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Monday, March 14, 2016

The Spend It Like A Man Jar

What is that, you want to know? Well. The concept came from columnist Jan Malone, lately of the Richmond Times Dispatch, though I don't remember if it originated with her. It goes like this: 

Most men hate to stand in line and to extend that time merely to count out change at the cash register is insupportable. They just hand over a bigger bill and stuff the change in their pockets. When they get home at night they empty their pockets and that change usually goes into some sort of container on their dressers. 

The argument was posed in her article that men also don't want to appear small and petty about insignificant sums. Of course, men have deep capacious pockets that hang from their waists. They are square shaped and they tend to have much higher opinions of their physical appearance than women. The extra width around the hips and upper thighs caused by bulky fabric is nothing to them in exchange for not having to carry stuff around in bags. 

Women, otoh, who traditionally did not have any money or had less, or had to account for every penny to someone else when they returned home, tend to count out each of those to-be-accounted for pennies. Also, women do not want extra width around their hips and upper thighs no matter what causes it. They lug around purses that rival carry-on luggage that seem to grow in weight and width as the day wears on. Women look for any means possible to remove heavy metals from their purses. Thus, they never have change to toss into dishes on their dressers. 

Interestingly enough, both men and women tend to see all bills handed to a cashier as Spent Money - already gone. The change is either an insignificant sum or it's added weight on some poor woman's shoulder. 

Of course, today, many women do have their own money and it is not unusual for it to be a greater sum than that of their men. This break with tradition should be followed, says Ms. Malone, by another one where women spent more like men, using whole dollars, and carrying the change home (in pockets or purses) to put into dishes on dressers or perhaps in jars in closets, just so nobody thinks the accumulated change belongs to the spear side of the family. Yes. Spear side is the opposite of distaff side - who knew? Anyway, If women spent more like men they would accumulate surprising amounts of cash which is tallied up in the "Already Been Spent" category and can now be spent again on fun stuff - like ... New Clothes or that expensive shampoo at Ulta that really does make your hair look thicker. 

And now you know why it is so important that I find my missing Spend It Like A Man Jar. I'm almost out of shampoo! 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Old Dog Learning New Tricks

Shamelessly stolen from Megan Hills at mycartoonthing dot com .  Because if you know TheQueen, you know she does not decorate. She is even less likely to redecorate. She wants her stuff put in place and left there for eternity.  Like a flowing mane of hair, taut abs and other things she has long resigned herself to doing without, decorating is not part of her CV. In fact, furniture buying and renovating fill her with dread. TheCastle is perfectly fine just the way it is for just the way things are. (think "Pawpaw always said ...")  At least, this is true right now - while she's still werking and goes to her lovely office 5 out of 7 days a week.

The thing is - she won't be werking forever. Not too far over the hill, although still a ways to go, is

And all that private space she's had, all these years, in her office, at werk, will belong to some other lucky person and TheQueen will have to find a place to play with her toys somewhere in TheCastle - where ThePrince (Consort) has been strewing his stuff about since 1992!

Uhhhhh. So not happening in this space.

Thus, while I'm still able to escape the madness of a building project, I'm hoping ThePrince  will make some additions to our space. First off is a downstairs bathroom into which geezers can get their walkers and wheelchairs. Wide doors, smooth shower stall, maybe even a flexible vanity top. That way we can move our bedroom to the first floor and I can have that old bedroom for a studio - where my toys don't have to be put away so that we can sit down to dinner. The pleasure of leaving a sewing machine AND an easel set up and ready for play sounds like pure heaven to me.

