Baby Bean is Growing

 BabyFruit Ticker

Friday, May 28, 2004


I fixed the comments so that you don't have to register with blogger in order to leave me a little note, so now you have ABSOLUTELY NO REASON not to comment. =)

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Well, I had planned to write a review of "Love Actually" today, but I'm just not quite feeling up to it and since it is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time (a preview of the review to come...), I felt it deserved more than a half-assed attempt at assessment. (That was quite a bit of alliteration there...)

I attribute my malaise to the fact that it has been a wild and wooly week (even more alliteration) here in the land of Lacy (I think I'm on a roll). After having spent months -- literally MONTHS -- working on building a program, my boss had a brainstorm and came up with an easier way to do it. This is hunky dory with me, don't get me wrong, but all of the sudden, where I once could get away with goofing off several hours of the day, I now have lists and lists of things to accomplish. And I'm actually accomplishing some of them, which is even wilder. Today, for example, I made no less than three lists, in various forms, on various shapes, sizes, and colors of paper. I try to be good about transferring these to my one master list contained in my Outlook program, but sometimes they get away from me.

And if I weren't busy enough with all the newfound business, I am still doing disaster recovery, so I get, on average, at least one person a day calling or emailing with panic that they've had the dreaded "Too many different cell formats" error, which denotes utter destruction in its simple, understated way. I no longer panic at the sight of this error. I'm a battle hardened IT tech: nothing scares me anymore! Or, at least not the errors that I know I can fix.

Invariably, however, the panic quickly turns to impatience, especially if they have to wait more than a day for their file to be fixed. In my defense, I have NOTHING to do with the delay. It all has to do with getting the backup from wherever the backups are kept. I have nothing to do with that other than to tell Freddy, the network guy, to get it. My bit takes all of five minutes. His bit, however, seems to take considerably longer. Either that or HE takes considerably longer to get to it.

I realize at this point that I'm just rambling, but it feels kind of good to get it out. I realized this week that I am once again a woman in a field predominately composed of men. In the IT department of this company there are four guys, and me. *SIGH* I'm sorely outnumbered. What is it with me and traditionally male fields? Hmmm...

Well, that's all I've got for today. Stay tuned for that review. I swear, I'll write it soon...

Monday, May 24, 2004

NEW! Comments section

So, as you can probably see, I've added a comments feature to my blog! Hurrah! Now you can comment on my ramblings and tell me what you think -- which is, of course, what I LIVE for!

Go ahead! Give it a try! Next time you see something comment-worthy, don't just think your comment to yourself, POST IT for the whole world to enjoy! You'll be a part of the Blog revolution!!

I believe Blogger makes you register before you can comment, but I'm led to believe that it's quick, painless, and relatively mess-free.

Don't leave me floundering out here in the oblivion of cyberspace without knowing if anyone knows or cares that I'm writing. A writer cannot thrive, cannot grow, cannot improve without the constructive criticism of her peers so PLEASE PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE WITH SUGAR ON TOP leave a message after the beep.


Yet another French phrase you will probably never need:

La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid.

Literally: Revenge is a dish best eaten cold.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Review - Runaway Jury

As with all genres, it takes a certain special something to master the art of suspense. Suspense is more than simply drawing out a plot line and slowly revealing facts; it requires something more, namely, an emotional attachment from the audience. The masters of suspense know how to create a scene as emotionally taught as a tightrope, and as dangerous for the characters as though they were walking that very rope. But for a suspense film to be truly effective, it must also be dangerous for the audience watching the film: we must be so engaged in the outcome, that when the characters threaten to fall, we share their fate.

In Runaway Jury, the latest of John Grisham's books to be adapted for the screen, the filmmakers take a chance at this high wire act, but fall short of success because they never work without a net. In the film, the opposing sides of a charged trial over gun manufacturers' responsibilities to victims of gun violence -- Dustin Hoffman for the prosecution and Gene Hackman for the defense -- vie for control of their carefully chosen jury. A third party, one of the jurors played by John Cusack, enrages them both by claiming to have the real control, which he aptly proves through several cleverly executed stunts. The suspense, then, should result from this three way tug-of-war for power over the jury, and thus a precedent setting verdict. Only it doesn't.

The major flaws of this film are two-fold. First, the filmmakers give far too much away far too soon. The identity of the third party controlling the jury should have been concealed from the audience for at least a while, yet it is revealed almost as soon as the fact that there is a third party is revealed. While this may be suspenseful for the two counselors, the audience is already yawning while waiting for the real suspense to begin. Subsequently, too many clues about the true identities and motives of the pair running the jury also surface, and although they may have been meant to win our emotional involvement, they completely fail to do so by not giving the actors any sympathetic moments to work with.

