October 26th

October 26, 1991 was a different kind of day than I was used to. Cheerleading had become my entire life since 1987, and cheering at a game was nothing unusual.

But on 10/26/91, cheerleading was different. For one thing, we went on a Big Bus. Going to South Shore Christian, a teeny school in Levittown, everyone who took the bus rode a small one, because we were gathered from random homes around Long Island. So to ride on a “regular” school bus felt pretty glamorous, that day.

I don’t remember why exactly we were getting fancily shuttled to an away soccer game. We were basketball cheerleaders. Our school was too poor to afford football, so our sad-ass basketball team equaled our personal Friday Night Lights.

And did I mention we were representing a Christian school? For exactly one year in seventh grade when the cheerleading squad was formed, we had vaguely appropriate uniforms: short-sleeved and lightweight sweaters, ’80s-regulation pleated skirts.

The rest of the time, we were cloaked in heavy, long-sleeved sweaters that would have been fantastically appropriate for actual Friday nights, out in the cold. Inside a gym, not so much.

So on October 26th, it was pretty exciting to embark the Big Bus in my heavy sweater to cheerlead outside. Granted, it was soccer. Why we were cheering for soccer, I do not remember. But it was a great time. The fall air was crisp and my sweater felt protective, not cumbersome. Who won or lost the game, I have no idea. But it felt like all the Sweet Valley High fantasies I’d had my whole life, come to fruition in one day.

Afterwards, my family went to my Nanny and Pop-Pop Posch’s house for a dinner of some nature. And I was feeling completely on point, doing my job as a teenage granddaughter. Making the elders proud via good grades and school spirit.

Kind of like with the soccer cheerleading, I don’t firsthand remember why we were at my grandparents’ house on a Saturday. Most non-holiday gatherings were held on Sundays. But there we were. Since my Pop-Pop had his stroke earlier that year, right before Easter, every following moment with him felt like a gift.

That Easter, super soon after his initial stroke, my Pop-Pop had returned to the fold and the dining room. A proud man, to be sure, and as his hands shook terribly while he stood up to cut the roast as the head of the household, I fully felt his anxiety and the pressure of the situation, even at 16.

I was SO glad to have him back, though. I hated that I couldn’t help his hands not shake and that he couldn’t be fully who he used to be, and that he desperately wanted a cigarette that he wasn’t supposed to have.

A few weeks after October 26th, my Pop-Pop had a reaction to his medication, went to that hospital in East Meadow, and died after a battle with his own machines that were trying to keep him alive, but couldn’t. And shouldn’t have, because he was a proud, strong man who wouldn’t have wanted to ersatz live like that.

He didn’t want pity; he didn’t want help. He wanted to basically be left alone, to be the kind, gentle giant he’d become, even though he wasn’t a big dude. He wanted to smoke a cigarette or two. He wanted his wife to be cherished and loved and respected.

Beyond that, I can’t speak for what my grandfather wanted. He was a private man, a meteorologist for the Air Force who worked long, hard hours for which he never expected accolades.

I loved him. And October 26, 1991 was the last day I remember seeing him alive. Like every time since that Easter, I hugged him even though we’re not really a hugging family, and I said “I love you.”

I think of this every single year since that last October 26th. Pop-Pop, I hope with all my heart to See You On The Other Side ❤



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My Slumbering Heart

It’s become just like a chemical stress
Tracing the lines in my face for
Something more beautiful than is there
I’ve barely been gone

~ Rilo Kiley

My most oft-recuring dream varies in detail, but is always the same at the core: I’ve been on a cruise that I don’t remember; it’s the last day, and I still haven’t been upstairs to see the sun.

You’d think I’d hustle my ass upstairs, but first I need to find my bathing suit. And pack. God, I have to pack; the whole room is an unmitigated disaster.

And meanwhile, passengers who’ve enjoyed the trip are headed upstairs with their suitcases.

It’s been so many years that I’ve dreamed this, that even within the dream, I realize “Oh, this is like my dream and I’ve toats learned.”

Except that I don’t.

