Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday March 31st, 2010 - On the Road Again

Having completed all of my errands on Tuesday, I decided to go ahead and try the road bike. I wanted to see if my knee was ready. My oldest son and I started out with a modest goal, but having reached that and still feeling fine, we continued to Old Littleton. From our starting point, the round trip is 24 miles. While I was totally spent with five miles to go, I did make it back home. My knee felt fine, but my butt was a little saddle sore. Last night I cursed the sadist that invented stairs, but this morning I only feel a bit sore. Nothing I can't handle. The ride felt beautiful. I love the wind rushing by me as I catch a good stride. It's a time when I can't fixate on negatives. It's sort of like mediation with a kick of adrenaline. The ride also assured me that it was time to hit the gym.

This morning I was a ridiculously inflated 326 pounds. I know that at least 3 pounds is excess water from all the water and tea I drank after the ride, but that still leaves me at 323 which is completely unacceptable. I have reduced my sugar, increased my soy protein, and I am managing my vegan diet better, so the end result is that I am coming into April with a good shot at losing 20 pounds. I wish losing weight was as much fun as gaining weight.

I've completed 7 chapters of my fiction novel "Positano." Here is the last paragraph from the 7th chapter...
My dad tried to calm me down as I scrambled up into the corner of the room. I was so frightened that I twisted myself into a defensive ball and just started crying. Initially, my shocked and bewildered father couldn’t console me. Slowly I started to realize where I was and a feeling of security started to calm me down. My dad was visibly relieved. I’m not sure how, but I fell back to sleep until my dad woke me up for the train. When we were safely on the train I opened my journal and wrote about my trip to Rome finishing with “I died in my sleep again.”

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday March 29th, 2010 - Weekend in Review

Hello blog readers,
Here's a quick review of the weekend. On Friday, I took my mom to our weekly workout. As you may remember she is in the advanced stages of Parkinson's disease and has been wheel chair bound for several years. She turns 70 in May. On Friday, we worked real hard on stretching and increasing her mobility with her legs which tend to get stiff. She has been able to increase her weekly workout and is showing remarkable improvement in mobility and comfort. She is better equip to help with moving her from her chair to the couch or car. It also gives us some one on one time which we both enjoy.

On Saturday I was interrogated, as usual, by party guests for a build-your-own pizza party. They didn't quite understand how you could make a vegan pizza. I made my pizza with some marinara sauce with artichoke hearts, red onion, and black olives. No meat; no cheese. It tasted great, however, I did eat JUST one anchovy because I absolutely love them.

On Sunday, we went to the Museum of Nature and Science and went through the installation/exhibition "Body Works." This is the exhibit that shows actual bodies "plastisized" so you can see each organ, muscle group, and brains either on a single body or separated into individual parts. They showed healthy tissues and organs as well as damaged organs. They had a 300 pound guy sliced in half so you could see the effects of body fat on the body system. It was educational.

Today I started to reduce my sugar consumption. I was really eating way too much sugar and too large of portions. I am going to try to lose 20 pounds from now to the end of April. My weight this morning was 324. That's up from my lowest weigh in of 313.8 in October. Time to reverse the effects of winter. I am also about ready to re-enter the gym and start riding my bike.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday March 25th, 2010 - Bleeding Heart

Today I spent writing and helping my son with a report about Stalin. What a fun guy? Do you know that if you count the man-made famine that he created when he socialized farming, he actually murdered more people than Hitler and Pol Pot combined. Somewhere upwards of 20 million. He was so paranoid he just killed everyone and anyone who found out the first killing. He told his army that the second line of soldiers were to shot the front line soldiers if they ran or retreated from the Germans. They used to call him "Pocky" when he was a child because he had facial scars from having had small pox. He was born a poor child in a little town in Georgia and he ended up controlling a world power. He was ruthless, brutal, and someone you simply never wanted to meet. Heaven help you if you were an intellectual. Anyway, I could go on. International Security was my discipline of study in Grad School (Before my M.Ed.). I have a thing for political science.

