Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy News

I wanted to scan in my sonogram picture and be all clever about this, but I'm having no luck with my home scanner or the one in my local library. So, without visual aid, I am finally ready to tell the world:

I'm pregnant!
I'm 4.5 months along
Due date April 16th
it's a girl
We haven't chosen a name yet but are narrowing it down
no I haven't felt it kick yet

Gardiner and I are thrilled. Our parents, of course, are thrilled. I'm feeling relatively fine. The first trimester JUST SUCKED. I was barely able to get off the couch for thee months, I was so exhausted, and nothing was appetizing to me except cheeseburgers. Not any specific kind of cheeseburgers, just beef, cheese, bun, and whatever else I was in the mood for. DISGUSTING but true. My mom craved banana milkshakes when she was pregnant. Me, I get goddamn cheeseburgers.

Finally, after 4 months of feeling like a goddamn nauseous, exhausted whale, I am regaining my taste for other foods, and enjoying healthy food again. But now I get the backaches, the headaches, the everything-from-the-waist-down aches. Plus some other unpleasant physical side effects that I won't bother grossing y'all out with. Also I'm not sleeping well, or much, just plain unable to get comfortable. And the upper respiratory distress - always a problem with me - has gotten worse. And of course I can't take anything for it THAT ACTUALLY WORKS.

All of this is perfectly normal. And, already, I know it's worth it in the end. I am already so in love with this little girl squirming around inside me.

I waited a long, long time for this.

Totally worth it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Here we go again...

The uncertainty. The waiting.

I don't have the patience to write while this is going on. I'll be back one way or the other.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Survival, Rememberance, Gratitude

It was a workday like any other, and then we lost our internet access. And the phones started acting up. And no cell service. Multiple calls to the IT desk. "We're working on it, something system-wide."

Then the word spread through the office, since someone had a radio. First disbelief. Then anxiety. Then terror. Then a decision: just walk.

The utter quiet on the subway. The apocalyptic absence of cell phones, since nobody's was working anyway. Time froze. My shallow breathing was like a hurricane in my own ears.

We sat in a diner in Astoria eating burgers. Fucking burgers. The ludicrosity of it, doing something we'd do any other day. "Thank G-d my parents are in Arizona," he said, choking back tears, eyes determinedly dry. "That's my neighborhood. My home. My backyard." He stared, jaw hard, silently raging.

"I hope everyone... knows I'm safe," I said, thinking of my family and friends in the midwest.

We sat in silence, chewing mindlessly, a few feet apart, but miles away.

Back at my apartment I refused to look out my fifth-story window at my view of lower Manhattan. I knew what was out there.

When I finally got one friend on the phone, we cried to together. Fear and grief morphed into anger. Ranting, raving, condemning, blaming. Then melting back into fear, and grief, and finally relief. "I though I'd lost you," my friend wept. He was in DC. "I thought I'd lost you," I wept. We sat on the phone, listening to each other's silence, grateful for it.

When I could, I went to church. We held each other and prayed. Random strangers wandered in, telling stories, confessing, breaking down. We listened and prayed and made coffee. We stayed for hours. All over New York survivors were holding each other, praying, crying, standing up and saying I AM STILL HERE.

We still cry for those who were lost on that day. And we will never, ever forget them, or the lessons we learned from surviving.

I vow to make my survival meaningful by living my life to the best extent possible. I will be the person G-d knows I can be. I will be the best Me I can, and give as much as I can to my fellow human beings. I work from hope, not fear. In spite of my frustration and missteps and Prozac and imperfections, I want to be a living example of the triumph of humanity.

I am an analytical person, and over the years rage and grief give way to ponderance, examination, a left-brained attempt at understanding. There is no way to understand. Acceptance comes in, and a new layer of grief, and frustration, and sadness. Finally, true acceptance, and something that feels like healing.

And when I am a black, empty cavern, I realize I am not empty, something remains. I am left with gratitude. And I live.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jewish Lesson of the Day

From Wikipedia:

shomer negiah

Negiah (Hebrew: נגיעה‎),[1] literally "touch," is the concept in Halakha that forbids or restricts physical contact with a member of the opposite sex (except for one's spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, and grandparents).[2] [3] [4] A person who abides by this Halakha is colloquially described as a Shomer Negiah (one who is "observant of Negiah").[5]

The laws of Negiah are typically followed by Orthodox Jews, with varying levels of observance. Some Orthodox Jews follow the laws so strictly, they take extreme measures to avoid even accidental contact, such as refusal to sit next to a member of the opposite sex on a bus, airplane, or other similar seating situation. Others are more lenient, only avoiding purposeful contact.

I have been wondering for years why so many Orthodox men are so uncomfortable shaking hands with me. Not that tons of them cross my path, here in New York they tend to stay within their own communities, and when I do see them they avoid eye contact with me and do not return my hellos. I understand, and don't take offense, but I have always been saddened that this entire segment of humanity is closed to me, especially since it's segment of a people with whom I identify, who practice a religion that I am joining.

A lot of Christians are exactly the same. And some Eastern faith followers as well. However I have never detected the animosity from Jews that seems to simmer beneath the surface of many religious men. It's just a nervousness, almost an apologetic shug, as they quickly move away, eyes downcast.

It also occurs to me that I'm a particularly disturbing sort of shicksa, since I wear pretty revealing clothing, flashy jewelry, makeup, high heels, I have this bright red hair that I wear like a crown, I have a BIG saucy personality... The one time an Orthodox man spoke to me, it was on a shabbat elevator at a hospital, and I was wearing a very modest dress, and had my hair in a braid down my back, and no makeup or jewelry. His name was Aaron, and seemed to be slightly flirting. I was amazed... and then my colleagues told me afterwards, "well, you're dressed like one of them!" Oh...

The one time I was able to meet, talk to, and believe it or not party with a small group of "frum" guys, it was a thrill for me. We sang hymns together, partly in hebrew, on the sidewalk, in 5-part harmony. I felt loved! And I remember that one of those men was married, and he was he one who most most uncomfortable with contact. The rest of them were single, and one even danced with me. I figured maybe they were less strict than they looked? Now I'm thinking... they were probably a bunch of guys misbehaving just for an evening. Like all normal people! It was harmless, and a lot of fun, and they made a wonderful impression on me. For them - that's a mitzvah.

Now that I'm married to my soul mate, I have calmed down considerably in regards to the opposite sex. I'll always be a flirt, but now I'm all talk. And even my talk isn't as bad as it used to be. I understand this is how I want to be, how I want to live my life, not only out of respect for my husband, but for myself, and the kind of life I want to live, the kind of person I want to be. I want to leave the wantonness, for the most part, behind me. I don't need it anymore. I want to see what's new in life. I like the new me. I feel stronger, more independent. And I do think, arrogantly perhaps, that G-d is pleased with me. Not that S/He was angry or disgusted or anything like that before... but I was a furious, raging adolescent, getting into trouble, and constantly running to G-d in tears, seeking solace. That's over now. And I think S/He is proud of me.

I am proud to be who I am. I'm excited to see who I am becoming. I've accepted who I was. And I love the idea that, in some way, I am all three at once.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


In the 80's, we waited for the phone to ring.

In the 90's, we waited to hear "You've got mail!"

In the 2000's, we wait for our cell phones to ding, indicating a new FB post, or Tweet, or text.

It never gets better.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Remembering Lucky

Today an old friend reminded me that we once tried to rescue a baby pigeon. We found it alone and forlorn on a busy Astoria sidewalk. It was tiny, still fluffy, and looked very disoriented. Our hearts went out to it, we couldn't just leave it there to die. There were alley cats and stray dogs and taxis and rollerbladers and bike deliverypeople and cruel young men with big boots. We scooped it up and carried it back to my friend's apartment. We found an old shoe box, made a bunch of holes in it, big enough to see in and out of, and set the shivering creature inside while we figured out what to do next.

Sitting at my friend's laptop, I spent about 20 minutes on a bird-care educational blitz. I searched the internet on how to care for baby birds. We read a bunch of great stuff - there is a lot of excellent info out there. We even called a veterinarian who specialized in birds to ask advice. All my sources told us that it was highly unlikely the chick would survive, but I had to make a go of it. I just had to. My friend and I named him Lucky, hoping for some good fortune.

We went to a petstore and bought a cage, some baby bird food and a special tool to feed him with. I consulted at length with the store proprietor, who kept birds himself. He demonstrated how to use the feeding tube, to simulate how the mother bird deposits food into the tiny animal. I practiced using it, and took everything back to my friend's place.

Lucky didn't seem any more comfortable in the cage than he had been in the old shoebox we'd setup for him. he didn't make a sound though, just looked around, his tiny heart beating in his fuzzy breast. I was sure he was terrified. I crooned to him softly, spoke to him, tried to make soothing sounds. It was hard to tell if he even really knew I was there.

I took Lucky back home with me, and I managed to get a meal into him. He was quiet. I was worried.

I set the small birdcage on a quiet table and put a shallow saucer of water in the cage. I know that birds can have heart attacks from stress. I didn't want to leave him. I didn't want to go to sleep. I knew this was the test - if he survived the night, he might survive long enough for me to take him to a vet and possibly find a way to either release him to someone else or give him a home myself. But I knew his chances were slim. I was scared. I felt so driven to save this poor little thing. I placed a towel over his cage, and said goodnight. I tried to give him a quiet, calm, undisturbed night.

When I woke up the next morning, Lucky was dead. His eyes were closed, and he was lying there, on the bottom of the cage. My stomach felt sick. I was so sad.

Did I make his last hours on this Earth better, or worse? Everyone agreed that if I had left him we we found him, he wouldn't have lasted the day... but did I terrify him with the activity? He seemed to appreciate the food. Maybe at least I was able to quell his hunger? Or was he so sick or injured that he didn't feel hunger? Did he feel anything? Did he die peacefully in his sleep? Or did he die terrified?

I didn't know if I had done the right thing. This adorable, fuzzy, innocent creature was dead. I tried my best, but it died.

I'm not one to rescue animals. Usually they are better off left alone. I don't know why I did this one time.

