Thursday, June 12, 2014

Don't Do That...On Instagram

I thought it would be fun (and, quite frankly, a welcome avenue to vent my frustrations) to start a new blog series entitled "Don't Do That..." where I basically just bitch about things that annoy the ever-lovin' TAR out of me.

The first installment is related to your favorite app and mine, Instagram.

Look, I like Instagram. Since I don't use any other social networking sites (yes, I'm side-eyeing you, Facebook, I hate you), I am absolutely addicted to Instagram. While it can drive me crazy, it has also allowed me to make new friends with shared interests—and I mean REAL, actual friends that I end up meeting in REAL LIFE, OMG. So for that reason alone, I think Instagramming can be a worthwhile endeavor.

I will also freely admit that I am guilty of InstaOffenses of the most annoying order, although I really do try hard to keep them to a minimum. I do post selfies, and probably more than I should. Why do I do this? It makes me feel good for people to tell me I'm pretty. There you go. That's why EVERYONE posts selfies, and if they tell you it's not, they're lying liars who lie. I know it's shallow and juvenile and stupid for me to want this, but hey, at least I'm honest about it.

I also post a lot of photos of things that I bake, so I use those obnoxious #foodporn, #instafood, #foodstagram hashtags way too much. And you better believe I post lots of photos of Napoleon, but come the fuck on, HE HAS MORE PERSONALITY THAN ME. He should probably have his own InstaPo account. But that would mean that I've truly gone off the deep end, and let's try to prolong the inevitable as long as we can, shall we?

Without further ado, here are some of my most hated Instagram offenses. I realize that as a reader, you have probably posted some of these kinds of photos, so know that I love you as a person, but as an InstaFriend, you probably bug the fuck out of me at times. Just sayin'. #loveyou #meanit

The Inspirational Quote
You know, I think that this might be the InstaOffense that repulses me the most, aside from any and all
posts related to you and your significant other and how much you fucking love each other. So many of these posts are so asinine, and in their simplicity are so far from "inspirational" that I'd be better off listening to one of Danny Tanner's patented Dad Speeches to learn life lessons. To add insult to injury, most of these reposted "inspirational" quotes are truly abysmal in picture quality. Excessive pixellation is offensive to my delicate eyes. Just don't.

The Bathtub Legs
Okay, for one, what the fuck are you doing with your cellular device next to you while you sit in a stagnant pool of water? When I see shots of people's bathtub legs ("Just chillin' at home", "Girls Night In", "I <3 baths") I truly hope that it'll be the last post from them that I see for a while, because they've dropped their phones into the tub trying to achieve that perfect angle where their legs suggest a thigh gap. I don't care that you're in the bathtub. Hey, I've likely just gotten out of the shower and have crazy, I've-been-electrocuted, towel-dried hair, and am walking around naked, flab a-flyin', singing along to Beyonce on Pandora, but I don't need to take a fucking picture of it. Why? Because it's NOT INTERESTING. It's funny as all get out, but I promise you, it's not interesting. It's also funny when the bathtub leg photos are obviously "styled"—i.e. candles, luxurious bottles of WalMart dollar bin Tutti Frutti bubble bath or some putrid Victoria's Secret Eau de Leo DiCaprio Fuckbuddy body wash in the corner. Stop trying so hard. Just clean yourself and get out of there.

The Drinks and/or Weed
Ohhh, man. Oh SHIT! You are SO COOL, look how many shots you have lined up! Look at that fuzzy little ball of weed! You live a life of rebellious excess, you wild child, you! I, for one, am very envious of you drinking/smoking your problems away. I eat mine away, and at least your coping mechanism doesn't result in excessive weight gain. A malfunctioning liver or damaged lungs, perhaps, but hey, being fat is much more of a stigma in this country, right? No one wants that! For real, though. Stop showing me your vices. (She says after admitting above that she's constantly posting photos of things she bakes I know I have a problem I'm a sugar addict STOP JUDGING ME).

