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September 2013

August 2013

Yo Gabba Gabba! Or When Julia Finally Clues In

YoGabbaGabbaI can be clueless about stuff, but I have always heard about Yo Gabba Gabba. I was not 100% sure what it was all about except it had five wacky characters and a DJ dude. Also it seemed super hip to grown ups more so than kids in my pre-kid circles. Suffice to say it was always on the far periphery of my radar.

Until this week!

I love Top Chef and Top Chef Masters (and Project Runway, but that's not relevant to this blog post) and lo and behold, Top Chef Masters had a kids food challenge with Yo Gabba Gabba as the special guests. Brian Voltaggio mentioned that he has young kids and they LOVE Yo Gabba Gabba, as did he. He said his 18 month old daughter was just getting to the age where she would watch it.



I grabbed the remote control and the DVR was set to record!

MaxresdefaultYesterday morning, just before nap time, Harper had her milk and we turned on Yo Gabba Gabba. And what to my wondering eyes did appear? But Jason Bateman guest starring as "Bad Spy"!! I adore Jason Bateman! Of course he becomes friends with the YGG Team and all is well in the end. Awesome.

If you don't know (because I didn't until yesterday) Yo Gabba Gabba is a 1/2 hour kids show on Nick Jr. There are songs and lessons and good friendships, problems to solve, fun to have, music to dance to. I love the random little segue ways of kids just saying "My name is Harper! I love to dance!" then just dancing for 10 seconds.

I was hooked and Harper seemed to enjoy it in her intense studious way - meaning - she just watched intently. Didn't seem bored, but didn't much interact. But I suspect she will get into it.

During quiet time in the evening, after bath and before bedtime, we had some more milk (well, Harper did) and Kurt sat with us. Normally we watch some animal show or ocean documentary. But I suggested the other episode of YGG to show Kurt what it was all about. We start watching and the main lesson was that one of the characters got sick and needed a doctor and that doctors are good people who help us feel better. So the doctor shows up and who is it?  

HOLY CRAP IT WAS ANTHONY BOURDAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We just looked at each other, wide eyed with glee. We have been HUGE Bourdain fans from his Kitchen Confidential to A Cook's Tour and his show that went with the book. He is one messed up, recovering drug addict, self-styled kitchen pirate bad-ass. We have watched every show he's ever made and still quote him after eating/drinking too much in mexico When he was "puking like a champion".

Tony Bourdain playing a doctor on Yo Gabba Gabba? Count me F***ing IN!

20100223-tony-bourdain-yo-gabba-gabbaThe even bestest part was that when someone asked "are you the doctor?" he looked right at the camera with a knowing wink to me and Kurt and said "Yes...I am!"






Pure awesomeness.

So who cares if Harper ends up liking YGG -- chances are she will -- I will love it and always be a fan.

And We Are Back With Weigh-In Wednesdays - The FAST Edition!

Previously on Weigh-In Wednesdays:

HippoonscaleI had gotten to 199 pounds in 2008 (granted it had been a BAD/TOUGH/HORRIBLE year) and it was time to lose it. By December 2010 I weighed 175 with plans to lose at least 10 more pounds. Then I got pregnant and had a miscarriage. By Feb of 2011 I was at 182 and got pregnant again. I gained about 28 pounds during the pregnancy and was amazed that by February of 2012 (when Harper was 2 months old) not only had I lost the 28 pounds, but I was down to 172! Breast feeding is good for many things, including losing weight. I stayed around 175 through the first six months of 2012 then I went back to work full time. Stressful, long hours, tiring work. I finished breast feeding and the weight came back slowly slowly slowly but it came back.

FastDietBookCut to....August 2013. I heard a story on NPR about modified fasting. I was fascinated and bought the book The Fast Diet by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer. What really got me interested was the research on how fasting can potentially do good things aside from weight loss. There are studies that show fasting can help longevity (important when you had a baby at 44!) and can potentially reduce your risks of cancer and diabetes and dementia, among other things. All good news! Oh and yes, I wanted to lose weight. I just wasn't interested in Weight Watchers again, though it had been successful previously.

I bought The Fast Diet book, read it in a couple of days (it's quick and easy) and wanted to give it a try. I had Kurt read the book too as I thought the science behind it was something he would be interested in. He was in and we started three weeks ago. We also got physicals with full blood tests and took our measurements as suggested by the doctor in the book. I don't know what Kurt's details are but mine are as follows.

As of August 6, 2013:

Weight = 192 (goal is 165)

BMI = 30.1 ("Obese" starts at 30)

Waist = 40"

Neck = 13.5" (if above 16 then worrisome)

Overall Cholesterol = 184 (best under 200)

HDL = 92 (60 and above is best)

LDL = 76 (70-100 is ideal)

TRI = 79 (below 150 is ideal)

Glucose = 5.5 (between 3.9 and 5.5 is normal)

The Cholesterol numbers are very good and always have been, thanks to good genes and probably it helps I've been an athlete most of my life. (My 40s not withstanding...) The weight needs to come down for sure and that's my main goal.

