What's on my mind.

31 August 2007

Lies, Lies, and More Lies

Well only one.

Weekend Assignment #181: Present three facts about yourself. Have two of them be true. Have one of them be false. Encourage people to guess which one is the false one. When do you reveal the false one? On Monday, in a new entry (I'll be linking to your original post). You'll get two visits for the price of one!

Extra credit: Have you lied about something today (aside from the Weekend Assignment)? You don't have to say what the lie was. Just whether you've lied today. Little white lies count.
Three "facts" about my family.
1. My siblings range in age from 54 to 9.
2. In my immediate family there are 27 people (grandparents, parents, siblings, siblings-in-law, & nieces and nephews; all living).
3. I have more ex-sister-in-laws than brothers.

Extra Credit: I don't think I've lied about anything so far today but I've only been at work. There is a good chance I will tell a lie before the day is done.

Can you guess which one is a lie? Leave a comment and come back Monday to find out!

Feet are NOT the new face.

I think, it was two Fridays ago, when I sat down to watch "What Not to Wear" and got "Fashion Fanatic with Stacy London." I was a bit disappointed but it had some interesting stuff. The episode was all about shoes and handbags. Stacy talked with several shoe designers and went to a shoe factory (I think it was a Ferragamo factory) and made a shoe. Well, actually she cut the upper, sewed the liner, and put a heel on but they couldn't have all be the same shoe because there some glue curing days in between.

There was some good info on why expensive shoes can be better for your feet. (note: Not all expensive shoes are well made but most well made shoe are expensive.) It was depressing to hear the "woman on the street" clips of all these women saying things like "well they make my feet hurt but aren't the fabulous?" It isn't just your feet that are hurt by bad shoes, your knees, hips, and lower back are also. No one needs 4" heels.

Stacy went to an exercise class that is designed to help woman walk properly in high heels, to avoid excess strain on the body. And hopefully make them stop doing that stilted step with the-toe-first-I-don't-know-how-to-balance walk. Girls, they don't make you look sexy if you can't walk in them!

The last bit of the shoe half (or 2/3) of the show was off to a podiatrist. Amongst the cautions about the beginnings of bunions, descriptions of expensive gel-pillow injections to prevent toe joint pain, there was the acid treatment for the souls of one's feet. The acid is just like what's used for an acid peel for ones face, only stronger. It removes callouses from the bottom of your feet and makes them prettier. Yes, apparently feet are the new face.

I'm sorry, I'm a bit confused. I thought callouses formed due to repeated rubbing of the skin, either after repeated blistering or where lesser rubbing occurs but frequently. As in, they serve a purpose - protecting the lower levels of the skin. I, also, thought that part of the reason the bottoms of our feet are rough is to provide traction. That's why our skin is in little ridges on our hands and feet. I've even read horror stories of women who got a little too carried away with the callous remover during a pedicure and slipped in the shower the next day (no serious injuries were reported). So no thank you, I'll keep my tough rough feet if it means I can walk across the floor and not slip. (I can also step on medium sized thorns and not feel it but I go barefoot a lot.)

I'm also not real impressed with a doctor (fairly sure it was a D.P.M. and not an orthopedist, but not positive) who is willing to treat women so that they can wear bad shoes with less pain as much as they want. How about counselling woman to not wear the bad shoes so much? Pain is a warning signal.

My advise to all of you out there looking for shoes:
  • If it isn't comfortable when you try it on, it won't be after wearing it for 8 hours.
  • If you are going to wear the shoes for very long or very often, buy real leather and don't buy the cheapest shoes; leather lasts longer and will conform to the shape of your foot and you do get what you pay for.
  • However, remember that expensive shoes are not always better, sometimes you are paying for the designer's name and not much else.
  • If you find a shoe that fits well, remember the brand; shoe makers often use the same last to make all, or many, of their shoes styles. If one fits well, there is a good chance you can order another style and it will fit, too.
  • By the same token, if a shoe hurts your foot be wary of buying other shoes by the same maker. And don't wear the painful shoes for long period of time or if you have to stand a lot.
  • Last but not least, avoid wearing the same pair of shoes everyday. Shoes last longer if give time to rest (mainly dry out); if you wear the same shoes everyday get two pair they will last more than twice as long.

30 August 2007

Safe Drinking Water is a Human Right.

