Still Annoying

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I last wrote. At that time, I had just started logging food again. That lasted about a week. No big surprise there. I abandoned it and convinced myself that I just didn’t give a shit about it anymore. Then I proceeded to eat everything.

Shortly afterward, I started my second period of the month. So I ate everything else and found some more things to eat.

I lamented my stupid period and shook my fist at the skies and cried out for some sort of divine assistance. Divine assistance came, but not in the way I would have hoped. Instead of just magically fixing me, I was struck with the realization that my hormones were clearly out of whack and that my diet was probably the primary contributor to this issue.

So, faced with logic and shifting my focus from weight to health, I am embarking on another attempt at a lifestyle change. I’m bringing Emmitt with me this time.

I may be successful, as my mindset has shifted. This is often the state that precedes real change, for me at least. This is now something I want to do, vs. something I have to do. Time will tell, but I feel good about it.

It is annoying that I’m on this topic yet again, but it’s my blog and I have nothing better to say. So, it is what it is.

OMG, I’m annoying.

I think I wrote a while back about mindful eating and how I was going to try it. Well, I did. I was mindful for about a day and then I went back to eating whatever, whenever.

I have a reasonably healthy relationship with food, in that I am not obsessed with it, I don’t overeat like a crazy person, I don’t feel bad when I do overeat etc… My concern, when embarking on anything like a diet is that I fear it will make that essentially healthy relationship into a weird one.

Is thinking about food bad? I don’t know. I don’t give it much thought when I’m not dieting, except to the extent that I’m hungry and want to eat something tasty. When I am attempting to change my eating habits, I think about it far more, obviously, but how much is too much?

I’ve quit two big, bad habits in my life. I smoked heavily for many years and drank heavily for many years. After innumerable failed attempts I managed to eventually quit both things and am glad to have them in the rear view. I do not miss them. I was ultimately successful in both cases because I stopped. I quit completely. I didn’t dabble, I didn’t moderate. I knew from past attempts that those strategies were doomed to fail.

But you can’t quit food if you plan to stay alive.

So, I guess I’m just thinking about how much energy I need to give this whole thing. Do I just accept that I’m going to carry this extra 20-30 pounds around forever? I mean, I’m healthy, it’s not THAT big of a deal. Or do I actually focus on food and make some long term lifestyle changes?

I know how to lose weight. At least I used to. I’m just struggling deeply with whether I care to bother with it. I started logging food again, to keep my eye on what I’m eating, to see if I’m really eating too much, or maybe just to be ‘mindful’ about it. Logging helps in that regard, but it also makes eating feel like a chore, which sucks because eating is pleasure for me.

We will see if I can fix my mindset. Who knows. I can say that even writing this I’m rolling my eyes like, how stupid am I to even be thinking about this? Who in the world could possibly give a single shit about this ridiculous non-issue I’ve carried around forever?

I get on my own nerves sometimes.

I Think I Need to Run

I have had terrible anxiety today. The kind I haven’t had in months. The kind that makes you feel like you can’t breathe and might puke. I thought getting out of the house would help, that maybe it was people overload.

While I do think that’s part of it, it just seemed MORE and I hate it. For the first time in a long time I felt it necessary to medicate myself and I hated that too. I have nothing against medication, it’s just that when I took it regularly, I felt like it made my anxiety worse over time. It probably won’t have that effect if I only take it here and there, but it still scares me, which in turn makes me even more anxious.

I think I need to start running again.

I slowly abandoned it because my schedule was full with the driveway workouts and I didn’t think anything of it because I was still getting plenty of exercise. However, there is a certain level of stress associated with those workouts.

I have to create them, which is more complicated than just slapping a bunch of exercises together. There are significant logistics involved, with space, equipment and differences in physical ability to consider. I also feel like I have to keep them fresh, for my sake as much as everyone else’s, so I don’t just recycle old ones. This means three new sessions every week. I also have performance anxiety on the day of, worrying whether people will think they aren’t challenging enough, or too challenging. I even stress about the music I play.

I’m not complaining, but when I ran, I just ran. By myself. I think there was a level of meditative misery in that activity that released my internal pressure in a way nothing else really seems to these days.

Yeah. Writing about it has made me more sure. Even if I only do it once a week, it needs to happen.

Mindful Eating

Let me say first, that I am happy with myself as I am. I would also like to lose a few pounds. These two states can exist at the same time.

I’ve been thinking about things I can do to drop these few (or maybe more than a few) pounds which have been hanging on for dear life for years. I’ve already established that not drinking a gallon of wine a night is not a significant enough change, which is bullshit, but whatever. I was holding on to hope, but it’s been 283 days and if anything was going to happen, it would have by now.

