Monthly Archives: August 2009
I had planned to be a bit more timely with this topic. When I sat down to write as Glamour magazine’s plus sized picture first created its stir I found I didn’t have much to say. But today, catching sight of myself in the mirror (naked!) and then trying to find something to wear that felt good, looked flattering; I felt myself spin into the dreaded spiral, landing smack dab on my chubby butt. Ugh. I’m having a fat day.
I have a confession to make. Something I’ve told very few people. When I was in my twenties and I saw overweight people I thought, “Oh. No self discipline.” I was the skinny kid. The pencil thin teen. I was so skinny in high school my parents were afraid I might have an eating disorder. They took me to the doctor and he told them I was a healthy, very active (I was a competitive swimmer) typical teenager with an enviable metabolism.
When this “thin” trend continued into my twenties – when I wasn’t even working out – I patted myself on the back and attributed it to healthy eating (Seriously? I drank Coke with almost every meal!) and discipline. I simply didn’t over eat.
I was also diagnosed as infertile at this time. Every doctor, every specialist said, “You need more body fat.” So I tried. I really did. Ice cream is my weakness and I treated myself every day. I may have gained a couple of pounds but it didn’t make much of a difference and I couldn’t seem to gain any more. (I know. Tragic, huh?)
Then I hit age 35. And my periods slowed to about 3 a year. And I was tested. And this time the doctors and specialists said, “You’ve hit early on-set menopause. And weight gain is a part of it. You’ll need to be careful with what you eat.” I wasn’t worried. I’ve never had to worry. If I even THOUGHT about losing weight, wished I were a little lighter; the pounds simply melted away. So when the numbers started creeping up the scale I started thinking. I started wishing. As hard as I could. It didn’t work.
And then, the kicker. I got pregnant at age 40. “Pregnant?” You ask, “I thought you were going through menopause.” That’s what I said to the midwife. She laughed and asked me if I slept through 10th grade biology class? “If you have a period, no matter how sporadic, you can get pregnant,” she said. But I’m infertile, I said. “Evidently not,” she smiled.
I gained 35 pounds with my pregnancy and I’m still struggling with the last 15. Not bad? No. Because I was near the top of my healthy weight range when I got pregnant. This sent me over.
I wear the same size as Glamour’s plus sized model. A size 12. I wish I were back in a size 8 but as I’ve learned, that method doesn’t work for me anymore. What annoyed me about this picture is that she looks pretty healthy to me. Oh sure, she has a little tummy but no back fat, no thunder thighs, her arms look fairly toned. Ok. So she’s in her twenties and I’m 45. I’ve been through childbirth. She probably hasn’t. But a size 12 is plus sized? Are you kidding me?
Now thank goodness she doesn’t look heroin-thin. That’s just scary to me. In fact, whenever I see models that are heroin-thin I have to turn the page as fast as I can. I can’t even get a good look at the clothes they’re trying to sell me. I’m just too weirded out.
Don’t get me wrong. I am positively thrilled for the Dove soap ads of real women. I’m glad the media is even questioning our portrayal of what “real” is. But all this cheering and amazement that we could find a normal, average sized woman beautiful is downright scary.
And frankly, it still made me feel fat. I looked in the mirror this morning, saw the same tummy she has and I feel fat. And frumpy. And plus sized. Yeah, I should lose a few pounds. But that is getting so much harder as I’ve aged.
So I sit here. Feeling fat. And all this media coverage saying size 12 is beautiful hasn’t made me feel much better at all.
A straight line. No detours. No stopping at “Go” to collect $200 (although, that does sound kinda nice.) I just want to walk a straight line. Go from point A to point B. And be done. Finished with whatever it is I want to accomplish.
Moms don’t walk in straight lines. We have to step off the track. Kiss a boo-boo. Fix breakfast. Throw that load of laundry in. Take the dog out. Break up another WWF-worthy wrestling match.
