Catching up after a long week of carbs and exhaustion

Spending my Saturday catching up on Padres games and making a flaccid effort to clean my home office.

We flew to California a week ago today; we returned home early Thursday morning. I ate half the breakfast burrito my sister insisted on bringing to me less than 24 hours before, then dragged myself to bed to sleep off some grief, anxiety, and the pain of long hours crammed in a winged sardine can with a thick piece of cloth over half your face.


Catching up on whatever news I can stomach (which, these days, isn’t much). The news item that was the biggest gut punch for me: the latest round of buyouts at the Tribune – the first under Alden Capital ownership.

There’s so many familiar names among these buyouts, I’m starting to realize that pretty soon, only a tiny handful of people I worked with nearly 20 years ago will be gone.

Among them: three columnists for whom I built websites when I landed at in the late 1990s, including Eric Zorn – who was especially kind and patient with me and will forever be in my mind the tallest, most interactive columnist ever.

Godspeed to the folks who are leaving. And God help the people who are left.


I still have a lot to process from the past week. Today I spent a great morning over breakfast doing a bit of processing with one of my dearest friends. Not sure how much processing I’ll do in this space, though. My greatest anxieties stemming from the week will likely remain analog and offline. I have enough to write about online.


The airline we flew provides free entertainment to distract us from the cramped seats, the aforementioned long hours in a winged sardine can, and the discomfort of lugging all of your possessions in a carry-on to avoid the $30-per-bag fee for checked-in luggage.

I took home two obsessions, thanks to this free entertainment: David Byrne’s “American Utopia” concert film (directed by Spike Lee) and the Apple TV+ sitcom “Ted Lasso.”

Somehow, “American Utopia” made me feel okay about growing old, even though the “Stop Making Sense” movie provided the soundtrack of my college years more than 30 years ago, and this latest concert film reminded me of that. Byrne has aged, like we all have, but that hasn’t kept him from making joyful, energetic, and insightful art. I watched “American Utopia” on the way to California and during my return home, and it buoyed my spirits when I needed it the most.

The flight only offered the first two episodes of “Ted Lasso,” and when I got home, I went ahead and subscribed to Apple TV+ so I could binge watch the final eight episodes. It didn’t take long. (I only binge watch archived baseball games on, so this was a first for me.) Much has been said about the power of niceness that the show depicts, and that’s part of what I adore about this show. But the titular character demonstrates more than that; there is a resilience and stubborness in Ted Lasso’s optimism, even in the midst of his own sadness and anxiety over his failling marriage. Some critics say, well, this is fiction and not real – but why must so many shows be hard and cynical? We get enough of that in real life.

I don’t watch much TV or many movies; the critically acclaimed stuff strikes me as cynical or overwrought or trying too hard to be woke or meaningful, and I’ve had my fill of that. (Much of what passes for news or punditry also feels overly earnest or a vehicle for cynicism, and I prefer to consume such content in small doses.) I’m just hoping “Ted Lasso” doesn’t take a dark turn in its second season, which starts next month.


I ate my weight in carbs while we were gone. I didn’t eat as much rice as I might have six months ago, but I thought nothing of all the tortilla-based and bready, sugary stuff that made its way into my grazing. I think I ended up maybe more than 100 grams over my 100-gram carb limit at one point. But I still logged everything.

Not alarmed. I decided weeks ago that I would go easy on myself this past week. I fully expect some weight gain when I weigh myself Monday. In the meantime, I’m back on the wagon and watching my carbs again. Onward.

ICAD 19: A quotation kind of mood

ICAD 19/61; no prompt. Acrylic craft paint, metallic Sharpies, printer paper on card stock, stencil.

Turning my penchant for collecting things to quotations for my artwork. My zillions of likes on Twitter and Instagram usually mark quotes I appreciate. Time to mark them in analog form.

ICAD 18: Inchies come in handy

ICAD 18/61; no prompt. Inchies with acrylic paint, cardboard, and doodles; metallic paint pens and glitter pens.

