These are challenging times for a hypochondriac. The end is always one sneeze away, but the pandemic has made that even more of a challenge. Since the pandemic, I go out in the world, a few days later I’m home and a sore throat, body chills begin. I go get tested. The good news is that there is a testing spot five minutes from my house for free. I wait patiently for the results to come in, and I’m negative.

This scenario transpired over the last few days, but this time my results came back inconclusive. Luckily, my husband tests every Monday and he was negative; his test not his attitude, so we are good.

Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you can’t be successful or happy.

Alan Cohen

When I get sick, the plant-based diet goes out the window. I was craving fried chicken; hey it’s the southern boy in me. I searched for the best-fried chicken place within a few miles. We ended up with more chicken thighs and biscuits than we needed.

Tomorrow is a new day. A day to get back on track, walk more steps, read more and write more. I believe in myself and you.

My husband calls me KING. It’s become our pet name for each other. The other day I got off the scale and rushed into the bedroom and said, “I’m down to 215lbs.”

“KING!” he proclaims and then makes this motion of putting a crown on my head. It’s adorable and just what I need in my life. I need positive self-talk, and the truth is, I know I’m far from a King. But, now, when I get up in the morning, I look in the mirror, and I smile at my reflection, and I say, “You are skinny, Ron!” I repeat it over and over again, and I tell myself how skinny I am. It’s comforting, but it would probably really look strange if anyone else saw it.

“Convince yourself everyday that you are worthy of a good life. Let go of stress, breathe. Stay positive, all is well.”

Germany Kent

The other day, after giving my husband a haircut, he called me King again. I said, “Do most kings cut hair? Do most kings have to cook dinner?” I like to joke around that I’m a King/Barber/Chef/Garbage taker outer. Most Kings are more than just Kings, but I imagine them sitting on the throne and having beautiful people bringing them grapes and feeding them to them one at a time. I don’t imagine kings have to set their alarm for 5:15 am to be at their computers for work. I imagine that they can lay in bed as long as they want, and as soon as they get out of bed, there is a manservant (I’m, of course, a gay King), there to lay the King’s slippers out. I imagine a king has an entourage, and if they want bonbons or even that spicy chicken sandwich from Popeyes, they don’t have to wait. It’s just right there waiting for them.

I’m not a King to the rest of the world, just my husband, and that is fine. The truth is that the stress of expectations with being a King would be too much for me. But, it’s nice to be called it. I hope you find a husband, wife, dog, cat, whatever you want who is kind enough to make you feel like a King or Queen every day. We all deserve that.

I’m feeling very nostalgic, melancholy lately; it happens to me on Sunday mornings. I wake up, my husband goes to church, I light a candle, read a book, and get lost in my thoughts. I’m sure people wonder why I don’t go to church with my husband, and the truth is that spirituality is different for me. It’s a peaceful, introverted thing. It’s coffee, thoughts, candles on a gloomy Sunday. Let me be clear, the gloom is outside; it’s not in my heart. I feel more alive, more clear than I have in years.

If there is one thing I’ve learned with age is that we have a choice. This may be simplified, it may be too idealistic for you, but it works for me. We do have a choice with how we see things. We can constantly be bogged down by how miserable our lives are. I can easily say, ‘my life sucks; I have very little money, no savings, etc.’

Or I can change the narrative, ‘I have a good job, a husband that loves me, I’m discovering how to take care of myself, a passion for food, for discovering good things in life.’

True freedom is understanding that we have a choice in who and what we allow to have power over us.

Meryl Streep.

Both of those are true, but if I live in the first narrative and not the second, my life will continue to seem bleak, harsh, etc.

I’ve been working hard on myself; okay, we don’t need to talk about my drunken night in West Hollywood on Thursday; I can’t be perfect all the time. Each day I wake up and write a quote down, I do my morning videos (you can find them on Tik Tok under the name @yourbestieron.) I try to walk at least 8k steps a day, drink water, and eat as close to plant-based as possible. My sugar is down, my weight is down, my life is getting better. I don’t have it all figured out, but I know that making consistent steps each day helps.

True freedom is also realizing that everything is temporary. This job, this apartment, these clothes, they are all temporary. Your life can, and does, change in an instant. You never know what is next; we can plan, but the truth is nothing is promised, and no matter how much you plan for something, things change.

