Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Stitch in Time is Just Plain Fun

My mind usually goes blank the moment I get to this point. I'll have plenty of things to say, but faced with this empty white box, it suddenly all sounds so inadequate or too personal or just plain silly. Ah, well. Onward nevertheless.

I have taken up crochet again. I first learned a basic chain stitch when I was 14 or 15, and I never forgot that. During my teen years, I learned a couple more stitches and made a large number of curly bookmarks; but it wasn't until I was dying of boredom during my first months of my first pregnancy (when I couldn't work because I was so sick all the time) that I took it up in earnest. My first Christmas present to my new in-laws was a lacy floral afghan worked in squares that were attached together, neither warm nor practical -- merely decorative. Since then, I've played around with patterns and even completed several baby blankets and hats, but blankets and afghans are boring, and one can only have so many crocheted hats in one's closet that one doesn't wear. What I want is to create wearable, fashionable clothing articles like blouses, skirts, and jackets.

While "crochet" and "clothing" in the same sentence probably resurrect a horrible 70s flashback for most people, there have been great strides in yarn and pattern development since then. Even I am very picky about what crocheted items look good enough to wear (as opposed to much lighter and less bulky knit items), but I have now collected a good number of patterns I'm determined to try out. This one, for instance, and this one. For some reason, crocheted skirts have always fascinated me. I am also going to try making a skirt with Irish crochet motifs, as well.

But, just like exercising, where you can't just start running miles and miles before building up some endurance, I had to go back and remind myself of the basics. This weekend, I put together these two items from scrap yarn:

This one is actually a square used for a scarf pattern. Both sides of the square are the same, but you have to attach the second color (bright pink, in this case) and work through the same pattern, attaching the separate squares at the edges. I like to work out a pattern with scrap yarn, first, and I only had worsted-weight yarn in these colors instead of sock yarn in something more subtle. I ended up with a square that I can use as a trivet for hot pots because it's so huge, but now I know how to work the pattern.

This one is a square for an afghan. You crochet the flower first and then attach the second color yarn at the back of the flower and work the square. I was working from a symbolic pattern rather than a written pattern, and I eventually figured it out, but I later realized that I had crocheted the square with the wrong side showing. Now I know better. I was thinking that if the flowers were a rainbow of colors on that light gray background, it would make a pretty afghan (if, again, fairly non-functional except for decoration).

Why crochet at this time? I'd like to answer that question by asking you this: what does a girl do who has a desperate desire to create something pretty but little money to do it with? Crochet is great for that, if you have yarn already, which I did, just. A hook, some yarn, and you can create a fabric out of thin air. When you start buying specialty yarns and making lovely things is when it gets expensive. My friend, Lynn, spins a lot of her yarns, with which she knits and weaves fantastic things. She taught me to spin, too, but I haven't done that in donkey's years. It's a very satisfying process, however, and knowing you're creating something with yarn you spun yourself makes you feel pretty good -- like you're keeping a dying art alive and making useful things. Very pioneer. Very resourceful.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Good News and Bad News

Elannah has been in gymnastics classes for five weeks. Last week, Husband fielded a phone call from the manager of the gym, and she told him that Elannah's teacher said that Elannah needs to move up to the next level immediately and that her talent needs to be taught. So, yesterday, Husband and I met with the manager and discussed the options. Elannah will be moving to Elite Level 3, which meets twice a week instead of just the one time, but also involves a much greater financial commitment as well. Since Elannah doesn't move from one place to another without turning it into a gymnastics trick, and because of her boundless enthusiasm for gymnastics, we've decided to make the commitment and move her up. We know she won't get into the Olympics (too old. She's already 9, and if she wanted to be in the Olympics, she should have started at age 3 or 4. Plus, that level of competition is pretty brutal, so I don't think she's going to miss much emotionally), but she might be good enough to get herself a scholarship to college if she keeps at it.

Assuming, of course, that life as we know it exists after Dec. 21, 2012. Ha ha ha. Just kidding. But did you notice oil hit $100/barrel again today? And the entire Mid-East is in flames? I'm just sayin'.

