Tag Archives: project hott


1. The beef stroganoff I made for Dan’s birthday was a success! At least, he and Steve pretended to like it. What I made turned out to be more of a beef bourignon because I used red wine instead of white. No fancy-pants cream of mushroom soup for my man! Instead, I used nonfat greek yogurt, a little bit of cream and butter, and a lot of seasoning. I didn’t really like cooking the beef (mostly because it made the house smell like cooked beef) and I managed to figure out a way to cook the mushrooms and onions separately so I only ate that part and not the beef part. The rest of the dinner was egg noodles (a must with beef stroganoff), a salad, and a fantastic chocolate cake, the recipe for which I will post tomorrow.

Dan said he had a good birthday, so that’s what matters. I gave him a nerdy t-shirt designed by Wil Wheaton, a copy of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, and a bottle of fancy Jameson’s Irish Whiskey.

2. My leg is having sympathy pain this week or something. I woke up yesterday morning with a nasty charlie horse in the same spot where I tore my calf muscle last year. Today is the one-year anniversary of that injury, so yesterday I took it easy in the class where I had the initial injury and it was OK. You’d think that my leg would have gotten it together to heal completely in a year, but it hasn’t – I still have days where it hurts or aches, and there’s still a funky divot when I flex my calf muscle in a certain way. Here’s your lesson, kids: don’t tear your calf muscle. It sucks and won’t heal for a really, really long time.

3. Let’s just say Project Hott is not going anyplace fast. I looked at the photos from my friend’s party again for additional motivation and it just made me feel worse. It hasn’t helped that my leg has been bugging me all week and that I can’t do all of the abs portion of my classes because I’ve been having nasty vertigo for a few weeks now (Sunday was the worst; I had blurred vision and felt like I was falling-down drunk after we were out walking around the neighborhood taking photos, which is why we had to go home and didn’t get more accomplished). Doctor Google tells me that there are three possibilities for why I’m getting this oh-so-fun sensation, and in all three cases the solution/cure is “wait and it will eventually go away.”

Sorry I’m not all sunshine and rainbows coming out of my butt. I guess everybody has bad weeks. (Also, work stuff. I’m not even going there.)

The one really good thing that happened this week, though, was that I reconnected with an old friend who I’d lost touch with (from the same site where I met Dan). He’s living in LA, working on films, was teaching high school for a while, and seems to be in a much better headspace than he was five years ago. (He even ran the Great Wall marathon with only two months of training! That is some serious business.) Once upon a time we were pretty tight, so it’s nice feeling like I have my friend back again.

Grace in small things (because I haven’t done this in a while)

1. Spoons.
2. Friend gave birth yesterday, 3 weeks early but now she no longer has pre-eclampsia.
3. Videos of Wombat and Spats.
4. Head rubs.
5. Husbands having good birthdays.


Here there be dragons (and blankets)

Since everyone I know appears to be spawning, I’ve been busy with some knitting projects recently. My cousin gave birth to Baby #3 last weekend, and named her something I actually don’t hate: Eliana. (Her first two children have kreeyative names using “k” sounds; my cousin and her husband both have K names as does their last name start with a K.)

Cousin’s first baby gender-determining ultrasound showed fetus to be a boy, so I bought yarn accordingly. (Generally I try to make blankets somewhat gender-neutral, but I found this yarn I really liked and, well.) Then gender-determining ultrasound #2, a few months later, determined that no, she was actually going to be a girl. Hm.

I went back to the store, but didn’t find any good “girly-colored” yarn that exactly matched the already-purchased stuff. So I found something else that would work (not nearly as soft, unfortunately) and came up with a design to use all three yarns – a blues/greens/purples (original), a whites/blue/green (original), and a light purple (new). If you look closely at the photos you can see my pattern – it’s actually basically the same pattern I used for my other cousin’s baby blanket I made a couple of months ago, except without side borders and with an outer edge of crocheted-on light purple. I like it a lot.

