Friday Five: Things I Ate This Week That I Won’t See Again Till Next Year

Well, that title kinda says it all, doesn’t it? Here’s a list of five extravagantly delicious, yummy things I ate this week, because Christmas, and which I won’t eat again till the week of December 25, 2018, because again, Christmas:

  1. Trader Joe’s Cocoa Truffles. These were a gift from my husband, who’s ostensibly on the same calorie-counting diet as myself, but who, nevertheless, bought me this lovely red-and-gold box of Cocoa Truffles, containing eight servings of Cocoa Truffles, each serving consisting of four truffles and 180 calories per serving. You do the math. I’ll just savor the flavor. Because chocolate.

  2. Stroopwafels. These were offered up by my mother-in-law at the family Christmas dinner, because a friend of hers at church used to eat them, and she’d passed away, so this was a way of remembering her. Yeah, that’s it. Not because they’re so delicious it’s almost impossible to stop after just one. Because memories.

  3. Sour cream potato chips and homemade French Onion dip. Well, I don’t know if it was French onion or just onion. Onions is onions, I always say. Anyway, I generally try to stay away from potato chips and really yummy onion dip (French or otherwise) because it’s so easy to get carried away. But this week, I couldn’t. Because ooh-la-la, French onion.

  4. Soft dinner roll with a big giant pat of butter. Another thing I try to avoid, for the same basic reason as #3 Potato Chips above – they’re just too darn good, and it’s too darn easy to eat too darn much. Butter is 100 calories per tablespoon, and it’s really hard for me to stop at just one tablespoon, once I get started. But it was on the table, and it was Christmas, so I had it. Because butter.

  5. And finally, what list of Christmas-only favorites would be complete without Trader Joe’s Egg Nog? Not this one, that’s for sure. We still have about half a carton left, and I think we’re going to try to save it for New Year’s Eve. No promises, though. It does taste pretty good in coffee, too. Because nog.

    Okay – that’s the “better late than never” edition of my Friday Five! Sorry it’s late, but it’s such a beautiful, warm, sunny day out there, I had trouble tearing myself away from the Great Outdoors. But for you, I did! You’re welcome – and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas Weigh-In, aka Before The Storm!

Good morning, everyone, and a very


to all my faithful readers! Rest assured, I cherish each and every one of you, honest. In fact, as my Christmas present to you, here’s the late, great David Cassidy assuring you of that very fact!

Meanwhile, I will do a quickie Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, if only to establish a baseline before I hit the inevitable mound of dark chocolate balls and red velvet cake that surely awaits me at the family table this afternoon. Ready? Here goes!


Yeah, I had a loss — good thing, too, since that makes me feel better about all the upcoming goodies! And after today, I’ll have a week to sober up and fly right, so next week I should at least be able to hold steady, just in time for those pesky New Year’s resolutions.

So hang in there! If you’re a Christmas person, enjoy your day! If you’re not, well, there’s always next year, Charlie Brown!



Friday Five: At Long Last, Pros of Gym Membership!

Sorry for the delay, folks. I know I’ve procrastinated quite a bit on getting you these pros of keeping my gym membership. And this morning, I was a bit torn: write my blog, or huddle in the La-Z-Boy recliner, sipping hot coffee and staring in amazement at the ridiculously low temperatures showing on our nice digital indoor/outdoor thermometer.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m a California girl. But this morning it’s cold even for “normal” people. Seriously, it’s 35 degrees here! Fahrenheit! in the San Fernando Valley! at 8:00 AM! So you can see my dilemma.

get on1

Okay, okay! Fortunately for you, I’m totally dedicated to the craft of blogging and whatever, so here you go, my five arguments FOR keeping my gym membership, after which I’m headin’ back to the La-Z-Boy!