There are a number of important things that need to be said about about Project M's latest project. Sarah and Honu-Girl have written about two of them; I'm going to talk a little about safe drinking water.

Article 25.
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

As you can see above, the United Nations realized in 1948 that clean water was a basic human right. It falls under "standard of living adequate for the health." It's right up there with being equal in dignity and under the law (OK, 24 and 17 articles later). Not only is everyone entitled to clean water but children are entitled to special care.

In 2005, some celebrities got together and had Live8 and amongst the concerts there were short speeches and PSAs. The ones I remember involved the statistic that every 8 seconds someone dies due to poverty. I went to a talk a few years ago about the mission Living Waters for the World and the speaker said every 22 minutes someone dies due to lack of clean water. Every 22 minutes - while on your lunch-hour, 3 preventable deaths will occur due to lack of safe drinking water. I've read about the UN and WHO pushing breast feeding because in areas without clean water or where aid is sparse babies die because of their formula is tainted or diluted. These are scary and depressing things. They should also be a rallying cry.

The average American has the one of the highest standard of living in the world and yet there are people without drinking water. Here, a few miles from where I sit now. There are programs to make sure a person's power (and, in some areas, gas) isn't cut off in mid-winter, but I've never heard of one for water. The manager of the water system I'm on has been known to go out and fix a leaky faucet after hours so a family will have a manageable water bill but he's one person at a small water rural water system. Does anyone do this for residents in the City? I don't know.

So many people pay through the nose for bottled water to avoid the "chemicals" in city water. They are avoiding primarily the chlorine-taste and fluoride for their teeth; there are a handful of other chemicals add in extremely small amounts, which are to the best of our knowledge safe. Many more have filters on their taps (a much more cost effective option). The lead, if it is there at all, that the filters remove is almost always from the pipes in the house. (Still a problem but not with the city's water.) Yes, some places have very funky tasting water (Houston), and I can understand wanting to filter it but it is safe to drink. Millions of Americans would love to have funky tasting water, as long as it was always there when they turned on the tap and wouldn't make them sick.

I live about 3 miles north of Hale County, Alabama. I have known children who live in abject poverty in Tuscaloosa, Hale, and Greene counties (Hale and Greene are among the poorest in the nation). I have seen communities like Mason's Bend and felt helpless to effect change and embarrassed by my wealth. I have done some to help raise children from these depths of poverty, but not enough. To be honest, I've never thought about ways to help people in Hale Co. get on city water.

It is easy to get caught up in keeping up with the Joneses. Easy to measure one's own wealth and standard of living against others like oneself. It is hard to remember we pass people everyday who would love to have much of what we take for granted.
I once heard an educated, generally well-meaning Tuscaloosan ask "Am I'm rich because I had steak this month?" and I didn't respond. Allow me to respond, now.

If you are reading this on your own computer, then you are rich. If you had steak this month and didn't have to butcher your own cow to get it, you are rich. If you didn't worry about the water you rinsed your mouth out with after brushing your teeth this morning, you are rich.

29 August 2007

Red, White, and Blue

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show us a picture that is predominantly, or has as its focus, the colors red, white and blue. You can mix and match these as you'd like - it doesn't have to be flags, or patriotic stuff (though there's no problem with that if you want it). Just have red, white and blue an important part of the picture.

John, I call, one sunrise. A red, white, and blue sunrise. (Well, dark pink but it's as close as I can get with out having to go out and set up a shot.)

Closer to red in these shots a minute earlier and zoomed in.

These are cheating a bit more but...
A red and white sign that shows one way to treat a beach:

Yes folks, protect the dunes and they will protect you.

A blue and white (almost) picture of a really neat looking jellyfish:

My sister and I tried to save some of them after they had been washed up by high tide and slightly high surf. We didn't manage to toss many far enough into the swash zone for them to be carried out. It is hard to throw something when you are only holding it with two fingers and it is wet!

27 August 2007

You there!

So I was thinking about how we lost the informal second-person pronoun the other day, thou, and about how du/you and Sie/thee are "false friends" (words in two languages that look or sound similar but have different meanings). Then realized "thee" is the accusative form, so the pair would be Sie/thou which wouldn't be confused. (Yes, I am an all around geek.) So I went to the Internet to see what I could find.

