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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene, You Suck!

I'm happy to hear that so many of you survived Irene relatively unscathed.  Unfortunately, my mom was not as lucky.  She lives in the part of New Jersey that was hardest hit.  She was under a mandatory evacuation until Monday afternoon and is STILL without power.  We have heard that she should not expect power to be reinstated until Monday at the earliest.  I'm not all that confident that the power company will get power up and running over a holiday weekend, but we can hope.  So now she is living at home with no power and no generator.  At least she should be well-rested this week!  I'm not sure how Muldoon, mom's dog, is handling this no power situation.  She is a relatively high maintenance wow wow and likes sleeping with air conditioning.  Without it, her hair frizzes and she is restless.  Mom will probably survive a week sans power better than her fuzzy baby will. 
For your viewing pleasure, I bring you Muldoon
I bought Muldoon this shirt to wear at my bridal shower 
(and no, I don't typically dress up the poor dog)
 While I am on the subject of my shower, one pic with mi madre
Now back to the storm.  Mom's street was under 3.5-4' of water during Irene, but luckily her house has high enough elevation that her garage and home remained dry! 
Mom's street (her house is not pictured)   
I am scheduled to fly back to NJ on Sunday to spend Labor Day on the beach... it will be interesting to see what the beach looks like after the storm (and it will be equally interesting to figure out how I will shower off after a day at the beach without hot water).  Just give me one good beach day and I won't whine and sob too much about the lack of electricity.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Didn't Want to Come Home!

