Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 29

Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.

I hope, first and foremost, to change my weight/body. I know I've been extremely lucky to not suffer and major health issues because of my weight, but I need to not take that for granted. It's easy to want to reduce my weight for appearance's sake, but that *does* sound petty. And, when I do allow myself to consider the worst that can happen at this weight, it's scary enough to want to change my habits forever. So I should focus on THOSE reasons, and not so much those size 12 jeans in my closet.

Day 28

Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?

While I don't think I want kids right now, I'm 99% sure I'd keep a baby if I got pregnant.

I don't really want the responsibility of taking care of a child...but I don't think I could let one go that Neil and I would make. It would work out. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 27

Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?

My life is pretty damned fantastic.

Husband: Adorable. Supportive. Understanding. Doesn't leave the toilet seat up. Makes me feel sexy and beautiful every day. Does things for me all the time.

Friends: Funny, clever, creative, loving, nonjudgmental, and forever interested in me and my inanities.

Work: Exciting, fits me to a tee, excellent co-workers and friends.

Family: Best ever family. My dad's forever my hero, my sister ROCKS with her creativity and is delightful to be around, bro Joe is amazingly funny and intelligent, and bro Steve makes me laugh harder than anyone ever has.

It's ALL good, people.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 26

Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?

Jesus, really? Wow.

Sure, I've thought about it. It terrifies me, and it would be an awful, hurtful, selfish thing to do, and I'm better than that. My life is worth so much to me.

That's all I have to say about this one.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 25

Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.

My father. My husband. And my fear of death.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 24

Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)

I hate this one. I hate it. I'll tell you one thing--I ain't gonna tackle this one today. And when I do, it's not going to be a playlist for one person. Gag me.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 23

Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.

I wish I had gone to Ireland and Spain when I had a chance. And Greece and Italy...and the not-Paris part of France.

I wish I had gone out last Friday.

I wish I had been more social in my last study-abroad experience. And during the first one, although I did let go during the latter part of it.

I wish I had been more comfortable with people touching me when I was thinner.

I wish I had done more in college. I could have done without watching an hour of The Simpsons every day after dinner, even though it was semi-social. I could have done more shows, joined more clubs, and shown more of an interest.

I wish I'd kept even a simple journal when I was growing up. I have random bits here and there, but really the only journal I have is reading my half of the ginormous collection of notes passed between me and a few friends in junior high & high school. They mostly consist of such gripping revelations as "12 more minutes of class and I AM SO BORED LINZEE" or "P.S. I heart Balty Getty."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 22

Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.

I wanted to blog this morning, but I just stared at the prompt and didn't know what to write. It kind of haunted me all day, in fact.

I think my biggest regret was wasting nine months of my life living in Urbana, Illinois. Absolutely, positively wasted.

Some good came of it; I think it's probably what made me pack up and move to NYC, and I certainly don't regret that. in Urbana was the worst period of my life. It was taking what was a depressing situation and magnifying it a hundred times, and dragging what could have taken a few months to get over into almost a year. It affected almost all my relationships, and not in good ways.

Wish I'd listened to my parents on this one.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 21

Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

Drop everything and rush (as safely as I can muster) to the hospital.

Ask Mom to help keep them safe from too much pain/damage.

I'd feel terrible about the fight, but do everything I can to tell them petty fights don't matter in the long run...and I love them.

And it goes without saying: flowers/gifts out the wazoo. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 20

Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.

I drink occasionally, and see no harm in people drinking at age 18/up as long as it doesn't get out of control.

As for drugs...I spent the majority of my life vehemently opposing all manner of illegal drug, down to the secondhand smoke off a bong that I encountered at a college house party.

I've outwardly become more accepting, as I know--in my head--that marijuana is hardly as damaging as drinking too much.

But I do still hate it. And I do still think that people who engage in drug-taking are pretty damned stupid. And I really get sad when I think of people I love partaking.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 19

Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?

Dang, yo. We were getting all kinds of controversial up in here.

Religion: a nice idea, but people just don't seem to get that belief can't happen in any way but organically. Would you really want me to join your church if I don't truly believe in the aspects it professes? It seems to me that a lot of religions are all about the numbers...getting as many people as possible to convert or come to church. And that kinda gets under my skin. (Oh, and also, I don't need another thing to feel guilty about.)

Politics: I try to avoid discussions as much as possible, and articles/TV news/etc. on the topic. I'm mostly uninterested. I have my opinions on issues that I care about, but I refuse to feel guilty for not following closely what's going on in this insane country of ours.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 18

Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.

I could get all angry and soapbox-y here, but I don't think I will.

Gay marriage was just a vague thing to me for awhile....of course I supported it, but didn't really care about marriage itself one way or another. I probably would get married one day, but if I didn't, no big whoop. What is it but a formality? (That was rhetorical...)