SO! Where are we today? As of August 28, I weighed in at 187. Five pounds off after three weeks of the 5-2 fast. NICE!

How does it work? It's pretty darn easy. For two days a week (you pick any two days) you eat only 500 calories for that day. (Men get 600 calories.) And it is recommended that you eat the calories in one or two meals, not grazing throughout the day. The positive results of fasting are in the hours when you are consuming nothing and your body has time to "reset." (Dammit Jim, I'm not a doctor, read the book! Or go to the official website of Dr. Mosley. He practices what he preaches.) You can drink water and tea and coffee as long as there are no calories added. Also, you don't have to have the two days be the same every week. I'm on a Monday/Thursday thing and if I have to schedule an important lunch or dinner on one of those days, I'll shift the fast day. Easy.

You know what? It's not that hard. What's hard losing is the HABIT of eating on those two days, not the lack of food in my tummy. I feel hungry on fast days, but no more hungry than a busy day when you don't have time to eat and suddenly it's 6 and you go, hey, I'm actually hungry! Fasting makes you SOOOOOO conscious of how many times you might get up to go eat something simply because you are bored or tired or that's what you do at noon or the tv is on or you've had a bad day and food is comforting. (This is totally me, btw).

What makes it easy for me are two things: 1) you still get to eat on the fast day! and 2) you can eat whatever you want on the non fast day. So while a lame old-school diet says "YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ICE CREAM EVER AGAIN" this one is about having whatever you like, just not on those two days a week. So on a Monday I might look at cookies at the store and want them, but I just tell myself, you can have the whole box tomorrow! But funny thing, I never want them the next day. Or if I do, I have one or two and that's enough.

What has amazed me is that I'm never really any more hungry the day after a fast day. And I find I really want to eat less at each meal as well as eat less on regular days. I can feel that I'm starting to eat less and eat better foods already, simply by fasting two days a week and being much more conscious. And yes, I eat ice cream!

So what am I eating on fast days? There are some nice recipes in the book and I also bought another fast day cookbook. I've had for breakfast 1 package plain oatmeal with a 1/2 cup of blueberries and in the evenings I've had either 2 eggs with asparagus (no butter or oil) or a bacon and butter bean soup (from the book and it's YUMMY!). I've made a faux veggie pizza (whole wheat tortilla, tomato paste, big amount of steamed veggies and some mozzarella cheese.) But you can make whatever you want as long as it adds up to 500 (or 600) calories on that day. I also drink lots of tea and water and coffee.

I'm really pleased with the results so far. There is a bit of two steps forward, one step back feeling, but only if you weigh yourself every day. (The morning after a fast day I'm always 2-3 pounds lighter but that goes up after a non fast day.) So I'm going to stop weighing myself every day. Maybe twice a week, and for sure on Wednesdays.

I need to be healthier and to do it in a way that makes sense for me -- lose weight yes, but also get benefits of reduced disease risks? Hell yes! I've got a beautiful girl to live a long long time for.




Catching Up On The Summer Fun

August has been busy and mostly good fun. Swimming continues and I'm amazed at how after five weeks of lessons (one lesson and one practice each week) Harper is more and more comfortable in the water and doesn't grab for me hardly at all. She still wears floaties and fins, and is getting better and better with the kicking and paddling. Plus just seeing her in that cap kills me every time!


Every time I put her sunsuit on I call it her Elvis suit.


I love this picture that Kurt took as the girl next to us was so funny and chatty. I'm making a Jen face for sure.


Harper also helps us fold laundry, yet she was stalled in her folding one day to put my undies on her head.(Yes, they were clean!)


But with that face, it is hard to complain. That FACE!


And just a thought -- these toys should probably not be sold or given to households with those that suffer from combat related PTSD...just sayin.


We got an old chair recovered. I've never done that before and the guy we were referred to was awesome. Cheap, cheerful and FAST! With pick up and delivery.

Here is Before:
ChairBefore1 Chairbefore2

And now After:

ChairAfter1 ChairAfter2

We were going to get a brighter, bolder pattern, but then Kurt brilliantly remembered that we have an almost we opted for darker for now.

We've tried some kite flying, though it's been challenging due to lack of wind. Most times this is how we look:


But last weekend we got lucky with a few stronger gusts:

(Harper also loves her sunscreen bottle.)

I was trying to figure out why in the world I remember kite flying being so easy as a kid. Then it dawned on me that, um duh, I grew up where the weather report said "Tradewinds 10-15 mph" EVERY DAY. Much more helpful for kite flying than LA where you barely get 6mph.

Speaking of Hawai'i:


And the sunflowers are starting to bloom and that always makes me happy.


And finally, the fork. A new tool in Harper's eating arsinal. (Note the right hand in ballast position.)


She hasn't fully decided if she's a lefty or a righty, but it is leaning righty...