The Bathroom Selfie
I actually don't mind well-done selfies. When I say well done, I mean cooked all the way through with a nice, seasoned crust on the outsi...wait, wait, goddammit, never mind. I mean selfies where the lighting is good, the photo is clear, and I don't see your fucking arm in the shot. What really makes me cray are selfies taken with a row of neat and tidy stall doors behind you. You've just dropped the kids off at the this REALLY the best time to take a selfie? Is it? The backdrop is less than picturesque. The fluorescent lighting probably won't help to camouflage the developing zit on your chin. And the sink counter cuts off everything from the waist down, so really, it's not like we're seeing your outfit here. It's just a photo of what looks like you trying to work your camera. Which is awkward. If you want to show me your outfit, or your hair, or your makeup, feel free. But I'm not really interested in your forearm and a row of toilets.

The Poor Quality Chow
I love food. I love eating food. I love looking at food. Wait, let me clarify...I love looking at attractive and artfully presented food. Here's a quick tip: Don't use your flash on food photos. Actually, don't use your flash on any photos, but specifically photos of food. And some foods, while probably delicious, aren't meant to be photographed. You have a pot of beef stew on the stove? Do NOT put the camera in that ish, my friend. Looks like a pot of vom. No joke. You have something baking in the oven? Please don't take a photo of the item while it's in the oven, in its tacky disposable casserole dish, with that intrusive orange oven light blaring us in the face. Also, don't take photos of food outside in the dark. The poor quality completely negates any chance that your food looks appetizing. Oh, and in general, if you've taken a bite of something...or if you've eaten half of it...please don't post a photo of it. The joy of food photography (at least for me) is that I can imagine that I'm about to eat said delicious item myself. And that illusion is ruined when I see that WTF YOU'VE TAKEN A BITE OF MY DAMN FOOD, YOU WHORE.

The My Life Is Better Than Yours
Your new designer purse (that mommy and daddy bought you for Flag Day or some other bullshit, unacknowledged holiday). Your Louboutins that cost more than a month's rent for normal people (that you didn't buy yourself). Your vacation to a lavish resort that most people only dream about (that someone else paid for). These are things that remind me that a) you're a spoiled brat and b) I wish I were also a spoiled brat, but I never will be, because no one I know has that kind of money (and if they did, they sure as hell wouldn't spend it on me). In all honesty, I just think it's in very poor taste to constantly be showing off fancy hotel stays or extravagant gifts, particularly when you're not the one paying for them. You want to show off things you've earned yourself, more power to you. But there's no pride in sponging. Church.

The Obnoxious Couple
Oh, lawd. Here we go with this shit. It's my favorite. The couple that has to post something about how much they love their mate every fucking day. "He changed my life forever." "#tbt to the best day of my life when I married my soulmate and my best friend." "No one will ever know the depths of our love." "He makes so many sacrifices for us." "She gives me blowjobs once a month, what a special lady, thank God for her." I am a firm believer that the more you have to publicize every waking minute of your relationship, the more insecure you are in said relationship. Good for you, you're having sex with the same person on a regular basis, and you guys can probably talk with the door open while peeing. These are special moments. However, I do not need to hear you wax poetic about your undying love, nor do I need to see photos of you two feigning sleep, cuddling, kissing, holding hands, or otherwise engaged in any prelude-to-boning gesture. Once in a while makes sense—on special occasions, birthdays, etc. But blowing up my feed about how in love you are just makes me want to punch you in the throat.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Disneyland Bitchfest

Easter Cake Pops with my friend Chrysty!
Okay, so I was at Disneyland this past weekend (WOO!) and while there, had some of the same thoughts I do about my experiences with others. The difference is, this time, I was smart enough to make notes of these thoughts on my phone so that I could revisit them later.

I give to you...musings, observations, and downright dirty, angry bitchfest rants about Disneyland.

