Monday, 30 January 2006

When You Try Your Best But You Don't Succeed

Today I took out my frustration with my weight – with my life – on the manager of a posh drycleaner/shoe repair.

It’s something I do from time to time, and I’m not proud of it. All the anger and frustration with things I feel not in control of gets directed at somebody who doesn’t deserve it – at least not quite to the degree that I give it.

I’ve wrestled much of the weekend with the instinct to starve, because I had a sticky toffee pudding (which wasn’t even particularly good) at the Duke of Cambridge on Friday night, and then a fish pie in a suspiciously creamy sauce on Saturday night. Between the rich food and the return to normal eating post-flu, I feel like it’ll be impossible for me not to show a gain this week. Which will do nothing to bring me closer to clothing actually being looser, a lift I could desperately use as I prepare to head off to Italy for 3½ weeks to cover the Olympics. The hours are going to be long, the job is going to be frustrating (working for a weekly means what is a story early on in the week rarely is by the end of the week, so 95 percent of your work ends up on the cutting room floor), the conditions are going to be rough (I’m covering alpine events, and today there was a minimum of 18 inches of snow in the lowest lying mountain areas), and the food is going to be difficult to resist. Sigh.

Then there is the lingering frustration with The Married Guy, and worse: the totally depressing sense that every time I have been faced with a crucial decision in the past several years, I have made the wrong choice.

So, er, my life is my excuse for nearly yelling at Ali at the drycleaner/shoe repair. I mean, I paid nearly $45 to have my favorite pink satin toe shoes mended – only to have the place thoughtlessly punch the claim check through the side of the shoe, creating an irreparable hole. Hello, the shoes are satin! And you would expect better of a place in Chelsea, that deals with some of the poshest clothes (and accents) in London.

Of course, customer service in Britain is like dating in Britain – a concept Brits themselves don’t understand. (When my British friends visit the U.S., they come back marvelling: “They bring you the trousers in Banana Republic!”) So you can imagine how much luck I had explaining the concept to someone for whom English is not a native language...

* * *

A friend and I went for lunch Sunday at one of those trendy east London restaurants that is virtually impossible to find among all the warehouses and council estates and shops offering jellied eels – I imagine you’re supposed to feel smug and cool just for being in on the secret of finding it (it’s unlabelled, and you have to go through what looks like the bathroom to get there.) It’s the kind of place where you order fruit salad three times and it finally arrives as your dining companion is finishing the second of her two courses. Yes, that kind of place. I didn’t even want the fruit by the time it showed up.

I also had to ask four times what a Black Velvet cocktail was (feeling like an Uglier and Uglier American every time I did so). For the record, it’s Guinness and champagne, surely a combination that was never meant to be drunk together, no matter how late it is and what dregs are left on the liquor table (aka makeshift bar). It sounds about one step up from one of the drinks my sister and I used to make when the babysitter wasn’t looking, where we’d dump every spice and condiment in the kitchen into a glass and dare each other to drink it.

Saturday, 28 January 2006

I Want My Money Back, and Don't Forget My Black T-Shirt

It’s not things I want back from The Married Guy. It’s my time. Time spent with him, time spent on him, time spent thinking about him, and yes, time spent daydreaming about him.

I met him just about a year ago – fresh off a fling in Kabul that had made me feel alive with possibility. But The Married Guy (though obviously I had a different nickname for him then) was the first person I had met in ages that I was really excited about. He was wickedly smart and funny and interesting, and usually, he made me feel like I was the same.

I keep wondering why this happened to me. Not so much what signs I missed, but why. In time, when I look back at this year will I find something I learned from the whole experience – something worthwhile that came out of this? I can’t think of what, and it’s depressing. And that’s why I want my time back.

One of the most frustrating aspects of this is that I may never get an answer from him about when – if ever – he was planning to tell me he was married. I found out by a coincidence so bizarre you wouldn’t believe it in a novel, and I’ve only just told him that I knew. So far, he hasn’t done any explaining, and I’m not holding my breath.