  1. WEATHER – well, that should be self-explanatory, but since this is a blog, I’ll explain anyway. Exercising outdoors is great and wonderful. But occasionally (like today), it’s way too cold for sensible, normal human beings to be outside. Other times (way more often, sadly, out here) it’s way too HOT for sensible, normal people, etc. etc. So having the option of going to a nice, temperature-controlled place to exercise isn’t a bad idea. Plus, if the weather’s REALLY bad, there won’t be so many people, so my agoraphobia won’t be triggered!
  2. VARIETY – Yeah, I love my walking, and my bicycling. But every so often, I get the idea that I’d like to try something completely different. Something completely nuts! Something (more likely than not) that I saw on TV. Well, since I don’t have an unlimited budget for exercise equipment, chances are I won’t be able to purchase the intricate equipment needed for that weird form of exercise. BUT – since I belong to a major Big Box gym, chances are they’ve already got something there that approximates what I’m jonesin’ for, and maybe even have classes in it. So there’s some potential financial benefits to keeping the membership.
  3. INERTIA/LAZINESS. I’ve already GOT the membership. It’s already set up. I’ve already paid the initial fees, and gone through the hassle of setting up the monthly payments, giving them pretty much every finger- and thumbprint I’ve got, and saving my favorite (or least objectional) locations on my Google Maps. And I know, from previous experience, that if I quit, I’m going to want to rejoin at some point in the future – because I’ve already done it twice within the last 20 years. Do I really want to go through all that hassle again? Not really. Let sleeping dogs (or cats, in our household) lie.
  4. I DO, OCCASIONALLY, GO THERE. Not as often as I should, but more often than I imagine. Every once in a while, I wake up from an uneasy, restless sleep, and there it is: the guilt. “Why aren’t you going to the gym? YOU PAID FOR IT! Use it, you lazy bum!” (or bum-ess – not sure if there’s a female version of that noun, but if not, well, TM me, then!) So I get up, have breakfast, have coffee, have more coffee, take some coffee with me to the car, drive around for a while listening to the radio, and then, when I can’t think of anything else to do, park the car at one of my bookmarked Google Maps locations and, yes, GO INSIDE THE GYM. Then, once I’m in, it’s almost impossible not to do SOME form of exercise, if only so the perky young gals at the front won’t think I’m just some old lady with nothing better to do. Of course, they probably don’t think anything of the sort, mainly because there are plenty of other old ladies there and most of us obviously don’t have anything better to do, so they’re used to us.
  5. And finally (whew!), reason number five (drum roll please), THIS:

    Yeah, I don’t care how many scare stories get published in the Lamestream Media about how dirty and infectious gym pools and hot tubs are. I still love ’em! And I know you find this hard to believe, but even though I live in sunny Southern California, we don’t have a swimming pool in our backyard. Well, we do occasionally, when we remember to pick one up at Walgreens.

    But they’re not really as good as the ones at the gym. Plus, there’s a hot tub there, and being old, I tend to get chilly a lot.

So – there you have it! The best five arguments I can come up with AGAINST quitting my gym membership in 2018. During the next few weeks, I’ll be comparing them to my arguments FOR quitting (and lest you forgot, here they are), and making a decision. Maybe. It’s still me, after all.


Oh well – at least I got one thing accomplished today: this blog post! Now, for my reward:

And oh yeah, there’s one other decision I have to make: whether to do my Weekly Weigh-In this Monday. Which, in case you’ve been hiding under a rock (or in Iraq, for all I know) happens to be CHRISTMAS!!! so I might be busy opening presents from Santa Claus or sipping hot cider by the fireplace or something. What do you say? Can I take the day off? Or maybe the rest of the year? I’m open to suggestions! Meantime – –

Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, and Serenity Now!

Good morning, everyone! Hey, did you know it’s just exactly one week (7 days) till Christmas morning? Are you ready? Have you got your moral compass synchronized, to resist all those last-minute wiles of the satanic, evil merchants and credit card companies? Remember, they just LOVE to see you wildly overspend this week. Who cares if you have to mortgage all your worldly possessions to pay their usurious interest charges? I mean, everyone knows Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, whose birth we’re celebrating, WANTS you to buy everyone on your list a ridiculously overpriced box of chocolates, and have it delivered by one of their wildly UNDERpaid employees. Don’t even think about just making some homemade cookies and delivering them yourself! That’s … that’s just decadent, man! Get a REAL present, you cheapskate!

