Tuesday, November 20, 2012


The other day I went to see the movie Flight.  It was very good, thought provoking, NOT the feel-good movie of the year but if Denzel Washington and John Goodman don't at least get Oscar nominations for this film there is a real problem.  I walked away deeply touched by the acting and special effects.  And by one scene in particular.

I'm not saying anything you wouldn't see if you watched interviews that were done outside the premier when I tell you that this movie is largely about addiction.  And there was one scene in particular that really hit me in the face.

The main character is an alcoholic.  The audience knows it, everyone who knows him knows it, but he's in denial.  He is trying desperately hard to stay sober.  It's important.  He's away from home, and he's alone, and he opens a refrigerator and sees booze.  Lots and lots of booze.  The time he spends standing there looking into that refrigerator seems like forever to me, because it's a scene I've lived so many times.

Lately that scene plays out almost every night at my house, but it's not booze in that fridge.  It's food.

Since The Boy now has a job and an extensive social life, my every evening from 5:30 until his 10:30 curfew (11:30 on the weekends) is spent alone.

I am what I can only think to describe as a binge/grazer.  I have a friend who binges, in the true clinical sense.  She has been known to drive to the store, buy a big bag of groceries and consume the majority of it in the car.  With chocolate pudding in her hair, she will throw out the leftovers to hide her shame, then go home and be sick for days.  I don't do that.

Grazing isn't bad, if it's done correctly.  But binge grazing is awful.  It's more of an extended binge.  Never to the point where I'm sick, but just eating something every hour or so all evening long...in addition to dinner.

No matter how resolute I am to only keep healthy foods in the house, I can always find something to eat.  Last night, barely an hour after I ate a large salad with pepperoni and walnuts and cheese and ranch dressing and I don't know what all non-healthy ingredients, I ate an apple with organic crunchy peanut butter on it.  I wasn't hungry.  Not at all.  But I ate it anyway.

Tonight it was Shakeology, with crunchy peanut butter and chocolate soy milk.  I had no business eating anything.  Not the least bit hungry.  And since that was a couple of hours ago I'm fighting the urge to get something now, even though I should have been in bed 40 minutes ago.

To anyone who says the secret to being thin is not in the quantity but in the quality of food you eat...I call bullshit.  I really do eat pretty healthy, and yet I'm overweight and expanding as I type this.  Because I just eat too damn much.

But here's the thing.  I've spent my life beating myself up over this.  My inner voice asks me how hard it is for crap sake?  Just DON'T you IDIOT!!  You SUCK!  You're a loser and a failure.

But you know what?  If someone starves themselves, and throws up what they eat, they're sick.  They have an eating disorder.  Nobody says to them (well nobody who isn't an ignorant ass) "Just cut it out...just eat, and stop throwing up.  It's not that difficult"

And nobody says to the alcoholic "Just don't drink. Duh.  It's that simple"

For either of those issues there is rehab, there is counseling, there are groups.  Hell there are things that insurance covers for crying out loud.

Too much booze will get you treatment, too much food won't.

Not enough food will get you treatment, too much won't.

Jesus even sex addicts get help.

But for food addicts there is only self-loathing and shame.

And really this isn't just me realizing I've been beating myself up.  This is me realizing I've been judging others as well.  I have been fairly vocal about the obese people taking up handicapped parking spaces and using the motorized wheelchairs at Wal Mart because they have no discernable disability except that their weak little legs can't haul their giant bodies up and down the isle.  Yeah, some of them got that way because they're lazy.  My mom was one of them.  Yeah, her overeating didn't help but the woman did nothing but sit and watch TV all day.  Her only exercise was to walk to the kitchen.  Toward the end she ate her meals in bed!  So I'm not saying EVERY obese person has an eating disorder.  But some....yeah.

This doesn't absolve me of my sins, my responsibility, or my hope.  Tomorrow morning I go to the doctor for what I hope will be the first step back to working out regularly.  I am not all that hopeful that I will walk out with answers but at least with scheduled testing which will help the doctor give me some recommendations as to what kind of exercise I can do without increasing my pain levels.  And if he can't help me, I have the name of a pain management specialist.  This is not going to get the best of me.

Next step, which I hope to take within the next few days, is to book myself in for some sort of counseling.  I'm obviously addicted to food and I'm abusing it.  I'm medicating with it and it has to stop.  I haven't eaten normally in....well I don't know if I ever have.  When my weight is on the upswing it's because I'm eating more than I need.  I'm eating not because I'm hungry but because it is a source of pleasure.  Often the only one I have available to me. It's my sex, my drugs, my booze, my massage, manicure & pedicure.  It's a hug or a kind word.  It's my friend and my companion.  And I need to make it a casual acquaintance.