1. I would kill myself if I had to be part of a bachelorette party at Disneyland. Here's the deal, folks. I wouldn't care if I had to go with a bunch of broads for the day, just relaxed and chill. The issue I have is with these fucking hideous custom shirts that the entire bridal party is forced to wear. I passed a big ol' bridal party by Pirates of the Caribbean with tank tops that read "Bride's Entourage." Ew fucking ew. First of all, I would never wear anything that made me part of an "entourage." I am no one's entourage. Fuck that. Secondly, they all looked miserable, following behind the bride that had the prerequisite satin sash and stupid headband with veil. Disneyland is hard enough to navigate with 3 people...everyone wants to do different things, it can get dicey trying to balance priorities and fit everything in. So imagine the shitshow that would occur with like, 7 women and a bride that thinks she's a damn princess, all running around the park in matching shirts, hating life. Ugh. No thanks. If you're going to get married, please, please, please don't ever do this to your bridal party.

Really love how this photo turned out.
2. If your family members can stand upright on their own, and they all would like to ride a ride, they should all wait in line. PERIOD. The amount of line-cutting at Disneyland is ridiculous. I can't count how many times I've been in line, and 3-4 or sometimes more people will rudely push past me in the queue, mumbling something about their family being ahead in the line. Funny, you look totally able to stand in line. Completely capable of unobstructed mobility. Good for you. NOW WAIT IN LINE AT THE BEGINNING WITH YOUR DAMN FAMILY. If you want to ride, you have to wait. Period, end of story, done. (Now, if you have very, very small children and want to get a parent swap pass or whatever, that's a different story. But if you're 6 or over and want to ride something, wait in the damn line the whole time like everyone else).

3. I love giving dirty looks to kids doing things they shouldn't be doing. I mean, if their parents aren't paying attention enough to discipline them properly, you had better believe I'm gonna break out a sinister side-eye like these little brats have never seen. I made one kid shrink into himself and turn away after one of my famous glares. If your kid is climbing on the railing and bumping into people in the queue...if they are throwing a tantrum and they are WAY too old to being doing so...if they are walking inside a FENCED AREA that is landscaped and not meant to be their own personal picnic area...I will side-eye the shit outta them. And I'm not sorry. Keep your kids in check, and be respectful of the parks.

Highlight: Free Dole Whip! Finally!
4. High-end restaurants are not the place for your screaming baby, or overly coddled & spoiled 8-year-old. I went to one of my favorite restaurants on Easter Sunday. Steakhouse 55, inside the Disneyland Hotel. Love it there. Great, relaxed, upscale ambiance. I went in with the intent of having a delicious meal in a chill space. Instead, I was seated by 2 families that literally gave me a headache. I actually ate, asked for the bill, and had to high-tail it out of there, my head was hurting so badly. Not the experience you're hoping for when you pay that much money. Family #1 was a mom and dad with 3 kids, probably ages 15, 12 and 8. The 15-year-old and the 12-year-old were fine. The dad was so checked out it wasn't even funny. The 8-year-old was a holy fucking terror. She would not sit in her chair. I didn't see her in her seat ONCE. She was hanging on the chairs of her parents, constantly yammering and being a brat. The best part? She wouldn't eat her food unless HER MOTHER FED IT TO HER. She would say, "Do the choo-choo one. Do the airplane one." And her mom would FEED HER BITES. What in the holy hell is going on here? Are you kidding me?! I was so shocked and disgusted. I know I'm going to sound old when I say this, but in my day (see, there it is, I just became 80), my mom would have threatened to take me to the bathroom to spank me for not sitting in my chair alone, and she would never, ever tolerate spoon-feeding me. Kids these days need to be spanked, man. Threats don't mean anything anymore. When I was in line for the Bengal BBQ, a mom told her little kid over 5 times (I counted) in a 15-minute period "Okay, we're going home," every time he didn't do something she wanted him to. "You don't want to eat that? Okay, we're going home. Here, put this on. No? Okay, we're going home." Yeah, so, THAT'S NOT WORKING, bitch. Even her exasperated husband was like, "You can't say that to him all the time." She didn't listen, and neither did the kid. Okay, so back to Steakhouse 55. Family #2 was a pompous douchebag dad and his much younger wife, their 5-year-old who was so well-behaved that I didn't even know she was there, and a baby. A baby about  6 months old who did not stop whining and screeching and screaming the entire meal. The whole fucking time. And they didn't care at all. People were giving them dirty looks and they didn't care. It was so jarring and upsetting to have to listen to that my entire meal. And because they were buying a bunch of wine (presumably to numb themselves to their asshole baby), their server—who was also my server—was doting on them and ignoring me entirely (I guess a party of one that only orders a steak because she can't fit anything else in her tiny stomach is not priority). Bottom line: luxury restaurants are not for your poorly behaved children, or your infant set. Take that shit to Pizza Port. Please get a sitter if you want to dine at a high-end restaurant. Or better yet, just practice better parenting. They're not your friends. They're your kids. Be a parent.

