Lego My Ego

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I am going to try and do double duty as some kind people on MFP have noted my absence there and I am trying to both rev myself back up to start tracking again and empty my brain of all of the resistance I have.

Confessions:

I obviously did not track while away for the funeral and vacation.  I didn’t want to.  I didn’t want to think at all.   I don’t know if I wanted to float as idly as I did, but that’s what happened.

So I’ve drunk soda.  Quite a bit.  That’s happened after more than a year of not drinking it.  I think I’m still capable of turning on a dime and not drinking it again, because the return is infinitely diminished, but I have to actually make that turn and stop.
I have eaten…not great things.  Cupcakes and lava cakes and tacos and random hamburgers and basically hardly even a green thing at all.  My body doesn’t like that at all.  We just sort of ate out constantly, first because of the stress of the funeral, then because we were vacationing and everyone had that mantra of food feels good and there was a lot of good tasting food to be had.  The idea of ordering a salad or having a smaller portion honestly did not occur to me.
I did drink less coffee, if there’s anything to be said for doing that.
I didn’t eat as much as was physically possible if I can get any points for that.

I think the deal is…the new you.  The new iteration.  I’m back in my house, back in my patterns, back in my thinky-thinky brain and you’re just a nice guy I get to think about who likes my facebook pictures and posts and whose pictures and posts I am daring now and again to like.  You live very far away.  You’re not a threat to my creepy little existence.  You, unless I really fuck up wonderful, can’t make much of an impact except in one important little way.  You can make me feel good, like I exist, like I have a draw and a pull on another human being even if that pull isn’t any stronger than a refrigerator magnet.

So I need to get back into the diet.  There’s this impulse, like hey, you’d be more willing to be confident about this if you were confident about you.  Then, the impulse that he seems to just like me and he’s very far away so I don’t have to race.  But he didn’t even exist before and I wanted to do this then so what’s the deal, yo?

Ego.

I am just going to spend the next three days tracking whatever goes into my mouth.  I can do that.  I have done it before.  Then, tracking and adding back in the exercise and getting myself rolling.  Get back on the scale.  It’s not so terrible.  It’s just a habit I have to make by repeating the motions.

 

 

Let’s Get Rich and Buy Our Parents Homes in the South of France

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I feel like I could just breathe on the page and the word count would tick up to 500.  It wouldn’t even take so much as that to do it.  I am riddled with thoughts, with whole maps of whole universes of thoughts that are clambering to the bow of the ship with spyglasses in hand, leaning forward, keen to hit land.

I am already losing some of them to the waves, so, more bullets of memory.

  • Drinking Malibu in the massively, exorbitantly overly fancy hotel’s bar with my sisters and father, toasting our grandfather.  That massive hotel with the single room that we all crunched into and ate as much Chinese food as has ever been.
  • The really awful, shitty, 12-hour delay with Frontier that left me getting home 30 minutes before I had to pack and drive down to pick up the shuttle to go back to the airport to Seattle.   Somehow not being deterred by the seeming impossibility of that.
  • Our crazy drive with my little sister laying across my parents and my laps so we could fit everything into the car.
  • Arriving at SeaTac (which sounds like it’s short for something in military jargon) and feeling completely loopy from lack of sleep, feeling amazing as this whirling set of a thousand highways and trees and buildings filled out the skyline.
  • Crashing on S’s couch even though I wanted to be awake, but just drifting away.
  • Our darling, dear little cottage in the woods.  Those were perfect woods for imagining horrible murders or skulking fae.
  • The curling teacher who was so earnest about her instruction, but laughed until she cried when we tried to explain how it was we ended up to learn about curling.
  • The mad rush to defuse bombs.
  • Compliments, support, friendship.  Nobody being an asshole or a jerkface.
  • The man/creeper on the docks in the little touristy shop who asked me if I was waiting for my boyfriend.
  • The beautiful flower garden at the Locks with grass green enough it could trademark the color.
  • Those garlic fries that had tiny minced garlic all over it.  It had just the perfect balance of salt and starch and flavor.
  • The guy earnestly trying to pick up the semi-oblivious (or completely aware and incredibly nuanced) clerk at the esoteric letterpress gift shop.  He said he went to school with her.  She said she remembered him, maybe.  She looked like Joanna Newsom.  I felt his dismay when she told him goodbye.
  • The softest hoodie in the world!
  • Watching Magic Mike XXL and totally, totally, totally getting why people love that movie – both on the obvious mancake level and based on its whole raison d’etre.  Ain’t an ounce of hate in that movie, it’s incredible.
  • Every dorky joke made before we all fell asleep.
  • That pico de gallo, oh my goodness!
  • Not, at any point, falling into the sea.
  • Showing our dearest K her very first viewing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • Truck Shepard and Monster Factory videos.

