A Great Disturbance in the Force

Like for most people, 2016 has been a shit year for me. Yes, much good has come from it, but I also suffered three significant losses. The year kicked off with the sudden and heartbreaking death of my cat, Bandit, whose illness was swift and crushing. A few months later, I lost one of my best friends, my Auntie Bea, whose loss is felt even more during this holiday season. And now, Carrie Fisher.


I am aware that she is a writer and actress that I never met. But her influence has inspired my life in surprising ways. When I was younger, Star Wars was re-released in theaters and Princess Leia was everything I ever wanted to be: a beautiful princess, a passionate fighter for what is right and good, and the girlfriend of hottie Han Solo. I used to dress up in my bathing suit and leap around my couches, escaping from Jabba’s clutches and bringing an end to enemy forces. (Please don’t analyze that). Princess Leia was the one action figure this girly girl desired (and okay, I also got Han Solo because one, hottie, and two, she needed her mate!)


As one does, especially at that age, I grew out of my Star Wars obsession and kind of forgot about it for awhile. But flash to junior year when my roommate and best friend, Stephanie and I discovered we were both past-Star Wars fans and decided to watch the movies again. Instant magic. Princess Leia was still the feminist icon I admired from my childhood and I grew even more enamored by her and her love story with Han Solo. I like to refer to Harrison Ford as my elder bae because at any age, he is still a hottie.


Watching those films again at an older age made me curious about the actors behind those roles. I’d seen Harrison Ford in a bunch of different things and certainly knew of Carrie Fisher by name, but I was surprised by what I learned about her. She was so much more than Princess Leia, but Princess, now General Leia, is still a bad ass chick in my book.


Carrie endured years of drug abuse and struggling with her addiction, as well as mental illness. She not only survived, but she flourished. No doubt some days were harder than others, but she persevered and lived a damned good life. Through it all, she laughed, because as she would say, if we didn’t laugh, it would just be sad. Humor in tragedy makes the inevitable need to move on that much easier. She was sassy, brilliant, charming, and vulnerable in her fearlessness. I discovered this from watching interviews and reading her books. Many will not know this, but Carrie helped me through my one hundred pound weight loss. At the time, she was being berated online and in the media about her aging and weight gain, and although she made a strong effort to lead a healthier life, she also spoke out about self-worth and self-love no matter one’s weight or age. No doubt, it could not have been easy to hear these comments, but she continued forward, and it was this confidence that inspired me to find my inner strength and be a healthier and happier person. I would not be the person I am without Carrie Fisher.

I got to see her perform her one woman show, Wishful Drinking, live in Baltimore with my sister a few years ago and it is a memory I will forever treasure. As will the autograph she was kind enough to send to me and Stephanie after we sent her an embarrassing fan letter, which, for whatever wonderful and quirky reason, she signed twice.

Another moment of her influence stands out. I’ve always been a decent writer, but I didn’t consider myself to be a writer until I read Carrie’s books. She made me want to continue taking creative writing courses, which ultimately led to my moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in writing. Carrie was one of the finest authors and script writers in Hollywood. Her characters, whether fictional or real, made me feel, made me vulnerable, and made me want to continue on with them throughout their journey.

I wish Carrie’s journey had not come to an abrupt end. I wish we had more books, more movies, more tweets, and more stage shows. I’ve never had one of my absolute favorite celebrities die before and I’m having a difficult time grasping the reality of it. There will be no closure, no making sense of this tragic loss. I will mourn and cry, but I will try to pay her back for all that she has unknowingly done for me. I’ll watch her movies and tv shows, I’ll read her books, I’ll remember the strength and the spark in which she she so bravely lived. I’ll remember her. And I’ll say it again, I am not the person I am today without Carrie Fisher. I wish I could have gotten the chance to tell her thank you.


I will end this devastating tribute the way she wanted:

Carrie Fisher drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.

Happy Monday!

I’m trying to be consistent, but then I get out of the habit of blogging! At least I did some fun stuff over the weekend.

Friday night, it was gym-time. I really wasn’t feeling like going after a long week at work, but I had taken Thursday off and knew I would feel better once I finished. I ended up killing a lower body workout, ending with a run and felt great! Lunch at work was fried chicken- heavy- so for dinner, I had half a sandwich and a cup of tomato soup. The perfect accompaniment? The new season of Fuller House. Yes, it’s outrageously cheesy, but they know it, they use it well, and it’s all sorts of adorable. Nostalgia is in!