So Close, I Can TASTE It. (A Dole Whip, of course).

I had my 8-month (!!) post-surgery visit with my weight loss surgeon this past Friday. Surgeons are funny—they're not the warmest, fuzziest breed. They would rather just knock your ass out, slice you open, and collect a big, fat check. Not saying this guy is rude, but he's not the friendliest dude. The last time I had a post-surgery check up with him (December 2013), my bloodwork was slightly askew and he thought I might have hyperparathyroidism (Christ, that looks like the title of a song in Mary Poppins).

The good news on this visit was that my blood work looked great, and I can actually stop taking a few vitamin supplements I was previously on. The bad news—well, not bad, but annoying—was about my current slowing of weight loss and the surgeon's suggestions on how to rectify it.

Now, I don't eat optimally. When I say optimally, I mean totally clean, no sugar (shit, can't do that), and just grains, veggies & lean protein all the time. I certainly eat a LOT better than I used to, and in general, I actually make pretty good choices. However, I know I've been eating more sugar than I should. I go for 6.5-mile walks every morning before 8am, then after work I go to the gym and do 40 minutes of strength training, and then another 30 minutes or so of hard cardio (running intervals). So I am absolutely putting in 110% effort when it comes to exercise, something I am incredibly proud of.

I told the doctor that I have been having a very difficult time losing the 20 lbs that will get me to 200 lbs. I measure my weight loss success in 20-lb increments, and when I was at 220, it was January 8. So I've been struggling with these past 20 lbs for about 4 months now. It's driving me BATTY. I told the doctor this, and his response was "How many calories are you eating in a day?"to which I responded about 1500, give or take. He said, "Oh, well, if you want to keep losing weight you'll have to eat 1,000 calories a day for the rest of your life."

Uhhh...say WHAT!?

Um, that doesn't sound like very much fun to me. 1,000 calories a day? That's nuts. Especially with how much I'm exercising. I told him as much. He basically said tough shit, eat 1,000 calories a day if you want to keep losing. What really pissed me off was when he told me that if I keep eating 1,500 calories a day, I'll GAIN weight eventually. Explain to me how this is possible!? It's really not cool to say that to a weight loss surgery patient, because that's like, your absolute worst fear. So he really freaked me out. He told me that I've lowered my BMI by 15 points, and that I am absolutely in the top of my class so to speak with weight loss. That was nice to hear, even if I think BMI is a crock of shit. But basically, he told me that's what had to happen.

I left his office kind of blue and discouraged and with a lot on my mind. My original (very, very lofty) goal weight was 140 lbs., which is 20 lbs. less than I weighed in high school. My revised goal was then 160 lbs., which seemed quite ambitious but a bit more realistic, given the joys of a slowing metabolism. Now I'm wondering...even if I got to that weight, would I really enjoy life only eating 1,000 calories a day? Is that really living for someone that enjoys food so much? I don't know. I don't know if it's worth it.

The good news is, I have dropped a significant amount of weight in the past few weeks, so maybe my body is just holding onto it for a while and then dropping it all at once. I weighed myself this morning, and am 203 lbs exactly! That means only 4 more lbs until I am in the 100's, somewhere I haven't been since probably around 2003. A huge deal. And that also means I will get to book my reward for 100 lbs. lost: a trip to Disneyland with a stay at the Disneyland Hotel, my FAVORITE place! Wahoo!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Philly Bits: The Rest

Who was I kidding, thinking I would actually blog on a daily basis while in Philadelphia? I can't even manage that at home. Plus, that would be valuable time I wouldn't be spending with Katie and Joe, so you know, that's not happening. And so, I now bring you a condensed overview of the remainder of my Philly trip from here in the air, flying over Ohio.

