we could go sailing in.

Flunked Sobriety on Wednesday Night | Down 23 Pounds, 43 to Go

Aboard the Northern Lights for a harbor dinner cruise.

It went like this.

I’m standing on the rear deck of the upscale Boston Harbor Hotel.

The equation becomes: Sun. Ocean. Breeze. Vibe.

1 + 1 + 1 +1 = 4 glasses of wine

It was inevitable, no?

Chilled Sav Blanc.

On. The. Sea.

The wine tasted marvelous, smashing.

The next morning?

I had a hangover that could tame a boar and it was definitely a no wake zone.

Perspective a few days later:

I’m fine with the wine intake. I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever allow myself to enjoy a cocktail(s) again. If I’d be able to indulge in the stuff one night and not the next six nights.

And I do want the cocktail every so often.

I’ve just got to keep the intake in moderation, in perspective.

Just back now from a 12.2-mile ride down to EMC in Hopkinton and back. A trial of sorts. 1:24 hours down; 1:10 hours back. My quads are screaming.

The euphoria should be hitting in a hour or two.

I’ll be high in the aftermath of busting my butt.

Perhaps, a good time to take Sabrina for a walk.

She complements my cycling outfit divinely.



falling dove.

Day 53 | Two-Wheelin’ on DRY Pavement | Down 21 Big Ones | A Shout-Out to Marilyn Monroe

Sisters are doing it for themselves. Despite him. 

I’m determined to cut that 16.5-mile bike ride.

And it’s going along swell.

Until I hit the halfway mark [Wayland].

[queue Vincent Price laughter]

Here’s where ya bonked, fatty.

I talk at him out loud: Go’way, downer.

The cars rush by.

Three miles later [Sudbury].

Here’s where you sat your ass in the shade. Fatty. DPW, classy choice.

Over my shoulder: Yup, and tell it goodbye.

Birds tweet.

Four miles later [Saxonville].

Ho-shit! [His pitchfork is lodged between my eyelid and brow and he’s laughing on his ass, holding his fat belly like some prize] Here’s the sidewalk where you rode in retard-gear.

Retard-gear. Thank God for it. No matter what it’s called. I bite down hard on the valve to my CamelBak. You’re an effin’ asshole.

His feet are straight up, air-pedaling. He farts long and hard. Teases, re-tard, re-tard, re-tard.

I spit out the valve. You know, why be the raw deal all the time?

He’s snapped to his feet and sticking the damn fork in the place that makes him crazy-happy. The aqueous humor of my right eye.

Boink! Boink! Boink!

We’re a half-mile from home, nothing’s gonna stop me now, and I slip into one of my big gears for more resistance. What the fuck’s wrong with you.

The deed is done. No bonking.

He’s glib, still boinking my eye and sticking his forefinger of the other hand into his belly button. The asshole can multi-task. I want you to destroy you.

For God sakes, why?

He withdraws the fork, screws his head 360-degrees then does a backflip, says, it’s my nature. [fart]

Your lousy nature has had me drinkin’, eating and stinkin’ thinkin’ for the greater part of 5 years.

His lips recede; his teeth are putrid with stink. And I’m lovin’ it.

Yeah? Well, just watch me. I’m climbing out this mess. 

[August 5, 1962: Rest in peace, Norma Jean. You’re life-size images hang in our bedroom and hallway, and my favorite portrait of you from The Misfits is near my bedside.]

November 1961 with The Misfit’s co-star Clark Gable.

hold the course.

Day 51 | Drier Than a Popcorn Fart | I’ll Have My Garden Salad Dressed Naked

Beautiful. Great. Nice.

A lady in a Prius (really, I want to avoid stereotyping here, but I’m wagering she learned how to drive in some other country), takes a right when I’m about to cross the intersection. It’s blatant.

Bonked on the 16-mile ride.

Who can miss a 52-year-old porker on a bike wearing a neon yellow top that can be seen from outer space?

As she makes the turn, I yell, Beautiful. Great. Nice. Pleasantville isn’t the place for me to whip out my handy arsenal of Rosie Perez expletives. Especially in this case. A soccer mom is pulling up to the intersection in a minivan. She sees the whole thing and toggles her window down. You alright?

Humiliation is galaxies away from describing how I would have felt if I had yelled motherf*****r at her ladyship driving the Prius.

[Mohammed, a fat white girl called me a motherf*****r today]

I tell the soccer mom, I’m okay, part of the territory.

I’m saying it now: thanks, lady.

It doesn’t occur to me a mile later, like, maybe, I could have thanked her.

Or waved.

Or something.

