Monday, August 29, 2016

Love Prayers

I was texting with my sweet and wonderful gal pal Jill recently, after she reached out to tell me she was starting to read a book I had recommended.
 
As per usual, we used the conversational opportunity to fill each other in on our writing progresses (or, as is often the case on my end, lack thereof).
 
I told her that I haven't touched my book in ages, and that I'd hardly been blogging, either.
 
But then I told her that I've been writing prayers for church and that's been rewarding.
 
"I love that," she wrote. "You can blog those."
 
So, dear Jill, here are my latest prayers, which I got to read aloud at worship yesterday. (They also let me sing in the band (without auditioning me first -- that is the DEFINITION of trust) and host a pool party in the afternoon. I've never been so genuinely pleased to be so involved in a church family).
 
The worship intention was love, and our Scripture for the week was from First John. Feel free to pray along, if you desire.
 
When it is easy to love, may we keep on loving. When we prop our feet in each other's laps and wish to be nowhere else. When we fall in love on the first date. Keep us in your light that no darkness can ever touch. Let us turn to you in awe for creating so many people whom we can adore without trying.
 
When it is hard to love, push us to try. For those people we simply don't like, God, let us recognize them as your little lambs. Teach us to love without limits, to un-grit our teeth and give some time to our enemies. Soften our edges, and help us to recognize that sometimes the unpleasantness in a person in the result of something unpleasant in their life.
 
When it is fun to love, may we remember the source of all our joy. We thank you for pools to splash in, concerts at which we can scream obnoxiously, and people who make us just lose ourselves in laughter. May we always acknowledge You, and the life you have given us -- the life that keeps on living.
 
When it is painful to love, place balm upon our wounds. When the people we love the most are no longer in this world, may we feel Your giant hand upon our back, your steady assurance that we are not alone, even when we feel we most certainly are. When a partner, friend, or colleague lets us down -- let us forgive and draw more from the bottomless reserves of love.
 
When it is beautiful to love, keep our eyes wide open so we don't miss a thing. We thank you for the ocean, for perfectly chiseled mountains. For roses that burst from cracks in the hot concrete. For violin solos. For clouds that look like animals. To love You is our utmost achievement; may we count ourselves grateful that we can love your creation, too.
 
When loving sets us free, make us free indeed. When we can give praise in an unhappy job, when we can feel peace as one in pain passes into death, fluff our feathers so we can keep on flying. Let us feel your love draped around us like a cloak. May we fall in love with You. Over and over, may we become smitten with the One who loves us most.
 
In everlasting love, may we say together: Amen and Amen.
 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

My "glittering" life and how it really makes me feel

 
All right, Friends, here's the deal.
 
I need to work my chops again.
 
I want to sit here and type something awe-inspiring for you, but to be real, I'm out of practice with blogging and writing of any sort, so I'm not sure what's going to come of this here sitting-in-a-chair-and-typing session.
 
So please, if you're interested, sit here with me, be patient, and keep reading to the point where hopefully I'll say something that affects you positively.
 
(If this doesn't sound like a fun time to you, feel free to exit the premises now.)
 
OK, let's see.
 
Well, we can start with this: I've been in a weird place lately.
 
In social situations, I've found myself to be, for the most part, happy. But when I look around and examine all the smiles and laughter around me, I keep thinking that everyone else is having a better time than I am.
 
When not in social situations, my mood kind of falls off a cliff.
 
I find myself in my car alone, just grumpy. Irritable. Unfed? Whatever it is, it's unpleasant. And I sometimes find myself chastising grumpy me: "Bailey, what is your problem? Nothing significant has happened in the last five minutes, or hour, or day, to make you suddenly have 'the right' to stomp around."
 
All this self talk is very helpful in solving the problem, as you can imagine.
 
I do recognize that my life is full. In a "too much" kind of way, but mostly (98 percent) in the best way.
 