So today was non eventful except for some fun writing. I'm having some select friends read the first chapter of my book. I want to make sure I have made my character enduring enough to last through all the stupid shit he ends up doing.

Yesterday, I painted this bleeding heart after bouncing a few ideas off of a friend who is adjusting to the single life again. I'm going to attempt to capture my psychotic episode freak from 2008. It will be as dark as I can get. If I do it right, it should give ME nightmares.

Vegan diet is going fine, but I am getting tired of eating alternate meals while everyone else enjoys meat and cheese. Nah, don't care about the meat, but I would like some cheese and vegan cheese is kind of nasty. I think I will be able to ride my bike next week. The knee is still sore, but feeling better. We'll see. I'm anxious to start cardio again.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday March 23rd, 2010 - Sunshine/Snowshine

Each weekday morning I drop off my boys at the high school and the middle school. This morning there was a beautiful sunrise. It inspired me. I went to Goodwill in search of a large canvas and I found a 4' x 5' canvas in perfect shape. While the canvas was much larger than I'm used to, I think "Lever du soleil" (French for sunrise) turned out nicely. It actually looks pretty spectacular in person. I dusted the sky with some golden glitter and they look like sparkling stars. Anyway, everyone in this household likes this painting most of all. And to think, I wasn't so sure if I liked it. I have two small canvas left for this week and I already have plans for them. That is until I run out of my paint allowance. A 4'x 5' canvas takes a lot of paint.

When I started painting this picture, I was outside in my gym shorts and my short sleeve painting shirt. It was sunny and mild. Not as warm as yesterday's 70 degrees, but still comfortable. Then the clouds rolled in and I had to put up the porch umbrella to protect the painting from the sudden falling rain. By the time I was wrapping it up, it was snowing. Now, at 10pm, it has snowed over a foot and it is still falling. Most of the highways are closed. All of the schools are closed for tomorrow. We are supposed to get at least two feet. Our neighborhood is right up against the mountains so I'm sure we will get more. My youngest son went to his friends after school and now he is spending the night.

My diet was good today. I ate the rest of yesterday's soup. Still rocked. Tomorrow I will not be able to go to the museum, so I will be writing all day. I'm ready to write the next two chapters.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday March 22nd, 2010 - Leek soup

TodayToday has been great. I did my housework early and ran some errands. After I got the following soup going I thoroughly enjoyed painting outside. The new piece is 2'x3' acrylics on recycled canvas. It's called "fury."

The soup I made today is kind of a leek/asparagus/ potato soup. We'll call it vegan asparagus soup. The attached photo is prior to puree and cream (soymilk). It smells outrageously fantastic. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients for a dinner for at least seven. Served with whole wheat French bread and white wine.

2 cans of vegetable stock
2 leeks cut from the tough greens. Chop and sauté
1 cup scallions Chop and sauté
2 big cups of chopped asparagus Chop and sauté
4 big cloves of garlic Chop and sauté
4 tablespoons olive oil (for the sauté)
6 russet potatoes cubed
1 cup of wheat bran (just to sneak some more health and roughage)
1 cup V-8
1 cup of sherry
put all that together in a slow cooker and add the following spices
2 teaspoons of mint
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of rosemary
1 teaspoon oregano
2 heaping tablespoons of curry
2 teaspoon hot chili sauce
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 bayleaves

Once you've let this cook for a few hours in the slow cooker, let it cool and puree the entire thing adding soymilk and soy butter.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 21st, 2010 - my birthday weekend

Wow. 45. I can't even imagine this age. There is no way I am that old. It was only yesterday that I was 20. Seriously, three boys later and 25 years of marriage and I still don't feel any different. Maybe most people feel like they have all the answers, but I feel as if I have more questions than answers. I still think about the same things. Sex; food; and more sex. I'm really still 14. Actually I do identify with my 13 year old more than I identify with my 20 year old. He has all the answers and I have all the questions. It must be nice to think you have it all figured out... that is until you realize you don't know shit.