Of course, such a shift means all the public and joint recreation stuff we do in the den-but-future master bedroom has to be done somewhere else. And that is why, as we slide into our geezer years I am pushing someone to make this house bigger.


or should I say


I do not want this construction project to end up being a deconstruction project. Let it not be the seismic shift that splits a 45 year old relationship apart. We nearly came to blows over the bathroom renovation of a few years ago and every day I have to listen to his complaints about the finished room - now, at last, made of new enough components that it can be cleaned. It fits me just fine but he complains that the tub is too short, too shallow, the shower head is uncomfortable and the sink is too small. I have to go into my head- buzzing white noise space whenever he gets going because, honestly, the bathroom is just fine. It's just not the old bathroom which had been built with second hand tub, tile and a formica counter top.  Old is the operative word - because anything that came before is better than anything that could possibly come after. (that is the first trick this old dog ever learned when it came to ThePrince)

ThePrince and I play well together but we have never worked well together and renovation is very hard work. Also - we have different taste - and we do different things in a house. But this time I am going to learn some learn some new tricks and the first one is to not care what we end up with but to let him build anything he wants. Though he has different taste, he does have good taste. He is the scion of a family of quite notable decorators. All H-family women can decorate. I just have to trust that he won't go off on too wild a tangent as this project unfolds. Now that I think about it - none of my talented sisters "decorate" and even though my artist mother could have been a decorator, she was not so inclined either. We would never go to a furniture store and select a "room". We are far more likely to assemble pretty things we've made or collected in artistic, if eclectic, groupings and besides, I love the old family furniture given to me by my mother-in-law.  I love the stories they tell, even if they don't all go together.

And so I have told ThePrince that the job of choosing for this new bathroom is his. Actually, I told him that he had good taste and I trusted him to select lovely things for this new bathroom. And honestly, I will like whatever he picks (even if he does use the old faucets from the renovated bathroom that he cherishingly stored out in the tool shed).  What I want out of this project is a studio for my toys. And the first step to having a room of my own is to get a bathroom downstairs - and a living room off the end of the house - with a guest bedroom over it.

Because in a few short years I will be here all day long and as it is right now - there's no place for my toys in this house.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Weight-ey Issue or Getting My Act Together

Ooops. I wrote this a week ago and forgot to post it. But I think it's worth sharing (because of course everyone is interested in mememememe) and it will be interesting to come back here a month from now and see if I hit the target this time. As of last week, 2016 was .0658% over and I hadn't yet mapped out the year with resolutions, plans and lists. At least, I hadn't completed all my lists. Of course, I never do complete them. Usually I just stop adding to them somewhere around Easter.

So - what's the hold-up? What's blocking the flow of New Year's Delight? What's causing me to suffer from Non-Startitis? Time to sit down with TheBrains and figure this thing out.

Okay, guys - what's going on? Why are we such slugs?

LEFT BRAIN: Ho Hum.  La de da da da.

RIGHT BRAIN: Where is the chocolate? Why doesn't anybody have any chocolate around here?

LEFT BRAIN: Vanity Vanity, life is Vanity

RIGHT BRAIN: I need sugar. No. Butter. Where's the butter?

LEFT BRAIN: I think I'll take a nap

RIGHT BRAIN: Cheese! No. I want Cheese. Macaroni and cheese. Lobster macaroni and cheese. with bacon. 

Hey Guys. This is not working. Besides. I know you're listening to me, even if you do pretend you're not.

LEFT BRAIN: Okay. What do you want now? La! I can't wait till I ...

DON'T say it.

RIGHT BRAIN: Say what?

LEFT BRAIN: Okay. I won't. But you know what WE are all thinking

It doesn't matter.  Putting all positive action off till that One Fine Morning will only ruin the here and now and leave a wake of unfinished obligations that shames us in the future. We're going to deal with the sluggishness of 2016 and we are going to start with the Weight Creep. You do realize we're heavier than we've been in 3 years, don't you?

LEFT BRAIN: Don't look at me. I'm not the one pawing through cabinets looking for cheesycocolatesugar bombs.

RIGHT BRAIN: Hey! We're all in this together.

She's right. We're all in this together and we are not all fitting into those skinny jeans, either. So what are WE going to do about it?

RIGHT BRAIN: Yeah, what are WE going to do about it, Miss Naggypants List-maker?

LEFT BRAIN: I've started many lists and whenever things get hard you just wander off. I can't make a list if you aren't giving me input.

Listen, guys, blame throwing isn't going to do us any good. So let's start with this question:  When it comes to our weight, what is non-negotiable?



LEFT BRAIN: Getting too fat for all our pretty clothes

RIGHT BRAIN: It has to be fun

Good - now - what is important?