At Grinnell, they showed free (sometimes new!) movies every weekend. My (mostly guy) friends were excited about an upcoming doc, "Chicks in White Satin," by Elaine Holliman. All we knew was the title, and that it was about lesbians, so we figured we were in for a hot movie of some sort.

The filmmaker herself was in attendance and available to talk to the audience at the end, as she was a Grinnell alum (much the same as Peter Coyote did the previous year after a Roman Polanski film he was in. Totally disturbing movie).

But the movie, which had been nominated for an Oscar, was so much different than any of us expected. There were lesbians, but instead of a free-for-all orgy, it starred two women who wanted to get married. It went through their wedding preparations and obstacles, and ended with the union.

I'm not going to get into the politics of this, because I wasn't even thinking of that at the time. What touched my cold 19-year-old heart the very most was when I realized: these women are *dying* to get married....because they WANT to. Not because it's expected of them by society, but DESPITE a thousand obstacles from the same damned society that tells me I should probably be wed by the time I'm 30. They just simply want to be committed for a lifetime. Nothing more, nothing less.

And that's pretty effing cool.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 17

Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.


Wow. This is kind of a big deal. Changed my *views* on something? That's pretty dramatic.

Plus, I primarily read fiction/chick-litty stuff, which ain't exactly groundbreaking.
Well, wait. It can be.

I love to read and watch movies/TV as an escape. Not really to make me think, not to expand my horizons...I do enough of that already. I just want some relaxing and happy "get lost in another world" time. So I stick to entertainment that I know will most likely have a happy ending, and I really prefer it if no one dies. For awhile, I was reading a lot of the "Red Dress Ink" imprint from Harlequin, very Bridget-Jones-ish heroines, imperfect and sassy, sometimes slutty, mostly working in publishing (what's UP with that??) know. Those books are always quick and satisfying.

I was super intrigued by the back cover description of the next RDI in line, Inappropriate Men:

With her marriage spiraling toward divorce, sexually confident and unapologetically sized-24 Sidney Stein finds herself drawn into an illicit affair with Geoffrey Fahl -- not only married and twenty years her senior, but also her father's business partner. Perilously close to falling in love with this man who is so very wrong for her and knowing there's no future in the relationship, Sidney decides it's time to turn her life around.

Newly separated from her husband, Sidney dives into the dating pool. And after more than a dozen dates, a disastrous transitional guy and reconnecting with a high school crush, she can't help but wonder if it might not just be easier to let herself drown. But just as she stops looking for the ideal man, someone else arrives . . .and he might just be everything she never knew she always wanted.

Experience the love, joy and heartbreak of Sidney Stein in Stacey Ballis's debut novel. Neither pat nor predictable, Inappropriate Men is laugh-out-loud funny without compromising intelligence.

I'd never read a chick-lit book about a plus-sized heroine (and NO, Bridget's 130-lb "weight problem" doesn't count) who is *happy* with her body, and that word "unapologetically" in the back cover matter was a shocker to me. I wasn't far from that size at the time, and I couldn't imagine ANYONE in the double-digit sizes would be happy with their body. I hated my body, hated mirrors, hated my clothes, and just knew that I was unlucky in love because no man would ever want someone as fat as me. And, ironically, I was never, ever treated badly because of my weight. One boyfriend had told me he didn't find me as attractive as he used to because of the extra weight, but I knew he was a dick anyway. I've been blessed to have such wonderful people around me who don't give a shit how I look (and who don't feel the need to offer "helpful" suggestions about losing weight).

So this was a freakin' page-turner. I loved everything about it. It was funny, dirty, illicit, and I adored the heroine. Her weight wasn't a focus, just another characteristic--as important as her hair color or her height.

I think that book really began my reluctant (and definitely ongoing) acceptance of myself. This girl was no different than me in size...why doesn't she care as much? She's stylish and sexual and hot, because she KNOWS she is. It was so, so, so refreshing.

And I began to realize....maybe there *are* men who can stand this body. Or even, who prefer it.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 16

Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.

My cell phone.

Don't like that I carry it everywhere, don't like talking on it, don't like that I feel lost without it. I never really wanted one but got one because it seemed a convenient thing to have, and I hardly used it for awhile. I gave the number out, but asked everyone to call me on my land line because I didn't like so many things about talking on the cell: its shape (I like a phone that decently conforms to one's head, dammit!), that it got hot after a short time of talking on it, that the numbers were so tiny and easily mis-dialed, that there wasn't a simple, one-handed "recharging station" like there is for cordless phones. There's no cradle, in other words.

It's something that I could definitely live without, but I can't.

But I really want to.

But I can't.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 15

Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.

I went without dairy for two weeks in 2001, due to intestinal issues.

It was the most tasteless two weeks of my life. NOTHING was good. I tried fake parmesan on my pasta, plain hamburgers at McDonald's...just anything to try and jazz up my diet.