Oh, while we're on the subject of flight, a quick aside. A Public Service Announcement, if you will.

I don't understand people that are comfortable farting on an airplane. Look, man, we're all in this together. We're in a pressurized cabin, sharing the same air. When you're out and about, on the ground, I understand the public fart. It's great too because no one really knows it was you. But when you're in an airplane, hold that shit in. It's not right to crop dust a captive audience. Not cool.

Independence Hall
Okay, as I was saying: Philly. Had a great time with Katie and Joe. This trip was less about seeing all kinds of Philly tourist attractions, since we really went balls-to-the-wall on my October 2013 trip when I had never been to the city before. Having packed in a ton of sightseeing on that trip, this one was decidedly less on-the-move, although as I type this, I'm still really exhausted. Here's a recap of this trip's highlights:

Holy shit, I walked, liked, almost every day I was so proud of myself for getting up early every morning (except this morning, Sundays are my rest day anyway) and going for 6.5-mile walks around the city. I walked from the apartment to Independence Hall one day, to Reading Terminal Market another day...I was all over the place, man. It would have been very easy to stay in bed, but I made it a priority to get long walks in, and I'm so glad I did. Plus, I got to see some great parts of the city, and you can really take everything in while on foot. *pats self on back*

My favorite building on the UPenn campus.
Rittenhouse Square Shopping, aka Shopping In Normal Stores 'Cause shopping is awesome, shopping with my Bizzy is even more awesome, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous this entire trip. I mean, really amazing, like, in the 70s. I was wearing a tank top most of the time. Katie and I walked to Rittenhouse Square, which was super busy on Friday afternoon (do people in Philly actually WORK? Because everyone seemed to be shopping). The stores we visited were very basic, BUT they made me very excited because I am loving being able to shop for clothes in "normal" (i.e. not plus-size) stores. H&M has some cheap shit, man. I mean, cheaply made and cheap. But hey, for basics, it's fantastic, and I had never been able to shop in there before! That was a highlight.

City Tavern We had dinner at this really fun restaurant in Old City. It's on the site of a circa-1700s tavern, and the servers are in colonial garb (but it's not cheesy). We were seated in the room that was George Washington's favorite dining room, and the lighting was very dim (only candles inside hurricane glass). I wasn't too impressed with my food—I mean, it wasn't great, but it wasn't bad—but the atmosphere was so fun, and the dessert was amazing (apple crumble with cinnamon ice cream, God, I'm still dreaming of it). Our server and the busboy for our section were chatty and enjoyed sharing post-dinner historical stories of the spot and ghost stories which was also really fun, since Katie and I love that kind of stuff. Overall, a worthwhile experience and a definite highlight of the trip.

Look at that sheet of icing. LOOK AT IT.
Tommy DiNic's, I'd like to marry this sandwich, if I may.
Reading Terminal Market is my absolute most favorite place in Philadelphia, hands-down. It's basically a huge indoor market with awesome food vendors. We headed over there on a Saturday, and it was a bit of a zoo, but we made it work. There are so many delicious choices that it's hard to try everything you want to, even if you split things (even harder with a tiny stomach). While there are still things that I want to try on my next trip, we had some really epic chow on this visit. For example, I had what is probably one of the best sandwiches I've ever had in my life (at least in the Top 5) at Tommy DiNic's. This is a super-popular spot smack-dab in the middle of the market, and the past two times that Katie and I tried to go there, they were sold out of their sandwiches. Not this time! Katie and I split the Italian brisket sandwich with sharp aged provolone and it blew my mind. No, seriously. I know the photo of it is kinda gross, because of all of the residual meaty juices, but try to focus on the sandwich itself. God, it was fucking delicious. I want one right now. That sharp prov totally put it over the top. It was the first thing that I tasted. And you know a sandwich is amazing when it only has three ingredients and that's all it needs: Meat. Cheese. Bread. Done. We also stopped at Beiler's Donuts & Salads (now there's a weird combo) for some made-right-in-front-of-you donuts. So, so, so good. Those Amish, man, they know their breads. I got a Salty Caramel donut and a Peanut Butter Chocolate donut (filled with fluffy peanut butter cream). The Salty Caramel was just okay, but the PB&C was amazing. Joe's donut was my favorite—Harvest Apple, filled with apple cinnamon filling and with vanilla icing on top. (I was really into apples this trip, apparently). We also stopped at our favorite place, Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe, another great spot run by the Amish, where I procured some sour gummy bears for friends on my last trip. They were so popular when I brought them back in October that I am always enlisted to be a gummy mule and bring a ton home whenever I visit—FYI, I bought 11 lbs of those fucking bears for friends on this trip. They put my suitcase over 50 lbs, and I had to put them in in my backpack to lighten the load. The things I do for the ones I love. I swear. :) I got some other things from the market that were lackluster, including an apple dumpling (also Amish-made) but it didn't have enough salt in it, so that bothered me. I feel that the Amish in general don't salt their food enough. And I don't even care much about salt. I never salt my food, but I found myself salting most of the Amish-made food I tried at the market. Weird. I actually had to salt the dumpling before I microwaved it. You just can't have something that's so sweet without a bit of a counterbalance.

