Crackalacka: Day Three Hundred Sixty-Five


I am sober.  I am suitably grossed-out by the amount of food I have forced down my throat today. Not against my will, but totally against my spirit.  I am ready to do this shit.  Let’s review.

This year I quit my job.  The job I spent four years  (and 4 more prior to the start of this blog) talking about hating (and loving, but mostly hating.)

This year, I went to Italy by way of Ireland.  And Salida, Minnesota, and Atlanta.  But mostly, let’s face it, Italy. I walked in the Sistine Chapel.  I strolled through Rome and ate gelato.  I rode a train to Florence and ate the most ridiculously delicious pasta.  I ate all the most delicious pasta.  I danced in a night club.  I didn’t completely panic (except for that one time I totally did, but it ended up being okay) I met my amazing friend who was legitimately amazing in person.

This year, my grandmother passed away.  We drove, my parents and sisters and my sister’s boyfriend and the dog in my car + their car, up to rural Minnesota for the funeral.  We’re still, I’m still, sorting out what that means.

This year, I got a new job working with my sister.  Definitely still trying to mentally unpack the impact this has had and will have and what it will encourage me and discourage me from doing.  There’s so many positives – paid health insurance, the fact that I’ve had from Christmas to New Year’s off as a paid holiday, working with rad people.  But I worry that I’m getting baby-fied about driving (even more so) and that I’ve jumped into a universe that has the same problems of the old one, just wearing different clothes.

This year, I held my own writing group.   That needs more attention right now than I am giving it.


So next year (which will be here shortly after I finish this post, I expect), my plans are thus:

Atkins for at least 2 weeks.  At least.  Maybe longer.  Maybe forever.  Maybe I’ll be the jerk to tell you I’ve changed my lifestyle and now I’m one of those people.  Maybe I’ll get so much energy from my new way of eating that I’ll jump through the ceiling and never come back.

No Chipotle.  None.  I couldn’t even finish it today.  My sister even joked to say goodbye to the familiar, but still nameless employees who shovel it to me on the regular without, to their great kindness, too much overt recognition of my addiction.  It is so easy.  It is so massively easy to just apply it to your emotional wounds and cracks and irregularities like a giant blob of cilantro-infused spackle.

No soda.  None.  I love the carbonation and the sweetness, but I hate the way it makes me feel.   It makes me feel like my bones are bending like crazy straws and that maybe, maybe I can see through walls.

Writing a story for myself about Lavellan and Solas IN LOVE (and heartbreak, but MOSTLY LOVE, right?)  A STORY THAT YOU, MEANING YOU, will never read.

That I will get myself a new therapist.

That I will be here, same time, station, channel, firing away, giving it a bit more of my all in both my real life and whatever it is I do on this page.

Home Is Wherever I’m With You


The rusty wheel begins to turn.

I don’t know how to begin, except to begin.  There’s so much to say, so many little tendrils to follow, facets to the diamond.   I could tell you about the heat.   The unforsaking, devastating, potentially weekend-ruining heat that made it impossible for us to maintain our spot waiting out in the 100 degree weather on blankets with no shade to speak of.   Made it hard to breathe and made my heart shiver.  I could tell you about Guthrie, the little town that did good to accommodate all these people, the red Oklahoma dirt in the field that got on everything, the small coffee shop with this lovely window recreation of the Sigh No More album cover.  The string of lights hung under the overpass.  I could tell you about my little sister who was actually a lot calmer than I thought she’d be about most things…who got her brain boiled trying to keep a spot for me so that I could stare intently at Winston Marshall’s banjyrations…and who was way more freaked out than necessary about a couple dead bugs in our less than savory motel on the outskirts of town and didn’t sleep or shower because she couldn’t bear the thought of using anything in the place.

But I suppose the best thing to do is to tell you about the music:

Willy Mason – Lovely voice, loved the violist, will be checking him out.  Reminded me a bit of Nathaniel Rateliff.

Justin Townes Earle – Well, I loved him at Bristol, and I loved him here.  Love his attitude.  He doesn’t seem to really involve himself in things,  Just as the day was starting to cool down, his set was good…wish people had been a bit more attentive.

Phosphorescent – Lots of beautiful moments, though it didn’t quite gel for me.  Maybe it was the crowd anticipation for ESMZ.  Interesting frontman, too.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Loved them, though their camera filter was this constantly shifting kaleidoscope effect that was a bit dizzying especially in that heat.  They definitely bring their own vibe, and Alex can sing…but Jade’s my favorite even if storytime gave voice to a crazy stalker-type who wanted to marry her.  I think her voice just leavens the whole thing.

Bear’s Den – LOVED, loved so much.  Reminded me a bit of Matthew and the Atlas. I’ll definitely be seeking out their music.   It was a nice start of the day.  That core indie/acoustic sound, but with some lovely lyrics such as I associate with Mumford.

