the toolbox

first, there is some movement on the fat front.  movement away from me, which is good.  but i’m not allowed to know how much movement until end of this month.  In the meantime, it is very interesting to feel parts of me shifting around and not being there anymore, or not being as big as before.  I can tell this because i am able to pull up the waistband of my underwear to just below my bustline.   When I can get the waistband up and over the boobs, real progress.   And a trip to Walmart for different underwear, I suppose.

For now, though, I wanted to go through my disorder repair toolbox — I need to cowboy it up a bit, I think, given the Paxil withdrawal experience and learning how to live life with GAD  in new and fun ways.    I’m thinking about what stuff needs to be added, but here is the list of the most frequently used items:

1.  Mo:  The best and biggest tool.  He can be the best person on my planet one day, and then the biggest moron the next day.  Heart pounding cardio and hypnotic rhythm.  Self-confidence and humility.  Fresh air and dirt.   Cuddles and nods.  Physical strength and wimping out.  Powerade Zero and peppermints.  Slender legs and helmet hair.  The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.  or deseat.  which is on the way to de ground.

2.  Deep breathing exercises:  These are for anxiety and they work.  I am learning pranayam from my co-worker.   It is a set of peaceful, meditative breathing exercises that improve the flow of oxygen and reorder my chakras or something.  I suppose.  I am not 100% convinced of chakras but I do feel more reordered somehow after I do deep breathing.  I also feel more anxiety from doing deep breathing.  This is another Murphy’s Law, or maybe a Catch-22.  When I do deep breathing I feel like I am doing something good for myself.  But the fact that I need to do deep breathing means there is Something Wrong, which the Heebie Jeebies read as a Welcome mat.  I think I just need more practice.  And perhaps a half hit of # 9.

3.  Cigarettes:   These work well.  They are especially effective at counteracting both the benefits and the stresses caused by #2.  And Yeah Yeah, I KNOW.  I am just not going there until [1]  significant fat loss, to make room for what I am going to gain back when I quit and  [2] the  100%-off-Paxil date plus a yet-to-be-calculated probationary period.   In other words, not in the very near term.  Get over it.

4a.  Music.  Old skool R&B, classic rock, blues, Latin and classical.   Stuck in the 70s mostly.  Except for Chopin, who wrote Nocturnes while he was stuck in the 1800s.  The Nocturnes were my favorite pieces to play when I studied piano.  This was before my planet invented horses.

4b.  Old Movies.  1930s-50s.  Film noir, crime/mystery, Hitchcock, Bogie, gangsters, westerns.  Roy Rogers and Trigger.  Another sickness of mine — I have collected 88 of the total 90 movies that Roy Rogers made.  Also have CDs of all of his early radio performances and releases with the Sons of the Pioneers, before he became Roy Rogers and got Trigger.  Don’t get me started on this topic, btw.

5.  Knitting needles and yarn.   To keep my hands moving — moving my glasses from my nose to the top of my head and back, back and forth until the glasses get Put Down Somewhere and then … you know this part already (see headaches).

6.  Chopsticks:  These are sticks like knitting needles, except they are prettier and fun to eat salad with.   So, good for both mental and physical well-being.

7.   Lily, Lulu, Rainy, Stormy, Ody, Roushone, Dudie, Tinkie, Pootie, Phooey, Babalooey and Izzyboo.  Having furry ones at home to care for helps focus me on other things besides mild vertigo, brain zaps, housework, and my newly developing anxiety about doing deep breathing.  (see #2).


8.  Job:   On a good day, a good anxiety fix.  On a bad day, still a good anxiety fix due to throwing things and screaming expletives.  Although sometimes, rarely, throwing things and screaming can sometimes make me feel a wee bit out of control, which can cause an Episode, most times throwing things and screaming make me feel utterly normal and happy about life.

9.  Xanax.  Duh.

10.  My Bible.  Ditto.

11.  My Book.  This is actually just My Storyboard at this point.  But it is a real storyboard taped on my real wall with real things on it that contain the whispers and nudges and glimmers of possibilities of a real mystery novel.   If ever I learn to write like a real writer.


I am moved to write this because I received a package in the mail from my father’s wife Sandy today.

The package contained some remembrances of my father, Mel — a recent photo of him with his wife and her sister, and their collection of dogs and cats, some of his watches, tie clasps, and a ring.  My father passed away 26 Dec 2011, a couple of months shy of his 82th birthday.

The package also contained a bit of his ashes, in a simple, lovely memorial candleholder.

One of the first bad dreams I ever remember having as a child was one in which my father was shot and killed with an arrow.  I don’t remember any more than that.  But it has stayed with me all these years as the first memory I have of being afraid of my father dying.

