Atkins: Day 2

I've done Body for Life for most of the last 14 months. I tried Physique Transformation for two of those months. In all that time I have gained a total of 15 pounds of muscle and lost 49 pounds of fat.

That's great. It's much better than I was.

But it's not wonderful. After 14 months, I should have been at my goal weight, wouldn't you think? But I've been riding 160 and a size 10 since Christmas. I'd really like to drop lower.

So yesterday we (my hubby and I) started Atkins. I am tired and sore. He has headaches and is nauseous. I would have expected me to have the more extreme reaction to the carb withdrawal. However, he seems to be worse off. Since he rarely complains about feeling badly, the fact that he is saying it has convinced me he is worse off.

This morning I went for my bike ride, but I didn't go for the long one. I went for the short one, because I had a dr.'s appt this morning. I had to walk my bike for two of the blocks because my legs were protesting so much.

I am fairly sure that the protests are a symptom of the change in diet. Yesterday morning I did my 45 minute ride and then in the evening did a 20 minute ride with the family and felt fine.

I also spent all night waking up to go to the bathroom. Atkins is known for being a diuretic.

I don't think that would have happened, except that once we decided to go on Atkins, I took three free days and ate salt and carbs whenever I wanted.

I'll tell you that was stupid. Sunday night I was so sick I thought I was going to have to lay down on the floor and not move. I was nauseous and it was awful. Monday night I hadn't had quite so much junk, so I was just a bit queasy right before bedtime.

I guess, compared with that, there's not much that is going to feel bad.

I gained five pounds over the weekend. I know it was water weight, but still…

So I am not planning on counting those pounds that I drop. I want to see what Atkins' really does for me. We'll see.

Art and Fear: The book

I'll say right up front I haven't read the book. But I want to read it. I got an email with quotes from it in it. Thought I would throw some of those in.Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland

On feeling ordinary:

“This book is about making art.? Ordinary art.? Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart.? After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people–essentially (statistically speaking) there aren't any people like that.? But while geniuses may get made once-a-century or so, good art gets made all the time.


“Creatures having only virtues can hardly be imagined making art.? It's difficult to picture . . . Batman throwing pots. . . . If art is made by ordinary people, then you'd have to allow that the ideal artist would be an ordinary person too, with the whole usual mixed bag of traits that real human beings possess.? This is a giant hint about art, because it suggests that our flaws and weaknesses, while often obstacles to our getting work done, are a source of strength as well.? Something about making art has to do with overcoming things, giving us a clear opportunity for doing things in ways we have always known we should do them.”

On feeling untalented:

“Talent, in common parlance, is 'what comes easily'.? So sooner or later, inevitably, you reach a point where the work doesn't come easily, and–Aha!, it's just as you feared!

Wrong.? By definition, whatever you have is exactly what you need to produce your best work.? There is probably no clearer waste of psychic energy than worrying about how much talent you have–and probably no worry more common.? This is true even among artists of considerable achievement.

Talent, if it is anything, is a gift, and nothing of the artist's own making.?The fact is, artists get better by sharpening their skills or by acquiring new ones; they get better by learning to work, and by learning from their work. . .?. So when you ask, 'Then why doesn't it come easily for me?', the answer is probably, 'Because making art is hard!'? What you end up caring about is what you do, not whether the doing came hard or easy.

Talent is a snare and a delusion.? In the end, the practical questions about talent come down to these: Who cares?? Who would know?? and What difference would it make?? And the practical answers are: Nobody, Nobody, and None.”

On fear:

“Making art can feel dangerous and revealing.? Making art is dangerous and revealing.

Art, however,?is a high calling–fears are coincidental.? Coincidental, sneaky, and disruptive, we might add, disguising themselves variously as laziness, resistance to deadlines, irritation with materials and surroundings, distraction over the achievements of others–indeed as anything that keeps you from giving your work your best shot.

So if a critic praises Nabokov's obsession with wordplay, you begin to worry that you can't even spell 'obsession'.?But the point is that you learn how to make your work by making your work, and a great many of the pieces you make along the way, will never stand out as finished art.? The best you can do is make art you care about–and lots of it!”