* * *

Took a two-hour cycle lesson today, one of the coldest days this winter in London. My instructor was spectacularly irritating, repeatedly asking me questions he knew I had no idea what the answer was. I hate that. Plus we were practicing – practicing stopping quickly, arm signals, looking behind while riding in a straight line – on a football (soccer) field. So there were about a million teenage boys watching. Just great.

As we didn’t get in any on-road practice – the whole reason I bought the bike in the first place was to cycle to work – I need another two-hour lesson. There goes another 50 pounds (nearly $100). I initially bought the bike because the Tube is not particularly efficient (for my particular home to work route), completely unpleasant, and outrageously expensive. But between the bike and the kit (translation: gear, but isn’t kit, like flat, a way better word?) and the lessons, it’s starting to seem like a black cab every day would be about the same price.

Wednesday, 25 January 2006

Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet*

When I dragged myself out of bed to go to the ballet at Covent Garden tonight – I missed it two years ago when I got sent to cover the Madrid bombings and I refuse to miss it again – a friend told me my face already looks thinner.

She’s the world’s most polite human being, and among the most supportive (and is one of the few who knows I'm on WW), but maybe it’s true.

I lost seven pounds this week.

Yep. It’s true. How can you, too, replicate this feat? Only flu and inability to keep down even a little fruit juice required.

Stay tuned for next week, when we learn how to gain 10 pounds in a week. Oh, wait. I could write that right now.

Weight loss in England seems almost like a game. Not because it’s been easy – but because the measurements on the WW scale are imperial. (Translation: They’re in stone, and there’s 14 pounds to a stone.) Because the numbers are so completely unfamiliar to me, I stand on the scale and it’s like I’m playing a slot machine, wondering what pieces of fruit are going to pop up and whether it’s going to start ringing and dumping out nickels.

Except here I’m not even sure what fruit to hope for. Because the measurements are so unfamiliar, I literally have to pause to remember whether I should be doing little dances of soon-to-be-skinny glee, or merely shuffle my lardy self off the scale to pay my five pounds – ha, sucker! (And don’t think how often I think about the irony of handing over five pounds. “Here, take it!”)

So in British terms, I’ve lost 1 stone 3.5 lbs. In American terms, that’s 17.5 lbs. In real useful terms, about zero, as literally all of my clothes fit the same way. (Is it possible to lose 17.5 pounds entirely from one's ankles, toes, elbows, and earlobes?)

Forty-nine pounds to go.

*(Sorry! Sorry! I used to love A Chorus Line -- the film -- when I was a kid.)

Tuesday, 24 January 2006

The Bit on the Side

E-mail today from The Married Guy (guy being a euphemism for all the unprintable words I’ve been calling him), asking if I want to have dinner when he’s back in town later this week.

I’m so flummoxed I don’t know what to say. “I don’t think your wife would like that too much”?

The dignified thing to do would be not to respond at all. But I am nothing if not undignified. Last night, on the suggestion of a friend, I actually crawled out of bed (home sick in a flu haze) and checked so I could see exactly when he got married (aka just how much of a clueless prat I am) and just how tacky the linens they chose were.

No luck. He wasn’t listed.

* * *

Few things make me miss my mother more than being ill. She died in 2003, after a very long illness where she slowly disappeared before me. In the few years before she died, her attention span was so short that I would call her multiple times a day: from a London bus; when I ate something that wasn’t as good as she used to make it; when I had good news; when I saw something that she’d like, or that she’d laugh at.

The urge to call her has slowly disappeared, except when I’m sick – which for some reason is when I can hear her voice most clearly. Maybe it’s because I’ve blocked out a lot of the fragments of conversations I had with her as she was dying, and her voice in my head has become so faint, like a tape I’ve played over too many times.

With a father who was a critical care doctor, my sister and I chose to appeal to my mother for sympathy when we were sick and wanted to stay home from school. I remember tentatively knocking on the door at 6.30 a.m. and her voice – thick with sleep – would beckon me in.