LEFT BRAIN: Not paying Weight Watchers to go to their meetings

RIGHT BRAIN: Looking Hot Hot Hot

LEFT BRAIN: Being at goal

RIGHT BRAIN: Finding a way to eat and exercise that feels comfortable

LEFT BRAIN: But you know that can be hard

RIGHT BRAIN: I don't mind hard.

LEFT BRAIN: It takes time though, to plan and shop for healthy stuff

RIGHT BRAIN: I don't mind spending time and I love to shop

LEFT BRAIN: You have to decide, though. Decide what we are going to eat for the week.

RIGHT BRAIN: I know. It's hard for me to decide but ... but I like to try new things

this is all good. What else is important?

LEFT BRAIN: Health - strength, vigor, pride

RIGHT BRAIN: Yeah! I want to be a winner at the weight game!

Well - good. Good to hear you thinking this through


With Feeling


So. is there anything that's desirable ... but maybe not really important.

LEFT BRAIN: Weight 143 lbs.

RIGHT BRAIN: Sculpted arms. too cool. wouldn't that be fun?

So are they important?

LEFT BRAIN: Nah. Just ... you know ... desirable.

RIGHT BRAIN: Yeah. I could live my life without either of those.

Okay - so ... What are we going to do about this?




RIGHT BRAIN: (Pssst. You got any sort of list)

LEFT BRAIN: Well. Okay. Umm. Let's start with the here and now. Let's start with what we weigh tonight at WW.

RIGHT BRAIN: I'm not sure I like WW any more.

LEFT BRAIN: Well, neither am I, but let's give it a try for, oh, say, 5 weeks. Till March 1.


LEFT BRAIN: So - we start with tonight's weight and we give it a real honest chance. We'll plan out our meals each week and shop for just that stuff.

RIGHT BRAIN: Uh. gulp. Okay.

LEFT BRAIN: We'll plan a dessert every night too.

RIGHT BRAIN: Oh. Whew. that's better.

LEFT BRAIN: but it has to come from the WW cookbooks and fit within the points.

RIGHT BRAIN: I'm good with that.

LEFT BRAIN: And we will get in 10K steps every day.

RIGHT BRAIN: what about the gym?

LEFT BRAIN: We can do that too or instead of, but the fitbit will register 10K steps. Come on - you know you want that. And you know why, you sneaky competitive thing you.

RIGHT BRAIN: (blushing) Yeah. I didn't think I was so competitive.

LEFT BRAIN: I know. In fact, you brag about not being competitive.

RIGHT BRAIN: Well, I don't really care if I'm not the best on the fitbit roster but I do care if I'm not the best AND I didn't reach 10K steps a day. I don't mind if I'm not the best but I mind if I didn't give myself a chance to be.

LEFT BRAIN: I knew that. It's one of the things I like about you. One last thing.... that I promise won't be too hard.  We're going to put a tall cup of water on the kitchen counter every morning when we're making coffee - and we're going to empty it twice

RIGHT BRAIN: Oh - easy peasy. the sink is right there.

LEFT BRAIN: ha ha - funny you. We will drink 2 tall cups of water every day. You know we'll feel better for that.

RIGHT BRAIN: Okay. Just foolin' with ya anyway.

LEFT BRAIN: Okay. So. You good with this plan?

RIGHT BRAIN: Actually - yes. I am.

LEFT BRAIN: Ready to start pawing through the cookbooks?


Well. Good. This is a start. I'm glad you two have a plan. Let's see if we can lick this weight creep - and maybe unplugging that will unplug the creativity too.


RIGHT BRAIN: May Bees don't fly in January either

Cute. Now, lets' roll.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Don't Let Guilt Eat Those Cookies .....

Eat them yourself!

At least, if you ARE going to eat them, tell guilt to beat it, sit down, look at the beautiful cookie, cake, bowl of ice cream, piece of candy - sniff it, admire it, take a little nibble and let it tickle your tongue, let its flavor fill your mouth. Take a real bite. Chew it slowly. Notice the first flavor, the main flavor and the aftertaste. Swallow the whole bite. Think about how good it is. Think about how lucky you are to be rich enough to have this treat. Imagine a time before there even was sugar. Imagine a time when salt was so expensive that a whole bevy of folk lore grew up around it. Say thanks for the treat. Say thanks for your personal wealth. Say thanks for the wealth of our society. And then ... take your second bite.