What I found on the Online Etymology Dictionary was interesting. We lost the informal form of address because it came to indicate a difference in status between the speakers (a king would address a servant as "thou" but the servant would use "you" to address a king) and not as how one addressed ones equals. As we moved away from the feudal system and everyone wanted to be treated as equals, at least socially, "thou" faded from use. We dropped the informal you as society became, in some ways, less formal!

Now in German speaking countries the formal you (Sie) is falling into disuse as society becomes more informal. It is becoming less common to use formal address when speaking with an equal whereas traditionally the formal form of address was used with almost anyone who wasn't a friend or relative. An acquittance will ask the other "Sollen wir dutzen?" (Should we use "du"?) when he feels they are now friends, at least according to my German teachers. It's similar to saying "please call me Ann" after having always referred to one another as Mrs. Jones and Ms. Smith. Just as it is always safest to be a bit formal in and use last names in English, it is still safest to use the "Sie" when speaking to an acquaintance but often they will use "du" without batting an eye, particularly in an informal setting.

Another cool thing is that similar to German*, the formal 2nd person singular pronoun is the same as the 2nd person plural pronoun. This is why "you" can be very confusing and why Southerners say "y'all" and New Jerseyites say "youse guys" when referring to groups of people (and, yes, sometimes individuals). There is no good way to separate the two, we even conjugate many verbs the same. (Actually we conjugate many verbs the same regardless of the subject.)

And now I have a question for you (all 2 of you regular readers) -Tell me about the pronouns in the language(s) you studied in school. Does it have a formal and informal 2nd person singular pronoun? Is the formal also the plural 2nd person? Are they both still in use? How are they commonly used? Do you even remember the pronouns in the language you studied?

Did I use "cool" enough in this post?

*In German "Sie" is the formal 2nd person singular and "sie" is also the 3rd person feminine (her) and 3rd person plural (they). With "she" verbs are conjugated differently than with "they" and "you (pl)", which are conjugated the same.

23 August 2007

Weekeend Assignment #180

Weekend Assignment #180: Build a Bumper Sticker

For this Weekend Assignment I thought we'd do something easy. Because it's August, and that's just the wrong month to think:

Weekend Assignment #180: Go to this bumper sticker generator, and create a bumper sticker. Then post it in your journal. The generator page gives you a number of options to play with, so you should be able to have fun with it. Naturally, keep it reasonably clean; I have to link to it, after all.

Extra Credit: How many bumper stickers does your car have in real life?

Hadn't done one of these in a while. I got a little carried away with making bumper stickers (I'm at work what else am I going to do?). Here are a few of them.While your at it - guess my profession.

I sure that one strikes fear in the heart of a reader or two.

Actual quote from my boss.

This one could be interpreted several ways.

My old car had a bunch of bumper stickers. I decided that if my niece could get arrested for protesting the death penalty, I could slap a few of my beliefs on my car. Good thing my mother has similar socio-political views as I do because it's her car now. My new car only has three right now (a Brite Blue Dot, 01-20-09, and Stop Continental Drift). I have a few more to put on there but they have ended up at the bottom a stack somewhere. When I find them again, on they will go.

20 August 2007

Confidence, part II

So I know all the things I said in that previous post are true. I know my Daddy, Paw-Paw, and brothers love me. (Mommy, Granny, Grandma, and sisters, too) I know they don't just love me because they changed my diapers (or in the case of Nettie, I changed hers). I know I'm smart, not hideously ugly, kind, loyal, easy going, thoughtful, etc. (I sound like a Labrador Retriever) I know all these things but I don't always believe them.

I had a therapist once tell me that I needed to stop focusing on the past so much (Stop me if I've told you this before). I never understood exactly what she meant. It seemed that mainly she was telling me to stop expecting what had happened in the past to happen again. How do we build our expectations for social interactions than by building on past experiences? I tend to down play the good and focus on the bad but even when I take this into account my past doesn't look so rosy. I know the people I meet now are not self-centered adolescents but I don't know how else to expect people "my age" to behave. I've hardly been around any in the last 10-12 years.

I said I hope things will be better. I do. I just hope that somehow one day it will be different, like magic, because I don't know how to make it different. Meanwhile it is exhausting to wait to fail, again.

