Thursday, September 27, 2007

Johan The Wonder Swede

My a cappella singing group gets together every Monday night, presumably to rehearse. Sometimes, however, more pressing issues require our attention.

Here is a dramatic re-enactment, so that you all may enjoy.

Please note: Descriptive commentary is in italics. My blog commentary is [in brackets.]

* * *

The Scene

A small conference room in an office near San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. Five women are seated around a conference table that takes up most of the room. It is 7:30 and the sun has just set. Rehearsal has officially begun.

Lisa, counting out number of chairs: How many are we again? There are ten of us now?

Me: Ummmm...yes. Definitely ten. I think.

Lindsay: It's ten. Ten is an easy one to remember.

[The Loose Interpretations gains and loses members the way any organization does. For some reason, however, it is near to impossible for any of us to remember how many of us there are. You would think the number changes every week. In truth, we could be ten people for three years, and still someone would ask "What are we? 9?" Because math is hard.]

Lisa: And is everyone coming tonight?

Me: Yeah. No one said they would be out.

I say this with authority. I will soon discover that I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Lisa, still counting: Okay, then we have just enough chairs. Oh wait! We need a chair for the auditioners! Shit!

Lisa, who works in this office, runs to get the 11th chair.

She reappears two seconds later. With no chair.

Lisa: Is the phone working?

The five of us stare at the phone, as if staring at it will answer the question of, "Is it working?" Nothing happens.

[For the last two+ years, we have been rehearsing in Lisa's office. For the last two+ years, the beginning of rehearsals has gone the same way: when one of us arrives at the main entrance to the building, we buzz upstairs. The buzzer rings Lisa's phone, which is located in Lisa's office, which is down the hall from the conference room. She has three rings to get to the phone before it hangs up and the person buzzing is left stranded outside. This means that for two+ years, Lisa has appeared to have some sort of physical manifestation of Tourettes. She will be sitting in the conference room with us, chatting, warming-up, being normal...and then all of a sudden she will LEAP! from the table and BOUND! down the hall like a madwoman, often crashing into a chair or desk or doorknob.

This is very disconcerting, because it is usually surprising. Even more so if you are in the middle of a conversation with her when she takes to racing out of the room mid-sentence.

Anyway, two weeks ago, one of her coworkers alerted her to the fact that she could have the buzzer redirected to the conference room phone. THAT IS THE MOST AMAZING THING, I believe she said. And suddenly she realized she'd been spending the past two years throwing herself down the hallway for really, no reason.]

Lisa goes over to the window and looks down. She sees one of our members arriving.


And we all stare at the phone some more. We are silent. A solid minute passes and nothing happens. We look from the phone to each other, as if to ask, "Has technology failed us? Will Lisa have to return to her previous Tourettes ways?" And then the phone rings! Hurrah!

Except then Lindsay picks it up AS THOUGH SHE HAS NO IDEA WHO IT IS.

Lindsay, in a very professional voice: Hello? May I help you?

Jean through the buzzer: Wha...? It's Jean?

Lindsay pushes the button on the phone to let Jean up. That matter solved, we resume our present-member cluelessness.

Lisa: Wait, so who are we missing?

[The expression "Wait, so who are we missing?" is uttered every single week at about 7:37 p.m.]

A heated discussion ensues as we try and remember who isn't present. Keep in mind that there ONLY TEN OF US. You would think we were trying to solve a differential equation.

Me: Carey's not here yet.

Lisa: Is Carey coming?

Me: Well, yes. I mean, um, I think so.

Sandra: WAIT! I think she said she wasn't coming.

Lisa: So not Carey?

Me: What about Frances?

Lisa: Isn't she getting married in a week?

Sandra: No, in two weeks.

Lisa: But do we know if she's coming?

Me: She may not be coming.

Lisa: So if -- Hi, Jean -- that's no Frances, no Carey...then we're only missing Dianne and Susan.

Lindsay: Didn't Dianne say she wasn't coming?

Me, Lisa, Sandra: ???

I decide to check my phone to see if anyone's called to say they will be late. They haven't. However, I DO have a text message from Dianne. Reminding me that she is out of town.

Me: Dianne isn't coming.

Lisa: Oh.

Lindsay: I thought not.

Lisa: So we're only missing Susan then?

Me: Yes.

Lisa: Okay, so we totally have too many chairs set up.

At which point the phone/buzzer rings and I pick it up.

Much to all of our surprise, it's Frances.

Me: It's Frances.


By 7:45 we have seven of us around the conference table. To the best of our knowledge, we are now only missing Susan, who is never flakey. Thus, we assume she is not coming, but none of us can remember why. I call her and leave her a message, "Um, it's almost 7:50, are you coming?" And because we are not actively rehearsing but instead waiting for an auditioner to arrive, the conversation ensues.

Lisa: So Sandra, are you happy we have found you a husband?

Sandra: The Swedish text messages you mean?

Lindsay: What?

Lisa: Kristy and I were out on Saturday night with a group of people and there was this guy there. Named Johan. Although Kristy insisted on calling him Hans for the first few hours.

Kristy: Sorry.


Lisa: Anyway, he was tall and he really wants to date a Swedish girl. Wait, how did we learn that? Why do we know he wants to find a Swedish girl?

Kristy: Umm. I'm not sure. I may have asked him why he doesn't have a girlfriend.


Lisa: But we really think you'll like him! He does technical stuff for work, so that means he's geeky! And he's cute and nice!

Sandra: Is he tall?

Lisa: He's really tall! He's like...Johan the...WONDER SWEDE. So we were like, WE KNOW A SWEDISH GIRL!

[Sandra is originally from Sweden. She is also gorgeous, and has a thing for geeky boys.]

Sandra: Is that when the text messaging started?

Me: It must have been.

