Inching toward winter (journaling/updates)

In other news, I’ve been doing very well on my diet the past several days. Managing my macros and keeping my carbs under 30g per day (20g or under for 4 of those days). Weighed in on Tuesday and am down to 165 lbs. (fully clothed), so that’s nice. Even decided to snap a photo yesterday (perhaps the first one I’ve taken all year).

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Not known for being photogenic, but that’s okay. Working with what I’ve got over here. Hair was frizzy after working out — didn’t feel like trying to get fancy for the camera. So anyway, I’ve been tracking my calories through MyFitnessPal for over 40 days now and am really appreciating that site. Unfortunately I’ve had to stay home and away from Former this past week in order to stay true to my diet, lest he wreck it like usual.  LoL  Missed out on his chili and tacos. Bah! But oh well. Might stop over to visit him tomorrow.

Been working out with my trainer a couple days a week (would like to do so more often but we have schedule conflicts). Beyond that, been going to the gym a day or two a week on my own. Mostly focusing on strength training, plus some cardio on the elliptical. Same old, same old there. Overall I’ve been feeling pretty good. Kind of felt like I might come down with a cold at the beginning of this past weekend, so I stayed in as much as possible and kept warm and managed to stave it off.

Besides that, the new books I’ve listened to in audio format recently were The Art of Invisibility: The World’s Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data by Kevin Mitnick (narrated by Ray Porter); The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld by Jamie Bartlett (narrated by Matt Bates); The Secret History of the World: As Laid Down by the Secret Societies by Mark Booth (narrated by John Lee). Those first two were very interesting (especially enjoyed Ray Porter’s narration) — gave me a lot to think about in terms of personal security online. That last book was a bit of a wild card, and I can’t recall how it ended up on my wishlist. Actually was interesting to take in up until the last chapter or so, then it just seemed to wrap up quickly and in a super-woo-woo form of a happy ending. Can’t put much stock in the content of Mark Booth’s book, but it was something different to contemplate.

Since finishing up those three I decided to re-listen to a couple others: The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman (read by the author) and Thomas Sowell’s Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? (really appreciate this one!). Made some electronic bookmarks so that hopefully eventually I’ll get around to uploading clips so as to lure others into checking these books out for themselves.

Believe I already mentioned before on here that I also listened to Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (and loved it). Would so highly recommend that one to others. It’s a must read for people curious about evolutionary psychology, biology and/or sociology.

Been getting chilly out lately. Down in the upper 30s the last couple of days. Not looking forward to snow, but it’s coming whether I like it or not. Praying this winter doesn’t kick my ass, having been spoiled by such a mild winter last year (which people around here say was highly unusual and probably shouldn’t be expected for another 40 years or so  eye-popping_smilie ). Just a matter of weeks before I have to get my snow tires put back on (usually around Thanksgiving) and start trudging around in my heavy-ass snow boots again. What fun. But ah well. So long as we don’t have blizzards then it’s not so bad.

What else? Oh, my little brother celebrated a birthday recently. He’s now firmly in his 30s. I ordered him a cake, which hopefully tasted good. As always, he’s super busy with work.

Not been getting out much these days aside from working and going to the gym and occasionally visiting a couple of friends. Haven’t set foot in a bar in weeks, therefore I haven’t kept up with any pals in that scene. Yesterday marked week 20 in my commitment to stop drinking alcohol. Still going strong with no problems there. In fact, a couple days ago when I was out driving along I got to thinking about wine, but this time it was accompanied with a sickening feeling, reminiscent of a particular brand I used to buy and a few bad nights I had with it. Wasn’t alluring. So I suppose that’s progress — no longer dreaming of wine in a tempting fashion. Rarely do I miss beer despite that being my main drink of choice. Not sure why. Perhaps I drank enough of it to suit me for an entire lifetime. lol  Probably.  Still amazed at how much money I’ve saved by not going out to bars or buying drinks to bring home. Saves me oodles of money, no joke. Shocks my friends when I calculate up what my average cost of drinking likely was in any given month. Even the one that drinks more heavily seemed surprised. Note: drinkers are notorious about NOT tracking how much we’re spending while involved in that lifestyle. Starting to think I’m having a positive influence on Former since he hasn’t been going out to his bar as often in recent weeks, nor does he seem to be drinking quite as much at home. I never nag him about it since that’s his lifestyle and his choice and I know for certain he’ll never give up alcohol. C’est la vie. But for whatever reason he seems to at least have cut down, which makes me happy in terms of his health.

I certainly haven’t cut down on smoking cigarettes though. If anything I probably smoke a bit more nowadays, unfortunately. So easy to do when I’m hanging around the apartment much of the time. Though I do smoke less when I’m over visiting Former. My lungs have been giving me a little trouble this week, as they do sometimes. Twenty-two years of smoking is taking a toll — imagine that. Though this is one addiction that has my butt straight-up kicked, so I’m pretty terrified of trying to go up against it. Keep saying I will one of these days…

Not been sleeping too well lately. Actually I sleep fine once I finally get to sleep, just can’t seem to get there. Just bounding with energy and curious about what all is going on on the internet at any given moment. Ha! Thinking about picking up some more of that bedtime (Chamomile) tea to see if it might help relax me. Probably need to find ways to exert more physical energy.

And lastly, my eyesight is very noticeably declining. Having trouble reading more and more without the aid of my new drugstore reading glasses. Former says it’s due to all the years I’ve been sitting staring at the computer screen. Heh  He’s likely right. Thinking I’m going to have to locate a coupon and go in to see an eye specialist one of these days and maybe purchase prescription reading glasses. The joys of aging…

Anyway, that’s about it for now. Onward into November!

Time for another update (journaling in late September)

Can’t complain much these days. All has been going pretty well lately. Other than my car eventually needing some expensive repairs, life is pretty good.

