Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Weight Loss Progress Report

I have been working to save our Weight Watchers at Work program for the past two weeks.

Last week our meeting was actually "dark" because the leader was giving us one more week to come up with the minimum number of people.

The week before last was so stressful, I didn't have time to eat properly and I fell off the plan big time.

I realized it was really silly for me to have so much eating stress over getting enough people to join a Weight Watchers group and it really wasn't worth it for me personally to blow my eating plan. I decided it was the last time I was going to do that and I announed it today at our meeting, which we pulled off by the skin under my fingernails. (Five minutes before the meeting, even, someone dropped out.)

Anyway, I knew I had gained last week and I joined the gym and got the trainer as a place to channel the nervousness instead of into eating.

So overall, I gained 0.2 pounds, which could just as easily be some muscle I'm adding because of the training. Anyway, I'm happy with it and expect I'll see a loss next week.

My weight is now 211.8 which makes for a total loss of 26.2 pounds.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Mr. Murphy Lends a Hand

You know those people who say, "I never win anything?"

I'm not one of those people. I win things.


It started when I was 14 years old and one of my friends had her own telephone. ("Huh?" you say? Don't all 14-year-olds have their own phone? It's called the Family Plan, right?)

Okay, don't get smart with me. (Har har. Get Smart**, remember? The spy who had a telephone in his shoe?)

I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but kids these days just don't know how lucky they are.

But I digress.

See, I wasn't allowed to have my own telephone and certainly wasn't allowed to use the family telephone (party line -- know what that is, kids?) to call radio stations.

Anyway, my friend Dee had her own telephone and I used to spend a couple of hours every day at her house calling radio station contests. One day I won two tickets to see the Ice Capades in St. Louis (the nearest big city, 20 miles away).

I thought my parents would be furious. After all, 1) I wasn't allowed to call radio stations; 2) someone had to go to the box office to pick the tickets up; 3) there were only two tickets so my parents would have to spring for a third if we all wanted to go, and on and on.

But since there was no way for me to collect the tickets at all unless I told them, I stiffened my upper lip and told my mom.

Who was just pleased as punch!

"I have always wanted to go to the Ice Capades!" she gushed.

"But" -- sputter, sputter -- "there are only two tickets and we have to drive all the way to St. Louis to pick them up!" I moaned.

No problem!

I was so struck dumb that I hadn't been struck dead that I forgot to say, "Gee, I never win anything."

Since that fateful day I have lost count of the number of things I won, but here are a few:

A number of record albums (kids, picture CDs only much bigger, black and not digital) ranging from blues to Anne Murray

("I just love Anne Murray!" gushed my mom.)

An untold number of door prizes and centerpieces.

A trip for two to San Francisco, including air fare and hotel. (Before I lived here....)

The California lottery -- 5 out of 6 when the odds were much better. (I think my share ended up being about $3,000 or $4,000.)

A $2,500 shopping spree at a huge shopping mall in Los Angeles.

And only today I was the right caller at the right time on my local Classical radio station with the answer to the question: "What was the name of the cat in the 1950's Dick and Jane readers?"

(Answer: Puff.)

I was so excited! Luckily, I remembered to ask the DJ when the tickets were for (I hadn't heard that part). They're for the night DD is going to be here and we'll be in San Jose at the theatre (see Everyone's Favorite City Disappoints MOI, herein).

I had to pass the tickets to the next caller.

Murphy's Law strikes again.

**When I originally wrote this, I did not know that the star of the show, Don Adams, had passed away a couple of days before. I was amazed to find he was seven years older than my own mother. In my mind, he was still younger than I am now and still cracking me up with his silly antics. Well done on a life well lived.

Monday, September 26, 2005

My Coworker Pinky Toe

The coworker who sits nearest to me is originally from Korea. She was raised Catholic and now studies Buddhism.

We share a work ethic, the love of mankind and Classical piano. Since we can never find time to get together to play duets, we are contemplating returning to the earth as twins in our next life.

I explain to her American idioms and she tells me parables. We each make the other laugh.

A couple of weeks ago we were walking to a work luncheon together and she told me about her pinky toe.

She said that one time she hurt her pinky toe very badly when she closed a sliding glass door on it.

The pain referred to her foot, then to her leg, then to her lower back, then to her neck and then to her head.

