Can’t think straight.

Is this a sign?


Commander Arran Shepard could swim.  She was almost sure.  There were a lot of things a spacer kid didn’t need to do and learning to swim was one of them.   Alliance spacecraft design couldn’t find anything useful about hauling that kind of weight just for marines to dip their toes in on off-hours and freighters and frigates and cargo ships that ferried her around the galaxy when she was old enough to travel on her own felt about the same way.  She’d grown up craving the heat and pressure of a shower and wouldn’t have known otherwise if her mother wasn’t Hannah Shepard.    When Arran decided that she wanted to join up, after her mother sat her down and did her level best to inform her about what she was facing, she’d been given a datapad.   On it was a list of ten things she was informed that  “she had better be capable of before Basic.”

Number six was be able to swim.

Arran had scanned the list she’d found waiting for her on her bed, had stood up and walked around the room reading it.  She waited for her hand to toss it back on the bed, to procrastinate, leave it for another instant and instead, finish the Turian-Human Relations reading she’d been assigned, or even better, pull up a movie.  But she this was maybe the first real order her mother had ever given her and her mother wanted to see if Arran would man up or back down.   This was, sincerely, her mother’s Basic.   Arran realized that she suddenly had something to prove.  If there was a Shepard gene her parents had passed down, the will to rise to a challenge had to be part of it.  She wasn’t going to let her mother be disappointed in her, no, more than that, she was going to knock off every one of the ten items.

Some of them harder, some of them easier, and all of them save one are stories for another time, Arran struggled and bled her way through the tasks.   But the swimming, the swimming was last, simply for lack of a swimming pool.  Finally,  it was a mere month until training and Arran found herself booking passage to a little colony world, Phaela.  No one told her, as she told no one that she was going to teach herself to swim there, that Phaela’s gravitational pull was slightly stronger than any an Alliance instructor would drop a recruit in for splashdown.   She nearly drowned, miserable rat that she was, drug out of the sea by a villager who looked at her and shook his head and as she dried off, explained why the water was so dark.

She’d squinted at him as he scoffed at her efforts, telling him, “If I can learn to swim here, then…”

She was thinking of that now as the Atlas stomped towards the edge, and hopefully towards Leviathan.  There was no room for fear then, and there was none now.  Even if it tried to creep in with her.   And then she fell.


Alright, because I am off today and no one else is, I am at serious risk of falling into some completely tragic and avoidable dissipation.  The third day is always the hardest.  You can ask anyone.  You can ask me, several times I’ve started over.  Oh, well.  What to do when you’re sitting in bed in sweatpants and a velour hoodie and you’re feeling like these are your funeral clothes, you make a list.

Here’s the things I want to do to today.

Make a list for the grocery store.
Not spend every waking hour playing Bejeweled.
Go to the grocery store.
Figure out why my boss is calling me and why this phone is not taking his calls.

Check YNAB and make sure it’s syncing everything.
Do another load of laundry or two once I have some more fabric softener.

Check out the Facebook page I’m working on.
Practice my guitar for thirty minutes.
Finish cleaning the room with all these little loose thingamabobs finding a place instead of a pile.
Eat a thrilling and healthy dinner (my lunch was a biscuit sort of thing I had leftover, which is filling enough and fits what I’m trying to do, but I want to do much better for dinner. Maybe a salad will be involved!)
Drink a few glasses of water.
Play Walk It Out on the Wii for a bit.
Post this magical and wonderful entry.
Watch Sherlock avec mes amies.
Write 500 words on my story.
Figure out how to get a hold of my boss since our two cell phones apparently cannot connect and I have no idea why he’d be calling me. So, that’s disconcerting, right there.  Either that or ignore it like I’m doing right now.

Fuck it, I’m going to play Bejeweled until I am no more.


Well, some of that’s happened and some of that has yet to happen and some of that will not happen.  I am on track, though, even if this day has been eerie and wasted as a result.


You know how a couple of days ago I said what I wanted was to have something happen that made me want to skip writing here.  Took over my life for that long.  No, nothing immediately swooped in through my bedroom window, but I did get the chance to talk to my friends to night for an hour or so and they made me laugh and it took my mind off of all my failings and weird feelings today.  They are hilarious and made me wheeze with giddy laughter and I always tell myself that I don’t have anyone who does that, but I do.  Bless me, I do.