Lisa, to the others: It was AMAZING! They were sending all these texts to each other from Kristy's phone. IN SWEDISH.

Amanda, getting to the heart of the matter: So how do you know this Wonder Swede?

Me: Umm...

Lisa: Umm...

Me: I don't um...I don't think I know. He was at dinner, right?

Lisa: Yeah. Isn't he friends with the girl who works with your friend's husband?

Me: Oh! Um, I think so...

[Clearly, we know Hans/Johan very well and have every reason to endorse him to our dear friend. Wine.]

Lisa: Sandra, he is PERFECT for you. And I am pretty sure I invited him to my birthday party [wine] so you can meet him there! Kristy, make sure he knows to come to my party.

[And with that -- for the time being -- the matter of Johan the Wonder Swede getting together with Sandra was settled.

A little while later, right at the end of one audition, the phone/buzzer rang. MUCH to our surprise, it was Susan. So we let her up and just as poor, unsuspecting auditioner was leaving, Susan came in looking very, very upset.]

Group: Susan! Hope you're okay! Sorry you are just missing -- Susan, this is Jenny, Jenny this is Susan.

Susan and Jenny shake hands and say hi.

Susan, looking disconcerted: I am so sorry I'm late. I'm sorry I missed your audition, Jenny, but THANKS! For coming! It's good to meet you! I'm sorry.

We all look at Susan with concern. We are unsure why she's late and/or why she is apologizing so profusely. Then she hangs her head down a little and puts her hair behind her ears.

Susan: I might be a little bit...wasted.

We laugh, collectively. After all, it is MONDAY.

Susan: I just, HEY, I'M GETTING MARRIED! In like a WEEK. And did you know that people will buy you DRINKS? When you're getting MARRIED!? And my coworkers are all STEVEN IS IN VEGAS FOR HIS BACHELOR PARTY SO WE'RE TAKING YOU OUT so we went downstairs and we got some drinks. I am so sorry. Jenny, I'm sorry. I work with geeks and they buy me drinks. I'm sorry, I got your message, Kristy, and I was like, OH SHIT. And I -- I can't believe it's already NINE O'CLOCK!

Me: Susan, it's 8:15.

Susan: I know! I can't believe it!

Us, to Jenny: Uhm...we wish we could say it's never like this.

We start to usher Jenny out, laughing and apologizing, but only sort of.

Susan: So what else did I miss?

Lisa: Well, we found a husband for Sandra.

Susan: WAIT! NO! I have a boyfriend for Sandra! I have been meaning to set them up! I know a guy she should date. And he is from DENMARK!

Us: Wow...

Lisa: But Johan is from SWEDEN!

Susan: Johan? Well Rasmus is cute. His name is Rasmus.

There is discussion about this new Rasmus development.

Amanada: Rasmus might be competition for Johan.

Lisa: What does Rasmus do?

Susan: He is a computer geek, so Sandra will like him. He's kind of beefy, but sexy beefy. SEXY BEEFY!

Susan delivers the line "sexy beefy" with enthusiasm, and much pointing at no one in particular.

Lisa, to us: I think this is my favorite version of Susan so far.

Amanda: Rasmus is sounding pretty good.

Lisa: Yeah, they may be pretty evenly matched.

Kristy: Plus "Rasmus" is fun to say. It's kind of like--


[I am not sure if I was going to say Razzmatazz.]

Kristy: Razzmatazz!

Susan, sort of quietly to herself: Razzmatazz gets into fistfights in North Beach.

Amanda: What? Did you say fistfights?

At this time, the conversation is momentarily diverted when Lindsay brings up how amazing it is that fights always draw so much attention. Then she tells the tale of how she grew up in Mississippi and the county fairs would ALWAYS involve fights, and those always drew more attention than anything else at the fair. Her description actually ended with the following sentence:

Lindsay: ...and there's really just nothing to do but drop your fried pickle and run toward the fight.

[I actually grabbed a piece of paper so that I could write that down. Because it is a priceless sentence.]

We did meander back to the subject at hand, however. Namely that Rasmus/Razzmatazz is perhaps more violent than would be good for Sandra.

Lisa: Well, then, Johan is definitely better!

Susan: NO! Razzzzzzzzmatazz is good, though!

Kristy: We should invite them BOTH to your birthday party!

Lisa: Ohmygod -- they can have a DANCE-OFF!!!

Amanda: A Nordic dance-off to win Sandra's affections!

Lisa: Johan the Wonder Swede versus Razzmatazz the Angry Dane!!!

Much discussion is had about what the dance-off might include. More apologies to Jenny are given as we walk her to the door. Someone mentions that it's odd that our next auditioner hasn't arrived yet.

Susan: Oh her? I saw her on my way in. She's waiting in the hallway.

Upon hearing this, Lisa bolts from the office as though she's heard the phone ring to go and fetch another unsuspecting girl.

[Ladies and gentlemen, my a cappella group. Creating a Nordic dance-off.]


* * * *

That night after rehearsal, I received a text message from Johan the Wonder Swede, asking for Sandra's digits. Apparently Lisa and I made very convincing (read: INSISTENT) (wine) arguments for him to get in touch with her.

Yesterday, I got an IM from Sandra saying she and JtWS have scheduled a blind date for this Friday.

I wish them well.

But I'm still rooting for a dance-off.

Bringin' It On Home

So we announced today where the BlogHer Conferences are going to be held this coming year.

You can check out the full post here, but the highlights are...

1. BlogHer Business will again be in New York City on April 3-4.

2. BlogHer is launching a TOUR. We are going to be heading to SIX different cities for one-day conferences all down the Eastern seaboard. Starting in Boston and ending in New Orleans. How much does that rock? Y'all. (Ya'll?)

Well, right. It's not like I didn't have a hand in helping figure it out, but still. The event could ONLY have been in SF if everyone else wanted it there, and we could find a way to make it awesome and a real SF experience and still be relatively affordable.

