Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Art and beauty

Well, gang --

Today's another weigh in day, and I'm hoping you're having great success. I regained some ground, meaning I think I lost a pound again, which is all kinds of awesome. Only 7 lbs left to go... in 21 days or so. That would come out to a pound every three days if I'm to meet my goal, which strikes me as a tad unrealistic, but a girl can dream, can't she??

Eleanore is making ominous noises about who's gaining, who's losing, and who's standing to WIN THE BIG BUCKS. So far, only one person is close to meeting their goal, but then of course we still have three weeks, so there's hope. Don't give up yet, guys. Persistence will get you everywhere.

Which reminds me of another story, naturellement. A couple of you were asking me, after one of my last installments, about whether I'd ever had my own portrait painted.

But of course! It's not just "if", but "how many times??" Too many to count, if you want an honest answer. I've been photographed, painted in oils, done in acrylics, rendered in watercolor, and I've modeled for life drawing classes for years, over my lifetime. And you know what THAT means!

But a couple of years ago, I decided that I wasn't getting any younger, and so perhaps drawing a veil over my fleshy bits might be more appropriate than the alternative. Thus, in 2005 I closed out my long career as a naked muse. My friend Francey painted one last nude of me in oils, lying tastefully on an oriental rug with a hookah, some Turkish cigarettes, a book, a bouquet of opium poppies, and a bottle of champagne, and that was to be the last of it. Sort of Baudelaire's Fleurs du Mal meets Manet's Olympia. That phase of my life was to be over. Probably a good thing in some ways, because artists' studios in England are notoriously underheated and one's goosebumps are up instantly. It all makes for a kind of bluish skin tone that's not particularly flattering, truth to be told.

Anyway, sadly for the world, and for all those who appreciate beauty, and really all artists everywhere, my fabulous form would no longer be in the public eye. It was time to call it a day.

And yet. One day I was strolling along the shore near Cape Town in South Africa, and what should I come across but this:

I heard a loud voice shouting at me.

Goeiemore, skattebol. Kan ek verf jou portret? (Good morning, sweetheart, can I paint your portrait?)

Well, that would be your typical Afrikaans-speaking South African. Full of themselves, overconfident, bordering on rude.

I replied, Nie, man. Nie tensy jy betaal my. (No, man. Not unless you pay me!)

Is jy seker? (Are you sure?)

Ja, seker! (Yes, I'm sure)

And then this stepped out from behind the easel.

Obviously, I stripped myself bare the very next instant. Persistence really does get one almost everywhere, as this lucky young man learned.

Good wishes for strong wills and much persistence to you all!

xx e


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday, and a spirit of repentance

Hello Everyone --

I'm imagining that this Ash Wednesday finds you embracing a new philosophy of self-denial and repentence, right? RIGHT???

I especially am repenting the 5 squares of Lindt Extreme Orange chocolate that I snarfed this afternoon. It's not a sin, exactly, as I didn't actually offer to give up chocolate for Lent, but I'm not proud of myself either. And of course today I played tennis for only an hour and a half, so exercise won't offset my self-indulgence. Hmmm. Tomorrow is another day, I guess. I'm hoping it's going to run a little lighter, calorically speaking.

Good job to all of you who lost weight, or even maintained. I put on a pound and a half, which was due to too much extreme dining with my elderly parents last weekend. Still, there are four more weeks to go, so all is not lost. (Obviously! I have 8.5 lbs to go.) By the way, Deb W has offered up an excellent idea for the next phase (we'll call it PHASE II!) of THWACk! We'll place bets on maintaining our new weights for the following eight weeks. That is one clever girl, always thinking ahead!

Meanwhile, I'll offer you up a cautionary tale, and naturally it has to do with one of my many, many boyfriends. This story is all about what happens when you eat one more sandwich... and three slices of pizza ... and then a couple of chips... and some dip. Oh, and a few more beers. And some jello shooters. Chocolate cake? Oh, gosh, why not? Whipped cream? Sure! Another shot or two of Smirnoff? Yessshhhhh. And you do that day after day, and then one morning you look in the mirror and ...

So yes. Mikey. He was kind of hot, in a really bad-boy sort of way.

I didn't like that tatt so much, but after a few beers it hardly mattered. He was super funny and always had tons of jokes and smokes, but mainly he had a rockin' rumblin' Harley and he used to take me out riding on Sundays after church. We'd roar up and down the roller-coaster roads in central Pennsylvania, screaming and laughing and scaring the pheasants out of the underbrush along the way. It was blindingly fun.