Anyway, time for the Weekly Weigh-in! Ready? Here goes!

Time to do some little kicks!

I have to confess, I was a little worried. My knees have been sore for a couple of days. Sometimes that means it’s going to rain. (Yes, that’s right — I have weather-predicting knees!)

"My back says 'low pressure', my joints say 'cold' and my old UFC injury says 'snow'. Back to you, Katie."

Comes in handy, when they’re accurate! However, this time I didn’t think that “rain” was the reason, since, if you’ve been paying attention to the news cycle, we’re currently experiencing some crazy-dry winds and horrific wildfires, out here in beautiful sunny Southern California.

And btw, if you really want to give a meaningful Christmas gift, how about taking all that money you were going to use to buy a piece of crap for your great-aunt Tilly, and donate it to the American Red Cross instead? They’ll use it to help someone whose Christmas has been all but destroyed by the wildfires or some other disaster. Someone who actually NEEDS it.

Unlike your third cousin Jerry, in Oklahoma. You know, Jerry — that guy you’ve never actually seen in person since you were both five years old, but your mom always asks you if you sent him a card, and makes you feel vaguely guilty (moms have a way of doing that) when you say “no” because apparently Jerry’s mom and your mom went to summer camp together, so he’s really almost like your own brother, sort of, so why didn’t you send him something, you cheap bastard?

Well, my advice is, send the money to the Red Cross, and send Jerry an email saying you did it in his name. (CC your mom, just in case.) The Red Cross will use it wisely. You’ll feel better. Jerry won’t care.

And remember – whatever you do – whatever you give – whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate – enjoy your week, and don’t let the rampant materialism destroy your peace of mind! Serenity Now!


Friday Five: More Lame Excuses!

Hey, is it Friday already? Ahem! Sorry, folks, I totally forgot that:

  1. It’s Friday, and
  2. I’m writing a blog, and
  3. I promised to update it on Fridays and Mondays, and
  4. today was supposed to be Part II of my riveting series on the pros and cons of gym membership, and
  5. I totally have a good excuse!

Although it may seem a bit meager at this point, the excuse is as follows:

  1. I forgot.


But I forgot for a really good, exercise-related reason! See, when I got up this morning, I decided that, since there’s only a little more than a week till That Holiday That You’re Pretending Is Further Away Than It Really Is (aka the Birth of Our Lord and Saviour), it might be a good idea to actually send out some Christmas cards.

So, I sat down at the kitchen table, addressed all the cards, signed them (using alternating, festive shades of red and green, nice!), got my hubby to sign them, put stamps on them, removed them when hubby pointed out they were the wrong stamps, re-stamped them, sealed them, and decided, “Hey, the weather’s really nice! I think I’ll walk to the Post Office and mail these, thus combining a necessary chore with some good exercise!”

So, I did the walk, and as I was on my way home, I passed by this beauty school, which had a big sign out front advertising $5.00 haircuts, if you don’t mind their students doing them, and I realized, “Hey, I’ve got $5.00 with me, AND I really, really need a haircut so I can get rid of that Gordon Cole look!”

So, I stopped in and spent a relaxing hour in the chair, having my hair cut by a sweet, shy, and very careful young student who used only scissors, and consulted her teachers fairly often to make sure she was doing it right. (You’ll be happy to hear that she was, and that they commended her for following The Guide.)

When she finished, she took some photos, I thanked her profusely, paid my $5.00 plus a small tip (it had to be small, I don’t carry much cash when I’m out walking, but she certainly deserved more!), and ambled on, getting home just in time to make lunch.

So, here I am. And no Friday Five for you, just because I prefer walking to blogging about walking. Oh well — I PROMISE I’ll get to those five “pros of gym membership next week — although at the moment I can only think of a couple. (Hmm, maybe that says something!)

Anyway, sorry if you were waiting on tenterhooks and all that, but y’know, it’s a nice day. Maybe YOU should be out walking, instead of just reading about it! Whatever you do — hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, Post-Potluck Edition!

