Sunday, January 25, 2015

Why Nearly Every Little Girl Born After 1980 Loved "Annie"

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If you were born in the 80's or beyond, chances are you loved you some Annie.  Personally, I had that film completely memorized by age four.  I was head over heels in love with this story and totally enamored with orphan life in Depression-era New York City.  Here are ten reasons why this sweet little movie is so hard for our little girl selves to resist:

  1. The hair.  That big mop of red curls will do it to ya every time.  If you were a kid with crazy curls, this film probably made you feel not only normal, but cool.  That knotty mess you were born with finally found a place in the world.  If you were a red-headed kid, you just found your new heroine.  And if you were anything else, this movie set you up for a life-long complex praying for strawberry curls to replace the straight brown boringness the good Lord sought fit to give you.
  2.  Because it made you want to clean the house over and over again.  Tossing dinner plates down a line of your friends, synchronized soapy water and bucket dancing, shaking out dirty rugs over the balcony and getting into a pillow fight that could kill you at any moment if you were allergic to feathers.  It was all fabulous and a seemingly efficient way to get shit done.
  3. Miss Hannigan.  When you were little, you wanted nothing more than to stomp on her foot and spill her bathtub gin on it.  But then you got a little older and you kind of started to see her point, feel her pain and maybe wanted to be her a little bit (again, the curly hair makes another triumphant appearance this time in adult form). It’s not easy to find a man willing to take on so many little girl children, not to mention a woman with a pretty decent job in the 1930s (perhaps Miss Hannigan was quite ahead of her time).   She was also horny as hell and refreshingly unashamed of it (talk about women’s lib).  We salute you, Miss Hannigan.  Carry on.
  4. We all secretly wanted to be badass orphans a little bit.  Let’s face it, you probably had a pretty good childhood with people who loved you and provided you with more than hot or cold mush twice a day.  You probably had some toys and maybe two red sweaters in your wardrobe instead of one.  But, the idea that you could sneak out in a laundry basket, walk around NYC all by yourself, find a surprisingly obedient dog, win the heart of a bald billionaire and break into spontaneous, perfectly choreographed song and dance about your hard knock life was the kind of street cred your average childhood life longed to have.
  5. Everybody could sing.  If you fantasized about being a character in the film, it was probably Annie (until maybe you became an adult, in which case refer to #3).  Nobody wanted to be Duffy, Tessie or somebody.  How great would it be to sing your life away in perfect harmony with all your musical friends who yield to you at every turn and let you take the solo parts?  And Annie sang the best (well, except for maybe that “Rover, why not think it over” girl).
  6. Girl power.  At just about every juncture in this film, Annie proves time and again why girls rule and boys drool.  First, she beats up a bunch of guys way bigger than she is all in the name of fighting animal cruelty, then she convinces dear old Warbucks to let her stay just one night thereby opening the door to his heart and hey his wallet too, and finally she takes down the evil Rooster (with a little help from Punjab) and turns Miss Hannigan from zero to hero.  Not bad for a week’s work.
  7. Rooster was creepy and we’re glad he went down.  Bravo to Tim Curry.  I can’t imagine anyone else in that role (or any of these roles for that matter) but that cock-a-doodle-doo and the crazy look in his eyes when he nearly throws Annie off of that railroad bridge was terrifying.  Thank God for Punjab. 
  8. That locket.  The necklace that spawned a million copycats.  I had one.  My best friend had the other half.  I’m sure yours did too.  Marketing gold.
  9. The American Dream at its finest.  Annie is set within the Great Depression and the movie is dripping with the American Dream theme from beginning to end.  And who doesn't love a good American Dream story?? She literally goes from rags to riches in under two hours and Daddy Warbucks is the kind of bald gentleman whose modern day license plate would no doubt read: Slf M8de.
  10.  Optimism so good it hurts.  The take home message of the movie is not to give up and to hang on ‘til tomorrow.  I still can’t bring myself to skip this song when it comes on my iPod.  These are wise, wise words best learned early to carry you through the many stages of life.

