Agent of Chaos: Day Two Hundred Sixty-Eight

209428_7067Some days you just kind of have to trust that the words are there and that you can focus on other things until the very last moment because right now, all I have are other things pushing up against the outer limits of very last moments.  How am I going to do this, guys?  I can’t remember what needs doing from one day to the next and every day a good two days worth of work gets added to the stack.  Even saying, hey, turn off the spigot, I’m getting out of this tub, they’ve just loosen the drain and sucked me down into a much bigger cauldron, a well that reaches reservoirs that go on forever.

And before I forget, since we got delicious, wine-flavored beef stew with garlic bread and salad with capers and mint and cilantro and it didn’t overwhelm anything because she’s such a great cook, dinner was a kind moment of respite tonight after all of these bizarre and necessary tasks.  I am so grateful for my aunt who shares my very heart and got the news about her health that we all wanted to hear.  It made me forget mostly about the strain of the day, this load I have to carry for a little bit longer (and in my head for a good while after that)

Of course, today means more telling folks that I am leaving.  More sincere reactions of honest care for me and muted panic.  They all sort of blur together into a hum of “yes, go, it is time for you to fly, to leave and move on to better things.”  Funny how when you’re working somewhere if you were to prance in and start pronouncing what you were doing as insignificant, less than, or otherwise not worth the time, they’d kick you out on your ear.  But when you go, self-effacement becomes very popular.  I find myself really trying gloss over how excited I am.  It’s exactly as all the articles on how to diplomatically, peacefully, properly, with grace and class and savoir faire resign from your job say it goes.  They are all great and supportive about how this is good for me, but they can’t quite keep back fully the sort of angsty, half-joke, half-frustrated comments.  My boss joked about using the wine from what is essentially our wine cellar in the basement for my goodbye party and she said she could crack the bottle over my head like champagne.  Almost immediately she laughed and joked that I would lock her in the cellar for that one and I laughed, too, because I know she didn’t mean it, but it felt mildly Freudian. I am sort of deserting her with the two she has the most challenges with and I’m both sorry about that and, well, the big job means the bigger problems, right?

Tomorrow: more breakfast meetings.  Writing group.  More telling the tale.

It’s going to be, whether or not it’s going to be okay, it’s going to be.



Echoplex (Not Quite Albion): Day One Hundred Seventy-Three

128038_1092Specimen jackpot! Albumen! I know words.

Okay.  Serious talk for serious folks.  I have too much on my plate.  This is not new.  My legs are sore and cramped up like the rest of me, thanks to the magic of womanhood.  Not new, not new since our kind first got split and learned the dark art of bleeding for five days and not dying.   But we pay for our powers, in one way or another.

It’s only an hour left until today’s word debt is called due and I’m tap dancing away on the keyboard trying to bring in a whole dictionary where five hundred is all we need to hit.  I want to make this five hundred word list of everything from essential to invented that is called upon for me to handle.  Every task, goal, dream, half-cooked idle fancy that has ever leapt across my mind like a frog on a hot rock in the middle of summer.  Then, spent in the head like a Deep Rock tank glug, glug, glugged until there’s no glug left to glug, I would be able to concentrate on doing.

But, as Amelie noted, or Amelie’s narrator, there are more links in the human mind than there are atoms in the universe.  So where I begin, wherever that is, I take all the rest with me.   I would love a new slate, a new chalk, a new lesson, untaught, but there’s no such thing.  We drag the flotsam and jetsam of ourselves, a glorious, technicolor failcoat that hangs with a train fit for a hundred thousand bridesmaids, up to every precipice we linger at.   When we jump, for a brief instant, all of the mess can fly, too.  Before it drags us down.

I’m fine.  Just wanting to somehow take off the coat, lay on the grass, be kissed fervently, and assuaged.  I can do only the least necessary parts of this self-proscribed solution.  I can only take one spoonful of the medicine and wait, half-ill, half-cured, for the sugar.

