Wednesday, August 31, 2011
181.8 lbs. Considering the chocolate coconut haystack snarfing, I got off easy. But they were sooooooo good.
Two TVs in the locker room of the gym: one showing the Kardashians and the other showing “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” O, Irony, I worship at your feet.
Right knee is aching like a sonuvabitch today. At the advice of Dr. Best, no leg presses and at the advice of the knee saying, “Don’t even THINK about putting me on even the elliptical today”, not much in the way of cardio. I did, however, get in the recommended leg work (curl, extension, rotary calf) and a full upper body. However, at the point where I would be considering an hour of cardio, the knee was barking at me like a beagle (mouths with feet. I have yet to meet one that I can respect). I can take a hint.
From time to time (okay, pretty much as a running diatribe in the background), I comment on the American cultural views of body image/overweight/etc. Let’s be honest: in the movies, if there’s a fat guy, he’s either the schlubby comic relief or an incredibly evil bad guy. Jonah Hill. Jabba the Hutt. Instantly writing off/judging someone based on body shape is as shallow and idiotic as doing it based on race, religion, sexual preference, favorite color, love of WHAM and Culture Club (well, actually, the last two examples are fair grounds for ridicule). Fat people just don’t have their own version of NAACP or GLAAD. Even the mentally disabled have PSAs up for people to stop using the term “retard.”
It wasn’t always this way and since I spend so much time listening to the radio, I get to hear all kinds of stuff on NPR. A couple of weeks ago, there was a discussion about the prevailing American attitude towards body image. According to the expert (Please note: I don’t remember what show I heard this on or who the expert was. I am over 50 and I listen to a LOT of radio/podcasts), the hateful attitude towards overweight people came about during World War I, when food rationing came into being. Before then, nobody really cared, but with the need to support troops overseas, being heavy meant you were eating more than you should and depriving soldiers of their supplies. If you were fat, you were a traitor and giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
Even after the war ended, with the advent of Coco Chanel (Now we find out she was a Nazi spy. SKINNY BITCH!! NEED I SAY MORE???) , the Little Black Dress and the flapper silhouette, it didn’t change. Eventually, it worked its way into the American psyche and now if you weigh more than people think you should, you are all things bad: stupid, lazy, a leach upon society, unhealthy and therefore a drain on the American medical insurance and the reason the rest of us have to pay so much (I must say, I consume far less in medical services and goods than a few thin friends that I have) and probably clinically depressed, friendless and do nothing but sit in front of a TV all day stuffing your face. Again, I have friends that are at least 50-60 lbs. smaller than I and this description fits them better than it does me.
The last time I checked, we were at war, but we weren’t rationing food. My blood pressure this morning was 91/55 with a pulse of 76 (Okay, so the pulse rate is fast, but that’s always been fast, especially if the Red Sox are beating on another team or I’m looking at George Clooney). The last time I checked my cholesterol, it was fine as was the blood sugar. No subsidized scrips for Lipitor here, nor needles and insulin. That’s more than I can say for the family members who saw fit to dump on me (when I still spoke to them). And you couldn’t tell that just by looking at me. You also couldn’t tell that I have a law degree, I’m a fan of jazz (the real stuff, not that Kenny G crap), I can sit in a full lotus position (can you?) and can talk intelligently about baseball. As for bad, rotten, evil, I don’t even have any outstanding parking tickets and the fact that the cops were pulling me over all the time was due to a screw-up by the LA Metro Court that put my license plate number on a bench warrant (probably for a scrawny bastard). And for the record? Winston Churchill: overweight. Adolph Hitler: skinny little bastard AND a vegetarian. So were Himmler and Goebbels (yeah, I know Hermann Goehring was fat. However, he was an exception in that crowd). Not that I’m painting with a broad brush, but you get the idea.
Luciano Pavarotti had a voice that still makes me weak. I wouldn’t give you a plugged nickel for any Jonas Brother.
Look, fat people are not all the same. Yes, there are some who fit the stereotype, but there are others who hold down good jobs, have happy families and could walk further than you any day of the week. If you want to judge and dislike people, let them open their mouths first and give you a good reason.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
181.6 lbs. I’ve been in this neighborhood before.
Let’s see; got my ass kicked from two different supervisors today, Red Sox just lost to New York because John Lackey decided it would be a good idea to plunk Francisco Cervelli. Over the weekend (and today), three groups of friends 1) went white water rafting, 2) went to see MY guy John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl and 3) went horseback riding, all things I am dying to do. I am talking myself out of pouting (“Grow up, Bitch.” That’ll do it). My right knee is aching like crazy. I’m taking this as a good thing; adhesions are breaking up and blocked nerves are sending signals again, just not pleasant ones. The guy who was going to help me launch a website and perhaps gain notoriety for being a cranky overweight (but not obese) crybaby has abandoned the project.
And tomorrow, August 31, is one of the two days of the year on which I take shit from no one and do not suffer fools. February 1 is the other day and even more so. These days mark the birth and death of Nancy Snow Kurrelmeyer, the best friend I ever had and the best friend ANYBODY could ever have had or ever will have. I cannot torment her with “Bwahahahahaha, you’re 49!” phone calls. Of course, were she still on this plane( as opposed to the ethereal one), she’d be on the phone taunting me over the Sox losing to the Forces of Darkness. Bitch was a Yankees fans when she could torture me over it; most of the rest of the time, she was partial to the Dodgers. Especially the day we went to Dodger Stadium and her guys finished a three game sweep of my guys. For the record, the Dodger fans in the parking lot were LITERALLY (not a word I toss around lightly) in my face with such bon mots “Fuckin’ loser Red Sox!”, so the Brian Stow tragedy was inevitable. Sadly, every team has its bottom of the barrel knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, really need to get a life and grip “fans” who are so insecure, that if their team loses, they will beat someone almost to death and when Mr. Stow is removed from life support, it will be complete.
And I am further from my goal weight than I care to be at this juncture.
What’s a girl to do? Write a blog. Buy a lottery ticket. Light a candle. Check. Check. Check.
Okay: I confess: I also snarfed three (yes, all three) Chocolate Coconut Haystacks by Rawvolution. Raw, vegan, gluten-free and richer than Donald Trump. Mounds and Almond Joy can suck it; these are the real deal (from a place in Santa Monica. I got them at Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park). I don’t know what the minerals/nutrients are that are driving my chocolate and coconut craving, but these little beauties go a long way towards satisfying it.
