Dear Kathleen Hale

[Originally Posted here

Note: Yes, I’m aware this has nothing to do with losing weight. But its a topic I’m really interested in right now and I wanted to share it. 

I do not normally do this. But in this case I feel like I need to. You, Kathleen Hale, acted in such a way that has me shocked as a reader and I need you to understand why it seems like we as readers are ganging up against you.

As readers, we have a love/hate relationship with authors. We tend to think of them as ours and the characters, once out in published form, are ours to love and want to strangle.

We love our books. They are what makes a large majority of us the most happy at the end of the day. And when we have the opportunity to read Advanced Readers Copies of books from publishers we tend to squeal with joy like kids do with a new toy.

That said, we do not always love the book we read. And that is our right as readers. Hilariously, we readers do not owe you authors our love just because we read your book.

It is possible that we don’t like it. And that is not anyone’s fault. It is not the readers fault nor is it the authors fault. We simply didn’t enjoy it. And then, as readers, have the ability to share what we thought of the book online. Indeed, the publisher even asked us to do that when sending us the ARC.

In your article in the Guardian this past week, you acknowledged that you were “a charmless lunatic” as regards the publishing of your first novel through Harper Teen. I can certainly understand how nerve wracking it might have been to have your first novel taken from your hands and then shared with the public.

But what you followed that with when you received, and admittedly very harsh sounding 1 star review, was unforgivable.

By trying to find the person who wrote the review and by then stalking them you violated, not only the law, but the readers trust in authors.

See, the thing is is that WE ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE OUR OWN OPINIONS OF YOUR BOOK.

You ultimately harassed a woman because you felt that a review you had gotten was unfair and inaccurate. And you justified this to yourself saying that you just wanted to understand better why she had given such a review.

Except it wasn’t okay. And people told you it wasn’t okay. The publisher told you not to engage, Goodreads told you not to engage and a friend of yours told you not to engage. Why, after all these warnings did you still go to a random person’s house and then harass them?

How did that seem like it was a good idea? I’m truly just trying to understand this.

As a reader what you did there was crossing a line, a legal and a moral line, and I’m sure your therapist has told you this as well.

But honestly, even if your book did appeal to me as a reader, after knowing that you stalked a person for a bad review how could I possibly sit down and read your book?

I hope that you understand that what I’m saying isn’t meant to be mean or rude, but to give you a general understanding of what it means to a reader when Authors Behave Badly. You betray the readers trust and ruin your chances for long term positive reactions to your name.

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Weekly Weigh In: Reflections

So yay! Another pound gone. It’s a great feeling and I’m pretty pleased with it. Particularly given that I have, yet again, had another fairly off plan weekend.

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For the most part, last week I was really good. I ate all on plan and was really good at tracking everything. And then it was Friday.

Friday, my nemesis. Inevitably it means that I cease paying attention to what I’m eating and lose focus on the plan. Curse  you Friday for being both the end of my work week and the temporary end of my weight loss focus.

This past weekend was, as the weekend before, a lot of fun. I met up with Bestie and we spent Saturday planning our NaNoWriMo and then going to our favorite quasi-Mexican restaurant and had a rather large pitcher of Sangria to share between the two of us. Apparently, Sangria won’t really kill me point wise, I figured I had about 4 4-oz glasses, which is around 13 points. So I can’t really complain about that.

But it was the tacos that did me in. I didn’t even track that. Nor did I track the fro-yo we had later or the procescco we had while watching Doctor Who.

Sunday day wasn’t a whole lot better. I made almond milk french toast with some left over bread. I then at lunch had a pb&j on Arnolds sandwich thins and fruit, all in all it wasn’t that bad. Until Dinner.

My family, if I haven’t mentioned this in the past, is a pizza family. My sister enjoys pointing that out to us. We like to make pizza at home to the point where we have two pizza stones for the oven and one for the charcoal grill outside.

home made pizza

This is a pizza we made on the grill last summer, but it’s fairly representative of our usual pizza events.

Last night, my brother made pizza. And it was so freaking good. He and my father are our pizza gurus and make it all for my mom, sister and I.

When we were younger we had huge pizza parties, where my dad would make pizza for the friends of us kids and it would be a huge thing. Now it’s calmed down to generally just the five of us, but this is something we’ve been doing for years. We’ve kind of gotten it down to a science.

So needless to say, I’m pretty pleased I actually lost a pound after this past weekend.

On WeighWatchers.com I created a challenge group, called Pre-Holiday Kick Off, where I’m challenging myself (and others) to lose 10 pounds by November 26. It’s a challenge for sure, but I think that if I really pay attention to it and get better at not over doing it over the weekend, I can make it work.