I also had to go sugar-free, so that made it pretty miserable too, but I've done the no sugar thing before, and I can handle it.

And I could probably go no-dairy...with one major exception.

I gots to have the cheese.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 14

Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)

Wow. This one sounds really sad.

Plus...I don't have too many "heroes" aside from my parents. I admire so many people, but they're human to me. Mom and Dad have ever, ever been my heroes, and neither have done a thing to let me down in so dramatic a fashion that I'd feel the need to write a letter. And even if I felt they had at one point, I've *always* realized, later in life, that what they did was only because they loved me and could see what I couldn't.

Okay, so maybe...a role model? Or someone I idealized? And I'm not writing a letter.

Jan Czechowski, my adviser in the theatre department. I think he really disliked me by the time I graduated.

Mr. Butz. Really liked you, favorite teacher. Why you wanna go and delete me off Facebook and still have other former students as friends? Why why why?

Okay, seriously, I've been staring at this for fifteen minutes and I can't come up with any more. I'm sure there are tons! I am an extremely negative person! WTH is wrong with me??

Oh well, that's all for now.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 13

Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)

Dear Bands or Artists,

I don't turn to you to get me through "tough ass days." Nothing comforts me like the Girls (Blanche, Lorelai, Dorothy, Sophia, Rory, Sookie, and Rose). I would never turn on music if I had the opportunity to play those DVDs.

Thank you and good day.


P.S. Okay, I suppose "Thank You For Being a Friend" and "Where You Lead" counts as music.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 12

Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.

Ha! This is kind of 'feel-sorry-for-meeeeee,' isn't it?

With the fantastic people I surround myself with, I don't know if there's much I *never* get complimented on. Which puts the last question into a whole new perspective for me....when looking at it now, I do get called funny, and smart, and nice, and interesting...and rarely enough so that it makes me feel really special when I do. That's why I limit the amount of effort I spend primping myself...if I wore makeup/jewelry/fancy clothes every day, that's how I'd be perceived all the time...and I want to make an impression when I get gussied up. I work with people who paint on their faces every morning...who meticulously pick out their wardrobe and look stunning on a daily basis. And it's totally expected of them. If they came in one day looking frumpy and un-made-up, people would ask them if they're not feeling well. I guess I want the freedom to look like crap and not be questioned. :) (Although, attending Grinnell for four years was an exercise in how frumpy one could look at all times.)

So...something I never get complimented on. This is hard, because I have an ironclad memory. So I'm looking at my fingernails: "No, the nail ladies at the manicure place before my wedding said they were pretty" back: "No, that one skeevy guy in college (Shannon: Joe M.) who rubbed it at every chance said it looked feet: "No, that girl Melissa from when I worked at the university in 2001 said they looked tiny" et cetera, et cetera.

Got it! Got it. Nothing against hairy girls, but I like the fact that I don't have much hair on my arms, eyebrows, legs, and I'll stop right there. What hair I do have is fairly light-colored, and I don't have to pay much attention to overgrowth (except for, you know, normal areas in the shower. I am trying not to get too personal here). While I've gotten complimented on my nice complexion and smooth-after-shaving skin, no one has ever said "Man, your arm hair is really sparse and blond. Nice!"

But you know, I *have* felt people's arm-skin when they don't have any hair there naturally, and that is pretty amazing-feeling. So maybe it's because I'm kind of halfway between hairy and hairless there that it doesn't get noticed much.

This was a weird entry.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 11

Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

Interesting question.

I don't mean to sound down on myself or whiny, but I guess I don't get complimented a lot, by people other than my husband. And that's okay...I don't make an effort to wear goofy patterned tights or quirky shoes or Friday's flair or anything that used to get attention. And I get plenty of compliments from Neil every day.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I suppose I get complimented on how I smell, since I'm obsessed with perfume, or on my jewelry, since I've been trying to wear more lately.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 10

Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.

Gah. This is a little close to home at the moment. I'll just say C. and leave it at that, and let the curious know that it's more an in-person (or phone) conversation...or a drama-filled e-mail kinda situation.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 9

Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.

I would have a LOT more names in this entry if it weren't for Facebook. In fact, I think I'll include a follow-up to this:

Day 09, part two --> Someone who had drifted, but who you got back.

Part One: My friends from TGIFriday's in Chicago, and from Pickles in Champaign. I'm not in touch with a single one of them, and I had such fun there. We didn't go to school together or have any other connections really, and I left both positions on weird terms. But if FB had existed in either case, I have no doubt we'd all still be in touch. I'm lucky that my closest friends from NYU are on Facebook with me (Hi Kat! Hi Marissa! Hi Katie! Hi Whitney! Hi Kelly! Hi Josh! Hi Lauren!), because for awhile, I'd almost lost them too, despite mutual efforts to communicate post-2001.