“I don’t feel well,” I’d say.

“What don’t you feel?” she always replied.

It’s that “What don’t you feel?” I can hear her saying so clearly. Then she would feel my forehead with the back of her hand, remind me where the appropriate medicine was kept (she didn’t get out of bed at that hour unless my case was dire), and send me back to bed.

Sunday, 22 January 2006

Oh You Stupid Thing

Some days I think I can handle this dieting thing – that I can handle deciding what my treat for the day is going to be, and fitting it into the budget. Or I can decide that I want to have a big meal on Sunday and so eat lighter all week in preparation.

Other days I think: This just sucks.

Yesterday was one of those days. Wearing my MBTs, I walked 45 minutes to Matalan, one of the many English chains that does cheap, fabulous high fashion (well, some of it’s high fashion – some of it is fashion victim, and some of it just awful). I specifically wanted to buy a Chloe knockoff that’s been in all the magazines, but in the back of my mind I thought maybe I’d find something cute to wear to a party I was going to last night.

I’ve been my current weight before, and -- cue Aimee Mann's "Stupid Thing" playing in my head as I stood in the dressing room -- I should know better than to think that losing 10 pounds at this weight makes any difference in how clothes fit. It doesn’t. It will be at least another 10, maybe more.

So they don’t have the dress yet (never mind that it's white and would probably look horrific on me at this size) and everything I try on looks terrible and I walk home feeling hungry, hungry, hungry and grumpy that I need to be very careful about what I eat so I can have a couple of drinks at the party. Can’t have a chocolate bar for a snack and red wine later. I stopped at a shop to buy a diet Coke and looked at all the cream buns longingly.

I'm on weekend duty and it was busy, newswise, so I ended up without much time to fuss over what I was wearing and curse all the cute clothes in my closet that don't fit. My fabulous green satin shoes were a small consolation, though the heavier you are the harder it is to last in heels. After three hours I had to switch to ballet flats.

It's been a whole week of eating out and drinks out and I'm tired of being hungry all day so I can stay within my food budget at night. (Don't tell me about all the vegetables I can eat -- baby carrots and cherry tomatoes only do so much.) Frankly, I'm looking forward to eating exactly what I want (within points, of course) and not having to go anywhere today.

Friday, 20 January 2006

Reasons Why I Will Not Be Converting My Two-Week Free-Trial Weight Watchers E-Source Membership to a Paying One

1. Too many people profoundly estranged from the shift key and any form of punctuation

2. Asked question about the points – “pointing,” as the boards put it – of the salmon made with lots of oil I had for lunch today, my primary concern being how to account for so much oil without grossly overestimating. Answer I received made no mention of oil. Felt like referring her – er, pointedly – back to my original question.

3. !!!!!!!

4. Foods in point database often described as “a portion.” A portion? If I knew what a portion was would I be on WW in the first place?

5. Proportion of posters (post-ers?) using the phrase "loosing weight" roughly equal to the proportion of those who use "u" "ya" "babe" "r" and "hun" -- which is to say, almost all.

6. Girl – freak of nature? – who continually posts about how she’s earned 37 billion bonus points through exercise and by the way is unable to even eat all of her food points, though she continually eats things she “fancies” like butter and mayo. Is the word “bitch” implied or do I actually have to write it?

Thursday, 19 January 2006

The Parliament of the Mind

Even after the Best Lunch in the World – all boozy 14 (tasting!) courses of it – I still lost 5 pounds this week. Despite the long queue (ok, ok, line!) of weight watchers behind me, I insisted on getting on the scale a second time to double check – and if I thought I could get away with it, I might’ve asked to check the reading on another scale.

That I lost 5 pounds in week two of a diet both thrills and terrifies me. It thrills me for the obvious reason. And it provides endless opportunity to procrastinate while I reconfigure my mental “I’ll weigh X by Y date” calculations, and try to decide if a trip to Vietnam in March will be a trip where afterwards I'll cringe at all the photos of myself.