Well, good morning to you, friends and neighbors! Hope you had a wonderful weekend! We had yet another church potluck yesterday, this time in honor of ol’ St. Nicholas who, in the Eastern Christian tradition isn’t so much jolly as … well, kinda curmudgeonly. Like the late, great Andy Rooney, with correct dogma.

So there was lots of yummy potluck-style food, including my all-time fave, baked macaroni and cheese, with extra cheese!

Not to mention lots and lots and LOTS of chocolate, in the form of cupcakes, M&M cookies and, of course, chocolate coins!

Fortunately, I used my amazing Math Brain to calculate that there are approximately 20 to 25 calories in each chocolate coin, so even though I overindulged, at least I knew how MUCH I was overindulging. It was a good day.

AND — when I stepped on the scale this frosty morn, here’s what I saw:

Let’s Go to the Store!

Because yay, I actually lost a whole pound since last week! And I do have to buy a new cellphone today anyway (my old one rolled over and died yesterday), so I’m goin’ shopping! Not with chocolate coins, although … who knows? At an exchange rate of 25 calories each, I might be able to strike a deal with some starving kiosk phone seller.


Anything’s possible, right? I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Meanwhile, stay warm and have a great Monday! See you Friday, when I give you my five reasons for possibly NOT quitting my gym after all!

Friday Five: Five Reasons to Quit Your Gym Membership (well … maybe!)

Happy Friday, everyone! As promised, here’s my unvarnished list of five reasons why I keep wondering if I should just quit my gym membership.

  1. Expense. Granted, I belong to one of the cheapie big-box gyms (24 Hour Fitness), so my monthly payment isn’t that much – only around $35 a month. Still, I’m on kind of a fixed income these days, what with my job being “outsourced” a few years ago. My primary source of extra spending money right now is freelance transcription, which doesn’t pay that much, but at least it keeps me home, where I’m less likely to overspend. Still, every penny counts!
  2. Clothes. Confession: I wear a skirt almost all the time, except when I’m on a bike or in the pool. The skirts I tend to favor are long, comfy, soft, and most importantly, have nice, roomy POCKETS. I guess you’d call them “cargo skirts,” although they weren’t called that when I originally started buying them or their equivalents, back in the previous century. This all goes back to when I was working full-time in downtown L.A., and had to putter around the office, carrying card keys and actual keys and change for the snack machine, which I visited a LOT, which is partly why I’m dieting today. Now I pretty much live in my comfy skirts, and having to change out of them into quote-unquote “workout clothes” is just a big fat pain in the butt.
  3. Parking. Every! single! location! of my fitness club has a big, crowded parking lot which you have to deal with before you can even get NEAR the actual exercise equipment. Now that I’ve lost a bit of weight and am a bit more mobile, I’m following the classic “passive exercise” advice about parking farther away and walking the extra distance. But ya know, sometimes I just find myself thinking, “Why not just park in the WAY less crowded parking lot at that beautiful, tree-lined PARK a couple of miles down the road, the one with the attractive dirt trails, and just WALK – in my nice, comfy skirt?” And more and more often, I find myself doing just that.

    So*, more and more, I find myself not wanting to even get into the car to make the drive to the gym. The closest location to me is at least a 20-minute drive, and has the absolute WORST parking of all their locations. It’s tempting to just stay home, which brings me to:
  4. Agoraphobia. It’s mild, but I do have kind of an aversion to large crowds. And gyms tend to have lots of people in them. Not so much right now, but give it a few weeks – all those New Year’s resolutions tend to fill up those prime treadmill spots for at least a couple of months.
  5. Non-Gym Exercise. As previously mentioned, I’ve been doing a lot more walking, at least every other day, for my regular exercise. In addition, last week I dragged my abandoned, but still quite functional, Electra Townie Cruiser bike out of the garage, where it’s been waiting patiently for the past few years, gathering cobwebs and desiccated spider corpses; took it up to our local bike shop; and had it all fixed up, spandy new and purty as a picture! After my husband helped me adjust the leopard print saddle – very picturesque and exquisitely uncomfortable – I’ve had three short but increasingly delightful rides around our neighborhood, and am really looking forward to the next one. Plus, I’ve got a whole bunch of free weights (well, they weren’t really free, but they were cheap, nyuk nyuk!) scattered around the back yard, to take care of those underarm wings we fat middle-aged ladies seem to sprout.

