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Archive for December, 2009

I’ll be away from my computer for a bit. Have a great time, but in the words of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, “Let’s be careful out there.”

Thanks for tuning in during a rough time in my life. Thanks to my cobloggers for maintaining this unique space and being the strong, awe-inspiring, brilliant women that they are. Thanks to my dog, who is now in some other world, hopefully chasing a tennis ball to her heart’s content and eating nothing but hand-carved turkey and chicken. I’m sure she misses being petted between the eyes, not nearly as much as I miss her, though. I’ll never have another dog like her. Thanks, of course, to SuperHeroPrincess, who is herself growing into a more and more stong, awe-inspiring and brilliant young woman each and every day.

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Reflections, not Resolutions

I don’t put stock in resolutions. How change happens, for me at least, doesn’t start with some grand pronouncement. It’s more the kind of change where something happens out of my control and I need to adapt to it, or something has worn out or broken and I realize I would rather not replace it (even if I mourn its loss). It is slow change, fought change, and usually not deliberate. It requires reflection, so that’s what I’m doing, rather than making any resolutions.

When faced with the reflection about my health and its intersection with my weight earlier this year (after a miscarriage and the realization that I probably wasn’t going to be getting pregnant again) I reacted the way I usually do, stubbornly digging in. Then, I started to think about that stubbornness as not as useful, and started to think about things a bit differently. One thought I kept coming back to comes from Dr. Yoni Freedhof, a “bariatric doctor” of all things, who states on his blog, in essence that, the healthiest lifestyle you can enjoy is the one that you will lead you to your “ideal weight.” Emphasis on YOUR, not “ideal weight.” And emphasis on ENJOY. So, for those of you out there who are self-accepting but still uncomfortable with weight, here is my advice, worth precisely what you are paying for it:

Look at your life, and the things you might be willing to let go of THAT WOULD BE BENEFICIAL IN AND OF THEMSELVES that might also lead to changes in weight or size or fitness or eating habits you would like to change, and go ahead and test those out. If something wouldn’t in and of itself have benefits aside from maybe losing a little weight, or might be harmful, for goodness sake, don’t do it!

Will these changes lead to guaranteed weight loss? No. But will they lead to changes you can decide to keep or not that are YOURS.

(some examples include cutting back on tv watching or other screentime, taking up some fun movement you’ve wanted to try, or testing out some yummy veggie recipies, or buying fruit you usually regard as too spendy.)

One of the things I’ve realized is that many of the changes I would like to make, I can’t. Because of time, or expense, or just my basic constitution. But that’s okay. That’s partly why it’s so ridiculously unfair that thinness is valued over fatness. While I’ve gotten a bit smaller, I still appreciate what’s still quite fat about me. I have some confidence that if I regain whatever I’ve lost, it will be with at worst resignation (and an appreciation that this is the normal course of things) and at best appreciation of what I’ve regained or reinstated (or a fluctuation between the two) — and knowledge that beauty resides in bodies of all sizes, including mine.

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2009 Punctured My Heart

This year pummeled my heart.

My heart has been

tenderized

pounded mercilessly

like a piece of tough steak

made wholly hole-y.

Where it’s been punctured

love escapes

like candlelight through a coffee can luminaria.

My heart no longer responds to commands reliably

sleep, wake, eat, drink, work, play, love, let go.

Love seeps out of bloody holes

new valves and pipes throbbing

ignoring the usual pathways

pulsing out in all directions

open

closed

open.

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9456_sick_woman_with_the_flu_walkin.png sick image by tistelblomst

I’m sorry I’ve been away so long but I need a release tonight and this blog is it.  I’m going to make it quick because I’m sick but I had to let it out somewhere.

I’ve been coughing off and on for a week or so and Monday it started getting worse and I could tell something was not so right.  I went to bed after taking some over the counter meds and coughed really deeply all that night.   The next morning I went to work because payroll was due the next morning and I’m the one who does payroll.  I called my doctor and I got an appointment for 3:00.  I got in around 3:15 and by then I was wheezing and I felt like I was suffocating.

My doc gave me loads of prescriptions and sent me home to bed.  I continually got worse.  I got up the next morning after coughing the whole night, with my wheezing getting steadily worse, I took a shower, got dressed and got to work to finish payroll.  While I was working on finishing up payroll I called my doc and told his nurse how bad I was and she said she would give the message to the doc.  I went home around 10:00 and got a call from my doc around 12:30.  He could hear the seriousness of my condition and told me to be there within 15 minutes for a breathing treatment.  My husband was off and he drove me up there.

Ok, so you get the picture…when I got to the doctor he wanted to put me in the hospital.  I begged him not to and told him I would stay in bed if he gave me some more medicine.  He said I had a severe case of bronchitis with a double whammy of congestion at the top of my lungs and then one in the very bottom of them.  I am sick!

