Yesterday, I came home from two days away at a writer’s retreat. I use the singular form of writer’s as there was just one of us there. Me. It was a do-it-yourself retreat.

I planned it for two reasons. First, I was stuck with my second book. I had a general idea, and I had begun the work needed to flesh it out, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. Why? That brings me to my second reason.

I hadn’t been alone in my house for more than a year. My husband and I had been — and still are — doing…

So let me ask you this: a cleanse isn’t a tough concept, right? Like, if I say — hypothetically — “I’m doing a 10-day smoothie cleanse. I’ll have smoothies for all my meals for the next 10 days,” that’s pretty clear, right?

I’m asking for a friend.

My “friend” has this fabulous hubby who is super supportive in all things, but who also seems to forget every day around 5pm that I’m — er, I mean, she’s — doing this cleanse and asks “what do you want to do for dinner?”

I guess I blew my cover; the friend is…

Candy, candy, everywhere / Chocolate dark as ink / Candy, candy, everywhere / Pour my smoothie down the sink (with apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge).

Day 7 was Halloween. In years past, when my kids were still trick o’ treating, my strategy on candy was to buy the stuff I wasn’t crazy about: Nerds, Skittles, Starburst, and the like. (don’t @ me, I’m more of a chocolate over straight sugar kind of person).

Then my kids became teenagers. Deeming themselves too old to traverse the neighborhood for sugar, they now advocate for which kinds of candy we should hand out…

So it snowed today.

Yeah, snow. In October.

Don’t get me wrong, I love snow. I love watching it fall. I love getting snow days (back when I was commuting, that is), and I love how it looks covering the trees when I take my dog into the woods for a hike. I don’t even mind shoveling (much). I set my FitBit to “workout” and get credit for the calories burned.

The view from my “Covid office”…aka my dining room

The issue is that when it snows, it triggers my “cocoon” instinct. I crave hot chocolate, hearty stews, and crusty bread with butter. Not icy smoothies. I’d console myself…

I miss food.

The thought popped into my head on Day 4, when I was driving my two kids home from our bi-annual teeth cleaning. It was sneaking up on lunchtime, and my daughter asked — as she does pretty much every day — “what can I have?”

As I was running through her options: PB&J, Annie’s Shells & Cheddar, chicken tenders paired with a variety of fruits and vegetables, etc., I realized that I was envious of her ability to ask the question. I wasn’t pondering all the options for my pending lunch. It didn’t matter what I wanted

If you’re keeping score at home, you know that Day 2 was record-breaking awful. So it was with trepidation that I rose in the wee hours (to me, if the clock still shows “6” as its first number, it’s the wee hours) of Day 3. It was Tuesday, which meant my day was starting with a body sculpting class at my local YMCA. For the last month and a half, this class has incited a mixture of optimism and dread.

First, let me say that I love this class. I love the instructor, the regular attendees, and the great impact…

I love my “wake up time” in the morning, to the point where you mess with it at your own peril. Normally it looks like this: I pad downstairs in my pajamas about an hour before I need to start getting ready to be where I need to be and make a beeline for the coffeemaker. I’ve programmed it the night before, yet I still place my hand gently on the top of the machine for confirmation, feeling the warmth from the newly brewed joe. Cup in hand — half & half, no sugar — I settle onto the sofa…

Yesterday, I shared my commitment to doing a 10-day smoothie cleanse to help mitigate my Meniere’s Disease symptoms…and to get back at those mean programmers at Wii.

I don’t actually know if I have Meniere’s yet — my specialist appointment isn’t until after the cleanse ends — but all the signs are there: vertigo, tinnitus, fatigue, a feeling of fullness in the ear, and a family history (my grandpa had it).

Someone recently asked me what it felt like, this strange disease. My answer? During a particularly bad bout, which for me began in mid-September and didn’t subside until, well…

I’m a lifelong and incurable bookworm. Mostly, that translates to me reading lots of fiction (currently Lucy Foley’s The Guest List), with the occasion memoir or a crackerjack story from history (ie: Devil in the White City) thrown in. But every now and again, when something affects me deeply and personally, I use my bookworm superpowers for good and turn to research. …

The day after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death was a rough one for me. It was next-level exhausting after nearly four years of escalating crazy. I’d spent that Friday night and Saturday morning watching and reading the news coverage, seeing Twitter implode in equal parts rage and schadenfreude, and witnessing the hypocrisy of Republican senators in full flourish as — one by one — they committed to ushering in her replacement before November 3.

By Saturday evening, I was done. I needed to pause and retreat, if only for a two-hour window before bed.

Escaping reality to reset isn’t a new…

Kerry Crisley

Writer querying women's fiction. Wife. Autism mom. Dance mom. Rescue dog mom. Lover of books & nature. Views are mine. She/her

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