I remember it took me days to stop feeling sick inside, to stop grieving the loss of something I barely knew. I cried, not just for poor Lucky, but for my failure to save him. I prayed for forgiveness, wondering if I had done something wrong, if his death was my fault, if it was silly hubris to think I could help him, if my ineptitude had hasted his demise or prolonged his suffering. I prayed for all lost creatures, knowing that in many ways I was one myself. Eventually I forced myself to think of other things, and the memory faded.

That was six years ago. Today I was reminded, and the feelings all came back.

Who was I really trying to save? Does that justify what I did?

Did I do anything wrong?

Will I ever know?

Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 NYC Gay Pride

2009 NYC Gay Pride
Originally uploaded by patch_ny
I was so thrilled to be a part of this year's Pride celebration. I got to reconnect with my long-lost blogger friends, and made some new friends too. I'll post something more about it later. It was an amazing day.

Photo Credit: Patch_ny on Flickr! Love you hot stuff.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunshine, Bagels, and Love

I'm feeling so much better, in every way.

The flu is finally gone, out of my system. From my research, it is entirely possible that I did indeed have the Flu du Jour, H1N1, Popularly known as Swine Flu. Apparently it is a short lived flu, which mine was, and isn't any more deadly or vicious than other common human flus. I was in the city, both Chicago and Manhattan, and I was at the local mall, so I have been breathing air with tons of strangers. It may also have an incubation time of several days, which explains why I was in public on Saturday but didn't feel symptoms until Tuesday.

Oink, oink. I was born in the Year of the Pig.

Also, I released so much negativity a few days prior. Between writing the blog post about my Anger, and later on, confiding in my husband and indulging in a little rage fest in the car on the way home from the gym, I opened myself up and flushed a lot of bad vibes. I feel clean again.

I even purged my closet yesterday. I felt restless, but still not sure it would be wise to go to the gym just yet. So I cleaned out my closet and donated SEVEN pairs of shoes. I am a shoe addict, so for me, that's a big deal. Some of those shoes I've been hanging on to for almost a decade. They look hot, but I never wear them. They are painful. OUT. OUT WITH THE PAIN.

I even indulged in some retail therapy on Saturday, and bought *Confess! I must confess!* TWO new pairs of shoes. Of course this motivated my closet purge. I made a deal with myself that I would buy NO MORE SHOES unless I was prepared to throw out an existing pair. So here I went. But the cool thing: The shoes I bought are far more practical, and comfortable, than the ones I donated. One is a pair of silvery sandals, but they are aerosoles, and super-comfy, and HALF-PRICE. The other is a pair of platform wedge-heel all-black leather sandals with woven leather straps that wrap around the ankle and buckle. They're classy and edgy all at once. And crazy comfortable. And HALF-PRICE.

I also bought some $5 tank tops at Old Navy, and was thrilled to see that they are bringing some old clothes of mine back to life. I have a skirt that I never wear because it doesn't go with much, and it does nothing for my figure. These tanks are long, and layer, and one is the perfect shade of grey. Two of them ruche perfectly, and top the skirt like they were made for it. I have so missed that flippy little skirt... and so has G.

Doing the wardrobe purge always makes me feel re-oriented. So as of yesterday evening, I was feeling relaxed, happy, and clean again, inside and out.

I honestly don't think about my pregnancy very much. I'm in a really good place about it. I'm more grateful for the experience than anything else. Once I was aware of it, it was a truly magical two weeks. This was a test for G and I, and we passed with flying colors. It reaffirmed how well-matched we are, and how perfectly in sync we are about the larger things in life. In a sense it brought us closer together. We have been more affectionate lately, more grateful for each other, and more eager to show it. We know we have come through something very deep, together, holding hands and hearts every step of the way.

G and I attended Friday night services at our local temple last week. It was a "Rock Shabbat," with all the prayers sung in modern musical style, with a band. The Cantor is incredible, and managed to make it sound truly cool and heartfelt, rather than cheesy. She's the Jewish Sandi Patti. I wanted to attend, and G was pretty pooped that evening, but he was happy to attend with me, and I loved the service. It was all music, from start to finish. My language.

Last week, I met with the Rabbi for an hour, to discuss details of my conversion. I suppose it's natural, after all this, that now seems like a good time to get that project off the back burner. Especially after my communion with the Goddess last week. My local rabbi is very cool, rather young, soft-spoken and adorable sparkling eyes and a childlike smile. I'm very comfortable with him. He's sending me the schedule of classes, which I am SO excited to take! G will be attending with me, and I'm thrilled to start this new journey.

I feel like I've gone as far as I can go with my independent studies and exploration of Judaism. All the rest of my question are only going to be answered by embarking on this quest. So... the time is right.

I will also be attending regular Friday night services. That's one hell of a commitment, for G and me! So I'm busy now, every Friday night from 8 to 9. Oh well. The parties never start until 11 anyway. Even the Karaoke doesn't start until 9:30.

I'm back on my feet... and in a couple of hours, I'll be back at the gym. And in four weeks, I'll be back at the beach! And then... hopefully, shortly thereafter... I'll be back to babymaking, G-d willing.

Blessed Be.

Friday, June 12, 2009

GAWD that moon is bright

I feel hungover, like I've been passed out for three days. Meaning, I do feel better, I think the flu is passing away from me. My body is EXHAUSTED.

In spite of this, I'm going to TRY and make it to services tonight at our local temple. If nothing else I know the music is great there.

I feel like I've come through a war. A familiar feeling. I have been at war with myself, in a way. Not wanting to admit to some feelings, finally dragging them out of myself, opening myself up to the rage. Now the storm is passing, and I'm feeling... not exactly less vulnerable, but more empowered to armor myself and get back into life. I made a grocery list, I'm cleaning the house, I'm thinking about slowly, gently, doing a little bit of laundry. If only the laundry room didn't involve going up and down all those stairs. *BAER*

It's nice to have this blog to vomit into, expel all the darkness. Facebook is great, but I need this too.

It's been two weeks since the D&C. Actually, as of last Wednesday, it was two weeks. Meaning I can have sex again. Making it even MORE UNFAIR that I got the flu RIGHT WHEN I COULD FINALLY GET SOME. Just PROLONG MY AGONY for G-d's sake. So if I'm healthy enough to go to shul tonight, I am SO getting some after.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Flu Day 2

Feeling somewhat better. Anything better than yesterday I am grateful for. Yesterday all I could was, to use G's expression, lie under the covers and jitter. I knocked myself out with Nyquil so I could get some sleep, and that seems to have helped a bit. Today I still have a low-grade fever, but the muscle stiffness is better, and my sinuses have opened up. Still have a headache though.

I had to cancel out on a night with Dave that I've been looking forward to for so long... crappy time to get sick. Thank G-d for Bufferin and Sudafed and tea. And soup. And Nyquil.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Today, I am sick.

I got the achy-shaky body. I got the upper respiratory distress. WITH accompanying sore throat from choking on phlegm all last night. I got the fatigue. I got the restlessness.

I haven't hardly been out!! I haven't hardly seen anyone!

Christ. I have some work I really wanted to finish today. I can barely fucking type.

Shakes fist at the netherworld HEY! What else you got? BRING IT ON!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


I'm tired. I don't feel like talking. I feel like I've already talked everything through with G, my parents, and K&L. I'm just tired.

I am angry. I'm really pissed. I was derailed. I was doing SO WELL. And then SHIFT. and then PSYCHE! SHIFT again. And now...

I was feeling better about myself than I have felt in years. I was healthy, strong, happy, and enjoying life on deeper levels than I had experienced in so long, I'd forgotten about them. I was excited to face each new day. I had my life back, my groove back, my Self. I was in touch, in tune, and in control, and what I couldn't control, I wasn't bothered by. It was an incredible three months.

Then, sometime in April, I got sick.

I thought I had some weird flu, or had become lactose-intolerant. All of a sudden my steel-cut oats, which I make with skim milk rather than water, were making me nauseous. Even my coffee, which I take with plenty of evaporated skim milk, made me queasy. I got headaches. I was heavily fatigued. I started taking naps in the afternoon, and switched to tea and toast with peanut butter for breakfast in the morning. I tried drinking lots of water, but I just had to pee all the time.

Three weeks I suffered through this! I would feel a little better for a few hours, then it would come back. One half-glass of wine at a party made me feel hungover the whole next day!

Turns out... I was pregnant.

Well damn!

Should have seen it coming, really. G and I had been "flying without a net" for six months. This was what was supposed to happen. If anything, I had been a bit nervous that it hadn't happened yet. Back home in Illinois, girls and women pop out babies every time they take a shit. Out here in the east, everyone has to have fertility treatments. I don't know what the difference it. It's not age - everyone from 15 to 40 is reproducing like rabbits back home. I have always imagined it's the toxins in the environment out here; in farm country where I grew up, everything's pretty natural. But who knows. I'm allergic to the earth, and I thrived in the toxic city, so I wondered if I hadn't become someone who would need medical help to have babies.

Nope. Knocked up the old fashioned way! And was I ever excited!

And I COULDN'T TELL ANYONE. Riiiight. How the fuck was I supposed to sit on THIS!? I told my parents immediately, and then told them THEY had to sit on it. I told Kristin and Lisa, and then immediately put out the disclaimer that, after age 35, there is a 25% change of miscarriage. So we were all feet-on-the-ground about this.

And then... yup. Miscarriage. Two weeks after I got confirmation of the pregnancy. The tests came back positive, and then two and a half weeks later, I was scheduled for a D&C.

I went for my first sonogram, and I was about 7 weeks along. The heart was beating, everything looked good. Two weeks later, I went for my second sonogram, and brought G with me. I was SO EXCITED. And nothing. Quiet. No heartbeat. The baby was gone. Just a clump of cells stuck in my uterus, doing nothing. Nobody home. the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.

So I had to go back to the office the following Tuesday for a D&C.