I am supposed to get happy with where I am in order to progress to where I want to be. Well, let me take stock for a few minutes to see if I can find some happy sauce to pour on my mood:
1. From someone who is not going to bullshit me (because there’s nothing to gain from flattering me. Tell me something good about myself and my first thought is, “Yeah, right. And what do YOU want?”), “You know, you have great skin.” I’d like to thank my need to stay out of direct sunlight and Coppertone’s SPF 450 for Babies.
2. Since April, when I started my serious exercise regimen, I have met and passed the following activity milestones: Pilates roll-up (actually, I can do the Level 4 version, yea me), 1 full hour on the Rotating Staircase of Death (although Dr. Best has nixed that until further notice. And the Renegade Wretched Right Knee is enforcing that), heels flat on the mat in Downward Dog (still can’t hold Tree Pose and Crescent has to be on the floor), prior to the ban on stressful cardio, I could actually run for short bursts on the treadmill, I managed to hold Boat Pose today without falling over (back muscles getting stronger).
3. I really like the fact that my waist is no longer bigger than my bust.
4. I like my thinner face.
5. I thought my legs looked good before. Now, long, lean muscles. And I have biceps. The triceps need work to make them pop out (and stop the wobbly upper arm ), but that’s coming.
6. I have far greater flexibility than I did before. Dr. Best said he could move my leg through a 120 degree bend. That’s pretty good.
7. For the first time in YEARS, I was able to comfortably sit in full lotus today. Prior to today, that damned right knee (Got a heart you want buried? I’ve got the Wounded Knee) made it uncomfortable for more than a few seconds (the sensation of pressure behind the kneecap).Today, no problem, so that’s encouraging (I also changed which leg I put on top and that may have helped). Even Lila noticed. I got pointed at and open-mouthed stare. It was cool.
Okay, so maybe I can make peace with my current “location.” It’s supposed to be the journey and not the destination, right?
Screw that: I want to get where I want to be. Philosophical mindset be damned.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
I feel compelled to write this because I feel guilty about falling behind in so many areas, some of which I shall not discuss outside of my brain, others, well, if I am the only person to read this post, so be it. I need to talk to myself.
There is the line in “Hamlet”, part of the “To be or not to be…” speech: “Would that the Everlasting had not fixed his canon against self-slaughter.” My mind changes the line to “self-sabotage.”
Oh, yeah, I plant the figurative internal IEDs (that would be the sweets) and blow up bridges and roads (blowing off exercise) and blaming it on the lack of time, on not feeling well, whatever.
Self-sabotage: progress undone by oneself because…
1. I’m afraid of success? Possibly. This is a life-changing experience (or well, I expect it to be). I’ve had the fatty body armor for years to blame for never establishing an adult relationship and family, for not pursuing my dreams as hard as I should have, for being a slug. If it’s gone and things don’t magically improve, then what?
2. Subconsciously, maybe I don’t deserve this. There was a MAD magazine piece years ago that satirized busing. The one that I identified with and the only one I remember was “Pale, fat ugly girls to the beaches of Southern California.” And here I am. Pale? Indisputably. Fat? Check? Ugly? There are days. And now we can add “old” to the mix.
3. Because I’m letting fear drive the bus. And one thing fear hates and will fight like hell is change. And that fear is saying I’m years late and dollars short on making this change.
4. Nobody besides me will give a damn because I’m not some dazzling 20-30 year old anymore. I don’t want my youth back. Oh, certain aspects of it, sure, like radiant, elastic skin, more energy and especially the power that attractive young women have. If I ever had it, I never knew. I watched women of my age (when I was 20-30 years younger) wrap people around their little fingers simply for the sport of it. I never did that, mostly because I believed I couldn’t. I would like to feel like I could.
“Breaking Away” is a great film and one for which I have a lot of affection. Daniel Stern plays Cyril, the tall lanky kid who doesn’t achieve much. In one conversation with the lead character about taking the SATs, Cyril talks about how his dad likes to be consoling. “That’s okay, Cyril, at least you gave it your best shot,” he says. Cyril goes on to say, “Maybe I’ll take them. If I flunk, that’s okay. He’s got a birthday coming up.”
In everyone’s circle of acquaintance, there are the people who genuinely support whatever it is that you do (even rolling out of bed at 4:30 AM on a perfectly good Sunday to meet a call time way the hell on the other side of LA County) and genuinely rejoice in your triumph. Then, there are the hollow people: the one who pay lip service to support but are the first on the scene with the “Oh well, you tried. You don’t have to keep trying” sentiments when you stumble. I’m not sure of their motivations; perhaps it’s a fear that if you succeed, you will leave their circle of acquaintance, perhaps it’s low grade envy because they cannot get out of their own ways to achieve whatever it is they want, perhaps it’s just that they are truly hollow and can only appear supportive because the effort exhausts their tiny little souls. Some of them are beginning to appear. I need to ignore them.
At any rate, “No surrender” applies. And always win. I’m not letting the bastards win.
179.8 lbs. HUZZAH!!! BELOW THE 180 MARK AGAIN!!!
And there was much rejoicing.
Okay, still not where I wanted to be by this point, but definitely better than where I was. I’m done with work for the day, I got to the gym early and it’s the other end of laundry day (there is something magical and soul restoring about clean, fresh clothing, especially if you like the smell of your fabric softener). And the Red Sox are leading Texas for the moment. I emphasize the “for the moment” nature of this because these ARE my Sox and I know, from 40 plus years of following them, anything can happen, be it good or bad.
I had a breakthrough of sorts in yoga class yesterday. Still have a LOT of difficulty with the standing positions (but that’s okay since Dr. Best doesn’t want me doing them), but I achieved a goal: In Downward Dog, I GOT MY HEELS FLAT ON THE MAT!!! I’ve been working towards that goal since I started the class, working towards stretching the muscles little by little. I still have to have my knee on the mat for Crescent (and I have the chiropractor’s encouragement to do just that) and like I said, the standing poses are not my friends (balance on one foot. The right side is noticeably weaker than the left, which is odd because I’m right hand dominant, but that could be a function of the wonky knee and you’re probably so bored right now with this, you could shoot yourself). That’ll come.
