On Not Writing

Nope!  Still not writing.  And yet…

Since August, I have created over 100 draft emails that are essentially daily journals, mostly surrounding weight loss.  I have written these with an eye and ear towards making them public, but wanted the freedom of privacy to write in an obsessive manner about the scale, my food, my attitude, etc.

I’m unsure how and when I’ll start publishing some of those journals.  It’s been almost 6 months and it feels a little stale.  Do I backdate them?  Do I upload all at once?  Do I write as if it is a current date and time?

I thought I would have started this process by now.  But then November 8th happened.  That started a whole slew of flailings-about in my personal and professional life.

I am DEFINITELY not ready to talk coherently or constructively about the current political situation (just ask anyone who has talked to me about our current political situation) but I bring it up because it has been weighing on my mind and heart and diverting precious brain resources from writing anywhere about anything.

That’s all I got today.  Hope you are well.  Thanks for understanding.

Untitled #1, an artist’s starting point

A new month! A blank slate! An untarnished beginning!

Will I stick to my goals? Oh goodness no. But what will derail me? The fact that daylight will dwindle to about 23 minutes and send me to a spiral of depression and pajamas? Or will I get so stressed about finances that I spend double our grocery budget on wine? Perhaps I will take a jolly “belly like a bowl full of jelly” literally and consume my weight in those cheap holiday sugar cookies that come in sacks.

Ah! The possibilities! So much fuckery to look forward to!

I’ve re-read some Christopher Moore recently. Is there anyone who uses the word fuckery more than him?

Before you ask, nope. I did not sign up for NaBloPoMo. I am also not participating in NaNoWriMo or Movember. (In fact “tweeze” is on my November habit tracker. Take that upper lip and uni-brow!  And chin. And any mole anywhere on my body.)

I don’t know what I’m doing. Which is usually true, regardless of the month or point into which we have traversed it.

Today I decided to go old school with that cluelessness. And really, what is more old school than blogging? (Besides making up words like “cluelessness”.)

Pretty much all about hygiene for November. Probably won’t have time to blog with all my hand washing and flossing

Drive

I pulled into a private drive. I only realized after the fact it was private; I thought I was pulling into the business next door’s double drive. But the snow was too bad. It couldn’t be helped. I had decided quick enough to act, but not quick enough to pull over correctly.

The yelling commenced.

“Where are you headed?!”

“Woodruff!”

“I’m going to Saint Germain!”

“We’ll take it!”

And so I ended up with two passengers on my drive to work.

My Facebook memories told me that two years ago we had a huge snow that day. So I was trying to be a little more stoic about the current wet, slushy mess. For the most part, this spring has been easy. And snow was all but gone.

But that day there was snow. And two guys walking down the road in it.

Their names were Jamie and Rob. I didn’t ask. We exchanged that unimportant info when the ride was over.

Rob, in a suit made for riding snow mobiles, sat in the back and pretty much said nothing. Jamie was lankier, had a black eye, and more talkative. The black eye was from his son. The talk was the usual hitchhiker banter.

The walk was because of jail.

This did not surprise me. The county jail is in our city and I picked these guys on the typical “The Walk of Shame” out of town.

Jamie admitted to it pretty much as soon as I got the car back in drive. “Had a fight with my son. Have one of those breathalyzer tests to start my car. Got so mad I had a few drinks, blew into it, and told them to come pick me up.”
Now I did not know his name, but I knew “his” story.

“Hey, I’m here to drive, not to judge.”

And so I drove. We passed two bad wrecks. I couldn’t take my eyes off the road but Jamie reported the second one was horrible – car was totaled after swerving off the road, down a ditch, and into a huge stand of pines. At least they didn’t go in the river.

Picking up hitchhikers is something I decided to do after I’d been a hitchhiker. When you are a hitchhiker, you have stories of the angels on wheels that save you from miles of road walking. These aren’t the stories of hitchhiking shown on after school specials. For good reason, I suppose. But I like the idea of being that angel on wheels for someone. I like the idea of filling up my hitchhiking karma bank for the day when once again I need a hospital or a meal or a hotel room that is miles down the road.

I apologized to the gentlemen that I couldn’t take them further. I had to work. They nodded and understood. Jamie let slip that Woodruff wasn’t their final destination. But if they got there, they could get to Minocqua. And if they got to Minocqua, someone was always going back and forth from “The Res” and would pick them up.

