Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I made these two nights ago.

an update

This one is late because last night I tried to read A Clockwork Orange in one sitting. I was supposed to read it, and write a response paper to turn in before my Tuesday 12:30 class. This morning, I wrote the response. I based it on the 50 pages I actually got through. (Lucky: I've read the novel before, and I've seen the movie. My grade is probably not doomed.)

Anyway. This week, yet again, I did not lose any weight. I'm a little confused by this, since I have been eating really well and continue to up my level of exercise. I do, though, notice brand-new muscles in my legs and torso. My energy level begins to astound me. I look thinner and feel calmer and sleep better. So, despite the unmovable scale, I do not want to quit. It's actually quite the revelation. My previous methods of weight loss (which did not involve exercise) usually caused me to feel horrible. And once I stopped losing a pound a day, I gave up - it wasn't worth the listlessness and constant hunger. I am sure I will begin losing weight again, but for now I am thrilled to see that I am getting stronger. There has been enough of a change in my body that I feel justified in suggesting that I am gaining muscle mass quickly enough to make the fat I'm losing inconsequential to the scale.

This week: I ran 2.2 kilometers (instead of 1.5) in preparation to attempt the 4 km to the high-level bridge, I hooped for about six minutes straight, I used my jump rope, I weighed my sugar, I biked to school, I biked and ran both over the course of one day, I resisted date squares and rhubarb crisp and pound cake and ice cream that I was not hungry for, I ran outside during the day, and I made salad dressing for the first time.

When Tim tells me how good I look, how proud he is of how hard I'm working, I float right up to the ceiling like that skinny Mary Poppins...

It's been a good week, but I am frustrated by the '158' that keeps showing up every time I weigh myself. This week, I would like to lose a pound. And run five times.(And fix myself up in the mornings. And take my vitamins.)

When I get to 150 pounds, I am going to buy some ridiculous, glorious Oscar de la Renta perfume. Just so y'all know.

Friday, September 24, 2010

new quest

The hill I first conquered in June is simply too friendly to conquer any longer. I just scoot up, and salute at the top.

What a battle we could have if I left my bike at home, and wore my running shoes.

My runs to date have been about 1.5 km each, but lately they haven't been killing me. It's time for a new quest. 4 km along my bike route. I'll let you know how it goes.

in the road

Remember The Blogger's Demise?

An article is now out in the new issue of The Antagonist.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

journal entry

from September 12, 2010

I don't know what I will do when Seamus Heaney dies. I didn't know it when Ted Hughes went. I was 7. With Heaney, I'll know. Knowing you are going to lose makes the loss so much worse. It makes it a loss, rather than something you missed. How is it possible that my father's life overlapped that of Sylvia Plath? I cannot blame him, and I cannot even blame my grandmother for failing to make a special supper or grieve into her baby's hair. They never had her, just as I never had Ted. Was I really around in the world, attending ballet classes while he wrote Birthday Letters? I curse that little girl for her lack of a discovery. When Heaney dies, he will become a less-formidable peer, a book-friend, but I will know that while I struggled to suppress feminine rhymes, he lectured at Harvard and used those feminine rhymes successfully.

with the fluffballs

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Sometimes I need to take a mental health day, to remind myself that I am much more than a university student, that I thrive reading novels in a clean house, that the air in September is more like ginger ale than it will be for another year, that I do not want to crack, that my body can do things it couldn't do before, that my notebook waits for me, that I've been meaning to paint my toenails red, that cutting flowers and mixing batter are restorative activities to a modern person, that I need to experience solitude on a regular basis, that there may be mail today...

Monday, September 20, 2010

This Sartorialist photo is the main reason I want to be skinnier

I think Glynis will appreciate my fervent desire to look so marvelous.

an update

This week was going to be a write-off. This morning my stats were unchanged. I didn't feel great. I haven't kept track of my activity since Tuesday, so while I know I exercised, I don't know how much time I put in.

Half an hour ago, I decided to go for a run, to put off tonight's 200 pages of reading homework. I ran all the way around the block. It wasn't so bad. When I got home, I thought I'd try my five push-ups. They weren't so bad!

Now, in my better mood, I recognize that I ate really well this week. Loads of fruits and vegetables. Loads of fiber. Some chocolate.