Last night about 2am, Joseph burst into my room in a panic. He was barking like a seal and gasping for air so hard he could barely muster up the ability to cry like he wanted to. I didn't even have time to call 911 or drive him to the hospital. I carried him downstairs to the basement, where it's cooler, and started him on a double dose of albuterol in the nebulizer, which is what they would have done at the hospital. Poor little guy thought he was going to die, and to tell you the truth, I was a little panicked myself. As soon as the medicine was going, I said, "Okay, baby, you keep breathing and I'm going to say a prayer." I prayed as hard as I ever have, and moments later, Joseph's breathing eased up just enough to help him fight the panic level and get calmer. We were up for hours while he worked the albuterol's side effects of jitteriness out of his system, but he's doing much better today. I think I might need to get him some steroids, however.

I could probably take a very long nap right here at the desk.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekend News Report

I am pleased to report that I can now make three different types of tortillas: corn, flour, and wheat. It's not hard to make tortillas, but until Thursday, when I had to fill in for the woman who was going to demonstrate making tortillas but canceled, I had only a theoretical knowledge of the process. Following an afternoon in the kitchen, experimenting, I emerged triumphant and covered with flour, three stacks of tortillas wrapped in foil to keep warm for my family's dinner. I immediately had to run off and demonstrate my new skills at a Relief Society activity on beans and tortillas, which turned out well and hit the mark of being both practical (using food storage stuff) and delicious, as well as giving the ladies plenty of time to socialize. Today, I have a crockpot full of black beans cooking for dinner, and I'll make flour tortillas, though they will not be perfectly round by any stretch of the imagination.

Last night was the ward spaghetti dinner and talent show, which was a fundraiser for the Young Women's camp. Each auxiliary had been asked to contribute a talent, so the Relief Society presidency got together and I suggested a classic skit: Janie Gets Hit By the Bus. While not many are familiar with this particular skit, trust me when I tell you it has the potential to be hilarious. I roped Husband into playing a part, and he made me laugh so hard as the doctor that I nearly couldn't finish my part. I know at least one of my readers will remember that skit and the performance we put on 20 years ago that had the audience in tears, they were laughing so hard. Justin as the bus driver? Oh, man! Classic. And how you rolled your hair in a bandana and stuck balloons down your shirt as the mother? I still laugh about that.

The talent that stole the show, however, was when the bishopric danced to Michael Jackson's Thriller.

Sian played her violin. I accompanied her on piano to "You Raise Me Up." A good time was had by all.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Oh wind, a blowing all day long; Oh wind, that sings so loud a song!"

It was a restless night last night. The wind, hungry and fierce, as it often is out here when the sun goes down, tore at the edges of the house and tried desperately to get in and devour us all. It pulled intensely at the siding, the nails creaking and groaning in protest, and when it couldn't get in that way, it tossed the garbage cans around in frustration. Its relentless battering kept me tossing and turning, which probably explains why I had all the blankets this morning and Husband was unconsciously hanging on to the miserly amount of covering I hadn't already pulled off of him.

It's still blowing hard this morning. When I opened the door for the cat to go out, the wind howled through the opening like a freight train. Lincoln, his fur standing straight up around his face and looking more like a tiny lion than ever, backed quickly away from the sudden attack of air, turned tail, and sought the peace of the rug in front of the fire, where he immediately began licking his fur into submission.

The power has gone out twice. That's unusual out here, despite frequent high winds. In The Big City, the power was always going out. It went out when it was windy, snowy, rainy, someone hit a power pole with their car, or a bird or squirrel (rare enough as the squirrels are out here) had gotten itself exploded. I think that the power people might have turned off power just for fun at times, giggling maniacally to themselves at the plant, wondering how many pages of incredibly important documents had just been lost because some computer user didn't save her files often enough.

Despite the wind, our Gabrielle is being honored by the mayor tonight. She was nominated by two teachers in one month to be recognized as an outstanding student at school, and the double nomination automatically means she gets to go to City Hall and hear people say nice things about her, after which she will have her picture taken with the mayor. The picture will be printed in the town paper. I'll see if I can scan in a copy.

Also going on tonight, Sian and Sophia will be attending New Beginnings at the church. New Beginnings is for the girls who are or are turning 12 this year and will enter the Young Women's program, and because Sophia just turned 12 in December, she will be one of the honorees. Of course, the program happens at exactly the same time as Gabrielle meets with the mayor, so there is a huge conflict. I was also supposed to speak at the New Beginnings program, but I haven't yet mastered the art of being in two places at once (sigh), so my part of the program has been removed. Sian is playing a piano accompaniment while the young women sing, so half the family will be at church and the other half will be at City Hall.