I woke up this morning positively energized. How? I don’t know; because I was up until 1am reading all of YOUR wonderful blogs. But this morning I had ideas for posts just bursting to get on “paper.” (What do you young kids call it these days? On screen?) I’m in the shower just hoping I’ll remember all of these fabulous ideas long enough to get them jotted down in a rough form. I must have had a weeks worth spilling forth. Amazing posts that would undoubtedly change YOUR life (yes, I’m speaking to you, sitting there in your pj’s, sipping coffee and sneaking the last of the Oreos) FOREVER! Then son#2 came into the bathroom, “Mom? If I could be a real superhero… I mean really be one…can I do it for a job someday?” Sure sweetie, you can be anything you want to be. Now go watch TV with your brother. I’m trying to get ready for the day.
I step out of the shower, walk to my closet and the cat has left me a lovely gift. Hairball mixed with regurgitated Meow Mix. Lovely. Clean that up. Wash hands. Dry hair. Skip make-up because I can still remember about 6 of those FABULOUS post ideas. “Mom!!!” Yes? “Can we play Xbox? It’s raining out!” Son #1 has already anticipated my typical response of “Go play outside.” Yes, you can play Xbox. Good! That’ll give me at least a half an hour to jot down ideas.
The phone rings. My husband, sweet man that he is, heard something on the radio on his way to work that reminded him of me and wants to share. Blah, blah, blah. Unload dishwasher while I listen and see that I forgot to put the load from the washer to the dryer last night. Do that, too. Hang up. Remember that I need to strip the beds. While stuffing sheets into the washer I remember that I had all these good ideas for a post today. What were they again? One. Ok. Two. Uh-huh. What was three again? No idea.
Ok. Upstairs to the computer. Turn it on. Two ideas out of seven, not bad. Just hurry up and boot up so I can write (type?) you down. “Mom!!!!!” #1son screams from downstairs. “It’s lightening out. Do we have to shut off Xbox?” Yes. And I have to shut down slow dinosaur of a computer. Set the good example and all of that.
Sigh. So now, it’s two hours later and I’ve got NADA. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.
The shortest distance between two points is a line. I just want to walk a straight line sometimes.
Ok, not really. I’m truly glad you stopped by today. I really, really am. But I just found two projects that are really cool and I want to share them with you.
As some of you may know, adoption is very near and dear to my heart. Click the “Let Love Grow” button below and it will lead you to a site about a woman raising funds for orphans in Uganda. She has t-shirts and necklaces that are really cool.
Wait! There’s more!
I found this cute little on-line company called Pepperberry & Co. There’s a giveaway for a sweet little porcelin hedgehog pictured here:
Aren’t they cute? Anyway, go to http://pepperberryandco.blogspot.com/ to enter and win! (Let me know if you do!) Take a look around at their other stuff, too. Really cute!
But don’t forget about the button below, either! Have a great day, everyone! See you tomorrow!
It’s hard for me to separate outward beauty from someone’s personality. I remember in high school, someone was commenting on how gorgeous Gina was. I wrinkled my face and vehemently disagreed. “No. Really. She could be a model,” the someone replied. And I said, “No. Really. She’s ugly.” And then the someone said, “Oh, I know she’s a bitch but she sure is pretty.” I was taken aback. She was right. Gina WAS a bitch. But there was no denying it. She WAS gorgeous. Everyone copied her clothes, her makeup. A lot of the girls in my class wanted to be liked by her. Her looks had a power over many people. But not me.
It’s that way for me and celebrities. I think that’s why I’d prefer not to know anything about their personal lives. They’re attractive. Until they open their mouths. And I’ve realized that many of them work very hard to keep people like me in the dark. Some celebrities have no problem standing on their soapbox, telling me how to vote, how I should drive a Prius and take 3 minute showers. Others are the masters of spin.
I used to think Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie were attractive. But I didn’t know too much about them. Just that they were actors and I enjoyed their work. And then stories in the tabloids started suggesting that Hollywood’s golden marriage was in trouble and that Angelina was the home wrecker.
The timing of certain magazine covers began to interest me. One magazine would have Brad comforting a tearful Jennifer, another headlined Angelina visiting an orphanage in Africa. The next week a magazine would show an angry Jennifer with headlines suggesting strife between the golden couple, another magazine pictured Angelina cradling the new baby she’s adopted. On and on it would go. Trouble in paradise with Brad and Jenn. Angelina, the next Mother Theresa. This happened throughout the year, throughout their personal turmoil. And always, Angelina was depicted (in the major, “respectable” magazines) as the disinterested party to Brad and Jenn’s struggles, just the do-good angel, trying to save the world one child at a time.