No writing group.  No good sense, a lot of trying.  I have a hotel in Florence where they will be expecting me.  A place in the universe where I could tell them I was a writer and they’d believe me and I could walk in the gardens and nobody would know that I was so out of sync with myself.  Or if they suspected, at least, we’d have the language barrier to keep me from knowing their thoughts.  I feel weird about it, but also, somehow, really determined about it, too.  Like even if I stayed in bed for 48 hours (not the plan, but even if), I would be staying in bed in Italy.  Alone, sure, but there.  A fact of location that couldn’t challenged or erased by any power of Mildred or anyone else who thinks I can’t ever get better than alone and in my bed at home.
It’s not been rough at work, I am blessed a thousand ways.

I just keep feeling like I’m not handling my problems and that’s what makes me sad at night.



On Starting a Diet: Day One Hundred Sixty-Eight

856599_76957995Best practices for starting a diet (all the fuck over again)…

I am no expert. I am merely a repository of a great deal of experience in this matter.  This is tongue-in-cheek, and more for me than for you (despite the second person) but like everything here, if you can make use of it, do.

1.  Take/find/use a picture of yourself just as you are at this moment.   Stare at it even if it gives you the shivers.  Remember that, in all probability, you look fine.  In the grand scheme of things, you are probably okay with the fact that people see and interact with you at the size you are.  You’re able to go outside and shake hands and maybe, date, or flirt and you might even have great body acceptance and want to start dieting for reasons entirely other than the way you look.  But, there’s probably also a shred or a sliver of shame and sorrow and loss of control and dislike that you feel for yourself.  You shouldn’t have to have this embedded in your psyche, but today’s modern living…you probably do.  And for me, negative impulses have a lot more power to motivate me than positive ones.  At least when you need that good hard spur to your own ass to start watching what you eat, forcing yourself to exercising and drink water as opposed to not doing it.    So stare at that photo and think, hey, let’s get away from this visual.

2.  Prepare.  Cook a week’s worth of stuff.   Pack it and bring it and then eat it.  You have to make new neural pathways about this rather than, oh, hunger = go through the drive through and eat until either you’re overfull and you want to puke or you’re so filled with self-loathing about what you ate that you want to puke.

3. Recognize that right away people are going to comment, control, and sabotage.  Not even meaning anything by it.  They get excited (which is at the worst when you’re only hanging on by a piece of dental floss off the great cliff of bingery and wagon-falling-offing.)  They try and be helpful and start tsk-tsking when they see you with something off plan.  Even if you don’t announce it, if they see you eat one meal that shows intention, the next one you’re open season.  Then, of course, it turns out that three days in, you have to go to your favorite restaurant and more likely than not, NOT order your favorite, faux emotionally fulfilling meal and try and order a salad, knowing you have no control over how many calories or carbs are actually in it, even if you pick carefully and make notations like a freak.  You are going to have to feel like a freak for a while.   You are going to have to sit on the pedestal of person making life changes, you’re going to have to be the best taxidermied platypus in the “look at this asshole thinking *this* is the time it’s going to work” exhibit.  Because they’re never going to move you into the “Oh, shit, she actually did it” diorama until you’ve been on display, flop sweat and self-loathing and angry and self-important and all for a good long while.

4.  Get rid of the stuff in your house that you’re going to self-justify eating and pushing back your start time.  Try not to do this by eating it.  Or instituting a super long series of this is the last time I get to eat this for 9000 years so I’m going to just eat ALL of it right now.  Sometimes, you have to, though, because it seems like that will become an itch that will need to be scratched immediately when you start your self-imposed moratorium on “happy food” but, you have to stick with your start date and time and meal and once you’ve entered diet time, “new lifestyle time” or whatever the fuck you’re labeling it so that you can swallow it down with your broccoli spears, you’ve started.  It’s happening.  It counts.  Sneakery has not just physical consequences, but personal integrity consequences as well.

