Long Island Sound

Things to do when oddly-employed.

With this entry, I am closing this blog and this phase of my life. You can see my continued journey at my new blog, The Delaware Valley.

Thank you for reading and for your support.

Be well,


Shutting down soon...enjoy this.
Phase one ended when I left Connecticut four months ago. I am ready to begin phase two, which will be a different blog (maybe this one...haven't decided).

Anyway, this made me laugh.

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net

Dream - College panic
Had to write down this really intense dream before I forgot it. I have never had one like this in memory with all of the detail. Forgetting stuff already.

The theme I've had before: I'm in first day of college without any past memory of enrolling or what my schedule is. At beginning periphery of dream, I'm walking into a building ...just remember the trees to the point where they're black and white. Flash forward to end of welcome speech. Now in color. All students are gathered in the auditorium and the introductory speech by the person in charge of schedules. He immediately disappears once he finishes his speech. 

So now everyone's going to class, and I have no idea where to go. I'm running around desperately trying to find the one of two people who can help me. No idea what they look like, but for some reason I'll know what they look like. Place starts to look like Marlboro High School. I hit the library where two dowdy women are milling about. I ask one of them if they can help. She takes out a rolodex which morphs into an old ledger book. She looks up my name and tells me that my tuition is late. It was paid by me for some time, now covered by the Dark Queen. I tell her I'll take care of paying it, but can she help me find my classes? She pokes around and finds some slips of paper.

Run around to what seems to be first class, English. Run into the classroom in progress, and ask them if this is the correct class. It's not. And I panic. I notice that one of my old school students, H.R. is sitting there looking embarrassed for me. I rant and explain that college is massively expensive. One student says, "No it's not." I respond, "Are you kidding? It's five figures." Gasps from the class. "Wow, I only pay four figures." shouts one guy. I respond, "Yeah, but I'm out of state. I have to go." And I return to my search. By now, first period is almost over and I need the bathroom.

Flash forward to my dorm room which is a mess. My mom and dad are there...seem happy. I tell them I need to use the bathroom, and they say "just go ahead". So I sit down at the toilet and well, go. We talk for a little while (can't remember what, but it's largely positive), and I tell them I have to get to my next class. I encourage them to eat something. As I leave, the two talk. Dad starts to fry an egg.

Now I'm looking for my second class: German. I distinctly see on that slip of paper that the room is 315, and the time it starts is 8:15 with the 8 completely worn out on the page. I can only tell it's an 8 from the indentation. I go up the stairs and go down this narrow corridor. The rooms are logically ordered and I find room 315a. I open the door and ask if this is the right class. Teacher looks annoyed and says, "No, this is Latin." I apologize and leave. I round the corner and find room 315b. Open that door. The teacher also says he's teaching Latin. I close that door.

My alarm rings.
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Writer's Workshop & How to Blow a Life or Death Diet.
I attended my first live writer's workshop in Manalapan last night. I figured it was about getting an exercise and then sharing the results with everyone the next week. It wasn't like that at all. Simply put, one person reads his/her 1500 or so word excerpt, and everyone critiques it. I found myself liking the process a lot, and the writings were generally good. I'm motivated to put something together which would probably be shared a month from now.

It's probably no accident that most of the people in the group are at least a decade older than me. These are folks that didn't grow up with computers. While not Luddites, I could see why they would seek live humans out rather than rely on the 'net. On the other hand, I certainly found it far more motivating than doing all of this digitally with a bunch of faceless avatars. If you have such a community available (odds are you do), I highly recommend giving it a try.

I'm probably the only absurdist or sci-fi writer in the bunch, however. It will be interesting to see how a bunch of older strangers would respond to behaviors of alien species. I'd hope that if they review my work favorably (especially the beginnings of stories), then I have a good gauge of future success. At any rate, it's nice to spend time with people of similar spirit (if not genre).

Meanwhile, I got sloppy with eating yesterday and wound up 1.5 pounds heavier at 267 even. Essentially, I got caught up in what I could and could not eat. I started fine with breakfast and mid-morning snack. Lunch started with Burger King, where I got a grilled chicken sandwich (with *nothing* on it) and apple slices. All well and good. Then it dawned on me that KFC was probably legal if I ordered a grilled filet (no bun) and mashed potatoes (which was just silly). So I went there and had a second lunch! Dinner was a gravy-laden turkey sandwich and mashed potatoes from Wawa (again, senseless). This was followed up by a Dunkin Donuts low-fat blueberry muffin and a York Peppermint Patty (the only thing outright illegal as chocolate is off-limits). In other words, I ate perhaps twice what I normally do, and with a lot of borderline food. Mashed potatoes don't have as much fat as you'd think, but still....

This weight loss effort has a glass jaw. I can easily get back into the 270's if I have more days like this. I still think KFC is a good idea (if only for the breadless, grilled chicken filets), but I have to overall cut back on fast food. I feel confidant I can get back on track today. Then again, I have the girls this weekend and Thanksgiving is less than a week away.

I'll be thrilled if I can just stick to 265 for the next 7 days. And more thrilled if this colitis flare up would finally go away (it's been 6 weeks now).

There is entirely too much cheese in the world.

Just sayin'.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


Pancreatitis, colitis, and phasing out Nutrisystem
Well, I found a new way to lose 10 pounds.

To be clear, I don't blame Nutrisystem for any of this. The reason I went up to 278 lbs is because I did the plan half-assed and had as many bad days as good. There were fast food benders amongst the faithful days and the only person to blame is myself. I am now down to 268, though I don't recommend the method.

