How Much Longer, Lord?

For those of you counting at home, it has been 606 days since I packed up my desk and walked out of my office for the last time, feeling confused and betrayed and incredibly relieved. It was the right choice, as has been proven again and again. But that doesn't mean that it hasn't been a difficult 606 days. I mean, babies have been conceived, gestated, and born in the time that I've been unemployed. And technically, if someone were to get pregnant right after the 6 week postpartum restriction, they could have TWO separately-gestated-and-born babies in the time I've been without a job (40 weeks plus 6 weeks plus 40 weeks equals 86 weeks, which is just slightly less than 606 divided by 7, for those math weirdos out there). But honestly I don't think I'd recommend this.

ANYWAY. Sorry for that gestational tangent. My point is, it's been a rough 86 weeks. Babies have been born, people have died, weight has been gained (and lost again), emotions have roiled, interviews have given false hope, money has not-so-slowly seeped out of bank accounts, etc. We've all heard this story before. Everything has changed around me and I stay the same. Stuck. Sometimes, I feel like I might whither up and never move again; I'll just be trapped in an endless loop of interviews and hopelessness. Each night, I pray, "How much longer, Lord?"

Today, he answered me.

"Five," He said.

His voice was not a booming in the clouds or a still, small whisper in my soul. His voice came in the form of a woman on the other end of my phone. Offering me a job. Starting next Wednesday.

Five days from now, I will be a gainfully employed, functioning member of society. Today, I accepted a job offer with an area non-profit organization doing work that I believe in and want to be a part of. This is a full-time, benefited, community-impacting job. It's everything I prayed for and more. I might even get to have my own office! I have mild fantasies of a mini-fridge and a coat rack. Don't ask me to explain; it'd just ruin it.

In the past 24 hours, I have cried, I have jumped up and down, I have fallen to my knees in grateful prayer, and I have danced. Oh how I've danced! I would like to tell you the whole story at some point about how the interviews went and about the offer, but I'm starving and I'm too excited to sit still. So I'll save that for a whole other post.

But I don't want to end this without first saying that I am SO grateful for all of you, my Internet community. This last year and a half would have been doubly difficult if I hadn't had you to whine to and ask questions of and joke with. I would not have had the courage (or the ability, THANK YOU Linnea) to move here to Texas and make a new start. You people have been more gracious and supportive than I could ever expect or deserve. Thank you so much for your prayers, your support, and your love. I had no idea how much God would bless me through this rambly little blog, but I'm so glad I found you all.


Weigh-In: Week 5

This was the week of "Delicious Food that I Probably Shouldn't Have Eaten." And I'm not at all sorry. Last Friday, we went out to a small Austrian cafe and I had schnitzel for the first time. Let me tell you, Austrians know what's up. Then last night, Kammah and her boyfriend came over for steak and Doctor Who and I thoroughly enjoyed myself--with the company, the show, and ALL the food. And while I planned in advance for both of these events (and also Sunday out at Faire, where it's hard to remember to eat and/or choose wisely), some things are just too hard to calculate.

Plus, there comes a time when you become That Girl. You know the one. The girl who's dieting and becomes so obsessed with calories that she doesn't enjoy the food or the company or the experience AND/OR she annoys the hell out of everyone around her by TALKING about the calories in things and making A Whole Big Thing out of her diet. I've been that girl; I don't like being that girl. So I guessed a lot, tried to eat smaller portions, and just plain relaxed.

All of this to say that this week, I was not expecting great things at the scale and I was completely fine with that. However, I did better than I'd hoped. The stats:
Original Weight: 312.0 lbs
Today's Weight: 304.0 lbs
Week's Loss: -0.6 lbs
Total Loss: -8.0 lbs
There are times when this kind of incremental change would bother me--especially during those weeks where I try so hard and a loss this small doesn't feel like it rewards my efforts. In those situations, I try to tell myself two things: 1) A loss is a loss, no matter how much and; 2) Anything between -0.5 and -1.5 is both HEALTHY and NORMAL. Today, I'm just happy that I didn't gain. As a bit of a numbers weirdo, I also like the fact that it's a solid 8 pounds lost, which is exactly halfway to my 5% goal--my first goal with a deadline. And okay, that technically makes it my 2.5% goal, but that's not really a thing, so pretend we all didn't just do the math on that. Since this is Week Five and there are five more weeks to July 3rd, I'm right on track.

Even though I'm happy with this week's progress, I still find myself in a mental trap. You see, my brain likes to lie to me and tells me that 8 pounds isn't all that much, especially when held up against the (ridiculous) 120 pounds I have yet to lose. But, as with any lie, it's defeated with the truth. Here are some facts I'm using to remind myself of the truth:
  • A gallon of water weighs approximately 8 pounds: I would imagine milk doesn't weigh much more, so I think about the relief I feel when I'm carrying in the groceries and I get to put down the milk. I'm glad I'm no longer carrying around those 8 pounds.
  • I weighed a little over 8lbs when I was born: I know LOTS of babies born that size. So I've already lost the weight of a whole HUMAN BEING. Granted, a rather small human, but still.
  • I'm not where I used to be: Before I moved to Texas and started going to meetings, I'd already lost 10 pounds. When I add that to the 8 I've lost here, it starts to feel a whole lot more substantial.
  • My pants fit better: Right before Christmas, I went to the thrift store and bought three pairs of cheap pants in size 24, set on only being in them for a short time. For my birthday in January, my mom bought me a nicer pair in size 22 and they didn't fit. I am now comfortably wearing the 22s and ALL the 24s live in a drawer. [I had an epiphany one day after my fresh-out-of-the-dryer 24s were falling down every time I stood up. Huh. IT'S ALMOST LIKE THEY DON'T FIT ANY MORE. Apparently, I am a terrible clothing size judger.] Even though 22 is is not a number I like, it's progress. 
  • My finger nails are longer and stronger: I think they've grown a millimeter a day in the last week. I looked down today while typing and was like, "WHOA! When did that happen?" Then I remembered last time I did WW: getting all of my daily recommended vegetable/fruit and dairy servings actually makes me...healthier. In appreciably quantifiable ways. While this isn't weight-loss, per se, it is a direct result of my efforts. 