Been saving up so that I can finally pay the IRS their blood money. Oh joy. Extensions make life easier in that department.

Have been working out regularly lately, typically 4 times a week at the gym and most of those days with my trainer. Was sore as a mofo the other day in my hip flexors/inner thigh area, so probably wandered around town looking like I just dismounted a horse. Ah well. It happens. Comes with the territory. Slightly injured my left elbow a week or more ago and so have been trying to let that heal up and focus on other muscle groups in the meantime. Didn’t do as much cardio this week; maybe next week I’ll feel a bit more motivated. Also got in some yoga after one workout with my trainer this week, so that was nice.

As mentioned on here previously, I put back on about 20 lbs. since the winter due to getting lazy for a while there (though it was a milder winter by Midwestern standards, winter conditions still make hitting the gym a PITA). So I got back up to a whopping 174 lbs., unfortunately, and my weight has stubbornly hovered in that range, particularly after I quit drinking alcohol and began craving other carbs as substitutes for all that beer my body felt deprived of. So…that’s been an irritating development. But it’s kicked me back into gear in terms of working out more and trying to watch what I eat a bit (at least some days). I’ve managed to drop back down to 170 lbs. (once again) and hopefully this time can keep the trend heading downward instead of yoyo-ing as has been the case for the last few months. I blame sunflower seeds and birthday bon-bons for some of this stagnation and have notified my former partner that I am no longer open to receiving big boxes of chocolates on future holidays. Can’t do it. Keeps my butt too big. Heh

Part of its muscle gain though too. Can’t discount that. My arms are looking better defined once again, which is wonderful. Just love seeing definition there, though the overall layer of fluff tends to obscure it. Was down to 152 lbs. last summer and miss that. But I was working out a lot more vigorously back then when my trainer’s own gym was still open. Oh well. We adapt. The new gym he’s now working at is a comfortable atmosphere, so I’m growing more bold there now too. Just gotta waltz in and act like I belong there and not let the super-muscular guys intimidate me. Not that it’s their fault — just that one can get self-conscious in their presence. Get to feeling like a dweeb playing with my little dumbbells in the corner sometimes.  lol  But c’est la vie. There’s a wide array of people at this gym, of all ages and skill levels, so there’s really no reason for any of us to feel out of place. And I love how much cheaper membership is there.

Wednesday I stopped by the local shooting range and signed the necessary waiver and watched the video required prior to gaining access. All of that is now taken care of so I am ready to finally officially start training with my handgun. Yay! They have a really great lady’s night special on Wednesdays that I look forward to taking advantage of, as well as 2-for-1 pricing on Fridays. american_smilie  That will go a long way in making that hobby more affordable. The place looked nice and the staff were friendly and helpful, so soon I will give it a go. This has been a goal in the back of my mind for a long time that I finally can take part in and check off of my list of things to do.  I consider it a reward of sorts for knocking off the drinking habit: allowing myself to go shooting at the range and exploring further weapons training. Really proud of myself for making this transition so that I can responsibly improve my marksmanship (wouldn’t allow myself to do much of that back before, and for good reason IMO). So yeah. Yay!  Good times.  biggrin_green  Already own ear and eye protection and ammunition and a carrying case for my firearm, so I’m ready to go.

Also been considering eventually purchasing a semi-auto to accompany my revolver, but that’s a ways off into the future. Have car repairs to worry about before then. Might even have to buy a different car since this one has such high miles that it’s really not worth dumping too much money into. And that might mean taking on car payments once again.  Oy.

What else? Been learning about the ketogenic diet lately. Not sure if I’m interested in going that far, but I definitely see the benefits in reducing my carb intake. Recently listened to the audiobook The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung and appreciated it. Would recommend it to others! Also discovered several YT channels that offer HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts, which are reminiscent of the types of workouts we used to do in classes at my trainer’s former gym. Had a lot of success with that form of cardio before and look forward to trying it out again. Though I’m sure my downstairs neighbor won’t be too thrilled by what sounds like a water buffalo romping around overhead.  Ha!  Ah well. He’ll get over it. Will try to time my in-home workouts around his baby’s nap-time if needed. Will be good for me, especially once winter hits for those days I don’t feel like driving through snow and ice to get to the gym and then having to change out my snow-boots once there. Too easy to blow off going to the gym under those circumstances.

Feels good to remain active. Actually been in better spirits for a while now. Even my Grandma commented on that. She’s sooooo glad that I quit drinking. It’s now been 14.5 weeks. So that’s cool. Once I began working out again more regularly back over a couple of years ago my mood began to improve, and now it’s improving even more. SO nice not waking up with a headache and feeling ran over right out the gate. So nice saving all that money and no longer having to worry about DUIs/OWIs. Nice also to have more free time on my hands to do other things and in a functional manner. Like doing my nails (not worth attempting while buzzed or drunk). Been less grumpy overall, and it’s become really obvious over the last few weeks. Notice myself laughing more. And that also has contributed to getting along better with my former partner (as I refer to him on here since I don’t know what else to call him anymore). I haven’t felt as sensitive about the stuff he might say or as reactive, which is good. If he annoys me, I manage to laugh it off (at least more often) instead of getting hot-headed or feeling insulted or whatever else. That’s worth its weight in gold: improved relations with my people. And when I don’t get snippy or over-reactive, he then is less prone to do so as well, and contentment becomes possible. Obviously he still drinks a good bit and he did have that bad night back in July where he decided to be an asshole for no particularly good reason, resulting in us taking a few weeks apart. Since then he’s come back with a better attitude, and so I’ve decided to let bygones be bygones and to just roll on. Upward and onward. Bad days happen. Less drama = less stress = less opportunities to create further drama. Glad to see us in a better cycle for a change. Reminds me of what we originally enjoyed about one another’s company. He seems to be in much better spirits as a result too. Says he has no desire to tempt me back into drinking again, that he’s proud of me for recognizing how volatile it makes me and for letting it go. I agree.