That was a surprisingly easy experience. My team of doctors is WONDERFUL. I didn't feel anything, I didn't even feel the needle when they gave me the IV for the anesthesia. The nurses, the anesthesiologist, my doctor, everyone, took such great care of me. My friend Jo came with me, and brought me back to her apartment to recuperate afterward. I spent most of the afternoon and evening sleeping. She made me some dumplings, and gave me lots of water to drink, and eventually, at about 6 or so, G came to pick me up.

I felt fine.

The next day, Wednesday, I went and got my hair blown out. The day after that, Thursday, G and I flew to Chicago for a long weekend with my parents and Kristin & Lisa.

In Chicago, I bled. I had been warned that would happen. I was prepared. It was like a heavy period. I had cramps, but I had plenty of Advil, and I had the antibiotics that I'd been given. Kristin and Lisa were wonderful, letting me basically dictate what we did in the city. They were the best medicine of all, keeping me laughing, making me feel loved, and wanted, being what family is supposed to be. My parents were wonderful too. We did a lot that weekend - shopping, restaurants, a great blues club, a Cubs game, a 50's music concert, and I even used the hotel's gym facilities in the mornings. I had the best support system a girl could ask for.

I was not sad about the loss of the pregnancy, not really. I was disappointed, but it's different... I was not crying hysterically. It did not feel like a death. the embryo had been "chromosomally deficient", meaning it was developing so abnormally that it just petered out. I never felt connected to a little person, never felt like a Mom. I was thrilled at the idea, knowing that was coming next... but we never got to that phase.

However, I did gain 13 pounds. I stopped doing Weight Watchers when I realized I might be pregnant. I had already slowed down my gym workouts considerably, since I'd been feeling so crappy for a couple of weeks. So altogether, my fitness and diet regime was largely abandoned for about 1 month. And during that time I gained back all the weight I had lost and more. And my flat muscular stomach that I was working so hard for? Now it's Flabby rolls.

It didn't mind. I wanted to be pregnant. I was ok with it. But... now... I have nothing. I lost my super-healthy body, and I lost the pregnancy. And now here I am. Starting all over again.

That was incredibly, amazingly, NOT FAIR.


That was a really, mean, dirty trick. What am I supposed to learn from this experience? That I shouldn't bother trying to the healthiest person I can? That my drive for self-improvement was... what? Something I'm not entitled to? GODDAMN that's not right! I know what I can be! I deserve to be it! I'm still young enough to have a flat stomach, to be able to run, dance, lift, do all the things that I love doing. So I get pregnant RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT, when I'm feeling so great about what I can do for myself, when I'm feeling at the peak of my own power and ability, when for once in my life, I don't have to work, and I get to FOCUS ON ME.

NOPE! What was I thinking? Baby time!

YAY! Baby! I want that! I'm ready for that!


but... wait... why...

What else is going to snatched away from me?

I'm back on Program, as they say in Weight Watchers. I enjoy it. I love to cook. So I'm back doing that. I'm back to the gym. I'm training again. I've gone up in all my weights. I'm doing 100 calories a minute worth of cardio.

I'm angry, and sad. I don't have the heart anymore.

I'm sure this will pass. But I am just... tired, and cranky, and unmotivated. The depressive part of me, the part that I am treating with Prozac, is getting very powerful. I feel it rising up inside me like a demon. It's dragging me to the couch, all I want to do is watch TV, snack, and sleep all day.


I know life is never fair. I do not expect it to be so. But this experience, for all my wisdom, for all I believe I am prepared for, for all my acceptance of the world and the ways of nature, this experience has blindsided me, and left me reeling. I did not expect to be reeling from this.

G has been wonderful. But I know this is another dark tunnel that I must move through alone.

It has been a long time since I had to do this, the tunneling.

This afternoon, I lit a pink and purple candle for love and spirituality, and set my goddess statue next to it. I set a fresh, ripe, red apple on the other side of Her. She stood there, hands folded in prayer, eyes downcast, her hair falling over her shoulders, in her long robes, standing on top of the world, one pointed slipper poking out from under her dress. She prays for me, I thought to myself. She prays for all of us.

I prayed. I thanked Her for the blessing of fertility. I thanked her for my friends, my family, my husband. I thanked her for the experience of being pregnant, for those few weeks were empowering and enlightening to me, in ways I cannot yet put into words. I am so grateful to have had this experience.

I asked what lesson there is to learn? I vowed to remember the feelings, all of them, the joy, the excitement, the disappointment, the anger, the fear, the confusion, and my journey through trust. I will remember them all, for the same reason I remember all my past experiences with horror and joy - so that when I meet others who are going through the same thing, and they come to me, wanting to talk, with fear and confusion in their faces, I can understand them, and hopefully be guided to say the right things. I remember, so I can help others.

I do not want to be angry, but I am only human, and we get angry. I feel like a child whose ice cream cone has been blown out of her hands by a strong gust of wind, screaming and crying in disappointment and frustration. I know I can get another scoop. I know we will conceive again. But why did I have to go through this!? IT'S JUST SO UNFAIR.

I am a child, throwing a tantrum. So I turned to the goddess this afternoon, and I curled up in the lap of the great mother, and let her stroke my hair, and she comforted me.

It is not yet time for you to know the reasons why. I am sorry you are angry, and sad, and disappointed... you have every right to your feelings. You are a precious child, and you are loved, and you will be a mother someday, and a great one. I live in you. Let yourself cry, and heal, and sleep. Rest. You have been strong and brave, rest now, my Amazon warrior. Let me drive for awhile. Trust that I will not steer you wrong.

I tilted my head back to the heavens. I prayed to the father God, to the son and brother, to the sister and daughter. I prayed to the spirit of family, Thank you, as I cried, thank you, it was wonderful, I am so grateful, thank you, thank you, thank you...

The burnt smell of a too-long candle wick wafted to my nose. I heard my cat meow. I still have a life, a home, responsibilities. As the candle burned, I got up and fed my cat, and she ran to me, purring, this tiny furry life who is utterly dependent on G and I. My feline child, with her trusting eyes.

I communed with the spirit a while longer, then I thanked everyone for stopping by and being with me in my hour of need, and blew out my candle. And went back to my day.

I made an appointment to get my teeth cleaned. I made an appointment to meet with my local rabbi to discuss spiritual matters, something I've long been planning to do. I made plans with a friend to have a BBQ next month. I starting a grocery list. I showered and put on gym clothes. I called my client and got the first part of a challenging project finished, so we can move forward with it tomorrow. I had lunch.

I haven't made it to the gym yet. I don't want to go. I don't know if I will. Maybe. If I don't, that's ok.

I am going through the motions of my life, robotically. I feel empty.

And this too, shall pass.

Friday, June 05, 2009


I can't sit still these days. Even first thing in the morning, while I'm drinking my coffee, I'm walking around the aparment, fiddling at the computer, messing about in the kitchen, usually knocking things over or tripping over things, because I'm still half asleep.

Blogging requires sitting still for more than 10 minutes, so that's why I'm never around here these days.

Facebook requires far less attention, so I'm there from time to time.

I went to Boston two weekends in a row. I went to Chicago for a long weekend. I've gone to parties in the city, jazz jams in my little town, and had a lot of doctor's appointments. G and I are still hoping to have a baby. We're confident. But I've been through SO MUCH that, in years past, I would have been practically living at my computer. But these days...

I need to get OUT. I'm doing housework, I'm going to the gym, I'm grocery shopping, I'm heading into the city once a week or so. I'm not doing really profound things, but I have to get out of the apartment. I hate my neighborhood, so that means either driving somewhere or taking the bus or train into the city.

Not sure where this is coming from, but I'm rolling with it. It's kind of fun.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Love no more, I have got a prayer
I ask forgiveness everywhere
Devil unseen, please stop bothering me
I've got a broken man to repair

Brakes aren't working now
I'm trying to stop this train
Of desperation, loneliness and pain

Nothing's up ahead, the lights are supposed to be there
And you probably think I never cared
I hope to God one day you find some peace
With the memory of me

Now it's all in your head, and I'm the one at fault
Maybe I never loved you at all
I'd like to say I did, but I just don't know how
My heart could do the damage I allowed
The victim of my youth, the soldier of my dread
And I left all those tears in your bed
I hope to God one day you'll find some peace
with the memory me

My potential is improving, my reckless days more calm
I know you won't believe me when I'm singing you this song
Damn I wanted to please you, I just didn't have the will
I was never looking for someone to keep me still...
Now I see

So if you pass this way again, if you feel the need
I'd love to hear the words that wait for me
But you don't need my sympathy, you're stronger than I think
I know you'll find your peace with the memory of me.

- Holly Williams, "The Memory of Me"

I'm trying to let go of the guilt. I've been sorry for so long.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Passover 2009

Passover 2009
Originally uploaded by MzOuiser

Passover 2009

This year, we didn't have any guests for Passover, so I was free to do pretty much whatever I wanted. Just to see how much I could do, I went for... well, not the whole shebang, but more than I've done in previous years. I decided to do the Big Cleaning.
has a fabulously detailed series of web pages devoted to how to prepare the house for Passover, including "Operation Zero Chametz." I knew when I was reading it that there was NO WAY I'd be able to do all of that. I know that G has never done most of it, and I don't think his parents do either. I don't think my first husband Dimarc's family did a lot of it, either. From the impression I get, much of it, like covering everything in the house with tinfoil, is only done in Orthodox homes... Reform Jews that I have known really just did a good spring cleaning. Which, really, everybody ought to do this time of year! I never knew anyone who sold their Chametz to a non-jew for the week. Everyone just used up what they had in the house, and tossed the rest on the lawn for the neighborhood birds.

Cleaning I can do. I cleaned room by room, progressively throughout the few days leading up to the Seder. If G and I hadn't already done our yearly spring cleaning, this would have been a PHENOMENAL amount of work. I was lucky this time. I only had to vacuum, dust, sweep, and scrub a few baseboards, and move the bed and couch away from the wall to get behind them. For once, I was immensely grateful to live in a tiny 1-bedroom apartment with hardly any furniture. I did fudge a few things - I couldn't move the piano. But I did stick the long vacuum attachment underneath and behind it as best I could. Yes, the cleaning was a BITCH, but I wanted to experience this. There are reasons for these rituals.