That's all I've got for today. Hopefully I'll have some interview updates later in the week. Until then, let's talk about YOU. How's your weight-loss going? How's your life? Got a funny limerick? Want to talk about the season finale of Doctor Who? Comment away!


Weigh-In: Week 4 (with an Interview Update)

I went for a long walk after my meeting today and I wore myself out. I also gave myself another blister, so I guess I''ll be buying new shoes soon. Over all, it was a good week. I ate ice cream a few times (Safeway has an Oatmeal Cookie flavor that is delightful and only 8 points for a cup) and I think I had pizza again (it's all starting to run together), so I'm not feeling deprived at all. Most days, I did better at budgeting my points throughout the day so I didn't end up gobbling 23 points right before bed. Except for last night, but some oreos and ice cream cleared that problem right up.

Anyway, the stats:
Original Weight: 312.0 lbs
Today's Weight: 304.6 lbs
Week's Loss: -2.8 lbs
Total Loss: -7.4 lbs
I am REALLY excited about this progress. It seems unlikely that I'll keep up this pace over the long run (and it probably wouldn't be healthy if I did), but I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth. Plus, I got my first 5 pound sticker! Last time around, I lived for the stickers. This time is no different. I apparently do really well with token reward systems. 

The sunshine and the balanced daylight here are really helping me out. I think I may have some kind of biological hibernation response in Far North that makes it really difficult to lose weight. Or, that could just be a cop out. Who knows? What I do know for sure is that most produce is so much cheaper here and the quality is much better. I'm eating avocados! And asparagus! And strawberries! And all sorts of other things. My only complaint is that I have yet to find a really good apple selection. My favorites are Cameos and I think they're pretty rare in the first place, but none of the stores I've gone to have had a decent selection of any kind of apple. This is not the end of the world, by any means, but I do miss my apples.

*   *   *   *   *

On Monday, I posted about my up-coming interview. And just like with any mother who posts about something her baby is doing only to have him or her stop doing it the second she hits publish, everything changed rather quickly. Tuesday morning, I got a call from a different organization that I applied with and they want to interview me on Thursday. I'm pretty excited about this position, too, so I'm happy to have more than one option if they both offer me a job (that sounded...optimistic; how unlike me).

After the conversation with the woman, I hung up the phone and danced into the living room to tell Bean. And being the tempter of fate that I am, I tweeted this: 

As most of you are probably aware, the same storm system that devastated Moore, Oklahoma has been working its way across northern Texas, including the DFW area. We were under tornado watches both Monday and Tuesday. Soon after I tweeted that, the watch was changed to a Severe Weather warning. I was not wild about the idea of driving across unfamiliar interstates in severe weather or with the chance of a tornado, but I didn't exactly think I could cancel or reschedule the interview, either. I figured most people in the area are used to this kind of activity in the spring and summer and I was being a baby. So I located my big girl panties once more and set out. Just as the thunderstorm started. 

I have never driven in rain like that. I'm pretty sure it's not all that unusual for the area, but Far North doesn't really get deluges like that. It just sprinkles for months on end. Or it's too cold and we have snowstorms, which are bad don't get me wrong, but are not the same. Anyway, I fought through the worst of the storm on the turnpike and was making decent time, since I'd left early. The rain finally petered off and traffic started moving faster and my hands unclenched from the steering wheel. Five miles to go! I consoled myself. Only two exits now! You can do this!

And then my phone rang. 

They were cancelling the interview. Apparently, the organization has a policy to shut down in these types of weather situations. Which is fine! I completely understand! I didn't want to be on the roads either! Everyone stay home where it's safe and warm and dry! BUT. Seriously? The warning had been in effect for hours. They couldn't have called me earlier in the day? The interview was in less than a half hour. Unless I lived RIGHT NEXT DOOR to their offices, there's no way I hadn't left yet. I lied and told her I hadn't gotten very far and it was perfectly alright and of course I'd be happy to reschedule. Because that's what you do when you're desperate for a job a polite human being. 

I just now got an email form her with the rescheduled time. So. For anyone keeping score at home, I will make the THIRD trip out there at 8:00 am on Friday to have what is technically a FIRST interview. The other organization's interview is on Thursday at 11:00 am. If you're the praying type, I'd appreciate one or two on my behalf. It would be amazing if either one of these turned into an actual job for me. Because, seriously? PIG'S BLOOD!


The Interview Chronicals: Day 600

I wish "600" was just a random, very large number used for humorous purposes to illustrate that I have been at this job search thing for a while. Like whenever Sister's friend has to tell someone her weight, she says 1512 pounds or, alternately, 17 pounds since neither can be true and people laugh and forget they asked her a terribly rude question like, "How much do you weigh?" But, alas, it is the real number (if we're counting from here, which I am, so there). So. That's...fun.

Anyway, I told the Internet I had an interview coming up and then promptly stopped talking to the Internet about jobs at all (even on my non-blog, real-name social media sites where people from home look to find out how I'm doing). So here's the story, as best as I can tell it without revealing the company or the industry and without sounding like a giant blog of "and then I did this and then I did that and then I misused the word interesting about seven times and then BORED."

Several weeks ago, I got a call for a "pre-interview phone screening" which was apparently just their fancy way of saying "We'll have an HR rep ask you all the usual interview questions, which they will type up and give to your interviewer (should you be chosen for an interview) and he will only glance at them and then ask you all the same questions over again. Just for funsies." At least, that was my experience. I answered all of the questions for a particular position and the HR lady was very nice and personable and we had a good rapport. I don't know if that matters at all, but I'd like to think it's a good thing. It can't hurt, anyway.