Though, he did make a comment this week about how eventually he expects me to be able to handle drinking moderately. Told him I don’t really want to, that I think I’m better off leaving it alone in going forward. That’s maybe not what he wants to hear, but he’ll learn to accept it over time. Not all of us are cut out for continuing the drinking lifestyle. Lots of downsides to it, and increasingly so as time rolls on. We discussed the matter and he expressed feeling badly about being a bad influence on me over the years we’ve known one another, but I told him that I don’t regret meeting him and likely would’ve taken drinking too far even without his presence in my life. Was mourning the illness and then death of a family member and didn’t handle it well. Besides, I’m grateful to be where I am now, so whatever had to come before to teach me important lessons was likely necessary to create this outcome in the end. So I can’t really regret what all has transpired. Just glad to be moving forward.

Am also glad to be less of an emotional drain on my best guyfriend since he’s the one I talk to on the phone the most. Lord knows I’ve probably stressed him the hell out over the last few years with all my crying and struggling with my lifestyle. But he’s remained by my side as a solid friend regardless. Gotta love that guy. Wouldn’t know what to do without him in my life. Looking forward to going out with him to a movie and dinner on Sunday.

The book I’m currently listening to is Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. Owned a print copy for many years (courtesy of my Dad) and never got around to reading it, so decided to order the audio version instead so as to have it read to me while I go about my day. Am enjoying it. Much more interesting than I originally thought it would be.

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Early September 2017 journaling

Had a nice weekend thus far. Celebrated my b-day (one year deeper into middle age) by heading out to dinner with my former partner (ex-boyfriend/ongoing friend/whatever we are to refer to him as these days) on Friday night, with plans to hang out with my best guyfriend next weekend. Received a couple Amazon gift certificates (yay!), a box of chocolates, some nail supplies (a couple of which I returned and shopped for other items I can use), three sets of free weights to work out with in my apartment, and a massage gift certificate from a client lady-friend. Rented the movie “Get Out” from Red Box, which turned out to be the racial propaganda I assumed it would be. Skipped the cake since I need no extra sugary calories (but received a pack of chocolate cream-filled oreos, because someone is determined to sabotage my workout efforts, ha!). We ordered pizza last night (Saturday) from a little pizzeria I’d never tried before — won’t be eating there again, but at least we gave it a whirl. Chatted with my best girlfriend on the phone again yesterday and also had a chance to get back in touch with an old friend from Mississippi whom I haven’t spoken with in several months. And I spoke to both my dad and brother a few days ago on the phone, that being the first time we’ve chatted in many months (maybe even a year?). Then Grandma sent along a card.

So it was a pleasant birthday.  party2

In two days time I will be at the 12 week mark in my commitment to stop drinking. Woohoo. Progress!

Also got to watch my former partner put together a grill he purchased for the low, low price of just $60 in an end-of-the-season sale. Very good buy. And it’s a nice big propane grill that looks pretty fancy. We’ll be hauling it out into the driveway probably later today if he can get that POS vehicle he’s been working on finished up.

Wanted to lay out at the “beach” one last time today with my guyfriend, but the gods aren’t cooperating with my plans. So instead I’ll stick around the apartment with the cat and play online this afternoon.

And there’s a problem with the software my landlord uses for collecting rent, so I’m unable to pay online at this time. So, gonna have to wait until Tuesday when their offices are open and go in to pay by check. Fun, fun. That’s what I get for not handling the matter in advance, seeing as how this is a holiday weekend.

What else? Ordered a few new audiobooks on Audible this past week and am currently listening to Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston. Honestly, her upbringing isn’t something I can relate to, nor were her professional aspirations, but it’s still interesting to take in another person’s perspective on drinking getting out of hand. She claims there are studies confirming that college-educated women are actually more inclined toward bingeing and heavy drinking, as opposed to working-class women in general. That calls into question the notion of professional women “having it all” and how stress is being dealt with.

After that book I’m finally going to listen to Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, after owning a print copy of it for a decade now (courtesy of my dad) and never getting around to reading it (and now having loaned it out with no clue when it will be returned). No worries there though since I’d rather listen to it being read aloud anyway.

Worked out at the gym four days last week with plans to return tomorrow (Monday) once my trainer is back in town from his vacation. Not too busy with work this holiday weekend either — guess most folks decided to take trips earlier in the summer this year instead.

That’s about it for now.

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Journaling on a Wednesday evening in August 2017

Been a good week so far. Hit the gym hard the last 3 days with plans to continue doing so tomorrow and Friday, in hope of making this a regular M-F routine. So nice having my trainer stationed at a nearby gym once again, plus I’m now saving money in not needing to pay him for training on the side. Determined to lose several pounds since I put so much back on over the last year (particularly the winter) after his gym closed down. Slowly but surely I am doing so, though now I’m kicking my activity up a notch, once again. Feels good. Nice and tiring. Haven’t lost my strength gains either, which is wonderful. And, come to find out, I haven’t lost any balance and flexibility either (demonstrated during last night’s yoga session). So…onward and upward there.

Currently in week 10 of my commitment to stop drinking. All is going well there. It’s gotten easier with each passing week. Less often do I drop into my favorite local watering holes nowadays, and when I do I’m only there for a short spell. Still nice to run into folks I haven’t seen in a minute and to chat and catch up. And I do like playing the Megatouch machine — got a rolling competition with a couple people across a few locations that’s been going on for years. Waste of money, sure, but I’m spending $5 or less usually when I do go out now (a far cry from what my outings used to cost me!).

Been successfully squirreling away money once again. Most of it is earmarked already, but it’s great to see my finances improving. Amazing how much money one saves by not blowing it in bars. Also picked up a new business contact whom I start working with tomorrow, so that too will help in giving my finances a boost.