Mosaic-type thing with a couple of cutouts from my daughter’s church doodles.

ICAD 17: Not quite a day at the beach

ICAD 17/61; no prompt. Pilot G2 bold pen; cheap Target glitter pen; parking receipt from a few hours at the beach.

Wasn’t thrilled with my doodle background, so I plastered our parking receipt onto it. It’s something, I guess. Wandering around the beach where I spent some time in my childhood was a highlight of our time away.

And with this, I’m caught up on my ICAD cards. Still in a post-travel fog, though I’m still happily able to relax with artwork and yesterday’s White Sox game streaming from Just plain physically weary, and my right big toe is oddly swollen and numb, though it seems to be improving.

My head hurts. The emotional and physical exhaustion of the past several days is catching up with me.

I could use more sleep.

ICAD 16: Flying home

ICAD 16/61; accidental use of “Chartreuse” prompt. Acrylic paint, punched card stock, metallic marker.

Another card to make up for two days of not creating. We flew home yesterday, the three of us. I had created this background well before I knew of the “Chartreuse” prompt; I’m not sure this is pure chartreuse, but whatever. It seems to work.

The slightly squiggled butterfly is punched from black card stock that my daughter scribbled in metallic marker when she was 5 or 6.

(Also, I just realized that the “Chartreuse” prompt was a day or two before. Oh well.)

ICAD 15: A funeral card

ICAD 15/61; no prompt. Acrylic paints, washi tape, previously punched thesaurus page on card stock.

I’m behind on posting cards — and in fact was off on my card routine the past few days. Tuesday was Mom’s funeral, and yesterday was our long travel day back home. I had some supplies with me, and some ideas for cards, but now that we’re home, I’m catching up through a cloud of jet lag and the exhaustion that is finally catching up to me.

Here, we’re seeing off Mom.

ICAD 14: A little attention

ICAD 14/61; no prompt. Acrylic paint on inchies; printer paper; washi tape.

I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted this here after I made it Monday. Love this Simone Weil quote.

I just ate my weight in leftover funeral lumpia for dinner. I somehow want to think Mom would be proud.

ICAD 13: It’s something

ICAD 13/61; no prompt. Smushed acrylics, gold metallic Sharpie, Pilot G2 bold pen.

After a long day of travel yesterday, I pulled out a prepped card and doodled. Sigh. It’s something.

ICAD 12: Art in transit — sort of

ICAD 12/61; no prompt. Pilot G2 bold pen, cheap Target glitter pens.

Not a great pic of not a great doodle card. Colored this at O’Hare airport as our flight was canceled and we were rebooked on another direct flight to our destination, landing about 90 minutes after our originally scheduled arrival.

The losing battle, Week 21.8: Special pretravel edition

Doing an early weigh-in and post before we head West for Mom’s funeral. Being a gathering of a Filipino family in a hotbed of Mexican food, I expect to throw carb limits out the window during our time in California.

I checked in at 236.8 pounds, or 3.2 pounds down from last Monday. This puts me at a 16.3 percent weight loss since January.

Even if I go over my carb limits, I’ll still log my eating. I’ll continue restraint, but I’m not going to go nuts, either.

Of course, I weighed myself before having a last-minute Portillo’s Polish with everything – including the bun, which I rarely eat now. I anticipate ingesting an unusual amount of noodles, tortillas, and sweets – as well as homemade oven-fired pizza at my brother’s place – over the next several days.

Bonus ICAD card for today. Let’s call this 11a/61; no prompt. Pilot G2 bold pen, cheap glitter markers, bronze metallic Sharpie pen that was low on ink.

Today is the feast of the Sacred Heart. Wanted to do something for it.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us.

My first reaction to the Pulitzer Prize announcements was that the apocalypse must be near if BuzzFeed won a Pulitzer.

Of course, BuzzFeed won for actual quality reporting, not a listsicle of Best Kardashian Dating Stories or something. But I like teasing BuzzFeed, anyway. Good for them on the Pulitzer.