I looked at a thing on my FitBit to ‘kick my sugar habit’, since I eat too much ice cream. I was like, ok, this would be a good place to start. Then step one was ‘Clear out your kitchen’ and i was like, ‘fuck that’. There are plenty of things I will give up entirely, but ice cream is currently not on that list. I’ll cut back, but shant abandon that tasty treat.

I thought about my reduced carb thing, which I know works, but I just don’t feel like dealing with that either.

The upshot is that anything restrictive right now feels, well, restrictive. And I’m not having it.

After rejecting the sugar thing from my FitBit I found one for mindful eating and I think I like it. The oversimplified explanation of this is that I have to stop and think before I jam food into my face. I have to essentially evaluate if I’m actually hungry or if I’m just eating because I’m bored, or something seems like it’s tasty, or because it’s ‘time’ to eat. Once I’ve evaluated that, I’m only supposed to eat if I’m actually hungry. Seems simple enough and makes sense to me. We shall see if it actually makes me lose any weight, but it will at least force me into a few meditative moments throughout the day and that never hurts.

Ramblings About Sh*tty Music

I listen to music every day at work. It helps me to focus, except when it’s hot garbage, which is often the case.

I have a ton of music that I like, that I can reliably turn to and enjoy, but I like to listen to new things as well, so I often pick a ‘new music’ playlist. Oh my god. It’s so bad. So, so, bad. I can comfortably say that of 50 new songs I might hear in any given day, I can tolerate three of them with hopes that they might grow on me. I might even like one. That’s it though. The rest is TERRIBLE.

Maybe it’s my age, but I’m not even sure how some of this shit even qualifies as music. I’m pretty liberal with my musical tastes, I’ll listen to just about any genre, so it’s not that. For example, I like rap/hip-hop, but what is popular in that genre now is this weird monotone, profanity laden mumbling with an occasional chirping noise. It’s deeply obnoxious. I grew up with gangsta (gangster?) rap and while it was also often loaded with violence and misogyny, there were actual lyrics, a message and decent accompanying music. This new stuff is just nasty on MANY levels and I hate it.

The other genres aren’t much better. Again, there is a dearth of lyrics for the most part, leaving plenty of room for artificial noise and endless repetition of the same three words.

I’m so glad I grew up with the music of the 80s/90s. I find that most days I end up back on those old playlists, because that music holds up. Because it was actual MUSIC. That’s not to say that those decades didn’t have some duds, because they totally did. But there was more good than bad. In my opinion at least.

Anyhow, that’s my rant since I don’t have much else to say today. Oh, except to mention that Spotify is way better than Amazon Music or Pandora.

You’re welcome.

Best Laid Plans

When my dad first moved in, back in 2016, it was supposed to be temporary. The sale of his property was supposed to take 90 days. Hilarious.

Fast forward to now, the property is sold, but we hold a mortgage on it so until that’s paid in full we still have one foot in with the developers, which is fine. At this point it’s pretty painless and it’s interesting to see what they are doing with the property; perspective we wouldn’t have if we weren’t holding the mortgage.

Even though things were taking forever, we were still clinging to the idea of building a new house, well two, one for me and Em and a guest house for Dad, out on the piece of property we retained.

This singular focus kept us in a constant state of looking ahead. We were extra annoyed with dad because we were thinking about how things would be different when he had his own space. We neglected to address things around the house, because why? It was only a matter of time before we left, so why make the investment now? This forward thinking made living in the moment impossible. This resulted in unrest and unhappiness.

Then one day, Emmitt and I were standing in the backyard, reflecting on all the critters that come to visit because we feed them. Looking at the huge jasmine that is taking over our fence. Talking to our wonderful neighbors over that fence. And it hit us. This is our home and there is no reason to leave.

Sure, living with Dad is a giant pain in the ass and I want to choke him out at least once a day. But…. what really would change if we left? I’d still have to feed him. He’d still want to visit the cats. He’d still want to visit US. He’d miss us and if we are being honest with ourselves, we would miss him too. Plus, it’s getting harder and harder for him to get around, so even if he had his own space, it would really only be a matter of time before he had to move back in anyway.

We talked to Dad about our revelation and he was relieved. He didn’t want to leave. Aw.

So now we start down the path of fixing this place up to accommodate our new normal. The cool thing is that even if we renovate every room in this house, we will still spend less than we would building a whole new place.

