The Whirling Fan

Don’t waste my magical writing time with nonsense.  Go to work.

It was a terrible day.  I screwed everything up. I forgot everything.  All my training evaded me.  All my plans fell to shit.  I got yelled at (or the disappointed, I told you, don’t do it again conversation with sternness enough that I am still quite quivery about the whole ordeal) and I am, ultimately, alone.

I mean, I have someone, but I can’t figure out how if this is the sort of having you have with someone who just happens to be taking the same bus you are.  A conversation that intimates nothing.  I want to know, to ask some authority, is this working or not working – what is real and what is just linguistic jiu-jitsu?  And are we all that safe either way?

Instead, I do what I do when I don’t know what to do.  I go and see my mother.  We don’t really talk about the events of the day because as soon as I come in the door after letting her know I needed to come for dinner because it had been a hard day and I had nothing really low-carb to eat, she says You Need to Be More Prepared!  And I won’t argue with the sentiment, because it’s true even if I find myself quite unable to knuckle down and open a laptop after a 10 hour day and face even one email with a questionably aggressive tone.  And they all feel a little bit aggressive these days.  Oh, gosh, it is just the wrong thing to say to a person after a day like this.

My mother.  I will not complain about her, but report this happening with more of a wry attitude rather than one of the usual frustration.   So of course, after feeding me the chicken and green chile and some jello with a heap of whipped cream and giving me her last two shakes in the whole of the world, she begins the quiz.

How long has it been for the diet?  How much weight so far? My answers: a week, and four pounds, six if you go back a bit, are satisfactory.  She gives me the rundown of how to do low-carb for the ninety-thousandth time.   This is not so much wry, is it?  I watch the news with her as we contemplate political eventualities.  I say I have to go.

She has no interest in J.  I have to bring him up if there’s to be any discussion and the discussion is more me venting about the surreal and frustrating nature of the thing.  She is both suspicious and entirely nonplussed.  Who he is and what he wants with me are of no import.  She’ll wait for me to sigh and offer something up, otherwise, it is entirely illegitimate and hell, she may be right.

Still, I leave, and the last thing I hear as I cross the threshold is “You’re getting your waist back again!”

Sigh.  I don’t know.

Pink in Eureka

Certain forms of hysteria have taken hold.  Perhaps because I made the step to get the blog running in some sort of functional form, I have begun to think I am smart about certain things.  This is not the case.

This is day two of going low-carb.  Low-carb = traditional Atkins, 20 carbs or so for the first two weeks, then, we evaluate how shit is going.  I feel better in a lot of ways already.  The scale, as ever, is fucking with me, but it says I lost 3 pounds (yes, we can hear the yelling of WATER WEIGHT from here) overnight.  I don’t know…I do know that it mattered to me to just start this.  To just do it so here I am.  Having had more vegetables today than I’ve had in eons.  More water.    And less food overall.

I still feel weird and tired (again, the shouting of transitioning and detoxing groggery can be heard for miles) and I have done bare minimums in terms of exercise.  But I did do it.  I did do it with nary a complaint.  I will do it again tomorrow.

I keep thinking about what I want.  That is one thing that my new job has really helped with.  The courses I’ve taken have impressed upon me that I need a plan and I need to work the plan. Goal setting and moving in slow, steady steps towards the future.  That you can actually say I want this big, overblown, challenging result and if you mete it out into little, manageable daily contributions, it would happen.   That’s the issue and that’s why I’ve spent so much time avoiding finishing any of these little, manageable steps.  So that I don’t end up somewhere I don’t want to be.

I’ve done this instead of deciding where I want to be and working really hard to make that happen.

I don’t know if I’ll write this way all the time, but I like that this all has just started and it isn’t January 1 and it isn’t a Monday (not yet).  It’s not a perfect takeoff (I don’t imagine I could even recognize it if it was), but it’s like how with every paycheck, I’m adding to savings, already it feels significant.  If I continue on, the possibility continues on.  If I keep clapping, Tink still glows.

So.  What I want is to be with him.  Not…necessarily in terms of trying to have a partnership on a level that demands that one of us move to where the other one lives, though that doesn’t faze me as it once did, but I want a weekend. I want a day of shared space.  Of mutual presence.  Of figuring out if the shit in my head is anything more than shit in my head.   Not putting carts before horses.  But this, all of this, tells me, I gotta keep on this diet on track if this is really what I want.  And I keep testing it and realizing that it is.

 

 

 

 

 

The Cant-ery

orange-kitty-1388816-639x708

The unending allure of cat fluff.

Ack! Okay, mes amis, the day is coming to a close and I have yet to get any legitimate writing done.  I will not rush this – I am always rushing about at eleven o’clock in the evening and I have to wonder if it isn’t an unhealthful thing to do.  There is plenty of time to write five hundred words and put some sort of substance in them.