Since I started writing this post on Wednesday, August 24th the weight jacked back up to 183.2 this morning with a stop at 181. My doing: I’ve been indulging in mindless eating yesterday and today by violating Susan’s Rule Number 1 to Avoid Eating the Wrong Thing: DON’T BUY IT AT THE STORE, DON’T HAVE IT IN THE HOUSE. In this case, it was a Trader Joe’s trail mix called Peanut Butter Trax. Fruit, nuts and tiny little peanut butter cups (Danger, danger Will Robinson). ¼ cup is 130 calories BUT I didn’t stop at ¼ cup. And today, I had lunch at Chipotle. I haven’t been to a restaurant of any kind in ages and I’m a fan of Chipotle’s. It wasn’t mindless, though: I made the decision to have a barbacoa bowl (with a little bit of rice, although it should be noted that starch is not my friend) and a beer. I haven’t had beer since December. And now, that’s done and out of my system.
I have also been back to the chiropractor and he treated that right knee with ultrasound (no fetuses found in the kneecap) and that sucker ACHED for a day and a half. I was warned off of any lower body work by Dr. Best and the nasty-feeling knee reinforced it. So, no weight training Friday or yesterday (even though I was cleared for upper body). The Fucktard had no competition from me for the weight machines (Actually, I haven’t seen him around. Maybe he did finally verbally abuse the wrong person and got his ass tossed).
Although I dearly love this guy (in a cooperative and grateful within the boundaries patient sort of way), he used the “A” word on me with respect to my uncooperative upper back: arthritis. No. I refuse.
Look, nobody is going to condemn me any harder for backsliding than I will myself. I refuse to shrug it off as “Oh, well, you need a cheat day every now and then” and that is because I am a huge believer in the slippery slope. Thomas Jefferson said that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” and the notion of staying on your toes applies to health improvement/weight loss. I’ve been down this road and I know that a little slack gets bigger and bigger and bigger until the whole project is undone and I have to go beg back all the fat clothes I’ve given away. Not this time.
I’m finding inspiration in odd places. With the see-sawing back and forth, I’m seeing a parallel to the uprising in Libya. My fat is the oppressive tyrant that’s been in control for decades (I’ll go 20 years to Gadhafi’s 42) and the muscles are the rebels taking control of one area after another, getting pushed back time after time, but ultimately, storming Tripoli and cornering the tyrant in its compound (that would be The Great Whit Belly). I’m getting closer to completing a push-up, so progress is still being made, even if the scale says something different. Unfortunately, the muscle/rebels of my body have not yet been recognized as a legitimate government (and part of my brain is saying that the guys raising hell in Libya are going to be as bad as what they’re replacing), that is coming.
So long as NATO doesn’t call in airstrikes on me…
Monday, August 22, 2011
181.6 lbs. Okay, more like it.
And I just tuned into the Red Sox/Rangers game to hear Mike Napoli hit a 3 run homer. Mr. Napoli does not play for the Red Sox. I feel a twinge in my spleen....and its name is Eric Bedard (Red Sox pitcher who just gave up the 3 run homer. If you know me, you know I’d like to see John Lackey dropped off the Tobin Bridge in chains and cement. Or handed back to the Angels. He can take Bedard with him.
181.6 is infinitely preferable to 184.4 and, to get the big picture, even better than 224.6. However, I still want to get back below the 177 low point of early July. It’s not so much a matter of self-loathing (although the extra weight that I see does set off the Greek chorus of voices telling me how lazy and spoiled and useless I am and that my obesity is a reflection of my self-indulgence and irresponsibility). I did, in fact, take the end date off of My Net Diary and it’s a good thing because the last day that I had a goal date on there, the recommended maximum food intake was 811 calories. Remember what I said about the Nazis calculating they could keep the concentration camp slaves alive on 800 calories a day? Danger, Danger, Will Robinson.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, he of the “You On A Diet” and various other books about our healt, beloved of the Great Goddess Oprah, was on the Mark & Brian radio show on Friday talking about (what else) better health (He hardly makes the rounds to talk about fashion). He was in LA to get people to root out and throw away anything with parabens in it (shampoo and such. It’s bad for you), but, of course, he had to get in a few words about excess weight. Okay, I am in favor of losing weight, obviously, but it is necessary to emotionally abuse people in the process? Dr. Oz doesn’t intend to be cruel just for the sake of hurting the feelings of strangers, but even over the radio, you can hear the head shaking in his voice. That kind of Ward Cleaver, “Well, boys, I’m just so disappointed in you” tone. Dr. Oz reeled off all the risks that come from carrying excess weight in just that tone of voice.
Compare and contrast this to “Dances With Fat”, a blog written by Ragen Chastain that focuses on HAES (Health At Every Size). Ms. Chastain is, if I’m comprehending her point, pushing for people to focus more on how people feeling good about themselves regardless of waist circumference and focus more on things like blood pressure and cholesterol, etc. The kind of talk that Dr. Oz was putting forward was what she would call the “Vague future threat” of the consequences of not losing weight. Again, it’s that Ward Cleaver kind of disapproval. Of course, Ms. Chastain would probably chastise me for my “I want to get rid of this shit around my waist “ attitude as capitulating to an unreachable goal. (Bullshit, by the way). While she has an excellent point about how one should talk to oneself about these issues, she can be a bit shrill from time to time. Of course, so can Dr. Oz.
I might as well look upon all of this as an extension of the Presidential electoral process as it is practiced here in the US today. A little over here makes sense, a little over there makes sense, they’re all busy trashing one another (unless it’s trashing the newest guy on the scene or whoever is leading the pack at the moment) and so much screaming to be the one true path that one just goes deaf. And writes in Mickey Mouse.
This is what I know to be true: I want to be physically stronger. The process of getting there helps lessen the risk of things like osteoporosis and injuries from which it may be difficult to heal. I want greater endurance when I do physically active things. There are people, who are diabetic and far out of shape themselves, who feel it is their right to point out my shortness of breath after walking hard and fast and then launch into a sermon on how I need to drop weight. Not only do I want these people TO SHUT THE FUCK UP, but I’m also unhappy about it. It’s a limitation and I’m not a huge fan of limitations. I want better flexibility. Again, helps prevent injuries and removes limitations. Plus, it makes the chiropractor happy. I like my chiropractor.