Beautiful night for some ball!
Phillies game at Citizen's Bank Park The game itself was boring as all get out (the Phillies, God love 'em, aren't the best team right now, and they were playing the Marlins, who really, truly blow) but I really wanted to check out the stadium and just enjoy opening week of baseball season. (Aside: I can't believe I actually like baseball now. I always found it so boring until my friend and raging Giants fan Heather introduced me to games at AT&T Park and how awesome our Giants are, now I truly enjoy it). Anyway, the weather was gorgeous, perfect for a 7:15pm game, and we just bought cheap seats, ate some ballpark food, and hung out. It was more fun to watch the drunken Philly fans than the actual game. We had several rows of people in front of us that were obviously really enjoying their $8 beers and would yell inappropriate things and harass one another (and the players) until the usher had to threaten to throw some of them out. My favorite insult yelled by a drunken fan occurred during a Marlins at-bat, and was rather tame, yet effective in its simplicity: "I HAD SEX WITH YOUR MOM!"

Watching TV with Katie and Joe This is just a simple, nostalgic pleasure that makes me so fucking happy every time. Katie, Joe and I just watch bad reality TV (in this case, we also sprinkled in some Full House and the movie Tangled). Watching Toddlers & Tiaras with them makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. It reminds me of when they lived in my building, and I would head up to their place to watch Toddlers while Joe made us burgers and we laughed and made totally inappropriate comments throughout each episode. Sometimes, the simplest things are the best things. And watching pageant moms exploit their idiot children is just one of those heart-melting things in life that really makes you proud to be an American.
Oh, look. It's Buster!
It was a great trip, and a nice break from the mundane, everyday activities that are waiting for me back in the Bay Area. I was trying to pinpoint what it is that makes me like Philly so much, and I think I finally figured it out. I love NYC, and while I'm not fond of SF, it has some endearing qualities, but Philly is wonderful because it's unpretentious. It's a blue-collar town for the most part, and it feels real. They have an honest-to-fuck 'hood, and it's not too far from the bougie part of the city. There were girls in front of row houses playing double dutch. There are more dollar stores than there are Starbucks. No one freaks out if their food isn't local, organic, free-range, blah, blah, blah (I'm giving the disparaging side-eye to you, San Francisco). On my walks in the mornings, I passed a number of blue collar guys, smoking cigarettes and chilling on benches with their Igloo coolers, hardhats on, just doing work. It's refreshing to see people living their lives more simply, without being bougie hipster asshats. I applaud you for that, Philly. Thanks for the reality check.

Anyway, I'm heading back to CA now (Hey! I'm now flying over Michigan!) and have to get ready to restart my everyday routine of work and gym. It'll be a bit easier to get through this (rather hectic) week knowing I'm going to a Giants game on Tuesday, and will be headed to Disneyland on Friday (yay!) I feel like I'm constantly on the move lately. And that's not so bad.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Philly Bits: Day 1

Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.
I could write a bunch of paragraphs about how much I love Philadelphia (I do) but not as much as I love my friends Katie and Joe (true story) and how I yet again had a weird experience with a black guy in a McDonald's today (seriously, WTF), but instead, I'll just show you some photos. Because really, photos are fun, and it's 11pm and I'm really fucking tired.

