Saturday, January 8, 2011

Read: You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know

My book group this month discussed the book You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers. It is a memoir about a woman who discovers that she has a rare condition called prosopagnosia (also known as face blindness), which causes her not to recognize people by their faces. She also discusses her difficult childhood, being raised by a schizophrenic mother and an unstable (and cross-dressing) father.

It was interesting read, but all the crazy was a bit much at some points. A few members of our group compared it to The Glass Castle, in that some of the situations were so bad you don't understand how someone can live like that. The storyline about her face blindness and how the diagnosis changed her was the part that I like the most.

The book certainly has a lot of material for a good discussion, making it a good choice for book groups. However, because it's a fairly new book, I couldn't find any discussion questions, so I came up a list of my own questions to get us started. I'm posting them here to possibly help out other book discussion leaders. I hope someone finds them useful. If you use them, leave a comment and let me know!

1) Why does Heather marry Dave? Why do they continue to live such separate lives even after they are married (even when they are living in the same town again)? What does Heather mean when she writes, "It was always going to be hard to know about Dave." (pg 351)? What do you think their relationship is now?

2) Discuss the parallels between her recognizing her mother's illness and her own condition. Why do you think she was determined to find (make?) a connection between schizophrenia and face blindness?

3) Why was Heather so afraid to tell people about her condition? Why did the first few people she told react so badly?

4) When asked by the journalist, Heather states that she wouldn't want to be cured if it were possible (pg 325). Do you believe her? She discusses her reasons on the following page. Do you think they are valid?

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Good Morning

As part of my new plan, I got up this morning and went to the gym before work. Since I didn't work until noon, this wasn't as impressive as it may seem. The real challenge will come when I try to convince myself to be at the gym at 7:30 in the morning. But I did make it there this morning, and spent half an hour on the elliptical machine.

I seem to have a much harder time working out in the mornings. I get worn out much quicker and I just want to stop. I wonder if it's because I don't have as much ready energy available to burn first, even though I always eat breakfast first. But whatever the reason, after about 10 minutes I start telling myself that I'll stop at 20 minutes instead of my usual 30, and I take frequent breaks. Having someone else with me really helps to keep me motivated, even if it's just for the competition. Today, just when I was about to give up, Natalie from the BodyPower class came into the room and started working out. Even though we didn't even speak, just the fact that she was there kept me going. So thank you, Natalie, and I'll try not to think nasty thoughts about you next time you suggest doing tricep dips in class.

And for lunch I tried a new recipe from the cookbook Hungry Girl: 200 under 200. I made the Green Pepper Pizzas, which is pizza sauce and toppings with the green peppers as the crust. It was actually pretty good, but by the time I finished the whole thing, the pepper flavor had gotten a little overwhelming. Maybe next time I'll use a smaller pepper.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I am stuck. I've been at the same weight now for almost four weeks. I didn't think it would be this hard to lose five pounds. The first five melted off in a couple weeks with minimal effort. But now I seem to be just maintaining. I'm going to have to step up my game to get those last few pounds off, but I just don't think I'll be able to do it by June 1st. That's just over a week away, and there's no healthy way to lose that much weight that fast. But I'm determined to reach the goal I set for myself back in March, if not by next week, then by June 15th. And I've set a new plan myself, which includes going to the gym a couple more times a week, in the mornings before work. Anyone want to join me?

I have to mention this: Tuesday evening I ran a whole mile. Four laps around the Northeast High School track without stopping! I couldn't even manage that when I was in high school. I'm ridiculously proud of myself.

I had this afternoon off, and I was very productive. I did several loads of laundry, and even folded it and put it away. And in between that, I sewed. I have a little pillow on my bed that I love, but the pillowcase was getting really pretty shabby, and since it's kind of an odd shape, I can't just go buy a new one. So I made one this afternoon. It turned out pretty well, and was fairly easy. For fabric I cut up the sham pillows that came with my comforter, so the pillowcase matches the rest of my bedding perfectly.

I enjoy sewing, because it takes a lot less time than knitting to get to the finished product. I'm contemplating what to make next. I would love to attempt to make something I could actually wear. There are lots of cute (free) patterns out on the web for fun accessories too, like this Buttercup bag. I already made one for practice, and I see many more in my future.

In other news, my friend Lisa now has a blog! Go check it out, and leave her a comment to encourage her to post more soon!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Look! It's A New Post!

Have you ever not called a friend in a long time? You know, you were supposed to call them back, but you got busy and you didn't think of it until it was too late at night or you knew they would be busy. And then you'd put it off for a little while longer, which turned into a long while longer. And then it got to the point that you felt so guilty about it that you were ashamed to call, which is even worse, because then you put it off even longer. But finally you just have to pick up the phone and make the call and apologize for not calling sooner and beg for forgiveness and promise to be a better friend. (Probably none of you have ever done this because you're all much better friends than I am.) Anyway. Writing on this blog has sort of turned into the same situation. I'm writing now and apologizing for not writing sooner. I hope you will all forgive me and keep reading!

So here's a little update on what I've been up to in the almost three months since I last posted.

