A Fork in the Road (heh)

Fork-stuck-in-road

As last weekend, I’ve moved away from Bright Line Eating in favor of Intuitive Eating. I suppose I was successful in BLE, but the biggest issue for me is the focus on weight loss as a primary goal. I was trying it out to see if it fit, but I just can’t put all my energy into trying to reach a goal that may not be right for me and that overrules my body’s own wisdom. Every body is different. I’m not comfortable celebrating every pound lost, or decrying every pound gained. My body may be happy at the weight I am right now, it may be happy 100 pound lighter. It’s impossible for me to say with any certainty what number on the scale is perfect for me. I am not willing to struggle every day and base my sense of worth on a number that’s not right for me.

I am glad I did the BLE thing. There were some things that worked well for me, or that helped me, like:

  1. I remembered I like vegetables, fruit and whole foods. I really liked what I was eating on BLE. I was never hungry and felt like the combination of foods was good for me. The problem I was having was that I had to sometimes had to force myself to eat all my vegetables and wanted more fat. There were times I tried to forget about what I was eating just to finish a meal.
  2. I’m not bingeing. I’m not eating certain foods that trigger me, like pasta, bread, nuts, sugar,  etc. Right now, even trying to lift restrictions, I’m not really drawn to those foods. It’s almost like the time I was on BLE helped me cleanse my palate.
  3. Weighing my meals helped me understand what portions were good for me, although I don’t think eating exactly the same amount at every meal would work long term. It made me feel good, though that I knew I could eat X amount, but it also allowed me to check out of my body.

What I didn’t like was the focus on weight loss above all else. I see so many women who put off their life until they can reach their “goal weight.” How do we really know what our goal weight should be? Science has only speculation about how much each individual should weigh, or what size they should be. There’s a lot of problems with the BMI, that using it as a goal seems misguided. People were designed to be different shapes and sizes and telling every they’re not successful until they are thin is setting them up for failure and a miserable life.

I understand that for some, their eating is so disordered, they feel they need the structure of a plan like OA or BLE to help them feel sane around food. Any plan can give someone an anchor in life. It’s tempting to give over your will in the area of food to someone else. Alan Lebinovitz says what I’ve always said, that diets are like religion in a lot of ways. “There’s something comforting about picking a plan out of the chaos and sticking with it. ” 

Something I find interesting is that as I move away from a structured eating plan, I’m attracted to meditation and even ritual. Maybe I was looking for the spiritual in places where it shouldn’t  be (diets) and now am looking for it where it actually belongs (spirituality).

My question going forward is, if intuitive eating is my goal, can I also avoid sugar and flour because of the way it makes me feel? I think the answer is yes, as long as I take care to watch myself and any cravings that might come up. I also will guard against being too stringent about what I eat. If I really want something, I will allow myself to have it and be happy about it. Perhaps I will embark on the challenge Lebinovitz suggests:

Don’t read anything about nutrition or health for 30 days…Don’t visit the blogs, don’t click the headlines, don’t even read food labels. Instead, focus on preparing foods for yourself that make you feel good and that you enjoy.

Maybe I also turn off the support groups for a while and just live my life for a while and see what happens.

Advertisements

You Look Great!

youareenoughI never know how to answer this statement. I usually just say, “Thanks, I feel great.” I know they notice a change in my appearance and they’re trying to be supportive. The problem is that the reason I am making a change in my life has little to do with how I look.

Some people have personal struggles that are not visible to the naked eye. Smokers, drinkers, gamblers, and people with depression and/or anxiety can walk among us and no one is the wiser. No one stops them in the street and says, “You looks great! How did you stop your porn addiction?” Yet, if I lose 30 pounds, people feel they can ask how I did it and even argue with me about my methods.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not immune to compliments. There’s most definitely a part of me that wants to be pretty, wants to be admired. There’s a part of me that buys into the idea that if I’m deemed close enough to the ideal of beauty for my culture, that my life will be better. Part of me still thinks my main goal should be to mold my appearance to closely resemble whatever ideal is currently in fashion. “You look great!” translates to “Congratulations for getting nearer to acceptability in eyes of the culture.”

What do I care about my proximity to the ideal of beauty? How will it benefit me? I am 57 and married to someone who has loved me at many sizes, hairstyles and fashion choices. I have a career where my appearance does not generally play into my advancement. Sure, at some level, being seen as professional and having some level of care for your appearance could affect how people accept or reject my ideas, but looking like a supermodel might even be a detriment in my field. If I got to be what is considered a “normal” weight, no one is going to give me a medal, a tiara (I already have one), or a big bag of cash. So, why do I feel like I need to measure myself against a ridiculous ideal?