Like cauliflower.  I found myself with a head of cauliflower and this oddball taste for cauliflower soup.  This is not something we grew up with, so I can’t claim it was a craving borne out of nostalgia.  Perhaps some evening I watched them making it on America’s Test Kitchen, I’m not sure.  Wherever it came from, it coincided with a craving for creme fraiche.  Obviously, (obviously?), I didn’t grow up with fancy ingredients in 99% of our meals.  Eating something like a caper or a pate always took place with a little dose of suspicion because you just never could tell.  Growing up, in fits and starts, I’ve expanded that palette so that now and again I’ll buy an ingredient just because I know it makes everything taste better than the blue-collar, factory-frozen, salted to oblivion, prepackaged food that typifies my diet.  Just for kicks.  But I didn’t really have a plan for it.

The recipe took care of both of them in one quick stock pot.  It’s essentially, cooking up some onions and garlic with butter and olive oil and another ingredient I consider to have cache – a goddamned bay leaf, before adding 3 cups of stock.  I used water and added the bouillon-type stock starter powder I have.  Brought it all to a boil and then added the chopped up head of cauliflower.  Cooked that on a heavy simmer for half an hour, used a magical immersion blender and suddenly, thick, velvety soup.  Added in a few dollops of creme fraiche and a sprinkle of dill and I felt like, I don’t know, the Barefoot Contessa?  I’ve seen it done with leeks as well, and would like to try that.  I don’t think I’ve ever cooked leeks.

The official recipe is here: http://www.theharriedcook.com/2011/05/cauliflower-soup-with-creme-fraiche.html and the lovely photos on that blog are not unlike my effort at all, which made me pretty happy.

Not eating breakfast and having this for lunch with a ton of bread and then a ricey, soupy, chicken for dinner with cheese is not making my daily totals look great.   But I have to feel much better that the calories for today all came from kitchen experimentation and not out of a paper bag with Chipotle written on the side.  I did my ten minutes, I did my situps, I didn’t lose focus.  So, booyah.

And then! Then! Skyping with the absolute lovelies about Seattle which is shaping up to look just like what I need (I can’t say I need a vacation after just coming back from 2 weeks off, but I think come May, I will need just this –  a plane ride and an adventure on the horizon.  A short-term goal for head, heart and the canister that hauls them both about.

 

 

Bed Dancing (The Floor is Lava)

1252997_98098881

Deep primal scream.  Happy day.  All sorts of random emotions are spilling out of me.  I’ve made some use of the time, even if some of that use was laying in bed chasing after this dream I had that had its birth very early in the morning and its death at my unnecessary alarm.  So I had to run after it, flailing with a bellows to keep a fire burning and keep it all aloft.  I failed utterly, and took hours too long to do it, but I don’t mind.

Here’s what I remember – there was a seller or maybe a thief of books.  In this realm, they were a secret currency, a magic, a gift, rarer as gold.  He was in trouble.  His hair was dark, but shoulder-length so it obscured his face.  He had a backpack, I think it was yellow, but so worn I am not sure.  He kept it as close to him as we met in a hotel lobby or perhaps a coffee shop, we were set back in some small corner.  I was a Queen, not of everything, not of people, but more of a Duchess which I think suits me better.  I don’t know how I knew him, but as he unzipped the backpack he held tightly between his ankles and pulled this backpack-sized book (with a binding thin enough it must have been a picture book) halfway out, just enough, I knew I knew him well.  I knew, in fact, that we were in love. Like legitimate, emotionally hamstrung, regrettably but genuinely in love. He was not, of course, the King. And as I smelled the overwhelming alcohol on his breath, I knew this was trouble for us both.

Somehow, I stumbled out, clutching the book in a brown paperbag-colored satchel when I come across this, golden tree-looking creature.  Thinner than an ent, but entish, I suppose.  And angry with me.  “I will tell him what you’ve done”, this magical creature threatened.”I will tell him you’ve been kissing me.”  And I knew I hadn’t, so I wondered why he was lying, but I knew that as queen, this would be disruptive, bad news.  I was running with my book, worrying about the book thief, as the alarm went off.

I am going to do what I can to recreate the circumstances and hope this particular world lets me in again if I bang at the door. Yes, today was spent doing the oddball things I love. This is what the shaman meant.  How I had to get right with me before there’s room in my head for anyone else.  So I tuned and played my ukulele.  Fingertips hurt, but a good hurt.  My memory came back faster than I thought.  I played Mass Effect for a bit.  Listened to the Basement Tapes and gleefully delighted in the seeming return of Mumford & Sons.  I ate low carb.  I judged myself for my imperfections, but let them go fairly quickly.  I missed you, you kaleidoscope man, you keeper of millions, you thiever of books.  I stretched for ten minutes against the aching scream of my neck, stretched every phalange and joint.  It made me feel peaceful and soft.  I listened to Ben Howard and bought his newest album with a gift card I had about.