Losing 5 pounds terrifies me because I know myself. Besides the tendency to binge I have the tendency to starve. People who know this about me tend to marvel at the willpower (and there have been times during particularly horrific periods of bingeing where I have desperately wished for the ability to summon the willpower), but frankly, it is not a feat that should be cheered. It leads straight back to bingeing.

So that I have lost 5 pounds is scary. It means I do what I always do when I don’t have a nutritional label with an exact number of calories and fat – it means I grossly overestimate what I’ve consumed because I’d rather be safe. I ate in restaurants no fewer than four times this past week – meaning I spent an embarrassing amount of time overestimating and worrying and wondering whether I should eat a couple of points less the next day.

I’m trying hard to fight against that insidious urge. I had a 20g chocolate bar twice this week – in an attempt to prove to myself that I can eat what I want, as long as it all balances out. And I’m trying to take it easy on the exercise – 3-4 times a week for 40 minutes, a far cry from the hour six days a week I used to demand of myself. (It helps that injury prevents me from running – my favorite form of exercise.)

On both the days I’ve eaten chocolate bars I repeatedly asked myself – as though poking at a spot in my mouth with my tongue to see how badly it hurts – “Can I live like this?” Can I eat my vegetables and balance out my meals so I can have one tiny treat every day? Honestly, I don’t know.

* * *

I had another appointment today at the Royal Free Hospital about my binge eating. A nice Israeli √©migr√© doctor had sympathy for me, I suppose, after I waited a year for an appointment only to be told it would be at least four months after that before I can get any help. So he asked me if I’d like to come in to talk – mostly, I think, so I can feel like I’m not getting lost in the system. (And also because I must have seemed desperate, which in December I was. I think part of what made him sympathetic is that I could quote from every book on the suggested reading list I was given. When I was first handed it, I felt like crying: "Don't you think if I could self help my way out of this I would have by this point?")

I’ve thus far been skeptical about the English mental health system (and the scary-looking, 50s era hospital equipment doesn’t help), but I enjoyed talking to him. It was like I was a person with a brain and not just Madam Binge Eater – and he was a person with a brain who wasn’t just going to spout information about how to stop binge eating. Over the course of an hour he alluded to a recent Raphael exhibit at the National Gallery, the battle for Helen of Troy, and the Song of Solomon – without pretension, either. And he talked about the urge to binge eat as an extremist voice in the Parliament of the mind that I should want to be there – because you can listen to the voice, acknowledge it, and then vote against doing what it says. If you don’t acknowledge it, it causes radical action. (His real-life example involved Palestinians.) I also laughed at the example he used to illustrate the point that binge eaters shouldn’t feel despair that they’ve been bingeing their whole lives, so why should they be able to do something now? “Gaza,” he said. “Thirty-eight years of occupation and when they decided to sort it it was over in 10 days.”

Monday, 16 January 2006

Food for Thought

So I didn’t get any bacon and egg ice cream (it came with brioche that had green peppers, to which I told them I was allergic) and I probably could have lived without the sardine sorbet, but lunch yesterday at The Fat Duck was unquestionably the best meal of my entire life.

From the green tea and lime meringue cooked in liquid nitrogen at the table – the palate cleanser – to the salmon poached in licorice and roast foie gras, chamomile, almond, cherry and amaretto jelly (gelatin in Americanspeak), my two friends and I thought nearly every course of our tasting menu was better than the last. And though the menu might scream pretentious, none of the staff were. One of our waiters even discreetly advised us on which utensil to use (hey, what would you use for a parfait of pea puree, quail jelly, langoustine cream and foie gras?) without making us feel like idiots.

It was also a lesson in how much you eat with your eyes – something that, as I return to the diet (no, I didn't calculate points for the meal -- somehow I doubt "snail porridge" is among the 30,000 foods in the WW database) – I should keep in mind. Just after the palate cleanser come two tiny gelatin squares – one red, one orangey-yellow. You’re told one is beetroot and one is orange, and that you should eat the orange-colored one first. Surprise! It’s the beetroot one – made of golden beetroot, while the red one is blood orange. It’s the first of the restaurant’s many tricks – and treats.