Because if you can't do that with your treat - is it even a treat?

I'm thinking of all the treats and goodies and sweets and cheeses that I consumed over Christmas - the ones that added 4 extra pounds to my not-too-delicate frame. And I can't remember the pleasure of any of them except Christmas Dinner - when I really DID eat like that.  And Christmas Dinner was a real treat!

ALL the other treats were consumed rapidly, with Guilt at my side, whispering the lie that "If you eat it fast enough the calories wouldn't have time to linger on your belly." or "Hurry, hurry. If nobody sees you eat this, did you really eat it?"  So instead of admitting that that Ferrero Rocher was the chocolaty delight it was and honoring it with true eating respect, I popped it into my mouth, bit down once, chewed rapidly and poof! It was gone. All the pleasure was gone but Guilt hung around like a school bully, smirking at me, double dog daring me, TRIPPLE dog daring me to do it again. And I did.

And you know ... that sucks. And now that it's January and I'm trying to resist all kinds of Other Treats because - hey. I'm rich. (and you don't have to be much richer than to have $1.98 in your pocket) The stores are full. (and the Valentine's Day candy is already out on the shelves)  - I keep trying to remember any of those bites, licks and tastes and I am so mad that I can't. Except the Roast Beef Dinner - which I can remember with that slightly swoony feeling. I don't need another Roast Beef Dinner - with Yorkshire Pudding - any time soon, because I can still go back and remember how good the one I had 2 weeks ago was.  

Huh. Well. That does it. I vow - as one of my 2016 New Year's Resolutions – From now on I will eat all the  treats I want just so long as I'm willing to give them the attention they deserve. From this day forward, I intend to get 100% of the pleasure out of any treat I eat and Guilt will get none. I will never again let Guilt get all the pleasure while I have all the shame. By golly, if I'm going to pack on 4 pounds it's going to have been so worth it.

Friday, January 1, 2016

For The First Time (on a First Day)

Anyone who knows TheQueen knows that she Loves Her A New Year. I've been loving the New Year ever since, in that long ago day when we still lived in Chesterfield, back when it was still Chesterfield and still rural, my dad told me that on N.Y. Day you wrote down your new year's resolutions - things you wanted to do or accomplish in the coming year. The idea of a whole year to spend doing things you wanted to do just thrilled my little 9 year old natural mathematician's heart. I suspect it thrilled his little heart too. He was the king of natural mathematicians (IRS tax man) and used his skills to earn a good living. I, otoh, channel my love of math into Knitting Math and Cooking Math and Sewing Geometry and Strategic Planning Math.  Thank you Daddy, for sharing that love of playing with numbers. 

I have a beloved ritual for New Year's Day and I'll follow it today. It includes looking back at last year and then looking forward at the coming one. I may even light a candle this time (Thank you Michael Rawlings - you darling, you - for that idea. I knew we were soul mates.). I have a long list of ThingsToDo I want to write down. The ideas for that list have been nudging me for about 10 days now, whispering pleas to not be forgotten.  And there are one or two Big Deals that I already knew were on the calendar for 2016.  Good things. Good Big Deals. But already in the works. 

There are also a few ubiquitous things that will gain their reserved seats on my TTD list. Declutter the house, get back to my weight goal, drink more water ... but there's no sense of urgency about them. I think, for the first time ever, I'm not dissatisfied with myself. Whatever tweaking that needs to be done I feel confident I can do it. What dreams I may have already look fulfilled. I am moving into 2016 with the most delightful sense of calm, peace, and bliss. (Even though I suspect there is a horrific letter coming from one of the many irritating health insurance companies we pay $$$ to ... just something I forgot to do, ya know.) Even with that cropping up in January - well - I just think I'm gonna handle that too. It's all going to be alright.  

