My Trainer is Trying to Kill Me

Tonight’s workout:

4 sets Tabatas pushups
5 sets Tabatas bicep curls with 20 lb weights
3 sets step-ups/kicks
3 sets press-up/knee tucks
3 sets pec flies with 20 lb weights
3 sets close-grip lat pulldowns
3 sets bench press – first two sets with 90 lbs then drop to 70 lbs
3 sets tricep straight bar pulldowns
2 sets one-legged dead lifts with a 26.5 lb kettle bell
2 sets of one leg-v-up ab exercises

I just wanted to write it down so if they find my body in the morning, someone would know why, and tell my story. Tell them. Tell the people what became of me.

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A Song I Love: Thank You by Led Zeppelin

We were walking to the ferry, early in the morning, after 3.5 glorious days together. Sleepy, messy-haired, sad to be saying goodbye. I was carrying my giant backpack. At the terminal, halfway up the cement walk, he stopped. “Hang on,” he said “I have to tie my shoe.” He dropped to one knee to do so, and I looked around, surveying the choppy water and hoping the sailing wouldn’t be too rough. Then he said “I know saying goodbye is the least favourite parts of our weekends. I thought I would make it better just this once. I want you to marry me.”

And he was down there, holding a little black velvet box with the most beautiful ring in it, and looking right at me.

I lost my cool, I admit it. I said something stupid, I started to laugh and cry, I kept saying “what? What? Is this really happening?”, and my head spun, and my mind reeled, and then he was standing up and none of me losing my cool matters. He asked me to marry him, and I said yes.

I get to marry my favourite person in the world. The funniest, warmest, most loving and supportive person I know. My best friend. He wants to marry me. And I want to marry him right back. I’m very happy, and feel very grateful.

My Valentine’s Day card from him (written on the cardboard of a Buffy comic book – I love us) reads:

“Bethy,

You know what’s better than a Valentine’s Card? A Buffy Comic. I know, right? I’m pretty clever. Seriously though, the future looks pretty bright for the two of us. You and I are on the cusp of some very big things. I can’t really bold with a pen without it looking ugly so I use underlining for emphasis.

What we will do this weekend – the cuddling, the comedy, the eating right, the movies and the making love – it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. I think you do too. You and I, working for the same goals, taking care of ourselves and each other forever. Sounds pretty good, right? I think this weekend will be a blast. Let’s keep it going forever, okay? You take care of me like no one else ever has in history. I will do the same for you. I promise. I love you. ❤ Gabriel"

He makes my heart feel…open. He makes me laugh so much. I hope we always feel like this. I hope we take care of each other, and like each other, and support each other, and never stop really seeing each other. I hope we work at our relationship, and continue to not take each other for granted. I hope we take care of business but make time for fun, for relaxing, for things to look forward to and beauty in small things. I love him so much. I promise to try my best.

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A Song I Love: Elevator Love Letter by Stars

Don’t go
Say you’ll stay
Spend a lazy Sunday in my arms
I won’t take anything away

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On Moderation

Of both of my faults, I think it’s safe to say the one that has caused me the most grief in my life is my utter inability to do ANYTHING in moderation. It can range from the harmless and endearing:

“I have a new sweater I REALLY LOVE, so I’m going to wear it to work. Then out for drinks that same night, then out for dinner two nights later as long as nobody at work or from drinks is there, then over to my parents’ place, then to pick up Gabriel, then for the entire weekend!”

“I have a new CD that i REALLY LOVE, so I’m going to play it nonstop in my car for a month straight until I go “AUUUUGH I FUCKING HATE THIS NOW”, and hurl it into the backseat in a fit of snit, only to unearth it a month later and have the capacity to be normal about it!”

to the potentially hazardous:

“I have a new friend that i REALLY LOVE and I want to be around him/her all the time because they’re so funny and smart so I’m going to call/email him/her constantly until they’re not sure if they still like me as much as they thought because frankly, I’m being a little intense!”

“I have a new book or tv show that I REALLY LOVE, so I’m going to stay up until 2 a.m. on a work night, until my eyes droop and my drooling face falls into the book (or my eyes turn to squares and I start to believe the characters in the show are real, as the case may be) and be a total write-off in the morning!”

to the downright fucking disastrous:

“I tried a new kind of ice cream bar that I REALLY LOVE, so instead of eating one as a nice treat, I think I’ll eat all four in the box in fairly rapid succession, resulting in a stomach-ache, a twitchy sugar high, the inability to sleep, a deep, miserable self-loathing and remorse, and a lifelong weight problem and fear of diabetes!”

