-Two LaCroix lime sparkling waters (less water since I was driving all day)
-Organic coffee with cream
-McDonald’s half cut coffee with half n’ half
-McDonald’s sausage patty with cheese (bad cheese) no bun
-One 14 oz. T-Bone steak (I think it amounted to no more than 12 ounces meat)
-One small chicken thigh
Observations: It was a nice trip north back to camp yesterday, though you can see my menu wasn’t ideal. The color is mostly gone except here at camp where a beautiful maple outside my bedroom window still has leaves. It always seems my trees are the last to lose their leaves–as if they hang on just for me, as if they know my love for the fall. I can smell the woodstove downstairs as I write this and notice it’s another gloomy, drizzly day, something that today feels restful. I check Wunderground and see snow is still off at least another ten days–though that can change here in Michigan’s U.P.
I sip coffee–a brand of organic I haven’t tried. It doesn’t taste the best, though–maybe slightly too weak, different flavor. I wonder if John Gierach (the fishing guru) is right: coffee and whiskey taste better out of a tin cup. I so notice coffee always tastes better out of my stainless travel mug, so maybe I haven’t given this brand a fair shot.
It has been an especially nice few days since for once my brother is driving my dad (who has Parkinson’s) to Florida. Nice not to have that duty. I worry about him full time so to have someone else with him for a total of six days or so means I can relax a little bit. He will be 87 Nov. 27 and has Parkinson’s and heart issues. He is still living on his own, though he has gotten turned around driving several times lately (a person with a dead sense of reckoning) and that signals to me this may be his last year in Mount Dora, Florida alone. He stays in a fifth wheel down there but is four hours from my brother’s winter spot in Naples. And we only go down for a month in March in our small trailer. I think the neighbors think I am a bad daughter–I take care of him for every health procedure, stay until he seems ok, go to doctor’s appointments because he gets confused about what doctors say. Talk to him daily, remind him of appointments. He gets dizzy from a combo of too much blood pressure meds, Parkinson’s meds, and the disease itself, and uses a cane for balance since Parkinson’s, that thief, has taken away much coordination. He loved to boat more than anything and had to give that up very early in life. So I think the neighbors talk. But they don’t understand: Taking away his independence will be a death sentence to someone like him. I am prepared to give him quality of life even if it means he doesn’t live as long, but I do worry he might hurt someone else and think this year might be the last he should drive.
I adore my father and the last few years have been brutal watching him struggle. But for six days I have a reprieve. Just my son with Downs to care for.
I sit here thinking about my upcoming novel research on dreams. I plan to work in front of the woodstove today. And I think about my last book. I usually write literary fiction, though my last project was a woodfire cookbook/memoir thing. Wayne State University, who published my last book of linked stories, has had it for months and not given me an answer despite several emails to prod them. The publishing business is not for the faint of heart.
Diet observations: A couple things I haven’t talked about much. Sleep and energy are noticeably different on a Carnivore Diet. I’m not sure if I should capitalize that since it hasn’t yet gotten much acceptance as an actual diet, like Ketogenic Diet. But there is a noticeable difference in sleep. At times, I fall asleep easier, yet sometimes sleep a bit less and wake up MUCH easier. More refreshed. I’ve had trouble getting to sleep and waking up, all my life.
Another observation: my eyelashes seem to be growing back. I had such thick, long eyelashes as a young woman that they hit sunglasses when I wore them. They are not doing that yet, but they are definitely more lush. I was worried about my hair, but I don’t think that will be a concern here.
I have lost two pounds. That may not seem like much, but I had been on the Ketogenic Diet for three months and had already lost 15 pounds. I am down to my last 5-8 pounds, so losing two of that feels pretty good. I weigh 118 on my scales in the morning, naked, which translates into 123 on my doctor’s scales with clothes. I am a very small person, so I do not look skinny. My clothes are getting loose (luckily I have some small ones around). I notice my face is slightly more shapely and there is a bit more tone to my neck/jaw. If I lose another 3-5 pounds by the end of November, I’ll be very happy.
I’m not hungry much, but when I am, I crave steak. Chicken doesn’t sound that good. Lamb and pork are ok, ground beef. I have less craving for shrimp and smoked oysters than usual, but I eat them for nutrients. Today I will try to get some sardines down, I think, for calcium. I need to buy some grass fed liver and work that into a meatloaf once a week–I hate liver.
As I write, the smell of beef broth simmering mixes with that of the woodstove, and it feels good to be back at camp. (Camp, never cabin, here in the U.P.) This is a full time home, though we close it two-three months after the holidays and hang at our apartments or try to get away a month south.
People sometimes assume we have a lot of money living off the grid on 35 acres and a trout stream, but we spent (even with remodeling) only $150K on this industrial camp I made out of a large garage. That is less than most people spend on a house. We are semi-retired, having lost money on our rental property during the housing crash. So my husband is downstate sometimes weeks at a time tending to our apartment complex and building a few decks on the side. I have stopped teaching at the university because it is too much taking care of my son and father and I don’t make much writing.
We will add a sauna to the camp this spring, and after that a downstairs bedroom with a copper wall, a whole wall of bookshelves, another loft, a woodstove, and another bathroom–all open on the north to the woods. Right now, with a downstairs sleeping loft, we can sleep eight; the bedroom with allow us to sleep ten, but some of it will still be bunk style. Most days outside you can hear nothing but the wind and sometimes not even that. If the creek is up, you hear that gurgle a bit. There are people building across my tributary, though, something I hope is not a full-time home since the sound carries down the ravine.
I’ve been spoiled.
I’ll post more pictures of life off the grid soon. Energy– mine as far as my physical body and what it takes to run the world here–are passions of mine. One cannot exist without the other…
Dreams: I was herding cats last night. Literally. Well, not just cats, dogs, too. I was trying to keep them both in this house, and the cat would not cooperate until I said, “Ok, go out in the rain” at which point the cat, who looked like my son’s girlfriend’s cat, Pickle, decided to at least stand in the doorway, not in and not out. The cat was medium-sized, black and white calico. My favorite breed of cat since I’m not really a cat person. The dogs were a bit more helpful, though I can’t remember now what they looked like.
Earlier, there was some mix-up with a contractor who was supposed to be working for us. I was apologizing, writing him a check, and hoping he would continue the work. I can’t remember more details.
Earlier yet, I vaguely remember a dream about my writing, being asked to read. It’s been a while since I did that, but that was earlier in the night and I can’t remember much about it.
Still, nothing of my mother and grandmother, whom I’m trying to invoke. Lucid dreaming. I will not give up…