And that is a first. To step into tomorrow as if it were already here. And I want to tell you - that is one great feeling!  It came as no surprise when I got this little pep talk from my favorite guru, Martha Beck:

Who would you be if you were simply present, like a wild animal, without past or future? What would you do if you didn’t know it was impossible? What would you believe if you trusted that all your longing will be fulfilled? Every time you contemplate a question like these, you become a little bit more bewildered—by which I mean you’re learning to be wilder, to let go of your mind’s judgments and fears and live from your core.

Martha Beck, Quarterly Coaches' Newsletter, December 2015

So here's to a blissful 2016. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

We (Almost) Have Couch

What do you know. Here it is, New Year's Eve eve.  I've been feeling the nudges and pinches of 2016 asking me What Am I Going To Do Next? Huh? Huh? Huh?

emoticonRIGHT BRAIN: Yeah - prodded on by You-Know-Who

emoticonLEFT BRAIN:Well? Interested Brains want to know

Hush you two. I am doing the talking now

emoticonRIGHT BRAIN: emoticonLEFT BRAIN:Well, la de da.

I have quite a bit of time off this year - happily there are 2 extra weekend days following the Day of Demolition, when I take down the tree. Truth is - I would have taken the tree down already because we aren't having any company or any parties and, miracle of miracles, ThePrince is interested in buying a new couch.

I should say - buying a new loveseat since that's all the space we have in this house unless we do some major furniture moving and I don't like rearranging furniture. I like things to be done right the first time and to stay that way. BUT things change, time passes, and now and then you try to see if you can finally get rid of the World's Ugliest Couch.

I'm not quite sure why I have never been one to "fix up" a house. I have my suspicions but they don't reflect well on me or my self esteem or even my life choices so I shan't expose them to public inspection. Fortunately I do just enough interesting things that I have gathered about me “Stuff” that people find pleasing to look at and I'm enough of a mathematician to understand the geometry of arrangement. I tell myself "Oh I live in a studio" and use it as an excuse to not decorate, to leave things mostly as they are, to live with the World's Ugliest Couch.

As I said, though, it's really a loveseat -and it is also really a 900 lb fold out bed with a steel frame and, I suspect, steel upholstery. It may once have been pink. It may once have been a rosy beige. It may always  have been throw-up colored. It came to me as a perfect meld of all 3 colors. It is also the perfect size to fit in our house and it's extremely comfortable to sit on.

But UGLY? Whooee! It takes the prize of ugliness and I have been wanting it gone for, oh, say, within 30 minutes of it entering my house - way back in the early 1980's. Grandma got it at a yard sale ... or bought it from some friend who was redecorating her kids rec room. it has a deep 1960's feel to it though it could be older. And even ThePrince thought it was ugly when it arrived, unexpectedly, in the back of somebody’s truck. He just forgets.

But in the 1980's we'd just closed the note on this house when ThePrince got laid off in the post Carter slump. We were living on pennies. We needed furniture and Grandma loved to lend a hand. Besides - back then I had the sewing machine set up in my bedroom. Fabric was cheap and easy to find. I know how to make slip covers. It's a project I hate, but I do know how to do it and I've covered that couch many times.

Only now - now fabric is scarce and expensive and I long ago packed away my sewing machines, to bring out only in emergencies. At times I've looked at the World's Ugliest Couch and thought that that much aesthetic pain is an emergency but then I'd look at the price of 8 yards of fabric - and worse yet - at the HIDEOUS colors and AWFUL prints that are available now (I am a dark red and green floral type) and I just can't bear to spend $$$ on a couch that is so heavy I can't move it - so it sits stubbornly on the floor hiding packed dust balls and mouse-chewed Christmas nutshells ... and even little dehydrated skinks that died under there on hot summer afternoons, after slipping under the screen door and getting caught in the packed dust balls .....

Yes yes. I clean this house but I don't try to get underneath that 900 lb couch more than every year or so. Besides - skinks are beneficial lizards ... just read this article ...

ThePrince and I don’t have such a great track record for furniture shopping. We have different tastes. Mind now – he has good taste. Just different from mine. And I care enough to not insist on pinkification or ruffle-0-mania. But he has a gruff irritated tone of voice when we shop for things that we’re supposed to share. He is very bossy and not only is he insensitive to anything but the most All-Hailes-are-Engineers language, he’s very dog-like in his response to my doubt filled weakness, fueled by my aforementioned self esteem issues. One sniff of fear-amones and he’s on me like a doberman.  

