Monday, February 26, 2007

maintaining

You'll notice, if you're observant and have a memory for such things, that the weight-loss ticker didn't change, even though I weighed in today.

I am actually quite happy to have maintained, because as I told my fellow Angry Fat Girlz authors, I had several days where I visited Carb City and was way over my points. This makes me hopeful that if I can get it together this week and step away from the chicken wings and macaroni and cheese -- my puny defenses were no match for Soul Food day at the cafeteria -- I might be able to break the 160s barrier this coming week.

This week just happens to the last in the 12-week journal I got with the new Weight Watchers starter kit with the fancy square books. It would be nice to finish off the journal with a good week. Still, it's nice to know that I could maintain my weight even if I had a rough day or two each week as long as I kept track of things and didn't let small slips turn into an excuse for massive carbo-loading. Though Weight Watchers drills into our heads from Day One that "this is not a diet, it's a lifestyle change," it's a diet to me if I am restricting what I eat. Though I'm never going to really like dieting, this program at least lets you live a real life -- even one that includes pasta -- while you lose weight

In a follow-up to yesterday's post, congratulations to Jennifer Hudson for her Oscar win. Her gown got mixed reviews, but I think that she looked great once she took off the silver jacket and took her hands out of her pockets. I'm not sure that pockets in an evening gown are practical, but I'm sure that it made her more comfortable to have something to do with her hands while she stood around for hours having her picture taken.

I think that the best thing that she could have done was give critics something to latch onto by wearing an unusual piece like the bolero, which one critic said "wouldn't have looked out of place at a Buck Rogers' disco." She then got to take it off and look fantastic when she made her acceptance speech.

Journalists yawn and complain when the stars wear elegant but unexciting gowns. Really, the only thing most people find interesting about the Oscars is the catty Monday-morning quarterbacking of the fashion, so the gowns that are a little bit weird or at least daring attract the most attention from photographers and the media. Notice that there aren't too many pictures of Hudson's costar Beyoncé Knowles, whose dress was gorgeous but not dramatic enough to compete with the feathers, bows, and jewel-encrusted numbers that other stars were wearing. In fashion as in life, it doesn't always pay to play it safe.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

can I be Jennifer Hudson when I grow up?

I just found out that Jennifer Hudson and I are the same size, a 12. We also have the same first name. But while I still feel like the ugly duckling whenever I see the skinny girls in the gym and daydream about seeing a single-digit size on my clothing tags someday, Jennifer Hudson will stand on the red carpet with dozens of size-0 women, posing her heart out and smiling the whole time, immune to potential snide remarks from self-appointed fashion police Joan and Melissa Rivers. She has already survived her bout with Simon Crowell and came out looking much better than he did.
“I’m the size of the average girl and my theory is that we’re not too big, they’re too small,” she said. “I would much rather have meat on my bones.”

Though she’s lost the 20 pounds she gained for “Dreamgirls,” she’s not interested in dropping any more weight. “I would never want to be smaller than an 8,” she said, “and even that’s too small. I think 10, 12, 14, is a beautiful place to be.”
If you're reading this, Jennifer, I was wondering if I could borrow a little of that attitude. Good luck tonight, I'm sure you'll look beautiful and I'll be rooting for you. And as for those Oscar dresses you decide not to wear, I would gladly take those off your hands as well. You know, we wear the same size.

Friday, February 23, 2007

shopping spree

I went to get an eye exam today. Because I am incredibly nearsighted, my doctor has to check me each year for signs of glaucoma and macular degeneration. That means getting my eyes dilated. I was smart enough this time to bring my own sunglasses, but I still didn't think I'd be able to drive half an hour back home with them like that on a sunny day. I could see but I felt kind of weird. So I went right across the street to the mall, figuring I'd read at Borders for a little while until I felt able to drive.

Ironically, I have been listening to I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron on CD in my car, and had just listened to "Blind as a Bat," where she describes not being able to "read a word on the map," "read a word in the newspaper," or "read a word on the pill bottle." I was trying to browse books and found that I couldn't read either, so I got a sneak preview of what it will be like sometime after I turn forty when I need bifocals or have to wear reading glasses to supplement my contact lenses. I went out into the mall and shopped, being afraid that people would think I was a weirdo if I wore my sunglasses, but if I didn't wear them, I figured people would think a druggie because of my extremely large pupils. Even clothes shopping was challenging, because I had trouble reading the tags.