Oh hey, did you see that? SAN FRANCISCO!!!!

I begged every hotel in the city that could fit us to see what they could do, and I think we found a great, amazing, fantastic venue.

It's really quite stunning.

Also, this means that I can WALK to the conference venue from my apartment. (I won't, of course, but I could, and that is what is important.)

I am so excited I don't even know what else to say.

Except that if you're planning to come to SF, please do say hello.

Next up (for serious): a post called Johan The Wonder Swede!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

South Beach Diet Vodka

You are probably here at this site for one of two reasons. Or okay, three.

1. You are on the South Beach Diet and you want to know if you can drink vodka.

2. You are on the South Beach Diet and you want to know if you can drink vodka and/or ANY OTHER BOOZE.

3. You read my blog anyway and did NOT Google "South Beach Diet Vodka" and/or "South Beach Diet Rum" and/or "South Beach Diet drunk." To which I say: thanks, but YOU ARE IN THE MINORITY.

Every week my search results vary, but a few things hold true. Someone wants to see pictures of strippers from the Hip Hugger in Kokomo, IN. Someone wants a recipe for vegetarian chili. And LOTS of people want to know just how much liquor they can drink while on the South Beach Diet.

And I gotta tell you, I love those people.

To those people, I can share my thinking -- but I warn you it is mostly totally unhelpful, and also terribly irresponsible. Behold my brilliance.

* * *

Booze not only slows your metabolism, it has lots and LOTS of stupid calories. So like, if you're a girl, and you're aiming to consume 1200 calories a day, and you're an alcoholic, your options go something like this:

Daily Food Intake: Option 1
1/2 grapefruit
1 slice whole grain toast
2 tbs peanut butter
1/4 c cottage cheese
grilled chicken salad
1 apple
2 slices cheese
handful almonds
sensible dinner

Daily Food Intake: Option 2
1 bottle wine
3 potato chips

You see the dilemma, of course, which I blame on "physics" because "physics" is stupid and doesn't work. (Oh yeah, I'm bad-mouthing "physics" again.) But look. We all know that one glass of red wine a day is supposed to have health benefits for us. My point is that if "physics" actually worked, the hypothesis would go:
  • If ONE glass was GOOD for us, then TWO glasses would be even GOODER for us.

  • And like, SIX glasses would put us into the healthiest state of our lives!

This is why me and "physics" don't get along.

So anyway. We may determine that one should not drink a bottle of wine if one is trying to lose weight, unless one is also working out enough to burn off 750+ extra calories a day. And if one is working out that much, one probably isn't Googling "South Beach Diet Vodka," so we don't really need to be too concerned with those people anyway.

Lesson One: a bottle of wine a day keeps the waistline away. Damn it.

From a strictly caloric standpoint, then, the boozes such as vodka and rum and gin might seem like a better bet than the caloric WINE option. Alas, they are NOT. They are SNEAKY. A stiff martini has the same number of calories as a glass of wine, even though it's way less grape-flavored and not sweet at all. (This again is why the "physics" doesn't work and is stupid.)

Remember back when you were learning about how not to ever do drugs in elementary school? Or taking drivers' ed? And they showed you a diagram that illustrates how a shot of liquor is equal to a bottle of beer is equal to a glass of wine (although they TOTALLY leave out their respective deliciousness factors)? Well, calorie-wise it's like that, too.

(BTW, this assumes that you are not adding sugary colas to your liquor, or anything with calories. Diet Coke and club soda are your best bets. Juices, regular sodas and tonic are all loaded with sugar and calories. And remember? We hate those.)

So what does this all mean?

Probably it depends on your tolerance. Ex: I can drink wine for days before I start feeing it, whereas two or three martinis will kick my butt. And 93 glasses of wine have more calories than 2 glasses of gin. (Okay "physics," you win THIS time.) But you and I both know that "martinis" is not really a long-term solution of any sort. Which brings us back to the drawing board.

Lesson Two: Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker. At packing on the pounds.

The only other option, then, is beer.

I love beer.

And the thing about drinking light beer from bottles is that you know exactly how many calories you're ingesting with each one. Plus all those bubbles fill you right up, which means you eventually have to stop drinking, because your body is all "HI I AM GOING TO EXPLODE" even though your head is all, "YOU NEED MORE BEER BECAUSE LOOK HOW SMART IT'S MAKING YOU," even when you have direct evidence to the contrary such as you're wearing your boyfriend's boxer shorts on your head.

Thus, if you can drink light beer, I recommend it as your South Beach Diet drink of choice.

Unfortunately, beer -- and I am sorry if this is offensive to anyone, but it is too true -- makes me pee. More than water, more than coffee, more than any other element on the planet, beer makes me have to pee, A LOT and also RIGHT NOW. I am not kidding when I say that the single reason I do not drink beer is because of how uncomfortable I get because of all the peeing it makes me do. I have actually stood in line at a party outside the bathroom for so long that as soon as I finished my turn, I got right back in line again. I am not kidding even a little bit.

So let's see. To recap this VERY informative post:

  • Yes. You can drink on South Beach and still lose weight. The best way to do this is to not drink.

  • Barring the non-drinking non-option, try to stay away from carbs as much as possible and pay attention to calories ingested. A good rule is that a glass of wine with a generous pour is about 150 calories. So is a martini. Diet beer is about 100 calories. At the end of the day, generally speaking, you want to burn more calories than you consume, regardless of South Beach or any other kind of diet.

Oh! And remember: you have a thing called a "metabolism." It is related to "physics." If you drink too much, the metabolism becomes a mean drunk and will start hording fat just to piss you off. Your only hope at retaliation is by denying metabolism booze, drinking lots of water, and using things called "elliptical machine."

It is the only way.

