December 18, 2011

This is gonna be short and sweet today, kiddies, because I have a few more presents to buy and a gym to go hit (and hit hard). So, just two quick ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures.

I’m feeling good today. I had a lot of fun with good friends at a holiday party last night, and I woke up this morning for the first time in about five days without cursing the fact that I was sick. My fingers are crossed, but I think I may be done with this second nasty flu/cold/whatever that I’ve battled. I’m also feeling good because I got me a brand new haircut – and haircuts always make me feel good.

Before the haircut:

And after:

Haircut executed, as always, by Heather at Glendale Salon Spa – she always does a great job. I got the haircut on Friday, and it’s a teeny-tiny bit short at the moment, but that’s exactly what I asked for, because haircuts always look best after about a week, and in a week is… Christmas! It’s all about timing.

Keep it up, David!


Saturday Hodge-Podge

December 17, 2011

A few eclectic thoughts for your Saturday (and mine):

1) Enlightened. I’ve been watching “Enlightened” on HBO, and I love it. Have you watched? I’m waaaay behind – they aired the finale last week, but I’ve been TiVo-ing and I just watched the fourth episode. The show, about a woman (Laura Dern) rebuilding her life after a nervous-breakdown-esque incident, is touching, honest and isn’t afraid of awkward or uncomfortable situations, which provide a good deal of the humor. (I know, I know, this review is coming weeks and weeks late, but if you subscribe to HBO, you can watch full episodes online here.)

In the episode I just watched, Amy realizes that her relationship with her ex-husband has forever changed, and the events that led to their splitting up can’t be undone. The episode ends with Amy summing up what she’s learned, in a voice-over:

“You can try to escape the story of your life, but you can’t. It happened… Mine isn’t the one I would have chosen in the beginning, but I’ll take it. It is my story. Only mine. And it’s not over. There’s time. There is time. There’s so much time.”

I disagree in the sense that I probably wouldn’t choose a different story of my life, but I connected to all the rest, especially the idea that the only direction worth facing is forward. Whether it’s a relatively small infraction, like eating too many cookies at a holiday party, or a major life decision that didn’t turn out the way you wanted, it’s in the past, and there is time (so much time!) to keep writing your story, adding pages and chapters that will get you closer to the ending that you want and deserve. I try not to live in the past (which is often easier said than done), and “Enlightened” helped remind me, tonight, to keep that up.

2) A Little Holiday Humor. Check out this music video for a song called “Drink My Way Through Christmas.” Karen Kilgariff, a friend that I used to work with a few years back, is the singer and songwriter, and the video looks awesome, and makes me laugh every time I watch it.

Hear more of Karen Kilgariff’s music here.

3) Encouragement. A few days ago marked the one-year anniversary of me reaching a major weight-related goal: weighing under 250 pounds for the first time in my adult life. What’s completely awesome is that I’ve kept off the 153 pounds that I lost to reach that goal, and since then, I’ve lost 13 more. I’m still 16 pounds away from my next weight-loss goal, but I’ll get there.

The blog post that I wrote about reaching that goal (which you can read here) ended up being one of my all-time favorites, and I just re-read it for the first time in months. What I love about that post is that is captures an enthusiasm and energy that, to be honest, has since fizzled. My pride hasn’t diminished – I’ll always be nothing but proud of my weight loss and all the related successes – but my enthusiasm about it has. The moments where I get lost in my own sense of accomplishment come less frequently now, and that should probably change, and that sensation has, in the past, been a huge motivator. Starting each day with, at minimum, a celebratory glance in the mirror and pat on the back would be a good thing.

Keep it up, David.

From The Archives…

December 16, 2011

Thanks for all the well wishes yesterday, folks. I really appreciate it. I’m feeling better today, but not 100% yet. The sneezing and the runny nose seem to have largely disappeared, but I’m still achy and my throat is still sore and I still feel tired, so… I. Am. Still. Sick.


I was digging through the Keep It Up, David archives and I came across a recurring post I used to put together, where I would get creative with the big & tall catalogs that came to my house. Basically, I would create comic strips using the photographs from the catalog. They were called “Big & Tall Catalog Model Drama” – clever, huh? I used to get a catalog at least once a week, which provided plenty of material for these comic strips, but then I called each company and had myself removed from their mailing lists, and, well, “Big & Tall Catalog Model Drama” fell by the wayside.

