Friday, August 29, 2008

Week 14 - broke through the floor

Finally, broke the plateau of 155.5 lbs. that I've been on for over a month, down to 154. I was definitely better about my extra points this week but I wasn't able to nail it down to under 35. With the holiday weekend coming up keeping my extra points to 35 might be a challenge, but it seems to have paid off to at least try.

Here we go.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pimped up DS Lite

The girl wanted to decorate her DS Lite, so she got a bunch of stickers and she asked for some rhinestones and glue from my craft stash. I suggested sketching out some ideas and layouts but she just yessed me and started slapping stickers on it:


Well, at least it doesn't affect the actual mechanics of the game.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

CraigsList got my back

I used to count myself as frugal but despite my best intentions with FreeCycle, I've been struggling with it. For one, I've been impressed/perplexed/disappointed at the frugal Offers: tvs that are "heavy" and need repair, open bottles of Worchesterchire sauce or hot sauce, plant cuttings, pantry foods with "some past the expiration date", etc. Or probably more impressed/perplexed/disappointed that these items are Taken.

Occasionally there are some really good Offers, like a gas grill, tools, chair mat, or sporting equipment, but those go pretty much immediately. It seems you have to be constantly monitoring FreeCycle to snap up a good catch.

Another downside is you can't post pictures because of the limitations of the simple, volunteer-run server. One is allowed to post a link to say, a photo site like flickr, but most freecyclers aren't that sophisticated or want to bother linking a photo of a bottle of hot sauce. This is kind of pain when you're interested in something like a bookcase or table, and you can only go by a description like "white oval table with decorative edging". I can picture a variety of images from classy to cheap to downright cheesy.

And finally, I haven't been able to justify the gas and time to pick up say, old issues of Reader's Digest or that state map of Utah, which kind of defeats the frugality purpose. And frankly, it works against the environmental aim of recycling/reusing with the extra driving.

So though I was hoping to get a bike for the girl from FreeCycle, I decided to go with CraigsList. To me, it still attains my goal of recycling/reusing, plus I can check out the pictures and the prices aren't too bad. Check out this beauty I picked out for $30:

Picked it up and finally (finally!) got the girl on her first bike. The trick on teaching her to ride at a later age of 8 was pushing her from behind uphill so I could keep up while keeping her balanced. But she soon got it on her own...


I'll keep trying with FreeCycle but at least there's CraigsList as a solid backup.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Possibly a plateau

I weighed in at 155.5 again here at the end of week 13. There is a part of me that says I must be plateauing but there is another part of me that says I should be grateful I didn't gain weight. Again, I fell horribly off the wagon, going over by 101 points over the alloted 35. I'm concerned I've become somewhat complacent about the program--I have been consistently going over the alloted extra points (I think there's only been one or two weeks where I didn't) and gotten in the habit of hoping that I wouldn't gain weight because of it. And it's sort of panned out that way, cementing in the habit. On the plus side, I've been consistent on doing 120 minutes of cardio a week. I may have been subconsciously relying on that to keep me from gaining weight. So the new goal is to stick to the points.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Until someone pointed it out, I didn't realize that we've bought a lot of stuff off tv. As in "As seen on TV!" stuff.

To our credit we haven't bought everything but enough that folks who visit have remarked on it, like the Table-Mate IIs we have constantly out in the living room. Or the Magic Bullet that we use practically everyday. When I read between the lines of some comments, I hear, I was curious about that product, but I didn't want to be one the suckers who actually bought it.

So I thought, for the benefit of the curious, that I'd try to deliver some reviews of stuff we've bought. As seen on TV!

To kick it off, our most recent purchase: Save-A-Blade.

I didn't realize how much razor blade refills cost until I had to buy them so regularly for Paul (I actually don't use razors myself as I prefer the masochistic options: threading, tweezing, epilating, and occasionally waxing). Anyhoo, it's been eye-opening that these refills cost about (or over!) a dollar each. If it's a brand name refill, Paul says he can get 2 shaves out of 1 refill. Cha-ching! So when I saw the ad for Save-A-Blade, it totally got my attention. At $20, it wouldn't take long for it to make back its money so we tried it out.

