Sunday, July 30, 2006

Since the cat is out of the bag

I made a commitment, begrudgingly to TGF that I would go see our therapist one time to talk about these things. Writing that Mercury post was one of the more painful things I have done, I was half crying the entire I was writing and for a few hours afterwards. Since I don’t really cry much, that’s big. I seem to be doing a lot of painful things the last couple of years. Growth – it brings pain. TGF was deeply troubled by what I wrote but, I think, glad I am doing some work on this issue.

Of course I keep thinking of other twisted things I have done or thought in regards to my eating disorder. While it’s true I never made myself throw up, I did try and was bummed I didn’t have the nerve or ability, which ever to actually do it. I tried adopting any habits that I thought might work, especially if they were done by people with worse variations of this crap than me – because, well they were actually thin. Things like I would not touch the fork with my lips. Like any addict I have hidden the evidence of my crimes, burying ice cream pint containers down into the layers of the kitchen trash in such a manner that if one was doing a timeline like they do in archeology it would be all screwy – along the lines of the placing the iron age before bronze, history would be messed up forever.

I feel like if write every unreasonable odd ball thing I have done, it will make it more real. I have said in a casual way for a long time that I have an eating disorder but because I have never really met the criteria for anorexia or bulimia, you know an actual “condition” it’s like I don’t really have one. Of course now that I have the DSM sitting in my office I could read up and see if I “officially” qualify. But if I did, or perhaps more importantly, if I didn’t, what would that change. Since I don’t have insurance, it’s not like my therapy would be covered if I had enough of the qualifiers. If I don’t have the markers established by the APA, it’s not I will wake up tomorrow “normal”, with all this free time available in my head to get the rest of my life together and orderly.

Perhaps the reason I never talked about it therapy was because it seemed so indefinable, on some level not severe enough, not real. I had that sort of thing happen with my very first therapist, a wonderful woman named Nohmie Myers. Like all mothers or mother figures they are flawed creatures, as we all are, and they let us down. She let me down in a very profound way. I spoke of something I had held in for years and years. Because I had no actual clear memories of abuse, she wrote it off. I remained silent on the subject for years. Now I that I write this out, it makes sense that here is another invisible topic so, no, no thank you I don’t want to talk about it. I can’t have another therapist say something isn’t real. However I am older and wiser now, I know L. wouldn’t think of not exploring this further. In fact with my luck she will say that I certainly need to do more sessions; that one is not enough. Just what I want to hear. NOT. It’s scary. What if I do deal with this? What if I become “recovered” in some fashion? What would it be like to live in my brain then? It is so foreign, such a huge unknowable – it frightening to consider what that would be like, what I would be like then.

To quote Scarlett: I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Maybe its Mercury

No not the mercury as in the temperature, but Mercury the planet. My friend Ruth, Piccolo’s mom, was saying yesterday that Mercury was moving retrograde and in astrological terms it can be a bad time for communication, among other things. So maybe that’s part of it but I am feeling furious and very upset right now.

On a list I’m on I wrote very briefly having an eating disorder and that I had been thinking about writing about it on my blog. Someone suggested that I should start by not writing what I had earlier about being jealous of a friend’s slim body type. Excuse me? First, I really thought what I had written was flattering and second I was infuriated that this person slapped me on the wrist but in addition said nothing about what I had actually written about – which was that this was a hard subject for me, one I had never even brought out in therapy, ever. Thanks a fricking lot. I wrote to clarify my position and also said I was done on the subject. Then, then, a good friend on the list agreed that I had not been nice. And further, then wrote me privately to ask if I were stressed because my posts seemed a bit testy lately. Well fuck, I wasn’t particularly testy but after that I sure as hell was. TGF agreed that I hadn’t been particularly testy in my postings, but given that I fairly screamed the question at her, she may have only agreed with me to save herself from the banshee that was about to erupt. Honestly it took all my strength not to send a screaming email to my good friend.