So, I think – since I didn’t get to the store but will do that tomorrow and had a lean cuisine for dinner that didn’t fully take over all the hunger, I’ll make some popcorn.  All I can ask for is a steady succession of dawns and for me to take care of things I need to take care of.


Well, for lack of a better phrase, or in fond embrace of a rather apt one, the fat lady has sung.

2011 is over.  Mostly.  99% over.   And I say good riddance.  I won’t dwell on the things that didn’t happen that I wanted to happen.  I won’t dwell on what is negative and painful and in the end, inconsequential.  There really isn’t even anything to rehash here, that was how boring the year truly was, and in some ways I pity those few of you brave enough to have made this voyage with me.   We have made it.  Posted once again 500 words every single day.  Sort of like the postal service, only without the jazzy uniforms.  It is possible.  This is what it proves.  It – whatever the thing is that you want to commit to – is possible in one day increments.

Today we made the usual decisions.  Tomorrow, everything changes.  Tomorrow, everything is new and fresh and we exist with purpose once again.   I rode with my sister to her traveling job, not wanting to sit at home with my glutinous thoughts and before our first stop, I got a call from my mother who has been in talks with the great whatever (she and somebody have been parleying about something) and has decided that she would like to help me “get on track.”   It’s a funny thing because on the face of it, it seems rather overbearing that my slender mother would decide that she’s going to make my resolutions for me.  But that crashes right up into my determination to do this anyway and wanting her support, wanting that thrust of energy and  planning and shopping and kitchen space and…belief.  Knowing that helps.  But.  She wants me to do low carb.  That’s a very different plan than the one I have going.  Very different and I know that works, but like anything, it works when you stick to it.  It doesn’t work if I decide I want a ricetastic Chinese dinner for my birthday with red velvet cake – which I do –  or a drink now and then or to be able to deal with the standard deviations that come with real life food eating.  And I know that I have to be able to say no to things, I just want to do this on my own terms.  So I told her tersely, I’d call her back.

And I thought about it for a couple of hours.  I can’t throw off the plan I’ve invented just because my mother wants me to lose weight in the manner she thinks is fastest/most effective. I have to remain functional.  I have to remain grounded and alive and I have to resolve myself to the epic struggle of changing my habits.  So eventually I called her back and think I found away to ask her to still help me and let me have some room to do this full-throttle my way.  And she didn’t lose her very sweet enthusiasm, which relieves my poor daughter’s heart.

So we’ll see.   We’ll see because I’ll show.

It doesn’t feel like the end.  It just feels like a new day.  A new chance.  A new beginning.  Everything is a little bit sorta more possibler.  I don’t want to waste it by


Guitar.  Orlando.  Mumford.  Writing.  New floors.  Clean, happy house.  Driving fearlessly.  Smiling inappropriately.  Laughing myself out of trouble.   Having way too much that makes me happy to do to worry about eating myself sick.

Just give it another go, darling.  Give it another go.


On the Road Again

Words! Let me provide you with some words on this, the very last Friday of the year two thousand and eleven.

So.  I didn’t die today.  Wasn’t end of the world.  I managed the things I had to manage.  Nerve-wracking, speed-demon triage, but I did it.  I came home without being sad.  I am not currently, at this very moment, sad.  It could have been tremendously worse.  It still could be.  There could be repercussions for the choices I made.  But I have three days off.  Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  And I’ve decided to use them the way I want and need to use them.  To say goodbye to this rather bland and inexplicably wholly forgettable year and get ready for the potential of leaping off into a new year.   There’s hope.  There is.  I know this makes me seem so manic and so vague and I can’t explain myself because this is a, essentially, a public space…but, there’s a window.  No, more than that, there’s a door.  A lockable door that I can close and lock and throw the key into the ocean.  And everything about this year that I find frustrating and lonesome and aching and stupid and faily and wrong, can be behind that door.  This is just semantics but there is extraordinary, tremendous, magical power in semantics.

So we have to look forward.

Tomorrow is the last day of the year.  We’ve done this shit one more time, how amazing is it that we’ve been able to keep it up for another whole year.

