November 7th: The Day of Truth

I know what you’re thinking: the title should read November 8th: The Day of Truth: US Election Day. But this isn’t really about November 8th or Election Day in the US (my brother’s birthday, by the way. Happy Birthday, Geoff). And I’m 100% certain November 8 won’t be a Day of Truth no matter what point on the political spectrum you are. It’s about my annual check-up. Yes, it’s “that time of the year.” I’ll keep the title, then as November 7th: The Day of Truth. (I also added that to keep Brother Google happy about my search engine optimisation).

November 7th: The Day of Truth

Those remembering my last year’s check-up (which should be no one), I complained to my doctor (ok, maybe you did hear about this) that I was not really losing anything but collagen, despite being on Weight Watchers and “hitting the gym” and what could he check blood-wise to give me the downlow why I was suddenly a card-carrying member of the Junior Behemoth Society.

Dr Steve laid upon me “the look” which every menopausal woman dreads. If you’re menopausal, you know it. If not, you’ll find out. If you’re neither menopausal nor a woman, well, there is no helping you. I cannot explain “the look.” But if you’ve ever laid “the look” on your loving wife, girlfriend, spousal-equivalent, you are most likely dead or wish you were.

He nonetheless signed me up for a flurry of tests, all of which told me Rambo-Diddly-Squat. Let’s face it, I’m a 50 year-old menopausal woman.


Oh the humanity!

I had to accept the fact that I was fifty. (Actually, at the time I was forty-nine but I’ve moved on and frankly, I was in my fiftieth year). My body has changed. And I don’t belong to the school of Just Accept Your Body. Why? Because I’m a hateful misogynist self-loathing bitch? No. While I am a hateful bitch, it’s not for that reason.

Being a hateful misogynist self-loathing bitch is just something I picked up when I was in my teens and I only do it socially. I never inhale.

Well you may ask: Why not just accept the extra 30 pounds? Because heart attack and stroke will kill more women than most any other cause of death (and the bummer of it all is they don’t have any cute little pink sockies or ribbons for you to buy). Schlepping an extra 20, then 30, then 40 pounds (it grows and grows) PLUS not really working too hard at the gym is, frankly, going to take me down. Saying “but I walk a lot and walking is the best thing for you” is horse poo, unless you’re power-walking. Ambling along after the dog is pretty much a zero on the cardio chart. So while I THINK I upped my game, I realised I really had to UP it.

Freals, as the young say.

So for the last year, I’ve been eating hippie crap like this for breakfast:


Hello Kitty and All Bran and Greek Yogurt OH MY!

Hello Kitty and All Bran and Greek Yogurt OH MY!

Note my fetching Hello Kitty pencils and bucket, from my hubs. And yes, tucked within that mess o’ HOMEMADE Greek yogurt, Bran Buds, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and walnuts, are chocolate chips. Mea culpa.

But hey, it’s better than what I used to do which is starve myself with 120 calories of oatbran (I love oatbran) and that’s it for breakfast, then I’d be ravenous for lunch or after a workout. Yeah, this is more calorie and fat-rich, but it gets me to 13:00 even if I hit the gym for two hours. I’ve been trying to stick to Weight Watchers Simply Filling for the rest.

It’s still hard (because I cheat like a dog), though. The needle’s barely moved but I can now, one year later, honestly say the stagnancy is likely some muscle mass. I’m lifting three times what I lifted last year. I have well and truly upped my game.

  • I’m FINALLY out of plus size for the first time in 6 years.
  • I can run (ish) 5k without puking. The osteo in my feet doesn’t always enjoy it though. So despite the tut-tutting of that dude (Paul Plakas) from X-Weighted, I’m now one-ish with the elliptical.
  • I can do real push-ups ….on toes….when the pain’s not too bad.

So there’s progress. But what will my doctor see? Will Dr Steve see all this or will he note the digits and wag a finger at me?

This is why I’m writing the blog today. If I get any grief, I’ll send him here.

Things I’ve Learned this Year

  1. I can always push a bit harder than I think I can. We’re not talking foolhardy here, just a wee bit more.
  2. I eat more than I think I eat. Thank you MyFitnessPal (aka MyFatArsePal) for helping me on this on.
  3. I needed to juggle my food groups around a bit, get the percentages better.
  4. Carbs are good. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. They are essential.
  5. Zumba is bonus-delightful if you find another uncoordinated person with whom to share the joy. Her name is Irene and you can’t have her, she’s mine.
  6. Zumba’s not a workout; it’s just a warm-up.
  7. Basing fitness on steps is bogus. Suck it, pedometer. Suck it long. Suck it hard.
  8. Go to a gym that really suits your needs and try everything at least twice. If you’re a person who gets a great workout at home, hat’s off to you. I’m never that person.

This is my list. Not yours. Your list will be different.

I’ve learned much about myself this year. Mostly: I’ve learned how I’ve given myself too many pats on the back. This is the adult version of what we do with kids today: a certificate for “graduating” from junior kindergarten or a parade for clearing the table and a special dance for using the toilet.

My real reward, I hope and pray, is not dropping dead at 55.



Früit Löps

I know what you’re thinking: you’re proud I’ve been adding fruit and fibre to my diet. I’m good that way. Oprah notwithstanding, Weight Watchers has been working for me and apparently I still get all the fruits and veggies I want, except for corn (fascists).

Eating gluten-based fruit for snackies has been a strange experience. Not the least of which: .

All the colours taste the same. A ersatz citrus hitherto unknown in this post-Higgs-Boson time-space continuum. Sweet, ephemeral, a lil bit bitter but not enough to make you make that face.

Having said all this, I want to point out this blog not really about:

Früit Löps

It’s about an article I read in New Scientist recently. Apparently, after one shakes hands, one sniffs one’s hands.


Don’t believe me? Watch this.

Ok, so it was a year ago, not recently. But hey, I’m not one with the aforementioned time-space continuum.

This article perturbed me on several levels.

One: I know I don’t do this.

Two: I don’t know anyone who would do this.

Three: I threw up a little in my mouth when I read the article, nevermind watched the video.

These reactions say more about me than I would care to imagine. My latest and favourite-ist strawman hubs was brought in for a consult.

He agreed on a few points: he doesn’t do this. He’s never seen anyone who’s done this. Point the Third was left hanging though. Strangely  he wasn’t nauseous or revolted by the article or video.