Which brings us to the second flaw. With an ensemble cast such as that assembled here, one would expect riveting and dynamic characters for them to play. It is disappointing then, to say the least, that actors of such tangible power as Hoffman and Hackman are relegated to playing characters with no arc to develop.

Hoffman's likeable New Orleans lawyer has painfully little to do, with the exception of a few impassioned moral diatribes on gun violence, and his character remains disappointingly static. Although the filmmakers set up a promising sub-conflict between Hoffman and his precocious young jury expert, the conflict is never allowed to mature, leaving Hoffman nowhere to take his character. As for the young expert: the audience has forgotten he's even part of the story mid way through the second act.

Hackman is also given promising material as the deliciously unscrupulous over funded and over prepared jury analyst for the defense, but he too is forced into a one-dimensional stereotype of remorseless evil by the filmmakers lack of faith. Had his character been given even a shred of humanity, remorse, or compassion -- no mater how fleeting -- Hackman would have been allowed to let that character grow and change. The filmmakers again set this moment up beautifully in the scene between Hackman and the jury runners, but they chicken out at the last minute, and Hackman's character is left as dimensionless as he began.

Even the runners themselves begin as a convincing pair of con-artist lovers, but even they, as the most sympathetic characters are forced into cookie cutter stereotypes and not allowed to fully engage the audience's hearts. Where one might expect anger, disillusionment, and desperation, we get only hints of these burred by cold calculation.

This film fails to be a great suspense thriller because it fails to properly utilize the one ingredient that makes or breaks a film: the audience. With the sheer acting power, the genuine originality of the plot, and the box office gold of John Grisham attached to this film, it should have been a welcome new addition to the annuls of classic suspense. But because the filmmakers lacked the faith to give their characters room to grow, the film becomes stagnated, formulaic, and deadliest of all, unengaging.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Aidan woke with a start. Cold rivulets of sweat poured down his furrowed brow as he threw himself into a sitting position, staring around him at the darkness and gasping for breath. He clutched at his chest and felt his pounding heart beating itself against his breastbone as he waited for the wave of adrenaline to subside. Swallowing cold gulps of air like a life giving tonic, he tried to recall the particulars of the dream that had ravaged his sleep.

She had been there. He knew that much was true. Her strangely beautiful blue and white eyes seemed to stare at him through the darkness of his room like an afterimage burned on his retinas. They had been together, happy. Then something, someone, had come and tried to tear them apart. The rest was a blur. Blood. Fire. Water. War and destruction. All he could clearly remember was the sound of her screams.

Throwing off his blankets he got up from his pallet on the floor and began pacing the room. The chill of night and the coming winter had begun to seep through the rock, and his chamber was cold, but he did not stop to put on any clothes. Instead, he paced back and forth crossing the length of the room again and again. He felt as though he'd just run a race, rather than slept, and his restless energy plagued him. After a few moments of this, he realized that more restlessness would not calm his mind. Taking a deep breath, he retrieved his clothes and dressed quickly. Snatching his sword from its place near his bed, he left his quarters.

As he rounded the corner leaving the royal apartments, the two sentries bowed reverently to him. One of them moved as if to follow, but Aidan dismissed the man with a wave. If they thought it odd that their young prince desired a midnight stroll, their impassive faces showed no trace of it. They remained resolutely at their posts.

Aidan made his way up staircase after staircase from his home at the center of his city towards the upper levels and the outside world. At last, he reached a winding staircase barely wide enough for a grown man to pass through that spiraled its way up steeply towards the ceiling. All the entrances and exits to his domain had been constructed this way to prevent invaders from being able to bring an army into the city. Aidan reached a landing at the top and paused for a moment, contemplating the simple ladder and the heavy stone door directly above him. A torch in a bracket on the wall flickered in the slight draft from the cracks around the door where fresh air filtered in from the cold night above. Aidan climbed the few rungs of the ladder and threw his weight against the heavy door.

A sudden gust of cold air hit him and he gasped. The torch below flickered madly, but did not go out. The blackness of the night above seemed to pour into the chamber as Aidan climbed the last few steps and found himself standing on the top of a huge stone mesa. Carefully, he let the heavy door fall behind him.

"Who approaches?" a husky male voice called threateningly.