I have to run. Elannah just called me and asked if I could bring her reading journal to school. She forgot it this morning and it's lying on her shelf next to her bed. Little Gary and I will brave the wind to heroically restore the journal to Elannah, after which we will triumphantly run some errands.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Another Hun Moment

Sian is driving now. She passed the written test, produced the correct documents, and now she can drive on a learner's permit for a year. Of course, she wants to drive everywhere. Fortunately, she's pretty good at it, but I like to think it's because of her good genes and my expert tutelage. When I yell things like, "BRAKE! BRAKE NOW!!" she listens very well.

She's a good driver. A very good driver.

She's got a permit to dri-ive! She's got a permit to dri-i-ive. She's got a permit to drive, and she so cares!

In other Sian news, I have been teasing her about her first "hun" moment. We were walking a neighbor girl home (it was dark), and when Sian walked her up to the door, I distinctly heard her say, "Okay. Goodnight, Hun." I tactfully didn't mention it for at least three or four seconds, but then I just couldn't keep it in anymore.

"Did you just call her "HUN"?" I crowed. "Oh, wow! You ARE a [insert our town name here] -ian now!"

"I did not! Did I?" she cried. Then she buried her face in her hands. "Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no."

As her caring and tender mother, I have found every opportunity to mention it to as many people as possible, as much to nip this disturbing trend in the bud through the process of mortification as to laugh. With her. WITH her. Right, Sian?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

To the Point

I bet you thought I couldn't write a short post. Well, miracles can still happen.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

BOOM Goes the Dynamite!

It's been a while, and you probably don't remember it very well (at all), but remember this post? It was a quote from Marco Polo, who discovered the use of fiat money in China.

For those who don't know, let me explain quickly (whatever) what fiat money is. In a nutshell, it's money backed by nothing but the "good" promises of the government. Way back when, people used to trade in gold and other precious metals or valued commodities. Gold happens to be heavy and hard to lug around in large quantities, so people with gold started asking goldsmiths to hang on to their gold for them because the goldsmiths had good vaults for that kind of thing. The goldsmiths wrote out a receipt for the amount they were holding, and the owner of the gold could then go about town knowing his money was safe. When he wanted gold, he could come back and show his receipt and get some of his gold, whereupon the goldsmith would issue a new receipt that reflected the lower amount the owner now held.

This went on for some time, and with good, solid gold backing every transaction, prices stayed very level for years on end. After all, gold is difficult and expensive to mine, so the small addition of new gold into the marketplace every year didn't cause a lot of inflation.

It didn't take too long for gold owners to realize that they didn't even need to go back and collect physical gold in order to buy something. They could use a note from the goldsmith instead, and if the goldsmith was credible and trustworthy, a note from the goldsmith was as good as...well, gold. When the gold owner signed over one of his notes, the new note owner could go to the goldsmith and take possession of the physical gold if he wished. Or, he could pass along the note to another person, who then had the choice to collect the physical gold or use the note as legal tender.

Up until 1971, this is what trade looked like in the United States. The dollar bill you had in your hand could be traded in for a dollar's worth of physical gold or silver, should you so choose.

Ah, but there was a twist. Let's go back a little bit to the goldsmiths with the vaults.

With all that gold in their vaults and knowing that the owners, who now had handy and lightweight pieces of paper to use as legal tender instead of lugging around a sack full of gold coins, the goldsmiths realized the the chance of all the gold owners coming in to collect their physical gold at one time was pretty close to zero. This meant that they could make some money on the side by lending gold to someone else, charging the guy some interest, and then getting the gold safely back into the vault, with the interest disappearing into the goldsmith's pocket. Gold owner Bob knew his gold was available whenever he needed it, but goldsmith Jim could lend some of Bob's gold to Sam for a certain amount of time, and Sam had to repay the loan with a bit extra by the time his loan was up. Jim pocketed the extra interest, and Bob's gold was all back together again.

That was the birth of fractional reserve banking. The goldsmith had a reserve of gold (brought in by the original owners and stored in his vault), but he loaned out portions of it to others who did not necessarily have gold in his vault. The gold was therefore fractioned (kind of like being in two places at once: both in the vault and in Sam's hands), and the goldsmith was banking (ha ha) on the fact that Bob and all the other gold owners wouldn't come walking in at the same time and demand all their physical gold, which Jim no longer had. Sam had some of it, Andy had some of it, and so on (watch that scene in It's a Wonderful Life where Jimmy Stewart explains this to the panicked banking customers).

