Obsessively Avoiding Obsessions

There’s plenty to be done, but I don’t seem capable of motivating myself to do it. Finally, when I woke up this morning, I put a load of sheets in the washer, a full week after I should have done it. Whether I clean and polish the stove top remains to be seen. Ditto the kitchen counter. At least I’ve kept the bathrooms reasonably clean and sanitary.

When the sun rises, the dust on the hardwood floors will be so obvious that I might be moved to vacuum. But it was obvious yesterday and the day before. I was moved only to use the mini-vac to pick up the more intrusive bits and pieces. And these are only the normal housekeeping matters. Filing paperwork and shredding paper with identifying information remains to be done, along with dozens of other minor, easily doable chores. And the windows are in dire need of cleaning, inside and out when the weather cooperates.  I can hire someone to do that chore, if I get around to it. I’ve never been good at eliminating streaks; windows often look worse after I tackle them than they did before.

I did manage to get to the Post Office again yesterday, where I extracted a bill and several pieces of junk mail from the P.O. box. And I bought gas for the Subaru. So I’m not entirely consumed by slovenliness. A very kind friend generously took the time to scheduled the Subaru for service on my behalf. But I decided yesterday to put it off again for various indefensible reasons. I really could use an injection of energy. Sweet treats won’t do it. I’ve had more than my share of cookies and other such sugar-laden goodies.

It’s not that I’m incapable of coping in a time of sadness. I think I have that under reasonable control most of the time, so I can’t blame grief. I’m just deeply lethargic. I’m retiring early and getting more hours in bed than normal, by a fair amount. I’m not necessarily sleeping all those hours, but at least I’m resting. Now that I think of it, though, maybe I’m spending too many hours in bed. Last night, I was in bed by nine. I got up at five. I was awake between one and three, off and on, but I was in bed for eight hours, which is considerably more than normal for me. I may be thinking my way to a solution for this lazy attitude of mine. Stay awake later and get up earlier. I’ll try that.


I read a few minutes ago that a strong (6.3 magnitude) earthquake struck central Croatia not long ago. A 5.2 magnitude struck yesterday. News reports say the quake was felt throughout the country and in neighboring Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina. My wife and I traveled to Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, along with Montenegro and Slovenia, last year. We spent time in Zagreb while we were in Croatia. I was sorry to read that the earthquake apparently caused widespread damage, though I’ve seen no information about deaths or injuries.


In other reading this morning, I came across an Italian dish that supposedly is among the favorites in the country: cacio e pepe. It consists of three ingredients: goat’s milk cheese (Pecorino, ideally, according to BBC.com), black pepper, and pasta (including lots of starch-infused pasta water). It is said to be very difficult to perfect, but spectacular when perfected. I should avoid pasta if I want to fit in my clothes much longer. Dammit.


Yesterday, while sitting at my computer doing nothing productive, I stumbled across a record of every meal and snack I ate during a nine-week period at the beginning of 2017. I recorded not only every meal and snack, but the approximate number of calories in each, based on the calories in the ingredients. My records were maintained in excruciating detail (for example, a lunch consisting of 1 can kipper snacks; 1 medium tomato; 1 zucchini; 1 jalapeño; and a glass of water, for a total of 226 calories). It appears my plan was to limit my caloric intake to 1,300 calories per day, maximum, with a target of 1,000 calories. My records reveal that I maintained my targets or, at least, my maximum almost the entire 9-week period, with a few notable exceptions when I hit a high of 4,000 calories one day and 1,600-1,700 a few others.

Though I had to prompt myself to remember that endeavor, after I started thinking about it, it all came back to me. I remember the process being interesting to me. It was not terribly difficult to stick to my plan, either. Of course, after 9 weeks I have no idea what I did; I could have started consuming multi-thousand calorie meals. I doubt that I did, but I just do not recall. I think I’ll consider doing something like that again, just to kick-start a healthier food-intake-lifestyle. I do not want to diet. I want to change the way I think about food. I want to look at eating as an attractive challenge: make meals that have the tastes and textures I love but that keep calories, carbohydrates, sugars, and processed ingredients to a minimum. I refuse to become obsessive about it, but I think a Mediterranean food lifestyle makes good sense; based on much of what I’ve read about it.


My shoulders and neck seem to be slowly recovering from the strains I have felt during the past several months. I still feel like my shoulders hide steel cables beneath the skin sometimes, but the cables are loosening, bit by bit. I may yet treat myself to a massage, but not until I have a better sense of how I will need to structure my financial life; that’s a slow process. When I have a handle on that, though, I may put an N-95 mask on and visit a masseuse, assuming I can find an N-95 mask that’s not needed by healthcare workers. I may have to wait for a while.


Whenever I have seen a photo of my wife the last several days, which has been frequent because I have been searching for them on my phone and my computer, I have been overwhelmed by grief. The emotion actually feels like a powerful wave is sweeping over me and I have to fight to stay vertical. I know it will not last, but I’m not sure I want the sensation to fade. Somehow it makes me feel more closely connected to  her. Sadness or grief or whatever combination it is seems both punitive and palliative. I am not sufficiently clear in my thinking or feeling to know just what takes place in my emotional center. It’s a little like a slow-motion tornado, I think; as if I know what a slow-motion tornado would be like.


I want more coffee. Actually, I want a double espresso. I will settle for another cup of coffee.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Obsessively Avoiding Obsessions

  1. Thanks for the hugs. Maybe my lethargy is just part of grieving; I wish it would pass, regardless.

  2. Hopester says:

    Oh, my friend. Gentle hugs across the miles. The lethargy you are feeling can sure be part of the grieving process. I think of you often.

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