Monday, September 29, 2008

Scary times

Take care, friends. I fear things are only going to get worse. But I strongly hope I am SO WRONG!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ahhhhhhhh... I'm back on the downward slope again. Whew! I lost about a third of my total summer-long gradual gain this week so I should be in virgin territory not too far in the future. This time, though, I have no goal date set so I can be a LITTLE easier on myself. This week I had a couple of glasses of wine on Wednesday night when I went to a show and I still managed to lose by (a) getting back to my serious exercise, and (b) being mindful the rest of the time.

Wednesday night was a show by Dave Stewart and his Rock Fabulous Orchestra. I loved it. Particularly liked hearing his story about writing "Here Comes The Rain Again" during a huge fight with his then-partner/lover, Annie Lennox. I listened to that song in a whole other way and think I now have a new theme song for fights. ;-)

That night we also met a woman who was Miles Davis' first wife -- she is now the maitre d'iva (her term) at a restaurant in L.A. and she is a total hoot. Only in L.A...

DB will be home tomorrow. I think this will have been the longest we have been apart (10 days) and these last few are TOUGH. I really miss him! But I have a friend coming over tonight for dinner and to watch the debate.

Onward and downward!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Back on The Drastic Wagon (and more Addict's Mind)

I crawled back up on my Drastic wagon yesterday and I feel good. When I'm off the wagon, it seem so high, almost insurmountable, to climb back up, but when I'm up there, it's a pretty easy ride even though there are bumps sometimes. I'm anxious to see a loss this week...and keep on down again.

More on Addict's Mind:

From dealing with my cigarette addiction, I do totally recognize Addict's Mind: that little devil on my shoulder that tries to push me off the wagon and keep me walking beside the wagon rather than riding along. Being able (no, that's the wrong word...the right word is "willing") to not let it control me is another thing altogether. I managed to beat it with smoking, but only by really accepting that I am one puff away from a pack a day. Seriously.

With food, it's not that "easy" because I still have to eat. I can't just say NO FOOD EVER AGAIN. I guess I can say "no bad food ever again", but that just seems way too depressing to me...I feel like I've given up a lot of "bad" or "rebel" behaviors over the years and I just can't let go of all of them. And, yes, that's probably Addict's Mind talking again.

And I see what I have been doing the past few weeks -- using the classic Addict's Excuse: STUFF is happening so I can't deal with my addiction right now. Well, stuff happens. And it will keep happening. And I had to learn to deal with STUFF without cigarettes. When I was quitting smoking, I actually sat and thought of the MOST AWFUL thing I could think of happening in my life and said to myself -- if that happens, you CANNOT SMOKE and I actually visualized it (even though it made me sick and made me cry). I haven't had to deal with that thing (and I hope I never do), but I have dealt with a lot without I know it's possible. But I haven't mastered dealing without food (and, yes, for me, drink).

And when I fall off the wagon, Addict's Mind is right there in the road, wanting me to stay with it and not climb back up. It's always a fight if I let myself stroll along (slide) too much.

There is addictive behavior in all of Us. It manifests both ways like Vickie often says -- the anorexic is just the other side of the fat person. Personally, I think it's about control...and letting go of it. I am a person who LOVES control...and who maybe needs "help" letting go of it. In fact, strike that "maybe" and I think I might have a revelation there. ;-)

Anyway...clearly, I'm not there yet (and may never be)'s scary how fast these pounds crept back over the summer. The pants from before The Drastic are still baggy, but the skinny pants? I'm afraid to even try them on. :-( Tonight is gym and then salad for dinner...again. :-)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

2008 Burning Man Story

I have more thoughts on Addict's Mind that I will post in the next couple of days, but today (at long last) it's time to get the story of this year's Burning Man done! :-)

When we last talked, DB and Brooklyn had left for early arrival at Burning Man on Friday. Early Monday morning, I flew to Reno where I was met at the airport by a lovely couple who I had met on the internet and had offered to drive me the two and a half hours out to the "playa" (desert where Burning Man takes place). They had met there three years before. She is from California and he is from England. They married last year and now live in England...they turned out to be a lovely couple and even camped with us this year...

