Prayer Hours at the Temple of Love (2/365)

January 2nd.  We’ve come back again just like that Backstreet Boys song.  That’s my era, my friends, perhaps I’ve evaded saying so for eight years of blogging, but that’s music I grew up with.  Along with The Smithereens and Liz Phair and Goo Goo Dolls (especially, now, their pre-Superstar Carwash albums) and a host of others I should write about some time.

Anything to not stand before you with my five hundred words about intention again.  I’m not bored with doing it.  Certainly not on day two of this segment of my life, this year arc of experimenting with what happens when you just don’t do the shit that always fucks you up.  You just don’t do it, touch it, come near it, allow it space in your life.  I’m not bored already with trying.  Just framing the language of YES, I AM TRYING TO BETTER MY LIFE in such a way that we both feel like I mean it and that I’m not overworking every single sentence to get us there.  Just to enjoy this as the opportunity it is – to rebuild my journal and do right by myself.

I ate low-carb today.  I got up and walked a smidge, took some recycling to the bin that needed to go, got low-carb groceries.  Pro Tip: order your groceries if your grocery store provides this service.  It means I can’t wander the aisles contemplating carb counts and squeaking by with eating something quasi-justified, or saying fuck it, and asserting I will start tomorrow, and filling the cart with pizza and candy bars.  Not that I have ever done anything like that.

The above means I left the house for something other than work.  Got outside.  Immediately felt rrefreshed and energized and everything as advertised.  This needs to be done.  Working my brain into a tizzy about doing it and never doing it is…a gross result.  It’s icky to swirl around in the same thoughts for too long.  It’s like using the same bathwater for a month.

I need to find a book.  If there were many of you, I’d poll you.  I just need to pull a book and get it read.  There’s surely a couple here I haven’t read, hell, I could even read The Ship of Theseus again and let my brain swell up with possibilities.

I will find one and put it in my bag tonight before my head hits the pillow.

I’ve been playing Mass Effect; Andromeda, not exclusively, but nearly.  I have my opinions – mostly I like it but there is a certain rush job quality that Bioware can be so much better than.  You see the edges here.  Sometimes you get stuck in them and hope for a recent save.  Not to be excessively metaphorical.  I am just working out months and months of not posting like this, friends.

Eventually…no…I and this will always be weird in this particular fashion.  It’s okay if you don’t like it.

No particular beginning that you can discern happening for a week.  This is just…the in-between.

Devil’s Resting Bitchface



I woke up fine.  Wrestled with the scale.  Is it the same or did I lose .8 lbs?   I got both answers and only one is really acceptable right now (no, it’s fine, I have a year, I have a lifetime, but you know, fuck) so I went back to bed so I didn’t have to think about anything and ended up sliding in and out of weird climbing dreams where I was clearly thinking way too hard.   A climbing pit inside a mall that was shutting down and I accidentally ended up getting left behind there and having to climb these odd manufactured mountains with these grips that just looked like regular drawer handles and it was, in some ways, easier than I feared.

Still, I woke up mad.  It might have been the email from my sister about needing to pay my part of the bills and being pretty sure that if I gave her any money I couldn’t pay my student loan payment and suddenly, last night’s exercise – a bit more intense than usual – had a delayed impact.

This is PMS.  Full throttle, son of a bitch, give me a drink and stay away from me or I will light you on goddamned motherfucking fire PMS plus, as it turned out, an odd explosion of anxiety and panic.  Even though got the go-ahead from the boss so I technically got paid, or will be on Monday and so did the sister, I think even the relief threw on the other side of Whack.  Wherein I decided, like a crazy person, that I couldn’t feel my cheek properly and then silently wugged over that.  And then basically proceeded to attempt the grocery story and doing the welfare check on the animals while my parents were away and eating and exercising over there and just…finding myself thinking bizarre and unhelpful things.

Nevertheless – I did buy food.  90% of it healthy, plus a miniature pizza aggressively encrusted with sodium.   Everything I ate I tracked and we’re under given that I did exercise…doing the 3 mile walk in the aggressively silent parents house with my music playing on my phone like some sort of funeral march.

I know this will pass, but grah, and shit, and ugh, and it isn’t stopping me.  It isn’t debilitating me.  It is just unnerving me and wasting my time.  Like, my dad texted us this picture of himself by a giant ceramic shark hung upside down on some pier somewhere in Florida where they are vacationing and, to my great relief, having a great time, clearly.  He makes a dad joke about having caught it after going sponge diving.  And I had a thought too morbid to post here and it’s like, great, thanks, that’s incredibly unhelpful brain.

And right now my brain is just cackling at me.  It feels as though it can see how desperately I’m working on myself, how I am really making an effort to exercise and how I am digging in, and it wants to upset the apple cart.  It wants to upset me into being afraid that my positive change is the trigger for the panic…and maybe it is, but only in the sense that this is a protective barrier around the security of the status quo.  It’s a test I have to pass this time.


