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June 03, 2008


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Hmph. You don't allow pictures in comments. Here.

The grape is sticking its tongue out at me for self-pity?

The grape wants to lick me?

This is me as a grape?

This looks like a not-sour grape.

As for your saying that you "...share this with the world at large with the realistic expectation that the world at large is completely indifferent...", who cares what the world thinks? Knowing that there are some of the world's people who care about you is damned more important.

I just feel embarrassed to use my blog for what's perilously close to a loud, public whine.

It's YOUR blog, nobody can tell you what to do with it. Still, if you want to edit that post, and if that means removing parts that my post refer to, well, go ahead and delete my post.

By the way, I wasn't implying that the post was a whine. Like I said, this is your blog, and you talk about what preoccupies you as well as about what makes you happy.

Better a loud public whine than a long worrying silence.

Which Cadfaels were they?

The Cadfaels were Monk's Hood and The Heretic's Apprentice. I also zipped through the short fiction in A Rare Benedictine. Somewhere during this I realized with desperate sadness that I had read them so many times and knew them so well that they were not helping with the stress. I couldn't get properly lost in the stories. That's when I switched to the Frevisses, which I don't like as much but at least had the virtue of forcing me to pay attention.

Well, I know I can do what I want with my blog. I just am not quite sure what I want to do and why I am writing other than the egotistical desire to hear(read) myself talk(type). I know what I want to do with Kickery, but Rixo is in a sort of ongoing identity crisis.

(I just want to note that for lunch at the office today I am consuming the last of my supply of grapes. Next up at home are some past-their-best strawberries, which may become strawberry bread, and a gigantic jar of applesauce. It's the Cheerios-and-fruit diet!)

You make me want to send food to you. Specifically, cheese. Not sure why.

So I send a hug instead. ((HUG))

Heh heh. Ask Changeling about me and cheese. Cheddar cheese is one of my greatest weaknesses. If I want to lose weight I must stay far, far away from it.

I just am not quite sure what I want to do and why

Well, you could talk about cheese. I love cheese. That's why I never buy cheese. Had I cheese, I'd eat the whole chunk in one sitting - or two, if I have the moral fiber to resist temptation.


I don't think I can turn this into CheeseBlog; I'm too pedestrian in my cheese tastes. I like cheddar and Swiss, and things which are Like Cheddar and Like Swiss. I adore mozzarella. But I am not fond of cheeses which are soft and squishy, funny-colored, or have Things in them.

No cheese then. As for your saying that Rixo is in a sort of ongoing identity crisis... It doesn't have to be about a specific subject, or to write mini-essays on various subjects. Or to talk about what they feel like talking about. Rixosous reflects who you are, and I very much enjoy reading it.

Cheese-like things without things in them...
A tale of LoveKraftian horror.

The grape was because you mentioned left-over grapes and because I thought it was silly for you to think the world is indifferent. I was, in fruitia, sticking my tongue out at you.

Of course, fruit and cheese are good together. I like colby best, but I'm able to control myself, which is good because my protein is limited.

I post on my LJ every day partly to keep track of what's happening and partly because I'm required to let someone know I'm alive every day and this serves that purpose. I'm surprised how many people read what is a rather boring narrative of my life. So post what you want. Those of us who think you're interesting will find your posts interesting.

And if you need to laugh, try this.

Most of my angst is self-imposed. I have trouble figuring out why I should exist, so it's unsurprising that I have similar issues about my blog. While I know I don't have to do anything in particular with it, I am disinclined to the life-diary approach (partly for privacy reasons and partly because my day-to-day life is pretty excruciatingly dull), so all that seems left is to try to write mini-essays and such. Apparently I have succeeded in collecting at least three people who, amazingly, find this interesting on a regular basis, which I suppose is a good start.

I can pressure myself much more effectively than anyone else can pressure me (not that anyone is). I'm very stubborn.

This week's project is Quadrille Thing: an 1880s quadrille, an 1840s polka quadrille, an 1890s single-figure waltz quadrille, an 1870s quadrille-shaped German figure, a quadrille croisé , and a comparison of three figures of 1820s and 1860s versions of the same quadrille. All except the croisé are done, and I even have them neatly typed up.