We had a jolly old time driving out to the playa -- getting more and more excited every mile -- sharing stories of our prior Burns. It was a beautiful day. Usually when you arrive, you are greeted by signs like this on your way in (keeping you amused while often waiting in line):

Unfortunately, as we turned off the road onto the playa, the dust storm we had seen from far away (these are wide-open Western vistas) enveloped us. To make a VERY long story short, it took us about 4 hours to go the two miles to our camp!! It was total whiteout conditions so you had to either go very slow or stop altogether. Punishing! I always like having a dust storm on the way in because it feels like you are entering another world, but this was a little much!

We were stopped at the Greeters Station for about two hours when the dust cleared for a bit and I could see the large tent at the center of our was so close and my sweetie was there and I hadn't had a kiss in three days!! So, I was OFF. Unloaded one of the bikes from the car and without goggles or dust mask for my face, I road into the storm (which kicked up again soon after I left the car). This was not the smartest thing to do in a whiteout, but it WAS dramatic!

I got to camp and, of course, no one was around -- DB had no idea what time I would be arriving and I knew that. So I set about gathering up goggles and dust masks for me and my new friends in preparation to head back out to them where they were still stuck, unable to enter the city. Just as I was about to leave, through the dust came my sweetie!!! Yippeee!! I got my kisses. Turns out it had been whiteout conditions for two whole days...yikes. This was the beginning...

(And that's not even THAT bad. Seriously.)

My new friends finally made it to our camp and set up and we were all ready to go out for our first night. I realized this year that every year I'm hoping to feel the wonder I felt the first night I was ever there and went out to the middle of the playa (the middle of the city) and saw its vastness and the amazing lights and art that people brought out there. Art cars, bikes decorated with lights, people decorated with lights. It's really an amazing sight. This is us just...looking (it's almost impossible to get photos at night...sorry!):

The next morning, we got up and it was a beautiful, non-dusty day! We headed to Center Camp Cafe (one of the two things you can purchase there is coffee):

(you can also purchase ice):

After our coffee, I had to head back to our village because I had volunteered to help with the village tours every day from 11:01 to 12:01 (most days they actually took two hours this year because we had such amazing projects to show!). These tours would be a true highlight of my year -- I learned SO much about alternative energy: solar panels, wind generators, swamp coolers, solar blenders, solar ovens (everyone loved the one camp where they fed us quesadillas and fresh cookies every day!), and (what I now want for next year) an ebike. I also got to know a lot more of my fellow villagers and, because I love the community aspect of Burning Man, this was fantastic for me!! I did this tour every day from Tuesday through Saturday and I have ZERO photos of it, do you believe it?! Anyway...

After the tour, our mail delivery came...yes, there's actual mail delivery (from the Post Office, but delivered by volunteers) on the playa!! Brooklyn's husband (who couldn't come this year) sent us all mail:

(And DB sent me a beautiful card that I got later in the day too. For a girl whose dad and granddad worked for the post office, this was super cool!)

After the tour on Tuesday, DB and I headed out to the middle of the playa to see art/projects. This was really my favorite day this year. The art wasn't as great as in previous years, but there were some fun things. My favorite was McLightenment:

Yes, they had a drive-thru serving things such as Nirvana, Samadhi and Bliss. (This year's art theme was The American Dream and this was a perfect example -- don't we all want drive-thru enlightenment?). ;-)

We also came across some people who were taking down a piece -- someone had destroyed it the night before (yes, there are idiot yahoos even out there in paradise). So, in the true Burning Man spirit, we stopped to help them (we actually stopped to get some shade and they were under it working and THEN we started to help!). I had a BALL...I learned to use a socket wrench...what FUN!!

(That's me and my socket wrench.)

On Wednesday, I managed to get heat exhaustion. NOT fun. Luckily we had a nurse camping right next to us and she became a good friend over the week. She diagnosed me when I started getting cramps in my belly, doused a sarong in ice water and wrapped me in it. I stayed like that for a few hours until I felt better. I was totally bummed that this happened on Wednesday because that is the day I do Greeters -- the wacky people who stop everyone coming into the city and welcome them "home". This is usually my favorite thing of the week, but I couldn't start with the rest of my crew on nurse's orders. I did manage to put in my four hours but started an hour late...and with an icy sarong on my head:

(That's me in our "dome home" in my Greeter finery.)