The other project is actually the second one I’ve made of its kind (or very similar). Back in December I made a green and yellow dinosaur for Wombat and it got sent out to California along with the other stuff we sent the Agirlandaboy family for Giftmas before I got a chance to take photos of him. Leah has been kind enough to do so here, along with a very cute baby who appears to enjoy how the dinosaur tastes. I wanted to do something similar for Spats, except in perhaps a more feminine vein, so instead of a dinosaur I made a dragon. She’s mostly yellow with two kinds of purple (some of the leftover light purple from Eliana’s blanket), and I’m sorry Jive Turkey I wanted to save it for a surprise, but you’ll be getting the dragon in the mail in a few days and I wanted to post photos.

I’ve got two more projects in various stages of completion for yet another friend due in May; a skater or snowboarder-style baby hat (finished!) and some matching booties (not finished!) that I’ll display before I mail them out. This baby will be a girl and her name will start with the letter E, because she’s going to be named after an ancestor and that’s how they roll in my friends’ family.

* * * * *

I’m thoroughly uninterested in food these days because our weather finally seems to be cooperating and giving us nice, warm spring days. I’m hoping the lack of interest in food will bring a lack of appetite, because it’s about time my body gives up the ghost of the winter layer and starts slimming down. It’s been more than six weeks since I gave up eating chocolate from the work candy jar (haven’t slipped up yet!) and I haven’t really seen any results. It’s really frustrating, and I am not sure what else to do. I’m already in the gym about 6-7 hours a week and have started walking or running some days after work as well. For example, I went running in the park on Tuesday after work (only 1.5 miles) and my legs have been killing me since. Today the left one only feels somewhat sore but the right is still bugging me. I hope it’s better by tomorrow, since that’s when our new work softball team has its first practice (!) I don’t know what convinced me to join such a thing, but I did, so there you have it. I haven’t played any softball since sometime in middle school and I have no idea if I have any ability to hit a ball with a bat, but I can run so that’s something at least.

Also, the instructor for my two favorite classes at the gym (the ones I have been going to for a year and a half) finally fessed up to being pregnant on Monday. Since she’s about a size zero, the little belly bump she’s got going on made it pretty obvious (Suck in your abs! she yells, and her belly doesn’t move). She is due in October. I am going to make her baby something as well.

A bolt from the blue (or the yellow) (or the green)

Oldest Friend hired a professional photographer to document her birthday ball last month, and she’s spent this week posting the photos on her facebook account. I looked through them, happy to see so many of her having a good time, remembering what a good time I had, and honing a critical eye on the job the photographer did of capturing the evening. Luckily, I think he did a fantastic job, especially considering how dimly-lit everything was.

Unfortunately, I found virtually every photo I was in (and I was in a lot!) to be unflattering in the extreme. One of them actually made me wince when it popped up on my screen. I thought I’d looked good in the dress, in the heels, with my hair curled and my makeup done and my dead grandma gloves, but damn did I look terrible in that photo. It may very well be the most unattractive photo of me in existence.

I was chatting with Oldest Friend about it the other night, and chatting about my current gym habits and eating habits. I told her about the swearing off of chocolate at work, and about how much I’m working out these days (a lot, especially with the snowshoeing we’ve done on the weekends). I told her about how the only ways I seem to be able to lose weight are a) exercise compulsively and obsess about what I eat, which is what I did to lose weight for my high school reunion in 2006, and b) travel to another part of the world and spend a few weeks walking around (I lost probably 10 pounds in 3 weeks when we went to China, and even lost a few pounds when we were in Italy last January despite the weather).

Oldest Friend, being even more into fitness and health and exercise than I am, she of the Iron Man finish last August and multiple triathalons a year, she who posts daily about her 30 and 60 mile bike rides and her training runs as FB status updates, said to me that it’s possible I’m working out too hard.

(cue sound of record scratching)

Whuh? was my initial response.