It’s perhaps früitful to mention that one entire wing of my family calls me “Monk.” They’re the wing who knows me best. They’re the ones who, in the dark days, helped me get out of the house in less than two hours each day. The dark days when I carried a back pack the size of Alaska with every imaginable “necessity” tucked in. Because one never knows when one will need a change of clothes, umbrella, ziplock bags, Swiss Army knife (ok, everyone needs a Swiss Army knife but mine’s really BOSS), a week’s worth of medication, back-up shoes, a few books, a K-Way (not KY, you pervs), Purell, more Purell (for back-up), wet naps (screw you, septic systems!), a towel, granola bars, package of Fig Newtons… you get the idea.

And that was just to go to class. This was my back pack, not my school bag.


And the decencies had to be observed. The ritual. The order of operations. And every morning there was a very dear friend/family member (short version: I ran away from home, the neighbours took me in) waiting for me to do the rundown.

“Do I have the…”

“It’s there. I saw you pack it. You’re going to be late.”

“I need more food.”

“You’re only going to a two-hour Latin class.”

“I forgot my flashlight.” I run upstairs.

“It’s in your bag,” she calls up. “You never took it out.” She shoves me to the door. “Go,” she says. “There are only four people in your class. If you’re late, everyone will notice.”

You see? I am writing this blog and listing the items in my bag and even here I forgot the flashlight was in my bag!

Every morning this woman got me out of the house. Thankfully, psychiatry and medication took care of the rest.

All of this to say? The idea of:

a) touching someone else’s hand unless they were very well-known to me and

b) sniffing their rank effluence from my offended appendage

is more than I could handle. I’m no weirdo. Shaking hands is part of our society. I can shake hands. I just have to hold my hand at a distance afterwards and scour it later. That’s why we have hydrogen peroxide.

What’s this got to do with früit löps? You must be joking. The answer is clear: they’re touching.

IMAG5617Look at that jumble! Blues and pinks bumping uglies with oranges and greens? Chaos.  

And yet, there is hope for me. I can eat these now without sorting. I can actually stick my hand into the bag and not even look at what colours I’ve pulled before I shove the sugar-laden goodness into my yap.

This, dear friends, is progress.

A bit about OCD, just a bit. It makes me insane when people talk about their clean and tidy houses and titteringly refer to their OCD. They have no clue what a prison OCD is and frankly Scarlett, keeping a tidy kitchen does not a OCD-sufferer make. Sorry to burst that bubble.

The checking, the double-checking. Getting interrupted while checking means a return to the top of the sequence to start again. The intrusive thoughts. The bizarre ritual/remedy for intrusive thoughts. Compulsions to deal with the distress. Oh, I wish my only concern was cleaning and tidying the kitchen. Some nights I would lay awake wishing that would be my only issue.

But I’m sharing this not to bum you out but to cheer you: because I ate 200gr of these motherscratching carbs the other day and it was brilliant to just shovel things into my mouth with no regard for order and ritual. Brute alimentary impulse control was my only issue and to be honest, it was worth the 14 “smart points.”

The new Weight Watchers points system, by the way, can French kiss my arse. Another blog for another day. 

I think I’ll let Paula have the penultimate word:



And the hand-sniffing? Well, that’s just gross. But the video doesn’t lie, I suppose. Too bad the researchers just didn’t find the 1-2% who, like me (and Paula), were packing wet naps (or P12 sandpaper)




Failed Recipes # 2: Kale, Chia, Oatbran, and Chocolate Chip Pancakes


Don’t get excited. These were for the kids. 🙁


You may think the title of this blog alone tells the problem: my use of the Oxford comma. Some people will tell you straight up that where I went wrong here was the use of the Oxford comma. But there you’d be wrong. I did NOT use “oatbran and chocolate” chips in my recipe. Not to get all pendantic on you or anything but I’m pretty sure (hopeful) that there is no such gustatory beast.

Screenshot_2016-01-28-09-13-16I regret to inform you all that I added kale, chia, oatbran, and chocolate chips to my pancakes yesterday. In an effort to continue to enjoy pancakes in general despite being on my Weight Stagnation Journey, I took the leftover batter from what I made for my kids and I added some fibre, protein, and omega-3 goodness.

Then — probably while I was in the loo — Shrek came by and pooped in the batter, turning it a luscious and ogre-fouled green.

When I saw what he had done, I sent a message to my organic vegetarian hippie graphic designer friend Sophia of The Blessed Type (who has my birthday card greeting as her profile photo, which is kinda meta, kinda strange) for validation and consolation. I think I heard Sophia whimper a little bit, then change her phone number. She’s probably tired of my trying to understand hippies.

Contrariwise, my friend Irene who, along with Bueller (formerly known as “Melody” on this blog), introduced me to kale, … anyhoodle, Irene wanted the recipe (and probably will actually eat it, minus the chocolate chips because Irene actually despises chocolate) and suggested I could blog about it. Will do, Irene.


Failed Recipes # 2: Kale, Chia, Oatbran, and Chocolate Chip Pancakes

The recipe is all so simple, really. This should make about 6 human-body friendly pancakes, plus 2 Elven-quality green slabs of drywall.


Screenshot_2016-01-28-09-13-27135 grams (1 1/8 cups) of all-purpose flour (or whatever you find, seriously… this is a gluten-free friendly recipe because you can use GF flour and the hockey-puck texture remains the same).

1 egg (or substitute w/ ground flax seed, or 2 egg whites)

245 grams of whole milk (or water or soy hippie crap) LESS the volume of aforementioned egg/eggwhites. This means, drop the egg/egg whites in (if you’re using flax seed, figure it out… nah, kidding, use about 200 grams of liquid or about 7/8 of a cup)

2 TB oil or use applesauce (I kinda slop it in, frankly)

1 heaping teaspoon of baking powder (go a bit cray cray because it has calcium, yo)

1/2 tsp of salt

1 TB of either brown sugar (whatevs… ) or white-death sugar.

1 tsp of vanilla extract

random handfuls of chocolate chips

Surely you don’t need me to tell you… ok, I will: preheat griddle blah blah.
OK, these are for the kids… make about six pancakes for the ungrateful creatures. You should have some left over. Take the remaining stuff left over and brutalize it in the name of higher health add your other ingredients.