Knowing the truth about how our culture objectifies women and holds them up to ridiculous standards helps some. Letting go bit by bit of the expectations I have put on myself, then letting them go again is also helpful. Being comfortable in my skin, regardless of its size is something I can do, not only for myself, but for my students and whomever I come into contact with. I’m worthy as a size 24. I’m worthy as a size 12. I deserve to have opinions and express them. I’m worthy of expressing myself in words or art; of making my opinions known without apology. I’m not better or worse than anyone else, because of the size of my body.

My phone sent me a message through a meditation app yesterday.  I scribbled it down quickly. It said:

Acceptance is not about grand gestures or heroic struggles. It’s about a very gentle, very quiet letting go of resistance.

Yup. That’s right. Friday, I put away my scale. I had 2 glasses of wine and stopped. Saturday, I went out with friends and had 2 gin and tonics and didn’t want more. Yesterday, I measured my meals, but didn’t eat more or less than I wanted to. I’m going to transition to mindful eating. I may measure weekday meals, but I’ll also eat things off my plan if I really want them. I’ll still be eating whole foods, but I’m going to let go of restrictions. I’m reading DaNelle Wolford’s book about traditional foods, which harks back to my Weston-Price days. We’ll see how it goes. Here are some things I know:

  1. My self-worth is not tied to a number on a scale.
  2. Food is not the enemy.
  3. I can trust my body to lead me to health.
  4. Acceptance is key.

Trust, acceptance, peace, gratitude, enjoyment, and I look great, today and every day!

 

 

In Which We Fall Down a Rabbit Hole and End Up Where We Started, Pretty Much

 

Thought Experiment

What if our culture did not judge women (or anyone) by their size, shape or appearance? What if weight was a neutral descriptor? What if being obese were akin to having a skin condition or a disease like MS and wasn’t seen as a moral failing? How would that affect how we care for ourselves with food and exercise? Would we naturally be a size, shape and weight that was healthy for us, or would we “let ourselves go,” eat crap all day, and play video games? What if my goal weight was the weight I am at every moment? Yay, me! I’m at goal weight!

It’s difficult or impossible to imagine what our culture would be like without the constant nagging to become this or that, to eat this or that, to exercise this way or that way. Weight discrimination is definitely a thing. The upshot is that weight discrimination can make us feel worse about ourselves, which can lead us to be more stressed, which ups our cortisol, and also may lead us to eat for emotional reasons. What if that were removed and we could look at obesity as a side effect to see what we can do to live healthier? Or, what if we removed the term obesity entirely and only looked at the emotional and dietary issues that would make us happiest?

Confusion Reigns Supreme

There is so much conflicting information out there about diet that it’s hard to separate the BS from the egregiously, heinous BS. For decades or more, we’ve been told to eat less and exercise more and if we don’t, then we’re morally bankrupt and deserve what we get. There have been some dissenting views, mostly aimed at macro-nutrients. Susan Powter and Dean Ornish and others thought low fat was the key, while Atkins followers eat bacon and butter, but eschew the dreaded carb. Everyone seems to agree that highly processed foods are not healthy. There’s no junk food diet- (no, wait, there is!). There’s those who believe obesity is the result of a lack of willpower, some say it’s a psychological problem or addition, others think it’s due to hormones, but may disagree upon which hormone is the culprit. (Estrogen, leptin, dopamine, insulin, oh, my!) This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what’s out there and there are so many people willing to take people’s money with the promise of thinness with no pain. The Diet Industry, and now The Not a Diet Industry makes money hand over fist and people are still obese. There are those who give up trying to lose weight and argue that losing weight is not important. Almost everyone who loses weight gains it back, so why try? Why not be happy that you have a body at all? Why not exult in the body you have?