“Say! This is a new kind of whiskey I REALLY LOVE, so I think I’ll do nine shots of it with apple juice chasers, then call up an ex-boyfriend and slur a list of all the reasons I’M THE WINNER AND HE’S THE LOSER into his voicemail! Blah blah blooorgghhhh AND ANOTHER THING TOO…. *snoooooore* *barf* *die* *hangover*”

It’s a strange thing. In many cases, the food, alcohol and television-consumption especially, it verges on addiction. Actually, with the food, it definitely IS addiction. There are times when if I have chocolate in the cupboard, ice cream in the freezer, I get such an intense, demanding craving that it’s all I think about. Who’s LIKE that?! It’s insane. I’m very grateful I’m not a big drinker anymore, and am infinitely grateful that I quit smoking, and most grateful of all that I never tried heroin or crack. Who knows where I’d be now?

I see the people around me functioning and living their lives, eating two squares of chocolate and tucking the rest away to save for later. Meanwhile, I’ve ground mine into a fine powder and am busy snorting it. No matter what I do, I do it pell-mell, full tilt, and then often tire of it.

I took up knitting to keep my hands busy when I quit smoking, and I became a KNITTING MACHINE, taking it everywhere I went, buying books, buying various width needles, practicing, joining a stitch and bitch group, buying lots of yarn and wool on eBay.

And then I tired of it, and it sits in the corner, a beautiful half-finished scarf being occasionally heard to sigh.

I decided I liked beading, so I bought SCADS AND SCADS of beads and findings and clasps and straight pins and eye pins and fancy pliers and glass beads and fimo beads and semi-precious gem stones and hooks and eyes and wire and links and BEADED LIKE A FIEND, EVERY NIGHT, EVERYONE GETS EARRINGS FOR CHRISTMAS and then something shiny caught my eye and my beading stuff is now all quilted in a comforting layer of grey dust, growing quietly old and forgotten.

I think as of this very moment I am going to try to live more moderately, and less obsessively. I wonder whether it’s possible? Hey – at least I’m lovable. Everyone loves a quirky girl.

WHY AM I LIKE THIS

love,
beth

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Without a Trace

My best friend Courtenay, the closest friend I’ve ever had (so close we almost killed each other on occasion, actually) moved to New Zealand in October of 2006 with her boyfriend to live, work, play and explore for a year or so. They had a wonderful time. They lived in a van on people’s properties, stayed in hostels and backpackers’ inns, travelled around, got jobs, and lived on a boat for a while. Court emailed fairly frequently. I still have those emails. She told me about how in love she was, how happy to be having this adventure, even the hard parts, how buff her arms were getting from rowing from their boat to the shore, to her waitressing job. They bought a sailboat, and against the recommendations of everyone who loved them, and frankly, almost everyone who knew much about sailing, decided to sail it home. Their vessel, a 30′ ketch, wasn’t seaworthy yet, so they fixed her up first. Court had never sailed, Chris had, and had intermediate level experience. Whatever it was, the power of love, adventure, test runs that went well, stubbornness – they wouldn’t be talked out of it. I remember an email exchange with Court (snippets from ones between us):

Courtenay: We are still hoping to sail home but people around here and our parents are pretty much downers/haters. All like “but you have no experience” and “but people drown out there”… yada yada… But what an amazing, adrenaline-filled experience.. doing something that ACTUALLY puts your life in danger… but then again, you could be killed any day, doing anything.. *sigh*

Me: Um…about the sailing home. Um. Really? Out there in the middle of the ocean with real live sharks, literally no land in sight, relying on weather and technology? I trust and love you, but…don’t die.
…OR YOU COULD TAKE A PLANE. 🙂
Seriously though, do you think you really might do that?

Courtenay: But soon we will be together… ie 24/7 on our boat ahaha… YES we really are planning to sail back home and don’t worry about it… we will be fine. We can survive anything together.

No, they couldn’t. I’m sure it’s been obvious where this blog post was going. They were supposed to be back in October 2007. They left New Zealand in….May? I think? They made the first leg, New Zealand to Tahiti. I have a postcard. They made the second leg, Tahiti to Hilo (Hawaii) fine. I have a postcard. They left Hilo, and….were gone.