It becomes meditative after awhile. I found my mind wandering into fascinating places, meditating on cleaning House, Spirit, Mind, Body, and Environment. Much the same feelings I get when smudging, or doing a broom ritual to "sweep away" negativity.

I prayed a lot, while I cleaned. I talked to my Grandma, feeling like I was reminiscing with her about the compulsive cleaning she used to do. It was amazing, she was right there, with me. I could feel her presence, as I was kneeling on the ground with the sponge, scrubbing the baseboard behind the bed. I laughed. I was tired, my back and knees and right arm were aching, and when the body is exhausted, the mind and spirit tend to work harder. In retrospect, I realize I was wide open, spiritually. I invited her in, and there she was. The goddess, my grandmother, my alter-ego, my sisters and daughters to be, all doing what women do, clean house.

I thought about the commandment, that this was an actual commandment from G-d. I don't like to be commanded. I am happy to do things to please someone I respect and admire, but I have a strong rebellious streak in me and don't like to be ordered or bossed around. I try not to think of it that way. It's tricky though... every Hebrew prayer seems to start with "Blessed are thou, o Lord our G-d, King of the Universe who (insert thing we are grateful for) and COMMANDS us to (insert action here)." So here I am in the bathroom, swiffering the floor, thinking to myself I wasn't BORN Jewish, I do this because I CHOOSE to, I don't REALLY HAVE TO, you know...

And G-d laughed. From the other room, I hear the unmistakable sound of Marge peeing outside her litter box. I couldn't help it, I laughed my ass off. And G-d laughed with me. I sat on the couch for a few minutes, yelled half-heartedly at my spoiled princess of a bad kitty, and then chose to clean it up. I had been saving the kitchen for last anyway.

I am not good at being bossed around, but I do what needs to be done.

The more I learn about Judaism, the more I realize I still have to learn. The more observant one chooses to be, the more all-encompassing I realize this religious practice can be. I have never had a personal relationship with the most observant of Jews - my most Orthodox friend had the starship Enterprise embroidered on his Yarmulke. And every time I read about what I think must be the most hyper-observant community, I find out there's one even more so out there. In my personal experience, I have been surrounded by the most easy-going Jews. This goes way beyond eating cheeseburgers or never attending shul.

However, this is one of the things that I love about Judaism, and about religion in general. We can customize it. That's a very Unitarian Universalist point of view, I know, but the UU's were the only faith that I ever formally joined, and it's easy to see why. In the best of all possible worlds, our religious practices could be informed by looking deep inside ourselves, learning as much as we can about our faith, about the world we live in, and choosing the rituals and observant practices for our lives based on what we truly believe, and how we express that. Not just doing it because everyone else does it. Not just doing it because the human being who is currently head of my religious organization says I have to. Not just doing it because it's a habit, and I feel like a bad person for not doing it, even though I personally don't feel connected to said action. I do it because I feel something important when I do it, because participating in this act makes me feel closer to the divine. Makes me feel closer to who I am, and who I want to be. Makes me feel clean, integral, honest, and special. Religious practice should be meaningful, in that deep level, for everyone.


I was never able to get the kitchen spotless. I realized yesterday morning, when I was drinking my coffee, thinking about the timing of my recipes, that my cat's litter is made of wheat! That's chametz! And the little princess tracks her litter all over the freakin' house, which is why G and I vacuum almost daily. She's a tiny thing and can get behind the furniture. So for all the work I'd done... I probably still had a crumb of wheat behind the bed, the TV, the computer table...

There's a joke in here about Jews and loopholes... But seriously folks, it's really the thought and the effort that counts in the end. G-d knows we aren't perfect. So, after all the work done to clean the house and get rid of the forbidden starch, there is a prayer, just in case you missed something:

All leaven and anything leavened that is in my possession, whether I have seen it or not, whether I have observed it or not, whether I have removed it or not, shall be considered nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth.

What was I going to do, exile the cat for a week? Or run to the store and get a different kind of cat litter just for the week? Oh... I probably could have done that. Oh well... I said the nullification prayer, and dustbustered the kitchen floor. About 5 minutes later, Marge jumped into the litterbox, walked around, jumped out, and seemed to relish spreading her litter all over the place. Little fuck.

So my house ain't nowhere as Kosher as it could have been... but I enjoyed going through this exercise of thoughtful cleaning. It's very deep, and I can see how a family would benefit from doing this together. My mother and grandmother and I would have been laughing like crazy, telling stories, occasionally confessing deep feelings, taking breaks to hold each other and drink tea. Maybe my daughter and I... someday.

And speaking of not Kosher, G-d forgive me, I shopped too late. I live adjacent to a very large community of Orthodox Jews, and a huge community of Hasidim. My local grocery stores (all two of them) were completely cleaned out of Kosher-for-Passover products. Luckily, I did find KfP Matzos and Matzo ball mix, and I happened to already have a box of Sweet Potato Latke mix, which, shock of shocks, turned out to be KfP. Other than that... I had to use either plain Kosher or not-at-all-Kosher foods. Oh well. G wouldn't care. and frankly, after all the work I'd already done, and knowing how much was ahead of me just in the cooking, and I'M NOT REALLY EVEN JEWISH AFTER ALL, I threw my hands in the air.

I started chopping apples at about 2:30. Over the course of the next 4.5 hours, I made:

Matzoh ball soup
roasted mixed vegetables (Weight Watchers recipe!)
Pan-seared chicken in a paprika-garlic sauce ('Nuther Weight watchers recipe!)
Sweet potato latkes
One Roasted egg for the seder plate

G brought home a bottle of Chateau La Commanderie du Bardelet Bordeaux, 2005, and a bar of Ghirardelli 86% Cocoa Dark Chocolate for dessert.

We read through parts of the Haggadah, and dug in. G complimented me so many times on my cooking, I was blushing. The wine was perfect. Since I've been doing such a strict Weight Watchers diet for 3 months now, I found myself eating modest portions of everything, and getting quite full rather quickly. I saved the leftover vegetables and chicken, but we tossed whatever latkes went cold. They don't keep well. We gave some leftover chicken broth to Marge, who lapped it up vigorously.

I've talked to a few friends over the last few months about my recent commitment to my own health, and how diet and exercise have taken center stage for me. Cooking has become my new creative outlet. I officially re-joined Weight Watchers in Mid-January, and have been following the "Simply Filling" technique. It's FUCKING HARD. NO bread, but all the whole wheat pasta and brown rice I need to feel full. Only fat-FREE dairy products - low-fat doesn't cut it! But once I emptied my kitchen of off-plan temptations, I found this rather easy to stick to. Now I'm practically a fanatic. This isn't about deprivation, it's about giving myself really great things. I plan a week's worth of meals at a time, and virtually never deviate from my plan. I've learned how to keep calories and fat below a certain level, and eat more fiber to offset. I've learned to re-tool my grandmother's recipes into leaner versions that fit into my plan, and they taste FANTASTIC. I'm not deprived of ANYTHING. I'm eating more fruits and vegetables than ever, drinking more water, and I'm sweating buckets at the gym five days a week, for over an hour per visit. I'm eight pounds down, but I don't care about that, I'm more excited about the clothes I'm going to be able to wear this summer. Let's face it, this could be my last summer with a pre-baby body - our last summer without kids. I'm pumping it. G is proud of me.

Add to all this, my Prozac, and I really am feeling better than I've felt since I was 19 years old. I am sleeping full eight-hour nights, bright eyed and making coffee at 7am. I feel blessed, I feel strong, and I feel confident. I actually look forward to my days, wondering what they have in store, rather than dreading them. I can't wait to get out of the house. G is proud of me.

I don't shop unless I discuss it with G first, and then only if I feel like there's something specific I need or want, like clothes to workout in, or that special pan I bought to make the Passover chicken. I feel somewhat ascetic. It goes with the whole cleansing thing, the de-cluttering of my life, inside and out. G is proud of me.

G and I hardly eat out at all anymore, because I cook constantly. I do most of the grocery shopping now, and a lot of the cleaning, and I love being in control of that. G says we are saving lots of cash because of my cooking, and that makes all the effort even more worthwhile.

My hair is growing, slowly, gracefully, back to a more feminine length. These days all I can do is keep it off my face with a flexiband. I still love it. I think my little mid-life post-wedding crisis is over.

I freely admit that if I was working, and had to deal with restaurants and office snacks, If I was driving home through Tappan Zee Bridge traffic every evening, I'd never be able to do this, any of it. My unemployment in itself is a gift from G-d. And my husband is proud of me. He tells me so all the time. I can't get enough of that.

I feel clean, inside and out.

All these things were in my mind as I prepared for Passover this year. Cleansing, inside and out, of my home, and my body. In the Moon Circles I used to attend, we talked about honoring the goddess by honoring our bodies and Selves as manifestations of Her. Cleaning the church is showing respect for God by caring for his house. Our little apartment symbolizes our place in the world at large, spiritually, the way we want to be seen, by people and by G-d. So this year my worship has been very deep indeed.

Dinner was healthy and delicious, and I fell asleep on the couch while G cleaned up the dishes. I woke up this morning, and, as my Grandmother did countless times over the years, I made myself a frittata for breakfast with the leftover vegetables. It was the best tasting breakfast I have ever made, absolutely decadent. Egg whites poured over sweet potato, eggplant, onion, zucchini, and tomato, seasoned with rosemary, basil, sea salt and black pepper. Savory and sweet and just amazing.

There are still challenges in our lives. G and I have plenty of work to do, plenty of building, saving, investing, plenty of sweat and travel as we work to create the best life we can for ourselves, for each other, and the children we hope to have. But we are so aware of all we have to be grateful for. As it says in the Haggadah, if G-d had only granted us one blessing, we would have been satisfied. The fact that so many blessings have been bestowed on us... we are happy to clean our temple, toil on hands and knees, turn away from unhealthy and unclean things, and give thanks.