So far this is more relaxing than the canario project, for which I reached a sustainable plateau but still have not managed to solve the overall problem. Whether I will think the same after tonight's scheduled tussle with les croisés is still unclear.

I have succeeded in collecting at least three people who, amazingly, find this interesting

This proves that these three people have excellent taste.

Back when I did the day-to-day management for OMNI on AOL, we got statistics every month of how many people had visited each page and we were able to determine that for every person who posted, about 80 lurked. I don't know if it's still that hig -- more people may be comfortable posting -- but I'm willing to bet you have a lot more lurkers than posters.

As to existence, I don't worry about why I exist, the fact is that I do and I just go from there. (I reserve the right to not-exist if medical things become overwhelming.)

I can look at my hit statistics and see them growing, which is rewarding. In my blog-race, Kickery has been ahead since March, when I had my first really successful post there. It still gets almost 50% more hits than Rixo per day, though both have settled at noticeably higher levels in the last six weeks or so.

I don't worry about why I exist so much as whether I have any purpose. Purposeless existence is uncomfortable for me. All I really seem to have for a purpose is dance research, and I'm not sure how worthwhile it is in the grand scheme of things.

We,, you do have a purpose right now. Enjoy it.

Well, needing a purpose kind of ties into godish things. Who says we need a purpose? If there's no higher being than us (at least as far as our telescopes can see), why would we need a purpose?

I don't believe in a higher being of any sort, but I still need a purpose else why keep living?

Why not?

Four. (OK, so I've finally broken radio silence.)

[computer voice]
Insufficient reason.
[/computer voice]

(for me, personally, anyway, not meaning to speak for anyone else)


Life in general:
My quadrille things have gone well, Mrs. Henderson is teh goddess, and I am exhausted and may not even have the oomph to get out and play croquet today in the 94-degrees-and-humid weather. Right now I am working on motivating to go pull weeds.

What about being involved in someone's political campaign? You did this in 2006 and, yes, your guy lost, but didn't it give you a feeling of belonging to something that was trying to make the world a better place?

Yes, but there's no urgent campaign in CT this year and I can't quit my day job to go travel elsewhere to campaign.

True. On the other hand, who knows what will happen in CT in 2010? It's something to work toward, maybe by making contacts with the local political organizations this year.

Well, barring accident or illness of my rep or Chris Dodd, I pretty much know. The only person I quite passionately want to get rid of is Joe Lieberman, and he's not up again until 2012. Until then, I think I can't afford to further cut my sleep to work on campaigns. (Remember, any new commitments have to be weighed against reducing my five hours (if I'm lucky) of sleep per night.)

The only person I quite passionately want to get rid of is Joe Lieberman

I am shocked, shocked!

What I'm hoping will happen in November is that the Democratic Party will acquire a large enough majority in the Senate that they can tell Joe to take a hike. And probably a few more things that are far less polite.

Obama got in his face a little bit a few days ago (as mentioned here). Nice to see someone stand up to him. And since Lieberman is actively campaigning for McCain, I imagine things will change a lot if the Dems gain sufficient seats...

In 2006, I had this fantasy that you'd get a bunch of big guys dressed like old-movie mobsters. They'd then have gone to Joe and explain that Ma Susan was very unhappy with him and she wanted them to take him for a 'ride'.

Sorry, I had either stomach flu or food poisoning and was not onilne a lot the last few days.

Well, if you can't drift, I suppose you need a purpose. Can you identify what area? Romance? Belief? Interest? Charity? What?

Glad to see you back; I was wondering if I should get worried.

I do have a purpose: social dance history, research and teaching of. Me being me, I'm just not sure if that's a significant enough purpose or if it can handle being life-sustaining for more decades or if I will ever be able to make enough time to spend on it to really do well at it, or if I will forever be stuck in sort of a half-assed state of part-time purpose squeezed in amongst the necessity of maintaining myself.

Incidentally, I'm feeling slightly less funky lately. My quadrille work went very well last weekend (any time dance goes well it lifts my mood). I have progressed from fruit and Cheerios to fruit smoothies and Cheerios, though I can't tell if I'm losing any weight. I'm slowly picking up the strands of my RL socializing again (another movie tonight!) though I haven't reconnected all the electronic ones yet and still have something of an urge to sort of hide on Rixo and Kickery and mew quietly in my safe little corner. I have several posts in progress, so Rixo will look lively over the next couple of weeks - I'm busy reading all the Hugo nominees for best novel and finding myself with much to say.