On Saturday, I was happy to not set an alarm and zzz. For breakfast, I made myself a veggie scramble and a waffle. So good and quite the meal to fuel my hike. My friend and I decided to hike to the Hollywood Sign, which is no easy feat. We took the long way and about a quarter of a mile in, I needed to pee. So we turned around and I used the MOST DISGUSTING port-a-potty known to man. It’s a good thing I can squat. But, I was better for it, and crushed that hike. I mean…

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I can’t get enough of the view, even on a cloudy day!

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By the time we hiked down, it was time for food and you better believe I worked for those chips and salsa. After dinner, we saw Office Christmas Party, which was funny but also, when are we going to allow women to be powerful and in charge and not a total bitch? I expect more than anti-feminist jokes in a movie that features Jennifer Aniston and Kate McKinnon. C’mon!

I was sore and had wracked up 21,000+ steps on my Saturday, but I did myself a favor and trekked out to the grocery store to get it done! It might not be the most glamorous way to spend a Saturday night, but it made my Sunday that much better.

Speaking on Sunday, it was time for more Fuller House while I munched on my pancake breakfast, folded laundry, and cleaned. After breakfast, I tossed a bunch of stuff into the crockpot and headed out for a bike ride. I love the beach. I always thought New York City was the city of my soul, but the ocean gets me. Surf’s up! Okay, I can’t pull that off and I’d probably make a terrible surfer, but it’s still on my LA Bucket List.

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(Side Note: Does anyone else remember that show California Dreams? I loved that ish.)

I rode for about 35 minutes and found myself a bench in which to gaze out into the ocean and write. Can’t.Beat.That. I really wanted to walk down to the water, but leaving my bike is a sensitive topic since it was, ya know, stolen.

After I headed back and grabbed a quick pb&j, I walked over to the gym and killed a body weight/plyometric-heavy workout. I mean, jumping plie squats, no but yes. Or yes, but no? Who cares, I did it. And loved it.

Back to the store it was, this time to Target, and it was MADNESS. I don’t like people surrounding me while shopping on the best of days, but this was chaos. I got what I needed, stood in line for too long, and hit the road.

Sunday night was productive. First, a dinner of chicken, broccoli, spinach, and ziti with a side salad. Then, I prepared my meals for the week, this time chicken and two-bean chili that smelled (and tasted) divine. Yay for new, yummy recipes! Next up, I needed to touch up my hair because it’s the holidays and people be paying attention. I also, importantly, finally got some nail polish remover and wiped away the buck wild nail polish sporadically on my nails. Yuck.

A new workout plan was in the cards, particularly of the core, which is always exciting (genuinely). Blog post writing time, regular writing time, and reading before bed, and I was ready for a full night sleep and to start the week!

Get it!

 

Chef Caitlin

In another life, maybe I should have been a chef. Let’s discuss.

At breakfast, I put together this bowl of oatmeal and cooked it in the microwave…about five seconds too long because a bit spilled out over the sides. But only a little- every great chef has a kitchen mishap or two. Topped with banana, raisins, and walnuts, it was a tasty treat.

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For a snack, I pulled the microwave trick again and cooked an egg and put it atop a piece of toast and cheese.

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I happened to enjoy it so much that I had another with my quinoa, chickpea, and veggie lunch.

I was raring for dinner after my workout and grilled a piece of cod in a buttery, garlic sauce and placed it on two corn tortillas with a drizzle of soyaki. On the side, some green beans and a giant caesar salad made with baby spinach leaves, a sprinkling of parmesan, caesar dressing, and crushed tostitos.

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They may not look restaurant-worthy, but the dishes tasted great and I think that merits some points.

Speaking of my workout, it was upper body day, so I worked my biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, and back. For the bi’s, tri’s, and shoulders I did two exercises per muscle group. For the chest and back, I worked three exercises, all three sets of twelve reps. To top things off, I did three core exercises and ended with 20 minutes on the bike.

Happy December- it’s officially Christmas time! No matter that it’s in the sixties and I’m finding this “chilly.”