Archive for June, 2010

Day Seventy-Two

June 30, 2010

I got up and took a walk for the second day in a row. I went to work and tried to care at all, and by those criteria I suppose that I succeeded. Helping my employer prepare to replace me has to rank right up there on the short list of tasks for which it is difficult to muster enthusiasm.

I followed my diet all day, choosing the healthiest vegetarian lunch I could find at the restaurant and opting for a small handful of peanuts and raisins at 4:00 instead of a second Zone Bar.

I’ve been despondent since I found out that the psyllium was helping me to lose weight. I’m pulling myself out of that by saying “Fine. I’ll prove that I could have lost the first forty pounds without the psyllium by losing the final thirty-five pounds without it.” I’ve resolved to start getting the fiber by eating lots of vegetables and fruit.

I looked at the psyllium container to see how much fiber was in a serving so that I could figure out how much vegetables and fruit I need to eat to replace it. I never got past the dosage, which was quite a shock: the maximum recommended daily amount is three tablespoons. I was taking three teaspoons.

After talking to Grace, I think that I wasn’t just imagining things: the store-brand psyllium that we got before was more concentrated, hence the dosage was three teaspoons per day. When we got the new stuff, I assumed that the concentration was the same.

I’ve been keeping the last of the old concentrated stuff in a bag at work and taking that as my second of three doses. So I was actually taking less than half of the maximum daily dose on weekdays, and one third or less on weekends. This makes me feel better, because it doesn’t seem like such a small dose could have contributed significantly to the weight loss. It may have helped, but I did most of the work.

I was so tired when I got home that I failed to push through it and do calisthenics. Instead I went straight to bed and slept for over ten hours. Cripes, this sleepiness reminds me of the last few weeks of my senior year in college. Imminent lifestyle changes are stressful.


Team lunch

June 30, 2010
Mixed vegetables with garlic sauce

Mixed vegetables with garlic sauce

One of my Keane managers took the team to lunch today to celebrate my ten years with the company and to welcome our newest team member. It was excruciating to try to look happy about being here for ten years when all I can think about is leaving, and why I’m leaving.

Hmmmm. You know, it never occurred to me until just now: my boss is the reason for me leaving. If he wasn’t such a despicable human being, I wouldn’t have finally taken the leap. I should thank the filthy bastard.

Anyway, we had lunch at a Thai place with plenty of fatty stuff on the menu. But I ordered the mixed vegetables with garlic sauce. In addition to having fewer calories and all that good stuff, this is part of my effort to get more fiber. Go me!


June 30, 2010


Good morning. My weight is about the same today as it was yesterday.

I’m tired and my allergies are acting up but I’m glad to have gotten up at 5:30 for a walk. Given how hot it’s been lately, the temperature was shockingly low. The sun picked out the spider webs and the bunnies.

Along the edge of a putting green I saw a small copse of raspberry bushes, and I went to look for the telltale folded leaves that indicate the presence of Enoplognatha ovata. They like to fold over raspberry leaves in order to make little shelters in which they then deposit their egg sacs.

I didn’t see any folded raspberry leaves, and I was about to turn around. Then I noticed a little silk-bound shelter made of three grape leaves. It reminded me of a house of cards: two vaguely vertical leaves formed the walls, and a vaguely horizontal leaf had been drawn down and bound over them with webbing to form the roof. This style of spider shelter was new to me.

I peeled back the leaves and saw a bunch of spiderlings suspended on a criss-cross of webbing. Their burst egg sac was suspended from the “ceiling”. It quickly became apparent from their shriveled and splayed appearance that they were all dead. I wonder if it was the unusually cool night that did it.

Just a few inches below that first “house”, I noticed a less obvious one. Actually, I may have noticed the spiderlings first, because their plump little brown selves were dotting their roof and one or two adjoining leaves like a sprinkling of peppercorns! This brood was very much alive. I peeked through the chinks in their house and saw more siblings which hadn’t yet ventured outside.

I wish I’d brought my camera. I most certainly will return with it tomorrow. But the point is that I got up and got out and saw something magical today.

Day Seventy-One

June 29, 2010

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Wow, what an exciting read this must be for you, getting to hear me gripe about my boss every day!

Sigh. I’ll try to ease off on that, OK? Suffice it to say that he’s a… let me see if I can come up with a funny insult that hasn’t been done before. It has to involve the ass somehow… “butt” is inoffensive enough, but being the crude fellow that I am, I gravitate toward “ass”. “Rectum” sounds rather clinical, but with the right phonetic companion I could strike comedy gold. Likewise “buttock” could be very funny given the right… AHA! I’ve got it! “Coccyx Jockey”! My boss is a coccyx jockey! ‘Cause he’s… y’know… ridin’ my ass! It’s got fantastic assonance… ASSonance??? My god, I’m brilliant!

Where the hell was I? Ah yes. Day seventy-one.

Grace and I got up at 5:30 and took a walk around the golf course. I felt walled off by my own moroseness, which made me feel bad about being with Grace but apart. Nothing like meta-sadness, huh?

But hey, we got up. And I got to the train and got to work and actually got some work done at work. Why I bothered is anyone’s guess.

In the afternoon I went over to the post office to mail some stuff. One of the ladies behind the counter would seem to be related to my boss, as she displayed the same ability and passion for making me feel about one inch tall. She started berating me shrilly for standing at the wrong end of the line, when the signs couldn’t be read from the side from which I approached. This woman could have schooled schoolmarms.

I walked out of the post office feeling more deflated and dour, and a butterfly landed square on my chest. Which I thought was the most delightful thing in the world, seeing as how I’ve spent a good deal of time during the last year or two wholly failing to approach butterflies close enough to photograph of them.

