get hooked on the story. I’m becoming a big fan of Tamora Pierce as well.
  • I hope I read Mayflower this year. I’ve had it for awhile but keep putting off reading it for various reasons but it does look good and it seems like it would be a good book for the fall, but it’s hard to stay committed when I also want to read….

Books To Read Soon

  • American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld – I’m hoping to read this next month at some point
  • Tale of Despereaux by Katie DeCamillo – the movie is coming out soon and I want to read the book before I break down and see the movie (which you know I will)
  • Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde – Book number 4 in the Thursday Next series, I swear it’s like crack.
  • Rumors by Anna Godberson – follow up to The Luxe, I’ve been wanting to read this for ages, but the library never seems to have it in stock and of course there are always other books that I want to read, too.
  • How To Teach Filthy Rich Girls by Zoey Dean – this book has gotten a few bad reviews, but I know it’s one that I’ll need to read for myself or I’ll never be able to let it go, you know?

What’s on YOUR nightstand? Have you blogged about it and linked up @ 5 Minutes For Books yet?

Looking Fine 2009: Week 9

IMPORTANT NOTE TO LOYAL DAILY MISH MASH FANS:

Our fearless leader, Jen is switching to a new server and is currently the opposite of up and running and she’s unsure when things will be running, but guesses it won’t be today. She’s asked me to make note of that for any LF2009 participants looking to link up; you can leave a comment HERE with a link to your post (I’d put up a Mr. Linky but I’m not as cool as Jen and I’m not quite sure how yet) and Jen can either read them here, otherwise I’ll email her later tonight with anyone who weighed in today. Kay?

So yeah, on to more bad news. I gained almost five pounds (4.8). To be fair, I totally deserved that and maybe last week was the world’s biggest fluke. I kind of ignored my diet last week. I did exercise three days with the Pilates DVD that I reviewed here, but my water intake was sketchy at best (phrase of the week!) and the snackage? Let’s just say I indulged. Frequently. And did I mention the Game Night in which nobody came and it’s now up to me to eat all those snacks because dh is on a diet and he’s much more dedicated than I am. It’s like in his genes or something. Soon it’ll be in his jeans when he actually loses weight and makes me look like an idiot. Then I’ll have to kick it into high gear before his work hires him a secretary, because we all know how that would end.

So let’s review: Did not try. Did not lose weight. Did discover pretty good Pilates workout, but thanks to Netflix and my decision to return the DVD, I’m not sure when I’ll get another DVD to try (with a 2 at a time plan, holding onto it seemed like a bad idea).

I’m thinking maybe I should buy a DVD but I’m waiting to find one that I really love and hoping we come into posession of a Wii before that (which is about as likely as us coming into posession of a house any time soon).

My goals for this week:

  • Stop being sick (did I mention I’m sick? Leave chicken soup in the comments section below)
  • Drink MORE water.
  • Snack… less…. ish
  • Sabotage dh’s diet so mine will look better. “Look sweetie, I tripped, fell and made you your favorite chocolate chip cookies?” ::innocent smile::
  • Do something active at least once this week.

That’s all for now folks. Don’t forget to leave a link to your post in my comments section so I can forward them to Jen, our fearless leaderette @ Daily Mish Mash.

Review: Pick Your Level Weight Loss Pilates Is A Go!

Grade: A+

So my latest DVD workout attempt was Pick Your Level: Weight Loss Pilates. Admittedly, this might be the best disc I’ve done so far and I know you will be so proud of me when I tell you I did the entire 30 minute workout ::coughs::overthecourseofthreedays::coughs:: – that’s right, I actually finished the entire DVD. I think that’s a first.

So let’s review, first the things I liked, which kept me sticking with it:

  • Unlike Just My Size Yoga, this DVD felt like a workout. I am fairly confident a calorie or two has been burned this week and I felt truly challenged. Gasping on the floor, asking, “Does my body do that challenged?” a couple of times, but not so often that I died.
  • Unlike 10 Minute Solutions: Kickboxing Bootcamp this DVD was not made for the Athletically Elite. You do not HAVE to be super skinny with loads of energy to survive 5 minutes (although it certainly wouldn’t hurt).
  • Despite being faster paced than JMS Yoga, it was not so fast paced that I tripped over myself, a la 10 Minute Soltions: Fat Blasting Dance Mix. They walk you through where to put what and do a couple of slow demonstrations before moving into the faster pace and usually that faster pace actually came right in time, you know, when you are thinking, “If you don’t let me move my arm soon, it might fall off.” Before that.
  • They explain in the beginning that there are three people working out in the video at 3 levels. It’s obvious who is who, not only by the varying degrees of agility, but more noticably by the progression of skin to clothing ratio. The first model (level 1 – that would be my level) is wearing skin tight legging style pants and a tank top. Not skimpy, but not a powder blue full body suit. Level 2 wears something more resembling a sports bra with leggings. Level 3 manages to somehow show more skin, in a slightly skimpier different colored sports bra, but just in case you get confused between 2 and 3, Model 3 will usually have one leg over her head in impossible looking positions. Think broken Barbie doll.
  • One cool aspect is you aren’t supposed to limit yourself to one level. If you are feeling like, “I could be doing more,” you can temporarily move from level 1 to level 2 or even 3. If you are thinking, “this level choice was a bad idea, I think I’m dying,” tone it down a level. Easy peasy. I know we’ve all seen the DVDs with the multiple people and it’s all cliched, but it really does work well in this video and it’s interesting to see what people in shape are capable of.
  • I like that the Level 1 chick doesn’t appear to be immortal. She occasionally makes faces as if to say, “oh this one is tough,” or breathes a little more deeply than the anamatron robots in levels 2 and 3 who could probably sing the national anthem throughout the whole workout without breaking a swear, dropping a beat, or batting an eyelash. Okay, maybe they’d bat an eyelash, but that would be intentional.

