Clearing Some Cobwebs

It’s a new year around here. Things are about to get crazy. I need to reorganize the furniture in my brain––to get that fresh feeling that helps me do stuff. You know what that means… it’s time to make a list! Here’s what’s on my mind right now, in no particular order:

  1. Get off Facebook
  2. Email newsletter
  3. Exercise/diet regimen
  4. Medication tweaking
  5. Spiritual rituals
  6. Holiday/new address mailer
  7. Quick money-making scheme
  8. Going away party
  9. Next Art Office session
  10. Relationship maintenance

Facebook

doesn’t need me. I got back on for Art Office, but now that we don’t broadcast live on there anymore, I don’t see the need to stay. Instead of just disappearing though, I need to get some people’s emails and/or mailing addresses so we can stay in touch that way. Which leads me to my

Email Newsletter

I really want to create one that I send out every month or so, containing images from my Instagram and posts from my blog. This way, I can stay in touch with the chosen few, directly, and not have to worry about social media. I very much like this idea, although I wonder/worry about whether the chosen few will… I signed up for a newsletter from an old friend once, and we’ve grown to be so different, I don’t really care to read them anymore. I guess I shouldn’t feel bad about that. Some people will read my dumb news, others will pretend to, and others may unsubscribe––it shouldn’t hurt my feelings. If everyone cared about me, their concern would be worth less, which would be a shame. I’m so grateful, as it is, for the six or seven of you who read this and consider yourselves a part of my life. Thank you. Anyway, I really do like this newsletter idea. I’m going to write an introduction right now:

Hello, you chosen few! And welcome to my first ever newsletter, The Carla Times (The Carla Times? Is that good?). My plan is to send out an issue every month, which will contain news and gossip, artwork, reviews, opinions, and maybe horoscopes?, all from the unaffiliated mind of Yours Truly. A grandiose ambition for someone with some serious mental health afflictions, I am aware. But, I would rather stumble moving forward, than decay in the couch. Besides, tripping is hilarious.
Anyway, if you don’t wish to receive these email newsletters from me, simply click the link to “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of this email, and you will be kicked right out of my inner circle. Do what you must to be true to yourself, and don’t worry about hurting my feelings––I don’t even know how to find out who’s unsubscribed, so it would be completely anonymous. Just know that I probably don’t care about you either.
For those of you who are still reading, and plan on reading more––I have but one favor to ask of you: if, during the course of reading my newsletter, you ever have a thought in response, please send it to me! I want this periodical to be more like a conversation than a monologue. We’re all too isolated in this age of technology and disease––I want to talk with you. If we both have time, of course.
With that being said, I would like to welcome you again to my first newsletter. I’m glad you’re here, and I have some interesting things to share with you, after this message from today’s sponsor, Thesaurus.com:

Well, that was fun. I wonder if I’ll actually follow through on this. I love the idea, and I’ve witnessed how great it can be, via my friend Desiree 👋 . If you like my blog, you may like hers too––give it a visit if you like, here. Anyway, I guess I’ll need to make a newsletter mailing list. Gah, going through 800 email addresses does not sound like fun. I’ll put that off for now––at least until I’m done writing this particular blog. Update: I did it! I went through all 800+ email addresses and narrowed it down to 200 that I think miiight want to stay in touch. Woohoo!

Exercise and Diet

Yes, I’ve got to get back on the ball. I’ve spent the past four years pretending I’m not in my thirties––it’s time to swallow the truth and start acting like the aging person I am. Which means: at least 30 minutes of exercise every damn day, and mindful eating.

Chin Face sings "Working For The Weekend" By Loverboy - YouTube
How I feel about that.

What do I have to work with? Well, I’m trying to stay away from germs right now, so I’m not going to the gym. I do have at home a little stepper machine that I can use for short bursts of cardio, and a couple of 5 lb weights (wimp), and of course my yoga equipment. So what can I cobble together for an exercise regimen out of that? Let’s see:

Before breakfast: 5 minutes on stepper, sun salutation
Mid-day: 5 minutes on stepper, 10 minute yoga session (or longer, if I’m feeling it) OR 10 minutes of weight-lifting
Before dinner: 5 minutes on stepper
Before bed: 5 minutes on stepper, moon salutation

As far as eating goes (and the exercise, who’m I kidding), I’m going to have to find a buddy or something, to help keep me accountable, because I suuuuuuck at self-control. I also have zero interest in calorie-counting. In general, though, I’m doing better than I was a year ago. I started drinking these meal replacement shakes (Atkins brand), which actually keep my appetite at bay somewhat––at least for a few hours. I’m usually pretty good until dinner, when I stuff my face, and regret it immediately. I think I need to start eating a little more during the day, so I’m not so ravenous in the evening. Here’s a plan:

Breakfast: Coffee, fiber supplement, and either 1 egg & 1 piece of toast or a meal replacement shake
Lunch: Coffee, and either a piece of fruit & peanut butter or half a sandwich
Tea: Decaf coffee or tea, and nuts or rice cakes
Dinner: Small to moderate portions of whatever the fuck I want!!!
After dinner: Popcorn & seltzer, dessert once a week

Notice something missing? I do. Its name is Alcohol and we are taking some time apart right now. I’m not doing dry January or anything, I just realized that I was drinking too much (or too regularly, rather) so I decided to cut back. My therapist also reminded me that alcohol is basically sugar once it’s in your body, which turns into fat, which is so uncomfortable for me right now, physically and psychically. But alcohol’s also expensive. For a while there, we were spending $30/week on alcohol, which doesn’t sound like that much, now that I’m typing it out, but it does add up… To over $1,500 a year, in fact! Now that’s a significant amount of money!

Anyway, like I said––I’m pretty bad at self-control when it comes to food. I’m sure I have a touch of some eating disorder or other. Definitely body dysmorphia too. When I get hungry, I go into survival mode––it’s like the logical part of my brain turns off, and all power is rerouted to my appetite. I eat fast, and I eat big mouthfuls, but I do savor what I’m eating. No one can accuse me of not enjoying food. In fact, there’s not a lot I enjoy more. When I have to force myself to not eat as much as my greedy stomach wants… something primal in me revolts.

SOOoOo if anyone wants to join me on this journey of self-control, let me know. Sounds like a blast, right? My goal is just to be healthier, not to lose weight necessarily (but if that happens, fine). I’m telling you all here on my blog, kind of as a way of holding myself accountable… to you. I’ll try and update you on my progress from time to time. It’s good to write about it––I need to be reminded that I ultimately do have control over my own body, no matter how urgent some urges can be.

Medication Tweaking

Yes, yes. I need to send my psychiatrist a message to let her know that the current dose of Ritalin that she has me on does not seem to be effective. Actually, let me do that right now, brb. Done. Oh, that reminds me, I’m supposed to bring a physical list of all of the medications I’m currently taking, with me on my day of surgery. Isn’t that weird? Like, they have my chart, why do they need a physical list? Very confused by that. Anyway, since I’m here, would you like to know what’s in my medicine cabinet? Everybody’s curious about other people’s medicine cabinets, aren’t they?

(From Father of the Bride 2, watch it)

Well, here’s what’s in mine:
Prozac (Fluoxetine, antidepressant)
Geodon (Ziprasidone, anti-psychotic mood stabilizer)
Ritalin (Methylphenidate, stimulant for ADD)
Inderal (Propranolol, anti-anxiety)
Atarax (Hydroxyzine, antihistamine for insomnia)
Olux (Clobetasol, topical treatment for psoriasis)
Neurontin (Gabapentin, all purpose drug, but specifically treats my hot flashes)
Femara (Letrozole, aromatase inhibitor, hormone therapy for breast cancer)
Claritin (Antihistamine for allergies)
Calcium (Supplement for hormone therapy)

I used to take Adderall, which was an absolute miracle in my life, I tell you what. I felt calm and capable and confident––it was a profound experience, for the first few days I was on it. But then my sleep started to suffer. There were many, many nights where I literally didn’t sleep a wink, all night!! I eventually had to admit to myself that sleep was more important than focus, so I went off that medication for a while. Then my psychiatrist was able to prescribe me a short-acting version, which is what I’m taking now. I don’t know if it’s because it’s short-acting, or because it’s a different type of drug, or because it’s too small a dosage, but yeah, I am not feeling any effect––or at least, nothing like that first effect.

Update: Dr. upped my dosage, and I’m definitely feeling the effect more now, although it’s still less than what I initially experienced. But it’s good, and my sleep seems fine, so I may just hang out here for a while.

Well, speaking of focus and calm (or lack thereof), there’s been something missing in my life over the past five years or so, that I’ve decided I want to reincorporate into my daily existence. And that is

Spiritual Rituals

I recently entered into a trade with my friend Noelle––I did some design work for her, and she’s conducting a few one-on-one yoga sessions with me, where she practices “reading” my energy, and then walks me through a routine and gives me homework. It’s absolutely amazing. Practicing yoga in a mindful way is something I used to do semi-regularly, but have fallen out of the habit. I also have a weekly self-care practice with my friend Emily, called Spa-Ya (Divine Order of the Spa-Ya Sisterhood), which often involves meditation, journaling, and spiritual reflection.

I think of these things as branches of my spiritual tree––a tree I have steadily paid less and less attention to over the past decade or so––ever since I started to realize that most of my spiritual practice and identity was based in fear and ignorance. My spiritual tree is small and scraggly now, but with good roots and a lot of potential.