Next up: nudie pics* from the Hip Hugger!

*I am totally lying.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bagels of Death


I have belonged to many gyms in my day, including the one I am currently offering monthly donations to. (Me and my current gym have worked out a great system, though. I don't go, so I no longer just feel guilty for not working out, now I get to pay for that privilege. Used to be you could get that kind of guilt for free.)

But as we learned in the post below, I was not throwing ENOUGH money at my weight issues, so I decided to supplement my spending by hiring a trainer. And as the first one didn't work out so well, I had to go searching for another.

Now. This second time around, I was a bit more careful, realizing that "cheap" is not maybe the BEST criterion on which to make one's selection of personal trainer. Ahem.

Thus, taking "cheap" out of the search process, I found a wonderful, smart, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and understanding trainer who costs as much as, oh, I dunno, raising a small pony.

(Oh, but that's okay. I'm sure having that "savings" thing everyone's always talking about isn't really all it's cracked up to be.)

So I now meet with my trainer once or twice a week (because seriously, that is all I can afford), and she makes me lift things. And bend. And stretch. And roll. And I think I am doing fine.

I am not sure I am losing any weight or gaining any strength, but I HAVE learned how to get on and off the ball without slamming into the floor. This is progress. I'm considering adding it to my resume. My new LinkedIn headline will be all
"Marketing & Events Professional With 10+ Years' Experience. Can Also Get Off Ball."

I believe we call this "work/life" balance.

Anyway, I started to wonder if maybe the reason I think things are going well is because we haven't really talked about diet. She has touched on the subject, but hasn't come at me full-force with broccoli-related advice, perhaps because she's afraid of scaring me off.

Well, except last week, she gently touched on the subject again.

"What have you been eating lately?" she asked verrrrrry casually.

"Well, I have to say, I'm trying to get into a routine now that I'm commuting. And my first couple weeks were okay, but not great. I stop for coffee at the drive-through every morning, and I was pickingup breakfast there, too."

She maintained a casual air as she asked, "Oh? And what do you get for breakfast?"

Uh oh.

"I've been getting bagels," I said, trying not to look her in the eye.

She tried not to wince. I could see it. "Do you at least get...whole grain?"

"Yes," I said, because I do. But then she asked, "And what do you put on it?"


Now I was wincing.

"...c-c-ream cheese?" I said, as though asking a question. As though turning it into a question could make it be less true.

But it didn't make it less true. And her face fell. She looked at me like I'd just told her I eat puppies for breakfast. With a side of babies.

"Kristy." She said. It was a complete statement. One that suggested, gently, that I had officially ruined her life.

I felt the bagel shame.

And I expected to get a further lecture, to hear details about the evils of bagels, but none came. She had said her piece. We moved on from one form of bendy torture to some other form of bendy torture in silence, save for her suggestion that I do at least 15 reps of some curly arm thing.

But then, as I was huffing and puffing away, she launched into this casual, earnest, HORRIFYING soliloquy about how THIS IS THE TIME in my life to lose this weight and get in shape and get healthy because otherwise I am getting OLD and looking down a dark and narrow path of DEATH. All that awaits me is diabetes and heart disease and stroke and more things that lead to DEATH.

I am maybe paraphrasing.

But the point is, no one in the history of the world has ever painted such a bleak picture of bagels. And she totally meant well and was just trying to be helpful, but OH MY GOD. Bagels! They are just...just...innocent rounds of delicousness! Little discs of heaven, covered in fatty goodness! Satisfying celebrations of carbs!

Except right, they are also apparently killing me. While I was busy thinking "Hey, at least they aren't Krispy Kremes," the bagels have been busy plotting my end, serving as vehicles of doom, working steadfastly to bring about my untimely demise. One cream cheese packet at a time.

Damn it.

So now I'm working on being a Bagel Rejector. Perhaps if enough of us with gym memberships and trainers and guilty consciences come together, we can form some sort of Ban-The-Bagel Coalition. We can march up and down the streets (cardio!) and at last, draw attention to the insidious evil that lives within each scrumptious bagel bite.

We can end the madness.

And the bagels? They can fend for themselves on the black market for all I care.

In the meantime, I shall have to re-calibrate my morning routine. Pass the unflavored, nutrient-rich yogurt, please.

Fashionista I Am Not

But she is.

I am delirious with drawing! I have made fashion-cum-breezy-elegance-sunroof-style illustrations for Blogging Barbie for NO REASON. Because she did not ask. But I am nothing if not inconsistent.

There is more.

*p.s. I am so talented that I do all my work in Word. HAHA!

Last Day To Help A Comic Out!

Ladies & Gentlemen,

One of my (and Ish's) favorite comics here in the Bay Area is competing in Comedy Central's Open Mic Fight. This is kind of a HUGE deal.

I am asking you to vote for him.

And you're all like, why? Who? What now?

Basically, Mo Mandel is a young comedian who deserves recognition for several reasons:
  • His material is actually good.

  • And original.

  • And well written.

  • Mo works incredibly hard.

  • Mo is a NICE guy. I have met dozens and dozens of comedians, many of whom just...aren't. So many are mean-spirited, or bitter, or have enormous egos, or any combination thereof. Mo is a good egg. (And you know, cute, too.)
So do your part. Get your crush on, then go Vote for Mo.

You can say you knew him when. :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Photoshop

When I was a very little girl, my mom said that I would get on two-week kicks. I'd be totally, completely absorbed by something for two weeks, and then like clockwork -- DING! TWO WEEKS IS UP -- lose interest in it and move on to something else.

I don't know if this holds true any longer, but at the moment, I am having a BALL fancying myself an "artist." I have actually always wanted to be a graphic designer (truth be told) but I have none of the things you need to be a graphic designer, such as an eye for design or what I believe they call "skills." So it has come to this.

