Thursday, July 29, 2010

So how's that working out for you Diana?

I was raving to my girlfriend about God Women and Food, about how wonderful it is to not be consumed by thoughts of food. I eat when I'm hungry, which is a really new concept for me. I eat what I want, and surprisingly I don't crave sweets. I eat healthy food, and I don't weigh or measure my portions.

As I'm telling my girlfriend how great this is and how free I feel, she asked the inevitable question, so how's that working out for weight loss? The honest answer to that question is that it's not working out at all for weight loss.

I've been home for four days. I'm still on vacation if you call cleaning house, doing mounds of laundry, vet visits, and a Costco run and grocery shopping a vacation.

I've been eating pretty much when and what I want, including handfuls of Thai Curry Cashews that I discovered in the bulk foods in the "nutritional" food center at Fred Meyers. My recommendation is to stay away from those things because they are addictive (and full of calories and fat).

Here's the strange thing. My weight on Monday morning after nine days of eating out, desserts and really eating what I wanted, was 173 pounds (up seven pounds). My weight this morning is still 173.

Now that would be a wonderful thing IF I was at goal. I am NOT at my goal weight.

My conclusion is probably pretty obvious to anyone reading this. Although the theory of eating when you're hungry and eating what you want sounds really good, it's not really working out for me. I want to LOSE weight, not maintain my weight and especially not at 173.

I'm not giving up on Geneen's ideas in Women Food and God because I think they're valid and most of them can work for me, I just have to be a little more restrictive in order to lose weight. I don't plan on torturing myself with a strict 100% on plan "diet" or starving myself. I do plan on going back to counting Points, starting today.

It's also back to the gym six days a week since that seems to work out best for me. I've been going every other day this week and it makes me feel lazy and like I'm cheating. When I work out really hard I want to eat better (no cashews).

I'm on Chapter ten of Women Food and God, The GPS from the Twilight Zone. This is the chapter where she talks about The Voice. I really like this chapter so far. Here's an excerpt from pages 130-131:

The Voice feels and sounds so much like you that you believe it is you. You think you are telling yourself the truth. And you are utterly convinced that without The Voice as your conscience, your wild and unruly tendencies would run amok.

Let's take an example that probably occurs with alarming frequency, possibly many times a day. You are humming along with your morning routine when you try on an old pair of pants. Uh-oh. You can't get your right leg into the designated hole.The hole that just last year was already a size bigger than the year before. The Voice says, Look at you! You are pathetic! Your thighs are the size of the Rocky Mountains. You look down at the appendages in question. Hmm, you think, my thighs really are taking over my body, the living room, the neighborhood. The Voice says, You should be ashamed of yourself! You agree. You think, I am ashamed of myself, look how I've let myself go. The Voices says, Bad bad bad. You think, Bad thighs, Bad me.

A few minutes later you notice that you feel as if you've been vaporized. In the space that you once occupied there is a ghostly dread and a vague feeling of being needy, weak and fat. Within minutes, you've ricocheted into feeling as if your life is not worth anything.


Nothing--not one thing--has changed since earlier this morning when you felt spunky, feisty, irreverent. The objective fact is that you can't fit into your pants. The reality is that you've gained weight in the last few months. But why should gaining weight have the power to devastate every last shred of your well-being? Why can't you realize you've gained weight and make some decisions about how to proceed with some degree of wisdom and self-worth?

Sound familiar? It's like a chapter taken right out of my life that I've repeated over and over for decades. Geneen continues on with how to deal with the voice. I'm only half-way through this chapter, but so far, it's one of my favorites.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Freedom from myself

For as long as I can remember I've felt like I was trapped in a body I hated. Over the years I've constantly berated everything about myself, from my fat thighs, flabby upper arms, saggy stomach, hair that's always too blond or not blond enough or too long or too short, and the many imperfections of my face, always too fat or too thin, too long, not pretty enough. Nothing could escape my critical eye. Basically, my entire self was flawed regardless of how I tried to fix it.

