It’s a pretty momentous day here in the Riggledome. And by “momentous”, I mean something that matters a whole helluva lot more to me, than it does to you…
In a conversation last night with “The guy” (and yes, there’s a “the guy”… after a fashion at least – there’ll be more on that later… sometime… probably) we were talking about fitness and exercise. When he’s not learning and developing people (there’s a cryptic detail about him), he works part-time at a local gym teaching boot camp and spin classes. We were discussing my personal ideal fitness goals and he said, “If you want a different body, think about WHY should your body change. If you never run up and down stadium stairs, why should it not look like an office worker’s?” My response was “Because I’m a shallow gay man in the Bay Area and I want to look like it?”
All of that is to say that, like most everyone, I have a fair amount of vanity, and insecurities about my appearance. I know! It’s hard to believe! I had always hated my smile, and didn’t like the way my teeth looked. For whatever reason I have a slight and barely perceptible misalignment of my jaw which resulted in some crooked and prominent canine teeth. I always felt like I had fangs and didn’t want people to see them. I never smiled with showing teeth in pictures… When I allowed pictures to be taken… at all. Once I got a job that paid decently and some good health insurance options, I subjected myself to the process and began Invisalign treatment. It seemed like a great thing, especially for a vain person. No bulky, ugly, metal teeth. Straightening what’s crooked. What could be wrong?!?
It didn’t work out so well. It requires a lot of commitment and dedication and in the end (3 years later) I had run through the whole process, hadn’t achieved what I wanted to and couldn’t go any further with Invisalign. I had the choice to either be happy with what had been achieved, or go to an orthodontist and get real braces… I bet you can guess which one I chose.
I got my braces off nearly a year ago and have, for the last year, been wearing retainers the vast majority of the day. That, in itself was pretty momentous, but now, after so many years of this process, I am officially free!
Sure, I’ll have to continue to wear my retainers at night. Everybody who has ever had braces has had that instruction (a lot of people don’t do it), but wearing them at night is a far cry from wearing them all day every day!
Well, here we are. It’s 2012… The last year of the world (Yeah, right!) What are we going to do with it?
I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like to set myself up to fail and that’s what I think New Year’s resolutions do for me. But I’ve been thinking about what I want for this upcoming year. Lot’s of things have come to mind of course. Yeah, I’d like to lose weight… again. Of course, I’d like to get back into the habit of going to the gym and get in better shape… again. I’d like to get back on the blogging bandwagon…. again. I don’t write here nearly as much as I should. Not as much as I would like to.
I read a while back on Jen Lancaster’s blog that writing is a muscle and like with any muscle, you have to keep exercising it or that muscle get’s weak. That makes perfect sense to me and I’ve experienced it first hand. If I don’t write regularly, I find it harder to get back into the habit. So I would like to write more. Ideally every day, though that may be easier said than done. I’m going to try though. If you’re looking for me to make a “resolution” to write more, forget it. I ain’t gonna do it! But keep checking back, hopefully you’ll see more writing more often in the new year. According to that fancy pants year-end review thing that WordPress put together and I posted yesterday, I had 69 new posts last year. Sixty-nine new posts out of 365 days… That seems kind of shameful to me. This year, I hope, will be better.
