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You’ve Gotta Really Want to Change

Today, I’m functioning from bed; nursing a migraine that made itself known as soon as I opened my eyes. I’m planning the next Challenge, which starts Monday, and I am so excited for it. It’s gonna be hard. Technically, it’s gonna be the hardest one I’ve done so far. It means giving up one habit that breaks into a thousand small habits. It takes research and planning. I’m nervous. But I really want to do it, and I’m itching to start.

That’s what every Challenge needs to be.

Removing television… wasn’t. Continue reading

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Articulating Christmas, and the No Gifting Challenge Complete

I’m having a hard time being a human right now.

I sit at my desk back in New York City, and various body parts hurt: hip joints, neck, head, entire digestive track. Things burn and throb and cramp. The entire sack of flesh and spirit that makes “me” is tired.

She has been for days. I do not know exactly why. I do not know why I wake thinking, “Today is going to be better”, and then symptoms get worse. I know this string will pass–it always does. But as I’ve attempted to wrap my brain around what Christmas has meant in my head and heart, all I land upon is, Why am I not a better “sick person” by now? Continue reading

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Hard Candy Christmas Eve (Eve)

December 23rd: I love this evening, every year. 

New York city softens. She quiets down. Except for when laughter ripples through my building, welcoming whichever new family rolls their suitcases in to stay, the air is emptier.

I spent much of the day playing with images and quotes and rereading passages and smiling at god knows what, then buckled down for hours of focused work, forcing myself to sit until a large task was through. Chinese delivery for dinner, laundry, fifteen-minute clips of cheesy Christmas movies, cleaning for my short trip home in the morning, and here I am: tipsy and tired, with all clean and quiet around me, muted orange light outside my window and the pale glow of colors within. I am happy. Content. With nothing to give tomorrow other than my time, and me. Continue reading

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Absence of holiday loot, absence of sugar, absence of concern…

Yesterday morning, I walked Mitra and pondered how something feels missing this Christmas.

I’m listening to the music, watching the movies. The apartment has been cheerfully decorated since just after Thanksgiving. I hosted the dinner party, my table bedecked in red and green and gold. Hell, I even had a fire going while the snow fell Thursday and I was working at the family office in Connecticut.

But I haven’t yet made a single Christmas cookie, and I don’t think I will at all this year. There’s the obvious lack of gift giving because of the current challenge. And there’s a self-imposed Dickensian period ahead, best summed up in one of my favorite of holiday flicks, A Muppet Christmas Carol (don’t mock, it’s brilliant):

“I was often alone. More time for reading and study. The Christmas holiday was a chance to get some extra work done. A time for solitude.”

Continue reading

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Winter, Christmas, and What I Want from Life Beyond 2016

It’s cold and gray this morning.

That kind of December day in New York City where you wake to dripping outside, and I can feel the temperature by how the cold is resonating from the exterior wall of my apartment. But at the same time, the steam radiator is making it deliciously overheated in my bedroom, so I burrow in bed with Mitra and a too-thick down comforter, on the verge of being too hot.

It’s just right, right now. Were there another body in here with me, I’d be steaming and sweating and my bones would be on fire and in pain. But this morning, I’m blissfully cozy, and only rise to write. Continue reading

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37 days later, I drink wine… and it hurts.

My head is fuzzy. And not in the good way.

I drank two glasses of wine last night. 37 days after I’d gone off of sugar.. A crisp, delicious Vermentino, at my favorite tiny Italian wine and oyster bar in the West Village,

They were a crisp Vermentino at Virgola, my favorite tiny Italian wine bar in the West Village. I slurped down oysters with a dear old friend, laughing about love and commiserating about work, thoroughly enjoying my divine white. I wasn’t tempted to order a third, and no irrational desire to gorge overtook me. I went home with a slightly spinning head, my tolerance obviously changed. But I thought, “Fun! No harm done!”

Then… sleep. Continue reading

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From Craving to Cleaning Out… Three Weeks of Sugar (almost) Gone

Figured I’d pop this up here a day early since tomorrow is THANKSGIVING and I’ll be spending it driving, cooking, crying at the parade, and then soaking in family time.

Ironically, Thanksgiving was a big reason I chose November for this challenge. And I think tomorrow is going to be a rather anti-climactic one regarding avoiding sugar. My mom is the best with the roasted veggies (this holiday really is a tribute to our northern farmer family side, so it’s simple and loaded with stuff from the earth), she’s been getting a turkeys from organic farms for the last x number of years for me, and we’ll be packing it all up and eating with Nan in the rehabilitation center on paper plates, which is about as low-key as you can get regarding reaching for some unachievable ideal of holiday perfection. Family and food. I can do that.

So the rest of this week… Continue reading

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Will all of this be worth it?

Serious question to myself here. 

I’m pondering what I’ve most forcefully recognized of late: that social media, material goods, sugar and booze are only temporary, quick fixes — Bandaids of comfort that don’t really help us deal with the source of anything. I’m dealing with life stuff without any of them right now. It’s hard and it hurts and I’m managing, yes. But will this really change the course of my life and the success of my  1) 2) 3) ‘s overall? 

I may have to speak with people who’ve given up lifelong vocations — yogis, vegans, religious leaders, military veterans, whatever — when their belief systems had them questioning or proved pointless. Because is going without or suffering for the sake of wisdom or virtue wise? Is there value and merit in the comfort quick fixes bring?

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One week off of sugar and booze… and I need to stop assuming shit isn’t gonna be hard…

Last week I naively wrote that I didn’t expect any miracles from going off of sugar for thirty days. And regarding my health, that’s still true.

One week in, I don’t feel thinner or more energized or anything. I think I technically “lost” a pound or so, but that could be from stress as much as the absence of popcorn or brownies or wine. I haven’t felt an actual hangover, but I still wake with life hangovers (because of my health issues, I wake up with headaches pretty much every day) so I dunno.

Socially, it didn’t challenge me much either, as I’ve documented here daily.

Personally: Well, this was a rough week for the world. And I couldn’t resort to comfort foods or booze to self-sooth. Because of what I’ve learned from past periods of abstinence, I restrained from jumping online to get lost in social media or buy Hillary t-shirts or bath salts to make myself feel better, too.

Which makes me wonder: Is this whole year of abstinence really about looking at the darkest parts of the world — and myself — head on, alone? About accepting that right now nothing will really make me feel better and I just need to feel the pain, deal,  and move forward?

Continue reading

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What 27-Day Program Will Fix These Stupid Chronic Illness Lifestyle Frustrations?!

My body is seething with something and I don’t know where to put it.

I don’t feel well. My joints hurt and words aren’t connecting quite right in my brain and my vision is just a littlebitoff and things are slightly fuzzy and there’s a weird electricity humming through my body, jolting in my hands and feet and settling around my heart and hardening my jaw and I’m tired and I can’t believe I feel like this again. Continue reading

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I’m Not Texting This Weekend

A few months ago, I got pitched to write about the No Text Weekend, where people around the world pledge to not text (!) from 7pm Friday to 7pm Sunday this weekend.

If ever there was the pitch for me, I tell ya!

I immediately wrote about it for Bust, then approached the ladies running it, Allison Goldberg and Jen Jamula, about collaborating for Love Bites. They kicked ass with Ben last week when I was in the Acores (listen to it here, it’s one of my favorite episodes ever), and we planned an event where I’d host a panel discussion on texting and new relationships that would play live on Heritage as part of the Weekend’s events.

And now the weekend is here… Continue reading