I have more friends than I can keep up with. I have a local bar that I love (which is not something to be taken lightly. That can be hard to find.). I have the best, cutest, snuggliest cat. I have the best, cutest, snuggliest boyfriend. I have a church that I just. love. And my love for the arts is never met with a lack of abundant art. Almost every week I am at a concert, a stand up comedy show, a one woman or two man show. Entertainment, entertainment, entertainment.
 
Alex doesn't quite get this, but I do wonder if the constant entertainment is part of my problem.
 
I wonder, legitimately, if I am supersaturated with EVENTS, to the point that they have lost their novelty. When you see Lily Tomlin and Tegan and Sara and Bonnie Raitt and Steve Martin all within a few months, you're continually raising the bar of what equals "worthy" entertainment in your life.
 
Or maybe you're not. This is just a theory I'm working with.
 
I've mentioned this to A a few times, and he says he's not sure how taking a break from all the fun stuff I do would help me to feel more engaged with people (regarding the whole "I think my friends are having more fun than I am" thing).
 
I told him it's not so much that I think it would improve my ability to engage with the people I love, but rather I think if I took more time to meditate and breathe, to do common things quietly at home, then the occasional trip to the Hollywood Bowl might glitter a little more brightly.
 
Does this sound valid? Worth testing?
 
My credit card would argue that it's worth testing, as the entertainment venues of Los Angeles are garnering more money from me than any other establishment in the area.
 
I talked to my therapist about my irritability, and we came up with some reasons why that might be, reasons I won't share here. But I say that just to let you know I don't think my chronic addiction to concerts is the only thing getting me down.
 
I think maybe it has to do with expectations, too. Each concert and comedy show I go to, I get excited, People. I don't think that's a bad thing, and I don't know that I should curb my zest for life (because that just sounds like an ill-guided, depressing beyond depressing life choice). But I think there's something to be said for getting sooooooo excited for a legend musician, to the point that no matter how well he or she performs you can't help but be let down according to your own anticipations for their ability to influence the palpitations of your music-loving heart.
 
This post is quite the downer, wow. I'll try to be more positive in coming posts.
 
A wise woman named Anne Lamott does say to lower the bar, and I've carried her words with me. She says when you expect less, you have a lesser opportunity to be disappointed.
 
I believe there is much truth to this. When you just relax and let happen what's going to happen, then you can find unexpected joy. Rather than the alternative, which is expecting everything to look a specific way and then marking down each moment that doesn't live up to your preconceived image of the perfect day or evening.
 
I don't know where I'm going with all this, but I will say this: Alex and I are going to see Margaret Cho tonight, and I am thrilled.
 
Years ago I checked out her DVD, "I'm the One that I Want," from the library, and was so pleased with it. I had seen bits of her performances before, but in watching her full set, I was introduced to her depth and her vulnerability. She is not only hilarious, but she is real. Her message in "I'm the One" was downright redemptive. I loved it.
 
So even if she doesn't live up to my expectations tonight, I am looking forward to being in her presence. She has seen pain and struggle, and she has come out stronger. Further, she decided to tell her tale honestly, and when anyone does that, I have tremendous respect for him or her.
 
So here we go. In about nine hours, I plan to keep an average bar of expectation with me. I plan to have a tasty cocktail (or a refreshing, light beer) and to sit close to the stage. Let my booty find its mold in that vinyl covered chair. To watch a woman who has been honest for me and other women. To be grateful for her and other women who make the same daring trek in life. For those who speak honestly and hopefully. With humor and heart. May this be our goal every day, when we are grumpy in our cars or clapping gleefully in a giant stadium that pulsates with life-giving music. Even when I am struggling, I will try. Try to find that light. And when I can't feel it in a reckless, teenage sort of way, I will remind myself that it is still there, fixating my eyes on its blinding brightness until it warms me again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Oh ya know, Life.

Anyone else ready for Christmas?
 
I'm listening to the "Elf" soundtrack and I'm like, "Yeah. I'm ready."
 
Let it snow let it snow let it snow.
 