The DVD is divided into three-ish sections – standing, side lying and lying lying. I personally prefer the standing workout, but that’s probably because if there was a level 0, I’d be all over it. But I kept up fairly well with level 1, and occasionally I did a level 2 move. I was pretty proud. I’d consider keeping the DVD for awhile but since I switched to a 2 at a time plan on Netflix, I’m planning to send it back by the end of the weekend so something new can come in cause I don’t see MM parting with Cinderelmo anytime soon. But I do plan to try another Pilates DVD soon and I’m pretty proud that I finally finished a disc. So let’s hear it for Pilates:

YAY PILATES!!! A+ For Not Sucking!!

Have you tried any new workouts recently?

Aloha Friday: What Are You Reading?

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blogland anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

So this week, I want to know…

What book are you reading right now? Is it GOOD?
If you aren’t reading anything, what would you like to be reading?

To answer my own question, right now I’m reading The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde. I’ve been reading it for two or three weeks right now. Fforde books always take me awhile because the plots are packed and intense and full of detail, but in an amazing way. The book, which is third in a series which begins with The Eyre Affair, takes place largely in a fictional world, that is, in a world inside of fiction. Where books are taken very seriously because they live inside of them. There is a whole government in this world responsible for the caring and maintaining of literature from the inside and it appears that books are written here, rather than by the author, as one might expect. So there are all these amazing little gems about the jurisfiction agents working to keep things running smoothly, and it’s absurd and brilliant and… well just wonderful.

Last night I read a paragraph that looked like this:

“Take the first had had and that that in the book by way of example,” explained Lady Cavendish, “You would have thought that that first had had had had good occasion to be seen as had, had you not? Had had had approval but had had had not; equally it is true to say that that that that had had approval but that that other that that had not.”

So I’m thinking you can understand why it’s taking me awhile to finish this, but still LOVING it. And I normally read before bed, when of course, I’m the most tired, so I rarely get more than a chapter in in one night. 🙂

BTT: A Couple Of My Favorite Couples

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is:

Name a favorite literary couple and tell me why they are a favorite. If you cannot choose just one, that is okay too. Name as many as you like–sometimes narrowing down a list can be extremely difficult and painful. Or maybe that’s just me.

Well obviously I have a couple of couples in mind. The first which comes to mind is Scarlett & Rhett from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind:

They are like my classic favorite. Their love is absurd and messy and real. They aren’t perfect, they don’t get it right, but it doesn’t make their love any less intense and brilliant and wonderful. The other favorite from classics would be Lizzy Bennet and the infamous Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

It takes these two a while to realize they are perfect for each other but the chemistry is obvious. Two people so similar but in varying ways, you can see how it took them so long to get their acts together but gah.

A less classic literary “couple” I adore would be the couple-triangle of Stephanie Plum, Joe Morelli & Ranger in Janet Evanovich’s Plum series. Their love story never gets old, thank goodness. Fourteen books in and I’m still hooked on them, still unsure myself which “bad” boy Stephanie should end up with although I think we all know… It’s just the other one is so…

Who are your favorite literary couples?

Dear Diet, I'm Just Not That Into You

I know I should be working out right now to the pilates DVD that just came in the mail, but I’m so excited because I just found out that I won the anti-diet from Carol @ Siswick Construction Zone! We’re talking 2,855 yummy delicious calories in the form of new ultra healthy-ish Cadbury Chocolate Bars. Perhaps the cranberries and apricots thrown into that yummy chocolatey mix will make up for the aforementioned yummy chocolate? Still, how can I think about trivial things like waist lines and my health when I know this will be coming in the mail for me soon:

In an effort to not go completely crazy, I am now drinking my second glass of water for the day. I know that isn’t remotely impressive but it’s better than having the  glass of Egg Nog that I really want or the peanut butter cookies we made yesterday which came out sooooooo good! No, instead, I’m only having a glass of water. But when that prize comes in the mail, I can’t promise to continue in my good behavior. Sorry.

And THANKS Carol!