Sunday, April 30, 2006


The Morris dancers...bagels and coffee with H and A afterwards, sitting on the bagel shop's patio in the early morning light, yawning and waiting for the caffeine to hit my system.

Tomorrow is Beltane. So far I'm not freaking out like last year. I think that's because last year I realized that Beltane was coming up on a Saturday when I was home. This year I am at work and therefore have work to distract me.

I said last year that it had been 9 years since I'd seen the Morris Dancers, but I think it was only 8 years. This year will mark 10 years as a Christian for me, I became a Christian just two days after Beltane, and I think I saw the Morris Dancers that year. So this year will mark 9 years away. I still miss it, but not as intensely as last year.

If I had remained Wiccan I would be 14 on May 3. Funny how I became first a Witch and then a Christian on the same day. It wasn't something I was consciously aware of. But all this is chronicled in my story.

And yes, May 3 is my spiritual birthday and will mark 10 years of following Christ. It doesn't seem like that long, and I feel I should be much more mature than I am.

*sigh* I find there are no words, just mixed emotions, with sadness at the forefront. I doubt I will ever be completely "free," and I wonder if that's even best. Why forget the good times? What would that accomplish?

Tomorrow is Beltane, but the thought is soft around the edges this year. I'll make it through just fine.

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40 Days of Purpose, Day 1

Yesterday at church was weird. It was our 40 Day of Purpose kickoff. We only sang two hymns instead of four because the video was so long - so long that it took up most of the service and the entire Sabbath School time. It just went through the five basics of the program we're about to do - worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism. It's that last one that scares me.

I decided to pull out a small cat-themed blank journal I have and use that to take notes with from the book instead of using my sermon notebook. I'll put the sermons during this time in their, too, but my actual sermon notebook shouldn't be used for daily notes. No earth-shattering insights so far - I'm just writing the main ideas of each reading to solidify them in my mind.

I am really not liking all the paraphrased Bibles he quotes from. He quotes from the Bible a lot, but nine times out of ten it's a paraphrase. How can I be sure the verses say what he claims they do if I can't see the real verses? MAJOR bummer, that. I keep finding myself thinking, "Does the verse really say that?"

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Weight and Fitness

I was back up yesterday, proving my Friday weight a fluke due to dehydration. 145.2 on Sabbath morning. 3.2 pounds above goal. Oh well. Did okay with the carb counting yesterday - about 100g net carbs. I need to work on getting it down - perhaps start with a goal of 90g and go from there. I didn't weigh myself this morning because I knew I'd be up.

Made it to the gym for the first Sunday workout in forever due to telling Yuriy that I wasn't coming in early anymore. I rocked at the gym. The arms curls with the 15 pound dumbbells seemed the easiest ever. I can almost do 10 curls when before I could barely do 6, so I know I am gaining muscle. Woot!

I tried the 40 pound barbell hoping that I could "graduate" to it, but I lost all form, so I'm still stuck at the 30 pound one.

Did a 12 minute, 1 mile run at 5 mph. Then 30 minutes on the elliptical (the kind without the handles), and then 20 minutes walking at 3.5 mph just for something easy. FitDay says 363 calories. Woot!

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Low-carb frozen "mousse," take 2

Here's a picture of the chocolate flavored frozen dessert I made this week. As I ate it I thought it was closer to soft serve ice cream than mousse. I bet if it were portioned out and placed in the freezer it would harden up and be like real ice cream. And the whole thing (bigger than the serving below) has only 5 net carbs! The drink mix used does contain sugar alcohol, so be aware of that if you are overly sensitive to them.

I added one packet of Splenda to sweeten it more. Two may have worked better as I thought it still wasn't very sweet. Add one more carb if you use two.

Recipe here.

5 carb dessert
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Sabbaths and Sundays, Common Arguments, #1

This is the beginning of many posts focusing on the Sabbath vs. Sunday issue, based on some study I did on the issue several years ago. The first section is common arguments against the Sabbath and has seven claims. The second part is common proof texts to "prove" Sunday worship, and has nine claims. I'll be posting these ever so often, but probably not regularly, or maybe just on my days off when I don't have time for a longer post.

Claim: There is only one kind of Law.

The law in the Torah is composed of three parts - ceremonial, civil, and moral.

The civil laws are those that applied to Israel only in that time and place under that theocracy, but they vary from culture to culture and place to place. For example, Jews could not stone a man to death for adultery because Roman law forbade them to do so, even though under Israel's theocracy it was the law of the land.

The ceremonial laws are those that Jesus fulfilled, such as the laws of sacrifice. As Christians, we do not keep them anymore.

The moral laws are those which we naturally know - and which can never be fulfilled. They are eternal, in place until Christ comes again to create the new heaven and new earth. It is under this category that the 10 Commandments fall.

The New Testament itself makes a distinction between ceremonial and moral law, in 1 Cor. 7:19, where Paul makes a distinction between circumcision - clearly done away with in the new covenant - and "the keeping of the commandments of God," which we are urged to do. Clearly there is a distinction between ceremonial and moral law here.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

It sucks. Here I am with overtime about to end at work, and the building owner where I live comes by to give me a paper informing me that my rent is going up $22.94 starting in June. I am so not happy about this. Without overtime I struggled before; where is the extra $22.94 to come from? I know it seems like an odd amount to raise my rent. I assume that due to rent control he raised it the maximum he could under the law. So now my rent will be $717.94 per month. *sigh*

The printer is coming along. I was able to print out the long overdue church documents, but since they are stored on a OS 9 program, it got more complicated. I have to restart my computer in OS 9 to make it print. Running OS 9 on OS X isn't good enough.