At least I had a 100% guilt-free excuse not to work on my dissertation. I shopped with a vengence, too. I got a gorgeous suit -- whether I need it for interviews or not, I wanted it. There were two extremely nice women at Ann Taylor who helped me with it and were very patient with me even though I had to ask them if they thought the size I had on fit. I got some tops on sale at Macy's, 50% off clearance prices. I got cute black dress shoes at Steve Madden. I had to hand it to the salespeople, they didn't let on that they noticed the sunglasses (or, when I took them off, the weird pupils) at all. My appointment was at 9:15, but it was close to 1:00 before I felt like I could actually read the notes I had brought with me to look over in the doctor's office. I read some of them over a bagel and coffee when I finally left the mall.

I think that it was therapeutic to just go out, do what I wanted, and not to have to feel guilty about it. I enjoyed my day off, and I think that the money I spent was well-spent on things that are both beautiful and useful. I decided not to live provisionally after all.

But, as much I am a believer in enjoying every moment, I also know that my work has to be done. It's a little easier to settle down to it after having taken some time to relax and really enjoy myself, though.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

feeling overprocessed

I don't know if it's time of year, my situation, or a lot of other things combined, but I am really frustrated and tired of leading a life that feels provisional and temporary. Being in graduate school has that effect -- in fact, my life is not as provisional and temporary as graduate students' lives are supposed to be. Graduate students are supposed to be single-minded in their pursuit of the degree. They are barely expected to have lives and other interests. I have a mortgage, and a husband, and nearby family that I like to visit, and until recently a real job. These are things that are really not part of the typical graduate student landscape. We're really supposed to be locked alone in a garret and writing by the light of a single, bare bulb. Or that's at least what I tell myself when I'm feeling particularly peevish.

I think part of the reason that I am experiencing certain people as unsupportive and hypercritical is that their job is to be focused on the end product of my studies, while it is only human nature for me to be mired in the process of it all. And, at the same time that I have this huge, heavy project hanging over my head, there are also the fears and disappointments of the job search process, and lots of other things in my life that are in process, like weight loss.

All this process has me feeling overprocessed, like white bread that has had all the nutritional value removed but has been injected with vitamins so that it can minimally sustain life. It's not so much that I feel depressed as I feel empty and tired, but am acutely aware that there is a lot of work that's not doing itself while I grope around for meaning.

I thought I'd try to get this whiny stuff cleared out of the way so that I can get to that work. Not surprising that this stuff is hard. It just seemed to hit me with more force than usual today. The funny thing is, I just said yesterday that I was going to give up worrying for Lent.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

weigh-in report, 2/20/2007, slouching towards goal


I know in my very last post I said I was going to detach from outcomes. And I am working on it, but at the same time, I am very grateful to see that graph up there inch down a little, especially because my food for the last two weeks has been messy. I didn't earn that 0.6 pound loss, and I am more than satisfied with a fraction of a pound when I really didn't do much to help the weight loss along.

I'm not sure why I let the dumb things that people say at meetings bother me so much, but today when our leader asked for tips and tricks that have worked, several people chimed in with the "I never use my 35 extra weekly points" and "I never use my activity points." I had to raise my hand and say, "OK, so I will use every point I have available to me, and would gladly beg, borrow, or steal to get more." I think I was taking it too personally, as if because other people weren't using their points, I was somehow bad or wrong for using mine.

I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that there isn't a prize or even a certificate of achievement for the woman who has the most points left over each week. Our weight losses aren't something we win by doing the program better than someone else does it.

So I'll just keep my eyes on my own paper. Or WW Journal, in this case.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

more pieces in the puzzle

I did a lot of driving this weekend, about 300 miles or so. I listened to a Carolyn Myss lecture on CD and, when that was over, listened to a little bit of Codependent No More (though the latter is starting to get a bit old to me and I plan to put it away for a while). Both have some similar threads about detatching from outcomes. I think that's relevant for me with the job search and with the weight loss thing. I have been all wrapped up in trying to will everything to go the way I want it to, and guess what, kiddies? Wanting really hard doesn't make things happen. In fact, it makes you feel desperate and crazed and mostly sets off sabotaging, stupid behaviors.

So I'm doing my best to detatch. Myss also said something to the effect of "People will never forgive you if you change their plans for your life." I think this is another reason that doing the right things is so hard, because it's easy to have guilt about the idea that you're messing up other people's lives by changing yours. But again, doing what I need to do and detatching from the judgements of other people -- yes, they might feel that way, but is it really my problem? -- is something I also need to work on.