Today’s Rabbit Hole

As I’ve outlined in my previous blogs, I’ve tried just about every one of the above and more. Not a one has led me to the promised land of thinness and self-acceptance. The rabbit hole I fell down today I tumbled into after reading part of Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat. What he says in the first half makes sense, but I wanted to see what others have to say about his ideas. Of course, it turns out that there’s disagreement with his conclusions. I saw a conversation between him and Susan Pierce Thompson. Their biggest area of disagreement is the inclusion of grains and fruit. Bright Line Eating allows grain and fruit, Taubes’ plan does not. They both came off to me as wanting to sell their own product. I kept looking and went back to my old friend Matt Stone of 180 Degree Health. Matt Stone is the one who convinced me to stop my Weston-Price way of eating and that led me to nihilism and weight gain. Yay! Anyway, he is not a fan of Taubes and is a fan of Stephen Guyenet. Guyenet believes that the palatability of food is important. If food is too rewarding, we’ll eat too much of it.

The Bottom Line

There is a lot of research and a lot of snake oil out there, but no one really knows why some people are bigger than others. It could be gut biomes, hormonal reactions to macro-nutrients, psychological issues, genetics, or some combination of it all. Arguments are heated on all sides and many people are cashing in on the confusion. Maybe some day, we’ll have a pill that fixes all the hormonal and gut biome stuff and our bodies will naturally seek out the foods that our bodies need at any particular moment and we’ll eat what we need and no more. In the meantime, what do we do?

I’m working out what works for me. I don’t want to eat junk food, and I don’t want to eat mass amounts of butter and bacon. For now, I’m okay with following a measured meal plan, as long as the food tastes good, but I’m considering allowing for feast days to make and eat delicious food with no restrictions except that I eat mindfully. I may never become what people consider thin with this approach. My goal is not thin; my goal is a rich, happy, peaceful life.

Long-term and Short-term Thinking (plus a mini-story)

woodcut-1
This is a woodcut print I made. I’ve always loved dark trees against a beautiful sky. This reminds me of the idea of looking at the present and the future, ground and background.

I’m currently teaching Big History, where we teach kids to take a macroscopic view of history. We zoom way back and are able to see the trends and big ideas that have shaped our history. That means we often can’t focus on details. Sometimes, we have to zoom in to see how the microscopic view fits with the macroscopic.

Yet, sometimes thinking about the macro can be personally difficult, when I think about long-term changes. How can I live without ever having a piece of cake, or macaroni and cheese? Impossible! I can’t conceive of it! As 12-steppers say, one day at a time. I won’t eat macaroni today. No problem. I can do that.

On the other hand, being in the moment all the time is just not possible. I need to see the long-term, knowing that macaroni today is not as important as health in 20 years. Progress can be slow, but 20 years of not eating macaroni (or whatever) today leads to my goal of a healthy future. I need to be able to hold both eternity and this moment simultaneously. Quite a trick!

The same holds true for weight loss. If I think about how much weight I have to lose, I can get discouraged. I can begin to hate the body I’m in. If I think about today, and being grateful for the progress I’ve made, and if I focus on caring for myself today, the weight takes care of itself. Having a goal weight seems counter-productive to me, personally. There may come a time when the combination of heredity and history stop my body from losing weight. How do I know what number on the scale is perfect for me? There are tons of people (most of them trying to sell a weight-loss product) who will tell you the number you should be, but I don’t trust them. The prevailing culture looks at it like this: I am overweight and therefor ugly. I am unacceptable, so I must punish myself through deprivation and torturous exercise until I am acceptable. Then, I will be happy and can rejoin society as a full member. It’s no wonder hardly anyone loses weight and keeps it off!

Body acceptance for me has the same sorts of conflicts to be reconciled. If I reject that I don’t have to lose weight in order to accept myself, does that mean I should never try to eat better or have weight loss as part of my goal? I appreciate and applaud the work people in the Fat Acceptance movement have done and continue to do. Being able to accept and esteem myself no matter my size, or health condition can actually free me to take better care of myself, eat better and lose weight. There’s a fine line I have to walk, though. To reject the notion that I have to change to be acceptable yet also changing to be happier and healthier is not always easy. The trick is balance.  Mad ninja thought-skills! Crazy Jedi mind tricks!

Mini-Story

Mousie Moon Dance
This is not an illustration from the story. There is one somewhere. I’ll post it when I find it.

This is a story I came up with many decades ago. I probably have it written down somewhere, but probably not. This is a shortened version of it. I may go back some day and refine it, but maybe not.