Yeah, she told me. Some bodies are more likely to lose weight when doing long periods of low-intensity exercise, rather than shorter periods of high intensity exercise. Do you have a heart monitor? she asked.


Thinking about it though, it kind of makes sense. If I’m walking around for 5 or 7 hours a day, for a couple of weeks, I lose weight without even trying. I can eat whatever I feel like eating (and our eating habits in China weren’t great; lots of processed white flour stuff, lots of oil, and lots of sugar and not enough fresh veggies; because of the risk of hepatitis, all veggies we ate the whole trip were cooked), and I still lose weight. I’m not thinking about it, not trying to do anything except enjoy myself, and I lose weight. Every time.


I live in a world where I earn my keep by sitting on my butt for 8 hours a day in front of my computer. I don’t have time to walk for five hours every day. And what kind of exercise do I do in my daily life? Without fail, it’s usually high-intensity stuff because of the limited amount of time I have in a day to exercise. I walk to and from work, which is relatively low-intensity, but that’s only 15 minutes in each direction. I take the stairs at work sometimes. At the gym, I don’t feel like I’m doing much unless my heart rate is up – bike, treadmill, elliptical, strider, weights class, cardio/weights class, all of them get my heart rate up pretty high, according to the machine heart rate monitors. I live at a reasonably high altitude, and my heart rate is usually somewhere between 160 and 180 for the majority of the time I’m exercising. As soon as I’m finished, however, it goes back down to my resting rate in a very short period of time – which leads me to believe my cardiovascular fitness is excellent. (Also a good sign: I can do snowshoe hikes uphill for hours at very high altitudes.)(The corollary to this is that when we go down to sea level I have to work like crazy to get my heart rate above 140. It’s seriously difficult.)

But honestly, I don’t do a lot of low-intensity stuff. The pools around here are mostly outdoor (and therefore not open this time of year). I haven’t done much bike riding, again because of the season/weather. I don’t do a lot of weight lifting outside my classes because I feel like weights twice a week is enough since I’m not looking to bulk up any more. I haven’t been doing yoga anymore because every time I do it my neck hurts for days afterward. So what can I do?

I’m going to try some new classes at the gym, probably add a few pilates classes since the pilates instructor I like came back. I’m going to try some spin classes, where I can control the amount of difficulty. I’m going to cultivate the habit of walking for an hour or so after work now that it’s light so late into the evening. (YAY!) And this weekend, I’m going to buy a heart monitor, and I’m going to do what Oldest Friend suggested – spend a month doing only (or mostly, I’m not giving up my cardio weights class!) low-impact activity and see what that does to this body of mine.

This is what I looked like when I was 22. A friend of mine posted this photo for me today, and I’m glad he did, glad someone caught an image of what I looked like back then. I didn’t appreciate the body or the health I had then, and I probably don’t appreciate the body I have now as much as I should. But I’m glad that body was captured for posterity, and here it is for the world to see. I’ll probably never look that good again, but that’s OK, I’m not 22 anymore. (Also, I prefer being a c-cup to an a-cup). I do think I can look better than I did at the birthday ball, though.


Taken on Monday, 3 days after I took this photo.
Things I have been looking forward to that are nearly here:

The arrival of spring (it’s here! or nearly so)

The arrival of Spats Turkey (April 1, baby, come out then!)

A weekend at home to do around-the-house stuff and be lazy (I’ve been away every weekend in March so far!)

Getting started with practices for my work softball team (!)

Our first wedding anniversary (Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!)

My cousin coming for another visit (this time, to check out the city and the graduate school she’ll be attending this fall!)

Also, an update on Project Hott:

I have, thus far, successfully avoided eating any chocolate or other candy at work for over two weeks now. Perhaps a bit of my caloric deficit was offset by the consumption of chips and cookies this past weekend, but then again the FitLinxx machine at the gym said I burned over 2000 calories snowshoeing on Saturday, so it’s at least a wash there. I don’t know that I can really feel any difference in my clothes yet, but I’ve been making an effort to change up my gym activity, pushing myself harder on machines than I have in a while, and I think my stupid leg is finally better enough that I can start running outside more regularly. It’s only been ELEVEN MONTHS, geesh.