An hour after that call, she called me back and said, "The whole time you were answering my questions, I was thinking you'd be great for this other position. And I see that you've applied for that one as well. Can I screen you for that one, too?" Like I was going to say no. Plus, do you know how gratifying it is for someone to call you and tell you that your skills MADE them think of a place for you at their company? That was pretty nice. So I answered a lot of the same questions, which I had to remember all of my good answers from before since she was re-typing them because they were going to a completely different department. Luckily, SHE remembered some of the good things I said and actually prompted me a few times. I sent her a Thank You Card, because she is awesome. Hands down, best person I've met through this whole job hunting experience.

Anyway, about a week later, she called me and set up an in-person interview for the second position (I've never heard another word about the first one). Apparently, the Executive Director's schedule was pretty tight, so she offered me two dates, both three weeks out. Which is unusual in my experience, but it's not like I'm going to turn it down. Unfortunately, this lead to three weeks of me talking myself in and out of being qualified for the position. My interview nerves are pretty bad in the best of circumstances, so I'm amazed my head didn't explode at some point in those weeks.

After a lot of mental rehearsing and wardrobe choosing, Thursday arrived. I put on my big girl panties, figured out how to navigate the unfamiliar interstate highways (Far Northerner, remember?), and went to the interview. And it went seemingly well. I mean, it's ME, so there were still a lot of awkward moments and talking with my hands (read: one step short of flailing). Since my barometer of what makes an interview good is obviously not properly calibrated (I've thought some went REALLY well and others terribly and they all resulted in me not getting the job), I couldn't really answer everyone's question of "How'd it go?" But I also didn't spend days agonizing over every little flub and wishing I'd said more or less on particular subjects. So I felt like that was pretty positive.

And the director seemed nice enough. He was a little intense at turns--he kept a cot in his office--but also kind of blase about things--he made light jokes about the weaknesses of the organization. But all in all, he seemed decent and I could see myself working for him. And let's face it, as much as I don't want to get into another terrible boss situation, I also REALLY NEED A JOB. Anyway, I felt like it went as well as it possibly could have. He said he had another interview the next week, but that he'd make a decision by the end of that week.

I got a call on Wednesday from the HR department. As soon as the woman identified herself, I braced for rejection. It was too early in the week. Plus, my default expectation is disappointment (like that's news to anyone). And just as I suspected, she did not offer me the job.

No, instead, she informed me that the man I had met with six days ago was "no longer with the organization" and asked if I would be willing to come in and re-interview with another executive. So. That's weird, right? Seriously, I have been puzzling over this for days. I met with him in the afternoon on Thursday and I got the call in the morning the following Wednesday. What could have happened in three business days? He was the executive director of a large organization. They don't usually up and quit. If he'd been planning it, he wouldn't have scheduled the interview. If they were trying to fire him before that, they wouldn't have let him take the interview. So my guess is he went out in some kind of hailstorm. Either he walked out or they fired him. Or he died. Otherwise, I have no idea how this happens. And don't think I haven't been googling (it's a prominent enough company that it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for them to put out a press release in this kind of situation).

Anyway, long story short, I'm headed back in to interview tomorrow. Obviously, we're dealing with some odd circumstances here, but it's a little crazy to me how long this process has taken. I got the very first call the schedule the pre-interview screening on April 9th. My original interview was on May 9th. At the rate we're going, I may not find out whether or not I've got the job until June 9th. Is this how things usually go? Because my 600 days tell me something a little bit different.

Not that I'm necessarily complaining (I'm totally complaining), since any progress is still progress and I'm grateful to have ANY kind of opportunity to tell someone they should hire me. It's just that it feels a lot like expecting to get stood up for the school dance but your date actually shows up and is dressed nicely and even brings a corsage and you're OVERJOYED until you get to the dance and everyone looks at you in a way that makes you feel like you aren't supposed to be there but THEN you find out you got crowned QUEEN and as you're making your tearful speech about how they really actually like you after all there's a whole giant bucket's worth of PIG'S BLOOD falling on your head. And I'm just saying that if it takes two entire months to get to the pig's blood, I'd have rather stayed home alone with a good book.


Weigh-In: Week 3

Quick recap of the week: I got sick on Friday, was still dealing with blister-fallout, and it got hotter here for a few days. So I didn't really move much at all. On Sunday, I went out to Faire with Bean and Baby, but we didn't do much walking or Faire-ing and the baby and I went home early. I think the most I moved this week was when I was a half hour late to The Porch last night (I forgot it was Tuesday for a little while; shut up) and had to park in another county and make the epic journey into the church (there were elves and dwarves and a parking garage). It's my own fault for apparently never learning the days of the week, but it was FAR. Anyway, that's not my best work.

Also, I ate pizza for five meals this week. I tracked it and I didn't go over my points at all, so it's not like it's a big deal. But it's not the healthiest of choices and I really should get some variety. But it's fast, cheap, easy, and DEE-licious. But enough about what I ate, because I am bored even typing this paragraph, so sorry for those of you who had to read it.

None of this seemed to matter much at weigh-in time anyway. The stats:
Original Weight: 312.0 lbs
Today's Weight: 307.4 lbs
Week's Loss: -1.8 lbs
Total Loss: -4.6 lbs
I'm basically on track for the loss rate I want, but two data points does not a trend make. I spent some time this morning putting all of my goal dates into my calendar as a visual reminder. I don't know if this will make me crazy and hypercritical of myself if I don't meet them in time or if it will be the good reminder I intend. For now, the act of putting them IN renewed my focus, so there's that.

Anyway, that's enough about me and my weight loss. I've been talking about my body a lot lately, what with make-up and weight loss, and boobs. Sorry about that. Apparently, that's what's on my mind right now (oh, except I keep having this idea to do a Pet Peeves post when something really ticks me off, but the next time  get annoyed, I can't remember what the last thing was, so it'll either be a very short post or I need to start making a list).

So how's it going for you? Any victories? Need some support? Want to talk about something else entirely? I'm game.