So. So we have been desultorily looking for a New Couch for several years. His first reaction, held till just this month, was that he could disassemble this couch, taking out the excess steel bed frame and we could have it reupholstered. A day of unsuccessful furniture shopping in Farmville, Virginia’s biggest furniture town, last June had left me exhausted.  What is it with these grossly over-sized couches with mammoth back cushions and ginormous rolled arms that take up 3 feet of floor space without giving you an inch of seating?!? I really HATE modern upholstered furniture design with it’s artificially puffed English Cottage fakey-ness. Like super homes – I suppose the designers think we need super-sized couches and chairs. They’re not even comfortable to sit in! Most of them have seat cushions so deep that when I sit down on them, my legs don’t bend at the knees but instead, stick out like a 3 year old in a high chair. And the fabrics? Lime Green in a living room?????  I had still not recovered 6 months later so I was quite willing to let him continue thinking he could rebuild the W. U. Couch. He finally took a good look at the framework, though, and called me at work.

“Your husband has something to tell you” I heard over the phone. “You are right. A genius put that thing together and I am not enough of a genius to take it apart. Let’s go shopping for a new couch.”

Of course, we were too busy before Christmas but this week there is that sweet luxury of time. But first he wanted to drive 90 minutes in the opposite direction of any city to deliver a donation to the Deltaville museum. It was after 2 before we were headed north again and I was too hungry to go any further. We stopped in Urbanna at a darling little cafe: Bay Catch Seafood Bar and Grill. The blackened seafood salad was AMAZING! Perfectly seasoned scallops, shrimp and salmon on the freshest mescalin greens and with cukes and cherry tomatoes to boot! If you’re down that way I can’t recommend it enough. 

But I digress. What I'm really excited about is that on the same street - the same block, I believe, we discovered The Garden Club - as their ad copy says "Exceptional Furniture in Urbanna and Saluda Virginia".  And they're right. Everything was attractive and interesting and what do you know - she had smallish 2 couches that suited both TheQueen and ThePrince. "Yes" she said. They do come as loveseats. She would call her rep tomorrow to see what the dimensions were. ThePrince and I discussed actually doing some Dread Rearranging and we could probably fit one of those couches in our living room area anyway. So we left her our contact info and headed home.

And then ...

At our own local furniture store there was a couch that also comes as a loveseat that I really liked. It was perfect in size and came in enough old fashioned prints and colors that I actually have a choice when it comes to introducing something new to my very old fashioned living room. Small arms. Upholstered seat back, not ginormous ugly puffed out cushions. This is about the 4th time I've been in that store to look at couches and I'd actually taken ThePrince in to look at it and he'd rejected it flat out. The sales lady, an expert if ever there was one, didn't bat an eye as he asked her if they had any small loveseats. She showed him the cheap ones, then took him back to look at those same small couches he'd rejected 2 months ago. He sat. He sat in another. He said "this is comfortable" She never pounced, but she gently pulled out the machine tied box spring sample to show him. Guys so love to look at construction. (We all do, but for a guy it's a clincher) It was so much fun to watch and listen. I kept my mouth shut. 

And so. And so I have the fabric card here at home so I can see which upholstery goes best with what we already own. As I said - there are several choices. I'm good with any of them but I need daylight to decide. I have to have the card back in the store by 9:30 so I hope the sun burns through this fog quickly. In the end I don't think I'll place an order anyway, till we talk to the lady from Urbanna. But I do believe that, come January, I will be able to say "We Have Couch". 

Friday, December 11, 2015

YOU CAN'T MAKE ME! YOU'RE NOT MY MOM! TheBrains Struggle with the New Weight Watcher's Program


Goodness! What is all the racket? Oh - Oh dear. It's TheBrains - or rather, it's my precious little wild child of a RIGHT BRAIN and I suspect she's upset about all the changes Weight Watcher made in their points calculations this week. Let's listen in and see what transpires.

* * * * *

RIGHT BRAIN: AAAAARGH!  AHHHEEEE! (kicks metal trash can with a loud CRASH!)