It was then that Angelina and Brad began to lose their appeal to me. The world isn’t stupid. We can read between the magazine covers. Brad and Angelina worked on a movie together. A spark turned into a flame and they acted on it, despite the fact that Brad was married. It’s not unheard of – especially in Hollywood. It’s not admirable. But we all have regrets and mistakes in our lives. We’re all imperfect human beings.
But to try and spin to the world that you’re an innocent party? That you had nothing to do with weakening a marriage vow? Angelina’s publicist was working overtime. Don’t look that way – look this way at all of the good she’s doing around the world. Saving the children. It’s all about the children.
That’s not to say Brad Pitt is innocent in all of this. But his spin doctors weren’t parading him across magazine covers, preaching his world causes.
So now, I can see how Angelina Jolie is attractive to some. And Brad Pitt, too. But I don’t find them all that attractive anymore. And it reminds me that I don’t really know the part Jennifer played in all their drama either. So, she’s just ok to me now, too.
Three actors. Playing parts in movies, I may enjoy; I may not enjoy. But that’s it. They’re just actors.
I have two boys, 10 months apart in age and both have very different personalities. One is a neat freak; one is delightfully unattached to order. One is great at saving money; one spends it before he earns it. One is cuddly with everyone he meets; one is cuddly on a limited basis depending on the person, but always has a cuddle for mom (thank goodness!)
Today, they both received lollipops at the bank. I told them they could have them after they had eaten lunch. The time arrived to eat them and #2 son dove right in. I was distracted and wasn’t paying close attention but soon realized that #1 son hadn’t touched his. I reminded him that he could have his lollipop now.
#1son – No. I’m saving it in my candy bag with my candy collection. (They had received goody bags at a birthday party the day before and it contained candy.)
Not to be outdone…
#2 son – Wanna know where I keep MY candy collection, Mom?
Me – Where?
#2 son – In my tummy!
One of my hobbies is cooking. I wish it were something I appreciated and enjoyed when my grandmothers were alive because they each had some amazing recipes, techniques and food stories I would so enjoy learning about today. I watch cooking shows. I sit down and just read cookbooks. Friends and family seem to enjoy what I prepare. And I receive requests for certain specialties.
One of my specialties is my cranberry relish. My family requests it at every holiday. My sister and I love it when there are leftovers. We sit together at the kitchen table, each with a spoon, and share the bowl, all on its own.
My mother doesn’t enjoy cooking. She’s not a bad cook – it just isn’t her thing. Every time she asks me to share the recipe (which I know she’ll never make) I say, “No. It’s a family secret.” Of course, I’m teasing. She argues that she IS family. She tries to get it from other family members. And she spends time guessing what is in it. She gets all of the ingredients right, except for one. Now I’ve shared this recipe with other members of the family; all people I know will make it themselves. I’ve even given it to fundraiser cookbooks for our school and church. It’s not a very complicated recipe. Just very, very yummy. My mother has watched me make it before. She’s even seen the “secret” ingredient as I’ve chopped it up and put it in the bowl. But, still, she pretends to forget what it is and we do the dance all over again when we’re eating our turkey or ham and the bowl gets passed around and is practically licked clean.
The funny thing about this recipe is it used to be much more complicated. But one particular holiday I was visiting my sister and things were crazy. Between the two of us we had 4 children running around under the age of 5. Our husbands were out doing guy things. We had so many people coming over and I decided to take a major short cut. I would use canned whole cranberry sauce (horrors!) instead of starting from scratch. That particular year there were no leftovers. Everyone claimed it was the best batch ever. I’ve never gone back.
1. Open up a can of whole cranberry sauce. Pour into bowl.
2. Add to the bowl: 1 finely chopped thin skinned orange (the whole orange, including the skin. If your skin is a little thick just add less skin), 1 cup golden raisins…..and for the not-so-secret-ingredient….2-3 T. finely chopped crystallized ginger (to taste — I like more rather than less).