Laptops and Boobs (I Swear This Isn't About Porn)

My computer died. Except, no wait, PSYCH! It's just fine. I have no idea, actually. Recently, when I unplug it to use it as an actual laptop (instead of just a desktop that closes), the battery runs down in less than an hour. But, since it's a four-year old computer--and let's face it,  they're practically disposable these days--I'd resigned myself to the fact that the battery doesn't have the staying power it used to and I'd just leave it plugged in. But then, two nights ago, it started giving me all kinds of warnings about low battery / plug in quickly / help me I'm dying. But it was plugged in. Great! I checked all the connections and they all looked...connected. I unplugged it all and shut it down, pulled off the battery, waited a few seconds, and then reversed the process. It was still mad and I feared that I was going to have to replace the battery (over $100) or the cord ($80) or both. OR, luck-that-is-not-mine, it wasn't the battery or the cord at all, but some internal component that would be even more expensive to fix and I would probably need a whole new computer and I would have to say good-bye to all of my data.

Except, maybe I shouldn't have looked at it right away after reversing the process. You know, before it had a chance to charge. Because everything is all fine now. Plugged in, fully charged, looking like normal. I'm still worried it might happen again and NOT be reversible, but for now I'm pretending nothing happened. Because I do not need anything else added to the list of "First Priority Purchase As Soon As You Have An Income Again." I have about eleven first priority purchases on that list already.

And as I'm typing this, my iPhone is mocking my very words. For months now, I've been having trouble with the home button. Every once in a while, it just...stops working. And then starts up again in a very laptop-dying-psych kind of way (I'm told this is a software issue). It's over two years old and generations behind at this point, but I was hoping it would hold out until, you know, INCOME, since even at contract renewal, iPhones aren't exactly cheap. Anyway, the home button had intermittent trouble. But it hasn't acted up in months. In fact, the last problem was a few weeks before the morning I woke up to find my lock button no longer worked. I have no idea what happened while I slept that night, but there is now no locking, resetting, or powering down my phone. Luckily, a friend had recently showed me the AssistiveTouch button, so I lock it manually. At the time, I thought, "God help me if the home button ever acts up again, since I'll have no other way to get to the lock screen to turn on my phone or USE it!" And here we are: God help me. I now mash the button a million times or plug it in to get the charging screen. Or wait until someone texts me.


And that wasn't even what this post was supposed to be about. But I'm too lazy to break it into two posts or wait to post on my original subject until tomorrow, because I must blog while the iron is hot (I think I'm mixing my metaphors a little there, but you know what I mean). What I ACTUALLY came here to talk about was boobs. MY boobs, specifically. I know, there's no good way to introduce them or this topic. But I soldier valiently onward.

By now, many of you have read the Bra Post by Jen at EPBOT (also of Cake Wrecks fame). I read it with great interest because I have always (and I mean ALWAYS) hated my boobs and my bras and anything related to bra shopping, even stretching as far as shirt shopping, because nothing fits right or looks good. In fact, I've always joked that I got my father's singing voice and his bra size (hint, both of those equal "none"). But if I'm being honest and serious, I have been more than bothered by this on many occasions. Even though I know intellectually that my identity as a human being or as a woman does not lie in my body shape, I have been broken-hearted over this issue more than a handful of times. I have never liked my weight, but I can (and have) changed that. But I cannot change my bra size (the cup size did not change perceptibly no matter how much I lost or gained), unless I'm willing to under-go an expensive surgical procedure. I am not. And so I've remained sad and secretly doubtful of my own femininity, while also feeling stupid for that doubt.

So when Jen posted about going up several cup sizes just by buying the right bra, I was intrigued, but incredibly skeptical. Partly, I was thinking, "You have what you have, bra or not, and when I look down, there's just not a lot there." And partly, I was thinking, "Even if there is some kind of miracle here, it's not going to apply to me because my boobs are hopeless." So I let the information sift around in my brain for a while and promised myself that when I had an income, I think about splurging on some new bras and see what happened (Are you noticing a theme of putting everything on hold until I get a job? Welcome to my life for the last 18 months). But I was not hopeful and I was not excited.

But today, it was hot out. And I'm tired of my closet's sundress options. And even though I told myself not to buy any clothes until I a) lose more weight and b) have an income (broken record alert!), I saw that Target was having a small sale on maxi dresses. I was just going to try a few on, get sad in the dressing room, and go home defeated. You know, normal Tuesday stuff. But then! I found a (magical) dress that somehow managed to diminish the hudge and looked pretty good (most maxi dresses are terrible and don't look good on the skinniest and tallest of supermodels, so I rarely even try them on). The only problem was, it was black and white striped and you would be able to see anything but nude colored underthings, of which I have zero. I suppose I could add an undershirt or a slip or something, but the point in buying it would be to remain cool and extra layers wouldn't help with that.

So I very hesitantly entered the bra department. Just to LOOK. And achieve my goal of getting sad in the dressing room  and going home defeated. Now, I'm a big girl, but I have little to no boob, which is apparently a freak of nature if you're going by any clothing store anywhere in America. No one really makes bras for that. At my smallest, I was just barely squeezing into a 36, so I knew I needed at least a 38. But practically no one makes a 38A (or an almost A, if we're talking the unpadded bras made of thin materials), so I decided to try a 38B, hoping that Jen was right about the Swoop & Scoop method. I should note here that I'm STILL squeezing into the same 36s at more than 100lbs heavier (and almost four YEARS without a new bra), so I rationalized that it wasn't too much of a waste of money to get one new, ill-fitting bra, because it wasn't like the other ones were really helping me either. Plus, I am a (somewhat) grown-up lady and it is high time I owned ONE bra that was not covered in cutesy little patterns that show through unless I wear an undershirt. That's a lot of caveats and side-trails. Sorry.