I keep packing, literally and figuratively, looking for a bathing suit that I haven’t owned in 18 years so I can at least take a dip in the pool, if not the ocean. It’s that blue one with the white polka dots. It’s in here somewhere…

It isn’t, though.

My second most oft-recurring dream varies little in detail, except for the people involved. We’re always on an elevator, and I never want it to get too high. Because when it does, the bottom drops out and it’s like that ride that gets conflated with Gravitron, but isn’t. We rise and then fall and I simultaneously brace for impact and try to climb onto the walls to avoid the crash.

Sometimes, other times, I fly. I think that I hoped for juicing to get me there. That if I could just close my eyes, grit my teeth, and wait for a morning 29 days later, I could wake up as a superhero. The room from my first dream would be clean and packed and I’d be sunning or swimming, strong now. Better now.

That’s not how it works though, at least not left to my own devices and head space. Even if I went to Jason Vale’s retreat, stayed the course, and came home a changed woman? I don’t think I’d have the confidence to keep myself in the air, or my feet gliding over water, as it were.

Speaking of the Bible and retreats. My mother went on a retreat a couple of weeks ago and I don’t want to overshare her personal journey, but she said one big theme she took home from it was the reality of messiness. She’s messy, I’m messy, everyone is, inside, to at least some degree. And it’s not to say that we shouldn’t try to clean up that mess, but to insert my own stuff/keep hammering in the metaphor, I think it means that we definitely should not be missing out on entire cruises because we think cleaning up that mess is more important than the actual sun.

I don’t know how I’m going to reattempt the juicing hurdle, next. I know that I’m going to, but have spent these past couple of weeks in my cruise-ship room, trying to make it neat and my bathing-suit-clad self presentable. If I could only find one…

And it’s driven me absolutely fucking insane. It’s made me mentally and physically sick. I can’t clean up the mess. I can go to the doctor and have actually burst out of my phobia for a second to make appointments. I even have refills at Safeway to pick up! Quick shoutout on behalf of the world’s introverts to their website where you can make that happen online.

Juicing won’t untangle my brain, or “clean my room.” It won’t get rid of shit inside myself that should have been thrown in the trash long ago. The stronger I feel, the more I’ll feel like a fraud and fall into the pit of neverending self loathing.

The room.

Sorry for abruptly departing (“I HAVE ABANDONED MY BLOG!”), but I needed to. However, besides getting necessary nutrients when I was being diligent, I also broke the blogging seal, and that needed to happen.

Today is my birthday. I woke up to life itself, a roof over my head, and also an incredible care package from a friend of 20 years. It came with chia seeds, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, pure cocoa, and instructions.
How in the world did I deserve any of that? SPOILER: I don’t. But I got it anyway.

Maybe I won’t ever figure out how to be a superhero, but I’m so grateful to my loved ones for letting me be a Harley Quinn who sometimes drinks produce. Seriously though, I will get back to it, just revamped. Thanks for supporting and/or lurking — I DID promise schadenfreude!

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Juicing, Day 11: Still in a State of Fail

Soooo, obvi, I’m not doing super well with my juicing, these past few days. And I haven’t really been eating a lot, save for the mashed potatoes from a bag and assorted other nonsense.

But I will fix it. That I’m writing right now and not hiding out in a sea of shame and self loathing isn’t award-worthy, but it is a really big step.

Thank you for being here while I try to assemble my personal staircase.

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Juicing, Day 10: Messy Bessie

When I decided to blog about my juicing experience, the high of the produce and determination led me to semi-forget that I’m a mess, and how my brain and spirit fall to shit about every other week.

Everyone was REALLY nice yesterday, when I posted my vulnerable blog. That post has gotten more hits than any I’ve posted in years.

So that makes part of me want to hide, find a safe place, not deal. And I still haven’t had juice in about 36 hours.

But that’s why I committed to blogging this experience. The good, the bad, the ugly. The last couple of days have been ugly, as far as these things go. It’s all part of the process, part of the whole, part of fitting my soul back into my body somehow.