Fractional reserve banking is what makes banks their money, and sometimes banks got greedy, fractioning their reserve to dangerous levels. When account owners wanted their gold, the bank had fractioned it so far that they didn't have the physical gold on hand to give to the account owners, and the bank went belly-up. The lucky ones were the account owners who got there first and got their gold. The unlucky ones didn't get anything.

Banks and credit unions all do business this way, with the profit either going to line the bank owners' pockets or getting divided amongst the account holders. The smart ones don't fraction their reserve past a certain level, of course.

In 1971, President Nixon decided to ditch the gold standard. Suddenly, the American dollar was free-floating with nothing to back it except the collective belief that these pieces of rag paper and ink were worth something. And because the dollar was the world reserve currency (meaning the entire world trades in American dollars for oil and other imports), the Federal Reserve could print more money whenever it felt a need. (Don't get me started on the constitutionality of the Federal Reserve. Let's just say that it is the fox in the hen house and leave it at that.) This dollar, which is now backed by nothing except a promise, is called fiat money, fiat coming from the Latin "let it be done," meaning that it is printed and made valuable by government decree. Now is a good time to re-read Marco Polo's description of ancient China's pretty painted notes.

What is significant is that every single economy that has succumbed to the sweet and easy temptation of fiat money has collapsed. Every. Single. One. Why? Because, like children wanting a sweet and not wanting to wait until after dinner, it's simply too easy to pay debts and take care of business by printing more money. With no need to worry about the amount of physical gold in the treasury's reserve in case all the creditors decided to cash in their dollars for gold, paper money just keeps sliding off the printing press. What happens when you flood the market with something? The value of all of that thing rapidly gets reduced. I am reminded of the Spongebob cartoon wherein Mr. Krabs sold Spongebob a ridiculous novelty hat for an exorbitant price. Mr. Krabs congratulated himself on pulling the wool over Spongebob's eyes until he found out that those novelty hats were worth $1 million. By the time he got it back and went to claim his million dollars, truck loads of the caps had been found and his hat was worth nothing.

Using silly cartoons to make a point is my prerogative. Don't be hating.

Flooding the market with dollars means that each of those dollars has less and less buying power. Add to the risk of massive inflation (the dollar has lost 95% of its value since the Federal Reserve took over the tender, loving care of the American economy) the fact that some of the big movers in the world (China, Russia, France, Japan) are now talking about ditching the dollar as the world's reserve currency and you can see why I'm stressing about my food storage. Think gas is expensive now? Just wait. And it's not just prices of commodities. It's the way of life that we are used to. Seriously, people, I don't think it's too much to say that things will go BOOM in a big, big hurry. Remember Germany after WWII? Yugoslavia in the early '90s? This will probably be worse.

Thank you for indulging me. I had to get that off my chest.

Strange Dream

I had the strangest dream last night. I woke up (in my dream) and found that I was alone in my room with a little baby boy. I didn't know who the mother was, but I obviously had to start taking care of this tiny, helpless baby who had no one else, and within a very short time (in my dream, days passed like seconds), I loved the child, though at first he was just something that needed help. When I ventured out with this baby in my arms, I found Husband and some friends, who told me that the baby was really mine. I had given birth to him a few days before. I was frantic that I had lost my memory of having a baby, and they told me that they had uploaded all my memories of the labor onto computer discs in order to spare me the memory of pain (oddly, I had given birth in Mexico. I have never been to Mexico).

In my dream, I was very deeply upset about this, and I sat and thought about what they had done for a long time. I looked at the baby boy, whom I now loved with all my heart, and wished that I had been allowed to keep the memory of the pain of labor so I would have felt connected to the baby from the very first time that I saw him. I felt a fear that I might have abandoned the baby had I not grown to love him, never knowing he was mine. Though the pain of labor is so horribly intense (I guess even my unconscious self remembered that), I would rather have the pain and the memory of the pain than have it taken away, because the joy of the outcome was so worth it.

I'm still thinking about that dream. And, no, don't take it literally. I'm not pregnant.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Or Maybe Those Are Not Actually Wigs!