This falsification could have been because of the length of the drive or because they wished to curtail prejudice against the tribe. Either way, it reminded me sometimes it’s good to lie to strangers. No one is making you tell the truth to every person you pass on the street. They weren’t applying for a job or asking me on a date. I wasn’t there to judge, just drive.

After we arrived at my work space, we exchanged names briefly while getting out of the car. I shook Jamie’s hand. They said thanks, but were already halfway across the parking lot before I got my purse out of the trunk. They had miles to go before they slept.

I went ahead and locked the doors of my car, and the door to the office after I was inside. I wasn’t there to judge, but I did a bit anyway. I told myself I was only being smart; protecting myself against the possibility that picking up two guys fresh out of jail wasn’t the smartest move in the world.

It’s really easy to think that in my hitchhiking, that is not a thumb I will have to stick out. That I could not land in trouble with no one to help me but passing cars full of strangers. I hitchhike because I want to get into a town from a hiking trail or vice versa. My hitches are about conveniences, not requirements.

But really, no one is that far from it. The mighty fall, and the less mighty only need to stumble. One too many drinks…one too many arguments…one too many mistakes…and anyone, including me, could be out there with a thumb up hoping someone else won’t judge and just drive.

How ’bout a little old fashioned, drink-in-one-hand-type-with-the-other, stream of consciousness blog?

Except that it is 10:30am as I type this. Sadly, the drink is water.

I did drink last night*. Thursday night drinking is pretty unheard of these days, as I would like to lose some weight so I am carrying less while I hike. (Side note: after becoming a long-distance hiker, I can no longer lose weight hiking. I will probably shed a few pounds on the Superior Hiking Trail, but nothing significant. The body, it adapts. Just like it adapts to Thursday drinking.)

I decided to have a drink even though it was Thursday because it was WARM and SPRING IS HERE and I wanted to CELEBRATE.

As opposed to when I decide to have a drink because it is COLD and DREARY and I want to HIDE.

I drink less these days not only because of the calories, but because I have reached an age and experience level of drinking where I can drink copious amounts and not be hung over, but as soon as I’m past 1 drink I can kiss sleep goodbye.

I woke up at 3:30am, with the lights on, absolutely panicked that I am going to die someday.

This is a panic I have had frequently throughout my life. I used to calm myself down by pointing out how young I am. Now that that argument is moot, I try to point out how many people in my life (past and present) would STILL say I am young and even if I only live to my father’s age (I do plan to outlive him. Sorry Dad) that is 24 more years of life and that is a super long and many family members that have lived into their eighties or beyond saw death in a very different light, welcomed it a bit, and in one case (Gma) complained weekly that IT HAD NOT SHOWN UP YET AND THIS MORTAL COIL IS TIRING SHUFFLE OFF ALREADY.**

This morning, I used the calming technique of, “Are you shitting me that this is really how I am going spend 3:30am? It is too damn early for this.” Then I grabbed my phone and played a new game I am addicted to for an hour. I will not tell you the game for it is clearly made for twelve-year-olds and it is embarrassing how much I love it. But I managed to collect enough sweets to get unlimited energy for an hour and while it may not be the best start to a day, it certainly was better than panicking about death.

Then I sat up in bed and did some guided meditation.

I have not had time or room for yoga lately. I miss it, although I am still at a body size where I get frustrated over the limitations and modifications I have to make (boobs and Eagle Arms do not mix). For about two months I kept putting yoga on “the list” and it just wasn’t getting done. Time to be honest about what I can and can’t accomplish within 24 hours (23 hours if you take off for playing “Pearl’s Peril”***) and decided to try meditation apps with 10 minute guided sessions to provide some of benefit I felt from yoga that I don’t get from other forms of exercise.

So far…sigh. I desperately wish I could be one of those truly granola go-with-the-flow people. But I think using “desperately” in that sentence indicts how much against my natural personality that is.

Supposedly these sorts of things…mindfulness, calmness, gratefulness, meditation…can be learned. So I continue. Even though half the time “meditation” means “close my eyes until a cat jumps up and scares the shit out of me.”

*I wrote this Friday and forgot to publish.

**Ask me how that “less caps lock” resolution is going.

***If you are an adult that plays this game, I am NOT insinuating you are immature or have bad taste in games. I am insinuating you need to come visit and drink some not-water with me.