That said, I know that the next few weeks are going to be weekend heavy, so I need to start planning on how to handle that. This coming weekend is my college’s homecoming. Which I’m really excited about cause I’ll get to see a lot of people, but means that it’s a beer heavy weekend and more dense foods.

But, it’s a 3+ hour drive there and back so I’m pretty sure that will keep me from drinking too heavily, particularly because I’ll be driving during the day from the college to my friend’s house.

I might get back into wearing my Active Link this week see how that goes. It’s a $5 monthly charge, but given that I already own it and its a decent way to keep me active I might as well start using it again. Plus, it puts the activity points direct into my WW account and means I don’t have to calculate stuff like that.

So, that’s the end of last week and some plans for this. Here’s hoping it’s a nicer number next week.

Why I Should Not Watch Food TV

I really shouldn’t be allowed to watch channels like Food Network or The Cooking Channel, pretty much ever.

It is possibly the worst thing I could do to myself. Because inevitably what happens is that I watch these people talk about or make these extremely decadent meals of oils, butters, carbs and high fat that I just simply cannot, and should not eat.

And this goes not only for channels that have people make food on them. Oh no. I’m talking the History Channel and their shows like ‘where food comes from’ or ‘Americas favorite eats’ or the Travel Channel with Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. I’m talking Destination America with their stupidly wonderful BBQ Pitmasters and Deep Fried glory. I mean seriously. These shows make me want to eat and cook and then eat more. Or worse, go out and find the things and places they’re talking about and eat it there, and spending gads of money in the process.

So then why do I watch it you ask? Because it’s good TV and technically better than most any other kind of reality TV shows that I could watch.

Do I want to listed to Ina Garten talk about Jeffery and how much he’ll love the food she’s making all the time? No. No I do not. But, she makes really good food so yeah, sometimes I’ll suck it up and watch her make a mustard baked chicken with creamy cheesy grits (I just watched an episode. Can you tell?) and baked crisp kale because she makes good food. Full of fat, but good food.

But then there is the ‘how its made’ type of shows. Do I really want to know how a Hersey’s chocolate bar is made? Probably not. But is it damn cool to watch the chocolate pour out of vats into molds? Damn straight it is.

Even if it then prompts me to go out and get a chocolate bar? Then no, its probably not worth watching it.

My problem is that these shows, while really entertaining, tend to make me want the fatty and high carb meals that they’re showing. Or the sweets that are being made at the factories.

All that said, I love these shows. Because they’re fun and interesting so I want to watch them. It helps when its people like Jamie Oliver who makes healthy high veg and protein meals, but its still fun to watch.

I just need to find the balance between watching the shows and then not going out to get the food that is on them or making that food on my own.

Does anyone else have this problem? Sometimes I feel like I have weird problems that make sense to no one else.

Weight Watchers on Tumblr

I will admit, I spend a lot of time on Tumblr. It is my go to social media and I get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Most people I follow on it are book blogs and we talk a lot about books and reading and I love that. But I also follow some blogs that do food type things. Because clearly I’m a glutton for punishment.

Every so often someone with spam with a food of one kind or another – one time it was mac and cheese. I almost killed a person – and honestly it’s pretty much always some food like that.

Somehow, one day, Weight Watchers was a ‘sponsored blog’ on my dashboard and I said ‘wtf’ and followed them.

ww tumblr

Now, they don’t actually post a lot there, from what I’ve seen. But when they do, its moderately hilarious.

For example. On Tuesday, they blogged this picture:

bacon and egg selfie

I died a little bit when I saw that one and nearly laughed out loud in the office!

But for the most part, they blog about food. And if I’m going to follow any food blog, Weight Watchers should be the one I follow. And its not a blog that incredibly popular on Tumblr. Meaning, not a lot of their posts get notes, but they’re fairly clever, so I enjoy following them. I also follow like all the WW’s on Pinterest, and those are a little more popular.

The point to this post, is that its really nice to have WW on the social media site that I’m on the most. Because it reminds me, every time it pops up on my dash, that I’m meant to be paying attention to the plan and keeping to the system.

Plus they had a period of serious drink blogging about these WW friendly cocktails.

5oclock somewhere

At Some Point I Will Get Bored With Chicken Sandwiches

But that day has not yet come.

I’ve consistently had my 7 WWpoint chicken sandwich on Arnolds sandwich thins (3 WWPP) for the last week and a half for lunch. And I am not yet tired of it.

Not only is it a pretty decent sandwich, but it has the added benefit of not costing me a lot of money. Which at this point, as I save money for furniture and other apartment necessities, is key.

So I now bring lunch to work. Which seems odd, because it’s like being back in school. Like Elementary school. When I had lunch boxes and stuff. I have this nice little black soft lunch box from Dean and Delucca (my dad got it for me ages ago with a whole thing okay?) and I fill it with my sandwich, some crunchy things, fruit and some WW approved Whitman’s chocolates just in case I’m feeling indulgent.