And scanning? Nothing I did would make it scan. Stupid technology.

Weight was down to 143 today - only 1 pound above goal! - but I think it's dehydration from too little food and too much wine (two glasses). Total calories yesterday was 1568, and that includes the wine. That's too little real food. So the short of it is - I know I'll be up tomorrow. Oh well. I will get the results I want if I just keep going. Scale weight is only one marker.

I forgot to say one thing about my workout yesterday. I did sit-ups like always, but real ones rather than using the ab bench, and I did 100! Woot! And my abs are sore again today. Must do those more often since using the ab bench never leaves me sore the next day.

And it seems like my size 8 Calvin Klein jeans shorts are fitting me better, but that could just be because they have been worn before and not washed. I'll wash them next week and see how they fit then. These are smaller than my Old Navy jeans and it's a goal of mine for these to fit well. At least they fit okay when they're stretched out. :)

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Senate prayer

This is really old news, but still making the rounds, and I've never posted it here. When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate on January 23, 1996, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

Heavenly Father, we come before you to ask your forgiveness. We seek your direction and your guidance. We know your word says, "Woe to those who call evil good." But that's what we've done.

We've lost our spiritual equilibrium.
We have inverted our values.
We have ridiculed the absolute truth of your word in the name of moral pluralism.
We have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We've exploited the poor and called it a lottery.
We've neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
In the name of choice, we have killed our unborn.
In the name of right to life, we have killed abortionists.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it taxes.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, oh, God, and know our hearts today. Try us. Show us any wickedness within us. Cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of the State of Kansas, and that they have been ordained by you to govern this great state.

Grant them your wisdom to rule. May their decisions direct us to the center of your will. And, as we continue our prayer and as we come in out of the fog, give us clear minds to accomplish our goals as we begin this Legislature. For we pray in Jesus' name, Amen. explains what happened afterwards:

Reportedly, one Democrat (not "a number of legislators") walked out in protest, three others gave speeches critical of Wright's prayer, and another blasted Wright's "message of intolerance." House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer (also a Democrat) asserted that the prayer "reflects the extreme, radical views that continue to dominate the House Republican agenda since right-wing extremists seized control of the House Republican caucus last year." Rep. Jim Long, a Democrat from Kansas City, said that Wright "made everyone mad."

Heh. Truth bites.

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Made it to the gym today for a rockin' workout. I made good time so I had extra time to workout. I started with 35 minutes of weight training, then 21 on the pedal-type stairmaster, 30 on the elliptical (the type with the moving arm handles), and finished up with 20 minutes of walking on the treadmill at 3.5 mph - a comfortable pace for me, while watching the closed captioning on Law and Order. :) FitDay says I burned 373 calories. Woot!

All that exercise made me tired so I bought a sugar free Rock Star energy drink to help perk me up for my shift.

Calories are on target to be fairly high today, but it's still early so we'll see.

Weight was 144.8 this morning, only a teeny bit below the last two days, and 2.8 pounds above goal. Even if the scale doesn't move I know my plan is working if I am eating less calories than I burn. So what if the scale doesn't show it? The change will show up somewhere at some point - even if I have to wait a few months to see my body fat percentage go down. :) Go me! I can do this!

Finished God's Smuggler today so now I can focus on The Purpose Driven Life which my church is starting on Saturday.

Brad was nice enough to drop my new printer/scanner at my apartment today. I got the prelim stuff done (out of the box, printing a test page, and aligning the scanner with the test page) and now just need to install the software. I'll attempt that tonight while the laundry's going.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ate too little (for once!)

I ate so little yesterday (only 1453 calories!) that when all I had for breakfast this morning was two hard boiled eggs I actually got shaky and felt a bit "out of it" at the grocery store. Usually two hard boiled eggs is enough to carry me through the morning. I got home and ate an Atkins meal bar and felt better. The 1450 calories yesterday is just too low for my to feel my best. I also had a headache last night, but I don't think it was from eating only 40g net carbs yesterday; I think it was a hunger headache from eating too little food.

Plus, my fat intake yesterday was a pitiful 54g, below even the government recommendation of 60g a day, and since I'm low-carbing I need to eat well above that! So too much protein yesterday (144g) and too little fat (54g). Other than that, I'm pleased with the low number of calories and low carbs.

Since the podiatrist told me the shoes I bought for the race are NOT running shoes, I stopped at the new Payless Shoe Source store in the new shopping center at Edgewater Drive to get a real pair of walking/running shoes. They had a "buy one, get the second at half price" sale, so of course I had to get a second pair. I found the shoes I came for, then picked out a cute pair of summer sandals that I didn't need, but come on - at half price I had to buy them! ;) Anyway, I now have shoes for the Bay To Breakers race. Now I just have to break them in.

Oh yes, I walked to work from the BART station today. I went grocery shopping and hope to go to the gym tomorrow. When I put two days between my workouts I can hit the weights harder because my muscles have more time to recover. Ideally I'd go to the gym almost every day, but since I can only go twice a week, spacing the workouts like this should help me work harder.

