i firmly resolve that 2009 will not explode

Every year I make resolutions, because I like the idea of a fresh start, a
definitive place to start, a moment you can point to and say yes, there. That
is the starting line, and here is where we’ll begin. Every year about this
time, I look back at the resolutions I had made (because I have a memory like a
drunken sieve) and I think oh, those were good ideas! Too bad I didn’t
actually, you know, work on any of that stuff. Too bad this year was exactly
like last year which was exactly like the year before, in terms of

In terms of everything else, this year, and last year, and the year before have
been amazing rollery coaster kinds of adventures, during which, if we have to
be honest and fair, I haven’t had much time to think about esoteric improvement
schemes. Mostly I’ve been trying to catch my breath and stay more or less
upright and moving forward, wide-eyed, wide-awake, hoping not to fail. I keep
saying that I think things were going really well for me until everything went
to hell, and it kind of feels that way. The first ten months were nothing short
of–well, really hard, for awhile there. Adjustments after my move, adjustments
in my relationship, feeling isolated, worrying that I had made the wrong
decision, that I wasn’t cut out for any of this, or maybe anything at all.

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winter, sports

Where I live, winter hits like a prizefighter (only meaner) and the
mountains are covered in snow and the temperature drops to numbers that
make penguins feel sad and anyone who is right in the head ought to be
indoors wearing a down union suit and covered in blankets and
heating pads, with the heat turned up to 80° and the oven on and
then move to Florida. But somehow I have stumbled onto a state full
of people who are not right in the head at all, and they are all very,
very interested in outdoor sports.

Sports! In the outdoors! Going outside, where there is snow and wind and ice and freezing rain and frozen snow and icy wind and playing.
For hours! Just going out there as if they’d never heard of central
heat or conserving energy or hot toddies, and frolicking in the weather,
singing la la la, we do not care if we lose all of our limbs to
frostbite because we are hardy and sporty and just a little bit damn
crazy, whee! It is enough to make you wonder how there is any
population left at all, here in Utah, where everyone should be actually
dead in the snow by early January instead of going about their lives
and emerging virtually unscathed in the spring.

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holiday post-mortem

Did it feel like the holiday season came
crashing on top of you like a tinsel-covered wave? Have you emerged
gasping yet, back into real life, or are you still floating face-down
in the surf where it is so peaceful and serene in the dark as you bob
along? I am bracing myself to break the surface and suck in some fresh,
un-nog-scented air, to blink and look around and up at the sky and down
at my three page to-do list and and start remembering how this
responsibility thing works. At some point in the past week or so, I
said okay, holiday! Take me away! and I plumb forgot to do anything but
sit around in lounge pants and pet dogs and not think about things that
were not happy or alcoholic (sometimes both!) at all in the least. It
was a really good holiday.

We stayed here in Utah, where E’s
family all is. E’s family knows how to do the holiday. There is a lot
of food, and a lot of drinks, and a lot of giggling–if you do not
leave a family party with your face hurting, then probably you spent
the entire time locked in the bathroom with some kind of stomach flu
and that is very sad. Everywhere there is a flurry of wrapping paper
and shiny things and everyone’s racing around, hiding bags and yelling
at you if you open the wrong cupboard and asking each other in
whispers, in front of the person you’re whispering about, what you got
for them. It’s all secrets and lies and deceptions and tackling to keep
you from ruining the surprise.

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In the past few years, I have become a person who moisturizes. For
years I would spring from the shower and into my clothes and dive out
the door, because sleeping until the last moment and spending little to
no time on grooming or maintenence seemed to me to be a waste of
valuable time and non-renewable resources. Why slather up my body with
expensive lotions when my skin was perfectly adequate, making moisture
all on its own? Who cared about my delicate under-eye area, and if my
oil-slick face ever required any kind of extra lubrication,
then it was the end of the world or nigh unto it, and I ought to start
coming up with some way to redeem my immortal soul.

But then I aged. I am thirty-mumble, which is just a handful of years
away from mumble, and while my skin has not shown any signs of kindly
reducing oil production and spots, it has simultaneously become cranky,
crepe-y and lined.  At the same time, I have lost a lot weight rapidly,
and skin that is not thoroughly moisturized bounces back less well than
skin that is well-oiled daily. Of course if you tell me
that I am going to become a maniacal devotee of the body lotion, if not
a full-blown addict.

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just what i needed

Thumbnail image for 3125998925_e7bc2cd627.jpgSince I moved to Utah, I have been inviting people to come visit Utah. Come visit Utah! I say. It has got fry sauce and mountains! Mormons and me!
You will love Utah! You will come because of a sense of obligation and
because you feel a little bit sorry for me, the way that I live in
Utah, but you will want to stay for the “scones” (deep-fried sugary bread) and how cute I look in my giant white down jacket that looks more like a comforter and less like an article of clothing.

Weirdly, I wasn’t really taken up on my offer, and I can’t imagine why. When Mo Pie and I talked about seeing Twilight–we
share a sick fascination for its magnificent awfulness and
balls-to-the-wall determination to be thoroughly offensive in every
possible way–we said how cool it would be, if she came to visit and we
saw the movie and we had a weekend where I could go look, here is my
town and my house and my life and how things are for me.
I spend a lot
of time talking and writing and telling about how it is and where I
live and what I do, but I have had the urge and the desire and the
need–I don’t even know why, and I wish I did–to take someone around
and show them and say look, this is what I am talking about, do you

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personal history

At the gym, there is an
older lady who takes the morning water aerobics class. I’d say that she
is in her late fifties, at the very latest. She looks ordinary in her
street clothes, and then when she takes them off, she looks as if
someone reached out and gently let all the air out of her. Her skin is
very white, and drapes down from her shoulders and elbows, the tops and
sides of her thighs, in soft folds. She is covered, all over, in sheets
of loose and striated skin. And she is absolutely at ease in her body,
comfortable with how she looks and happy with who she is, I think–her
chin is up, her bearing is straight, she moves confidently across the
pool room and through the locker room wearing less than I would ever
want to be seen in, in public. I’ve never talked to her, but I kind of
love her.

