Monday, July 30, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
I'm definitely going to be reading some of bell hooks' work this fall - I'm watching her via her website. It's a lecture/discussion from the Univ. of Washington in 2005, and she reads her two childrens books, Bee Boy Buzz and Skin Again, both of which I'm going to look for, along with Happy to be Nappy, which I actually think I've read.
Ooh, her very brief comments about the world of Harry Potter are 'scandalous', but I have to say, really true.
"Harry Potter is just a little hotbed of imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal thinking."My friend Ted pointed out some of the problems in the books and I was just shocked. There are some things in life that I really don't look so closely at, and others I can't see very clearly because I am looking SO close. Anyhow, I'm glad to have 'discovered' this stuff (hat tip to the Undercover Black Man) today. Perfect timing.
UPDATE: Well, I've finished the book (book 7 of Harry Potter), and also went searching for more on bell hooks and the HP series. And found this: "The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love", wherein Prof. hooks talks a bit more on Harry Potter. I've just skimmed it...
I've also just read an article on the world of HP from the American Prospect - a magazine I've actually never seen in public, and one I hold with some suspicion, but I couldn't say why. It's a vague sense of unease which is difficult to explain. Perhaps I read something disturbing there once?
Friday, July 27, 2007
I've been growing out my hair for at least a year - I think I've cut it once (December), and I sorely need another snip - my hair is a birdsnest and it takes me forever to comb through it. Ugh. I've been having fun putting it back and up, but it is very schoolmarmy. I think cutting out the relaxed bits will make it much more fun to deal with. I'm slow to make hair decisions because I've met oh so many unsympathetic stylists.
One day I'm gonna do something like this:
I found these on Naturallycurly.com, which also led me to Miss Jessies line of product - Curly Pudding? I am so there!
Lot's of inspiration from these two sites to go natural and a little bit shorter with my hair! I hate relaxing it, and I hate all the damage I have in the aftermath.
By now you've likely heard of the new study which "proves" that fat is "contagious". Unfortunately, that representation is just not very accurate, and it makes some annoying (and possibly harmful) assumptions.
- Being fat is avoidable
- Being fat is abnormal
- Being fat is baaaaaaad
For some people, being fat is unavoidable - they start out in childhood with extra weight and just stay that way - for others it's medication related (example: I gained 30 lbs when I was taking lithium this past fall, the weight just PILED on, and for the most part didn't leave when I stopped the meds), or as for many women, related to a medical condition such as PCOS (Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome).
Being fat is just as normal as being skinny, being thin, being average. Over the whole of human history, there have been fat people. Look to art, folk and fine, for proof of that. Fat men and women are people, just like non fat people are. The idea that fat isn't normal is prevalent and harmful.
This last one is the toughest idea to address - that fat is bad. Fat is fat. Being unhealthy is bad, yes, but FATNESS DOES NOT EQUAL BAD HEALTH. At my heaviest my cholesterol numbers were well below 200, and my overall health good. My blood pressure was also good, although I will concede that it's got better when I was thinner, I do think my life was a lot more stressful (married life, finances), so that was likely a factor.
The "facts" (PDF) that fat people are less healthy, have greater mortality, will always be prone to diabetes and heart disease are not as iron clad as some people would have you believe. The dangers (or to be more mild, harmful effects) of repeated weight loss and gain [yo-yo-ing] are becoming very clear. And the fact is that for people who tend toward heavy, dieting can lead to a slower metabolism, and a weight loss is logically followed by weight gain as their bodies attempt to 'normalize' after a period of deprivation.
Right now in my life I am healthier and happier than I've been in years, really. AND I'm fat. Make of that what you will.
I've ready many, many excellent reactions to this study and how it's being presented (and misrepresented) in the media right now.
Always good are Kate Harding, Harriet Brown and many of the bloggers who are aggregated on this feed.
A good one stop shop for discussion of this study (lots of links) is from On The Whole, and is worth a look.
Please don't think I am not saying that diet, eating habits and other things should not be examined and tweaked to promote optimal health, because I'm not. The food in our school cafeterias alone has me hyperventilating more often than not (filled with hidden sugar, for one thing), nevermind the orgiastic portions at restaurants and the hard-sell advertising to kids and adults alike.