It hasn't rained in over a week. In fact, it was t-shirt weather today - bright and warm and sunny! Dare I hope winter is finally gone? (We only have two seasons here - wet and dry. I hope the wet season is over. Last year it lasted all the way into June!)

Weight this morning was exactly the same as yesterday - 145.2. But I've been a good girl so I know things are going good even if the scale doesn't reflect it.

Food today wasn't too bad. I was hungry though from slashing calories so much recently and came in between 1800 and 1850 calories for today. Carbs: just over 50g. Fat: 68g (not bad, but needs to be higher). So it could have been A LOT worse. Still need to work on getting the protein down, though. Excess protein can convert to glucose and stall weight loss, so it is important.

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Bay To Breakers

2006 running bibHere's a photo of my running bib for the Bay To Breakers race this year. Yippee! I can't wait! I just know I'll make a new best time.

For those who don't know, the Bay To Breakers race is the biggest foot race in the world, with about 70,000 runners. It's held the third Sunday in May, and is a 12k (7.5 mile) course across San Francisco from the bay out to the ocean breakers (hence the name). Despite the fact that it's in San Francisco, there is only one major hill, the infamous Hayes Street hill, and it's a killer - a 1/2 mile long at about a 13% grade. It's an annual tradition to dress in costumes, or nothing at all. The "nothing at all" is illegal, but the police just stand by.

Here's some pictures from last year's race. I know they are poor quality. I hope to do better this year.

[4/27/06 update: Here's what today's B2B newsletter said, a little factoid that I didn't know: "When it was first run in 1912, the Race was known as the Cross City Race and didn't actually become Bay to Breakers until 1964."]

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Escaping the bondage of "I"

Excerpted from the article The Existential Exodus.

How do I escape the bondage of my I if my I is me? Not with love...Not in meditation... Not with any striving for enlightenment...

But only by exchanging this bondage for a greater one. The ultimate bondage.

The separateness of these two beings is a prison. Their communion is freedom. And how is their communion? Through a betrothal of my I to that original I. As we did when we bound ourselves to Him through His Torah, saying, "We will do."

And so G‑d told Moses, "When you will take the people out of Egypt, you will serve Me on this mountain." Because there is only one path to leave Egypt. Not by
being this or striving for that, but by bondage to an Infinite I, a bondage that knows no bounds.

That is something I want right now. To find ultimate freedom in a total bondage to Him. I'm reading God's Smuggler (thanks, Brian!) and it hit me today that Brother Andrew loves God just like St. Francis did.

When I saw Brother Sun, Sister Moon for the second time I missed a great deal of the movie because I ran out of the room crying. I wanted what Francis had and knew I didn't have it.

Speaking of "binding" ourselves to that original "I," I have done something concrete to make that promise firm in my own mind. Since I do not plan on getting married, and indeed have come to the place where I don't want to get married, I wear a simple, $7 cross ring on the ring finger of my left hand. It is to remind me that though I am not married to an earthly husband, I am - in a very real way - married to God. So the "we will do" of the Jewish people becomes the "I do" of a single, non-Jewish woman. And God accepts me just the same.

wedding ringIt's so easy to lose the passion for God we had as new believers. "Life" gets in the way. And then I see a movie about a person like St. Francis or read a book by Brother Andrew about his adventures and I am reminded how real God is, and that He is still very much at work in today's world. His miracles didn't end with the close of the New Testament.

It's been said that God doesn't have favorites, only intimates. I want that close relationship, and yet I won't allow myself to get close for very long. Am I lazy? Or am I afraid? If I'm afraid, afraid of what? Why do I always hold a part of myself back? Why do I give less money to charity now than I did when I had less?

Father, help me to draw closer to You and stay. When I wander, draw me back again. Put in my heart a burning passion for You. Help me to fulfill the purposes You have for me. You have given me so much, and forgiven me so much. Help me to give You the worship You deserve, in every aspect of my life. Help my life to be a witness to the world of Your love. And help me to one day give myself totally to You.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

No exercise

No walking to work today. My one errand in San Francisco quickly became three. It's amazing the number of things you remember you have to do. I got my mail as planned, then stopped at the pet store and got a new automatic waterer for the cats. Their current one has a bit of green mold growing inside the waterer, impossible to reach. I've had the waterer for quite a while anyway, so it's time for a new one. Not that the cats care. They're happy as long as they have water. I wouldn't drink from it with the mold, so they shouldn't have to either.

On the way back downtown I also stopped at Office Depot and got the new printer/scanner I've needed for months. $100, plus $33 for ink cartridges. I wasn't going to walk to work carrying that, so I took the bus the last leg to work.

And finally, I got the original errand done that I went into San Francisco for - getting money for Conference out of savings and putting it into checking. I also found out that my CD matures this September. I plan to take the money out at that time and put it into my new IRA.

Oh, my bib for the Bay To Breakers race was in my mail! Yippee! I got my lowest number ever by registering really early - 2653.

Weight was up again even though I've been good. A depressing 145.2 - 3.2 pounds above goal, and a gain of 0.6 from last Friday. *sigh* I can always hope some is muscle, right? Right?

I think I'll go grocery shopping tomorrow to give my muscles another day to rest. Then I can go to the gym Thursday and push myself harder.

Woke up really hungry this morning so I scrapped my meal bar and had the Nutlettes cereal with unsweetened soy milk and one packet of Splenda. I also had one hard boiled egg. I don't believe soy is the health miracle some claim, but the cereal is a reasonable facsimile of Grape Nuts, low-carb and high in fiber, and since I can no longer get Carb Countdown milk, soy milk is the only other choice.

