The Myth of the Premium Gaming Laptop (aka Alienware Lemon)

alienware-logo-white-213731.jpgI have been struggling with my Alienware laptop for over a year. One repair after another. Service techs to the house. Walking us through dismantle and repair. Shipping it back to Dell. Just arrived again – for the 3rd time – today and it doesn’t work right out of the box. $2800 for a laptop that stops working every few weeks is ridiculous. We purchased premium support which we we’re assured would help, but am getting the run around – big time. When I suggested it was time for a refund, they generously offered to replace it – finally! No thanks you. For what? Another year of stress??


Update: after dealing with a complete jerk in executive support for a few weeks, I took to social media and filed a police report with the Houston Police. Then I called CSAT, who owns the CATS repair Depot in Houston. I called and left messages for every single member of the executive team there.

On Thursday a wonderful woman from support at Dell called and arranged for a replacement drive to be installed on Friday. The laptop is working as of 3pm Friday.

Thank you, Linda Kelly and all the great folks at CSAT who escalated the call.

Week Two – Done!

Except for the “honeymoon” period after weight loss surgery, I have never lost weight so easily without drugs. The Bright Line Eating style has kept me losing steadily for two weeks now – 9.4 pounds in 13 days. I am not hungry. I am not craving. I am not obsessing about what I can’t eat. I am not cheating or even very tempted to do so.

It seems too simple. Too inexpensive. I had weight loss surgery (and complications) that cost over $70k. I lost 151 pounds but gained all but 40 back. I have spent thousands of dollars more in the last 40 years on diets and programs and books and food and supplements and trainers and gym memberships and so on and so on, ad nauseum.

I paid $17 for the book. I splurged and paid $29 for a two week challenge to get a more detailed meal plan. I may save up and do the 8 week boot camp for $400.

But maybe not. I might not need it.

Less than $500, easy weight loss and serenity with food – that is a pretty good deal. 51ESNgw1lQL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Day 1:Bright Line Eating 14 Day Challenge

BLE5DayOatmealAfter just 5 days following the 4 BLE mantras, I feel AMAZING. My mood is sky high and I’ve got energy to burn. Plus, I lost 4.4 pounds in five days.

Despite my fears, I did manage to eat just 3 meals a day, no snacking and had no real issues. I did get hungry, and that freaks out my lizard brain, but the cognitive part of my brain shut it up. It really helped with all of Dr. Susan Pierce Thompson’s book in my head so I understood the root of that fear.

The hardest stretch for me is post-dinner about 7 PM to break-fast at 6:30. I wake up REALLY early, like 4 AM, so waiting to eat until 6:30 PM is very hard for me. I plan to try to sip water, herbal tea and read or write or hey – I could even get some chores done!

This morning brought back excellent memories of my post-bariatric life: making the week’s oatmeal. The scent of the cooking apples and cinnamon and the creamy texture of the steel cut oats and peanut butter made me feel very happy and peaceful. It was what I imagine the aftermath of a victorious battle would be – wounded, but at peace with the outcome and proud to have made it this far.

It’s more than a little heartbreaking that I have been battling food and my weight for over forty years.



Okay. Moving on.

Clearly I’ve gotten a lot more sane about it with help from so many groups and so many special people – particularly Dr. Rebecca Moore who I miss every day. But the war continues to rage. Right now, we have a shaky armistice that may or may not hold.  I truly don’t know if Bright Line Eating will be the answer forever, but for today, it’s a really hopeful option.

BLE Five Day Oatmeal:

  • Bring to a boil:
    • 3 cups of water
    • 1 tsp salt (I like Himalaya Pink)
    • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
    • 5 apples (30 oz) chopped (1 fruit for each day)
  • Add:
    • 5 oz (dry measure) of Steel Cut Oats (1 oz grain for each day)
    • 2.5 ounces all natural peanut butter (1/2 the protein for each day)
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Start checking for your desired consistency (I like mine a bit chewy so 24 minutes)

Divide into 5 equal portions and refrigerate when cool. When you eat it, heat for 30 seconds in the microwave and add 1 oz of raw pecans or other nut/seed to each serving to get the other half of your protein serving.




Back in the Saddle Again


The Fall funk got me baaaaad this year. Got fired in August and spent a month worrying about why. (That’s right – they didn’t tell me until I finally went to talk to the person who fired me and asked why.) Wasn’t my work. Just my attitude. I disagreed with something and that was not what they wanted.  I guess they really just needed a yes woman.

Well, that ain’t me.

Still…months have passed. I sank pretty deep by the end of September. Finally dragged myself into the doctor for meds. The ones I should have started in August. But, like I said, I was distracted.