Here we go for the win:

IMAG5522At least…. (all measurements are imprecise because I’m a “thrower” when it comes to pancakülar cooking).

1 heaping TB ground chia seeds

1 heaping TB ground kale powder

at least 15 grams of plain oatbran

Stir it up and plop, friends. Then go clean the house because these will take a while.  How long?

Well, I let the cat in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out while they cooked, so that’s at least 10 minutes.

Have you ever sat back and wondered what kale pancakes taste like? Earthy. They taste earthy. Lawny is another good word. Lawny, earthy, broccoloid.

These two pancakes have a modicum of carbs, but a goodly bit of protein, fibre, and a whole buncha vitamin A and C, for those of you fearing scurvy.



Having said all this, the pucks pancakes were actually quite edible and if you eschew syrup and butter, they can be eaten in the hand like hardtack or biscuits. But perhaps not for company. They are an acquired taste and I will be making them again.

Chocolate chips are essential, though. Like you didn’t know.

The leftovers were donated to the local Elves in my backyard, in aid of their winter home reconstruction. It seems the Elves use kale and chia pancakes as an organic and renewable source of drywall. Who knew?


Send A Little Love | Romance Has A Heart

I’m very happy to be part of a group of romance authors (even if I’m NOT an author… yet) who have pulled together the following project: Send a little love.

Know someone who needs a little love for Valentine’s Day? Head over to find a lovely selection of complimentary romance novels available to send to your friend as a valentine.

Ordering starts February 1st and ends February 15th; but the site is live now (and I’m uploading some new titles and authors to it the moment I finish this blog which is in 5…4…3…2..).


Bring those Yummy Buns

First, I’m sorry I haven’t written in two months. This is my busiest season, and my fervent hope for December is that I’m writing my own stuff, not making any more websites. 🙂

Bring those Yummy Buns

What could this possibly be about?

  1. My tuchus?
  2. My baking?
  3. My tuchus as affected by my baking?
  4. All the above?


Oh you know me, that’s just a rhetorical question.

The real nugget?

Everyone should have a friend named Irene.

I have one and I can highly recommend her. She’s that friend who always (however forcefully, however gently) helps you to do better.

That means I’m actually getting to the gym on a daily basis now. Irene drags me out for not one but TWO classes every day. TWO. Always seems to involve cardio, weight-bearing exercise, and a lot of lactic acid fermentation. She’ll drag me to Body Pump, then Zumba. And those of you regular to my blog know my love of Zumba. But Zumba after lifting weights in a rhythmic and ongoing way for an hour? Really?

Yeah, I went. Irene gently taps into my fiercely competitive soul.

Irene is that person who cuts you with a “you can do it” look when you gaze back at her during Body Pump like you’re going to barf. She lifts more than I do and frankly I want to kick her patootie; so I pick that bar up and heave it. Like most cool people, she is oblivious to my pathetic attempt to show her up. 

Irene is that person who sends you a message at some ungodly hour (before 9am) and is clearly trying to suss you out, see if you’ll go to the gym at 05:45 for Body Combat.


Irene is that person who knows that one day I’ll do it. Just to show her that I can. Like me, she has two energetic boys, and a job. Why can she get up and I can’t? She doesn’t ask or judge. She just leaves it there for me to pick up.

A bit about Irene and Zumba

I have finally found someone who shares my affective for Zumba, as well as my aptitude. Nice to finally have one other person go left when everyone goes right. Who’s still waving their arms when everyone else is double-tapping their toes then lunging. I give a little prayer of thanks for Irene who gives up without giving up when it comes to rhythm and following steps.

A bit about Barfing and Hot Yoga

This will be another blog but I want to bring it up since the gym is on my mind; I want to caution all of you with a competitive spirit but a weak stomach: If you haven’t gone to hot yoga in 10-12 years, hitting the 106 degree Power Yoga class is a bad idea. Chaturanga Dandasana, under the wrong circumstances, is lethal, if not embarrassing.

Update on my Weight Stagnation Journey?

Glad you asked. I’m down 17 pounds thank you. Goal for New Year’s Eve? To see 139.9 on the scale. 

Oh, right, my Yummy Buns.

The boys really did eat them all. And here’s a link to the recipe. I mostly followed it and it’s fairly easy. If you roll ’em right, 3 Weight Watchers points. Otherwise, you’re looking at 9. Roll prudently, friends.


What I’m reading these days

Collette Cameron: Heartbreak and Honor | Highland Heather Romancing A Scot Series, Book 3 (romance, Scottish, Regency, and sweet).

Randall Munroe: Just finishing off What If? (Science, non-fiction)

Next up: TWO by Terri L Austin

Diner Knock Out (A Rose Strickland Mystery Book 4) (Cozy Mystery)

His Kind of Trouble (Beauty and the Brit) (Contemporary Romance)




Less of Me to Love

Less of Me to Love

I know it’s been a while. For those who missed it, I had a fall and fractured a TVP (transverse process) and sprained my thoracic something and have another sprain to my sacro-something something. Yeah, it was fun.

Having said all that: worse could have happened. So let’s give thanks for small miracles (and big ones).

So here’s a bit of good news: there is less of me to love.

I know what you’re thinking. Who would want LESS of me? Seriously? More is better, right?

Not if you’re my buttocks.

By the way, just for the record, I do and will always NOT have a thigh gap. As if.

By the way, just for the record, I do not and will always NOT have a thigh gap. As if.

So I decided, as I reached the halfway point of my loss-goal on Weight Watchers, to treat myself to a new avatar. I shed my cartoon self of about 15 pounds. And as I’m in Canada (and it was -2 this morning), I ditched my sandals and V-tank and moved into hoodie and boots territory.

What I’ve Learned So Far on Weight Watchers

I overeat. No. Really. I eat too much.

I nibble and deny. I binge and deny. I eat more than I should. That’s how I gained my weight. Yes, menopause doesn’t help. Yes, having a baby at 45 doesn’t help. But here’s a shocker: Nutella or peanut butter off a tablespoon doesn’t do much good either. Who knew? But it’s ok, I rationalized. I go to the gym.

And sometimes, I work out there. But not always. Sometimes I just put in my time and pat myself on my back (if I could reach it).