Or not. (Los Angeles).
 
Friends,
 
I'm in a weird state of mind today. And yesterday. And the day before that.
 
My life is so full and good and happy but I'm just feeling like my insides are struggling.
 
It's aggravating and disheartening and all that.
 
My credit card debt is a mess.
 
My bedroom is a mess.
 
My car is a mess.
 
I'm a mess.
 
I find that I can only focus on a few things lately: sometimes, a game of billiards. Cross stitch. And the cat. I could pet that soft, squishy nugget for hours.
 
I haven't been reading.
 
Or writing.
 
Or cleaning.
 
Or cooking.
 
Or doing much of anything, really.
 
It's aggravating and disheartening and all that.
 
OK I take that back. It's not that I haven't been doing anything. I've been going to concerts and stand up comedy shows and to karaoke. I've been working out -- SOMETIMES -- and playing Words with Friends and hosting out of town friends. I've been writing prayers for church and reading them and helping with communion.
 
I've been doing freelance writing and driving to Yosemite and hiking switchbacks that made me want to never return to Yosemite.
 
I've been drinking beer.
 
I've been tracking my calories.
 
I've been getting stressed out. I've been disliking myself.
 
I've been exploring the vast library of emojis on my new phone and picking just the right ones to express my complicated emotions via text and Facebook post.
 
So it's not like I'm doing NOTHING. I just haven't been doing a lot of things to make me feel good about myself. To feel fulfilled. To feel like a 31 year old human who does things like CLEAN HER BEDROOM and REMOVE ITEMS FROM HER VEHICLE.
 
I have to say typing these 300 words has made me feel a little less hateful of myself, even if the words aren't very poetic or moving or whatever.
 
Well I think that's enough negativity for one post.
 
Let's look at some photos I've taken on my new smartphone, shall we?
 
[All but one reader quietly exit the Daily Bailey website to do something more fun and productive.]
 
 
A tiny, cross stitched pigeon. He is accompanied by a stitched Big Bird (not pictured).
 
 
Bailey surprises the world with smart technology in her very own hands.
 
 
Nicholas surprises Bailey with the birthday gift of the decade.
 
 
Max takes a bath and looks JUST. CHARMING.
 
 
Max lifts his paw and looks like a BALLERINA.
 
 
Bailey selects glasses for her newly diagnosed astigmatism.
 
 
Bailey practices her makeup skills.
 
 
Max crosses his paw and settles in for a snuggle.
 
 
Bailey eats a giant burger and then tries to jog.
 
 
Bailey and Alex dangle their feet over the pier in Santa Barbara.
 
 
Bailey appreciates glittering water.
 
 
Bailey appreciates pigeons. (Again.) She may have a problem.
 
 
Smoochy smoochy.
 
 
Struggling to concentrate.
 
All right, Friends, I think that's more than enough for now. A bientot! Hugs!
Bails

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Weight loss diary -- junk food bender

All right people, I admit it!

I went on a junk food bender last night.

I had a salad for lunch that would (minus the chicken and parmesan) make a rabbit sing with delight.

I don't think I snacked all afternoon.

I hopped on that treadmill, I jogged half a mile.

I slowed to a walk.

I got to the mile and a half mark and thought, "Wow, I'm tired."

I got to the two mile mark and thought, "I'm really tired. And all I'm doing is walking."

I slowed my walk.

And then I started to feel weak. And weary. And whoaaaaaa.

I got off the treadmill at about 2.4 miles in. (I was aiming for 3).

The cat needed food. Original plan was to go to Petco to get the animal some chows, but now his mama was hungry.

And I mean HUNG. RY.

So I went to 7 Eleven instead.

I got Frosted Flakes.

I got sour cream and onion chips.

I got (light) beer.

I got a Clif bar.

(And cat chows).

I brought my spoils to the cashier. I set them on the counter, no shame. Hunger, oh so extreme hunger, was the only thing guiding my hands.

I went home and had two bowls of dry Frosted Flakes. I wanted no milk between me and that sugar.