I swear that I’ll drink my apple ginger shot today. And hope that even on the days that I’m the opposite of inspiring, my words can help others know that they’re not alone in their messiness. And maybe those others can help kick my ass.

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Juicing, Day 9: My Dirty Little Secret

So yesterday, I didn’t really do anything juice-wise, except for drinking the remains of Day 8 juice that looked remarkably like terra cotta runoff from Ruxton Avenue.

Essentially, I failed. I didn’t eat, but that’s not necessarily a good thing, and so I want to briefly talk about that today.

I have an eating disorder. It manifests itself in all kinds of ways, but I’m hyper aware of the fact that nearly no one notices, because I’ve never been even close to skinny.

In the days before the juicing challenge, I went four days without eating. Anything.

Yesterday, I did badly. Today’s not going swimmingly, but my head and heart are in the right places. And even just writing this today helps me know that the demons who threaten to possess me will not win. Not this time.

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Juicing, Day 8: Hot Girls in Hot Tubs

Tuesday, August 15th: Day 8

9:15 am


Only 15 minutes from the start time in my app, I had my first shot of the day! Natural electrolyte.

  • I feel groggy and down and think it’s partially from taking generic-brand Nyquil last night. Not that I’d be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed if it were real Nyquil, just trying to keep it real, lest you think only rich fancy pants people do juice cleanses.


10:55 am
Oxygen Elixir

JV D8 Oxygen Elixir


I’ve never had this, and I like it! Apple, beet, carrot, spinach/kale mix, celery, and lemon. I think that lemon makes everything better.

Mid-day notes:

– Just want to break out of this funk. I still feel off course and undisciplined, even though when I look at what I’m consuming and what I’m not consuming, it’s kind of huge. But I want to feel more in control and am struggling with my energy levels. Think I will take break to go to Safeway and buy an avocado.

– Ate some nuts. I wish I felt my high of last week when I felt strong and confident. I feel like I went to battle without armor this week and I’m not quite sure why. Even my cheats, black and white cookies aside, have been reasonable and with good intentions. But I guess this is part of it too — getting through the doldrums and non-exciting parts, and going through the motions.

– Now that I think about it, I thought I was being extra hippie dippie and non-efficient by going to the store every day for my produce. But it was exactly the day I didn’t that things went downhill, juice-discipline-wise. So I’m on my way to Safeway for some apples, parsnips, celery that doesn’t feel like erasers, and avocados that I will eat so my brain doesn’t go crazy from having no fat.

1:36 pm

I know I had some nuts, but after I drank the Oxygen Elixir, three hours till the next juice felt like a sad eternity. But thanks to some water (oh, right, my body needs water) and the trip to the supermarket, they flew by and now I don’t even feel particularly hungry! Perhaps in addition to the sunshine and produce section, the Oxygen Elixir is really living up to its name 😮

3:43 pm

Low energy again, hour late, drinking Mineral Medicine – subbed extra carrot for apple and zucchini for cucumber so it wouldn’t go bad.


I like this! Has a kick, not sure from what — the parsnip? I taste the ginger, but it’s faint compared to the other taste.



Made rest of the Oxygen Elixir



Eating avocado. Can’t finish it.

The Rest of the Hours!


I totally had a glass of red wine tonight, and I’m not even upset about it. I had the bittersweet opportunity of attending a goodbye party for my dear friend Alice, and there was no way I wasn’t going to say “Yes, thank you” to one of the many glasses of the many bottles offered up at the home of my friend Melissa; i.e., one of THE best hostesses ever!

Plus, wine has grapes.

Meanwhile during the night, I learned something important. In case you didn’t believe me when I said Melissa’s parties were awesome, she has a freaking HOT TUB, like right there, next to the kitchen. And three of my girlfriends were in it. Having a good time would have been all that mattered, but all three of them have been working SUPER hard on their bodies and health this year, and they all looked incredible.

I just stood there, in my fake jeans and Sunnydale Razorbacks tee. I’ve also been working hard on my body and health, but literally have not bought a bathing suit since the late ’90s/possible early aughts. And I think it’s time to change that.