I want to feel good about what I eat. Or don’t eat. I want to be satisfied (emotionally and physically) with better and less food. I want to feel energetic and healthy from eating the right stuff. While I’ve never had the experience of anyone (well, anyone outside of my immediate family) telling me “You don’t need to eat that” if I have something sweet or fried on my fork, I say it to myself. And that’s a tough one to beat.
I have been told, by more than one source, that it’s necessary to be at peace with oneself in the present in order to push forward and make it stick. There is a lot truth in that. It can be as easy as making up your mind to do so. It can also be as hard as Chinese algebra. If you have been taught (and self-taught) to be unhappy outside of certain parameters, it can be extremely difficult to overcome. The nail that stands up gets hammered down. I have 35- 39 solid years behind me of nagging, shaming and non-stop emotional, verbal pressure “because we love you and just want you to be happy and you can’t possibly be happy looking like that” affecting my attitudes. You can’t be happy with a bunch of people (whom you used to trust until you’ve spent your 10,000 night alone and had plenty of time to think about their motivations and maybe they don’t really have your best interests at heart) telling you that you shouldn’t be happy as you are. It’s a tough beat. Not impossible, but a tough beat. I think I’ll be breaking in my health insurance’s mental health benefits next.
“Kill Bill, Vol. I” had the scene of The Bride, newly escaped from a 5 year coma and a hospital bed, lying in the back of a truck willing her big toe to move. It was a huge challenge because this woman’s body had not been obeying her brain or her will for years; why should it start now? She persisted in willing her toes to wiggle. Eventually, they did. And eventually, she walked and moved and was able to dispatch the Crazy 88s with a samurai sword. Since they were trying to kill her, the notion has its appeal.
The number between the toes today was the big toe wiggling for The Bride. Still quite a bit of wiggling to go before I can go after the Crazy 88s.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
185.4 lbs. Yeaaaah, I’ll get to that
So, second session with Dr. Best and he has cleared me for take-off! Popped that right kneecap like a champagne cork (right after he had given up on it, bent the knee and BLAMMO! It actually popped. Loudly. Had I been 12 years old and home among my family again, my older sister would have grossed out completely). I have done weight training twice since last I saw him and started employing his suggestion (lighter weights, more reps). He confirmed that the back muscles have begun to improve. Just a little bit, but noticeably. I am okay to hit the elliptical again or spinning (I should but it’s SO tedious), but no Rotating Staircase of Death (WAH!) and no flat or downhill sloping treadmill. I learned something from him about the treadmill and joints (and I know I don’t have the quote exactly, but I think I can convey the gist of it): going uphill, the effort/strain/work is being done by the muscles. Flat or downline (decline? Maybe), all the effort/strain/work is on the joints/tendons, vulnerable points that he’s having to adjust. The more you know, right?
Huzzah. Now, it’s a matter of finding the time…
He also tried some acupressure on my sinuses (Ralph the Renegade Sinus is taking hostages again and has tried to recruit Larry the Left Sinus to join his evil plot). Dr. Best was pressing on the bone of the upper eye sockets for a couple of minutes and explained that it should drain the upper ones. Except, I don’t have upper sinuses. If you know an ear, nose and throat doctor you want to confuse, bring me in and have him X-ray my head. And those of you waiting for me to say, “Nothing there”, forget it. I have baffled two different otorhinolaryngologists in this fashion. Two of them. Anyway, I share this piece of information with Dr. Best and he blurts out, “You’re built weird.” Swear to God; that’s what he said. So much for bedside manner. However, he did show me how to press down on the bone on the lower part of the eye socket (next to the nose. It feels kind of flat) and drain the lower, actual sinuses. It works; I just looked like I had two black eyes for a few hours.
And I am the proud winner (earner) of a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, faux signed by Drew Brees and Dominique Dawes. It may cheapen it a bit to have to print the damned thing yourself, but I earned it. Active for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week and for 6 out of 8 weeks.
At this time last year, I thought it was a vast improvement over the year before becauseat that time, if I walked up and down a flight of stairs twice a day, I thought I was doing far better than I had before. I improved on that.
I need to hold on to that thought. From the lowest low (so far) of 177 lbs., my progress has done a 180 and, well, you see the header. What’s interesting is that old “tapes” have begun playing again. You know, those habits and criticisms and voices you hear or things you tell yourself and have for years. I thought I had broken and buried those attitudes. Nope. I’ve gotten off the scale, looked at what was in the refrigerator and caught myself saying, “To hell with it. Just eat what you want.” The “Great, once again, I’m failing at this” thoughts have begun to surface. This is the point where, 27, 28 years ago, I began eating sweets and too many of them again.
I have made the mistake of subtly complaining about this setback to friends. I say it’s a mistake because, Folks, let’s be honest: nobody likes a whiner. I’ve said so and I mean it. One friend looked at me and said, “You have to be happy about where you are first.”
There is some truth to this for the simple reason that my emotional eating tendencies have been coming back into play. Boredom and on-the-job frustration are big triggers for me (boredom with waiting for document images to download so that I can review them). On the job frustration? I have to sit in VERY bad chairs for hours at a clip to do this job, I’m putting a ton of pressure on myself to excel and falling somewhat short, and so on and so on. What I said before about old tapes? This is what I mean; no matter how far I may think I am from those old habits, it is downright scary how quickly they’ll come back and ruin my good work.
There is a concept called “synchronicity” (also the title of an album by The Police, but Sting is not part of this discussion) :
Noun: The simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.
Now, the way that I understand this, from a New Age/metaphysical standpoint (and yes, I do follow that stuff. “There are more things on Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy.” (Shakespeare, Hamlet)), it is the Universe or God or whatever Higher Power you may believe in (should you believe in one) trying to get your attention. On two different radio shows (I listen to a lot of NPR during the day. And podcasts. And baseball games), there was a discussion about food; how fast food companies create and exploit eating triggers and studies on eating and weight loss. I was just looking for them online to provide links but I can’t remember what shows they were (could have been local ones). To wit, eating triggers and fast food. We know but we don’t consciously think about what we see in ads for Burger King or McDonalds or Arby’s, etc. That is, until we’re driving by one and see the signs for whatever the special is that they’re promoting. Trigger installed, then pulled. My ancient trigger is “my mind is not fully occupied, better put something in my mouth.” I have been fighting that particular demon for years. And I just brought in an ally: gum. Sugarless teeth-whitening gum in the large economy pack. I’m going through it at a good clip.