I ate the whole bag of chips, and they were so salty they hurt my mouth. I championed forward.

I washed it all down with a cold beer and a half.

And then I stopped.

I just wanted to let you all know what I did.

I am weak. I am human. I get hungry. Weight loss is hard. I don't want this blog to paint a picture that weight loss is easy and fun. I want to speak truth.

Today I plan to have more rabbit-friendly salad for lunch. And then, likely, cocktails* after work, because my Honey Bee flies home today.

Might as well call me Peter Cocktail. (Get it?)

Keep on keepin' on,
Bailey

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Weight loss diary -- weighing in, squishy stomachs, salads, and sleepiness

I am getting the After Lunch Sleepies so badly this week.
 
Yowsa.
 
Or should I say Yawnsa.
 
It goes like this: I finish eating, do a little reading and/or stitching, and then
 
WHAM!
 
Must. Sleep. Now. For an hour. At least.
 
But of course, being at work, this option is not possible.
 
Blegh.
 
I guess it is at this point that I count one of my blessings regarding the weight loss trail.
 
I like my coffee black.
 
Thus. When I get sleepy after lunch, I can treat myself to a cuppa joe without worrying at all about calories.
 
Woo hoo!
 
***
 
I weighed in last night, and, as I have been for several weeks now, I am hovering about six pounds under my initial weigh-in weight, which was taken on Memorial Day.
 
So, I'm down six pounds. Which is great.
 
But I'm also only down six pounds.
 
***
 
My stomach feels exxxxtra pudgy today.
 
Love handles are like, "Oh, we've got a handle on this! We're gonna just look like giant bulges above Bailey's waist line, sound good?"
 
And the rest of my stomach, the could-be-flat portion is like, "Well if y'all are letting it all go, then I'm gonna loosen the notches on my belt buckle and fly loose today, too."
 
Sigh.
 
Self love, Bailey. Self love. Patience. Nothing happens overnight (except sleep. Ahhh, sleep).
 
***
 
Let's talk about the baller salad I had for lunch today.
  • Spinach
  • Tomato
  • Carrot
  • Peas
  • Yellow bell pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Chicken
  • Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette
It was nom-licious, friends. I mean, it wasn't earth shattering, but I didn't regret it, wishing so much that I was eating something else.
 
I do think I need to switch up salad dressings, though. I was craving something a little more salty/cheesy today, rather than my traditional sour-pinch vinegar flavoring. Alex loves a Cheese Fantastico! dressing, maybe I'll try that.
 
***
 
I don't know if this has much to do with weight loss, but I'm trying to eat my way through the kitchen.
 
The reason there were peas in my salad today was not so much because I thought, "Ah. I should put peas in my salad!" but rather because I opened the freezer, saw peas, and thought, "I should cook those."
 
This weekend I cooked up some frozen corn I found, and I plan to cook up some quinoa soon.
 
Here's to eating in, eating what you already have, and saving money.
 
Oh yeah, and eating better (generally when I eat in, it's healthier than when I eat out)>
 
***
 
One fiiiinal thing, then I'll let y'all go.
 
Today is the official start of half marathon training!
 
My race is in approximately sixteen weeks. Should be a really beautiful course, with some great girlfriends to hang with at the start and finish lines (we've all agreed to go at our own pace throughout the race).
 
The last time I was at the gym was...a while ago, last time I did a swim...also a while ago, and the last time I did intentional exercise was nine days ago, when we did a 3.5-ish mile, very flat hike in Yosemite.
 
Anyway.
 
I remember that the last time I was on the treadmill, I jogged 0.25 miles. So tonight I plan to jog 0.5 miles, walk 2.5. Then, time and energy and interest allowing, I may do some weights before heading home to clean out my car since tomorrow I may be picking Alex up from the airport and I don't want him to see my filthy vehicle.
 
What?
 
Oh nothing.
 
OK, Friends. Back to life.
 
Smooches.
 
Bails