It was a lovely Mother’s Day and tomorrow, reality, smack in the face.  Time to get some writing done.

Her Triumphant Return

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Hi.

I feel creepy.  I didn’t know how I’d feel on returning, and it wasn’t until this moment that I really considered my feelings about such a lengthy hiatus for the blog.  There was just so much else to think about and then I kind of stop thinking all together for a while.  But I’m home now. Exhausted and yet there is some oddball strain within me that is raring to go.  One thing at a time, I tell myself.

Bullets are so reductive, but I know there will be a flood tomorrow and I gotta engage in a little self-care right now.

  • My friends are ridiculously wonderful.  That’s really the only thing that needs to be known, though I will continue on.
  • The funeral was hard.  The struggle to know what to feel or how to feel it when you’re
  • We went to the farm.  It was probably the last time I will ever go to Pelican Rapids or to Fargo or to that particular plot of land, though there is some talk that my aunt might buy it.  I hope she does, though I would understand if she doesn’t.  That house and all its history, all that it matters to us, is still 3 hours away from her.  I don’t know.
  • Seattle is a city of hills.  I am not a walker of hills or an appreciator of hills.  Hills, to me, are basically walls, or, if not, short little slices of torture.  I would get used to it if I lived there. I think, for me, who has had this long-held inane dislike of them, as a tourist, they’re definitely a bitch. Nevertheless, I got myself about and we saw the sights.
  • This included the Pike Place Market wherein I realized how little I knew about Seattle prior to this trip.  The fishy smell, the labyrinthine hallways.  I found myself telling stories about people who run the curiosity shops rather than buying things.
  • The getting around, at least initially, was also hampered by the feeling that there were no straight lines – that everything was all akimbo and I had this constant, nagging feeling of vertigo that wasn’t really based on anything.  This did, eventually, go away.
  • We went to the aquarium and saw silly otters and floppy, dog-faced seals.
  • Our orange cat is at the vet. Kidneys.  I don’t know what to think, but that doesn’t look good.
  • Today I have had cramps to beat the devil.  I wasn’t supposed to have to worry about the lady card, and here we are, rolling on the crimson tides.
  • We watched 10 Things I Hate About You.  Totally didn’t connect that the movie was filmed in Seattle.
  • We also went to a parade of taco trucks and I had an excellent chicken taco with pickled red onions.
  • I learned there was such a thing as the Fremont Troll and there it was, right under the massive bridge.
  • I didn’t drink as much Starbucks as I thought I might – just trying to control the caffeine.
  • I had curling injuries.   From actually, earnestly trying to curl.

More tomorrow.

Death by Sunlight

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I have endured a hundred deaths by sunlight rolled into one.

And now come the feelings.

I want to write, primarily because when you come back from an event where you get to watch people you love, a succession of people you love, doing huge creative acts all over your face and eardrums, as a creative person, there’s a tsunami of energy within you (or at least within me) that responds.  That wants to respond in kind, which, can be rough when you just came from a concert where 20,000 people surged and swayed and screamed while waves of musical virtuosity filled an entire mountainside with joy.

You can go for that, but you might also be mentally prepared to fall a bit short.

I want to write, but I need to talk about this weekend.  I owe, I think, more than five hundred words today, anyway. For Friday and Saturday, if we’re being honest and if it costs me nothing, I’m fine with honesty.  So we’ll see how far the tale of this weekend gets us.

