Friday, December 21, 2007
And here in New Hampshire, it will definitely be a white one. Despite my earlier rant on the bombardment of stormy weather, it's always nice to have snow for Christmas.
Listening to lots of my favorite Christmas songs these days. Just heard this upbeat little number, and decided to share it with you. I've actually put video of Bianca Ryan here before. Well, here she is again.
If I'm not back blogging before Tuesday, MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Then, we moved to New Hampshire.
We got here just as September began. It was beautiful. Warm and summery, open windows and breezes, sunshine. "Isn't it great being in New Hampshire," we thought? Fall was everything it should be: crisp, clean air with the aroma of wood-burning fires. Incredible foliage. "We're so lucky to live in New Hampshire," we mused. Then, November rolled around. There was a dusting of snow the first week. "Wow, that's freakish," we speculated. When I was growing up in this state, it was usually a safe bet that the first snow would fall sometime around Thanksgiving. So it was weird to get even very light snow so early.
But then there was another light snowfall. And another. And another. And, you guessed it, yet another. Five light snows in November and early December.
Then came the heavy stuff. Three full-on blizzards, two earning the dreaded "Nor'Easter" title. The kind of weather that convinces the TV news to run a perpetual scroll at the bottom of the screen, even during the commercials. The kind that closes down 600 schools state-wide, and makes a 4.9-mile commute take nearly an hour (those are not hypotheticals, by the way... both of those things happened during the first of two storms last week).
Saturday's storm made for mad plow-scrambling on Sunday, and a crazy accumulation of the white stuff overtaking every corner of the city. By Monday, what was visible of the road was passable, but the snowbanks has crept into the lanes and obliterated the sidewalks. Snow emergencies and parking bans were implemented, and by Monday night, dozens of plows, front-end loaders, and massive dump trucks were in full snow removal mode. I heard that the city of Manchester was trucking theirs to a facility in Bedford where it was dumped into a giant melter, and the resulting water was simply "poured" into the sewer system. I don't know where they're taking it here.
Our personal parking situation -- already a delicate balance of timing and choreography -- took on bizarre, haywire, and often laughable proportions over the course of four days. We weren't quite back to normal yesterday, when the unfortunate people who decided to pursue careers as meteorologists informed us that another storm watch was in effect.
For the fourth time in less than two weeks.
It started right about sunset last night, and has already left a couple inches of snow, topped with a layer of freezing rain, now being covered with more snow. They say we could end up with as much as additional 9" before Friday morning rolls around.
And it's not even technically winter yet.
My husband thinks he's been tricked into moving here. All those reassurances that winter is milder on the seacoast ring very empty to him when he's bundled up to the teeth in heavy coats and nerdy hats.
Maybe I should re-think Arizona after all.
Maybe I should just go to bed.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
The blog's been quiet for a while. I'm still trying to balance three jobs, one of which keeps me working until past midnight five days a week. Other life things have cropped up in amongst the schedule, and the blog is one of many hobbies that suffer. There are two things in particular I just had to share today, so I'm squeezing in a little time to get them posted before heading out to the next series of tasks.
My friend, Chris, invited me to her Facebook community today. When I looked at her profile, I found she'd created an avatar of herself a la South Park. How freakin' cool is that? So, naturally, I had to go find the website and make one for myself. Knowing my proclivity toward certain characteristics in previous avatars, I made two versions. One that I'll show at a later date when I'm feeling particularly kooky. The other fits my standard (look right). Bonus that I got to add an iPod and a computer!
The other thing I wanted to share is a website/campaign that rallies against one of my least favorite people, MeMe Roth (I'm not linking to her site her because she doesn't deserve the traffic). Now, it's not keeping with the holiday spirit to dislike someone, especially so vehemently. In general, I attempt to focus on the behavior, not the person (parenting advice I learned years ago and never needed to implement because I have no kids!). But MeMe strikes me as someone who totally and utterly embodies the bad behavior she purports. At the tip of the iceberg is her claim that obesity is tantamount to child abuse. As a pacifist, I could slug her in the jaw for that.
Anyhoo, MeMe has taken it upon herself to attack Santa Claus because he sets a bad example ('cuz he's fat, doncha' know). Seriously. I mean... SERIOUSLY. The woman is shameless. Thankfully, there's DVA Advertising and Public Relations -- a company who decided to create a campaign encouraging the integrity of Santa's image. Check it out! My favorite part is the "graphic standards manual" for Santa. And the best part is the petition, where every signature translates to a pound of food for America's Second Harvest. Take THAT, Ms. Roth.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
It's the night before Thanksgiving, and I got out of work two hours early! What will I do with this extra time?
1. Re-sync my iPod to include only the HOLIDAY MUSIC playlist. In progress right now.
2. Write our holiday newsletter. In one night. Really.
If you know me well, you can stop laughing about that second one. I will not be doing the typical elaborate desktop publishing style newsletter as is my habit. Next year. For now, I just need to send holiday cheer and give a quick update.