And you know what my goal is?  Next year I want something to happen that would make it worthwhile to me to fuck this up.  I want something to happen that takes a whole 24+ hours of my full attention.  Something that fun and that joyful and I want to feel that free to let it go for 1 day.  And then come back the next day and have the reason to write.  I don’t know that it’ll happen, but I want it to.  I want to work towards that.

So let’s remember the recipe.  Monday we begin.  I think I may get a calendar.

-Exercise 3 days a week – sparkpeople exercise plan – I need to get the Wii sorted, but I have options there, but there’s a calorie number to help me get a benchmark.
– Drink water, building up to 8 8-ounces glasses a day (if that’s feasible for me, I think that may always just be too uncomfortable for me – I am a short person)
– Only eat out once a week for dinner.  Trying to limit what we do as far as lunch meetings so it’s not constant jarring to my brain.  I am eating healthy now.
–  Tracking my food in spark people, doing my best to follow it, not killing myself if I don’t.
– Continue not drinking soda (how the hell did I give that up?)
– Check in with my friend and encourage one another to keep going.
– Do a weekly weigh-in.
-Lose 20 pounds by 5/20/2012.

Let’s go, girls.


Darkest Before the Dawn

I am ready for the year to be over.   No, I’m ready for tomorrow to be over and my worries to be done.  What else is there to say?  I’ve ordered pizza because the day wound up requiring it after I went to work in a windstorm and came home in one.  I am becoming so unlikeable and it’s fine.  I don’t even care. (I so do care, but there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.) I came home, not wanting to stop and present myself to the world to get the cup of noodles I actually wanted and instead drove home and sat in the dark house for a while wondering how things got to this nauseous, helpless state of affairs and knowing and not knowing at once, I did what most reasonable, mildly depressed people do, I decided that I’d just sleep until the problem went away.  Now it’s eight-thirty and I’m ravenous and I’ve ordered a pizza and I feel out of sync with the universe.  I’ll probably watch some rifftrax and eat it and pretend this is all a lot of fun.

This is all a lot of fun!

I have got to find that black bag.  Have to.  I just saw it.  I swear I just saw it and now it’s nowhere.  So diurnal.  So crazy.

I’m starting to think terrible things about myself like I don’t even deserve to learn how to play the guitar.   Not even that I will never be good at it, but that I don’t deserve to be good at it.

…..this is stupid.  This is very, very stupid!

Things to do when you have worked yourself up into a frenzy and can’t foresee a way out.  When death is at your doorstep and you have reached your arms wide open towards it and you’re sure that you’re going to be called out and caught out for the fuck-up you are.  Anxiety is what I’m talking about.  When you just start spiraling into this anxious, angry, self-loathing, self-abnegating bullshit loop.

1.  Drink some water.
2. Eat some food.  Even pizza.
3.  Remember all the times you typed in these same frantic thoughts and been okay the next day.  You’ve always survived, and if you don’t, then, you don’t and it’s alright.  That is a simplification, but you will manage and be okay.
4.  You’re loved.  Maybe not the way you want.  Maybe not the way you actually deserve when your head’s on straight, but you’re loved.
5.  Breathe.
6.  Let your shoulders fall.  Mountain pose.
7.  Write.    You’re never the same when you’re done writing than when you started.
8.  Practice the guitar.  You like it even when it hurts.  Even when you can’t quite get it.  Even when you’re terrible.  You like it and that’s all the reason you need.
9.  Ask for help.  At least as far as where that stupid bag might be.
10.  Listen to some music, watch something funny, remember to smile at least for a minute, even against your will.

Don’t be a sucker.  Life is a lot more than the crap you are worried about right now, the enormous crap.  Someday, it’ll stop being important at all.

Winter Music

I’m reading old blog posts.  Ones I thought were lost to the ages if I didn’t pony up five dollars to open an account to save them.  Suddenly, though, I have access to them.   They’re making me remember both the old ways I used to write and the old things I used to write about, which are actually strangely distant to me now and they shouldn’t be.   I feel the absence about writing about loneliness with such a keen voracity, ever on a knife’s blade, that you would think that something must have happened to cause that change.  Nothing I’m aware of, save the consistency of being here, requiring 500 words and for a long time (and soon again) blogging pretty strictly about what was going on food-wise and weight-wise and sliding into poetic effusion wasn’t on my mind.