Punching People In The Throat Is My New Spirit Animal

I never think I hate February. But then somehow for the shortest month of the year it definitely drags for me. And this year I had to endure a whole nother day of it! There were all those “what are you achieving in your bonus day” memes and inspiring Facebook posts and what I really wanted to achieve was to punch all those creators in the throat and then take a nap.

I’ve decided I am taking a trip next February. Somewhere.  Anywhere.  Anything to break of the monotony of “Forever Winter Wisconsin”.

When I lived in Florida, I found November and December to be a little depressing. I struggled with the time change (here I do as well, but I’m more stoic and prepared) but mostly I think I hated that the climate did not match my expectations seasonally. I always had a hard time getting excited for the holidays, which made me try harder since Christmas is my favorite holiday, which made me even more depressed when I felt let down December 25th.

Here I LOVE November and December. I could become one of those people who says, “Well, there really are only X shopping days left…” when someone complains for Christmas decor in the retails stores on September 15th. Feel free to come punch me in the throat. I’m aware it’s annoying. But I’m so happy about it that I can’t stop.

In Florida, I LOVED January and February. New year! Clean slate! And it was warm/light enough to get out and accomplish stuff! Also, when I was single, I always, always found a guy in February or early March. Always. And perhaps I should have focused on what was it about me that meant every February or early March I was single and in search of new guy but whatever. I found Tom and he doesn’t believe in divorce so I can pretty much ignore all my commitment/relationship issues until death parts us. Whee! Man, that right there was enough reason to get married again.

Point is, I had lots of good and evidently sexy energy around me during the start of the year in Florida. Now here in Wisconsin I just have a lot of whining and darkness. And possibly leftover cheese. Because inevitably I also start off November and December determined to stay on track nutritionally for the winter and sometime after December 28th that turns into, “try not to eat all the cookies in one sitting. Pace yourself.”

But now it is March! Perhaps last year I didn’t have this hopeful surge but last year the weather report for the second week in March didn’t include average highs in the 40s. It has been warm and sunny, or warm and rainy (today). Either way means the snow is rapidly melting. And until the spring forward time change, it is light enough, early enough, I can walk in the mornings. (I still have to wear ice traction but it is a small price to pay for going outside without snow boots and a puff jacket.)

I just might make it

February has been tough, yo.

In part because I realize I am too old to end a sentence with “,yo”.  Yet I feel without it the sentence, “February has been tough,” exudes a stoic adult-ness I do not feel about the situation.

But today I managed to buy prescription cat food online (Spike is a delicate flower, requiring not one, but TWO special diets mixed together to assure all of his output actually does, indeed, output) with just emailing pdfs and jpegs and not requiring me to speak to an actual person in person.

There’s hope, is what I am saying.  Or perhaps, I am saying,

There is hope.

Because I’m an adult.

Ugh and GoDaddy and Other Words Strung Together

I wrote this last Monday and didn’t publish for some reason.  Probably because I was so tired.  Oh wait.  I remember…it took me over 45 minutes to get the fire to the point it did not need babying that night.  I almost cried I was so frustrated.  I am certainly not the best at starting fires, but I do know the basics.  I usually get home first so I have lots of practice starting fires in our wood stove.  But that night the wood was damp and I could not stack the wood so it would sit right on the coals and it was just awful.

Things are better now.  For one, Tom is back.  For another, the temperatures rose to the point a fire is a luxury not a necessity.  I still hate Josh though.

****

I am tired and have a headache and am easily distracted. It makes for an annoying work day where I make an assumption about a piece of paperwork, email someone about it, then realize I have access to additional paperwork that can a) answer my questions or b) completely prove my assumption is incorrect.

And even after doing this twice, I will do it again. I will feel bad and give myself a stern talking to that I am better than this. I will pick up another piece of paperwork, read the first two lines, and say, “This is for X because it was X in the title! I will proceed as if it is for X without reading further!”

I’m not sure if it’s the tired or the distracted that is causing this but I am at the point in the day where I have given up self-correcting. I am just trying to do the bare minimum of work to make it until bedtime. It will save me and my co-workers much time in the long run.

****

I had a very unpleasant experience with GoDaddy first thing this morning, where I was trying to ask about getting a domain name registry wrapped into my hosting service to save a little money.

And the person (Josh) I spoke to has obviously heard this request before and had his answer down pat (that can only be done with a new service, not renewals) but he was so condescending and rude about it. He would not let me finish my very first sentence. He also said, “Well, the domain name is ONLY fifteen dollars” in a way I am very sure he would not appreciate if I clonked him over the head and then took only fifteen dollars out of his wallet.