I started back on my diet, but had an 11am meeting with all of my siblings to consider what to do for my mom's 70th birthday. I will be the first to admit that I got wrecked. That doesn't exactly fit into the revitalized diet. Oh well, it was my birthday weekend. Tomorrow will be better. This morning I weighed in at a straight 320. Bummer, but okay figuring that my body isn't storing excess fat. I'm ready to lose some serious weight. I really haven't slept enough so today was fine. I needed to catch up or I risked mania. Better to keep both feet on the ground.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday March 20th, 2010 - I'm 45

Well, my birthday was pretty cool. I ate lunch at Red Robin and had some drinks. Then we went to see Alice in Wonderland. As usual, I fell asleep somewhere in the middle of the movie. It wasn't the movies fault. I'm just so hyper or in such deep concentration like when I'm writing for hours on end that when I get the chance to stop thinking and sit still I fall asleep. I had some carrot cake with real cream cheese frosting. Yes, cheese. It was my birthday and I always have carrot cake. Later that night we watched an on-demand movie at home. I think it was Law Abiding Citizen. I liked it better than Alice in Wonderland. I'm getting a little tired of those stupid 3d glasses. I want some good ol' 2d for a while.

I don't feel any older. If anything I feel better; younger; stronger; I'm the bionic man. Hahaha. I can't believe how into that show I was. Embarrassing. I am a full 50 pounds lighter. By the time I hit the end of June, which marks my starting point, I should be down by 70-75 pounds. Of course, I thought I could lose more, but, my body is used to this weight now. Any rebounds are unlikely at this point. Today I started back on the serious diet. My biggest thing is going to be late night snaking. If I can master that and manage my daytime eating, I should have some good results quickly. Maybe I could even lose 20 pounds in 30 days like I did in July. That would be nice.

I tripped over a snow covered log yesterday and kind of hurt my knee, but I don't think I will need to baby it past next Saturday. I can't wait to get on the bike.

I was able to write or should I say rewrite part one of the book. I think I'm just going to change the title of the book to Positano because nothing else fits anymore. It's far less about my dad as it is about a teenager dealing with mental illness. I even refined and rewrote the paragraph I posted yesterday. I could use some other readers to check my drafts. If you're interested, let me know.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday March 18th, 2010 - First paragraph

Well, I'm still on limited movement thanks to my knee so no gym this week. Next week I'll go in and start back up with all my weight training except for my legs. There are two things I would like to share today. First course of business is a reprint of some very good advise from fellow blogger Tom Jacobson.

He explains that, with the following routine, he lost 30 pounds all fat. He began the day with 45 minutes of cardio to get the juices flowing and he alternated with 90 mins. of light weight lifting the other 3 days. Sunday off.

In his words: "In order to lose weight I ate 5 to 6 small meals (300 to 500 calories each) and did juicing for 2 of those. I never eat the same caloric content for each day. I think calorie shifting fools your body into thinking its not on a diet. Start your first meal at 7am and the last one at 5pm. Only drink water after 5pm. Throw in a little morning aerobics to rev up the metabolism for the rest of the day. Don't forget to clean your pipes before starting a weight loss program - more info here: Keeping a journal or even a blog, hint hint, will help you stay on track.

Second course of order. Many people have been asking about my book's rewrite. Well, it's the story from the eyes of a 14 year old boy. I asked my 13 year old what boys his age thought about. His answer: simple, boobies. If you can't get past the first paragraph, it's not going to be your type of book. In order to build my story, I had to be graphic. Read on if you dare...