I took care of me today.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow.  I am so imperfect, so failing, so

But my sister is right.  Who is They? They is Me.  And I am the one holding the reins on this carriage that so wants to run away.  Let it run away, let it capsize, let it run off the rails and off the edges of cliffs.  It’s only a dream, nothing can break while you’re playing.

Dance Me to the End of Love: Day Two Hundred Fifty-Two

713495_65518429This place.  I am so grateful for this place where I can gather my thoughts and my momentum and recall what the morning demands and what the evening siphoned off.  I have the clearest picture yet of my future and I feel like a poached egg being spun in boiling water, my center starting to solidify whether I like it or not.  I like it, I just…I am so vulnerable right now.  I am naked in the street.  All those things I kept under my vest, said under my breath, now I’m saying them out loud.  What is currently happening is not enough.   My worries about leaving a wake of disaster, of not really being able to leave because of it, loom large.  My desire to be some place where I can find the room to care about my personal life is warring with that in my head and moment to moment, I’m eaten up by both.

I do want to tear the band-aid off, but instead, there are steps.  Things that, year after year, I daydreamed of in second-long flashes.  I have to put together my resume.  I have to go in for an interview.  All of which I’ve been told is just a formality, that the job has to be posted.  All of a sudden the issue of driving there is clear in my mind, because my sister will likely already be there, or would need…

In cases such as these, it does not serve me to do much more than vent.  And then to remember that I have happiness in droves.  I have things that make me feel good. I have a life that exists outside of all of these concerns and will continue past all of these transitions.   I do need to call the therapist.  I was going to do that today, but I…in an effort to not stay in touch with my anxious feelings…downloaded Sims 4 last night.  It is a dumb decision.  I was looking for something that would create a bridge between here and Dragon Age: Inquisition.  I need to be present.  I need to freaking plan with my friend for Italy and mentally get my head around that and I even need to be aware that I have stuff due tomorrow morning.

But I did start eating low-carb today.  I did send out the email as required.  I did start.  I did try.

I. I. I.

The weather is turning.  Yet another fall rising up, stripping off its summer dainties and standing once, naked in the street, before thinking better and finding its leathers and wools and its hidey-holes.   The animals stand at the edge of the asphalt before bolting in the bright, full daylight, because there might be more over there and more is necessary before the great time of less.  They do not worry about this lessness in the same way that we might.  They will risk now, hunt now, because they were built for chances.  And if they cannot make it, they will never know they failed.

And the Goblins’ll Getcha: Day Two Hundred Fifty-One

648678_51915435I’m fixing it even now.   Soon we’ll know what our number is.  I haven’t forgotten I also have DragonCon posts to put up.  Or that I need to respond to another excellent comment from.

She is right, of course, that the thing to do is to rip the band-aid off.   To tell and having told, be past that part of it, and into the limbo soup, the green and greasy Limpopo where I must swim for my life to the other shore despite all my alassing and alacking that I cannot swim.  It was definitely noted for the heavens and the record today that I cannot swim and if I bear children, they will be branded with the mark of having a mother who cannot swim, and that is a tremendous shame, a scarlet N-S that will be sewn into everyone of their lapels.  They will see a mother who cannot and will necessarily believe that they cannot.  Unless, of course, they’re intelligent children who want to swim and when given the opportunity to learn, choose to do of their own accord.  But how likely is that?

I digress.  I know things and learn things and forget them all the time.

I haven’t forgotten certain things.  Like I’m going to Italy in short order.  That words to the poem my grandmother recited to us at every given opportunity…”Little Orphant Annie.”  What it takes to start low-carb and what it feels like to need to do it.

I have at last one day’s supplies to be here, to exercise (keep working on breaking in these damn shoes – there must be a lifehack to figure that one out) and the usual suspects for making myself feel totally gross and awful tonight to encourage a clean morning slate).   I am going to work from home tomorrow – in as low-key a fashion as possible because I worked twelve hours voluntarily yesterday and there is plenty of life stuff to do here, house cleaning, mental organization and list-making or writing my resignation letter and just maybe, maybe, maybe, I feel wildly out of my depth with this much change happening.  The piece I wanted to write was to tie together my travel this year and I had it all lined up.   Salida, Atlanta, Rome, little fish in bigger and bigger ponds and then, my grandmother passed away and we went on that whirlwind trip to northwest Minnesota and now, I have, somehow, decided after years of angsting and fretting (though the angst and fretting is trebly paralyzing and petrifying at this moment) to move on from my eight year-old job and suddenly the story is too big for a casual piece in some travel mag.  It’s my life and I don’t exactly have total control over it and I’m wondering when last I did and what’s going to happen next and what other angles I can focus on if work can bring me a state of calm instead of…well, the need to eat chipotle and pie until I want to vomit just so that I’m constantly distracted from anxieties and failures that feel bigger than celestial intervention (but can be solved short-term by sugar and fat).

This is happening.  All I have to do is something I’m great at…just have to stand there and say yes.  It’s like a wedding and a divorce all rolled into one.

 

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.