So, no more blogging for me. I have things to do!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
By the way, I tried to put a beautiful fall picture here, but Blogger isn't cooperating. Take some time and go to Lauren's blog. She takes the most wonderful pictures, and also writes great vignettes about her life. I'll try to upload that picture again later.
*** THE NEXT DAY: Blogger has graciously allowed me to add Lauren's picture here. But now, it's forcing the margins from the below story onto the text above it. I've looked at the HTML, and it appears right. What is the problem?! Who knows. Maybe someday I'll figure it out. Otherwise, this blog entry will go down in infamy for its lousy justifications. ***
Back to our regularly scheduled (albeit off-season) story:
A friend once told me about the Buddhist concept of pain without suffering; it's a notion that fascinates me. I mean, is it really possible to say, "Yep, my stomach aches, all right, but I don't have to add insult to injury by letting that pain run amok: I can decide to skip the part where I moan, 'Now I can't meet my friends at the movie and I'll probably miss work tomorrow, which means I'll blow my deadline, lose my job and die penniless and alone, never having seen "Dreamgirls.'"
Calming a frantic brain in the face of high anxiety is a pretty tall order, especially for a woman like me who tends to operate on two basic emotions: panic and barely suppressed panic.
But assuming one can actually achieve pain without suffering, where else might this dynamic be applied? Is there such a thing as anger without brooding? Sex without strings? And the real question --my current obsession -- can a person feel unbelievably busy without feeling unbelievably overwhelmed?
Lately, I seem to have this constant sense that I'm just keeping my head above water. I'm forever trying to catch up, stay in touch and be where I'm supposed to be when I'm supposed to be there.
I bought a new pair of jeans in November, but I've never worn them because I've never had a chance to get them hemmed. The last novel I remember curling up with is "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" -- and that was in sixth grade. I floss while sorting mail, while defrosting lamb chops, while searching for Mrs. Weinstein, my 3-year-old daughter's stuffed platypus.
But this is not just about being a single mother (though I do spend an ungodly amount of time wondering why my daughter is not on a first-name basis with her stuffed platypus).
Almost everybody I know -- whether they're wealthy or struggling to make ends meet, whether they're bachelor girls or celebrating their 25th anniversary, whether their kids are grown or toddlers or nonexistent --everyone seems to be suffering from some sort of culturally induced ADD. Our brains are swamped and our bodies are tired. Blood pressures are up, serotonin levels are down, tempers are short, to-do lists are long, and nerves are shot.
Here's how I spent last Saturday ... see if any of it rings a bell:
3:17 a.m. I am awakened by the sound of Julia's voice. "Mommy, Giovanni picked his nose and it bleeded," she informs me. "Good to know," I murmur. "Now go back to sleep before Mommy kills you." Somewhere in England, the Super-nanny is appalled.
4:26 a.m. I have to pee. My bladder used to be legendary. As God is my witness, I could go three, maybe four months without ever needing the ladies' room; I could drive from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters sans bathroom break. But I'm 46 now, and believe me, it's a whole new ball game.
4:27 a.m. I live in mortal fear that the slightest movement anywhere in the apartment will wake Princess Bunny Pie. I will not move. I will not move. I will not move.
4:33 a.m. I will move, but I will move in stealthy, gazelle-like silence.
4:34 a.m. Here's the thing about stealthy, gazelle-like silence -- it's doable only if you don't step barefoot on a Lego.
5:19 a.m. Miss Cuckoo Pants insists it's time to rise and shine. I offer her a check for $260,000 if she will sleep for just one more hour. But the kid sees through me like a bar of used Neutrogena and reminds me that I still owe her 85 grand from the time she tasted a parsnip.
5:30 a.m. On goes the TV. The rule at this time of day is simple: She can watch anything she wants as long as it doesn't star Harvey Keitel ... no "Bad Lieutenant," no "Reservoir Dogs," no "Taxi Driver." You have to draw the line somewhere.
6:15 a.m. My little Goof Noodle is contemplative during her bath: "What are you thinking about, Jules?" "Mommy," she asks, "is Big Bird a boy or a girl?" I explain that we used to wonder the same thing about cousin Dale and that some answers are simply unknowable.
7:45 a.m. We have painted, we have Play-Dohed, we have read "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" nine times in a row.
8:00 a.m. One of us is now wearing my lipstick, my jewelry, my sunglasses, my shoes, and two oven mitts.
8:30 a.m. I used to read the Arts & Leisure section and meet friends for scrambled eggs and a Bloody Mary. Now I skim the Week in Review, toast a slice of low-glycemic Ezekiel bread, and follow it up with 15 milligrams of Lipitor. Time is a thief.