17 August 2007


****Harry Potter Spoilers****

The emotional roller coaster of the last hour and a half!!!! Percy's back. Fred's dead. Snape is redeemed, somewhat. Harry has to die. Harry is killed. Wait he's not quite dead. Neville the hero. "NOT MY DAUGHTER YOU BITCH!" from a woman who earlier (or was that in Half-Blood Prince?) threatened to stick Ron's fingers together for making a rude hand gesture. In fact, Harry's feeling much better now. Then the interminable bad-guy-explaining-everything-before-killing-the-hero from Harry. (Had to get Riddle of guard? Puh-leese, you know you will win why does he need to know. I guess some explanation was necessary for the plot but it is always a bad idea to stop killing and start talking. (Just watch a James Bond movie.) You can explain it all later.)

OMG, how did you people manage to wait years between books? I could barely wait days!

I am now emotionally drained and will watch TV all weekend.


A friend of mine answered a question I've asked here, 'Why do guys fall all over LS but not me?' He said, "confidence." I kind of already knew that. What turns heads when a girl (or guy) walks in a room isn't just her physical appearance it is also that she knows she looks good. But this has been rattling around in my head for the last week or so because it isn't the whole story. (I'll try and make this the short version)

LS is pretty and smart and she knows it. She also, finally, left her husband at the beginning of May. I can't tell you how many times over the last 3 years she said "well, I don't want these years to have been wasted," or "I don't want to just give up." She wasn't giving up; she'd put up with more shit than anyone should have to to try and make her marriage work. The years aren't wasted, unless she doesn't learn from them! For about three glorious weeks she was that pre-teen I met 11 years ago, who wouldn't take shit off of anyone. Then she was shacked up with another guy. He seemed alright to begin with but latter proved himself to be a jackass. She dumped him, went back, dumped him. Not three days latter she was back with her husband, who has treated her like something you'd scrape off the bottom of your shoe for the last three years (the previous 4 weren't much better, but I digress). She may know she's attractive but I'm not sure her confidence goes much beyond that.

People scare me. (And that's why I take happy pills.) I run from conflict. (I'm 31 and still have to leave the room if my parents argue.) I don't project confidence, I know that. But I keep hoping things will get better. (Why? Search me.) I know I don't need a man to make me happy and I can take care of myself. I like my own company. (Even if I get lonely sometimes.) I know that some really great men love me and some really wonderful strong women, too. I also know I have a lot to offer a guy. Maybe not good skin and rock hard abs, but if that's what is most important to him then he isn't worth worrying about. Even when my 'negative self-talk' has reduced me to a blob of quivering goo that just wants to sink into the floorboards, I get out of bed the next morning.

I may not walk in a room and think I'm the best looking woman in there but I KNOW I'm more than a good rack and a cunt. And that should count for something.

15 August 2007

Middle English

For your inner English-geek, may I present Scalzi Chaucer'd.

Anyone know where we can get it in Old English, too?

10 August 2007

But is it important in this universe?

Recently read John Scalzi's (at Whatever) explanation of why he rarely gives his characters a skin color and Kameron Hurley's (at Brutal Women) response to Scalzi's post. Here's my thoughts on it.

As I read it: Scalzi is saying he doesn't give his characters a skin color because it isn't important to the story. If it is important than he makes sure it is in there. He does, however, write non-white characters; he just doesn't go around describing their skin color. Hurley is saying that if a character is explicitly not white, middle-class male than that is the default. Hurley also says that it is important to make the distinction because there are cultural differences.

First off, in three of Scalzi's books the main characters are GREEN. The bodies grown for the CDF soldiers are green to make them easy to identify. It also means that based on skin color there is no indication of country of origin or ancestry, so one has to resort to guessing by name. Presumably, when their tour of duty is over new bodies the soldiers get have whatever skin color originally encoded for in their genes.

Scalzi doesn't ignore race in the Old Man's War universe. Soldiers come from developed nations (USA, Canada, western Europe, China,...) and colonist come from third world countries (India, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia...), IIRC. Apparently, the racial politics are even directly part of The Last Colony. As I remember characters have varied names suggesting different countries of origin and/or ancestry but there is no big deal made about it.