And if you ever wonder whether the “real” artists struggle with not liking their work, consider Tolstoy in the Age Before Typewriters, re-wrote War & Peace eight times and was still revising galley proofs as it finally rolled onto the press.

Adaptation: The Movie

I saw a very strange/compelling movie Sunday night. Despite the fact that I sent the guys to get a comedy, and despite the fact that it was labeled a comedy, Adaptation is NOT a comedy. It is, however, a wonderful movie. I wrote gripping there, then I had to take it out. It isn't a gripping movie, which is what let me sit through the whole thing. The movie is a bit dis-continuous. It jumps and starts again.

The movie is an adaptation of a book, The Orchid Thief, by Susan Orlean. But the movie is more about the screenwriter adapting the book… Mostly.

Anyway, if you want to see a very different movie, Adaptation is it.

Go here for an interesting interview with the author of the book.

Driving round blog-city

Every once in a while I just start at the top of the blog types and go through the most recent blogs published in all the types. (Though I may have to quit going if they get too many of those.)

I find all sorts of interesting places and things. is from Houston. Sounded to me like it would be from the UK. It had some interesting facts about the US census of 2000. The most interesting one to me was that Houston has more population than all 20 of the least populous states. (When I first read it I thought that meant all together, but now I think it means individually.) let me know that Coca Cola used to be green. Some of the facts were even more interesting. Even the ones I didn't think were true. always has an interesting comment. I like to read his.

I only got through culture blogs today. I'm going out with friends, so I'll have to read through more later.

The Novel I'm Writing

It's a fantasy. I have 95,000 words (before the first major edit) done so far. I still have at least four chapters to write.

Of course, that is what I thought yesterday morning and yesterday I wrote one and I still have four chapters… This is getting longer as we go. I guess that's okay.

But this is just the first section. The second section (what I used to think was the third) has a lot more action in it. Which means words, too.

The length I am looking at ultimately is about 150,000 words. I know the publisher I would like to take the book and that's their average with fantasy.

This is the first novel I have ever written more than a chapter or two of. I have two chapters of a novel that wasn't thought through very well. I loved the milieu and I loved the character, but I didn't want to write a milieu or the part of the story where she changed. So it didn't work. Maybe someday I will figure out the conflict and go back and write the novel. I like the character a lot.

But I decided that this story would work. I was going to write it. I am going to write it. And I am going to submit it. Hopefully someday I can tell you to go to the store and buy it. For now I am just patting myself on the back for moving along.

When are you grown up?

This site says that in the 50s most women were married when they were 18. Now most women are 25 when they marry.

According to the survey, the age at which we reach the seven stages toward adulthood are:

Financially independent: 20.9

Not living with parents: 21.2

Full-time employment: age 21.2

Finishing school: 22.3

Able to support a family: 24.5

Marriage: 25.7

Having children: 26.2

Of these seven stages, which is most important to becoming an adult? Survey participants said:

Finishing school: 73 percent

Full-time employment: 61 percent

Able to support a family: 60 percent

Financially independent: 47 percent

Not living with parents: 29 percent

Marriage: 19 percent

Having children: 16 percent

Notice the first two ages in the first list. I would think that if you were financially independent, you would not be living with your parents. If you are living with your parents, you may have money, but you are not financially independent. (As a parent, I find that an important distinction.)

Better Government

This site has a radically good discussion of better government through inefficiency and an accurate and caustic response to the running away of the Democrats who didn't like the voting rules. (The voters get to pick the legislature.)

Here's the whole thing if you don't want to click and go:

I've always felt that one of the reasons government in the US works is because the government is so inefficient. If our congress critters could all agree and efficiently pass laws, they'd control every aspect of your life. If our government bureaucrats weren't hamstrung by stupid rules they would fill the prisons or bankrupt us all and bring every business to a grinding halt.

Lucky for us the government only works so well.

Which brings us back to Texas. One aspect of the government that makes it positively inefficient is that it only makes laws part of the year, when it is in session. Imagine how much stupid crap would be law if they did it year round. Well Texas is even better than the Fed. Our law makers only meet for 4 months every other year.

