Saturday, December 11, 2010
Greetings, nonexistent readers. Since last I threw my words into the realm of the virtual press, many things have taken place. I now live in _____, where I am a copy editor at a place I shall not name. I enjoy sitting behind a desk much more than standing behind a counter. I especially enjoy working with words--something I was destined to do since I was a child of five or six in the backseat of the car, gazing up and out the window at the signs that rolled by, reading them aloud and sometimes correcting them to the amusement or annoyance (I'm not sure) of my parents. That said, gentle nonexistent reader, I am at liberty to make errors here in my personal blog, because I said so, because I correct copy all day, and because it's my blog.
Besides being in ____, right at this very moment I'm sitting at a window-length bar in a coffee shop, watching people walk by huddling in coats or, occasionally, under umbrellas. (Those of us who are not proud embrace the use of the umbrella, even in the Pacific Northwest. I have a collection.)My feet are cold, because I was lazy today and wore my tweed-like loafers and little cotton socks. I did so not knowing that my car battery would die when I parked it on Main outside of Valley Vision and for a moment left my lights on. I was debating whether or not I wanted to walk down to the coffee shop of my choice, being in a foul mood and hating the rain. I was in a foul mood because as I had been driving down Poplar, two cars within one block pulled out directly in front of me like suicidal idiots. Two in one block. That's enough to make a normally sane person angry, because it starts to feel personal. Is my car invisible? the person wonders, and then the person realizes, No, my car is just a piece of shit, so they don't care. Then the person begins to daydream about the day when she'll get a truck and people will think twice about pulling out twenty feet in front of her vehicle. Then the person decides a truck isn't enough, and she'd rather have a Hummer--nay, a Humvee--and though she is opposed to the ridiculousness of such monstrous hunks of gas-guzzling aggression, she decides that such an investment is excusable and perhaps necessary in ____(how many times did I foolishly post my town?), where the streets are crawling with upper-middle-class drivers of SUVs who feel that the cell-phone laws do not apply to them and very, very old drivers who can't bend their necks far enough to look both ways.
So, after driving in circles looking for parking, and several times refusing to hold up traffic to wait for cars to back out of spots and then getting a little frustrated at the unfairness of the world in general when cars behind me did, I finally parked two blocks away at a lucky opening and sat for a minute, considering my fowl mood and the wisdom of inserting myself into a public place. Then when I decided to drive away, and my car didn't agree, my mood flared for a second, and then just...dropped away. So my car has died. I'll have to ask somebody to help. I am hesitant to ask people I know, and terrified of asking strangers, so I'll walk to the coffee shop with my computer, have a forbidden latte, and think about it. And so here I am.
The latte--a sugar free, nonfat hazelnut double-shot--is forbidden because I'm on day 4 of Medifast. I'm proud of myself that the extent of my cheating is having 12 oz. of nonfat milk, which, I'm well aware, does have 12 ounces of sugar--lactose--but overall is much better than the big bucket of soft, crinkle-cut french fries I was craving this morning.
I measured myself this morning and learned with some muted horror that it's possible to be in possession of a right thigh that's the same circumference as my waist was in high school. Once I wrote down my measurements, my desire for a bucket of fries magically disappeared.
I have moved beyond all the steps of grieving that are the ongoing behaviors of the obese: denial, avoidance, self-hatred, obsession, anger at the unfairness of it all, and denial and avoidance combined. I've moved into the only outlook that will do me any good: responsibility. It doesn't matter if I'm fat or thin, I've always had an eating problem (whether it's gorging, or starving myself, or throwing up, or just being lazy and eating fast food for my lunches) and I've always had a hard time not gaining weight. So I just have to accept that I'll always have to be responsible about my eating. It's not a question of whether or not to start a diet now or later, or thinking that I'll be able to accomplish this Herculean feat of a diet and then not have to worry about it. I have to change, period. And ultimately, it's a big deal but at the same time it isn't. All I have to do is eat correctly. Sometimes, to quote the notepad hanging on my stepmom's fridge, you just have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it.
I'm getting some help, though, in Medifast. And please, gentle nonexistent reader, don't think this is an infomercial for the product or the program. Any low-calorie diet is going to work if followed properly. Herbalife is a good option too. But it so happens that several things about it are especially helpful for me and my lifestyle: the first is that I have friends on it. My health coach started out at my size and is now much, much smaller, and perfectly healthy. That in itself is helpful on many levels: she's direct, visual proof that the plan works; she understands; I don't feel like a freak. The second reason the plan will work is that it's meal replacement, and with my choices taken away from me I don't have to worry about it. I can just eat when I'm supposed to, what I'm supposed to while my body learns how to exist without obscene amounts of simple carbs and fats constantly being poured into my system. And I'm busy, so it's nice to have my meals prepared. The only hesitation I had--that still bothers me a little--is that I have the mysterious disease IBS, which has no known symptoms and wreaks all kind of bullshit havoc on my life. Day 3, Friday (yesterday), I was inexplicably weak and nauseated, with those weird little body chills like my nerves are made of feathers in the wind, and I had to go home. Was it the change in diet? Was it just one of my fluke episodes, which come and go with no known cause? Do those happen because of my IBS? Because of my anxiety? I don't know, but today I feel better, so all systems go.