10:00 a.m. The babysitter has arrived! I fully intend to have Lidra Basha babysit Captain Monkey Toes until the day she leaves for college, at which point she can babysit me. For the record, I am well aware that there are women with more than one child and nobody to help them out, and if I could, I'd buy each and every one of them a single-malt scotch and a ridiculously expensive pedicure.
10:30 a.m. The trainer has arrived ... or as I've come to think of him, Hitler in Nikes. After approximately 15 minutes, I feel compelled to remind him that he has to marry me before he can actually collect on any life insurance policy. He ignores my plea for leniency, hands me two 15 pound weights, and tells me to "tighten my core." Where's Amnesty International when I need it? And, for that matter, where is my core and when did it get saggy? One minute you and your boyfriend are finishing off a mushroom pizza with extra mozzarella, and the next minute you're realizing he didn't actually eat any.
12:00 p.m. I shower, change, and head for the supermarket, the dry cleaner, and the pharmacy, where I run smack into my evil neighbor. We are currently having a huge fight, but because I am not good at confrontation, she doesn't realize that we are having a huge fight and regales me with stories of her upcoming trip to Nepal.
I glare at her and say in the iciest tone imaginable, "You, madame, are a gravy-sucking weasel, and I hope that you're forced to fly coach with an Ebola-riddled gibbon monkey stuck in your lap for 16 straight hours." But because I am not good at intentional bitchiness, it comes out, "Great! Have a safe trip and let me know if you need someone to water your plants."
Somewhere on the Upper West Side, a psychiatrist is cringing.
1:30 to 2:00 p.m. I miss my friends, so I try to hop off the hamster wheel and return a few calls.
But Valerie has her daughter visiting from college, Brenda has her parents visiting from Detroit, Francesca is buried in paperwork, Mark is seeing clients, Jack and Sarah have four couples coming for dinner, Steffi has three weeks to find a new apartment, Peter is finishing his book proposal, Michael is in rehearsals, and Tori has set the day aside to "have a complete nervous breakdown." She assures me she'll be fine by 7:00, as she's got to get to Jack and Sarah's for dinner.
2:00 to 2:01 p.m. I take a minute to wonder why I wasn't invited to the dinner party ... and decide to be deeply relieved.
2:02 to 3:30 p.m. I pay bills, fold laundry, write two thank-you notes for gifts I received last January, throw away everything that's gone furry or blue in my refrigerator, and wait for the nice man from Bloomingdale's to come and clean my filthy, horrible sofa.
4:00 p.m The nice man from Bloomingdale's actually turns out to be a nice man. He tells me not to waste my money -- cotton velvet isn't cleanable. The news hits me hard. I can roll with Iraq and global warming, but somehow the thought that cotton velvet doesn't clean well makes me want to crawl under the throw on my filthy, horrible sofa and never get up again.
4:02 p.m. I get up again. I am ghostwriting a book, and four chapters are due by Wednesday morning. Clinical depression is a luxury I can't afford.
6:20 p.m. Suppertime. I cook wild salmon and broccoli for Colonel Cranky ... of course, that's only if you define the word cook as "go to the little gourmet shop on First Avenue, buy and reheat." In any case, she will end up having spaghetti with butter and ketchup.
7:00 p.m. Before leaving, Lidra changes her clothes to go to a party. Did I mention that she's stunning? Did I mention that she's a size 0? Did I mention that I pulled a strand of ketchup-coated spaghetti out of my bra?
8:00 to 10:30 p.m. Sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." One of us is exhausted (it's that special kind of exhaustion that can only be achieved by singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" for two and a half hours) and would very much like to go to bed.
10:51 p.m. The three-book limit is imposed, and to my great relief, Senorita Knobby Knees dozes off without much protest. It's absurdly late, but because I don't get home from work until 7:00 each night, she doesn't want to go to bed at 8:15. Do I feel guilty? You bet I do.
11:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. A little more ghostwriting.
12:31 to 12:35 a.m. This is my time. I opt to spend it getting an MBA, locating those weapons of mass destruction (turns out they've been on the upper shelf of my linen closet -- to the left of the washcloths), force North Korea to stand down, cure cancer, and eat a small piece of cold chicken. Anyway, that's my plan, but knowing I have to water my evil neighbor's ficus tree tomorrow makes me skip straight to the barbecued chicken thigh and call it a night.
Sometimes I think pain without suffering, anger without brooding, being a parent, earning a living, maintaining friendships (hell, maintaining hair color), connecting with the universe, and dancing as fast as you can without screaming, "Stop the music; I want to sit this one out," just isn't an option for anybody anymore.
We shoulder-roll out of bed in the morning and gulp coffee from Styrofoam cups on the way to wherever we're trying to go. We catch the sound bite, not the speech. We send the e-mail, not the love letter. We wait our entire lives to exhale.