Little Darlin’s – Middle of the day, unique, fun voice that probably would have worked better in another setting.  Sitting as far away as possible to find one single spot of shade, the singer’s raspy twang didn’t quite translate.

Half Moon Run – Fun! Bubbly! Bouncy! Fun!  I’ll be looking for their music for sure.

The Vaccines – Yeah, I still have their lyrics bubbling around around in my head.  They’re the boys’ boys, y’know.  And they put on a fun show.  I was all kinds of distracted with getting my sister some food and drink so she didn’t pass out during their set, but I danced my way there and back.

Haim – I love them! They played Let Me Go which has the drum part I think is marvelous and I really hated the heat at this moment, because I wanted to be up there and dancing to them, but it was just not happening.  But I did get to see them at the airport, walking around like real people, when no one else seemed to notice them and I’m kicking myself for not asking for their autograph, but if it weren’t for a plane delay I’d never have seen them anyway.   It was just sort of special, an odd happenstance.

Alabama Shakes – The woman can sing.  There’s just no arguing about that.  I love Hold On, don’t know any of their other music, liked what I heard, but it doesn’t grab me as the most memorable of the day.

Mumford – Well, my view of the big screen was perfect for everything up until their amazing cover of Come Together and enough of the crowd either decided to beat the rush out or was just stupid and forgot about encores and left that at my sister’s insistence, we could creep up a good ways and actually see, you know, the gentlemen we’d come to see.  And they sung Sister and the Cave and then, of course, I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends.

I’m forgetting more and I’ll backtrack tomorrow.  But yeah.  Yeah.  Home.  Feelings.  So much to say.


Up the Beanstalk

I am here in a very quiet office reviewing my record of failure.

I guess.

Quantitatively, if we consider the purpose of this blog a journal of progressive and consistent and lasting personal change…that hasn’t happened over the past three years.  2010, 2011, 2012 have all been banner years for good intention and wavering results.  Relapse has really the been the only constant if you describe where I am – who I am as some sort of condition that needs resolution.  And hell, sometimes I think of it that way, myself.

But, I think I need to think of some smaller accomplishments.

Remaining upright? Not collapsing in a heap and going to some sort of mental hospital.  Turning up, day in and day out, to this very page and not letting much fester.  That’s not actually how it works, but I do think that there’s something about having this outlet that saves me from the worst of it.  I haven’t let go or given up because I trust that I can turn out the necessary words.

I have to build the trust in these other areas.

So, now that I’m home and have drunk several glasses of spiked lemonade and have eaten my burrito bowl, I feel quite positive about my chances.  Chances for what?  For waking up tomorrow and taking advantage of the day being housebound as my car’s been stolen…taken by my sister…which is fine.   Doing laundry, finding my fitbit.  Doing exercise.   Maybe tracking food.  Not just warily spending the day with Old Man Ezio and his racing from guards in Constantinople.  That’s fun, that’s fine, but that’s terribly lonely and that’s my choice.  But between Assassin’s Creed and Civilization, I can zone out entirely and lose everything.  I really, really, really don’t want that.  I want to play domestic goddess tomorrow.  I have pasta to cook.  I have some carrots in there.  I could put flowers on the table and get rid of these piles of clothes.  The potential of this makes me excited.  Makes me feel good.

Guitar and ukulele.  Gotta cut up these fingertips.

Self-care, self-care, self-care.

I was reading posts today as I started to write this one, focusing all the way back to 2010 before Mr. Rochester’s Wife, to to speak, was revealed to us all.  Back when I adored him wildly and could hardly bring myself to do much more than cautiously admire him in all his wayward, self-effacing glory.  Now, I see it differently.  I see everything about it all with spectacles that have one rose-colored lens, one as sharp and bifocal as a LASIK treatment.   I was so terribly naive.  But at the same time, I would give so much to go back just that far.  How much more I would seek him out.  How much more I would try and make myself obvious even to the point of discomfort or beyond.  I have written about letting go and holding on and I have said I intend to do both.  Now, I don’t think it’s a choice and I don’t think that it has to be either.  I think about his kindness a lot.  I think about how it was really the last time that I felt special to someone.  Who I had any sort of real intimacy with.  I think a lot of my motivation can be found there, moreso than in him who is lost beyond finding now and who, if I’m honest, always had cloudy motivations with regard to me.

Have to find ways to feel that again.  The good parts of it.

The Prescient Prussian

Totally awesome band name, right there.

I should learn a few more chords on my guitar and start a band.  We’d probably be one of those terrible bands that changes their name more than they actually ever write or play music, but we’d always have really amazing band names and probably equally excellent t-shirt designs.  So you should probably get ahead of the game and just start being our fans now before someone hears of us and we have to change our name and you have to resign yourself to being a damn hipster.