To the left (to the left): A cannoli from Varallo Brothers Bakery. The cannoli itself was good. Here's what wasn't: The apathetic broad that "helped" me, the fact that I couldn't get just one butter cookie with a chocolate center (they're pretty small cookies, and I was informed I had to buy at least a quarter pound), and that they didn't take debit card, so I had to withdraw $20 from their bullshit ATM with a $2 fee. Will I be returning? Mmmmnope.
Locust Walk, University of Pennsylvania campus

Was pretty proud of myself this morning as, on about 5 hours of (poor) sleep and jet lag, I still went for an over 6-mile walk today. Captured this lovely moment on Locust Walk, and wound my way with the help of Google Maps to my destination: The Philadelphia Museum of Art. Why? Because I wanted the thrill of running up those damn "Rocky" steps in the morning. And it was awesome. The last time I tried to run those steps (October 2013), I was able to do it, but it was so much easier this time. Kind of cool to have that as a reference point of how far I've come.

Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Snapped a photo from the top of the museum steps, and while I had originally intended to get a cool shot of the downtown skyline, these three gents quickly came into view. They were working out on the steps, and here's the crazy, bad-ass part: One guy was hopping up each step on ONE LEG. It was both amazing and hilarious, the latter only because it reminded me of this.

Took a detour from the suggested route home because I'm a rebel like that, and ended up on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which looked really beautiful in the morning light. Love those flags and the pops of color they provide in the shot below.

Rocky never ran the steps one-legged, bitch!
I'm planning on getting up early tomorrow for another walk before Katie and I go to a personal training session at her gym. Yes, people, this is a big deal: I'm working out while on vacation. That's kind of amazing, even to me. It'll be good to get my ass handed to me, as I've missed that daily occurrence while traveling (Sidenote: apparently, David, manager of the gym at home wants me to start doing a combination of circuit training and the machine strength training when I get home. I'm going to be miserable, and I'm going to love it).
I have some more photos to share, but it's pretty late and I'm exhausted. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so I hope our loose plans of heading to Rittenhouse Square won't be foiled. We're also going to City Tavern for dinner tomorrow in Old City, and we're pretty excited about that. Tried to get there on my last trip but ran out of time.

More tomorrow...if I'm not totally passed out in the evening. :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Same Old Song & Dance

Do you ever feel that, as you age, you, in some ways, become more like your childhood self? That is to say, while in certain respects, you become more mature, you become more responsible, you grow up, in some ways—in your most vulnerable moments, in things that hurt you the most back then—you linger on them a bit longer now, you think about them more deeply, you let them affect you more than you should?

I knew that my weight loss surgery would likely amplify existing (or in some cases, present new) emotional difficulties. The more I lose physically, there is one thing in particular that is harder for me to come to terms with. For years, I blamed my fat for my lack of dating, romantic relationships, for the almost complete lack of interest shown to me from men throughout my adult life. Now, here I am, 90 pounds less of me. I look...normal. I mean, normal, physically. At least I think so. I don't look grossly overweight. Here I am, working so hard, dedicated, committed to changing my lifestyle and rebuilding a body I neglected for so long.

And romance. No interest. No...nothing.

It's really terrifying.

That means that it may not have been the fat at all that made me...undesirable. Unlovable. It appears that it's Me, inside. It doesn't matter if I'm 300 pounds or 200 pounds or less. I've garnered as much attention now as I did before. Which is none.

I'll repeat: It is terrifying to come to the realization that something inside of you is broken. Something about you fundamentally as a person is a deterrent to the opposite sex. I can't fix who I am. I don't know how to change me. To be honest, I don't want to. Does that mean that I have to accept the possibility that I might just be one of those people who never experiences real, honest, genuine love?

When I was a kid (and I have mentioned this in a past post), I remember playing Barbies with my best friend, and she would talk about her future husband, how many children she wanted...I remember it as clear as day, I was sitting on my knees, staring down at my blond-haired doll, and thinking to myself, "But to be married, someone has to want you. What if no one wants you?"