Friday, January 9, 2015

GIRLS: We Run This Mother

So... I haven't given up my dreams of abdominal domination but sometimes even our best laid plans aren't laid well... Embarking on a fitness journey in December is no small feat.  I basically spent the first six-ish months of the year dropping weight like a bad habit (and dropping bad habits in general), spent the next few months running my ass off at every race within an hour's drive of my house and then spent the holidays eating and undoing a good portion of my hard work.  Sigh.  It happens sometimes.  Christmas specifically put a few pounds back on the old gut-ski here (ten to be precise), but folks, this ain't my first rodeo and I'll be damned if I'm going down like that.

Onto my next fitness quest (gimmick?): the triathlon.  It consists of back-to-back swimming, biking and running.  Apparently these things come in different shapes and sizes (who knew??).  I will be doing a sprint triathlon which is the shortest of the tri distances, but don't let that lull you into an initial false sense of confidence as it did me. There's nothing quite like a few laps in a swimming pool to slap your over-confident-yet-out-of-shape ass right back into reality (I don't care how many road races you ran last year).  One of my closest friends with one of the biggest mouths (HI, LAUREN) got into a discussion at work one day last year about this triathlon.  And by discussion what I really mean is my dear friend who's never done a triathlon before (and no doubt had to Google the logistics of it as did I), talked a big, fat game to her male co-worker who's already done and completed this exact race (and with a darn good time too. Yeah, I said it.).  The fastest way to get Lauren to do anything is to tell her she can't.  Or imply that she can't.  Or look at her which she may interpret as you saying she can't.

Next thing you know, we are tri training and a brand new girls v. boys battle has been born. Three girls - Lauren (no triathlon experience), myself (no triathlon experience) and Lauren's female coworker (no swimming experience of any kind until three days ago) versus two boys - one, a former swim team captain and the other a past triathlete at THIS. EXACT. EVENT.  Yeah.  And both in arguably very good shape.  And male, too.  Never underestimate the power (and annoyance) of having a penis.  Two years ago I ran a five mile road race with my boyfriend.  I had just lost twenty pounds and had been doing quite a bit of running.  Did I mention I also ran some cross-country in high school? Bobby was smoking and eating just about any little thing that struck his fancy. This was his first ever road race.  He beat me by 45 seconds.  That son of a bitch.  And two years later and with three minutes shaved off my mile time since that day (running at an 8 minute pace now people, hollaaaa), that bastard will NOT re-race me.  Men.  But I digress... The only advantage I can see us having on the estrogen side of this war is potentially the age factor (we are younger, take that), but alas, testosterone will inevitably pick up where youth leaves off and kick its cute, sorry behind back to the drawing board, right?  Maybe. But maybe not.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and luckily it takes surprisingly little to piss off me and my team captain into making it our mission to prove a point (any point).  It's going to take a lot of hard work, dedication and persistence.  In between the swimming and the biking and the crying, I will document this journey and hopefully our well-deserved victory come May 31st.  Can we beat these boys?  We can tri.

Until then, boys be afraid.  Be very, very afraid.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I Don't Think You're Ready For This Jelly... ABracafabulous

 I haven't worn a two-piece bathing suit since third grade.  It's just never been an area of my body I was particularly proud to share.  Fast forward to college and the problem gained momentum.  Freshman fifteen?  Yeah, no, more like freshman and sophomore fifteen.  And try accomplishing that feat without even drinking much alcohol either (I'm gifted that way).  Even though I was always just a perfectly average, normal weight and size throughout my childhood, I've never had enviable abdominals.  In fact, I've never even had acceptable ones.  We all have our problem areas, our cross to bear in life and mine just happens to be a doughnut (mmm...doughnuts...) wrapped around my torso.  It really looks like a spare tire.  It starts and ends at my spine (thank God there's no such thing as spinal fat, is there?).  In fact, it is so distinct that I always measure my waist in two places: at the cinch of it just above my belly button where it is smallest and at the doughnut (it looks funny but I swear that is the proper spelling of it), where it is large and in charge.  There's actually a 5-inch difference between these two which is why I feel the need to track them separately.  What is the fun of losing weight if you can't brag about losing every inch of it?