* * *

After months of talking about it (but not, alas, doing research), I finally bought a bike today in the hope that I will cycle to work enough times this year to recoup my several hundred quid. (And never mind what the catalog says -- it takes way more than 15 seconds to fold this puppy up). This being London, anyone care to bet on which happens first: I get killed or the bike gets stolen? I didn’t think it was a great sign when as I was walking the bike up Canonbury Lane (didn’t want to ride around Highbury Corner in the dark the first time) just by the block of council flats, one teenage boy nudged his friend and said: "Now, that’s a nice bike."

Saturday, 14 January 2006

Goodbye To All That

Thursday I found out someone I spent an awful lot of time thinking about these past few months was married. It's a complicated story, and I'm going to make the telling of it even more complicated/vague because I still behave like I did in middle school when I like someone -- which is to say that I don't want anyone to know. (Yes, it makes life difficult sometimes!) But ours was a relationship that -- for many reasons I've spent the past few months trying to understand -- never quite got more than a few feet off the ground before he had to leave the country, not to return until this year.

I never imagined one of the reasons it didn't quite work was because he was married.

I don't think he was married when we met, but she must have been around. But I pick endlessly over what I knew about him -- or maybe I should say, what I thought I knew about him -- and I can't find so much as a hint of anyone else. And I'm slightly paranoid by nature.

Perhaps I should just chalk this up as an encounter with one crummy guy. But I can't. Being so wrong about someone terrifies me in ways I can't quite articulate. And the moment of finding out he was married -- not from him, of course. I thought "heart stops" was bad writing or hyperbole or both. Now I know that it is neither.


Also Thursday I went round to friends' for dinner. (I know I'm American, but I like saying "went round," dammit!) An American girl engaged to an English guy, and they've just moved to a huge sparkling new flat and bought a Yorkshire terrier.

I loved seeing them, but I felt sad when I went home to my flat - so cramped that even if I did have time to cook there are very few people I'd allow to see the place. My sadness wasn't from loneliness so much as disappointment, I think. Whether I admitted it at the time, part of my moving-to-London fantasy included a nice English guy with whom I'd take minibreaks, drink tea, and go to country pubs -- and eventually stay here for. As I face the prospect of leaving London, perhaps the hardest goodbye will be to one dream that will never come true.

Wednesday, 11 January 2006

"There's An Art Gallery Two Blocks Away / And We've Never Been There"

Lost 5.5 pounds, plus countless hours obsessing over the points (excuse me, POINTS!) of various foods. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. I feel dieting makes me a more boring person – I become more grounded in the practical; less spontaneous. I’m less likely to want to go out to dinner on the spur of the moment because I haven’t save the calories for it. A last-minute movie after work immediately makes me wonder if I’ll be so hungry when the movie’s done that I’ll eat more than I should. I know, I know. Like I said, boring.

Tonight’s Let’s Make the Most of London activity – and get out a little before another 70-hour week crushes me -- was the Raphael exhibit at the National Gallery with a friend who recently quit her job and is moving back to Boston. Tonight was the last late night view of the show before it closes, and the place was packed with people who’d clearly just come from work. (The gallery is literally about four blocks from where I work -- I always think about going at lunch on a slow day, but somehow it never happens. The slow day, anyway.) I looked in wonder at how violent some of Raphael’s paintings are, but mostly I looked in wonder at the people. Did they do this sort of thing regularly? Or were they more like us – New Year’s resolute to take a bit more advantage of the city in which they live?

And on the other end of the culture scale, get me a Team Aniston t-shirt. I admire Angelina for the causes she champions (and for actually knowing something about them), but pregnant with Brad’s baby when the ink is barely dry on his and Jen’s divorce papers? Ugh. And poor Jen – anything she does this week (breathing included) is going to be splashed on all the celebrity magazine covers as a “reaction” to the news. Out partying? Dancing the blues away. Reading a book? Moping. Avoiding the paparazzi (something most A-listers do regularly anyway)? Hiding her tears from the world.