The other piece was pretty much a symphony of “Well, duh”: Eating less is not just a matter of fewer calories. WHAT you’re eating is a huge part of the picture as well. In: veggies,fiber, fruit, whole grains, lean protein, monounsaturated oil. Out: sugar, refined starch, saturated fatty foods. I will try to find links to those interviews.
I needed to hear these things today. I needed to be reminded of the stuff that I’ve learned that got me as far as I have. And you know, even though I’ve put on 8 unwanted pounds, I’ve come a long way from where I started. Hey, even with the weight gain, I am no longer obese.
My Net Diary, however, is not helping. Because I gave it a weight (125 lbs.) and a goal date (01/10/12), it calculates a recommended calorie intake. Reality check is not part of the programming: today it told me I should eat 875 calories total. To put this in perspective, the Nazis calculated they could feed the concentration camp inmates 800 calories a day and still get a full day’s worth of work out of them. Dr. Best said that if you eat less than about 1200 calories per day, your metabolism slows down as a defense mechanism. This is not the first time I have heard this.
So, this is what we’re going to do:
1. Take the end date out of My Net Diary for now.
2. The sugar that has crept into the diet has to be leached out again. I just don’t buy the damned stuff (Hey, look: if our country decided to turn our sugar beet and half the sugar cane output into ethanol, it would be a good thing. As delicious as they are, we really don’t need cheap Snickers bars).
3. Get back to the strict account keeping of what I’m eating. That kept me honest and on target.
4. Short term goal: lose 11 lbs. Reward: a trip to the RobB salon in Studio City for a mani/pedi. That place is amazingly clean, it’s an OPI Concept Salon and it’s the best place in LA for mani/pedi. Never mind the place further up Ventura Blvd that has a reality show. I will not use a foot basin that once held Snooki’s feet. No.
5. Coffee okay (Dunkin Donuts Cinnamon Spice flavored. I have gone to the dark side and voluntarily drink foo foo coffee). Creamer, not okay.
6. Get back on the big water intake program. It was flushing out my system pretty nicely.
7. 6 to 8 hours sleep per night. Even if I’m not inflicting myself on co-workers, cranky is no way to go through the day; it triggers more emotional eating.
8. Keep up with the 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week activity level. Just because I got the certificate, doesn’t mean it’s time to give up.
9. When I get cleared by Dr. Best, get a jump rope. $6 for a good one.
10. Just relax; who we really are is shown in how we deal with setbacks. I don’t like being a quitting candy-ass. That’s for other women. Ones who, say, don’t know basic American history or pretend their family’s completely normal or like to eat moose nose jerky (Frankly, I think noses are better ON the moose).
It’s almost 9, so about those 6 to 8 hours…
Saturday, August 13, 2011
182.4 lbs. And the hits just keep on coming.
Yes; I’m still in a crappy mood. Why do you ask?
I have been grounded. My chiropractor, whom I adore (and is the BEST chiro in the world. Called it. Period. No changing) told me to lay off on the lower body work for a few days due to the warnings given by the right knee on Wednesday. He thinks it’s probably just a muscle strain. I’m thinking “it had better be just that or else somebody somewhere is going to get an earful.”
I worked with Dr. Best years ago when I 1) was gainfully employed with health insurance and 2) was working with The King as a personal trainer. These two gentlemen (and yes, they ARE gentlemen) consulted with each other and worked out a plan to help me increase the range of motion in my neck without injury and how to go about strengthening and conditioning the rest of the body without undoing Dr. Best’s handiwork. While I was able to work with them, it was dandy.
Jump forward 4 years to today. Upper back turning to cement, bitchy right knee and very bad chairs to sit in for 10-12 hours per day (and not much choice in terms of alternatives). Not to mention the fact that the 10-12 hours a day eats in to my workout time to a supremely annoying degree. This is why I play the lottery. Did I mention I’m in a bad mood? A sustained one? Yeah. The only good thing about being stuck in the damn chair for 10-12 hours per day is that I get to listen to some great podcasts: “Fandom Planet” by Sax Carr and Tim Powers and “X-Aspirations” by Seamus and Candice Colbert, available on ITunes. The former is all about comics, TV shows the boys like (and they’re comedians), the movies based on the comic books and various other things. X-Aspirations is a thorough and detailed exploration of the X Men universe which is more interesting than the description I just rendered. Seamus is an X Fan of long standing . Candice…is not and she is the surrogate for those of us who have never delved into it. They started with the first edition and are working their way through. I find myself longing for the mutant power of waving my hand over the computer and all the input and analysis I need to do to complete my job is done SO I CAN GO TO THE FUCKING GYM AND WORK ON WHAT’S IMPORTANT!!!!
But I digress.
Within 30 second of arriving at Dr. Best’s office, I find out that my left leg is ¼ inch shorter than my right leg. Huh. No problem; this has happened before. Things are going to get yanked back into place. Unfortunately, the words “try to relax” seem to have the opposite effect if you’re in a chiropractor’s office. You know something weird is about to happen.
What caught me by surprise was being told that my back muscles are “thin”, despite the work I’ve been doing on them. And yes, if a machine says it works lats, delts, traps, rhomboids, Herculoids, quadrangles and the odd parallelogram, I will use it. Presses, dips, flies, row, row, row your boat, I’m there. He complimented me on the biceps (even called them “guns.” I may have to ratchet that down a couple of notches), but pointed out that the triceps have not had equal development. I was told that developing and building the back muscles will help make the 10-12 hours in bad chairs less physically torturous.
I was given a change of strategy for the weights as far as upper body work: new plan is to increase repetitions, not so much the weights. So, instead of 15 reps at 60 lbs., 20 reps at 50. I tried that strategy today and right now, my entire back (which really isn’t much of a complainer, really. Except for the 10-12 hours per day in a bad chair) is asking me “What the hell just happened?” Dr. Best told me that I seem to be able to put on muscle pretty easily so I should see (and more importantly feel) results very quickly. The muscle building ability was something to do with testosterone (we all have it) and that would explain the need to pluck chin hairs (You use a magnifying mirror and lighted tweezer – Sally Hansen makes some great ones. Ulta Beauty, about $20. Anyway, the process is “Hunting for Al Qaeda” since you pluck the little bastards out of their hiding places).