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Low-carb frozen "mousse"

Granted it's not real mousse. This is something I accidentally created recently.

First, take one packet of Big Train drink mix, any flavor of the "ice" ones will do. (Drink mix available here. I recommend this product!) The packet calls for a 1/2 cup of Half n' Half. Substitute in Whipping Cream. This gives it it's thickness. Then make it the way the package recommends - a 1/2 cup water and 12 oz. ice cubes, plus the packet of mix. Blend until all the ice is crushed. You may have to stop the blender and shake it from time to time to make sure the blades pulverize all the ice. Mine didn't come out very sweet, so you might want to add a packet or two of Splenda to sweeten it. I made the vanilla. This week I will try the chocolate.

Mine came out so thick that I spooned it into a martini glass and ate it with a spoon. [Edit: Here's a picture of the chocolate.]

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Low-Carb

The top 10 reasons why I love low-carb, in no particular order:

1) When exercising I don't spend the first 20 minutes burning off glycogen. Since I am already burning fat for energy, I start out burning fat and burn fat throughout my whole workout. On low-carb I burn as much fat in 20 minutes as a low-fat dieter does in 40 minutes. :)

2) Low-carb was the natural human diet before the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago. We are made to eat fat and protein and only some carbohydrates. In fact, carbohydrates are not needed for survival; fat and protein are. I want to give my body what it needs, not what it doesn't need.

3) I no longer crave desserts and other sugary things like I used to. And when I drop down to 40g of carbs a day I lose all cravings. I practically sailed through Christmas surrounded by all the sweets and carby things at work and church because...well, I just didn't want them. That was such a feeling of freedom from addiction!

4) I actually crave healthy food and whole grains. I used to hate whole wheat bread. Now I can't imagine why I ever ate white. Now I eat only 100% whole wheat with sugar low on the ingredients list (a small amount of sugar is needed to activate the yeast).

5) I had no idea how much sugar everyday products have in them. Who woulda thunk that BBQ sauce is pure sugar? Or that most yogurt is full of added sugars? Or that a potato is the same as a mound of pure sugar to your body (your body sees no difference). Yike! Without these added sugars and starchy foods in my diet my blood sugar - and therefore my energy - are stable throughout the day.

6) I'm more in touch with my body and my cravings. I discovered I really do get mild PMS cravings - cravings that used to be undetectable because I was so addicted to sugar that I craved it all the time. Now I know it's the chocolate I want and that a sugar free chocolate bar will kill the craving just as well as a Hershey bar.

7) I started in at a size 18 and am now a size 8/10 (depending on brand). I have never been this small my entire adult life!

8) I get plenty of protein in my diet to protect and build muscle, keeping my metabolism up.

9) I get to eat delicious fatty foods that taste so much better than the fat free crap many people put in their bodies. I can eat whole eggs, bacon, cheese, and other products that people on low-fat can't eat. :)

10) My cholesterol numbers have improved, with my LDL (bad cholesterol) dropping and my HDL (good cholesterol) skyrocketing. This resulted in my heart attack risk going down from 3.4 to 2.2.

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Gym day

Today was a gym day! Yippee! I love that endorphine rush! It's totally addicting. :) Did 35 minutes on the weights, 45 on the elliptical (the kind that works the arms too), and finished up with 10 on the exercise bike. FitDay says 326 calories. I was pretty wiped by that point. I stopped at Long's Drugs and bought a triple strength diet Rock Star energy drink. 30 calories, 6 carbs, and no sugar. Woot. It sure does give me a boost after a hard workout.

My arms are more sculpted from all the weight training. I wish I could do more so I could see faster results. I know I've gained some muscle. I'm just worried that gaining back 6 pounds and getting unfocused may have put some fat on me as well. Gotta keep the calories low enough to keep my body in a calorie deficit.

On my way to the gym I stopped and picked up the Bible case for my book for the church study. I also got a really nice case for my humungous study Bible. This case has a separate zippered compartment for highlighters and even comes with its own Bible study notepad.

A quick off topic note on the 40 Days of Purpose study. I'll write about things that strike me, but only those things, so entries will not be Day 1, Day 2, etc., but more like Day 1, Day 5, etc. - just whenever one of the points hits me. I read the prelim stuff in the book today so I can plunge right into Day 1 on Saturday. Mr. Warren wants us to think about each lesson during the day, so that will mean reading on the bus in the morning. I hope I use this to draw closer to God.

Tomorrow I do a mail run into the City so no gym. I hope I can walk the last leg to work if I can complete my work there early enough. I just have one extra errand - taking money out of my savings account and putting it into checking, then getting my Conference registration, etc. mailed in.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

How is your self-esteem?

You Have Low Self Esteem 40% of the Time
Generally, you feel pretty darn great about who you are, even when you mess up or fail. Occasionally, a huge setback will make you question yourself, but you pick yourself up quickly.

H/T: Holly

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And so another week starts

I guess I did okay yesterday. No more 150 net gram carb Saturdays at least. I came in at about 110g and WAY more sugar alcohols than any human was meant to eat. Which I paid for so I guess I learned my lesson. I don't want to think about the calories.