And celebrate!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Witching Hour

I have just arrived home, and I am drunk. Sort of. Not like I used to be drunk. Just nicely drunkish. Three beers and one shot of bourbon, plus two big glasses of water and a plate of sweet potato fries. I feel GLORIOUS. WONDERFUL. FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC.

I sang tonight. I went to the jam at my local pub, where G and I have been regular patrons since I moved here. The owner knows me, the wait staff knows us, and I sang. I sang tonight, with a group of musicians. A guitarist, a bassist, a stickman, and I think some harmonica was in there. I sang When Love Comes to Town. BB King made it pretty famous, but I have a fabulous version with Joss Stone and Jonny Lang, off of Herbie Hancock's album from a few years ago. Kick ass, man, kick some fucking ass. I sang, I yelled it out, and those guys played like fire. It was AWESOME.


This is my local, hometown place, where I have always felt comfortable, like everyone knows my name. I think that's what made the difference. I felt at home there. I guess that's really all that matters, in the end.

So, I can't wait to tell my voice coach on Sunday. He'll flip, maybe. I think he'll be pleased that I had the balls to get up and sing with a combo.

I feel great.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

5 - 4 - 3 - 2 -

I'm spending today in the city.

Yesterday was a great, productive day.

Something inside me is incredibly quiet. Like after a thunderstorm. It's... peaceful.

Hopefully, it won't rain today.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Week 4

I saw my psychiatrist yesterday. I like him because he's no-nonsense. He's not an analyst, he's a physician, and I've had years worth of analysis, and I'm ready for some treatment. So I go in to see him, we get right to the point, we talk about efficacy, side effects, things to look out for, schedule next month's appointment, I hand over my co-payment, and 20 minutes later I'm outta there.

Things are going well.

I have more to say - must go to the gym first. I'm doing particularly well with that, and want to keep the momentum.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Thank you, Great Lady of Light, for the many blessings in my life:

My husband
My family
My cat
My friends
My voice
My health
My sense of humour
My humanity

May I live the best life I can, in honor of all I have received.

May it be so.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Are You Kidding Me??


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Natasha, We Loved You

I speak for a grateful public in saying, Natasha Richardson, I can't believe you are gone from us so suddenly, so quickly, so utterly without warning. As your father said, you were a true actress. You embodied the standard so many of us tried in vain to reach. I believed every word you said. Your fragility and your strength coexisted in your beautiful voice and face and entire being.

My prayers are with Liam and the rest of your family.

Rest in peace, beautiful Natasha.


Today, instead of coffee, I'm drinking crystal light with caffeine! ZING!! WOWEEE!!

Plan for today: Hot cereal and fruit for breakfast. Shower. GYM BABY!

Then grocery shopping. Dinner tonight, scallops with citrus sauce over mixed veggies. Another new recipe. If I can't find fresh sea scallops, I'll try it with jumbo shrimp, or a nice thick fish.

After dinner... I've actually been invited to sing along with a local musician. Last Friday, when Dave was here, we went to our favorite local diner, and Dave was talking me up to the waitress. "She's a GREAT singer, if you ever need entertainment here, you should hire her!"

So, the waitress told me to come in on Thursday night. They have a guy with a guitar who likes people to get up and sing with him. So...

Please. I did this for ten years in Manhattan. I was up singing with the house band at pretty much every bar I ever went to. It never amounted to anything, but it was fun.

and you know? I really miss having fun.

So tonight I'm going to try and have a little fun.

And try not to get carried away.

I feel like I'm going on a date with an ex-boyfriend. I don't want to get back together. I'm a family man now. I just want to be friends. Is that so wrong?

Why can't I just have fun singing from time to time? What would be so awful about getting a little weekend gig? It's not like I'm learning operas anymore, or investing in recital gowns, thick scores of classical music and $50 CD's. Instead of an obsessive full-time hobby, I want a sensible part-time gig. That's safe, right?

Besides... I'm unemployed. Not like I'm cheating or anything.

So hopefully, if I don't chicken out, at 10pm I'll be singing.

I'll wear jeans.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Erin Go Blah

I spent what used to be my favorite holiday in the city with my gal Ames. Unfortunately, we only went to two very lame and boring pubs, and had dinner at what must be the only diner that DIDN'T serve fish-n-chips. I was so far from drunk. I did no dancing. I heard no live music, never mind Irish music. I did not enjoy the company of men in uniform. Instead I stood around some boring pub with two complete dorks who weren't exactly sparkling conversationalists. We were in bed before 11pm.

Amy seemed to be having a great time, so all was not lost. I'm glad I was able to spend time with my friend. I just wish, for once, I could have a real St. Paddy's day. It's been two years in a row now where all I did was stand around a stupid bar listening to pre-recorded music talking to boring locals. Things I could do anywhere, any night of the year.

Oh well. there's always next year.

Now that I'm done being whiny and selfish, it was SO great to see Ameleh so happy and comfortable in her neighborhood, in her little Manhattan apartment. Something about her has really relaxed. She always seemed a little on edge, but since she's living in the city, a layer of stress has been removed from her life. For her, she's living life to the fullest. She dates, she has a short commute to work, less than 30 minutes, she has a local gym, she cooks for herself, she has a killer rockstar hairdo, and she sleeps at home in her own apartment. She's independent, and in the middle of everything. To quote myself circa 2002, she's got life by the balls.

I remember that feeling. She deserves this. She's worked hard and waited a long time for it. I'm proud of her.

Unfortunately, I ate cheeseburgers and nachos and drank just enough alcohol last night to completely blow my diet, for, like, the whole week. So now, I have to re-fuel, clean out my system, and get to the gym. Last week I had the flu. This week, I'm just undisciplined, I suppose. Granted it's only Wed, but I'm pretty sure I won't see a loss on the scale, and I know my stomach ain't any slimmer. At this rate I'll be wearing the fat suit on the beach this July, and I am NOT HAVING THAT. I really need to commit here. Maybe today, tomorrow and Friday, I can still salvage?

Let's give it a try.

Next voice lesson: Sunday at 4. I'm learning "Here's that Rainy Day." It's beautiful, a classic torch song, languid and pensive. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Week 3

Last weekend, I began to think, maybe the drugs are working.

I spent all last week alone, while G was in Virginia attending a 5-day training seminar for his job. It didn't suck. Granted, I got the flu, which destroyed my master plan involving 5 straight days of gym workouts, but that was really the only thing pissing me off. I rested a lot. I cooked, I cleaned, I talked to my parents on the phone. I blogged, and on Friday, Dave came to visit, and we had a blast. Saturday afternoon I got a bitchin' blowout, and when G got home that evening, he demonstrated just how much he liked the 'do. And I'm over the flu.

One big thing I did on Saturday: I got myself a voice coach.


Yep. I sho-nuff did. I purchased four coaching sessions from the music school down the street. I had my first voice lesson yesterday. It felt incredible. INCREDIBLE.

I would say that I'd forgotten how good it feels to really sing, but I hadn't forgotten. I would say that I was nervous, but I wasn't. The only thing that made me nervous was forking over my credit card and charging over $300, wondering what G would say. But somehow, I knew he'd be ok with it, because I know that he understands what singing means to me, and how miserable I've been without it.

I was right about that. When G got home on Saturday, we ripped each other's clothes off and spent easily an hour in bed, until our stomachs growled and we needed to go out for dinner. Over burgers at our favorite local pub, I told him I'd spent $320 on one month's worth of weekly voice lessons at the music school down the street. "That's great!" G said.

"My first lesson is tomorrow at 4," I said, "I am SO excited."

We didn't discuss it in detail. I had his reassurance, and that was all I needed.

Sunday, I arrived a bit early to the studio, so I texted my pal Amy for some quick moral support. "Ask me what I'm doing right now?"

"What" She texted back.

I flipped my phone open and called her.

"What are you doing?" She asked.

"I'm waiting for my first voice lesson in over six years to begin."

"WHAT?" she exclaimed. "You're taking voice lessons?"

"Yep," I chattered. "There's this music school down the street from my apartment, and all these years I've walked past it, and I met the owner once, and last August I almost signed up, and yesterday I just walked in and said 'here's my credit card, when can I start?' and I spent over three hundred bucks on four lessons, and I haven't sung anything in almost a year, and I can't wait."

"Well, good for you!" Amy said. "I hope the teacher meets your exacting standards."

I felt my cheeks flush at that. "You're right Ames," I said. "I am picky as hell."

"I remember your criticism of that girl whose cabaret show we went to see," Amy reminded me.

"Yeah..." I said, feeling a bit chagrined. "You're right, I am really fussy. But I'm going into this with an open mind. The teacher was an opera singer, and I hear he teaches all musical styles, which is the same as my old teacher, who I loved."

"Well, if it doesn't work out, you don't have to continue," Amy said. "But have fun!"

I said goodbye, and that I'd call her later, and then I closed my phone, and went inside.

The teacher's adorable. He's a little younger than my Dad. He's got an Italian name but he looks Jewish. He's friendly, funny, geeky, and plays the piano beautifully.

"That's some voice you got there kid," he remarked after a few vocalises.

As for my vocal issues, he had me pegged in less than 10 minutes.

"Your voice is very facile," he said, "and it's your double-edged sword. You can sing like anybody, but we need to get you singing like yourself. Stop imitating others, and be yourself."

This has been my crutch for... well, my entire life. You want opera? I can do that. You want country, pop, rock, jazz? No problem. I can sound like anything you want - because that's how I convince people to let me sing. I trained myself at a young age to sing whatever a director wanted to hear. I was desperate to be cast. Often, it worked. More often, it didn't.

I'm a mimic. But I have no real idea who I am. I know who I can be. That's not the same thing.

Yes, this is very holistic. I truly believe that this is connected to something very deep inside of me. My ongoing search for my true self began when I was about 30, and this is part of it. My singing is so integral to who I am. I've been saying for a while now that when I left New York and moved to Nyack, I left my Self behind, and haven't been able to get It back. I've found a lot of new and wonderful things (like massage), and am grateful for my discoveries over these last four years. But singing, music, I cannot truly ever leave behind me. As hard as I tried, I can't "get over" it. I was not able to replace my passion for singing with a passion for something else. Not massage, not my husband, not domestic bliss. The emptiness inside me will never go away until I find some way to get music back into my life, some way to get myself singing again.