Went grocery shopping for some healthier meal and snack options today. Not been doing terrible in that department lately, but wanting to tighten up on the reins a bit when it comes to carb intake. Still preparing pasta regularly, and that will likely never change, but I’m turning my attention more toward veggies and leaner meats. A couple nights ago I whipped up a Mediterranean-style omelet with cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and spinach. Delicious. Plan on having that again tonight.

Cutting down on my coffee intake since that made me jittery. It helped for right after I quit drinking alcohol, but then it began creating an interference of its own. Even caused me to post up a couple videos on YT where I was visibly hyper. Ha! So I switched to part-decaf and reduced the amount I drink each day. Feeling fine with that decision. Tea is typically more my speed anyway. Still drinking the heck out of seltzer water…good stuff.

Was invited over to my former partner’s place for tacos last night, which went well. We went 5 whole weeks without seeing one another after our last fight, but then we started back talking on the phone and last weekend decided to get together once again. Guess we’re fated to deal with one another indefinitely, and that’s fine, so long as we manage to get along better. He’s been sweet lately so I can’t complain. Wish we’d get our shit together so that out friendship isn’t so rocky, and hopefully we will. Obviously enjoy one another’s company when we are getting along.

What else? Oh, I stopped by a local independent bookstore on Monday and picked up a copy of Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals. Why? Because I want to know what protesters are being taught out there. Doesn’t strike me as wise to employ the same methods, but I’d at least like to learn about them. Currently resuming listening to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, Vol. I — one long-ass book. Interesting to learn about Soviet Russia though. The other print book I’m still reading in when time permits is Otto Rank’s Art and Artist (another long-ass book). Actually sat outside yesterday afternoon for about 45 minutes reading it, allowing the dog a little extra time to run around in the yard.

As of today, I’m working on training a puppy to walk on a leash. So far, so good. He’s a fairly fast learner, aside from his terrible teething phase. It’ll help the owner to get his energy out since it’s difficult for her to walk him far. Learning to heel on the right so as not to trip her up is the current challenge. We’ll get it — just takes time.

Sorted more of my books a few days ago and redecorated one of my bookcases. Improves the feng shui up in here.

Headed out to catch some rays at the “beach” with my best guyfriend on Sunday. We also dined at a Mexican restaurant we both like. Was a nice afternoon.

Not much else to report on at this time.

Journaling on the last evening of July

Feeling pretty melancholy the last couple of days. Been doing okay overall, but slacked off on exercising last week since my gym was closed during its relocation. Also blew off my trainer last Friday. Worked out with him today though. Not been eating the best stuff, admittedly. Smoking too many cigarettes. But at least I’ve been remaining alcohol-free. Tomorrow marks 7 weeks since my commitment to stop drinking. Glad for that progress.

But I have a lot more work to do. Been taking time to try to care better for myself, like oiling my hair and doing my nails and making myself more comfortable at home. Lightly trimmed my hair tonight. Cleaned and organized around the apartment a decent bit in the past week. I do need to get out more. Haven’t been inside a watering hole in over a week. Just haven’t been in the mood lately. Not getting out around people enough though. Not yet feeling like taking the initiative to meet new people.

It’s been a bit rough going away from my former partner. We spoke on the phone a couple of times in the last 2 weeks, but that’s it. No in-person contact, which I don’t really want anyway since it’s such a depressing situation forever and always. Still hurt by some of things he said to me on that last evening at his place. Can’t shake it off. And when we talked about it since he just dismisses it all as stuff he spews when he’s mad. But I really don’t want to hear any of that anymore. It’s not good for either of us to be this stressed out and unhappy. While I recognize I’ve been very rough-talking with him in the past as well, I had hoped we’d move beyond that and start treating one another with more respect. He says that someday we’ll be able to do that. Just too much tension between us still. But I’m just so used to spending time with him and talking on the phone regularly, so now there’s that gap in my life as well, and I’m not sure how to fill it. Really need to figure that out since it’s starting to bring me down.

Went with my best guyfriend yesterday to watch the War For the Planet of the Apes movie. Graphics were cool, but the storyline wasn’t too good. Maybe I expected something more profound in its ultimate message, but it delivered more of a Disney-esque happy ending that seemed wrapped up in a neat hurry. Kinda felt disappointed leaving the theater after that. Hard to find good movies worth watching these days, hence why I so rarely go to cinemas. That movie series had potential. I really liked the character Caesar.

Just not entirely sure of what to do with myself. Most of what I want to do involves the internet and books, but what I probably ought to be doing right now is finding new places to go and becoming more physical and getting out of my head. Kinda worried about isolating myself too much since that eventually causes more problems than it solves. Nice to retreat sometimes though. Been out and about a great deal the last 2 years. Feeling like I should just focus more on exercising and otherwise going ahead and staying home more. But I should reach out to certain people and go visit them sometimes. Probably would be good for us all.

Some of the fogginess from alcohol has lifted, but not as much as hoped. Apparently that will be a more gradual change. Undoubtedly increasing my exercising will help there too.

While taking a shower tonight, my mind began roaming over all sorts of embarrassing shit I got caught up in over the course of my time drinking. Embarrassing shit I did or that others did. Things I said and regret. General ways I acted. Ran into a female bartender from the “raunchy bar” at the gas station earlier. Haven’t seen her since early June when I quit going in that joint. Still wondering what her problem was the last time I saw her. Ah well. She’s not my kind of people either way. Just a lot of stupidity to reflect on. Enough of the memories make me angry at myself or else make me feel ashamed. Pretty sure these thoughts and feelings will be following me for a long while, though I haven’t a clue yet on how to heal them. People like to talk a lot about forgiveness, but it isn’t proving to be my strong suit.

Hate to think I just wasted a bunch of years. But I guess I wasn’t in a rush to do anything else in the meantime. Not like I put off major life plans since I didn’t really have any to pursue. Already graduated from college and am maintaining self-employment, those having been my primary goals and I accomplished them. Guess it’s time to give serious thought to creating new goals.

