Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

I urge you to find a way to immerse yourself fully in the life that you’ve been given. To stop running from whatever you’re trying to escape, and instead to stop, and turn, and face whatever it is. Then I dare you to walk toward it. In this way, the world may reveal itself to you as something magical and awe-inspiring that does not require escape. Instead, the world may become something worth paying attention to. The rewards of finding and maintaining balance are neither immediate nor permanent. They require patience and maintenance. We must be willing to move forward despite being uncertain of what lies ahead. We must have faith that actions today that seem to have no impact in the present moment are in fact accumulating in a positive direction, which will be revealed to us only at some unknown time in the future. Healthy practices happen day by day. My patient Maria said to me, “Recovery is like that scene in Harry Potter when Dumbledore walks down a darkened alley lighting lampposts along the way. Only when he gets to the end of the alley and stops to look back does he see the whole alley illuminated, the light of his progress.”

Anna LembkeDopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence (Dutton, August 24, 2021)

Walking. With Billy Summers. (2)

77° F.  5:05 a.m. Morning Walk @ Cove Island Park.  466 consecutive days. Like in a Row.

Another sh*t night of no-to-restless sleep. Another, like in a row. I’m tired. I look up ‘irascible’ when I get home, because that’s a word that Lori would use. I am Irascible. I-R-A-S-C-I-B-L-E. Oxford defines it as quick-tempered. Yes, with a capital “I”.

I pull into the parking lot. ‘My’ parking spot is taken. I park in the same spot each morning. There has to be 300 open spots, and someone had to choose mine. ‘Mine.’

I get out of the car, grab my camera gear from the back seat, and walk. It’s twilight, aka near dark. I fail to see the curb next to the car.  My right toe slams into the concrete curb. I somehow manage not to take a header. F*cking curb. What is that doing here!*!$ The rest of the morning, my right toe tingles.

I note that there’s an unusually large number of cars at daybreak. And a large number of middle aged women mingling in front of the gate. [Don’t start slinging unfriendly fire at me Followers —  I said ‘large number’, not ‘Large.’]  They are blocking the first entrance to the park, requiring me to walk 50 feet down the line to the second entry.  I mean really? Do you all need to congregate in front of the gate chitter-chattering at 5:10 a.m. What could there possibly be so important to talk about. 

My rhythm is disrupted. I have a routine here, people. 466 days of it. And here you come with your, what, yoga group? Meditation sutras?  Keep clear.

Air is thick, heavy. I need to wear long pants and a long sweat shirt as armor from the gnats and mosquitos. It’s 5:25 a.m, it’s hot and I haven’t even gotten started. Leather straps from the backpack bite into my shoulder.  Camera straps pinch my neck. And that swish swish of the backpack pulls on the straps which dig and then cut skin. Latin: Irascibillis.

The scene reminds me of a line in Stephen King’s new book which is being pumped by Audible into my airpods: Billy Summers: “When things go wrong, they don’t waste time.” [Read more…]

Walking. On Day 1.

60° F. Cove Island Park.  Morning walk. 452 consecutive days. Like in a row.

But before we roll on to today, let’s talk about yesterday.

Yesterday was Day 1: Refined sugar elimination.

And you might ask, why? Why change now? It’s all been workin’ right? 4-5 hours sleep on average. Walking around groaning, in a fog, a sort of seeing — hearing Quasimodo.

Susan shares a story in “Eating Well” magazine. Sciatica inflammation ‘may’ be due to my diet. Refined sugars. Processed foods. White bread. Pastas. May be contributors.

Day before —  a sugar rampage. 2 Klondike bars. 4 packages of Welch’s Fruit snacks. 1 almond chocolate bar, downed in 2 sittings because even I need to pace myself. 2 diet Lemon Snapples. Peanut butter on white bread, layered with 1/2″ of sour cherry preserves. 2 giant bagels, with cream cheese, and orange marmalade. I’m going to stop here. But, it does go on.