I want to talk to her–all that skin, it speaks to me
of rapid weight loss after decades and decades of morbid obesity. She
looks very much like the pictures I used to see, the before and afters
you sometimes run into, when people blog about their weight-loss
surgery. I thought, when I first saw her, that I recognized the shape
of her body and her skin, and I wanted to go up to her and ask, “Did
you get weight-loss surgery?” I revised that in my head: “I know this
is a terribly personal question…” No. “I know this is a rude
question, but…” No, how about, “Can I ask you a very personal
question, and you can tell me to go to hell if you want, but I wanted
to know…” No.

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slow down and love the season

your head, around this time, starts a high-pitched keening. Bright and
beautiful Hanukkah-full-of-food (and a lot of presents, rumor has it)
starts Sunday, Christmas is barreling down upon us with the safety
off and a look of wild-eyed rage, and everywhere, everything is
shouting that it’s coming, it’s coming, it’s coming don’t you know it’s coming and you think you’re prepared but lady, you are not,
in sparkly, spangly, tinsel-y capital letters. So you tuck a bottle of
bourbon under your arm and you wedge yourself under the bed and refuse
to come out until winter is over, just to be safe. Or you figure out
ways to catch your breath and settle down your heart and enjoy the hell
out of all this, because there’s so much to enjoy, above and beyond the
consumerist panic that grips us.

The very lovely Sarah of Pink of Perfection is wise, and knows exactly how frazzled we can get, and
exactly the way to knock that off right now, missy. She’s got ten wonderful things you can do that are true to the spirit of the
holidays and will help you truly enjoy this time of year–from
breathing deep to laughing loud with a passel of friends who arrive
bearing gifts of food and drink. Go check off every single one of those
things on her perfect list, and find yourself loving the season again.

i almost believe they are real

I’m on Facebook totally against my will. That’s right, someone tied me up and duct-taped me to a chair and took me by the hair and bashed my face into the keyboard such that the combination of keystrokes actually connected me to a browser which navigated over to facebook.com and then signed up up and added all my personal information, including my current location and former high school. It was a very terrible experience, and I don’t want to talk about it any more.

However I got there, the end result is that I am on Facebook (along with my mother, which is just bizarre. Hi, mom!) and I generally try to ignore it. I have only recently discovered the capability that allows you to ignore all requests that involve tossing goats and beating people with noodles and checking to see how compatible you are, movie- and favorite-kind-of-duck-wise, and that was a relief because it was very exhausting, going to my page and discovering that 149 people wanted to punch me in the face with a Triscuit or something, and not really knowing how to respond–I tried, but it got confusing. Windows! Opening up! Do I want them to access my personal information? Can we add a widget? Can we change the fabric of space-time? Do you know who your real father is? How many people do you want to notify that you’ve been adopted? Exhausting.

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change is coming in on the noon train

Here it is again, that little jump in my knee that gets it pistoning up
and down again, that feeling of urgency and need, that sense that I
have to be somewhere special, doing something important, accomplishing
something vital but that it is all starting without me, that no one
could wait for me and they had to just go ahead and I could catch up,
if I could, but how can I ever catch up? Everyone is so far ahead, and
I don’t even know where I’m supposed to be, or how to get there, or

It happens sometimes, this restlessness, and I can never pinpoint where
it is coming from. Sometimes it’s things clanging around in my head,
going ping! as things in my head do, sometimes, in the way of serotonin
imbalances and issues with my nerve receptor…thingies. That’s
science. Sometimes it’s the changing season–the weather shifting, the
months flipping by, the earth spinning its way past the sun. Sometimes
I can feel that, or I imagine I feel it, and I imagine that something
needs to be done in response. I imagine that I need to be on the move,
as well, racing forward towards something new. Sometimes it’s just
because I am crazy and have psychological issues. Sometimes, it’s just

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how to: overcome emotional eating

My boyfriend recently
said, “Well, what’s wrong with emotional eating? If it works to calm
the stress, then isn’t it just basically a solution?” And it took me a
moment to rustle up a reasonable response to that, because for a
minute, he sounded so perfectly reasonable. What is wrong with
emotional eating? I like to eat! I like how food tastes! If food calms
me down, well then, good for food, and good for me because I have
discovered the way to keep myself from doing something like throwing my
body off a bridge or taking an assault rifle on the express bus. It’s not
a self-destructive behavior like shopping yourself into debt or cutting
or making prank phone calls until they shut off your line and arrest
you, right?

Except, of course, when you emotionally eat yourself
into a nutritional black hole–when you’re eating nothing but candy and
cheeseburgers and putting your face into a cake because you think if
you try hard enough you could possibly learn to breathe frosting and a
ham–how is that healthy? I don’t care what the intuitive eating
movement says: If you are under a big black cloud of sadness, which
leads you to intuitively eat a box of Krispy Kremes for every meal from
now until your next birthday, then your intuition could use an tune-up.
Therefore, emotional eating, unless it involves sobbing while you bite
into a crown of broccoli, is not healthy. That is my sorrowful

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