ANYway, I grabbed several different kinds of 38Bs and took myself off to be disappointed. And sure enough, the bands were a tight fit and nothing looked good. So that meant I was a 40A? There is no way in hell anyone makes that size. I'm pretty sure 40Bs are nearly as rare. I was probably going to have to go to some custom bra maker and pay a quadrillion dollars to get anything that would actually fit my Frankensteinian body (it doesn't matter if you read this as the monster or the scientist, since I'm pretty sure neither of them fit into standard bra sizes). As you can imagine, this was not putting me in a good mood. Also, the bras wanted me to talk to them:

Most of the others commanded me to TOUCH or FEEL them. And standing naked in a dressing room at Target, sweaty and annoyed and tired of groping myself into submission, I didn't take too kindly to being bossed around by my bras. As you can imagine, I was losing heart quickly. But then I noticed something. I would swoop & scoop and tug & mug and whatever other kind of rhyming method of grabbing myself in a way that's generally inappropriate in public--and yet there was something wrong with the cups. If I pulled from the outside, the cup wrinkled and bulged unappealingly, but if I tried to pull it smooth, all the swooping and scooping was undone. It was almost as if... the cups weren't... large enough.




No way. I must have been doing it wrong. If I hadn't been so sweaty and annoyed, I might have just called it quits and/or opened up Jen's post on my phone for a quick dressing room re-read. Instead, I threw on my terrible bra and my clothes and trekked back over to the bra section. I grabbed all the same bras in 38C (even the bossy ones) and headed back to the dressing room, rolling my eyes at my ridiculous presumption the whole way. This was only going to lead to more heart break and despair, but I couldn't stop myself. The band was still going to be too tight and the cup was going to be too big and I was going to end up in tears before this was over, but apparently I'm not done with a dressing room until I'm crying.

Except that no, I am not a Special Snowflake of Boob Sadness; I am just like every other girl in the comments on EPBOT and in the Reddit thread Jen linked to. I am full cup sizes larger than I expected to be. I am a 38C. I...don't even know what to do with this.

This is where I'd post old bra/new bra or before/after side-by-side photos (fully clothed and without my face, of course) if I wasn't home alone and terrible at taking my own picture. The few I've managed don't show the dramatic change as well as I'd like and are grainy cellphone photos. Oh hell, here are my boobs:

The top is before (with old bra) and the bottom is after (with new bra). Like I said: crappy picture, but better boobs.

The band size is still a bit of an issue, but it works for now. Since I'm actively losing weight, I'm going hang out here until I know what's going on with my body. Also, there was a two pack for the same price as the other two top contenders and you can guess which one won, so I have TWO new bras that make me happy. I'm still figuring out the right strap length and I wish the sides didn't roll at all (although this one does that MUCH less than my others). Plus, I look like a real live grown up lady who doesn't have to feel nearly so bad about her figure and also might be able to get away with not wearing an undershirt once in a while. Oh, and I also bought myself that dress:

Image from Target

So much for waiting until I have an income to buy new clothes....


Weigh-In: Week 2

I went to my meeting this morning. Here are my stats:

Original Weight: 312.0 lbs
Today's Weight: 309.2 lbs
Week's Loss: -2.8 lbs
Total Loss: -2.8 lbs

This was a pretty good week. I managed to rack up 17 activity points with my walks and I only went over my daily allowance once this week (last night, I went to Sonic for popcorn chicken and it was SO worth it) and only by about three. On the original plan, I couldn't eat my weekly allowance at all if I wanted to lose weight and I could only use about half my activity points. On this new plan, I think I have a little more freedom, but I'm still not sure the extent of it.

As for the blister [No one cares. Stop talking about your ailments on the Internet.], I looked for the blister Bandaids some of you recommended and then cheaped out by buying the off brand. Which I didn't realize were to small to cover the blister until I got them home. So. Either the cheap version is too small or my blister is just huge [It is. They still don't care, Elise.], but I bought some gauze and medical tape just in case and I'm so glad I did. It seems like a little bit of an over reaction to tape a 2X2 inch square of gauze with about three feet of tape, but it's staying put and it doesn't hurt, so what do I care? [You don't. And neither do they. MOVE ON.]

Anyway, I'm pretty excited about my progress this week. It's only one week, but it's a good start. I've also made some small changes in my routines and environment to help me. First of all, I changed my screensaver to pictures of me from my weight loss "journey" (dear God, do I hate that term, but I can't think of a better way to phrase it) for inspiration. I hate when women put up pictures form magazines, because a) those women in the photos won the genetic lottery that you and I probably did not come out ahead in, b) they're basically computer-generated animations at this point anyway, and c) they're NOT YOU and they don't live your life or have your challenges. Ahem. When did this soapbox sneak under my feet? Sorry, stepping off now. My point is that these photos of me are all at a weight I can and HAVE attained (and relatively recently, too), so they're pretty helpful in reminding me why I'm working so hard.

I've also been trying really hard to eat at regular intervals that some might call meal times (novel concept!) instead of eating a ton and then starving for seven or eight hours. So that's helped. I bought more produce the last time I shopped and I'm reminding myself to eat it before it goes bad and OH HEY I like these foods so that's a side benefit.

Well, that's all I've really got to say about that. I've gotta go babysit for an Internet friend now (it's still really weird to me that this is my life and the Internet is here, in person, all the time). How are YOU guys doing with your weight loss, healthier habits, WeightWatching, etc? What's working for you? Have any triumphs to share? I'd love to hear about them.


A Few Tenuously Related Things

Five days in, the WeightWatchers thing is going well. Which isn't saying all that much, since it's five whole days (it's not even enough time to have a weigh-in report). Except the opposite of that statement would be pretty pathetic, so I guess five whole days is something to celebrate. I went shopping yesterday and, since my shopping bags look basically the same from week to week, I made a point of buying a few newish things. So I bought an avocado. And I picked a new kind of granola bar. I know, I'm such a daredevil! I also bought snack-size ziplocks to portion out my snacks, because 1) it's cheaper than buying pre-portioned snacks, 2) the boxes were taking up a lot of room on my shelf, and 3) I'm more likely to eat it if it's already counted for me. So I put on Firefly and busted out all the bags and boxes of snacks and had a sorting/counting party. Then I realized that the boxes were doing a rather excellent job of containing my snacks and I had no where to put a gazillion slide-y plastic bags. So I ran to Target and bought two cheap wire baskets from the See Spot Save section to keep it tidy. Like this:

One is savory, the other is sweet. I could probably do something Pinteresty to them to label them. Or I could just look at them and then eat some things. That plan seems easier.