I came to realize that hey, food is 80% of my weight issue (kinda like cholesterol… it’s mostly genes and the other 20% is food). So no matter how much semi-time I put into the gym, unless I was going balls to the wall (it’s not dirty, look it up here), I was just going to get bigger. And no, I’m sad to say, Zumba is not balls to the wall. It’s fun, but generally speaking it’s just a warm up, really.

In all: putting on 16 pounds last fiscal kinda blew monkeys.

Ok. That was rude.

Eat Less. Move More.

Aye, there’s the rub (that’s for you, Juliette). Oh, that’s not rude either, although the word “rub” is involved.

So at the end of June, I took the plunge. And for the first time in my entire life, I enjoyed (nay, looked forward to) weighing myself.

Because I saw success. I saw movement in the right direction. I was eating less, and putting my heart (literally and figuratively) into my workouts. Somehow on the way, these past few years, I stopped working so hard on my workouts.

But one day I broke a bunch of things on my back and I was stuck for three solid weeks of doing very little but still eating less and guess what? I still lost weight. And when I returned to the gym this week, I was invigorated.

When you are stuck doing very little, you realize how little you were already doing and you mourn. Why didn’t I go to Group Power class? Why didn’t I up my workouts on the elliptical? Make the weights burn just a wee bit more?

So in all. I lost half my goal-weight so far. I’m back at the gym. I have a better sense of purpose.

I fully appreciate the sentiment “you are only cheating yourself” when I record my Weight Watchers points. Why lie about it? Why sneak food? The body tells the tale.

And this Thanksgiving, I did not “reward” myself with bonus pie and goodies. Because they are not rewards. And rewards for what? Graduating from kindergarten?  “Rewarding myself” was just setting me back. Anyone who’s seen me eat half a pumpkin pie in ten minutes knows that.

Well, except me.

What I’ve been Reading

Not much, actually. I couldn’t look down very well, nor sit. 🙁 But I did manage a few books in the past month.

Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas by Celia Bonaduce was a TREAT! Contemporary Romance. My review will be on soon.

Predator’s Trinity by Rosanna Leo. Tense and Intense! Contemporary Shifter Romance. My review’s already on

I’ve been re-reading Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase but in French because I need to brush up on my French. And well, it’s just such a fantastic book.

BTW, my evil twin Terri L Austin has a book coming out this week: Diner Knock Out (Rose Strickland Mystery Book 4). It’s here October 20, 2015. PREORDER it! You won’t be sorry. Cozy Mystery. You know I’ll be having her stop by on about it. But more likely we’ll talk about reality TV. 


Gym Every Other Day

Le Diet, Week 3

Now that I’m into week 3 (I think, it’s summer after all) of my diet, I’m back at the gym on alternate days.

Not to be confused with at the gym every other day. I tried that once, but I was reading Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There at the time and it just didn’t work out (pun intended) for me.

“The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam to-day.”
“It must come sometimes to ‘jam to-day,’” Alice objected.
“No, it ca’n’t,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every other day: to-day isn’t any other day, you know”

So heading to the gym every other day, let’s just say, was a bad idea.

By the way, I love jam.


The Gym



I joke about the gym because I’m kind of embarrassed by the following:

I’m a gym rat.


While running on the treadmill bores me to tears (and NO, I’m NOT going to run outside in public, thank you very much) it at least provides me with something I lack in my day-to-day: cable television. Oh, and a cardio workout. Heart and stroke issues are the most likely thing to take women out of this time-space continuum.

Pumping iron and boxing is my thing. I don’t box any more but I still lift.

Too late, I heard you giggle. You thought I didn’t hear you say:

The only weight Tracey lifts is when she gets out of the chair.

Hey! Heaving my tush from my cozy couch IS a workout some days. 🙂 I’m 34% more gravitationally enhanced than I was ten years ago. The good news is when you’re on the heavy side, your bones get some nice stressing.

Having said that, better just to do some proper weight-bearing exercise.


Not a fan of weights? Here’s a tip: count your reps in binary. You’d be amazed how quickly they add up!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5?

Base 10 is for chumps. How much better does this sound?

1, 10, 11, 100, 101

By the time you hit 10, you’re actually at 1010. Double your pleasure!

Sweating and Glowing

For those of us in (or beyond) the throes of menopause, we’re already sweating and glowing and that will just validate those outrageous rep numbers.


Nothing says “good workout” more than a red face and sweaty bits. No one needs to know you’ve just arrived. They see you’re sweating, hear you go to “11” they know, KNOW dammit, you’re a peri-or-postmenopausal force to be reckoned with.

Taking it to 11

And chances are, those obnoxious kids hogging the machines snapchatting themselves will get the bleep out of your way.

Sweaty menopausal women are scary.


The Body Mass Index (BMI)

We tend to get up in arms about weight goals and the dreaded BMI. I know that the BMI and I are not one, and I’ll never be my ideal weight from my twenties despite the fact that I’m still the same height. 


The BMI goal doesn’t work for me anymore, largely (pun intended) because I’m bulkier than I was at 18. For one thing, I’ve been lifting weights for 30 years. Sure, I joke about my large arms, but the fact is, I boxed for 20 years and pumped a lot of iron. So guess what? I’m bulky. And I have a large frame (peasant bones!). So the BMI is only a slight indicator.



If I were furry, like this adorable pup, I’d choose my bum.


See note above. I’m “dense” (it’s ok, you can laugh). Hard to have weight as a good indicator. Frame counts for a lot (or little) as does muscle mass. I used to weight 103 at this height. And I’ve hit 185. Neither are good, that much is obvious. but I doubt I can pull off 120 again.

If I have to choose between my bum and my face, I’ll choose my face is all I’m sayin’.

The Towel Target

So my goal for this diet? To be able to wrap a towel about my midrift and have little or no embarrassing gaps as I walk to the shower.

And lest you think I mosey about the change room with “the girls” flopping about, willy-nilly, I always drape a second towel tastefully over them. The towels provided by the gym are too narrow for the armpit-wrap.

Right now, if I suck it in, I can get that towel around my belly, tuck in the edges, and almost make it to the showers before the towels bursts open like a time-lapse flower in bloom (and the towel flutters shamefully to the floor and the glare from my stretch marks blinds all those within a twenty-foot radius).

Making it to the showers without flashing my lady business is a tangible, measurable goal. So far, I can get to the loo before the towel drops.

By next month, I’m thinking the water fountain is do-able. I’ll letcha know.