I haven't mentioned yet another thing that made this year super difficult physically: the playa was HORRIBLE to bike on. It is usually flat and hard so very easy to get around the very large city (no driving in cars allowed unless you're in an art car):

This year there were huge "serpents" (snake-shaped sand dunes) and actual dunes themselves along with huge ruts. So either you would be bumping along ouchily or you would be biking along nicely and run into a dune and CRASH. Yes, lots of bruises this year. And virtually impossible to bike safely at night so we walked everywhere...this was not horrible, but not really that fun.

Thursday was more of the same: coffee, tour and killing time in dust storms:

One really cool thing on Thursday was that I had signed up on to host a party to watch (well, really listen, no tv out there) the Obama speech at the Dem convention. People actually came! And it was the first time that Burning Man allowed any programming from outside the city to be broadcast on its radio station. Loved it!! During our party, our village mayor came over and played jazz drums with the unforgettable experience:

That night I went out looking for some friends who were supposed to arrive that day with their 10-month old I headed over to Kidsville and left them a message. They came over later than night to our camp and we had fun visiting with the littlest Burner. ;-)

Friday is usually the day when I lose it. I am tired, dirty, cranky, ready to GO. Well this Friday morning, we were sleeping in our tent and I heard a voice that I thought I recognized...but no, it couldn't be! Brooklyn's husband had flown in from Virginia on the red-eye to Sacramento to surprise her/us!!!! We were thrilled. Things just weren't the same without the four of us together this year and he came and we had our foursome as usual...yay!!!

A friend of ours from home who is an artist also arrived on Friday for his first my Friday was FUN.

Friday night we dressed up and headed out...

And I ended up going to sleep on my cape out on the playa while everyone else looked at an art project. It was just so comfy! ;-)

Saturday is Burn Day and it ended up being such a huge whiteout dust storm day that they almost cancelled burning the man. So we had another day at "home dome"...playing music, hoping for the storm to end so we could go out for our big night:

About 9 pm, they finally announced that the Burn would happen so we all rushed to get our finery on and headed's a good mile walk to The Man so we skedaddled. And we pushed DB's drum cart with us...DB and I ended up staying back from The Man with the drum truck (a/k/a Rhythm Jism) and watched The Man burn from afar. It was cool. (Again, sorry, no photos, but you can find them on-line pretty easily if you look.) And here's the Rhythm Jism:

Sunday is packing up day, then The Temple burns (the Temple is a beautiful place where people put their memories and remembrances of past loved ones and things that they want to let go...then it burns on Sunday night...I love the Temple burn). We knocked ourselves out packing and had to rush to make it out (farther than The Man) to the Temple...but it was an absolutely beautiful sight. This year, the Temple was made of "basura sagrada" (sacred trash)...all recyled materials...beautiful windchimes of reused metal, etc. Truly special.

Unfortunately, after the Temple burned, a huge dust storm came up and we were all trying to walk back to the city and got lost. DB and I had a huge fight and I ended up struggling home alone. NOT a fun way to end the week...but emotions are very much on the surface out's brutal...and sometimes not-so-fun stuff happens.

Anyway, in the middle of that night Brooklyn and her hubby headed out to Reno since it started to rain and they were afraid to get stuck in the mud (and he had to be back to VA for work on Tuesday). We got up at 5:30 and managed to get out and to Reno in 3 1/2 hours (a record...usually it takes 3 hours to get to the road from camp!). Yay! Brooklyn and Hubby? SEVEN hours to Reno. There was a terrible accident on the road on the way out. Sad.

We picked up Brooklyn in Reno and headed to our lodge in the eastern Sierras for showers, gambling and cooked food. YUMMMY!! We went to sleep at 9 pm. And got up the next morning for the drive home...beautiful:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Addict's Mind

I feel my Addict's Mind working overtime lately.

I have not been eating or exercising The Drastic way for about a month (since our friend arrived before Burning Man). At times I have been eating pretty well and exercising pretty well. Other times, not. Never as bad as I can be, but bad enough. As of last Friday, I had gained almost 10 pounds over my absolute lowest since February. I vowed that I would get back on The Drastic wagon last Monday. Didn't happen...

I have had a sore throat and cough all week. Have missed about a total of two days work which, with my current workload, is time I really can't afford. I still am coughing and a little stuffy, but back to work today.