It was, overall, a success.  If only because it made me come to terms with certain facts about myself.  I am only as tall as I am – five foot and a single solitary inch.  Trying, with my passive nature to stay up front at a concert, will just leave me with a sunburn to beat all other sunburns.  I am wearing it now as a testament to my love of music and my own reckless stupidity, but I am deeply glad that we ended up moving at the end so that I could at least see what we’d traveled to see.  And that part was amazing.  Thrilling.

We did it, but man.  So, after my hotel room was not honored for reasons that have never been elucidated, we had to camp.  I have also learned and accepted that I can camp, I can physically lay down on the dirt and sleep in chilly air, and wake up full of snot and survive,  but that I don’t like it.  Thankfully, our neighbor camper had a mallet to help us whack in our tent stakes otherwise we would have been lost.  The car was parked about a half a mile away so we only took bare essentials, not the cushy mattress pads I’d bought the day before we left, but that also meant a lot of walks to the car to get things that ended up being essential.

Walking was a major theme, including flipping off the perfectly adjacent hotel we were not allowed to stay at as we went.  After walking a thousand miles to find a restaurant I have eaten at twice before, or more, in the fog of memory, only to find it closed as the owners were retiring (and apparently disinterested in updating their social media with such news), we went to a little coffee shop. They were amazed as a huge line of wristbanded customers came in after us, all for the show.  This coffee shop was well off the beaten path and I was pleased that the show seemed to be working as advertised, an attempt to bring folks into town to experience all of what made it charming and to do business.  At least in that particular coffee shop, they couldn’t get the white mochas out fast enough.

Eventually, though, the music gained primacy.
-Jack Garratt? Be still my heart.  He was our #1 takeaway artist.
-Tune-Yards were as awesome as I hoped from their videos and Merril Garbus’ voice just rolled through the mountains.  Loved it.
-James Vincent McMorrow, another new surprise, much more intense and lively than expected.
-Jenny Lewis made a playlist just for me, I think.  I cried for Jenny Lewis.
-The worst (and sometimes best) thing about concerts is, as always, the other people attending.  Tall people, you have a right to be up close and see what you want to see, but goddamn it, get there early and don’t slide up and block people literally eighteen inches shorter than you who can’t move to get a better view.
-Marcus Mumford is an actual beast (we knew this, but wow).  He was like a tiger, stalking the stage, like the energy was driving him out of his mind.  If you didn’t know he was lying on his back on a wave of people whilst he was singing, you’d have never guessed.  Didn’t drop a note.  Funny, magnetic, perfect with a voice like a vibrator.
-Winston doesn’t have to say anything (we also knew this, but it was fun to have it confirmed yet again), just take that banjo/guitarist/Captain Morgan stance with his hair in the breeze, add some smoke and lasers and I am gone to the world.
-Ben and Ted as genuine, kind, and unflappable as they just keep the madness going.

Yes.  Victory.  Red as a beet.  Burnt to a crisp.  Love those boys and love these Stopovers.

My brain and my heart in separate corridors both did some curious aching.  Staring at couples, watching a couple get engaged on stage, feeling the exile embedded in the countryside. Maybe it makes me want to scream and holler and yelp and keen and tear the stars out of the sky.

Mumford, of course, made any of the aforementioned trials and tribulations remarkably worthwhile.  They are tonic. They are perfect, they worry me a bit having cared about them for so long, but they have notched out a place in my heart and that is where they set.

 

Imperfections

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We trek to City of Salida, Colorado in the morning – a town I have long loved for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is laughing there until I thought I might die with my farmers’ market friends.  I remember we attempted to seduce, collectively, the waitress at this little pie and everything else establishment and I felt a sort of aliveness that I didn’t feel 90% of the time with the old job.   Especially now that every single person and thing I loved about my time there has followed my lead, I guess, and detached themselves from what was.

