Diary: 9/6/2017

Today not much happened. This morning, I got a text back from a friend of mine agreeing to hang out over the weekend. I’m really excited about seeing her again, she’s a really cool friend. Other than that, in the morning I looked out the window and the world is still on fire around here, the fires now total over 200k acres, if I recall correctly. It’s gross. Smoke is so thick in the air it looks like midwinter grey, except that it’s so hot out you couldn’t mistake it if you tried.

Miles hasn’t gotten back to us, and apparently when Belle asked how it went at the coast he said, “there were a lot of learning experiences.” So we’ll see if I don’t have to wait for some reason or other to go back to work.

This entry isn’t very coherent, but I’m like dying of tired eyes and groggy head. I took a nap in the middle of the day and never quite recovered today.

Diary of a Saint: 9/5/2017

Yesterday was a nothing day. Belle and I both slept for most of the day, and neither of us worked. We watched a few episodes of the office around 6, but other than that, hardly anything.

This morning I decided that since I’ve been seeing this lost cat on facebook for the last day or so, that I might as well take a walk around the neighborhood and at least make a passing attempt at finding her. It was fairly gray outside, because of the smoke from the fire. It was also raining ash. Which was not so great. No luck on finding Ember, though.

I did manage to visit Belle, though. Today’s breakfast was a strawberry apple juice (from the grind) at about 10 or so. And while I was at the beer porch, I saw that a rooster had found his way into the locked farm stand. That was pretty cool.

Belle has two or three dates in the next two weeks, I think. The stuff that’s coming up next for me is Maya’s (my little sister) birthday tomorrow, potentially movie night on Friday (pulp fiction, maybe), Zach’s birthday party on saturday, and maybe a hang-out with our friend Corrine. So I’m actually not doing awful on being social, either. (Which is nice). I’ve got a few bars that I want to hit up that look like they could be super fun too, so I’ll hope to slide those in when I can.

Diary of a Saint: 9/4/2017

Yesterday, I said I was going to do some stuff. I did not. Instead, I sorted out my bag and procrastinated until Belle got home. After Belle got home, we decided to go pick up our car, which we had left at a friend’s house after walking home from a party. On our way, we ran into a friend of ours and had a nice heartfelt conversation with her. After picking up the car, we spent the rest of the evening relaxing (as the Lunch Club had already played tennis earlier in the day, foiling our plans to play disc golf).

In the evening, we decided to go visit the Lunch Club at their bachelor pad (that sounded pretty gross, sorry). So we walked over, and when we arrived, the whole crew was there (Matt, Jacob, Daniel, and Brad). I decided to join Matt, Jacob, and Brad in a game of Arabian Knights (nights?), while Belle and Daniel decided to watch TV and chill on the couch. It was a pretty chill night, but we ended up going until like 10:30, which is pretty late for us losers on a sunday.

On the way home, Brad (who agreed to give us a ride home, and is the best, shoutout to Brad) took us to McDonalds, and we got some garbage food to fill us up for the night. It was a good night, overall.

As I write this, Belle is currently making various loud banging noises in our bedroom. I leave to investigate.

Update: Belle would like to inform you all that she was making loud noises in the bathroom, and definitely not the bedroom. (Also, everything’s good)


And in the shrouded wood, among briars and limbs twisted together by life’s wild notions, they live secret lives, born and nurtured by nature’s own womb. Dozen upon dozen, cloistered together in hanging cathedrals. Under summer’s golden days, they are undone. Sweetened by sunlight and swollen from drinking sweet summer rains, they are undone. It happens quickly, the fading to blackness. And in the darkness, they disappear, stolen away by the robed spirits of the forest. For it is in their undoing, that they may rise again. And so it is that briars rise.

Diary of a Saint: 9/3/2017

The Crux of It

Well, I guess I’ll just be straight about it, friends. I’ve decided to start journalling as a way of keeping up the habit of consistent writing. So this site is essentially my diary now, as well as probably a place where any actual bits of writing I produce will go up. So that’s cool.

But more importantly, pretty key to this exercise is the admittance that I’m doing this for myself in entirety. I want to become a more open person, and if baring my soul upon the internet helps me in that quest, than bare it I shall.

Where I’m at

Well, to understand me, I think it’s pretty important to know a bit about who I am, where I’ve come from, all that jazz. But I only have so much time, and most of my story is a bit sadder than I’d like to get into at the moment, so I’m going to present the relevant facts of my now, instead.

I’m a 25 year old kid that’s learning to make his way in the world. For a long time, I believed that I was only doing the things that I was doing to keep other people happy. It was true, probably. I did the bare minimum of what I had to do, hid from my problems, and hoped that it would all go away. It didn’t. Suffice it to say that my late teens to now have been a hell of a trip.