In other news, got called a “coon lady” today by somebody ticked off in the comment section of my video about Cynthia G‘s batshit racism. heh  Interesting. That becoming a universal pejorative to sling willy-nilly at anybody and everybody nowadays? Folks online act so crazy…

What else? Currently working through Dr. Thomas Sowell’s book Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? (1985). Really appreciating it thus far.

Productive Saturday afternoon

Just got in from working out with my trainer. Told him about how my nerve pain is back in my left hip and calf, probably due to not exercising enough over the winter months, so we did some yoga stretches at the end of our session. Gonna start doing those at home again as well. Only thing that seems to reduce that pain in the years that I’ve been experiencing it. So that all went well.

Just put in a load of laundry, bedding this time around. Removed all the empty cans and bottles I’d bagged up. A Bosnian guy drives through most weekends to pick these up so as to collect money for recycling them, so I typically set them out in front of the dumpster for him. He’s a nice guy. Been coming around here for a few years now. Gotten to where the neighbors invite him to sit for a beer on their outdoor patio area when he does arrive. I’ve always kept him well-supplied with empty beer cans, but nowadays he’ll have to settle for Schweppes cans and La Croix bottles. Not that it matters any to him. He’s remarked on my drinking in the past, due to the amount of cans I’d haul out. Back then my partner stayed at my place a great deal though too. Been dwindling the last couple of years since I returned to the barscene. But now it’s picking up again since discovering the joys of seltzer water.  cheeky_smiley

Sorted my shoes a bit since they’re taking over my spare room. Most of which I haven’t worn in years. Should probably donate a good many of them to the Salvation Army.

My best guyfriend bought me another vacuum cleaner yesterday to replace my old one that gave up the ghost finally. Amazing how a cheap Dirt Devil under $50 lasted as long as that one did, so we found a similar one to take its place. No use spending a lot of money on a machine like that. A more expensive Sears brand vacuum cleaner I bought many years back wound up having the shortest life out of all of them. Anyway, nice gift from him. Appreciate his help.

Last night I ventured down to a bar I rarely get out to. It’s the one that was taken over by one of the former bartenders from my old bar (the one that closed back in March of this year). She’s a nice lady whom I’ve worked for in another capacity last year when serving legal documents. Very ambitious woman. Anyway, she hired on my favorite bartender from the old bar for Friday nights, so every once in a while I like to mosey on down there to say “hello.” Drank a couple glasses of orange juice before they informed me that they had fresh brewed unsweetened tea with free refills. Switched to that for the rest of my time there and wound up highly caffeinated to where I was up all night watching youtube videos, but ah well. Was worth it. Had a nice time. Listened to music and saw some folks from the closed bar that I hadn’t seen in quite a while. Was a peaceful, easy evening. My favorite bartender is a really nice guy, very funny and takes good care of us. He actually quit drinking for nearly 6 months a year or more ago and was a positive influence on me wanting to follow in suit. And he comes from a whole family of heavy drinkers and has told me his story about growing up with them. Plus, he’s always worked in restaurants and bars, so he had a lot of pressures working against him. Yet he still prevailed for as long as he did and proved to be a good example. I’ve met a few of his family members over time and can attest to how much they can put down. Wooh! Serious drinkers. He also became a vegetarian years back and lost a good amount of weight as a result. Told him about the videos I’d come across by Kevin O’Hara (AlcoholMastery channel on youtube), in case he’d care to check out his stuff.

Probably doesn’t sound smart to put myself back in the belly of the beast so soon, but I knew I’d be in good company there. That bartender has observed my struggle with alcohol over the last couple of years and we’ve talked at length about the whole process he’s struggling with as well. He congratulates us when we cut down or quit, unlike most bartenders out there. Because he knows we’ll come see him and tip regardless. He’s just that popular. Good guy. Also showed me some photos of his expanding gun collection, which I’m rightly jealous of. Will have to catch up to him one of these days. He shoots at the shooting range I’ve been looking into joining, soon as I complete the courses and background check needed to attain my concealed carry permit (must have either that or permit to purchase to use that range, and my permit to purchase has already expired — might as well pony up a little more money eventually for a 5-year permit instead). He’s a libertarian too, so we’ve always gotten along well.

I’ve been holding out on going down the gun-toting route because of my struggles with drinking and the money that’s zapped from me. But eventually I will have my affairs in order and be able to finally engage in that activity instead of just pining to join in on the sidelines. Still haven’t been out shooting since last year when I was down in Mississippi. Been coming around to the idea of someday purchasing a semi-auto handgun for carrying purposes since they have a slimmer profile. But time will tell. Nice to think about though. Keeps me looking forward to a sober future, shooting being a fun hobby I’d like to become more involved in. Just have to get myself right before I can allow myself to partake in it. For safety’s sake and all else. For now I’m content with my revolver expressly for home protection purposes.

What else? Ran into a buddy of mine last night who was walking down the street when I was driving by. Pulled up and chatted with him for a few minutes. Been taking time away from him due to needing to get away from alcohol and everybody in the “raunchy pub” barscene (as I refer to that little bar nearest to my home). He says he’s been avoiding it too, mostly because he’s working so much lately, but also because he’s tiring of that environment. They truly do run off a good many women up in that joint. It’s a boys club basically, or at least that’s what the aging men in their 40s and 50s who frequent the place like to treat it as. Tired of them and haven’t set foot back in there in at least 2 weeks, and won’t. Fuck that place. Worst bar I’ve ever encountered, and I’ve been to plenty of seedy bars over the years. No wonder most folks I know refuse to go in there, including nearly all the patrons of the closed bar who drifted elsewhere, like to the place I visited last night. What shall we refer to last night’s joint as on here? Hmmm…  Let’s call it the “G bar,” because it’s a good bar with familiar and good people in it and also because it’s actual name begins with a G. Simple enough. (And that’s not to be confused with the third bar I refer to as the “calmer bar” that is also in my direct neighborhood, where the older lady works whom I like to chat with sometimes.)