I made the cartoon panels using the Bitstrips app. 


None of the Above

None of the Above

Yes, it’s true. I finally decided to halt my Weight Stagnation Journey, meaning, I decided to launch my Weight Loss Journey.

fantodsaAnd I settled on Weight Watchers. Yup.

As much as I would rather prefer to have my fat sucked out and live on T3s and power shakes for a week, I am terribly claustrophobic. Being knocked unconscious gives me the fantods something fierce.

I don’t care about the scarring. I’m insanely modest and no one has ever seen my belly and survived to tell the tale. I just dread being unconscious and possibly dying for such a vanity.

So I joined Weight Watchers. And joining Weight Watchers has been a whole new journey unto itself.

First of all:


I’m not a joiner. Not as such. So the idea of “joining” an online or offline community fills me with, you guessed it, the fantods. I am not very “group” and those who know me personally are nodding. Case in point, I went to IKEA today with some of my Momfia (my FB mommy group) and they were keen to make sure to get a selfie because it was so rare I was:

a) in public and

b) in a group of more than three.

So meetings weren’t for me. I don’t devalue them, I just can’t get out of the house. Literally and figuratively. I can’t do it.

And sit in a group.

And Sharing

In the light. The noise. People moving. Talking. Motion. Yup. I’m sweating as I type.

I know the meetings work. I know it’s important to share and have a sense of community to break the isolation. I just can’t do it. When a journey to the mailbox is a tweetable for someone like me, we’re talking agoraphobic.

Then I gave my head a shake. It’s not like I HAVE to join any groups (I wanted to start one though: The Great Void of Nutella Impulse Control).

Weight Watchers had a few other hoops for PLMs (People Like Me). They had questionnaires and forms. Not many for the average normal human. Nearly insurmountable for me. To wit:

  • My height, weight, and age (f*ck you, don’t even ask).


  • And my background (nice girl from a nice family… but that wasn’t an option).

Your Background

IMAG4531This is where it got hard. My husband laughs at me because I always want to submit amendments to any online questionnaire. Number 3 was the sticky wicket (I’ll retype because the photo I included for authenticity is blurry):

My biggest challenge when it comes to weight loss is:

  • Sticking with it for the long term
  • Fitting it into my busy life
  • Giving up the foods I love.

Like my “good” clothes from Melanie Lyne (who probably wishes I hadn’t given them the shoutout), none of these options fit.

  • I can stick with things.
  • My life isn’t busy.
  • I’m not a foodie. Sure sure, I have a penchant for Nutella, but that didn’t make me fat.

I’m absent-minded. Seriously. That’s my claim to fat fame. I nibble, then forget later I already ate something, then I graze some more. Yup. That’s it. I’m a forgetful fattie. I know I’m not supposed to say “fattie” because this suggests that I = Fat. But hey, it’s the discourse in which we live.

So… there was no “forgetful” option. I chose “Busy Life.”

Your Lifestyle


Again, the photo’s hard to see. The big question (again, not that I’m paranoid, Number 3):

What would you have a hard time giving up in a weight-loss plan?

  • Sweets and desserts
  • Fast food
  • Drinks
  • I have a dietary restriction
  • All or some of the above

Bad choices. They should have had an “other” option or a “none of the above” option.

  • I am not a sweet-desserts person.
  • I never drink.
  • I don’t do fast food.
  • No restrictions.

I’m a forgetful nibbler. And why don’t they put in “savoury” is my bonus question? Put chips in front of me and stand back.

So I had no choice really.

Now having said all this. I started the diet on a whim last Saturday afternoon. My friend, Terri had success with Weight Watchers and as she’s my evil twin, I decided I should go down that dark path. So on aforementioned whim, while hubs was out shopping, I joined up online.

Then realized my folly:

DayOneWWI had gone to IKEA the day before, and that very morning, I ate one-half of a cinnamon bun. And the kid didn’t finish his cheeseburger from the night before so I, having been raised by Depression-era parents, tucked into that for lunch.

I had blown half my day in 11 minutes.

Hubs came home, I forgot I already ate. As I prepared to eat a second lunch….. yup… a SECOND lunch… 

See? Forgetful. I almost dove into my second lunch before I looked at my handy-dandy app and realized what I had done to myself. Hey, I only ate HALF a cinnamon bun, but look at its impact! One-fifth of my day right there (half a bun, not the whole thing). And I ate 3/4 of a cold burger. I was too lazy to look up the cheese slice so I just called it a whole burger. Yup. I ate, forgot I ate, went to eat again. 

Think I’m kidding? I’m that person who has to log onto something to figure out what day it is.

Oh bless you, little app.

By dinner, I figured it out. Fortunately, I nibble so eating raw veggies all day and night is ok by me.


So now, as one full week approacheth, the verdict so far? 

Two thumbs up. And did I mention IKEA above? Yes, I went to IKEA today and did not have the cinnamon bun. I had five meatballs, a green salad. 

I am saving myself for Chapman’s Black Jack Cherry Frozen Yogurt. And that’s ok.

And that part about my not having a sweet tooth? That’s just bullsh*t.

Yeah, you learn a lot about denial on Weight Watchers. 








Sorry About My Arms

Sorry About My Arms


Hmm. Should I take the red pill, or the blue pill?

I’ve been out-of-town recently, in northern Alberta. And I mean Northern. And while there, I did atrocious things. Not the least of which:

I ate gluten.

I’m sorry now. I know better. Because I know the path to perdition and bat-wing triceps is paved with gluten. Gluten is the gateway to loose morals, gingivitis, cheating on one’s taxes, and invariably leads to stress incontinence.

I mention this because I did my first vlog this week for Romance Writers Weekly (I Wanna be a You-Tuber).  No big whup EXCEPT that I reshot the entire thing because of my upper arms.

I have HUGE upper arms. Normally I don’t think about them because these arms allow me to open jars, lift weights, sling my kids around. But then I did the unthinkable:

I recorded my image whilst wearing a tank top.

I confess. I’m no better than the infamous People of Wal-Mart. I tote my arms around like they have a right to be exposed. Willy nilly I have gone around showing people that I, Tracey Gee, have eaten gluten and worse (carbs). I have the arms to prove it. I blame the grain which drained my brain and allowed me to commit such senseless acts of digestion, or so some book told me. I forgot which book but it doesn’t matter. I only read the blurb on Amazon before I laughed a little laughed and ate a Jammie Dodger

Wheat Belly

Remember my chiro? If not, reacquaint yourself (I’ll wait).