Part Two: Hands down, Lindsay and Shannon. Old and great friends, whose original friendship I was instrumental in ending. But you both made the effort to be friends again, and I can honestly never....ever...EVER thank you enough. I made horrible choices and mistakes as a young Gen, and you've both looked past that to love me unconditionally. I wish I could see you both a lot more than I do (and I wish you could know each other--you guys are so awesome), but for now long-distance friendships will have to do. And I ain't losing you ever again...k?


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 8

Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

I could go the obvious route here with my college boyfriend, but I kinda just want to forget that ever happened.

As I think about my answer, I'm realizing just how many awesome, awesome people I've had the pleasure to know. There aren't many that stand out as jerks, even though I completely misjudge people all the time to be meaner than they really are. And as I get older, I appreciate people a lot more than I ever did. Answering this question ten or fifteen years ago would have been SO much easier than it is now!

I'm not going to do the 'made my life hell' option. Someone who has treated me like shit....

The technical director at Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre who made me cry during my job as carpenter. Ken? Kevin? Something with a K.

Michael Bollinger, who tried get me to quit Arrow Rock after I broke my thumb on the job.

My boss at my first 'real' job in Chicago, Greg. I wanted to go to his house and rip out his hair plugs while he slept.

The Gown House worker who I called asking if they had any wedding dresses I could try on...she snorted when I told her my size.

And, most recently, Lisa Stamm. I really don't want to hate people, but I hate her with all of my being. She was shitty to me, to my WONDERFUL co-workers and friends, and cut us off without a word. We were nothing but sweet and accommodating to her, and she was negative and mean throughout her tenure at Missouri State Library. Good riddance, Miss Thang.

Okay, that all kinda felt good.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 7

Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living.

No-brainer here.

I was at the lowest point of my life after Mom's death. I was almost desperate for happiness...I saw my sister with her growing relationship with Gilbert, and I was completely envious. I wanted that for me. I grew resentful of almost every couple I spent time with, in fact.

After a long several months, I slowly lifted my head. I wanted to get back in the game...but this time, it would be different. I was DONE with bad boys. Done with men who I thought I could change to be better. Done with the roller coaster.

I went back online, after about a year's hiatus. I tailored my profiles to reflect what I was looking for. I didn't think I was ready for a husband quite yet...I just wanted to feel loved again. Or even LIKED again.

After a month or so of not getting anywhere, I decided to lay off. It was always in the back of my mind, but I didn't want to force anything. Plus, the Cards were in the Series playoffs, and I had no time for dating. I was due at Dad's house every night before seven so we could watch TV intensely, darn it!

Then one day, I got two messages from my dating website. The first was from 9Inches4U...and the message was just as charming as that name.

The second was from this beautiful man, and this was his profile picture (minus the snake):

That message marked the beginning of a new life for me.

Neil Christian Dazet, you make my life worth living.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 6

Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.

I'm going to make an unofficial rule that this doesn't have "again" at the end, because if I were given that option, it's another endless list. I hope to never have to date again; I hope to never step on a slug barefoot again; I hope to never eat another raisin again; I hope to never go to school again; I hope to never see an iota of a scene of "Twin Peaks" again; I hope to never see my ex-boyfriend again (and for Neil never to see his ex-wife again...*grin*).

So. Something I hope I never have to do.

I hope to never be a mother to a teenager.

I was driving home from work the other day, tired and hot, squinting into the 5:00 sun along Stadium, inching forward in line to turn onto Forum. I idly glanced in my rearview mirror at the car behind me. A professional-looking gentleman was in the driver's seat, ostensibly coming home from a long day as well. In the passenger seat slumped a sullen-looking young adult, staring out the side window, ears plugged with iPod earbuds. I could almost see the tension in the car; knew that if the father wanted to speak to his son, it would be met with stony silence or a complaint. The mood would continue throughout the evening, the next morning, afternoon, and for years, on and on and on.

I never want to come home to that. I never want to not know how to speak to my own children.
Man, I would be SO bad at that.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 5

Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.

Lately...I want to live in or near a big city.

Chicago, Seattle, NYC, Boston, San Diego, San Francisco...Cincinnati (took me three tries to spell that), Portland, Charleston, Baltimore, Kansas City....

I miss NYC so badly it aches, and I didn't take nearly enough advantage of living near Chicago to visit the city very much. Other cities I've only visited, but crave a return.

Columbia is so wonderful, of course, with its charming cultural offerings and splash parks and gardens with schoolhouses and the fact that everything's ten minutes away from everything else. $360/month two-bedroom apartments, Christmas tree farms, pumpkin patches, wineries, running into folks I know at the grocery store every time I go, local theatre. And, best of all, Dad & co. are a five-minute drive away from me.

But...I want LIFE. I want to spend a whirlwind day downtown and see everything in the world. To take Neil to see a splashy musical without worrying if Columbia Entertainment Company will screw it up (again). To have friends visit and be able to show them an exciting place. To discover secrets, like the Museum of Moving Images in Astoria. To have a choice of endless Thai and Indian restaurants. To rely on public transportation and people-watch every commute instead of navigating around the construction on Highway 63.