But I don't want to wait my whole life away. Nor do I want to wait until I retire 18 years and 11 months from now ... though I'm secretly hoping to develop one of those bubbly personalities that get you picked for "Deal or No Deal," where I will win $400,000 dollars from Howie Mandel. We'll save for another column what it means that even in my fantasies I don't win the million ...
My point is this: Spring is here! So this Saturday, I'm taking back my life or, at the very least taking a nap. If something's gotta give, it's not going to be me. I'm confining my work to regular business hours, forcing a friend out for coffee, reading for pleasure, bringing home daffodils, and eating a neon pink marshmallow Peep with Miss Julia Claire Labusch. It's far from a solution, but it's a start.
By Lisa Kogan from "O, The Oprah Magazine," April 2007.
TM & © 2007 Harpo Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
She beat me to the punch. For years, I've had a long list of size acceptance ideas accumulating as Word files on my computer. You know, the things I was someday going to spend a long, dedicated amount of time writing in some epic essay or even a book. My lifestyle has not accommodated such a desire, and instead I end up with the occasional blog entry which touches on one or two aspects of the topic.
But I'd been eager to (eventually) address this particular angle -- the one to which Joy has now beat me. Oh, I don't begrudge her. Because hers was far more effective than mine ever would be. How do I know that? Because she uses humor, video, and costumes to draw attention. I had this graphic all ready to go:
It's not easy to see, but it's Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Yeah, it's a show-stopper. Anyway, I learned about it in high school, and always thought it was fascinating (and spot on). In the evolution of my personal size acceptance, I always came back to Maslow. Every person on the planet has a physiological need to eat. And breathe, and sleep, and a whole bunch of other things. Verbatim:
* other minerals and vitamins
* maintain a pH balance (getting too acidic or base will kill you)
* maintain temperature (98.6 or near to it)
* be active
* get rid of wastes (CO2, sweat, urine, and feces)
* avoid pain
* have sex
So, why is that -- somewhere along the line -- society decided to demonize so many physical necessities?
Anyway, I'm going to stop that discussion now because it's far less alluring than watching Ms. Nash tear it up in style! Go watch it again. And check out her blog, too.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
So, first. One! If you weren't already aware, it's only
Yes, that's right! Christmas! As you know, I'm a year 'round Christmas shopper. I'm nearly done, and I have my list ready to finish shopping (yes, that's right, finish) this weekend. Then, Monday is a holiday from my primary job (which will be detailed in an upcoming chapter of the original, derailed story), and so I'm spending the day putting together the "stockings" for the kids and wrapping all the rest. It will probably take me 14 hours. No, I'll be lucky if it only takes me 14 hours. OK, so I probably won't finish wrapping on Monday, but I'm going to make a hell of a dent. I'm imposing myself on Rina, her family, and her house as my Christmas Central location this year. A decision she's likely regret by Columbus Day lunchtime.
Two! Dearingest, darlingest niece, Caitlin, has posted a unique meme on her MySpace in which I feel compelled to engage. It's music-based (natch), so of course I'm in. Here goes:
IF YOUR LIFE WAS A MOVIE, WHAT WOULD THE SOUNDTRACK BE?
So, here's how it works:
1. Open your music library
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend your cool
Opening Credits: "Isolation" by Snow Patrol
Waking Up: "Screen" by Brad
First Day At School: "The Wind" by Cat Stevens
Falling In Love: "How Far to Queensland" by Vitamin Z
Fight Song: "Legs" by ZZ Top
Breaking Up: "Blueberry Pies" by Prefab Sprout
Prom: "Peer Gynt Suite" by Edvard Grieg
Life: "Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus" by Olabelle
Mental Breakdown: "Frosty the Snowman" by Dan Tyminski
Driving: "Gentle Hum" by The Finn Brothers
Flashback: "Star" by Belly
Getting Back Together: "Cerca de Mi" by Raul Midon and Louie Bega
Wedding: "Hands Clean" by Alanis Morrisette
Birth of Child: "Eastern Bloc" by Thomas Dolby
Final Battle: "Killer" by Seal
Death Scene: "Call Me When You Get This" by Corinne Bailey Rae
Funeral Song: "Dreamin'" by Amos Lee
End Credits: "Runnin'/Brazilian Rhyme" by Earth Wind & Fire
OK, that was totally weird. As much as I want to go into the details of how some songs completely suited their role ("Blueberry Pies") and others completely didn't (Grieg at the prom!), I'm now officially too tired to do so. That situation has also led me to this point:
Three! I don't remember what else I was going to put in here tonight. Um, I mean, this morning. Oh well! I have to go to bed. It's almost time for Ted to wake up and get to work. I may or may not get some blogging in this weekend. I doubt it. Shopping, wrapping, etc. to do. And we're going out to dinner for our anniversary. And there's other stuff to do. Yeah, I'll blog again sometime in 2009 -- the year my nephew, Andrew, is getting married. Hey, Four! Andrew and Peg are engaged! He was funny. He called me and said gloomily, "Hi Aunt Kelly. I just wanted to let you know that things changed over the weekend, and Peg is no longer my girlfriend." But I was on to him. ;-)
All right. Sleep!