On track for today so far. I walked to work from the BART station and was way early so I ducked into Starbucks and got a Chai tea with sugar free vanilla syrup and a Dannon non-fat yogurt sweetened with Splenda. They only had one left. I ate my yogurt and sipped my tea and read my book. That's a slice of heaven. I love reading while eating or sipping coffee or tea. It's so peaceful.

I need to finish the book because my church is starting this 40 Days of Purpose program next week. We're doing it as a church and there are readings to complete each day. We signed up for the April 30-June 11 "campaign." Actually, our church is starting April 29 since we meet Saturday instead of Sunday. I need to get a Bible case for my book since I'll be carrying it around a lot and don't want it getting thrashed in my backpack. Hopefully I can stop at Stacey's in the City since I need to go in on Tuesday anyway.

I'm afraid the yogurt pretty well wiped out the walking I did, so I took my meal bar off my menu to make up for it. Fat-free yogurt sucks since I'm not fat-phobic like most everybody else, but it's sweetened with Splenda so it has fewer carbs and for only 60 calories it can't be beat. It just doesn't stick with you because it has no fat.

I didn't weigh myself this morning since I knew I'd be up after yesterday. I'm always up on Sundays. No exercise yesterday. I ended up taking a nice peaceful nap instead, with a little gray cat curled up next to me. (I forced her to sleep there.) Hopefully I can make it to the gym tomorrow. No exercise today except for the walking because it's a 12 hour day.

Today's Easter for the Orthodox church so for any celebrating Easter today: Happy Easter! He is risen!

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

How much do you weigh?

Based on your gender, eating habits, and family history, this test purports to tell you how much you weigh right now. The funny thing is, it was pretty accurate in my case. As of yesterday I was 144.6.

You Should Weigh 141

If you weigh less than this, you either have a fast metabolism or are about to gain weight.
If you weigh more than this, you may be losing a few pounds soon!

My goal weight was 142, which I hit. I then bounced up about six pounds and am now trying to get that off.

H/T: Danielle

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Friday, April 21, 2006

144.6 today. That's down 0.8 from yesterday and 2.6 pounds above goal. I know it's water weight, but it's water weight I don't need. It's not until you get rid of all the carbs that you understand how bloated you used to be all the time.

Tomorrow is Sabbath which means being a little looser. I still plan to journal on FitDay, just on the diary section rather than the food section, and count only carbs, not calories.

Walked the last bit home from the 57 bus, but it's less than 3/4 of a mile and only took me about 12 minutes. Better than nothing, but FitDay only says 36 calories!

Went to the health food store after seeing my chiropractor since they are right by the bus stop. My purpose for dropping by was to get L-Carnitine. I ended up with some diet pills that have L-Carnitine and bitter orange. Bought some tea that says it had Hoodia and bitter orange. The cashier says bitter orange is thermogenic and raises metabolism. It wasn't until I was on the bus that I noticed the expiration seems to be 2000! And when I opened a teabag it did seem old. I'll be back that way in two weeks and I'll discuss it with the guy at the store then. Until then, I guess I'll drink it. Also bought some Hoodia but I'll wait to start it until the Metabolife stops working, since supposedly Hoodia suppresses appetite and that is what Metabolife does.

It was supposed to rain today, but it didn't! It's been mostly sunny all day. I wore a t-shirt with no jacket over it. :) Tomorrow is another supposedly rainy day. Let's hope it's nice out.

I have lunches all cooked and packed for next week - turkey for the meat this week, shirataki noodles, and frozen veggies.

This Sunday is a 12 hour day so no gym. But it looks like I can make it to the gym Monday and Wednesday.

Yuriy told me last night that he doesn't want to work Sundays. I'm glad I made it clear that I won't keep coming in two hours early. I'll finally get my Sunday mornings back! And once they hire someone new I'll be able to make it to the gym every Sunday again. Yippee! I can't wait.

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More gratuitous cat pictures

From Xena's fourth birthday:

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Not losing... :o(

nervousIt's been a while since I weighed myself so I did that this morning. 145.4, just 0.2 lower than last week. I know last week's high carb Friday followed by going face first in the donuts and other carby items at church Saturday is what did it. I can't lose when that happens. But I started anew on Sunday, so hopefully next week will be better.

TOM came today so I'm dealing with tummy discomfort. ThermaCare heat wraps do help at least. Where were these things 15 years ago when TOM left me doubled over in pain? Interestingly, the company Website says that staying active and exercising can help relieve pain. I have found this to be true. I think the endorphine release helps blunt the pain. I'd like to think that when TOM is over I'll have a whoosh of water weight, but that hasn't happened in nearly a year now. I used to lose that way, but not anymore. :(

I got no exercise today - see below.

Plus, I've been crazy busy and running on nervous energy. I opened a Roth IRA at my bank today with the money from the sale of the property Dad gave me. I need to start thinking about my future since I'm now 35. Anyway, this put me about an hour behind schedule by the time I had all the papers signed and walked with my grocery bag up to Safeway to do my food shopping for the week.

I made a great BART connection to work (even though I had to make a sprint for the train), and just as I got off BART the bus was waiting so I was only 3 minutes late to work. Then Brad and I got into an argument at work. :-p This just hasn't been my day. One of my favorite quotes (by Emo Philips) - "Some mornings, it just doesn't pay to gnaw through those leather straps."

Tonight is laundry. Tomorrow is cooking and packing lunches and I have an adjustment with my chiropractor scheduled. *sigh* Life is too damn busy and crazy.