I’m excited at the prospect. We’ve already gotten a new AC installed and it’s like the arctic circle in here, and I love it. Next up is irrigation, then windows. Or maybe Dad’s room first. Or maybe my office. We are planning to build out off the master bedroom to make me an office so that dad can have both of the bedrooms on his side of the house. One room for sleeping quarters, and then the other as a den with a recliner and such.

So much to think about, but in a good way. Oh and it helps that I don’t have to pay for any of it.

Crochet and Nothing to Say

I’m almost done with the crochet project I started last time I wrote. I’m not bored of it but I am ready to be done with it so I can start a new one, because I have ideas.

It’s nice to feel creative, but it also sucks because I’m not inspired to write.

I have moments through the day when I think of something I could blog about, but it’s usually related to something my dad did to get on my nerves, and as that dissipates, so does my urge to write about it. And honestly, the urge to write has more to do with a desire to vent than any actual creative drive.

So here I am. Typing away with nothing to say, preferring the quiet, mindless rhythm of my crotchet. I guess I shouldn’t feel bad, it’s not like either activity is inferior to the other. I just don’t want to abandon the idea of writing and figure that if I pop in here occasionally, it will keep the embers going, at least. Here’s to hoping.

Crochet & Driveway Workouts

Man, I’ve been busy! I’ve considered writing many times between my last post and now, but I kept getting distracted. Today, I forced myself to sit down and just do it.

I’ve been keeping up with my daily creativity goal because I picked my crotchet back up. It’s all or nothing with me on that front. I’m either obsessed with it, or completely bored. I bought a shitload of yard months ago during an obsessed phase, started a project, then abandoned it. I picked it back up recently, almost as an excuse NOT to write, and a few days later, I was finished.

I started a new project that I thought was going to be awesome, but after the first day of working on it, I realized I hated it. Before, I would have just put everything in the closet again and forgotten about it, but instead, I went and watched a YouTube tutorial on a pattern that I was intimidated by, only to learn it was pretty easy, so I started another project and I’m happy again.

But, I can’t neglect one thing for the other. So here I am. In addition to my crotchet, I’ve been very busy on the fitness front. It has been an interesting evolution, so I figured I’d write about it.

Before this COVID bullshit shut down the gyms, the one I was going to made some changes I wasn’t happy with and I was set adrift. I wrote about this in previous blogs so I won’t elaborate here. I made do, joining Planet Fitness so I had equipment, I still saw my trainer once a week and I was running. This was fine, but I missed my gym friends. We stayed in touch, but everyone was kind of doing their own thing.

Enter COVID and the gym shut down. Now we really had to get creative. One of my gym friends is a hairdresser and since salons were also closed, she started hosting a workout at her house on Fridays. This was lovely, because now I got to work out with my pals again.

This went on until salons opened back up. So I decided to host at my house.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I do NOT like having people over, so this was weird for me. I consoled myself that it was just in my driveway and I didn’t want to lose momentum, so I got past my hang ups and a good time was had by all.

Then, I can’t remember why or how, we added a Monday session. This went on for a while with the usual crew, but then my neighbor and another non-gym friend decided to join. The workouts were pretty intense and I didn’t want to kill my friends, nor their motivation, so I added a Wednesday session that would be a little easier.

Then, I started to think about how I really needed to stretch more, but it’s so boring. So I decided to add a Thursday stretch session so I will have people to chat with and it won’t be so boring. Tomorrow will be the first installment of that one, so we shall see how it goes, but I think it will be entertaining.

I always respected my trainer Ralph, because he’s awesome, but I have even more respect for him now because coming up with a new workout is a pain in the ass, more so when you’re doing it three times a week with limited space and equipment and a varied skill set.

I enjoy it though. I really do. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little proud that our driveway shenanigans have lured several people off their couches, who are now voluntarily getting up early to sweat their asses off in my driveway.

We (Emmitt and I) started out with 1 session and 2 guests. We are up to 4 sessions and 6 participants, with probably 2 new ones tomorrow. This is a huge silver lining and we never would have done this if we all hadn’t been forced to stay home. Keep in mind, the gyms are back open and we are still doing this.

I’m proud of us.

This Blog is About Menstruation. You’ve Been Warned.

The end of my imaginary pregnancy started the beginning of a new adventure; menstrual discs.

As most women can attest, periods are the worst. Even when they aren’t terrible, they are still inconvenient. Sometimes you’re bleeding to death and struggling with what product to use to stem that flow so you can pretend to be a normal human being in public, even though your uterus is probably falling out and you’re ruining another pair of underwear. Sometimes, your period is playing hide and seek. So you think it’s probably over, but then SURPRISE, another pair of underwear ruined. If you’re lucky, you may just get something consistent and manageable, but in any event, you’re sticking something into your body, pasting something to your clothes, wearing underwear with things sewn into them, or some combination thereof.