In my search for a real job, I came across a job for a greenhouse worker. I applied. I got it. I make over $100k less than I usually do, so money is tight. But being outside and working with plants and the sheer physical labor involved has helped to spring back.

Another bit of serendipity: I stumbled across an Audible early bird cyber Monday deal on Sunday night for Bright Lines Eating. It was only $5 so I bought it and started listening to it on the drive into work.

Susan Pierce Thompson, the author, tells her story in the book and it resonates with me so much. I’ve listened to it twice now – all 12 hours of it. I may listen again tomorrow. But what I’ve learned so far, is lots of science (valid, I hope) about why it is so hard for me to stay on track.  Leptin resistance in the brain stem, damaged dopamine receptors, addict-able personality traits (take the quiz!) and more.

Hi, my name is Karen and I’m a food addict. I think that’s more accurate now than compulsive overeater. It isn’t that I’m eating that much at any one time, but I have gone back to the dark side and I graze on sugar and flour products far too much.

Bright Lines, or BLE, focuses on planning, journaling and tracking everything. Checklists, even. The four “bright lines” or four things you must do are: no sugar, no flour, 3 scheduled meals and no snacks and weighing and measuring your food.

Ok, they had me at planning.

So I’m back in the saddle again. (The great Gene Autry, though most people will remember it from Sleepless in Seattle.)

My son and husband are NOT excited.  Understandable. Like many addicts I latch onto one idea after another but none of them ever seem to work or work for long and then I’m back in the bark-o-lounger with a bag of chips and chocolate.

I have to keep reminding myself that success is falling down 9 times and getting up 10.

So I’m getting up again. I’m going to sign up for the Bright Lines 14 day challenge and see what happens. I’ve made it two days with no flour and no sugar. Tomorrow will be hard but –  I have a plan!

If it ain’t broke…

Of course I tried to improve on the plan this week. Didn’t do as much prep work. Didn’t have the variety. Didn’t stick to the rules – more sugar, more fat, some dairy, somewhere milk. Fewer greens on my plate and more starch.

I also cranked up my exercise dramatically which made me hungrier, so I ate more.


Blood sugars were back up. (130’s)

Weight fluctuated up and down. Gained half a pound instead of losing.

Tummy measurement – well, I am afraid to check. Posting will encourage me to do that!

Also do not feel as energetic – either physically or mentally.

Tomorrow I am shopping, cooking and prepping to get back on plan. 


And again.

Whatever it takes to get back to THIS:

Does this WOE make me look taller?

7 Day Engine 2 Challenge Results

Last Monday was the first day of the challenge. I posted my stats:

  • Fasting blood sugar 141
  • Belly 53″
  • Weight 247
  • 54 years old and 5’4″

Today’s Stats:

  • Fasting blood sugar 120 w/out meds
  • Belly 47″
  • Weight 242

Still 54 years old and 5’4″ but I feel younger and taller!!

Surprisingly easy to stay on this way of eating (WOE). So much variety! After a lifetime of grilled chicken and salad when I am “being good” this was awesome.

Everyone said my taste buds would change and they did. The saltaholic stopped double salting and reduced to a sprinkle. Kicked my sugar cravings. Down to one cup of coffee and day. And I have discovered a new love of fruit and bread and other “forbidden foods”!

My pants are looser and I am packing up my fat pants to donate.  Again. So what? I am clearing out clutter from my house, my body and my head. 

I have been eating (mostly) vegan for one month. I ate 1-3 ounces of meat three times in the last month.

End of first vegan month

Month two begins today!

I met Jesus today

He was walking along the highway at dusk, headed into the mountains. He was loaded down with bags and backpacks and carrying a big box.

He was crying.

I did a u-turn and went back to ask if he needed a ride. He said “That would be great.” Where to? “As far as you are going.”

Since I was only going about a mile, I offered to drive him wherever he was headed.

San Bernardino.

That’s almost 9 hours away. By car. So I asked for the story. 

He’d been living with a lady about 9 miles away and working in the area. There was a minor incident and she got mad and kicked him out. He was headed home.

So I took him home and we fed him dinner and made up a bed on the sofa. My husband was worried we were going to be murdered in our sleep. Or worse – robbed!

I didn’t think so. I got a good vibe from him. He seemed like a nice kid who had trouble and just wanted to get home.

We fed him breakfast and drove him to Reno to the Greyhound station where he bought a ticket. Two transfers and about 24 hours and he’ll be home. 

Jesus Lopez Bueno – good luck to you. Thank you for letting me pay back one of the many times I have rescued.