The Chiro of Darkness had just finished an adjustment, then commented:

now I’ve got your neck mostly fixed, time for you to work on your “wheat belly

Imagine the image of this spawn poking my “muffin top”. Yes, it’s true.

You are amazed, I’m sure, to hear I left her standing. Wheat-belly-poking finger attached? Yes. I still need her. Also, like Satan, the Chiro of the Festering Pit of Everlasting Flatulence is older than dirt, and I can’t help but suck it up for the elderly. I choose my battles to win my wars.  There is no honour in telling an older lady who, in her demonic own way, meant well. I bit back the “up yours, around the corner, and back again” retort I would otherwise have offered and smiled à la Hannibal Lector cum Stepford Wife.

I thought this was all forgotten by me, in yet another of my #menopausalmoments, until I did the first take of my vlog for this week. I watched my first take of my first vlog, noticing that I didn’t flub my lines, my hair was pretty good, but then I saw it: my arms! Great Triceps of Perdition! Flopping about like hopeful extras in the Fish Slapping Dance.

I did what any other post-modern, self-assured woman of the New Millennium would have done: I reshot the video with a Liz Claiborne Petites mid-sleeve blouse (Goodwill, 5 bucks) thrown casually atop my delts, obscuring their grotesquery from all and sundry.

Am I sorry I did it? Yes and no.


The first take was great. Wonderful. Birds sang as a unicorn stopped in to borrow a cup of stevia. Together we sang The Hills are Alive..  (or was it The Hills Have Eyes)?

It was a lovely video; and the subtitles I added made three bunnies weep with joy.

I should embrace my arms. They are part of my ontology, not to mention my bod. They do wonderful things for me. They’re big. Get used to it.


The vid was too long. Four minutes. Even at three minutes (the current video), the vlog would likely remain unwatched by humans. The cats have watched them many times over and like Steve Forbes, never once blinked. (Oh, and for the Forbes’ fans reading this, I know he really does blink. Here’s another video to prove it.)

We Librans pride ourselves on balance.

So a second take, shorter, was the way to go. What I regret is that my first thought was: look how big my arms are! 

July 1, 2015 73824 PM EDT

Dear Arms I’m really really sorry I was mean to you. Please don’t punish me by refusing to reach the Nutella on the top shelf. Love, Me


But onwards and upwards! And as for my Chiro, Spawn from the Everlasting Barbecue? Her day will come.

I got the pipes.

PS Book Update

Have Just Finished (all 5 stars, BTW): 

The Calum by Xio Axelrod (contemporary romance novella)

Virtue and Valor: Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series by Collette Cameron (Regency romance)

Tyburn (The Southwark Saga Book 1) by Jessica Cale (Restoration romance)

Nothing: Surprising Insights Everywhere from Zero to Oblivion by New Scientist (science essays, non-fiction)

Currently Reading:

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe (science essays, non-fiction)

Virtue’s Lady (The Southwark Saga Book 2) by Jessica Cale

Bayou Beckons (Fleur de Lis Series) (Volume 3) by Linda Joyce

What Every Ageing Woman Should Read: 

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron


I Wonder, Down Under: An Excursus on Prince (His Purpleness) and (My) Body Hair

I Wonder, Down Under: An Excursus on Prince (His Purpleness) and (My) Body Hair

As you likely surmised by the title and featured image, this is about Prince’s song “Kiss”, zero kangaroos, and the relationship I have with my body hair. 



What Paula doesn’t know is I’m cunning and deceptive. I’m wearing foundation garments.

As I rarely often do, I found myself in the gym recently. Those of you on WhatsApp already know my gym schedule: erratic but well-intentioned.

While things are getting better, I find my standards are shifting a bit. To whit: last October’s Holy Crap, Do I Weight THAT? is now my goal-weight for the month.

One thing hasn’t changed, at some point someone at the Y will realize I either have the gestation period of an African elephant (645 days), or I need to lose a few.

What I love about the gym is that there’s always music on. What I don’t love are the days they play anything from this millennium. But yesterday was great. I don’t love “Kiss” by Prince and the Revolution, I LOVE it. I love everything about the song. Not sure exactly why (although it’s true, I can sing it, to the annoyance of dogs) but whenever I hear it, I feel happy. I usually laugh out loud.

Type a Mess

WhatsApp updated their interface and I love how it reads “Type a mess…”

All this got me to thinking. Does The Purple One manscape?

I don’t. For two reasons:

  1. I’m not a dude. Manscaping is impossible. Perhaps when we co-opt the “personscape” I may be able, also, to deny this activity.
  2. Seriously? You’ve seen me. I can barely comb my hair, much less depilate my Wonder Down Under.

Not that I comb my lady business. Hope the above didn’t suggest I might. A bit of faulty parallel structure there.

It’s just that grooming on all levels defies me. I’m lucky to have matching socks.

Sadly, I couldn’t find an official copy of the Kiss video on the usual safe sources (frowny frowny frowny face). But I did find this:


I wonder if His Purpleness manscapes?

Does he or doesn’t he? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

So there I am, smiling, happy to do my lateral pull-downs whilst thinking of Prince and then naturally Tom Jone’s variation on the tune, when I realize someone is frowny-facing my pits. I do not personscape (see note above) and I was wearing, essentially, a basketball shirt and boxing shorts. My pits doth be showing is what I’m saying. So I make a quick connection: hair, Prince, my happy place, self-esteem, spandex; and I wonder as anyone would under such duress:

Does The Purple One ‘scape (let’s just say ‘scape)?

I did what I usually do when faced with such an imponderable, I WhatsApp Paula who invariably tolerates my insanity and — chocolate be praised —Paula’s all over it (see screen right).

She’s correct as usual, King Friday, of course Prince does. He is His Purpleness. He would wax, shave, thread, sugar, pluck, or NOT. He is who He is. The man who can kick arse in basketball, sing a tuneful ditty, woo Sheila E. and bravely wave more-than-a-man-camel-toe at all and sundry  in a concert (and we are grateful).

The basketball? It’s true. I saw it on The Chappelle Show.