One possibility is that I'm reacting to the magnesium. I got hives from Doan's back-pain medicine a while ago (I know, what a winner--I'm weak like Meg in Little Women), and the doc said I was probably allergic to the magnesium in it. Who knows? I've wondered before if peanuts bother me. I've wondered lots of things--it's hard to pinpoint what's bothering a complex system like a human body. So my next steps are to A) continue on the plan but avoid eating peanut butter as my snack (which I did the other day) and B) go to an applied kinesiologist and see if I can find out and fix the problem (you can get energy therapy to overcome mild allergies, especially if the allergies come from deficiencies). Did I mention I am a believer in quackery? I have as much faith in a competent kinesiologist or chiropracter as I do in a doctor. They each have a job to do, and they look at that complex machine in different ways.
So this complex machine of fingers and cold toes and walleyes and thick hair (pulled back in a bun) and boobs and larger-than-life thighs and miraculous muscles and heart and lungs--is going to sign off now. Stay tuned, gentle nonexistent reader, for updates on all the super exciting deeds of my life.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I kind of dropped this blog like an unwanted stepchild after I got back from Europe. That's because life has been such an adventure. I was staying in the country, then I was homeless and staying in Montana, then school started and I began the craziest quarter yet. Well! I'm done with fall quarter--at least the scholastic end of it (though I still have papers to grade, and a lot of them) so time to update.
I'm living in a newer house with two charming cats. Their names are Minnie and Baby. Terrible names, but I didn't name them, and I'm sort of house-sitting (though the landlords are here often). Baby is a gorgeous, fluffy idiot. Minnie is like a school marm. She's old, has a dainty little face and a lot of extra, ahem, baggage elsewhere, and is fitted with a jingly collar so that we can keep track of her and her mischief. She prefers to think that she's keeping track of us. She follows people from room to room and keeps an eye on things
My favorite part about this house (besides the cats) is the lovely dining room. I can sit at the table and work with a view of the backyard and the creek out the sliding glass doors. My least favorite part about this house I've already mentioned, but I won't go into that.
I lost a lot of weight in Europe. The reasons are numerous and not all of them are easily duplicated. For one, I was excited to get up early in the morning and I fell asleep early (between 9 and midnight) every night. I also walked everywhere, all day, up and down stairs, all over London, Paris, Rome, Sorrento, and lots of little medieval towns. Transportation is fantastic in larger European cities but it's underground; to really get a feel for the city, one should walk. And I did.
Eating out in Europe also helped me lose weight. This seems counter-intuitive, but that's because of the American idea of eating out. Most of the food that I ordered in Europe was rich and delicious--and not served in gargantuan American portions. In France especially, you're expected to sit and relax, to enjoy your food, the atmosphere, and yes, the digestion process. Also, I was poor. So I ate out a lot (being on the road) but I also skipped meals. In Italy I often ate (gasp) gelato for lunch, and with my food/energy levels being so direct, I could tell the difference between a gelato with protein (the creamy, "fattening" kind) and a gelato without (the much higher glucose-rating kind), and I can tell you that the fattening kind is much more nutritious.
Starting in London at the beginning of my trip, I cut out almost all coffee, for various reasons, and picked up the habit of buying a half-carton of orange juice (about 2 quarts) and drinking it all morning. Sometimes I bought a big "Go-Gurt" instead; sometimes I bought both. And I carried my metal water bottle everywhere, which saved me a lot of money (except for one unfortunate incident in Cluny, when I thought I was ordering tap water and ended up with a large, expensive bottle of Evian:)
I filled my water bottle in hotel and hostel bathrooms, in the free breakfast rooms with juice, and in the ancient fountains of Rome and Pompeii. Water is so delicious when it's 100 degrees out and you're exploring ancient ruins.
Getting water from a very old fountain outside the Borghese Gallery, Rome
The biggest deal is that I discovered what's been bothering me (in addition to caffeine): wheat. For some reason I can eat flat breads, like pizza, with no problems. But the wheat powder in soups and cream sauces, fluffy wheat breads and rolls, and sweets all send me somewhere not fun. And the more I cut the better I feel: clean, energetic, awake.
So, yes. A lot of that is easy to duplicate, but somehow being in school is just so stressful that a person succumbs to eating fast food, sleeping in, staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning, inhaling piles of comfort food (bowls of failure), chai tea lattes, et cetera ad nauseum. Literally. So now I feel all bloaty and gross, and my clothes are tight again. =( Solution: with papers done and just grading left, I'm undertaking a fruit and vegetable fast. I'll let you all know how that goes.Update: it didn't.