My carbs are too high today - lots of little amounts really add up. But at nearly 60g on my planned menu...? *sigh* I can't lose weight at that level!!!

And I'm still a ball of nervous energy.

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Picture courtesy University of Rochester.


Poiema CDThis an old Michael Card CD (1994). He is my favorite Christian music artist. My stand-in Vicki this year sent it as one of my Vicki box presents. She got it off my Amazon wish list. The lyrics from one song really touched me, so I submitted them to, a lyrics search engine. (The full lyrics are up now; do a search under his name or the album name.)

Poiema is beautiful with an Irish flavor - nearly every song sounds like it came from Ireland, and a couple of the songs, Lowden's Prayer and The Greening of Belfast, are undeniably Irish.

Since I understand the sentiments of the song The Edge, I wanted to reproduce here the first verse and the chorus.

Most of us will never know
How dark this world can seem
When life becomes more nightmare than a dream.
So to all of you who have survived
A visit to the edge,
I trust that you will understand this pledge.

I promise I will always leave
The darkness for the light,
I swear by all that's holy
I will not give up the fight.
I'll drink down death like water
Before I ever come again
To that dark place where I might make
The choice for life to end.

Michael Card is little known in the Christian community - most people have never heard of him. His music is one of the best kept secrets around. It is so much deeper and richer and rooted in the Bible than any other Christian artist. If you like Christian lite rock, pick up a Michael Card CD. I am especially smitten with his earlier stuff.

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Picture courtesy

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

New "Best of" section

In the left hand column just above the "Et Cetera" section and below the "About me" is a new section I created. It's called "Best of" and has two links under it. The first link, "Writings," goes to some of my better prose articles. The second link, "Poems," goes to my better poems. Within that section a few of the poems are starred. Those are "the best of the best." Don't miss them.

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Exercise and diet

Diet and exercise are chugging along. Yesterday I made it to the gym for a killer workout - 35 minutes of weights, 12 running (1 mile), 20 on the stationary bike, and 30 on the crosstrainer elliptical. Woot! FitDay said 380 calories! Woohoo!

Today I had a doctor's appointment, but I got up a 1/2 hour earlier than I needed to and rode my stationary bike at home for 30 minutes. Then I walked to work from the BART station, another 25 or so minutes. Woohoo! Go me! FitDay said about 200 calories.

Calorie-wise I'm doing okay, but I don't think I'll lose at this level. And I think I need to keep my carbs at 50g or less, not 60. Sixty is really maintenance level for me. I have to get this 6 pounds off and that means I need to treat this very seriously. My jeans are unbearably tight until I stretch them out. They should be comfortable and not need to be stretched after I wash them. This is just so wrong on so many levels. Anyone else struggling with keeping calories low enough to lose on a low-carb diet? I know many people lose their appetite when in ketosis, but I am not one of them. Even at 40g when I had no cravings I still wanted to eat constantly.

And I'm not proud to say it, but I have once again resorted to diet pills. I need help and I figure this can't hurt and might help. Certainly they are NOT a magic cure all. I'm still working out and eating the fats and protein my body needs. When I do eat carbs they tend to be high fiber ones. Right now the diet pill I'm taking is Metabolife. After that I have a bottle of green tea pills. No, I'm not proud, but there you are. So far the Metabolife does seem to be helping curb my appetite. It's easy for me to put down the fork if I'm not hungry. It's nearly impossible when I'm starving.

I got into this trouble by eating out too often and letting Fridays get out of hand like Saturdays. And I stopped counting on Saturdays. Must do better. Meals out need to be rare and Fridays I just need more willpower. And what ever happened to putting Dr. Phil's ideas into practice? That sure fell by the wayside quick. It's just hard to concentrate on anything else when I'm hungry. Definitely need to eat more of those shirataki noodles. That will give me something to munch on for almost no calories and carbs.

I need to stick to my diet so that I can lose fat and gain muscle. Next goal - 21% body fat.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Conference registration open!

While testing for dead links on the church Web site today I came across the official Seventh Day Baptist web site and discovered that Conference registration is open already! Yippee! I printed out the .pdf form and made it out. Looks like a bit over $300 for registration, room, and board. Along with the plane ticket ($318) that I already bought I'm looking at roughly $650 total. Not bad for a week's vacation. :)

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Gratuitous cat pictures

I bought a new toy recently. Both Xena and Abby like it, but Xena has taken more of an interest.

It won't stay connected to the counter, so it now lives on the living room floor. And yes, the counter IS very cluttered. I need to clean it off.

Speaking of which, the freaking cat scratched me Saturday night. I held her, she didn't want to be held, and I got my face too close to her claws. I now have a long cut down the very center of my forehead, and a smaller cut just above my left eye. It's amazing she missed my eye or I'd be in a world of pain and trouble. Stupid cat. I tossed her in "peeper prison" (the bathroom) for a couple hours. There's no rugs or toys in there - a truly barren room.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Fake Atkins, take 2

Consider this a follow-up to my other fake Atkins post a while back. The following is not by me, but was found on the official Atkins boards and was written by one of the moderators, Don Freidkin, who is of course on Atkins himself. It was in response to yet another person treating Atkins like a quick weight loss gimmick.


Lecture mode ON:

Folks, the ANA [Atkins Nutrition Approach] is not just about weight loss. People have lost weight eating only hard-boiled eggs, only grapefruit, and for all I know, only escargot.

Those are all gimmicks.