I'm g;lad to hear you're feeling better. My best wishes, regarding the moviegoing tonight.

I post every day on LJ (which is under my name), so you can always check there if you really get worried. ;)

Well, it sounds like the dance history is enough, you're just frustrated at having to work for a living. I think a lot of people feel that way.

I'm glad to hear you're coming up from the funk!

I don't object to working for a living, I just want to work at dance history for a living and I can't seem to manage it.

Give yourself time, Susan.

How about ten years?

Oh, wait, it'll be ten years this fall. Not good!

Ten years? That is a long time. Remember though that your dance site became active relatively recently. My hope is that it will increase the visibility of your work and that it'll help you reach your goal, and this sooner than later.

I'm going the opposite way from Serge -- lots of good creative people never get to work at their love to make their living. Think authors, musicians, actors, painters, etc. You keep the day job because it lets you do what you love the rest of the time.

Marilee... That is true. Having both going on allows for one's True Love to remain so, without souring it when it becomes a source of worry that it's not generating sufficient income.

Errm. My true love is already a source of worry that it's not generating sufficient income, since if it never generates sufficient income to quit my day job I will be stuck at the day job for the rest of my life, which would be a horrible fate.

Having both is, frankly, killing me from exhaustion. That's not the only stress in my life - I'm still doing post-surgical angst and post-relationship angst and family-related angst - but when my life has reached the stage where I can't justify spending time eating unless I do it while working on something and where I am wondering how much less sleep I can get by on (I can't seem to reduce it below 5 hrs/night without ill effects more serious than chronic exhaustion and falling asleep while driving), I start to have these little stress-breakdowns and end up spending two weeks reading medieval murder mysteries and going to see movies purely for the beefcake and then I get even more behind and more stressed.

On the other hand... The year 2006 was the year that I spent on the Project from Hell. Tight deadlines that were not met. Problems afetr problems. Still, I made myself take some time off, even though it caused some delays. If I had not done so, the Project would have fared even more badly. My point is that you too need some time off. Wasn't the cinematographic beefcake worth the time spent?

It sounds like you need to schedule the breaks. The other angst isn't helping, of course, but what about your day job? Can you work part-time? A similar job part-time? Something less stressful but enough money?

At the moment, I need the full-time income. At the end of this year, I will be completely out of debt (other than mortgage), and then it will depend on how much house maintenance I want to do. (My house was a foreclosure-bought fixer-upper, so it needs a lot of work.)

In an ideal world, I'd keep the day job up to the fall of 2009 and go to grad school. In a less-ideal world, I sensibly decide that paint and fixing the semi-collapsing bits of the porch and garage would be good and spend one more year working to afford them.

The real decision fork is whether or not to try for grad school. Is a PhD worth it? Will it lead to a career, or just be a costly diversion? If I don't try for grad school, then yes, I would like to try to transition to a part-time job so I can develop dance teaching more fully by working in schools and with historical sites, which is virtually impossible on the current schedule.

When you look at other historical dance teachers, how many have PhDs and how many in a related subject? My very personal opinion (and you have to remember that I'm mostly self-taught) is that the doctorate is not necessarily going to be worth the time and money. You have a college degree, you have experience in dance history, and that's likely to be enough for schools and historical sites.

[Note: use the "Earlier Comments" button below to get the beginning of this conversation. It's a Typepad thing; I have no control over the page-split, and I have already complained about it.]

Well, the question is whether I want to pursue a career in academia, in which case the PhD is absolutely necessary, since I can't take the retired-professional-performer route. Weekends like the one I just had do make me question whether I want to go there, but it's the only path I can think of where spending hours a day doing pure research is actually an encouraged and job-appropriate activity.

The other possible paths are the public history route (schools and historic sites) and the route which is currently killing me, trying to fit all the professional stuff in and amongst a full-time day job.