Mostly though, I’m just happy to be saving money. On average the sandwich costs me $2 and as a whole the lunch costs around $5 all in. And this is for a weekly shop.

I’m learning to be more frugal with my money and to budget more wisely. Which, I’ll admit a new thing for me. I’ve never been very good at saving, always much better at spending, so being put on a tight budget for at least the next 12 months, is going to be really new for me.

Part of the problem I face is that I’ve always been one to spend lavishly on food. I’m one of those people who would rather have no food than to have bad food. So I always go for the good food. And that generally costs more. I learned this past month, that I spend more money on food than I do practically anything else.

I don’t mind going to the grocery store and I prefer to have fresh food and and empty fridge than to just buy all my food for one period of time and fill my fridge.

And given that budgeting has never been my strong point in the past, all this is just really hard for me to handle right now. That said, I’ve got a new bookkeeping app to help me keep track of my spending and to make sure that I’m not over spending. It’ll be a new habit for me, keeping track of what I spend and such.

This is probably why the chicken sandwich hasn’t gotten boring yet.

A Tiny Loss, But A Great Weekend

I know what you’ll all say. There is no such thing as a tiny loss, only tiny thinking. Or something along those lines.

Regardless, I lost 1 pound this past week. I’m sure, actually, that its more, but I maybe didn’t exactly weigh myself last Monday when I started…

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I just guestimated at a starting weight of 250. So I’m just happy to have moved down below that.

That said, I was really good last week! I had planned lunches every day that I brought to work with lots of fruits and pre-packaged carbs and a sandwich that I had put together on those Arnolds Sandwich Thins (WW 3). I didn’t have a lot of sweets and I really tracked well.

Until Friday. Friday I went off the rails and had a lot of polenta for dinner and then ate too many of the WW candies and then decided it was going to be a brilliant idea to put nutella on two pieces of toast. Whole Grain Toast, but toast all the same. Plus, you remember that Morning Cake? I ate the Morning Cake.

And then Saturday. Oh Saturday. Let me share with you. I went into NYC for the day to hang out with some friends. And I ended up making a pb&j for breakfast (which I didn’t track) and then pretty much nothing else until lunch. Which we ate at like 3 p.m.

Let me share this lunch with you. We went to a very small restaurant called Rubirosa on Mulberry St. And holy God that meal was a religious experience.

We started with arrancini, or fried balls of risotto. And wine. The wine was key. (Over the course of the meal, we all had two glasses of their house red and it was fantastic.)

After that we had pasta dishes. Here is a photo of mine

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This beauty is their Spaghetti a la Carbonara with a poached egg and pancetta. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. That was amazing. I just didn’t even think about this points when I was eating this. I just devoured it. Because it was so freaking good.

Naturally, nothing could complete this meal like dessert.

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OH yeah. I went with cannoli. And let me tell you something. I devoured all three of those and I feel no guilt at all. None. Because they were wonderful.

This whole meal was so worth the price tag (I can’t even) and I had such a great time catching up with my friends so I honestly feel like it was totally well worth it.

Then Sunday. Which honestly wasn’t so bad. I didn’t really do too much that was bad, except dinner. Where I had pizza.

In all, it was worth only loosing 1 pound because I got to spend time with my friends. Although, I probably should have just been stronger on Friday night and Sunday night…

But! I still lost, and every week is a new week so hopefully this week will be better.

Today we’re going to Ikea to shop for my apartment that I’m moving into in November. So I’m thinking maybe not the Swedish Meatballs?

An Old Photo of Me

A TBT! I saw this post on Journey to After‘s blog yesterday and wanted to do something similar. She found a post about showing a picture of when you were proud of how you looked. So I chose the following photo.
india me

This was taken at the Red Fort in Agra in 2007 and at the end of my 6 weeks volunteering in India. I had lost a significant amount of weight during that time (around 20 pounds!) Although for the life of me I can’t remember what the end weight was. It was probably around 150. I loved the way I looked then and I was happy with myself.

Since then I’ve really only put on weight to the tune of around 100 pounds and I can’t help but look at that photo and sigh. I felt pretty then, and not just because I was thin, but because I felt healthy and good about myself.

I mean I’d just spend 6 weeks volunteering with preschoolers in the near foothills of the Himalayas! I was happy and content.

It was a great trip for me, and since then I’ve done only one other long volunteering program like that, in Morocco. I would love to do another trip like that, and I’ll probably be able to do the week in Honduras with my church Youth Group next year, but its not quite the same as being there for a long time.

Ah, I wish I could take off that much time again to do that. But I’ve grown up since then and gotten real jobs and become a proper member of society.

I hate growing up.