Three O’s in a row: Offenses taken to cyclists’ rights are gratuitous.

Whenever a driver like the Prius pulls a fast one, I say, this is where I live, this where I ride. They can’t hear me, it’s for my own self-entertainment, or the old lady walking on the sidewalk who later tells Old Albert an odd tidbit of the passing day.

A fat lady on a bike said ‘there is where I live, this is where I ride’ near the Pleasantville Mall.

Today’s endeavor.

Last Sunday: Triumph Day at Larz Anderson in Brookline, MA with sweet, “lame” Sabrina. “Girls love to drive Tr6’s too.”

The dog’s been lame so I end up leaving around 11:00 for the 16.5-mile ride. It’s a ride I haven’t done before and at the halfway mark I encounter a steep incline with little shoulder. Cars zoom past at 60 M.P.H.

Who knew?

It’s fine and good, it’s the challenge of the road that busts the cellulite and makes me recite this is where I live, this where I ride, but I find not even a quarter of the way up the hill, I’ve got nothing left.

Like, one moment I’m burning premium-unleaded and the next, the bits of sediment at the bottom of my tank are clogging my fuel line.

Breakfast didn’t cut it. I ate up a bunch of time feeling guilty about the dog, not getting her 3-4 mile walk in, and by the time I headed out on the road the two hard-cooked eggs were a faint memory.

And who rides 16 miles without carbs in their digestive track, treading as close to the sun as that lady’s Prius had crossed my path?

Not a very smart person/cyclist.

Fat person/cyclist.

On the HMR Diet Program thing.

Well-hydrated, rubber-legged and possessing a funky heartbeat (thump, delay-thump, thump), I walk the bike home a good part of 8 miles, sitting my big butt down in the shade at times, coasting down the hills. This is someone, my person, who I don’t typically allow to stop on rides, no matter the duration, except at red lights.

I was dying.

But there’s an upside to dying.

It’s three hours since I arrived home and the euphoria in recovery [consuming a match-size entree of beans and potatoes and abundant swallow from the front yard’s hydrant] feels like I just drank the 6-ounce painkiller.

I like it.

so far, we’ve come so far.

Day 49 | Survived the Visit to the Bar| Throw the Shrimp Cocktail to the Cats

I lost interest in playing Observer.

It was watching a middle-aged guy drink a cosmo that ended my little game.

No male, in my book, should drink anything that’s pink.

Red-faced pseudo-identify jeered in my ear. He was having a ball, dangling and doing acrobats around my hoop earring. Jabbing me with his prongs. “Hear that ice in the shaker, next one’s for you, baby.”

No, it’ fucking not, Chooch.

Ya know what else helped?

Service was terribly slow and the lights over the bar were burning way too bright. If I had been drinking, I would have been elbowing patrons, pounding my fist against the bar, demanding another.

Hey! ‘Nother drink! And turn down these goddamn lights!

Is it a coincidence that I’m reading Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam?

‘Cause I see it clearly.

The bar is a bright shining lie.


all the zombies in town.

Day 48 | Dry as a Dead Dingos Donger | Down 17 Pounds, 49 to Go

The Dolphin [I recognize the bartender, even from the rear view]
All Points Bulletin: I’m stepping inside a bar tonight.

We’re meeting in the lounge, Husband and me and a friend.

This is a neighborhood place, great seafood, I’ve enjoyed my share of cocktails here. The Italian place across the street? Me and Husband’s bar tabs bought the owner a 2-week Caribbean vacation for two last year.

One of the waitresses [Karen] makes my Ketel martini just right.

Can’t walk into the joint because if Karen is working, she may just show up at our table with the blissful-arctic-chilled-glass-of-doctor-feel-good.

How could I let it go to waste?

It was my idea. Stepping inside of a bar had to happen eventually. I plan on sitting facing the bar so I can watch the players. Those sipping in Doctor Feel Good. The ones that need it; drinking non-foo-foo martinis and lethal cocktails. I’m going to observe them, draw character sketches of them in my mind, count how many ask for another, a third. I’m going to do this while I chat, and order fish and a naked green salad, and consume my light meal without a bottle of chilled Sav Blanc.

I will play Observer.

Not One Who Laments.


you’re the one to make me cry.

Day 44 | Dry as the Sahara | Fighting Off Taking a Deep, Blissful Dive into a Pot of Pasta

Red-faced pseudo-identity is riding me hard today. With temptation. I’m hungry. “Thirsty.” I’ve got me a serious hankering.