Emotionally, I always knew I needed a best friend. During my high-school years, I clung to a long distance girlfriend for the emotional support among a peer group I had difficulty connecting with. Sad, I realize, but people do what they need to do to survive, and I do believe that we provided each other strong emotional support, despite all the harm we might have done ourselves. It was a long relationship, and it ended about at college, but only after I had flunked out of my first school. This all turned around before my 22nd birthday. I met the best friend I had been hoping for, we started dating, and by 4 months in she had asked me to marry her.

As I sit here writing this, I am happily married to my darling and best friend of three plus years, and the core of our relationship is our friendship and the fact that we love the time we spend together. We are extremely open with our feelings and we seek to solve our disagreements in ways that are best for us, not just one of us. Belle is my best friend in the whole world. All that might make this next turn a slight surprise to some people: after quite a bit of discussion and a surprising amount of relationship talks that turn sexy, we’ve decided to pursue an open marriage, at least for a bit. Neither Belle nor I are jealous people, so the idea of our partner’s with other people doesn’t bother us, which seems to be most people’s chief concern. As to the stability of our marriage, we’ve experienced nothing but positives from it so far. It allows us to accept our personal flaws or differences in taste more easily. If I want to go somewhere Belle doesn’t like, I can find a buddy who I can go places I would have only wanted to go with Belle. Likewise, if Belle is looking to get schwasted at the club with her loud friends, I’m not responsible for providing that sort of entertainment (it’s not where I shine).

In other news, I’m going back to work as a barista next week at a new coffee cart that’s opening up that I forget the name of. I’m really excited to get back to work, and I’m hoping to use a little of the extra money to get back to climbing at Planet Granite in Portland.

What I’m up to

Well, I’m getting a little tired out at this point, but I guess I should probably finish out the exercise with my hopes and goals for the near future. Immediately, I can say a goal of mine is to work up a two week straight streak of journaling, including the required life experiences to write interesting stuff during that period. It’s not gonna be super easy, and I might fail a few times before I get it right. That said, I’m gonna pick myself up and just start over if I miss a day. No ‘but’s about it.

Aside from that, I’m gonna be working on learning coffee later this week and Belle wanted to get me a bicycle to ride to work, so we might do both of those things, too. Last things that I can think of are that I think I might do some cleaning up around the house today, and that I might go out to play disc golf with Beef Slider and the Lunch Club (a group of my friends since high school).

Chicken Appreciation Post

Chickens.

(n.) Vastly underrated members of the urban, suburban, and rural food chains who deserve a more prominent place in hyperlocal (backyard) food production.

(Gabe made a “Murder Most Fowl” joke. Just gonna let the internet know forever.)

Use #1: Eggs.

Animal protein delivered in serving-sized capsules daily? No slaughter or boob squish necessary? Yes please! Plus they come in pretty colors, from pastel pink and aqua to soft brown to dark cocoa and pure white and everywhere in between (with speckles!).

Use #2: Pest control.

Chickens will eat up any insects or worms or even spiders that scuttle by when they’re hungry!

Use #3: Weed control.

Excess vegetation is just extra snacking for a chicken! As long as it hasn’t been sprayed with toxins, a chicken will happily munch down dandelion, chickweed, even certain yellow leaves in the autumn!

Use #4: Fertilizer.

Chicken poop is fantastic for your soil! It’s very high in nitrogen, an essential building block for plants to absorb and grow with.

Use #5: Soil massage.

Okay, ‘massage’ might be a weird word, but chickens love to scratch the dirt and peck at it looking for tasty bugs and wrigglers! Given a dry patch of hard dirt, a few chickens could scratch and poop and possibly even seed it to much more fertile land in a year or two by breaking the surface and depositing nutrients and moisture.

Use #6: Feathers.

Chickens are so wildly different in their coloration between breeds! Our first round of baby chicks included a Welsummer, a Silver-Laced Wyandotte, a Golden Sexlinks, and an Ameracauna, giving us black & white, soft brown, chocolate, coppery golden, blue-peacock shimmer, all kinds of different feathers to play with! You can use them for crafts like jewelry, decor, or just letting them be pretty in the roost.

 

To conclude:

If you have the space and are interested in harvesting food from your backyard, chickens are a wonderful place to start! They’ll control your pests and weeds, work fertilizer into your soil, and give you perfect little protein bundles every day.

Start with 4 chicks if you can, they’ll be fine with 3-6 in a flock but don’t just get 1-2 (they get lonely! Much better experience for everyone with more friends than that). One will usually become the alpha female of the pack, take responsibility for protecting the others, and may be more aggressive than the rest–it’s normal and just a personality quirk.