I love my in-laws.  I really do.  And I have an even deeper appreciation for them now since both of my parents have passed away but some times I want to tell them to stay home. 

We always have Christmas at our house.  Hubby’s parents come in from three hours away and stay four or five days.  I’ve gotten used to this happening now that we’ve done it for years but this year I would’ve given anything to tell them to stay home or at least get a hotel room.  Does that sound harsh?

At one point I ventured out of bed to say hi to everyone and my mil was on the phone to someone and I heard her tell the person on the other end that I was sick and what was wrong with me and they must of said something like “I’ll bet she doesn’t feel like having company then” because I heard her respond, “I don’t consider us company.”  I guess I should feel blessed that my in-laws love me and that they’re comfortable in my home but the person on the phone was right.  I really don’t feel like having company.  This is the first time I’ve felt good enough to stay out of bed for any length of time for two days.

I keep telling myself it’s just a few days and it is Christmas, they want to be with their son and hubby wants to be with his parents.  I just feel like a knot on a log because I can’t help cook or much of anything.  I just sleep and cough.

Oh the perils of being a good daughter in law.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE!!!!

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Somehow it is still surprising when old patterns of thinking show their scary faces again.  At least, I am pretty darn good at dealing with them. 

Today, I was surprised at how thoughts on size that had nothing to even do with fat (our national obsession) could effect self-image.  I am speaking of my feet.  Maybe there are folks out there whose feet get fatter as the rest of them does, but this isn’t the case with me.  My feet stay slender, but they are long.  Normally, I fit into a size 9.5.  Now, I know this isn’t the largest size out there, but it can still be difficult for me to find shoes that fit.  Many stores stop around size 8 or 9. 

While trying on some snow boots today, I was reminded how important a small shoe size was to me… as if I couldn’t possibly be feminine with feet any bigger than an 8.5.  So, I’d cram my feet into shoes that didn’t fit and grit my teeth through all the blisters and cuts from shoes that were too small, but made all the difference to my body image to fit into. 

I found a pair of boots that I liked, but could only find them in a size 11.  On a whim, I decided to try them on anyway, because they looked like they might fit… and they did!  There was even enough room in the toe to wear some extra thick socks to keep my feet warm in the freezing winters of Chicago.  And… I remembered how in the past I would’ve been horrified to even consider trying on size 11 shoes.  Fit didn’t matter.  All that mattered was that number that was some feminity score or something.  And, I know I’m not the only woman who has thought that way.  Many still do, I’m sure. 

It certainly IS sad enough that we obsess (as a culture) on fat so much, but I am reminded how we get messages every day on how tall we should be, how our hair should look, what kind of nose we should have and how big our lips should be.  Trying to measure up to these standards can easily be a full-time job and there are so many more important things in life.  How sad that I have spent so many years of my life worrying about the length of my feet! 

It’s not even Christmas (in my experience the diets start at New Years, yes?) and the dieters have started visiting my cafe in hordes.  A 200 calorie drink is a horror.  Whip cream on a holiday latte is a crime!  I am tired of being crabbed at by offering teeny sample cups of hot chocolate with whipped cream about how the one or two ounce drink is a meal unto itself.  I am constantly tempted to remind these people that it is possible to say “no thank you” without giving me a 15 minute summary of their current diet efforts and how “evil” full fat treats are. 

The holidays are about love and togetherness and all that… but how much of that is lost because the energy is instead funnelled into diet obsession and the moralizing of food. 

Yesterday, hubby and I went to World Market… a store with, among other things, all sorts of foods (and many sweets – sweets are my fav) from all over the world.  I found myself marvelling at how I didn’t want to buy every sweet thing I saw like I used to.  Back in those days, I knew I could not possibly eat all the things I wanted to buy, but I couldn’t help myself from filling my basket and spending way more money than was necessary because I was so obsessed with the forbidden and “bad” foods.  Instead, I just found three little things and was quite happy with those.  Nothing else tempted me.

Then I think of these people who come to my cafe with their big eyes and compulsive appetites fueled by food moralizing and I feel very bad for them.  It is usually women who I hear complaining that they’d want one of every pastry we sell, but they “must” restrict themselves to some low calorie choice, because they “need” to lose weight.  Rather they are compromising their health with this obsession, when they could put this energy into so many better things…