The baby has already found them and enjoys dumping them all over the floor and then flinging the granola bars around, which is fun for her and amusing for me so everyone wins. You might notice the numbers drawn on them in purple permanent marker--those are points values (shut up, I know it's "PointsPlus" now, but who are we kidding with this really?). That way, it's a really easy grab-and-go system. That I've set up for such a time as I will actually "go" after I grab.

The OCD part of me would like to go get more bins and separate the items by point value, but is conflicted by the fact that the Target near me only has yellow bins left and then they won't all match so I need different colors entirely so that it looks like it was intentionally not matching. And also, I don't have any FIVE point snacks, but I do have SIX point snacks, so do I just skip the five point bin or do I have an empty bin as a place holder for POTENTIAL five point snacks?  I have problems, is what I'm saying.

*   *   *   *   *

Also on the weight-loss front, I've been walking more lately. I discovered an app that works for me (MapMyWalk) and I've made routes of varying lengths and I actually want to walk them. On Saturday, I plopped the baby in the stroller and walked three (THREE) miles, which I am extremely proud of and I would count as a success if it weren't for a sunburn (Far Northerners are not to be trusted in Texas sunshine, apparently, but don't worry because I bought sunscreen with my avocado) and a blister. Yeaaaaah, my running shoes are causing a chronic blister on my left foot. I probably need new shoes, which I can't really afford right now. But I probably also need to, you know, use common sense and let it heal completely before trying to walk in them again. Which is really lame, because this is the first time in FOREVER that I actually want to exercise and I can't put my stupid shoes on. And yes, complaining about wanting to exercise and "woe is me, I have a small blister. I think I shall die from this!" this is really stupid and I am a walking limping cliche of First World problems, but it IS a problem to me and it's bumming me out.  Maybe I can find a good padded band-aid or something, because I really don't want to lose momentum. Any runners out there know of anything that actually stays put? (I should clarify: I am not and will probably never be a runner, but if it works at higher speeds, it should work for my 20 minute mile pace, right?)

*   *   *   *   *

You know how I mentioned Firefly in the first paragraph? I started rewatching it because I ran out of Doctor Who (I told you these things are tenuously related). That's right, I'm now a Whovian. I have Thoughts and Feelings about all of it, but I don't want to spoil anything for any of you who are still planning on getting into it (I speak from experience when I say it is never too late to show up to this party). Luckily, Bean and her husband and Kammah are all Whovians (how do you think I got hooked in the first place?), so I have outlets for my Thoughts and Feelings. but if any of you are fans and need someone with whom to start an epic email discussion, I am willing to be that someone. 

And if you're someone who wants to watch, but feels like it's a huge undertaking, let me assure you that it's worth it. Start with the 2005 re-start with the 9th Doctor and just forget about the earlier seasons--they'll explain everything you need to know. Seasons 1-6 are on Netflix as "Doctor Who" (whereas the older season are labeled as "Classic Doctor Who"). Two special episodes are missing, but I think you can buy them on Amazon; I haven't seen those and I'm not too lost. The current season is also on Amazon. And I would recommend staying off of Pinterest and Google while you're working your way through it, because I thoroughly spoilered myself on a few important things accidentally.

*   *   *   *   *

In related news, I think I am an official Netflix addict. Far North Internet being what it is (read: stupid), I haven't had the ability to watch online television in a very long time. And now I am watching ALL. THE. THINGS. I'm caught up on all my current shows, I've picked up a few that I dropped after college, and I'm flinging myself into BBC serials and science fiction adventures like there is no tomorrow. As you can imagine, this is making me oh so successful in the finding a job arena.

*   *   *   *   *

But! I have a job interview on Thursday. I got the call three weeks ago. That means I've had three weeks to get my hopes up and freak myself the heck out. I am not exactly in a great headspace right now. And I just realized that I need to find something professional to wear that actually fits me. If only WeightWatchers was a little more...instantaneous (she wishes for the millionth time for the millionth reason). I'm not sure if I'm more worried about screwing up the interview or about doing everything right and them still not hiring me. Mostly, I'm worried about the crushing despair that comes after rejection. I'm trying to keep things in perspective and put my hope in the right things (in a God who is sovereign and loves me and has a good plan for me and will not abandon me but is not a genie in a bottle and will not give me everything I want but will always give me everything I need) and not in the wrong things (my own ability to get a job, since I apparently do not have that ability). But if you're the praying type, I would appreciate some on my behalf around 2:30 pm this Thursday. 

*   *   *   *   *

Because I have been conditioned by a very long stint of unemployment, I know that this interview will likely turn into nothing. Statistics show that to be true. And I know, it only takes one offer, but let's face it, it would be ridiculous if one of the first jobs I applied for here in Texas and the first (only) interview I had was THE job and I was done. I'm still holding out hope, because that would be awesome. But I'm also being prudent and continuing to apply for other jobs. And I am ASTOUNDED by the amount of jobs available here. I think I have applied for more jobs in the last month than I applied for the whole time I was unemployed in Far North. Some of that is the economy. Some of that was my apathy and beaten-downness. But a lot of it is just that Far North is so TINY. Yes, it's a huge landmass, but it's so sparsely populated and there are so few industries. The opportunities here are so amazing to me. I feel like there HAS to be something I'm qualified for here. There HAS TO. Huh. This paragraph started out pragmatically pessimistic, but we ended on a high note. Victory! I think I'll leave it there before I talk myself out of it.