In less than two years, we'll most likely embark on a new adventure...and I hope it's to a big city. Or somewhere we can take the train to a big city whenever we want. I'll be a cataloger at a public library, Neil will be a science librarian, and we'll spend our weekends exploring (okay, realistically, VEGGING, but maybe one Saturday a month...?) the new world around us.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 4

Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

This is a good one for me, because I hold irrational grudges for so long. I so wish I were the kind of person who could react to something minorly unpleasant once, and then forget about it, but I'm just not wired that way. The cross-stitch pillow I read about in a memoir, where the author was speaking of her grumpy old maiden aunt ("I will never forget any bad thing anyone has ever done to me") might as well have been made for me.

But one thing.....?

One thing. This is tough!

Okay. So this should give you some insight into how insane I am about grudges.

Dear waitress that one night seven years ago at D'Agostino's:

I forgive you from spilling the starter salad all over me, and for rendering my new suede flared jacket unwearable. I didn't hide my annoyance at the time, but I didn't yell or anything; nevertheless, you fled from the table in tears. We were all baffled (except Mom, who had treated you at Boone and knew you how on the edge you always were about everything), and I was so sad about my beloved new jacket that I didn't really care about your well-being.

The little Italian restaurant in the Village of Cherry Hill (Columbia's manufactured Suburban Cutesy Gazeboed Area Off Chapel Hill) has since shut down for good, and I have no idea where you are, or even what your name is. But I forgive you.

We're done here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 3

Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.

At first, I didn't know what to write for this. I could say something about being unhealthy, about not doing everything I always say I will...not always doing the best work I know I can do, not keeping up with friends as mutually as I'd like.

But it suddenly hit me what I needed to write about. It was a splash of cold water, and I don't, don't, don't want to dwell on this. But I have been, and I need to let it go.

During the last few weeks of Mom's life, I was over to the house every night. She was all set up in the hospital bed, with oxygen and everything, and was mobile and alert. She was never alone, and I was 'in charge' one night while Dad and the kids went to game. I was sniffly due to burgeoning allergies, but was not accepting the fact, so I did nothing to treat the condition.

Mom's illness had brought us closer than ever. Our relationship had never been Gilmore-Girls stellar, but it was better than a lot of my friends' with their moms. So having the opportunity to really improve our relationship since her cancer diagnosis was such a blessing. I felt wonderful about our bond.

Mom hadn't taken a true turn for the worse yet, and we were all hoping that the hospice nurse's ballpark prediction of three months would prove true. Mom (understandably) was being extra careful about her well-being, and was concerned about my sniffles. I told her not to worry--I was looking forward to an evening alone with her. I'd been reading to her every night from Holes by Louis Sachar...a book I'd only recently read myself, and was so powerfully reminded of Mom at the ending that I felt strongly she needed to experience it as well.

Still she fretted, and I felt hurt that she didn't want me around (while at the same time begrudgingly understanding why). She asked that I not be in the same room with her, after she felt my forehead and it was warm. I retired to the living room, and called Elissa to come over, getting progressively (perhaps irrationally) more upset.

I was in silent tears as I left the house a little bit later. Selfish tears, yes, but I'm a stubborn one. I went home and sulked, probably playing some Golden Girls for comfort, as was my wont MANY nights around this time. After an hour or so, Mom called. She said she was sorry we missed an evening together, and did I want to chat for awhile? Still affronted, I said I was tired. We had a short conversation, then got off the phone.

The next day, I got off work at five and headed home. I didn't go straight to my parents' (as I normally had been doing), instead taking care of a few things around the house.

Dad called, and asked me to come over. I objected, saying Mom wouldn't want me there since I was a little sick. And yes, I was still being stubborn. Dad ignored me, and said "Just come over, please."

As soon as I saw his face, I knew something bad had happened. He filled me in...and I can't remember the exact details, nor do I want to. Mom had had a really bad night, and they had to call hospice. The head nurse pulled Dad aside and gave him the news...the worst news we'd had since learning of her initial diagnosis. Mom's life expectancy had gone way down. She was hanging on, but not by much. We couldn't expect much communication from here on out.

I will never, ever forget that moment with Dad. And I can't think about it without heaving with sobs.

We had a night of grieving. Everyone was low; we needed to be together.

Much later, I went home. As I settled numbly into my overstuffed couch, ready to be transported into a pastel-decorated Miami bungalow, it hit me. The phone call last night. The last phone call she would ever make to me. The one I blew off, focusing instead on my own FUCKING SELFISH emotions. My last chance to talk to a completely lucid Peggy, and I ruined it.

