I haven’t posted recently because I’ve been totally focused on my new rules.

Hubby announced the other day that we would be dieting. Said diet consists of alarming restrictions about food and beverages. “No drinking on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Two drink Wednesdays and Fridays.” I think I blacked out about then because I have no idea what Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be. I’m thinking “Make up for lost time” weekends.

In his usual organized way of pursuing a goal, he made out menus that involved cereal and lots of chicken. And veggies.

It’s a nightmare.

On Monday he sent me to work with a grocery bag full of snack items that would answer  the “Eat five times a day” requirement. Lots of granola bars, cereal bars, peanut butter crackers and flavored cardboard. I mean rice cakes.


Life is no longer worth living.

By Friday I was starting to fantasize about pizza. I saw someone walk into the kitchen at the office with a bag from Whataburger. I almost tackled him. The rest of the afternoon I could swear I smelled cheeseburger.

Say hello to 620 calories. And that’s just the burger.

In an unsually cooperative mood, I incorporated working out into this little farce. I mean healthy new routine. I have always hated going to the gym, and my first visit back in years was exactly what I expected. Annoying and pointless. I am mechanically challenged when it comes to gym equipment. I found myself atop a treadmill thinking, “How hard can this be?” Well, either the gym is rigged for people over 90, or I am even worse at this stuff than I thought. Even the pre-set cardio routine challenge was no challenge. At the low end, it had me walking  at 2.0 miles per hour. When it ramped up to the highest rate, it was 2.8 miles per hour. I thought maybe I had to crank the speed up myself to set a baseline, but after going through each cycle, it dropped back down to 2 again. Even I can walk at 2 mph without effort – other than maintaining my balance.

After wrestling through the routine and upping the speed each time, I managed to burn all of 54 calories in 20 minutes. A huge disappointment for a girl who measures her calorie loss in terms of Chardonnay (1 glass = 120 calories).

The treadmill is definitely NOT going to do the trick. Unless I plan to spend 24 hours a day on it. In desperation, I looked around the gym and spotted the rowing machine. Rowing. Potentially interesting. Not a bike. Not a treadmill.

I tried it. Mostly because at this point the gym was completely empty. No witnesses if I had an experience reminiscent of my first time on an elliptical machine. (I now refer to it as an epileptic machine because while on it I look like I’m having a seizure.)  I am not at the gym to amuse others. I am at the gym to punish myself for liking butter and bread and wine.

I tried a couple of different settings on the rower and imagined I wasn’t embarrassing myself too badly. I would be proved wrong later when I got home and pulled up some rowing videos on YouTube. Apparently, the normal level of resistance for rowing on water is a setting between 3 and 5. (I was rowing at the resistance of 10.)  So, basically rowing through mud.

I studied the videos, then went back the next day. Warily, I eyed the rowing machine, determined to psych it out. 30 minutes later I had burned 220 calories. That’s almost two glasses of wine! Apparently, going full tilt, you can burn 800 calories an hour. (Of course, that’s if you’re an Olympic rower.) I am not an Olympic rower, nor will I ever be. But how great would it be to be able to burn off 6 glasses of wine in an hour? 

I can dream, can’t I?



In the season of the naughty and nice lists, I’d like to add another: Things I have no business doing.

I don’t know if it’s because it’s the end of the year, or because I’ve simply lost all good sense by the time the 12th month rolls around, but it’s wreaking havoc on me.

As I commented in my previous post, for some reason I have this yearning to be creative at Christmas time. However, as I was unable to locate a single wreath shaped piece of styrofoam at Michael’s, my creative itch remains fundamentally un-scratched.

However, thanks to the office pot luck, I was able to channel some of that creative energy into baking. As hubby is typically the chef in the house, this was one of those things I haven’t done – from scratch – in probably ten years. I decided to make Ginger snap cookies in snowflake shapes. (Ah, how adorable!) Yeah, right. I get this genius idea on a work night and start the process of grating a real ginger root at about 6:00.

Challenge number one: When a recipe tells you to use a standing mixer with paddles, they are NOT jacking around. I do not have such a machine, however, so I mixed it by hand. No big deal, right? Wrong. My wrist began to spasm and twitch so badly I spilled my old-fashioned all over myself while trying to take a sip. Now THAT’s tragic.

Challenge number two: Icing. I don’t have one of those icing decorator squeezy things, (people who know their way around baking tools, please stop yelling at me), and I bought the wrong size decorative tip to go on the tube of icing I purchased, so I had to give up and just spread the icing on the cookies with a knife. This really isn’t a tragedy, but I had a picture in my head of these lovely cookies decorated with lacy white icing, so it was disappointing to someone who is crazy, like I am. Plus, I was up WAY past my bedtime.