This paragraph is gross. You should skip it. What proved to be my first ulcerative colitis lasted for about 5 weeks without me doing anything. Just running to the bathroom for a whole month with more blood than bowel movement (very little of either...I still wonder where it all went). No doctors (can't miss contractor hours, you know), just blathering ignorance and frequent bathroom visits).

Then the pancreatitis hit me last week. Increasing pain that lasted for 5 days. I ultimately couldn't take it anymore and admitted myself to the hospital on Monday. For four days, I lay in bed eating and drinking nothing. All I had was a saline/potassium IV drip and utter boredom. When the pain finally went away, my excellent gastro doctor recommended a colonoscopy while I was there. Eventually it was determined that I pancreatitis and ulcerative colitis. And I'd take new meds for probably the rest of my life.

The pancreatitis doesn't make any sense. You only get it from excessive drinking (I almost never drink) or gall stones (mine was removed 7 years ago). It was a mystery to the doctors, yet its presence was undeniable. If I let it run, it would have done serious, possibly permanent organ damage. I was lucky. The colitis is easier to explain: I eat like an idiot and my habits needed to change once again.

One upshot to this is I did lose 10 pounds on the IV. I'm finally in the 260's and I intend to remain there for now.

So: no red meat, no cheese, higher fiber and lower fat. This means that the pre-packaged Nutrisystem plan I've been on is incompatible with my new requirements.

Previously I was paying $180 a month for the 5/day a week plan. And with the increase of money from the new contract, I was hopeful that I could just go ala carte and pay a little more. The reality is that ala carte is twice as expensive. And I could probably afford that. But I realized that the less expensive items I was aiming for (oatmeal, nutrition bars...) were stuff I could just eat at home for far less money. And the mainstay of the lunch menu, soup, is something I can get at the company's cafeteria less expensively.

Thus I decided it was time to phase out Nutrisystem with the month of food I have left, eat what remains, and then go to a self-directed diet that reflects the requirements described above. It means I have to exercise the portion control I was never able to do before. Then again, I would have to face this point anyway. I figure if I ever cross 280 again, I will go back to Nutrisystem and hope for the best. I hope I can do this on my own.

What's happened in the past week.
1) The Dark Queen and I have separated (neither was blameless nor was either to blame...and that's all I'll say about it).
2) I temporarily moved to my parents' house in Marlboro.
3) I almost immediately found full-time contract work in Camden.
4) I am looking for an apartment with a month-to-month lease closer to work and the daughters.
5) I rented a car and drove to Florida...to the Villages...to visit my father for the week leading up to my first day of work on October 1st.
6) I've begun losing weight again.

It's all been very intense, and I don't know what to make of it all. I've spent most of this time reflecting on everything. I miss better days with the Dark Queen, I miss Hammonasset, and I miss the routine I put together...though I know it had to end once I found full-time work. I'll have a long drive back to Jersey in a couple of days with still more reflection. Hopefully, my head will be clearer by then. It isn't now. But I'll be okay.

Week 21: Current weight: 270. This week: -2lbs. Total weight lost: 45lbs. Lbs to goal: 90
The weight's an approximation. I'm in Florida, and the scale is different. A lot's happened since Yom Kippur that ultimately led me to Florida, where I'm staying for a week at my Dad's. I'll get more into what's been going on later.

Although I packed a week's worth of Nutrisystem food, I forgot it when I left for the Villages. It's OK, since my father's lifestyle is healthy and he encourages weight loss (more benignly than he used to...and much more effectively). It's a good place to be now, and I can only expect to have good numbers when I return to New Jersey.

I got a full-time gig in Camden and will start there October 1st. Again, I'll get more into everything going on later. As far as Nutrisystem is concerned, I'll be back on it when I get back and continue indefinitely. For now, it's emulating the diet more effectively than I did at boot camp.

Yom Kippur
Today's Yom Kippur and I'm blogging. I'm UU and get to make up my own rules on this, but I do feel a little insincere being on line now. I had some thoughts I wanted to record and will keep this brief.

I'm fasting today and it doesn't feel as bad as it did last night when I was pretty darned hungry. But now I'm slightly distracted by it. Funny how fasting is easier than detox. With detox, I'm fixated on anything with white flour and sugar that I pass by. Now I just know I'm not eating and that's that. I'm not going to make it a way of life, but maybe I can manage detox better with a day of fasting.

In addition to blogging, I'll also be driving down to King of Prussia this afternoon. So that's another four hours. Then again, I'm usually reflective in the car when there's nothing on the radio and I'm out of podcasts. It'll be fine. Monkey has an extra-credit project involving her attendance at a Valley Forge star party. My ex would go, but she has no appreciation for this sort of thing, whereas I dream of such opportunities. It's too important to miss, so I go.

As for now, I'm going out to Hammonasset where I'll reflect, walk, and read the Bhagavad Gita. It's a UU thing.

Week 20: Current weight: 272. This week: +3lbs. Total weight lost: 43lbs. Lbs to goal: 92
It's okay...the numbers are fine, considering I was up to 278(!) on Sunday. I think the hard news this week along with being disgusted with all of my indulgences snapped me back towards the proper attitude. I've gone three days in a row faithful, if depressed, and that's more than I have stayed constant in recent memory. Fast food is nauseating again, white flour is properly feared, and I'm not constantly hungry as before. I'm hopeful I can be back to form moving forward. I'll ignore the fact that I've essentially lost one pound in the last 9 weeks....

Yom Kippur starts on Friday, and I'm looking forward to it. Despite my conversion to UU, I still hold this day sacred. It's an opportunity to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the coming year between me and the universe. I get a clean slate, and that's a powerful thing. The fasting can't hurt my weight either. :) I plan to spend Yom Kippur at Hammonasset, the most spiritual place I know.


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