Recently I've been reading Women Food and God bye Geneen Roth. I won't say it's changed my life but it has certainly given me a lot to think about. She tells the story of when she "lost her face". Basically, she had a severe allergic reaction during the second day of a six-day retreat. Her face became extremely swollen and almost unrecognizable. She thought it was the end of the world. It wasn't. People hardly even noticed. She was still the same person, even though she lost her face for a few days. It really didn't make any difference in who she was or how people saw her.

I've constantly criticized myself with The Voice (again, from the book). This is  my own highly critical devil that lives inside of me, that's always yelling at me that everything about me is bad or broken or just wrong. The Voice tells me I'm fat and ugly and how could anyone possibly love me. The voice. It's time to shut it up.

It's like I've been released from myself. I realize that sounds slightly schizophrenic, but it's exactly how I feel. I feel like it's okay to just be me, flaws and all. Even if I lost my face, I'd be okay.

Getting back into the swing of things
Exercise. It's so hard to get back into the workout routine after ten days of vacation and only three workouts (with my sister at her gym in Fairbanks which has the coolest cardio equipment). I blew off exercising yesterday. First full day back from vacation, the house needed a thorough cleaning, I was tired, and blah blah blah. I was full of excuses for skipping the gym. Surprisingly, I talked myself into not going.

Today was almost a repeat of yesterday. Suitcases still packed, laundry to the ceiling (well, almost), house still dirty, and I was still tired. Yet I told myself exercising really isn't an optional task. Just like doing laundry, even though I don't really like it, it has to be done.

It was 80 degrees in the shade when I took off on my bike at 4pm. I was heading to the gym. The ride, round-trip, is only 9 miles, but there are lots of hills. It was absolutely perfect bike riding weather. With the sun at my back and the wind in my face, it couldn't have been better.

My maximum heart rate was 156. I did seven upper body exercises at the gym, three sets each. It was ridiculously hot in the gym (it felt like a sauna). With the 50-minute bike ride and 45 minutes of weight training, I burned 637 calories. Not bad.

The food
Being conscious of what I'm eating is entirely new for me. I'm use to eating in front of the TV or eating standing up. Sitting at the dining table while I eat, without a TV or a magazine or book is difficult. I'm starting to actually taste my food. Although I still enjoy eating, it turns out I don't really love food as much as I thought. I've always said it's not my fault that I'm fat, food just tastes good.

Sure it tastes good, but it's kind of boring just sitting there eating, tasting each bite. Being conscious of my food. Sometimes I eat alone, sometimes with my husband. Either way, slowly eating food with no distractions sort of seems like a waste of time.

Conscious eating is a new mindset for me, one I'm still trying to grasp.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's Not About the Weight, but It's Not Not About the Weight.

I'm reading Geneen Roth's book, Women Food and God. After giving it a bad review without even reading it (just from what I saw on the Oprah interview), I picked up a copy before my trip to Fairbanks. I decided I wasn't being fair since I hadn't read the book and only caught 30 minutes of the Oprah-Geneen interview.

I'm on chapter five of the book and so far, I'm impressed. In fact, I'm so impressed I signed up for the Geneen Roth two-day workshop on October 8-9 in Seattle. Grace will be attending too, and I'm super excited to meet her (forget Geneen, I get to meet Grace!).

Women Food And God
An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything
with Geneen Roth
Holiday Inn Seattle SeaTac Airport

This is just down the street from my office so I don't even have to drive into the city, an added bonus.

If you want to sign up for the workshop, here's the  link:

Also, if you go to this link, there's a popup where you can sign up to get a free chapter from the book, Women Food And God, emailed to you. I signed up for it myself and was sent the free chapter, and it's chapter four, the best chapter I've read so far. I'm on chapter five, but chapter four was the one that really hit home with me.

The one paragraph that that's really struck me is in chapter four, page 52:

The bottom line, whether you weigh 340 pounds or 150 pounds, is that when you eat when you are not hungry, you are using food as a drug, grappling with boredom or illness or loss or grief or emptiness or loneliness or rejection. Food is only the middleman, the means to the end. Of altering your emotions. Of making yourself numb. Of creating a secondary problem when the original problem becomes too uncomfortable. Of dying slowly rather than coming to terms with your messy, magnificent and very, very short--even at a hundred years old--life. The means to these ends happens to be food, but it could be alcohol, it could be work, it could be sex, it could be cocaine.