I had long hair then, and I'd come back into the house in the late afternoon with it all in tangles, and it was quite the trick to explain that all away. I usually said that we were re-enacting the plagues of Egypt during Sunday afternoon Bible study. Most of the time I guess I was reasonably believable. You know me, pretty much an astonishing actress.

Anyway, this went on for a while, and then Mikey moved away. He got a job in Pittsburgh and I didn't see him for a couple of years. I kept busy, and had lots of other things going on (you can imagine, I'm sure!) so I kind of missed him, but you know, I got over it. There were so many other boys pursuing me -- it was difficult to keep them all straight, really. I had my work cut out for me most weeks. I'm not the most organized person in the world and keeping one's social diary in order, especially without hurting anyone's feelings, is kind of taxing.

So yeah, Mikey called me up about two years later, and asked if I wanted to come out for a Sunday afternoon ride. Why not? Luckily, I wasn't busy that day.

I was waiting around the house, and the phone rang.

"Come on out, girl. I'm outside on my bike."

Wheeee! My motor revved, and I was suddenly starting to really be super excited to see him.

I rushed out the front door, and there he was!

He turned to me and grinned. "Hop on, baby!"

"Holy Cats, Mike! What have you done?"

"Aw, darlin', I joined a nude bikin' club. Ain't it awesome? So free and wild. Just like Easy Rider, sweetheart!"

"OMG, Mike! I forgot! I have Bible study this afternoon! I can't come along after all! Oh my gosh, I'm sooooo sorry!!!"

"Sheesh, babe, you're just as scatterbrained as you always were. Well, it's okay then. I gotta pick up some Bud Lites and smokes at the Jewel, so maybe some other time."

As he roared off, I wondered a couple of things.

How in the heck did he pack on the pounds like that, in just two years?

And ... he called me on his bike with his cell phone. Where in the world was he hanging on to it? No pockets, if you get my meaning....

Some things just don't bear thinking about.

xx e


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

12 De gustibus non est disputandem

Oh, yeah.....!!

You didn't know that I knew Latin, too, did you? (Gosh my brain is just bursting with miscellaneous words from all over the globe. Too bad I can't put them into some semblance of order in English.)

Ho ho. I don't really know Latin. That would be my better half, Mr D, who studied it back in the Dark Ages when it was taught at school, and when it was still fairly useful when those Roman legionnaires came to your door to demand Caesar's due.

Mr D is that old. And he's a sexy old dawg, too.

Or maybe I'm mixing things up, and it was only the hottie Little Caesar's pizza boy coming to my door,

looking at me with those delicious brown eyes whilst delivering two large pepperonis with extra cheese and anchovies and asking for $20 plus a tip. I get so confused sometimes, and I'm not very good with money. By the way, that's a picture of Juan, the sexiest pizza guy in Seattle. (If you need his phone number, text me privately. He always delivers, and if you sweet talk him a little, you'll get an extra jalapeno or two on the side. Well worth it.)

But you should know, and commit to heart, the following Latin phrase, drilled into me by my English-teacher, Latin-loving mother. (Does this make it sound like my mother took Latin lovers? Pah! Could not be further from the truth! That was to be, instead, her daughter's area of expertise....)

Ah, but wait! Back to the Latin....

De gustibus non est disputandem...

which means, "In matters of taste, there is no rule..." Or, in contemporary 21st century lingo, "You want it, you got it, girlfriend!"

Or maybe that's kind of a loose translation, but my point is, everyone gets excited about different things. Not that I ever get excited, I'm far too cool for that. I was discussing my taste in men with a friend today, and noted that I'm a cool fan of a well-turned calf on a guy (ooo, legs!), but body hair? Ummm, not so much.

So when you're evaluating your fantasy tennis boyfriend, the one who's going to frown at you in your imagination when you reach for the next Dove chocolate bar, and thus help you with your dieting goals, you have to run through the whole professional roster and check off what you like, and what you can't stand. Because you're worth it, and you get to weigh in with your own professional opinion. You might as well have a disapproving stare from someone you adore, even if it's all only in your mind.

Good legs? Yes.
Tennis ability? Yes.
Championships won? Yes.
Quiet and soulful facial expressions? Yes

Body *cough* *cough* ... hair? Completely NO.

If I wanted to sleep with this, I'd get a poodle.

Actually, I had a big poodle. He was completely adorable, and lovely to snuggle with though his claws were a bit pointy sometimes.

But Pete Sampras? I'm afraid I'd have to take a pass.

Keep up the good work, dieting friends! Everyone seems to be holding their own reasonably well, according to Eleanore's emails. Remember, you can do this!! Maybe just imagine some Pete Sampras hairs in your ice cream. That would put anyone off.