Now this means they work like demons for those 120 days. Long days to get all the bills they can through in that time. Thousands of bills will be introduced and many won't pass because they are moved down the queue and just won't get through the legislature in the short time they have.

Which brings us to the Runaway Democrats. There was a bill in that queue they didn't like and couldn't vote down, because the people didn't send enough Democrats to do it. So in the very democratic Democrats are using their favorite new tactic – don't let them vote. Same thing they did with the judicial nominee in the US Senate. Or when they replaced the Democratic candidate for Senate in NJ, with someone the people hadn't voted for.

Blogging on breasts

My husband sent me a website about a woman and her breasts. I have size D, naturally. My husband wrote me and said this woman said a lot of things similar to what I had said over the years.

I’ll tell you, she says them much more elegantly than I did. But then I never wrote them down.

If you have large breasts and want to commiserate, read the article. If you have small breasts and want to hear all the bad side of having large breasts, read the article. I guess if you just have a thing for breasts you can read the article, too, but there aren’t any pictures.

Note: The article is now gone. From now on I am going to start quoting the stuff that I think is important. It’s not there forever, after all. 7/6/05

College Finals

Had finals this week. I gave mine on Saturday. Had to be graded and grades in by today at noon. Got it done. That's not amazing. What is amazing that I had people come to class who have been absent half the time, haven't turned in any papers, and want to know if they can pass.

NO YOU CANNOT PASS an English class if you don't write the papers. No you cannot pass any class where the teacher wants you to learn stuff they talk about in class if you don't show up for the class.

Then I had students who are still on my rolls even though they didn't come past the second week. So they got Fs. Cause they didn't drop the class themselves. What's up with that? (Happens every semester and it still freaks me out.)

Of the students who showed up for the final the ultimate grades ended up with 3 As, 2 Bs, 1 C, 2 Fs. (It's a weekend class so they expect people to drop out/fail out by failing to drop.)

What's up? Writing advice

Two dreams which have come true, an earthquake, a hailstorm, a demon scare, a major case of the evil eye, protective custody, a baby being born with a cord around his neck, a jealous rival, an armed invasion, a lion attack, and a mob stoning an old bald man… These are the ways I've been torturing my main character… So far.

People give you the most depressing advice:

Orson Scott Card says you have to hurt your main character, over and over again, to make a good story.

Stephen King in On Writing says that you have to pick the character who hurts the worst.

Immediate Fiction author (can't remember the name) says that each thing that happens must be bad, must be worse.

Someone, can't remember who, requires a surprise every 800 words. (That's two pages of a packed novel. Five or six of a “light read.”)

The last three things in my first list don't happen to the main character, although the armed invasion is on her city. But the lion attack and the mob stoning, that's someone else. I haven't decided if she is going to be there when that happens. I've set it up so that she could, but right now she's not. I may have to change it.

I told myself that I would have this section of the novel complete by the end of the month. Just in time for my baby bro's 40th. I have 82,000 words, which is about 200 pages. I expect the novel will be around 500.

Card says you have to start with the character wanting to change. I don't. I start with the character not wanting to change, but events making her do so. It works better. In fact, this whole section of the book is about how my character likes her life and her plans and wants to keep them from changing. However, because of who she is (honorable, etc), her life keeps changing.

This character is from a real life person. Rather, she was a real life person 3000 years ago. But all I know about her was she was a girl, a slave, and a true believer. The rest of the story sprang from my questioning how she got to be those things. (Well, not the girl part.)

A friend of mine asked me who I would want to be my patron saint from the Old Testament, if I had to choose one. I told her this girl. My friend said, “Patron Saints have to have names.” I answered, “She has a name. We just don't know what it is.” BTW her name is Dielli.

Colors: What they mean, what they do

Read an interesting blog today with some links to color sites on the web.

