Tag Archives: writing

I found the solution

It’s April. I started dieting December of 2010. I have lost about 33 pounds. If I lose four more I will qualify for Lifetime Membership, which means I met a goal weight and don’t have to pay $40 a month anymore. I’ve talked about this before, but I have quite a new new readers, so I’ll tell it again.

At 207 pounds I thought I was probably about fifteen/twenty pounds over weight. I took funny pictures of myself looking sad eyed at the camera. I was pretty fat, but not all that fat, I thought.

I lost fifteen pounds and I was excited! That calls for New Pictures! Imagine, to my astonishment, I was not only still fat, I was still very fat. The weight began to creep off and I did (most) everything right. I tracked my meals on eTools program, exercised some, and showed up to meetings. (As of press I have missed two meetings in almost 2 1/2 years.) I got down to 173. And it stayed there. Every week I was either up a pound, stayed the same, or down .2. This has gone on for months now and I’m tired of it. I know how I lose weight: Follow the Weight Watcher’s Program. I will do that, guzzle water, counting points of everything I eat and exercise.

But wait, there is more. It’s warm out and I really wanted a cold drink, like a freddo from Pete’s. I decided to save a dollar and go to McDonalds. Shamrock Shakes are here for just a little while, and I have good memories of a friend who has fallen by the wayside, and Shamrock Shakes. While I was there, I’d get a “Mini Meal” A hamburger, french friends and Diet Coke. (For the record, Diet Coke and mood disorders usually don’t mix. I popped an Ativan just to get through it.) They did not have Shamrock Shakes.

Bait your breath no longer: I managed to find another milk shake. It was good – I sucked it down. It had 2/3 of my Weight Watcher Points Plus for that day and I am pretty sure the hamburger and french fries knocked the rest of them out of the park.

Why would I do such a thing? I am so close to my goal and, when I am asked if I’d like fries with that, my answer is, low and breathy, “yes, oh yes.”

Here some of the reasons I might do such a thing:

I prefer being fat – As T so elegantly put it I want to hide under a huge mound of fat.

I don’t want to reach my goal. I’d rather have the life of gobbling whatever it is that I want, anywhere or time than I want than that of health and wellness.

I hate myself and am going to let my body know it through a steady diet of junk.

I’m afraid of being thin or attractive.

I don’t want to succeed at this or anything else. Keep me plain, chubby, unaccomplished. It’s easier this way. Except for it’s not easier. I could have popped in to Trader Joe’s and got any of their deli lunches. It would have taken about the same time as it did for me to go through two drive-thru menus. Being destructive is a chore with physics on its side. Being constructive needs creativity and planning. I am creative. Sometimes it is difficult to put this creativity in motion. It’s like words that catch my ear and sound beautiful. It’s like a just right jar of red paint – on clearance. Maybe if I saw my body as an act of art I would take better care of it.

I want a tattoo that says, “TOSKA” except for in Cyrillic. I won’t get one. He says they are too expensive and that it would be even more expensive when I decided I didn’t want it anymore. He won’t get one either.

“Toska – noun /ˈtō-skə/ – Russian word roughly translated as sadness, melancholia, lugubriousness.

“No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”
― Vladimir Nabokov


On Writing Well

If you haven’t read Howard Zinn’s “On Writing Well” you have made a mistake. A readily remedied mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. Go to the bookstore and get it. I’m a library person, but I almost insist that you buy this book so you can write on it, highlight it, cuddle with it in bed and treat it with respect the next morning. He has lots of examples and lots of rules about great writing. He is a huge EB White Fan – you have heard of Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and maybe even the Trumpet of the Swan. He is admired most, in the groups that matter, (no offense) for his perfectly executed essays.

Sometimes E.B. White rewrote a page nine times.

When it was time to write, White was committing to what seemed to be an arduous task – he worked free of word processors or even white-out. I can’t imagine him complaining that the task before him was not worth it. I can imagine him re-writing and giggling when he found just the right word to say just the right thing after five tries. I can’t imagine boredom overtook him because he was one of those interesting people that find life interesting. In that case, I want to be on that boat.

I once hated a woman whose friends got together and wrote a collection of essays/poems/whatever. She told me she just started writing, wrote for fifteen minutes and then stopped. No editing, no nothing. Send it to the printers, boys, bad writing waiting to be birthed to the world. If writers produce spiritual children while they write, how can they take such neglectful care of their work? It is like letting their children cry themselves to sleep? Poor little things – wet and neglected. Kids grow out of that, though – eventually they accept no one is coming and stop crying. Books, essays, poems do not have that to look forward to.