Then the bad news on Monday which made Addict's Mind, which is oh-so-great at finding excuses, say "you need Chinese food AND a few drinks to cheer up". (Yes, I know hot toddies don't cure sickness, but they sure made me feel better...for a little while.)

On Tuesday, I needed salad pizza and beer for dinner to make me feel better (and I didn't go to the gym either because I was sick). Of course, it didn't.

But, on Wednesday, Addict's Mind "needed" more Chinese wonton soup (since I was still sick) and a beer (what for? who knows?). At this point, Addict's Mind started telling me that I might as well wait for next Monday to start over with The Drastic since I've blown this week already.

And today, we learned we have fleas in the house which came from the apartment (our tenant just moved out and left the apartment infested with his cats fleas -- DB is highly allergic and they bite him like crazy, but they don't bite me at all so it took us a few days to figure this out). DB, of course, has now left for Nearby Town to take care of his mom for 10 days so I'm left to deal with how to get fleas out of our house (Doglet is fine -- I Advantage him every month and have never had a problem in the 10 years I've had him). I'm yucked out about having fleas in our house...YUCK...and am not sure how to get rid of them since I've never had an infestation for close to 15 years.

And, did I mention that I still have a cough and sore throat and super-stress at work? Yup. Addict's Mind is now telling me that I might as well skip the gym tonight and go home and watch Baby Mama with a salad (good) and beer (bad).

My pants are tight. I feel too jiggly. I have to get a grip. Maybe today...

Monday, September 15, 2008

I hate September

My dad died September 10, 1989.
That, in and of itself, made Septembers suck ever since.
Two Septembers ago I had to have knee surgery.
One September ago I had to have toe surgery.
Today I learned one of my best friends has AML Leukemia.
And she was diagnosed on September 10, 2008.

So, yeah, still no Burning Man summary.

Please just pray for Sheila. I love her and am not ready to lose her.

I hate September.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Coming home to me

By some miracle, when I got on the scale this morning (yes, still weighing despite total food/non-exercise orgy for the past few weeks), I was down 0.2 pounds from last week. Yes, I know that's less fluctuation than I could get from a good bathroom trip, but it's amazing how at least not seeing it go UP made me feel I can crawl back on the wagon again. :-)

I have been BAD since mid-August when our friend arrived (she just left on Wednesday). It is hard to be disciplined when there is a total lack of discipline enveloping you. And I didn't manage to keep myself with my program. By the first day of Burning Man, I had pretty much thrown all the good eating habits of the past months to the wind.

Having said that, I think the worst thing over the past few weeks (yes, I have gained more, but am still WAY down...lower than when we came back from Mexico even) has been little to no organized exercise. It was hard to bike at Burning Man this year due to huge sand dunes that would make you crash if on your bike and you ran into them so we walked more and saw less and got less good, hard exercise. And, of course, when you start drinking beer after lunch every day, that's not good for the old waistline! ;-)

Anyway, now that our guest is gone and we are ALMOST unpacked, I feel like I'm coming home to ME. Some of my clothes feel uncomfortable and I swear I look so FAT in the mirror and that makes me feel awful. But I don't have much to lose before I'm back where I was...just need to buckle down.

And I really truly WILL write the long-awaited Burning Man report -- I need to do it soon -- hopefully this weekend there will be some time to relax. Work has been a BITCH so I really NEED my weekend. Here's hoping it's quiet...

I think I've caught up on most of your blogs so will start joining in the conversations again soon...I've missed you all!!!! :-)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Still slammed...

...and not a moment to really write. :-(

When our guest leaves on Wednesday, things should quiet down a little. :-)

In the meantime, I'm eating like crap and feeling like crap too. I have gained, but am still weighing to stay accountable.

I miss you all, but no time to even read lately...hopefully later in the week I can catch up.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm home

Got back very late Tuesday night. No time to write the LONG blog that will be coming asap about our adventures. While extremely physically challenging (3 full days of white out dust storms, one day of heat exhaustion for me), I had more fun this year at Burning Man than ever and, for the first time, am saying that I'm looking forward to next year this early!! ;-)

Just read this and it explains a whole lot:

I obviously need to stop thinking so damn much and start RELAXING! ;-)

Thanks to all for checking on me. Realistically, I won't be able to write or post the long Burning Man story blog before the weekend...

Hugs from Helly (whose Belly is a little swollen from all the vacation)