Anyway, thinking about 2012… I’d like to eat better. Cook more, learn to make new, healthy, but interesting recipes. I took some time during my stay-cation this past week to really clean up and reorganize my kitchen and I’m amazed. I should probably be ashamed to admit this, but whatever. When I looked at this apartment more than four and a half years ago, I liked it a lot. The guy who lived here before me didn’t have a ton of stuff and the apartment wasn’t terribly cluttered. I liked it (except for the inordinately small closet) and I was interested, but the thing that put me over the top, was the kitchen. It’s not large, by any means, but what put me over the top was this beautiful kitchen with the black marble slap counters, the stainless steel appliances, the gas range and oven and the over-sized sink. I didn’t notice until moving in that it didn’t have a microwave or a garbage disposal, but I owned my own microwave and I’ve managed to make do without the garbage disposal. Over the years, the kitchen counters became a dumping ground. I walk in the door with my mail in my hands and I walk straight into the kitchen where I dump everything on the counter. For months now, I’ve had so much clutter on my kitchen counters, that I had only one small section of counter space to do my chopping and mixing and plating. My kitchen was no longer my friend. The other day, I took some time to go through the stuff on the counters and put a lot of it away. I threw a lot of things away and some additional stuff that I haven’t used, but I’m not ready to part with, got boxed up and taken down to the garage. I now have a wide open and beautiful kitchen I’ve regained the ability to appreciate. Now it’s time to make proper use of it again! I’ve even been remarkably consistent about putting dishes in the dishwasher the moment I’m finished with them, instead of piling up dishes in the sink and on the counter before they finally get into the dishwasher. Yay me! 🙂
Like I said, I’ve been thinking a lot about the kinds of things I want to accomplish this year, and there’s one thing I keep coming back to more than anything else. I want my book to be published. So instead of a New Year’s Resolution, I’m making ONE 2012 New Year’s Declaration, by the end of this year, barring unforeseen, and very positive intervention, The Teacher, by Kevin Riggs, will be published in one form or another. (And that does not include matchbook sized Christmas Tree decorations.) I have very high hopes for some sort of successful deal with a real publishing company, but barring positive results of that endeavor, I will self publish this book before the year is out. Stay tuned!
A couple weeks ago, before fleeing the country, my friend Karin and I had a conversation about depression. Fortunately for her, she doesn’t have this affliction and she admitted to not really understanding it. She didn’t know much about the clinical types of depression and so I explained my “condition” to her.
My version of clinical depression, the one that – for those of you who don’t know – is the most common type, is called dysthymia. Basically people with dysthymia have a “low grade” depression pretty much all of the time, with occasional lapses into more severe depression and, at least in my experience, even less frequent bouts of feeling not so bad. (God forbid it should be characterized as “feeling good.”)
Karin asked me where I was on that spectrum at the time. I told her, “I guessed I would have to say that I’m on the high end… and that’s almost worse.”
“Why?” she asked.
“Because it’s not real,” I told her. “Because all the time that I feel this way, I know it’s only a matter of time before it ends and the bottom drops out again.”
I had a really shitty day yesterday.
My doctor told me I was twenty pounds heavier than the last time I saw him, fourteen months ago. I knew I had gained back some of the weight that I lost, but I didn’t realize it was that much. To be honest, I’ve been in a bit of denial about that. Trying not to think about it and definitely not accepting how bad it really is. Most days I feel like I’m not that heavy. My birthday partyshould have been a wake up call…
Weight is an issue for me. Always has been and most days I want to just throw in the towel and say, “Fuck it! I’m never going to have any control over this anyway. I should give up trying.”
The only success I’ve ever had is being vigilant about following the nutrition program on the Abs Diet program I’ve talked about before and by going to the gym regularly. The nutrition program is good but it becomes tedious after a while. I don’t know how to use most of the weight equipment in the gym and so all I can really do is aerobic exercise. The only time I can stomach going to the gym is mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Any other time is either too crowded or too early/late for me. When I can get there mid-morning or mid-afternoon it works out pretty well, except that It takes 90 minutes to two hours round trip (including travel, changing clothes, shower and dressing again.) And if there’s any disruption in the office schedule, like someone not being there, then it’s hard to get away.
I’ve given up any hope of ever being buff like I really want to be, just being fit and healthy – thinner will do, but even that seem so far out of reach…
I’m ready to consider more drastic measures. While I was waiting for my doctor to come in to the exam room yesterday I noticed a flyer on the wall. My healthcare organization now offers Cosmetic Surgery. I was shocked. Liposuction was listed. Someone recently told me that you can’t get fat again after liposuction because your body doesn’t grow new fat cells. Is that true? One of the side effects of liposuction is hair loss… I don’t have to worry about that…
A few months ago, my friend Lori (have you noticed all my friends are girls – sad) started a medical fast. She has lost 47 pounds in about six months. When she started, I thought it was overkill, to be honest. I tried to be supportive, though I’m not sure I succeeded, but I didn’t think she needed to do it. She was not grossly obese, in my estimation, and I felt like if she had the determination to stick to the fast then she had the determination to change her thinking and watch her nutrition. Now…. I’m wondering how much it costs, and if I would have to pay for it all at once or if I could make installments.