Science fiction stories usually take place in future; only a few are set within any of our potential lifetimes and many take place in the distant future. That means that the cultural differences that exist today most likely do not exist at the time of the story. Even a hundred years could be enough to erase the differences in east coast inner-city boy and mid-west farm girl. Some differences will remain whether within a country or around the world, but many of the differences that are seen in today's society could disappear; particularly those primarily due to differences in ancestry because we are becoming a more homogenized culture (for better or worse). I like to think that the lack of importance of race in many sci-fi books is the result of the author's desire to see race be less important; they really want the world to be color-blind, at least within one a give country. This is probably a projection of my desire for there to be less emphasis put on one's skin color.

Another example of race/culture in literature is in the Harry Potter books. J.K. Rowling has students of many different ancestry at Hogwarts. Harry, Hermione, and Ron are Anglo-Saxon, Blaise Zabini is African, the Patil sisters' names suggest they are Indian, and Cho Chang is a Chinese name; and they are all English. I'm sure there are some Welsh students. Professor McGonagall is Scottish. Seamus is Irish. Most students are "white" but the school is in England. What do you expect? They reflect the population of Great Britain.

Ms. Hurley, my primary problem with your rant is, is the difference between an inner-city Hispanic-American boy and an inner-city African-American boy more or less than the difference between an inner-city African-American boy and an upper class African-American boy?

I don't think so. Certainly using characters from different cultures opens up different potential sub-plots, but culture is not based on skin color. It is based on where one was raised.

Slight aside: Scalzi's successful creation of a character without specifying gender ( scroll down to April 18th, for his explanation) may suggest that Hurley is wrong from the get go since being named 'Sam' and in a relationship with the male, Archie, did not make Sam a female for all readers. Most readers would have imagined Sam as male or female but some may have imagined intersex. I haven't read Android's Dream, so I don't have an opinion, yet.

09 August 2007

Public, Private, or Home?

Often I read a blog and I want to comment but my thoughts are too scattered and/or too many to put in a comment. This is one of those times.

Shadowhelm and his wife are considering homeschooling their child. I think this is a mistake. Not because I know better for their child; they know her best and are the only ones competent to decide. I just think homeschooling is a mistake, in general. I'm not a fan of private schools either. (I am also having trouble with the part of me that completely understands not wanting to put a child into a public school system in Alabama** arguing with the part of me that thinks public schools are the only way to go.)

My primary problem with homeschooling is, "is the parent staying home a certified teacher in the appropriate grade(s)?" If not, then why the hell do you think you can teach your child? Homeschoolers must now be enrolled in a recognized program, many of which are internet based, that procribes the cirriculum and provides tests. The actual teaching of the material falls to the parent. I have a Master's degree in a physical science and I'm pretty darn sure I don't know enough to teach anything but science above the 3rd grade. (For example knowing grammar and using it appropriately does mean I can explain it.)

A related question to the above is, "Is the parent (usually the mother, but not always) prepared to spend all day everyday at home with said child/children?" There is no shame is admitting that one was not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom. It doesn't mean one doesn't love one's children or loves work more; it just means that one is not cut out to be with one's children 24 hours a day. There is also a difference between being a mom and being a teacher (yes, parents are constantly teaching thier children but it isn't quite the same as being a teacher.); for some I'm sure the two roles are completely intertwined for others the roles won't be. Just because one works with kids all day, or is even a teacher, does not mean that one is the best teacher for one's own kids. I know several mothers who teach at a daycare but can not teach in their childrens' rooms, the dynamic is just not right.

Another big problem with homeschooling is the social isolation of the student. School offers social situations encountered in few other settings. Learning to interact with other people, whether one likes them or not, is an important skill. Homeschooling groups, who organize fieldtrips, sports teams, and other extra-curricular activities, can help with the socialzation skills but since many of the other homeschoolers are coming from similar backgrounds there is little diversity. An added problem is that if the homeschool groups are made up of primarialy one subset of homeschoolers (i.e. people who homeschool for religous reasons) then other homeschoolers may not feel welcome, further reducing the diversity. And diversity is important for its own sake. Children need to learn how to get along with anyone they meet; they don't have to be best freinds with everyone but they do have to get along.