My wish for you this Sunday morning is that you choose your own freedom, and that is peace and positivity.

I’ve thought a lot recently about meditation, about just sitting and being. With my cell phone constantly at my side, it’s complicated. The way my anxious mind works, I need to be by my phone. I don’t want to miss anything. A call about work, a call about a loved one, a call from a friend: I don’t know, my brain makes up many different reasons why I’ll get a call. The truth is, I get very few calls or messages that need to be dealt with right away. I know that part of my nervous system is shot; like that woman at the homeopathic pharmacy told me, I don’t ever let myself rest.

My husband goes to church on Sundays, and I often say that I use that time for spiritual reasons, reading a book, writing, etc. The truth is, I usually use that time on Tik Tok, Facebook, or Twitter. I’m addicted to my phone. So, today I decided that I’d try something new. I love to read, but I don’t have the concentration to do it these days. Since my husband is at church, and I know he doesn’t have his phone on, I hate to imagine the shame his reverend would make him feel if his phone rang during service. I knew I could turn my phone off for an hour, and it would be okay. I told myself, ‘self, you are going to turn your phone off for an hour, read your kindle and not look at your Fitbit until Alexa goes off and tells you the hour is up.’ I circled up with a brand new book by Matt Haig called ‘The Comfort Book,’ it’s a book about life; it’s self-described as messy, and I read sixty percent of it in the hour.

I loved reading when I was a child; I could get lost in a used book store for hours. Books are the gateway to the world, I believe, and every year I say I’m going to read more than I have ever read before, but I rarely do it. The hour went by, I did get up once to use the restroom and make another cup of coffee, but I was amazed how much time an uninterrupted hour is. I want to do it once a day; I need to find the time where I turn everything off but my kindle or an actual book and just read. As much as reading isn’t pure silence, there is something meditative about it, I found myself taking many deep breaths while I was reading, and once I let myself chill, I enjoyed it.

So, turn your phone off, the world will go on!

One of our friends told us that they have free coffee in the clubhouse and we should check it out. At 9:30 A.M., stumbling and blurry-eyed, we walked out of our apartment, masked up, of course, and walked to the clubhouse. First, I know it sounds very bougie that we live in a place that has a clubhouse, but I don’t consider myself that bougie. I’m a bougie wannabe. I’m a bougie without the wallet to back it up. I’m a fake bougie. We got to the clubhouse, and the door was locked, someone let us in, and we asked if there was coffee. They pointed us to the coffee machine, ‘over there’, they said, and then walked away. It felt like we were a nuisance. I put my coffee yeti on the bottom and read the instructions. Then I saw that it said that the trashbin needed to be emptied. A maintenance guy walked in at the same time. We said, ‘sir’ about three times before he would answer us. Finally, as he walked up the stairs, he responded by saying ‘it doesn’t work’ and walked away.

On the way home, my husband and I said good morning to two of the cleaning crew, and neither acknowledged us. I haven’t just noticed it here though, I see it everywhere. I feel like people are just tired and don’t care anymore, and it’s very frustrating.

It doesn’t take much to be kind, to say hello to someone when you walk by them. To nod your head, open the door, be friendly. Listen, here is the thing that irks me the most, you are at work; any job that where you come in contact with people is a customer service job. It should be part of your job to be friendly to people. It should be the number one thing that you teach your staff—a pre-requisite. Like before you get promoted to being around a customer, you have to take a friendly test.

Maybe I’m overreacting. I’ve been in customer service my whole life, and I get it. There are days when I’m not happy, and I don’t want to be friendly to people, but we are all put here on this planet, and we should do the best we can to make it as pleasant of an experience as possible.

Thank you for coming to my Saturday morning Ted Talk. Now go out in the world and be friendly, damnit!

I’ve discovered that going on a walk during lunchtime is the best thing for me. It makes me do it; it also gives me more pool time later in the day. I need to schedule it from now on, which I’m going to do. It’s easier now that my husband is out of the house during the week right now. So, I eat lunch at my desk around 11 am and then go for an hour’s walk with my friend Karen at noon.

Now I need my blood sugar to step up and do the right thing. I’ve been careful about my eating, so I’m not sure why it’s been bad this week. Now, when I say bad, I mean not under 120. My average for the day today was 160, which is not great. But, I will get there. I have faith.