Once upon a time, specifically because I drank too much and knew I would feel better faster if I threw up, I tried to induce vomiting. I apparently have no gag reflex (something that might be useful someday – but probably not) and I don’t think bulimia is an option. Not that I could really be bulimic. I hate to vomit and will do everything in my power to prevent it.
I don’t know what to do.
I’ve been obsessing all day about my ordeal yesterday. And I’m pissed off because IT’S NOT RIGHT and I have no recourse. My options are to get the physical and pay the money, effectively paying my health care provider twice for one instance of service, or not getting the physical and not being able to get my ambulance driver license. Clearly, I don’t really have a choice, but the egalitarian in me can’t let this injustice go. I’m getting screwed and there’s nothing I can do about it. That makes me physically ill.
Last year, my boss, John, decided that I should be involved in the Green initiative for our building. Then he went off to Hawaii for four months and expected me to run the program in his absence. The fact that I have made it abundantly clear to him that I don’t give two shits about green initiatives was irrelevant. He had created this Green Advisory Council with a handful of building employees who wanted to be involved in “greening” the building. The whole lot of them are hippies (sorry Karin) and they’re all gung ho about the programs. They all annoy me in that capacity, but there’s one person on the council who is like a rabid dog with a juicy bone. He will not let anything go. He comes up with an idea that is not achievable with the limitations we have (or just not advisable at this time with good justification) and when told “no” brings it up again at the next meeting. He just keeps bring it up and keeps pushing until he gets what he wants, because ultimately, John is a push-over people-pleaser who will say “yes” just to satisfy this guy, even though it’s not the right thing for the situation. He pushes my buttons at every turn and as hard as I have tried I just can’t manage to like him. After the meeting today, I’m finished even trying to like him.
I’m lonely. When I left work today, a Friday, at around 6:00, I tweeted this:
All day today, when I wasn’t feeling murderously angry, I felt like I needed to cry. But as we know, I don’t do that.
Between me and the fence post, I’ve been craving Vodka for a couple days…
You know when I started this post, it was going to end with me saying, “I hope this is just a bad day and not the end of that all too infrequent “not so bad” time. Now that it’s written…
One of my favorite blogs to read when I need a good laugh, The Bloggess has a tag on her blog “Nobody thinks this is funny but me”. It’s almost never true, of course, but I think today, that’s probably going to be a perfect tag for this post. I forgive you.
I was working on my menu for next week. You know, the one that comes up on my nifty little website that has weekly meal plans and exercise plans? You know, the one that I’ve done a pitiful job of following for months now? You know, the one that I could actually do a pretty decent job of controlling my weight and getting into shape if I’d just follow it? You know the one for which I’ve been paying for over a year, even though I only half-@$$ed follow it… Yeah, that one.
I was working on next weeks menu, and I came across a menu item, for breakfast that I did not want. One of the things I like about this website is that it provides the menu, but then you can substitute anything they suggest that you don’t like for something that you do. You gotta know, every time they suggest “brussels sprouts” I hit that swap button faster than you can say, “ew gross.”
I confess that I usually change the breakfasts they suggest because I don’t have a lot of time, or gumption, in the mornings to prepare the smoothies they recommend (not to mention I only own two blenders and that’s a lot of dish washing if I follow their suggestions.) I usually change breakfast…
These were the suggested alternatives… FOR BREAKFAST!! :
I don’t fit in well with men. I never have. I’m certain that comes, in no small part, from being a closeted gay kid/teen/young adult who was in complete denial.
I’m certain it comes, in no small part, from being a closeted gay kid/teen/young adult who was in complete denial and carried wounds from a lifetime of torment from my peers making fun of me and calling me names.
I’m certain it comes, in no small part, from being a closeted gay kid/teen/young adult who was in complete denial and carried wounds from a lifetime of torment from my peers making fun of me and calling me names and fearing that I’d incur the rath of more homophobic straight men if I so much as gave a hint of having paid any attention to, or noticing them.
It is my custom, therefore, to keep my head down and try not to be noticed, in general, but especially not while I’m noticing those around me.