But to base our ideas about what is good for us by if it's "okay" or "good" or "guilt-free" instead of by common sense factors such as if we are hungry, and what are bodies need and request is only asking for trouble. We are given tastebuds and an appetite for a reason. Learning to listen to and respect your body is the best way to open yourself up to better health. I know that when I am craving an apple, I'd better get one, and that when I want chocolate shoppe zanzibar chocolate ice cream, I'm happiest when I *have* it, rather than punishing myself because I *shouldn't*.
Fat Hatred is very real, and it isn't something that fat people can easily avoid. The worst part of it is how it twists everyone's mind up, so that standards of beauty are narrow, and we spend too much time judging ourselves and others by these narrow standards. As hard as it is to re-program my thinking, I'm happy that I've starting to really engage with the struggle to love and accept myself on this level - it has unlocked self acceptance on other levels - in therapy I feel things falling into place and I'm thrilled to be leaving behind messages about food and my body which I got from my parents when I was 6. After 30 years, it's time to let them go.
And too, time to let go of the idea that there is an epidemic. There ARE problems with the way we eat in the US, the way we work, the way health care is distributed, they way we are disconnected from our bodies, but all the fat-free yogurt in the world isn't gonna change that. Free your mind, and the rest will follow.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Actually, I have never gotten a C before. But it's a grade I worked really hard for, and I'm proud of it.
Now, I fully expect to get a B in Intermediate Algebra, but if I get a C, I figured out that my GPA wont' dip below 3.7, as long as I get an A in Spanish.
I'm still awaiting word from the apartment I'm dying to get. There are lots of hoops because the building has a lot of income related restrictions and there are lots of Ps and Qs to look after.
What's weird is that I want to study MORE algebra, if only to prove to myself that I am teachable.
I think I'm more excited about it than he is. I *know* I am.
The cake is basically an adulterated pound cake - it's got tonnes of butter (3 sticks), sugar (2 cups brown, 2 cups white), eggs (7), pecans (3+ cups), and bourbon (2 cups!), which was the only liquid.
Because it had so much in it and I was making it in an unfamiliar kitchen, it took a long long time. I baked it a day ahead because it's best after a rest in the fridge for a day or more, and because it's easier to hide from him.
If he read my blog regularly, I'd not bother posting, but he doesn't, so I needn't worry.
The camera is in a box somewhere, if I can dig it up, I'll take a picture of it. I'm looking forward to eating it!
If only I'd planned ahead and arranged a surprise party for him. But seeing as I've done that in the past for someone else's 35th, I figure it wasn't the year for it.
Can't wait to eat that cake!
Monday, July 23, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
I'm going to look at a series of apartments on and near Willy St. today, about which I am very excited. Realized this week that a NICE place and a GOOD landlord is of utmost importance to me. That is to say: clean common areas in the building are v v good, a landlord who doesn't say "you must have read the wrong ad" is good, being treated like a grown up, excellent, a bath with a shower door is good (as opposed to one I looked at which had a cheap mini-blind in front of the shower - wtf was that?).
Also have realized that I've got to spend a bit more money than I'd planned, because the places I really want have an additional bedroom and are $50/month more than I'd originally seen as my cap. Of course, an additional bedroom for 50 bucks is a good deal. And that leaves room for an office/workshop or a roommate.
After a few days of living in a house with other grownups around I have figured out I NEED A ROOMIE! I love living with other grownups. It's good for me, I think. I need it.
So, it's on my list. Especially because I WILL be getting one of the three bedroom apts I'm looking at today. Ooh, it's getting late, gotta get going!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The closing went off without a hitch yesterday. The family who will be living there are going to fix it up, redo the inside, and, to quote one of the buyers, "Live in that house forever."
Now I'm just waiting for the check to clear so I can fulfill the obligations of my divorce agreement and have one less thing for my exhusband to bring up in conversation.
Today was spent taking care of the very-nearly-8-year-old - He is most likely asthmatic, and today an occasional wheeze turned into a constant thing, so we got into the doctor and he got some treatment to relieve his symptoms.
Then we went to his favourite restaurant, a Chinese buffet place, and we had a lovely dinner. They had some delicious string beans and a wonderful steamed tofu, and mushrooms in garlic sauce (yum), as well as a really good something the name of which has escaped *poof* from my brain as I type.
Of course, this means we were done with dinner before 4 pm, that's a bit weird.
I nearly tried to drop my algebra class today, but instead called the professor and he's given me an additional 5 days to attempt the final, which means I can study more. Unfortunately I missed one of the quizzes (that was due last night) so I'm going to have to do much better on the final than I'd have to otherwise. But 5 more days to study will be a very good thing.