Song: "The Pretender" by Foo Fighters
Book: What's a book? What's reading? Am I even literate anymore?
Other: "Scattered" is one of my favorite adjectives when referencing current brain status.
Friday, September 28, 2007
By way of explanation for the life-change inspiration, here is one of my famous nutshells for Chapter One:
December 6, 2006: We are "served papers" by the landlord, indicating that he's turning the building condo. This is neither a surprise nor an urgency. Just official news that there is a real end date as to when we have to move (because there's no way we're buying!).
December 11, 2006: I find out that my work department -- and by extension, my job -- will be eliminated as of January 1, 2007.
January 5, 2007: I take Ted to the ER. He's way sick. Spends 16 days in the hospital. Amazes the medical staff by walking in the door with pulse ox of 30.
Sometime around January 8th (I had a lot going on), I realized that those were the three things. You know, the bad things that come in threes. Yep, I could rock on my heels, confident that I'd recognized them.
As daunting as it was, I -- ever the optimist -- believed that things would soon get better because the three things had occurred. Now, we could get around to making good stuff happen. In fact, a lot has transpired since then. I'll save the next set of details for Chapter Two. It's time for bed.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Too often, we are scared.
Scared of what we might not be able to do.
Scared of what people might think if we tried.
We let our fears stand in the way of our hopes.
We say no when we want to say yes.
We sit quietly when we want to scream.
And we shout with the others,
when we should keep our mouths shut.
we do only go around once.
There's really no time to be afraid.
Try something you've never tried.
Enter a triathlon.
Write a letter to the editor.
Demand a raise.
Call winners at the toughest court.
Throw away your television.
Bicycle across the United States.
Speak out against the designated hitter.
Travel to a country where you don't speak the language.
You have nothing to lose
everything to gain.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
I can pretty much brush off the jerkwad who nearly crashed into me by changing lanes without looking over his shoulder to see me in his blind spot. I slammed on my brakes and the horn at the same time, and everything in my car went flying forward. Thankfully, it was just my purse (and all its contents, individually), a couple of letters, some paperwork, and a shower curtain liner. Oh, and my not unsubstantial body being herked ahead while simultaneously being restrained by a insta-magically locking seat belt. An unpleasant experience, but no paint exchange.
That pales in comparison to the idiotic woman who left her dog in her car while she went shopping at a non-essential store (the kind of place where you only shop when you have spare money). It was 85 degrees Fahrenheit today with incredibly high humidity. She cracked the windows, but that doesn't make enough difference. The poor dog was panting, barking, and scratching at the door and window to get out.
I called 911.
Yes, I did.
I explained that it was an animal emergency but I didn't have the number for the SPCA. The man on the line was very understanding and patched me through to the local police. I explained to him, and he also did not chastise me for calling about a dog. In fact, he asked for the license plate number and wanted to know if an officer should call me to follow-up.
The woman came out of the store while I was on the phone with the police. She opened the car door, bent down and petted the dog, closed the car door again, and went back into the same store.
Is it just me? Or doesn't every person on the planet know that a hot car -- even one with its windows cracked -- can literally fry/bake/cook the brain of a dog (or any other living creature)? Who are these people who don't have any good sense whatsoever? And why are they allowed to have pets? I think all people should be required to take a test which includes questions about leaving animals in cars on hot days with the windows cracked, and if they get the answer wrong, they are not allowed to have any pets.
Rant over. I have work to do.
Stupid people. ::mumble, mumble::
Monday, August 13, 2007
As of today, both Ted and I are unemployed. Interestingly, I'm not in the complete panic one might associate with a total lack of income. That's because we've spent over a year preparing to be in this position. So the fact that we've arrived at this day means that we are very close to our next step. I'm still keeping the details to a minimum at this point, but here are a few hints.
Some things we're getting rid of:
The Teddy bear I received from, ahem, Ted -- Christmas before last. He came with a box of Godiva chocolate (hence the "Godiva 2005" embroidered on his foot). He is holding the pink paper umbrella that was in the Mai Tai I drank with my Cheeseburger in Paradise on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu in January 2004. I'm still debating whether or not to get rid of the window fan behind them.
Some things we're keeping:
Sadie, of course. Her favorite pink afghan (which has moved off her favorite hammock and onto the desk last week when the vent was blowing particularly cold air), although I may try to remove its coat of fur. The speakerphone we got when we lived in Seattle.
A corner of the place where the stuff we're keeping will go:
Our new home. Of course, the only thing you can tell from this picture is that it has lots of nice wood, natural light, and old fashioned radiators. Details to follow in September.