Another thing most women can attest to, especially if they are in the 40+ crowd, is that things that used to work, will stop working at some point and you’ll need to get creative.

I used to be on birth control, even though I was in no danger of getting pregnant, simply to keep my insane periods in check. For several glorious years, it worked. It was amazing. I didn’t even have a period. Then, apropos of nothing, this bitch came roaring back and she was making up for lost time.

When I had my first period in 6th grade, my parents were divorced and I was living pretty much full time with my dad. I was not alarmed by my period, I knew what was happening and why, but I was not prepared, and neither was my dad. My grandmother stepped up, dug through her things and found some ancient sanitary napkin / belt combo with snaps and shit. The pad was at least a foot long and several inches thick. I cried at the injustice of it all and waddled around uncomfortably with all of this nonsense crammed into my tiny adolescent crotch.

I have no idea what conversation transpired between my parents that day and I have no real concept of how much time elapsed between that first pad trauma and seeing my mom, but the next thing I remember clearly is being at my mom’s house and getting a tampon tutorial.

I guess I should be grateful to have received some instruction on the matter, but frankly, that was more traumatic than the pad situation. I’m a pretty smart person, and I had a decent grasp on reproductive anatomy, even as a child. My mom was a midwife after all, and an oversharer. I had a story book as a child about orgasms, so yeah. I was educated. I didn’t need a visual, but despite my protests I got one anyway. My dear mother dropped trou and hopped up on her exam table (she saw patients at our house) and proceeded to show me how it was done. It was like that scene in A Clockwork Orange where that guy’s eyes were forced open and he couldn’t look away, no matter how much he wanted to.

As you can imagine, this made me cry, because, Jesus…Mom.. Really? At this point I wasn’t even worried about the tampons. I wondered if I would ever be able to scrub this image from my mind. Sadly, that answer was no.

Ultimately, I took the box of tampons and locked myself in the bathroom and figured it out, as most girls do. Despite the associated trauma, the comfort level was far greater than what I had experienced with my grandma’s dinosaur pad, so from that point on I was a tampon user.

This worked fine until my body betrayed me. For the time between the onset of that betrayal and the advent of the pill, I had to adopt usage of a pad in addition to the tampon. Luckily, pads have come a long way and they weren’t AS terrible, but it still felt gross and was not ideal.

After the complete failure of the pills, I tried to go back to tampons, but they just didn’t work anymore. Even on days where they should have been sufficient, my flow just kind of bypassed them, so I ended up having to adopt pads full time. This sucks, because in addition to feeling gross, they also make an already sweaty crotch even sweatier, adding to the gross factor and just making everything generally dank and unpleasant.

I decided to try period underwear. These are ok, I suppose, as a back up for another method, or for someone with a very light flow, but you encounter many of the same feelings of grossness as you would with a pad, though with maybe less bulk. They have also made me super curious about the bleeding patterns of other women, because the pad thing that is built into these panties runs alllll the way up the back, to the waist. I’m a period veteran, but I have never in my life experienced a need to have anything absorbent that close to my lower back. All my action happens in the front, you know, where my vagina is located. It’s mysterious. For the sake of argument, let’s say this feature is useful. It’s also a heat trap. So you encounter the same sweaty crotch issues, except this time they extend for the whole of your butt crack as well. WTF. Furthermore, these things are supposed to be environmentally friendly, because they are reusable, but it takes 700 gallons of water to rise them out before they go in the wash. Then they have to air dry, and air drying clothes leaves them kind of crunchy, and no one likes crunchy underwear.

Enter the menstrual disc. I bought these when I was still on my last period because my daughter said they were great. They are supposed to essentially act as a cap over your cervix, catching the blood before it can enter the vaginal canal. This would be ideal if it worked, because I could go back to wearing no underwear, which is what my vagina prefers. She wants to be freeeeee!!

Sadly, this was not meant to be. There are definite pros to the disc, and I will use it again, but it is NOT safe for use on its own.

First of all, in order for this thing to be effective, you have to get it in there right. If you’re a long time tampon user, you’ll have to fight against your instinct to cram it up there that way, like I did the first time. Nope, it goes in the opposite way. Basically when it feels like you’re trying to shove it up your own ass from the inside, you’ll know you’re on the right track.

