Saturday, November 11, 2006

saturday stuff, part vi (final)

Shall tomorrow's entries all be titled "Sunday Stuff?" Shall I blog at all tomorrow? Only time will tell.

I managed to maintain my energy level all day long. I don't know from whence it came -- especially considering I started at 5:30am. I made astonishing progress on my to-do list. Ted assisted with the final stretch of the stocking assembly line. Thanks, Honey! All 12 of the kids' stockings are done, and bonus, so are most of their presents. I even made progress on non-kids gifts.

Yee-haw, it's only November 11th, and we're nearly done with all of our Christmas preparation! The stash will sit quietly, happily, steeping in good cheer, until we pack everything up in large storage containers and drive North for the holiday. I love Christmas!

Speaking of today's date, it's also my brother's 50th birthday and Veterans' Day. When I was growing up, the running joke in our family was that Gerry thought school was closed because it was his birthday. He's still climbing ice walls, camping in the desert, geocaching, and eagerly seeking out new things to learn. He's the youngest half-centenarian I know. Happy birthday, Gere!

Veterans' Day makes me think about a whole bunch of things. First is for the people who are future veterans -- the ones out there today. A woman from my office was called up last summer, and is in Iraq now. A group of us are putting together a care package for her and her troops. Travel-sized shampoo bottles, pocket-sized tissue packs, bug spray. Merry Christmas, eh? Then I think about the veterans from conflicts past, the sacrifices they made, and the memorials in the park of my home town.

The New York Times had a feature today where they showcased the designs of several artists who each proposed a new way honor veterans. Most of them were interesting. There was a large window in the shape of the United States. A "USA OK" t-shirt. The official American uniform (Levi's jeans, white t-shirt, Rayban sunglasses, and optional Chuck Taylor sneakers).

I found this one of the buttons (above) particularly striking. In fact, it makes me cry. It makes me think of my friend, Hildi, and my nephew's graduation where several of his classmates stood up to be recognized before leaving to join the armed services.

And so now I need to talk about something else. Speaking of my nephew (the same, Andrew, who helped me earlier today), niece Caitlin also provided vital information to assist with my massive music project. They are two smart cookies! I haven't uploaded any more songs since the last time I mentioned song count in an earlier entry, but would like to note that I uploaded a total of 1001 songs today. Isn't that a great number? And I was worried that I'd be averaging 32.5 songs per day. Peeshaw!

One last note, then I must go. Despite my never-ending energy flow, my throat is starting to get sore -- a sign that my body's tired, even if I don't feel it. It was only a matter of time before I caught the gunk that my poor husband's been battling all week.

When talking about size acceptance, I'm usually venting my frustration as the world tries to cram a bunch of wrong-headed information down everyone's throats and claim that it's only because they care about our health. This is a load of hooey for a zillion reasons, although the big, simple one is this: not everyone who is fat is unhealthy, in the same way that not everyone who is thin is healthy. Obviously, it's more complicated than that (which is also one of the zillion reasons), but let's just go with this one.

One of my favorite television shows (House) recently centered an episode on the mysterious health travails of George Hagel -- a 600 pound man. Upon watching the show, I am extremely satisfied by it. That happens so rarely when it comes to fat in entertainment that I feel it warrants mention.

The crux of the issue is that George knows with equal certainty that he is both fat and free of the elevated health hazards (glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.) that are so routinely associated with it. The doctors' tests repeatedly prove that, but in an effort to understand the cause of his recent unexplained coma, they continue down the fat path.

George refuses.

He demands that their tests include any possible cause other than his weight. Still they persist, to the point where House is trying to force him to drink the sugar solution for a glucose tolerance test. It is only then, when George flails his arms to fight the onslaught of liquid and House grabs his hand to force him, that House realizes from George's clubbed fingers that he has lung cancer. A sad story of inoperable illness that will lead to the character's demise. When told, George says, "I never smoked." The episode is title "Que Sera Sera."

There were plenty of fat jokes, insults, and assumptions flying around during the show (insults are a staple of the series, so this is right in line with the norm). And they couldn't resist the emphasis on his eating habits (a gourmet chef with an industrial size refrigerator in his kitchen). But what differentiates it from all the other shows/movies that include fat in the plot line is that those assumptions are called into question and ultimately debunked. George is intelligent, informed, well-spoken, and rational. And his illness is not caused by his weight. His frustration was palpable, and his fight to convince people hit extremely close to home for me.

The whole show was a cleansing breath of fresh air. I can only hope that enough people who saw the show got the right message out of it. It saddens me a bit to know that there were undoubtedly many viewers who saw it without actually getting the points that I got.

Big, fat (and I mean that in a really good way) kudos to the Fox network, and the writers and producers who created this (and every) episode of House.

"Kiss on My List" by Daryl Hall and John Oates.

Santa painting by Richard Lithgow.

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