So – there you go. My five best arguments for quitting my gym membership.

Still, there are some good reasons for keeping it active, and next Friday, I’ll give you those.

Meanwhile, what do YOU think? Do you belong to a gym? Do you use it, or just keep it in reserve in case you can’t think of anything else to do, or there’s nothing new on Netflix? Let me know!

(*by the way, if you’re also a freelance transcriber, you’re probably shouting at me, “Hey! Never start a sentence with ‘and,’ ‘but,’ or ‘so’! That’s … that’s just so wrong!!” And you’re right. But I did it anyway. So there.)

Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, and Dig (Out) That Bike!

Well, good morning, all! Happy Monday to you and yours. Ready? Let’s not waste one more second!

A little better than before

Only 0.4 pounds lost this week, but hey, I’ll take what I can get! Especially considering that I overindulged a little this weekend (what, again?), this time treating myself to some Taco Bell, as a reward for visiting my gym for the first time in over a month. And it’s so conveniently located, right next door. How could I resist?


Which is maybe another good argument in favor of quitting my gym membership and just exercising on my own. But then again, I’ve quit twice in the past several years, only to rejoin a few months later, with my tail between my legs, whimpering, since it usually winds up costing a little bit more each time, not to mention having to redo the fingerprint scan thingie with a different digit than before. 24 Hour Fitness has both my thumbs AND my forefingers in their system already, and who’s to say they aren’t reporting my suspicious activities back to the gov’mint? It’s theoretically possible. So maybe I’d better leave well enough alone, while I’ve got three unidentifiable fingerprints left.


Hmm, sounds like it’d be a good Friday Five kinda thing, though, don’t you think? Five reasons to quit the gym, and then five reasons not to? I’ll let it percolate in the hopper and see what comes up. (I’m sure you’ll be waiting on tenterhooks for the results.)

I may also do some stuff about my trusty, rusty ol’ Electra Townie, a bike that’s been sitting in our garage for at least five years, acquiring a nice patina of dust, cobwebs and desiccated spider corpses (eww). Last week, I dragged Ol’ Blue out of what seemed to be its final resting place, wiped off the spider corpses, and hauled it up to the local bike shop. Three hundred smackeroos later, it’s back, clean as a whistle and waiting in the driveway (behind a fence, don’t worry), waiting for me to toodle around the neighborhood looking geeky.


I love it, although I may replace the cool-looking leopard print saddle with something less cool-looking and more comfy. (This one might be helpful, if I find myself jonesing for Taco Bell again:)


Have a great week, everyone!

Friday Five: Themes Like A Mighty Long Time

Sorry if you missed the Friday Five last week, folks. I was sitting in a hotel suite — and before you get jealous, it was the La Quinta in Phoenix, which means it was basically two standard hotel rooms with the wall knocked out between them, and the same really uncomfortable furniture and crappy cable TV, with only 38 channels available and only 37 working at any given time, never the only one you really want to watch (TVLand).

Anyway, this week’s Friday Five doesn’t have any overriding theme.

But since it all happened to ME, maybe that’s enough, since, as we all know, the universe revolves around me. Anyway, here goes!

  1. Yesterday I went to this grocery store in West Hills, Fields Market. I like it ’cause I hate shopping at crowded, big box grocery stores, and this one, although it’s a normal-sized store, is hardly ever crowded.
    However, yesterday the usually empty parking lot was filled with that sight that makes everyone in California except the most wide-eyed tourists wince: a parking lot full of “Star Waggons” and other film crew vehicles.

    Apparently, they were filming a movie in my lovely, non-Ralphs grocery store today. Groan!! Well, the sign out front assured me “All business open during filming!” so I decided to chance it, parked at the outer fringes of Crew City, and walked over, careful not to trip over the big giant electrical cables.