I could practically quote the entire first five chapters of the book. I've highlighted and underlined many sentences and paragraphs because it seems like she's speaking about me. It seems the key is finding out the issue and facing it, not necessarily fixing it. This is a new concept to me. I know my issues but I thought I had to fix them, which seemed insurmountable. Geneen says we're not broken, and we don't need to be fixed, we just need to face the issues and feel the pain. It won't kill us. A very difficult thing to do. It's so much easier to run away from it, compulsive overeat and let weight become the primary issue.

Strangely, this book is giving me a sense of peace about my weight. I don't feel as freaked out about coming back from vacation and having gained six pounds in nine days.

When I stepped on the scales this morning, my first morning back home, I looked into the mirror first and told myself regardless of what the scale said it didn't make me a bad person. It didn't make me lazy or stupid or ugly. It didn't define me. I weighed, and I'm 173 pounds.

Yes, I'm up a few pounds, but considering I ate cookies, candy, and a lot of meals at restaurants, and I barely exercised (three gym visits and a few walks in nine days), the gain was expected. I'm surprisingly not upset, not shaming myself, not doing the negative talk that "I'm a fat, lazy, stupid pig and why did I do this to myself?"

Perhaps if I'd read more of the book while I was on vacation, the results might have been different, but I accept me as I am now.

One more quote from the book that had a profound impact on me, chapter four, page 53. I wish I'd read this before my vacation. :)

Sometimes people will say, "But I just like the taste of food. In fact, I love the taste! Why can't it be that simple? I overeat because I like food."


When you like something, you pay attention to it. When you like something--love something--you take time with it. You want to be present for every second of the rapture.

Overeating does not lead to rapture. It leads to burping and farting and being so sick that you can think of anything but how full you are. That's not love; that's suffering.

Weight (too much or too little) is a by-product. Weight is what happens when you use food to flatten your life. Even with aching joints, it's not about food. Even with arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure. It's about your desire to flatten you life. It's about the fact that you've given up without saying so. It's about your belief that it's not possible to live any other way--and you're using food to act that out without ever having to admit it.

I highly recommend this book, Food God and Women, and will be periodically writing about it as I continue reading.
The vacation

I had a great time in Fairbanks. Nine days with my family was bliss. I'm very fortunate that I have such a wonderful family. They're people I'd hang out with even if I wasn't related to them.

They're not perfect by any means (neither am I), and we have dysfunctional things just like anyone else, even some Jerry Springer shows could be made on some of it, but for the most part, they're awesome.

A few pictures from my trip (out of order, but I'm too lazy/tired to rearrange them).

Mt. McKinley or Denali (as they call it now). From the plane window flying to Fairbanks.

 Fairbanks, from the plane window. I actually stayed at my sister's place, 30 miles from town. But this is the town where I went to high school and college. I grew up closer to Shaw Creek, 80 miles south of Fairbanks.

My sister and I by the gravel pit where we go swimming. It was only warm enough one day to swim, 72 degrees. It was a very cold July this year.

My brother, Jerry, on our 4-wheeler trip to Shaw Creek flats, down the Alyeska Pipeline Road.

My brother, his wife and Goldie, the Alaskan Pomeranian. Sweetest dog ever.

Moose in the field next door to my sister's 400 acres, Eielson Farm Road.

My great niece, Joanna, and her daughter, my grand niece, Layla. Sweetest and smartest two-year old I've ever met. And she lovesme. :)

On our 4-wheeling trip, next to the pipeline.

Me in the rain. Official army rain poncho ($50), best investment I ever made. Kept me dry and warm.

More pipeline.

Trumpeter Swans, living on a little island in the middle of a lake. There were actually four adults and babies, but I couldn't get close enough to get good pictures.