In March, Karrie, Jennifer and I all entered into a challenge to lose 7% of our body weight, which for me meant about 10 lbs. I've lost five pounds so far, but with just two and a half weeks to go, I'm not sure I'm going to make it to my goal. But I really don't want to part with the $30, so I'm working hard. I am proud of myself for what I've accomplished so far--I'm at least back to my pre-vacation weight (you may remember last June, when I went to Washington, I put on five pounds in one week, despite all the working out I did while I was there). And at least this challenge has gotten me started, and the results have kept me motivated, and I think I'll be able to stay motivated even after the challenge is over and finally get to my real goal.

I also would like to note that I ran my first mile ever in my entire life. Of course, I have to take a short walking break after about a half mile, so technically, I suppose I have run two half-miles. But it was in the same workout. And actually I've done it twice now.

In between workouts, I've squeezed in a little bit of knitting too. My friend Kari is having her first baby, a girl, in less than a month, so I whipped up a little something for her.

These socks are similar the pair I made for Kari last year, just down-sized for baby. So mom and baby will have matching feet. I can't wait to see the socks on the real baby (although my doll Katrina Makayla does a lovely job modelling them, don't you agree?).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

So Sore

Last night I went to Body Combat (or whatever they call it now) at Goodyear, taught by Marika. I'd taken it before, months and months ago, at Gold's, but I always felt like I didn't understand the moves. And with those floor-to-ceiling mirrors on three walls, I could see how stupid I looked, flailing around, which would just make me laugh, and it's hard to pretend to beat the crap out of someone when you're laughing. And I think I may have taken the class with Katie when we had free trial passes to Goodyear, but as the class normally conflicts with work, I wasn't sufficiently motivated to rearrange my work schedule to make it to Body Combat (some people are just far more dedicated than I am!).

Anyway. Last night's class was much better. I can't say I enjoyed it, but Marika explained the moves much better, so at least I had a clearer understanding of what I was supposed to be doing. And we were in the gym, instead of the classroom, so there were no mirrors to show me all the mistakes I was making. So I think I got into the class more than I had before, and therefore got a better workout. And I can definitely feel that workout in my shoulders and back today!

I realized that I've gotten sadly out of shape again (amazing how quickly that happens). I had to take several short breaks and by the end of class I was barely able to swing my arms, let alone punch or kick with any power. But I just kept moving to the end! I even stayed for Body Pump, but I went light on everything. (I went super light on biceps, but I squeezed them for the whole track, and I can feel it today--it really works!)

I'd be willing to go to Combat with Marika again, but like I said, it conflicts with work, and I don't know if I'm motivated to rearrange my schedule. But I know I need to incorporate more cardio workouts into my routine. (And I also need to not go out right after the gym and eat twice as many calories as I just burned!)

Friday, January 16, 2009


For the past two days, I've really slacked on my diet. I was doing so well early this week, and I was just starting to feel like it was working. But then Thursday was payday, so I treated myself at lunchtime to Raising Cane's chicken fingers. I was planning to eat light at dinner, but then Lisa wanted to go out to dinner, and even though it was my turn to pick where we eat, she vetoed my "lighter" choice (Subway) and we settled on Wendy's. I tried to stick to a lighter dinner at Wendy's (well, lighter than what I normally eat there anyway), but things happened that were beyond my control (willpower). They were really short staffed at Wendy's, and obviously stressed about it, even though we were practically the only customers. We had to wait probably twenty minutes for our food, and then when it did arrive, there was somehow an extra patty on my burger. I didn't want to complain and stress out the staff even more, so I just ate it. And for our patience, the manager offered us a free dessert. How could I say no to the chocolate chip cookie dough Frostee?

And today, I just couldn't get back on track either. Although I did better than yesterday.

I haven't been too good about exercising this week either. The bitter cold has kept me from walking to work, and I missed Body Pump Wednesday night because of an upset stomach. I realized that I really miss ellipticizing, either at home or at the gym. So this weekend, I'm going to pick up where I left off on my diet, and do something active. At least the weather is supposed to be nicer, so maybe I'll go for a long walk.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jelly Legs

I went up on my squats tonight in Body Pump, at Marika's insistence encouragement. Whenever I go up on my squats I get jelly legs for several weeks. And since squats are only the second track, it makes me kind of unsteady for the rest of the class.

Anyway. It being a new year and all, I figured I should list my weights again. I did some looking and realized that I haven't actually listed my weights since way back in March! I'm sad to say that things haven't improved that much. I know I was doing higher weights right before Gold's canceled their classes and I stopped going regularly. I can't believe how quickly I lost that and how tough it is to get it back.

Warm up: medium & small
Squats: large & small
Chest: medium
Back: medium & small
Triceps: medium
Biceps: medium
Shoulders: small

Since we changed gyms, the weights are slightly different (kg vs. lb). I'm still doing pretty much the same weight for everything that I was doing nine months ago. I really need to challenge myself. So my new goal is to stick with my new squats weight, and go up on the chest track. Then once I get used to the new squats weight (once my knees stop shaking so badly at least), I'll go up on the biceps too.