7. Track your shit.  Even if you have to generally guess at what’s in the things you ate…track your best guesses because when you stop tracking, you stop caring and craziness ensues and you go back to the start, not passing go or collecting 200 dolla.  MyFitnessPal is your pal.  It is not perfect for low-carb, but at least you aren’t going by gut instinct…which, when you’re in the first few weeks or months, is just not going to be accurate.  Track your water and try and drink more than 0 glasses of water a day.

8.  Find a website that helps you stay motivated – be it conversation, pictures (if you find pictures of skinny, sweaty people motivating, more power to you), recipes,  venting.   Bookmark it and look at it every day, it helps if you don’t find the people who post there on a different wavelength or philosophy than you.   No need to collect other people’s diet rage when you probably have your own in spades.

9.  Try and lower your expectations with regard to numbers and scales.  You need a scale, maybe, probably at least to start.  But you are not going to lose a pound a day, every day for the next month (or year) or whatever it would be until you’re at the goal weight you’re setting for yourself.  That’s not going to fucking happen, a. because it’s not healthy, b. your body doesn’t work like that and c. you can’t get a whole new wardrobe in a month and d. nothing in life has that exact perfect trajectory and you’re probably going to have some accidental tacos and suddenly gain back three pounds and want to stab yourself in the face.  You gotta keep going regardless of the day to day fluctuations, knowing that you’re building habits, you’re retraining your brain and your body and you’re PUSHING (persisting until something happens).

10.  Exercise from day 1.  Thinking that once you get the diet nailed down you’re going to exercise means you’re never going to exercise and then, your weight loss is slower and your energy is lower and your bad moods are like anvils falling down on your head and suddenly recidivism sounds like a damn fine plan.  You can do it for 10 minutes a day every day, that’s what’s scary.  You’re at least that powerful and when you feel like it’s mildly less stupid and awful, do a bit more.

Maybe I’ll have more ideas later.

Duhn Duhn!: Day One Hundred Fifty-Five

998492_31489131More Law and Order for us lawless and disordered folk out here on the range.

I am standing strong in the face of a scale that will not move no matter my effort.  For what a turn around the park will not resolve, persistence might.   That and I have all the stuff to be good so I’d have to be kind of an asshole to go out and buy something full of rice and toast right now.  I have to drink at least 6 days worth of shakes now and it’s a total waste to drink a shake in the morning and go on and eat something that undoes all that.

That said, I’m thinking about this vacation.  I’ve arranged for the hotel – one I’ve been to and isn’t fancy but will serve our purposes just fine – and everything seems to be going ahead.  I know backwards and forwards that using travel as a justification to eat to excess in the context of trying, very very hard to lose weight is a recipe for disaster.  I know that researching restaurants and salivating over their menu is not a great idea.  I know that I am absolute shit at compartmentalizing vacation time so that I don’t give up the diet afterwards and let it bleed horribly into the current future.   I know that I have a hundred thousand years of experience with this.

I also know that I’m probably going to spit into the face of my best intentions anyway and try.  Maybe something will happen in the interim that will cement me onto the path of my better angels, but that seems equally as unlikely.  Not that I’m fucking around at the moment.  I just know that what I should do is to get excited about keto foods right now (my mother made a keto cheesecake for me today, which is great, but I have no idea what she put in it, or in what amounts and then I’m sure there were excess carbs in the sauce for the chicken I made and sometimes it feels like you can’t win for losing.  At the moment, I certainly can’t.  Probably shouldn’t even enter the contest.

But, I did not stop doing 30 minutes of activity a day just because we’ve accidentally fallen headlong into June.  We took a long walk today and I must have looked like I was trying, in a very 80’s way to be incognito with a white visor, and baggy, offwhite canvas jacket to cover my roasted arms so they didn’t re-roast and turn leathery and cancerous and even more painful.  That’s something I should have taken a picture of and posted except for this shred of esteem that tells me I’m ridiculous to contemplate it.  However, I still got the sun beaming down on my head and I didn’t douse my crown with aloe vera so I think my post walk exhaustion has to be due in part to that.  And that means I am doing this half-crazed.