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Juicing, Day 7: Trudging Along

Day Seven – Monday, August 14th

I can’t believe I’m on Day 7! I think this is the furthest I’ve made it so far. Got off to a late start, but it was a morning of positivity and I got more apples and pears, so it’s all good.

1:41 pm

Apple Ginger Shot


Very tasty today! I do kind of wish there were more shots on the program than just the two.


Green Zesty Super Smoothie


I still don’t have fennel so I had to skip it, and I really just can’t with avocados of indeterminable ripeness, so this wasn’t really a smoothie, but it was still good!


The Rest of the Hours!

Since I hadn’t drunk either Diuretic One from Day 6, I didn’t make any more juice, but instead had that as my two nighttime ones. Though I was very hungry by the time I got home from work, I headed straight to the fridge and poured a juice and in that moment it almost, kind of, felt natural. I’d still rather have gone straight for a snack or a glass of wine, but now that is kind of the point of this challenge, isn’t it!

And it was nasty. Not adding the pear really made the juice quite *savory,* not in the way that I like. But I drank it anyway, and the challenge was kind of fun! Kind of. Later on, I had the other half and by that point it felt like no big deal.

There was nothing of note in the night to report. I did eat a hardboiled egg and piece of hard cheddar cheese because I still am not getting enough protein and because I didn’t get the fat from avocado in the green smoothie. I also had some dried chick peas for protein, but they were way too tasty and chip-like to be used in the future, I think.

So still some kinks to work out and I definitely need to get more avocados (maybe just two so as not to freak me out with ripeness), but in the meantime I’m absolutely thrilled to be writing about Day 7. “Just” three more weeks…Ooph.



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Juicing, Day 6: The First Weekend

Day Six – Sunday, August 13th

(and parts of Saturday!)

This was my first weekend doing the 28-Day Juice plan, and especially after my Friday festivities, I was very prepared to have a regimented weekend to make sure I didn’t quit like I normally do on the weekends.

Well, that all fell apart quickly. Saturday I slept until around 12:30 and I woke up to a message from my friend David who I hadn’t seen in years. He was going to be in town and wanted to know if I could meet up! I wanted to but also felt panicky, like I wouldn’t be able to be good company if I weren’t eating, and like I wouldn’t stick to the juicing anyway if I didn’t get started right away. But there was no time.

I decided that not going would be really dumb. I’d miss seeing my friend and I wouldn’t be focusing on the whole aspect of this challenge. It’s not just about learning how to survive off juice during specific hours; it’s about learning balance and confidence.

No regrets whatsoever. I had an absolutely fun and lovely afternoon. I did take some sips from his flight of beer at the brewery we went to, but I avoided food (mmmmm, fried avocados) and mostly stuck to water and unsweetened iced tea. Great conversation outside in the sun, and I felt zero deprivation.

After David and I parted ways, I went to the store for fresh supplies for the next three days! No more dicking around with hodgepodges! Got home, started juicing around five and wrote the Day Four blog. That took up most of my evening, but I did make an apple ginger shot and later a savory juice called Rainbow Remedy that I posted in yesterday’s “I don’t feel gooooood” blog.

The next day, Day 6, I definitely woke up feeling the sluggish effects of inconsistent juicing and though I hadn’t cheated wildly, I know that I’d feel better with more sips o’ juice and fewer of beer. I followed the day’s recipes, having an Electrolyte shot and a Fibre Optics juice, subbing banana for the pear that I’d somehow managed to forget.

I also juiced both servings for the day of the sexily named “Diuretic One.” But then my stomach started hurting. It was a bad combo of hunger pangs and knowing that if I drank juice, I very well might throw it up. So when Josh offered to make me some toast, I said yes. I had one and a half slices and they made me feel better without the guilt I’d have experienced, had I waited longer and caved completely to pasta or something. I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if we lived really close to good pizza.

All in all, not the best weekend in terms of champion juicing, but I feel good to have gotten through it without giving up, great to have seen a friend for lunch, and ready to begin the second week (!!) fresh, focused, and strong!