I also remember not so long ago, just summer of last year, staying in Salida with my parents and older sister, and seeing them soften a bit.  They still talk about that trip like it was the days of infamy.  Like there is never another opportunity to see such golden shores again.  And who knows, maybe that’s true, I hope not.  They are going up to the farm for what will be, possibly, possibly not, the penultimate trip.  Having made that pilgrimage with them several times over the years, I jokingly suggested that they should be flying, but apparently, in order to save money, they are going to just make their way across I-80 and help move my grandfather into the nursing home and out of the magical (not all the places in my life are magical, it just seems that way when you look at them with kind eyes) farmhouse that has stood for over a hundred years.  As long as my grandfather lives, it will stand, but they are tied together now and its life extends only so far as his extends.  Which I would hope would be another hundred years, but with kind eyes, and a kind thought, I imagine he has no interest in a hundred years without his wife.

I hope my little sister is able to detach and not arrive frustrated and flailing at me.  It will be enough of a job to just let myself enjoy this and not let Mildred stick her nose in and cause worry where worry need not be.  You get to the point where the fact that pot is legal here is less a neutral fact and more a curiously positive benefit because second-hand smoke and I get along rather well.  I don’t need or want to smoke it, but if it is where I am, I wouldn’t mind letting my shoulders release and my spirit loose.  I think the faithful light is all for it.  The faithful light does not know fear.

The thing about these Stopover shows is there’s nothing rote about them, the town itself lends to the magic and it’s a different magic every time. The excitement has just reached up and grabbed me by the throat.  Camping, too, will add another dimension.  It wasn’t planned, but it’s happening and I’m dealing with it and now that I have all of my pieces organized, it’s just a good feeling, nothing more or less.  Also, this means, I won’t be posting until Sunday.  So, yep.

Sincerely Dangerous or Dangerously Sincere?

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Tumult.  I like that word.  Feeling it today.

Okay, I have to pause that.  A little birdie gave me some news and I can’t talk about it yet because nobody knows yet, but come Monday, I’m sure the great and wild lot of you will be given to know about the great fun I intend to have in August and where and when and how and what shall be happening. But I learned about something in advance and took advantage of that knowledge to make sure we’ll be a step ahead when everyone dances and prances in come Monday.

I know that’s vague and weird, but google alerts, you know, one little flag and suddenly, you have people paying attention.

That’s probably not true.  Nobody will give a shit, but I just want to explain why I am so up at 11:30 in the evening when I have a terrible headache that the aspirin has not really touched and probably I didn’t eat enough or buy enough food, but I’m also glad, because I had to set aside funds for this happy-making August business.  I’m also glad I rescheduled my hair appointment for tomorrow even though I NEEDS IT.  Because it’ll help make the going over a bit easier.

Ah, what else can I ramble about for thirty minutes and three hundred words?  I got the DVD version of my single favorite movie ever, Trust.  And I wondered, as I watched the little interview segment they added on there, was this my single favorite movie of all time?  The people involved seemed oddly ambivalent about it.  Seemed distracted, the angle of this little tiny nineteen-minute documentary seemed almost as though they had to be, if not coerced, convinced to talk about it.   But slowly, somehow, it just became intense and perfect, as actress and director, Hal Hartley, finally, with the thing almost over, sat down in the same space.  The whole thing looked askance, and I thought it was exactly right.  Of course, even then, you had Adrienne Shelly.  You can’t help but look in her eyes and search for something that could never be there.  Some foreshadowing of her terrible fate.  She is my favorite actress, was…Sudden Manhattan, her surrealist, magical, quirky as fuck film, blew my mind.  So weird, the comedy so black, the big notions falling, again, askance from what you expect.  But here, she’s Hal Hartley’s creation and the turn she makes from this big hair, Long Island teenage monster, with her hand out to her father as she demands five bucks and casually tells him she’s pregnant, as she goes from that to this penitent, self-searching woman who questions the basis of the crap relationships and experiences that brought her to where she is.  Who wants better for herself and the man she comes to love, a love that bends both of them in ways that we as an audience get to decide the value of.   I am rewatching it now and it is as perfect as I remember.

He says he’s going to watch it.  He’s seen other Hal Hartley films, of course he has, but he hasn’t seen Trust.  But he will.