A bull moose that ran out from a lake and then took off under the pipeline on the other side of the road. He had sense enough to duck down when going under the pipeline. Proof that the wildlife are doing just fine with the pipeline. We saw nine moose that day, cows, baby moose, and bulls.

Me and my niece Linda.

Osprey nest. I have pictures of the Osprey, but he or she wouldn't pose for me so not very good pictures. It did scream at us while we were taking pictures. Huge bird, with probably about a 10 to 12 foot wingspan.

Going up a very steep hill on the 4-wheelers. My 72-year old sister was driving. She's owned 4-wheelers for years she's never driven one. It was her first time. Even though my brother told us to be sure to be in 4-wheel drive he forgot to put his rig in 4W drive so he got stuck. We had to back all the way down this hill. I was sure the thing was going to flip over backwards and we were all going to die. Scary but fun times. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Walking is highly underrated

I went for a walk last night. A real honest-to-goodness walk, outside, in the fresh air. I haven't done that for weeks. Usually if I walk it's during lunch at work with a coworker. I don't consider it real exercise, more of a mental break to get away from the office for an hour.

Last night it was 67 degrees, and clear skies. I'd skip the gym yesterday morning for the first time in several days. I couldn't remember my last day off without looking at my exercise log - it was last Wednesday. I'd convinced myself I needed a break from the gym so I asked my husband to walk with me on the trail where I bike at least a couple times a week.

It was strange to walk on this trail. I saw so many things that normally I never even notice. There were all kinds of flowers and especially flowering trees along the trail that I'd never seen before. There were several lilac bushes and some sort of tall bush that had big blooms of white fluffy flowers. I rode my bike on this trail last weekend and it was like a different trail last night. I'm always so focused on keeping up my heart rate, pushing myself as hard as can, that I've been missing a lot of cool things.

We also saw a lot of these little guys, the Washington state bird, yellow goldfinches. I forgot my camera so I didn't get any pictures.

We decided as long as the weather holds out we're going to start walking at least a couple times a week. I forgot how fun it is to just enjoy yourself and not be so focused on keep my heart rate up, burn lots of calories, feel the pain. It was nice to just enjoy the outdoors and talk.

Tomorrow I leave for Fairbanks to visit family. Woohoo! I probably won't be posting much while I'm gone. I'll be in Fairbanks for a week and then back home for a week.

I also purchased the Geneen's Roth new book, the one I slammed a couple days ago. There's probably something in there to help me, plus I need something to read on the plane. I'm going to try and keep a good attitude about it, even though what I heard from the interview with Oprah sounded kind of silly to me. I can certainly use all the help I can get when it comes to my issues with food so it's worth a try.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sweeteners - NuStevia - good stuff

I've always had a sweet tooth that just doesn't stop. Anything with sugar in it was my favorite food. Unfortunately, as with most foods, my off switch is really broken when it comes to sugar. I just can't seem to stop. Other than natural sugars in fruit (and yes, I know that's still sugar), I've given up regular, processed sugar. Yet I really miss the sweetness of sugar.

I've always hated artificial sweeteners. All of them have a bitter, chemical aftertaste that kind of gags me. I can taste it regardless of what people tell me. Maybe some people just get use to it and really can't taste it.

I finally found a sweetener that I like and it has zero calories. NuNaturals Stevia. It's less processed than some of the others, like Truvia by CocaCola. Of course a big corporation would have to mess it up by adding chlorine. Seriously CocaCola, chlorine?

Anyway, NuStevia is pure, natural, delicious sweetness and zero calories.

Here's a good blog post about NuStevia by NuNaturals, much better than my review (and I stole her picture above because I was too lazy to take my own). She has a lot of tips on how to use it. I haven't tried the NuStevia extract yet, but it's next on my list.

You can't find NuStevia with the regular artificial sweeteners in grocery stores, I only saw the Stevia products by the big corporations, like the Truvia (aka chlorine). I found the NuNaturals products in the nutrition center at my local Fred Meyers, and also at Whole Foods.

Give it a try. You'll be sweetly rewarded. :)

Women, Food and God - really?