Kenny had such a wonderful time in Mallorca, and I really thought it was unfair that he made me come home last night.  How could he love me and treat me this way?  All jokes aside, this was just a great trip. 
Kenny loves to golf but rarely has time to do so.  We decided to stay at a golf resort so that he could golf most mornings and then spend the rest of the day with me.  This worked out very well.  He booked tee times for 7:50 or 8:00 and was showered and at the pool by 11:30 or so.  We were able to spend a good amount of time together without sacrificing what either of us wanted during our holiday. 
    The pool at our resort
We were in Mallorca for 10 nights and decided that it would be a waste to spend each and every day, all day, at the resort.  There was an entire island to see after all.  So we rented a car for two days.  Because we only know how to drive automatic, European car rentals are very expensive.  We wind up paying twice what we would pay for a manual and frequently have to rent a higher caliber car (the car rental companies don't bother having cheap automatic cars).  Renting a nicer car is never a hardship, until the bill comes in.  One of the amazing benefits to requiring an automatic car is that we are frequently upgraded to a much better car than what we originally booked.  We had booked an A-Class Mercedes in Florence a few months back and wound up getting an E-Class Mercedes convertible in its place.  On the same trip I had reserved a Ford Fiesta in Positano, and we were instead given keys to a Volvo S60.  In Mallorca I again reserved an A-Class Mercedes, which was the cheapest automatic option.  The company wound up giving us an SLK200 Mercedes convertible both days!  So there we were, driving the coast and looking fabulous in this little convertible. 
Obligatory picture of me driving:)
We drove up the west coast of the island on the first day, stopping at several little towns along the way.  If I am being completely honest, many of the towns were underwhelming.  They were cute and quaint, but that was about it.  Every town has a church, an open air market and then... nothing!  I am pretty certain that most vacationers would be a bit more impressed than Kenny and I were, but there was little to make these towns distinct from those in parts of Greece, Italy or even other parts of Spain. 
    View from the Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa, where Chopin stayed for 3 months
On the second day with the car we cut through the island and went straight north.  The island has several caves, and we stopped to tour one.  I had initially decided against doing the cave tour, as the most popular cave on the island gets horrible reviews- 300 people on one tour, the tour done in 5 languages, difficulty seeing anything.  I did a bit of research and found a much smaller cave instead and was happy that we decided to visit.  The caves are gigantic, and they are cool (not a bad thing when the weather is in the high 90s most days). 
The cave
We then drove to Formentor for lunch, followed by a visit to Cap de Formentor.  The cape itself is about 12 miles long and has a pretty, old lighthouse at the tip. 
The only problem was the road, so narrow in places that this very little car of ours could barely drive around the idiot drivers who took their half out of the middle!  So while I'd like to think that we looked wonderful with the top down, the reality is that I probably looked more like this at times...
We also spent an afternoon in Palma, the main city in Mallorca.  I wasn't overly impressed, but the Cathedral was beautiful. 
Le Seu Cathedral
Wrought-iron canpoy by Gaudi
The food in Mallorca was just amazing.  We both love Spanish food and enjoy eating our way through the various regions of the country.  I was a bit concerned about gaining weight on this trip due to the amount of time we would be away- 10 nights away means somewhere between 20 and 30 restaurant meals.  Because I am not much of a breakfast person, I bought single granola bars in London and brought them with us.  Every morning I had a bar and an apple rather than paying resort rates for a breakfast I would not enjoy and would even have trouble getting down.  We ate a proper lunch every afternoon, seared tuna for me most days, and a shared plate of fried calamari.  Then we had a mojito or glass of sangria on the terrace every evening before dinner, which always included a bottle of wine.  At dinner I was pretty controlled and stuck mostly with fish, avoided bread and only shared a dessert on one evening.  Even though I don't feel tight and know I can still probably eat more than I will when I reach proper restriction, this little thing really does work!  On a few evenings we went out for tapas.  We would order 5 tapas to start, and I couldn't even eat my share of what was in front of me.  I ate the protein first, again avoided the bread and was satisfied with so much less than I would have been pre-surgery.  Kenny and I shared a paella on our last night, and I ate about 20% of my portion.  I know I would have scarfed down my entire plate, and then gazed longingly at what he didn't finish, a year ago! 
  The most amazing bacalao carpaccio
I continue to be amazed at how much easier life is now that I have lost 80+ lbs.  I am not lethargic, am much less sweaty (but in all seriousness, I still sweat like a pig when it is in the high 90s... it is what it is) and am not so afraid of not fitting, literally fitting, into things.  The first day we drove the SLK I pulled on the seat belt to see how much give it had.  I showed it to Kenny and said that I might not have been able to get the belt around me last year.  This was a small sports car, not a big car with extra roominess.  He mentioned that I would have probably gotten the belt to click but that I would have been much less comfortable.  I also move so much more!  Even though I brought gym clothes, I decided that I was not going to go to the gym during our trip.  I just wasn't in the mood.  Instead, I took the stairs everywhere.  Down to the pool, stairs.  Up to our room, stairs.  Up to the concierge, stairs.  Stairs, stairs, stairs.  And I didn't have Kenny go to the concierge so I could avoid the stairs; I simply did it myself.  And with eating over 20 meals in restaurants, drinking more than I typically would and not setting foot in a gym for nearly 2 weeks, I came home down 0.2 lbs.  I consider this a huge WIN!
I am also much happier laying out at the pool now that I have slimmed down a bit.  I might be one of the bigger women at the resort, but I no longer stand out like a sore thumb.  And now that I am smaller, I find myself looking at other women much more than I did at my heaviest.  American women surely take the cake (yes, pun intended) when it comes to being fat, but these European women have a whole different mindset when it comes to appropriate swimwear for the heavier ladies of society.  While up in Formentor as well as when out to lunch on our last day, I saw bikini-clad women who weighed well in excess of 300 lbs!  I saw one rather large women in a surprisingly small bikini a few days into our trip.  I commented to Kenny that she was almost as big as I am and that, while I am impressed with her confidence, I'd be a bit happier if I didn't have to see quite so much of her.  He said that the woman was actually bigger than I, and my heart smiled just a bit:)   My happiest moment was when we were clearing immigration last night.  I handed our passports to the border control officer, and she reviewed my documents first.  She looked at my passport- then at me- and said (with a smile on her face), "You have changed, madam, for the better".  It was the NICEST thing I have heard since I have started losing weight.  It was entirely unsolicited and from someone who doesn't 'owe' me a compliment or feel any obligation to say something so pleasant.  I wasn't happy to land in London, but hearing something like that provided a great welcome home!
Last but certainly not least, a big thank you to Catherine, for lending me this fun dress!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting Ready To Boogy

We have a car picking us up at 4:45 am, and I am partially packed.  Seeing that it is before 6 pm here, this is a big accomplishment for me! 
My right contact was bothering me yesterday.  I popped it out, and my eye was a bit gummy (yuck).  Not bad, but still not what I want to see pre-vacation.  I bought an OTC antibiotic drop but still went to the eye doctor this morning.  Good thing I did; the doctor gave me something that is much stronger.  So now I am wearing glasses.  Not something I do too often, but c'est la vie.  Better this than having a serious infection in Mallorca. 
I doubt I will be able to blog on vacation, so see you after August 29!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blogger Question

I've been seeing this error message when I have tried to comment on other blogs--> Your current account ( does not have access to view this page.  Do a lot of you have settings so only certain people can respond to posts, or is this yet another Blogger issue? 

I Feel Much Better Now. I Really Do.