Back To School Indeed

Apparently school is starting back again soon. Though this seems strange to me as school used to start in September when I was a kid, am I mis-remembering? Although I can clearly remember the feeling of bummed out-ness mixed with excitement when the "back to school" tv commercials started. I'm a nerd. I liked school. Or does that make me a type-A? A Type-A Nerd?

I digress.

The reason I started this post is because I got SCHOOLED today x 3. In my morning emails I got this first from The Universe:

It's perfectly normal, Julia, that when waiting for a really big dream to come true it seems like it's taking forever, you wonder if you're doing something wrong, and you feel like you should just be happy with less.

But I promise you, no matter how long it takes, once it happens it'll seem as if time flew, you'll wonder how you ever doubted yourself, and you'll feel like you should have aimed a little higher.

Aim a little higher, Julia -
    The Universe

I don't always read the TUT emails, but I'm glad I did today. It resonates as I get down on myself about not doing enough, not reaching high enough for the many things I want to have happen in my life.

The next email was from Seth Godin:

Choosing to be formidable

You've met people who are an accident just waiting to happen. What's the opposite of that?

What we're looking for in a boss, in a CEO to invest in, in a business partner, in a candidate, is formidability. Someone to be reckoned with. Not someone with all the answers, because no one has all the answers. No, we want someone who is magic about to happen.

This is the electricity that follows the star quarterback around. We aren't attracted to him because he's a stolid, reliable, by-the-book playmaker. No, it's the sense that he has sufficient domain knowledge combined with the vision and the passion to create lightning at will. Sarah Caldwell was the same way, bringing a sense of imminent possibility to the work she gave us.

They don't teach formidable in school. They teach compliance and rote and perhaps spin. They teach us to be on the alert for shortcuts and for ways to get away with less. Not surprisingly, the formidable leader takes the opposite tack in every respect. She's willing and eager to take the long way if it gets to the elusive destination. She doesn't need to spin because the truth as she knows it is sufficient.

There might only be two critical elements in the choice to be formidable:

1. Skill. The skill to understand the domain, to do the work, to communicate, to lead, to master all of the details necessary to make your promise come true. All of which is difficult, but insufficient, because none of it matters if you don't have...

2. Care. The passion to see it through. The willingness to find a different route when the first one doesn't work. The certainty that in fact, there is a way, and you care enough to find it. Amazingly, this is a choice, not something you need to get certified in.

Formidable leaders find the tough questions, and then, instead of being afraid to ask them, eagerly decide to seek out the answers. They dig in deep to the details that matter and ignore the ones that merely distract. They bite off more than others can chew but consistently avoid biting off more than they can (because they care so much, it hurts to admit that you've reached the end).

It's not a dream if you can do it.

Paul Graham gets full credit for coining the term. "A formidable person is one who seems like they'll get what they want, regardless of whatever obstacles are in the way." A must-read for startup CEOs.


Seth always seems to kick my ass. I have to finally read "Linchpin" it's been on my bedside table for about 2 years. What the hell am I waiting for?

Lastly I came across this:

Okay, I'm hearing you all loud and clear! I've been schooled!


Little Swimming Boo

("Boo" is short for bubeleh, we are not Jewish, that was the word that came from my heart and out of my mouth when I was holding Harper for the first days. Who was I channeling???)

As you know, Harper is taking swimming lessons. Today we went, just me and her, to practice a bit.


Sometimes it's just too much.




Facebook Makes Me A Lazy Blogger

Aside from all the pictures of Harper, I have not really been keeping up with the blogging. Mostly I post random links on Facebook and feel like that is enough. But it's not enough. I'm a writer, dammit, not a linker!

So as a warm up, here is all that I've been linking to:

The Meta Picture is my new uber-time-waster on the web. It never fails to make me lol. But I've got to watch my consumption of it as a 1/2 hour will suddenly be gone. I must treat it like dessert and eat my writing vegetables first.

Yesterday I got my hair did. August 1st was New Hair Day for me.


I email a friend every day with what we eat. We are working on eating more consciously and also working to lose weight. I have not been successful with the weight loss yet (more on that in a later post). The other day the first thing on her list was "two hard boiled eggs." And in my mind I said "make that three hard boiled-eggs!" What am I talking about? The genius that is the Marx Brothers, of course!

From somewhere I saw this and it made me happy:


We read the play in high school, Senior English, I think. (Not to be confused with SeƱor English-he was a piece of work, made good churros though.) I actually got our teacher into a qame of questions and it took him one or two times before he realized I was doing it. I amused myself a lot back then, clever girl that I was. (Am?)

Lastly, on a new favorite blog I read called "Julia's Bookbag" (no, not me, different Julia, but check out the blog for all things book, girl, and fun related!), Melissa linked to this HI-LARIOUS Pinterest Board called "My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter". OMG it is brilliant. Sample:

Screen Shot 2013-08-02 at 11.12.37 AM

Okay. Good start. I'll get the hang of this again yet!