Betilda was the biggest, brawniest bear in the forest. She was fearsome, when protecting herself and anyone she loved from harm. She was not a bear to be trifled with. Unfortunately, as magnificent as she was, she was not happy with being the biggest and strongest. She wanted to be dainty and delicate; she wanted to be a butterfly. She loved how tiny and fragile they were and longed to be dainty and delicate herself. She spent hours watching them fly and flutter. She practiced her flitting to and fro, in the daintiest manner she could muster, but she always ended up falling on her ample rump. Although her friends tried to convince her she was perfect the way she was, she just couldn’t accept it. She wanted to be a butterfly. She was convinced there must be a way.

She first consulted the wisest creature she knew, the oldest owl in the forest. She carefully climbed to the top of the oldest tree. Very quietly and respectfully, she asked Owl what she should do. He laughed at her and told her she was foolish and should forget about it. “You are what you are,” he said, “be happy with it.” She said she was determined, so old owl told her she might try to find the old tortoise, if she was still alive.

Betilda searched high and low and finally found Turtle, nestled in a damp hollow. At first, she seemed dead, but Betilda discovered she was merely slow, so she settled in and talked slowly and gently. She told turtle how much she wanted to be a butterfly. At first, Turtle laughed, but when she saw Betilda’s face, so full of pain and longing, she softened. She told Betilda that she could try appealing to the bear Goddess for help.

Betilda knew Hibernation Eve was approaching, the most holy day in the bear year, and Betilda was fllled with hope. She gathered together offerings: a bit of pretty pottery, some pure white stones and the tastiest fall leaves and berries. She climbed the highest hill and when the full moon rose, she raised her huge arms towards the stars and prayed. Her prayer turned into a graceful dance. Betilda expressed all her longing to the Goddess until she was exhausted. Afterwards, she went to her cave, hopeful of a transformation.

While she slept, Betilda dreamed the Goddess came to her. The Goddess took her in her strong bear arms and comforted her, wiping away her pain and tears. Betilda felt the strength and power of the Goddess. The Goddess rocked her and told her that she was already graceful and beautiful, just as she was. She told her to remember how gently she talked to the owl and turtle, how loving she was with her friends, and how delicate her feelings were for them. Betilda began to feel how powerful she was as she was, and how full of what she had hoped to feel as a butterfly: grace, care, and beauty. She went back into a deeper sleep, happy and content to be a bear.

Betilda woke from her hibernation, finally content to be a bear. She crawled from her den and stretched luxuriously. She stretched her arms, then her legs, then her back, then her wings. WINGS!? Yes, Betilda saw that she had woken with beautiful, butterfly wings on her strong back. She stretched them and practiced moving them gently. Then she stood on an old log, flapped and took off into the dawn light. As she soared, she heard the voice of the Goddess say, “It’s important to be happy with who you are, and wonderful to become what you dream.”

The End

 

The Present: The Pebble Path and the Cave

I’m a huge fan of fairy tales. Not the Disney-fied ones where everything is neat, tidy and clean, but the dark scary ones. In one of my favorites, Hansel and Gretel, the children gather white pebbles to lay down so they can find their way home again. I love the image of finding my way by the clues left behind. Hansel and Gretel laid their own pebbles, returning them to a home that was not pleasant.  I like to think that for me, the pebbles represent clues laid for me by someone else, not literally, but metaphorically. It’s a metaphor for my own journey through this issue of weight and size. Along with me on my journey are two figures: a frightened child who wants everyone to be happy and wants to do what’s right; and a punk teenager who doesn’t care what anyone thinks and would much prefer that you, society and any authority figure just eff off. I am doing my best to give both of these companions what they want. I try to reassure the child that she’s doing the right thing and I try to reassure the punk that what we’re doing is awesomely radical and flips the bird at convention. The white pebbels show me a path my conscious mind would never be able to figure out.

After my mother died in 2010, I knew I had to do something to take care of myself better, but didn’t know what. I decided to trust my instincts and look for the pebble path through the dark forest. The way forward might be obscured by trees, but my next step is clear, so I move forward. After wandering this path, I have come to some conclusions:

  1. Diets Don’t Work. Any temporary deprivation only leads to bingeing once the diet period is over. The way the diet industry has fooled us and taken our money should be a crime.
  2. The Obesity Crisis Has Been Overstated. The reasons for this are complicated and may have to do with a reaction to the changing role of women in society, wanting to make them smaller and less intimidating, as well as giving them something to be paranoid about so they keep buying useless crap. The Obesity Myth  was an eye-opener for me.
  3. The Standard American Diet is Not a Good Thing. The way we eat and the way we grow and process food has changed so much, our great-grandparents wouldn’t recognize much of what we call food today. Some people are more susceptible to the addictive qualities of highly processed foods than others.
  4. Gut Microbes Are Important. The next frontier in research about health and weight may well involve the gut and the organisms that live there. I’m fascinated by research about fecal transplants instantly curing obesity (or causing it) in mice. The foods that most Americans eat wreak havoc on the digestive microbes. I’m not ready to take someone else’s poop into my body until more research is done, but the idea of paying attention to how what we do affects our digestion and our overall health is something to watch. I read The Gut Balance Revolution and it started me eating better. It didn’t quite go far enough for me, but it was a great start.
  5. When I Focus on the Scale, I Gain Weight. When I focus on the food, I lose weight. It’s partly to do with my inner punk teenager telling me I don’t have to lose weight to make those high school bullies happy. Weight loss as a goal in and of itself seems counter-productive. It’s the Biggest Loser syndrome. Fat people are pitiful and unacceptable, so anything they can do to get thinner is good, even if it’s unsustainable and even cruel. In fact, the suffering is deserved and is good for you. This kind of unsustainable weight loss damages the metabolism, perhaps permanently.
  6. Excess Weight is a Symptom, not the Actual Problem. Related to the last item, focusing on health, removed from the social stigmas helps me. What is my goal, really? To lose weight and be attractive? No. My goal is to be healthy. For me, that tends to lead to weight loss, but I’m not interested in weight loss at any price. Eating a diet that works for my physical and emotional sensitivities is the real goal, not X number of ponds or X size dress.

The Cave

cave

So, where does this pebble path lead? To the cave I feared to enter. At the beginning of this year, 2017, I meditated on the intention to find a path to health and peace or mind for myself. I pledged to myself not to force anything, but instead to listen deeply and look for the next pebble marking the right path. I read a lot and did some research, looking for information that made sense to me and didn’t promise miracles. In March, after reading The Gut Health Revolution, I gave up sugar and flour, but still drank alcohol. I lost some weight, but found myself drinking more than I had in the past, possibly trying to make up for the lack of sugar.

In late June, I was led to Bright Line Eating. In all my experience with weight loss, there are three things I never did: keep a food journal, weigh my food and weigh myself. I associated these with an unhealthy focus on appearances and an unintuitive way of eating. I wanted to believe (and still do) that my body would be able to tell me what, when and how much to eat. What I have to admit is that my body is a bit nuts. It’s spent so long fighting with my head, it’s no longer very good at knowing what it needs. As for the scale, I always hated (and still do) weighing myself. I don’t want to live and die by a number on a device. Bright Line Eating requires all three of the things I never wanted to do. It really was the cave I feared to enter. What I’m finding is that knowing what I’m going to eat on any given day and how much actually makes me feel peaceful. The diet is one that I believe to be healthy with tons of fresh vegetables and fruit as well as some grains and fats. If I eat everything I’m supposed to, I don’t get hungry and if I do, as Dr. Susan Pierce Thompson, founder of Bright Line Eating says, hunger is not an emergency. Weighing myself is not a judgment, it’s just to keep track of progress. It’s like blood pressure and other stats, not an end in itself. Easier said than done, but I only weigh myself weekly. The focus of Bright Line Eating is about caring FOR yourself, not punishing yourself. Thompson is a professor of The Psychology of Eating, so her program teaches a lot of psychology, which helps me.

I’ve been following this program officially since July 10, 2017. Yes, I’m losing weight, but I also feel calmer, have less pain and more mobility, less asthma, less swelling, and more energy. Are these the only treasures in the cave? I feel like there’s more. Some other shift will happen, some other treasure is in the cave. I have no idea what it is, but I’ll keep my eyes open for the next white pebble.

History Part Two

File Aug 03, 2 07 03 PM
The picture on the left was taken the summer of my junior year of high school. The one on the right, was the summer after I graduated.

Teen Years and Beyond

The teenage years is when people begin to grow away from their family and become more concerned with their peers. This certainly happened to me. I rebelled against my mother in a big way! I saw that she was miserable and fat. I was determined to be different. I rebelled against her size and her food. I rejected what she wanted to feed me and of course, she thought I was rejecting her, and that’s not far from the truth. I also rebelled against the way she and her doctor thought weight loss should happen. The very first time I lost weight was over a summer. I think it was after my sophomore year in high school. I was determined that I would become thin so that someone would love me some day and also to spite people who bullied me.