So here is what I want to do: make a daily spiritual practice, including meditation, reading, and journaling. I’ve just started The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle––a book I’ve heard from several people is a spiritual game-changer. We’ll see about that––I’m pretty skeptical these days, but I’m trying to keep myself open and honest. I like the AA slogan, “Take what you like and leave the rest.” I’m going to try and do that with this book, and others that I decide to make a part of my practice.

I’m really enjoying scheduling things today, so here’s a plan for my spiritual practice:
Morning (after exercise & breakfast): 10 minutes of meditation, 10 minutes of reading, 10 minutes of journaling

I think that’s totally doable. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before (probably have), but back in Albuquerque when I had a full psychological workup done––after giving me several grim diagnoses, the psychologist prescribed me ten minutes of meditation, in the morning and in the evening, which I thought was so weird and wonderful, and have never obeyed.

Well, I was able to meditate for ten minutes once a day, several years ago, and the results were amazing. But unfortunately, it got more difficult instead of easier, the longer I did it, so I eventually just fell off the bandwagon. Maybe I’ll have more stamina this time? 😬 Jeez, I guess I need a meditation buddy too. Let me know if that’s you!

Holiday/New Address Mailer

Oh boy! I’m excited about this one. I’ve been working on a fun drawing to turn into a linoprint once we get to New York. Obviously we missed Christmas and New Years, so I decided to make it a St. Patrick’s Day card. If you want to be on our holiday card list, let me know now! Also let me know if you want our new address in Ithaca. We’ll just be there five months, but I’m always greedy for mail!

Quick Money-Making Scheme

Notice I didn’t say “Get Rich Quick Scheme,” because I don’t need to get rich. At least not quickly. I just need to make a little bit of extra money so that we can afford to pay someone to help Adam move into our new place (since I will still be recovering from surgery and not able to lift much). Our money situation right now is more dire than it’s ever been––mostly due to my cancer and not working much of last year. I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to think of quick little ways to scrape together a few dollars while I’m laid up, but I’m coming up with a whole lot of nothing. Here’s my dumb list so far:

• Graphic design things (gross)
• Quick digital portraits (Adam says, “What would somebody do with that?” fair point)
• Intuitive tarot readings (why should anybody listen to me?)
• Sext (I don’t think Adam will let me)

It’s not a good list. But I can’t think of anything else I can do on the couch with a Frankensteined body! Help! Is there something you’d pay me $20 for? If I were a celebrity, obviously I would be utilizing Cameo. Arg. Is there a Cameo for regular people or artists? Well… anyway…

Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you for $20.

I said our money situation was dire, but I was exaggerating a little. We’ll be fine. An extra buck or two could really help though.

Going Away Party

I would be excited for this one, but there is Covid to think about. And there’s also the “going away” part that’s kind of a downer. But the show must go on! Our buddies Annie and Brendan are going to host the event at their house, which is right outside of the downtown area here in Iowa City. They have an enclosed front porch for quick greetings and goodbyes, a good-sized living room for those who want to hang out longer, and a fire pit in the back yard if it’s looking too crowded.

It’s going to be on the 12th of February––hey, isn’t that Washington’s birthday? If February rolls around and you haven’t received an invitation yet, just send me a message––your email may have bounced back or gone to spam (that has happened several times recently, weirdly).

My idea for the theme of the party (which I think has been approved) is “Fancy Coat.” Whatever that means to you. I think most people have at least one fancy or crazy coat, that they never wear, but hold onto for “that perfect occasion.” Well, here it is! I’m going to wear my floor-length black leather duster––it’s so cool you guys.

Beyond the Black Gate: Lazy Blog Post - Edward Gorey

Next Art Office Session

Well. I have some big exciting plans for where Art Office is going over the next few years, but before I start into that chapter, we’re going to have another all-virtual session to get warmed up. This time I’m going back to the basics, somewhat. Over the past couple of sessions, I experimented with adding features and programming, and to be honest, they wore me out! So this time I’m going to keep it simple, so that I can focus more of my energy on what’s next.

I won’t go into too much detail right now, but suffice it to say: I’ve decided to throw everything I have into making Art Office a sustainable operation that can provide me a decent living. The model I’m designing will have four sturdy legs to support its vision:

  1. The program itself,
  2. Cubicle studios for members to rent,
  3. A gallery space for their exhibitions, and
  4. A retail space for their products.

And it’s going to work, goddamnit. Or my name’s not Carla Baudrons! I’m getting really excited about this next phase, even though I know it’s going to take a lot more time than I have patience for. Eh whatever––I’m sure I’ll find enough along the way (patience).

The important thing is that I’ll be able to look people in the eye, when they ask me what I do for a living, and be genuinely proud of my work. God damn, I can’t wait for that!

Relationship Maintenance

Last but not least! Guys, has anyone ever told you that marriage is easy? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Actually, one person did tell me that once, and it turned out her husband had been cheating on her throughout their entire marriage. Relationships are fucking rough! I want to respect Adam’s privacy, so I won’t tell you about our shared problems, but I will tell you a little about my end of things.