I imagine I got the concept of being shot by an arrow from watching the Westerns that I loved as a little kid.  I was especially in love with Roy Rogers and Trigger.  Roy Rogers began his career in show business as Leonard Slye, singing and playing guitar in a trio called the Sons of the Pioneers.  The SOP performed on radio in So Cal in the ’30s,  featuring in their cowboy ballads a trademark three-part harmony yodel.  The original SOP trio expanded to include a few more musicians, and they appeared with Roy and Trigger in most of their movies up until the late 40’s.

The reason I bring up the SOP is that one of my dad’s favorite songs was “Cool Clear Water”, a western ballad made famous by Roy Rogers and the SOP, and written by Bob Nolan, one of the SOP’s founding trio.    I think it was the only song I ever heard my dad sing, at least all the way through.  I remember being enchanted by my dad’s singing, the song’s lyrics painting a vivid picture for me of cowboys sitting around a campfire under a star-filled sky, horses tethered and quiet nearby, sage and cactus, saddles and ropes.

It was around that time, when I was about 5 years old, I decided I wanted to be a cowboy when I grew up. Not a cowgirl, you understand.  Cowgirls were too silly and stupid.  They were always getting into trouble, in need of rescue from outlaws or a runaway horse,  or needing their ranch/gold mine/rodeo company saved from an evil cattle baron or some other bad guy.  I was not about to be that type of girl.

I don’t think my father saw me as that type of girl, either.  He applauded my enlistment into the Air Force and was proud of my service, especially of my Expert Marksmanship ribbon, and later always supportive of my career and encouraging of my interests, and he liked that I had dogs and horses.  We did, however, have our share of dysfunction.  For many years I avoided him. Later, we figured things out and I am thankful to say we forged a pretty good relationship out of it all.

From my dad, I got my love of animals and the outdoors and rainstorms, a good part of my sense of humor and brains, and a bit of a flash temper besides.   One key lesson he taught me, whether he meant to or not, is to not keep bitterness and regret alive in my heart.  He did a lot of that, you see, and for many years …  I don’t believe he saw the folly and self-imposed misery of it until much later in his life.  But over time he became a different person, a nice man, content with his life, and so proud and thankful for his long and happy marriage to his beloved Sandy.

So with that, here’s a little gift for him, courtesy of YouTube and one of us few remaining who remember the Sons of the Pioneers.   Cool Clear Water

Rest in peace, Dad, and say Hi to all of your dogs for me.

Step Three – Small Meals

3.  Eat 3 or so small meals per day (plus breakfast)

To accomplish this, I must have a Program consisting of menus made up of healthy and delicious food choices.  Perhaps recipes to build my own food choices.  Then I have to make grocery lists of ingredients.  And go to the grocery store and buy them.  And cook them.   All or any of which flies in the face of all of the Instant Gratification for which I stand.

Which program to follow?  Surely there is a magic program for me that will be easy to stick to, with decent food choices like Mexican food and croissants and linguine and sticky white rice and the occasional frosted brownie with ice cream.   Most importantly, it will feature super-fast weight loss results without any physical activity other than that required for food prep and consumption.

First, let’s refresh my memory of past pop-culture-diet experiences, so that in the future I will be able to recognize history repeating itself:

1.  Weight Watchers, 1982.

2.  Jenny Craig, early 90s.

3.  Atkins-ish low carb, 2002.

4.  Nutrisystem, 2006.

5.  Medi-Fast, 2011.

6.  Sensa, 2011.

7.  The 6-Week Body Makeover, 2011.

You can see that Year 2011, compared to prior years, was fairly productive for me  in terms of the number of different recipients of the hard-earned income I handed over in exchange for sheer crap.  In fact, it was my second best year ever.  The first best was the year that I got captured by eBay and made the prisoner of numerous amateur auctioneers trafficking in the Collectibles>Entertainment Memorabilia>Movie Memorabilia>Westerns>B-Westerns of the -30s and -40s>Singing Cowboys>Roy Rogers and Trigger category.

Next, whittle the list down to What Worked Or Is Most Likely To:

1.  Atkins-ish low carb:  A fairly easy and painless weight loss of about 20 lbs, helped along by daily gym workouts and the natural appetite-suppressing effects of domestic violence.  (more on that later)

2.  The 6-Week Body Makeover:  6 small meals per day, lean protein and green veggies, a little bit of fruit and some starchy vegetables allowed, some whole grain.  Plus a targeted exercise plan with a companion over-the-door-hanging exercise device that could double as movie prop in an S&M murder scene.  I liked this program.  The food allowed on it sounded like what I typically eat anyway.  And it came with a free toy.  So I ordered it.    And would have started it except that it conveniently arrived the week before Thanksgiving.

My analysis complete, I think I’m ready to pick my program and get going.  But I need to set some ground rules first.