Wracked with guilt, I spent every minute I could at the house for the next two and a half weeks. I journaled almost all of those minutes, but cannot read it now. There were moments of sweet lucidity; hilarious moments of a completely uncensored Mama telling her friends *exactly* what she thought of them; touching and heartbreaking moments where she told me and Dad, surrounding her in an embrace, that she'd accepted what was to happen..."It's just life, Gen," with a sad, brave smile on her face, while Dad and I sobbed.

And then it was over.

And I can't forget it. I can't forgive myself for that night. Often, when I 'talk' to Mom before I go to sleep, I ask her if she remembers that, and express my sorrow at how I acted. I know it's spilled milk, and nothing good comes from me feeling bad about this.

But I still do.

I have to forgive myself.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 2

Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.

I've never done this before. I've extolled my virtues on various dating sites and job interviews, but this is very different. And love...that is such a strong word. I *like* many things I can think new shortish hair/ban
gs, my boobs on occasion, my good skin.

But what do I *love*? Is this the same as 'being egotistical about,' do you think? My knowledge of the English languag
e? My ability to kick all asses in the game of Set?

...I don't think so. I feel good about those things, but...they're innate. I don't know if I apprecia
te them as much as I should. I blatantly look down on those who *don't* have a good handle on English (as many of us do). Somehow that doesn't seem like LOVE to me.

This morning, I finished the audiobook disc I was on (Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. Cutest book cover EVER), and felt the urge to dance. I reached for the cd-holder, knowing that what I wanted and needed would be right on top. There it little homemade Adam Lam
bert disc, scratched from many, many uses. I put the disc in, set it to random, and went into another world.

Now, I'm not a music person. I resist new music. I haaaaaate when someone says "Hey, come here, I want to play this song for you." I am resentful and bitter the whole time. I feel held hostage. Like they are interrupting my life for three minutes and expect my full attention, I guess? I don't know. I know it's stupid, though. And I know people are only wanting me to experience what they feel about the song. I am getting better about this with Neil, and as we get to know one another better and better, he's getting to know what sort of songs my picky self really likes...AND how to play them for me more organically. So it's not just me standing there seething with anger.

But...when I *do* find music I like, I'm like anyone else. I can't get enough of it. And with my recent desire to get into drum-playing, and my constant urge to dance to music I'm listening to, even at work, I know I have good rhythm.

So right now...that's what I love. I feel free, and high (I think....drug-free for life and all), and alive, and I love that I can dance, and it can make me go from Grumpy to Fabulous in a minute flat. I feel confident and sexy and even talented, like I have something inside that needs to be explored.

I guess this is kind of a weird answer. I feel weird about it, anyway. But at this moment, it's what I love.

P.S. The cover
of Bonk. Something else I love!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 1

My dear friend Lindsay is beginning this exercise, and I want in on it. So here's what I'm going to do for the next month on the blog, answering each briefly (or not-so-briefly, if I'm in a chattery mood) and honestly:

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

So, today...
Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.

This should be easy. :-/

I hate my stomach, butt, and thighs. I hate that I can't maintain enough control over my bad habits to be happy with these areas.

I hate that I am so painfully awkward around new people. Most of the time I fake my way through getting to know someone new, but just the thought of meeting a new person makes me extremely nervous. I've learned, through years of waiting tables and working the front desk at libraries, to put on a smile and act like I'm okay with it, but I'm really not. And since I'm not one of those sparkly happy people whose smile lights up the room and whom everyone loves on sight, I'm not confident that *I'll* be liked, either.

Friday, October 1, 2010


So I've been taking Paxil (er, generic paxil, which means more monies for meeee) since around about May. I'd tried it before while I lived in Chicago during the He Who Shall Not Be Named era, but it wasn't the thing my body needed right then. (What my body actually needed was for me to move far away to NYC. Done and done.)

I found myself getting plagued with little worries all the time last winter/spring....even though things were great at home, and Neil and I had settled down into our various works and schools, and had worked hard to be emotionally there for one another...I still worried constantly. And I found myself losing my motivation to do anything BUT worry. No exercise, no eating well, no real hobbies. I just didn't care about improving myself--I needed to make sure that Neil was okay, even when he was totally fine. I'm sure I was annoying him with my frequently-asked "Are you okay, sweetie"s....GAG me....and bless him for not erupting with frustration every day.

I knew something had to change. I had to begin getting a hold of my health, physically and mentally. I wondered if an anti-anxiety med was the answer. When I remembered what ill effects Paxil had had on me, I worried again, but I knew with my husband and Dawson family close by, they could tell me if I wasn't acting myself. Plus, I totally knew I was different on Paxil back in 1999/2000. I felt kooky all the time!

It was, though, a tough decision. (Whoa, "tough" is "though" with an extra "h"!) When I finally got the nerve to call my doctor to make an appointment in early May, I was nearing a breaking point....worrying myself into a frenzy nearly every day. So when the secretary said Dr. Johnson didn't have an opening until July....well, I broke down. Silly, I know. And what else should I expect when I've chosen a super popular GP as my doctor?