Ink Tycoon

971935_18868115I don’t exactly know what I was thinking. I am flying across the ocean, over thousands and thousands of miles of salty, brackish waters of untold depths that are winging away beneath a metal body that seems to only follow the bumblebee version of physics – working out of belief rather than reason. I am going to meet a friend whom I have never spoken to outside of the contents of our keyboards in Italy. This is, I suppose now, having bought the tickets and boarded this flight, perhaps a bit naive. A little bit crazy.

My hands tremble a bit as I accept the water cup from the flight attendant. She is Irish, or at least speaks with a brogue that may be required for all of the attendants on Aer Lingus, and I don’t know why I find that calming. Her hair is neat as a pin, swirled and secured behind her in a retro-style bouffant. Her makeup is just on the verge of cakeyness, but she has a cool, self-assured demeanor. For some reason, in my mind, the anxious thought dances around on stilts: if all of our bodies and all of our luggage and all of this machinery can ride in a suit of metal through the sky, there must be some sort of magic to it, some sort of belief. And maybe, since I’m thinking of it, that belief is mine. So I can’t stop believing in the power of modern aerodynamics and aeronautics and karma and cha arrows and mana and my own fragile will because the moment I do, the half-moment I do, we could all fall out of the sky.

Maybe more than a little bit crazy. It is only my second flight of the day, or the two days, as time blurs together at such heights and speeds. I have flown before maybe twenty times and almost always by myself. But I think there’s some comfort in believing you’re safe if only you’re just paying attention. That you won’t be caught off-guard if the worst does come to pass.

It doesn’t, though, and eventually, I watch Three Coins in the Fountain on the airplane TV that is mounted into the seat in front of me. It features Rome in the sixties, women with odd collars, and everything in the glory of technicolor all while my compatriots on this flight yawn and find themselves capable of dreaming while their bodies are moving from point to point at five hundred miles an hour. Most are roused, though, when the flight attendants push the carts through with trays of microwaved Irish stew and some other forgettable option. I loosen my grip on the armrest and tuck in. It’s good. Or at least, if this was to be my last meal on this mortal coil, it was bearable. Between this and the coffee and tea, time passes, the airplane chooses not to fall out of the air and we land in Dublin. It’s two a.m. here or that’s what my ticket tells me because no clock looks the same. I log in to Facebook and announce my arrival. To me, I think, as I sit in the waiting area for the final flight that will take me to Rome and to meet the friend who has arranged to pick me up and take me to her house, that there’s something miraculous that has just occurred. However, security agents and bleary-eyed passengers, some who flew with me and some who did not, don’t appear to be in the mood to discuss the fact that humanity has devised a way for all of us to transport ourselves over the very clouds, over oceans where for thousands of years men died in the effort of crossing the waters, and we’re able to do it and shop at the SkyMall at the same time.

The fact that I have to do it again in a matter of an hour and a half seems like I might be pushing my luck.

But curiosity and propriety get me on that last plane and as the sunrises multiply across the time zones, I look out the window to see the mythical Italian landscape slowly come into focus. It is beautiful, and surreal, what you expect and yet, strangely unlike the cities that have welcomed me before. We arrive into Leonardo da Vinci Airport – Fiumicino and and de-plane. Immediately, fear dissipates and re-formulates as all the safety warnings I was given before I left come to mind. Don’t let anyone touch your purse, don’t let the gypsies get you, and don’t get lost. All this and a hot, October day brings beads of sweat to my brow as the whole plane struggles into a bus to take us into the actual airport. Once inside, and through the checkpoints, my suitcase doesn’t come up on the carousel and I realize, I can’t speak Italian. I can’t tell anyone I can’t find my suitcase. If I was to fall apart in tears, nobody would…and of course, just at the moment of regret, I saw the black suitcase swing around to meet me. I lug it out and start heading to the exit, not sure what exactly Italy was going to mean.

But my friend was standing there at the entrance waving her hands, just as we’d talked about when we dreamed up this trip. And the journey, as I was to discover, was just starting.