And I can feel what you are thinking right now —  “Have you no shame DK?” And I would say, either this: “Dance with the one that brun you here” or I would fire back: “Don’t you think the things people are most ashamed of are things they can’t help?” (C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces)

So, after another sleepless night, we’re going Cold Turkey. No baby steps here. ‘Definition of insanity…doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results..‘ Quote source: Not Einstein as many believe but Narcotics Anonymous. N-a-r-c-o-t-i-c-s.

Breakfast: Wheat Toast. Buttered. Scrambled eggs. Handful of nuts. Handful of cherries. Two glasses of water.  Pancake mix in pantry. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Nuggets in cupboard. Giant chocolate chip cookies on the island in the Kitchen. Man walking, tiptoeing around landmines. 

I glare at Susan — “Eating Well? Is it any wonder I have all these fr*akin’ problems!?” I stop there, because after 35 years you know what’s coming: “you wanna do the grocery shopping?”

For Lunch: Ham & Cheese Omelette. Handful of almonds. Handful of raisins. Bowl of cut watermelon. One glass of water.  Klondike mini ice cream sandwiches in freezer. Peanut Butter and Mixed Berry Jelly in pantry. Frito Lay Barbecue potato chips in cupboard above the fridge. I smile. Restrain. I’m so much bigger than all this. I am. Really, I am.

[Read more…]

Walking. Not. And Ranting.

Where does one start?

Let’s start with 327 consecutive days. Like in a row. Formerly described as the morning walk @ daybreak to Cove Island Park.

It’s time to inject some integrity into this getting-long-in-the-tooth story. This morning walk has degenerated into a morning drive to the Park. There I am this morning, sitting in the car in front of the gate at the park, heater blowing, warming my feet — I can’t, I just can’t open the door and get out. So, rather than getting out, I leave and drive to the next site on DK’s Marvelous Adventure in search of the sunrise from a location where I can roll down the window and not get my sorry a** out of the car. Wow, DK. You’re so awesome.

Or we can commiserate over the free fall in weight gain, or better stated, the pile up of 8 lbs in 30 days. Root cause? If one would take inventory of the snacking between calls and meetings, you would say: “It’s just not possible.” And I’m here to tell you, if you put your mind to it, an addict can accomplish anything.

We’ve pivoted to Welch’s Mixed Fruit Snacks. The Honeycrisp apples sit on the wicker tray on the island in the kitchen. The plump, juicy, seedless red grapes rest in the bowl in the fridge. Next to the grapes, fresh cut cantaloupe in the tupperware dish. And the horse with its blinders can’t see any of it. With the heartbeat elevated, a few feet away from The Fix, a giant Costco size box of Fruit Snacks. I grab two handfuls and run back to my office to jump on another call. My hands trembling, saliva building up in anticipation… I rip open the package and drain its contents. Pause for a second. And then bite down to let the saliva-sugar-corn syrup puree coat my tongue, throat and then slide down to the tummy. Oh, the few seconds of relief…with the sugar fix in, the momentary silence… all intoxicating. I get after another package. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. You see where this is going.

Or we can chat about yesterday’s bi-annual physical with my G.P.

[Read more…]

Walking. With M-G.

Head Cold. Nasal drip. Nagging cough. Light nausea. Friday the 13th. Feels about right.

6:10 am. Cove Island Park. 192 days. Consecutive, and getting long in the tooth.

45° F. Wind gusts up to 25 mph. Drizzle. Wet. Cold.

Cloud cover: 100%. Like a million %.

M-G: You’re dragging.

DK: It’s that obvious?

M-G: Snarky too.

M-G: COVID?

DK: Can’t be.

M-G: How’s that?

DK: Hood Brand Ice Cream Sandwiches.

M-G: Ice Cream Sandwiches? [Read more…]

Saturday Morning. Walking with Lucy.

4:30 am.

I shake off the cob webs from Tylenol PM.

Read morning papers, blog posts, skim social media.