Of course I have this blog and I know blogs are not the place for re-write after re-write. My poor little blog has cried from neglect and is not my best writing. I don’t quit because I think it is good for me to do it, to write down my thoughts and keep myself up to date as far as what is really on my mind. What I don’t know is if it is good for you to read it.

I used to be better at re-writing. As early as middle school I wrote and re-wrote my assignments. In high school I attacked my writing work. I ran out of beta readers because I wanted constant comments on the intricacies of my papers. The things I wrote were unusually good for someone my age – and heck, probably your age, too. The teacher would read my assignments and sometime the class would clap. They never clapped for anyone else and there was a boy int he class who wouldn’t believe I wrote those things. It’s a nice memory. I wonder if the teacher remembers me.

I am recommitting to my novel, but I am reclassifying it a memoir. I think that the subject matter is better suited to that genre. I can’t claim it’s fiction if I write a a memoir. I will tear the curtain and the whole world will know I am mentally ill. A psychologist warned me that every mistake I make, every time I am late, every slip in speech will be attributed to my medication. My mother warns that this will be too hard for Small. I hope it isn’t, and I doubt that her compadres will read a memoir of Mental Illness. If they do, I hope at least some of the people there they will see that sometimes it is tough, but honestly, it is really not a big deal. I’m an ordinary house wife in an ordinary city with a tiny family who sees a doctor a lot more than average. Okay, I’m not such a great housewife, but I’m nothing out of the ordinary. I’m not crazy, I’m bipolar.

The Brilliant Mauditmo

Mauditmo is probably my most impressive friend. She is in a super prestigious MFA program and just won a super prestigious award (The Hopwood Award – also awarded to Frank O’Hara and Arthur Miller, if you believe Wikipedia) for her writing. I don’t think she reads the blog, although she is aware of it, so I will speak freely. In the last couple of years, Mauditmo found out she had an IQ of 171. You can look it up – it’s super high – but no number can describe her brilliance. I suppose that is why we need to read her books and take her to lunch. She said she was surprised to hear it was so high. I say it is clear to anyone within breathing distance that she is not only smarter than they are, but that she is probably smarter than anyone they know.

What I wonder is how she didn’t figure out she was so darn bright on her own. Why did it take this whole quantitative intelligence measure for her to know what the rest of us knew all along? Although I’m not exactly low on the scale I have at least of bit of a clue when I am dealing with someone significantly less clever. When Mauditmo was regularly around people dozens of IQ points lower than her, which would be always, she didn’t notice she was significantly smarter than, well, everyone?

Part of her must have known, and filed it away for later, or maybe the information wasn’t useful to her so she tossed it out. I spoke of Sherlock Holmes not knowing that the earth circled the sun. Does her genius keep her from those, “Gee, compared to me all of these folks are idiots,” revelations?

I have a high contempt for people who think they are smart but are not. Just plain stupid is one thing, but stupid folks who think they are smart are nearly intolerable. Once I worked as a teacher for developmentally disabled kids. I had various aides come and go, but figure I had about ten total. In that cast of ten, one was stupid but knew it, one was a sociopath, the other was a dignified intelligent woman that never held it over anyone and, another was supremely respected by everyone and didn’t do any work at all, and two were stupid but thought they were smart.

One of them would learn something and then talk about it all the time. Once it was “micro-climates”. She liked to say it all the time and managed to slide it in at any possible moment. Another was criminally stupid. One day we were all scheduled to go to the park. I went in to my office to get bus tickets, but they had been stolen. I apologized to the class and told them we couldn’t go. The aide said, “I might have some”. She went to her purse, opened it up, and took out the stolen tickets. The adult’s (and some of the kids) jaws dropped and we all went to the park.

She wanted the bus tickets, but more than that, she wanted more to go to the park.

One last shout out to Mauditmo – we are super proud of you for winning the Hopwood award and for just being you.

Feeling like my writing isn’t good today. That’s fine. I have lots of cards to make and rooms to organize. I also have to make a shout out to my new browsers. I am so glad you’ve dropped by! I love your blogs. Today I am snarky, but I often I am not. But maybe you like snarky?

Hugs? Goals?

I officially hate hugs. But just like many official things, that is not true as good portion of the time.

I have a non-hug friend that I hug when she is not having a good day. She is older than me and is just learning about managing moods with the help of the American Pharmacological Companies. She doesn’t cry a whole lot – I couldn’t really be close friends with someone who did, but I do not mind her hug. If you’re reading this, you can know I don’t mind you and your hugs.