Bars have been a part of my life for so long that I almost don’t know what to do without them. They’re a gathering spot, a place to re-find old acquaintances and hear about what’s been happening. But I’ll be careful in my dealings with the two I’m still interested in occasionally frequenting. Both have orange juice and sodas, now that I know to stay away from non-alcoholic beer. And both places will let me be without putting any pressure on me to drink along with them. If that changes, I’ll cease stopping by. But I know I’m welcome on Friday nights at the G bar, which is nice since it helps me to still feel included among people I’ve grown used to being around.

And it was nice. Didn’t even feel much temptation to drink alcohol. Was perfectly content with my iced tea, a favorite beverage for me anyway. Was just good to be back around people I hadn’t been around much in the last few months. Though, there is a lot of truth in how drinkers can become annoying really quick when you’re not drinking along with them. Mostly because they can get so loud. But I also saw another buddy of mine I hadn’t seen since March. Helped him to get in touch with my former partner to have a belt looked at on his truck. That man’s still drunk as a skunk, as to be expected, but he says he’s been working more lately. An electrician. Always been friendly toward me, but it’s sad to watch him go down. He says he got to drinking badly after his wife passed away, and then his mom died a year or so back and that too devastated him. Doesn’t have kids so I think he feels set adrift, as if nothing really matters, so he turns his focus toward perpetual partying. In his 50s now, so I get to wondering how much partying he has left in him. But he has a big circle of friends and family members who care about him. Hopefully he’ll be all right in the end.

There’s the upside but there’s always the downside too. Bars might seem like more fun when you’re in your 20s and around people near your age. But then we all grow older and life takes a toll on us as the years pass. Hard to watch it all play out sometimes. I only wish to observe that abyss on occasion these days, not too often as I had done before. Because it’s no good past a certain point. Just drags you down with it. For all the talk of people wanting to quit drinking, it’s the rare individual who actually does in that scene. I know this. Been watching it all unfold for many years now. And I’m not getting any younger either.

Anyway, time to tend to laundry.

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Update a few hours later: Saturday productivity continues. Finished three loads of laundry (remembering to put dryer sheets in this time). Tidied up a bit in the kitchen, including cutting those 6-pack plastics people worry will strangle ducks and geese if left intact (my former partner got me started on doing that). My lazy ass had accumulated a pile of them awaiting being scissored. Carried out ALL of the bags of cans and bottles to the parking lot. Not most but all this time around. Took a relaxing shower and then oiled my hair with olive oil (haven’t done that in a long while). Gave myself a bit of a mini-pedicure (not a complete one since I didn’t feel like polishing today), then rubbed my feet with an emollient lotion and put a pair of snuggly socks on to lock in the moisture. Then swept the floors and loaded the dishwasher.

Oh, and found a mattress topper I’d purchased in Mississippi last year that was still in its original wrapper. It’s like Christmas when I get to cleaning — rediscover all sorts of stuff I forgot I own. Since all the bedding is nice and freshly laundered, I even made up the bed. Nothing fancy, but it looks nice. At least a change from how out of sorts it usually looks. My cat adores playing in freshly laundered sheets, so she’s probably still back there rolling around in the warmth of the bedding. Poured her fresh cat litter too.

And I sorted some of the mail that’s been gathering on my kitchen table, throwing out most of it. Found my most up-to-date proof of auto insurance cards while at it.

Simple stuff, yes. But I’ve been putting a lot off in recent times. Been doing the minimum to get by in a lot of cases. Why? Because I never felt good. Haven’t in a long time. Would regularly wake up and look around at the chaos that is my woman cave and then hurry up so I could leave it for the day. Sad but true. Doing dishes and the minimum amount of laundry necessary to function day-to-day was typically my gameplan. Hence why my laundry has piled up. Yep, not a domestic goddess.

While putting away some of my winter clothes I also rediscovered a stash of tupperware containers in a box in the spare bedroom. Hmm. One of these days I shall return these to my people! Heh!  Eventually. Hopefully. My home is where other people’s tupperware comes to die.

What else? Been putting a cream on my face the last couple of nights that really feels nice. Owned it for a while now but had neglected to use it. Also dusted a wee bit. Need to do a lot more of that soon. And need to try out the new vacuum too. That can wait until tomorrow.

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Next day update: The new vacuum turned out to be junk. Spit out more than it picked up. Have to return it to the store and find a better one.

Bullshit abounds in the barscene (imagine that)

So irritated this morning after an evening out that shouldn’t have ended on a bad note. You know those bartenders who are all about themselves and their bullshit and not interested in remaining professional toward their clientele? Yeah, me too. Particularly this woman bartender I never had an issue with before last night and am surprised she even acted like she did, and over nothing. My buddy and I had been at another bar up the way and then he needed to go home to sleep for an early workday, so I headed back to the bar closest to my home. Maybe 2 people in the place by that time, including another buddy of mine. They were watching television since no one cared to play the jukebox. So, per my usual role, I put $5 in the jukebox and invited my buddy to play what he wanted (typically heavy metal is his preference). And this lady bartender went off for some reason. Apparently we disrupted her movie or some shit.

She said something to the effect of me always getting what I want. Was very weird. Then she stormed outside. And this is an older woman, not some youngen. Others have told me in the past that she’s going through whatever relationship problems in her personal life, as if that’s an excuse to treat her job like it doesn’t matter. Look, we spend a lot of money at these watering holes and on these overpriced jukeboxes. Like I told her last night, if she wanted to watch her movie all she had to do was request I not play music, which would’ve been fine. Wasn’t even my kind of music. Was playing it for the benefit of us patrons who tire of watching the stupid television in silence. Was a really dumb reason to lose a customer over. Didn’t see that coming.