Obit finally posted to Mom’s memorial website. Probably will post it separately on the blog at some point.

ICAD 11: Library of my mind

ICAD 11/61; “Library” prompt. Pilot G2 bold pen. Simple and to the point this time.

ICAD 10: And now, a Frannie doodle

ICAD 10/61; no prompt. Acrylic paints, washi tape, cutout of my daughter’s index card scribble.

Late posting of yesterday’s index card. Last (for now) in my accidental series.

In the Before (COVID) Times, I’d give my kid pens and 4 x 6 index cards to busy herself during church. I was hoping she’d maybe take notes or draw something about the readings or homily; instead, she’d produce idle doodles of Pokémon or dragons or whatever else she’d be fascinated with at the time. I have a pile of these drawings now, and I’ll be incorporating some of them into these cards.

So much for sleep health.

ICAD 9: An accidental series begins

ICAD 9/61; no prompt. Craft acrylic paint; washi tape; inchies made of repurposed cereal box cardboard, Eastern European newspaper, and Sharpie.

Took the look of the Day 7 card and switched things up slightly. I think I may have the makings of an accidental series here.

Reconstructing Mom, one photo at a time

Been getting to bed by 2 or 3 a.m. the past few nights. Working on photo scanning, editing, and uploads to Mom’s memorial site. I still have a full obituary to write and a slideshow that I need to figure out how to create — all, ideally, by Friday. And I still have a job to tend to during the day.

Not complaining. All of this is the least I could do. My siblings have borne the far greater burden of our mother’s slow decline. And shuffling through hundreds of photos is helping me rebuild memories of someone I have been grieving over the past five years.

The losing battle, Week 21: Erratic eating patterns, but still down another pound

Weighed myself yesterday, per usual, but I forgot to post the weekly update. Down to 240 pounds, or 43 pounds less than the start of all this in January. That’s a 15.2 percent loss so far.

We’re heading West this weekend for Mom’s funeral, and I expect my eating patterns to go somewhat haywire. They’re already haywire now; I still forget to eat for stretches at a time, though I make up for it at dinner and afterward. Except for today (when I opted for a fudge pop that put me over my carb limits by 3 or 4 grams), I’ve been pretty good with keeping under my doctor-prescribed limits.

The Fitbit app now gauges stress levels; my score has been in the 50s and 60s over the past few days. There’s work, and then there’s some tasks related to preparing for the funeral and memorializing Mom. I’m trying to keep up my daily ICAD stuff, which has been such a welcome distraction and stress reliever. In a way, it anchors me these days – as does, to some extent, the dietary scaffolding of my low-carb “lifestyle.” Grateful for both anchors.

ICAD 8: Stress doodling

ICAD 8; “Umbrella” prompt. Black, pink, and blue Pilot G-2 bold pens; cheap glitter markers from Target; gold metallic Sharpie.

I was ready to post a different card, but the “Umbrella” prompt was especially compelling to me for some reason. I was stress doodling and ended up with this.

ICAD 7: Maybe a little divine intervention

ICAD 7/61; no prompt. Metallic, pearlescent, and matte craft acrylic paints; metallic Sharpie; washi tape; old postage stamp.

Late getting this done after rifling through more supplies I didn’t realize I had. May be divine intervention involved, because I was close to giving up on this one. Actually happy about this card.

ICAD 6: Mom’s hipster spectacles

ICAD 6/61; no prompt. Gel pens, metallic Sharpies, printer paper, and repurposed cardboard.

Spending much of my weekend scanning family photos for an online tribute and slideshow for Mom’s visitation. This seemed kind of appropriate.

(I’m also finding she really rocked the hipster spectacle frames back in the day.)

ICAD 5: Too productive to finish in time

ICAD 5/61; no prompt. Acrylic paint, metallic Sharpie, printer paper, and an artist trading card topped with inchies made with a metallic Sharpie and acrylic paint on repurposed cardboard.

My Saturday got kind of crowded, so I’m late in posting this one. “Productivity” has been on my mind a lot lately.