”WAKE UP!” I heard him just as I was rolling over. “Get ready for school!” Crap; what time is it? 5:30am; Good God! “Okay, okay; I’m up.” Hello my enthusiastic morning woody! Oh man, what died in my mouth? Last night’s garlic spaghetti with garlic and… who in the hell serves brussel sprouts with spaghetti? Gross. Where’s my toothbrush? Good, there’s still some hot water. I’m frantically soaping up. I’m late again. A beautiful thought pops into my mind. I bet Katie is climbing into the shower right now. She’s 18 and smoking hot. She lives in the house directly behind ours. We only have a chain link fence so I can watch her sunbathing during the summer. Sometimes she looks right at our house and slowly applies suntan lotion all over with a slight smile. Pure exhilarating torture. As I finish soaping up, the image of Katie getting into the shower freezes me in my tracks. I envision her robe dropping to the floor exposing her magnificent nudeness. I see her as she timidly climbs into the hot shower. As the water flows over her soft curves, she holds the bar of soap and slowly circles her ample breasts and moves slowly down her body. She seems to be lost in deep thought as her fingers gently spread the soap over the rest of her body. Oh yes, take your time my love. She closes her eyes and floats into an orgasmic trance. Oh yeah baby… nice…. Oh, you missed a spot. Oh yeah… just a little more… BANG BANG! “HEY, DON’T USE UP ALL THE HOT WATER!” Damn it!!! My stepdad has the worst timing in the world. Dickhead. Shower’s over.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday March 15th, 2010 - revelation

Maybe the most important part of writing is knowing when it sucks. My book has basically become an embellished slick worded report on "what I did on summer vacation." It was, frankly, starting to bore me. I needed to retool. Breath some life back into it.

The book was being written for me not for you and that's all wrong. It's selfish. I thought about what I had to offer the literary world. What was unique about me? In turn, what could I bring to a story. The backdrop of visiting my father in Positano, Italy still seemed promising. I just needed to tell a story and not tell "the" story. I thought about my age at the time. I was 14 going on 15 when I lived with my dad. Why or even how could I write it for adults? I shouldn't. It should be a story for 14 year olds. I took a look at stories like Harry Potter and examined the style by which she twists the events and emotions to tell her story. Today I watched "Where the Wild Things Are." I loved the way the story was told that made you understand that his dad died and he felt alone without saying his father died.

I thought about what was important at the time. I was fiercely protective of my dad and I overheard my step-dad talk shit about my dad or as I referred to him "my real dad." I thoroughly enjoyed the time that my dad and I had when it was just him and me. About half way through my stay, his girlfriend, whom I also loved and thought of as an older sister, came to visit us before she headed out to see her family in what was at that time called Yugoslavia. At first it was nice; then things changed. They argued; my dad drank. Quite quickly this trip became a bummer. Then there was the night they fought and screamed and I actually felt like I was supposed to pick sides. She left like a passing tornado. My dad knew they would eventually get back together, but I didn't. It was like watching the divorce all over again. It triggered something in me and it triggered a downward spiral for my dad. He pretty much drank all day and went to another world which left me alone. I would leave, by myself in a foreign country, and not return until the evening. He really didn't know how to be a father at that point. He was still my vacation buddy. I don't even think he ever worried about me wondering around southern Italy by myself. He wasn't being neglectful; he just thought of me as an adult.

And then I thought, what if I had had a friend. Like an Italian buddy. How much fun could we have had? What adventures could we have had? What kind of mischief could we cause? As my dad slid into his world, I slid into mine. What if the world I slid into really wasn't a world at all, but a state of mind? What if I had, in a fragile state, let my friend guide me through real danger; real confusion. What if the friend wasn't real? Who was there? Had the bipolar episode turned into psychotic episode?

So the story turns into a story about adult relationships and their affects on a young man. A young man with mental illness. That's what I bring. Mental illness. That opens up the story. Of course, you wouldn't know about the friend until the last page. Well, I'm curious. Maybe you will be too.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday March 14th, 2010 - 10% less

I was conversing with a close friend of mine who is struggling with her weight. Of course, I'm no stranger to struggling, but I think I gave her some good advice that I think I should follow to.