In between CDs, when I was driving and didn't want to fool around with switching things, I scanned the radio for clear stations and got a radio preacher. I am probably odd because I get curious about these and listen to them. My own knowledge of the Bible is pretty sketchy -- I know the stuff they used to read to us in Catholic masses and some stories from the illustrated bible stories books my grandmother used to keep at her house. But the idea of bible study isn't something that they ever promoted to me in Catholic school and even though we have a couple of Bibles around the house (I have a King James and my husband has some other version that Episcopalians used), they're pretty dusty. Anyway, this guy was discussing Joseph (of Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat fame) and how, in the chapter that talks about Joseph being imprisoned, it says, "Joseph was a prosperous man." The preacher's point was that even though his circumstances were dire, Joseph was favored by God and lived his life well, and so he was prosperous. (Editorial comment: Hopefully everyone won't freak out at the mention of the G-word, because I know that I also have that tendency. The point is how it made me think.)

The station didn't stay clear long enough for me to hear where the radio preacher was going with this lecture, which is probably for the best. It let me think about this in my own terms. I let that run through my mind for a while, the idea of how to maintain that feeling of being prosperous and blessed and like someone who is living well. I think this might be the answer to the question that Lori discussed in her Angry Fat Girlz post about how to fill the void left when we stop overeating for comfort. I think that this feeling -- propserous, blessed, living well -- is the answer, which is what 12 Step groups have been saying all this time. It's funny, because in all the furor over "The Secret," people seem not to realize that these ideas are not new. "Believe, trust, and live one day at a time" is an old idea. But it's hard, which I guess is why it helps to hear it a lot of different ways. It's like we have to rebuild the idea from scratch in our hearts, and each thing we read or hear is another piece of it.

So my goal for this week is to live with that feeling for a while and see where it takes me. And to detatch from the outcomes.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

another letter today

Previously, in Yet Another Weight Watchers Blog: Our heroine has applied for several faculty positions and two administrative positions. She is still finishing up her doctorate. Not long ago, she received her first big rejection from one of the faculty positions. She also got a rejection off-camera from one of the administrative jobs. She has been in a bit of a funk because she has been convinced that her job search, and she, will be a huge, miserable failure.

So today I got another letter in the mail, and it didn't look good. It had a "drop-ship" postmark on it, which suggested that maybe it was a bulk mailing. I opened it cautiously, as if I expected it to explode or set itself on fire or contain a Howler like in Harry Potter. I expected it to be another rejection letter.

It was just a very courteous form letter saying that they were "delighted" to have received my application. My non-rational self was thrilled at this, and convinced that this meant that they really were delighted and that they had some less-enthusiastic-sounding form letter for less-desirable candidates, even as my rational self rolled her eyes wildly at this. But even my buzzkill rational self gave a little sigh of relief, knowing that not all schools have brought their finalists to campus already for interviews. I have been spending too much time reading the depressing Chronicle of Higher Education job search message boards and it seems like every other job seeker on the forum has had about ten interviews already.

I will be out of town this weekend so I need to pack tonight, and I probably won't get to a Weight Watchers meeting. So we'll all have to wait until next Tuesday to see how I'm doing.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

snowed in, day two

In case you can't tell, I'm totally fascinated by the images at Snowcrystals.com. It's day two of being snowed in, Valentine's Day. My husband and I are both snowed in, but it's been a pretty low-key day, not the hand-holding, all-day-love-festival that single people probably would imagine we might have. We've been married for almost 13 years. Give us a break. But it has been nice and relaxing.

I woke up so sure I would have to go to work (the University never closes two days in a row) that I got into the shower and told my husband he could watch the school closings if he wanted to. We knew already that his school was closed. Since I had spent yesterday feeling like a bum, I wanted to shower and wear real clothes all day no matter what happened. Since we didn't have school, I made cinnamon-raisin waffles by doctoring up the buckwheat mix we normally use. It was nice to relax and have a couple of cups of coffee and play a few games of Yahtzee.

I've been doing work on my dissertation for most of the day, though we took a break to walk to the butcher shop and get stuff for the coming week. We had to walk in the street because a lot of people still haven't shoveled and it looks like about seven or eight inches of snow, more in places where it drifted. It's a beautiful sunny day, even though it's cold and we have all this deep snow everywhere. The butcher joked with us because we kept picking up additional things off the shelves as he was counting up our order. So I guess I lied in my comment on Lori's blog yesterday, because I did feel an urge to stock up.