I didn’t want to turn this blog into me talking every day about much blood sugar and health, but there are days that it will happen. I need to spend this year learning to take care of myself, including this kind of venting. As long as I get myself into a routine, I’ll be good.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night again; I think I will test my blood sugar tonight if that happens and see what it is like. Maybe that will help me figure this out.

Okay, till tomorrow!

You need to get a partner who will rub your feet at the end of the day. It’s those simple things that make life special. No matter the lack of sleep, moody or exhausted I get, I always have that at the end of the day; for that, I am grateful.

Also, push yourself. My Fitbit said that I had like five and a half hours of sleep last night. I was miserable this morning, but I forced myself to walk during lunch, and it rejuvenated me. My sugar was high this morning, over two hundred again, but I got it down to one hundred and fifteen this afternoon.

We got this.

I was listening to a podcast with Tim Ferriss and Anne Lamott this morning, and she said, ‘when I was a child, I held my breath.’ It triggered me. She was talking about how her generation, and maybe mine, were raised. We held our breaths. Maybe it is why we have anxious adults?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better at breathing, or at least I think I have. When a moment of stress happens, if I take a deep breath, it alleviates things. I know when I’m lying in bed, my mind racing about the monster underneath the bed or what I have to do tomorrow, if I take a deep breath, it will subside. You are taught when you meditate, which I don’t do enough, to focus on the breath. But, in my world, silence is difficult. Silence brings in self-doubt, disappointment, and pain. My brain is rarely silent. I am working on it.

This morning I wrote down, ‘being afraid of being a disappointment made me a disappointment to myself.’ Isn’t that one of the most depressing things you’ve ever heard? If you don’t have yourself, who the hell do you have? If you’re a disappointment to yourself, how are you not to other people?

Today Simone Biles, the greatest of all time, backed out of the team Olympics competition in gymnastics to take care of herself. All-day, I’ve heard this news without actually watching and seeing what was going on. I’m not going to lie; I was chatting with my husband, making jokes about it. How could someone whose ultimate dream was to be at the Olympics make that decision? It did not make sense to me. When I was a kid, I held my breath. Then I saw her do the vault. I saw her lose herself in it and realized how dangerous it could have been having she gone on. I realized that she was fighting for her breath. Things are changing. We are allowed to breathe now. We are now allowed to say we are not okay. We are allowed to breathe.

I guess what I’m saying is, don’t hold your fucking breath anymore. Allow yourself to breathe. Allow yourself to take care of yourself. Thank god things are different now.

Tylenol PM is by my side, poised and ready to assist in a sleep unlike I was able to obtain last night. I have struggle days, and today was one of them. I woke every two hours or so to use the restroom last night; I think I may have given too much trust to the homeopathic pharmacy I visited in Santa Monica last Friday. I have not had a good night’s sleep in many nights. I woke this morning to a blood sugar reading higher than it has been in weeks, surprising because, while I did eat two big keto waffles yesterday, I still stayed within my boundaries. There is no reason I can think of that my sugar should have read higher than two hundred. I was able to get it down one hundred points by the time I ate lunch today.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher.

My Monday mood swings have not been fun. I woke up panicked, sweating, exhausted. I pushed the couch pillows aside at noon, ignored my phone, and took a 20-minute nap before making tuna salad stuffed inside of green pepper. By the time the afternoon came, I had missed my husband something fierce and was ready to board a plane to anywhere because he’s stuck on jury duty for another month or so. It’s hard to all of a sudden lose your lunch partner, who also happens to be your life partner.

I’m trying something new tonight; I made dinner early, we ate at the blue plate special hour, five-thirty. I’m cutting off the drinking water, except for the little bit I’ll put in my mouth to take the Tylenol PM, with hopes that I’m counting cute Olympic divers in my head by 9 pm. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve said ‘the way my back is set up’ while watching the Olympics this year. I don’t know how these athletes do it. Most days, tying my shoes is difficult. Thanks to the pandemic, though, I haven’t had to put on socks and shoes very often.

If you’re reading this, you’ve made it through the day. We are courageous because we did it. Until tomorrow, my friends!

