Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Numbers and the New Moon.

As usual, I am going to go at this ass backwards.  First the moon, then the numbers.

I have been fixated with taking photos of the moon lately and this morning I noticed on my calendar that December 27 is the start of a New Moon.

Having spent more than the last decade researching tattoos, and the last five or six of those years doing research into the symbolism behind specific tattoo designs I was more than a little familiar with the symbolism of a new moon. My favorite is the Blood Moon or the Hunter's Moon but those are tales for another day.  As usual, I digress.

The new moon occurs when the sun and moon are in conjunction, or in simpler terms, occupying the same part of the sky from where you are standing on the earth. During this time the rays of the sun are not reflected off the surface of the moon and can not therefore be seen by us mere mortals on the ground - except during a solar eclipse.  Or, to paraphrase Pink Floyd, the dark side of the moon is facing us here on earth.

In many ancient cultures, especially those that worshipped the Earth and had a belief that all living things had a spirit, the start or phase of a new moon is the time of new beginnings.  For those who believed that the Earth was a feminine being, a Goddess, the new moon was the Maiden, virginal and pure, and 
season of Spring and new beginnings. The appearance of the new crescent moon was celebrated as a return of the moon from the dead. (A Full Moon represented the Goddess as a ripe, fertile symbol of Motherhood, and the Waning Moon represented the Crone, no longer fertile, but filled with a lifetime of wisdom and knowledge that was a vital force)

Symbolically, the New Moon is a time of gathering energy, rejuvenation and growth, renewal and hope.  The New Moon was considered an auspicious time to make changes in your life, such as ending bad habits or relationships.

Well, folks, the December New Moon hit me between the eyes like a four foot length of two-by-four lumber administered by Paul Bunyan.  

I have reacquired some serious bad habits and I need to end them before they start killing me.

And this is where the numbers come in.  And to quote a good friend who is like a brother to me, "Vince, the numbers do not lie!". 

This morning I got on the scales and I weighed two hundred and twenty-seven pounds.  Naked.

This is the most I have weighed in more than ten years.  I am on the edge of being morbidly obese.  I have gained nearly thirty pounds in a couple of months.  And I know better.  I know all about living a healthy lifestyle and nutrition and exercise and balance.  And despite knowing it, and knowing it deep in my bones, I haven't done it.

I won't make excuses, but I think I understand how it happened.  2008 has been a roller-coaster of a year, with many challenges, starting with the death of my Father, writing a book and going back to school as I tried to find something to pick up my spirits.

For some reason, and I'm not sure why, somewhere along the way I lost my passion for running.  I haven't really run since the Long Beach Marathon in October.  I have no idea where the spark went.

And food for me has always been a coping mechanism, almost a reflex reaction to depression and despair and heart-ache.  When I am stressed out - I eat and I drink. And when I say I eat and drink, I mean I eat and I drink like a Highlander at a Clan Gathering or a Viking at a Feast.

Working at home has it's own special dangers because you can eat and drink any time you get the urge.  And I can assure you, I was taught to clean everything off my plate because there were children in the world who were starving.  And as an adult I don't believe I have ever stuck a cork BACK into a bottle that I have opened.

What's worse, is that my life had become so chaotic in the past few months as I dealt with what seemed like dozens of irons in lots of different fires, that my home had begun to resemble a storage locker, or a documentary film about hoarders.  I couldn't even get into my kitchen for a six week period.  It, and I was, insane.

I ate out every single meal.  And washed down every mouthful with a guzzle of beer or a swig of wine.  And I ate every greasy, fatty comfort food I could think of.

This is literally what killed my Father.  Caused numerous heart attacks and by-pass surgery, diabetes and any other number of complications, and a horrible lingering death that haunts me still and causes me nightmares.

And I myself feel terrible.  I have endless heart burn and an aching back and every old injury I have ever suffered is screaming at me, "What in God's good name are you doing to yourself?!"  I have been living on Zantac and antacids by the bucketful, and because of my schedule, working seven days a week and on four or five hours of sleep a night.

So what am I going to do?  Now that I can smell the coffee?

Another Marathon Clinic starts on January 6.   I'll be there.

I bought myself a one-year gym membership.

I went to the doctor this week and was astonished that my blood-work was okay, my resting heart rate was 58 and that my blood pressure was only 118/80. 

So now I will bow my head in the direction of the New Moon and break some bad habits.

227 pounds.  No, really two hundred and twenty-seven pounds.

The young Santa Claus.

Damn!  That is one UGLY white whale off the portly bow....

Sweet Jesus, in God's good name what have I done to myself......


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a second too late! 227 and rising! You don't want to replicate the great white buffalo act, do ya? Just ease into it, big fella. You're not 33 anymore. I think you just mainly need to back off the trough a smidge. Get yourself in shape for the beach! I don't think I need to tell ya. Not sure if it's a blessing or a curse, but you're going to have to deal with the propensity your whole life, forcing you to keep up the active regimen.

Nice Blog

1:58:00 PM  
Blogger Vince Hemingson said...


All good writing comes from the willingness to get naked. Strip away all artifice and tear down the facade.

Or at least as much as propriety and Blogspot will allow.

That and my considerable vanity....

There is no substitute in writing for honesty, and is it not interesting how often honesty and the truth are brutal on hubris?

Yeah, I know all the things I should be doing and even more all the things I shouldn't be doing....

That may come under the definition of making it even worse!

2:06:00 PM  
Blogger gearsurfer said...

Vince, remember the summer of 2006?


7:01:00 AM  
Blogger Vince Hemingson said...

I do indeed, Michael.

The Summer of 2006 was the Summer of Cancer Boy.

But the Spring of 2006, that was my 3:30:38 Boston Marathon.

Yin and Yang.

Certainly not a year I will ever forget, nor remember without smiling.

And the Fall of 2006 was the Medoc Marathon. For which I was WELL prepared....

9:07:00 AM  
Blogger gearsurfer said...

And you are smart too!!! :-) Damn, you're right, it was 2005. No wonder I look so young! And of course, 2006 was cancer boy. I can't believe you ran the 3:30h at 184lbs and I ran a 3:43h at 17lbs. Imagine what you could have run at 176lbs :-)

9:28:00 AM  
Blogger Vince Hemingson said...

Michael, what did you teach me?

The data does not lie.

At 168 pounds I would run a sub-three hour marathon.

But it would take 100 mile weeks and a full year of solid, dedicated, painful and often brutal training and I would have to yield up my life to the marathon Gods and Goddesses.

But certainly a worthy quest.

And to do that you have to have an unquenchable thirst and desire and a passion that runs so deep that it borders on obsession.

But that is where greatness, and art and genius come from.

10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so amazing how weight is so simple to deal with and yet the hardest issue to deal with. I would be remiss if I did not add though that the viking reigns over the red spandex and that you wit and charm are relentless no matter what the scale says,

7:00:00 PM  

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