    Inside, the store was COMPLETELY dark. A crew member (maybe the producer, or one of them) came over and whispered that they were just about to start rehearsing. I whispered back that I just wanted to get some cat food and pasta, and should I just come back tomorrow? No, no, she assured me, hang on, let me get someone to help you. She goes off in search of a store employee, while I hang around in the dark, trying to figure out just what they’re filming — a commercial? a TV show? a movie? a porno? You just never know around here.

    Finally she comes back with “Suzie,” a checker I recognize, and she tries to be helpful, asking me what I want (in whispers), and tiptoeing into the aisles, helpfully bringing back everything except what I actually asked for. Example: “I want to get one of those little pouches of cat treats.”
    cat treat

    “OK!” (five minutes of tiptoeing and rustling later) “Is it one of these?” (pant pant) and she’s carrying three giant bags of dry cat food.
    “Um no, the little ones — but you know, since you went to all that trouble, leave one of those and I’ll buy it too.” “Are you sure?” (pant pant) “Yeah, we’ll use ’em sometime.” “OK, and what else?” “Um …”

    and basically we went through that conversation for about 20 minutes, till I got tired of seeing her haul back all the wrong stuff, and said I’d just buy what she’d brought up and come back some other time for the rest. As she rung up my bill (ssh! They’re rehearsing!) I asked what they were filming, and she said (whispered!), “It’s a movie with Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich, but I don’t know what it’s about.” After leaving with my purchases, I checked IMDB, and sure enough, Sandra and John are currently working together on “Bird Box,” by Josh Malerman.

    It’s described as a “dystopian thriller” based on a novel I haven’t read, but which, according to Goodreads, features a woman’s “twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears.” Now I have to ask you, does that sound like a grocery store? Maybe Hollyweird’s just up to its old tricks. (Or maybe I should just read the book.)

    Anyway, if you’re a celebrity freak, you might enjoy knowing that you’re reading the blog of a woman who was just on the other side of a darkened grocery store from Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich. You’re welcome.

  2. Oh come on, I have to come up with four more? You people are insatiable! I haven’t even had my breakfast yet! (sigh) Oh, all right.

    Well, I dragged my old bike out of the garage the other day, wiped off the cobwebs and the dead spiders clinging to them, and carted it up to the local bike shop. It’s supposed to be ready today, so my plan is to WALK up there and RIDE back. This is a big deal for me because I haven’t actually ridden my bike for at least five years, primarily due to all the weight I gained after losing my job back in 2012. Now that the weight’s coming off, I decided it’s time to get back in the saddle! I’ll keep you posted on how that all works out.

  3. I’m also proud to report that I am walking for at least 30 minutes, almost every day! And on the days when I don’t walk, I feel funny. Kind of disconnected, like there’s something I forgot. Something important. Then I remember. “Oh yeah — walking!” And I go outside, and I walk, and I feel better. Sometimes I even just go out in the back yard and walk in place for a little while. I highly recommend doing that if you’re in the middle of a highly important binge-watching session.
    (And don’t forget: popcorn has fiber!)
  4. Finally, we can start watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas music without some self-important know-it-all snottily whining about how “it’s not even Thanksgiving yet and you’re listening to Christmas stuff?”

    And since that self-important know-it-all is usually ME, that means I can stop talking to myself now. Bonus!

  5. Oh yay, finally, it’s the last one! Let’s see. What should we throw in now?
    Well, since she and my husband are the only relatives I know of who actually read my blog, how’s about I take advantage of my position as a powerful member of the media to wish a VERY happy (if belated) birthday to my wonderful cousin, Kathy H., a totally cool person who urged me to keep trying, and never give up, till I did it — I FINALLY managed to actually READ “Lord of the Rings” all the way through! Thanks, cuz!!

Whew — that’s it! Anyway, that’s definitely all I could think of. And I did all that without caffeine! Well, ahem … OK, I’ve had caffeine, but just a little. Now for the deluge!

And, as my cousin Kathy likes to say, “Have a sparkling day, everyone!”