The good news is that Paul was pleased that he was able to use a twin blade refill 12 times before he felt it wasn't staying sharp for the amount of time he was running it in the Save-A-Blade. The caveat is they claim you need to start with a new blade and maintain its sharpness rather than try to revive old, dull ones. Paul admits that he was a bit tentative and didn't run the Save-A-Blade as long as he should have in the beginning, but now he feels more comfortable letting it run for a solid 5 seconds as recommended. He does it right after shaving while it's rinsed clean and still wet (as prescribed by the instructions) and I can hear the loud whizzing as he runs the Save-A-Blade on it. Paul also noticed you have to run the Save-A-Blade longer as you try to squeeze more uses out of a refill so he thought 12 was a good point to start with a new refill (got enough re-uses balanced against extra time it was requiring in the Save-A-Blade). He's going to try it next on a refill that has about 5 blades. I'll update if he gets more shaves with this refill, but if we can continue getting 12 shaves per refill, you can color me pleased.

So overall, I give this product a thumbs up. I don't know if one can actually get the "200 shaves from one" refill as promised by the ad, but at the rate we're going, the Save-A-Blade will be earning its keep.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympic Spirit

I did this Olympic Spirit layout at Nora's class at the Oasis last Saturday night. I love Nora's style so it was wonderful to get in her scrapping mind and do some layouts.

And speaking of Olympic spirit, how about these Olympic moms winning medals? Did you see that Oksana Chisovitina won silver for Germany in the Vault for Women's gymnastics? 33 years old (about TWICE as old as most female competitors), 5th time Olympian, mother, and competing to honor the country that successfully treated her son's leukemia. She embodies the talent, drive, and passion to be an Olympic athlete and a guiding source of determination is that her "child comes first". And she won silver. And more inspiration comes from Dara Torres, 41 years old, mother, oldest American Olympic swimmer, who retired after the 2000 games and was inspired after the birth of her daughter to compete again. She missed first place by 1/100 of second and won silver in the 50m freestyle, and then later anchored the American Women's 4x100 medley relay to a silver finish as well.

To me, I love when the Olympic spirit comes from the underdog who pulls out ahead on drive and heart. With all due respect to Michael Phelps and his 8 gold medals, I think Jason Lezak embodied the heart and will of Olympic swimming by kicking out that amazing come-from-behind anchor leg on the 4x100 freestyle realy. And frankly, even in that 100m butterfly race where Phelps won by 1/100 of second, was I the only one nearly rooting for Cavic when it looked he would beat the seemingly untouchable Michael Phelps? I could practically hear Do you believe in miracles?! being shouted in Serbia.

And did you see who won Canada's first gold medal for these games? That would be a female wrestler named Carol Huynh, who didn't make the cut for the 2004 Olympic team but didn't quit and focused on making the 2008 team. She upset a world champ (and 2004 silver medalist) who she had never been able to beat. As a daughter of parents who fled Vietnam before she was born, she credits them for not giving up on her dream. Seeing pictures of her crying on the podium was so moving and just capped another amazing Olympic story.

Man, these games are still killing me. I skipped last night to catch up on some sleep but I'm vaguely panicking that I missed something amazing. Perhaps I should DVR the games and get more efficient with my Olympic viewing.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Looking for me?

I'm probably passed out. The Olympics are killing me--by the time they start playing the events "live", it's about 10pm. I've been passing out on the couch despite the near arm-busting antics in the Men's gymnastics parallel bars or the crotch-crunching tumbling on the Ladies balance beam events. Yeesh, these people are tough, tough, tough. Let's face it, a regular person would become disfigured doing this. Are these people made of stone? Is that rubber and steel flowing through their veins? Would they run away from me if I had a chunk of Kryptonite?

On a somewhat different note but related to the post title, apparently googling under "Asian Transvestite" brings folks regularly to my blog because of this previous post. I'm sure it depends on the day, the traffic, and what level of SafeSearch one has, but it would be pretty handy if this keeps up. It's kind of a pain to tell people my blog address because it's so long. So wouldn't it be just great if I could just tell people that they'd find it by googling "Asian Transvestite"? Right now, I'm behind a few folks but if I encourage more people to find my blog this way, perhaps I'd pass the others and reach the top. Eat my dust, Krissy4u and LadyBoy69!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mystery solved and other Olympic reflections

Judging from Michael Phelp's near 'nad-tastic celebration at the starting block after the US men's stunning 4x100 freestyle relay win, I guess swimmers DO shave their entire body. Fortunately, Phelp's camera-ready styling for the International Male catalog didn't overshadow an amazing come from behind win.

Did you catch it? I remember before the event, the commentator was muttering pessimistically--he claimed that he kept doing and redoing the numbers and his calculations always pointed to the men's team from France winning the relay event. The dramatic capper came from the French men's team themselves, proclaiming that they would smash the Americans. The race was neck and neck, back and forth, and the last leg the French were leading by half a body. Then out of nowhere, in the last 20 meters, Jason Lezak closed the gap and passed the French team and won by a tap.