I am thrilled that you enjoy my "artistry" and would be happen to provide additional artwork on request.

For example:
botanylicious said...

I love your diagrams! I, too, want to borrow (with proper credit to you of course) the drinking stick figure, except change it to have wild curly hair.

To which I say, ask and ye shall receive be sorry. Voila!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Once upon a time I decided that I wasn't nearly throwing enough money at my weight-loss efforts.

(Scroll down for more illustrations, btw. They are tres artistique!)

Sure, I thought, I am donating huge sums of money to my gym every month, but what I want to know is: how can I spend even MORE money to get exactly NO results? Surely there must be a way to keep my ass and boobs inflating at a frightening rate!

And then it occurred to me.

I KNOW! I did not exclaim, because I was totally doing this at work and people would have stared at me. I could hire a personal trainer!

And lo, one of the most disastrous work-outs of my life ensued. (And this is really saying something. See historic reference.)

To put this in perspective, you need to understand that I am a single, thirtysomething chick who is cute but also overweight because shutup. That is not the point. The point IS, by this phase in my life, I know a thing or two about diet and exercise.

(Note: KNOWING them does not mean I APPLY them, but if I applied them I wouldn't be writing this, and you would totally be missing out.)


I decided to troll Craigslist to find myself a trainer since it is a rule that everything in San Francisco must come from Craigslist. (Duh.)

My criteria were that the trainer needed to be at least somewhat affordable, somewhat local, and do you say?...articulate. (Hey, I do not need my trainer to be a literary marvel; I simply want my trainer to use things like both nouns and verbs, which was surprisingly hard to find. Well, especially because I also sought the occasional punctuation mark. Example of non-effective advertising: "I will u in ur home or office make u hotter then u ever been b4!")

So after wading through the ninetyhundred ULTIMATE POWER DIESEL EXTREME ROCKHARD KICKASS FEEL THE BURN WORKOUT OF YOUR LIFE EXPERIENCE ads, I found a guy who was all like, "Hey, I can help you." So I contacted him.

We spoke.

He was nice.

We agreed to meet for a "consultation."

Let me just say right here that the "consultation" was fantastic. The trainer was cute and sweet and seemed all genuinely concerned about me and my goals and my out-of-shapeness. He seemed to want the same things for me that I wanted. And when we got to the stickier subjects, the ones I was afraid would be nightmarish, he eased my fears completely.

"So, uh, do I have to like, weigh in?" I asked, resigned.

"Oh, no! We don't do weigh-ins! Or fat calculations! Or BMI measurements! Most of those metrics are arbitrary!" he replied.

(He didn't actually say those all in exclamations, but for how good it sounded, he may as well have. I all but swooned.)

And then he went in for the kill --
"The best judge of progress is how you feel in your clothes. You'll know how you're coming along."

WOW! HOW FANASTIC! I was totally sold. And then I asked the next question, just to be sure I wasn't dreaming.

"What about diet and nutrition?"

"Let's not worry about that just yet," he said. "What's most important right now is that we get you more active and feeling better," he said.

Uh huh. So I went back the next night for our first session.

It happened in two parts.


Remember how just like, three lines ago my sweet trainer was all, let's not worry about diet? Yeah. So imagine my surprise when the first thing he said was "Here, have a seat. LET'S DISCUSS DIET."


And then he did this thing that was straight out of a textbook. Or Kindergarten. He basically asked me to name fruits and vegetables. (I am not kidding.) He wrote them down.

APPLE! He wrote it down.

GRAPEFRUIT! He wrote it down.

Then he asked me to name lean meats, and wrote those down, too. Then we discussed skim dairy and additional lean proteins such as legumes. When we got to grains, he got a very concerned look on his face. "We try and stay away from starches and carbs as much as possible. The occasional whole grain is okay sometimes." Then he added the words "SOME whole grains" to the piece of paper.

Then, handing the paper to me, he said, completely seriously, "So if you just stick to eating only what's on here, you will be fine."


I must have stared at him blankly. Perhaps sensing my lack of shared enthusiasm, he then pointed to the column with fruits and veggies and said, "But you can eat as MUCH of these as you want! YOU COULD EAT BROCCOLI ALL DAY LONG!!!"

I did not laugh in his face, although I wanted to. Because really? OH IS THAT ALL? JUST EAT ONLY HEALTHY FOODS??? WHY DIDN'T I KNOW THIS???

I looked him straight in the eye and said, "I notice that 'wine' is not a food group."

He did not seem to think this was funny, although maybe he was laughing on the inside. I certainly was. Instead, he explained to me that while a glass of wine is probably okay sometimes, alcohol is not really a standard part of a healthy living plan.

"You should probably just not drink," I believe he said.

Uh huh. So apparently, if I eat only super healthy foods, stop drinking, and work out regularly, I will probably get healthy.

How enlightening.

So armed with this new, earth-shattering information, we headed to the workout.


We immediately started by walking over to the part of the gym where they have the balls.

You know those balls.

The ones that are always pictured with women who are light and bendy and inordinately happy to be rolling around the floor on a BALL defying gravity and building muscles or some shit like that.

But see, I am not built like super gymnast lady above. I am with the cushy, top-heavy/bottom-heavy-ness. I have to take things like GRAVITY into account. In fact, I have stayed away from the balls up until now for this very reason.

So when the trainer was like, "OKAY! Let's get on the ball!" I just stared at him, thinking, um, I cannot get on the ball.

So I said, "I cannot get on the ball."

"But the ball is so good for your CORE."

And immediately I thought that I do not care if the ball can give me a total body workout or build my CORE because for all the amazing research that the world has done lately about building one's CORE for long-term wellness, my more immediate concern is still NOT ROLLING FACE FIRST ONTO THE FLOOR.

And, given my familiarity with things like the size of my butt, the size of the ball, and PHYSICS, I was confused.