And that’s it. You’re probably wanting more details. Well there fucking aren’t any. And the reason I’m writing about this in 2011 is that I still think of them so goddamned often. I hate it. What the parents of children who are abducted must go through I can’t imagine, but it’s the not knowing that gets you. My sister died. There was a body. It hurt like hell and gutted me and sent me into an icy shock I thought I’d never come out of, but there was a body. Cold skin, pulseless throat, blue lips, gone. An empty vessel. And as a result of that, somewhere in the midst of the fetal-position silent scream of pain, unbeknownst to you, a tiny, tiny sprout is unfurling and seeking the light, and starting you down the road to healing and wellness. Grieving the way we need to grieve to survive.

But the real bitch about Court and Chris is that there’s hope. And hope is a motherfucker. I realized tonight, while toasting a crumpet, with a jarring shock, that I was disappointed they weren’t home yet. That some tiny, irrational piece of me that won’t be reasoned with and is insisting on having faith in the face of NO PROOF OF DEATH, has been quietly hoping and praying and finger-crossing.

And that’s the thing of it. I try so hard to understand the ocean. To really, truly, conceive of how large it is. But I can’t. I take ferries constantly, I’ve grown up on the ocean, but I have never been so far out that I couldn’t see land on at least one side of me in the distance. So I don’t think I really have any concept of the enormity of it. Which is maybe why part of me is stubbornly hanging on to the idea that if they were dead, we’d have heard something by now. A body. A piece of the boat. The whole boat. Something. Surely something. But I’m an idiot. It isn’t just giant beyond my comprehension, it also has depth. Fathoms and fathoms and metres and scary metres of depth, down to the dark waters where the terrifying, prehistoric-looking underbite fish live. Down so far your ears could explode, you could go crazy, don’t even take the bathysphere. The ocean wins at being gigantic.

Plenty of room to hide one small boat, only 30 feet, with two small people the world loves and misses. With room leftover to taunt us by keeping them hidden.

I had a dream once that I was at the beach and found Court and Chris floating about 100 feet from shore. Thank God! they cried when I reached them in a rowboat. They had for some reason been unable to make it the last bit of the way to shore, and for some reason been unable to swim and nobody had seen or heard them calling for help. They had been surviving for weeks on Nutri-grain bars, whose wrappers carpeted the bottom of their boat. I was so happy I cried and cried.

What a stupid fucking dream. What a giant, monstrously massive fucking ocean.
I miss her so, so much sometimes.

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Resolution, Revolution

2011. It seems to have come so quickly. But then, when I think of all that happened in 2010, and all that didn’t happen in 2010, it seems long, in retrospect. My life feels a bit stagnant, and some of my hopes went unfulfilled. I am living in the same condo, in the same situation with my partner (still long distance, closing in on 3 years), still in the same work position, hovering around the same weight, driving the same car. Nothing new. My hair’s a little longer. For me, 2010 didn’t make much direct difference. But my boyfriend lost a niece (end of 2009), a stepfather, a cousin, a brother-in-law (dead for all intents and purposes), almost a sister, and another cousin is fighting for her life. So the year felt neverending both in terms of my own life’s stagnation and the turmoil and change in the life of the person I love best. All in all, it’s a year I’m not sorry to see go.

We had a really wonderful Christmas – relaxing, but with lots of socializing – in Victoria, and just now an equally wonderful welcoming of the new year in Seattle. The Eve itself was spent just the two of us, going for an Italian dinner, then coming home to make fancy, boozy, brandy-based drinks and watch a Korean vampire movie, snuggled up on the couch.

I thought about resolutions. The dreaded list of here-are-my-hopes-for-the-coming-year which, while they hold the hope and held-breath and shiny new optimism of the illusion of a fresh start, also carry the rust and staleness of here-is-where-i-failed-last-year, if you look too closely. I often find I set goals and don’t achieve them, and feel bad when I don’t. And sometimes the goals and who we are changes mid-stream so that even if I DO work to achieve a goal, it often ends up being just so that I can cross something off a list. This year, I’m going to make a list of things to keep in mind. Most of my concrete hopes are beyond my control right now anyway. I feel out of control, and a little bit depressed. So with that in mind, here is a list of some things I would like to focus on more:

1) Grooming. Get regular trims so my ends don’t get scraggly. Take better care of feet – dry skin/heels are unpleasant. Buff my nails more often. Floss every other day at least.