The knee: an examination showed that the kneecap is sitting where it should and is attached to what it should be attached to (despite the number of times I have smashed it with substantial force. One morning, I know I will wake up and it will have run away, leaving behind a note in its place that reads “I just can’t take the pain anymore.”) Tentative diagnosis: strained muscles. Okay. I can deal with that. Anything more serious and I am going to be even more irritated than I am right now. I have a game plan, People and these injury detours are not part of it, especially if they represent years of stupid trip and fall accidents. And I do mean stupid. Okay, no cardio for a few days (especially the Rotating Staircase of Death. He was very specific). No lower body weights. Phooey. Here I was ready to get a jump rope and add that to my exercise routine for variety and because (according to Mark and Brian on KLOS) it is one helluva workout. Yeah, not right now. Jumping up and down on a wonky knee? Not really a good idea.
The good news is that he tested my flexibility and found that it to be fantastic (his words, not mine). Here’s an example of why I love this guy, “To get fit, you’re working on three separate aspects: strength, endurance and flexibility. People focus on the strength and endurance, but ignore the flexibility and that’s probably more important than the other two. YOU (meaning me) have great flexibility and that will bring the other ones along in no time.” And, “You’ve already lost well over 40 lbs. I’m excited to be a part of your losing the next 40.” That kind of support, you can forgive a guy for bending you into a pretzel until something pops, right?
Luckily, my health insurance coverage, even for an out of network chiropractic provider, is DANDY. Not so much on the acupuncture front. That will all have to come out of pocket and that’s a big disappointment. See, I credit acupuncture for having started permanent resolution of sinus issues (take that, Ralph the Renegade Right Sinus, you little, blood-filled backed up fucker), improved sleep and control of non-craving driven eating. It would be great to have a deductible I can meet and then clear sailing, but no. Lottery winnings (Oh yes, they will be mine) will, in part, go to an acupuncturist. I love having all that stuff fixed and not being forced to think about it every time I blow my nose and get blood or my image in the mirror looks like Petey the Dog from Our Gang (or the Target dog, but the ring around the eye is black).
But I have really good flexibility. Thanks go to Lila (who was out this week and we had Hans Landa again, instead. I complain solely for comic effect because the lady is an excellent instructor and guides her students into truly deep, gentle and VERY effective stretching. Even more than Lila).
So, Dear Right Knee: you are on notice. I’m still feeling Dr. Best’s thumbprints all over you, but you’re going back to work on cardio and strength training within 48 hours at the latest. I am willing to 86 the treadmill and postpone the jump rope, but this means you’re going to have to be open to spinning or just SHUT UP on the Rotating Staircase of Death. We talked knee brace, remember and I am willing to do that if it will keep you happy. What I will not tolerate are issues that include phrases like “torn”, “damaged ACL”, “arthroscopic” or “physical therapy.” You’ve had it VERY easy for the past 20-30 years. We will not be going skiing, nor are we running a marathon. Since you are now being attended by a doctor on my dime, you will do as I ask of you and you will do it cheerfully and without taking hostages.
Dear Back Muscles: You’ve been served notice. Get with the program. Failure is not an option. Not on my watch.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
181.2 lbs. Do not poke the bear.
Retraction: in a previous blog, Joe Castiglione was referred to as “the color man” for WEEI’s radio coverage of the Boston Red Sox. It has been pointed out (by someone who was a bit of a hemorrhoid about it, to tell you the truth. He would do well to remember that I have a truckload of frequent flier miles, hotel points and a GPS. I also have a reputation for doing “things” when provoked. Not naming names, but his wife, whom I like because she has already slugged him once for my benefit, is checking life insurance coverage. Be afraid. Be very afraid) that Joe is “the Voice of the Red Sox.” Well, Joe is the Voice who also works with Dave O’Brien and combos are usually a play by play man and a color commentator. Apparently not. So, in addition to dealing with short sleep, a slow rolling nosebleed (sinus bullshit. My right eye looks like someone belted me) and things not going my way, weight-wise, Management regrets the error of referring to Joe Castiglione as anything but the Voice of the Red Sox. And Shaws Markets. And though I am not naming names: FYJMYPITA. He’ll take it in stride.
He did redeem himself by sharing a Brussels sprouts recipe that makes the damned things look edible. To wit:
shallow roasting pan, 400F oven. Shallow baking dish (pizza pans work best) and your sprouts cut in half length-wise.
To said sprouts, add about a tablespoon of good olive oil, sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper & toss well.
Roast them for about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and place into a mixing/ serving bowl and add the juice of half a lemon (or to taste) and any additional S&P you want as well as any stray gahlic you happened to roast off at the same.
Why bother? BS (So appropriate) belong to the cruciferous vegetable (No, I don’t know what it means unless it’s “makes smelly farts”, but it includes sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and I THINK broccoli) family and are chock full of health benefits. However (and this is strictly my opinion. There are actually people out there who think they’re wonderful. I believe these people also mourn the passing of New Coke and the AMC Pacer), like most medicine, they taste lousy. And they’re too chewy* (*when I reheated the “steam in a bag” veggie trio by Trader Joe’s that contained the cursed sprouts, sugar snap peas and asparagus, I did so for the same amount of time I initially cooked them and found the BS much more tender and edible. Just an FYI). Morton’s Steakhouse (what so proudly I hail) sautés them with bacon and shallots and that’s pretty good. I do not have the kitchen facilities to test the above recipe. I ask my readers (and you know who you are) to undertake a test drive and report back with a comment on the blog (the ones out there are getting kind of dusty anyway).
Furthermore, if you’re looking to incorporate more and different veggies, sweet potatoes are also your friend. Truckload of nutrients.I got a couple of sweet potato planks (baked, I think) from Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago and they had been treated with orange (like orange zest added before baking). Good Golly Miss Molly, but that is fantastic stuff! I like sweet potatoes with butter and salt, butter and cinnamon but adding orange is an ascent to heaven. Paul Simon asking Art Garfunkel to sing with him, adding chocolate to peanut butter or Paul Newman and Robert Redford together kind of harmony. There are recipes at Allrecipes that have you assemble an orange juice, cinnamon and margarine kind of glaze, but the ones I ate didn’t seem glazed. I’ve gotten to a point where I’ll eat sweet potato fries (can’t tell you the last time I ate ANYTHING fried) over white potato fries. Somewhere, a small corner of Idaho just died.