Weather’s turned cold. From 90’s to 50’s. I’m wearing flannel pj bottoms, a turtleneck and a cardigan sweater. I want rotini with meat sauce, piping hot, doused in parm and warm bread. Red wine to wash it down. Lots of it.

Aw, hell.

All this despite the good news.

EMC extended an offer.

Finally other candidates in the running are hearing, “they went with another candidate.”

[from the drunken chronicles]

I finished up a 6-month contract at EMC last June [2016]. Previously, I had worked for Pam and her small consultancy Quik-Mark; the third time she’s recruited me to work for her. This last time had ended badly—I got fired—just following the annual company meeting.

The preceding year and a half under her employ, I continued to admire her [Harvard MBA, MIT Undergrad, former Olympic gymnast]; had hardly seen her. I sent her a mountain of chocolate at Christmastime, a tea set and assorted teas for her birthday. She rarely returned my phone calls or emails regarding pressing business matters. Working remotely I was in no-man’s land, untethered. Her ignoring me was nothing short of dehumanizing. She treats everyone that way, but I had hoped for more since I was her personal assistant.

The annual company meeting had started like this.

I came by way of Amtrak from Boston into Penn and Pam and our colleague Tina met me in front of Friday’s in the chaos of the filthy station. I was thrilled to see Pam, but hugs were exchanged in transit. We’ve got to hustle for the LIRR. I recall seeing the back of her, the air in her hair, her satin blouse, her bumping her suitcase through the turnstiles.

Tina had trouble navigating and keeping up the pace; she’s 5′ feet tall, a tad heavy and has matchsticks for legs. Her wheeled luggage kept losing traction and toppling over through the myriads of people. We boarded the train and scrambled for a 4-seat sitting area [quick! grab the seats!]. Pam threw elbows and pitched her petite ass underneath a considerably-sized businessman. He moved over to the next seat, practically unperturbed.

We’re there, the three of us and instead of chatting and catching up, Pam is listening to voicemail and Tina is texting. This is where I thought Pam and I could save face, rely on yesteryear, speak about the time I told her I slept with a colleague renown in Boston academia and aghast, her eyes teared up and her jaw formed a giant O until she broke into laughter. We only see each other in a great while, we’ll have fun over the next three days, make it last through the mundane times.

That’s what I figured.

But it feels shitty and I want to turn around for home.

Where it’s not filthy and stifling and rushed and impersonal.

We’re up at our stop, following Pam’s directive. I’m helping Tina gather her things and Pam is swiftly breezing through the sliding doors. Tina and I hit the platform, being pushed about in the throes of commuters, and instead of waiting for Pam’s fiancé (an attorney who’s yet to begin divorce proceedings with his wife) to pick us up here, we’re racing down the platform towards the station entrance, out of the parking lot.

Poor Tina is having a hard time keeping up and I’m thinking, what the hell is the big hurry, when her heel gets caught in a crevice and she flies forward, topples over her luggage and awkwardly lands on her wrist. I help her up. Her skin is abraded and it bleeds; she holds her arm like a broken wing.

The incident manages to break Pam out of her New-York-Frantic-Idiotic-Pace and she says, “oh, Tina” and brushes the pebbles from her skin. Tina fibs, says she’s okay; she had a lousy upbringing and her parents didn’t impart pity or compassion. Pam gathers Tina’s suitcase, Tina holds the broken wing close to her gut. The New Yorker resumes the lead down the platform. My eyes glare into her back. Tina is silently choking back the tears.

We get to the end of the mile-long platform and Fiancé, come to find out, is back where we disembarked. Pam tells him on her cell to come and get us.

Fiancé! Great to meet you! [not]

Fiancé drops off Tina and I at the hotel.

I’m in the bar within fifteen minutes.

We don’t see Pam until the following morning for a day of Fun and Games—go-karts, rock climbing. I’m the one who set it up; a fat girl who has no interest in that type of shit and who’s pined for team-building exercises. At lunch, I go outside and smoke a cigarette with the Russian accountant. I’m rebelling—smoking, no rock climbing, no go-kart. Pam texts me in the limo. She sits just behind the front seat, I’m hiding in the far back.

What’s wrong. Everyone can see you’re unhappy. Smile.

We stop in at her house in Cold Spring Harbor and I meet her dog. He makes me smile.

By dinnertime I’m dying for a drink, the anesthetizer. I’m the first to arrive to the Italian restaurant and into half of the second Ketel martini when the others begin to arrive. When Pam shows up, winded, I’m starting my third. I saved her a seat next to me and when she pushes in close the table I put my arm around her and blubber, “how come I never see you'” and “how come we never have any fun” and “I’m so unhappy…with you” with tears running down my face.