Do you want to know what I made my husband for a romantic Valentine's Day lunch? This is weird. I had a craving for sloppy joes, so we got a pound of ground round and a can of Manwich. What a strange thing to crave, but it was really, really good. And oddly enough, according to my slider, the sauce is a 0 point food for a 1/4-cup serving. The meat was so lean that there wasn't any fat to drain off when I cooked it, and we added a diced onion. I like it in a bowl like chili. I figured out that it was about 4 points for the amount that I had, about 1/4 pound of meat with the sauce and veggies.

Tonight we're doing Chicken Parmigana, a lowfat version. The sauce has been cooking in the crockpot all day. We'll also be trying a dessert recipe my Weight Watchers leader brought in, though we're cutting the recipe down from the original twelve servings. If it's any good, we could easily make a 12-serving recipe feed two people... doesn't WW know it's clientele better than that?

I'm really, really not wanting to think about what it means that my Valentine's Day post is all about food. But really, with the cold and snow, it's a comfort-food day. Lowfat comfort food, but comfort food nonetheless.

I did get the most wonderful Valentine's Day present... I weighed myself on my home scale and it read 159.5. Of course, this is under ideal conditions -- first thing in the morning, no food, no clothes -- but I'm hopeful that my next real weigh-in will be a good one.

Hope that you all have a nice day out in Blogland. Stay warm!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

snowed in

The University was closed today and that means that our WW@Work meeting was cancelled too. I am going to try to get to a meeting later in the week. I wasn't sure this was going to be a good weigh-in anyway.

I will be sure to post the results whenever I do get to do the weigh-in.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

what I made tonight for dinner

Baked Eggs With Broccoli and Onion
Adapted from Joyce's recipe
(just barely squeaks in at 3 Weight Watchers Points per serving according to my slider)
exported from MasterCook

Serving Size : 9 pieces

3 cups broccoli florets -- cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion -- diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 whole eggs
1 cup Egg Beaters® 99% egg substitute
2 cups skim milk
2 slices whole wheat bread -- cubed
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
salt and pepper -- to taste
1 cup queso chihuanahua cheese -- grated
1 tablespoon romano cheese -- grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat sautee pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Sautee broccoli and onion until crisp-tender. Remove from heat.

Beat together eggs, egg substitute, milk, and seasonings.

Sprinkle bread cubes over the bottom of a 9 x 12 inch baking dish. Top with cooked broccoli and onion. Slowly pour in egg mixture. Top with cheeses.

Bake 45 minutes or until eggs are firm and cheese is browned. Serve hot or cold.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 150 Calories; 8g Fat (47.3% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 80mg Cholesterol; 342mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

snackmania

Thanks, Anne, for the kind comment yesterday. I think I'm done pouting now. If I don't find my Dream Job this year, I will have to spend the next year working on making myself a better candidate. It's just that after my master's graduation, I had no job prospects either. I was the best-educated employee at Target for a while, and then I was a part-time composition instructor for three years, which paid less per hour but at least sounded better to friends and relatives. So I'm hating the thought of another graduation where I'm listening to the speeches and looking forward to a year of underemployment. Still, that's life. Get over it.

Yesterday, between my disappointment at the rejection letter, a day of being alone in the house with my dissertation, my semi-bare kitchen cupboards with no fruit or easy-to-grab veggies (I don't tend to snack on broccoli), and a card party that had all kinds of snacks that I don't allow in my house, I ended up eating (brace yourselves):

53 POINTS!

Out of 28 available. So yes, I almost doubled what I should have had. Yikes. I guess I had my Super Bowl Sunday a little later than everyone else.

I'm sort of bemused by this, but I'm not feeling inclined to beat myself up about it. I am sure I have done much worse on days where I wasn't committed to recording and counting up the damage. The weird thing is, when you count up what you had, sometimes it's not as bad as you think. I would have guessed it much higher, but I tried to err on the high side and still came up with 51. Again, guesstimating 50 calories per point, that's 2550. I stuck to the Usual Suspects: cookies, crackers, cheese, Frito Lay products. Fat, starch, salt, and sugar. What an unholy four-part harmony.

By the way, Lori and I were discussing this. What would the love child of Little Debbie and the Frito Bandito be? I came up with the lame-o answer of Baby Ruth but I know that you can do better than that.