Not only did Jason Lezak set a record for best time for his split, not only did they prove the French wrong, come from behind, and win the gold, but they also set a World Record for the event. If you saw it live, you experienced an Olympic moment. You know what I'm talking about.

I started gluing stuff down in our Olympic memory book, old-school scrapbook style. Here's a picture I cut out from the papers from the Opening ceremony.

I'm hooked on these games.

I'm moved by the stories of some of these Olympians, like Oksana Chusovitina, who is a 33-year-old gymnast who is competing at her 5th Olympic games. Originally on the gold medal-winning Soviet team in the '92 Olympics, she is now competing for Germany as they were able to accommodate her son when he had leukemia. What can I say? I'm so rooting for her on the vault.

Also the amazing story of Lopez Lomong, one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan" who eventually made it to the US and is competing in the 1500m in the Olympics and even carried the US flag during the Opening ceremony.

I'm even moved by some of the commercials--love the "Go World" Visa commercials narrated by Morgan Freeman and nearly cry during the Coke commercial featuring Olympic and Special Olympic medal winners, featuring the opening bars of Breathe Me by Sia.

Some commercials on the other side of the spectrum is that annyoing Zyrtec commercial (time in a bottle? sure lady, put "2 hours of time" on that bottle already) and that ridiculous McDonald's commercial with athletes proclaiming that they get up early...for their Southern style chicken biscuit sandwich. I'm sure fried chicken in a biscuit is just screaming "breakfast of champions".

My minor criticism--what's up with that new scoring in gymnastics? 15.75? Not quite the same ring as pefect 10.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Week 11 - back to net 10

I controlled my extra point consumption, though I'm embarrassed to confess that I still haven't limited it to 35. This week I consumed an extra 49 points. But the good news is that I still managed to lose a pound and get back to 155.5, which brings back my net loss to 10 pounds.

Unfortunately, what's working against me is a lot of Olympics watching and a big sack of kettle-fried potato chips. Man, those are so good.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


At first I was a bit dubious about this whole 08/08/08--ooh, lucky day!--thing. My day started off pretty roughly and I left work with still a lot to do. To top it off, I had hoped to finally catch "Iron Man" at the $2 movie theater with Paul and Velina. But the girl threw me for a loop. After watching "Project Runway" on Wednesday, where the challenge was to design something the US team would wear to the Olympic Opening ceremony, she expressed interest in watching the Olympic Games. She especially was interested in watching the Opening Ceremony, sooooo scratch "Iron Man".

Sad to say, I'd become somewhat of a jaded Olympic viewer. I remember enjoying watching the games as a kid but I hardly remember the games after '96 games in Atlanta, where Strug made that amazing vault with an injured ankle. I remember the hype about the "Thorpedo" swimmer and the provocative Nike billboards that proclaimed "You don't win Silver, you lose Gold" from the 2000 games in Australia and wow, for the 2004 games in Athens, I can't recall anything beyond that Phelps was gunning for Spitz's record but didn't make it.

Well after watching the Opening Ceremony with my daughter oohing and aahing, emitting an occasional I wish I was there, I'm hooked again. The Opening Ceremony (directed by Zhang Yimou) was amazing. It would have been incredible and totally worth the bribes it would have taken to get a seat for that event. It was such a cohesive, awesome program that utilized over 15,000 performers (apparently when the press remarked on the large number of performers, Zhang Yimou deadpanned, well, we have the people) who were tight, tight, tight. Whether it was the big drumming intro, the printing press performance, the huge Tai Chi circle, or the runners on the huge floating globe, it was at worst, ridiculously engaging, and at best, jaw-dropping. I admit we dozed off as all the countries' teams made their entrances. But we got hooked enough, that I was motivated to suggest making a scrapbook following the Olympics and the girl was in.

Velina took the lead and wanted to include these guys, the Beijing Olympic mascots:

She wanted to render the mascots in our scrapbooks (though she took artistic license and pulled Beibei's hair back because it was too complicated to draw):

And then we drew the mascots preparing for actual Olympic sporting events. She drew Beibei getting ready to swim and I did Jingjing getting ready to do a little bit of weightlifting:

And then we reflected a bit on the mascots:

I plan to go for some old-school scrapbooking with clippings from the newspaper. It's definitely a hap-hazard, winging-it scrapbook but I think it's going to be a bit of fun.

So 08/08/08 was a pretty good day after all...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It is Shark Week after all

So in addition to hitting the gym (regularly, dang it! Hooray for me!), I decided to give my legs the one-two and try out this "Good-bye Cellulite" cream:

I'm invoking the placebo effect because I don't even know how to measure if it's working, but I think I'm doing something positive for my legs. In theory, it's supposed to help reduce cellulite and fat topically. Wow. Just typing that out I feel a little duped. Anyhoo, for the time being, I'll stick to the program of attacking my leg fat inside and out. Hopefully one of these ways will pan out.