There’s a dying rainstorm leaving us.  It came with the kind of light show you would think would portend something epic and tremendous happening in the firmament, maybe like Heaven got The Avengers on IMAX or something.  But it was miraculous enough with just cannons and rocketfire  and the occasional darting appearance of  neon white veins across the smoked-out cloudscape.

As for other things, well, there are other things which is nice to talk about apart from the notable weather.

My weight was, as I was pretty well aware, up a tisch this morning.  That’s what happens when you justify straying.  So I am fully re-horsed, with bike riding, a longish walk about and low-carb eating making me feel much better physically.  Funny how you give yourself the option to screw up and there is nothing about eating that feels good accept that quick flare of relief that your addiction was satisfied.  It’s like, oh, fuck, I ate all that bread.  Well.  That’s going to mess with me, I sure am delighted I did that so randomly and impulsively.  I’m sure going to remember that bread until the day I die.  Except, of course, it was utterly without meaning and making my stomach knot up as well as turn the volume back up on the voices in my head that just keep saying “Fuck it, fuck it, fuck it, don’t change ever, buy Chipotle, grow into your mattress, the best thing about death is the absence of the fear of death.”  You know, the awesome voices that project stagnancy is the same as security.

So, I am doing what I can to get those voices, among others, muted.   I’ll see what I say in the morning.  Gotta continue to think positive and do things I love – like read.  Read some more of The Bean Trees and remembered why I loved it so much the first time.  I think I like re-reading it now in light of having read more of Barbara Kingsolver’s non-fiction and knowing something about her circumstances and life.

This morning was really good, though, because I set my timer and got things done in 7 minute sections at a time.  Cleaned out the drawer in the night table which was so overloaded with pens and batteries and random junk drawer detritus that it was getting difficult to close.

Small pleasures.  Your anthologist, journalist, whatever I am, has a rather Amelie-like life, save perhaps, the end.  But there is always tomorrow.




10,000 Steps

Only your author would get blood all over her laptop, get her keys stuck in the door.  This is how hard she lives.  This is how she gives it her all.

I finished Weight today and I loved it.  I really did.  It’s a short book, but it’s dense and a bit strange in the sense of being beguiling and compelling if you give it a chance to unfold itself.  I loved what I got out of it (which I think is actually a multiplicity of themes that I need to unpack) but critically, it was about the concept of burden and assumption of burden as an aspect of personality without ever questioning why it is so important, why it is ours to take on.  What our personal mythos is and must be.   What is unchanging and how even the most enormous, seemingly permanent and fixed attributes of our existence do change and we manage it with love and lies and mythology and the stories we tell to make truth and unmake it.   150 pages and it’s a whopper.  Jeanette Winterson, you inspire and amaze me.

So I’m trying to keep up the momentum and dovetail it with another book that I’m not living that much but hoping it can convince me – The School of Essential Ingredients, a book suggested by my mother and aunt  which I feel is sort of strikingly self-indulgent and fifty pages in, I don’t know why I should so admire this cooking savant and her magical restaurant/cooking school or the timid woman who is learning from her.  I don’t feel for anyone yet .  I will try and I hope finish it fast so that I can dig into something as worthwhile as Weight and a book that I think will help my writing more than sort of maudlin middle-aged women trying to resolve their purpose after motherhood via cooking.  But this implies an investment and care that I don’t quite think I have in the book yet.  It could impress me.  It could turn it all around.

I’m listening to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and adoring it, wildly.  It just is very relaxing while I type and read.   Naturally, I’m listening for Mumford and Sons tomorrow and for any surprise appearances they might turn up for, but I’m enjoying all of it.  I’d like to go there someday, especially on a weekend so beautiful as this.

What else?  I am back on the clock.  I didn’t weigh myself this morning and I’m rather bleary at that hour of the day to begin with before I set off for the Farmers Market.  But I had my shake, had my lunch, have my dinner planned and I am going to get up some gumption to get on the bike or so something to move my body about and get cracking on this second cycle of weight loss.  So I’ll consider tomorrow Day 1 and we’re leaving for Minnesota July 2nd.  So however many days that is will be this next go-round and I’m feeling pretty okay about it.  I know that the other option is going backwards, which is no option at all.

The Hunger

This is my first copy/paste entry.  I’m allowing it because I wrote it today.  Just posted it elsewhere first and I feel I would write about the concert, obviously…so here is a slapdash sense of it.

I am feeding on it as opposed to letting it feed on me.

Well, I feel rather odd doing a write-up of the concert because a) I don’t have any pictures or videos as I was sort of out of my head just focusing on remaining upright and absorbing everything and b) I don’t know…that might mean processing it and getting beyond it and I just want it floating around me like some kind of Marcus Mumford-induced mnemo-audio halo and c) what I essentially have to say was I came, I saw/heard, I was MUMSONED.  Perhaps not in just that order.