It’s been over a year since I published a “Big & Tall Catalog Model Drama” post, and they were kinda popular in their day. Since I’ve barely left the house in two days and have nothing interesting to write about, I thought I could send you all into the weekend with a few laughs, if you happen to like my strange sense of humor. If you don’t happen to like my strange sense of humor, well then fuck you.

Sorry, that’s the DayQuil talking. Here are the links to all five installments of “Big & Tall Catalog Model Drama.” Enjoy!

Now my brain is churning about new ways in to interject some humor into this blog…

Keep it up, David!

I’ve Been a Little Quiet This Week…

December 15, 2011

…and that’s because I’m sick. Again. I was just sick about a month ago, with a terrible sore throat that lasted well over a week, and now I’m sick again. Sore throat, sneezing, runny nose, yuck.

I’m sick of being sick.

The timing is good, in the sense that I just loaded up at the store the other day, so there’s plenty of healthy food in my house and I’m eating it. And drinking lots of fluid, and taking lots of Vitamin C, and getting lots of rest, and self-medicating with lots of DayQuil and NyQuil (depending on the hour). I didn’t work out yesterday, and, as of right now, I don’t think I’ll work out today, either. I’ll just focus on the hours of mindless entertainment that my TiVo has saved for me. And I’ll focus on getting better.

Keep it up, David.

Holidays Parties and Produce Haul

December 13, 2011

I got a special request from a reader for a blog topic! A reader named Andy wrote this:

“How about blogging on how to get through holiday parties and family get togethers, when you’re surrounded by goodies and comfort food? I’d love some ideas.”

That’s a great idea, Andy! I’ve already been to one holiday party this year, and have a couple more coming up, and they can be terribly stressful and tempting if you’re really working hard to eat well and stay on program. Here are my thoughts on how to navigate a treacherous sea of cookies, egg nog, sugar plums, and figgy pudding. (I’ve never had a sugar plum or figgy pudding, and I’m only presuming they’re not healthy options.)

1) Don’t Arrive Hungry. It doesn’t matter if it’s a full-blown dinner party or a simple get-together – eat something healthy before it starts. Get some food in your stomach so you aren’t ravenous – that way, you won’t be reaching for every mini-quiche or piece of fudge that crosses your path.

2) Drink, Drink, Drink! (Water, Water, Water) Drink a big glass before you go, and drink a glass or two before you eat a thing. It’s another trick to help you feel full without consuming vast amounts of gingerbread or cocktail weinees. It also might be helpful for you to carry a glass as you navigate the party –  keeping your hands occupied with a cup might help prevent you from scooping up handfuls of nuts or M&Ms.

3) Identify the Healthiest Options. Survey all the offerings before putting anything on your plate. Is there a veggie platter? Is there fruit? If it’s all snack foods, are there pretzels or crackers or other baked items, as opposed to chips, which are fried? Find the most guilt-free item, and stock up. I find it helpful to know what I can turn to if I’m really feeling peckish later on.

4) Make Your Splurges Count. You don’t have to be perfect. It’s a party – enjoy yourself! If there are foods you wouldn’t normally eat that you want to sample, then go for it – but be reasonable. I like trying new things, so I’m more likely to splurge on someone’s homemade cookie that I’ve never tried before, as opposed to a platter of Oreos that I’ve eaten 10,000 times before.

5) Walk Away. If you hang out by the chips and dip, chances are you’ll probably eat more chips and dip that you should. So do your chit-chat and catching up away from the food table.

6) Eat Slowly. It’s not a race! Fix a plate, walk away (see #5), and take your time eating it! Set your fork or plate down in between bites. No one’s going to steal your grub.

7) Bring Something Healthy! If it’s a potluck (and a lot of holiday parties are), bring something guilt-free to share. I bring food to parties all the time, and I never bring anything I can’t eat copious amounts of. If it’s not a potluck, call the host and offer to help. If they decline your offer because they have it under control, than follow their wishes and come empty-handed. But if they take you up on your offer, than huzzah! Swing through the produce section and knock yourself out!

What am I forgetting? If you have tips for getting through holiday parties, leave them in the comments section!

Moving on…

I went to Whole Foods earlier today, and ended up bringing home a veritable buffet of fresh produce. Check it my haul!