A doctor once told me that obese people get there by eating more than 10% extra per meal. So loading up your plate by just a little more than your thin counter-part adds up. It lends to reason that if you flip that around and eat 10% less than you normally would, you would eventually lose weight without really giving up too much. It's lends credence to my earlier statement that "if you want to be thin, do what thin people do." We, obese people, like to say that we are big boned or that it's genetic, but we all know that's bullshit. The only thing you get from your family is bad eating and exercise habits. If you live in a household that eats too big at each meal you will end up fat. I'm sure you would like to say you eat as much as skinny Uncle Bill, but there is really a subtle difference in either the 10% plus meal or his occupation, or his exercise. Something's different. Maybe it's as simple to when he eats their meals. Maybe he don't eat after 6pm. Maybe he sleeps better. It has to be something. Some little tiny thing. Being obese doesn't just happen.

What I'm saying is that there are so many contributing factors to gaining weight it's just not as simple as "put your fork down." Boy, I hate that phrase. It's like rich people telling you money can't buy happiness. I say send me some of that unhappy money because it will make me smile at night! Anyway, back to the subject. Try the 10% less thing. Try to manage your sleep, your meds, and, really, everything. It's like I pound down. It's not just one part of you; it's all of your parts. It's all of your habits. Mind your food; mind your mental health; mind your exercise; and mind all of your habits. Maybe you sneak in a candy bar every day. Think of it this way. If you added up all the extra food or your candy bars and stacked them up on a table at the end of the year what would you see. You would see why you're fat.

You should also try to reduce your dairy by 50%. Try substituting Silk soy milk for cereal and cooking. It tastes great straight, so they tell me. I've never been a fan of drinking milk in a glass of any kind. Do something as simple as cutting the cheese out of burgers and don't add cheese to spaghetti or pizza. Try to limit sweets and eat sherbet (also known as Italian ice) instead of ice cream. Here's a big one! Drink wine or champagne instead of mixed drinks or beer. Sound reasonable? You may not lose 20 pounds in a month, but you will start losing weight. How would 5 pounds a month sound? Sounds better when you add it up and you have 60 pounds in a year. Make a goal of 5 to ten pounds a month and no more. Think in terms of years and not weeks or months. I mean, did you get fat in 30 days, so how can expect to lose 30 pounds in 30 days and be able to keep it off.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday March 13th, 2010 - Weight Train

You can feel it in the air. You can feel it against your face. Sunshine and the warmth of spring. March is supposed to be the snowiest month of the year for Colorado, but the snow storms are quickly erased by the warmth of the spring. One day it will snow and the next, it will be a sunny 70 degrees. That differs from the winter up until now because all the dirty snow and ice just builds up from one storm to the other.

Soon, actually as soon as my knee is able, it will be time start riding the road bike. I'm looking forward to silently slice through the air down the wooded Bear Creek trail as it ends while the Platte river trail begins. I'm looking forward to the exhaustion of the Morrison to downtown Denver and back. My typical 34 mile wrap around.

I'm also looking forward to challenging over night hiking in the rocky mountains. There are lots of goals and aspirations for the hot summer. Admittedly, my weight has stagnated during the winter. At least I didn't gain back substantial weight. I'm 319 right now which is just a touch away from October's low of 314. Before June I shall certainly be less than 290. That would be 70 pounds in a year. And, 166 pounds less than November 2007. If I maintain the trend I will be 230 by June 2011. I could push it, but I would still be happy back down in the lower 200's. I'm about to turn 45, so I will be down to 200 while I am 46. That makes me smile... BIG SMILE. It took years to hit 456, so this is all good. Of course, it would be nice to average 15 pounds less each summer month. I'm ready.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday March 10th, 2010 - NEW Paul Sharits Website

I had a great day although I kept myself awake with deep and messy cough. As usual I had a great time at the museum's workshop (MCA Denver). I made my last small acrylic and have now moved up to large acrylics with more challenging projects. I really love to paint. It's rewarding to have a picture in your head and reverse engineer it so you put that idea onto canvas and it looks the same as your mental picture.

I also added and polished the new website for it's premier this evening. I have so much work left, but this new site is already bigger and better than I have ever seen from an individual artist. Below is a copy of the announcement email to a couple hundred of my closest friends around the world.