3. Mix well and refrigerate for 24 hours. This step is very important as it allows all the flavors to meld.
4. Enjoy! We serve this all year round with turkey, ham, roast chicken and pork.
(The inspiration for this post came from this wonderful blog: http://countryfriedmama.com/)
When we woke up this morning we found this on our front walk…..
My husband says this is good feng shui.
A few minutes later we found this…
Who knew turtle poop could be so big?!?
And I don’t know, but I’m not so sure the little gift he left is very good feng shui.
I taught a high school composition course and one semester, the way the schedule fell, there were only females in the class. Can you imagine? Well, I suppose you can if you teach in an all-girls school but this was a dream class for me. And since it was a private school I had a bit of leeway with the curriculum. So with a snip here and a stitch there I tailored the class for young women. It was an amazing semester. Full of women’s literature, women’s essays and short stories. They wrote and wrote and wrote and it was great fun. And true to my collaborative style THEY came up with an assignment: Interview our mothers and then write about the responses, how we felt about their responses, what we expected and how we were surprised. And then they added one more requirement. I had to participate, as well.
I was in my mid 20’s and had a co-dependant, close relationship with my mother. Secretly, I knew I was the favorite of her 4 daughters. I thought I knew her inside and out. I wouldn’t even have to call her. I knew how she would respond.
The questions all revolved around how our mothers approached relationships with boyfriends, parents, husbands and children. We would interview our mothers and then report as a group some of our findings before we sat down to write.
I called my mother, told her about the assignment and began asking questions.
Q. So, Mom. Why did you marry Dad? A. Because I knew he’d be a good provider.
What?!? Didn’t you love him? Didn’t you love how funny he was , cute, endearing, fun to be around? I was stunned. She was very matter of fact. She said she grew to love him but no, she wasn’t really in love at first. She just wanted to get out of the house and go to college – which her parents didn’t want her to do. They felt college for a woman was a waste of time. She knew he loved her and he was college educated. That was enough for her.
Q. How did you and Dad decide to have me? A. Your Dad wanted kids and I didn’t. I wanted to go to school. So I gave him one night during my fertile time and if I got pregnant I’d be a mom. If I didn’t, I’d go to nursing school.
Guess what? She got pregnant. With me. And then 3 others in the span of 3 years. At one point she had 4 children age 3 and under (the two youngest were twins.) How’s that for karma?
Looking back, after years of getting over my stunned reaction, it makes so much sense now. She resented all of us. She resented how we kept her from getting the career she wanted, when she wanted it. She did, eventually, go to school and become a very fine intensive care nurse. Once we were all in school, when society deemed it acceptable for her to have something of her own, she went to school. And worked nights. And left us to take care of each other. In elementary school, I made all of our lunches and would envy the kids who went home after school to a mom complete with milk and cookies. By the 6th grade I was making dinners for the family. I taught 6th grade one time (never again!) and do you know how tiny they are? Granted, we ate a lot of spaghetti, french toast and scrambled eggs, “Madhatter Meatballs” from the kid’s Betty Crocker cookbook – the few things I could make. But still.
I used to say I wouldn’t be the woman I am now if it weren’t for my mother. Back then I was talking about the person that made school a priority, lived an independent life. But now I see that my crusade to make sure EVERY child is wanted stems more from her example than anything else. I made a conscious decision to adopt. I made a conscious decision to have a biological child. I’ve welcomed foster children into my home. I preach birth control because no innocent child should have to be a “consequence” of your actions. I pray for a world where abortion is unnecessary.
I had no idea where that conviction to “save the children” came from. Until now.
My grandmother hated change. She liked things to stay the way they were. When we moved an hour away she talked about it like we had moved out of the country. When they’d tear down an old building and put up a parking garage she’d complain about how it must have been more cost effective to just tear everything down rather than preserve what was there.
I saw this house on a recent visit to the city. Skyscrapers had built themselves around this little house. I’m not sure why this house survived and all the others around it didn’t but this one is for sale. Her days may be numbered.
Now I know what my grandmother was feeling. Change is unpredictable. Change doesn’t always respect the past. Change is scary.