I've been lucky to be nearly swamped with web text lately. It pays pretty well, and I like that particular type of writing, which is coming up with text that will show up on the website pages of a client. I especially like writing for the clients who provide a lot of information about their company, what they do, and why they do it. Some clients expect me to be a magician, and they test my psychic and magical abilities by teasing me with a glimpse of what they might do (but not exactly what, why, and how) and then want me to produce wonderful words to get customers to call them. ??? Today, for instance, I was writing for a company that does hydraulic cylinder repairs and chrome plating. All the information they gave me could fit onto the head of a pin, and all that information was also the only information on their current website. I had to make up some FAQs that sounded completely ignorant because I know nothing about what people would most likely ask when they first call up a company that does hydraulic cylinder repairs. I didn't even know when they're open or closed.

Moral of the story: if you want someone to write great website text for you, give them enough information to work with.

The only clients who give me way too much information are the lawyers. Now, I have read one really well written and edited law firm website, but that's obviously not the norm. The ones I deal with seem to be trying to give the general population an education in law equal to their own. They include lengthy paragraphs about specific areas of law that they cover, minute details about what constitutes what type of crime, in-depth explanations of laws, and exhaustive biographies. One website had 10 pages on it, all with at least 1000 words each. It's my job to condense all that information into about four pages that someone who hasn't yet passed the bar exam can understand well enough to want to call this particular lawyer and be ready to plonk down money for his or her services -- or at least get a free initial consultation.

It's stimulating work, to say the least. I've set up an appointment take the bar exam, just to see how much I already know. I figure I've seen enough Law & Order to wing it in court if I can just get the license to practice.

I'm kidding, I'm kidding! Please don't sue me!

FAQs for British lawyers (or barristers or solicitors, or whatever you call yourselves): What's up with the powdered wigs? I'm sorry, but I always think of the stories about how much lice people in the time of powdered wigs put up with, and I get all itchy watching the second half of British Law & Order (DONG DONG). Is this a sentimental hearkening to a time of rampant head lice, men wearing white face make-up full of lead, and Charles Dickens (admittedly, Charles Dickens came some time after men with white leaded faces, cupid bow red lips, and high heels) (I'm sure lice was still around, though)?

Maybe American lawyers should wear Davy Crockett-style leather frontier hats in court. Wouldn't that be fun?

I apologize for this post. Sometimes the joy of writing just to write overwhelms my good judgment and I come up with this sort of unedited, stream-of-consciousness stuff that will, nevertheless, get published to my blog.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Personal Experience With HCG

I'm trying the HCG diet for a second time right now. It is for this reason that visions of gooey mountains of pizza will come suddenly and unbidden into my mind's eye, followed by a deep and sincere longing for bread, cookies, and all other things made of refined flour and sugar.

You've been living in a hole in the ground if you haven't heard about HCG yet, and you're probably thinking it's the biggest crock in the world simply because it's so hyped up. I can tell you that unlike most other diets (which for me includes eating healthier and exercising), it actually works. I studied it a long time before I took the plunge the first time in order to understand what it was I was putting into my body.

In a nutshell, you take HCG drops (or injections) every day for 23 days while following a very low calorie diet (500 calories/day) for 24 of the total 26 days. HCG is Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin, which is a misnomer because it isn't a sex hormone (oops! Those silly scientists jumped the gun!). It's a hormone that pregnant women secrete in order to allow the body to break down and utilize abnormal fat (that fat you can never get rid of no matter how hard you try) so that the bloodstream is constantly providing nourishment to the fetus even when the mother isn't eating every single minute. Taken by injection or sublingually, HCG allows the body to break down and get rid of abnormal fat when used in conjunction with a very strictly limited list of foods eaten in a precise order. And you don't even have to be pregnant! Goodness knows I've NEVER lost weight by being pregnant, even with all that throwing up.

I take the sublingual drops, which work just as effectively as the injections for me. If you're thinking of starting the diet, let me give you a few helpful tips.