As mentioned previously, looked at a BEAUTIFUL apartment on Sunday. An apartment that by all rights should be mine. But I haven't yet applied in the hopes that I will be able to find something a bit more suitable, price wise. But beautiful was this apartment, and classic, and well maintained, and having a fireplace it was. It was amazing.
So... I need to decided, tomorrow or so, what I will do. Yes? Yes.
The story of what it's like to stay at bf's place full time will follow at some point. I'm still in shock from having just sold my house and being without a permanent address! It's pretty crazy.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Wow - I've never had this experience before: moving house when I didn't have a house to move to! On one hand it's a bit unsettling, knowing that I'll be at my bf's place for a month, on the other, I love that I've pared down (because consolidating your life [and 7 room house] is vital when moving your belongings into a 10 x 25 foot space).
I looked at the most beautiful apartment today, the kind I always sigh and fawn over when invited. There is a WORKING FIREPLACE in it. It's got a great big front porch. It's an old building with gravitas.
I'm definitely applying for it. There is one other apartment that would likely take precedent over the perfect apartment (more perfect location, potentially cheaper to heat, possible underground parking), but I don't even know if it's open to rent. I call tomorrow morning to find out if it is.
Okay, rest time is over, I've got to pack up the car one more time this evening and get going. I cannot tell you how badly I need a shower.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Was so tired (only slept 3.25 hours Wednesday evening), I went to sleep (after a dinner of oatmeal) at 7 or so and got up a bit after midnight.
Now I'm feeling quite energetic. I need to pack up my computer later this afternoon and I don't want to. I'll feel so out of touch! Have no idea where I will be able to set up my computer in my temporary housing, but I'll figure it out. Can't wait until the relative calm of next week. Relative, because it will be anything but calm, yet compared to this week? A cakewalk.
I like cake.
Back to work!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Also, because I am giving/throwing away a good 30% of my belongings, packing is taking longer than I'd thought. My solution? Donate what I have organized, and take the rest at a later date.
Because I needed to finish a test for which I was woefully unprepared, I drank a small cup of coffee around 9:30 and now I'll be up until at least 2:30 because of it. I've been tired and overcaffeinated for days, by Monday I'll be psychotic. Okay, not PSYCHOTIC, but really strung out.
Bf has been a superstar during this move, and tonight he snapped when I was equivocating yet again about getting rid of something. The most wonderful thing was that it didn't turn into a fight (he was right, after all, and so was I), I didn't feel like a stupid jerk, and we moved on. That exchange feels very natural and monumental to at the same time.
I wish I could try out a new life instead of creating it - seems so much simpler, doesn't it?
Please send me all of your good housing vibes this coming week. I talked to someone today about what amounts to a phantom apartment (may or may not be available on the 15th of Aug) and I want it to be a tangible place by Monday when I call her back. I want to live in a certain neighborhood, and the almost 8 year old and I were in that neighborhood today looking at a "meh" apartment. My goal is someplace fantastic, cheap, and with a good 'vibe'. On a busline, close to cool stuff (cafe, park), and in a real, lively neighborhood.
Unfortunately I'm working on my algebra. I've got one problem keeping me from moving on. There is no way to advance until I get past this one, and I've to get done before I go to bed.
Oh, btw, my hair looks FANTASTIC today, if not a bit dowdy. I've got it up and it's super comfy (out of my face, off my neck) as well as complementing the shape of my face nicely. I've been missing how my super short hair complemented the shape of my face, this has much the same effect. Yay!
Tomorrow is my last day to gather things for St. Vincent's - Thursday is my last day to pack (although small things I can take anytime before Monday).
I'm so very tired. Looking forward to Saturday evening, when I plan to have a beer and laze about.
Monday, July 09, 2007
That, and I'm gonna be a vagabond for (at least - no, JUST) a month.
Right now I'm coming to terms with my very-tired-ness, my need to go to bed, and the busy day I have ahead of me.
Looking forward to sleep!
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Today I come to realize, after several years since last watching DS9, that I ended up naming my YOUNGEST after his character in that show.
I laughed out loud when I realized it.
And although I seriously doubt I'll be a mother again, if I am,and it's a boy, one of his names will be Colm. It must be done.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
But the opposite could be said as well.
I am hopeful, in many ways, about many things.