In Which I Pretend to Know Something About Make Up

I bought some make up. I just spent the last twenty minutes writing different intros to this post, including one that descended quickly into a treatise on gender roles and what exactly is "feminine." And then I smacked myself in the face. So here's my intro: I bought some make up. I don't usually buy or wear much make up. I like the stuff I bought. I would like to tell you about it. Oh, and I make things much more difficult than they need to be. End.

Temerity Jane has posted a few times recently about make-up and I love how she calls herself a hobbyist. I've always liked the idea of make up and have even enjoyed applying/wearing it, but I'm not very good at any of that and I've always felt I "failed at being a girl" (like there's some standard measurement of girlness and there are gender cops out there who are going to ticket me for my lack or surplus of girlness...) But, as she often does, Kelly simplified the issue: do it for fun.

So. In that spirit, I went on a little shopping spree right after PJs at TJ's, since she introduced me to e.l.f. and I'd loved it so much. Unfortunately, my Target didn't carry e.l.f. that week. [I have no idea either. They had a whole display the NEXT time I went that I know for a fact was not there when I went with the express purpose of giving them all my monies for e.l.f. products. Whatever, Far North Target, you are drunk.] So I bought a whole bunch of other stuff on crazy clearance and then tweeted this picture:

Look at those stickers!

I am notoriously cheap, so I was really excited about these prices--I didn't spend more than $3 per item. The two eyeshadow crayon things are FANtastic. I kind of don't want to go back to power eyeshadow now. The mascara is brown instead of my usual black or brown-black and it flakes off my lashes by the end of the day in a way that irritates my eyes, so I'm not crazy about it. The lipsticks are both pretty good, but I've always been bad with lip stuff. I spend a lot of my time eating and drinking (new to exactly no one) and I don't like the feeling of it in contact with my food, so I'm constantly removing it and reapplying (no matter what kind I use) and I kind of hate that. I chose relatively neutral colors because...I have a fear of color? I don't know, but neither of them really adds that much to my face, so what's the point?

Eventually, I acquired a few e.l.f. items as planned:

The black eyeliner & shadow stick was a "gift" from Kelly/myself with the leftover registration money from PJs at TJ's. Sister got a brown one, so when we got home, she bought herself a black one and me a brown one so we'd stop stealing each other's, because we LOVE them--further confirmation that I need all of my eyeshadow in stick/crayon form from now on. The brush was a dollar and is falling apart in about six different ways, but is very helpful and WHY HAVE I NEVER USED BRUSHES OTHER THAN THE ONES THAT COME WITH THE MAKE UP THIS IS AWESOME. The primer is brand new and I haven't used it yet, but I hear good things about its staying power for the price you pay (about $2, I think). The eyebrow kit is from Erin, because it didn't work for her. I have yet to try it, but Linnea promised to teach me at some point.

And can I just interrupt here to say that living with Linnea has helped immensely with the make up stuff? If there were Make Up Olympics, I'm not sure she would qualify as an amateur. Anyway, she's a make up hobbyist and she's teaching me all kinds of things. Seriously, if any of you feel like you "fail at make up" and want to enjoy it, move in with her. Or, well, I'm not sure I'm authorized to invite people to live in her house, so ignore that. But. She's pretty awesome.

AND she introduced me to Ulta. A whole store devoted to cosmetics? Yes, please! (I have been pretty deprived in Far North). Anyway, I bought these on my first trip there:

The top one is a lip crayon in "fashionista." Crayons. I'm telling you. The BEST! All I needed was to go back to kindergarten, apparently. Anyway, this shade is a lot bolder than I would usually choose for myself, but Linnea looked at the shelf of testers and was like, "There's not a single color here you couldn't wear." Which is both validating and freeing. So I chose something completely unlike my instincts because my instincts are not to be trusted. It took some getting used to when I looked in the mirror, but after two or three wearings, I'm loving it and I'm becoming less and less enchanted with my milder tones. The tinted lip balm ends up looking very similar to the crayon, but with a nice shine, so sometimes I put it over the other to add a little something. I have no idea what I'm doing, is what I'm saying.

The day I bought those, I signed up for Ulta's email list. Because of course. And just as they planned, I'm sure, I got sucked back into the store with an offer of a "free gift worth $88 with a $19.50 purchase." Since I already wanted more crayons and other face drawing implements, I jumped at the chance to have even more make up to play with. Here's what I purchased:

I spent about $21 total with tax. Because I may be a sucker, but I'm a frugal sucker.

The top is a lip gloss called "sangria" and it was being discontinued or something, so it was cheap. It's a lot more red than I usually wear, but as is the theme of this post, what I usually wear is boring and I'm looking for something different. The next one is another lip crayon in "doll face." This is actually paler and pinker than the one I got before and not nearly as bold, but it adds a finished look to my lips with a little extra tint, so I'm happy. The last one is, you guessed it, another crayon. It's an eyeshadow called "birthday girl" and comes with a smudging end. I really like this. I've been drawn to whites and ivories in eyeshadow lately, though I'm not really sure why. But with a brown eye liner and some gold or other warm tone, it gives a nice highlight. Plus, it's a CRAYON YOU USE ON YOUR FACE!

With the puchase of those three things, I got this bag of goodies:

It came it two color palates and I chose this one, because the other was hot pinks and I always go for hot pinks and I was denying my instincts. I am, however, regretting how nude some of these colors are.