Ladies, I can't thank you enough for all of your comments yesterday.  I agree with everything you wrote.  Basil is a little gnat, and I can easily ignore him.  As for the clothes, I am usually very good about giving away my old clothing and only wearing pieces that fit well and are flattering.  Like many of you, my wardrobe is pretty lean at the moment.  I bought transition clothing in April, but most of what I purchased is gigantic at this point.  I am bringing almost everything that fits to Mallorca on Friday.  Because 1 hour dry cleaning does not exist here (I am lucky to get my clothes back in 2 business days), and I have to hang dry everything that I wash at home, I am relegated to the part of the closet I typically avoid.  These are my emergency rations- not pretty or luxurious, but they get the job done in dire situations.  My cute new jeans are finally dry, so I will look a bit more human today.  
I do think yesterday was some sort of cosmic reminder that I cannot get complacent with thise whole weight loss process.  I find that to be a positive.  Falling off the wagon at this point would be a failure in my eyes, and I am not going to let that happen.  So being aware of where I am in the process without being angered or annoyed by it can only help me to stay motivated!  
I am now ready for my herb-free gym session!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reality Check

Today has really brought me back to reality.  I am more aware of how much more weight I have yet to lose.  First, I had the gym situation- I am still the biggest woman there and some of the trainers seem to think I am an easy target for unloading ridiculous training sessions.  Then I went to a golf lesson this afternoon.  This is my first ever lesson at this school and my first lesson years.  The instructor asked me to warm up by hitting a few balls and left the room while I did so.  He had a camera running to film my swing from behind.  After a few minutes he came back and asked me to watch the video with him.  Yikes- I cringed. I looked gigantic- like I was 5'3" and over 300lbs!  I looked at least as big as I did before surgery.  It didn't help that I was wearing a shirt that I have worn since my heaviest weight and that the pants (from my Italy trip) are pretty baggy as well.  I know that I am significantly smaller than I was pre-surgery, but oh boy.  I am still miles away from where I need to be.  This really threw me for a loop.

Fat Girl Walking

I've been very happy with my appearance recently.  My weight loss has slowed, but I am still getting smaller.  I accept that as I lose weight, I will lose at a slower pace. 
The gym is the place that keeps me grounded.  I remember how far I have come (I could have never worked out the way I do now were I still 324.6 lbs) and acknowledge how much further I have to go on this journey (let's get real ladies, I am still bigger than many of you were pre-surgery).  I also deal with the reality that while I am starting to see a woman who is regaining the shape of a woman, a woman who no longer has a second chin and who is getting her life and health back, others still see me as someone who is F.A.T.- fat.  This is especially true with the trainers.  While some of them are really cool, others come close to chanting "Fat Girl Walking" with dollar signs in their eyes when they see me. 

Basil, a trainer I have never spoken with before (and yes, I am quite familiar with his family members, Tomato and Mozzarella), approached me during today's kettle bell routine.  I don't know what it is with these damn bells, but trainers always feel the need to speak with me as I am squatting and swinging these things.  I can do upper body workouts for days at a time without anyone speaking with me, but the moment I grab hold of the bells, out come the trainers.  And out came Basil.  He was able to show me a couple tweaks to my routine, but overall he was way too pushy for me.  He immediately tried to get me to sign up for a six day a week, 90-day workout routine lead by him, of course.  He plans to get 3-4 women together to do this with him.  Let's just say that I won't be one of the women.  My excuse was that I travel too much to commit to anything that lasts for three months, and this is 100% true.  Seriously though, dealing with one trainer that much just sounds like hell.  I like my alone time at the gym and could not face six days a week of noise and other people invading my time.  It also seems like a bit of overkill.  Weekly training will help me, but this would just be way too much.  He also mentioned the Warrior Diet to me, where you eat only one meal a day in the evening.  He said that he lost 2kg (4.4lbs) in two weeks doing it.  I almost laughed out loud- it sounds like misery and is something else I won't be trying. 
I might still be Fat Girl Walking, but I will not be an easy target for this guy.     