This one is on color psychology. It says black is the color to look thinner, appear aloof, and be submissive. (Drats. I like my black outfit that my husband calls my “kick ass” outfit. But I sure don't want to submissively kick ass.) Red is, of course, a stimulating color. But wearing red, apparently, makes you look heavier. It is also an attraction color. It's attractive to thieves, to eyes, etc. Green calms you and is currently one of the more popular design colors. (Our carpet is dark grass green but people freak out over it.) Go to the website for more info.

This article is also on the psychology of color. It has a lot less info, but talks about cool colors versus warm colors and what neutrals bring to the mix.

This section talks about how to use colors together. It's an intro to the color wheel.

This site has the colors too, but it lets you pick a color and give your reaction/response to it. Some are out there and some match what the psychs tell us.

This site is on the meaning of color in different cultures. I thought that was fascinating. I have a girlfriend who was born and raised in Korea. She says that the words for blue and green are the same thing in Korean. So she was selling a car here and said it was blue (it was green). Many people would not even look at the car because it was a bad color for a car. Why do you think green is a bad color for a car?

Hewlett Packard has an interesting PDF file on the meaning of color, which includes meanings in other cultures. I could not figure out how to put it in here so that you could just click on it. However, if you google “Meaning of color light pink” it is one of the first ones that come up.

Being a female, and a rose lover, I was delighted to find a handy list of the meaning of different colors of roses. This used to be a lot more used, but I think it could be again.

If you want to learn more about colors than just about anyone, go to this site. It talks about color in sales, color in the media, color in consumer products, biological effects of color, color usage in American football (look under Red). Very interesting stuff. It also discusses color in relation to movie titles, for you movie buffs.

I think I'm going to go out in my black (thinning) outfit in my red (attention garnering) car to get something to eat. See you later.

Censorship of the Press

This article on Plastic says that FOX is going to be shut out of Britain because it is biased. I think this is interesting because I think all news is biased. What is covered makes it biased. Journalists ignore stories which show their views in a bad light and highlight stories which show others' views in a bad light.

In my opinion that is why FOX is doing so well here in the US. We were tired of left of middle media saying they were unbiased and objective and then carrying huge stories pro-left and/or anti-right.

I think it is interesting that the Brits think it is obvious Fox is right of the middle, but not that others are left of the middle. But, in my opinion, the TV stations have been left of the middle for years. So have the newspapers. The radio tends to be right of the middle…

I was also annoyed, for the second time in two days, to see that Plastic is SO pro left. (Its writers and its readers.) Yesterday's article that ticked me off was a “news” article (that is a requirement for plastic, that they be news) of how stupid the Religious Right is. And all but one of the commenters agreed, even to the point of saying that right-ists should be censored, that they should not be allowed freedom of speech. (Remember history: when freedom begins to be taken away, more people lose their freedoms.)

When are you a grownup?

My sons and I have been talking about this. Then I saw a study on it on Reuter's Health.

My boys and I talked about being able to drive–16 here. 17 in NY. 15 in Louisiana.

We talked about being able to leave home– also 16.

We talked about voting. 18.

We talked about legally drinking. 21

We talked about why those ages are different. (If I can get killed in a conscripted war, why can't I drink? That was the question which brought the drinking age down to 18 when I was young. Getting rid of the draft brought it back up.)

I have always told the boys that they're grown up when they take responsibility for themselves and their actions. (I know some non-grown up 30somethings.)

This study says that people think getting an education is the first clue to adulthood. (You can tell these representative sample folks were at least middle class.) I thought it ought to be living away from your parents and supporting yourself.


Found a bizarre story on Plastic. It's about a guy on a death protest outside an IRS office . The comments were even more interesting than the story. Learned a lot from them. Now I am wondering exactly what the guy is going to die about.

If the question is that simple to answer, someone must have answered him. So what is his real agenda? A death that he can blame on the IRS? He won't be around to make sure the blame gets cast in the right direction.

Not Reading: From The Artist's Way

The Artist's Way is a book which suggests lots of interesting and useful things. It also talks about some goofy ones. You can read some reviews here and order the book for as little as .99cents. (On a side note, I bought a used book for $2 and it had never been opened. Was also out of print. Sometimes you can get a real deal on those used books.)