When my weight is on the downswing it's because I have a death grip on my control, counting every calorie, weighing every morsel, timing and recording my exercise down to the minute.  During those times food is the enemy.  I am the cop and it (or maybe my appetite) is the criminal and it needs to be contained and punished.  I have to deny myself the one thing that brings me comfort.  That's obviously also not normal.  I don't think.  Even though I know a lot of physically healthy people who do it this way, I don't think it's how it's supposed to be.  I don't think it's how a person who has a healthy relationship with food has to live.  In the end it may turn out to be how I have to live...I may have to resign myself to that lifestyle once again.  But it sure would be nice to get healthy instead.

I'm going to try really hard now to shut down this computer, let the dogs out & back in, brush my teeth and head to bed without eating anything.  It really does sound so easy.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Snuggles With Extra Hot Fudge

I just spent three hours with two dogs on my lap.  I was warm and comfy.  Anyone who knows me knows that I love my dogs.  I don't love them to the point where I taken them everywhere, cook for them, dress them or let them sleep with me, but I love them.  Lots.  I'm a dog person.

But you know what?  Three hours with two dogs on my lap doesn't make me feel half as good as a half hour snuggled up against another human being.

People wonder "Why am I here?".  I'm telling you why.  It's all about human contact.  We're here to snuggle.  And hold hands, and kiss.  And, yaknow...other stuff, but let's focus on snuggling.  It's a family-friendly blog, eff-bombs not withstanding.

This theory is forming as I type here.  I could be full of shit.

I read an article not too long ago about obesity.  The theory is that poor people are, on average, fatter than thin people.  Not because they can't afford healthy food, not because they can't afford gym memberships, not because they're lazy, but because we all have a baseline of pleasure that we are wired to try to reach, and we will do it by whatever means we have.

The wealthy may be able to get their pleasure via leisure activities, massages, time with family, sleeping in, vacations, boffing the help, retail therapy.

The poor get their pleasure at Dairy Queen.

I'm not technically poor.  Struggling and in debt, sure, but gainfully employed with a home and a car...and a mortgage, and a second mortgage, and a car loan.  But I am suffering from a snuggling deficiency for which my dogs can't compensate.  In a given month my chiropractor may be the only person who touches me.  And I can't afford massages, my family is a typical 17 year old, meaning he only comes here when I make him.  I haven't been on vacation in two years.  You get my drift.

Taste is a sense. Just like touch. Yeah, food is supposed to be for survival but come on, sex is supposed to be for procreation so go ahead and frown on me for eating ice cream.

So yeah, I just ate ice cream.  Is it a coincidence that the only human being I've interacted with today in person, without cash changing hands, is my son?

And that interaction consisted of "Hey Bud, why does your bathroom smell like feet?"

FYI...they don't take kindly to snuggling up to your barista at Starbucks.  I'm a gold card holder but still.

So I went to DQ and got me an order of snuggling, with extra hot fudge.

And as I'm shoveling it in, I berate myself for being overweight, and tell myself this is why I'm alone.

This leads to feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness....which lowers the pleasure level, which makes me want (but, thankfully, deny myself) pizza.

Who devised this system?  Colonel Sanders?  It's a death spiral I tellya!

It's Sunday.  I go to the doctor on Wednesday.  I swear if he doesn't tell me I can start working out again I'm going ask for a referral to get my jaw wired shut.  I either need exercise-induced endorphins or a man.

Or one of these, and a gun.

And with enough of the first, maybe I can get the second and never ever have to think about the creepy pillow thing again.

For now...it's 9:45 on Saturday night and I'm going to bed.  Yes, alone.  In my big comfy bed where I actually do still appreciate the luxury of having the whole thing to myself, even as I miss sharing it.  And really I'm not feeling sorry for myself for spending Saturday night alone.  Friday night was spent in the company of one of my favorite people, and tonight I did enjoy relaxing.  Tomorrow I'm meeting a dear friend for brunch and a movie.  I'm really blessed to have wonderful people in my life.  I'm spending Thanksgiving with the sister I never had.  And I'll jump off the Christmas bridge when I come to it.

Live in the moment.  Enjoy the snuggles.  Don't overthink.  Back away from the ice cream.  Be all zen & shit.  Ohmmmmm.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

All is not lost. I just don't know where it all is at the moment.

Yesterday turned out to be a good day.  I did some gathering and burning of yard waste, and followed it with some time with good friends.  I actually slept well, with few disturbing dreams.  A little physical activity and friendship goes a long way.