I hate it when people come up to me and say, “You look like you need a hug.” My response? “You look like you need to swim with the fishes with cement slippahs.” I know a woman who demands a daily hug from her boss. He complies, but he is like me – stiff, and unwanted touch only makes us stiffer. Once I was sobbing, pregnant and overwrought. Same person took me, grabbed me and said “you’ll be alright.” This offended me when it happened eight years ago, and although I forgive her – she is good friends with my husband – I still taste the bile.

I spend a lot of time with paper these days. I started out scrapbooking, and although I have not abandoned it I’m working on cards and expanding work further. I like paper. I am earning some money from it. I am not a super talented paper-crafter or visual artists. I have taken classes and learned a ton, but there is no special talent bestowed upon me. I want to hop back on the blogger bandwagon. I would be doing well if I worked on my book. I’ve told my new therapist three separate times how my old therapist recommended that I set my writing goal to one sentence a day. I think that was the most offensive thing any one ever told me. Although the bile remains, I know now that most of her bipolar clients probably would have a lot of trouble writing a sentence. My new therapist says I do better than most of her patients. I don’t lie on the couch watching t.v. all day like many of them. Sometimes I do just that – I eat cheetos and chocolate and drink ice tea, but that is once every three months or so. It makes me happy to hear I am in good shape. Perhaps that is the problem with my old therapist and me. She was dealing with acutely disabled patients and I have only been described as such once. That was back in my homicidal/suicidal days. I got the right meds and those thoughts went away. I still have ups and downs, but they are not as down as I would ever need to be for one sentence to be a reasonable goal. I wrote her a “why I’m not going to see you anymore” letter but need to write it on something other than butterfly stationary. I have impulse control sometimes. I exercise poor judgment.

But I can do that while writing more than a sentence a day. Not this sentence:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it ws the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.”

Talk about Lucky….

A long strange trip. I’ve heard I’ve been lucky by a number of people who count. For those of you new to the blog, Since December 16th of last year I had been taking three times the amount of a cholesterol/heart attack prevention/anti-tremor drug. I was “lucky” I didn’t die.

This week, we get to take care of “Lucky”, our neighbor’s dog. He loves it here. We let him in the house, we take him on walk after walk and run and play and cuddle him. They will be home Thursday, and that is very sad. He is a charming fellow, and after we deciding making him sleep in the garage, like his owners do, was not going to work, he became a mild to moderately quiet dog. He doesn’t bark when someone comes to the door. He doesn’t knock anyone down. Of course, he is a doxie mix, and that is generally not something a small/medium dog can do. I want a dog so badly and love Lucky so much, it is really hard to give him back. I remind his mom we’d take him at anytime. Of course they love him, too. How could they give away their baby?

Maybe we can get “Lucky”. It’s not a miracle, it’s just a nice thing that could happen. (I believe that, the fact I am not dead after my medication error is a miracle.) I’m pro-miracle, but anti calling everything nice that happens to you a miracle. I don’t do it. I don’t have super passionate feelings about it, but think it’s an inaccurate view of life. I read somewhere that there are two ways to view life, one is that everything is sacred and a miracle or everything is not. I don’t believe that too much. I do believe I have been miracles; I believe I have felt them. Some times it is in the form of a phone call just at the right time, but I don’t think every phone call is a miracle, brought down by God.

But who cares what I believe? I’m alive and perhaps I shouldn’t be. I have seldom done anything so risky.

My Oldest Friend

My oldest friend calls herself “maudtimo” online and Monique Daviau (will remove if she doesn’t like being “outed”.)  She is a talented and prolific writer, currently studying the Michigan’s Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing Program.  I want everyone to know her name.  She writes well; she deserves it.

Probably if we met now, we would not be so close.  I am a no longer over-weight house wife who occasionally works with autistic tots.  I probably would not even get the chance to see her.  She is not hanging around church services and Bible studies and I’m not hanging out with the improv crowd. That makes me sad.  I’m limiting myself, I would love to be with other creative people.  The closest I get is crop (scrapbook) gatherings and I’ve never really been to a real one.  I work either by myself or with Small.  I think I enjoy it better that way.  I hardly admit to any kind of paper crafting at all.  This http://cocoacards.blogspot.com/2011/07/bookmark-with-origami-flower.html is why.  It’s embarrassing.  I’m more of a scrapbooking ninja (http://scrapbookninjas.com/).  