LEFT BRAIN: Here Here. Stop


LEFT BRAIN:Shh shhh. calm down (reaching out and touching a shoulder)


LEFT BRAIN: (grabbing in a big hug, tightening her arms)  Shh shh. It's going to be alright.

RIGHT BRAIN: (struggles a moment then bursts into huge gulping sobs)

LEFT BRAIN:(snuggles and rocks gently) Calma calma - it's going to be alright. I will take care of you. We're going to be okay. I promise

RIGHT BRAIN (sobs harder but stops struggling)

LEFT BRAIN: There there, honey. It's going to be okay. I swear it. We'll get through this together.

Some minutes later .....

RIGHT BRAIN (sits quietly, just a few shuddering sobs every now and then)

LEFT BRAIN: Okay now? Is it all out of your system?

RIGHT BRAIN mmmm. maybe not all of it but yeah, mostly

LEFT BRAIN: I completely understand how frustrated and frightened you are


LEFT BRAIN: Of course. We had all these plans. We worked out steps to take. We have worked very hard to get down to the happy weight number and were going to get to January feeling proud and fit and hot hot hot ... and now Weight Watchers has changed their tracker, their points calculators, and assigned such high points to the fun foods of Christmas that we're going to feel frightened and guilty just looking at them. Not to mention how much work we're going to have to do to relearn our basic healthy foods' new points. and their new website is S L O W and cumbersome.

RIGHT BRAIN:  Oh. you do understand. It was heaven. And now it's all ruined. Ruined ruined ruined!

LEFT BRAIN: No. It's not ruined. It's changed. That's all

RIGHT BRAIN:  Ruined AND changed

LEFT BRAIN: (hugs tight) No. It's just different.

RIGHT BRAIN:  I hate Weight Watchers. I hate them hate them hate them

LEFT BRAIN: (hugs even tighter and laughs) No you don't. You hate change

RIGHT BRAIN:  Well - they made me change. I hate them for it

LEFT BRAIN: (cups her face and looks into her eyes) No they did not. They offered you a change.  They also took away something you knew and liked. But only you can make you change. Or ... rather ... only we can make us change.

RIGHT BRAIN: You mean you think you can make me change and  YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!

LEFT BRAIN: (smiles tenderly) You're absolutely right. I can't make you change -I don't want to make you change. But I can point out a truth or two.  Admit it now. No matter what else you also feel, you also feel that there is something fundamentally right about the new things they're offering.

RIGHT BRAIN:  (squirms, pouts) I hate them

LEFT BRAIN: It's okay to hate the awful feelings of change. The scariness. The doubt of self, the feeling that you will fail at this change and fail where you had been a success.  But tell me this. Has there ever been anything fabulous we've achieved that didn't include the awful feelings of change?

RIGHT BRAIN:  (thinks a moment) Yes! When we changed from knitting american style to continental - it was fun!

LEFT BRAIN: But it was hard too, wasn't it?

RIGHT BRAIN:  Well - yes. But I don't mind hard. I hate pain. Besides - I wanted to make that change. I don't want to make the changes that Weight Watcher's asking me to make

LEFT BRAIN: You don't want to be healthy and thin?

RIGHT BRAIN:  I want SUGAR! SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR - right NOW at Christmas time I want SUGAR!  

LEFT BRAIN: Laughs out loud)  Well so do I. Maybe not that much sugar - but yeah - I do want me some sugar.

RIGHT BRAIN:  Well - well?!? Weight Watcher's made anything with sugar in it so high in points that we cant ever have any sugar again. We will die without ever having sugar again and all the black pepper refrigerator cookies in the world will go to SOMEONE ELSE!

LEFT BRAIN: (hugs tightly again) You are so utterly cute.

RIGHT BRAIN:  I'm not cute! I am mad. and grieving. and angry

LEFT BRAIN: And cute. And I completely understand the way you feel but tell me ... when you read the new Weight Watcher's way of calculating food points didn't you instinctively feel that it would nudge us into healthier eating, and slimmer eating and maybe even a kind of preventive eating that would keep our hearts healthier - stave off diabetes - make the last years of our life more comfortable. Didn't you feel that little twinge of "YES"?