I have the kind of abdomen that keeps moving long after the rest of me has stopped.  Some jiggle in the middle.  It's also blindingly white because it hasn't seen any sun since the first Bush administration.  I gave up my dreams of a washboard stomach long ago in the 5th grade when puberty hit and I suddenly became very aware of my flaws.  An ab roller shouldn't be on any ten-year-old's Christmas list (true story).  I think the only way I could maybe have abs is if I ended up in some kind of starvation-induced emergency situation, like going on Naked and Afraid and getting shipwrecked on a desert island with just me and some coconuts (but even then I would worry about the carbs).

But, well, if I can lose forty pounds and run a half-marathon, maybe I can do this too.  Maybe there are some muscles under there just waiting to be unearthed and maybe I oughtta do it before I get married and have kids (at least then I'll have the memories of abs, which right now, I do not).  So, since I am ABSolutely fed up, I bring you Abracafabulous.

Abracafabulous was the team name chosen by my Run or Dye sister for the colorful 5K we ran last summer and since said friend is going to be joining me on the journey, I thought the name was fitting.  I've had a couple other friends interested in coming along for the ride actually, so I will be posting their stats and photos as well (oh yes, ladies, there will be photos).  Abracafabulous has no time limit but I am hoping to do it as fast as possible, whenever that may be.  Basically, we will be posting bi-weekly photos of our fab abs and working them out in between.  My goal here is to go for a six-pack.  Or a four-pack.  Hell, maybe even a two-pack.  I honestly don't believe it's possible (now there's a healthy way to start a project) because my waistline has never been anything but one big pack of gummy bears.  BUT I'm willing to give it a try and change my attitude since that has served me well in the past.  I'm starting out with a 36 inch belly-gut, a 31 inch waist and a book from Jillian Michaels that I'm hoping will change the landscape of my middle forever (or at least for awhile).  Here are my crude camera phone pictures to soon be followed by much better actual camera photos. [And as an editor's note here, it took a big breath of bravery to pull those pants down passed the roll. It really, really did]:

Classic Dunlap Syndrome: the belly done lapped over my belt. Oy.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Journey Through The Poundage

I just don't know where to start this piece other than to spit it out: I have been working and running my ass off and it finally happened for me.  Since I last blogged in, I gained almost twenty pounds and then took off forty.  Yes, 40 frickin pounds.  Girl pounds too, I might add.  Any woman who has ever tried to lose a little weight knows the distinct difference between girl pounds and boy pounds and any boy who has ever tried to lose weight does not believe in the difference.  Ugh, men.  But yes, I lost 40-female pounds, people, since February 2014.  It has been quite a journey.  In that time, I ran many road races including my first half marathon three weeks ago.  And to be honest, I have no idea why I haven't blogged about it.  I guess it just always felt too premature.  Even now, I feel like I am jumping the gun on you all since my goal weight is still 15 pounds away.  I guess after nearly six years of writing on and on and ON about my weight loss woes and ups and downs I thought you deserved a little better, a little more of a finished product.  A little more dedicated.  A little less whiny and a little more inspirational. But, since I recently came to peace with the idea that I will never be a finished product, I thought this would be good enough for now.

And without further ado, I present to you, THE PICTURES.  There's a few more images of me on here than I'd like looking a bit...rotund.  So, in all fairness, here's the lighter side of me:

Left: 190 lbs                                         Right: 150 lbs

I should really clean up my room before I take these.  Is that not selfie etiquette 101?
Moment of silence, please, for my chest.

 I think the very first picture of me on the left looks less like me and more like the girl who ate me.  Or like someone blew air into my thumb and the rest of me puffed up like a balloon.  I have made a lot of changes since last winter and besides the weight loss, there have been some other nice side effects.  What is different now?