My trainer did not understand my apprehension. (My trainer has also never had boobs the size of bowling balls, either, so there you go.) But I? I could see the whole thing happen in my head.

But. He was my trainer. And he was insistent. So after a great face-off (a la "I can't" "You can." Repeat.) I gave in. I got on the damn ball.

I did not fall over. At first.

Actually, I did okay, because I even managed to get myself into the horrid, horrid position called "bridging" where your back is on the ball and your feet are out in front, supporting your trunk, and that is when I realized that getting my ass on the ball was the least of my troubles. Once in a "bridge," I was sure I was going to die. Either my legs would give out or my ass would or I'd forget to balance and roll right off (see above).

Yet unfortunately nothing gave way quick enough, so the trainer made me start doing crunches.

Invisible Internet friends reading this, I do not know how many crunches I did, but it was at least thirty thousand. Maybe two million. With a couple breaks between sets. He -- that wretched man -- just kept saying, okay, do more.


And then, when we finally, FINALLY ended that torture, he said, "Let's try this machine now."

Which is when I discovered a few key things.

1. I hated my trainer.

2. I would do anything to stop crunching on the ball, even if it involved some as-yet unseen machine.

3. I was stuck.

Yeah. See, while HE had already leapt over to the next torture device, I had not yet managed to get up. Because I couldn't. I was so unsure of myself and so scared of GRAVITY and my abs were so sore that I literally could not move.

"How do you get up?" I asked, from my prone position.

"What do you mean?" my stupid trainer asked.

"I can't get up," I offered.

"What do you mean?" he asked again.

"I don't know how to get off the ball," I answered, trying not to sound panicky while I watched my life flashing before my eyes, picturing myself suffering death-by-CORE-ball-inertia, promising myself that if I ever managed to somehow get upright again, I would celebrate with a glass of wine or 12. And no broccoli.

Eventually the trainer figured out that I could not get myself off the ball without help, so he hoisted me back onto my feet. And rather than check in with me about my near-death CORE ball experience, he bounded over to the next machine and demonstrated the most awful exercise I have ever seen in my entire life. Worse than the CORE ball of death.

He climbed into this...this...torture chamber, I guess, resting his torso against a padded bar, and then folded himself over it.


Then he used his CORE strength to pull himself right back up again.


And then looked at me and said the most ridiculous words that have ever been said to me in my whole entire 32 years of being alive (and trust me, there have been many).

He said: Now you do it.

Now I do it?


But he wasn't jesting. Mr. YouCanHaveAllTheBroccoliYouWant, WhatDoYouMeanYouCan'tGetOffTheBall seemed to have zero idea of my physical and mental limitations. I was scared of a BALL. Was I really going to climb into a hang-upside-down-till-you-fall-over-and-hit-your-head-and-die machine? REALLY???

So I said, "REALLY?"

"Yeah," he said. "Just try it."

And then he said the next most ridiculous thing that has ever been uttered to me.

He said:


But convinced of his powers of persuasion, he jumped back in the machine to demonstrate just how EASY it was. Erm, sort of like so:

Uh huh. Just down and up. Down and up.

Except he forgot the other, SECRET step that I knew awaited me, wherein my neck would snap in two as my entire body, propelled downward by my massive rack's gravitational pull, would collapse on top of it.


Because I am stupid, or more likely because I was delirious from the first set of 50 billion crunches on the damn ball, I climbed in. I gave it a go.

And you know? I didn't topple over. Wonders never cease.

Yet instead of my trainer praising God that I did not hurtle off the machine to my neck-snapping doom, he simply had me go another 104 trillion sets or so, going down and up like normal, and then down and up from my left side and then my right. Like it was a perfectly normal thing for me to be doing.

Well, until I couldn't get up again.

Yes. I got stuck. Again.

There I was. Just me and my boobs, hanging sideways off the Godforsaken Fall-Over Machine with my entire CORE having given up the fight. My core was done. Gravity won.

"I need to stop now," I told my trainer. And I think when he realized that I literally could not move from the bent-over position, he finally, finally understood. He helped me out of the death contraption and once again, I was grateful to be upright.

"So that's about it!" he said, our hour completed. "When would you like to come back and do this again?" he asked, I think in earnest.

I told him I'd have to get back to him.

I left.

And I did not return.

But I did stop at the liquor store on my walk home.

* * * *
Sadly, most of this story is true. No, I'm not actually THAT out of shape, and yes, I do know that wine is not a food group, but ultimately I think that is a failing on the part of the food pyramid.

Also, Ish was with me for this whole thing. He can verify.

This Is Not The Post

Oh, and I assumed it went without saying, but hi.

If there is ANYTHING you would actually LIKE me to write about, my all means just ask. Do you have questions? I'll answer 'em! I have long just been too afraid to do something like "Q&A FRIDAYS" because I always assume that I won't actually GET any questions, and then it will just be "A FRIDAYS" and what fun is that? And also how lame. But good heavens. If there's something you actually WANT to know more about, just say the word!!!

Because you? You are my favorite.

There's No Crying In Blogging

I feel like every few months I post about how much I'm not posting, and believe me when I tell you I HATE that more than you do. I love blogging, I love writing, and I have missed it these last several months.

But I am back. I swear. I have about 17 posts in the works -- weddings, diagrams, the whole shebang. I also owe a few memes, and have an interview post to write (oh, aren't you thrilled?).
Also, work has finally stopped running at a fever pitch and I am settling into a normal routine and am vowing to work at least SOME blog time into my work day.

Anonymous said...

Waaah. I thought you got PAID to write your blog these days. Are you only working part time or what?

I am not sure what anonymous means, but I am wondering if my working for BlogHer is unclear?