Only the most honorable and able sons of the Elders of the tribe were chosen for the most important job of watching from the outside, thus Aidan recognized the voice as that of a childhood friend. "Stand down Elei," Aidan replied quietly, as his eyes adjusted to the blackness.

He stared up into the vast carpet of stars that was laid out above him and marveled at it, as he did every time he had seen it. Hearing movement, he squinted into the darkness and found he could make out a form approaching him. The man stopped suddenly and bowed.

"My Honorable Lord," he said, "I was not told you would be visiting the watch this night."

"This is not an official visit, Elei. I merely wanted to clear my head." The man nodded and the two of them made their way towards the very edge of the cliff. As Aidan's eyes adjusted, he could begin to make out features of the landscape below: the rocky desert wasteland that was his kingdom. He crouched near the edge and stared out across his inky black surroundings. Elei stood respectfully a few feet away.

"Are you well, my lord?" Elei ventured after a few minutes of silence. Aidan sighed.

"You would be the one on duty tonight," he said sarcastically. "You always ask too many questions, Elei." Elei bowed contritely.

"I'm afraid it is in my blood. My honorable mother is also known at court for always asking too many questions." Elei's mother was one of the most venerable and admired Elders of the tribe. She had taken over her late husband's position when Elei was still very small, and had helped Aidan's father rule wisely these many years. "But if you don't wish to speak of it..." Aidan shook his head.

"My spirit must be very troubled, Elei. I have had such dreams lately as you would not believe." He paused, rubbing his eyes as if trying to rub away the troubling images. "Visions of war and destruction; of blood and death. And also..." He paused. Elei was one of his oldest friends, but Aidan was unsure how he would react to the mysterious girl of his dreams.

"Also?" Elei prompted.

"And also of... a girl."

"A girl?" Elei repeated. "A lady of the courts perhaps?" Aidan stood abruptly and looked at his friend, searching his face for any sign of humor or mockery. He saw none, only concern for a troubled friend. He turned back to contemplating the darkness.

"Not of the court, not even of our people. A very strange girl, with pale skin the color of cream, and big white eyes with irises as blue as the sky." He looked at his friend again. "I have seen her in my dreams many many times." Elei frowned.

"That is strange. I have never heard of a person with white eyes. Is she an albino perhaps?" Aidan shook his head.

"She troubles me," he said darkly. Elei considered for a while and the two stood in silence. A paleness was beginning to wash over the distant horizon as the first fingers of dawn crept up into the sky.

"Perhaps you should go to the temple and have your spirit cleansed," Elei suggested. "Ask the priests for help ridding your mind of these troubling dreams." Aidan shook his head. He had already thought of visiting the temple for help, and although the dreams did trouble him, the thought of never seeing the girl again troubled him more.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I am the price of a stamp away from being credit card debt free, and man oh man, does it feel GOOD!

Now, you'll notice I said "credit card debt free" rather than simply debt free. My college education has seen to it that I won't be able to say that for a while, but the good thing is that I will now be able to put that money I was spending on credit card debt towards my student loans and pay them off faster.

I learned that on the internet. That's a goofy thing to say, but it's true. I found a web site with good articles and advice about how to pay down your debt and plan for your future ( if you're interested). What I'd like to know is why they don't teach children these sorts of things in school? I never took home economics, but I happen to know that there was very little economics that went into it. And regular economics -- I did take that -- was all about the rules of supply and demand and such, which I'm sure have a practical application somewhere, but nowhere did the teacher or the textbook say "if you run up debt, you have to pay it off, and here's how to go about it..."

[Little side note on economics: my teacher was Mr. Fagan, and he was one of the most boring teachers I ever ever had, but he meant well. He truly loved economics, even though none of us did, and he got really excited about things like animated graphs in the videos he showed us. He actually rewound the tape and showed us one animated graph several times. And when he taught us about the ratchet effect, which I'm sorry to admit I have no idea what is, he brought in an actual ratchet to demonstrate his point, and he was absolutely totally excited about it. And he signed his emails "Your favorite economics teacher, 007 (AKA: Mr. Fagan)" although he couldn't have been any less like James Bond if he tried.]

My school district actually did try a little bit to ready students for the real world thru a clever simulation of it they called Enterprise City. Enterprise City was (is? I'm not sure if it's still running) a converted wing of an elementary school made to look like a town square with shops, a bank, a newspaper, and a radio station. Students are assigned jobs in the various businesses, and then, during a single day, they run the shops, get paid, and go buy things from other shops. It's meant to teach students about bank accounts, checking accounts (each student gets checks, deposit slips, and a check register) and how to manage money, and it's mildly successful at that. I learned how to write a check and fill out a check register that way. Of course, I was in the fourth grade at the time, and wouldn't need the knowledge for another good eight years or so, but nevertheless, at least they tried.

