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Four Glorious Nights

I grew up a Cubs fan. Therefore, it was not a difficult transition when I moved to New York and fell in love with a Mets fan to begin rooting for the Mets. Sure the Mets have far more recent success than the Cubs. But it's the same idea: once in a while, the team looks amazing, and I forget to expect disappointment and get caught up in the moment. Then everything falls to shit, and there is no championship. Maybe next season, I think to myself. For four nights this past week, the Mets rose above their current lackluster level of patheticness to triumph over the highly successful Yankees. It was really amazing. It was a sweep no one expected. Of course, falling into the trap, I began to get really excited. Maybe this was the turning point! Maybe this ragtag team of scrappy players could pull it together and bring triumph to Queens! I couldn't wait for the next few games.

And... then they went right back to their sad sack losing streak. Sigh. I'll stick with my team, though. One day, the victories will come through the end of October.



The Lost Art of Blogging

I lost the art of blogging. When I began blogging all them years ago, I blogged more than once a day. I was trying to build a community, and that's what I supposed to do. I loved it. Writing on a regular basis was great. I had lots of things to say, and I found blogging to be a perfect vehicle for snarky, sarcastic writing. When I look back at my posts from those early years, they crack me up. Blogging regularly also made me more serious about writing. The problem with becoming more serious about writing is that I stopped using a stream-of-conscious style. This led to less snark, which made things less funny to read. Plus, as I grew more serious about writing, I started writing about generally less easy to mock subjects, like my grandfather's family being killed in the Holocaust. Sure, I'll make really horrible jokes about abortion, but not the Holocaust and my family. Hence it was kind of less fun to blog.

A lot of other unpleasant things happened that further slowed my blogging, and even made me not want to blog. I'm a navel-gazer blogger - I write about what is going on in my life. But sometimes that involves other people whose stories are not mine to share. I have a hard time holding back (as many of you know), so I just couldn't blog.

Plus, I am burned out on politics. They just depress me too much at this point. Weren't we supposed to be making progress now that Bush is gone? I am glad that Romney and McCain didn't take office, but geez. Every day is a new punch in the face. It's really hard to make fun of at this point. Except abortion jokes. If I ever lose my sense of humor about being a baby killer, folks, I really will move into a cave and hang with the bats. I hear that bats love killing the innocent unborn as well.

The other problem is that I have facebook and twitter, which generally allow me to express myself more succinctly. It kind of ruined my blogging ability. I can take the same topics I used to bitch about here on CUSS, but write one of two sentences and be done. Blogging requires (to me, anyway) paragraphs. Paragraphs require time and energy. I am not so good with either of those these days.

Still, here I am. I may be days or weeks late in approving comments (I am going to try and improve on that, starting with not assuming that there are no comments and therefore no need to check my CUSS email), but I'm glad to be here, continuing to gaze at my navel, thinking about writing, wishing I was still a funny writer in the breezy way I used to be, and plugging along. I'm super glad that I somehow still am allowed to be part of a blogging community.

Now that I had this little brain dump, maybe I will finally fall asleep. That would be awesome.



10 Pounds of Baggage and a Diet Plan Review

Soooooo.... long time, no blogging. The last 18 months or so have been extremely challenging for me. There was a lot of bad shit going on in my family, a lot of bad shit going on in my professional life, and a lot of potential bad shit going on in the professional life of someone close to me. Plus, I am still working on my novel. Slowly. All that stress and badness led not only to a complete lack of desire to blog, but also to gaining weight. Sure, I have been running a lot, which reduced stress enormously until it led to plantar fasciitis in both my feet, and thus more stress, but it wasn't enough to combat the emotional eating. I put on ten pounds quickly and carried it around for a long time. Which also made it slightly harder to run. Whatever. Vicious cycles work that way, right?