The bag is cute and, uh... holds the make up really well. That's all I really have to say about that piece--I'm satisfied with it; it's a good bag. The nail polish is a pretty coraly peach called "OH!" whatever that means. I haven't tried it yet, because I had just painted my nails when I bought this. The brushes are...brushes. I'm still new to this "separate brush" thing, but I like having them. My only complaint is that they're a little coarser than I expected and they don't feel all that great on my skin. But. If the point of a brush is to get make up on your face, these are A+ brushes. The lipstick is called "perfect nude" and really lives up to the second part of its name. It's nude. Slightly pinkish nude. It doesn't add much. The blush is... Well, I'm chronically pink cheeked (hot, cold, tired, angry, embarrassed, happy--no matter what, my face is flushed) so blush is a bit useless for me. But Linnea said to use it as eyeshadow, because she is a rule breaker and a rebel. I never would've thought of doing that, but when she used it on me, I liked the effect. The lip gloss is called "flirtini" and is a pretty typical gloss. A little sticky, but not gummy, adds a nice shine, not a lot of color. Everyday kind of wear, I'd imagine, if I knew what I was talking about. The mascara is really good so far--it's true black, adds volume, and doesn't flake off as far as I've noticed. I've only used the foaming face wash once, but it took the make up right off and I haven't noticed a skin reaction (I have notoriously sensitive skin and rarely wash or moisturize my face for fear of irritation and break-outs). Overall, I like this bag of goodies.

In addition to the bag, I also got to pick an eyeliner and an eyeshadow:

I chose brown eyeliner and an eyeshadow called "plum smoke." The eyeshadow is more reddish-purple, in addition to the gold tone that the photo picked up. They're both fine. The eyeshadow is less pigmented that it looks (according to Linnea, who knows these things), but it seemed to blend well with the blush. I haven't played with it much myself, but it's not a crayon, so it's already behind the curve for me. I'm sure it'll work out, though.

And this concludes the Epic Journey of Elise's Make Up Purchases, Volume I. In 1575 words, my God. So. For about $50 or so, I have a nice little stash of things to play with, along with the other things I'd accumulated over the years. Now if only there were classes to teach you how to apply it all. Well, I guess that's what I have Linnea for. And a lot of trial and error. Speaking of which, I think I'm going to go play with all of this now.

[As always, no one paid me to say any of these things. Nothing on this blog is sponsored unless otherwise noted. Which is to say, nothing on this blog is sponsored. At all. I don't even have a job that "sponsors" my ability to purchase make up. So. No monies here. Okay?]


I May Be a Loser, But At Least I Have Goals*

I rejoined WeightWatchers today. Well, that's not true. I never technically quit WeightWatchers after college [I just continued paying my monthly fee and making occasional stabs at meetings and tracking. Then, on December 1st, I finally bit the bullet and switched plans to an online-only thing and started tracking for real. I even took the awful step of putting in a new starting weight, since I had been heavier than my previous starting weight for several months. I was making a clean go of it. And for the first few months, I was pretty good about it (if we ignore the nom-fest that is the holidays)], but I went BACK to meetings today and I'm REALLY DOING IT this time. I MEAN IT!

In an effort to be completely transparent with myself, I'm going to be transparent with you. I promise I'm not turning this into a weight-loss blog or anything, but I can't promise I won't talk about it from time to time. So if this isn't your bag, go ahead and just skip this post--hopefully, there will be others on different topics for you to read as I get back into the swing of things.

When I started WeightWatchers in April of 2008, I weighed 303.8 pounds. At my lowest, I weighed 204 pounds (in case you can't/won't do math, that's 99.8 pounds lost, which is both amazing and terribly frustrating that I didn't ever hit triple digits). When I restarted in December 2012, I was 322.2 pounds. Wow. That's...not something I'm proud of at all. BUT! It's all changing now.

Today, I walked into a meeting here in Texas and switched my plan back to the more expensive one that allows me to go to as many meetings as I want AND do the online thing. And I'm determined that if I am paying $42.95 a month out of a pocket that is not getting filled right now, I had better make it worth it. This morning, I weighed in at 312.0 pounds.

The last time I lost weight, college graduation was the perfect amount of time away to make it my goal date and that worked incredibly well. I don't have anything like that coming up, so I've decided just to do some quick math and make a date be important--one of the big reasons I moved to Texas was to be healthier, so I just have to jump in with both feet now that I'm settled here. All of my calculations are based on losing 1.75-2 lbs a week, which is close to the average I kept up the first time around. If things are too terribly different this go-round, I'll adjust and make new dates, but you have to start somewhere. Since this is already something I'm doing and Roommate posted this week about her goals for accountability sake, I decided that I needed to write this stuff down publicly so that I would stick with it.

My goals:
  • 07/03/13: 16 lbs lost (5% of starting weight)
  • 08/07/13: 25 lbs lost
  • 08/28/13: 31 lbs lost (10% of starting weight)
  • 11/13/13: 50 lbs lost 
  • 02/12/14: 75 lbs lost
  • 05/07/14: 100 lbs lost (1 year from start)
  • 07/02/14: 113 lbs lost (under 200 lbs)
  • 09/03/14: 128 lbs lost (ultimate goal)
And I am going to accomplish them by:
  • Sticking to WeightWatchers, going to meetings, and tracking my food. (DUH, but also HARD)
  • Walking with Bean and Baby Bean every chance I get--starting with once or twice a week and increasing as needed (and I did this TODAY!)
  • Buying WW friendly groceries
  • Getting a job and keeping myself busy and away from bored snacking (easier said than done, I admit, but I've got a few hopeful things happening right now)
  • Joining a gym or taking classes when my income increases
  • Remembering not to just LOOK in the mirror, but to SEE in the mirror (I often think I'm thinner than I am, but I also forget to look for progress)
Anyway, this post is mostly for me. But feel free to ask once in a while. It'll keep me honest. And in that same spirit of honesty, I'm going to try to do a quick stats post every Wednesday. And I think I'm going to post my real weight, not just how much I lost. Which would sound braver if I wasn't anonymous on this blog... But I learned last time I did this that they really are JUST numbers when you're making progress. And I'm a stats geek, if that wasn't clear.

I also know that a bunch of you are working on weight loss and that many of you are trying out WeightWatchers, so if you want to leave an encouraging comment or need someone to encourage you, I'm here! Let me know what you're going through, what's working/what's not, and what your goals are. This is always easier when you're not alone.

*This title is for Sister; I don't actually believe I'm a loser. Most days.