It’s a disc, so a circle, but you pinch it into a figure 8 to jam it in your hoo, then once it’s in there it opens back up into a circle, but you have to fish around for the lip of the thing and jam that edge behind your pubic bone. I’m sure there are classier and easier ways to make all of this happen, but for me, the only way I could manage it was to squat like a frog and cram half my hand in there. My poor vagina was so confused and offended.

Anyhow, once it’s up there, you don’t feel it anymore, so that’s a relief, but since I’m a new user, there’s also a deep distrust. Like, “is this thing working, or did my period stop? What’s happening up there??”

That led me to the next thing I learned, which was ‘dumping’. While the product says it’s good for 12 hours, it really only means you can safely leave it in place for 12 hours. It doesn’t mean it can collect 12 hours worth of bodily fluids. Maybe for some, on some days, it can. But for me, that was not the case. So you have to empty this thing intermittently without taking it out. Here’s how. You sit on the toilet and bear down like you are trying to poop. Since one side of this disc sits against your bowel, this action causes the thing to shift, breaking the seal. You lean forward and, sploosh, empty the cup. From here, you’re supposed to sit back up, do a couple kegels and pop this thing back into place. Hilarious.

This may work for some, but I do not have the hang of it. I can do the dump part, no problem, but getting it back into place was not so easy. I tried the kegel trick, but I was just squeezing the thing, not shifting its position. So I had to go back into the frog position and manually jam it back into place. Fine, except this time, there’s blood everywhere.

On a heavy day, I had to repeat this process at least once every hour or so. I went through a lot of toilet paper and hand soap. Furthermore, since each time the dump takes place, blood enters the vaginal canal, you have to have on some kind of protection, a pantyliner at minimum.

The other major flaw with this is that squatting naked in a public restroom is far from ideal for both sanitary and modesty reasons.

The upshot is that I will add this product to my arsenal, but modern technology has still failed to come up with a solution to this basic issue that half the population deals with. Unless you count burning the lining of your uterus or taking the whole damned thing out.

But at least dudes have medication for boners.

The Universe Has a Sick Sense of Humor

Clearly I have not been stricken with inspiration lately. This is partly because I don’t want to only write about my boring life, partly because I’m embarrassed I haven’t been able to think of anything else to write about, and finally because I’ve had some bullshit taking up too much space in my brain. So I’ll just write about that and call it a day.

First, some quick back story.

When I was younger, I dreamt of having a baby. Time went on and that didn’t seem like it was going to pan out, then I accidentally got pregnant. I was happy and excited even though it was not an ideal situation. I lost the baby at 12 weeks and never got pregnant again. After I was married and financially able, I even tried IVF, but no dice. My eggs were garbage and having a baby was not in the cards for me.

I grieved and cried, but then I embraced the peace of not trying anymore, of not anguishing month after month. I embraced being the best mom I could be to the kid I didn’t have to give birth to. This went on for a long, long time and all was well.

Then, a few weeks ago, for no reason I can recall, I got it in my head that it was possible I might be pregnant. My initial reaction was terror. After all, my kid is out of the house, I’m 45, I’m selfish. Then, as the days wore on, I started to think about how if I did end up pregnant that it was an actual miracle and that I should embrace it.

All of this is going on in my brain. I dare not speak it into the universe, because my logical brain knows that this notion is completely stupid and my superstitious brain thinks if I share, I’ll have to take a test and that will prove its not real and then I’ll be sad again, like all of those times before. Best to just ignore it.

Except you can’t ignore it. It just buzzes in the background. The fact that I don’t have any symptoms besides a missed period is irrelevant, because to me, the weird notion that I could even be pregnant IS a symptom. It’s complete, fucking madness.

Today is two weeks since I was supposed to start my period. I woke up feeling like a big, fat ass. I went to train with Ralph and asked him whether bodies sometimes just decide what size they want to be and refuse to budge from that, no matter what. He said he thought my issue was hormones. So I say.. “speaking of hormones”… and I proceed to tell him what’s been on my mind. I tell him that even though it’s crazy and basically impossible, I’ve been wondering if I have experienced one of those late in life, perimenopausal, fertility surge surprises. He asks me if I’ve tested. I told him no, because I feel stupid about it, since as I mentioned, it’s impossible. He told me not to feel stupid.

I decide to go to the drug store on the way home and just get a test, that way I know one way or the other. I walk into the store, and have this… feeling. So I go to the bathroom and there it is. My fucking period.

The universe lay there, in wait, for me to say the words just so it could make me feel like a giant idiot.

I’m never going to do this to myself again. As far as I’m concerned, I am not now and will never be pregnant, and I will only think differently if there is an actual infant emerging from my body.

Fuck. This. Shit.