There are lots of steps to climb in Europe. I do mean a lot.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Speaking of which, I saw a thing about how Heather Mills (Paul McCartney's ex, who sued and claimed that he beat her. Yeah, I was beat by a Beatle. The one who wrote "Penny Lane." SUUUUUUURE) compared herself in one breath to Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcom X. Because the truth has to be heard, regardless of personal persecution! Okay, on the 1% chance that Paul McCartney has a dark side (and still wrote "When I'm 64" and "Lalala, Lalala, Lalalovely Linda, with the lovely flowers in her hair!") I won't call her a vulturous gold digger, but even so. A model who married a Beatle (even if she does have a prosthetic leg--if I needed a prosthetic leg, I'd probably end up with a broom handle!) should not compare herself to the likes of Malcolm X, who's one of my heroes. Even older, wiser, peace-lovin' Malcom X would sneer.
But it's all good; I've noticed that my writing doesn't actually attract readers in any forum, except fellow poets... which casts a flickering doubt on my choice of graduate degrees in the side of my mind somewhere, which I will choose to ignore. If Pliny the Elder had blogged his encyclopedias, his site wouldn't have received hits either.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I've been working on a series of photo albums, organized by section of the trip, on shutterfly at http://jessiwithaneye.shutterfly.com/. A password is required, so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want permission to enter. (Who am I talking to? Only one-and-a-half people read this anyway and they're already on Facebook). I keep my photos semi-private because I don't want my pictures up for free downloading on the internet; I use a little point and click digital, but some (just some) of my shots are pretty damned good. To think what I might be capable of with a professional camera. Several people on the trip had these big, black cameras with super long lenses and additions... I suffered from a bit of camera envy (Freudian pun intended).
Anyway, I'm back in the states. I went to my father's for about a week, got sick of Fox News (in theory; there's more to it than that) and came up to Ellensburg. I'm technically homeless, or you could call it "living out of my car," or you could say "on vacation." I'm house-and-pet sitting at some friends' apartment while they visit family. (And as we speak, the big puppy is harassing the poor cat, who's just trying to cuddle with me. Poor Sienna, a silly-happy 60-pound-beast with an uncontrollable tongue, doesn't understand the difference between me petting Galahad and her smothering him. Poor Galahad just wants to chill for once.)
After my friends return, I'm going out to Montana. I'm excited because my mom and little sister just moved there after many years in Cape Cod. I've only seen them a few times in the last decade. Most of my family lives there now, and all summer I've been thinking that the only place I'd rather be is Billings (which means that I might need a brain scan).
I'm trying to decide whether to take the clunker or the bus. Last time I took the Greyhound to MT, it was a miserable experience, and I hate being anywhere without autonomy and transportation for long. I'll be there for three weeks. But my car has 270k miles on it, and I constantly worry that it'll break down.
As I type, the poor cat keeps moving around the room, trying to be close to me but rid himself of the dog, and the dog keeps cluelessly following him and throwing her paws and head all over him (Sienna has an obsession with resting her head on things, which is cute...until it's the mouse pad, or a cat). Galahad puts up with it for a second, and then bats her with his claw with a warning "mrawl!" which Sienna takes to mean "Let's play!" It's communication breakdown.
So, with only three days of work here in Ellensburg, I've been doing just a few things: playing on the internet, reading, and taking the dog to the river/lake/on hikes in the late afternoon. This might sound like fun, and it is, but anyone who knows me knows that that is very little activity and borders, for me, on depressive behavior. I need to be constantly busy. Which is one of the reasons I'm looking forward to school starting back up again. I love to go to class. I actually look forward to teaching. I love attending all the little functions on campus like poetry readings and drag shows.
This was going to be a blog about Fox News, but look where it ran off to.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I did, however, oddly enough, end up at a swank private house club on a hill far above Sorrento. It helps to make friends with attractive Brazilian women while you're overseas...that alone opens many doors for you, by proxy.
I also did not fall in love. Well, I take it back. I fell in love with one French man and one Italian man. They are, respectively, Giselvertous and Bernini. Yes, these are sculptors. Giselvertous is from the 12th century, and his work, though primitive in some ways (which I find endearing), is remarkably expressive and graceful. The following three pictures, two of G and one of B, are all messed up because I tried to get fancy. Use your imagination and you'll figure out which is which. I took the pictures of Giselvertous's work, but not the Bernini (naughty people, taking pictures in the Borghese). The detail of Mary Magdalen is blurry and yucky because it was a dimly lit corner and I didn't have a tripod.
Mary Magdalen in The Miracle of Lazarus.
Eve, his most famous. Notice how she slithers on the ground like the Serpent. Close-up of Eve. I love the fine lines in his work, like those in her hair.
Bernini is a great sculptor of the Baroque period. His work is just strewn across Rome. What caught me were two of his sculptures at the Borghese Gallery: Apollo and Daphne, and The Rape of Porsepina (Persephone).
Well, right now I'm sitting in a friend's fiance's parents' basement, thinking about whether or not to go back to sleep or get up, shower, and hike up Saddle Mountain. I'm in a tough spot right now because I came back in debt--though the amount is small, it is urgent--and I don't have a job. And I had promised a friend I would be at her wedding and help her out with some of the arting and the food prep...and it's also important that I'm here to support her because she's been such a wonderful friend. Meanwhile, however, I think I would have work at the Phish show if I tried, and it's the same two days. =(
Signing off for now.