Anyway, things are settling down a bit (the personal professional situation is a million times better, so that's a huge relief), and I have an upcoming trip to Iceland. This trip requires wearing a bathing suit. I know that sounds absurd. Who wears a bathing suit in Iceland in mid-February? Well, people who are going to geothermal pools to relax do. The problem is that I not only look like a seal who escaped from a circus (complete with whiskers), but I can't really close my board shorts over my hideous bathing suit. Some weight loss seemed reasonable.

While wringing my hands over this dilemma and eating PopTarts (did you know that they make them in Sugar Cookie flavor? DELICIOUS!!!), someone I knew via running and follow on Facebook wrote something about a metabolism booster diet that she tried. It seemed interesting. I followed the link.

The diet was developed by Swim Bike Mom, who is training for an extra challenging triathlon (although, seriously, I find the thought of a triathlon challenging enough) and needed to shed some pounds so that she could better compete. She worked with a nutritionist. They developed a metabolism boost diet that allowed her to train safely while losing weight. It is for sale as 3 Week Boost eBook (ie - a pdf buyers will get via email and can print themselves) for $12.

I thought, what the hell, for $12 I'll try it out. I bought it and sat around staring at it for a few weeks before implementing the plan. I was a bit worried because there is a very dramatic introduction that warned me that I would be VERY HUNGRY in the first week (although the writer also lost ten pounds in that time), and I'm not so into hunger. I started with week two. After all, I'm only looking to lose ten pounds total. I was not hungry and lost three pounds, which was exciting until I went away for a long weekend and gained about two back. But still, not bad.

Since I was not hungry, I decided to try week one. I was also not hungry during that week, either. The whole thing is very high protein, lots and lots of vegetables, protein shakes that made me suspicious until I tried them, and some fruit. There are six meals a day, to be eaten every 2.5-3 hours. After week one, I lost four pounds or so. Nice. (Some of this will be recaptured during my Super Bowl eating activities, but whatever.)

Anyone who regularly exercises and wants a diet boost could probably do well on this. The main pro in my mind is how easy the meals are. I do not cook. I hate cooking. But I could find appropriate, prepared foods that worked well (Gorton's Tilapia Filets - totally amazing!), and if I was not a hater of the stove, I suspect that cooking things on the diet would not be hard. Another big pro is that all the days are planned out, so it is easy to follow. Also, there is a lot of Greek yogurt in it, and I love Greek yogurt.

The cons, though, are that the plan is horrifically written. It says to eat 6 oz tilapia and chicken. Well, how should they be cooked? No idea. It says to eat cans of tuna, but not what size can. There's no information on what to drink. I assumed that alcohol, pop, and artificially sweetened stuff was out (and sips of Diet Coke throughout the week was my cheat), but what about coffee or tea? No clue. Do I have to ear fat free Greek yogurt, or is 2% OK? Nada. On the Saturday meal plan, it said it was a flexible day and you could switch meals around. Could I do that on other days? I left a comment on the author's blog asking that, and interpreted the response I received as snippy. (She said it was written in the plan that the order of meals could be changed, but I have re-read this many times, and it says that nowhere.) Annoyingly, the shopping list for the week, which should be awesome, sometimes has the wrong amounts to buy. (I just made my list by going through each day and tallying up the items.) Finally, there are typos. A lot of typos. Like instead of tsbp, 9sbp, or instructions to make a smoothie with a cup of water and water, rather than a cup of water and ice. For a pdf file that I have to print myself, $12 is a lot of money for these types of mistakes and omissions.

That said, I am glad that I am doing this diet. A friend of mine with a nutrition degree said it was very good. I have overall felt great on it, in the sense that I have not been hungry and have had lots of energy for hard workouts. It has forced me to eat vegetables. I believe that in the two weeks I followed this plan, I have eaten more veggies than I did in the past three months. Seriously. So thanks to Swim Bike Mom for sharing her plan, flaws and all. If anyone has any questions about it, email me. I'm happy to proselytize.