So let me state for the record:

I work for BlogHer as I would work for any other organization -- I am in marketing and event planning. Primarily, I manage the BlogHer Conferences. And while the entire BlogHer organization is focused on women who blog, personal blogging is not part of my job description. Alas, I do not get paid to write about my ever-enlarging ass, much as I'd like to.

That said, however, I really do have more time now to write. Weekends, after work, during lunch, etc. And I plan to use it.

Next post coming later today!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Worst. Episode. Ever.

Um. I'm on the East Coast. It's 9:10 and we're working through the Emmys and oh my sweet jeebus. Let me be the first -- or one of the first -- to say that this is the worst, most painfully directed and put together awards show I have ever seen.

The timing is all off. The round stage has everyone confused. The cameras seem to have no idea where they're supposed to be. The writing is painful. No one seems very good at reading the teleprompter.

And of course, all this just makes the usually awkward moments of these awards shows that much worse. The older actors seem scared instead of distinguished, the improvised moments make little sense, and there is a general feeling that no one knows what they're supposed to be doing.

The transitions are so bad, so cringe-worthy, that Ish has taken to hiding in the bathroom during them because he cannot watch the train wreck.

Just, wow.

* * *

I had to come back. It's now 9:46 p.m. and I just watched, slack-jawed, at the Jersey Boys/Sopranos tribute.

Tell me which was worse: watching the sweet-faced Jersey Boy serenade us as we sort of caught glimpses of Pussy's body being rolled into the sea (!?!?!?!) or the Here-Is-The-Sopranos-Cast-Coming-From-The-Trapdoor-To-WAVE -AT-YOU-FOR-23 seconds circus? WHA????

(p.s. Helen Mirren is a goddess.)

* * *
Tim Goodman does a great job of live blogging the Emmys, and leaves me without much to add. Generally speaking, Tim mostly hates everything on television, and mostly with good reason (though even I think he's too harsh some of the time). But between my horror last night and reading this fun post, I have decided two things:

1. I will not write more about the monstrosity that was the 2007 Emmys. There is too much to say, too much to hate, Tim has said most of it, and I don't have the three days to spare railing against it.

2. I will endeavor to live-blog the Oscars.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Updates, Blah Blah Blah

Ish and I leave tomorrow for Bemily's wedding in New Jersey. My liver has left my body in preemptive protest, and I hope I manage to find it before our flight leaves. Perhaps it is under the bed with Monster, who has also taken to hiding whenever my carry-on suitcase comes out.

I am very much looking forward to a weekend of outright debauchery, except I realized I don't have any clean underwear.

Now, perhaps you're thinking one does not exactly need "clean" underwear if debauchery is going to ensue properly, and I would probably agree with you. But I have to wear something on the plane.

And so it is again that I find myself making the very sad, very telling, very me decision that since it is already 3 p.m. and I have more work and other task-y things to do, that it actually makes more sense for me to run to the store tonight and buy NEW underwear than it does for me to launder underwear I already own.

This probably doesn't seem like the most sensible decision to you, but it makes perfect sense to me. Plus I always am a little tickled that if I use my special credit card, I will earn miles for my purchases. Which means, essentially, that my underwear will eventually be paying for their own flight. HA!

* * *

Um, in other news, my a cappella group's website is finally up! And it only, oh hey, lookit that. FOUR YEARS.

Shut up, I am totally on top of things. What? La la laaaaaa.

* * *

So in the meantime, while I am off gallivanting and carousing and partaking in other outdated terms -- you might wanna take a look up there. Cuz didja notice? I updated my profile.

No, it was probably not worth the four-month wait, and it will probably continue to change...but it DOES include a photo of Ish from Halloween two years ago when he dressed up as Ike Turner. (Yes, I went as Tina and yes, I had a black eye.)

* * *

Were you guys fans of Flight of the Concords? Yeah? Because LOOK HOW COOL THIS IS.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dr. Phil's Sister

I never told you about the time I met Dr. Phil's sister.

There's an episode of Sex and the City where Miranda tells Carrie that she's just met Steve's mother. And Carrie asks what Steve's mom was like. And Miranda says:

Imagine Steve. In a wig. Drunk!

Well, if you were to ask me, "Kristy? What's Dr. Phil's sister like?" I would say exactly that. Erm, almost exactly:

Imagine Dr. Phil. In a wig. REALLY drunk!

It was during that super transitional period in my life, October of 2001. My husband and I were separated, divorcing. I was moving to San Francisco but hadn't left yet because I wanted to wait until after my best friend's wedding. My soon-to-be-ex and I had sold our house. All of my belongings had been split into various stages of "storage:" There were boxes of things at my parents' house; there were smaller things at my sister, Healy's (including two displaced cats); there were household items in boxes at my cousin Nate's place in Palo Alto; the rest was divided amongst a couple suitcases that were taking up permanent residence in my car.

Emily was getting married in New York. I had time and nowhere to be, really, so I decided to stay at the hotel starting the Wednesday before the Saturday wedding. I figured it would be a unique place to spend a few days, and would give me a place of my own to be for a while. I wouldn't be encroaching on anyone's space, being at a hotel.

On Thursday evening I decided to get dinner and have a couple drinks at the hotel bar. It was a pretty swanky hotel property, and the hotel's "tavern" was actually located underground. It was not the kind of place where locals would go -- or even know about -- and the only patrons were hotel guests. Of which there were precious few.

I had never taken myself to a bar alone before, but I figured it was better, nicer, healthier than sitting alone in my room (especially because I didn't yet own a laptop). I was hungry for company.

While I was eating my dinner and half-watching Friends on the bar television, a woman came into the place. She was wearing fancy-ish clothes, having just come from some sort of cocktail party. She sat next to me, and struck up a conversation with both me ad the bartender at once. It was pretty evident she was drunk.