A quick survey of my friends assured me that Prince very likely does remove all or part of his nether hair. My sister Caroline suggested a soul-patch. Paula: threading. Boo Boo Kitty F. went creative on me: BooBooKittyF


Of course he would have scifi_esque nursely outfitted women tend to his ‘scaping. He’s His Purpleness.

But this does nothing for me, left sitting in the gym on the lateral pull-down apparatus wondering why it’s not ok for me to not shave, wax, depilate or otherwise wrench from their mooring my pit hairs (never mind my womanly growth).

As if I didn’t have enough to deal with: being 30 pounds overweight in a gym NOT wearing spandex or yoga pants.

THEN to add insult to injury: I forgot my t-shirt.

Hold up: I have a shirt on. I mean my sit-in-the-hot-tub t-shirt. The one that hides my extruding pulchritude but more importantly:

my vile womanly growth.

I can handle being squishy, but do I want anyone to know the horror of horrors? Sin of sins? I don’t pluck, wax, shave anything. At all. Strong men blanch to see womenly hair and frankly, so do strong women. I don’t even look at my own undercarriage, so why I would inflict any part of it on another is beyond me. It’s a question of modesty. Of course, that can be debated. BUT insofar as I’m neurotic about my pits when there are several men about me, similarly garbed (basketball T’s, boxing shorts… pits unshaved)…….

……Why should I be shamed?

I met the gaze only for a moment, did a beautiful armpit sniff à la Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda, and moved on (you may want to skip to 1:37+ for the armpit — better yet, see the whole film).

Not really. I ignored. Then looked forward to the hot tub, which was shortly to be self-denied to me.

I went, very quickly, from a happy place to a grumpy place. All because I don’t shave my pits or my “edges.”

Then I went to a happy place when I got home because:

a) I was thinking about Prince and had “Kiss” as my earworm for the evening.

b) I worked out; and some grumpy old fart looked at my pits and scowled and dash-it-all, that’s a good day when I can FU a crotchety (pun intended) coot.

c) I managed to meet my feminist praxis and come out fighting (I had the shorts for it).

Dadgum right I shave or I don’t. Prince does as he pleases. I sincerely doubt he frets if he’s ‘scaped. Is that a luxury only the rich and talented have rights to?

While I may not want to flaunt my lady extrusion, frankly no one else really flaunts theirs either. But the pits? Those are fair game.

Let’s leave this to the immortal words of His Purpleness:

Women not girls rule my world

My hair. It’s there. Get used to it.


Letting Myself Go—Apparently

Letting Myself Go—Apparently

….and then my (potentially former) chiro said to me (last night) “Well of course you’ve really let yourself go, dear. But you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. You’ll get back to it, this year .”

Apparently I let myself go.

Not that I needed her to tell me. I figured it out myself. And you know, I haven’t been too hard on myself because being overweight isn’t something which calls for punishment or self-loathing. Usually it goes that way, but it shouldn’t. I guess she’s telling me I should be hard on myself (oh goody, a punishment-reward relationship with food and self-image, how novel) but not too hard. I didn’t ask for clarification.

And if there’s an expression I hate, it’s “letting [oneself] go” (change the pronoun however it suits you). I know I just used it. But I did so, ironically.

Remember my neck? If you don’t, have a boo. I see my chiro for my neck and other-related issues. To say that I’m in agony would be like saying that I am not pain-free.

Apparently she observed last night that I have let myself go and it’s evident to all and sundry. But this may surprise you: 

I do not pay her one iota for commentary on my mass, volume, or density

Just for a wee aside, curious about the difference among mass, volume, and density? Have a watch. Or not. Just click on it for a mo’ then come back here.

Despite the fact that I can do good cardio (ooo and Zumba), and with the exception of recent neck issues, pump some serious iron and have biceps which are the envy of many a gym rat, I have let myself go. And for some magical reason, my chiro thought it was more than ok, necessary perhaps, to inform me of such.

I know what you’re thinking: she’s one of my healthcare providers and as such, it’s her obligation (and right) to address my weight (I call it my density) issues. Possibly. But it was:

a) uncalled for, and

b) irrelevant to our relationship and treatment at the time, and

c) we’re talking 30 pounds.

Sorry, I know that’s faulty parallel structure, but baby, I’m on fire!

So while I bit back the “bite me” because I still need her, I’m here to say that unless someone else’s weight, mass, density, or volume is your issue, shut your buttertart hole.

I know what you’re wondering: aren’t we fat people supposed to be jolly? Perhaps. But I’m not mass-enhanced enough for the jolly-endorphins to kick in; nor am I gravitationally de-activated enough to be totally grumpy.

Oh, another thing I hate, calling people “fat” as though they belonged to some sub-species. Anyhoodle… 

I’ve made a list of retorts I wish I had said, but I had too much respect for her august presence (old bat) and frankly, I am sure she meant well, and I need her. 

As a matter of fact I did let myself go, I’m testing my new Depends. Thoughts?

So while I’m here on my soapbox, listening to it creak under my weight, I want to add that skinny-shaming irks me too. Perhaps because I’ve been on both sides of the mountain. And I ain’t no Heidi. Getting back to the other side may take a while. Maybe she can help make my journey easier by getting off my back.

This blog was brought to you today by the letters F and U.




Not Enough Sand in the Writing Cave

Hard to know where to start with this photo shown above. I’ll tell you the first thing which came to mind: a lawyer joke.


I know this appears flipped. I live in a parallel universe where Nutella labels are flipped.

In the 80s and 90s, I worked in an accounting and consulting firm as a Research Associate (or some such title) and I heard a lot of lawyer jokes. So this photo froze the moment in time when my “Manager” (I refused to call him that; he called me “Punk” and I called him by his first name which was very bold for a time when women still weren’t allowed to wear pants in the office… no kidding) told me the following joke:


Q: What do you call it when you have a lawyer buried up to his/her/its neck in sand (actually, my “Manager” said “his” but we’ve progressed since the 80s)?

A: Not enough sand.


This is a photo of not enough sand.

It’s my Nutella jar with only a modicum of Nutella contained therein. You get the idea.

I’m out. But hey, that’s ok. I don’t even spread this stuff onto anything. I spoonline it.


This is also flipped but flippage is less discernible sans label.

