I care about this alot.

Clarion is around the corner, and my motto is taken from Hyperbole and a Half, because it seems appropriate. I give myself permission to love everyone, to love every second of this time, to flail around in joy, to fail big.

Update on goooooals:
Weight loss: success. Down 7 lbs. since coming back to AZ. That Lose It program has really helped, and I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing or starving myself. It’s a nice feeling.
Exercise: success. Have used the gym membership 17 times since I got it.
Alcohol: fair to middling. Am still drinking, but three or so times a week, and only one drink in an evening. This is a HUGE cutback from the 3-5 drinks a night that were my norm last semester. I am less depressed, less ill, and I feel capable of focus in a way I haven’t in months.
Writing: Middling success. Two revisions I adore (one on a new story–about etiquette and terrifying three-headed angels), two chapters on the novel, and four new drafts to tinker with. And the start of a revision on the girl-Jesus story. And I sent out one of the revisions a few weeks ago and still have not heard…will update when the reply arrives.
Food: success. Have been eating MUCH healthier. That could all disappear if the Clarion cafeteria food is as terrifying as rumored, though. I’m hoping the Trader Joe’s (walking distance of campus) can get me by if the “free” food is too unhealthy.

I don’t think I could be any more prepared, all things considered. I have a daily writing habit, a daily exercise habit, a packed suitcase, and an open brain. What else am I missing?


Wisdom teeth: the diet plan.

Ugh.  I feel bad even talking about this, given that I have a friend in EDA.  But it’s weighing on my mind (oh gawd accidental pun) and so I wanted to blather some about summer’s weight loss and exercise plan, derailed then salvaged in the worst way possible.  Please be forewarned.

An old improv friend/student of mine just got married.  She studied nutrition in undergrad, and her hubby runs a fitness blog.  Their wedding pictures were stunning–nay, chiseled–and I felt the great and terrible envy of “I want to look like that.”  I’d also signed up for my hometown gym for the summer, and I’d just started getting into a good groove of classes and workouts when the first round of teeth stuff hit (the month of abcess leading up to the root canal).  I gained a bunch of weight on the antibiotics, as I had to take them with food, which meant force-feeding myself an extra meal a day I did not want.  I stopped going to the gym entirely, partly due to the mouth pain, and partly to let my body heal.

Then the wisdom teeth came out, and I was on a liquid diet for two weeks.  Yo-yoed a bit in the third week, but then had a chipmunk relapse.  Woke up with a swollen face and ended up back at the doctor’s office yesterday getting a pus-filled socket popped.  Now I’m back off alcohol, caffeine and solid foods, in the hope of giving my mouth a leg up on healing.

The upshot?  I’m down to 112, from a high of 128.  And I really want to keep that number on the scale, even though I know numbers on the scale don’t matter, even though I lost weight in the least healthy way possible–by enforced starvation. It was a genuinely miserable few weeks.  I don’t LIKE not eating.

The question becomes, how important is this to me, really?  I’m going to start back up at the gym in IL (barring future health issues…if the infected pocket doesn’t heal, I may need another surgery).  I’d like to start eating healthily instead of meagerly.  I’m about to be back in Chi-town with a gorgeous boy eager to go on shishi dates, a gorgeous boy who actually eats and has found my whole prolonged illness gastronomically trying. And he wants to cook for me and with me, so it’s an opportunity to change both our habits for the better.

We’ll see.  I know weight shouldn’t matter, but I do want to be healthy, inasmuch as that’s possible within the constraints of my sedentary desk life.  I keep entertaining veganism and dietary supplements, and I have friends who swear by them (including the aforementioned newlywed), but I also like my parents’ more low-key pescatarianism.  So many paths, and I have no idea where to begin, especially given that I’m a picky eater on a shoestring budget with miserable health patterns.

Moral: Feeding self is hard, I say.  And weight is fraught.


I am finally on the mend.  Throat still swollen, jaw still achy, but I can actually DO things again.  What am I doing?  Why, moving to Chicago with the Significant Other in a vanishingly small amount of time.  Thirteen days to do what should have been spread out over a month.  The SO’s mum is gifting us with some gorgeous antique furnishings that have been gathering spiderwebs in her garage for a year.  We spent most of the weekend cleaning and polishing, but there’s still plenty to be done there.  Need to repack some boxes (kitchen stuff; dishes and glassware mostly), figure out a safe way to  pack up a mirror, clean up a free office chair my boss gave me, beat some giant rugs to death, pick up my poor broken computer from the shop…the list is endless.  And I’m trying to finish a book for work before I leave; I already have over forty hours this week.  Plus the SO has a million going-away shindigs, and the family would like to see me before I fly away, and we’re still house-sitting until Monday, which has been lovely but I’m ready to not make the drive out to that side of town anymore.  Is insanity.

Also, I am not drinking again, because my immune system needs all the help it can get.  It’ll be two weeks this Friday with no booze…AND no caffeine.  I don’t even recognize myself.

Soon it will all be over.  And then the semester will start, and I’ll be right back in the hamster wheel.  None of this is by way of complaint.  I’m shockingly happy.  Spending too much of the summer down sick makes me appreciate the simple fact that I’m well enough to keep doing things.

One down.

As of 1:15 last night, I am done my first year of PhD school.  With the exception of a rough first month of homesickness, I’ve loved every second of it. A small record:

I’ve produced some fifty pages of criticism that I hope to revise into an exam paper; I’m very pleased with the ideas and actually want to return to them.  I had no idea how much I would love theory when I began this program.

The writing tally is a bit more grim: thirty new pages of fiction, thirty of nonfiction, and with a substantive revision done on sixty pages.  Oh, and I culled the good bits into one kick-ass essay I probably need to send out this summer.

Not a bad year, all told, and I’m hoping that I can speed up my process when I’m a little happier in my day-to-day.  I spent much of this year painfully lonely (although Sacha, Andy and a fantastic cohort helped), and the prospect of living with Matt fills me with butterflies.  I do not thrive alone.

The cohort gets the opportunity to bring in a creative writer and a literary critic next year (how cool is that?!).  We’ve talked about Anne Carson for creative work, and either Imre Szeman or Alan Kaufman for criticism.  The goal is to bring in someone who’s early in his/her career.  Suggestions welcome!

Also, big news (for me, anyway).  Today is day five of no booze.  I’m dreaming again, and sleeping better, and my brain is a well-oiled machine; that last paper burst out of my forehead in two freakin’ days like an early-bird Athena.  I do wonder if there’s a correlation.  It’s been a long while since I’ve gone more than a day without alcohol (and those days are only because I’m hungover).  It’s been even longer since I wrote something, prose or criticism, without a glass of whiskey at hand.  So we’ll see how long I can last.  I’m trying for two weeks without; if it goes well, I’ll shoot for a month.