1. Do NOT start the HCG diet when you know you'll be faced with a holiday or event that traditionally involves large amounts of family and food in the same room -- especially if you are the cook. I did my first session during Thanksgiving and the Christmas season last year, and I ended up cheating constantly because of the temptation. I'm no stoic. I like fudge. And mashed potatoes. And Christmas pudding with virgin brandy sauce. Although I still managed to lose 12 pounds in 26 days, my advice to you is to pick a very dull couple of months, say January and February or April and May. You can manage to skip the Valentine's chocolates (buy the chockies on sale right after Valentine's and stash them away for when you can put sugar back into your diet. Better yet, don't buy them at all) where the long weekends of Thanksgiving and Christmas will probably do you in.
2. Sublingual drops from a reputable source are just as good as the injections, I think. At least, when I was following the rules, I was losing an average of a pound a day. Every person is different, but that's my opinion.
3. When they tell you to eat as much fatty food in the first two days of the diet as you can handle, just thank your lucky stars and dig in. Skimping on those first two days means you'll have more side-effects like headaches later. Besides, at what other time are you ever going to have a diet that encourages, nay, DEMANDS, that you shove doughnuts and pizza and hamburgers down your gullet until you're ready to explode?
4. After those first two days, when you start on the restricted, strict 500 calorie a day thing, you're going to be playing mental games every single moment. The "no hunger diet" advertisement makes me die laughing -- at least for the first week. Your brain will be shouting at you how hungry you are, how stupid you are for thinking you aren't good enough and need to go on this stupid diet for stupid society, even if you really want to get to a healthier weight. Take it one hour at a time and keep yourself busy every single moment. Drink lots of water in the morning and then have lunch and dinner.
5. After the first week, your body will actually get used to it and be much happier. In fact, you'll start feeling pleased with how light and clean you feel inside, which is probably the effect of not grabbing a taste of every delicious food that passes your nose (I am speaking of myself here). As you see the scale go down every morning -- or nearly every morning -- you'll also have the incentive to keep going. When I'm weak, I also remember the money it cost me to buy the drops in the first place and that, once opened, they're only good for 30 days. That helps a lot, too.
6. If you are not already instructed to do so, take a liquid Vitamin B12 supplement every day. B12 helps the HCG get more easily absorbed into your bloodstream. I've found it helps me immensely.
7. Recognize that your body is going to think it's pregnant. I have no idea how this translates for men, but for me, my face is breaking out, I occasionally have a mood swing (not too many), and I tear up at tender commercials. Okay, that might be normal, but I'm saying that I DO feel pregnant -- minus the morning sickness, which is its saving grace. If I was throwing up and feeling nauseated all the time, no slick advertisement or thoughtfully written scientific paper in the world could make me do this again.
8. Follow the regimen. There are books now that have great recipes for the HCG phase. I keep it pretty simple, though, and my meals take about five minutes to prepare. Example lunch: 100 gram tilapia filet fried on a hot skillet with a touch of cooking spray and seasoned with salt and pepper; one medium sliced tomato seasoned with salt, pepper, and vinegar (I do cheat there because I douse them in malt vinegar and not apple cider vinegar, which often gives me a tummy ache); an optional two slices Wasa light rye bread (when I started last year, NO STORE IN THIS TOWN had any Melba toast. I figured I'd try Wasa, and I haven't noticed a problem, except that it's completely tasteless and so utterly dry that I have to pile my tomatoes on top of it for flavor. It is easier on my teeth than Melba toast, however.); an apple; and lemon water or Pero with no sugar.
9. Endure. If you're feeling really weak or light-headed all the time, you might not have a good source of HCG and are actually just starving yourself senselessly. I'd say stop the diet and eat more calories. Otherwise, do your best to stick with it. When I had a microscopic taste of Husband's fudge (seriously, so tiny you could barely see it!), I immediately had a carb craving so badly I almost lost it. I'm the principal cook around these parts, and tonight I made one of my favorites for my family -- chicken-chili-cheese enchiladas -- but I did not succumb to temptation. Husband helps me out by pretending the food I make is absolutely disgusting and pulls faces to show me he's barely choking it down, even when he goes for seconds. It's very kind of him.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Right now I'm on Day 8 and I've lost 6 pounds. Yes, I could eat an entire football team sculpted of pizza if you put it in front of me, but it's not bothering me so much. It's mostly because I like the taste of pizza and I like to eat, but I'm again recognizing the difference between true hunger and bored hunger.

This entire post, though absolutely true, is also a keyword experiment. We'll see what happens and I'll tell you why I would conduct such an experiment later.

UPDATE: 12/04/2012
For any of you who have read this wondering if you should try the HCG diet, I want you to know I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT! Not only do you pretty much starve yourself silly during the diet, but you are putting your body into starvation mode. This means that once you quit, you'll quickly regain all the weight and some extra because you've now damaged your metabolism and screwed up your hormone balance. You're losing muscle during the diet, and when you regain the weight (it's pretty much inevitable you'll regain the weight, mark my words!), it's fat. Fat tissue produces different hormones than muscle tissue. Fat tissue encourages more fat retention. Muscle tissue burns calories far faster than fat tissue. There are no miracle pills or diets.

Check out more at this more recent blog post.