Tuesday, 10 January 2006

"History is Just One Fucking Thing After Another"

Tonight, as part of my plan to see and do more in London (both because I might be leaving soon, and because I don’t do enough, anyway), I saw The History Boys.

Tonight is a deadline night – meaning I can be up until 6 or 7 a.m. if I have a story closing – so the theater was a last minute decision, and I went alone. I thought it would be strange, but it wasn’t. I find I watch things differently when there’s no one I know sitting next to me, and no prospect of discussing it with anyone anytime soon. There is no one I know’s reaction to compare with my own, no one to whisper to, and no one causing me to miss something subtle on stage because he or she had to nudge me to tell me how much that guy (no, no, that one!) looks like someone we know. Tonight it was just me, watching and listening and not trying to remember things I think I might want to talk about with someone later; not taking pictures to be put in an album and trotted out as tangible proof of the places I have gone and things I have done.

The play reminded me of how much of a foreigner I really am here. I loved it, but loads of the jokes I missed – jokes about the English school and university system, and about Northerners versus the rest of England. (I at least got a few of the Oxford jokes.) I could tell from the way the actors delivered certain lines that they were funny but I didn’t know why. And – I can’t imagine them keeping this when the play transfers to Broadway later this year – chunks of it were in French. Which, judging from the audience reaction – I guess most people in the audience studied, no doubt in schools similar to the one depicted on stage.

Unlike most of the long-running shows, this kind of theater isn’t just for tourists. But I’m trying to remember that a lot of things on my mental London to-do list are things that likely will still be here for years to come. I may never live in London again after I leave this time, but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever be back.

* * *

Tonight marks week of eating exactly as Weight Watchers told me to -- or UK Weight Watchers, anyway (no American diet I know takes as much trouble to tell you how to fit in your weekly allotment of liquor). I'm curious to see my results.

Monday, 9 January 2006

Taking Charge

Tonight I skipped a press screening of Rumor Has It to do… nothing in particular. I love movies, and I love Mark Ruffalo, but I just couldn’t get excited about this one. I don’t think it helped that my friend bailed an hour and a half before the screening (texting that her cold was getting worse) and I’ve just started a diet.

What is it about starting a diet that makes me want to stay home so that I can be assured of sticking to it? Is it because every day there are so many pitfalls – and so many coming up, like Sunday lunch at literally the best restaurant in the world this week – that you want to give myself as much of a buffer as possible? Is it because there’s something about that sharp moment when you realize not just that you must do something, but you must do it now, that makes you unable to see anything in the mirror but just how awful you look? (And therefore makes you want to hide?) Is it because now that you’ve decided to do something, you want fast results – and by results I don’t mean that nice-but-not-enough concept of “feeling better?"

I also wanted to come home because I’m in the middle of a major reorganization of my flat. For me, there’s also something about taking charge of what I’m eating that makes me more able to take charge of the rest of my life. Suddenly I am finding time to run errands that have gone unrun for months and energy to deal with problems that have long festered. I guess I shouldn’t find this surprising. When you can’t control the one thing in your life that everyone else in the world seems to be able to control, it doesn’t give you a lot of faith in your ability to get much else done, even if it’s as small and simple as finding a place (my usual cobbler can’t do it) to fix the gaping hole on the side of your pink satin toe shoes. I book doctors’ and dentists’ appointments and find time to get booster shots – somehow the less haphazard my eating, the less haphazard my life.

Sunday, 8 January 2006

London Calling

Three years in England and I finally have bought an electric tea kettle. My English friends don’t understand why such things don’t exist in America, and are horrified when I tell them it’s because we tend to boil water in microwaves (something rare in English flats), and because tea kettles in the US are largely for decoration, like cute vintage bottles or canisters you pick up at a flea market and put on the shelf above the stove.