Of all the various yard chores I've learned to perform over the last year, I think my favorite (the one I hate the least) is burning things.

Fire! Fire! Fire!! 

Because I'm a responsible neighbor and citizen, I limit my burning to organisms which have tried to take over my flowerbeds or house (they started it!).  And this year there was a crapton of it.  A guy I was seeing devoted a miserable 95 degree day to my yard a few months ago. With loppers and chainsaw, he helped me try to whip this mess into shape.  It still has a long way to go, but we can now actually see the house.

But since it WAS a 95 degree day, and by the time it was done we were both exhausted, I gave an ill-formed directive to The Boy: Just drag it all out to the way-back.

Yeah...the way-back, or the west 40, is where I put things I don't want to deal with.

If you look real close you can see my eating disorder.
Well what is supposed to be a straight line of railroad tie (why do men so enjoy edging with railroad ties?), beyond which nature is allowed to take over, had over the course of two summers turned into a blurred boundary of dead grasses, bamboo, tree branches and heaven knows what-all.  And it was starting to spread onto the neighbors' property.

So about two months ago I started burning stuff.  Every weekend, weather permitting, I pile the fire pit as high as I can and burn it down.  This is a LOT of work, digging the dead out of the live stuff beyond the railroad ties, and loading and hauling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of this crap from the dumping areas on both sides of the way back into the fire pit.  And every weekend I think 'next weekend I should be able to finish up'...but I swear the stuff multiplies!

But each weekend I unearth more of that straight and orderly railroad-tie boundary.  Each weekend I reduce a pile of what was just too much for me to deal with at some point to a pile of ash.  Each weekend I come that much closer to having my shit together.

In 5% of the yard anyway.

As much as I DO NOT enjoy devoting the better part of every weekend to maintaining Hell's Acre and a Half, I've been a little worried about what will happen to my state of mind when the snow flies.  This time last year I thought I was in love.  I was in the middle of making plans to visit him over Thanksgiving and discussing what it would be like when he moved here, planning my family's visit here over Christmas.  There was tangible promise and hope and I actually looked forward to a reprieve from the yard work so that I could focus on all of the things in my life that held hope and promise.  I'm not entirely without hope for my future, that's not what I'm saying, but it is less tangible at this point.  All is not lost.  I just don't know where it all is at the moment.  Maybe it's in the way back.

Here is where some would say I shouldn't worry about what will happen next week or next month or next year.  But hey, I gotta be me.  I do not live well in the moment.

But as I look around this house, or what I can see of it from my kitchen table, it all looks fairly neat, sort of like the foreground of that picture up there.  But what I can't see...the basement, the closets, the cupboards, are overflowing with the indoor equivalent of lawn clippings and dead branches, stashed away until the day I feel up to dealing with them.  I had a hysterectomy almost two years ago for God's sake and I still have tampons in my bathroom closet!  And right this second I sort of thank God I have all of that...because each of those closets and cupboards represents weekend project that will keep me from losing my ever loving mind when the snow is flying but the driveway has been blown clean.

The Man always criticized me for never throwing anything away.  Who's the smart one now?

But for now it's Sunny and 63 on November 11th.  I'm afraid it's a little windy for burning but the Goddamned ornamental grasses need cut down before winter and I can stack them in the fire pit and let them start to dry for next weekend's fire.

Cut it down, throw it in the way back, deal with it another day.

Happy Veterans day!  And thank you to those who have served and are currently serving to protect this great country.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Caution: Whining Ahead

Brace Yourself.

I blogged the other day.  But I didn't put put it on my Facebook page, and I didn't add a picture and put it on my Pinterest page, basically I didn't promote it.  I wrote it and folded it up and put it in a dark corner where someone might stumble across it but most likely not.  And I did this for two reasons...

1) Because I didn't want to deal with the comments that would come of it.
2) Because it wasn't a happy post with a cutsie ending, moral or message.

What the hell kind of bullshit is that??

As far as the comments go, my opinions are my opinions and as sick and tired as I am of getting criticized, belittled or shunned by so-called friends because of them, to hide my opinions is to devalue them and...well...the terrorists win.  While shutting the hell up is obviously the path of least resistance and it makes those around me happier, it leaves me feeling like I don't deserve to HAVE an opinion.  It turns me into my worst enemy.  I need to cowgirl up and either defend my beliefs or disassociate myself from those who wish to belittle or devalue me because of them.