But hopelessness often clouds my mind.
I see opportunity, in many things, in many ways.
But sometimes I see nothing but obstacles.
And in this closed-circuit loop of social anxiety and isolation, I feel very very ugly (on the inside).
Still I will try, I will let laughter loose, I will try a smile when I feel I can't do it. But I need to talk about what is going on.
If anyone ever asks me how they can help their friend or lover or son or daughter with depression, I don't know what I will say. Maybe "take them for a walk", or "help them brush their teeth", or "recall a moment between the two of you", or "tell them they deserve to be happy, that you really believe that", or "get informed", or "talk to them" or "don't ignore their genuine requests for help".
Telling everyone that I can that I was feeling depressed, suicidal, scared - that didn't do anything. People trust me, that's what I choose to believe. Not people don't care, but people trust me not to kill myself. They trust me, and I trust me, too. If I didn't I'd swallow my considerable pride and check myself into the county mental health place. But I know my trust may be misplaced, I'd *know* the second I thought about betraying that trust.
So, am I being manipulative by saying this out loud? Because what I am trying to do is let this out. I have too many secrets, secrets which just don't matter to anyone but me, but as long as I hold them in, they work against me. WAIT! I figured it out.
I need to feel safe
I need to feel safe speaking
I need to feel safe speaking my mind
I need to feel safe speaking my mind about EVERYTHING
Because of how things are going right now (stress upon stress, social vaccuum), things which would be 'no big deal' are things I can't stop thinking about. I am feeling incredibly sensitive (especially, oddly, with sound). My appetite is suddenly dead. I am brittle.
This will change.
But right now, this is me.
WHY AM I BLOGGING? I have a lot of stuff to do, so why am I sitting in my office, looking at a computer screen?
Because I need a break from productivity, from rationality, from calm and considerate culling of my 'cumulated crap.
Because I want to talk, and talking to the blogosphere is as close to conversation as I'm going to get.
Because because because because because.
My favourite breakfast (if only because it's all I have for breakfast) this week is:
1/3 Cup oatmeal (regular)
2 Tbs ground flax
1 Cup water
Honey and butter to taste
Half and half
Mix the first three things in a microwave safe bowl, cook for 2-4 minutes on high, depending on how you like your oatmeal. When it's through cooking, put honey on top, and butter, and mix. Once honey and butter are well incorporated, pour some half and half on top, as you like it.
The flax is the tiniest bit nutty in flavour, and becomes alarmingly glutinous (although not slimy, well not too slimy). This dish has 8 grams of fiber, is potentially really good for your blood cholesterol, and is great if you don't bother eating lunch because you are stressed out.
Also fantastic for regularity. TMI?
Posts like this one (and the one I am not writing because it really IS too much) are why I don't advertise my blog locally. No one likes whinging.
Packing is going okay, but my algebra has gone completely by the wayside and I'm in big trouble if I don't find time to work on it tomorrow. Or tonight.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
BBC's Alan Johnston is released
BBC correspondent Alan Johnston has been released by kidnappers in the Gaza Strip after 114 days in captivity.
Mr Johnston said his time in captivity was the worst of his life
Mr Johnston, 45, was handed over to armed men in Gaza City. He said his ordeal was like "being buried alive" but it was "fantastic" to be free.
Speaking live from Jerusalem later, he thanked those who had supported him, and vowed to return to "obscurity".Rallies worldwide had called for Mr Johnston's release. An online petition was signed by some 200,000 people.
That was nice news. I'm assuming he'll write a book about his experiences. If so, I plan to read it. There is a rant building in me about how Americans are kept from much of the news in the Middle East (and let's face it, not too worried about it), but I will not rant, as much as I want to.
The article which caused me to weep, openly, was from the NYT in November. Harriet Brown is a writer who has a daughter living with (and recovering from) anorexia. She's a very strong writer, extremely passionate about what she talks about, and I am following her blog, Feed Me. She's local to me, and our kids (her youngest and my oldest) went to the same daycare years ago, so I think I'm feeling connection to her story on that level as well. Also, as she relates her daughter's and their family's struggle, it really reminds me of my own struggle with depression and bi-polar disorder, and has been giving me ideas about how to strengthen my own family despite those struggles.
I'm feeling verklempt (wait, I swear I looked that up before, but it's not turning up - probably it's a misspelling - Mike Meyers didn't make it up, did he?).
Talk amongst yourself(selves).