I think the secretary took pity on me, because she worked some magic on her end. I received the call that they'd put in a prescription for me, and I could return in July to talk about it. I was so, so relieved!

Sometimes, my ultrasensitivity to medication is a bad thing. The first time I took Trazodone (a SUPER mild sleeping med), I felt woozy and drunk, and then like I had a killer hangover the in the morning. And it was half a tab of the least amount it even comes in. (It got better.)

But in this case, I couldn't WAIT to start...I knew it would come with crazy two-week-side-effects, but it might do away with some of the crazy I'd BEEN feeling. And boy, did it deliver. I was bouncing off the walls those first ten days! I didn't care about ANYTHING! (In a good way, though.) I was so grateful to have some of the weight lifted off my shoulders. I also lost fourteen pounds (though that definitely had to do with the fact that we visited Grandma in Reno then, and being in the West/mountains always makes me lose weight. True story), and was totally jittery, and sweated weirdly...but those effects all ended soon.

Suffice it to say, I'm still taking it. And I love it. Those kooky-crazy feelings of wild abandon that were there ten years ago aren't present now, but I can still let loose. I have way more energy to exercise and get things done. The only issue I've had is that, because this med makes me not really care about things that used to CONSUME me, I'm way more lax with money and food. I'm a total spendthrift, and a TOTAL glutton. :) I think I just need to take it day by day...or even hour by hour, for now. It's way too easy to leave my old anal self behind and say "Eh, don't worry about dieting today. CAAAAAAAKE!"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I feel ugly.

...In more ways than one. I've let things (health-wise) slide for so long that I feel physically icky.

I justify "Waiting to Start" ALL. THE. TIME. All the time. "Well, I WAS going to kick-start this stricter diet tomorrow, but I *just* got that Broccoli Cheese casserole from the deli and I have no idea how many calories are in it, so I'll just wait to start til that's gone." "Well, I WAS going to start today, but I forgot that it's Sarah's birthday and we're going to Shakespeare's, and then there will be leftovers, so I'll just wait til that's gone." ARGH.

There will *always* be leftover pizza, or a special event, or some new food coming out I've wanted to try, or a new Mr. Goodcents in town (DAMN YOU GOODCENNNNNNNTS!), or a weekend trip to Kansas City...ALWAYS.

And I guess I need to keep reminding myself of that. So, yeah--there's leftover Shakes in the fridge. And the casserole, and some break-n-bake cookies. And I'm going to KC soon. And and and and AND AND AND.

Also, this is a horrible habit--I need to STOP taking weekends off. For real. Changing one's lifestyle can't just happen Monday thru Friday. I usually do allow myself ONE fun meal a week when I'm being strict, and that works out really well--if I'm absolutely dying for Taco Bell, I ask myself "Do you want this to be your fun meal, really?"--and it totally works to keep me in line. It's when I turn the "Fun meal" into a "Fun day," then a "Fun weekend," which are always soooo hard to come back from, that I get in trouble.

So. Today, instead of packing that incredible gooey butter cake for work, I measured out a cup of cottage cheese and made sure I had yogurt. I HATE this. I hate it. But I need to REALLY start one of these days....why can't it be today? Tell me, self, why can't it f*&king be TODAY?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A few more things.

Okay, now that I've gotten that first post out of the way (that was a hard one to hit "Publish Post" on, let me tell you...), it's back to the details. The minutiae, if you will.

1. I'd like to incorporate some strength training into my routine. Nothing kettle-ball intensive, just some hand/ankle weight stuff. I stocked up on my last trip to Play It Again Sports, so there are no excuses...

2. I had some major blood-workage done in late July, and I was *terrified*. I was positive it would come back with my cholesterol out of control and with the news I had diabetes and a low life expectancy and EVERYTHING bad. I did a major 5-day boot camp before the blood was taken, after two months of being totally off-plan, and went in with fingers crossed. The check-up began with disappointment, when Dr. Johnson informed me I hadn't lost any weight in the six months since I'd seen her last (and she'd given me the simple goal of losing 5-10 pounds in that time, which I figured would have been easy-peasy). I'd lost and gained a bunch of weight in that six-month period, actually, but it was depressing to know nothing had come of it.

My blood work came back within two weeks, and it was....Perfect. 100%, everything within a good range, absolutely fine. And while that news had me a little gobsmacked, a small part of me felt hopeless. I *wanted* to get scared. I *wanted* something horrible to show up on that test, to MAKE me shift into high gear and get rid of all this extra weight. What was my motivation now?

Well, that's stupid. I can find motivation anywhere. But at that moment, I wondered what it would take.