There was a group of kids who hung out outside my English classroom. I had to walk by them to get to English, which was one of my favorite classes, aside from Art and Drama. These kids made fun of me mercilessly, every day. I felt less than human when they laughed at me and talked to me as if I were less than human. I felt like a monster. One time, one of the boys reached out to touch me and I attempted a scornful look, but couldn’t pull it off. They group exploded into laughter, one of the boys saying, “Ooh! She likes it!” I wanted to die. I wanted to be thin, not to please them, but to spite them.

The following summer, I didn’t eat much and I read a lot. I had no plan and no doctor; I just didn’t eat. I remember being dizzy and weak most of the time. I don’t have many pictures of me before I lost weight. I was well over 300 lbs, though. By the end of summer, I was so much smaller, many people didn’t recognize me. Of course, I discovered just losing weight didn’t undo any of the trauma I suffered from the bullies or the culture. I remember looking myself in the eye in the mirror and telling myself if I be couldn’t be happy the way I was, I’d never be happy. It was true then, and true now.

I was at my thinnest around the time I turned 21. I had made a habit of falling for men who weren’t attracted to me, so I kept dieting to become lovable. I tried the new low-carb diet and ate a bunch of crap. I don’t know if anything really worked or didn’t. I gained and lost weight through my 20’s, depending on whether I was happy or miserable, not sure which was the chicken and which was the egg. The things I did to lose weight reflected my rebellious, counter-culture impulses. I was not one of “those” fat people who had to count calories and stick to the plan.

I was very busy in college with the theater, still not finding love or anything close. I avoided even thinking about dating, since I didn’t think I was attractive enough. After running away from grad school (long story), I moved back to California and decided to go macrobiotic, which was very restrictive, but wasn’t a diet. I never wanted to do what everyone thought I should.

Fast-forward to me as slim as I get, and finding someone who wanted me! We started dating and moved in together.

File Aug 03, 2 42 26 PM
Me around 1991-92.

It’s hard to date a naturally slim person and eat like them. I started gaining weight. We got married in 1996 and the weight crept up until I was at my largest again. Somehow, my husband still loved me (and still does).

File Aug 03, 2 47 50 PM
This is about as big as I get. I’m with my mother and grandmother. This photo is very painful for me to look at. 

We moved to Reno in 2004 and my mother died in 2010 from dementia. Ironically, she had gotten very thin before she slipped away. I decided I needed to do something to take better care of myself. I had done enough reading to know diets don’t work, the way popular culture thinks about them. I wanted to do something different. I didn’t think my husband would go full-on macrobiotic with me, so I started looking at the Slow Food Movement and Weston Price. I still loved to cook, and so does my husband, so cooking better seemed the thing. I dabbled with intuitive eating and was convinced that the body would self-regulate, if given a chance. I lost about 65 lbs, but after a terrible job and an injury, the weight came back. I started reading that the foods we think are healthy, actually aren’t. This challenged my thinking and caused me to have the “what the heck” reaction. I was cruising back up to a size 24-26. I read books like The Obesity Epidemic, and Health at Every Size. I read blogs by people in the Size Acceptance community and they resonated with me. I wanted to think I could be healthy and happy eating what I wanted and at whatever size that made me. It didn’t work. I started looking for answers, but had to determine the questions first.

 

 

Flora’s Pond

038bbc22915d2c0956b55c71fd610a61--vintage-diner-s-dinerWay back in 1987, or so, I was in graduate school studying costume design. I was unhappy for many reasons. One night, I had a dream that has stuck with me all these years.

The dream was almost a documentary about a diner in the middle of nowhere called Flora’s Pond. It seemed like a typical Midwestern diner, except that the owner, Flora served steaming bowls of primordial soup, which she scooped up from a hole in the floor in the kitchen where the primordial soup of creation hadn’t yet hardened. People who knew about it would come long distances to recharge their creative batteries with a bowl of the soup. It was said that some regulars should never have crawled out of the soup in the first place.

It wasn’t long after this dream that I left grad school and went back to California, but the dream has been a part of my consciousness ever since. For many years, I felt that Flora was a person outside of myself and I often visualized myself eating bowls of the soup. These days, I also see her as an aspect of myself, serving the soup to others.

I don’t see myself as a blogger. I’m not interested in having a ton of followers, and don’t really want to debate issues with anyone. If you found your way here, pull up a chair and maybe Flora will bring you a bowl of primordial soup. Still only 10 cents!