I have a brand new health insurance card and brand shiny new health insurance, which is good because I had to cut today’s cardio short on account of my right knee. I have bashed the bejesus out of my right kneecap over the years and I get low level discomfort from time to time (since it is neither chronic nor searing pain, I just “walk it off”). Today, however, after weight training (and I’m slowly shifting from the pulley Nautilus type machines to free weights. More on that in a different blog, okay?), I got on the treadmill for an hour walk and within 10 minutes got a “Bitch, take 5 more steps and I’ll have you in the emergency room” sensation from the right knee. I stopped (not willingly) because when you get an unmistakable sign like that, you don’t argue. I’m not limping, but it’s still grumpy down there.
Yesterday, we had a substitute yoga teacher (Lila is injured). Remember Hans Landa, the little British lady? (Reread the old post)Yep. She was back. Truthfully, I like her a lot; she has a knack for getting you into the deepest possible stretches and then just a wee bit more. We did a series of One Legged Dog into Warrior on one side, then she said, “We can ignore the left side, but you’d be limping.” I may have overworked the knee yesterday, plus the fact that I tend to sit here with my legs crossed, right over left and that puts on pressure the joint doesn’t like. I will let the chiropractor have the first shot at it on Friday.
This does not please me. I had managed to clear the decks, work and time-wise, so that I could indulge in a Monster Burn day (Weight training, all major muscle groups plus two hours of two different kinds of cardio). I was going to do just that when interrupted. Once again, it will be necessary for the brain and the body to have a conversation about who’s in charge (and yes, I remember the old dorm room poster from the mid-seventies about the various body parts wanting to be boss and the asshole shut down and after a couple of days, the rest of the body decided it was boss, so you don’t need to be smart to be a boss, just an asshole). There is a plan. There are instructions being followed and, having been told all my life I fall short in the “following directions” category, I expect (reasonably, I believe) to get the promised results when I actually do follow directions.
I’ll sign off with this question for you to ponder: why does the free weight section at the gym smell like Brussels Sprouts?
Saturday, August 6, 2011
181.8 lbs. It’s not 177 lbs., but I’ll take it.
So yesterday, Friday, August 5, 2011, I listened to my own advice and pushed past a couple of my own “limits.”
Limit One Busted:
I completed 1 hour on the Rotating Staircase of Death. 140 floors. This is higher than the Empire State Building and higher than the late World Trade Center. I did it at a slow pace but I did it (It helps that the built in TV was showing my favorite “Law & Order” episode, the one where Lennie and Ed end up investigating 4 murders and a kidnapping in one day. It sounds kind of dark and heavy, but it’s actually pretty funny. I’ve decided that Law & Order reruns are to my age group what “Matlock” and “Murder She Wrote” are to the age group 15 to 20 years older than me). I was going to follow it up with an hour on the elliptical or the treadmill, but fell the call of duty (files to be reviewed), not to mention a Red Sox game (playing the Yankees aka the Forces of Darkness aka the Pinstriped Damned) in Fenway to hear. The good guys lost (they won today in splendid form. Jacoby Ellsbury is such a nice boy, 6 RBIs) but there’s an interesting kind of side note here.
Shaw’s supermarket chain of New England is a big sponsor of Red Sox radio coverage and Joe Castiglione, the Red Sox color commentator, is an enthusiastic Shaw’s shopper. You don’t need to get the weekly circular from the newspaper; Joe almost tells you what the specials are. Last night, Joe and his partner, Dave O’Brien, had the chief nutritionist (I couldn’t swear as to her title, but she knew what she was talking about) for Shaws as a guest in the booth. Shaws just introduced a new program called Nutrition IQ to help shoppers make better, more informed choices about the foods they buy. Color coding not only tells you what the nutrients are, but what they do for your body. Granted, most people will just stare blankly at the signs or ignore them so completely that they won’t even register on their consciousness, but if you’re reading this , the chances are good that you, too would think this is a great idea. The example she gave was bananas. Now, people tell you it’s good to eat bananas because they have potassium and we need potassium. Fine. WHY do we need potassium? (And you smart alecks who have studied organic chemistry or bio-chemistry or just think you’re Hermione Granger, keep your hands down. It’s a rhetorical question, anyway). Do we just go forward in life blindly eating bananas (or oranges or parsley) for the potassium without questioning WHY we should have potassium? Hell, no! We are independent thinkers! Well, my friends, potassium is good for us because it helps control blood pressure. It’s an electrolyte and you know when you get muscle cramps? Potassium helps ease those suckers (Please note: bananas do not help with menstrual cramps unless they are first blended with a lot of rum. Quite a lot). According to the information I got from the radio last night, the sign next to the bananas will not only tell you that they’re a good source of potassium, but also that potassium regulates your blood pressure. Here’s a link for more information on the program:
I know I repeat myself, but the primary purpose of food is to provide the nutrients we need to keep our bodies functioning properly. The way I look at this is that a pound of tomatoes is a lot cheaper than a month’s supply of Lipitor or Crestor or Plavix or _______ med and you don’t need a prescription for them. Here you’re going to get the information at the source.
The first, last and only person you can ever really count on to have your best interests at heart and take care of you is yourself. I despise the term but “self-parenting” applies. As the grown-up in the relationship, it’s necessary for you to make the right decisions and enforce them. Personally, I find it a lot easier to not only make the right choice, but to stick to it if I have all the information I need to make a sound decision. Here’s to hoping that Nutrition IQ spreads to Krogers, Safeway and Albertsons (aka Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons, their stage names in Southern California). The ancient knight in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (“We named the dog Indiana”) said, “You have chosen wisely.” That dude was 619 years old, so he may have been making good use of Nutrition IQ.