The Abbess of Barking


A quick missive from the girl who did NOT die…

I didn’t take the vitamins yesterday and stopped OD’ing on clementines.  The feet again…feel better.  Zero idea if that is at all related. Not perfect.  But also not all Icy-Hot.  There was a bit of extra walking around Union Station that was required today and the time spent searching the grocery store aisles and it never got to the point where I thought, oh, shit.  It was just, it’s there, but it’s less.

I still feel weird like there must be something coming at me, cold-wise, but it can’t seem to find a purchase.  I so rarely get sick which is why that Italy experience feels like such a good comparison.

I don’t know.  Maybe it’s all psychosomatic and reflective of a desire to…I don’t know.  Stay? Go?  I will keep you and myself posted.  I can’t help but do that much.

Since I don’t have to spend the evening thinking entirely about how near I am to the edge of everything (closer to and further away ye olde Ravine as always), I can say that I am going to figure out exercise.  I have tracked pretty carefully.  I have put some vegetables into my person.  I am going to do more than nothing, both on the bike and in terms of the novel.

I have accidentally fallen into a brief moment of Chaucerian remembrance.


Do the work, do the work, don’t drift off or away.  This year is a year about something more than lying in wait.  Rather than stand still and waiting for the worry to blow over, I can do something more than nothing.  It doesn’t have to be the way it always was.

I am really comfortable eating a lot less, calorie-wise, than I would have thought.  I am comfortable tabulating out the fact that I can have 3/4 of a cup of ice cream and that’s it and eating it out of the measuring cup and feeling full and not pushing and scrunching to get a few more bites in.  I am comfortable not aching to eat out every night.  Mostly, for me, I think this is happening by making sure that I know that I can.  Not every night, but it’s there, accessible.  It’s not under lock and key and you naughty girl anymore. Bread and chocolate and pizza are not these exalted, magical goods that fix things.  Well, they are, but only if you actually exalt them.  If you actually ceremonialize them and revere them and make them special and allow them to fully invoke memory and nostalgia.

We don’t, or at least, I don’t do that.  It’s just stuffing yourself.  It’s just staving off loneliness with chemicals.  It’s just eating to keep yourself quiet and slow.  To stop wanting or wishing or feeling.  There’s no limit to what you need for such a particular magic as that and there’s no final word to that spell.

But the magic it can do, if you let it, acknowledge these properties, is it can make you feel connected to a long line of bakers and makers.  To kitchen witches and those who made a craft of meals.  Sometimes, when I make something in the kitchen that has that certain je ne sais quoi, that I’ve hung over and experimented with and learned from, I feel the power of creativity and nourishment.

I gotta stop fearing food and this year, I think, is, in part, about that.

Tomorrow, I want to feel better than today.

Happy Galentine’s Day


Google search: Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquess of Worcester

Head-on collision with .4 pounds of imperfection.

You say you’re totally cool if the scale goes up.  You say that.  You say, you got this whole year to do this.  You feel, the night before, that you’re open to anything.  But then the scale goes up and the realities of now, the stress you’re under, the two nights of pizza in a row, the fact that you’re crossing the Red Sea are all forgotten.

God, I wanted in that moment to say what in the ever loving fuck is happening?   I have a plan.  The plan’s a pound a week and we can’t go backwards.  If I start to spin my wheels, I’ll give up! I always give up!

Which is true.  At the first instance of adversity, I feel as though stars aligned against me and that I may as well turn back.  Or that I’m rattling a safe and comfortable status quo (which I am) and that means I might feel something risky and new.  It’s 30 seconds on this platform and already I question the whole concept of tracking.  Suddenly, everything becomes unknowable.  Everything I’m doing feels loosey-goosey, without authority, as you like it.  Not this confirmable, one to one match with a plan outlined by God, put only this much in your mouth and run until you gasp and then, and only then will I, the god of belly fat, withdraw, mathematically, your pudgy stomach.

I want the failure to be clear as day.  (If it is a failure, it IS clear. It’s the two pizzas and the Blood Moon, and a couple apathetic exercise days.  I just don’t want those things to add up to failure, maybe?) And they don’t.  Maybe I built some muscles? But the “failure” also includes the success of having tracked those pizzas, having gotten on the bike and moved my body to the point of dancing yesterday, of having done twice as many situps, eating a 1000 times less than I would have at the Galentine’s Day party today because I was aware of what was going into my gob.

I am building those kind of habits.  That’s pretty great.