I’ll do a post about our experience raising chickens next week, but for now just take to heart that it’s easy enough to do that we did it (saying something) and it’s worth your time and effort if you have the resources and inclination! They’re a wonderful addition to a home and are minimal enough effort that most people with a reasonable fenced yard should be able to keep healthy, thriving chickens!

Belle Catches Up

It’s been a busy few weeks! We’ve been working on getting Gabe to write daily, and he’s finally here! I’m so proud of all the work he’s been doing on his story, you guys should really check it out on Wattpad. Be prepared for a loosely high fantasy slice of life in lots of small chapters.

I’m going to jump in and focus on the diet and my progress. It’s been really hard keeping with slow carb while I work in a coffee cart surrounded by delicious sugary/milky pastries and drinks all day, especially when there’s downtime and I feel like practicing my latte art (or visiting a neighboring food cart!). For the most part, I’ve done well this week. I’ve had a few minor slips (a tablespoon of half & half here, a ginger turmeric lemon shot there) but I’m actually pretty impressed with myself for dismissing a LOT of niggling cravings. Giving up dairy isn’t easy for me, but remembering that I’m only a couple days from cheat day makes it more reasonable to expect myself to behave. I can tell that I’m building some food discipline, which is a big step for someone overcoming binge eating disorder. My weight has been floating around 171-2 lbs all week, so I’m guessing I had lost a bunch of water weight right before my last weigh-in (170 lbs). I’m looking forward to the weigh-in on Saturday though! It’s been a long time since I’ve been under 180 lbs and it’s really encouraging to watch the number stay well below that. Even if I’m not in the 160’s yet, I know I’m only a couple weeks away!

Something else I’ve been focusing on is drinking more water and reducing my caffeine intake. Again, not the easiest task for an enthusiastic barista, but I can tell when I’m dehydrated and I feel way more susceptible to a bad binge when I am. It’s been helping me feel better all-around–I think I’m getting around 200 ounces of water a day, which is really good because of how hot it is during our little temperamental heat wave out here in the PNW summer. Before I started the diet and tried to cut caffeine, I was regularly consuming 4-5 espresso shots and 8-12 ounces of drip coffee every shift I worked (4x/week). And I KNOW I wasn’t drinking enough water. It affected my digestion, my mood, my headaches, and those all balanced out as I’ve swapped for herbal teas and iced water with the tail end of a ginger turmeric lemon shot. Gabe and I have a 58 oz water bottle at home that we share and are constantly filling up and handing to each other. Having the big bottle is REALLY helpful–less trips to the sink means we’re more likely to properly hydrate ourselves.

Over the winter we had the privilege of a stellar rock climbing gym membership, and Gabe and I both built some muscle over those months. It was really hard for me to hoist 185 pounds up a wall with just my fingers and toes, but once I threw myself at it enough, I was making it up the first-level routes with a fair amount of ease. It felt great. I didn’t care about how much I weighed while we were there, I just cared about how strong I felt. I watched my arms go from very flabby to actually showing the definition of a shoulder and some muscle. My thighs probably lost about half an inch each of fat, based on how my pants fit before and after the membership. And I could feel my abdomen starting to strengthen again, my posture improved and so did my problem with back and hip aches.

While physical activity is really only believed to affect 20% of a weight loss process, I found an enormous amount of value in that 20% that made it seem much more important to my personal process. I played sports as a kid and was fairly strong and athletic, under my layers of eating disorder chub. I never saw myself as a serious athlete because I didn’t believe I looked like one, but once my physical condition started deteriorating during my deeper depressions, I started realizing that I had taken for granted how good it feels to be athletically fit. Being able to come back to my body after many years of neglect and still rev the muscular engines like that is extremely heartening, and it encouraged me to stick with a healthier eating plan for the other 80% of the process that made my body feel even better. (Also, the sauna. Oh sweet lady of love, the sauna. Pure bliss. I ended up making sauna visits before and after the climbing part of the gym. Honestly it’s what got us there sometimes–the promise of that balmy, cedar-scented heat in the middle of December was a great motivator.)

 

Anyway that’s my catch-up! Stay tuned for my next blog post on Chicken Appreciation.

-B

 

Update: Changes to Come

Well, we’ve had a realization. The website as it stands is pitched towards beginner gardeners, and is written for my peers, millennials.

We’ve come upon a disastrous realization.

Millennials don’t visit blogs like this.

So the blog is fully converting to my writing website. It will host my work, along with any side projects that I might do. More on that tomorrow.