  • I genuinely feel full on less food (no bullshit).
  • I don't feel well after I eat something really crappy (I still do it anyway).
  • The chicken skin problem on my upper arms is basically gone.
  • My boyfriend lost 30 pounds.
  • My dog lost some weight too (The family that suffers together, stays together!).
  • Almost every person I've ever met has noticed and complimented my weight loss.  It feels amazing.
  • I finally ran a half marathon, which has been a years-long goal of mine.
  • I can run an 8 minute mile (down from 12!) if I'm feeling really motivated.
  • I've gotten to spend a lot more quality time with one of my best friends running races all over the state.  You'd be surprised how fun it can be to run 13.1 miles in the freezing cold, pouring rain when you're with the right company. 
  • Several people have told me I've inspired them (Me?!).
  • My boobs are gone (probably halfway to China by now).
  • And I don't even care.
  • I sleep better.
  • I now have plantar fasciitis (doh!) but working on getting rid of it.
  • I don't cry into my closet before major events (like weddings).
  • My heart rate is lower.
  • I feel like myself again.

I suppose I don't need to school anybody on the benefits of weight loss, but those are my own personal highlights.  I haven't been to the doctor for a physical or anything yet but I'm interested to see if anything has gone up or down or sideways as a result of these efforts.

My next adventure is going to be losing the final 15 pounds (at which point my boyfriend will quit smoking when I've hit that goal weight - this has been a years-long contract between us and I've never even come close, but more on that later).  I'll also be embarking on an ab challenge with a few friends that I'd like to blog about and post pictures of throughout.  Thanks for the love, everyone.  It has helped more than you know! And I say this because I mean it. I'm not special. If I can do it, anyone can.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Follow-Through

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When I was a kid I used to play softball.  I was pretty good.  I played for many years and eventually, I started pitching.  At age 12, I briefly took some fast-pitch lessons.  I've never pitched baseball but I firmly believe throwing fast-pitch underhand is harder.  Not that I ever worked up to this feat, but you try throwing a 60mph underhand softball.  Not easy.

So each week I took a pitching lesson.  My accuracy was pretty good.  My arm swing was pretty good.  My speed got faster as I got stronger.  But the thing that never really clicked was the follow-through.  With each pitch, the coach would have to reinforce the follow-through.  It's the point when the ball leaves your hand and you clasp your fingers to your palm and continue to draw your arm up to your shoulder, making one full rotation, like a windmill.  I had a bad habit of just stopping my arm once the ball left my hand.  Seemed reasonable, at least to me at twelve-years-old it did.  The ball was out of my hand.  It was no longer in my control.  I did my job and it was whizzing to the plate.  Mission accomplished.  So why the need to complete the rotation and continue the motion of my arm coming full circle?  Well, that's the follow-through.  It gives the ball its speed and accuracy.  It completes the pitch.  It's important.  And though I didn't know it at the time, not following through has proven to be poetic in my life.

I think the follow-throughs in life can perhaps best be described as the icing on the cake or going from a B- to an A+. Is it vital to follow-through?  Maybe not to some but if you want to be successful, going 80% will only take you so far (80% of the way, actually, to be exact).  I have successfully followed through on a lot of things in my life.  School, work, and many more things, mostly stuff that fits into the categories of school and work.  You're probably not going to be bowled over when I tell you that weight loss is an area where I historically do not follow through.  I go some of the distance.  Sometimes I actually get quite close.  Since I've packed on this poundage, I once got down to 145 pounds (and it was honestly everything I though it could be and more).  I don't know why this is so hard.  All I can say is that it's not a new problem.  But, I'm working on it.  And even though I'm sorry to say that I haven't been following through on my non-pregnancy pact (I really am ashamed of this and will blog further on it soon), I can honestly say that I am trying to figure out THE WAY.  The golden way to the land of emotional freedom where weight has no weight.  I'm working on a thing or two (again).