One thing she recommends is morning pages. Hard work. Many people find them useful. Since I am incredibly introspective, I didn't learn a lot new from them. (Basically you write for three pages every day. Don't read them for a week or a month, I think. Then go back and read them. See what is in their consistently.)

Another thing she recommends is to do your art daily. I wrote three daily poems for months. I don't think any of them are great literature, but they kept my creative juices going. (Now I am working on a novel. It's not as easy to write part of a novel daily. At least not for me.)

I love her artist's date idea. Maybe because I like an excuse to go out by myself. She says to take yourself somewhere that encourages your creativity. Somewhere that gets your juices flowing. An art show. A hobby shop. An antique shop. A flea market. Go and enjoy. (I like simple assignments, too.)

The book is written in a series of weekly programs. Like a workshop, kind of.

One recommendation she made is to not read for a week. I thought back and realized that really helped me before. So I thought, okay, I'll do that. Then I find that I am reading blogs and newspapers and magazines. Anything I can get my hands on. (That is normal for me.) But I am not picking up any novels to read. And I was in the middle of a series, which I had planned to finish reading this week. And I put the newspaper down as soon as I remembered. (Not the blogs though.) I've watched more TV today, though. But since I went through a week's worth of Home and Garden type shows in less than two hours, that's not too bad. (Or maybe it is.)

So I am on a “do not read” week. AAAHHH. It hurts already. (Does that mean I can put off grading my students' finals? Guess not. Grades are due Monday.)

Writing: or not

Haven't been writing here much. Haven't been writing anywhere. I've been reading and antique shopping to avoid working on my novel. I want to finish the first section by the end of the month. I'm close. But I have got to get over being afraid to finish it (it'll be bad, no one will want to read it, I won't want to read it, etc.).


Found a rating of the 50 greatest Movie Moments. Many of the movies I hadn't seen, since I am not a big movie fan. But the ones I knew were great. I had even seen some of the scenes in movies I hadn't watched. I guess that proves they are among the best.

You click on the list to find out what scene they are talking about in relation to the movie.

Sex in the life of older women

That's what got my attention about this article. It says the researchers studied women in their 20s and 50s. Those who didn't have a permanent (or semi-permanent) partner had dates just as frequently, at either age. But the younger women got more sex, more cuddles, more making out, more sleeping together. This, the study called romance.

Has someone been talking to college age men? That's what they call romance, too.

I, however, am a woman in my 40s. Romance is flowers. (I got 2 dozen yellow roses from my honey today.) Romance is watching the series “Tremors” together after the boys are in bed. Romance is sitting on the couch with his legs draped over mine, or vice versa. Romance is sitting on two opposing couches in the living room and both reading books. (We don't do that much because he hates to hear me turn the pages so often.) Romance is a gentle touch on the shoulder or back. (Ate that up. Got it last night, too. One of my favorite things.) Romance is a note in your luggage when you're away from home. Romance is going where you want to go for dinner.

I love sex. I love cuddling, spooning, making out, sleeping together. But that's not romance. It can be part of romance, but it's not all there is. Or even most of it.

Reacting– or not

As mentioned in the last two entries, I read a book I didn't like. My first thought was “run away.” Go get another book and hide from the feelings. My next was “eat.” Since I just finished eating half of a not very good Chinese meal, that was a bad choice. A choice from before I was getting healthier. Now I'm in the Healthier stage, not the Eat stage. So, I thought of some fun words as a short term pick me up on my way home. Then I went and worked out with my weights.

Once someone suggested I make a list of ten things I liked to do as a replacement for emotional eating. My favorite is “having sex.” However, since it's that time of the month in a major way, that's not as much fun as normal. I don't even remember what else was on the list. Maybe I need to make another one.


Weight lift

Work out on the trampoline (an exercise one, not the big thing)

Listen to the song that never ends (60 minutes of guitar and rain mixed together into the most incredibly soothing sound, which my husband hates)

Write poetry


Work on my novel (72,000 words and counting!)

Plan for my classes that I'll be teaching next year

Have sex (You have to save the best for last! At least on the list.)