She said, "'Oh, Pinky Toe,' I said, 'I have newfound respect for you!' Here was something so small and seemingly unimportant, yet it created big and far-reaching effects."

By that time we were nearly at the restaurant. I was at once in stitches and reminded of why I love her so. But then she went on to tell me about her boss.

(Of course, I know her boss because we sit so closely together, but this was her perspective on her boss.)

"Sometimes," she said, "when I am so intent on my work and have to work really hard to make a deadline, I shut him out and do not talk about anything but work, work, work. Then he gets a really long face.

"But when I talk to him about my life and my family and my interests, he gets very cheerful.

"I think," she said, "that maybe I am a pinky toe."

When we returned from lunch, I told her, "From now on, I will call you Pinky."

She corrected me.

"Pinky Toe!"

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Lessons You Can't Teach an Optimist

The other day someone told me I was too charitable. I disagreed, especially in the context in which I was told this.

On further reflection, I realized there may be a kernel of truth in that statement.

Some lessons I haven't learned no matter how many times I've been taught them.

Take food, for instance.

It seems there are a few foods I don't like. I'm not a picky eater, so the list isn't long.

(Random musings: Why is it that someone who reads lots of different books can be widely read but a person who eats a variety of foods can't be widely eaten?)

When I was a little kid, I didn't like watermelon, popcorn or lobster.

Eventually my taste buds changed and I grew to love lobster, tolerate popcorn and sometimes enjoy watermelon.

Perhaps because of this change in tastes, I have always given my dislikes the benefit of the doubt. (Then again, maybe it was just too many readings of Green Eggs and Ham.)

"Maybe I've changed my mind," I think. "I'll give it another try."

This doesn't apply strictly to food, either. It could be art, music or even people. (Thus, from the friend's point of view I can be too charitable.)

Today I have decided to learn a lesson. In order to learn this lesson, though, I need to talk to my future self. (Bringing me to the full range of Talking To Myself, within blog.)

So, Self, please remember this:

I really don't like okra and I really don't like Milky Way Bars.

This hasn't changed in over half a century.

It is not necessary to keep trying them to see if maybe I've changed my mind, because unless the slime is genetically altered out of the okra and the recipe for Milky Way Bars deletes 70% of the sugar and adds some nuts, this won't change.

Nor does it make a difference that it's in a different recipe or that the company has changed CEOs. You really won't like them and if you try them, you'll feel like punishing yourself for forgetting this lesson.

So please, Self, resist the temptation to "Just try it" this once.

Just don't.

Thank you, thank you, Sam I Am.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Everyone's Favorite City Disappoints MOI

It seems the world is conspiring to drive me to cookies.

Sometimes it's hard to believe I live in a major metropolitan area. We're talking San Francisco, fer Pete's sake! I mean, how do they get off calling it The City?!

Unless you're into the bar scene, the sidewalks roll up here even earlier than some of the one-horse towns where I lived in the Midwest.

My DD is visiting us in October from L.A. and there is not. one. single. musical. theatrical. performance. in San Francisco during the week she'll be here.

Not one!

She's missed Wicked and now Annie and she's too early for any of the holiday stuff.

Of course, there's Teatro ZinZanni but I refuse to pay those outrageous ticket prices and pay an additional $10 for a "dinner fee" once I get there. Maybe I'm just cheap, but I'm perfectly willing to let the tourists spring for those tickets.

I thought it was going to have to be Beach Blanket Babylon or nothing, but then I found this an hour's drive away:

Little Women with Maureen McGovern.

Perfect! We drive down for an evening show, spend the night in a hotel so we don't have to worry about driving home too late, and voila! The perfect mother-daughter night.

Don't make me sing it alone, now...

"Do you know the way to San Jose?" La, la-la-la la LA la la la-la la-la.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Testing My Mettle

It's not fair.

I was good.

I followed the plan.

I avoided (most) temptations all week long.

I gained 1.4 pounds!

I used to think my weight loss was showing results from the week before weigh-in because that's how it seemed. But I've been good for two whole weeks, so that logic doesn't fly.

Of course, my bent now is to abandon the plan entirely. I know where that path leads.

I'm going to stick to it another week and hope that I get rewarded big time next weigh-in.