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Weekend Of Favorites

Kenny and I had a surprisingly lovely weekend in London.  Usually we have to go out of town to spend much time together, but this weekend worked out differently for us.  Kenny golfed very early on Saturday- his colleague picked him up at 6:15 in the morning- so he was back in time for lunch.  Unfortunately, he returned without the new golf GPS I bought him for his birthday.  He golfed in Ealing, which is one of the places that had serious riots last week and is (surprise, surprise) not the nicest part of town.  He left his clubs outside of the clubhouse to grab a soda inside (not smart, I know), and some hoodlum stole the GPS off of his bag.  He is lucky he didn't lose his entire golf bag, but he was still annoyed and upset.  While Kenny was getting his golf on, I decided to go to the gym.  I typically refuse to hit the gym on weekends.  It is very busy, and I think 5 consecutive days of working out is enough.  But I couldn't bring myself to just sit on the couch for 2 hours, so off I went for an hour of cardio.  We were able to spend the rest of the day together.  We went out to lunch, walked around town and made a quick visit to my favorite shoe shop!     
On Sunday we visited H-a-r-w-o-o-d-A-r-m-s.  It is the first gastropub to receive a Michelin star and happens to be one of our favorite restaurants.  The only downside is that we have to book a month in advance, and it is hard to plan that far in advance.  We each started with a venison scotch egg, which this restaurant is known for.  It is pretty much a soft boiled egg, encased in venison sausage, breaded and fried.  It sounds disgusting, but these things are to die for!  So I ate half of mine and gave Kenny the other half.  The rest of the meal was fantastic, but the scotch egg is the masterpiece of this restaurant.  Given how slowly I now eat, our main meals came way too fast.  I know the kitchen was not rushing us and timed the courses as it typically does, but it still stunk to only be half way through my starter when my main showed up.  Kenny and I have decided that we need to ask the kitchen to hold our mains from now on to give me enough time to eat and relax.  Live and learn.

Look At My Pretty New Blog

I'd like to thank Jen and her Just Foolin Blog Designs for creating my fantastic new blog!  Look around, and enjoy.
Because I am aTraveling Bandita, I've tried to make this version more travel related.  Several of you have mentioned that you will be visiting one or more of the destinations I have blogged about, so I asked Jen to add a Tripadvisor button.  This links to my profile, where I review many of the hotels and restaurants Kenny and I have enjoyed, or have been less than pleased with, during our travels.  Once in my profile, click on Contributions to view my write ups. 

Friday, August 12, 2011


I am going to need to modify my breakfast routine slightly.  The first time I worked out intensely last month, I came home and felt a little woozy.  I put a bit of honey on my finger, sucked away and felt oh so much better.  I clearly wasn't getting enough carbs for a hard workout, so I added raspberries and a bit of honey to my morning yogurt.  Today I had my newly improved yogurt and a kiwi before hitting the gym.  I spoke with the front desk about purchasing a training pack and then had a fantastic workout.  I increased the reps for my squat and kettle bell routine significantly and was really pleased that I did this and still completed 60 minutes on the vario. 
Anyway, I made it home and spent a few minutes on the computer before hopping into the shower.  Then everything went downhill.  That woozy feeling came back and was SO much worse than the first time it happened.  I felt that I was going to hurl or pass out, and I wasn't really sure which would be worse.  I wound up getting the suds off of me quickly, wrapping up in a towel and running into the kitchen (dripping wet) to once again have a moment with my trusty bottle of honey.  A few squeezes later and I was all set to attempt my shower again.
Clearly, I need to change my breakfast game plan.  Like many bandsters, I don't have much interest in breakfast.  I eat it out of necessity and really don't think I could get down much more than yogurt and a kiwi or two.  I was convinced that the raspberry, honey and kiwi would give me enough oomph to get me through.  Does anyone have suggestions to get more energy into my breakfast?  I am considering adding a bit more honey and maybe one more kiwi but am up for other options.


Kenny and I went out to dinner with our friend, C, last night.  Kenny and C know each other professionally, and we became friendly with the family earlier this year.  During our Italy trip (middle of April-beginning of May) we spent three nights in Positano.  C and his family were in Capri and invited us to their hotel for lunch.  We ferried over and had a really enjoyable afternoon with his wife and girls.  Since then he and the family joined us at our 4th of July BBQ.  Now C's wife and daughters are in Nantucket for the summer, so he is flying solo until he meets up with them next week.  
Not surprisingly, the three of us had a great evening together!  We had some good laughs and could have stayed out all night had the guys not had work this morning.  Towards the end of the night (and the end of our third bottle of wine), C remarked on how good I am looking.  The words 'damn, girl's lookin good' came out of his mouth!  He said that when he walked up to us he was like, wow, etc. etc.  Then he turned to Kenny and asked if he has noticed this.  Kenny of course said yes, yes he had.  C looked at him and said, no, really- Have. You. Noticed?  I was SO flattered.  C has only known me since the spring.  I have only lost 25 lbs or so in the last few months.  But he noticed and was willing to be so much more complimentary than friends who knew me when I was about 325 lbs!  It was also the first time I have ever had a MARRIED male friend comment on how good I am looking- not only to me but to my HUSBAND!  I was floating on Cloud Nine by the time we left the restaurant. 
C's comment also had an effect on Kenny.  We got home- and how do I put this, considering that my mother reads this blog (hi mom)- Kenny was much more interested in me than he typically is after a long day of work.  I think he had a bit of an 'oh sh*t' moment, acknowledging that men might actually start noticing HIS wife again.  Let's see how long this lasts for!   