That's it for now. I don't know if my vagueness is tantalizing or just annoying. Leave me a comment. Let me know. :-)
Thursday, August 09, 2007
You'll just have to be patient and believe that eventually I will return. And I'll have some stories to tell when I do. I'm just too deep in the middle of them all now to have any perspective.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Here's an article about teaching children not to be rude to large people. Who'da thunk? Not elaborate or detailed, but it gets the general idea across.
Kate Harding is a wonderful blogger who addresses fat hatred with a vengeance in her Shapely Prose blog. A recent post written by a guest blogger drives home the point that the misguided comments of doctors can often lead to terrible consequences for fat people. Incredibly sad, but unfortunately, not difficult to believe.
PBS aired a show called "Fat: What No One is Telling You." I had high hopes for this show, but discovered that PBS too falls victim to the same unfortunate groupspeak on most aspects of fat. That is, everyone is telling us about weight loss surgery. And everyone is praising the hard work of current weight loss successes. And everyone is making the sole assumption that the only cause of larger body size is the combination of overeating and underexercising.
There were a few choice quotes that I found close to liberating, although I was so frustrated that they were wrapped in the standard fat-is-bad propaganda.
"This isn't simple. This is not a simple balance of energy in and energy out. If it were, we would have solved the problem a long time ago. We have a very, very rich and accurate physiological system that keeps our energy in balance. And all that system has to do is get disrupted by a tiny percent -- just a 1% mismatch in that system -- can lead to a 130-140 pound weight gain over your adult life.
"...The subtleties of what's going on (with obesity) in the brain that can lead to massive obesity are such that it's going to take a lot of very, very careful analysis to figure out what's going on. We know that there are 20 or 30 thousand genes in the human genome. At least 400 of them are involved in energy regulation and weight regulation. So right there, you've got 400 genes, and that doesn't even take into account all of the environmental factors. So, when you put all those things together, you have a very complex system."
- Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD; Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
At one point, the narrator reminds us of this important fact:
"A study of people who entered weight loss programs done in 1958 concluded:
* Of those who enter obesity treatment, most will drop out.
* Of those who stay in treatment, most will not lose weight.
* Of those who do lose weight, most will regain it.
"Fifty years later, the picture remains the same. Despite the millions and millions of dollars in scientific research, fifty years of hard work, thousands of failed weight loss schemes, no one has been able to improve those odds."
I would contend that it's because our bodies are hardwired to be what they are. Tall people are hardwired to be tall. Blue-eyed people are hardwired to have blue eyes. Thin people are hardwired to be thin. In my opinion, the defining factor in fat prejudice is the fact that bodies can be temporarily changed by altering food intake and physical activity (I can't overemphasize temporarily... 95% of people who lose weight gain all of it back plus a little more within five years). That gets blended with the confusion of correlation and causation, and people become convinced that the only possible way to be fat is to eat too much and exercise too little. Plus, "millions of dollars" in research over fifty years is no match for U.S. diet industry's $50 BILLION dollars per year.
Dr. Kaplan returns with even more compelling information.
I contend that even this doctor (who seems to be less of a fatphobe) undermines his explanation of the subconscious brain being in total control by calling fat both a "problem" and a "disease." Harumph. I don't consider my fat a problem, and it certainly is not a disease.
"When the brain wants to control weight, which it wants to do almost all the time, it exerts extraordinarily powerful influences. It decides that we ought to have a certain amount of body fat so we have energy in reserve. And if we don't have that much body fat, it will do everything in its power to cause us to behave to get more energy.
"At the same time, it will put into place a program that conserves energy, so that we don't waste a lot of energy, so we don't burn off our calories, so that our body cools down just a little bit, so that everything is done to conserve energy on the output side and to get more energy on the input side. And of course, then we gain a little bit of weight.
"And so our typical response is to 'well, ok, if that's the case, we'll just eat less.' And we exercise more and our body loses some weight because that's what naturally is going to occur. But what ends up happening is that you create, in that situation, a fight between your willful brain and your subconscious brain. And when you create that kind of battle between willpower and your subconscious brain, what you end up doing is you end up creating an unwinnable situation. It's an unwinnable situation. If you have that conflict, your subconscious brain will always win.
"And an example of that is, try running up six flights of stairs and breathing slow. You can do it for a few seconds. You can force yourself to breathe at whatever rate you want to breathe at. But when your body decides it needs more oxygen, within a few seconds, it will force you to breathe faster. And there's no amount of willpower that anyone has that will slow that process down."
It's also incredibly sad that -- even on the supposedly objective PBS -- the show is sponsored by Glaxo Smith Klein. That would be the pharmaceutical company that has a vested interested in selling its hot new over-the-counter fat-blocking/pants-pooping drug, Alli.