Tim tells me my legs look good.

This week I want to use my jump rope, bike to school twice, and pay attention to how much sugar I consume - even going to far as to calculate the number of grams sneaking into me.

(Update: I've been thinking long and hard about a goal weight. I've been worried about settling on one, for fear that I won't be able to come anywhere close. However, I want something concrete to work towards, and something to look forward to. The mark is set at 130 pounds.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

an update:

My new Punk Rope!

I know I am supposed to post these updates on Mondays, but this week, my first back at uni, was pretty gross. I felt so unaccomplished yesterday that I decided to allow myself an extra day before summarizing the week. Today I feel wonderful, but I have realized that I had too many goals I thought I had to be working towards last week. Consequently, I was overwhelmed, especially when I allowed myself to think about the pile of homework I had already been assigned. From now on, I want to limit myself to two goals per week.

Still, I lost one pound. I ran in place for much, much longer than I ever have, than I thought I could. I found that hooping was suddenly fun. I biked to school twice, something I thought I would never feel collected-enough in the morning to do. I had one panic attack, rather than ten (really, I am astounded that I continue to function without any medication. I am calmer than I have been in over a year). I rode the bus to buy groceries, a trip which would have put me over the edge a few months ago. I brought nuts and apples with me to school. My jump rope arrived, and I tried it out.


(see last week's post)

I did lose one pound. Only one, but that is alright.
I did hoop for three minutes straight.
I did take my vitamins every day.
I did take care of my emotions.

I did not run all the way around the block without stopping, but I did it with one stop in the middle of about twenty seconds.
I did not clock five hours of activity, but I came darn close.

This week I would like to do five push-ups in a row, and lose another pound.


Weight: 158 pounds (down one pound)
Time I can run in place: 6 minutes (up two minutes)
Distance I can run: .25 km
Number of push-ups I can do in a row: 4
Time I can hoop: 3 minutes
Total activity: 4.5 hours

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Natural Disaster

In August fire thickens the air
and yellows the hair of two girls

on the ground. One cradles the other
who is a crocus to her.

This is the old friendship.
The sirens call for them

to consummate it.
Even women and men hear it

now, as the church lungs drown,
planes fidget around. Opposites

get in the way.
The bishop wants someone to blame.

Saturday night

I was out.

Little Room - Jack White

When Jack White writes or talks about the creative process, what hard work it is and how deliberate and regimented it must be at times, I stop thinking "I will never be a poet again," and start thinking "I must sit down at the desk."

Well, you're in your little room
and you're working on something good,
but if it's really good
you're gonna need a bigger room.

And when you're in the bigger room
you might not know what to do,
you might have to think of
how you got started sitting in your little room.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


People never use this word
in a secular sense,
but how the atheist needs to
today! And why not?

The name of a concept
still less stingy
than kindness or clemency,
it is an expansive word,
a safe word; in some ways,
a sophisticated word.

The atheist, granted grace,
owes nothing,
and retains a dignity
that clemency did not allow.

Grace, the promise
of breathing room,
has room to work,
and recovers room for words
the atheist asked
for grace to speak.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

this business of art

For the past three weeks, I have been working on a commission. It has been hard. The words have not come to me easily, and when they have come, they have not wanted to bring any feeling with them. I sent off the latest draft to my customer tonight with a heavy head. The poem is good, but it is not all I want it to be.

a watch and two shoes

On the first day of school...

Monday, September 6, 2010

an update

Well, this week I did not lose a single pound, but I am surprised to say that I am not bothered at all.

I went off my medication this week. Withdrawing from Paxil gave me a nasty false flu, but I still exercised 6 days out of 7. I biked 13 km at one go. I practiced hooping. I helped my brother- and sister-in-law move, carrying heavy boxes for two hours, impressing the hell out of Tim. The junkie symptoms are finally beginning to subside, and I do not feel crazy at all. I clearly fell off the weight loss bandwagon, and wasn't entirely happy with every meal, but on the other hand, I felt very sick, and I know I did pretty well under the circumstances. When we went out for supper, I ate 9 french fries instead of 40. I tried weighing my food for the first time, to get a better idea of exactly how much I am putting into my body. I made apple sauce.