As much as I have called this a curse, it's actually a gift. It's my gift from G-d, and I can't escape it. And I don't want to. Not anymore.

So here I am, going back to voice lessons. I practically floated into that studio office on Saturday, fresh from the salon, feeling sexy, feeling happy, feeling positive. Feeling POSITIVE.

This is the thing I never talk about. Underneath it all, I think I started the Prozac for this. There are so many reasons to treat my depression, good reasons, reasons I've already mentioned on this blog. But underneath it all, I want to sing.

I think, really, more than a great marriage, more than being a great Mom, more than being sober, more than being healthy and fit, more than happiness for it's own sake, more than all those things, I simply want to sing. I want it badly enough, that I'm willing to do the thing that I was too frightened to do for all those years.

I have a vision of myself, standing in the back corner of a dark club, with a guy on piano, singing to a dark room, with only a few people in the club besides the bartender and the waitress. And at the end of my set, I collect my pay, shake the owner's hand, and say "see you next week."

I've already lived through the things that scare most people. I've been divorced. I've drunk myself into emergency rooms and suffered blackouts and humiliated myself countless times. I've lost friendships. I've been thousands of dollars in debt, with no job, and no apartment. I've been rescued by loved ones and lived with the guilt and shame of not being able to care for myself or support myself the way an adult should. I've gained weight, I've lost time. None of those things forced me to deal with my depression.

The day I realized that I believed there was no point in trying to sing again, that I was faced with a future of never singing again, because I would never have the strength or belief in myself to try, was the day I knew I needed to get healthy.

I remember seeing a made-for-TV movie about the band Def Leppard, and how they re-formed their bad in the 1980's after breaking up, going through rehab, nearly being killed in car accidents, etc. One of the band members, who had been in and out of rehab due to alcoholism, told Joe Elliot "You want to keep me sober? Keep me on tour." Playing music was the only thing that removed his drive to drink.

I've heard a lot of musicians talk about this sort of thing, how important it is to do what you love, how it's almost like breathing, you HAVE to do it. If you don't you die. You might be walking around, working, living, but it's not really life.

So. I'm singing again. Just 45 minutes of work, and I feel alive in a way that I haven't in... I don't even know how long. Six years?

I have a new song to learn for my next lesson. For this week, I'm supposed to sing for 10-15 minutes every day. That's my homework.

Oh, whip me with a wet noodle.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'd better close this. I have to practice.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Man, did yesterday suck. I was sick, plain and simple. The flu. I lost the whole day. In so many ways. Everything I wanted to do was abandoned while I dealt with a fever, body aches, sore throat, way too much post-nasal drip, and a headache that pushed my eyeballs through their sockets.

I didn't sleep much last night, but I do feel much better this morning. The flus I get usually only last 24-hours, so hopefully it's gone now. I've been awake for an hour, and I'm on my second cup of coffee, and so far so good. If I still feel this great in another hour and a half, I'll go to the gym for a cardio workout.

I had a headache most of yesterday, so by the time House came on, I didn't want to watch any more TV. To keep my mind off how miserable I felt, I read this new book I bought last week, Smashed by Koren Zailckas. It's an autobiographical account of a young woman's alcohol abuse, beginning in junior high, and ending in her early twenties, after she's moved to New York, gotten a job, and began what should have been an adult life.

The minute I picked up this book I knew I had to read it. Her story is so similar to mine. We both started drinking at the same age, 14. There are some similarities between our parents' parenting styles. She was also a satellite to her best friend, a dynamic, outgoing girl named Natalie, a boundary-pusher and rule-breaker much like many of my old friends were. She and I were both shy girls from small towns who didn't think much of ourselves, who wanted to be drunk because it felt so good.

She was worse than me, in the sense that I never had to have my stomach pumped, and my parents never lectured me about drinking until after I'd gone to college. But we have so many shared experiences... the blackouts where you remember nothing, and after wrestling through your fear, releasing the experience into the unknown with a shrug for the public but a scar on your soul. Waking up naked next to someone you don't like, filled with shame and remorse, being treated like trash afterward. Hearing your dorm-mates talk about you, saying things that aren't true, trashing your reputation for their own purposes. Hanging out with other girls whose drinking is as bad as yours, often worse. Dating complete losers. Moving through life in a drunken haze, because the world is easier to handle when you can't see the sharp edges.

I did wind up in the hospital a number of times, after passing out somewhere, and my friends panicked. But I never had my stomach pumped, just saline dripped into my arm while I slept it off. So maybe I had more hospital visits than she did. But she consumed, overall, vastly higher quantities of alcohol than I ever did. I had a lower tolerance than she did, I suppose. Or maybe, a stronger will to live.

My worst alcoholic episodes were during two times in my life: college, and the period of time after my first marriage broke up. I had my worst blackout in 2003, and I woke up in a hospital, not knowing where I was, or whose voice I was hearing. Since my friends had all gone home before I me, I had been alone in a bar when I passed out, and the emergency personnel had called the only person in my cell phone whose last name matched mine: my ex-husband. Words cannot express the depths of my humiliation. Dimarc had been summoned to the hospital at 2am, waited until I woke up, then took me home and put me to bed at about 6am. Of all people, the person I thought I had relieved of any duties toward me. I remember my head swimming with disorientation. I murmured bizarre things, crying, apologizing, thanking him, apologizing again.

That's a big statement: the person I thought I had relieved of any duties toward me. I have talked a lot recently about how easy it was to simply live with my depression, because I didn't have a life partner, or a long-term roommate, or family nearby - I was able to hide it, and I believed I was keeping my loved ones' lives free of my sickness. I was a burden.

Sometimes, I still feel that way.

The hospital hadn't found anything in my system but alcohol, and my levels weren't even that high. It was odd that my body had reacted in such an extreme fashion, a complete blackout with no memory of anything at all. I consulted with a local clinic where I had a semblance of a medical history, since I'd gone there numerous times whenever I was uninsured. The physician there discussed the "date rape" drug with me, and how it causes blackouts, and leaves nothing in the bloodstream after a certain period of time. My stomach hit the floor. I realized how lucky I was, that I was never alone, that when I blacked out I was in a crowded place where I was a semi-regular. That I had left the previous bar, where strange but handsome young men had handed me drinks, despite their protestations. I remember placing my hands on my body, as though making sure everything was where it was supposed to be. I knew I had not been violated, but the realization of what could have happened crumpled my knees, and I sat on the floor and wondered why I wasn't crying.

I will never know exactly what happened that night, but I discussed it at length with a bunch of people. I told everyone in my women's spirituality group about it, and we all held hands and prayed and gave thanks for my safety. I told my shrink about it, and she reacted as she did to everything else, listened with a calm face and said, "So how does this make you feel?"

"Lucky," I said.

Two years later, it was 2005. I had just moved in with G, and I was utterly miserable. I was in New York withdrawal. I blogged extensively about that period; I had lost my job, my apartment, and everything that had been my New York life. It was over. As much as I loved G, and was excited to begin a new life with him, I was in deep mourning for my old life, one I had been forced to leave behind by situations beyond my control.

One evening I went out in our town, hoping to make friends, and had a terrible social experience, very similar to the sort I used to have in Springfield. I drank myself into a stupor. I don't know how I made it home, but when I reached the apartment, G had to drag me up the stairs. I threw up in the apartment, in the hall between the living room and bedroom. He cleaned the floor, but left me lying in the hallway. I vaguely remember pulling off my clothes and crawling into the living room and onto the couch in the pre-dawn light. I heard G on the phone with my temp agency, explaining that I was ill and wouldn't make it to work that day. He was quietly furious with me. He left for work without a word to me.

He locked me in the apartment, and I heard his footsteps down the stairs fade into nothingness. The silence was deafening. I assessed the situation. I had really fucked up bad. If he came home and threw me out, I'd deserve it. I crawled into the bedroom and passed out again.

It was around two in the afternoon when the hangover began to fade. I took a shower and scrubbed myself clean from my hair to my toenails. I rinsed out my clothes and hung them to dry. I changed the sheets on the bed. I got out the swiffer and lemon pledge, and cleaned all the floors in the apartment, and opened the windows. By the time G came home from work, the place smelled clean and fresh, and there was little evidence of the previous night.

It was the last time I ever drank alone. It was the first serious discussion G and I had about depression, and drinking, and how I really felt about a lot of things. It was one of the best talks G and I ever had. It was the day I realized that G was my salvation, in a way I never would have imagined a man could be.

It was a turning point, which led me to this day. It was the day I decided I didn't want to be sick anymore, and I was going to do something about it, find a way that worked for me.

I remember the feeling of hope that next day, when G forgave me, when we went to bed with my head on his shoulder, his arm curled protectively around me, and he kissed me on top of my head, through my hair. Not long after, I decided to go to massage school. We got married. I went to a psychiatrist.

I'm treating my depression for the same reasons I stopped drinking: I want more out of life. I want EVERYTHING out of life. One of those things is G. Another is children. Another is to sing again, somehow, somewhere. And I don't want to just do these things, I want to be great at them. I don't want to be an average wife, or girlfriend, or lover, or friend. Or Mom. Or singer. I want to be special, uniquely me, the best I can be, so that people understand why I exist, why G-d made me, what I have to offer this world. And so that I will understand it too.

It's been 14 days since I started taking the Prozac. Two weeks. Its supposed to take around three weeks to start seeing effects. Yesterday was a pretty horrible day, but how much of that was the flu? I did call my mother and complain about my body sabotaging my plans for the day, and how incredibly angry I was. I had to break my commitment to five days of gym workouts on the first day. I knew there was no way I'd stick to my dietary plans that day. My whole fitness regime was shot for the day. I was furious. But... I didn't cry. I didn't self-flagellate too much. I did some. But maybe...

I don't know.

Today I'm going to try and get back on the horse. Go to the gym. Eat my healthy meal plan. Do the grocery shopping. Make the soup. All the things I wanted to do yesterday but couldn't.