This is not merely a hard subject for me. It is one of very deep pain and shame. I have an eating disorder. It is not normal to think about food as often as I do, which you just have to believe me when I say it is way too often – what will I eat, should I eat something different, is that really the best choice, why can’t I have more self control, I shouldn’t have eaten X but really should have eaten Y because it is of better quality, i.e. less fat, more fiber, more balanced etc. It is not reasonable to berate oneself on a daily basis for your body size. It is not healthy to wake up every morning and wonder if today is the day you will take control of the reigns of your eating habits. It is true that I no longer diet wildly, I binge considerably less, I no longer weigh myself 6 times a day (no this is not an exaggeration), I don’t take diet pills, or exercise for up to 2.5 hours a day.

What made me think about writing this entry a few weeks ago was that TGF was leaving the house for a significant period of time and I was going to have the house to myself, something I crave. What did I think of almost immediately upon her exit – “what can I eat?” It certainly isn’t like I don’t eat in front of her, I absolutely do, though it did take nearly a year of living together before I would eat ice cream out of the container in front of her – ice cream being a favorite binge food. As soon as that thought crossed my mind, the next one was “Dharma, this is not at all normal you know.” Another event was I had gotten something to eat one evening, a snack (probably involving ice cream) and TGF asked me what I was eating. A reasonable question, right? But for me, not so much. I nearly took her head off and she felt awful. In turn I felt like a horrible beast. She was sure that she must have done something along the way to elicit such a response and wanted to know what she had done, and how she could correct it. She had done nothing, not a blessed thing to inspire that response. I tried my best to convince her of that. Maybe this entry will help.

I first dieted when I was 12 years old, weighing 99 lb and standing 5 feet tall (or close to that I don’t think I grew much after age 12 and I am now 5 foot and a hair tall). In many ways I have been dieting the entire time since then, which is a couple or few decades now. My doctor, whom I adored, mentioned to my mother, after noting my weight that an eye should be kept on my eating habits. She obviously had a crystal ball. My first year in high school, I refused to eat anything during the week until the school day ended. On the way to the subway I would stop at this donut/small grocery place on 23rd Street and 6th Avenue right by the F train station where I would usually buy an 8 ounce container of Dann*n banana yogurt. On days when I felt decadent, thin, or defiant I would be an ├ęclair. It was one or the other, but never both. I did eat dinner. The weekends, who remembers, but I suspect it went back and forth between a Spartan allotment of food and binging. Because I was sensitive to caffeine I had trouble when I took Dexatrim, I bought empty gel caps and divided the pills up, trying to build up a tolerance to it. Several times I took up smoking, starting at age 12 or 13, in order not to eat.

One night when I was 17 I took so many diuretic pills that I spent almost the entire night awake (again, mostly caffeine, a substance I still wasn’t used to) because I felt I could hear the building breathing and so paranoid that I was never more than 10 inches away from the phone. Another time, I was feeling great about my weight, it was low, I was barely eating, taking diet pills (aha! success in getting used to caffeine) only to have my ex-boyfriend tell me how worried he was about me because I had sunken dark circles under my eyes and was so pale. Really, I thought. But the scale says I am this wonderful low number so I must be fabulous? No? Huh. I did take some heed but I often reflected back on that time with nostalgia for my dedication and my weight. When I say some time, I mean years.

At about 23 or so, I forget the year, I found myself with an unplanned pregnancy despite my efforts to avoid such things (this happened three times – good thing I stopped sleeping with men, huh?). Trying to decide what to do was very hard, heart wrenching in fact. Among the many memories of that time, one of the visceral ones is looking at myself in the mirror liking how thin I was and how that would change, possibly forever if I continued the pregnancy. I was wearing a size 6 or 8 at the time. I cannot fathom being that small now, though I long for it daily. A year or two later, I was taking a semester long poetry workshop with Melinda Goodman, who was mentored by Audre Lorde. The assignment was to write a body poem. Mine was titled “Albatross”. About one or two years later, along with my partner at the time tried Fit for Life to try to cure some vague illness (that even then seemed mostly in her head) and me to support her but also because it promised, yes you guessed, I would shed weight.