I invented a recipe so chock full of protein it's ridiculous. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to resume partial vegetarianism after a year's break. Even when meat is an option, I have trouble getting enough protein. I hesitate to post the recipe, since it sounds disgusting (though it's actually delicious). Perhaps if you're interested, you should email me.

So today:

My weight is still 159 pounds
Time I can run in place without stopping: still 4 minutes
Distance I can run without stopping: halfway around the block
Number of push-ups I can do in row: still 4

Those numbers are all unchanged, except for the new, distance entry. I didn't make my goal of going all the way around the block without stopping, but I can run further than I could a week ago, and when I do, I feel less like I am about to die. I think I'll be able to run to the bus stop for my first day back at school tomorrow. And I did accomplish one of my original short term goals - I biked to school on Friday, and even went three kilometers further, for a 13 km total trip. It felt great.

Total activity this week: approx. 3.75 hours

This week I'd like to write down everything I eat, and generally be more deliberate about eating. I would like to lose at least one pound. I'd like to take care of my emotions. I'd like to take my vitamins every day. I'd like to hoop without stopping for the duration of one song (let's say three minutes). I'd like to be able to report 5 hours of activity. Last week's goals (five push-ups, and a run around the block) still stand.

I am one stressy mollusk

Tim's calling me Molls, because when I'm anxious, I get clammy.

It's time for a list.

- go running (tonight)
- fix up your Etsy photos for TT 2 and 4
- wash your face
- brush your teeth
- drink some water
- do the laundry
- finish the commission
- brainstorm a birthday present for Laura
- call your mum
- write an update post
- buy an ironing board and a kettle
- email work so they don't think you've skipped ship
- sew up the prototype shirt

Friday, September 3, 2010

required reading

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
Anne of Green Gables
Black Swan Green
A Clockwork Orange
Cloud 9
The Coral Island
The Driver's Seat
From Russia With Love
The Great Gilly Hopkins
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
The Hobbit
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Lonely Londoners
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Poor Things
Twelve Dancing Princesses and other fairy tales
The Wind in the Willows
Doing Grammar
Critical Tradition

This is going to be one sweet year.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


(It still kills me to bike up that hill, but today I made it up in record time.)

Today is the first day of a medication experiment. I'm not taking any. Not birth control, and not Paxil.

When I started taking the pill, my stress intolerance skyrocketed. I gained twenty pounds. Writer's block (which I moan about all the time) crashed onto my head.
Anxiety medication has only made the block worse, though it has improved the stress intolerance. I want to see how I fare on nothing at all. So far the Paxil withdrawal symptoms have not been fun, but otherwise I think I'm OK. I feel fragile,

but my head is clear.

I'm not on an anti-medication crusade. Medication enabled me to finish my first year of university, and it made Tim's life easier when all I could do was make it more difficult. It's only that this combination isn't working for me now.

And no, there will be no babies.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tree Climbing - Paul Batchelor

Grasp this: it doesn't matter if the rasp
of bark to palm is second nature or
if this is your first time, there are

no experts: ash or oak, the look of bole
or canopy means nothing till you throw
yourself off balance, wrap

your feet around the branch you hold
and from that new perspective see
how the world hangs: head over heels

it all floods back to a heart
that won't forget vertigo's bloodrush
nor come down when they call.

Borscht (an approximation)

1 small onion, chopped

Saute this in a big pot, in a little olive or canola oil until clear, or brown. Add

3-4 cups homemade chicken stock
2-3 cups tomatoes (either fresh or canned), blended up until smooth
2-4 cups water

(Basically you want enough liquid to cook the vegetables in, with some left for broth.)

1-2 bay leaves

Leave on medium heat. Chop

5-7 small beets including the tops
5-7 carrots
2-4 stalks of celery (if you want)
1 bunch green onions including the tops
1-3 cloves garlic

Add to the broth. Cook until vegetables are tender, but not mushy, and the broth is deep red. Sometime during the cooking, add (tasting often)

lemon juice
white sugar
dried basil
dried oregano
whole grain mustard

(I realize that this is the tricky part, but here I have no clue about measurements, since I add a small amount of each ingredient until things taste right, and this is usually a long, contemplative process.)