I am still mulling over last Friday's post. My inability to trust is a serious issue that I will have to address, and soon. I might find myself back in therapy with that.

But not today. One day at a time. Today, I am flu-free, and I'm not just going to make soup. I'm going to make fucking awesomely delicious healthy vegetable soup.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Body/Mind Disconnect

Happy Purim everybody. Today I'm going to make Hamentaschen, and then try to fob the cookies off on my neighbors. Most of them have dietary restrictions, so I might have to take them to Marge's veterinary office next door or to our auto mechanics down the street. Never thought I'd see the day when I had trouble unloading cookies. I am a 5-star baker.

Anyway. My husband is out of town for a week-long training class, and I have a sore throat. All last week he was sick with some kind of chest congestion contagion. I slept on the couch most nights, which broke my heart. I know he's leaving for a week, and he's sick, and I'm on the rag, and then that one day I had the horrible acid reflux. We SHOULD be having wild sex all week, but no, we were too busy feeling crappy. Saturday night, I couldn't stand it anymore, and threw caution to the wind, and spent the night in bed with my husband. I woke up Monday morning with a sore throat and chest congestion.

Totally worth it. But now he's gone, and I have to make my own soup and tea.

Honestly, I don't really feel THAT bad. He was really sick, he actually took a sick day on Tuesday, staying in bed all day. Tuesday was that really great day for me, ironically, where I had the awesome gym workout, and made the soup, and got all that stuff done. While my poor baby was sleeping away. I'm nowhere near as sick as he was, but I wish I felt my best.

My goal was to work out five days straight. In this condition, I'm afraid of pushing myself into a really sick zone. Being on my own this week, that would be baaad. So no gym today. I think instead I will go to the mall and walk briskly for a half hour. Then hit the grocery store.

I keep thinking about my post last Friday. It boils down to a lack of trust. I have a real problem with trust. More on that later.

I'm already twitching to get out of the house. And I'm starving.

Friday, March 06, 2009

9 Days In

I feel like I'm weaning myself off painkillers. Like, I've been taking painkillers for so long, I forgot that I have something wrong with me. Pain is a symptom of a bigger problem, so in order to correctly diagnose and treat the problem, you have to allow the pain to flourish, so you can follow it, see exactly where it's coming from, how it progresses, learn from it.

Overcoming addictions is a similar process. Kicking your drug of choice brings back all the pain and anguish that clouded your judgment and led to your taking it in the first place.

What was my drug? Office work, oddly, was a big one. As long as I had a classy office to go to every day and spend the majority of my day there, I had a reason to clean myself up every day. A good reason to keep my personal issues under the rug. An excuse to invest in nice clothes. That 1980's glamour of being a yuppie worked magically for me.

Yeah, I had other drugs, but this is my last one. I'm calling it a drug because it never led to anything. Remember - I was a temp. No 401k, no paid time off whatsoever. The lowest menial wage - most people could never live on it. I've been floating on a lily pad for... I was about to say 4 years, but in reality, it's been 12 years. I temped in hospitals, then got a permanent job that lasted 1 year. Then I temped in corporate offices, and got a permanent job that lasted a little over 3 years. Then I temped for 4 more years. My second permanent job got me a 401k which, miraculously, hasn't been affected by the economic turndown (knock on wood), probably because the balance is too small to get attention. But other than that... I have no money left from those jobs, because I only made enough to survive on, paycheck to paycheck. I have a lot of life experience, which doesn't pay the rent.

Every office job I've ever had was temporary, even the permanent ones. That's pretty common in today's world, but there's a difference here I'm trying to get my hands around... Painkillers wear off after 4, 6, 12 hours. My jobs ended after 4 weeks, six months, a year.

Man, does it feel good to wear nice office clothes. It makes me feel legitimate, like I'm someone who matters.


So, I haven't been able to wear my costumes or huff office air for two months now. I'm not exactly bored. I'm alone with my thoughts which, all my life, has been dangerous. Even when I'm cooking, practicing piano, cleaning the house, going to the gym, working out, grocery shopping... None of that helps.

I talk to myself out loud while I'm doing these things. I pretend someone is with me, usually a friend. Sometimes I go off on tangents. I'll start out explaining why I'm grinding my cardamom spices instead of just cracking the shell and using the whole thing. After a while, I'm in a fight with this person over something. Yep. Sometimes, even my imaginary friends are judgemental, picky, snotty bitches.


It's people. Why does it always boil down to people?

In every office I've worked, there's a crowd of new people. There's always one or two that I really like, who make me laugh, who I am friendly with while I'm there. When I leave the job, I never see or hear from them again, sometimes even if we exchange phone numbers and email addresses. But it's always the people I look forward to seeing. The work is almost always menial.

Christ, has this been a substitute for real relationships?


There's something more to this.

I've been doing this all my life. When I was growing up, I went from show to show in community theatre. I remember the way we'd all cry when the show was over, because we were going to miss each other so much. These were the only friendships I had for years, and they were shallow friendships. They ended when we stopped doing shows together. We didn't call each other after the show closed. In between shows I was as alone as ever. Sometimes I'd do two or three shows with the same girl, and during the first show we were the best of friends, and in the subsequent shows, she wouldn't deign to speak to me.

It was, really, just like school. You might be best friends in grade school. Then in high school, some kids are cool, and the rest aren't. Freshman year in high school, I was so excited to see some of my old friends from grade school. Then I realized that they were now fashionable, and I wasn't, and they were cruel to me. Whatever friends I thought I had, they were now gone. I had to start over.

Just like going from show to show.

From job to job.

I like to bar-hop. I don't like to stay at the same bar for more than a drink or two, unless there's a good live band.

I never lived in any one apartment for more than two years.

I've had three husbands.


No wonder I'm committment-phobic. Nothing has ever really lasted for me, even when I wanted it to.


Which brings me back to the problem I've been aware of for years:


Well, all this typing. What did I learn today?

Nothing I didn't already know.


I don't know exactly why, or how I got this way, but this is, I think, the key.

I want more. I always have. I'm not satisfied by what most people are happy with. I need things to be real. I need life to be fulfilling, not just reasonably successful.

And I've always felt this this was a terrible thing, that I was a greedy, spoiled, selfish, demanding, ungrateful brat.


I'm not.


Thursday, March 05, 2009


I need to vent. This is just so hard.

I just feel paralyzed. It takes phenomenal effort to do ANYTHING. I managed to shower and get dressed, but I'm having... er, female difficulties, suggesting that the gym isn't the best place for me today. So now I'm thinking I should change into something warmer and walk around the block.

I went for that walk yesterday and was MISERABLE. I felt AWFUL. Today I'll bring the iPod, maybe that will help?

I've had people suggest books on tape, but I wasn't impressed with iTunes' selection. Maybe I'll just get something. I have to get out of my own head.

I am so IRRITABLE. Even if I had someone to talk to and walk with, I think I'd be lousy company. Who'd put up with me in this condition? I hate inflicting myself on others, especially people I care about, when I'm like this. But in all honesty, it's when I'm like this that I need people the most.

I am fucking high maintenance, and I HATE IT.

I know I can't expect to see any real effect from the Prozac yet, it's only been 8 days. But knowing that better days are (supposedly) coming is, I think, making me impatient. It's making me have even less tolerance for myself.

I'm furious with myself for being like this today. I gave myself a pass yesterday because Tuesday was so awesome. But today I need to be BACK ON THE HORSE.

Now watch, I'll post this.... and then what?

I hate this. I hate this. I hate this.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Inalienable Rights

It's beautiful outside, and I feel completely, utterly alone.


I had a phone call with my Mom. She said when she moved to Springfield, she felt the same way I feel about Nyack: people aren't genuinely friendly here. They are only friendly if they want to you patronize their establishment or hire them for some service, or join some committee they are on. Everyone has an agenda. Everyone seems to already know each other, and I've tried numerous times to get to know people, go to some local events and meet people.

"It wasn't anything like that in the city," I said. "In the city, people just wanted someone to go to movies with, or hit the bars. It was shallow, but it was social."

Mom mused about people in the city already having the business angle figured out. "There's only so many people in Nyack," she said. They are all already each other's customers. Limited profit margin there.

My Mom told me a Springfield story, about bringing my grandma with her to a meeting of some sort, likely the PTA or some school-related thing. When it was over, Grandma said "those women aren't very friendly!" Up until then, Mom had thought she was the problem, that she was doing something wrong.

"Well, thanks to growing up in Springfield, at least I know snobbery and insincerity when I see it," I snarked.

There was one woman in Nyack that I met, who was clearly hoping to make a friend. She appeared to be in her early forties, a significant enough age gap to make me feel out of place. She began to tell me every intimate detail of her recent divorce - including all the sick sexual things her ex-husband wanted her to do - within the first hour of knowing me. She was so desperate, she scared the crap out of me.

My Mom's "friends" that I remember from my youth: a raging alcoholic, and a woman whose husband beat and abused his family.

I remember when all my friends were drug users, underage drinkers, angry gays whose parents had kicked them out at 18, people who considered prostitution because it made them feel like less of a victim, like they were taking some measure of control over their lives. Girls who "weren't above" exotic dancing, boys who were "smart enough" to sell drugs and use without getting caught or strung out. We were all under 25 years old. Most of us were under 21.

I remember making the very difficult decision to cut those people out of my life. It wasn't hard to do on a practical level. If I avoided them, they eventually quit calling. It was hard on an emotional level. I felt that I was abandoning people who needed me. I felt that I was becoming a judgmental snob. Who did I think I was? I was no better than them. Somewhere in the back of my mind was the realization that the only difference between me and them was that I believed there was more to life, and that maybe, just maybe, it wasn't out of reach. I was no optimist, but I had less despair than they did. Maybe only a teaspoon less, but it was enough.

But they didn't want to hear it. I couldn't help them, and they didn't want me to. They just wanted to drink, smoke, watch movies, get delivery, try to get laid now and then, and bitch about life, the world, and everyone we knew.