In the intervening years between the last paragraph and now, I have gotten less extreme in the behaviors that could be videotaped but my thought patterns are no better and given that I have only twice, briefly had a size 10 in my closet in over a decade, it’s not because my weight is acceptable to me. I am tired, worn out by my struggles. There are literally hours a week spent in reverie of the glory days of my neurosis where my weight was down, even if in many ways I am happier and more accomplished in other areas of my life now. I have been fortunate in my last few relationships to find people who seem to adore my body. I wish I could feel the same way. There are moments, flickers of that peace and adoration and pleasure. They are magical, fleeting dreamscapes where I feel like I am flying. When they end, the emptiness is huge, the struggle feels insurmountable. It is midnight and the coach is a pumpkin once again, the horses are mice, and am back in the dungeon with a scrub brush trying to erase the years of abuse and hatred that I have imposed upon myself. Every once and again I look up and hoping against hope that that sliver of peace will return, even for a moment.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Just a taste of the heat

Was plenty for me.

Yesterday morning I saw a listing on Freecycle for two 25' foot soaker hoses. Free! Really could use those for the backyard - that dank, crusty, dried out, underplanted hell through which the Puppyman romps. They are in Walnut Creek. Okay. It's still free damn it.

In the afternoon I travel eastward. Before entering the Caldecott Tunnel I check the temperature on that handy dandy temperature and direction toy above the rear view mirror. I love having that thing, TGF mourns that she doesn't have one in our new to us Subaru Forrester (Thanks Sarah!). It shows 84 degrees. Not so bad. After barreling through the tunnel, within about 5 minutes on "the other side" it registers 96. Eek. As I drive it continues to climb.

Last week, while in stop and go traffic heading to Hot Pot City, the Purple Beast did not like the heat. Not at all. She died on the road. Twice. Luckily she started back up right away, but at her advanced age, and without a recent tune up, well the heat is not her friend. Today was hotter.

As I drive east the heat creeps up, making me a bit nervous. Of course not having really read the directions I take 680 South, quickly realizing I wanted North. Should be simple enough to turn around, right? If you said yes, you do not drive in California! Driving in circles I land in the center of Walnut Creek's shopping haven where the temperature reaches 112! Yes, I said 112. Please note dear readers I am driving without air conditioning in order not to stress PB. I finally wind myself to 680 North and as I am coming right up on my exit, Treat Avenue, she conks out. Again, she quickly starts back up but man, was that stressful. I find the address I want more easily than I had hoped given my early screw up. I decide it would be best to give Purple Beast a break so I go up the road to a Peet's on Ygnacio
Valley Road. Deciding that it would be appropriate to update TGF I find some relative shade under the eave of the little strip mall and call.

The heat, about 110 according to the car, isn't so bad standing still, in some shade. Until I step in Peet's. It's air conditioned and I now feel the heat, now it feels like it was just all too much. I think, jeez, modern life really makes us kind of wimpy. Meanwhile I enjoyed my vanilla latte with a scone. What was I saying about modern life? About 20 minutes later I get some gas (did I mention I was close to empty?) and find my way back to 680 when I look up at the temperature - 115 - one hundred and freaking fifteen! I am still driving without air conditioning. Driving I am silently praying that the temperatures will reverse downward. By the time I am back at the tunnel entrance it's about 103. Emerging from the tunnel, whew 85. Yesssss! As I drive on the access road to the west of 80/580, along side the water, getting close to home, there is a lovely breeze and the car registers 71. 115-71= 44! A forty-four degree difference. How is that possible in a 25 mile span. I ask you. No really, how is that possible? Sure I understand a bunch of it, but the reality of it is a bit mind blowing.

Hm. 1.5 gallons of gas? Maybe less. So perhaps $4.00
Vanilla latte and lemon curd scone, with tip $6.00

Did I say free?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Where did the time go?