I went to Enterprise City a second time, in high school, with my French class. We had to operate the town entirely in French. Good for the language skills, not terribly impressive on the money management skills.

If I were developing a high school curriculum, I would definitely include a life skills course. It would include things like how to write a resume and apply for a job, how to find and get an apartment (MUCH harder than you might think if you haven't had to do that recently!), and how to create a budget, balance your checkbook, and manage your credit.

I didn't know ANY of this stuff going into the real world (college only marginally counts as the real world)! OK, well, I knew how to balance my checkbook, sort of. I knew the principle. The actual doing was more of a challenge. And I had gotten a job, but it was kind of a fluke, and I'd only ever really written a resume to get into college. As for the whole apartment thing, that was MUCH harder than I'd ever thought it would be. There were so many factors to consider, and who knew you had to have good credit to get an apartment?? I figured if you could pay the rent you were hunky dory. I'd never seen a lease before in my life, and there I was, all alone, having to sign away my soul for all I knew. In fact, I spent most of my college years feeling very alone and unprepared for the real world and wishing to heaven there were someone to help me.

That's why I think it would be invaluable for every single high school student to have to go through a life skills class. Throw in a little sex-ed too while you're at it and show big graphic pictures of the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases to scare the beejesus out of them. (One of my high school biology teachers did that. Sure scared the crap out of me! But that's a different rant.) I wish somebody had done that for me. The kids would probably resent it like you wouldn't believe, but in the end, I bet they'd be grateful.

And be sure to include the bit about credit cards and student loans and so on. Everyone everywhere will at some point in their life have either a credit card or a loan (more likely both) unless they are independently wealthy (which still doesn't preclude either) or living under a rock. Yet no one teaches you what half of this stuff means. How many high school students do you know that could tell you what APR stands for? Or what factors contribute to their credit rating? Or what their credit rating even is or does? How many COLLEGE kids -- with credit cards -- have any idea what a finance charge is, or how long it's going to take to pay off those 200 pizzas if they're only paying the minimum payment due? Nobody tells us this stuff. If we're smart, we go online, or ask a parent (who, I might add, might not know themselves), and we somehow muddle our way through and figure out what we need to know. But more often than not, we learn the hard way: by getting turned down for a new credit card, or a student loan we need, or when we have to sign that "exit interview" paper when we graduate from college that basically says that they own our first born children. It's hard. And somebody should be teaching this stuff before it gets to that point. We can't blame our parents, because nobody taught them either. I for one am going to be an informed parent, and I'm going to make it a point to teach my kids about money. Then maybe this madness will stop!

But probably not.

Monday, May 10, 2004

The Cooler - Movie Review

Whoever thought that the art of the character actor was dead, is dead wrong. A few lonely souls remain, destined for greatness not as leading men or women, but as those memorable characters who stick with us and color our memories of a certain time, a certain place, a certain film. William H. Macy is one of those souls. While his shock of red hair, funny flat face and broad clownish grin will never win him People's Sexiest Man of the Year, his actual talent never fails to blow me away, and I am constantly grateful that someone, somewhere, saw past the status quo of good looks and not much else, and decided to give him a chance.

In one of his latest films, The Cooler, Macy actually has a chance to play a leading roll, and does so with all the style and grace of the classic character actor. His character, Bernie, is the living incarnation of bad luck, and he works for an old school Vegas casino as a "cooler." He walks through the casino, just being himself, and everyone around him suddenly watches their luck turn for the worst.

Shelly (a smooth, not quite overblown Alec Baldwin) is an old time gangster who owns the casino and employs Bernie as a cooler. He knows a good thing when he sees it, and he's not about to let it go. At the same time, however, Shelly is being hustled by a young VP intent on bringing the casino into the 21st century version of Vegas: the clean, family friendly, Disney-esque Vegas of which Shelly wants no part. Baldwin gives a very well written and well delivered monologue near the beginning of the film about the fate of the new Vegas which is well worth watching for.

Then in walks lady luck herself in the form of a pert young waitress named Natalie (Maria Bello). She falls for Bernie, and suddenly, Mr. Unlucky can't do anything wrong. Which is the wrong thing to do when dealing with a low-life like Shelly.

Although Bello is probably about half his age, she and Macy pull off an incredibly convincing love story. The brilliant acting makes this union of opposites seem poetic, tragic, and even archetypical in its oddity and simplicity.

