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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.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Saturday Thoughts

And sneezing! La! I collided with something yesterday that has my nose in an uproar! I've been sneezing almost constantly since about 4 o'clock and it is not pretty. I wonder what it was that I am so allergic to. Yes. I've taken zyrtek and no it doesn't seem to be helping. Glad I have a new box of tissues.

But anyway

That's not what I'm thinking about - I'm pondering the issue of magic pills to make you skinny.  And body image. And instant gratification. And what feels like Rat Park and not Rat Prison. (see Martha Beck's book "4-Day Win" or check out this link: 

I'm still wondering about talking to my sister and her experience with the weight loss drug Contrave. I'm also pondering our longing for instant perfection at the swallow of a pill - though I'd prefer the touch of a magic wand. I've never really had much confidence in the old DuPont slogan Better Living Through Chemistry. Got way more faith in magic. And why the AICH am I still getting images of Kr is tee  Brink lee at sixtee won in my sidebars and puh-leeze! No More with the sixty one year olds looking like twenty year olds.

I know. It's spelled differently but ever since I typed in Cee Bee's name in some blog I posted I've been flooded with More Robot Driven ads. As Gawd is Mah Witnuss,  I swear I will never type the Cee Bee word again.

And truly - I don't mind it that Someone looks 20 at 60.Well - maybe 40 - 'cause I mean, look at her throat. That ain't no 24 year old neck. And besides, I don't think that someone else's situation in life is a reflection on me. I don't think her beauty takes away from my beauty any more than I think that your money takes away from my bank account. They're not even remotely connected.

What I'm really thinking about is .... why do we feel so much pressure from the opinions of Other People. Today, Sparkpeople had this blog from staff writer Allicia Capetillo:
Will Hollywood Ever  Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Real Bodies? 

And my first reaction to that question was ... well, who cares if it does or doesn't?  What gives Hollywood so much power? Or rather, who does? Well - we do. Or rather, A Person does. You do. I do. Or don't. Our choice. We don't have to give anyone that power.

And yet.

And yet I like to check in on what stars and models and fashion magazines are advising. I seriously love me some pretty clothes. I love my image of me when I'm feeling hot hot hot. I even love shopping! Even when I weighed XXX lbs I loved shopping for clothes. The puzzle ... the MATH ... the Geometry of finding clothes that flattered ME ME ME ME ME was always interesting - always fun. Mind now - it's way way way more fun finding clothes that fit the fitter slimmer me - but pleasure in pretty clothes has always been mine.

And when I was at my heaviest, did I want a pill to make me instantly slim? I am sure I did - or ... as I said before .... I longed for a magic wand to tap me on the head and sprinkle sparkles on me to make me instantly slim. Yes. I did want that. instant gratification - instant fix.

And if I dig far enough into the store lot of my memory I can still feel the ache of yearning, from my teenage self, for skinny legs, like Patti Hayes. (or Twiggy .. just in case you need a mental image). I went years without wearing jeans or pants because I thought I had fat thighs, even though my legs are the slimmest part of my figure - were even then!

So, for sure, I understand THAT we give such power to the media - to Hollywood and Glamour Magazine and the fashion spreads in People. And those irritating Cee Bee photos (do you suspect that there's one in the right hand sidebar of my page right now?  One that won't scroll away as I type this post? You would be right)

What I don't understand is WHY we give such power away. Because, one thing I know for sure is that, while when we take power for ourselves we are not diminishing another, when we give power away we are diminishing ourselves.

LOL - which would be fine if what we were diminishing were the adipose fat cells on our hips and waists and backs and thighs. alas. Those we can't just give away.

We have to diminish them away. And the only way to diminish them without diminishing health, energy, vigor, and self esteem is   S L O W L Y  - and by eating healthy foods and moving our now diminishing bodies.

Having lost substantial weight twice now by making daily healthy changes and slowly dropping the lbs, I know that I'd rather lose weight that way. Is it because the process of slowly getting better prolongs the compliments, the praise, the excitement of looking in the mirror and seeing something I like?

I'm so glad I didn't miss out on the process. What a loss that would have been. The re-gains came and there may be another one in my future - I don't know. Usually they came as the result of some outside blow, not because I got lazy or disenchanted with my new fit healthy self. and none of them ever took me back up to the scary XXX number. Always, before I got that kind of heavy again, I'd remember the process, the pleasure, the skills I'd used before, and I'd start that pleasure process again.

Each time I   S L O W L Y   work my way back down to the happy weight I learn more skills for finding pleasure by making "staying there" a process too - a pleasure process - a process pleasure. Even when I wish for the magic wand to tap myself on the head - or to tap a beloved sister or a friend or even some stranger I see  ... the magic I want to happen is that they - and I - begin to feel the process pleasure - that they - and I -  begin to want the healthy over the icky, the right portion over the humongous one, the thrill of taking back our power - from Hollywood - from the media - from the memories of our own hurt selves.

So. so those are my thoughts on a chilly Saturday morning in early December. Thanks for stopping by - thanks for reading - please feel free to leave a comment.