So my dearest Jennie, not to subtly, pointed out that I hadn't posted in nine days. I thought, could that be right? But I guess it is. I've been busy. My creativity a bit tapped out, I confess.

On a positive note:
- I finished and SUBMITTED one of two papers to Dr. Fox (yes, that really is the name). Even started the second one.
- Did the first 3 deposits of checks for DNE.
- Am majorly caught up on data entry of registrations.
- Have handled a bunch of work exchange details for camp as well.
- Have been in contact with two potential layout people for the BirthWays newsletter.
- Am only one week behind in progress notes for work.
- Have been to the dog park(s) a lot more lately.
- Have done a fair amount of socializing with out of towners and local folks.

In the last two weeks I've been to:
Fondue Freds in Berkeley, which was kind of disappointing this time around, as already noted by Jennie and Andrea (look under July 21st). We didn't have our usual lovely if a bit slow server. But the company was great. And still I didn't really talk to Lucinda and Jen. How does this keep happening???

A fantabulous potluck at Ruthie's house where the kids in attendance had way too much fun. Two little girls who had never met declared themselves cousins.

Santa Cruz Diner for breakfast with more fabulous folks.

Grilled tofu dogs at Seabright Beach, later that day. Grilled is definitely the best way to eat tofu hot dogs. Given that I am not a huge fan of any version of hot dogs I realize I am not the best judge of these delicate tidbits.

Then for the folks in my life who delight in meat we met up at Hot Pot City. I have not been to one of these places before but it was great fun, even without meat, which is how I enjoyed the meal. Among the delights I enjoyed was a bowl of rice with sesame sauce, scallions and crushed peanuts - YUM. Andrea and Liz hadn't realized that meat is not a mainstay of my diet and were very concerned that I wouldn't find enough to eat - so not a problem. Liz and I then went to Fantasia, despite our stuffed bellies for toffee crack. Liz assured me that she was a regular. Sure enough she is - we barely sidled up to the counter when a guy in the back looked up at her. She responded with a hand signal indicating that she needed two of something. But no fear, he knew exactly two of what. "He's the toffee crack master", Liz confided while he worked his magic out of our line of vision. Ah good stuff.

Andrea pondered, while we rolled down the concrete pathway at this large mall strip where our next food adventure might be. I have since come up with a few possibilities and await the election totals.

House of Chicken and Waffles

Taxi Brousse

We are open to ideas and more folks to join in. I'm thinking for example, Wen, what ya doing these days? When do you get back from Chicago? Hey I just checked your blog - you're back!!! You won a gold! Way to go. And of course Lucinda and Jen - I swear one day we will converse!

So thus completes one of my lamest posts ever, heralding a milestone in my life as a blogger.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Socks and bed

Some time ago there was a very short lived thread on the glbt-knit list about house socks. Well maybe that was what they were called. I just remember that I totally understood the need for socks that worn particularly in the morning and went along with sleep clothes, or lounge wear type things.

My lounge type wear is an old pair of mens jo
e bo*ers pajama type black cotton pants, and some cozy top or another - I have quite a number. I have a favorite pair of socks, that may have been hand knit, thick gray wool, ankle length. I love these socks for around the house but I have recently discovered a hole!

Clearly this is a sign from above that I need to learn how to make socks. Several weeks back I had started on a what seemed like a simple pair to try. All in all I thought they came out pretty good. Not perfect, but as someone recently said on that same list, "that there should be a mistake in everything because only god could make a perfect thing". As one can easily see, I had a bit of difficulty with the short row heel thing. Oh well. First attempts and all that.

This yarn, called Country (formerly named Tapestry) by Cleckheaton, knitted up quickly on size 6 double pointed needles. Well mostly size 6, I lost my 5th needle and substituted a size 4 I think it was. Maybe a 3. But it worked. I finally got them in the mail and Sunny received them today. As predicted they are totally her colours.