That last would be the sensible approach which my mother would no doubt encourage. The idea of me quitting a perfectly good job to chase either an academic or a freelance artist career gives her hives.

Incidentally, the fruit-and-Cheerios diet is going fairly well; I've lost five pounds so far. Fifteen to go for my worldcon goal; that should be doable in the 5.5 weeks left if I can stick with it. It's easier now that I'm showing some actual progress; positive reinforcement and all. I'm getting a little tired of strawberry-banana smoothies, so next week I may try experimenting with other fruits. (Any suggestions?)

The next ten pounds or so (after worldcon) will be more of a challenge...

I've lost 5 pounds myself this last month. No Cheerio diet. I had been going to the gym 5 times a week at 5am. My pants are feeling a bit loose as a result, so it's bene worth it, except for the ache in one wrist.

I'm no gym rat and too exhausted to add workouts at this point. But there's nothing really wrong with my activity level. I get exercise from dance, and I don't aspire to be buff. The problem is entirely in my eating, which is what I am trying to keep firmly under control.

You probably burn more calories dancing than I do at the gym, which is the only exercise I get unless I'm landscaping the backyard. My goal is to keep the only body I have as fit as possible for as long as possible. It has helped lower my blood pressure too. As for eating too much... I have a great weakness for ice cream.

Well, I am hopefully burning a fair number of calories this weekend while taking nine dance classes in two days, plus doing some gentle dancing at an evening event!

Glad to hear it, Susan. Is there a better way to burn calories than while doing something that one enjoys? I presume that your gardening/landscaping will also lead to calorie-depletion, but without as much pleasure in the process itself - at least until it reaches completion.

I lost three pounds last month, but I'm not doing anything to cause it. We think it's my kidney labs getting better -- after all, I gained all this weight while I was in hospitals with renal failures.

Susan, you sound like you might be exhausted this weekend! Drive carefully!

Serge, my problem is that I forget to eat. Last week I had a day where I didn't eat for 25 hours and remembered right before I went to bed and zapped a frozen meal. I've got the rehydration fluid pretty well connected to reading LJ, so I suppose I should connect food to something I do every day, too.

I've got the rehydration fluid pretty well connected to reading LJ

Dare I ask how that connection was established?

One way to lose a lot of weight is landscaping one's backyard, especially if it involves displacing a few hundred pounds of dirt.

Oops. I had already mentionned the Landscaping Regimen a couple of posts ago.

Don't worry, I took the bus. The combination of exhaustion and the price of gas is sufficient to drive me to public transit, which costs less than half what it would to drive. (The event was in Baltimore.) That also let me spend a day doing research at a library in New York City, where I pondered some 18thc country dance collections, puzzled over some 1820s American "cotillions" (and ordered a photocopy for further puzzling), and finally spent some time transcribing and meditating on this fabulous 1830s Spanish source that I am waiting not-very-patiently for a microfilm of and in the meantime visit whenever I can. I finally understand some of the notation and step descriptions now!

The dance weekend itself was pretty spiffy; I got to take four classes from Richard Powers and dance wildly around clapping sticks (standing in for swords) together in Arbeau's Buffens. I've really got to convince my practice group that what they really want to do is learn to clap sticks together in rhythmic patterns while leaping madly around for five very aerobic minutes straight.

I got home at 3am and actually have sore calf muscles this morning. I have to wait until tonight for the hair-of-the-dog solution to that.

a day doing research at a library in New York City, where I pondered some 18thc country dance collections, puzzled over some 1820s American "cotillions" (...), and finally spent some time transcribing and meditating on this fabulous 1830s Spanish source

I find myself thinking of a story where Evil People try to bring into our world a lovecraftian horror thru Ancient and Dread Dances. Luckily for Earth, Susan de Guardiola stands ready.

I'll throw a paso de máscara (19thc version) their way. No Lovecraftian horror can withstand that golpe.

Serge, it became obvious that I had to tie the rehydration fluid to *something* online because then I don't taste it, I just drink automatically, and LJ takes long enough to finish. So the first week or so, I'd remember partway through LJ, but eventually I got to where I remembered to fix it and drink it between my daily post and reading LJ.

Unfortunately, I can't walk on grass or lift things heavier than 10 pounds, so no landscaping for me.