Now this blog isn’t about Nutella, or my jar which is neither half-empty nor half-full. And it’s not about chick peas. But here is a photo of ones I whipped up today AFTER I discovered the paucity of Nutella. They have chili and cayenne on them. Can’t go wrong, there.

This is about the fact that I have a plethora of semi-finished (or semi-started) novels and I am at a complete loss as to what to do.

So I do what any other writer would do: stress eat.

And all that’s left me with is an extra 300 grams I didn’t need (cushioning my left buttock, I hate when the weight-gain is unbalanced!) and a sense of remorse that when I should have just arbitrarily picked a novel, I nibbled a jar of Nutella (well, contents only) then moved onto chick peas. I can’t seem to cope with reality. 

There’s an analogy in all this somewhere: my alternate universe, my mostly empty Nutella jar, my abundance of chick peas, and forensic accounting research, sand. But what oh what is it, Cosmos? What are you trying to tell me?

I think Nora Roberts summed it up nicely—and thank you to romance author and fellow member of Romance Writers Weekly, Sarah Hegger for scaring reminding me:


I do not know the original source of this image but I found it here:

Hey, you can’t think I’d let this “Nora Roberts” person have the last word on my blog. My value-add? I’ve stepped away from the kitchen (I can hear Pamela Mason telling me to “spit it out” oh my Obi-Pam!) and I’m off to the writing cave.





Shut Up and Dance (or How I Learned to Love my Zumba Class)

Shut Up and Dance (or How I Learned to Love my Zumba Class)

Back in 1993, whilst having a very neurotic moment, my bestie and I were taking coffee down on the waterfront. I was whining about something (probably how fat or ugly I thought I was and/or what a shitty writer I was and/or my crappy job and/or how grad school was making me mental) and he said:

“Tracey. Shut Up and Dance.”

Yes, in title case. He was one of the few people I knew who could do it.

I’ll spare you the details for now (those of you who know me personally know who it was). He was, essentially, terminal. You see, he knew he wouldn’t make it to 45 (he made it to 42). He lived his last ten years, for the most part, how he wanted to live.

And back then, I had a propensity for whining and bemoaning my fate. And frankly, it kinda pissed him off. We both knew he wouldn’t see 50.

And back then, I couldn’t enjoy the simple things. Like shutting up and dancing. It wasn’t enough that I knew I sucked at things, I had to make sure everyone else knew that I knew. And I was a miserable thing.

Dance like no one’s watching.

Whoever said that was bang-on. I learned that lesson. And I began to dance.

You see, I love to dance. But I am totally uncoordinated and have no sense of rhythm. My limbs go everywhere. I can’t follow a beat. They turn left, I go right (or forward). It’s chaos. But music makes me happy and I love to dance and sing (I can’t sing for shit, either).

And I realized I was on the road to a very bitter life. Sitting on the sides watching other more “worthy” people dance, sing, perform, get ahead, wear mini-skirts. And I would go from envy to hate to self-loathing and more hate and I would NEVER be happy. Life on the sidelines sucks monkey toots.

Which leads me to ZUMBA!

Oh my goodness, the day after God rested, He made Zumba.

I discovered this joy late in life (I was 47). By then I was legitimately overweight, to add to my innate lack of rhythm and ability to follow moves.

And did I give a rat’s patootie?

You bet I did!

I’m in a room of mostly slender younger creatures, half of whom have little jangling bell belts and clearly defined waists. They stand in the front and know the moves. I hated them, for about a minute.

For about a minute until I realized that my hate and self-loathing once again would make me a bitter horrid old bat unless I just Shut Up and Dance(d). And I hate women who hate on other women and I didn’t want to be that skinny-shaming hater.

I took myself into the room and I danced as though no one were looking.

Most weren’t. I was clever enough to stay in the last “row” (no rows truly exist in the last “row” of Zumba… and if you’re uncoordinated, you know what I mean) so those in the front wouldn’t see me dance.

And I rocked! Not that one rocks in Zumba (well, I did). It was so much fun and I didn’t give a crap (sorry, I had to say it) that I couldn’t figure out what the FUCK was going on. Hey, the big picture emerged:

I was there to have fun and do some cardio.

The moves were immaterial. I knew the basics: keep moving and whenever possible, keep those arms up. Do this for an hour. Occasionally yell “whooo” or some other imprecation of joy. (Imprecation of joy? Why not? It’s my blog.)

As long as I stayed in the back, no one would be injured. (If you’ve been to Zumba, you’ll know collisions are possible).


This is NOT what I look like in a Zumba class. I have a court-order preventing me from taking Zumba classes in rooms containing glass or other breakables. (c) Canstock

I have to share this video. It’s not of me but of two awesome women (Audri and Jessie) who are having FUN! They are significantly more coordinated than I will ever be. Hats off to them for putting this out there. Because guess what? Some people can do the moves, some can’t.

And some, like me, will NEVER be able to and frankly, I don’t care anyway because I am there to do cardio, dance, and have fun. That’s the main point. I wish I were rich because I would hire these two women to make workout DVDs. But what I really wish for, more, is that others would just learn to Shut Up and Dance.

So what if you “can’t”, just get out there and do what you can. The tagline for my work this week was “better done than perfect” and I think those are important words to live by.

I won’t be perfect. Some may wish I were more coordinated in Zumba (that evil woman a few months back who was annoyed at my gyrations…she was three rows ahead so what does she care if I was going the wrong way and waving my arms when no waving was expected?). Mirthless creature. My cold Steve McQueen stare won the day, I am proud to say. Laughing at her back and blowing a raspberry weren’t the most mature things I’ve done, but very satisfying. And the other Back Row Rats appreciated the gesture.

I’ve talked too long. Audri and Jessie. Ladies, I salute thee! Zumba is hard. But it’s fun. And you gals make me want to just do my own thing so much more.

Oh, and here’s the channel because these videos are not only funny, they’re FUN.

For a bonus treat, The Brazilian Butt Lift:

The takeaway? Get out there and do something. Don’t give a shit if you look stupid. You might. You might not. So what? You are dancing. Exercising. Singing. Drawing. Painting. You are doing things and that’s more than the evil little trolls ever do. Haters hate and that’s all they can do.

And for those who are brought down by self-righteous perfectionists? Look them in the eye and say “I blow my nose at you, unhappy creature.” And walk away. 

Life is short. But it’s longer than you think if you’re sitting on the sidelines.

Shut Up and Dance