So I'm going to my parents' house (bad food things happen there) today. But I refuse to have two 50+ points days in one week, so I'm going to try to keep it reasonable.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

glad I didn't buy an interview suit

It's funny, I was just on anntaylor.com this morning, thinking about buying a suit I liked, when I decided it would be smarter to wait until I had an interview scheduled to spend the money. Especially since I'm still in the midst of my weight-loss efforts. I have a couple of dressy occasions this week but I have things to get me through those.

Well, I had a letter in the mail from the school I had such a good feeling about and was convinced was my best job prospect. I had been sure I would be hearing from them soon. And we all know that good news doesn't come through the mail...

I opened it anyway, hoping maybe I was wrong and that some schools did still schedule interviews that way, but as I suspected, it was a rejection. Like I said, this was the school I thought was my best shot. And most schools probably have scheduled their interviews by now. So now I'm feeling more than a little discouraged.

I still have the dissertation work to do, and it doesn't matter at this point whether I have job prospects or not, I have to do it. But I sure would like some indication that there was something at the finish line of all this for me.

Like I said, at least I didn't buy a suit.

Friday, February 09, 2007

rough day yesterday

I spent a sleepless night on Wednesday and lot of yesterday crying and worrying about a stupid problem that I think is finally solved. So yesterday I went around all day looking and feeling like someone with the flu. The cold snap hasn't helped with that feeling. The one bright spot in my day was weighing myself on my home scale and seeing the magic number of 160.0 -- probably lost a couple of pounds in tears, though, just water weight.

I was going to run yesterday at the gym but decided that it would be self-abuse to do a hard workout when I was feeling so crummy. I took a shower instead and cooked some homemade chicken fried rice. Here's my approximation of the recipe (I don't do recipes well) in case you'd like to try this at home:

1 onion, diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 egg
1 leftover chicken breast, skin removed, diced
1 1/2 c. leftover cold rice
soy sauce to taste (I used about 1/4 c.)
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 T. canola oil

Heat canola oil in pan over medium-high heat, add veggies and cook until crisp-tender. Remove veggies from pan. Scramble the egg and cook until just done. Add rice to pan and break up into small pieces. Add chicken and veggies and drizzle with soy sauce. Cook, stirring until everything is heated through and combined. Remove from heat, add sesame oil and mix in.

Next time I might cook the egg first and then add the veggies so I don't have to take them out. I was afraid the egg would get overdone if I did this. It was very good and this recipe makes a lot. I had about a cup of the finished product and my husband had the rest. It was sort of a comfort food for me, soft and warm and salty.

Of course I got hungry later and had to have my popcorn!

I'm down to three of my Weekly Allowance Points for the week. I haven't exercised as much as I would have liked because of the cold and that always messes me up because I count on having a lot of Activity Points to use. I plan to go run today at the gym and do a Spinning class tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

weigh-in report, 2/6/2007, ten down


I have finally reached ten pounds from where I started with my @Work group in May 2006. I remember that I saw the flyer while I was at the library on campus and thought that maybe it had been put in my path for a reason, "Sure, why not, I'll give this one more try." I had been trying different things on and off but I knew that going back to the meetings was probably my best bet for losing and keeping it off. Even though the progress has been pretty slow, excruciatingly slow at times, I know I would not be down those ten pounds if I hadn't joined. And ten pounds might not sound like much, but it has made a big difference for me in how I look and feel. I only have seven pounds to goal. I'm curious to see how much more different losing that last 7 will be on me.

It's funny, I know I just posted about how much trouble I have with the program. Overall, though, I really like it. And even though I go over by 20-30 points most weeks, it's still a lot better than I would do on my own. I always wonder about the people in the meetings (there are always one or two) who claim to have trouble eating all their points. I rarely hear people talking about going over. So either I eat more than the average WWer, or other people are just not talking about their own slips. I think I'm also extremely meticulous about trying to journal consistently and be honest with my points than a lot of people are, especially since December. And that has made all the difference: Even on a bad day in WW, I do better than I would if I wasn't counting and journaling.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

frustrated

Week after week, I just don't seem to be staying within my points. Each week, I eat all my target points, all my activity points, all my weekly allowance points, plus about 20-30 more. I figure I should do very well if I ever get to maintenance and get a few extra points for each day.

I don't have any good excuses. I know that it's possible to stay within my points, but it requires a lot more time and attention and planning than I've been able to successfully do. I usually do pretty well up until the weekend and then things get spectacularly bad. So if I could keep things a little leaner early in the week, and save some of those 35 weekly points for the weekend, I'd probably be fine.