And my life is just not a happy, cutsie, moral-and-message-filled place right now.  It kinda sucks to be me.  And I don't want to be one of these people who just whines online about how hard their life is to get attention.  I don't want pity. But writing makes me feel better and part of the process is to share it.  I don't have a huge audience but more than once I've been told that something I wrote touched someone.  Who am I to assume that only the happy posts can do that?  Maybe someone else's life sucks a little less than mine right now and I can make them feel better.  Maybe someone else is just as miserable as me and I can help them feel less alone.  Maybe someone who has it far worse than me (and yes, I know there are millions) can slap some sense into me.  Who knows.  The gift or curse that I give to the world is my writing, humble as it is.  And I don't feel entirely whole when I don't write.

The difficulty will be in balancing honesty with privacy, all while not turning Blog over Lunch into a whine-fest.  Trust me, there is likely to be whining...but I'll try to keep it to a minimum.  And as for the balance, all I can do is give it a shot and hope you all will forgive me if I fall on my face once in a while, as I am prone.

Today is likely to be one of the last two yard-work worthy days of this year.  It's 11:03 am and it's 54 and sunny in Northeast Ohio.  There are twigs and branches and leaves and grass cuttings a-plenty to be stacked in the fire pit to dry today so that I may burn them tomorrow...but instead I stayed in bed 'till 10am, and here I sit in my jammies drinking coffee and writing.

Note that I say I "stayed in bed" 'till 10am...I was awake at 8:30 from a night of fitfull sleep.  I spent a total of 11 1/2 hours in bed and maybe slept five.  This is typical.  I am plagued with sad, scary, bizarre dreams and I am in a lot of pain.  I'm hoping the former is the result of the latter.

Right now, as I sit in my comfy chair, a chair whose cushions are stuffed with fluffy down, with my feet up on an ottoman bearing a down stuffed topper, every part of my body resting on any surface...from my heels to my upper back, hurts. This "contact-pain", as I have come to call it until I can get to a doctor and get a clinical term, combined with the fact that I have a bad back which prohibits me from sleeping on my back or stomach, and tendinitis in my shoulders causing pain when I sleep on my sides...well as you can imagine, bedtime is not my friend.

You would think this kind of misery in bed would cause me to get my ass up earlier in the morning, but depression has taken hold.  At least that's where I think the thoughts of "I don't want to get up because everything I have to do today sucks" come from.  So on Saturday and Sunday mornings I hit snooze and reset the alarm and basically doze until 10...because somehow in my head anything before 9am is respectable, between 9 and 10 is lazy and starting at 10:01 am I'm lumped in with the 300 pound women who grocery shop from the motorized wheelchair as they buy donuts with food stamps.

Basically...if I'm still in bed at 10:01 I become my mom...and I haven't quite sunk that low yet.

I went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago and out of five blood tests, only the Anti-Nuclear Antibody test came back out of whack.  I'm told that this result simply indicates that I have inflammation in my body, which I could have told them without spilling a drop of blood but apparently I'm not a reliable witness.  Apparently this is not a very reliable test and if I were to turn around and take it again today it could come back drastically different.  But the result means that the next step is to visit a Rheumatologist on 11/21.  Apparently it might be  Rheumatoid Arthritis.  And a couple of people (not doctors) have said it sounds like Fibromayalgia or Lupus.  None of these potential diagnoses scare me.  I just want to know what it is so they can do something about it and so I can find out how best to help myself, or just not hurt myself any more.

I stopped working out a few weeks ago when I hurt my foot (fucking tendinitis again) and during what should have been a 2 or 3 day break for my foot to heal I realized that my shoulders and elbows felt better.  As much as I thought weightlifting was going to be my savior, I may have to rethink that.  My knees and ankles can't take lots of jumping around so most cardio workouts aren't an option, but my lower body does seem to respond well to squats.  I felt like I was actually having some success in isolating my abs with Les Mills Pump's ab tracks and was even making some progress with my old nemesis, lunges, until I hurt my foot.  But the chest presses and curls hurt my elbows and holding the weights on my shoulders for lunges & squats hurts my shoulders.  Doing the clean & press...my back and shoulders were not pleased.  I pushed through for two months thinking I just needed to build strength to support the tendons and my spine, but while some things seemed to get better, others got worse.

Guys, I'm just a mess.

So a couple days' break so my foot could heal has turned into, I don't know, maybe a month of not working out.  I've tried to do yoga but again, the tendons just scream at the stretching.  And I don't know if I'm doing further damage.

Obviously working out helps keep the depression at bay.

And of course what's the best way to deal with depression?  Food!


It's a spiral into a bad place for sure.

But I'm trying to just look forward.  If the doctor says I need to just get back to exercising and ignore the pain, that's what I'll do.  If he tells me I need to do a different kind of exercise, I'll do that.  I'm hoping he doesn't tell me I need to swim because I can't afford a gym membership, but I'll jump off that diving board when I come to it.  If he tells me I can't exercise I'll find a different doctor.  One thing this has taught me is that I need to work out.  It's imperative to my emotional well-being.