Hey, so that’s the color of the inside of my belly button!

As I sail through the last hours of my twenties (only 48 to go!), I find myself thinking about the past 10 years and how I’ve changed, physically, mentally, emotionally. I feel like I began my 20s in such a different space as compared to how I’m ending them that if I were to go back and tell my 19-almost-20 self, “Self, these are the things that you will do and see and experience in the next ten years,” I wouldn’t have believed myself. I’ve been all over the world. I’ve met the love of my life, and married him. I’ve seen an African-American man elected to the presidency. I’ve gone no farther with my education past a bachelor’s degree. I’ve moved to Colorado. I’ve grown pretty happy with who I am and where I’d like to be. And I’ve changed shape so drastically (up 2 cup sizes since I was 19, for example) that I have about 3 articles of clothing from my teens that still fit (and I don’t wear them, because they’re too damn short – styles have changed, my friends, oh yes).

Every so often I like to take stock of myself. I stand in front of the mirror and look at myself, see what I look like, but also see how I view myself, for these things are very different. I’m much happier with my skin, and happier with my boobs, and happier with my physical capabilities (I can climb 14ers and snowshoe for hours and I ran in a marathon and I can lift a lot of weight). But I’m really quite unhappy with my appearance, and this was brought strongly to my attention this past weekend when I wore a dress I’d made a year before to fit me and it was uncomfortably tight. And then I saw the photos other people took of me and how much THICKER I am through hip and thigh (and belly, let’s be honest). Though I haven’t written about it in a long time, I’ve been faithfully spending 5-7 hours a week in the gym (this means most Mondays and Wednesdays I go twice) plus at least a couple of hours of some physical activity on the weekends. My meals are, for the most part, healthy and of proper proportions for my nutritional needs. So what gives? Why am I gaining weight (and it’s not just muscle), when everything I’m doing says I should be losing?

It was time to take a much closer look at my habits. I am a creature of habit, as are many people, and I have addictive tendencies that I am aware of and do my best to curtail. When I get to work in the morning, the first thing I do is fill up my liter-sized plastic Black Eyed Pea cup with water. At 10:30, I pay a visit to a coworker who keeps a candy jar at her desk and grab a couple of pieces of dark chocolate (especially if I’m particularly tired that day, since caffeinated beverages seem to affect me so strongly). At 11 or 11:30, I have a piece of string cheese or fruit. Between 12:30 and 1:30 I go to the gym. When I get back, I refill my water and eat my lunch. At 3 or 3:30, I have more chocolate. When I get home (some days after my second gym session) I have a protein snack, a couple of pieces of turkey lunchmeat and 5 walnut halves. And then I eat dinner. After dinner, there might be a tasty beverage or hot chocolate or something dessert-ish, though not every day.

At my office, we don’t have trash cans at our desks. Our building is very green-aware and we are encouraged to recycle almost everything – so food trash has to be deposited in special trash cans in our kitchen area. I keep my candy wrappers in a little container at my desk and when it’s full, I empty it into the kitchen recepticle. I hadn’t emptied it in a while and when I did so on Monday, I looked at all those wrappers – all that chocolate I’d consumed, that I didn’t need. No wonder I was gaining weight. Even with all the exercise, there’s no excuse for eating as much chocolate as I have been for the last six months. So I stopped.

This week, I ate no chocolate at work. And you know what? Once I told myself that it was a habit that needed breaking, I broke it. No problem. I haven’t changed anything else – still keeping to the same workout schedule, same food intake, etc. I wonder how long before I notice a difference. I’d like to be a hott 30-something, not just a hott 20-something, and want to make sure I’m in really good shape before Project Give Dan’s Grandma a GreatGrandchild begins.