RIGHT BRAIN:  (squirms)

LEFT BRAIN: (gives her little shake) Didn't you?


LEFT BRAIN: You recognized that this new way of calculating what and how much we should eat will edge us away from eating sweets and other white food. It'll push us into that next level of healthy eating we ought to be doing.

RIGHT BRAIN:  Oh you. You are all about doing what we ought to be doing

LEFT BRAIN: I can't help that. It's my role

RIGHT BRAIN:  But I don't want to do what we ought to be doing. I want to be lucky! I want the weight loss fairy to tap me on the head and make me thin even if I do eat Black Pepper Refrigerator Cookies made with Butter.

LEFT BRAIN: Can't help you there either. Feelings are your job. But I can make a suggestion.

RIGHT BRAIN:  What. Suffer? Suck it up? Be miserable for the rest of our lives?

LEFT BRAIN: No dearest sweet thing. Nothing so draconian. Do you want to hear it?

RIGHT BRAIN:  Well, of course I do.

LEFT BRAIN: (smiles) Okay .. first off - what say we don't worry about these changes At All.

RIGHT BRAIN:  You mean ... don't do them?

LEFT BRAIN: Maybe. Maybe not. Let's just wait and see. Let's just read all the material, use the tracker and don't give a damn about if we go over our points or not. Just use it and see what the numbers end up looking like

RIGHT BRAIN:  But what about feeling guilty? What about seeing that a single brownie is 17 points which is more than half the points you can eat in a day? What about that?

LEFT BRAIN: Well - it is what it is. We don't have to care about it.

RIGHT BRAIN:  But what if we eat  a brownie

LEFT BRAIN: So what? Who cares. This is a fact finding week. This is a get to know something different week. We're just curious. We won't let the tracker judge us any more than we let the scale judge us.

RIGHT BRAIN:  But the tracker was always protecting me from getting fat fat fat

LEFT BRAIN: Well - yes, in a way it was.  But this week it's not going to be. Maybe not this whole month. What do you say that for the rest of this month we just watch and see what the tracker looks like.

RIGHT BRAIN:  But what if we get so fat we can't wear our clothes or our tummy hurts?

LEFT BRAIN: My dearest dear.  Do you think I would let you eat till your tummy hurts?

RIGHT BRAIN:  Well. No. No I think you would stop me.

LEFT BRAIN: There you have it. Let's just look at this new program as a super big math problem. Let's figure out the math of the new Weight Watcher's program.

RIGHT BRAIN:  Oh. Oh. .I like math problems.


RIGHT BRAIN:  And you actually like this new program don't you?

LEFT BRAIN: Actually - yes. I already know it's a good program. I think they timed it horribly. A change this  big should have been rolled out in October, not half way to Christmas. It's a huge change that targets holiday food the most so it's really asking people to give up not just sugar, but memories, traditional foods and ceremonies. It's asking people to be in Fresh Start Mode just when they're trying to be nostalgic. I can't believe the psychologists at Weight Watcher's were consulted.

RIGHT BRAIN:  Or if they were, they're all a bunch of 25 year old left brain metro-central modern emotionless robots who had mothers like William's college roommates';  mothers who never cooked a meal in their lives.

LEFT BRAIN: (smiling) maybe. Probably. I agree. So, the timing of this is abysmal - but you know - just because they say we ought to do something doesn't mean we have to, now, does it?


LEFT BRAIN: And aren't you just a little curious to get to know it better? to just try it?

RIGHT BRAIN: Well. Well. yes.

LEFT BRAIN: And we don't have to do anything more than just learn about it. and use the tracker to do that learning. But we will not  treat the tracker like some giant big scolding finger, right?


LEFT BRAIN: Feel better?

RIGHT BRAIN:  That's all?

LEFT BRAIN: Yup. That's all

RIGHT BRAIN:  Oh. Then yes. I do feel better


RIGHT BRAIN:  Are we going to order a fitbit today?


RIGHT BRAIN:  Oh. I feel lots better then

LEFT BRAIN: (Grins) Good.

* * * * *

Well. There you have it. TheBrains have to rethink their holiday strategy, maybe even come up with some new goals and steps, but I think they're going to be alright.