At first I was all set to run out and buy this book. I buy almost every weight loss book that comes out, every strength training book, every new book on the latest health fad of the moment. I have book cases full of these books. I'm always looking for the magic pill.

I've been reading about this book, Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth. It sounded like something I should read. Maybe I could learn something.

Tonight I caught the last thirty minutes of Oprah's interview with Geneen. Sadly, I realized this book doesn't have the answers for me. I've already tried making peace with food. All the stuff they talked about in that thirty minutes, I've done it. Don't watch TV and eat. Eat in a calm, quiet place. Enjoy your food. Don't count calories. Don't weigh and measure your food. Trust yourself with food (gotta love this one).

It doesn't work for me. I've tried it all and seriously, all that happened was an ugly weight gain. None of this stuff is new. I've read the same theories in different books and magazines for years. It's just a regurgitation of the same old theories.

That's my book review on a book I haven't even read. I just watched an interview with the author.

Have you read it? What are your thoughts on this book? Did you watch the Oprah interview? Do you really think this can work for you?

Maybe there's more to this book than what I saw in a 30-minute interview. Maybe I'm missing something and it would be worth using that Borders gift card I won at Toastmasters. Still, I was a little put off by Oprah's revelations that this book held the answers we're all seek regarding weight loss, but sometimes, Oprah kind of annoys me.

Anyway, I'm really curious what other people thought about the interview and the book. Should I buy it?

4:15am - Tuesday
I thought about this post and this book several times last night (another bad night of sleep). I think Geneen Roth's theory might actually work for most people. Unfortunately, for me, when it comes to food there's something inside of me that irreparably broken. My off switch doesn't seem to work.

The part of my brain that should tell me when I've eaten enough food to keep my body functioning at peak condition simply doesn't work. Maybe it's from years of dieting and deprivation. Binging and purging. Whatever the cause, I don't think I can easily fix it by just wishing it worked. I have to be very consciously aware of what I eat and how much or I will gain weight. Years of experience has proven this to be true.

I wish it was that easy that I could just believe in myself and trust myself to eat the correct amount of food and eat what I want when I want it. Then magically all would be well in my world. Unfortunately, for me, it just doesn't work that way for me. I'm okay with it, the counting and measuring, the vigilance about what I eat. I'd rather do this than go back to what I was before, 100 pounds overweight.

Maybe it'll work for you, maybe it won't. Regardless, there's something that works for everyone, you just have to figure it out.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Where do bloggers go when their blogs die?

I cleaned up my blog list tonight. There were blogs on there where people hadn't posted for over a year. Several hadn't posted for over two months. I deleted 34 blogs from my list.

It's sort of sad that these were people trying to lose weight that either gave up on losing weight or at the very least, gave up blogging. I can only hope they went on to live healthy lives, but unfortunately, I really doubt that's what happened.

I had contacted a few of them by email the last few months asking if they were ever coming back. If they responded at all, they said no, they probably weren't coming back. Blogging had lost it's charm for them or they found it to be a chore or they said it was boring.

It's funny, even though I have days where I feel like it's sort of a chore, most of the time I enjoy blogging. Both reading other people's blogs or writing on my own blog. It's sort of like free therapy.

When I read about other people's weight loss struggles, I realize they're just like my own. We're all fighting the same battle and it's somehow comforting to know other people are going down the same difficult path of weight loss.

Not only do I find comfort in other people's blogs, but often I gain enthusiasm from reading other people's thoughts. Or a recipe, or a tip on how to overcome a binge cycle. There's so much helpful information out there that I can't imagine stopping reading weight loss blogs. In three years they have been a life saver for me.

I'm still sadden by the loss of my 34 friends. Yes, I considered them friends. If they were on my blog list that meant they were blogs I read on a fairly consistent basis. I left thoughtful comments on their posts. I cared about them. Now they're gone, probably to never be heard from again.