I wasn’t planning to stop.  I am not planning to stop.  But of course, I never PLAN to stop.  I never hit these moments of adversity and say, OH NO, I CANNOT! and throw a white flag.  It’s tiny, tiny slides.  It’s saying, I will start fresh tomorrow rather than I start fresh now.   It’s saying, I’ll just have this calorie-laden thing because it’s too much to handle right now. It’s saying, I’ll just guesstimate on MFP, because it’s too embarrassing to put down what I know I actually put in my mouth.

So I don’t know, precisement, how many calories are in the mimosa I drank or what the single cream cheese spinach wrapped thing contained, but I know enough to guess at it.  I can get pretty close.  I can do something more than nothing.  I can exercise through these cramps.

The party was nice.  Very nice to talk to a couple old friends and see them in a context free of the entanglements it used to have with work. Already there are pictures up on Facebook and I find myself having to settle myself down and say it’s okay to post this on your timeline.  No need to act like you weren’t there in the body you have.
Talking to my mentor, equally, but differently nice.  Feeling someone’s interest in my life without having to explain anything.

My feet feel about 50% better, too.  My driving panic  was held at bay, even going so far to try and reclaim a road this morning.  It helps with the time of the year, this deep dark shadow that wants me to lay down, very still, and wait for the last morning.  Valentine’s Day and the long rope it can go piss up.

I just feel real talkative about it all.  It’s early enough, the money is going to work out for Tuesday, I got done what needed to be got done and there’s some real time to relax.  So.  Yes. Yes.  Yes.

Come on, belly, let’s have another day of dancing.

Ergo, the Ego and the Ergot


This Kayla is a petulant sort of girl, it seems.  All day long we commented – because this is the thing that people of our age give shits about – how the storm had not fully presented itself as per the weather reports.  We were supposed to get knocked on our asses with snow.   It snowed, but didn’t stick until just now as we were leaving work.

It is hard to say at the moment if the snow will keep us out of the office tomorrow or not.  I have my opinions, but it’s up to ol’ Kayla to help me out.   We’ll see, I suppose.

In the interim, I have to get up and put my bones on the bike and do that late night stationary biking that is both good for me and bubbly for my brain.  I’m already a touch perked and giddy because of the Moscow Mule at dinner.

Dinner.  We went to Old Chicago…which means we walked over through the intensifying but still ambivalent snowfall over to the restaurant from the house after work.  I was, actually, quite grateful for a couple different things.  Their website is great because you can put in exactly what you order – in exact detail and it gives you the nutritional info.  You don’t have to monkey around and estimate and assume and enter the wrong thing and double-check yourself in horror to realize you did in fact eat 2000 calories in one meal.  Which, according to their website, you could fall over chair in there and get 2000 calories in your mouth.  Still, Knowledge! This is why I was able to order the pizza I ordered and if I get my ass on the bike, still be under for the day.  That, and being too bogged down with the finally happening work situation that started today to eat much of anything.   That left enough room to justify one small pizza and some booze.  A little Moscow Mule in the little copper cup that tasted delicious and tart and made me feel as though it was possible to soften against the sharp edges of the world and slide down into myself without a fight.

And wonder of wonders, after eating that, I am just hungry enough to eat a clementine and drink some water and don’t feel as though I need to savage the heavens for not allowing me just a hundred more calories to eat garbage with.   Should we have had vegetables and boiled chicken.  Probably.  But there was some release and control at the same time tonight and I feel proud of both aspects.

It is odd.  It is 3 pounds and a month away from where I started.  By any scale, that is not all that much.  It is not visible, but at the same time, it is not invisible.  I feel better.  I feel like I’m working on something good.  Is it the same as any other attempt?  That, I don’t know.  I just feel willing right now to do more than nothing.

When Bertha Mason Loved a Man

pexels-photo-38990I am well and truly in the grips of Saturday’s fugue state. It is snowing, sincerely, which is Colorado for you as I was traipsing around regretting my coat this afternoon. In the out of doors, in fact. Yes. We took a brisk walk with the dog who is always eager to join us and it was possibly seventy degrees. We went over hill and dale, or at least 2 miles out and back in the little suburban development that newly adjoins my parents’ now old growth suburban development, and my legs are noting the difference between stomping around to exercise videos and treading pavement. It was good. It’s one of those things where you feel really excited about having done it despite while you’re doing it, contemplating every few moments about stopping and laying down in the street.

I also left my phone charger in the car and I’ll have to figure out how much I want to have that tomorrow – is it worth braving the snow? It always has to be something idiotic. Just to keep my feet on the ground. Just so I don’t get ahead of myself.

After a questionable session with the scale this morning, I’ve deduced that I have lost 3 pounds. PROBABLY. I can feel those 3 pounds, but the feeling that this isn’t enough is certainly present. If I were doing low-carb it might be double that. But all I can do is be gracious to it, and say three is better than zero if I can sustain it. If it doesn’t rely on me having a specific shake, or making this specific OCD ritual of a two-week behavior that is unrelated to my actual life, maybe I can see it as actual change.