The possibility that I may leave London soon has made me both mournful and enchanted once again with all things English. Pubs, the way people dress (for my money, English women are the best in the world at layering without looking bulky), the sound of English voices (and how much you can tell about a person here by his or her accent), even the look of the money in my wallet. I walk an hour to work (when it’s not pissing it down with rain) and look at the buildings along the way with wonder. Today I braved a Weight Watchers sausages and mash ready meal (not bad, actually) -- a dish that probably isn't even on the radar of U.S. weight watchers, capital W or otherwise. Frankly, last time I checked, the US still did not have low calorie ready meals that tasted good and were actually filling. I ascribe it to our Puritannical bent that Americans are willing to eat food that tastes bad just to lose weight – no such dog food exists in Britain. To be fair, the meals here aren’t quite as low in calories or fat as the ones across the pond, but nor do they make you immediately want to eat a huge fudgy brownie (also something difficult to find in England) because, damn it, you deserve it.

At dinner with an American friend on Friday, she said going home for Christmas made her appreciate London like she hasn’t done in a while. Reminded her that, despite the fact that people speak English, it’s still something special, maybe even exotic, to live here. Last night on my way home from a pub at 1 a.m., I didn’t call American friends on my mobile, the way I usually do at that hour. I watched the bridges and fish and chip shops and British spellings and churches and drunken mobs roll by in that ghostly haze of streetlights glowing in the rain, and I wondered what I would remember of it all when I’m gone.

Saturday, 7 January 2006

Ill-Advised Things I Have Done This Week

1. Signed up for satellite TV (Justification: It came with my broadband.)

2. Bought pair of high-heeled black suede boots despite living in a country where it rains frequently and despite having expressly having forbid myself to buy anything besides the practical low-heeled variety. This after having discovered in my closet two pairs of unworn high heeled shoes plus several pairs of shoes so uncomfortable I look at them some mornings and just cannot bear the thought of walking to the Tube in them. (Justification: Boots were on sale, and unworn shoes -- one pair is sample sale manna in the name of pink satin Christian Louboutins -- are party shoes requiring fantabulous occasion for which my invitation just hasn't arrived yet.)

3. Got strangled, I’m-about-to-cry voice on the telephone with two separate bosses at separate times. Tried to convince self that they’re men – they probably don’t recognize the tone. (Justification: None, really, except a 70-hour workweek for a story that looks like it’s going to be killed anyway. This after the month of December, where I worked every single day – including weekends – except for one lone Saturday and three days over Christmas.)

4. Joined Weight Watchers, despite the fact that I didn’t really like it when I did it 10 years ago and my problem isn’t following diets – it’s living an existence that isn’t dieting or bingeing. (Justification: Thanks to the long lines in the English health system, though my binge-eating case is classed as urgent I still can’t get treatment for about 4 months, and I need to do something in the meantime.)

5. Bought Masai Barefoot Trainers and paid five pounds for a class on Sunday on how to walk in them, despite the fact that the class is at 10:30 a.m., the guy who's teaching it is among the more irritating people on the planet, and there was no one else on the list when I signed up yesterday. (Trainers justification: After two months of fighting with Apple, they finally shipped me back my iPod, so now I can walk to work. Class: Too embarrassed to say "Oh, I need to think about it," after I'd agreed to sign up and then was told it cost five pounds.)

In the words of the National Enquirer -- a publication that often arrives on my desk at work (how's that for, um, justification?) -- how was your week?

Friday, 6 January 2006

Fashionably Late

Brownie Points -- not totally unsuitable for a blog where I'll probably write a lot about weight struggles -- is gone, as is Out on a Limb, the title of a column I wrote for my college newspaper. Where did "A Sense of Scale" come from? It was the book I daydreamed about writing a few years ago.

For the record, the book eventually was published -- though neither the contents (which were my own fault) nor the title the marketing folks insisted on slapping on its cover quite lived up to the fantasy.

I know I'm showing up to the blogger party awfully late -- I just hope the bar's still serving.