Whew, ok.  I did it.  I came clean.  I failed (agaaaiiiin).  I'm sorry.  But, there's still time to follow through.  And I will.  Promise.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Preparing For Weddings, Chunk-Muffin Style

I don't have very much good news to post.  I did lose a little bit of weight last week, 0.8 of a pound, which isn't terrible.  But, my eating, my exercising, has been... well... eh.  I'm not sure what's going on here.  Maybe it's all part of the process.  Maybe it's just gravity.  What goes down must come up??  Something like that.  Certainly is describing my weight loss efforts.  I'm about to complain and rant about how unfair it is to be overweight.  Before I do, I realize my chunkliness is a bit self-induced and I lay no blame but with yours truly.  Having said that, here goes.

I feel like I try really hard.  I feel like I fall really hard and then I feel like it's really hard to get back up.  And the topic I'd like to cover today is weddings.  I'm something of a wedding expert, as life would have it.  I can't plan your wedding.  No, I would suck at that.  I'm a terrible party planner.  I'm also horrible at wedding etiquette.  I learned the hard way that you shouldn't wear white to a wedding, even if it's technically egg-shell (wouldn't you say so, Christina?).  But life has made me a bit of a wedding connoisseur because as luck would have it, I am so incredibly popular that in the last few years, I've attended, on average, five weddings per season.  I'm also going broke.

My wedding expertise lies in the areas of Spanx-wear and feeling like the fat chick.  I'm not really fat but I seem to associate with very thin people.  It takes a lot of maturity to be friends with you all!  You're also welcome for my ability to allow you to look better by comparison.  I'm so self-less, I can't even take it.  But for all you thin people who don't understand (or respect) the process, I'm here to shed some light.

Wedding preparation goes a little like this:

  • Vow to be thin for this wedding unlike the 33 that preceded it.
  • Begin losing weight - this is finally looking promising!
  • Don't buy a dress yet because it will surely be way too loose by the time you walk in that church, hot mama!
  • 4-6 weeks before the wedding and after about ten pounds of weight loss (on average), celebrate with a little junk food fest.
  • Continue junk food fest for 4-6 weeks.  It's OK, nobody's looking...
  • Begin dress shopping 24-48 hours before the wedding date.
  • Buy a dress suitable for a woman 30 years your senior.
  • Purchase Spanx.
  • Panic.
  • Begin junk food fest number 2.
  • Cry.
  • Self-tan with an emergency tube of Jergen's Lotion (tan is slimming).
  • Cry (reprise)
  • At the wedding: suck in, don't breathe, unfold Spanx as they bunch and hope the cute little old man who asked for a dance at the wedding doesn't put his hand on your back and inadvertently feel the ten pounds of shape-wear you are surely sweating your ass off in (hey, got to burn the calories somehow).
  • Drink.
  • Compare yourself to other women at the wedding.
  • Drink.
  • Eat your cake, it doesn't matter anymore.
  • Eat your date's cake.
  • Cringe at pictures of you and your chins posted to Facebook.  (How I miss the days of developing film).
  • Vow to be thin for the next wedding.
I never get to buy a dress I really like.  I only get to buy dresses that down play my issues.  I'd love to pull off a chic-hippie look (oxymoron?) or that little black dress.  The only look I can pull off these days is the trying-not-to-look-as-big-as-I-really-am look.  The can-you-see-my-Spanx look.  Or the ruffles-make-a-difference-look.  It's a dirty job but I guess someone has to do it, though I think I'm 'bout ready to retire.  I blame all my problems on celebrities.  Would it kill Jennifer Aniston to sport a little gut to make the rest of us feel like we're not doing something wrong?  Do you suppose Kim Kardashian could show a tiny bit of armpit stubble to at least desensitize the American public so that when mine pops out my boyfriend, small children and other beach-goers are only mildly horrified by it instead of downright grossed out?  I can't be the only female with an excess of body fat and hair can I?  The only female who's only slightly gross- like normal people gross, but not full-on disgusting and should be condemned to a room for six months with nothing but a glass of water and a razor kind of gross?  Surely that's normal gross and not abnormal gross but with these laser hair removed, A-list trainer, organic food delivery chickies filling up my TV screen and internet feeds, how am I (we?) supposed to feel like anything but overgrown, stubbly losers?  My full-time job isn't looking good.  Maybe if I spent forty hours a week working out, waxing things and had an unlimited clothing budget, I'd blow them out of the water too.  And who am I kidding?  If I got that opportunity, I would totally take it, flaunt it and make people like me feel inadequate for the rest of their lives.  Or maybe just maybe, I would take the hairy, high road...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

And for purposes of this blog: gain seven pounds, lose eight.  That oughtta do it, eventually.