I’ll make no qualms against the idea that this experience has contributed to this feeling, but I’ve always found it annoying when I see guys apparently running into an acquaintance, in the gym. There I am, walking on the treadmill, or using some weights or piece of equipment and I see a guy strutting through the gym, in no hurry to get anywhere and suddenly he see’s a guy, frequently of similar complexion and features, sitting on a bench with some dumbbells in his hands and they both stop to chat. If I can hear their conversation it’s usually some random pleasantries that may be legitimate, but could just as easily be BSing each other and those around them.
I usually roll my eyes – because far be it from me to mind my own business and not form an opinion about things I know nothing about – and think to myself, “What bullshit. I bet they don’t even know each other particularly well. They just had to make a display for everybody else about how popular and manly they are. I mean seriously! You’re at the gym! Just do what you came here to do and get out. Other people want to use the equipment too!”
It’s so annoying, to me, to be at the gym when it’s crowded. It seems like there’s always people in the way, from the moment I walk into the locker room to find a locker that’s not in a congested area, to the line to use the treadmills, to the crowded weight room where someone always seems to be using the item I need, to the moment I go back into the locker room where it seems like, no matter how long they had been in the gym before I got there, the men using all the lockers anywhere near the one I selected seem to be in the locker room and in the showers at the same time that I need to be there, affording me absolutely no privacy and in very confined spaces. “Just do what you came here to do, and get out!”
Today as I was leaving the gym, having already had my crowded workout, empty (for a change) shower and crowded locker room experience for the day, I strolled out of the locker room and through the gym toward the exit, surreptitiously examining the view on my way through, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. A nice looking young-ish African-American man in black track pants and a plain white t-shirt with unimaginably clear, smooth skin and a neatly trimmed goatee was sitting on the seat of some machine or other. “He looks familiar,” I thought as I continued to walk through, “but I don’t think I know him from work.” And then just as he saw me and smiled it dawned on me that he was one of my classmates from my EMT class.
I stopped, shook hands with him, and chatted for a few minutes before heading back to the office. And as I walked away, I thought, “Ha! Now I’m popular and ‘manly’ too.” And then I rolled my eyes at myself and, having done what I came there to do, I got out!
It has been much too long since I’ve written here. Part of the reason I haven’t written is because I’m not good at short and sweet, to-the-point posts and so what ought to be a quick few minutes to write, ends up being a couple of hours to write, edit, read, preview and re-read, and re-edit a crazy long-winded post, and I just keep putting it off which only serves to make them longer.
I’m going to try to be brief with this post, though I make no promises…
I’m not even sure if I had decided on this when I wrote my last post, but I am now on vacation not to return to work until Monday, August 30, 2010. I put in my request to my manager for my vacation and he approved it and then sent me an e-mail telling me that he wanted me to be very involved in this month-long event in September that would require me to do all my planning and purchasing and compiling in half the time that everyone else has to get ready, all the while dealing with the group who is actually hosting the event but didn’t want to share any of their information. It came down to the wire, but I believe I have everything ready now… I hope. If not, I’ll have two days when I get back to work to take care of it. No pressure there.
I decided to take this vacation, really a stay-cation, because I have been exhausted for weeks, staying up too late, having to get up early in the morning, and upon learning of this event, staying much too late at work. My life has gotten out of kilter and I desperately needed to right it again, and with my class start date looming, I really wanted to get a handle on things before hand.
I never made it to the gym all of last week, with the pressure I had to have my work in order before my vacation. I was surprised to see how much I missed that. I have to admit that while there was so much pressure and trepidation about the locker room when I first started going during the day, I now enjoy it and having a break from my work while I take care of myself. Except for last week, I have been more consistent with going to the gym since I started the mid-day routine than ever before. And I even enjoy taking a shower in the locker room there. It’s a refresher in the middle of the work-day and it’s liberating to have gotten over my fears. (Plus it saves on my water bill at home.)