So it's now 11:40.  I feel a little better for having written, even if it helps nobody but me.  Now I'm off to the grocery store.

Insert cutsie ending, moral or message here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

When I start talking to people I just get confused.

I haven't posted anything here in months.  I've been at a loss for written words.  There hasn't been that much going on. I try to keep things here in the BOL positive and to be perfectly honest I'm not feeling so positive lately.

Today I'm downright pissy.  And you know what?  It's my blog, and I'll be pissy if I want to.

It's election day.  Or as I call it...erection day.  Pick a dick, any dick.  I voted for Obama in 2008. I'm not ashamed of that fact.  I wholeheartedly believe it was the right thing to do given the options (McCain/Palin? Seriously?).  And my gut still tells me (and please, for the love of God don't try to convert me.  I'm just not up to it.) Romney...well I'm not a fan of the Republican platform on the whole and him in particular....I believe that if he had his way (and I am not of the belief that he would have his way even if he was President) it would be devastating for women's rights, women's health issues, gay rights, etc.

But with all of that said, 2016: Obama's America was pretty freaking unsettling.  My president whispering in the Russian president's ear is a bit of a concern.  And at least one person who is pretty important to me, who I believe to be one of the smartest people in most rooms, believes he is the worst thing that has ever happened to this country.

And please don't try explain away any of that stuff there /\ either...because I just can't process any more political mumbo jumbo today.  My head hurts for the third evening in a row and it wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility that I could throw my computer or phone through a window.  I can't afford a new computer or phone.  So let's just agree to disagree, mnkay?

The truth lies somewhere between the two viewpoints, I'm sure.  But given the information I have taken the time to review (which, I admit, isn't all that much)....my considered opinion is....I have no freaking clue.

So yaknow what?  I'm not voting and you can't make me.   Don't even try.  People have been trying all day, as I sat in my office 7 miles from home wearing shoes and a bra, and they were not successful.  So trust me when I tell you that as I sit at home in my jammies with my dog on my lap, short of coming at me with a burning stake (and I have feared just that at various points of today) you are not getting my ass out of this overstuffed chair.

I just honestly don't feel that I'm qualified to choose the person who will lead this country for the next four years.  I'm not claiming that the information isn't available to me.  There is no conspiracy to keep me ignorant.  I'm not even claiming it's because I work too much or because I'm a single mom or because I have to take care of this Godforsaken yard and house because, let's face it, I've seen every episode of Long Island Medium and I haven't seen 8am on a Saturday in months.  I just know that lots of people who are far smarter than me with far more time on their hands, some of whom are actually PAID to figure this shit out, some of them even THINK they have it all figured out...are flat out wrong.  Think about it!!  Of all of the people who go on TV and say that this candidate or that candidate is absolutely, positively the right choice....at least half of them have to be WRONG!  Am I to assume they're all idiots?  No!  Am I to assume that one candidate is evil and the other is our nation's savior?  Nah.  It's all a matter of perspective.

I don't know enough to have a perspective of my own, and when I start talking to people I just get confused.

Wow...that's the blondest thing I've said in years...but it's true.  One person will make valid points and I'll start to lean one way, then I'll talk to someone else and think "Hmm....maybe I was wrong".  

So if right now you want to tell me that I'm a bad American because I didn't vote today, don't bother.  It's been done.  If you want to tell I have no cause to be confused because CLEARLY (insert your candidate's name here) is the right choice, again don't bother.  I've heard from your people already and I didn't like them.  Don't make me not like you.

While we're at it if you want to tell me that I'm a slacker and a loser because I watch TV, don't read enough, don't eat enough vegetables, am neither vegetarian nor vegan, do not keep kosher, do not eat entirely organic, don't exercise enough, don't volunteer enough, don't drive a hybrid or electric car, spend too much money at Starbucks, don't give enough to charity, work too much, work too little, am too strict with The Boy or not strict enough, or anything else you don't like about me....don't bother.  All of your people have been up my ass in the last few days...there is no more room up there.

Why can't people just accept each other??  Why does everyone have to try to convert everyone else to their way of thinking?  Why do people have to try to belittle people who think or act or dress or look or feel different than they do?  Thousands of years on this planet and we still, as a race, haven't learned that we're all different and that's ok?  Better than ok...it's awesome.  It's how it's supposed to be, so stop fighting it!

Ok I'm done ranting.  Now I have to go try to figure out how to turn off comments on this thing before everyone starts trying to tell me how wrong I am.