I would really like to contact GoDaddy and let them know Josh was a dick. It was not the worst experience I’ve had in customer service, but it is the worst I’ve had with GoDaddy.

Except, evidently, you cannot email GoDaddy. You have to call GoDaddy. That great customer service they pride themselves on must be conducted over the phone so they can address your concern as quickly as possible.

I do not want to call them because I do not want GoDaddy to do anything. Maybe fire Josh immediately and send him on the walk of shame with his headset dangling? But I do not want GoDaddy to do anything FOR me. And I feel if I call to complain, it will be implied that I am looking for action by, for example, giving me the fifteen dollar credit I originally called about. And Josh was an asshole, but I understand from subsequent reading, he was a correct asshole. I do not want GoDaddy to bend the rules or give me a special Josh-was-an-asshole discount. I just want GoDaddy to know about Josh because I want to get good customer service from them in the future and letting them think Josh is good at customer service will not facilitate that happening. Maybe they are making the Josh-From-Billing Customer Service Excellence Award right now as I type! Pretty soon it will be 24 hours of reaching Josh and I will have to decide to switch hosting services and I don’t want to do that.

****

I like how I complained that I am jumping to wrong conclusions and rushing forward on assumptions in my own work and then also complained about someone not letting me finish a sentence he was so sure of my question and rushed to answer it.

In other news, it has become officially cold (-30 windchill, HIGH of -3) so we have to have a fire going in the wood stove all the time. My skin is itchy and my hair crackles when I put on a shirt. My toes are pretty much never warm unless I am currently in the shower. I am beginning to understand that I can want to move somewhere there are seasons and still not love 100% every aspect of every season. Tom will be gone for two days (trade show) and something I have already learned from his Christmas trip is that this life we chose is definitely not for the soloist. Maybe with a different house, or different cats, a different commute…but as it sits now, we are both required participants in the daily maintenance of this life. And that goes doubly for when the weather necessitates the wood stove. I am all about equality and toting in wood myself, lighting fires, maintaining fires…but it means while I’m doing that he is making dinner or giving a cat medicine or washing dishes.  When it’s just one of us here, something definitely falls to the wayside.  Usually sanity.

Flowing Through My Veins

I am having a medical setback that is painful and making me grumpy.

It is another small case of cellulitis on my thigh.  I have filled my antibiotic prescription that my doctor was nice enough to give refills for the last time this happened (June).  I am still on the fence about actually taking it.  The lump appears to have gone down some today, with topical antibiotics and warm compresses.  The oral antibiotic is 4 times a day, 1 hour before or 2-3 hours after a meal, for 10 days.  I’d like to avoid that if possible.

The issue is that the location is an extremely chafey one.  Not only is this causing the pain, but it makes it unlikely that topical solutions will resolve the situation as any sort of friction, such as walking from my desk to the bathroom, will immediately undo the good work.

So…yeah.  I guess I just decided I’m taking the oral antibiotic.  Wheee!

I like to counteract this sort of pain and grumpy with some sort of culinary treat.  Junk food to take my mind off of the hard knot of bacteria throbbing in my leg.  (I bet you’re hungry now!)

And yes, there is vegetarian junk food that does not include high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils.  And yes, I do still stick to the bare minimum of my healthy eating mandates even when making poor food choices.

My small attempt at “healthy” junk food does mean I wander the aisles reading ingredient list after ingredient list.  I also knew I didn’t want truly empty calories – I am tired and if I put effort into heating something up at home, it had better make me feel stuffed to the gills.

I kept wandering, reading, searching.  Nothing was leaping out at me.  Finally I had a heart-to-heart with myself and asked, “What is it you truly want to eat that will make you feel good?”

My answer?

“Anything I can dip in Ranch dressing.”

Please note I have ingested Ranch dressing all of zero times outside the state of Wisconsin.  I am as shocked at this revelation as you are.  Cheese State assimilation 99% complete.

Also, I had to buy the “expensive” “organic” dressing just to get the ingredient list to conform to my requirements.

But now I am sitting here with a plate of mozzarella bread, veggie nuggets, and a healthy bowl of Ranch dressing.  And I am VERY happy.

I also just remembered I have salad in the fridge.  Do you suppose people put Ranch dressing on that as well?

Already a Winner!

Here we are, a mere 7 days into 2016, and I have already made it to Walmart once!