Atkins is a lifestyle change. You learn what to eat and how much; and you learn how your body reacts to different foods. The benefits go way beyond just dumping unwanted and unhealthy fat.

But you'll never learn what you need to know to keep the weight off and enjoy all the advantages of the ANA if you mess around with the program. Yes, it is customizable in its later phases, and even during Induction in some special cases, but there's a difference between customizing your eating plan based on solid knowledge about foods and your body, and just playing around.

Much of the criticism of the ANA has stemmed from either ignorance of what it's really about, or people who said they were "doing Atkins" eating no carbs, or steak and eggs three times a day, or whatever.

They weren't.

The ANA has been around for nearly three dozen years. When it was introduced, it was severely criticized and heaped with scorn. But the fact of the matter is that it was based on sound medicine and nutrition from the beginning, it was devised by a physician who had a profound knowledge of how the human body interacts with food, and it has evolved and been refined over the years as new medical information has come to light.

What all this means is that for the vast majority of people, if they do it right, it will work for them.

It may not work as fast as they'd like, but it will work and the benefits are great, lasting, and worth the wait.

It is a process, and if you mess with it with fat fasts and modified fat fasts and other departures, you mess with the process itself and at the very least, you risk that it won't work for you.

If you embrace the process, go into it with patience and a willingness to learn, you'll do much better.

Lecture mode OFF

If I sound a bit fanatic or evangelical, it's because I'm convinced that if I hadn't started Atkins, I'd be dead right now. So's my doctor, and he has a vested interest in keeping me alive because I haven't yet fully paid off the bill I ran up with him during my week in the hospital a few years back. }:-)



Thank you Don for setting us straight. There are so many people out there who have no clue what Atkins is really about and they criticize from a place of ignorance. Thanks for your tireless work on the official boards to set people straight when yet another person thinks the "Fat Fast" is a good way to "do Atkins."

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Weather front, diet front

There's no rain forecast for the rest of the week - just overcast skies. That's okay though. As long as I can walk the last leg to work, I can deal with overcast.


Was able to walk today, so that's a few calories burned.

Carb-wise I'm doing okay. Yesterday and today my carbs are in the low 50s - something impossible when I include bread and berries in my diet. I made do with raw veggies to chomp on instead. And only low-carb veggies in my lunches for now. After Saturday I'm afraid to weigh myself, but I got a couple compliments recently.

On Good Friday when I walked in the church the husband and wife handing out bulletins were acquaintances of mine. The husband said, "You look fit." Wow! That felt so good! I haven't seen them in a year, since last Easter. But all the time at the gym is paying off! :)

Last night the lady I see on Sundays at the bus stop said that it looked like I'd lost more weight. Since last week, no. I've probably gained. But to know I'm still slim and beautiful even when gaining back the weight I lost - gives me incentive to keep fighting and not just give up and gain it all back.

Got Brad over to my house on Saturday to get rid of four big bags of clothes. I wanted him there because my two pair of size 10 jeans are in those bags. If I gain anymore, I'd be pulling them back out and I don't want that. I will NOT go backwards! If the 8s are tight, then it's time to lose the weight I gained so they will fit again. I know I've come a long way since I started in an 18. I just didn't think "Lifetime Maintenance" would be so difficult! I think things will be a bit easier once all this overtime ends and I can get to the gym more often.

Fed Brad some dinner while he was there. He brought over the shirataki noodles I'd ordered online that had arrived at work the day before. I decided to try them so I cooked up two packages (shirataki must be parboiled), threw in some left over ground beef, and put alfredo sauce on top of it all.

It was...okay. The shirataki was certainly rubbery and has a tendency to get caught in the gaps between my back teeth. Still, for almost no calories or carbs it seems worth it. It's a way to give me more to eat without significantly adding to my totals. And most of the few carbs it has are fiber. While Dreamfield's pasta is great, at 380 calories for what I consider one serving, the calories are just too high to eat it often. One "serving" of shirataki (what I consider one serving, lol) is only about 40 calories. Big difference.

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It's tax day!

Came across these Bible verses this morning that relate to the whole April 15th tax day, which is April 17 this year because the 15th was Saturday.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. --Romans 13:6-7

Don't knowingly cheat or withhold information. You'll sleep a whole lot better at night knowing you did the right (if difficult) thing.

Are you putting taxes off to the last minute, or are they long since done? I did mine about two weeks ago, but haven't got my refund (such as it is) yet. Two weeks is close enough to "last minute" for my liking. I could never put it off until the real last minute.

Why do people do that anyway? Especially when that day falls just after Holy Week, on the day after Easter Sunday?!? I sure didn't want taxes hanging over my head at the time of year when I am trying to observe the most holy time on the Christian calendar. It would keep me from truly enjoying it.

Did you see the story about illegal immigrants paying taxes?

Anyway, if you haven't done your taxes yet, keep the above verses in mind when you do. Now get to it!

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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday insanity

Whew! Holy Week is finally over! It's been extra crazy this year, with the week before and after being just as crazy. I got my taxes done the week before and this coming week is so busy that I'll only get in one workout. And now that Holy Week is past I can get back to blogging about diet, nutrition, and weight loss again. Holy Week is special and does call for a shift in my normal blogging.

This morning I wore the new sandals I bought on Friday. Since I hoped to walk to work I also brought my new tennis shoes along.