On the other hand, there are lots of friends that are still blogging. Along with a lot of new people just embarking on this journey. They're old friends and new friends that I haven't met yet. Friends that unbeknownst to them, will make a difference in my life. That's the bright side, the one I shall remain focused on for now.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunshine + 70 degrees + bike = happy girl

I just finished the perfect bike ride. The weather is spectacular, slight breeze, 70 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. It was on my normal trail, which is only ten miles round-trip, with several good hills, but it was just a gorgeous ride today. I stopped in at the gym for a 45-minute upper body strength workout, then I rode home.

I can't believe how much the trail has changed in just two weeks since my last ride. Daisies, peonies, sweet peas, Dianthus, lavender, and roses all growing wild and all were all in bloom along the trail. I didn't take many pictures since I was sort of in a hurry, trying to keep my heart rate up.

At one point when I was trying to keep up with a couple of skinny guys on bikes, both wearing identical racing gear (like they were a team), the bikes had skinny tires like racing bikes. As I was pedaling my heart out to keep up with them my heart rate was at 161 (my resting pulse is 50, so 161 is high for me). They passed me going up a steep hill but then I caught up to them and stayed behind them for about three miles until I decided to back off. I didn't want them to think I was stalking them or something, and it was wearing me out!
Two hours and fifteen minutes, bike ride and gym, I burned 700 calories according to my Polar F6. I can't imagine an easier or more fun way to burn calories.

When I got home I grabbed a bowl of cherries out of the fridge. I counted out 35 cherries and enjoyed them, savoring each sweet, icy cold cherry, for 3.5 Points. So good! I can still eat fruit, I just have to count the Points.

I feel so much better after my bike ride. I'm still a little upset by the six-pound gain, but I know I can pull it off quickly. It's not here to stay.

Vacation next week at my sister's house won't be a foodfest either. My sister is notorious for not eating. She's always eaten like a bird, but since my brother-in-law (her husband) passed away last fall she's lost all interest in food. She even asked me yesterday what she should buy for me to eat, I told her I'd just eat whatever she eat. That's a guaranteed weight loss right there.

I've decided I'm here to stay in blogland. I had thoughts this past week to stop reading blogs and stop writing. It seems that lately a lot of people are abandoning their blogs. Sort of sad. I really believe my blog has helped me stay on track for three years. Even if no one reads it and even if it doesn't really help anyone, it helps me. Therefore, I'm here to stay.

Peonies there were growing wild along my bike trail, right among the blackberry bushes. Check out the sky. Remember, this is Seattle. Land of the eternal monsoon season. Summer is finally here and it took it's sweet time getting here!

Some sort of flower, growing wild.

A picture my husband took at the Gorge last weekend. It looks better than the ones I took.

Danger, Will Robinson!

“Danger, Will Robinson!” is a catch phrase from the 1960s’ American television series Lost in Space spoken by voice actor Dick Tufeld. The Robot, acting as a surrogate guardian, says this to young Will Robinson when the boy is unaware of an impending threat. In everyday use, the phrase warns someone that they are about to make a mistake or that they are overlooking something.

I'm not about to make a mistake, I already made it. I stepped on the scales this morning, the first time in three weeks. Talk about burying my head in the sand. I was sort of pretending if I didn't know how much I weighed then it must be okay. It's not okay. I weigh 168.2, up six pounds from three weeks ago.

My downfall has been fresh fruit. Yes, you can gain weight from eating too much fruit. I love fruit and had been limiting myself to two to three servings a day. Then summer came, with cherries (Vans and Rainiers), nectarines, raspberry pluots, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, watermelon, and piel de sapo (like a honeydew melon but better) all came into season at the same time.

I've been like a kid in a candy store. I love them all and have been eating large amounts of fruit these last few weeks. I completely stopped counting Points. I was using the logic that since it's just fruit and it's only in season for a few months, I should eat as much as I want because it'll be out of season soon.

That line of thinking has led me to a six-pound gain. Even though my eating is healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken and fish, very little processed foods (I'm still eating Frantz whole wheat sandwich thins - I just can't give them up), I still gained weight. Basically, a calorie is a calorie, whether it's sugar cookies or a pound of cherries. Too many calories will lead to a weight gain. This isn't any big revelation, but it just amazes me the crazy logic I can use to allow myself to overindulge.