I'm trying to set things up for next week a little better. This weekend I did a lot of big cooking: chicken, barbecued beef, rice. Hopefully having some easy things to grab for lunch or to use as a start for a dinner will make it go a little better this week.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

a late Christmas present for Weight Watchers, Inc.

The largest Medicaid provider in West Virginia, UniCare, just announced a pilot program that will allow its West Virginia clients 16 weeks of free weight loss courses from Weight Watchers. An estimated two-thirds of West Virginian adults are overweight, and the state "estimated that it spent nearly $140 million on medical and pharmacy costs related to obesity" in 2002. In a similar test program last year:
Tennessee’s Medicaid agency, known as TennCare, completed a pilot program for 1,400 Medicaid recipients who paid nominal fees to participate in Weight Watchers. Over a six-month period, they lost a combined total of more than 8,000 pounds, according to TennCare spokeswoman Marilyn Wilson.

This news is bound to make Weight Watchers' stock go up, especially since the program was chosen because of its positive track record and research that shows it is effective. If the program is successful, it could be expanded to include other states served by the insurer. A press release on an insurance industry site gives more details on the program. Adults must have a BMI of 25 or greater (like yours truly) to qualify for the program. A physician referral is also required.

There is a lot of potential here, I think. Losing weight could make Medicaid recipients healthier and more mobile, which may some people improve their financial situation too. It sounds Weight Watchers will be creating special courses and not just giving program participants passes to attend regular meetings, which seems appropriate. Medicaid recipients are usually living in extreme poverty and need more than just the points values for Halloween candy and tips on new uses for fat-free Cool Whip (sadly, some of the meetings I've attended have been like this). They are going to need help figuring out how to cook healthy, low-calorie meals for their families on a tight budget.

It will be interesting to see how well the program succeeds. I also wonder what kind of support will be available for people once they finish the 16 weeks of courses covered by the program. The whole premise of Weight Watchers is that you need the meetings to continue to succeed, and not a lot of people reach their weight goals in 16 weeks.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

aging, regrets, and magic potions

I remember that in Passing for Thin, Frances wrote about noticing the age in her face only after losing her weight, that until then, the plumpness of her face had kept her looking childish. I am really relating to this myself lately. I am not sure if it's the dry air, or the weight loss, or being a little tired, but I feel like the face looking back at me from the mirror is definitely starting to show its age. I think that part of it has to do with a realization that I have entered the years known as "middle age." Last night, I saw the movie Catch and Release, and I was struck by the realization that all of the actors were in their 20s and I am not even in my early 30s anymore.

Maybe this is sounding more dramatic than I intend. I am not trying to say that I feel old, just that I am starting to feel older. The inner part of us, I'm convinced more and more, never changes that much over the course of our lives. I remember being 5 and wondering why people talked to me like they thought I was stupid, because I was very much a miniature adult even back then. Now I still feel pretty much the same inside as I did when I was 5, and college kids are calling me "ma'am." And this is a relatively recent thing for me.

I think that the reason that this bothers me is the same reason that it bothers everyone: there is a sense that I am not part of things anymore, that somehow I've been written off. I'm not talking about wanting to pick up guys in bars -- I'm happily married and unsolicited attention from men always just makes me confused anad self-conscious. It's more that I'm worried that I'll miss out on things, that I won't be relevant anymore. And that maybe there were things I should have done differently and might not get to redo.

I recently bought a whole set of Magic Potions in the hope of slowing my visible aging a bit. I feel like they're helping a little bit, but eye creams and moisturizer can only do so much. I think that Botox is too scary and makes people look like wax dolls, and that plastic surgery is even scarier. Hopefully I'll be able to keep that conviction as the stakes get higher. There is an unfortunate family history of wattles at the neck that might challenge my principles. I really am not ready for a wattle.

I have a crease in my forehead from my habit of raising my eyebrows, and my nearsightedness has probably contributed to my laugh lines. My husband has the good sense to tell me that those are "cute." I only believe him because I feel the same way about the signs of age in his face -- they show that he's not a complete newbie in this world, that he's been around and seen some of it. And smiled at what he saw. That's not such a bad thing. So I guess my lines show that I've laughed, and have been willing to be surprised, and have tried to see things a little more clearly. That's not such a bad thing either.

May all your lines be laugh lines.
"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07