Thursday, August 11, 2011

When Did Packing Become So Difficult?

I have always considered myself to be a pretty good packer.  I pack quickly and neatly and just about never forget anything.  The morning after Kenny and I were married, mom hosted a brunch for 70+ wedding guests.  I spent the morning with our guests and then hustled to pack before the arrival of our limo at 3 pm.  The limo came early, and I made the driver wait until 3 (when I was done).  We were away for about 2 weeks, and I didn't forget a thing.  This is just how I handle packing.  Kenny and mom now have a running joke about my packing, and they don't even try to push me to pack in advance. 
I'm sad to say that I finally have packing fatigue, and this fatigue is making me forgetful.  I love the travel, but the packing is becoming an annoying inconvenience.  I think it is because I am in a perpetual state of packing and unpacking- I am rarely in London for more than 2 weeks at a time and am just about always in the states for a week a month.  This is on top of my European travel.  I am to the point where I don't always bother to fully unpack (yes, I take the dirties out and change up the shoes) before piling in a few more items and running to meet my driver.  My system had always worked until last month, and then it failed miserably. 
Kenny and I had been at the shore and were taking the ferry into the city when I realized that I had forgotten undies.  Three nights in the city and no undies.  Kenny had also left his ties at my mom's house, so I made an emergency trip to Bloomingdale's.  This little shopping trip was an unexpected bonus, as my old undies look a bit like very baggy parachutes wrapped around my body.  Still, I didn't like that I had forgotten something so essential.  I pride myself in my packing skills after all. 
Fast forward to our weekend in the Cotswolds.  We are unpacking on Friday evening.  I pull out my dress, shoes and wrap for Friday night.  I pull out my shoes and wrap for Saturday night.  What is missing?  The dress!  I remembered the items I really could have managed without, the shoes and wrap, and completely blanked on the dress.  Two trips in two weeks, and I forgot two major things.  Now we are a week away from our Mallorca trip.  We are staying here for 10 nights, and I really don't want to continue this trend of forgetting my belongings.  I am going to have to pack in advance for this trip.  Even worse, I might actually make a checklist!  Groan:( 
I hope that my packing amnesia is temporary.  My travel routine will become much more tiresome if I actually need to focus on it!
I had a great workout this morning!  The trainer I wrote about earlier this week, Ed, was there again.  He had offered to help me out when he introduced himself on Tuesday, so I decided to take him up on his offer today.  I was in the middle of a 5 minute warm up on the treadmill when we started chatting.  I asked if he could show me a few more kettle bell exercises, and he was very helpful.  He stayed with me from 9:10-9:55, which is pretty amazing!  Of course Ed wants me to do personal training with him, so he wanted to show me what he is like.  And it was a smart move on his part!  I've been watching the trainers most days to determine if I could like any of them, and some of them just wouldn't work for me.  Some stand next to the trainee as he/she runs on the treadmill for 20 minutes.  Sorry boys, but I can do that myself.  Others have the unfortunate condition of being female.  I've never liked female trainers and just refuse to even bother trying with another woman.  Lastly, some are just plain dumb.  I like to be able to chat and banter, and I need someone who at least has enough braincells to deal with me.  This guy is a 22 year old university grad, studying for his masters and going through the process of applying to the army.  Ed could work!  I am going to buy a package of training sessions so he can work with me once a week.  After my training today I completed an hour of cardio on the Vario, so it was a good start to the day. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Compliments and Crooks