She’s been rude before to my buddies and one in particular was already upset with her demeanor from earlier in the week. I’ve always been accommodating toward her and polite, so this blindsided me. Had no idea she harbored resentment at me. And for what I don’t even understand. Never acted a fool in her presence (aside from the one time I felt the need to check that ADHD-acting man who regularly comes in there and talks over everybody and starts shit on a whim). And she didn’t say anything that night, however many months ago that was. She waited ’til now to vent her irritation toward me.

Been thinking about it and trying to make sense of her behavior last night. Coming up empty-handed. If she’s upset due to circumstance in her own life, then she shouldn’t take it out on me over nothing. Heaven forbid a customer comes in and plays the jukebox on a dead evening.

You know what I think it is? Cliche as it may sound, I honestly believe the woman is jealous. Not what I want to believe but apparently that’s the case. If she can’t stand up for herself in her own life and resents those who can, that’s her problem, not mine. If I get what I want at times, it’s typically hard-won. People don’t roll out the red carpet for me either. I lay out my arguments and pursue my ends diligently, which perhaps she’s observed. When people give me crap I take up for my interests. I don’t just bottle my resentments until they boil over. I tell people how I feel and what I’m bothered by in their behavior toward me. And if that’s a crime, I don’t know what to say. Guess I’ve grown tired of being walked on in this life and do my best to not allow myself to feel like a victim.

It’s not hard to open your mouth and state your case, but when you act passive-aggressive about shit it helps no one, including yourself. She’s not young enough to be that naive, so I do take this to heart. Always been polite to her and tip well. Deferential toward her even. Well, that ended last night. Didn’t go off on her but I won’t be patronizing that bar on her shifts anymore. Can’t stand to spend this much money at a place where I receive crappy service. Just don’t have it in me to do so, especially when the other bar down the way is glad to have my business.

Just frustrating to deal with that junk out of left field when I didn’t see it coming and over nothing of substance. Played the jukebox, heaven forbid. Not even my music, though most of my bar-fellows request me to play music on a regular basis, hence why I do so as frequently as I do. And it’s not cheap. Typically $1 per song. I have spent over $40 on the jukebox in just the last 2 days between those two locations, and that’s not many plays actually. Only entertains us for a couple hours. And I let others play music on my dime because I like to hear new stuff.

Anyway, no reason to try justifying that since it’s perfectly acceptable for a patron to play music. She has her own issues, whatever they may be. And they don’t deserve to be directed at me. My pal was already frustrated with her lack of professionalism earlier in the week, as I already stated, so we’ll find other places to go instead. He’s a nice guy who always shows her respect, and yet she acts unimpressive in his presence as well. We spend too much money to receive inadequate service when we go out. Costs a small fortune to live this lifestyle when it’d be far cheaper to come back to my place and play music for free and drink brews purchased from the grocery store. Plus I could make us dinner here and we could play board or card games in peace without having to deal with idiots and assholes. If she doesn’t want my business she doesn’t have to deal with it, strange as it is considering how polite and friendly we’ve always been toward her.

So yes, Ms. Bitch Bartender, I do aim to get my way at times. I aim to be treated properly and to not be given a hard time just because you have problems in your own personal life. And my money talks and walks in accordance. Surely it won’t matter to her either way since she prefers to close down early and likely earns all she cares to during the “happy hour” crowd times. Just irritating to come up against that unexpectedly. If she had a problem with me specifically she could’ve spoken to me directly about whatever it was. But if she wishes to pick on someone she’s picked the wrong person. Guess I somehow rubbed her the wrong way, though I honestly don’t know what I could’ve done to set her off. I’m not difficult to reason with, so it was on her to come to me if she had an issue gnawing at her, but instead she chose to throw a childish fit for no good reason that I could see. Not cool. She’s too old to behave like that and receive a pass. Though the other patron whom I let play music on my dime immediately went to her side and sat consoling her afterward as though she somehow deserved that. Blew my mind. I do not understand women sufficiently apparently.

I am frustrated. That was uncalled for and inappropriate. Sometimes I get the feeling the gods are toying with me and trying to make bar outings less fun so that I will redirect my attention to more productive endeavors, which is fine if that’s the case. Probably for the best. Just irritating as of right now. Went to the gym yesterday for the second time this week, getting back into all of that, and was feeling pretty good. My buddy and I typically keep to ourselves for the most part and quietly converse. We’re not problems for others. So if she wants to behave that way then it’s on her. I truly have no patience for dealing with shitty bartenders. There are too many options in this town, and I do not understand those people who act like they have to deal with this junk because they prefer a certain locale. I am not beholden to any business, and yes, it is a business, not simply a watering hole. It’s intended to be fun and relaxing for the patrons, and when it no longer serves that function what good is it?

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Update a couple days later: Cooled off since. Not hating the woman, just tired of shitty customer service in general. Yes, important to sweep one’s own porch and tend to cleaning our own rooms before lobbing too much criticism at others. Agreed. But in doing so I will no longer aid in promoting the income of assholes so far as I can help it directly. Not about hating, just tired and fed up with unnecessary drama. Including that which I too have been responsible for creating and/or stoking.

We humans are truly mind-blowing. Period. Point blank. Even in our subtle, passive-aggressive moves. Perhaps especially there.

Anyway, it is what it is. Worked out at the gym 3 times so far this week, for nearly an hour or more each time. Happy about that. And it felt good overall, other than straining my hamstrings the first time out. Remembered to stretch more afterward. Still, been a good week in that regard.

In hindsight, I think maybe that bartender chick was into our mutual friend who was present. And so be it, I am not interested in obstructing anything there. But she’s a bit older than both of us, so there’s that to contend with. Already told the guy months back that he’s not my type, sweet as he’s behaved thus far. No fault of his, admittedly. Just my own preferences. So if she’s ticked about him I don’t know what to say to it. Not my concern or issue. No control there.