So I strolled around Jersey City with this butterfly making itself quite comfortable on my chest. I’m devoutly agnostic, yet I derived pleasure from thinking that even if it didn’t mean anything as such, the event carried meaning. I didn’t want to bring the poor innocent creature into the corporate world with me, so I eventually coaxed it off onto my finger, from which it fluttered down into a small flower patch between an office building and the Hudson. Long may it sunbathe.

I finished up at work, took the PATH over to World Trade Center, walked along the Hudson for a while, made my way over to Union Square, met Grace, and had a healthy meal on the train. And now it’s past my bedtime, so good night!

What I’m not eating, and what I am eating

June 29, 2010

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Who knew there was a fourth Zaro’s in Grand Central? Not me, until I ran into it in Grand Central Market tonight. Cripes. If there were any more Zaro’s in that place it would be physically impossible to walk through it without coming out the other side holding a pastry.

But damn it, I want the lean body more than I want that hamantash, even though it looks so delicious that it makes my mouth water. So instead I had my standard piece of Mediterranean flat bread with hummus, and to add some fiber and vitamins I munched on the snow peas that I bought from a small farm stand in Jersey City today.

…and I tell myself it’s the only thing I love.


June 29, 2010

OK, that’s better. Not good, but better. If I’m very good this week I’ll dip down below 217 by Saturday morning. I’ve got to get plenty of exercise to make that happen, though.

Day Seventy

June 28, 2010

I didn’t quite manage to get up for a walk, physically and emotionally drained from the weekend as I was. Then I weighed myself and felt far more drained. I spent the rest of the day in an angst-filled despond, detailed in the previous post.

During work I heard back from my Keane manager about the fate of my Goldman career. Some of what he told me I’d already heard through the grapevine: that I’ll be leaving, and that I’ll be training someone else. Now it’s just a question of how long that training will last. He said that it will probably be upwards of two months.

Even though I already knew most of this, it shook me because that big rolling ball that I’d set in motion became real: no turning back now. I’ve been at Goldman Sachs for ten years, and now I’m leaving. Man, I hope I’m doing the right thing. I mean, come on, how could this not be the right thing. But still… cash cow… leaving… the pragmatic, mercenary, and scared parts of me screamed “Crazy!”

Along with what I already knew, my Keane manager gave me an important piece of information that I didn’t know: he’s aware of how screwed GS would be if I left without training someone, and he’s grateful to me for being willing to do so. This makes me think that I’m playing this right by being nice. If Keane is grateful to me for doing right by the client, this may be treated as a layoff rather than a resignation, which would mean unemployment for me.

With all this angst swimming in my head, I was pretty well wilted by the time I got home. I didn’t do any exercises; I just caught up on some of my blogging, had a modest dinner with a little wine, and got to bed on time in anticipation of an early-morning walk with Grace.


June 28, 2010

Well, I have my correlation. Dammit.

I’ve been off psyllium husk for a week and a half. I’m more bound up than The Gimp in Pulp Fiction, and my weight loss has screeched to a halt. Granted, I had a big celebratory event last Wednesday and I violated my diet yesterday, but I did much the same in previous weeks when my weight was dropping anyway.

I started taking the psyllium for bowel health. It didn’t occur to me that it could also affect my weight. Then, a few weeks ago, I began racking my brain for some explanation for my disturbingly fast weight loss. I should be happy to have found one that doesn’t involve me being sick again.

But I’m not happy. I’m very despondent. After trying to explain it to Grace, I think that it might be a guy thing. I thought that I was losing weight through my own strength and iron will. But it turns out that I had help, and that’s devastating to me. It feels like I was cheating without knowing it.

But here’s the thing that’s tying my brain in knots: psyllium is *good* for me. It aint like I’m snorting cocaine or going to a vomitorium to lose weight. I’m giving my body the fiber it needs for healthy bowels.
Beyond the mechanical benefits of the bulking agent, psyllium husk has been proven to act as a glycemic buffer and a cholesterol buffer. Those are good things.

People say that psyllium also interferes with nutrient absorption, and although there seems to be no hard data to suport this notion, the possibility worries me: I don’t want to ingest anything that blocks vitamin and mineral absorption. I need to do further research on this point.

Since psyllium has been shown to reduce sugar absorption, I wonder if that alone could account for my accelerated weight loss. If so, then shouldn’t I be happy? Well, yes and no. Yes because the psyllium is doing me a favor by blocking the sugar, and no because it means that I’m taking in way too much sugar in the first place.

Likewise, the fact that my bowels are so happy with the psyllium and so distressed without it means that I don’t get nearly enough fiber in my diet. So again, I’m pleased at what the stuff does for me, but disturbed that I need it. The psyllium solves problems, and solves them well. But the problems are caused by indulgence and neglect, and I should be altering the behavior rather than compensating for it.

Day Sixty-Nine

June 27, 2010

I followed my diet fairly well for most of the day, eating nothing but two egg sandwiches, a Zone Bar, and a few servings of Pita and Hummus. The glaring exception was the strawberry-rhubarb pie, which will earn me another black mark on my calendar. We also indulged in a bit of wine when we got home after the four-hour car trip. So overall the day was a diet fail.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

June 27, 2010

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I didn’t think to get a shot of the pies themselves, but I have my priorities straight: I did capture some images of my nephew Dylan helping to roll out the pie crust.

So Grace and I made two strawberry-rhubarb pies on Sunday. And they were stellar. To my credit, I didn’t eat a massive amount. I had a medium-sized slice, and then nibbled here and there. What I had couldn’t have totaled more than two slices, which isn’t too bad considering that it was stupendously delicious pie that I had just made. But the point is that I broke my diet. Boooooo.