The best part of this movie is that you are drawn in by these characters. You root for the underdog like there's no tomorrow, and none of the film's infrastructure gets in the way of the characters or the story. The cinematography is subtly conceived to create a timeless feeling within the casino and the city so that, as Bernie's character observes, you never know if it is night or day. Then, as Bernie's luck shifts, so does the emphasis on lighting. A beautiful sunshiny day illuminates Bernie and Natalie's new found love. It's a wonderful compliment to the action, but not so overpowering that you feel as though you've been bludgeoned with the symbolism stick.

Overall, The Cooler was an immensely satisfying film. It's currently out on DVD if you missed it in the theaters and well worth the money to rent. We only had it for a weekend, so I didn't have time to explore any of the special features.

My next review: Runaway Jury

Wedding Web Site!

Our new wedding website is up and running at!

Check out the photo album page for some great pictures we had made to celebrate and commemorate our engagement.

We'll be updating that page with new content every few weeks to keep you up to date on our wedding plans and all the important info you might need, so bookmark that page and stay tuned!

Oh! And if you find any broken links, pictures that don't load, etc., please let me know so I can fix them! Thanks!

Friday, May 07, 2004

if you look closer it's easy to trace the tracks of my tears

So, I got yelled at today by an inconsiderate chauvanist loan officer, and instead of wanting to cry (which has been my choice of reaction to pretty much everything lately: grocery stores, green lights, hallmark commercials...) I glared at him and spat back a very sarcastic sounding remark. And I'm feeling pretty good about that.

Could it be that uberbitch is making a comeback?

[For those of you who don't know, or don't care to remember, my dear "friend" Charlie Anderson gave me that nickname in high school, referring to the alter-ego I posessed when dealing with recalcitrant boys in communications class who didn't want to listen to anything I said. Uberbitch is Mr. Hyde to my Dr. Jekel.]

In any case, I was quite pleased to find myself reacting in a more normal way, and encouraged that I might not have completely lost my spine in the last few years, or, that if I had, it is perhaps in the process of growing back. This is encouraging to say the least!

But I don't want uberbitch back in full force, only when I need her. Just enough to scare people back into line when they cross me. To make people realize that I'm not just some little girl they can walk all over.

I grew up with strong female role models. Anyone who has ever met my Mom could tell you that. In fact, as a young woman, I secretly idolized Murphey Brown -- the super duper feminist reporter who would just as soon step on your neck as look at you. I thought she was great. Powerful, strong, and feared. That's where uberbitch came from. That and my mother's temper, which I partially inherited.

But, oddly enough, I also inherited a bit of my father's lassaiez-faire. Litterally, it means let it be.

[Let it beeeee let it be! Let it beeeeee let it be! Speaking words of wisdom let it beeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I can see my dad sitting at our very out of tune piano, carefully picking out chords and singing this song...]

So what happens when uberbitch starts to slip and lassaiez-faire wanders in and thinks about taking over? Apparently, she cries a lot. That's what's been happening to me for the past year or so, but it's been much worse lately. My mother told me that she cried pretty much all the way through her 19th, 20th, and 21st years of life. Gee thanks, mom. Just what I wanted to hear.

But I think it might finally be taking a turn for the better! So thanks, to that jerk loan officer who made me so righteously indignant that I didn't want to cry! You just made my day! =)

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Ultimate Stir Fry Sauce

Last night I FINALLY got my car back from the collision repair place. They had it over a MONTH and I cannot tell you how furious I was at the whole process. So, I needed something quick and soothing for dinner, so I decided to whip up some stir fry.

I discovered a recipe for cashew chicken in a Cooking Light magazine over a year ago, and with a little tweaking, I've coaxed the sauce into an all occasion flavor packed fabulous stir fry sauce. It goes a little something like this:

6-8 oz boneless skinnless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tsp sesame oil
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp fresh ginger (I use the bottled kind)
2 T soy sauce, plus some to taste
1/4 c fat free chicken broth
2 T rice vinegar (or other white vinegar)
1 tsp chili garlic sauce (the bright orange/red kind that comes in a squeeze bottle with a green top and a picture of a rooster on the bottle)
2 T sake or white cooking wine
1-2 T corn starch
~ 3 C chopped mixed vegetables (anything you have on hand, fresh or frozen works fine)
1 can sliced water chestnuts
2 green onions, sliced

Warm the sesame oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok. Add the garlic and ginger and saute about 1 minute. Add the chicken and several good shakes of soy sauce and cook chicken until done. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Add all the vegetables except the green onions to the pan and cook until tender. (Note: If you have veggies that cook at different times, cook them in stages so that the more delicate ones do not get mushy.)