In addition I am working on a cat bed for my Niya, who lives in Whately, MA with my ex. The yarn I've been using is GORGEOUS! It's Debbie Bliss's Soho in colourway 37509. The colour is so much better looking in person than anywhere I've seen online. I am using this pattern, by Wendy. Quickly in the process I realized the yarn called for in the pattern is significantly bulkier than what I was using. Luckily Wendy is a sweet and lovely woman who answered my question of how to adapt the pattern to my yarn.

Here is what the bed looked like with almost one full ball knitted up. I am on the third ball and I am unclear how many balls I will ultimately use but I have plenty. I am very tempted to buy more of this yarn and make myself a sweater. Yeah, right, I hear you. I haven't even done a swatch for the shrug that I planned to make myself. A girl can dream.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I guess it's fate

According to a site, that Wen found, my name means this. If that isn't the primary role, definition, whathaveyou of a therapist, than I'll eat my eat. Er, if i had one that was tasty, that is.

Yes I know I have been very absent from my blog of late my dear loyal 10 readers. It is in part because of things related to my fate - school is taking significant time.

As is Dance New England - registration is cranking and I am behind. I know y'all are so surprised. So instead of accompanying the beloved GF to Costc* to pick up the exciting items of cigarettes (for her), gum (for both of us), pigs ears (for Wyatt), coffee (for both of us), chicken (for the cats), and whatever else catches the attention I am about to head up to my office for a marathon data entry session. Why a marathon, other than I am behind, you ask. I found out today compliments of a 7 frigging A.M. phone call on My. Home. Phone. (I have a separate phone line just for DNE!) that there is a meeting on Saturday for which numbers must be culled. Yes, that person will be reprimanded for such actions, I assure you.

Also keeping me up at night is a little disaster I had with my computer which caused all the BirthWays email to be deeply hided on my computer. Somewhere. Which of course means yet another level of delay in getting out the newsletter.

Yeah, life is good. Not. Well actually in some ways it is. I love my DNE work, really I do, except for those pesky phone calls at obscene hours on my home line. BirthWays, well that's a litle more vague. But the kittens, Marcel and Sanaa, are still lovely creatures who I just adore. The other critters of the house make me smile everyday.

And then there is TGF who has had extraordinary patience with my crummy moods of late. She is the best. Of course some quality time in the bedroom the other night also has improved my outlook in a major way. With the amount of stress I have been feeling,my libido has, well, hung the "On Vacation" sign on my body. But after spatting over some smaller and larger things, it was clear that this was not helping my stress, TGF's stress, nor was the lack of sensuality offering a more productive Dharma. Just a miserable one. I happy to say that spending some fun time with TGF was just what the doctor ordered, assuming one could actually find such a cool doc. I still have the same load hanging over my head but I feel clearer. Perhaps more importantly, I feel reconnected with TGF, which is always a good thing.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

My allegiance

Has been misrepresented, abbreviated, or otherwise misstated by TGF. While talking about her missing celebrations of the 4th, she stated that I don't "believe that this country deserves to celebrate" which is not exactly my feelings and I believe minimizes my feelings about the country I live in, which are complex, at best. In truth I don't have a convenient or easy way to talk about my feelings. While I have been tempted to take advantage of my Austrian heritage and relocate, I haven't done it. (Hm seems that they changed the rules and I can't easily claim citizenship there anymore. Damn procrastination strikes again.) I would miss people, need to learn German (though I hear it's pretty easy) and a million other things.

Like TGF, I also do not see the solution to this country's ills for people like me (which include the probably 10 people who read this blog) to leave and simply drop the ball. There is a saying in judaism, I can't quite remember the wording (and I cannot find it on the web!) but it goes something like "you are not required to finish the task but you must work on it". The actual quote is SO much better, more eloquent.

Found it!

One simple quote in the Pirkei Avot, the teachings of the fathers, says, "You are not required to finish the work, neither are you free to desist from it."