Read another chapter of Christopher Beha’s “The Index of Self-Destructive Acts.”

Think about my index, and yesterday’s destructive acts. Guzzled two (or was it three?) bottles of Diet Snapple Peach Tea. Sugar Free. No preservatives. Turn the bottle to read the label. Aspartame, sodium, citric acid, potassium citrate, malic acid. Natural, my a**.

And then Nachos. Potato Chips. Three donuts. And, a large (large) number of Hershey’s Nuggets…like on a conveyor belt, I love Lucy and the Chocolate Factory. Oh, that milk chocolate sugar high.

C.S. Lewis said “Life (or Sugar), is as habit forming as cocaine. What then?” What then? What now?

I pause before weigh-in. Regret the Self-Destructive Acts. Inhale. Hope. I ease onto the scale, like tip-toeing is going to pare back a pound or two. A**holes believe that it will move down after yesterday’s performance. Disgusting. Disgusted.

I check the weather app. Think about how many layers I need. Should be one less with the extra layer of glazed donuts. Whale blubber is said to taste like arrowroot biscuits or Stop & Shop Cake donuts.

57° F, but breezy. No jacket. Tee-shirt. Long sleeved sweater. Camera gear. I walk by the island in the kitchen. 3 donuts left. Don’t you dare. Don’t even think about it. My mouth waters. My God, I have issues.

5:30 am.

I’m out the door.

152 consecutive days.

5 mile loop to Cove Island Park and back.

~10,000 steps…

600 calories…

Or approx 3 glazed donuts.

Ah, yes. The underpinnings for sugar addiction. I’m O.K. Breathe easier.

Think of the actual physical elements that compose our bodies: we are 98 percent hydrogen and oxygen and carbon. That’s table sugar. You are made of the same stuff as table sugar.

Just a couple of tiny differences here and there and look what happened to the sugar: it can stand upright and send tweets.

~ Augusten Burroughs, This Is How: Surviving What You Think You Can’t


Notes: Sugar Photo credit. Quote via quotespile

Running. With Jelly Donuts.

I open my eyes. 5:35 a.m. I close my eyes, and take inventory.

Right groin, an old catcher’s mitt, stiff, cracks in the leather.

Knees, throb.

Three middle toes on right foot, blistered. Raw.

This is about where Tanya Donelly would say: “But you can change your story / And throw a hand up from the mud.”

But that’s not how we roll here. No Tanya. No.

This story (or catalyst) starts Wednesday after dinner.  The 7 pm to 8:30 pm witching hour(s). The Big Cat starts to pace, and circle. I want it. I need it. I crave it.

After taking inventory in the fridge, the cupboards, the pantry, none of the required provisions are available. I jump into the car and head to Palmer’s Market. Talenti Mint Chocolate Chip Gelato. (4 Pints). Nacho Cheese Doritos (Extra Large Bag). Chobani Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt, Pineapple flavored.  Stonewall Kitchen Sour Cherry Jam (to chase the Yogurt). And, then, in the glass case:  Donuts. Strawberry Jelly filled donuts.

The belt pulls the items towards the clerk. “Good evening Sir. Do you have a Palmer’s Card?” A wee bit of junk food with Dinner, Sir? “Sir, I don’t see a 2 pound bag of Domino Premium Pure Cane Granulated Sugar here. Shall I run and get it for you? And, Sir, in Aisle 3, we have hypodermic needles and rubber hose tie-offs. Step behind the counter here with me, and I’ll inject it for you, it will only take a minute.  [Read more…]

Flying North N.E. AA1263. Add, yet another addiction.

 

 

It’s that time again. An updated inventory of Addictions.