I did not want to go, actually.  Because I was in a town I rarely frequent and didn’t know where the Walmart was and had an appointment for a Dr I’d never seen and I assumed I’d be there until past my usual go home time and then still have a longer commute because rarely-frequented town is in the opposite direction from work than home.

But!  I got to the Dr early.  And they didn’t need any intake paperwork because I’m already in this particular clinic’s computer from other doctor visits.  And the Dr actually SAW me early (something very different than arriving early) and the Dr was an Optician, one of the only Opticians in two counties I can see on our new health insurance hence needing to drive to rarely-frequented town, and I only wanted glasses not contacts, and nothing looked alarming in the exam, so it was a pretty short cut-n-dried visit.  I was done 11 minutes after my original appointment time.

I had to see an Optician ASAP because right around Christmas I broke my glasses.

What happened was, Christmas Eve was pretty dead in terms of customers so I decided to sneak into the back room and re-arrange some of our storage.  This included moving huge, old, wood cabinets that we nest one atop another.  Tom wasn’t that impressed with my endeavors because he was under the impression that last time we moved them he left the four-wheeled cart underneath it.  WRONG.

I moved it with my blood, sweat, and tears to back up closer to the wall and had this grand easy plan of creating shelving behind it for things we don’t need access to daily.  Tom was also not impressed with my shelving plan and insisted we need to make actual support structure and not just lay plywood across random stuff onto the cabinets because he has seen people get hurt like that and I don’t know what he’s talking about but in my grand re-organizing a box fell on my head and SNAP went my glasses hinge.

I spent the rest of that day with my glasses taped together, but the arms of my glasses are very wide at the hinge, meeting up completely with the width of the glasses, and that made it very difficult to tape.  They “fell”? out of the tape quite a bit.  When I got home I got out the crazy glue.  The metal hinge is what broke and it is embedded in the plastic frame so it was also very hard to match up to the broken piece inside.   But I finally got it, went to sleep, and in the morning viola!  Almost wearable glasses!

I’ve actually been very impressed with how the glue has held.  It only took 48 hours for me to forget the fragile-glasses situation and close the arms as part of my automatic ritual for getting into the shower.  Evidently the glue that is holding the broken inside piece was not attached, literally or emotionally, to the extra glue that was keeping the arm straight.

But still.  Not ideal.  My glasses always look a little lopsided on my face (it is NOT that my face is lopsided.  It is that every single glasses frame every created is lopsided.  Got it?) but now the left arm, while holding in there, is not exactly tight to my face.  They fall off when I do yoga or bend over to put on shoes.  Since it has been three years since my last exam, off to the Optician I went.

Despite the inconvenient location of the clinic, I would have purchased new glasses there just to have this process one step further along.  Unfortunately, between my pupil dilation and the itty bitty print on the price tags, it seemed like something I was not capable of doing then and there without regrets.  So instead I found out that the Walmart was only 5 minutes from the clinic and there was a back route and that is the thrilling story of how I bought paper towels and toilet paper.

Not a Math Major Or On A Diet

I decided we would have spaghetti for dinner.  And that I would use the whole box because I hate having silly extra portions leftover that aren’t enough for two people.

But when it got to the point of pouring pasta into boiling water, I hemmed.  Hawed even.

I checked the number of servings in the sauce (5), the number of servings in the pasta box (6.5.  Who the fuck has ever eaten a half serving of pasta?), tried to take into to account that we would want to get a 2nd dinner out of this….and put in 4/5 of the box.

Only afterwards, once the spaghetti was cooked and I was combining everything did I realize that I somehow purposely decided that we were only going to eat 1 serving of pasta at each meal.  And while that perhaps does not automatically result in the same swearing a 1/2 serving might, it certainly does in this fucking house.

The really annoying part is that Tom will get home and if he likes it (it has…dun dun DUN…vegan meatballs in it), he will not care that our meal plan included a x2 by this.  While I have tried some moderation with the idea that I can fill up on pecans and dark chocolate chips later – completely guilt-free!  it was just 1 serving of pasta when obviously I need 3 for basic survival! – he will just snarf down the whole bowl.

Oh wait, that’s not the really annoying part.  The really annoying part is that I now have a silly extra portion of spaghetti in a box that isn’t enough for 2 people.  Good job on those math skills!  Thank goodness I went with my gut reaction and didn’t overthink myself into a too-little-pasta corner!  Again!