She was very comfortable chatting, it seemed. She had just flown in that day from Texas. She was in town for her niece's wedding. She talked and talked, her warm drawl nearly made comical by her inappropriate volume. I remember her asking me myriad questions about my life and then not doing a very good job of listening to the answer. She'd hear just enough to give herself a platform for hearing herself speak again, readily dispensing advice I hadn't asked for.

"Hey, have you heard of Dr. Phil?" she asked me, maybe 20 minutes after she'd arrived.

"Yes, of course," I said. This was before he had his own show, back when he was known for appearing regularly on Oprah.

"Well, I'm his sister," she said, sort of maybe trying to be discreet but failing miserably, and I realized immediately how much she looked like him. I almost said so, too, except I thought maybe that wasn't the best compliment to be paying her.

"Oh! Well..." and then I didn't know what to say. What do you say?

It didn't matter that I didn't know what to say, though, because once she had spilled the beans about her true identity, some sort of wildly inappropriate floodgates opened, and it was all downhill from there.

"We are very much alike," she offered, before launching into something about how both she and her brother are very, very interested in helping people. I remember trying to politely inquire as to whether she actually had any training or schooling related to therapy, and her replying along the lines of that being totally unnecessary.

So there I was. At my life's greatest crossroads, mourning the end of my marriage and celebrating the beginning of my best friend's. Figuring out the best way to grab hold of my youth and jump-start my life, while watching my mom fight the end of hers. I was excited and terrified, sad but hopeful, doing a damn good job of keeping my shit together.

And there she was. Drunk and getting drunker, sloppy and crass, carrying an air of grand and wholly unearned self-import. When I thought she was merely being friendly and had asked about me, I made the mistake of telling her I was getting divorced. And so she sat, delivering platitude after platitude, asking questions she didn't have any right to ask, carrying on about how love and life are. Doing me a favor, I'm sure she thought, imparting her great wisdom unto me.

Eventually I found a polite way to excuse myself, and I went back to my room.

All in all, my experience with Dr. Phil's Sister was fairly brief, but it sticks out in my head for the way it punctuated my stay. I may have only barely had a grasp on life and my place in it, my path through it...but you know? At least it was my own. And it seemed far more developed than hers.

Funny how that works.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wanna Help Me Do My Job?

'Cuz that'd be cool.

Basically, we're narrowing down where the next big annual conference should be. What do you think?

It's been narrowed down to 4 locales:
  • San Francisco
  • San Francisco-area (outside the city; Silicon Valley-ish)
  • Boston
  • Las Vegas

I wanted to post the poll on my site, but I couldn't get it to work. Of course.

But you can vote here:

A bunch of information regarding pros and cons of the event can be found in this extremely well written post on BlogHer (yes, of course I wrote it):

So go vote, and ask your fellow would-be BlogHer attendees to do the same!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Last Time I Saw Paris

I began this entry last April.

The last time I saw Paris I was in Vegas.

T, my ex-boyfriend, TheBoy, the only man I've had what might be considered a "normal" adult dating relationship with (and which failed spectacularly) had this to say to me this morning over IM:

T: I read your Paris in April entry.

me: Ah.

T: ...I had to laugh to myself after reading that entry, because it occurred to me that I'm not a "trip to Paris" guy. I'm a "trip to Vegas" guy.

* * * *

I am not sure what it was about dating him that made me so crazy. Or that made it such a memorable experience. We were together for a total of about 8 months, and I was pretty infatuated -- certainly more so than he was. At the same time, it is inarguable that we were not a good couple.

Sometimes I wonder if my relationship with him stands out in my memory because the whole thing was so...transient.

Why do you date as a grown-up if you know there's no "real" future with the person you're dating? If you're a thirtysomething woman and you're seeing a guy and you know -- know -- that he will not be the man you marry, are you wasting your time with him? Is there a reason to keep seeing each other?

Probably not. But you do it anyway.

I found myself justifying my relationship with him all the time, in one of two ways. First, I would try and ignore the voice in my head (and heart) that told me we would not end up together. I told myself what every woman has told herself about a guy at one point or another (and probably more than once): Sure, he says that NOW. But things could change. This could change. He could change.


The second way was maybe a little more realistic (if just as useless), and would alleviate my frustration in the short-term: But if he loves me and I love him and we enjoy each other's company, why would we break up? That doesn't make any sense!

So I dated him as long as I could before our relationship buckled under the pressure of my always wanting it to be something more. He eventually broke up with me, matter-of-factly, smartly, for reasons that I could have foreseen on our second date.

That didn't make it any less painful at the time. But is probably part of why we're such good friends now.

* * * *

He'd splurged, and surprised me, and got us a suite on the concierge floor of the Venetian for a couple nights. I'd gotten new clothes, new shoes for the occasion. I left right from work on Friday night and spent the whole day watching the clock. When we arrived at the hotel the girl at the desk asked what the special occasion was, with us staying in such a nice room and he'd replied, "first date." It wasn't, but it was a funny response. While we were there, we did Vegasy things. We drank a pitcher of margaritas at 2 in the afternoon for no reason and had an amazing dinner at Craftsteak. We wandered around for hours enjoying people-watching, a bit of gambling, fancy cocktails, some Vegas-worthy ensuite canoodling, and a lot of laughs. We went to bed at 6 in the morning.

And then at dinner on our second night I burst out crying, right there at the table. Because we were having such a great time, and I didn't want it to be what it was. I wanted it to be the start of something big, not something that had already achieved all it ever would.

I didn't get it, or at least I didn't want to. I had found someone I had a great time with...and so doesn't that mean you stay together? You date and you love and then you settle down and have kids and a mortgage and dogs and sure, sometimes, maybe you go to Vegas.


Well, yes. If that's what he is about. But T wasn't about that. He was Vegas guy.

And you don't marry Vegas guy. You go to Vegas with Vegas guy.

And then you come home.