That sums up why I wouldn't easily leave the united states. I think it sums up how TGF feels too, by what she wrote in her post. As to how I feel about this country? I do recognize that there are freedoms here that we believe are inherent and are dumbfounded when we learn it is not a worldwide fact. But I also feel there is not a true democracy, even as we enforce our very twisted concept of this political system all over the world (some of whom excel at it and if we were honest we would be redfaced at the difference of what we sell).

I am outraged that other countries are more accepting, legally speaking than ours to gay and lesbian folks, that I have to settle for domestic partnership that only holds in the state we live in and is useless when we travel or should we move.

This site helps me to give numbers and figures to why I am less than automatically celebratory on the 4th. Given our current presizanut and congress, it makes it hard to remember and honour what is good because there is so much bad. I feel that rights are being taken away, that free speech is on a death watch.

On a much more personal note, I am not one for big bashes where drinking abounds, which has been much of my experience of parties for 7/4, memorial day and such. I also am not fond of crowds much of the time so gatherings for fireworks can be a challenge for me, though I do know the pleasure of everyone being in awe at the fireworks, as TGF mentioned. I have to gear up for crowds, one of the reasons that Pride marches are not as compelling as they used to be for me.

The fact that I could go to the biggest one right here in my backyard in San Francisco does compel me - I do think I ought to go once at least because it's one of those cool things one can say they have done. But here again, the message is so fuzzy these days. The SF "march", like many of them is more of a celebratory parade, in a time when I think there is still so to be done that if feels like a disservice to water it down. I mean, hell it's on freaking television out here, like the M*acy's Thanksg*ving Day Parade - complete with sponsor floats. On one hand I am amazed and happy to see all these big corporations "supporting" us, but I know that it's about the almighty dollar more than ethics for many of them. I suppose I could get my pride fix and suffer less qualms by going to the dyke march. Maybe next year we will go to both and see how we each feel.

What does this have to do the 4th? Hm, good question my dear readers. For me, celebrations are complex and never easy. The commercialism that abounds taints the event for me. I like developing our own "holidays" like we did for chanukah this year, and our harvest blessing party. Those are more clear and fill with me with joy. In time I suspect TGF and I will figure the maze of our differences with regards to holidays. I have promised to try to be more aware of those dates on the calendar and will always help her with any party, gathering or what have you she dreams up. For me, her being happy is more important than my very complex and rather inarticulate feelings about this country.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

So I am trying

to get this damn button on my sidebar. But nothing I do seems to work. So I am pasting the *(#*($*#(% jpeg into my blog via a post and see if someone out in the blog universe can help me. Even TGF, a supergeek isn't able to help. Of course she hasn't had her second cup of java yet. But damn! Ya know? Well at least I got my flicker badge set up. Small and meek but it's there. Yeah, I know I have more important things to do but sometimes it's a matter of style over substance (name that movie reference!).

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sanaa & Marcel, the foster babies

Yes, they are still here and we are painfully attached to them. Sanaa and Marcel have wrapped their very tiny paws around our hearts. Tomorrow they will be 5 weeks old and we have had them since they were about 10 days old.

In a bittersweet development,
they are starting to eat regular kitten food which means we are slowly weaning them off bottles. This means greater freedom for us mamas and them in they are having more say in when they eat and we don't have to be responsible for every morsel they consume.

In really shocking turn of events, Atticus aka Stitch, Experiment 626, has become an amazingly loving big brother.

Sanaa stood up to him one day and puffed her little self up as big as possible, hissing and swatted at him, while they were vying for the turf that is my lap. Ever since then, poof, he loves her and Marcel.

Recently we procured a playpen off Freecycl* to use in the living room to give them room to roam but still be contained. Atticus climbs in there with them to hang out. He grooms them both, and they cuddle up to him. We often find them all snugged up together sleeping in the afternoon in there.

We aren't not sure who will adopt them or even if they will go to the same home, but they sure do love each other. I do know that I r
eally want to know the people who take them because I would love to be able to stay connected to these special beasts.