There was some rather beautiful and truthful things said.  I can kind of re-live the agony that made those ideas possible as I read them back and I can break anew.  I don’t really know any better, sorry to say.  All my eggs are in the New Year’s basket.  I am eating terribly now in hopes that this tabula rasa will stick.   But they’ve ruined my sundae with unexpected peanuts and now I feel like sinking into the sheets.  I feel like everything’s got an off smell.  A putrescence that emanates from something long gone rotten.  Me and Hamlet, querulously sniffing about finding the odor amiss.

The year is almost over and I can’t remember a thing that happened.  Well, I remember falling head over heels with Mumford & Sons which saved me, truly, from things which might have happened if I did not have their good hearts and beautiful songs to distract me.  I remember a blur of projects.  I remember stress.  I remember a whole year without Mr. Rochester or anyone who could stand in his shadow.  I remember gaining weight and losing weight and then, just gaining weight without sense or reason.   I remember going to Red Rocks and hiking about there.  I remember we went to Minnesota.  I remember I went to Atlanta and met my friend.  I remember thinking I should start smoking, several times.  I remember thinking – deciding – that I should get a tattoo.  I remember driving back and forth to work.  I remember the accident that suddenly made me question everything all over again.  I remember reading, though not enough.  I remember my friends and watching shows with them and laughing until I thought I was going to die.  I remember deciding I wanted to learn the guitar.  I remember how I fucked up my own birthday.  I remember Mr. Polite, though he is faint.

Mostly I remember being here, talking to you, this amenable version of myself.  I don’t know if it helps me, but I know that I can’t stop now.

My sister seems to think that 2012 will be a good year.  A memorable year?  A changing year?  I don’t know.  Looking back I doubt that I know how to be anything other than how I am, a creature separate from itself.

Salt, Lard, Sugar, Butter, Sand

Here’s the directive from the gods, the only one I follow, the only one I believe I must: breathe.

I am advancing towards the end of the year and am realizing that the things I absolutely must do at work are not necessarily, financially, feasible.  And they need to be done.  I’m being asked to do them and I can’t.  And I need to hope I can by the end of the year and my body is disturbed by the intensity of my superego so long quieted and soaked in liqueur that it is running headlong into eating as if somehow that will save us all.  The burrito bowl is particularly delicious.  I have no idea how I’m going to swing the things what need swinging.

And what is worse is that I’m coming into this pretty damn creative period.  I’ve written three poems lately, revised some prose into a poem, and wrote recently here some more on The Falls Valley Story which is evolving in all sorts of ways I find interesting and emotionally resonant as opposed to just a weirdly Twilight in the Midwest with a lot more murder sort of tale.  Along with the guitar, which just makes me happy to strum and not hear cats mating and not find my fingers in grievous pain.   We’re painting the house and I have ideas about where to put things and how to keep things put places and the timing is just…so in conflict with where my energy is shifting.

I had that brief window of vacation/being ill and not working/snow closing the office/my boss being away where I felt human again and whammo, today, it’s like EVERYTHING MUST BE ACCOMPLISHED WHILE I’M STANDING HERE.  I felt very small and could only be cheered up by the idea of not working here next year.  That this would be someone else’s problem and I’d be sleeping in.   That’s as far as the fantasy got.  Not being swept up in a love affair with a rich and clever gentleman who wanted me to never to lift a finger again (not a fantasy I’ve ever had until very recently, I think simply because I’m so tired) or having a new job where I was deeply fulfilled and didn’t have to drive half an hour each way to or even just writing and being published and adored.  I just wanted it to not be my problem anymore.  When I look back, I hope I remember that this was a sign.

But there’s nothing I can do but keep on keeping on.  Wear a hat in advance of the other shoe dropping.

I wore this really lovely bra today.  Apologies to you twenty people who have no interest in these things, but I had my new sweater on and my new scarf and I felt sort of like I was taking some care of myself.   I was trying to be a bit pretty if only for myself.

Sigh.  I had a sense of getting stronger and now I feel my legs knocked out from under me.

Put on some music, Mary, and run the bath.