So instead, I offer you small things. (re-written, unfortunately, as Tumblr ate my brilliance) *…tumblr.   YOU SUCK. * Okay.  I’m going to try and see if I can find what I wrote!  AGAIN.

Winston was less talkative, I think, than the night before based on the clips but he killed it.  Just played the hell out of everything with such a…to use a rather Mumford and Sons-y type of word, grace.  He is my begrudging favorite simply because I think all of them are extraordinary, but he is gorgeous. And I have survived the live banjo roll.  Just barely.  It’s kind of like he’s banjo fucking the whole room, all those thousands of people, and you banjo fucking love it.

Timshel: Disappointed it didn’t work acoustically on Night 2 like Sister worked.  I think the day was so hot and people had waited a while so they were extra drunk and extra dumb down in the pit, and Winston didn’t incite violence this time, so sorry Ted!  You can’t trust us.  Luckily, I heard the Dapper Ninja took out all those fools before they left for Telluride.

Waiting: I wish I could have stuck around to see about meeting the band, but the timing was such that we had to go home and I was pretty tired/out of it/with a headache that rivaled Athena breaking out of Zeus’ skull so we opted to go home.

Broken Crown: is one of my favorites and I was so happy to see them play it.  Seemed some of the lyrics were changed, leaving that awesome line “And in this twilight, how dare you speak of grace?”

Nathaniel Rateliff / Matthew and the Atlas: great.  I’m sure they’d be better for me in a setting where I could hear their lyrics.

My little sister said it was “one of the best live bands she’d ever seen”

Energy and joy!

Marcus effusing about the beauty of Denver.  Also, he said he went in the morning to the Foothills.  I live in the Foothills.  MARCUS WHERE DID YOU GO?!  WHAT HAPPENED! DETAILS! I NEED DETAILS.  Also, Winnie said Ted had a long story about why he loved Denver, but they never got to tell it.

The way they leave the stage with their arms around one another

Red Rocks.  Whenever they come, I’ll be there.

Alright.  I think that’s everything critical I can remember.  I had a mind-blowing time. I’m trying to adjust back to reality of not having this to look forward to by knowing I have this to remember and knowing they’ll be back and playing Red Rocks soon.  Bless those boys.  They are free of gimmicks and bullshit and they know how to meet you at your level and sing you better for it.  The world is lucky as hell to have them.

Your Life Passes Through Me Like Lightning

Murphy’s Law for the Modern Era: All the best movies on Netflix are always DVD-only.   Some nights would be made infinitely better by a good movie and you can just intuit what that movie would be and tonight’s movie was definitely Bridget Jones’ Diary, but ah-hah! Netflix! Confounding good souls at every turn.

Um, I done fucked up.  Not savagely or recklessly or with disregard for human life.  I just am at the base of a foothill of circumstances I’ve spent all day rolling down, waving my arms and smacking my head on every rock on the way.  Cerebellum Slalom.   The diet will be saved not by good food, but by doing my exercise and not murdering myself.

We had no real food in the house.  No meat or vegetables or yogurt or anything but pretzels and ramen noodles and tortilla chips and I may have relegated myself to very small portions of them, but I was home alone all day with my squirelly ridiculous hunger-thoughts as the snow came treacherously down and I know I’m out of whack today.  It was one of those awkward days where I called off sort of just on account of being a fuckhead?  I own that.  I knew I got done what I needed to do so that missing a day wouldn’t destroy the universe and the thought of driving in left me completely paralyzed, wholly and utterly.  So, it was a mental health day that ended up sort of imploding.  Playing hooky, if that’s what this was, even though I made it clear that that’s why I wasn’t coming in and that I’d make up the hours throughout the week and this weekend, feels terrible.

My parents’ work ethics, which they so graciously passed down to me, are that you are the one who comes in early and stays late and works through lunch just because that’s the right thing to do. You have to give it your all, even though, they’ve been the perfect object lesson as to what corporate America really thinks about that generations’ consideration for their workplace.  Which is they really don’t give shit one about how much you care, they’ll take what they want and break the rest.   Those ethics kept me running about doing laundry and scrubbing the bathroom and doing the pots and pans because goodness knows, if I was going to wimp out on driving to work, I couldn’t actually enjoy the time off.

But in between all that, I managed to watch Miranda (not the BBC series that I adore so intensely but the 1949 classic?) It’s a movie about a mermaid who basically gets yanked out of some jetty in Cornwall by a doctor who is not really a philanderer but has the face of one and he pretends to cure her by brining her to London, wrapping up her legs, and letting his wife teach her how to smoke while she makes all the surrounding men go ga-ga over her.  Then she announces she’s pregnant right after they all propose and she heads off for the South Seas.  Very odd movie.  But I liked it.

I also liked the calzone at Old Chicago along with the waiter who served us.  I have an hour before it’s time to exercise and forget today.