^ Electrolyte shot (L), Fibre Optics (Top), Diuretic One (Bottom)

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Juicing, Day 5: Going Through the Motions

Day Five – Saturday, August 12th

I don’t feel good at ALL today (SPOILER: I’m on Day 6). I felt extremely low energy since waking up, despite getting sleep, and now I have an excruciating stomach ache. But I said I’d post every day, so here I am! Still hanging in there, but today was a rough one and now I’m going to try to sleep and get to tomorrow. If I stay up, I think it will be too tempting to have pasta or something like that. For now, I will post pics of the juices I drank on Day 5, and write about the whole weekend more tomorrow.

Had the good ol’ apple-ginger shot:


And then for the first time made Rainbow Remedy, which had tomatoes in it! I lovvvve tomato juice and V-8, so this was a nice one. I look forward to more tomato juicing!


See you back here tomorrow, when hopefully my vim and vigor will have returned!

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Juicing, Day 4: School Supplies & Taco Trucks

Day Four – Friday, August 11th

Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.
~ Ms. Stacy

It’s been a hot minute since I had the need, but this time of year always makes me nostalgic for school-supply shopping. Everything was new and full of possibility. Each notebook, folder, parrot-shaped pen, and ironic Brenda and Dylan pencil case was a way of expressing who one was combined with whom one hoped to become that year, because the first day of school was fittingly a clean slate.

Without fail – without fail – I repeated the same pattern for most of elementary school through the time I graduated college. The first week of school, I was freakishly organized. My notes were in my best Mary Anne Spier handwriting; nothing was stuffed in, then falling out of desks or lockers, and I dutifully studied and did every assignment each afternoon when I got home from school.

But then, always more quickly than I’d hope, it all fell apart. I’d forget a pen or a book and then it became very “What’s done is done.” I’d make it through and get good grades, but never felt organized ever again like that first week, so I’d fall back into the familiar pattern of quasi-organized chaos.

Yesterday, I forgot a pen.

Or rather, due to lack of planning/alarm-clock ignoring on my part, I had to choose: stop for the specific ingredients I needed for Day Four produce and be later than expected for work, or make do with what I had and possibly run to the store later. That option was limited by the fact that I had to leave early to go to a 311 concert in Denver with Josh and my brother.

Naturally, I began to spin out a little. It felt very much like the times I’d stay up on the phone instead of studying so I’d do that on the bus, telling myself I can try to do my later assignments during other classes and, ugh – what a mess.

But I was prepared for my “first class,” as I knew I had an apple and some ginger among the remaining produce. After proudly consuming that, I realized that was the wrong shot for Day Four. Long story short, I didn’t have the right ingredients for any of my juices, but I tried to do my best with subbing in fruit for fruit, veggie for veggie. I overcompensated by dumping in the rest of the bin o’ kale.

At the end of the work day, I felt good that I’d wasted no produce that work week and still had some remaining apples and sundry. But I knew that I didn’t have enough juice fuel to last, so I forced myself to eat a hardboiled egg. And that’s when I decided that the rest of the evening was going to be about deliberate choices for what I felt would help me stay balanced, both mentally and physically. I had no more juice tools in my arsenal, but there was still an awesome night ahead that I wanted to enjoy and be good company for. If I’ve learned one thing lately, it’s that letting my blood sugar/nutritional energy level plummet is not an option. My stomach was hurting, so I even entertained the idea of having a piece of bread at some point. But I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, as I’m trying to take this journey one juice at a time, literally and figuratively. I ate the egg, and enjoyed the trip to Denver.

Once in Denver, my next juice came in the form of several sips of Josh’s beer, scattered throughout the course of about an hour. The beer did have berries in it! It tasted lovely, but I had no desire to ask for a can of my own.

Then we went into the venue, which was awesome. It felt like concerts I used to go to on Long Island – everyone chilling on a lawn. 311 was great as always. And there were so many fantastic food trucks! I was prepared for yummy-smelling temptation, but not the option to get a chopped mixed green and apple salad topped with avocado! The only thing I wouldn’t have on the cleanse anyway was the lime vinaigrette. I let it go. The salad felt nourishing, tasted sublime (so to speak), and greatly helped reduce my pizza FOMO, as Josh’s and Robb’s slices looked delicious.