Susan, ha, leaping madly! How do you hold up your skirts? I hope your calves recover!

It would have been danced by men, who wouldn't have had skirts to worry about. I just wear dance pants under my (short and flippy) practice skirt so my butt isn't hanging out in the breeze when I spin.

My calves are still quite sore, but I go to dance practice in a bit and renewed exercise will help. I've convinced the other three people that leaping about thwacking sticks together would be a terrific summer project, so as soon as I get to Home Depot for some big dowels we'll start practicing.

I have now lost eleven pounds on the fruit-and-Cheerios diet, which includes one protein-laden sandwich at lunch every day but otherwise is just fruit in various forms and Cheerios. I feel pretty good about this. I've been cheating a bit here and there, which is slowing things down, but I definitely look and feel better already. (And if people at work would stop bringing me little chocolate desserts it would be easier to stay with the program...) I'm not going to manage twenty pounds by worldcon but I think I can manage fifteen; four more pounds in 2.5 weeks seems reasonable.

Before anyone gets alarmed about me wasting away, let me note that losing the fifteen will still leave me a good ten pounds heavier than I was in L.A. in 2006, when Serge can testify that I was not exactly scrawny. The ultimate goal-weight for me is still thirty-four pounds away.

I definitely look and feel better already.

Huzzah! As for your not looking scrawny in 2006, true, but you seem to imply a definite opposite of that as being what you looked like, and I'd have to disagree with your estimate.

Meanwhile, last week, I was down to 178 pounds. If I keep this up, I'll be able to fit in that outfit Sean Bean wore when he played Richard Sharpe.


You know, I recognized the character as Sharpe from having read the books (green jacket -> rifleman -> Sharpe) but have never actually seen the filmed version. And I would never have recognized Sean Bean!

Let's see, phrasing this delicately: getting to 178 pounds would be rather better than my most optimistic goal for worldcon. I haven't seen that weight in ten years. Working on it, though. Maybe by fall, if I can stick with the diet.

I don't worry about you wasting away, but about malnutrition. I've weighed 358 and been in the hospital for malnutrition. I think you need some veggies, too. (I'm fine with veggies, but I'm just not as fond of fruit as most people.)

Susan... Making yourself thin to fit some standards isn't worth ruining your health. Says the naturally thin guy, yes.

Marilee: yeah, I know. Not fond of veggies. Not fond of raw veggies. Too hot to cook. Ergo, lack of veggies. Fruit is nice in the summer.

Serge: making myself thin better enables exercise and decreases the strain on my poor overstressed knee and ankle joints, which take a huge amount of pounding from my dancing. And really, even if I get down to ultimate-goal-weight, that won't put me any smaller than a size 14 or possibly a size 12 and a figure of around 38-28-38. Hardly an unhealthy size. I think you possibly do not have a good idea of how much I weigh, since my height tends to disguise it. I don't plan to get within fifty pounds of my (anorexic) sister's size.

And I'm not doing it to fit "some standards"; do I really seem like the sort of person who wants to be fashionable?

I'm honestly not sure whether I read the Sharpe books or saw it on TV first, but I don't remember a didn't see Sharpe as Sean Bean. Also, as I read and watched them over a long period, in the wrong order as the books were borrowed or bought second hand and ITV repeated them all every year along with the new ones they'd made, AND they all have the title Sharpe's [Something], I still don't know if I've seen or watched them all.

I've been cheating a bit here and there, which is slowing things down, but I definitely look and feel better already.

Look and feel better: good.
Cheating: I always thought that was what dieting was all about. That may be why I'm overweight of course.

I used to read the Sharpe books back in high school when there were only five or six of them. I'm way behind (haven't read one in 15 years, probably) and really ought to get caught up on the series. Maybe once I finish all the Patrick O'Brian books...

Susan... You are right. My earlier comment had a flawed basis.

Back in the early 1990s or thereabouts, PBS's Masterpiece Theatre started showing the Sharpe movies and we enjoyed it. Then they stopped and we thought this was the end of the series until my wife came across a catalog that revealed there were quite a few that had been made. So of course we bought the whole series. On VHS tape, unfortunately. I thought of replacing it with a DVD boxed set, but the movies appear to be for sale individually, and that would add up to quite a few pennies.