Clockwise from Top Left, we have: carrots, Persian cucumbers, a pineapple, apples (more on these later), holiday grapes, celery, bananas, satsuma tangerines, broccoli and cauliflower, mushrooms, a bag of kale salad, head of garlic, 2 kiwis, orange and yellow bell peppers, a brown onion, 2 red pears, 4 tomatoes, and some green beans. That’s 20 different types of produce!

A quick note about the apples: 4 of them are of the Pink Lady variety (one of my favorite varieties), and 1 of them is an Arkansas Black, a heirloom variety of apple. I’ve never bought an Arkansas Black before. Here it is up close:

Looks like an apple.

I bought one other new-to-me item, and I found it in the sprouts-and-sprouted-bean section:


I’ve heard of amaranth before, but I’m a little sketchy as to what it is, and I haven’t done any research yet. But my understanding is that it’s a grain than can be used to make flour and cereal. I don’t know if all amaranth is red, or if this is a super-special product, but I will look into it.

I was drawn to the package by the color – this amaranth is a deep fuchsia color, and it’s beautiful:

I’ve bought sprouts many times before, and I suspect these will end up either in a salad or a sandwich (or possibly both!), and I look forward to trying them.

The nice woman who was bagging my groceries at the check-out counter thought, when she first saw the package, that it was saffron, and I think that’s a reasonable mistake – saffron is also deep red stems. I have a little saffron in my spice cupboard – this is what it looks like:

Some fun facts about saffron: it’s the most expensive spice on the planet. Distributors typically sell it by the gram, and one online retailer I just visited was selling top-quality Spanish saffron for $21 a gram – which means one pound of the stuff would cost over $9,700! That package of red amaranth weighs 1.75 ounces, and if that was saffron, I’d be out hundreds and hundreds of dollars!

Saffron is so outrageously expensive because it’s a beast to harvest. Saffron is the stigma of a particular type of crocus flower. Each flower only has three saffron threads inside it, and they have to be harvested by hand. An entire acre of crocuses will only yield a few pounds of saffron per season.

The good thing is that a little saffron goes a long way. My father’s side of the family is Spanish, and I grew up eating Spanish food regularly, so I know that only a tiny pinch of saffron is all you need to flavor a giant pot of paella.

That was a fun tangent, wasn’t it? You never know what you’ll learn after I make a swing through the produce section!

Keep it up, David!

My Scale is on the Move!

December 12, 2011

My scale is on the move, and I’m not referring to the numbers that I see when I step on it. What I mean is that my scale is physically in a totally new place.

For the longest time, my scale had a comfortable home on the floor of my bathroom:

Then, a couple months ago, I caught myself becoming a little too obsessed with weighing myself. I was stepping on the scale every single day, sometimes multiple times a day, and in an effort to put some distance between me and my scale, I found a new home for my scale, on the top shelf of my closet:

See it? Tucked in amongst my shoes?

My scale had a good long run in my closet. Once a week I would pull it down, move it into the bathroom, have my weigh-in, and return it to my closet shelf.

Lately, though, I’ve found myself becoming obsessed with the scale again. I’ve been holding steady, weight-wise, for the past few weeks, and I’m working hard to get back to my all-time low, which is four pounds less than I currently weigh. I’ve had great workouts over the past few days, and have eaten well, too, and have found myself getting fixated on the scale. I think I must have weighed myself 6 or 7 times over the past few days, and that’s out of control. Everyone’s weight fluctuates up and down a few pounds over the course of the day, and I caught myself over-analyzing these little fluctuations, weighing myself after bowel movements, justifying little gains and losses…

…and none of that is healthy. It’s all mental mind tricks, and I need to squash it. That my scale was out of my bathroom made no difference, either – I was happy to pull it off the shelf multiple times a day, use it, and return it.

So now I need to find a new home for the scale, one even more removed from the bathroom. And I think I found the perfect solution. The first thing I did was put the scale in a box:

And the box went into the trunk of my car.

My car lives in the parking garage in my building, a full flight of stairs away.

Now, in order to weigh myself, I’ll have to come all the way down to the garage to get my scale, and bring it all the way up back into my bathroom. I won’t be tempted to weigh myself in my garage because I like to weigh myself naked, and, well, I’m not stripping down in public!