There's an old axiom: Any man is better than no man. I turned that one around pretty quickly: No man is better than an abusive man. Once I got that through my head, and escaped my abusive relationship, it was a hard step to the next phase: Being alone is better than hanging out with people who might get you arrested. I had to apply this to my friends. At least, that's how I justified it. Saying "they fill me with despair and hopelessness" didn't seem like a good enough excuse to dump a social group. Saying "I'm afraid the cops will raid" sounded more acceptable. Nobody wants to go to jail.

Amazing, how I had to justify lifting myself out of the gutter. How dare I. Who did I think I was?

Maybe I still see myself that way? Do I project that? Is that why nobody in Nyack - at least, no healthy person - ever wanted to smalltalk with me? Am I still carrying the gutter around on my back?

I am still punishing myself for not wanting to be surrounded by dysfunction. My Dad is a doctor, my mom a teacher. They are both working-class liberals who raised me to believe that if you see someone in need, you should give whatever you can. Be generous. Never judge others. And if someone says they are sorry, forgive them. Be kind to others, and they will be kind to you.

They never told me that people might use me, might walk all over me, might take and take and take and never give. Might con me out of everything I had.

They told me I deserved a happy life. They did not tell me that I might have to choose my own needs over those of my "friends" in order to have it.

All that was almost 20 years ago.

I made the change. I moved to New York, and became far more discriminating. I decided to seek out friendships with people - women mostly - who I admired, who I looked up to, who I felt were, somehow, better than me.

None of them are in my life anymore.

I realized recently that I don't have any real friends in Nyack because I haven't met anyone here that I want to make a real friend of. The people I've met remind me too much of the people I left behind in Springfield. Bitter, angry, older people, drug-using young people. Women who are so needy they frighten me. Men who look old enough to be my father, talking to my breasts. Expensively-dressed attractive adults who pretend not to see me, even when I look directly in their eyes, smiling, trying to engage them in conversation. Then they shift their weight, give a nervous laugh, give me a two or three word response, and walk away, quickly.

Four years of this. No wonder I'm so fucking depressed.

And now, I sit here and this fear creeps over me... maybe it's me. Maybe it's not Springfield, or Nyack. Maybe it's something I'm carrying around.

I mean, I did have people to go to movies with when I lived in the city. To museums, street fairs, shopping. We had great times, my old pals and I. As long as we lived nearby.

I am so confused.

Am I ever going to be past this New York Withdrawal?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Surprise Snow

We were warned about this one. I saw it on Google Calendar's Weather Widget - New York will wake up to several inches of snow on Monday. Yup, here it is. Several inches of thick, beautiful snow.

It had stopped precipitating by the time we woke up at about 6:30, so G just had to do a little shoveling, but not much. Our town managed to get the plowing done in a timely fashion, at least from what I could see out the window, so his stress this morning was minimized. I, on the other hand, get to sit in my heated apartment and meditate on the beauty of a world draped in white.

As I've typed this, it's started snowing again, just lightly. I want to go out there and lie in it, let it cover me. It looks so warm and soft, like a freshly made bed, all white sheets and fluffy pillows and fleecy blankets.

There are some big gusts of wind that come along now and then, blowing the powder that's accumulated off the roofs and out of the trees. It must be frigid out there. I had planned to go to the gym again today. We'll see how the roads are.

If the roads are bad, I'll go for a walk, bundled up in my long johns and heavy down coat and timberland boots. The street behind my building goes past a small park, where you can sit on the rocks and watch the Hudson River roll by. Days like this make me want to take endless pictures of the landscape. The ice floating in the river, the trees heavy with snow, random objects poking up from the ground, attempts to capture the way the wind blows everything sideways. I'm not primarily a shutterbug, but the snow brings that out in me.

I can hear someone shoveling outside.

Today's off to a good start.

Shoutout to Pua, who should be nearing the end of an ordeal today! Much love to you my faraway friend... sending strong, healthy vibes your way.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

End of Week 1

5 days, 5 pills. Feeling good.

I won't really feel any effects of the drug until it's been in my system for about 3 weeks. And even then, it's one of those individual things. Some people feel results after 2 weeks, some after 4 weeks... for some, it doesn't work, and you have to try a different drug. I'm rolling with it.

Two typical side effects are weight gain and decreased libido, neither of which are any fun for a newlywed who'd like children. The latter effect is likely not going to be much of a problem for me. I could use some calming down. But the first one...

My body image has tanked over the last nine years. Up until I turned 29, I loved my body. I loved the way I looked, and I loved that I could buy clothes anywhere, off the rack, at cheap places, at expensive boutiques, online, from catalogues, and they would fit. I could wear almost anything I wanted. And I did. I knew I was lucky.

But sometime after I turned 28, I felt my body changing. I knew my metabolism was slowing down. At 29, I wasn't fitting into just anything anymore. At 30... whole new me.

Not that I was fat. I was just... different. A little softer around the middle. I had less energy than I was used to. Over the course of two years, I had aged. I was no longer a post-adolescent. I was an adult, with adult problems.

Other things changed too. I needed moisturizer on my cheeks in the winter, or they felt scaly. My allergies shifted from my nose to my throat and eyes, some sort of polarization. I needed comfortable shoes in ways I'd never needed them before. My false sciatica in my lower left back became such a persistent problem that I had to go for regular medical massage for the better part of two years.

Part of me enjoyed the fact that I was growing and maturing. My youth hadn't been happy, and the farther I got from it, the less it affected me. But I have struggled with my self-image ever since. I think I'm fat, I think I'm disgusting at times. I'm not used to that. I hate how tired I get, and how easily I seem to get worn out. I used to be able to dance all night, now I'm exhausted after one high-energy song. That just sucks.

So, in 2004, I lost 20 pounds on weight watchers, and treated myself to a new wardrobe. It was great to know that I could DO that.

Somewhere between 2006-2008, I gained it all back. But... my clothing sizes didn't change. That was weird. I'm still fitting into those clothes I bought back then. But... I'm heavier.

I know the self-image thing, and the tired-all-the-time thing, is linked to depression. But I'm not self-flagellating all the time. But I am a but. I don't want this illness to be an excuse to let myself go. I will really hate myself if that happens. I need to feel motivated, to retain some sense of control over myself, to be able to say that I'm caring for myself, and to see the results of that. Maybe I just need to feel like a fighter. To know I am fighting.

When my last temp job ended, I decided to re-join Weight Watchers and learn how to cook healthy again. I've gotten sloppy over the years, using TONS of olive oil, way too many simple carbs, and way too much junk food. I was overeating a lot too, especially at restaurants. It was pretty clear to me what my bad habits were, and what needed to change. WW gives me a great set of tools and recipes and provides a nice structure that I like. So I've been doing WW since January.

I wrote in an email to Lisa recently that cooking has become my new creative outlet. I love making healthy food taste unhealthy. I love portioning out my leftovers, confident that my overeating days are behind me. I love trying new vegetables, new soup recipes, new ways to cook meat. And I love seeing G's face when I make something new that he really likes. Those are the best times.

The working out part is the hardest. My gym visits, over the last two years, had become almost obligatory. I love to go with G and be his workout buddy, but the quality of my workouts was very low. I'd do ten or twelve reps on a few machines at a weight that didn't challenge me too much, and trudge away on the elliptical and treadmill for 20 or 30 minutes at a light jog. Blah.

Well, at least I kept going.

Today, however, was a good day. I did 25 minutes on this uber-machine that our gym has, a new kind of elliptical that's bloody hard, but has a bounce to it, so it takes the pressure off my knees. I've noticed my knees, especially my left knee, has been bothering me since I've stepped up the cardio from walking to running and increased the resistance on the elliptical. Christ, talk about feeling old and depressed. But this new machine has a gliding feel to it, and a pronounced float up after the step down.

Today I had a new playlist specifically for this machine, slightly slower tempos:

Four Leaf Clover by Abra Moore
One Tribe by Aone
the Biggest Part of Me by Ambrosia
Sumthin' Serious by Audio Club (quick stair-climbs)
Beautiful Liar by Beyonce & Shakira
Tell Me by P. Diddy feat. Cristina Aguilera

Especially during the first three songs, I really flew. The resistance level on this machine forces you to glide more slowly, and you use the handbars lengthens your stride, like in cross-country skiing, so your upper-body works too. There is a lot of up-and-down, and the lift after stepping down is amazing. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, and it was so meditative, I thought I was flying. A couple of times I grappled the handbars, thinking I might float up into the ceiling fan. Oxygen flowed through me, my heart pumped but didn't pound, and endorphins flushed my system. Yet I didn't increase my speed, I just kept a regular, moderate rhythm, every fiber of my being vibrantly alive. And happy.

I felt happy.

Sex is kind of like that.

At some point, my iPod flew the coop. I had it clipped to the water bottle holder, and I don't know exactly what happened, but I must have caught the cord somehow, and it flew off the machine and landed on the floor next to me. I was left with my earplugs in my ears and the cord hanging down. I laughed, remembering a homeless woman I once saw in Manhattan, singing and dancing down the street, wearing a pair of headphones attached to nothing. I'm probably as high right now as she was, I laughed to myself.

Without my music playing, I could hear the music of my own body. My breathing came at a moderate pace, but the breaths were very deep, like the ocean tides coming in and out, in.... out... My heart was thumping purposefully. I could feel my muscles straining in a few key places, and did a quick technique check to make sure everybody was ok. I could feel my sarcomeres contracting, my nerve impulses racing along my arms and legs. I closed my eyes, and finished the last five minutes of my workout with my iPod on the floor and my headphones tucked into my waistband, hyper-aware of the symphony inside myself.

When I stepped down, I had only burned 260 calories, but that's more than usual for me. And I had already done two weight circuits and a whole mess of ab and oblique crunches. So I headed for the water fountain. Sweetest water I've ever tasted.

If I could work out like this every time I went to the gym... well, wouldn't I be a fine-assed mama. I doubt I'll sculpt myself back into the body I used to have, but I'll feel so good about myself that I won't care if I'm wearing a one-piece.

And that's the catch. Most days aren't this good.