2) Cook more and eat out less. This is an area I have already vastly improved – I bring lunch to work 99.9% of the time, whereas 2 years ago I probably went out for lunch 3x per week. But I would like to have leftovers of good, healthy things in the fridge at all times. And the pizza in there now, in cardboard boxes, is not what I have in mind. I want to make soups and stews and stratas and casseroles and stirfrys and lasagnas and elaborate salads and focus on whole, unprocessed foods so that when I’m in a rush, it’s still easy to make a good choice.

3) Keep seeing Tanya twice a week. Fuck the cost, and fuck the associated guilt. I worked for my money and seeing a trainer, her specifically, makes me feel good. I would also like to get in at least one workout per week on my own, be it water aerobics or a trip to the rec center gym. If/when possible.

4) Take better care of my car. Get the scratches from where I scraped the pillar like a big dork buffed and fixed, get a check-up/maintenance package. Prevention is better than a cure.

5) Continue to save money.

6) Keep track of the movies I watch and books I read all year long. I love looking back on that stuff.

7) My health. I need to see the allergist for sure, but what else? 2010 was the worst health year in my history – I get colds/flus much less frequently, but I was tentatively (thanks, Dr. Certain) diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis, and between that, my bad knee and the strange memory/brain episode I had in September 2009, I am astonished at the number of procedures I’ve had in 2010 – EEG, Cat Scan, X-ray, overnight oximetry, ultrasound, barium swallow, endoscopy, gastroscope and esophageal stretching, as well as myriad blood tests – I feel like a lab rat. I want to improve my health desperately, but how still feels like a mystery. I hope the allergist can help.

I don’t know what else, really. I feel a bit pathetic. I’m going to be 33 on Wednesday. I thought I’d be married by now, and thin, and have two children and a golden retriever. I thought I would live in a house, not an apartment with miserably delapidated carpet. I thought I would have it figured out by now. I thought I’d be less lonely, more content, and more certain of who I am, who I want to be, and what matters in life. But instead, I still fumble my way through most days, doing the best I can and trying to remember to be grateful for my relative good fortune.

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Dry Spell

I haven’t felt like blogging lately. All the creativity has been sucked out of me, largely by two factors: one, this is a busy frickin’ time of year, and two, I have been fighting getting sick for over a month. That’s the worst feeling to me – every day you’re a little sniffly, or a little sore throaty, or a little fevery, and with a generalized overall feeling of crappiness and rundownitude and fatigue. Malaise. You fight back with vitamin C, oil of oregano, tons of water, Cold FX, Vitamin D, extra sleep, echinacea, garlic – whatever your preventative remedy of choice. And it works, a little – you don’t get sick, but the viruses and bacteria are hanging out, watching you, picking their teeth and shrugging their gross, sludgy shoulders as if to say what? you thought we were going to go somewhere?. And then, the minute you let your guard down, stop being vigilant, dare to exhale, BLAMMO! Plague City. As is the case with me.

I can’t complain too much. I begged and pleaded and cajoled and wheedled to the Snot Gods and Fever Deities to please just keep me well through my trip to Miami, which was November 24-December 4th, and aside from a mild touch of sinus infection, they did. And then I pushed my luck and bargained a little more to just let me get ready for Christmas. And THEN I thought maybe I’d gotten away with it, meddling kids or not. And last night I finished my Christmas baking, finished my present wrapping, and went to bed, feeling slightly off but pretty smug, and woke up at 4 a.m. coughing like my lungs had inhaled evil spirits and were trying to expel them, and sweating like a madwoman with fever. Ugh.

Today has been spent alternately chugging tea, water and orange juice, peeing a lot, and witnessing more stabbings, anal rape, shankings, mouth-pooping, fist-pummeling, wall-clawing, baton-bludgeoning and drug-snorting than you can shake a stick at. Nothing cures like a good prison drama. If you haven’t seen Oz, and aren’t the type to scream inconsolably at horror, I recommend it.

So, I am felled, but will survive.

Here are a few of my favourite photos from Gabriel’s and my trip to Florida, which was really wonderful.

Bird Bath

Part of Gabriel's Mum's Front Yard

Looker.

Wall, Roof, Sky, Palm

Me in the bright backyard

My first sighting of the elusive Beaky Birds, whose real name I later discovered is "Ibis"

John Leguizamo

Florida Egret

I like him

In the Everglades

Snail

Pelican, Key Largo

Looker, Key West

Poolside wine

Sunset, Key West

Only 90 miles to Cuba!

Pie, Key Largo

warmer climate downside

Sunset cruise around Biscayne Bay on a catamaran

Sunset from the catamaran

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