I invited one of my American girlfriends and her friend over for a boozy lunch yesterday.  I knew I would never got to the gym after our lunch, so I went much earlier than usual.  I was in the middle of my kettlebell routine when one of the trainers came over to me.  I am lucky to work out at a nice club, and the trainers are always friendly.  Still, all I could think was 'uh oh, what am I doing wrong?'.  He started talking about how much he loved these weights and that he brings them to the park for his workouts.  He introduced himself... and then the compliment... he said that I should feel free to ask him any questions but that I look like I know what I am doing.  A trainer told ME that I looked like I knew what I was doing with kettlebells of all things!  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  I might have blushed, not sure...
My girlfriend and her friend came over, and we had great afternoon catching up.  When she and I first met, I wasn't sure if we would click.  We had the American connection, but I didn't know if that would be enough to have a friendship over.  She is also very fit.  She is a distance runner and has run two half-marathons in Europe this year.  She is also running a FULL marathon in Iceland in a week or two.  Would this super fit gal have any interest in being friends with the fatso?  Fast forward to yesterday.  She was saying how I look so good and I had so obviously lost weight since we last saw each other at my 4th of July BBQ.  She knew that I had lost a lot, but this was the first time I told her exactly how much I have lost.  She had an ear to ear grin she was so happy for me.  I have a decent number of friends who have been silent over my weight loss, and hearing that a super slim girlfriend of mine was actually happy for me made me feel very good! 
We were hanging out in my garden, which felt almost surreal.  Parts of the city had experienced severe rioting, and we were chilling in the garden with some wine and Lebanese food.  It felt eerily normal.  Then Kenny called to say that his company had emailed all London employees and told them to go home because the rioting might get bad.  My girlfriend's husband works for the same company and received the same message.  Of course my husband decided not to leave immediately and kept working for about an hour.  Then my girlfriend's husband popped up from the Underground and saw that the local Waitrose (grocery store) was CLOSED 'for the safety of the customers'.  Kenny finally made it home, and we decided to order Thai for dinner.  That would have worked if the Thai restaurant hadn't been closed as well.  We ordered even more Lebanese, I am convinced we keep this restaurant in business, and walked to pick it up.  The little Sainsbury's (another grocery store) was closed due to the riots as was the liquor store.  Now shutting down the markets is bad enough, but things are looking especially bad when the people at the liquor store decide to call it quits for the evening.  This is London after all- alcohol is a way of life. 
I, of course, get a bit freaked out that the rioters must be coming our way if businesses are shutting down for the night.  I get to thinking, if these SOBs riot near us so that we need to leave our flat, what will we do?  More importantly, what will we take?  One of the benefits of digital photography is that I can replace most of my pics if they are destroyed, but I love the frames.  Still, it probably makes sense to be a bit more systematic about what to grab.  First, passports, jewelry and our wallets.  This stuff is small and easy to carry, and having to deal with the embassy to get new passports would be an amazingly huge pain in the tush.  Second, the computers probably.  We have two laptops, and they are our lifelines.  Third (though I forgot about it yesterday), our wedding album.  I love the album.  I know we could have it redone, but I'd prefer not to. 
Now things get more difficult.  How much more could we reasonably carry, and what is most important?  I knew the answer immediately- shoes and purses (and just a few dresses, including two of the dresses that Catherine lent me last month).  So here I am, conducting a mental inventory of my shoes and bags to determine which I could live without and which had to come with me.  I have 40-50 pairs of shoes that I could not possibly leave behind along with probably 15 bags.  Are you seeing the problem here?  I envisioned Kenny and me leaving our flat with more luggage than we took for our two week Italian vacation (remember, I didn't even address the items he would want to take and how silly he would look walking through a riot with his golf clubs).  And then it dawned on me- these rioters are only looting the expensive stores, the stores with the fancy clothes, etc.  Rioters might be too lazy to work to purchase these goods the way you or I would, but they aren't completely dumb.  They would see us with our gigantic bags, and they would STEAL OUR STUFF!  So I decided that maybe our belongings would be safer in the flat after all.  Just take the passports and jewelry and get the hell out of here!   Luckily London was quiet last night, and we didn't have any issues.  I hope tonight is just as uneventful!  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cotswolds Catch Up and London Riots

Kenny and I had a wonderful weekend together in the Cotswolds.  He was able to leave work early, so we made it to Upper Slaughter a bit after 5 in the afternoon.  The hotel grounds were beautiful.  I don't always understand this country, but these people can certainly do gardens well!  The hotel itself was just darling- it is an old manor house that maintains a very homey feel.  We were shown to our room and had some time to relax before dinner.

The back of the hotel
The front of the hotel- I actually chose to post the one full length pic to keep me honest!