3. I've found ways to creatively incorporate exercise into my routine so that it's not just this boring thing to get through. I discovered that I can read pretty well when I walk in place in our little carpeted "exercise-room" at work (just a curtained-off square of the warehouse), and at home, I walk or dance in the living room to upbeat or inspirational shows like "The Biggest Loser," "Glee," or "Dance Your Ass Off."

But, I get nervous. I hate exercising around other people. I'd like to someday try a group exercise class, but am not ready for that yet. In the past months, I've gone to two water-aerobics sessions, and I was emotionally okay, but physically uncomfortable surrounded by so many people flailing about. My discomfort wasn't about my body in a swimsuit, though, for once.

4. I regularly keep up with weight-loss blogs, written not by diet experts, but folks with my same struggle. And I read a great entry today, on Deciding. I'm paraphrasing, but what the blogger Lyn wrote was that every time we put anything bad into our mouths, we are DECIDING to do it. We are not Out Of Control. We can't say "I couldn't help myself." And chalking our "discretions" up to a loss of control is just an excuse.

Okay, enough diet talk for now. So many other good things are happening's so odd to finally feel this way after a lifetime of not really feeling it, but I am excited to be alive...for things that are coming, for my own accomplishments, for my husband, and for my family and friends. I have so many, many things to be grateful for.

Completely unrelated P.S...
I am currently going through my entire scrapbooking-materials collection and weeding, organizing, and USING it. It feels awesome. I have such trouble *implementing*, and I love having a few scrappy friends nearby to do actual cropping with. I spend many happy evenings separating stickers into categories (or, as Dad calls it, taking a bus driver's vacation) these days, and our dining table is set up so I can use it as a craft table when I want. I love it.

Back in the saddle again.

Thank you, Shannon, for inspiring me to get back into journaling!

I was thinking of taking things in a new direction, but am not sure how far that will go.

I love the idea of having a weight loss/diet blog, but am not sure how personal to get with it. (As in--what it's like to be overweight, and how that makes me even more hungry to attain my goal weight [see what I did there? HUNGRY?!! I AM AWESOME]...frustrations and cheating on diets and being lazy and all those things we don't like to talk about.)

It's one thing to be on plan every day and burning 1500 calories more than I ate, and walking in place for two hours and feeling strong and awesome, and getting that thrill from stepping on the scale and seeing a loss...but quite another to talk about the bad stuff. And maybe, just maybe, a blog will keep me a little more accountable for my actions.

I'm not saying that going forward, this blog will be exclusively about my Weight Loss Journey (gag). I am far too obsessed with a zillion other things. I do hope, though, to regularly keep journaling as an update on how I'm doing on the Healthy front.

I haven't been strictly On Plan for...many weeks. Really, since I started taking Paxil. As much as I do like that medication, its effect (that I don't worry about things so much) hasn't made dieting/exercise easy. Because I do best when I am ANAL. I measure everything out to the gram, for serious. I keep track of every calorie burned (Thanks, GoWear Fit device!), I use every spare moment at work to exercise, and I don't go to bed unless I've reached my target calorie burn. And when I follow this routine, I shed the weight quickly and effectively.

But, with Paxil...I don't care! Companion pretzels at Schnucks at 320 calories each? Why not?! Tax Crunch Baskin Robbins ice cream with hot fudge? What the hell, it won't kill me! (until it does.) McD's drive-through in the morning when I have a growly tummy? I DON'T CARE, I JUST WANT IT!

Part of this process is, I know, being in denial. As a fact, I know that I am probably addicted to food. But I don't think I TRULY FEEL that way. People who are addicted to food are 400 pounds, right? They can't go a day without scarfing a dozen doughnuts! They eat their weight at Golden Corral! They drink six cans of soda a day and a full bag of chips! (On a related note, though--this is probably why I will never, ever allow myself to go to Golden Corral.)

I know I need to accept, and ADDRESS, the problem. This is really difficult. I can't even call it 'my problem,' because I'm ashamed. It's so taboo. Yet...I have no trouble copping to my OTHER anxiety, anal-retentiveness, a tendency to be a pack-rat, etc. Maybe because it's easier to have a sense of humor about them? "No, I won't go to your party because I don't like people." I don't mind saying that. I turn it into a joke. But it's hard to say "I make extremely poor decisions when it comes to food, and I gain a lot of weight because of it." It makes me look out of control. Me, anal-retentive Gen, who needs to only put certain glasses in a designated row in the dishwasher, who uses only a certain type of bookmark, who CRAVES control. Why can't I control THIS?


I hope this continues. I hope I can keep an open dialogue with myself, and anyone who's still around to read this. I want to keep going.

Today has been okay, so far. I have a new Schnucks soup for lunch, and have eaten a yogurt for breakfast and half of my cottage cheese/pickled egg concoction for a morning snack. (Did I mention I also have a sour tooth, in addition to the sweet tooth?) Calories burned thus far: 225 over resting rate. My goal for the next little while is to burn 1000 over resting rate, which is usually 100 calories an hour.