I checked the weather report and the 90% chance of showers had been downgraded to an 80% chance. It was raining when I looked outside and I thought, "Yeah, right." The rain continued to get heavier instead of lighter.

It was pouring as I left the house and my sandals and the nylons on my feet were wet within two blocks. I discovered that the soles of the sandals are permeable and only to be worn when it's dry. So I put up with wet shoes, nylons, and feet through the service. After the service, on the BART train, I took the sandals off and put on the dry tennis shoes. Since I was wearing nylons and not socks, the wetness didn't bother me and they soon dried.

As we exited the tunnel past the Lake Merritt station I noticed that the sky was clearing. I could actually see some blue sky! "Hey," I thought, "I might get to walk today after all." It was a good thing I'd brought the tennis shoes on the off chance I might get to wear them for the first time and walk the last leg to work. So that was at least some exercise today. I actually became so warm from walking that I had to take my jacket off.

I hoped that would be the end of this particular storm, but now it's coming down again. :(

I will eat low carb and will get this excess weight off! No more lattes, pizza, and frozen burritos and taquitos!

Food-wise I'm doing okay today. I had black coffee when I got up. Then I had an Atkins meal bar for breakfast, 8 oz. of a raw veggie mix for a snack, and 12 oz. of lean ground beef with sugar free BBQ sauce and 8 oz. broccoli for lunch.

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Of lattes and donuts

Well, I totally failed yesterday. The high carbs I had on Friday (89 net grams) were just enough to push me over the edge on Saturday. At church I had plenty of peanuts (which are okay), Cheese-Its, and donuts. Yes, Andre brought donuts. I had four halves (two whole donuts) instead of my usual one bite. *sigh*

Then our potluck didn't even have a salad (my usual fare). It was all bad refined carbs - pizza (I had one small slice) and frozen taquitos (I had one) and burritos (I had two). That was it. Absolutely nothing healthy. If there had been dessert I would have dived into that, too.

There goes my two pound loss.

Brad stopped at Starbucks before coming to my house and I asked him to get me a Chai tea (the teabag kind) with sugar free vanilla syrup. What he brought me instead was a Chai latte. Milk is sky high in sugar. *sigh* But since the diet was already ruined at that point I didn't mind that much. He bought himself a regular latte and left up leaving the cup at my house, still mostly full. It wasn't sweet so I added a couple packets Splenda and finished it.

Men! Bah!

I always get into trouble if I eat too many carbs. For me, if I get around 90g of carbs it's too much for my body and I go over the edge.

I'm starting over again today. Last week I decided that I would cut out bread and strawberries (really the only fruit I eat) starting today. I finished off the bread and strawberries on Friday. Only low carb veggies for me this week, and instead of strawberries I'll be packing along a raw veggie mix. Unfortunately, I didn't plan well today and ate the veggie mix early, so that means no 7 p.m. snack for me. Carbs today should be in the lower 50s.

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poem: Easter

Easter Sunday


E very "god" that's ever been wants our worship and our love, but
A t the sunrise of this day, only Christ shows God above.
S unrise, daybreak, reassurance of completed sacrifice,
T riumpth over grave and Satan, this atonement shall suffice.
E arly on this happy morning, all their mourning turned around,
R isen! Alleluia! Risen! Let reconciliation sound.

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Walking With the Master, Day 8

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alelluia!

Walking With the Master Day 8

The Empty Tomb, Joseph's Tomb, Sunday

Luke 24:1-10 (KJV)
Luke 24:1-10 (NIV)

For further study:

Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; John 20:1-10 (KJV)
Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; John 20:1-10 (NIV)

Mary Magdalene sees Jesus in the Garden, Joseph's Tomb, Sunday

John 20:11-18 (KJV)
John 20:11-18 (NIV)

For further study:

Mark 16:9-11 (KJV)
Mark 16:9-11 (NIV)

Jesus appears to the two going to Emmaus, Sunday afternoon

Luke 24:13-35 (KJV)
Luke 24:13-35 (NIV)

For further study:

Mark 16:12-13 (KJV)
Mark 16:12-13 (NIV)

Jesus appears to 10 disciples, Jerusalem, Sunday evening

Luke 24:36-43 (KJV)
Luke 24:36-43 (NIV)

For further study:

Mark 16:14; John 20:19-23 (KJV)
Mark 16:14; John 20:19-23 (NIV)

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

poem: Holy Saturday

This isn't so much about Holy Saturday (the Saturday before Easter Sunday) as the thought that we as Christians live out our lives on that Saturday, in hope of the final redemption, but not yet seeing that hope. Easter Sunday will eventually come, but it is not yet here.

3/3/99 or 4/3/99

Camelot evaporates,
Like sun-warmed mist and dew
It disappears.
How am I to understand the pain,
How am I to comprehend it?
How am I to find my place in this world?
I groan, eager for the redemption.
But it is Easter Saturday, and the resurrection has not yet come.
We have only a promise, for
We live out our lives on Saturday.

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Walking With the Master, Day 7

Walking With the Master
Day 7

A Guard is Put on the Tomb, Joseph's Tomb, Sabbath

Matthew 27:62-66 (KJV)
Matthew 27:62-66 (NIV)

The Bible is fairly silent about what Jesus did on this Sabbath, but there is one obscure passage in Peter that sheds some light.

Jesus preaches to the spirits in prison, Sabbath

1 Peter 3:18-20 (KJV)
1 Peter 3:18-20 (NIV)

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