But none of that matters, because I think I may have broken my story!


Burnt at the Other End: Day One Hundred Fifty-Two

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am still on the hook for thirty minutes of exercise.   I am aware of it.  I also told myself that I wasn’t going to put the massive egg souffle I made in the microwave in the My Fitness Pal or bother with tracking at all today mostly because I woke with a headache and a  neck that doesn’t like any angle I set it at and a profound sense of being overwhelmed by the day’s agenda.  I also had gained a pound which pretty much made me scream Fuck you in my head so loud  I almost blew out my eardrums from within.  I ate on plan (though my calories for dinner are probably excessive because I didn’t measure and just put all the cheese and turkey and sour cream and onions and mustard and sort of crustless quiche lorraine materials I could get my hands on because it was eight o’clock and I realized I needed some legitimate food or I’d up and die) and want to keep going.  So I suppose I will put it in there and see how much I should berate myself.

And I suppose the approximate quarter cup of beer and cider I drank at our post work function. is not low-carb. But I paid for that with an angry, knotted stomach I had to ignore so that I could enjoy the fact that I was socializing with people I actually like.  And new people who were giving me the time of day and making me feel like one of the group.  That felt like it was almost worth it – the whole fitting in and drinking beer and feeling alright about the fact I was there – worth

No therapy.  Apparently, my therapist double-booked, I don’t know.  I went there at the appointed rescheduled time and checked my text messages to verify and sat in the waiting room.  Her door was half-open and she was on the phone.  Suddenly, some guy rolls in and heads right over there and they shut the door and begin therapeuting.  I was left there figuring out how not to make this into one of those things where I walk out the door and classify the whole fact that I was forgotten as ” the story of my life.”   How not to get weepy and find a way to stand up on my own two feet and go network.  But I did.  And I got home and I’m here and I’m working three hours tomorrow.  That’s it.  Then it’s some damn me time.

It’s official that we’re not going to see my grandparents with my grandmother so ill at the moment.  I don’t know if that’s the right call, but it’s the call that everyone’s making on our behalf, so now everyone has sort of left it up to me to plan an overnight or long weekend trip here in the state.  So I plan to figure that part out tomorrow, I have a couple of ideas that hopefully one of which everyone will be amenable to.

And between now and then, all the rest.




Pineapple Hospitality: Day One Hundred Thirty-Four

1415535_47645058When you keep a food diary, or at least, when I do, I realize I have to end up dealing with issues of perfectionism.

Which is always laughable when you consider how I keep my room, my workspace, my car, anything I can claim as my own space.   If I try and explain that it’s easier to fret about mess than fret about attempting to clean it and seeing all those

I had a stressful day.  It was just all Monday all over the place where, you’re emotional and grumpy and feeling really shat upon and your co-worker is trying to cause trouble and say the other co-worker’s mad at me…you…whatever and she wasn’t, at all, and I need to deal with all of their quirks and needs while the boss is away and basically, I didn’t get lunch until 3:00p.m. because I started to remember that a.) I needed to eat and b.) I needed to eat right that very minute.  But leaving the office for even 10 minutes, even to walk outside, felt like I’d be flying off this constant treadmill which included a letter from someone I’m too nervous to do anything other than vaguely explain (like they said that because we rejected them on merit, they remembered some situation years ago where someone called them one nationality other than another related to us, a nationality their actual nationality would be offended to be mis-identified as and because of this, they feel we maliciously brushed off their application.  Because what other explanation could there be?!) which lead to me having to craft this very intentional letter to spell out how that wasn’t the case.