My first real gateway-to-cheat-for-the-night temptation came in the form of a taco truck. They had vegan black bean tacos topped with pico de gallo and guac. Omg.

They’re probably huge, I told myself. Definitely monstrosities that would kill my stomach and psyche after four days of juicing. Then Robb got a couple, and they were absolutely perfect! Totally reasonable and extremely nutritious!

I felt my cognitive dissonance kicking in its heels and was SO CLOSE to getting one (or two, as I think they were a package deal). But I told myself “Maybe later,” drank more water, and walked with Josh to meet up with friends, while Robb checked out the merch table.

Then I drank some vodka.

You know how in Hand That Rocks the Cradle, the husband whose name I can’t remember who was the gum guy in Seinfeld, he only smokes cigarettes when he hangs out with Julianne Moore? Well, that is how I feel when my friend Angie offers me vodka, especially when as in the case of last night, it comes in an adorable mini bag! But as with the beer earlier, I took a couple of little sips (not shots!), and passed it to Josh. Later she gave me a couple of inches of fresh Heineken and I took a couple of sips of that too. Heineken has no berries and the concert was over. But it was ice-cold domestic beer in a plastic cup on a lawn post-music, and there was no way I was saying no to that, for myriad reasons.

Long gone at that point were thoughts of procrastinated tacos. The sips were my cheat for the night. I’d thoroughly enjoyed the concert, and despite my proverbial lack of pen and possibly a few other supplies that day, I felt strong about my choices, and knew that MyFitnessPal wasn’t as on point as Days One through Three, but it wasn’t far off either.

THEN! Out of nowhere, an unexpected Final Boss appeared! I did not see him coming, but there he was in the form of the FOMO pizza truck from before, only this time I had no avocado shield or shredded-apple swords!

The voice in my head that’s been guiding me all week returned: You said no to a slice before and you can do it again.

Crisis averted. Thank you, Voice. But as Josh and Robb stood on line, the Colorado mountain air mixed with the scent of New York pizza, making me high when a new voice piped in: You should just have a bite. There is no harm in having one bite of fresh pizza topped with balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar and tomatoes and basil are like salad! Plus, nutrition. Just one bite.

 Normally, that would be that. But something inside me said that this bite-voice was different than the permission-for-sips-voice earlier. Why exactly, I didn’t know – until a THIRD voice entered the conversation!

You mean “just one bite” like the kind Jeff Probst offers Survivors to get them to surrender during crucial individual immunity challenges?

BOOM! I’ve used “Survivor” as mental inspiration for many things before, such as disassembling Christmas tree decorations, but this was a new one. It’s not that it would have been a terrible thing to have one bite of pizza, in and of itself. Certainly it would be more nutritious than vodka. But something felt important about that final yes or no of the evening. Maybe because it was a hot-food cheat. Maybe just because. So I imagined every Survivor who ever stood on a pole in the ocean or held a pail of paint above their head, et al., and pretended that even one bite as making the choice to give up my chance for individual immunity!

To carry on with that metaphor, turning down a pizza bite didn’t make me feel like a superhero, but it did make me feel like I could scrappily last a little while longer in this challenge. Sometimes it’s just about getting to the next tribal council and in the meantime, yay bananas.

Speaking of metaphors, now that I think about it, maybe lack of proper produce on Day Four was more like oversleeping and the realization that I was too poor for pineapple on Day One was the pen. Upon reflection, I think that all week I’ve been terrified of messing up and spending the rest of my cleanse in chaos or worse yet, not finishing at all. After all, that’s how the last two went.

Screw that. For the first time, I’ll seek to pass, not get an A. Most importantly, I’m going for the Perfect Attendance Award. No matter what happens, I’m showing up to write for all 28 days, and I reallllly don’t want it to feel like those nightmares where I haven’t been to class all semester.

With all of that said, I did eat a black and white cookie in the middle of the night.

To Day Five!

Today’s juices!


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