The hotel is set up for foodies and does not disappoint.  We had a 7:30 dinner reservation and were asked to arrive 30 minutes early for pre-dinner drinks and canapes.  What a pleasant way to start the evening!  There we sat with a glass of champagne and canapes while reviewing the dinner menu and wine list.  Nice touch!  I won't bore you with an overly detailed blow by blow, but our meals were yummy and beautifully presented.  I started with Cornish crab, and Kenny had a beautiful quail dish; my main was halibut with broad beans, and Kenny's was lamb; my dessert was a fabulously dense chocolate bar/cake with a salty, caramel topping and Kenny had a fab raspberry souffle with raspberry ripple ice cream and Lord Eton's mess.  Indulgent, definitely, but I was well-behaved.  I ate my appetizer, maybe half of my entree and less than half of the dessert. 
We spoke with the concierge on Saturday morning, and he gave us a map with 7-8 towns worth seeing in our part of the Cotswolds.  I was surprised that so many of these 'towns' were not even villages.  Several were just clusters of little homes- the perfect setting for a murder mystery novel.  We parked in Winchcombe and walked 3/4 of a mile out of town to Sudeley Castle.  Yes, we could have driven all the way to the castle.  Yes, there was a parking lot right next to the castle.  Still, we walked it (one of the many benefits of losing Snooki).  The castle was pretty pathetic, but the gardens were beautiful.  After a few more hours of driving and visiting the towns we were back at the hotel in time for Kenny's Saturday afternoon nap (he only looks 32- in reality he is 85) and another dinner at the hotel.
 At the Castle
Yesterday we drove to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, before returning to London. 
The highlight of SUA was visiting a butterfly farm with hundreds (probably thousands) of butterflies flying all around.  It was amazing and it was beautiful.  
Now that you have seen my lovely weekend, let's move to a less appealing topic.  Have you all been seeing this rioting madness?  It is really out of control.  While doing cardio at the gym this afternoon, I spent an hour watching the riots on Sky News.  These lunatics have now rioted in East London, North London and South London.  I live in West London, but I don't like being anywhere near riots.  These thugs wear hoodies so CCTV can't photograph their faces, so I got butterflies in my stomach when I saw young people in hoodies as I walked home from the gym.  Not cool.  Onto my opinion of how this should be handled (skip rest of paragraph if you are anti police).  The riot police are being pummeled by bricks, bottles, fire crackers, wood, etc.  It is 100% out of control.  I vote for rubber bullets and tear gas.  Most of the people rioting are young men (young men who should be working rather than loitering on the streets).  They are thugs.  They are bums.  They are cowards.  Hit these bastards with rubber bullets and barrage them with tear gas, and these losers will call it quits.  And do it before they come to my part of town!!!  There, I said it! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Weekend Plans and Eighty Pounds Down

I was greeted by a beautiful number this morning when I hopped on the scale.  I now weigh 244.6, meaning I am down 80 lbs from my Day 1 liquid diet weight.  This is very exciting for me and means that I am (I hope) on pace to lose 100+ lbs this year.  Maybe I should celebrate by digging into a chocolate mousse cake- kidding!
Kenny is leaving work early today so we can drive out to the Cotswolds and stay here for the weekend.  Given the amount we travel, it is amusing that we have seen almost none of England.  We don't have a car here, so it is frequently easier to just fly away rather than deal with the hassle and expense of renting one of the only automatic cars in the country.  Anyway, Kenny chose to stay here because the restaurant is well-known and has a Michelin star.  I hope to maintain my 80 lb loss during what is bound to be a food and wine heavy weekend, so I will walk as much as possible to compensate. 
No gyming for me today.  My quads are really sore, but my main issue is that the wonderful and amazing Kenny gave me his cold:(  I don't want to get too run down, so I will take a day off.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Gym Clothes

After the case of the falling gym shorts last month, buying new gym clothes became a necessity.  I spent an afternoon at the local outlets while at mom's and stocked up on shorts, tops and sports bras.  All items were XL, which is so much better than 2X.  I was happy to find Adidas shorts with 4" inseams, meaning that they don't ride up the way the super short shorts would.  I was even happier that these shorts were on sale for $10- and on top of that, buy one, get one 50% off.  Given the sale, I must be one of the only women who likes these shorts! 
I didn't like many of the Adidas tops/bras, so to Under Armour I went.  I have always associated this brand with meatheads and anorexics and had real anxiety opening the door and walking into the store.  I pretty much thought the saleswomen would look at me and go back to stocking shelves rather than wasting their time on me when nothing could possibly fit.  I could not have been more wrong... well, maybe the brand is geared towards meatheads and anorexics, but at least the saleswomen were super helpful.  I walked out with 4 bras and probably 10 tops.  The bras are amazing!  They have great support and are sized XS-XL as well as according to cup size, so my modest C cups aren't smushed to accommodate the A cups out there or completely unsupported to make room for the Ds of the world.  What a concept!  And I picked up these amazing wonders of technology for $20 rather than the $50 list price.  Not too shabby:) 
Now, for your viewing pleasure...