Today I'm back to counting Points and limiting my fruit intake. It brings a tear to my eye, but it's just the way it has to be. I can't eat with abandon, even if it is "just" fruit.

The exercise
I'm still going to the gym, doing one to one and a half hour workouts. I'm just not loving it too much these days. I'm doing it more because I have to than because I want to. I've added the treadmill back into my routine and have been doing a little bit of jogging along with 4mph walking. My knees have been holding up well and haven't hurt at all. I'm mainly doing it just to do something different. I'm bored.

Strength training is still my favorite part of working out. I sort of hate cardio and only do it because it's required. My cardio routine is a minimum of 35 minutes, yesterday it was 53 minutes of treadmill, elliptical and crosstrainer (I was really bored so did different cardio equipment for 15 to 20 minutes each). My StairMaster is still broken which makes me sad. I love it, but it's been broken for about six weeks. I suspect it's not repairable.

I completed the workout with a 45-minute strength training, lower body. Also not my favorite. Working out my quads, glutes, hamstrings hurts the most. Upper body workouts seem easier and more "fun". Again, I do it because I have to.

Biking outside has been put on hold for now. The temps here have been running in the high 80's and low 90's. Too hot for a bike ride.

The Lilith Fair
I suppose I should mention last weekend's trip to The Gorge at George. It was okay. The day was perfect, 80 degrees, sunshine. The scenery at the Gorge is beautiful. The music was good, especially Sheryl Crow, Sugarland and Sarah McLachlan.

Sitting on a 45-degree grassy knoll on a blanket with girls making out in front of us got kind of old after about six hours (we were there eight hours), not fun. Plus our blanket kept sliding down the hill. If I ever go again I'm taking stakes and pounding them into the corner of the blanket. About every hour we'd slide down a foot and have to pull the blanket back up.

The place was packed with hundreds of people. They weren't all lesbians, I'd say about 1/3 were straight women, 1/3 were lesbians, and 1/3 were guy/girl couples. It was interesting. :)

A beer was $9. I walked around and looked at all the food. It was typical fair food. Elephant ears, a Margarita line that was never less than 30 people in line, hamburgers, gyros, philly steak standwiches. Honestly, none of it appealed to me. We had a cooler full of healthy food and we each had one beer. I didn't feel deprived, nor was there really anything there I wanted to eat. One thing I noticed, almost every person I saw carrying around an elephant ear (deep-fried dough covered with sugwas ar and cinnamon), was very overweight. That alone made them less than desirable.

At about 9pm the sun went down and the wind started blowing. Even though I was wrapped in a blanket I thought I was going to freeze to death. It had gone from 80 degrees to proably about 55 degrees with wind. Not fun. We left in the middle of Sarah singing because it was so cold. Walking to our car about a mile away we could hear her beautiful singing. That woman has the most incredible voice.

Even though it was kind of fun, it was a long day. When we got to our hotel in the little town of Ephrata at 11pm and it was closed. The owner finally showed up at 11:30pm and gave us our key to the room, which turned out to be one of the nastiest hotels I've ever stayed in. In my youth I stayed in a lot of fleabag hotels during my travels. This one ranked right down there with the lowest of the low. It was old, dirty and I suspect that our room had been used as a meth lab at one time. Not exactly a romantic getaway.

Sorry this whole post is kind of a downer. On a more positive note I have a two-week vacation starting this Thursday and I'll be heading to Fairbanks (husband staying home). I'm really looking forward to seeing my sister and her family and my brother. My brother has a big adventure planned for me, taking out to the middle of no where on his new track vehicle he just bought. I just look at it as any day away from work is a good day. :)

The Gorge, general admission. The grass was nice, but too far from the stage.

The sky at The Gorge. I was fascinated by the sun because I had seen it for months in Western Washington. Of course, last week made up for it with temps in the 90's.

Me with the wind in my hair

Dry Falls (somewhere in Eastern Washington)

Jack and me at Grand Coulee Dam

Yesterday was a good day. I was determined to get through it with getting in some exercise (6-mile hike in the hills in the woods) and no...