And this is why I need more hobbies. Have way too much time on my hands to hang around these joints apparently. Why waste money on senseless drama? And it’s not just her. There’s another crappy bartender at that establishment whom I’m more so tired of dealing with. Pain in the rear more often than not. And I’m not the only one to express such sentiments.

Waste of money, time and energy overall. Yet I can’t stand the notion of going 100% sober. Trying to figure out that happy medium currently.

Mid-December general update

Back to life…back to reality…

So anyway, that was a fairly dumb weekend. But it’s behind us now. Returned to listening to Thomas Sowell’s audiobook Black Rednecks and White Liberals, which I’m seriously appreciating. It’s been teaching me a lot of details about my own background as a Southerner that I’d never known much about. Basically it’s a collection of essays spanning from looking at the U.S. Deep South’s history, then moving on to explore slavery in both the U.S. and elsewhere up through time (VERY illuminating information there), then an exploration into Germany and the rise of Nazism and why we should take seriously the possibility of such a movement arising in any culture, and now I’m listening to the portion on the history of black education in the U.S. This is just an amazing book that I’m tempted to share with others this Christmas season. Very well-sourced and eye-opening, challenging so much of the propaganda we’ve come to accept as factual.

Next in line is Thomas Sowell’s audiobook The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy. Looking forward to what he had to say there.

For Christmas, I did send my cousin print copies of Edward Edinger’s Ego and Archetype and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground. Hope he gets something out of them as well.

An eerie thing occurred today while out walking a pup. We were turning the corner and just as we got to the top of the hill I could see a couple blocks down the way that a car accident had just happened, causing one of the cars involved to careen into a street light. It was smoking and I could make out people from the other involved car walking over to that vehicle. Then the car that hit the light-post caught fire. Firetrucks were on the scene before we made it down the hill, so I watched as the firemen sprayed some sort of substance (not water) toward the hood of the car. An ambulance hadn’t arrived yet but no one appeared seriously injured, thankfully. Sad situation though. Bad enough to wreck in 20-degree weather and have to huddle outside awaiting help but also only a couple weeks before Christmas. Hope their insurance deductible is reasonable, though I can’t claim to know which car was at fault. Always jolts me to see a car accident, thinking about how scared people must be in that moment when they feel their vehicle lose control. Worries me daily for my loved ones and always has, probably because we drive so much that it feels like we’ve all been very lucky to avoid anything major for many years now. But we just never know when another driver might accidentally force our hand and change everything. I do hope those people involved are all going to be okay. Pretty shocking to see a car catch fire right there in the suburbs. But our emergency personnel are pretty amazing in these parts so hopefully they were able to set the situation right to the best of their ability.

Went grocery shopping after that with my list of items pulled from an Atkins diet-related site. Thinking about giving that a whirl once again. Lost weight on that diet in the past and could use a jumpstart once again since I haven’t been as active in the gym the last couple of weeks. Again, thanks to this cold weather and before that the Thanksgiving holiday keeping me busy with work. Just not felt as motivated this past month, but that needs to change. It’s one area in my life I’ve been proud of and wish to maintain. Going on 1.5 years now…so yeah, it’s become a routine I care about and get a lot of satisfaction from. So I picked up oodles of frozen vegetables and a few steaks and a rotisserie chicken and a case of the seltzer water I’ve grown fond of. As my former partner stated last night, people will cease taking me seriously if I fail to follow through on these ambitions I regularly speak of. So, here I go again…

What else? Picked up another one of those Blu e-cigarettes in hopes of smoking it part of the time so as to cut down on these Natural American Spirits. Lungs have been killing me lately. That’s what 21 years of smoking brings. Tried e-cigs in the past but wasn’t taken with them. Ah well. Try, try again.

Work is done for the day. So now I’m just tasked with paying bills and forwarding along some YT videos of interest to a buddy of mine.

Oh, and did I ever mention on here what went down with the IRS once I filed my taxes after taking an extension? Yeah, well, I sent in the remaining money I owed them, having prepaid a few hundred back in the spring. All seemed fine and I received a confirmation number from the DirectPay page on the IRS website, only to later receive two letters in the mail on the same day. One was a refund of part of the last bit of money I submitted to them; the other was a letter explaining that the funds I paid in somehow had not been credited to my account and so I need to resubmit it. Figured it wasn’t worth battling over seeing as how I’m not interested in attracting their scrutiny at present, so I mailed a check in this time. Oy. Kinda weird to find out that their left hand doesn’t know what their right hand is doing apparently. But ah well. Hopefully that’s resolved now. And, for the record, despite several claims that this time I would be charged a penalty for remaining an Obamacare (ACA) holdout, no penalty proved forthcoming. Not sure what to make of that. Twas the whole reason I filed for an extension in the first place, thinking I’d need more time to scrape together funds to pay that. They threatened up a storm and had me a bit nervous, but nothing came of it once again. And so I remain a holdout for yet another year. Very rarely go to the doctor for anything and am not on any necessary prescribed medications, so it doesn’t make sense that I should be forced to pay around $200/mo. for insurance I don’t want. Been uninsured this long, so I’ll take my chances there.

Fixed my phone up with an SD card over the weekend so that annoying “low storage” message finally went away. Still lagging in my understanding of that technology and required help from a friend. My Luddite tendencies apparently will not allow me to grasp smartphone technology. Don’t even like referring to the phone as “smart.”  Ha!  Seems like a misnomer. Especially for those who use them as their only computing device. My good ol’ desktop computer is SO much more user-friendly and has functionality a handheld simply cannot touch. And yet, these desktops are going the way of the dinosaurs, according to millennials.  tongue_out

That’s about it for now.