  1. iPhone. Like Jenny Erpenbeck’s “Bone to bone, blood to blood, as if (we’re) bonded together.”
  2. Talenti Mint Chocolate Chip Gelato. Heaven in a cup. Sweet Jesus. 3-4 pints a week, minimum.
  3. iPad Pro. Speedy wifi in-flight. Enable online work in both directions.
  4. Sugar. Stonewall Kitchen Sour Cherry Jam. 2.5 heaping tablespoons stirred in with Chobani Fruit on the Bottom Greek Yogurt with Pineapple on the Bottom.
  5. Seat #24 E, Exit Row, AA Airbus A321.  To/fro LGA to DFW. Same seat (or take different flight)
  6. Socks: Ultra thin, over-the-calf knee high. Can’t have hot feet or exposed skin.
  7. Advil PM. Ingest 1/2 pill one hour before bed time.  Insomniacs sleep aid.
  8. Knee pillow. To sleep. Avoid bone to bone contact.

And so here we are.

Dallas, TX. Hotel. Wednesday evening.

I open the Jabra Elite Active 65t Wireless Earbuds charging case to find the right earbud missing. Major problem. [Read more…]

When Is It OK to Eat Chocolate? (About all the bloody time)

truffle-chocolate

Excerpts from Ellen Byron and Tanya Rivero discussing “When Is It OK to Eat Chocolate?” (along with DK’s reality check):

  • Really, it is OK to eat chocolate if it’s the fancy stuff. That’s what we’re telling ourselves. (DK: Not sure I’m telling myself exactly this…I am repeating, “it’s ok, DK, it’s ok, go ahead. It’s ok to eat 4 pieces in one sitting.)
  • Nearly half of chocolate eaters say they look for premium ingredients…they say that’s their health-permissibility factor. (DK: More health research that will be overturned in 10 years. Margarine over butter anyone?)
  • There’s no point in going to a gym and then downing a huge bar of cheap milk chocolate. There’s every point in going to a gym and then downing a small portion of a nice, deep chocolate. (DK: Come on. There’s every point in downing a huge bar of any kind of chocolate and then ‘thinking’ about going to the gym.)
  • Offering portion control also helps chocolate eaters feel good… (DK: Who feels good with portion control? Who? Introduce me to that human.)
  • Lindt’s Excellence bars, which are wrapped in foil and white cardboard, are designed for a “ritualistic” experience. “Consumers take care to rip the foil gently, then break a square off, then roll the foil back up…It’s meant to withstand that type of consumption where you might eat one square or two squares a day. (DK: Ritualistic? Yes, like Human Sacrifice. One or two squares a day? Laughable.)
  • New $7 chocolate bars from Godiva have indented squares that fit a thumb so eaters can snap off one bite at a time. ‘People love to have a bar of chocolate tucked away in their brief case, backpack or purse. (DK: Who can keep chocolate tucked away for more than three minutes anywhere, and especially in a brief case or purse? Who? As to indented squares to enable portion control? Ha! That’s just for better gripping a $7 Godiva morsel so it doesn’t hit the ground while you are shoveling…)
  • The relatively small amount of sugar in a piece of premium chocolate from Godiva doesn’t worry consumers the way other sweets might. “Having a small bit of chocolate isn’t the thing that’s going to kill you.” (DK: Totally right. Expensive Godiva Chocolate is totally exempt from the ills of sugar addiction – absolutely!)
  • Ms. Choma avoids buying large bars for her daily chocolate treat, fearing she’ll eat too much in one sitting. Instead (she) keeps individually wrapped chocolate truffles in her pantry. “It’s just the right size, so you don’t feel guilty,” she says. She’s mindful of antioxidants and other health benefits of chocolate, but mostly focuses on how much she likes the taste. “That’s my brain benefit,” she says. (DK: There’s a lot to digest here. But let’s just jump on the close.  Antioxidants? Goobledygook.  Brain benefit? Ho! Really?!?)
  • “We see people looking for little rewards all the time.” (DK: And we deserve it!)

Photo: Joann Hofer from XchocolArt in Carmel, Indiana with Blueberry Truffle Christmas Gift Organic Chocolate made with Blueberries, cream and luscious chocolate. (Source: Etsy.com)

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