I have to get going. It's late. I need sleep. And there are too many things to do in preparation for our massive life change for me to be blogging. Regular posts should resume sometime in September. That's my guess. Until then, l'chaim!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
In the last couple weeks, I've seen several trailers for the movie, and I admit, I really want to see it now! I'm looking forward to "Spider Pig." This morning, I discovered this website, and now I'm really excited. I created my own Simpsons avatar (see left). Pretty good resemblance, don't you think? Well, except that I only ever wear skirts (there was only one option for pants).
There's a definite trend in my avatars. First, my blog profile picture. Then my Meez character. And now Kelly Cox Simpson. Although I must say, this is the first time I've been able to endow my avatar with Rubenesque proportions -- something I've been frustratingly unable to do before now.
By the way, did I mention that I'm going to have Nick Arrojo cut my hair again? I must be insane! This will be the last time, really. After this, I would have to travel 250 miles to get to Arrojo Studio. Too far!
All right, I have a boatload of things to do today. Only 34 days until everything in our life is completely different. Details to follow. Someday.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
"Come out, come out, wherever you are!"
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
My favorite lines are, "This means allowing myself to feel a sudden hatred for objects I’ve been moving around for years. I spend the day muttering."
by Verlyn Klinkenborg
I begin with the premise that the barn will never be clean. It has a dirt floor, and hay is always sifting down from the loft. Swallows have nested over the light fixtures, the chipmunks are everywhere and someone has dug a very proud hole under the wall near the horse tank. I can’t make it clean, but I can recover some territory. I’m not a real farmer, but I have a real farmer’s hoarding instinct — the belief that the thing I’m about to throw out will be just the thing I need down the road. Right now I’m trying to keep myself from throwing out a rubber feed pan that one of the horses has pawed a hole in. I have no idea what I would ever use it for, but that isn’t really the point. It isn’t a matter of knowing, looking forward. It’s a matter of not regretting, looking back.
But what I regret right now is all this junk, and so I’m cleaning the barn. This means allowing myself to feel a sudden hatred for objects I’ve been moving around for years. I spend the day muttering. I tear apart an old tool bench I have loathed all this time. I throw out the previous owner’s electric waterers and the 8-foot yard hydrant with the bend in the middle and the plastic tarps that are full of holes. I see with some clarity the limits of my character and, in a sense, the limits of my life. I love the gratification of fixing what is broken, but it takes a certain kind of breaking for me to be able to do any good. I am never going to be able to weld in a hay barn.
I stop sometimes to watch the swallows fly through the barn or to admire the fact that all the sockets are now in one place. I pretend that I will know in a week where I put everything today. I spend a moment or two admiring the dried up litter of immature mice I found in a drawer. And I finally admit to myself that a half-decomposed box of books that has lived in the barn for a decade has lost its place in civilization. So I load the books one by one — Derrida’s “Of Grammatology,” Frye’s “The Great Code,” even my old copy of Heidegger’s “Being and Time” — into the tractor bucket with a great wad of used baling twine. The burn pile or the Dumpster? That is an easy question. The books flutter down from the bucket on high onto an old hayrack on the floor of the Dumpster. I try to decide if I will have to answer for this someday.
Now, back into the piles in my own little barn. *mutter*
Monday, July 02, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
I think it is the utter level-headedness of and sheer logic espoused by Ms. Nash and Ms. Bliss that does such a wonderful job of making Ms. Roth seem so screechy. Maybe there is acceptance coming after all!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I often chuckle at the silly searches people do that land them here. By typing in strange combinations of words in Yahoo or Google, they are directed to sanguinary blue because one or more of the hundreds of posts I've written happen to contain one or more of the words they're looking for.
Sometimes, it makes sense. All the hits received after I mentioned Blake Lewis wiping away LaKisha Jones's tears on American Idol. And for some reason, the cute Randy Glasbergen cartoon about a messy desk that gets a lot of attention.
But today, someone visited by way of a Google search for "poems making fun of overweight people." Although it doesn't surprise me that they'd end up here because every one of those words can readily be found here, it's disheartening that the context is completely out of whack. While I talk about poems and fun and overweight and people, I would never include "poems making fun of overweight people," unless I was crazily ranting a rebuttal.
And while it was sad to know that people out there are actually doing research online to find information that might embolden their fat hatred, it came as a complete stunner that the origin of this search was University Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri. How frustrating it is to know that someone who theoretically cares for human beings could even think of such a thing. It drives home the ongoing problem of anyone with a BMI over 24.9 getting unprejudiced medical attention.
Of course, I don't know the true reason this phrase was searched, or if the person searching it was an employee of the hospital, or if, when they got to my blog, they may have been even moderately enlightened to the concept of HAES. But it's hard to imagine a beneficial use of this particular search -- especially from this particular location.