I briefly thought of doing a before and after comparison, but I didn't take any pictures "before". And of course, I realized that such pictures would just invite folks to stagger back, a la Roy Scheider in "Jaws" and comment, you're gonna need a bigger tube.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A little 2 point baking

To motivate staying on my Weight Watchers points track, I decided to try my friend's mom's recipe for 2 point cupcakes. I realized after I bought the cake mix that it had pudding in the mix but I decided to just go with it. I don't know if I was supposed to avoid it for the calories or the taste but I guess I would find out. I went with lemon cake mix and a can of diet Squirt:

I mixed the two together with a hand-mixer for 2 minutes. I was able to make 24 cupcakes (which meant they were still 2 point cupcakes) so fortunately, the point information wasn't affected. I baked them for 16 minutes (the box said 17-22 minutes) and it was perfect timing.

They looked good, the texture was a bit lighter, yet also stickier. They were a bit sweeter, but overall, they were as tasty as regular cake mix cupcakes!

Obviously frosting would add a lot of points but Paul suggested adding some lowfat lemon yogurt:

I was dubious at first, but it was delicious! The only trick is that you'd have to eat it soon after you put on the yogurt, otherwise the cupcake would get soggy fast.

I'd say this one is a keeper!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Week 10 - can't complain

This was one of weeks where I went way, way off my points. Besides my 20 a day, I'm allowed 35 extra a week. This week, I ran over 70 points extra. I gained a pound, up again to 156.5. I'm feeling positive that at least by sticking to the gym I staved off worse.

Okay, here I go--it's a new week.

Seeing is believing

Isn't it weird how someone can sound handsome? Like you actually take the extra moment to think, hey, this person sounds totally good-looking? I was talking with some folks and the subject came up that someone had been been chatting with someone who I'll dub, Mr. Sounds Handsome. It turns out that through a couple of degrees of separation (something like a spouse's co-worker's brother), they discovered that Mr. SH is short, heavy, and has a receding hairline. I know, I know...not that any of that could not make a very attractive man, but the person who initially talked with Mr. SH inferred that she was picturing a more stereotypical type of handsome. I'm guessing a David Beckham-type made more attainably human with a soft belly, nervous foot-tapping habit, bad credit, or a less-than-flattering haircut.

Anyhoo, this reminded me when I was waitressing back in the 90's. A new girl started and I asked what she did before and she said she had been a phone s*x operator. Does anyone remember 900 numbers? I know, soooo 90's! With the proliferation of the internet, 900 numbers are real dinosaurs. Anyhoo, for those too young to remember, 900 numbers were numbers one would dial for chat rooms, gambling tips, or phone s*x and the toll charges were ridiculous--anywhere from $1 to $10 (and up!) a minute--and they'd try to keep you on the phone as long as possible. An unfortunate side effect was that a lot of these folks faced huge financial problems due to addiction to these 900 numbers.

Well of course I asked her what she talked about and she said that the caller usually leads the direction and you simply go with it. Ooo, this is making me so h0t...yeah, I'm going to leave the badge on, you nasty burglar...I'm going to grab this can of whipped cream...or this jar of mayo?...The mayo? Right...'cause you're soooo nasty... Surprisingly, she kind of made the job sound like the dirty adult version of talking with a baby. You want the bottle? Or the crackers?, now you're are soooo cute...

One obvious cool thing of such a job was it didn't matter what you looked like. I mean, a gawky girl in glasses like myself could have done this. And this girl was pretty much a cross between Jonah Hill and a Frida Kahlo self portrait painting. I know, I know...not that a heavy girl with wild curly hair and an upper lip that begged to be waxed can't be attractive (as a woman who has to take care of her own 'stashe, I'm acutely aware when someone could easily take care of such things). But I'm guessing these dudes paying $10 a minute were picturing someone more like Demi Moore or a resident of the Playb0y mansion.

Well, bottom line, she said it didn't pay as well as you'd think because she worked in a call center and got an hourly wage. So she decided to try waitressing to pick up more money. She ended up being a terrible waitress (couldn't get orders right, short to the customers), so it kind of made me wonder if she was much better as a phone s*x operator. Goodness knows, I wasn't going to spend the money to find out. And besides what would I talk about?

I don't have a moral to this story except possibly, that things may not be as they seem. It just took me back in time. Way back. To the time of 900 numbers.