In honor of Independence Day in my country I've decided to create some independence of my own. I've been watching the NeuroGym Innercise videos, these are short clips that talk about how to deal with a specific aspect of your life that may be bothering you. Today's lesson was dealing with the feeling of being overwhelmed. The strategy is simple and inexpensive, but it requires some work. First you write down all the things you want or need to do. According to the video just doing this will reduce the feelings by about fifty percent. I felt a great deal of relief seeing the things that have been on my mind on the three sheets of paper I had in front of me when I was done.

The second step involves reviewing your list for the top three most important priorities on it. For me these would be: Get a job, Complete my taxes, Connect with Jill and Jane. Tomorrow I can go apply for a job at a grocery store across town. I'm viewing this as a stepping stone. If I get the job I can lobby to move to the condo, I've already asked to do this, but it would strengthen my argument since I can walk or bike to work if I live at the condo and would need to drive if I live in the house. The IRS website hasn't been able to complete my request for a tax transcript. The only thing I can do is keep trying and hope that their website starts cooperating. I have my taxes done, but the IRS keeps rejecting my return because the AGI doesn't match what they have on file.

Even though I don't have the girls this week I can do things that will make next week smoother and healthier. This morning I listened to a parenting podcast where the guest was a transitional life coach who spoke passionately and sometimes eloquently about how transitions like divorce shake up the lives of us and our children. She emphasized taking time for yourself, connecting with children on whatever level you can, playing a game, taking a walk, and recognizing that there are going to be some bumps along the way. She's partnered with others, a mortgage lender, nutritionist, therapist, and professionals I've forgotten to help people cope and manage after a divorce.

Last week I read an article about how some of the most successful people in the world occupy their time. Another article I read today listed habits of successful weekenders, those people who make time for personal connections, reflections, hobbies, and volunteer work on their weekends so they're ready to tackle Monday morning when it comes. Part of their strategy involved unplugging and really focusing on what was in front of them whether it was exercise, their children, or simply time to sit in front of a window and think. I'm making time to read first thing in the morning. I started The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a book I've started and put down several times. Successful people finish what they start, so I'm going to finish this book and others.

I'm going to rewrite my list of books I want to get from the library. I have a tendency to scribble down thoughts, books, and ideas onto whatever random sheet of paper is near me when the occasion arises. I'm going to stop doing that and commit to using single full sheets of paper that I can track easily. I put together a project binder that consists of paperwork I've been tackling that hasn't been completed for whatever reason. The first tab has my budget information in there. Other tabs have transferring stocks I own, statements, and future tax information that I'm going to need once this year's taxes have been completed. I have too many binders and calendars going. I need to simplify.

Sometimes it takes a scare to get me to change my behavior. I used to be committed to making my own stock, but gradually I stopped using it. Last week I felt like a molar of mine was hurting. A neighbor of mine had me rub an essential oil blend on it, but that was a temporary pain relief measure. I remember reading an article on how to mineralize teeth by eating more nutrient dense foods. The past couple of days I've made at least one meal out of stock, fish, butter oil, and cod liver oil. Not the most exciting of meals, but I feel so much better, and my toothache is gone. I tend to waver in the path of resistance. I need to commit to my priorities and act them out on a daily basis. A friend called me, I'm going to see her today. Life is better on the planning and prepared side, I'm excited about the upcoming week. I hope you are too.

Today I experienced what people who have undergone weight loss surgery, in some online communities, call an NSV - a Non-Scale Victory (well, I also experienced a scale-based victory - today I hit a new low on my weight since at least 2000). I managed to fit back into the leather motorcycling jacket I bought myself after college graduation, to go along with the motorcycle I also bought myself. The motorcycle is long gone, but the jacket has been waiting quietly in my closet ever since I got too fat to fit into it (again, Grad School eating, probably around 1998). I painted the back of it myself, that day in 1994. It has back-to-back capital Bs in a circle, which causes some people to ask me 'Oh, Bill Blass?' ... er, no. They match the credits sequence emblem of Buckaroo Banzai. There is a quote on the back, too, large enough to be read from a following car:

Faster, faster, faster
Until the thrill
of speed
overcomes the fear
of death

...which is actually a quote from The Long Run, but which Buckaroo totally would have said if asked.


I had told myself when I fit back into that jacket I could start shopping for motorcycles. I may not actually do that, because New York State just coughed, tapped me on the shoulder, and asked me for what (for me) is a really large sum of money in back taxes from 2012, so that will probably have to go on hold especially since I'm also saving to do Outback Overflight II in 2018 probably. But if a cheap bike passes my way, well, hell. I still have my motorcycle license.

Weight: 270.5

I cannot recall an independence day weekend in which the weather has been as gentle and mild as it has been. For three days, it has been either partially or completely overcast, the humidity is low and the temperature has failed to breach the eighties. Even the mosquitoes seem to have fucked off and died. It has been rather dry lately there was plenty of rain in the spring so everything is green and lush. A gentle breeze comes and goes. The waterfall in the pond babbles. Birds twitter. Cars woosh by in the background. Planes shush by overhead, descending to or ascending from one of the three regional airports. The dog pants in my face and whines for his ball to be thrown. I collect myself into my hammock and, for the first time in a rat's age, start to write something...

In the old garden the peas have been picked and shelled a month ago, having been eaten right out of the pod or stir fried into fried rice. As so often it happens, the spinach bolted before it was usable. Bush beans now have grown in their place and have started to flower. The Bibb lettuce I planted was neglected and also bolted and cut down. The Tuscano kale has grown tall and I prune several large leaves from each plant weekly to stew with French lentils, onions, carrots and soy sausage. I wish I had only half as much kale and twice as much broccoli, which makes prolific side shoots, but not prolific enough to make a regular meal from more than once a week. The onion plants have grown nice and fat bulbs. The plants will topple soon, I think, and be ready to harvest. Tomatoes plants are growing tall but the sauce cultivars are showing some early blight. Okra plants are still small, but they are healthy. I just sowed a couple of rows of carrots where the lettuce used to be and some basil around the base of the tomato plants.

I started my new job about 120 days ago at an plastic injection molding factory that makes small medical sub-components. My thoughts on the new job are mixed. I started writing about it but after about twenty minutes, I thought, "Why the fuck am I wasting my day off writing about work," and then I deleted it.

One thing that I will write about is that tomorrow is when I observe my eleventh year elapsed since I first quit drinking. I was about eight and a half years sober before I fell off the wagon. Between then and now, I had a few months of pleasant drinking in moderation followed by a months long periods of sobriety punctuated by solitary episodes of binge drinking and extremely miserable and near debilitating hangovers. Like, Your brain chemistry is now going to be fucked for weeks," debilitating. Not wanting to be in a state of near-psychosis, I have been sober for some time again. Alcoholism is a bitch.

Between the stressors of losing a long time job, finding and getting used to a new job, occasional episodes of poisoning myself, and the tedium of encroaching middle age, my troubles with anxiety have worsened. My wife feels that I have been suffering from depression. Maybe I am. I should probably see a psychologist and get my head shrunk. I have been suffering from early-morning insomnia on weeknights. I started writing about it but after about ten minutes, I thought, "Why the fuck am I wasting my day off writing about not being able to get a full night sleep," and then I deleted it.

Company is over now to talk bullshit and grill steaks and drink beers. The dog pants and whines in my face and wants his ball to be thrown. A gentle breeze comes and goes. The waterfall in the pond babbles. Birds twitter. Cars woosh by in the background. Planes shush by overhead....

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