Friday, June 08, 2007
If you know me, you know that I'm a bit of a tree hugger (if you don't know me, see the "A Warm Earth" section on the right-hand menu of this blog). I'm not a zealot. I simply believe that it's our responsibility to utilize natural resources responsibly and minimize (or if at all possible, eliminate or reverse) the damage we do and have done to the planet.
Because my political inclination is non-partisan, I find it baffling that there is actually a group of people who argue against conservation efforts, though I understand that their motives are highly political and undoubtedly, ultimately monetary.
I read this Tom Tancredo quote in Time magazine, and had to laugh out loud.
Q: What evidence would convince you that global warming is a serious threat to the planet?I'm not even going to go into my personal opinion on the immigration debate, but did you catch that? He almost completely avoided giving a serious answer about global warming by deflecting the issue to immigration. Give me a freakin' break. I can't take anyone seriously who gives an answer like that.
A: I have no doubt that global warming exists. I just question the cause and what we can do to ameliorate it. But I wonder why the Sierra Club isn't going crazy about the environmental aspects of massive immigration into the U.S. The fact is, Americans consume more energy than anyone else, so if a person moves here from another country, they automatically become bigger polluters.
I don't know if I can stand another 17 months of presidential campaigning if they're going to be this stupid.
Song: "Beautiful Flower" by India.Arie
Reading: "Time" magazine
Other: Dinner at Route 22 tonight.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
So, again I've neglected my blog. I have good reasons (several of them), but am not going to reveal details at this point. For now, I'll just build a little suspense and say that there will be interesting posts in the near future, pertaining to what we've been doing, what we will be doing in the months ahead, and oh yeah, that meme post I keep promising to do.
Song: "Fever Dog" by Stillwater (a real song by a fake band; see "Almost Famous")
Reading: "What Should I Do With My Life" by Po Bronson
Other: Kurt Elling and Raul Midon -- two of my favorite musicians -- are playing a FREE concert this Saturday in New Haven, along with Terence Blanchard and Dee Dee Bridgewater, hosted by Spike Lee. How cool is that?
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Someday, I'll post that other entry. Someday.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Song: "Fascinating Rhythm" by Dave Grusin
Other: My new obsession is the Container Store. Today, I spent $@#*&^! there. Yes, I was just there last Tuesday. So enamoured am I that I've started buying Christmas gifts there.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Song: "Criterion" by Me'Shell Ndegeocello
Other: "Procrastination is the deferment or putting-off of an action or task, usually by focusing on some other distraction (compare temporisation). It is Latin for 'foremorrowing,' or making some such of tomorrow."
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
While enjoying the tree-lined drive, we were inspired to do something spontaneous that would, once again, allow us to enjoy the outdoors on such a wonderful day. I suggested the zoo, and Ted, once again, eagerly agreed. I have been to this zoo several times, as it is a regular activity any time a niece or nephew visits us. Any time I'd gone with the kids, however, Ted always had to work. So, he'd never been!
It turned out to be the perfect way to "do" the zoo! The weather was ideal -- warm with a light breeze, sunny with a few clouds. Every other time I'd gone, it was July and hot (or hotter). The crowds were perfect. That is to say, there were no crowds to speak of; only various Moms, Dads, and grandparents with children too young to be in school. We took our time, lingered looking at animals we particularly liked, read the information boards, and snapped some photos.
We saw boy peacocks in various states of showiness, startled into full plumage when a girl peacock ran noisily by. A California condor was walking in the old bald eagle enclosure (a seriously big bird). It's been a couple years since I was here. I wonder where the eagle went. Timber and red wolves. A family of Siberian tigers, with Papa in one enclosure, and Mama with two one-year old (basically full-size) cubs in the other. An Andean bear. A Canada lynx. Lots of turtles, piling up traffic jam style on a couple logs. Alligators sitting very still. Herons and wood ducks and egrets and all sorts of other birds flying around and preening in a walk-through aviary. River otters whose river wasn't running, so they frolicked in a water-filled basin at the top of the hill. A red fox. A white-tailed deer. You know, zoo residents.
In all, we were there for a little over two hours. I stopped at the gift store on the way out and procured a few more stocking stuffers. We got cold beverages from the vending machine before walking out the entrance just as they were closing it up for the day. It really worked out just right. We loaded ourselves back into the car, adding one more bag of goodies to the Container Store bag, and headed home. The fresh air, sunshine, and exercise conspired to lure us asleep. I napped so deeply (and for about 90 minutes) that I was a bit confused when Ted woke me up with dinner! He'd made chicken Parmesan and broccoli. Yum.
I'm really loving these great Spring days. Tomorrow, although we have plans for another trek (weather permitting), we do also have plans to actually do some projects, and will be working much of the day. But I'll have more pictures to post regardless.
Song: None, believe it or not. It's raining, and I love the sound of rain. So the music is off, and the window is open.