I should start by saying that I’m hoping to create a new writing habit, where I write every day. I should also say that I usually fail one thousand percent at them when I state goals like that. I thought about just writing and not even talking about writing, but here I am. And, if you want to be the next David Sedaris, well, you can’t do that by sitting on the couch watching ’90 Day Fiance’ and the million iterations that are of it. You have to write, right?

Yesterday, my husband, our niece, and my sisters-in-law went to Temecula. If you’re not from the LA area, you probably don’t even know what that is; I sure didn’t before I moved here. It’s like Napa but without the drive, and probably without the amazing wine. I’ve never been to Napa, so I can’t honestly say. Since I spoke about anxiety yesterday, let me tell you, this trip has made me anxious all week. The truth is, I think I may have been the person that initiated it. It’s always a good idea in my head, and then when I start thinking about it, I think about the sugar count in grapes, how I’m going to want to stop off and get the sourdough brie bowl that is pure heaven but also would put me in heaven, if you catch my drift.

The night before our trip, my sister-in-law sent out a menu to our Facebook messenger group for an Italian restaurant. I almost lost it, although I hopefully didn’t let on too much. But, at that moment I wanted to cancel the trip. I took a deep breath and wrote that the menu didn’t work for me. They were respectful, and we kept searching. We finally did land on a place that I thought could work. The truth is I can make any restaurant work with a keto diet, but it’s the fact that pasta is so close that gives me a panic attack.

Our niece lives in the building next to ours, at least for the next month, she just turned 21, and although her Aunties had experienced Temecula with her, her G’uncles had not. I love the term G’uncles. Everyone needs a G’uncle in their lives, don’t they?

A few things happen when you get closer to Temecula, the traffic backs up on the highway, and you see people parachuting; I imagine out of planes, but I’m not sure where they came from. All I know is that we looked up, and there twenty or so parachutes. I have a few reactions when I see people parachuting. The first is, why do they want to die? Second, is there a weight limit? Cause I’m not sure I’d pass it, and I’d have to have someone steer it for me. I am the guy that tried one of those Bird things out and immediately hit a car. I’m not trusting myself with a parachute. Knowing my luck, I’d steer right into oncoming traffic, and that would be the end of, well, me. This reminds me of when I was a child, we went skiing, and I let go of the tow rope and proceeded to get battered by the people behind me. I never skied again. At least I’m wiser now and know that I should never start parachuting.

We stopped to eat at a place called ‘The Broken Yolk Cafe.’ It’s always reliable, and when you get older, you realize the importance of reliability. I got an omelet with bacon, tomato, mushroom, cheese, and a side of fruit. Phew, one meal down.

We went to the wineries, drank, and then drank some more. The wine was delicious, the weather hot. Then we went to a new winery called Akash. I should say new to us. It had a young, hip vibe, like someplace that you want to be seen. Let’s be clear; I always want to be seen but not spoken to. My husband was at the bar, and this woman, whose sexual preferences were clear, looked over at him and said, ‘are you all a couple?’ They talked and learned that she was engaged to her fiance, and they were getting married in 2024 in Italy. And, well, as I said before, I wouldn’t say I like to talk too much; we did decide to go over to them and chat. I’ve never been to Italy, and I wanted an invite. Quickly, we learned that the lesbian couple next to them, whom they’d been friends with for years, was not even invited to their wedding. We did get their phone number, so I still have hope of an invite, and we have three years to work on it.

The night ended with our dinner reservations at a place called ‘Blackbird.’ Their menu was decent, and at this point, I’d imbibed too much, so I was starving, even after buying the tiny thirty-dollar cheese tray from Akash. We ordered the Brussel sprouts, Korean potstickers, and short rib fries. The sprouts took the prize with the appetizers. And, even though I let myself go, I ordered a burger with a side salad and wrapped in lettuce. I wish I had taken a picture of this disaster. No attempt was made to wrap the burger, they served fries with my burger, and I had to ask for a side salad. I distributed my fries to my other table mates. The salad dressing was bitter, and I was frustrated by the time the night was done. Here is the thing, I don’t ask for a side salad because I actually would prefer to eat a side salad. I ask for it because I shouldn’t eat the fries. When you bring it out with the fries on the plate, you may not think it’s a big deal, but I do.

We sobered up, drove home, and I took my blood sugar, and it was one hundred and sixty-five. On other trips to Temecula, where I’ve indulged, it’s been over two hundred, so I consider this a win.

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