On Friday, I did finally take a little break from the work craziness to have coffee with my friend John (John H). Saturday was laundry day and Sunday I hung out with Lil’B. It was still rather chilly and I had designs on going to the movies. We haven’t yet seen Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. I’m a BIG kid and I love those kinds of movies so I’ve been looking forward to it since I saw the first previews. When I arrived at Lil’B’s house I asked him what he wanted to do that day and he said, “Miniature Golf.” Hmmm. OK.
So we went to play miniature golf while I was dressed/prepared for a chilly movie theater. Green “painters” pants (green pants with deliberately laid out paint spots on the front) and a black t-shirt. The jean jacket got left in the car. There was no sun screen. One of these days I’ll learn to bring along the sun screen just in case. The weather was actually quite nice where the mini-golf place was.
After I dropped Lil’B off, I went over to my friends John H and John M’s house. I think it’s cute that they both are named John, but John H says they always know who is being addressed. (I have to admit that I once had a passing crush on a guy named Kevin and thought it would’ve been funny if we’d ended up together. Then again, I was also engaged to a girl named Kerri and she thought it was “too sweet” that we would be Kevin and Kerri. She meant “too sweet” in a bad way.) The John’s and I had a wonderful dinner of Baked Ziti and Sourdough bread with an incredible blueberry and cherry tart that “John threw together while I was in the shower,” John H told me. I left at about 10:30 and called it a night.
One of my objectives for this time off work is to get my body clock back on a decent schedule. If I plan to continue to go to the gym during the work day and still work 8-ish hours, I’ve got to do better about getting to work “on time-ish”, especially on class days. So I wasn’t too dismayed by having scheduled DirecTV to come and install new service at my house “between 8 and noon” on Monday. Much to Mischa’s dismay, I pretty much went straight to bed when I got home and got up at 7:30 Monday morning. Not early enough, but it was a start. I won’t spend too much time harping on this, but DirecTV quite successfully managed to turn me from being a big fan/major proponent of their service to a stark hater who will tell everyone I ever meet (where the subject comes up) NEVER TO USE DIRECTV SERVICES, EVAR!!
Very quickly, I was a DirecTV customer for 5 years and canceled my service 6 months ago in favor of AT&T U-verse because of cost. I don’t really love the AT&T product and will still maintain that the actual product offered by DirecTV is better, but I will never use them again. Three years ago when I moved into my current home, the same day as my downstairs neighbors in this duplex moved in, I had the DirecTV service installed. My installer had been here and at work for about an hour before another installer showed up to do the installation for my downstairs neighbors. The two installers made the determination that they could provide both of us with service using only one satellite dish and splitting the signal between the two units. This made everyone (most of all, our landlady) happy. I explained this set-up to the operator when I placed the order to re-instate my service and he said it was great.
When the installer showed up here on Monday, at 11:55 he informed me that he could not do this but instead he had to install a second dish on the house. I told him that was not an option and he said he couldn’t do what I was asking. After speaking with the installer, and his supervisor, via telephone, and then a dispatcher in his office, I got conflicting answers about code regulations and DirecTV policy (the installation company is a third party) and various other, conflicting and contradictory reasons. Finally I called DirecTV directly and after explaining my situation six times and being told that they needed to transfer me to “The right department” I finally got one very pleasant young lady who took the time to investigate properly. After 52 minutes on the phone with DirecTV I was informed that they absolutely can do what I’m asking them to do, but that it’s at the discretion of the installation tech whether he will do it. The best advice she could give me was that I should call the installer back and tell them this. I was waiting for a call from a supervisor from that company anyway and when it hadn’t come in over 90 minutes (I told them I needed a call “right away” about what they planned to do because “my entire day is now on hold waiting for you”) I called them again.
I called the install company back and was disconnected right after they answered the phone. I called again and the phone rang twice and then there was nothing but static and crackling on the line. I called a third time and got an answer but the person sounded like he was across the room from the phone and the static and crackling were still there. I explained that I was expecting a call from the supervisor and he insisted on knowing what it was about before sending my information on. I explained the information I had gotten from DirecTV to him and then he seemed to disappear for a moment. When he came back I couldn’t understand what he was saying and the best I could come up with was that he was e-mailing the supervisor this information. After giving the operator an earful about how horrible their service is, how terrible their phone system is and how they’re making me question my decision to come back to DirecTV I told him that I expected the call from the supervisor within one hour. If I did not hear from him within one our I was going to cancel my order.