Limit Two, Not So Much Busted as Well…
As part of the “eat healthier” quest, which includes making plant matter the main source of food (I am a dedicated carnivore. My maximum is 3 days without meat before something dark and primitive at the back of my head says, “Get me prime rib and get it NOW.”) , I picked up the Vegetable Trio at Trader Joe’s the other day. It consists of sugar snap peas, asparagus and (gulp) Brussels sprouts. The sign under the bags at TJ’s promised me “nuttiness and sweetness in a delightful blend”(You know, I’ve heard a lot of adjectives used to describe Brussels sprouts. “Delightful” has never been one of them). Asparagus has never been anywhere near the top of my vegetable list, either. In fact, its standing in my world is similar to my standing when graduating law school: bottom 20%. It’s down there with Brussels sprouts. Our dog, Max, was a bigger fan of asparagus than I was. However, I do like peas. A lot. One out of three. In baseball, a .333 batting average is a league leader. I know that Brussels sprouts are loaded with nutrition:
Asparagus has anti-cancer benefits, detoxifies the body, contains folate, blah, blah, blah.
I was not about to be intimidated by a miniature cabbage and its sidekick, no matter how evil. I followed the directions on the bag (cut corner, throw in microwave and steam), got the butter (LIGHT butter, 60 calories per tablespoon. Don’t have a cow) and black pepper (PLENTY of black pepper) standing at the ready and poured out a bowl. I dug up a bite containing the dreaded greens.
I lived. There actually WAS a nuttiness to the asparagus (which I had NEVER tasted growing up. What the hell?) and the peas were great. The Brussels sprouts, well…
Here’s a recommendation for a great book: “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The premise is that the Anti-Christ gets misplaced at birth and grows up as a normal kid. It’s hilarious, trust me. Even if you read it 5 times like I have; it’s still funny as hell each time. You will learn that all cassette tapes (okay, so it’s a wee bit dated) left in a car’s tape deck will turn into “Queen’s Greatest Hits.” One of the minor characters is a British psychic who, when she has clients coming in for a reading, will put a pot of Brussels sprouts on the stove to boil, thereby creating a comforting, homey atmosphere that puts British people at ease.
My family hasn’t been British for almost 400 years.
Nevertheless, because they are good for me, I ate the Brussels sprouts. I still don’t like them: it’s a texture thing and it’s the same for collard greens as far as I’m concerned: I find myself chewing them for what seems like hours before they’re ready to swallow. They’re tougher than Boston hockey players (or disappointed Canucks fans). I hear people exclaiming over their “sweetness” if roasted or deep-fried or whatever. Because I want the nutritional benefits, I will find a way to make peace with them.
The “reward” for these feats was the lower number on the scale this morning. Before I dug in on my workload today, I hit the gym for weight training. I am happy to report that I have completed 4 of the required 6 weeks to qualify for the President’s Active Lifestyle Award and have a good start for Week 5. Half hour per day, 5 days per week, 6 out of 8 weeks during this summer. I have been wearing my unearthed “smaller person” jeans regularly (Yea!) and I find I’m getting back on track as far as motivation (that’s what boosting dopamine and serotonin levels in the head will do for you). Diet-wise (as in nutrition, not calorie restriction, although more mindful eating habits, portion control and better food choices certainly play a part), things are getting much better.
I will succeed. I just wish Brussels sprouts weren’t such a good idea.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
180.8 lbs. and has been…for days.
No, I did not hit the Bollywood cardio dance class last night as I wanted. Something to do with a headache making bedtime not much later than dusk.
“Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey has been getting a lot of attention lately (Some list made it the Best Rock Song of All Time. Or something like that. No, I don’t hate the song. Keep reading). I’ve needed to hear it, I guess.
I’ve been spiking and stalling. Not my favorite thing. Being a responsible adult and working a job has pretty much zapped my workout schedule. To be honest, I knew 2-3 hours 6 days a week wasn’t sustainable with a normal work schedule (C’mon, Lottery). I’ve been skimping on rigorous honesty with respect to My Net Diary and food intake (mostly because it’s been whittling down my caloric intake. If it gets to negative numbers, I don’t know how THAT’S going to work). I want to SUCCEED at this project, dammit. Failure is not an option, goes the line. And “Not on my watch.” Well, the only watch IS mine, so it’s on me if I want to succeed.
Where does “Don’t Stop Believing” fit in? I need to believe I can do this in order to keep plugging away. I need to not view spikes and plateaus as opportunities or, at least, not as setbacks. Or, not as personal attacks by mysterious forces that don’t want me to be thinner. That’s preposterous: Nobody wants me to fail. At least, no one I know. My gang is very supportive (both close by and those off in distant lands like New Hampshire and North Carolina). Hold on to that feeling.
Despite not being back down to 177 (That’ll happen again), I got into my size 13 Calvin Klein jeans tonight. There’s a victory: I have retaken territory.
I got a fresh dose of inspiration: a friendly acquaintance of mine has written a comic book series and tonight was a signing event for the fourth issue (I’ve got ALL the issues and they’re ALL signed). Okay: here’s a guy who had an idea for a comic book series. I have ideas for lots of things but not many of them come to fruition. But Daniel Corey saw “Moriarty: The Dark Chamber” all the way through from concept to reality (it’s really good, too). I don’t know what’s involved in creating, assembling, editing and actually publishing a comic book, but I imagine it’s not simple. And here, someone I know manifested an idea into reality.
Thomas Edison said, “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” In my case that’s literally the truth as I am undertaking a physical fitness improvement program. My favorite actor is George Clooney and he was in a string of failed pilots and VERY short-lived series before he became an “overnight success.” The man started in the business in 1982 and didn’t “hit” until 1994, so unless he was spending the night on Neptune, it wasn’t overnight. He has also spoken of the necessity of persistence to be a success.
Right now, the short term goal is to get back down to the lowest weight I’ve been so far, 177 lbs. Achieving that will be its own reward. Of course, I need some bras (are the cups half empty or half full? They no longer runneth over. It’s a free market. Maybe I could rent out the extra space).
Today, I didn’t make it to the gym (but I have completed 4 of the 6 weeks of activity needed for the President’s Active Lifestyle Achievement Certificate). That’s okay: I didn’t mindlessly graze all day, so there’s a victory. And tomorrow, maybe I can pull back together with my old zeal (well, 6 month old zeal).
Dear Fitness Gods: Look I’m not asking to wake up smokin’ hot tomorrow. I’m 50 and realistic. Give me the strength to resist temptation, the will to do what I must and show me in some way, that I’m making progress every day. Let me see it or feel. Thank you.
“Every day’s a new deal, you know?” – Harvey Pekar