While the vegetables cook, combine remaining ingredients except green onions in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly, eliminating any lumps. Add the sauce to the vegetables. Add the chicken back into the pan. Cook until sauce thickens to desired consistency (you can add more corn starch to thicken, or more chicken broth to thin). Add green onions to pan right before serving.

Now the recipe for the sauce works with pretty much every combination of meats and vegetables I've tried including chicken, shrimp, beef, pork, and even tofu with every kind of oriental and non oriental vegetable imaginable. Last night, our veggies consisted of zucchini, sugar snap peas, and celery, and it was very good. I've also used kale, spinach, red and green bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, and both canned and frozen mixed oriental vegetables.

EVERYTHING works with this sauce, and once you have the ingredients on hand, you can pretty much whip it up with whatever you have sitting around in the fridge or freezer. Also, you can add a few peanuts, cashew nuts, or slivered almonds to the mix for a good crunchy flavor. You can serve it over brown or white rice, plain or fried, or over rice noodles, or by itself. You can also marinate in it, and tweak the flavors to your liking. If you like sweet Chinese food, at the 2 tsp of sugar that I eliminated from the original recipe. If you like things spicy, add more of the chili sauce.

It's extremely versatile, and somehow, we never seem to get tired of it at my house.

Monday, May 03, 2004

It occurred to me this morning that I haven't been writing much in this blog lately. Like many things with me, once the newness wears off, I am less excited and less inclined to pay as much attention to it. But I like this little forum for expression, even if no one reads it except me, so I intend to continue with it, no matter how sporadically.

This morning I am searching for something. As you may or may not know, I have recently restarted my weight loss efforts by beginning to attend Weight Watchers meetings. (That was a difficult sentence for me to type! I know that my family and friends do occasionally read this blog, and I've always been embarrassed about admitting that I need a "diet" or a "program" to facilitate my weight loss. But there, I've said it. It's all out now!) I'm also using their online service, mainly because I like the discussion forums. Basically, anyone can become a member of the online service and post messages to one another on these electronic "bulletin boards." Up until recently, these were a strong catalyst for me to remain "on plan" as the W.W. lingo goes.

But lately I find that I need something a little more substantial. Every day I have a group of women that I post with. We all know each other (online only) and know a little about everyone's families, situations, and struggles. But lately, just showing up and chewing the fat hasn't really been doing it for me. I really want more of a support group; I need more insightful discussion and inspiration to keep going with this life change I've begun. I need Dr. Phil to pop in each morning and give us a topic to discuss. And I don't want to just gloss over it on the way to recounting what we had for dinner, or what petty fight we might be having with our significant other. I want real discussion, real insight, real people giving one another support.

I like attending the meetings in person, even though I wasn't sure I would. But you don't get this kind of discussion there either. The leader always seems a little rushed to get through the W.W. approved curriculum for the evening, and there's little time or room for open discussion. It's also funny to see that, although we're all coming together for a common reason, we sit with empty chairs between us, we don't talk to people we don't know. I think I will keep going, because the weekly weigh ins keep me honest, and I do enjoy hearing what the leader has to say, but it still isn't satisfying my need for discussion and analysis.

I'm still stuck on the why of my weight problem. Yes, I know that eating too much over a long period of time and not getting enough exercise is what caused my weight gain, but there's more to it than that or it would be easy for me to stop those habits and start good ones. Some people pooh-pooh the idea of obesity being a disease, but I believe it is -- a mental disease. Why else to I reach for food whenever I feel depressed? Why do I comfort myself and my loved ones with food? Why else would I sabotage my own efforts for the sake of a pint of ice cream or a piece of cake. I'm getting more from that dessert than empty calories, I know that now.

But somehow the knowing isn't enough. It's like knowing you shouldn't exceed the speed limit, or knowing that fruits and vegetables are better for you than cookies and chips. If knowing made it so we'd all be thin, and rich, and organized, and well read, and active people. But we're not, even though we know how to accomplish those things. So there is some disconnect between the knowing and the doing.

I'm really not working towards any particular point here, it's just a line of thinking I've been following. I'm working on the doing. I'm making teeny tiny baby steps in the right direction. But as Allison so wittily pointed out to me, babies fall on their ass sometimes too, but they usually just laugh about it.

I'm working on that, too.