Yesterday's outfit- I'm not talented when it comes to the Blackberry camera, so I thought I would try out a pic in each hand.
Today's outfit- I am no more talented but lacked the patience for multiple camera angles.
I won't be winning fashion awards, but the new clothes beat this getup from last month (or so I hope)!
I just returned from the gym, and my quads are less than happy with what I did to them.  I completed my first kettlebell/squat routine since before my wedding and followed that with an hour on the Vario.  When I stepped off of the Vario, I actually had to hold on to stop my quads from giving out on me.  Oops.  Not to mention that I need to walk down a flight of steps after I leave the gym, and I refused to be the fat chick who takes the lift after working out for 90 minutes.  Sorry, but it is like ordering a diet coke with a big mac and jumbo sized french fries.  So down I walked.  I'm thinking that tomorrow is going to be a low key exercise day (assuming I can get myself out of bed). 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

And a Quick Pic

I am the Traveling Bandita, and most of my traveling takes place on a plane.  I sometimes forget to talk about how much easier travel has become since losing weight, but that doesn't mean there aren't HUGE differences!  Flying was always miserable at 320+ lbs.  I couldn't fit into the seats, couldn't fasten the belt, couldn't comfortably walk up and down the aisle, etc.  So how great is this?  This is a pic I snapped when I was flying back to the states two weeks ago. 

Look at all that room!

I'm Baaack!

After two weeks in the states, I am back in London.  I return to NJ on September 4- I will barely have time to miss the place at this rate!
I saw Dr. K on Monday and had a mini fill (.2).  She had talked about doing .4 or .5 in the beginning, but we both like to keep me less filled due to my outrageous travel schedule.  I think the mini will work out just fine, and I will see her on September 19 in case I need a bit more.  So I asked Dr. K what my goal weight should be.  I mentioned that I thought it should be 155 because that would put my BMI below 25.  She looked at me and asked if I had EVER been at 155.  I have not, or more specifically, I have not been at or around 155 since I was... um... 13 or 14 maybe.  The lowest I have been as an adult was 180ish, and that was when I was popping Adipex like tic tacs.  Dr. K said that my initial goal should be getting below 200 lbs, and then we will go from there.  She said that she wants me to not only be at a good weight but be able to maintain that weight and that 190 might be the 'right' weight for me.  She wasn't saying that I should only get to 190 or that it should be my final goal- just that once I get to a more reasonable weight, it will be easier to see what really is manageable for me.  I thought this was a very rational way of looking at this process.  I was considering changing my ticker to take this into account, but I think I will keep it as is for now.  I kind of like seeing that I have come very far but that I still have a long journey ahead.  From following blogs it looks like a lot of women get to the point I am at now (BMI just under 40) and call it quits.  Not I!  While I am in much better shape than I was 8 months ago, remaining at my current weight will be a pure failure.  So I will keep my tracker as it is and remind myself of all the possibilities down the road.  I will reassess if necessary, but I am not there yet!
I saw my dad a few times during my trip.  He does not know about my surgery and spent months NOT noticing that I'd lost weight.  Now he's changed his tune and is complimentary about how I am looking.  Unfortunately, dad only knows how to give a compliment in an underhanded way.  He recently said that it looked like that I had lost about 80 lbs, and I told him he was pretty close.  His response was that losing the next 80 would be more difficult.  I was dumbstruck by his comment.  I wish I could say I was hurt, but I simply know this man too well to be hurt.  Dad has a picture of me from 3 years ago- from his 80th birthday.  I have not seen it, but it is was taken from behind and is not all that flattering.  Now every time we talk he tells me how he has to me this picture of when I was THIS big (picture little old man spreading his hands wide apart as he says this).  In addition, he now likes discussing how I am holding my weight while on vacation (this time picture said little old man looking me up and down while asking if I am able to travel without gaining weight).  I finally told him that he is inappropriate.  He thinks that he is being complimentary, but the reality is that he is not.  Every little compliment comes with a dig.  Telling your daughter that you have pictures of her when she was gigantic (and that you have held onto this picture for 3 years just to be able to rub it in her face) is not a compliment.  Checking up on your daughter's weight is not a compliment.  Telling your daughter that losing the next 80 lbs is going to be hard is not a compliment.  My dad is a control freak and is convinced that he knows how everyone should better run his or her life.  He is also obsessive with weight in general.  He weighs himself daily and has documented his weight in journals for decades.  He has been 202-205 for as long as I can remember, and he always says he will be down to 190 in the next 2 weeks.  This clearly never happens, but he insists that this is just around the corner.  I think this weight obsession is a bit nutty, but it explains why he has become so head over heals meddlesome regarding my weight loss.  I'd like to tell him that a simple "Nora, you are looking so good" would suffice, but the suggestion would be lost on him.
On a more upbeat note, mom and I spent yesterday morning getting pedicures (they were needed after spending so much time in the sand).  I had not seen my pedicurist since before our Italy trip in April.  We have known each other for years, and she actually wrapped her arms around me and gave me a kiss on the cheek when she saw how good I was looking.  It was very sweet. 
I hope to have the energy to work out today, but plane sleeping is pretty subpar.  We shall see how the gym goes after I buy some fish for my first day of mushies.