But in the meantime I'm still going to pout.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

More Good Penguin News!

The penguins from New Orleans have been rescued and are now safely residing nearby.

I am happy about that. I will certainly pay them a visit while they are in the area.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Talking To Myself

I doubt it's very unusual to talk to oneself. I hear people say they do it all the time. (Usually followed by that chestnut about answering oneself, hahaha. Some people have no imagination.)

I didn't put much more thought into it until a few years ago when the habit became an obsession and moved from the vertical to the horizontal. Or something like that.

(Cue back story)

When I was a pre-teen, I was obsessed with Mark Lindsay, then lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders. (Now I say I was obsessed. Then, I knew I was in love.)

I had three girlfriends at the time and we were all obsessed-cum-in-love with all of the Raiders, but they (being wise and cognizant of solid leadership and possessing the better part of valour) pretty much allowed me dibs on Mark Lindsay.

Every afternoon we watched Dick Clark's Where The Action Is and swooned over Mark. I nearly needed a blood transfusion when he announced he was going to cut off his ponytail, and I felt entitled to win the contest to own it when they did. (I thought I'd never forgive the person who won it for not recognizing my entitlement to it.)

(No, I did not stalk her.)

(She had an unlisted number.)

We babysat and mowed lawns and always managed to buy every single teen magazine Mark was in. I wrote a poem to him and sent it to him. I sketched his portrait from one of his photographs and sent it to him.

One time we went a little too far. A photograph in one of the magazines showed him talking on a telephone. There on the face of the telephone (pre-cell phones, pre-Touch Tones by golly!) we could just make out the telephone number when we used one of our grandmothers' magnifying glass.

So we took the number and pooled our money and met early before school one morning at the pay phone outside the cafeteria and we called it (squeal)!

We were so smart that we even knew that we needed to use the Los Angeles Area Code and dial a 1 first.

What we didn't remember was that Illinois was two hours ahead of California. And since this was also pre-answering-machine/voicemail-to-screen-calls, we woke some poor guy up at 5:00 a.m. asking for Mark, only to be told we had a wrong number.

I thought I would



Mark later left the Raiders and things were never the same. I won't get into all the drama of the lawsuits over the rights to the songs and Mark's right to use the Paul Revere and the Raiders name on his website, etc. That's legal history and it's pretty boring if you're not as much of a fan as I was. Besides, I'm legally bound not to tell because....

A few years ago I found myself on a temp job in Studio City working for an entertainment lawyer who, it so happened, represented Mark Lindsay.

Moreover, he still represented Mark Lindsay.


(jump up and down squealing)


(dead silence)

(pregnant pause)

There's something about pre-teen love. As hard to believe as it may be, it doesn't last.

Here I was a middle aged woman with a grown child of my own who I'd already seen through her pre-teen years. I met Mark Lindsay and his wife and we chatted a bit about the past and how much a fan I was, the present and how much he loved living in Hawaii, the future and how if I ever came to Hawaii I should visit. Quite tame, really.

The first thing I thought of doing afterward was to call my 13-year-old self on the phone!

Here was news! I had to tell someone! It was the exact impulse I would have had at 13 but there was no one who would understand it the way I -- and my contemporaries -- could. I had long lost touch with my pre-teen compadres before I even got out of high school.

I really needed to talk to me!

I think I pondered that concept for at least two weeks. To this day I still haven't managed to wrap my wits around it entirely.

I still think you're okay if you talk to yourself.

Hell, after all that, I even think you'd be okay if you answered yourself.


Stick by Stick

I didn't post my progress report after weigh-in on Wednesday. Current events made my weight-loss efforts seem too petty a subject, and there were already more than enough words flying around about the current events themselves. To add to them would have been meaningless.

So I gave $100 to a volunteer who needed air fare and called it a day.

Still, the weight-loss news is good. I lost 0.8 pounds last week for a total weight loss of 27.8 pounds.

It takes a little bit of creativity to take comfort in a less-than-a-pound loss in a week.

What does it for me is butter.

Butter is pure fat that comes in quarter-pound sticks. Whenever my week's loss is 0.2 pounds or 0.5 pounds or 0.8 pounds, I imagine the equivalent in butter. Am I happy to have lost the equivalent in fat of over 3 sticks of butter last week?