By the end of this little process I hated the cookies and the icing, and the pot luck idea. Some people actually liked the cookies though, so in the end, it was all worth it.

Not really. But what I do know now is WHY I haven’t baked in umpteen years.

Strangely, this didn’t dampen my adventurous holiday spirit. I actually decided to do something else I hadn’t done in forever. Ride a bike. Seriously, I have not been on a bike in eons. Even the early news to friends and family (casually) that I was going on a bike ride in the afternoon resulted in gasps and in one case (my mother) begging me not to do it. “Not right before Christmas, Ann! We don’t need another injury!” In response I did what I have done since I was 6. I waved away her concern and told her I’d be fine. Hey, I’m EVENTUALLY fine, after a period of recovery.

So my husband, (whose idea this was), and who obviously has it out for me, decides to put me in shorts and big gloves and a helmet and ear covers and some sort of goggles and points a terrified, unbalanced (in many ways) me toward the street on a bicycle – with him in the lead. I won’t go into detail, but we rode too far, too seriously and on streets that were too bumpy and too up hill on our way to the lake. Then we headed back. Somehow both ways were up hill. I swear. Really.

There was one brief moment when I thought I was going to get hit by a car, but I have been reassured that the guy saw me and was totally NOT going to run me over. Truthfully, I don’t think I really would have minded being run over at that point. In fact, it might have been the bike’s attempt to commit suicide when it stopped in the middle of the three lanes of northbound traffic. Maybe bikes are like horses and can smell fear and inexperience.

I also discovered that extreme exercise when your body is not used to doing more than walking up a flight of stairs at a leisurely pace results in the vocabulary of a sailor. A very salty sailor. Plus, at one point, in an attempt to motivate myself up one of those hills, I pedaled in rhythm to this mantra as I glared at hubby’s back – “I will get you… I will get you…must sleep some time…must sleep some time…”

I think I will go back out on the bike again sometime. Maybe when the sun is out and it’s a little warmer than 58 degrees. Now it’s a challenge and I HAVE to win.

Plus, I’d rather attempt crossing 6 lanes of traffic on the bike than blend that cookie dough by hand again.

Other things I have done in the past week I have no business doing? Speaking to homeless people, mailing anything to an international destination, pretending I can design attractive things on Zazzle and shopping online.

I think there’s something I’m forgetting about handing a three-year old a glass of chocolate milk when she’s sitting on my antique Chippendale sofa, but surely even I wouldn’t be as insane as to do something like that.


Well, I’ve done it again. I’ve ordered a piece of workout equipment. I don’t know why I do this, but every now and then I lose what good sense I have and go off to crazyville.

Last time it was the Heavy Hoop. The Heavy Hoop is a 3 lb. “hula” hoop that is supposed to help tone your entire body and provide a cardio workout. When I saw it advertised I thought it looked like fun; after all, I used to be quite the hula hooper. What could be better than a workout that reminds you of your childhood activities? Lots of things, it turns out. The Heavy Hoop was HEAVY, for one thing. Imagine my surprise. After my first swivel I realized having a 3 lb. weight crashing around my waist was not terribly comfortable. In fact, it made me wonder if I was doing internal damage. It DID make me contract the muscles of my stomach to ensure my liver survived the workout. Perhaps, had I stayed with it, I would now have rock hard abs and a slender, toned waistline. Instead, I gave it up, comforting myself with the knowledge that deep down inside, where it really counts…I am a quitter.

After that, I purchased a lovely yoga set with mat, blocks and an instructional video. Have I mentioned my inability to tell left from right when watching a person on TV moving the opposite hand, leg, or direction from me? I was drummed out of dance class at the age of 5 for this. When facing a mirror image, the only directions I am completely certain about are up and down. So basically, yoga was not the relaxing, soul enriching experience I anticipated.

Did I learn my lesson from this? No. Last week I ordered a jump rope. I thought to myself, “Self, when you were younger, you kicked ASS at jump rope.” I envisioned the fantastic workouts I would have, whipping that jump rope into a frenzy. I would tone up, get some cardio and impress my friends with my daring feats of jump rope mastery. What could go wrong?

I’d attended a Happy Hour the evening the rope arrived, so I was feeling a bit more confident than I should. Ignoring the warnings about taking it easy at first so as to determine the level of up-and-down stress my out of shape, post surgical knees can handle, I flicked my wrists and jumped all around the living room. Then I jumped out onto the patio and around the driveway, where I did some doubletime jumping. What I lacked in style I made up for in enthusiasm. Until the next day. That’s when my knees and calves rebelled. When asked about my sloth-like pace that week, I found it difficult to be truthful and say “I’m sore from jumping rope….5 days ago.”

I am determined to try again. This time without the preceding Happy Hour. Ann versus the jump rope begins tonight.

You’ll be the first to know when my commitment/will power/knees give out.