My birthday is tomorrow.  Did you remember?  In celebration Small and I have decorated the living space with birds.  (See Portlandia on youtube.)  We’re having a small dinner party hosted by my parents.  When my mother asked me where I wanted to go for dinner, I told her Five Guys.  They use peanut oil, you see.  My mother was disappointed.  “I thought you’d want to go some where nice.”  My husband gave me a “you’re being ridiculous” look.  She went upstairs and brought down this catering menu.  “This makes me want to throw a party,” she told me.  So, that is why we are having a nice, catered affair with eight of my closest friends.

My worse birthday was my sixteenth.  My dad wanted me to have a “coming-out” party, back when that was not gay.  I hadn’t enough friends to do it.  The day I drove my new car to school, I had no one to party with. I drove the friend, who is calling me a stalker in public internet venues, home.  After that I went to my brother’s middle school and chaperoned a dance.  It sucked.

That’s all for now.

before I wake (G)

What five things do I want to do before I die? My list when I was twenty-five is miraculously different then the list I might make today. I want to write about both lists.

I’ve done a lot of things off the first list. I am content, my cup runeth over. I wanted to go to Berkeley – I got to do that. I wanted a husband, I wanted a little girl. Check, check. But wait! There’s more!

I wanted to go on long backpacking trips, specifically I wanted to walk the John Muir trail (211 miles). The longest I’ve been on a backpacking trip was two nights, so I suppose that belongs on the list, although the charm of sleeping on a gritty floor waiting for the bears to go away has lessened as I grow older. I wanted to tackle Half Dome and I’ve done that, I even got to sleep up there the year before they closed it off to over-nighters. Things have changed, and I’m not entirely clear I want to do that anymore. Give me day hikes and youth hostels. Let me think about walking with John Muir.

I want to spend more time in Europe. I’ve been there once, to Frankfurt and I didn’t like that. I want to see Paris in the spring, Rome anytime, and Spain. I want to visit Saint Petersburg. Russia is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, and I understand Saint Petersburg to be the most beautiful cities in Russia, maybe even anywhere. I do not want to ever go back to Germany, you can have that. I have a not very good friend in Switzerland, (who is the reason I hate Germany so much) so even though when I was younger I wanted to visit so badly, I do not want to see her. She has invited us to stay with her and I don’t want to see her philandering husband, either.

I also want to spend time in Africa, and more time in Asia. I could have gone to the Middle East after University, but there was a misunderstanding that made it not possible to go. When I think about this, it irks me.

(Weight Loss)
I want to be a reasonable weight. I was doing well, then I went to a wonderful wedding and ate three slices of cake. They were three different kinds of cake, but still, get a hold of yourself, Malakoa. I only gained .8 pounds, but they are .8 pound I do not want and now my belly is floppy again. My only real exercise is yoga. Although it is challenging, it may not be the right kind of exercise for me to drop this extra weight.

I was reading the other day from a self-proclaimed atheist about the God-fearing people’s response to 9-11. The part of his quotation that stuck out to me was that “people worship a God who couldn’t save us from these attacks.” It doesn’t really sound like atheism to me: It sounds like someone disappointed with God. If God does this, the writer reasoned, He can’t be a God. It seems like a misunderstanding. It is my experience that a lot of people who reject God do not understand who God is or what He has done. Simple questions like, “If Adam and Eve were white, how come all the people in the world are different colors?” are answered easily if you look to the Bible. (Answer: There are no colors assigned to Adam and Eve. The mark of the Canaanites is sometimes spoken of as dark skinned people, but there is no real proof anyone was white or black or purple. We can believe with some confidence Jesus looked like a ugly, hairy Middle Eastern guys.) I realize that believing that all agnostics or staunch atheists base their faith on figuring out the color of good ol’ mama Eve is potentially insulting. There are good and interesting arguments against the existence of God, but none truly convincing to me. I believe there are answers, and I believe I know a lot of the simple ones.

I would love to speak and write. I intend on working some of this blog to a book, and if it doesn’t I want to write another two or five. I go to conferences, etc, I think, “maybe someday I’ll be the one up there.” I’m only in my thirties. I don’t know if that’s young or old for that sort of work. I believe God has given me the gift the gift of prophecy. This doesn’t mean I can predict floods or locusts, but that I can explain difficult things clearly and am able to speak convicting truths where others are blind or just uncomfortable dealing with. These truths can be received harshly. I was warned that prophets can lack compassion and I try to be generous and compassionate. I’ve talked before about the bruised hand, and I am beaten up sometimes. Truth can be healing as well. It is a relief for people to see how they making things worse because of what they believe about themselves is not true, and what they are doing is destructive.

That’s more than five. Hope you didn’t give up on me. See you tomorrow.