She talked and laughed with the others, thinking I have a lush on my hands!

The following morning Husband and I meet up with Pam in a quaint little bakery and discuss my job status [my being unhappy]. Pam offers to relocate me to Long Island. Husband has a job in Cambridge and for us to relocate on my salary doesn’t make any sense. I tell Pam I’ll commute to Long Island a couple days a week. She says that doesn’t promise us working together in person. She tries to sell me on relocating again, a promotion which includes doing HR stuff, she’s expanding the firm. I hate HR stuff. We decide I’ll leave Quik-Mark at the end of August and I’ll train my new replacement.

Which, incidentally, Pam already has in place.

The staff returns to their respective hideaways across the Northeast. A day later, a young female consultant [she lives on Beacon Hill] who I’ve been graciously booking accommodations and attendance at golf tournaments across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, asks me to buy a monitor for her. I had asked for a monitor weeks ago so I could work in the nearby office with Pam’s Managing Partner, Al, but was denied it—”not in the budget.” Monitors had been approved for staff at the company meeting. Pam and her partner figured, gee, we should give our staff what they need to efficiently do their job. So Miss Cute Rich Blond Consultant is put-off when I tell her discreetly, please, just order it yourself. The monitor-thing is a sore subject with me.

She rats on me to Pam.

Pam emails me, this isn’t like you. I email Blondie, angry. Blondie forwards my email to Pam. Pam asks me to apologize to Blondie. I tell her I won’t. Pam says [over email] you’re dismissed—you can quit this very moment or wait until Natalie comes on board and you’ve trained her.

I say, I’m out of here this instant!

Pam: You still have to apologize to Kitty.

Me: No.

Pam: Yes.

Dearest Kitty, please accept my most, humblest apologies for rumpling your fragile and well-bred feathers. With deepest sincerity, Ginny.

I got out of ordering the monitor.

The bridge with Pam is burned to hell.

[gulp, gulp, gulp]

with the stars burning and exploding.

Day 40 | Five of ‘Em! | We’re Doing the Wild Thing, Booze-Free in da’ Hood!

The intense climax of sexual energy after a good round of sex or masturbation. It’s as if your life flashes before your very eyes as you stare blankly into the walls or ceiling while the violent [deliciously yummy] sensation courses through your body. You may let out a low, soft moan or a good, loud yell during an orgasm. Strength of the orgasm varies on mood and stamina of the sex parter. [I ride solo with Husband beside me] The better the mood and the greater the energy, the stronger the orgasm is. Best damn feeling in the world. —Urban Dictionary; my number 1 definition on anything

felt the burden lifting from my back.

Day 38 | Clean as a Flemish Interior | Down 15 Pounds; 51 to Go

Hey! Look out for the fat chick on the bike weaving through traffic!

That chick be me.

The 7-mile ride in the noontime 95-degree heat served as a kick-up-my-heels kind of release following four consecutive interviews with marketing managers at EMC.

I had given myself plenty of time to get there, but came to a grinding halt due to construction and then hit a detour and a patch of country road that sprawled on and on in the wrong direction.

This got me into a state well beyond, calm, cool and collected—the requisite demeanor for interviewing forgone—being hungover and mired in brain fog, fortunately, more than 30 days behind me.

Breathless, frantic—muttering the type of words you keep from techy white-collar employers.

That’s how I am when I zip into a parking space on the EMC campus. In a Tourette’s fit. Anyone watching the surveillance camera or gazing out the window amid a ho-hum meeting, can witness the car [ironically, a Honda Fit] bumping up against the curb, my upper body lunging into the steering wheel and the clip in my hair making a beeline for the windshield.

Out of the Fit.

Kick flip-flops aside for loafers, slip on a wool-lined jacket, flatten hair to ears, mush lipstick on my lower lip. Make way to reception looking as if I have a pee-emergency and about to dump the entire contents of my bladder.

[It’s happened]

Trapper John M.D. is there behind the desk, greets me.

It’s obvious I’m flustered, bustered and late for something important, like a meeting that yields potential income and stability. My vibe casts ringlets of angst in the cool, quiet interior.

“Aw, hell, traffic in Framingham was a mess!”

He smiles and assures me everything will be fine; has a pleasing way about him.

You know, like Trapper.

I tell him the name of the hiring manager, say, “is it too early for a martini?”

A martini?

My last stint at EMC ended a year ago, a tedious project, but good experience and brand name for the resume. The tedium, though?

I came home thirsty.

And quenched that thirst.

Trapper winks and says, cupping his hand over his mouth so no one would hear, well, the weekend’s not that far off.