 –AngryGrayRainbows

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It has felt like 10 years since I got the call about my step-father dying and all the ensuing drama though it’s been only a month or so.  Posting has felt like far too much to ask from myself.  I suppose I’ve been grieving.  My step-father is actually still alive and doing far better than we had ever hoped he would, but all the revelations about his secrets that came out when we thought he was dying and we went on an easter egg hunt around the house to find legal paperwork has been a lot to deal with.  As I posted before, I feel like he’s died already, because the man I thought I knew is gone.  I did know he was a hugely messed up person… but I had no idea he’d leave my mother with nothing but lies, secret debt and no will for protection against his four children from a previous marraige that he has had no relationship with for the last THIRTY YEARS.  Sheesh.  At one point, my mother was seriously considering (with my support) a quickee divorce from my step-father before he died, because being married to him when he died with all the secret debt and no will would financially strap her hugely and in ways she might not be able to recover from.  That was a fun load of drama, let me tell you.  <<barf>>  Thankfully, my stepfather capitulated, got a will written and gave my mother power of attourney so the divorce option was no longer necessary and my mother is willing to stay with my stepfather until the end.  I have been trying to keep my distance from all the drama, but it has still felt overwhelming.    Thankfully, my mother’s siblings have stepped up to support her, so that she is not clinging so much to me… which is very good, because my mother is very toxic to me… very, very toxic…

In other news, our little feral friend, Mr. Orange, has found a home.  Through a connection at a cat shelter I am connected with I was put in contact with a lovely woman with a horse farm and a heart big enough for an unpettable orange cat.  She has another feral that has become fairly people-friendly and she was willing to take on another feral fur-child.  Mr. Orange will spend the winter with his new horse roommates, a heated cat bed and top notch cat food.  She’s even discovered that Mr. O likes catnip!  He was always too nervous in my small apartment to play with any toys or catnip.  Mr. O’s new mom says she will send me updates on how he’s doing and she’s agreed that if (for some reason) she cannot keep him that she will give him back to me and hubby, so we can make sure he gets another good home.  We don’t want him to end up in the pound.  As a hissy feral, it would be very unlikely that he would be adopted, so finding him a home is a big project, but a project that we would rather take on than leave him abandoned.  We love the little guy.  I miss him…. but I’m also so happy for him.  I have a feeling this situation will work very well for him.  

Body acceptance has been on my mind, as it ever is.  New Years is around the corner and I work in a job where I sell a lot of full fat coffee drinks and pastries, so the folks who worship at the alter of thin have  been extra loud and annoying lately.  On the up-side, it’s given me a lot of practice in diplomacy in the face of willful ignorance.  My feathers are hardly ruffled when faced with a woman who is very thin complaining that 200 calories is an entire meal and wayyyyyyyyyyy too much to eat even though she’s very hungry.  Neither do I accept this thinking as normal or healthy.  Maybe I’m finding a little peace in a world full of people that I find crazy the vast majority of the time.

But, you know… fat is just so evil.  It makes everything worse, of course.  Take my fat girl cat for example.  My sweet little piglet.  On a lark, I decided to see what would happen if I fed all the cats the high fat food that normally only my cat with kidney failure eats.  My sweet little piglet had very bag skin allergies.  Her rump and tail was covered in scabs and where there were sores he hair would fall out in clumps… the poor girl.  On the high fat food, my little muffin’s skin allergies are gone.  She might have gained weight from the new food.  I’m not sure, but she looks a little bigger.  Big whoop.  She is so much happier.  The bank half of her is growing in new and healthy fur!  She’s even felt good enough to start grooming her rump properly.  I’ve never seen her so well groomed and healthy looking.  I am so happy for my little girl.  Of course, her vetrinarian is going to give me a hairy look, because I’ve been such a horrible cat mom in letting my fat girl not only to continue to be fat, but to perhaps even gain weight.  Talk about missing the forest for the trees…. are we so obsessed with one small detail that we miss the overall picture of health and happiness?? 

Off I go to spend some quality time with my x-box and my new books today… 

And, thank you to my co-bloggers, readers and friends for their patience  in letting me be a hermit for a while with my grief.  There is no doubt that the grief isn’t over, but for now I am ready to let life back in a little even if some part of me feels bruised and like it hasn’t stopped crying since I got that call about my step-dad in November. 

–AngryGrayRainbows

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Life is hard as I just blogged about over at my blog cave.

My birthday is a few days away, and now that I’m solidly ensconced in my 40s, I can’t make time for my own birthday.

So, if you will indulge me, what are those things that bring you small measures of joy, this time of year, that are either free or inexpensive that I can give myself for my birthday without slowing down from my super hectic life?

As a kid, I wasn’t generally dissatisfied with Chanukah, as compared to Christmas, but I couldn’t get enough candy canes. (You might find it surprising that I don’t have any cavities, but that probably has to do with genes and fluoride in the water where I grew up.) We didn’t have many of them, and I generally ate any I encountered. I’m picky about mint, though, I love peppermint but despise spearmint. (Does that remind you of a game you may have played as a kid?)

I grew up in a warm place and now live in a cold place, and I’ve been marveling at the ice crystals that form on grass, leaves, cars, everywhere. “Jack Frost,” my friend said to her son as they were leaving last night, and I realized that I didn’t grow up with the wonder of sparkly lawns and gorgeous ice crystals. That’s a really nice birthday gift.

Hope you have your equivalent of candy canes and ice crystals right now, and feel free to share any others you might have.

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