Dear Friends,
This has been an unbelievable year in which we have seen a spectacular Greene Naftali Gallery Sharits installation nearly win the Solo Show of the Year at the First Annual Art Awards at the Guggenheim Museum and our first film screenings at the Louvre in Paris that has just been topped off by the acquisition of our four projector 16mm film installation "Shutter Interface" by the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C..

In honor of all the wonderful events of the past year, I have launched a new Paul Sharits website with over 35 webpages of archival documents, news, films, art galleries, interviews dating back to 1970, and, by the end of March 11th, home movies of baby Paul starting from the 1940's. I still have volumes of documents, films, works of art, and Paul's personal notes as well as personal letters between my dad and Stan Brakhage that I will be adding to the site daily. It is the most comprehensive solo artist site on the web. Check out the new site

Obviously, I have lots of help and to those of you that have supported, promoted, and have added to the legions of new fans, I thank and honor you.

Merci beaucoup,
Christopher Sharits

Tomorrow I have another blood test and lunch with my dear friend and fellow artist, David Taylor.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday March 8th, 2010 - Bipolars Unite!

I haven't been to the gym since I sprained my knee on the 27th of February. It's killing me. I miss the quite time. Well, maybe not that quite; I listen to my iPod loudly the whole time, but there's no phones, computers, laundry, or racing thoughts. I do take the time to write in my head, but I'm still not manic. Best of all, I don't feel any anxiety. I enjoy pushing myself to absolute exhaustion. If I'm shaking after a workout, I know I've completed my task. Without the gym I have had more time to write the book and re-write and re-design the site, but I miss the daily routine. I can not wait until spring when the bike trails thaw. I enjoy a nice fast paced four hour ride to Denver and back. I'm also looking forward to 3-day hikes up the 14'ner's. I know I need to keep this knee in the brace, but I'm really looking forward to the gym. Maybe in a week or so I'll start with my physical therapy. I'll probably have to wait even longer to hit the basketball court. And, perhaps, I should skip the pick-up games with the teenagers. At least for a while. Main objective is to keep the legs buff. And, of course, lose weight.

Actually, even if I wanted to I couldn't go to thew gym this week because of this stupid cold. Yesterday I had a fever of 100 to 102 and I felt as if I were freezing. I really don't like the chills. Anyway, I'm feeling better today.

I already knew my friend Tom was bipolar. He's simply too brilliant to have gotten through without some kind of handicap. Is it a handicap? Many artists, including my dad, thrive on both the mania and depression. Some of my dad's weirdest and most creative work was done during self-medicated bipolar episodes. One positive note; just by dumb luck, I have found a wife (not my wife silly), mother, fantastic writer, and fellow bipolar.

In her writing she talks about her "dark place." I have that address in my rolodex! If you recall, I was having trouble since November 2009 sticking to the diet because I felt as if I were slipping into madness. It's been two full years since I was a guest of the Holiday Inn (my code word for the mental facilities). Sometimes I long for the safety and security of the "Inn," but as soon as I get there I want out. Last time I was in for a month. Thank God I can only remember the last ten days or so. Aside from my writing I take care of my family. My wife works her ass off and I deeply appreciate her regular paychecks over my inconsistent, however, large ones. I have two things that have kept me out of the hospital; My doctor adjusting my meds and the unconditional love and support of my wife. I've been on the new med schedule for a week or so and I feel better. The cycling between omnipotent and self-loathing have slowed down. They are never gone, but at least I can handle it better now. I have pushed my dark place a little father away. Of course, you may want to ask me that in a few hours. I'm like Colorado weather. If you don't like it, wait five minutes. My new friend Amber has a wonderful blog called "Not Now Dear." I like the way she describes her disorder. The blog is at Check it out.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

March 6th, 2010 - injured and sick

Sorry I've not posted. This past week I had to deal with a sprained knee and now a cold. Since I can't get out much I have been able to write on the book and redesign my site. I should be back on track tomorrow. Thanks