Private schools are better. There is the social interaction, trained and (hopefully) qualified teachers, extra-curricular activities, and a break for Mom and Dad. Private schools, however, usually don't offer much in the way of diversity. Most private schools are filled with middle-middle class to upper-middle class. The really expensice ones have the upper-class kids. Private school kids never have a classmate who only has three outfits to wear to school or whose parents can never make the PTA meeting because they have to work. Most private schools have scholarships for very bright students and good atheletes. Some private schools offer a cirriculum only slightly more challenging than the public schools (this varies greatly with location) and have less qualified teachers. (Please note that I do not think lack of state certification automatically means unqualified.) If public school teachers teach because they love it, private school teachers are simply insane. In Alabama at least, private schools pay less and offer little if no benefits (other than great unpaid vacations!). This can make it difficult to retain top-notch teachers that often have the choice to go to the public schools.

A couple of comments directly to Shadowhelm: No one strives for adequecy; that is a term developed for a law that mandates all kinds of stupid measurements of schools and students and has little to do with actual learning. I'm sorry your 12th grade History teacher wasn't creative enough to have assignments to challenge all the students. No one who goes into education wants to hold students back; not everyone will have the ability to help every student but they all have (or possibly had, before burnout) the desire to help. Last but not least, I find it hard to take your interest in your daughter's education too seriously since you admit your wife does the investigating and you just say 'sounds good'.

Where to send one's child to school is a complicated decision for people who can afford options. One's local public schools may not be very good but they provide a level of diversity (SES and racially) not found in most private schools. Private schools MAY provide a better education but are expensive, often require parental volunteering, and usually don't provide transportation to and from school. By homeschooling one can insure that one's values are taught to one's child and no others but then the child is isolated from peers and other adults and is denied the presence of a qualified teacher (with rare exceptions).

I'd like to comment breifly on a topic Shadowhelm touched on in another post with a link to Neal Boortz - communal school supplies. To me, it sounds like Boortz is saying that public schools are a communist plot. BULLSHIT. Democracies require an informed electorate and therefore must have some level of public education. The issue of having indivual parents purchase supplies (this can run from a box of crayons for the class' art supplies to paper towels and surface cleaner) is an issue of funding. When I went to school (and this is probably still true there) students didn't have to buy the school's supplies. There was a supply room that contained supplys. Today in many underfunded school system there isn't a supply room. Not only is every student expected to have his own glue stick but to bring a large bottle of glue to share with the class because the school can't buy these things. This is not, as Boortz asserts, a war on the idea of private property but a consequence of the poor funding of schools. The light bill has to be paid so money for the teachers to buy construction paper doesn't exist. I also suspect that most of the time the list is clear as to what the student needs for herself and what is being bought for the class. If there isn't a distinction, there should be. Because who can forget the joy that was a brand new pencil, eraser, and your own box of 16 perfect crayons?

*Sorry, Sarah, education trumps smut. I may still get around to putting down my thoughts on that. Thanks for the tag.;)

**baby Sis started 4th grade last week at a Tuscaloosa Co. school. Mom says "YEA!"

06 August 2007

Becuase I do everything I'm told to

Here it is Sarah. A skinnier me as a resident of Springfield.

I think this is the kind of thing you either need someone else (who knows you well and you trust) to do or at least look over you're shoulder. I don't have a picture of myself to be simpsonized.

03 August 2007


Brief history to clarify my previous post. It effects my opinions and, I think, effects how you, the reader, relates to them.

I was a skinny little girl. So I only got picked on a little for being tall and smart (bit of a teacher's pet really), as I recall. I did feel ostracized for being good at school. Then puberty hit. While I wasn't fat by any stretch of the imagination, my hips spread and I got boobs (wore a C-cup by the 9th grade). I skipped junior pants altogether (for the guys - Juniors sizes, odd numbers, are cut for those without child-bearing hips). I have broad shoulders, along with a not small chest, so shirts have been a problem for a long time. I wore sizes 10-14 depending on cut through High School and edged up out of the 10s in college. Graduate school was the end of the 12s and most of the 14s. I've put on about forty pounds since I was 18, twenty of that since my 25th birthday.

I wish I could fit into some of those cute bathing suits in the drawer. I could do something to lose some weight (like the last 20 lbs). But I think I look OK. Weight-wise, that is.

So, anyway, I've never really experienced the teasing and ostracizing of fat-hatred. I wasn't put diets when a kid. And I'm not that big, despite what the scale says. I do however need to work on accepting my body. I, also, believe that a mind is a terrible thing to waste and a waist is a terrible thing to mind. Quite frankly, we all have a whole lot more important things to worry about.