It wasn’t *ALL* I wanted to tuck into something carby, but if I didn’t have this bright new intention leading the way when I went to the grocery store, it might have happened.   But, well, the not eating until late and the idea that my blood sugar was outta whack got in my head and I decided on getting the fixins for a low-carb tortilla quesadilla (and some kale to bake.)   So, I got an Atkins bar to help balance me out, I guess, and get me home, but I realize now, having put all of what I ended up eating into the myfitnesspal that even with the exercise, my numbers are not lovely.  They’re not bad , I mean, they’re not old food numbers, but they’re not numbers of someone trying to lose weight.  Like a shit-ton of sodium, and only two glasses of water (providing I drink one before bed!).  It tells me that if you do this every day, you’re basically not going to lose weight.

I mean, I told myself, you just have to track it.  You just have to accept that you put that stuff into your mouth.  It really happened.  I just want to “accidentally” not track the guacamole or not track the crazy calories that are in these low-carb tortillas, because it makes me look better (like anyone is checking or watching but me) and I’m learning as a result.

Now I have a food plan for tomorrow and I need to finish up, get in the bath, and get to sleep so I’m ready for my 7:30a.m.  meeting.

That’s all for now.


The Old Saying: Day Ninety-Three


I think it is okay on April the Second to be mildly bemused at one’s self.

Time to focus tonight.  No running off without numbering the day at the posts’ title.  No getting lost in the noise of the rain splattering against the roof.

I was told today or it was told about me as I grumbled at the table that I was bad at taking compliments.  I know I am, when it comes to me, and this body.  It’s hard to listen to how thin your face looks and not feel at once completely detached from the way one’s face happens to look on any given day, and unnerved that you’ve been alerted that someone has an opinion about how your face, the portal through which you view the world, is appearing to them.  Especially when you know – or I knew – that I’d been ripping through packages of cookies in a day.  That I’d been recently drinking pop again.  When I felt fat and unwanted, because, you know what the hell evidence has there ever fucking been to the contrary, like ever, (hyperbole: venting: don’t tell me what I feel when I just need to say the negative part of things because holy shit does that make me defensive and make me cling to this shit shit).  Even though I was at my aunt’s magical house, my blood sugar was off (because of the trip to Starbucks that did get me out of the house and into the car which is the only way I’m ever going to get back to where I need and deserve to be driving-wise), and I had this little plan get foiled.  And the house was silent and in that silence all my worst thoughts were battering around in my head, a bird in a room full of windows, and I am thinking about life and death and loneliness and poetry and how I can change things and the BUT YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANYTHING, YOU ARE A PAWN OF FATE AND YOUR FATE IS A PARTICULARLY SUCKY ONE.  But I was being silent about all of this.  Half sleeping, half thinking about this thwarted plan I had to watch Amelie with my aunt who is going to Paris and has never seen the movie and how I was explaining to her how deeply I connected with it and that would really be a nice time to spend with her rather than this thoughtful silence.  That she would find joy in it in the same way I did.  And out of the blue, I’m told by my aunt, oh, you’re looking so nice.

And the gears don’t shift that fast.   So I don’t make the right face and I’m told I should get over it.  They mean my mood.  When to me, getting over it is about getting over 30 years of self-doubt and the fact that I should be working my ass off getting ready to be thin in Italy because that would be really life-changing, but I can’t be thin in Italy because what if my life changes and it’s not what I want and I lose control.  And of course my life won’t change in Italy because I can never lose control and nobody is waiting to change my life in Italy.   And instead of doing something that would make things better for me, I’m spending my life eating cookies and thinking about cookies and sugar and panic and the same old fucking shit that I can’t trust is going to be the same in the morning, like my ability to drive to work, or lamenting the fact that we’re eating vegetables for dinner and not pie.

I just…when do I get to just not be like this?  When do I get someone who distracts me from all of this and convinces me there’s more to life than solipsism?  When do I figure out how not to lose whole half-centuries to useless, frustrating bullshit like this? When do I get however smart you have to be to stop riding your thoughts straight into the wall you’re throwing them at?