Something that I’m trying to work on right now, is being more open with Adam about my feelings––even when I don’t understand them. I tend to sweep my confusing feelings under the rug––but my emotions are connected to each other, so when I ignore one, they all shut down. Which I’m sure makes me infuriating to talk to. It’s worse than if I was just emotionless––I’m actively pushing the emotions away. That’s got to feel like walking into the wind (sorry, Adam).

Maybe some people can get away without emotion in a relationship (who), but feelings are basically all that I bring to the table! That and good teeth. I’ve always been an extremely emotional person––without them, I have nothing to think or talk about! If you know me at all, I’m sure you can attest to the fact that I’m terrible at superficial conversation––not because I necessarily prefer deeper topics, but because I don’t know anything else to talk about! I’m so dumb, guys!––you have no idea!

Anyway, I’m trying to get better at dealing with these unknown feelings that I have, and sharing them for the purpose of intimacy and trust, but lordy, it’s hard. Like, how do you describe something that you’ve never seen or heard of before? By comparing and contrasting it with things you do know, I guess?

Well, you didn’t ask, but I’m going to try and tell you all (Adam included) about one such feeling that I’ve been ignoring. Here goes: It’s definitely attached or related to my cancer experience, I know that much. It’s underlying and nonintrusive. It reminds me of survivor’s guilt, but that’s not it. It’s not even necessarily negative. There’s something about it that’s similar to the feeling of having responsibility. There’s that kind of heaviness or importance to it. It’s extremely squirmy and defensive––it doesn’t want to look me in the eye. Is it trying to hide something from me? Some kind of pain, maybe? That’s as far as I can go right now. Tell me if that sounds familiar to you.

Feelings are so weird. Mine are, anyway. As soon as I have one pinned down, another one starts flailing around. Sussing them out is definitely worth it though. I can feel it, even now, as I’m writing this––I am an emotional person, and it’s good for me to feel, express, and share my emotions, no matter how difficult it may.

Anyway that’s all I have for today. Thanks for reading. Leave me a comment if you feel like it, I always like that.

P.S.
I didn’t put “Surgery” on my list of things to think about today, because I’m not thinking about it and I don’t need to. Outside, that is, of trying to stay healthy and Covid-free––which I am doing. But in case you didn’t hear, it was finally rescheduled and is happening this coming Monday, the 24th. Thoughts, prayers, and messages appreciated.

5 thoughts on “Clearing Some Cobwebs”

  1. Thank you Emily!! Ahh xanga times! Was life easier back then or am I romanticizing the past? Or both? :) Somehow it was definitely easier for me to post regularly. Probably because I had more time? idk. Anyway.. yay! I will put you down to receive my newsletter. :D

    Thanks for your encouraging words re: exercise/diet. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about this very thing lately and I think you’re spot on.

    I’m definitely going to keep talking/thinking about relationship maintenance. It takes up a buncha room in my brain these days, even if it’s very difficult to articulate. I want to hear all of your thoughts too!

  2. Yay! I’ll put you down, Megg! Thank you! Happy early birthday! Eat ALL the sugar!

    I realized after I posted the blog that the wording surrounding our move was confusing––I meant that we would only be staying in that specific location for five months, then looking for a bigger/better place in the area. Renting a place sight-unseen is scary!

  3. I love this. Yes, I’m totally on board with the newsletter.

    I’m impressed with your exercise goal. Once I saw it all broken up like that though, I thought “huh! Good idea!” I’m going to do a six week sugar cleanse starting next week. Why not now? It’s my birthday on Thursday and I’m not a masochist. :-)

    You’ll only be in Ithaca for five months? And then back here, or on to the next destination unknown? I’d love to have your address.

    Very excited to talk more about the Art Office future!

  4. CARLA. KEEP POSTING. I just had an uncanny flashback to the days of Xanga. Man, those were precious.

    I want to comment on each point. But that feels excessive. Here are my high points:
    1. Facbeook and I had a severe break up. I decided those that love me will find me, and its proven true, nearly 3 years later. My advice: don’t overthink it. Deactivate.

    2. Email newsletter. Count on me.

    3. Exercise/diet. This was very closely related to my trauma therapy and I’ve been realigning. After my divorce, over 40 pounds vanished off my body. Trauma weight is a thang. The body is mysterious. You’ll figure this out.

    4. Relationship maintenance. Let’s keep talking about this. I’m very curious about this part of the journey.

    More soon. XOXO

  5. Great blog! Hope you put me (us) on the email newsletter list, please. We should be sending you a letter in the next few days. Look for it after the rescheduled surgery. So happy that is happening and then gonna be over with!! Ithaca ought to be beautiful that time of year, all that snow. Barbara and Ross

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