Oh look, there I am.  What a nice job they did for me.  Ok, ok, I borrowed it from  A girl can dream.
March was a fantastic month in my weight loss journey.  I made up for all my little hiccups and even managed to get a few pounds ahead of schedule.  I was extremely focused.  I had my eyes on the prize and the prize was getting closer (finally!).  I ran 5.5 miles at my peak, the most I have ever run without walking at any one time.  And the running, at long last, was becoming increasingly less painful, which I didn't think possible.  I was even blogging quite a little bit.  Things were a'comin my way.  And then, there was April.  I've never known any April's so I never had the chance to associate the name with a good or a bad personality... until now.  April, as I know her, is a bitch.  A big, raging, PMSing hurricane.  And April very carefully and forcefully kicked March's sweet little ass (sorry, March, you really are a lamb after all).

Let's come clean.  I've put some weight back on.  Whew, there I said it.  I did.  I blew it, again.  I backslid.  I ate.  And ate and ate and ate.  My current weight stands at 171.6.  Today is my exact halfway point in my journey.  I have officially completed 20 weeks of this non-pregnancy and have lost 12.6 pounds in that time span.  I've put back almost 6 pounds.  I'm about eight weeks and eight pounds behind my proposed goal.  But, if we're being honest, I was hoping to be even farther than that.  My No, I'm Not Pregnant!! goal is 40 pounds in 40 weeks but I was really hoping to lose 49 pounds in that time, to reach my ultimate goal and be a superstar.  To melt off the layers of belly bumpin' fat I have accrued and feel what it's like to be thin.  I tend to blog less when I am putting the weight on.  That is no coincidence, nor is it fair to the three people who read this.  I just didn't wanna let you down.  I didn't want to let me down.  But ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away.  The first step is acknowledging it.  I see you, Problemo, and I recognize your existence.  But now, I officially strip you of your powers and reclaim control of my life and my gut. 

I don't know why I relapsed.  I tried hard not to be too strict and too obsessed and too consumed (pardon the pun).  I tried to focus on my overall health and the progress I make in being a healthier and stronger person than I was before.  And the thing of it is, I felt great!  Energetic.  Thinner.  Healthier and accomplished.  I can't explain why, despite it all, I still went into a four week junk food binge.  My own mind would scream to me as I was eating.  "Stop!  What are you doing??! You are going to blow it, stupid!  Don't do this again.  How many times have we been down this road?  You are not that far off the path.  Just STOP NOW."  I hear that voice.  I believe that voice.  I just don't know why I don't listen to that voice in hard moments.  

I lamented some of this to my friend, Melinda who has been following along with me on this journey.  She said (to quote Melinda and Rocky Balboa), it doesn't matter how many times you get hit, it matters how many times you get up.  It's what I needed when I needed it.  And so that's where I'm at.  I've been hit, hard, by myself.  (This is bringing up memories of my sister taking my own hand and slapping my head with it chanting "Quit hitting yourself!", but I digress.)  I fell down seven times, but that's ok, because I get up eight.  I gained back six pounds, but I will lose seven.  And I'll do that thirty-six times over if I have to!  I guess if you're in the ring long enough, you're bound to take a few punches, even if they are somewhat self-induced.  This is a marathon and not a sprint and if I accomplish nothing else on this blog, I will prove to me and whoever is listening that big changes do happen in small steps and small steps, for better or worse, take time.  Rome was not built in a day and neither was I.  So here I am, a bit heavier than I'd like to be, a bit discouraged, a bit bent, but not broken.  Not broken til I say broken and not down til I can't get back up anymore.