When one hour ended, I called DirecTV back for one sole purpose. I explained my entire situation, yet again, to “the right person” and I explained to her that I was just about finished. I told her that I was calling to cancel my order, but before I did, I wanted to give them one last-ditch opportunity to try to save my business, because based on my own experiences, I was of the opinion that DirecTV has the best product on the market and I had once been a satisfied DirecTV customer. She confirmed that everything I had been told was true but that it is up to the install company whether they would do it. She said that she could not order them to do the install the way I wanted. I made it very clear that if they didn’t I was going to cancel my order and she wasn’t going to budge. Finally, I said, “OK, well then let me give you my order number so you can cancel my order.” Without a flinch, or a hint of apology, she said, “Sure!” and put me on hold. A few minutes later she came back, told me the order was canceled and asked if there was anything else she could do for me. I said, “No! I’m just really disappointed to find that you don’t care any more than that to keep your customers.” Again, without an apology she said, “OK, have a nice day.”
I guess that wasn’t so brief, but you know me, once I get started…
The one bright point to that story is that while I was waiting for the installer and arguing with the people on the phone, I also made a huge dent in the mess that is my apartment. I went through a bunch of papers and disposed of what I could, separating the rest to be filed away (which I still need to do). I did a little bit of organizing and putting stuff away. I really made a good start. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get started again since.
Tuesday, I got up with a plan. I was out of bed by 6:45. I spent the morning, taking care of some computer stuff I needed to do, while mentally planning my day. I was going to leave home by 10:30 to go to the gym, spend 45 minutes doing cardio, take a shower (I wanted to compare the locker room and showers to the gym by my office) and then head toward my therapists office in Berkeley for our 2:00 appointment, getting lunch along the way. I got a late start leaving for the gym. I was all ready to go when… My coffee kicked in. There are few things I hate more than pooping at the gym so I was late heading out. I got to the gym at about 12:20 and by the time I found a locker, and unpacked my gym bag, I really only had about 20 minutes for my cardio before I had to take my shower. I went back into the locker room at about 1:05 and was dressed and leaving the gym by 1:30.
When I got into the car, I noticed I had a voice mail on my cell phone. It was Deb, wondering where I was since I was 15 minutes late for our 1:00 appointment. I called her back, but of course there was no way I was going to arrive before our hour was up. I mentioned something to her about how I had it at 1:00 in my calendar, but in my mind it was “at our regular time of 2:00.” She pointed out that 1:00 is our regular time, which, of course, it is… Vacation brain fart! One hundred dollars down the drain.
I headed to Berkeley anyway, because I had other plans for after our appointment. After a quick stop off at Taco Bell, I went to the tattoo shop where I got my last piece done to look through their books for inspiration and to ask about piercing. They don’t do piercing and I didn’t find any inspiration in their books, but they did refer me to another tattoo shop a mile up the street that does piercing, and with only a minimal amount of trepidation, and after many months (years) of consideration, I had this done:
The upper one. Obviously my lobe has been done for a while. They said this will take 2-3 months to heal, but once it does, I’ll replace the stud with some sort of hoop. The piercing itself really didn’t hurt, despite what I’d been told by some. It was a little more tender after I left the shop, a kind of delayed reaction, but that didn’t really last all that long and then it was fine. It’s a little ouchy while doing the cleaning routine, but for the most part I can’t even feel it, unless I bump it accidentally (doesn’t even hurt to lie on it at night. Even the back of the post doesn’t poke into my head, which I thought it would.)
Today, I– Well, I ended up sort of wasting the day. I got up at 6:30 and putted around the house for a while, taking care of social networking stuff and doing my daily Fish Wrangler tournament. I watched an episode of Glee and then I headed out around 10:00 for a… personal grooming appointment… followed by a small amount of shopping and lunch. Even less shopping than I had planned since I had the good sense to check the status of my checking account before I spent too much money.
So that gets us all caught up. Sorry my vacation stories aren’t more exciting….
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and, somehow, soak my ear in salt water (part of the cleaning regimen.) This should be entertaining!