Okay, then are you taking a multi-vitamin? Could I talk you into veggie juice?

On the flight back from San Francisco yesterday, when the flight attendant brought our row's orders, there was a mixup and my seat neighbor got my tomato juice, and I got his water. The situation was quickly corrected, with a comment from my neighbor that he had never drunk tomato juice.

I suppose even Bloody Mary's aren't as common now, but tomato juice can be very tasty.

I don't like tomato juice or V-8; I tried them on a previous diet and was getting close to vomiting.

But I do have a multivitamin, and Marilee, just for you, I purchased two green peppers on my way home from Boston and New Hampshire today, and will try to eat half of one each day.

It took me years to acquire a taste for tomato juice. I still dislike tomato soup though. Blech! I eat lots of veggies and fruit so I guess my diet is fairly healthy although I'm not sure why carrots tend to taste like they'd gone thru a quick dip in gazoline.

My favorite things are cheese and ice cream, which is why I stay away from them - unless of course it'd be impolite for me to turn down an offer of the above.

I love tomato soup (and tomatoes, for that matter). I just can't stand tomato juice. Inconsistent, yes, but there's something about cold vegetable juice that turns my stomach.

there's something about cold vegetable juice that turns my stomach

That's pretty much the way I feel about white chocolate. Chocolate is supposed to be brown, and the white kind feels unnatural.

About culinary tastes that may change over the years... I literally couldn't stomach spaghetti until I turned 30. There was something absolutely revolting about the slimy texture. I got over it, but a person should not suggest that I eat vermicelli soup or soup with noodles in it. Bleh!

I'll eat almost everything but yellow mustard and hot dogs (alone or together). Susan, thank you for trying the green peppers!

The white chocolate *isn't* chocolate. Chocolate is required to have a certain percentage of cacao and there's none in "white" chocolate.

Why then do 'they' call it white chocolate?

I like hot dogs (my weight problems could be attributed to excessive liking of foods like hot dogs) and I adore yellow mustard. I didn't like pasta for years, and still am not all that fond of it unless I can drown it in spicy and preferably meaty sauce.

If I'm going to eat pasta, there had better be something added to it, whether it's tuna, cheese, or meatballs. That way, I can distract my palate away from the texture of pasta.

Oh, I like pasta even with just olive oil and some basil. Good thing I don't cook often.

Serge, they call it white chocolate because they wanted to attract chocoholics to the white stuff. Since chocolate has specific minimums of ingredients, it's interesting to see how many products have "fudge" in them.

And today's weigh-in shows that the amazing Fruit'n'Cheerios diet has now taken 15.5 pounds off me in under two months. Kewl. I'm not going to manage 20 pounds off before I leave for Denver next week, but it's progress!

Huzzah! But if you knew of a way to lose 20 pounds in 5 days, I'd worry very much. I think I'll stick with the ungodly-hour workouts at the gym.

That would be getting to 20 pounds total over the next five days, not an additional 20. I'll probably lose a couple more, but 4.5 is unlikely.

I'm also extremely happy that I've lost 2" each off my waist and hip measurements. Judging from my last experiment in losing weight, if I lose 26 pounds total (putting me back where I was the summer of 2006) then I will get rid of an additional 2" off each. I do plan to do this (and maybe more), just not by next week.

Well, who knows? Losing 4.5 pounds might be feasible. But that too might require radical means. The bottom line, I'm happy for your current successes.

I saw on Rickery that you have some dancing engagements in New York this coming weekend. I expect that a few more calories will be shed.

By the way, Susan, is your email working?

That's a good loss! Now what's going to happen when you eat real food again? You can't eat Fruit'n'Cheerios forever! Even the Whole Grain Cheerios!

Marilee... Tomorrow is another day. Or, as Woody Woodpecker once said, why worry about tomorrow because, tomorrow, tomorrow will be today?

If I eat properly, I will maintain the weight loss. If I eat badly, judging from previous experience, I will gain it all back again. Fortunately, I seem to be able to live on the current diet indefinitely.

"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow." It's feeling particularly true this week.

It's feeling particularly true this week

I can well imagine. When do you think the props will show up here?

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