Voice inside my head:

You’re putting the wrong foot forward. Quick, take it back.

I’m grimacing. “Just kidding about the martini.”

He tells me Liz-beth is running five to ten minutes late. She’s in a meeting.

Maybe overlooking the parking lot.

I collect myself.

Use the restroom; look in the mirror. The new mascara is not dark brown but black and I appear to be a avid enthusiast for Marilyn Manson. Too bad I didn’t switch on the bathroom light this morning.

Despite my get-up—goth and disheveled—I will tell you that at the end of the interviews, one of out of the four peeps, said “I feel very positive about your qualifications” [he was a cute 30-something, sexy] and another said [a chatty Director-woman on the phone], “I am super-impressed with you.”

[It’s because you can’t see me, honey]

Will an offer manifest on Monday?

If I do get the job, it’ll be different this time.

I have the momentum of going-without behind me to keep from getting thirsty.

no way to break the spell [or is there?].

Day 34 | Dry as a Nilla Wafer | The Snickers Are Acquiring a Nice Coat of Dust Beneath the Dryer

A girl and her black Lab walk into a trendy happenin’ deliciously-cool bar on a hot summer afternoon [in Barcelona].

The girl and her black Lab walk right back out into the heat.


This place is located in Barcelona. Take note of the Lab’s screwy eyeballs—he’s had a few.

Wanna know my secret at thwarting temptation?

I haven’t been in a bar or a restaurant in 34 days.

Not in Barcelona, not in London, New York or even nearby Beantown.

Whenever I’ve tried to pull this stunt before—quit the drinking, the eating—I’d psyche myself up into thinking I could face the shiny bottles of booze and the baskets of warm, delectable pillows of baked goodness and oil at Bertucci’s—without caving into temptation.

But what about on a Friday night?

You know, Friday. Night.

Husband’s there, sitting opposing me, looking his handsome self.

He’s relieved the work week is through.

It’s a full moment, settling into our seats. A reprieve.

Breathe out the stress. Breathe in—

[The soft light cast on the bar]


How wonderfully enticing, comforting, the bar appears.

The bottles—blue, green, amber, clear.

Clean, sterile-like.


A giant bottle of Grey Goose [that won’t fit in our freezer, I’ve tried].

A cute little bottle of Chambord.

The bartender.

The bartender.

The bartender.

The ice crunching in the cocktail shaker.

Cocktail shaker.

Cocktail shaker.

Cocktail shaker.

I can fight it, I’d say to myself.

I can fight it, I’d say louder.

I can fight it, I’d clamor and hit my fist against the table.

“Welcome to Bertucci’s, first time here?”

“I’ll have a Ketel martini with a whisper of brine.” A pillow of goodness protrudes from the side of my mouth. “Three olives.”

[I grimace] “Right away. [nod] Please. [ease into a smile] Thank you.”


Keeping out of a bar and a restaurant for 34 days may seem extreme.

But, it’s working.

tamed by the pressure.

Day 31 | Dry as the Heart of a Haystack | Down 14 Pounds, 52 to Go

She crawled on her hands and knees across my ass.

No, really.

The massage is a treat for my 30-day milestone [the cost equals a bottle and a half of 1.75L bottles of Ketel One, a 3-week supply].

I say to the therapist, “my gluts and lower back are tight from hiking ‘the Pipe’ at Callahan.”

She cocks her head.

I provide more detail. “It’s so steep, it’s nearly an inverted climb.”

A question mark appears in a call-out balloon above her head.

I rub my back side with both hands. “My ass muscles feel like open wounds.”

I reached her this time. She chuckles. Then she tells me to take all my clothes off and the smile runs away from her face.

Big and naked I lie.

Her tiny fingers are razor blades. Honing and kneading into my connective tissue.

I breathe through my nose the entire hour.

Send out flairs and pop red smoke for a break, some gesture of comfort.

Take short inhales, long exhales.

Whistle the air out of my mouth.

It helps mitigate the pain.

This morning, my ass doesn’t hurt anymore. It’s a bit sore, but it’s not bleeding. My shoulders are so loose, they feel as if they may rotate out of their sockets and fall to the floor. The back of my neck feels as if it’s not even attached to my head.

A body rototilled has its benefits.

It’s my reward, right?

[Yes, Ginny, it is your reward. 30 days without a fucking drop of booze. You’re on fire.]

Hell, yea.

Kudos to you, Mark Garrison. I finished Guts ‘N Gunships and loved every second of it—learning a combat helicopter pilot’s perspective [and terror] in fighting the VC—and rescuing Americans so they could get home.