If I don’t feel deprived or relegated to specific layers of the food pyramid, maybe I can handle telling myself no when I want everything and everything now. Stopping myself in eating situations has been a bit easier, I’ve noticed. Like I could eat a certain amount of ice cream that I’ve budgeted for and I can, put the container back in the freezer fairly close to that point. Not perfect, but I can lay down my weapons of choice and bli I want to see what a year of doing this means to my body. Is it going to just be 3 pounds. I don’t don’t know, but I doubt it. This was also a month with birthday cake, pizza, restaurant food, unexpected calorific meals and me just seeing if this was even possible.

I think it is.

I’ve been good on the food. My chicken thigh ably fed me this evening with this little garlic butter sauce over rice with green beans and carrots. I think I’ve kept within the margins as best I can. I am earnestly trying.

Now I am doing what I can to relax into the few hours before some hairy, scary work days and the hairy, scary place my brain can sometimes choose to be. It’s okay. We’re talking on Twitter about negative self-image and it’s sort of amazing to be walking what feels like the most isolated path and it turns out we’re all headed somewhere together. We just have to decide where that’s going to be.

I’d like to suggest, scary and hairy though it is, that we aim for up.



I don’t know.  If I’m honest about it, it feels weird.  But one of those weirds that is based in curiosity and interest and the unsettled feeling running through me is foreign, but not unwelcome.  This is the second day – it’s not even enough of a trend to feel like it might take root into a habit.

I used to think I would exercise more if it made me feel something other than discomfort.   I don’t know why today, as I was traipsing around my bedroom to an oddball playlist and a muted Leslie Sansone 2-mile walk, I thought..this feels good.  And then, out of the surprise of that, I thought back through the general sense of exercise experiences in my life.  Most of them have been fraught with the same kind of fear that informs my driving/life anxiety and panic.  I recall some gym class where we asked to do situps and other physical activities and needed to do a particular number in a stipulated amount of time.  Running a mile in fifteen.  I would come face to face with these tests and find my muscles shivering.  I thought there was something really fucked up with me.  Everyone else could do it and my stomach shook and got stiff and refused to pull me up.  I remember this as scary, as shaming, as embarrassing.  Just don’t do it and the feeling stops.  The fluttering, elevated heart rate needed to be slowed – nobody can live at that speed! The idea that you just needed to strengthen the muscle didn’t occur to me and no one mentioned that I was fine, I just needed work a bit more and strengthen up.  My body was, and is, this traitorous pedestal for my thoughts.  Pushing it to do more risked it turning off all together.  Not unlike Amelie’s incorrect and uninformed diagnosis from her father that she had an irregular heartbeat and that exertion was a potentially fatal risk, I decided for myself that I didn’t have a body meant for full bore living.

I don’t imagine this is a unique experience – being shaped by the first sensation that your body is different and doesn’t necessarily behave the way everyone else’s does.  I do think that my reaction might be a bit off the bell curve.  Over the years, I’d pick up exercise programs and throw myself into them with no premeditation.  When I got lightheaded doing something gentle like yoga, I thought, stupidly, viscerally, out of the powerful, out of whack pituitary that it reinforced the truth.   Then, my self-identified Emily Dickinson-inspired writerhood has no room in its mythos for sweaty armpits and

Exercise can’t be fun if you’re doing it on a knife’s edge.  If it’s an all or nothing proposition of skinny, rock-hard muscles training for marathons that would explode your heart with its intensity or laying very still and waiting for death…I thought for a long time that, by necessity, by logical standards, I had to pick the latter every time. Nobody was putting that choice in front of me, but that’s how I saw it.

Today…did not feel that way.    Today’s half an hour felt bouncy and buoyant and let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!  That 30 minutes felt the same as ten.  I felt like I could keep going.  It felt like a brief, natural high where all my worries and griefs could be shifted to one side.

And we have another walk planned in an hour or two for the dogs and I feel fine about that.   More walking means, I think, more ice cream and dried apples and more of whatever I eat for dinner after this morning’s lengthy attempt to make huevos rancheros needlessly complicated.

And writing! There’s time and energy to write now.  I feel several percentage points clearer in my skull.

This is good! Remember this when tomorrow I’m made of custard and hate everything.  Remember this when I can’t remember my ability to crawl out of bed.

I am always trying to measure and control and reduce excessive excitement.  If I start believing in something, especially related to my own dreams and influence over them, it’ll boil over and come to nothing.  I miss the bubbling.  The OH SHIT, this is possible.  I keep doing this, I give myself more security over my health, not less.  My little year-end secret knickers project for myself becomes more viable.

Come here with me, into my little teapot.  Here there is a roaring tempest and the storm cries: It’s good! It’s good! It’s good!