Sarah, you inspire me to rebellion. The more I think about you and your views on fat the more I want to say "F*@& you!" to my mother and her comments about my needing to lose weight.

02 August 2007

Look out for the Fat Germs!

Sarah just posted her thoughts on the lasted research to come out of The Framingham Heart Study. I have to admit, when I heard the related story on Morning Edition, my first thought was "no shit, Sherlock." It doesn't take a genius (or a group of MDs) to figure out that if your friends don't pressure you to stay thin and aren't thin themselves you will probably not be too upset if you, too, are not thin. It is not however a disease to be overweight! There are health risks associated with excess weight, but it is not, in it self, a contagious disease. At least NPR also noted that the study found that one is more likely to lose weight if one's friends lose weight and/or are thinner. (RLY?)

Genetics and life style affect one's weight. I can accept that if one's friends encourage one to be active and eat healthily, then one will be healthier, and possibly weigh less, than is one's friends encourage one to be sedentary and eat junk food. But fat isn't catching.

Here are my measurements:
Height - 5'11"
Weight - 210 (approximate, I didn't pay attention at last Dr's visit)
BMI - 29.3, "overweight", obese starts at 30.0 (weight[lbs]/(height[in]^2)*703 or mass[kg]/height[cm]^2**)
Hip:Waist ratio - 1.23
Shoulders - 18" (across back)
Sleeve - 29" (from mid neck to wrist, arm bent approximately 90 deg.)
Chest - 39" (just below bust)
Bust - 43" (widest part, horizontal)
Torso - 70" (from top of shoulder, under crotch, and back to shoulder)
Waist - 39" (narrowest point, approximately at belly button)
Hips - 48" (widest point, approx. 8-10" below waist)
Inside leg - 33"-35" (depends on cut of pant and whether they are meant to be worn with high heels)
Outside leg - 40.5" (from waist to ankle bone)
Shirt size - 14-20/XL-2X
Pant size - 16-18/1X
Shoe size - Wm's 11US

Don't like 'em? Tough! Do I wish I looked like a Victoria Secret model? Yes. Do I wish I looked like a Lane Bryant* model? YES, even the ones who wear a bigger size than I do and it is just as likely. I don't do much to my appearance. Guys don't give me second looks very often but they didn't when I was a size 12, either. I have acne (make-up, when I wear it, can only hide so much), freckles and moles all over my arms, flat hair, and no one to retouch my photos. Am I less healthy than I was when I wore a size 12? I don't know. (I am mentally healthier, but that has nothing to do with dress size and everything to do with the anti-depressant.)

I am at work and so can't look up the original paper or read all the press...but here are some people who did One the Whole, Junkfood Science, and Shapely Prose.

Oh, and by the way, for several months I carefully recorded what I ate and what I did. I was conservative with my calorie output numbers (actual cal/min from Fitness Jumpsite) and generous with my calorie intake numbers (when in doubt, I used Calorie King). I showed a net negative calorie balance and my pants fit the same at the end as they did in the beginning. I finally gave up because it was a pain to write everything down. Ironically, some of the biggest negative calorie days were the Saturdays and Sundays I slept most of the day because I can't eat while asleep.

*I love shopping there, not only can I find clothes that fit (except bras) but I feel skinny. I'm actually buying the smaller sizes on the rack! I do not,however, like their new jean sizing system because their website is wrong about my size (I tried a pair on that size, they almost fell off of me) and now will have to go in and try on multiple pairs of different cuts to find the ones that fit best. Luckily I don't need jeans right now.

** Even the damn CDC gets it wrong kilograms are not units of weight; it is MASS!

01 August 2007


Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of things that are juxtaposed in interesting ways. "Juxtapose" means "To place side by side, especially for comparison or contrast," in case you hadn't run up against the word very much (it's one of those Scrabble words). Basically, if two things you see next or near to each other make an interesting picture, or seem to comment on each other in an interesting or ironic fashion, you're good to go.

What is it then? There is sand, a rope, and what appears to have been a diving platform - looks like a designated swimming area to me. Or at least it was one before the lake was lowered. This sign is even more odd when you step back and see this one.

No animals on beach, what beach? That isn't a beach the other sign says so.

Not terribly ironic or interesting but very cute. This is one of my cats, Q-tip, and my dog, Honey. Black/white, dog/cat, big/small - those are good contrasts, right?