You betcha!

I just imagine those sticks of butter and then I melt them down in my mind and see how much ghee they make. Then I imagine the fat in my body melting and the ghee flowing out of it and puddling at my feet.

One great thing about imagination: the cleanup's a snap.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Phishing Phun

Whew! Today is my lucky day! I got this email today that says:


"Congratulations! You have received this Notice because the records of PayPal, Inc. indicate you are a current or former PayPal account holder who has been deemed eligible to receive a payment from the class action settlement in accordance with PayPal Litigation, Case No. 02 1227 JF PVT, pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose.

"In your specific case you have been found to be eligible for a payment of $88.99 USD."

Hee! $88.99 USD! Can you believe it!

I never win anything!

Wow! This must be an international class action suit because they have to put "USD" after the amount. That means U.S. Dollars so someone in New Zealand or Canada doesn't get confused and think they're entitled to NZD or CAD.

I never even heard of this class action before! And I never even spent $88.99 in my entire history with PayPal!

I just cannot believe how lucky I am.

Now, what do I have to do to get my $88.99 USD?

Let's read on.

"Confirm Your Bank Account.

"The aforementioned settlement funds may be transferred directly to your bank account providing you have a linked card. The funds may not be credited directly to your PayPal account as this would render Paypal to be accumulating interest and thus profiting on litigation settlement funds which contravenes Federal law. Your bank account will be credited within 7 days upon submission of account details."

Is it my imagination or does this writer kinda talk funny? He sounds like a furriner if you ask me. See, I work in a law firm and I understand legalese, so I know it's not funny sounding because it's written by a lawyer. Unless it's a foreign lawyer who learned English as a second language. From a British teacher.

Oh, well. Maybe his rates are lower than anyone they could find in the U.S. Or maybe the original party to the class action was a furriner and hired someone he could relate to.

"To credit your bank account please click here.

Don't forget to check your bank account for the PayPal deposits and get Verified!"


"If you are seeking an alternate method of receiving your funds PayPal will be contacting those who do not submit their details by the 31th of March with instructions to receive a cheque in the mail. However this will incur a 7.5% processing fee deducted from the settlement amount and therefore PayPal only recommends this option to those users who do not currently have a bank account with linked Bank Card."

31th, huh? That's funny! I say that sometimes, too, just for a joke. This foreigner has a real good sense of humo(u)r. It's even funnier when you say "32th" because it sounds like "thirty-tooth." I wonder if he says that, too. I need to meet this guy!

"Please Note that under United States federal law credit cards are not a legally approved method of settlement for Class Action suits and cannot be processed for transferal of funds in this case."


"This notice is a summary and does not describe all details of the settlement. For full details of the matters discussed in this notice, you may wish to review the Settlement Agreement dated January 11, 2005 and on file with the Court or visit Complete copies of the Settlement Agreement and all other pleadings and papers filed in the lawsuit are also available for inspection and copying during regular business hours, at the Office of the Clerk of the Court, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 280 South First Street, San Jose, California 95113."

Hmmm. I know that court. Filed a few things there myself. In fact, I could send our service over to get a copy of those papers during regular business hours so I can inspect them. Of course, it would kind of eat into my $88.99 USD to pay the service for the trip and the copying.

This is sounding more and more legit, isn't it?

"DATED: September 02, 2005


Okay, now that's weird. (Scratching chin....) I mean, this arrived on September 1st (oops. September 1th) my time. And my time is San Jose time. Courts don't usually date things in advance. That much I know. And here this thing is dated September 2th.

Oh, I get it! I think this is just like that test they give you in school to see how well you follow instructions. The one that has as step one, "Read the entire test through before beginning." Then at the end it tells you to disregard all the instructions after number one. So the people who can't follow instructions are picking up their pencils and writing their names and making circles and squares around them and all sorts of stuff that are in steps 2 through the end and the people who can follow instructions are just sitting there doing nothing.

Like I said, today is my lucky day. Luckily, I passed that test and I've been READING THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY just like it says.

Know what else? If you enter the referenced website ( into your browser (rather than link to it), you find out that PayPal has put a huge notice to their customers that THIS EMAIL IS A PHISHING SCAM!

Yup, my lucky day. I got to forward something to and get phodder for my blog all in one day.