A self-fulfilling prophecy, it seems.

I run on the treadmill, I cry sometimes. The tears blend in with sweat and no one can tell. I'm running to exhaust myself. To wear out my brain and drain the sadness and drown out the feelings of inferiority and shame and self-loathing, and the person inside that has never been enough to warrant second dates, has been toyed with and rejected and treated like garbage and lives only to serve as the unwilling sidekick for beautiful friends. I wish I could remember every time I've watched as my friends get approached, hit on, flirted with...and I'm next to them, right next to them, but I'm invisible. I watch friends date, enter relationships, cry over broken hearts, find someone new right around the corner, and do it all again. They're living. It's not always easy, but it's life. That's life. I feel like I'm missing out on this amazing part of life, something that makes it so exciting and beautiful and special and I won't ever have it. Not only will I not have it, I haven't even come close in my 33 years in existence.

You know how sometimes you think, "If I were to die tomorrow, would I be happy with the life I led? Will I have experienced everything I wanted to?" And for most things you might think of, they're things that you can make happen. You can quit your shit job and follow your dream. You can travel the world and embrace new experiences. You can mend broken relationships. You can eat better, change your body, truly transform if you really work at it.

What I want—love, someone to love me, the one thing I want, and have not had—I can't make it happen on my own. I need someone else. For someone as fiercely independent as me, this is a very humbling revelation. Humbling and heartbreaking. And the years go by, and nothing changes. No one comes. No one calls. I'm used and discarded, emotionally. Because of this, I become more angry. I become more cynical. Bitter. Jealous. Sharp. So fucking furious at the world. I am so angry lately, I don't know what to do. I'm rude and impatient and nothing and no one makes me happy, and it's all because of so much hurt and fear that no one can see, and no one can really understand.

I don't know what to do about all of this, so I work out. Hard. I push myself. I try to exercise as much control as I possibly can over the only thing I feel in control of anymore: my body. And I watch it change, and shift, and morph, and grow stronger and stronger on the outside. And inside, I just feel smaller and smaller with every day without someone to love.

And there's nothing at all I can do about it.

OMG, I'm in a short dress.

Showing leg. And arm. A new world for me.

I mean, whoa. Really whoa.

I bought a new dress over the weekend from a cute new shop in San Mateo, Hourglass Boutique. It was on sale for under $40, and it has pockets. It also has a unique neckline, and as I just bought like, the world's best strapless bra EVER from Nordstrom, I was excited to try it out. The dress is WAY shorter than any dress I've ever worn. I mean, above the knee? I'm no prude, but I have always wanted to spare those around me the sight of my chunky thighs.


I thought about wearing this with leggings, but then thought, "No, dammit. You're going to wear this short-ass dress and own your Yoncé thighs." I also feel like it's so short that the...cross breeze, if you will, is a bit disconcerting. I'm afraid I'll have a Marilyn moment and flash a floor of engineers.

All of these things went through my head this morning before I threw on a belt to cinch my waist, stepped into some heels, and went for it. And I am very, very proud of me!

Back of the dress! Love that bow.
My selfie skills are atrocious (I only have one full-length mirror in my apartment, and it's skinny, and it's in front of my bed, which is currently stripped because tonight is laundry night). I also have my adorbs silkworm cocoon mobile from Kyoto hanging above the mirror, so every selfie looks like I have a weird origami bird fascinator on. It's just the mobile. My point is...I'm glad I captured this poorly composed full-body shot so that I can be proud of the work I've done in the gym and at home. Yesterday, David, the manager of the gym I go to, made a point to come over to me on the treadmill and tell me that I looked good, and he could definitely see a change. That made me feel good. It's hard to tell you're changing when you look at yourself every day (AND when you continually obsess over the wing meat dangling off your triceps, or your ever-present jiggly stomach). Point is, I've come a long way, baby. Still need to ditch those last 8 lbs. to get me to my current goal of -100 lbs. lost...then I still need to lose about 50 more. It's not getting any easier, but I'm staying committed!