My normal weigh-ins are on Tuesdays, but since I moved my scale to my trunk yesterday, I’m going to give this whole system a go and skip my official weigh-in this week. In fact, since I need to refocus on my attitude and stay focused on my eating and exercise, I don’t think I’ll weigh myself again until 2012. Since I’m leaving town in about a week for the holidays, that’s not a big stretch anyway. I love my weight loss chart, and l love updating it, but I can’t let the numbers run my life. Nothing is gonna run my life but me.

Keep it up, David!

Crime Scene

December 10, 2011

Disclaimer: This post is not for the faint or weak of heart. It contains images that some may find disturbing, and it is suggested that children, pregnant women, and those with a tendency to barf stop reading now. You’ve been warned.

My kitchen was the scene of a heinous, vicious, violent crime. It’s currently sectioned off from the rest of my home with yellow caution tape, and various law enforcement types are walking around, touching my things with their gloved hands, lifting fingerprints off of my various household items. They gathered around this, murmuring and shaking their heads, and photographed it from all angles:

I’ll tell you what I told them: it’s just ketchup. From an unrelated incident.

One detective told me that they wouldn’t be leaving until they’ve gathered all the evidence and completed their investigation, and that really irks me, because there’s no need for an investigation. I already confessed. Take me downtown and put me in a cold gray room with a singular light bulb swinging from the ceiling, and I’ll confess again. Send in your tough, ruggedly handsome, internally-conflicted, doesn’t-play-by-the-rules new guy, and I’ll confess to him. Send in Kyra Sedgwick, Mariska Hargitay, Cagney and/or Lacey, and I’ll confess to them (and compliment their hair).

I am a murderer.

Look at that, I just confessed again! I killed my roommate. It wasn’t an crime of passion or a freak accident. It was a premeditated, carefully orchestrated, masterfully executed event. It’s not the first time I’ve killed my roommate, and it may not be the last. Here’s a picture of my roommate from a few days ago:

If you saw my post from last week, you’ll know that it was the worst roommate a guy could ever have. It was rude and inconsiderate, with a penchant for phone sex that was downright disgusting. I even announced my plans for murder at the end of that post!

Despite my confession and the fact that I declared my murderous intentions days ago, the coppers are still wandering in their trench coats, hunched over their tiny notebooks, putting together their case. I didn’t clean up after myself, so the evidence is abundant:

EXHIBIT A – Bits of my former roommate, including an appendage, on the floor:

EXHIBIT B – More pieces of my roommate, scattered across a cutting board:

EXHIBIT C – A dirty non-stick skillet, still warm t0 the touch, complete with charred roommate bits:

EXHIBIT D – The murder weapon!

(Remember that aforementioned unrelated ketchup incident? Some ketchup got on the knife, too.)

Of course, I can’t be charged with murder if there’s no proof of a death, and I didn’t have time (or the interest) to bury my roommate’s body in the woods or tie it to a brick and toss it off a pier. The corpse was out, in plain sight.

If you’re squeamish but somehow made it this far, I suggest you close your browser, because this is where it gets gross.

I’m not above showing a photograph of my maimed, dismembered, mutilated, defaced, disfigured roommate. Take a deep breath, summon your courage, and take a look:

Haunting, isn’t it? It’s not the sort of image that you can easily erase from your head.

So why did I do it? It’s a question that the detectives have been asking me over and over and over and over again, and I’m getting tired of answering it. But you, dear readers, you deserve to know. My murderous rampage can be attributed to two things:

  1. Revenge. I was sick and tired of my roommate being a jerkface and taking advantage of my generousity.
  2. I wanted a healthy lunch.

There’s two photographs that I have yet to share with the police officers. They saw my roommate’s barren stalk, but not where the rest of it ended up. They know I used that skillet for something, and they must be pretty crappy detectives, because they haven’t yet asked what was in that skillet.

First, I slicked it down with some nonfat cooking spray. Then I added 1/2 an onion, thinly sliced, and 3 minced cloves of garlic. Then, I added my roommate’s delicious sprouts, halved. I sauteed them on medium-high heat (so they got a little color) until they were tender all the way through (6-8 minutes), and about a minute before they were finished, I hit them with about a 1/4 cup of nonfat balsamic vinaigrette.

If you happened to think my roommate looked appealing before, take a look at what it looked like after!

My roommate was even more delicious than he looks. And I’m not afraid to tell that to a judge.

Keep it up, David!