Monday, February 27, 2006

The eat what you want and as much as you want whenever you want diet!

I picked up a book last week from work that I hope will change my life. It is called "The Diet Survivors Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance, and Self Care." I picked it up because I thought it would be some Diet book that would promise all kinds of weight loss which would make me all mad to read but also somehow hopeful that it could be done because as much as I hate to admit it, there is still a part of me that really would like to be more average in the weight department. Not for health reasons because I have already accepted that dieting does not lead to better health but totally for the opportunity to live for a while without dealing with our culture's excessive and persistant fat hatred.

Anyhow, it turns out it isnt that sort of book. This book was written by a couple of eating disorder specialists. They talk a lot about "intuitive eating" and "normalizing one's relationship with food" as opposed to overeating as a disorder. It is quite interesting. The idea basically is to change how one views food and to learn to eat when one is hungry and to eat the foods that one is hungry for. They talk a lot about the health risks of weight loss diets (of which there are many). They also talk a lot about our society's downright hatred of fat and fat people and how it isnt fat people who are wrong but society. And I needed to hear that yet again even though I have been reading all kinds of fat positive literature over the past few years. The book is structured into 60 lessons with nice quotes and little workbook type activities designed to get one to really think about things.

The first five lessons were pretty much about how one should eat when one is hungry and eat the foods one is hungry for. They talk about recognizing hunger and the difference between stomach hunger and mouth hunger. One of the first lessons is not just "eat only when you are hungry" but "you must eat when you are hungry." It is funny but I have been so disconnected with my hunger that it was weird paying attention to it and it was weird planning for it. I mean, in just the past three days since I have been trying to change some eating habits, I have noticed that I not only eat a lot when I am not hungry, I also ignore my hunger a lot too. My eating habits actually seem to have little to do with hunger and I never noticed that before!

One of the lessons is one I am already having a hard time with. That of categorizing foods into "good" and "bad" categories. I cant help but think of candy bars, ice cream, french fries and such as bad foods. But they present some interesting research that shows that depriving oneself actually can cause a person to overeat! I guess we always want more of what we cant have even when the rules are imposed by ourselves.

Another lesson that really spoke to me was one about keeping food in the house. They said that they have noticed that a lot of overeaters dont tend to keep much food around that they like (yup, that's me). Oh, I have lots of food but most of it isnt food that I actually like much. A good chunk is stuff I thought I should buy because it is healthy. They say that having the food can create a sense of security and that as a person gets used to having food, they will eventually stop feeling the need to eat it just because it is there. So I went out to Trader Joe's last night and stocked up on stuff that I actually like. No good or bad foods...just food (but ok, see...I cant help thinking of food as good or bad and trust me a lot of what I bought falls into the bad category...I can see that is going to be a challenge for me to stop thinking that way).

Ok, ok...I know I am probably boring you all to death with this whole food thing but it is a real issue for me. Interestingly, I think I was more receptive to this book than I would ordinarily be because I just spent a week with Shannon who totally is an intuitive eater. She eats what she wants whenever she gets hungry which is a lot. I often tease her that the meals in her house are First-Breakfast, Second-Breakfast, First-Lunch, Second-Lunch, Pre-Dinner, Dinner, and Bedtime snack. In fact, I will even admit to moments of annoyance when she stops everything because she or a member of her family are hungry and I would rather be doing something else besides eating (although since eating curbs annoyance for me, it never lasts long). The point is that Shannon seems obsessed with food sometimes but really, I was the one with the gleam in my eye in the cookie aisle thinking about having an Oreo binge.

Anyhow, I think I will close with a quote in the book because I think it kind of sums up a lot.

"When hungry, eat your rice. When tired, close your eyes. Fools may laugh at me but wise men will know what I mean" -Lin -Chi

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Rest of the Trip

And now for the last of the pictures from earlier this week.

Nathaniel came up for the big dinner and then the next day we went shopping and out to lunch.

Just hanging out. Right after I took this picture those girls totally cleaned up the mess o books they had going on.

At one of the girls' insistence, Shannon drew a picture to commemorate my visit.

On my last day we went to get haircuts

Here I am sporting the new do

The older sister is getting her haircut in the background. This photo was taken moments before the younger sister realized that her sister was getting a DIFFERENT hair cut. Then there was a melt down because the younger sister naturally wants to be just like the older sister. That never happened when I was growing up *cough* Kids these days!

But a little discussion about how it is ok to pick your friends and it is ok to pick your nose but it is NOT ok to pick your friend's nose quickly restored someone to good spirits.

Finally Gary came up to Sebastopol with a very important question. Does that sign behind me say "analy"?

Why yes it does, Gary, yes it does.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Last Week

I got back from my trip to California yesterday. Here is where I pretend you are all held hostage in my living room as I get out the dreaded slide projector for the vacation slide show!

This is the house that my friend Caleb is building. It is really stunning.

Shannon and I went with a friend of hers, Kristin, to Calistoga. They have all kinds of spas there with hot mineral baths and mud baths and whatnots. What a perfect place for three chicks to hang out, right?

We stopped at the grocery store and bought cookies and other goodies to eat. We also bought some magazines. Then we put the Olympics on TV. There was so much estrogen in the room it would have made a guy faint!

Kristin and Shannon in the giant hot tub. Caleb and the kids joined us the next day but I was having so much fun, I forgot to take any more pictures!

Shannon and Caleb live in co-housing. One night Shannon and a friend of hers cooked a common dinner for everyone who lived there and their guests. A lot of people showed up so before dinner, the kids decided to provide some entertainment in the form of a play. Basically, it was a wedding. A really cool wedding where the groom wore a beautiful blue burka!

We spent a good amount of time just hanging around or rather I did. Shannon had to do a lot of mothering but I managed to catch her sitting down for a short break.

Anja is learning how to play the guitar. She gave everyone a concert one night in the back yard. She even composed her own song. It was about me even! And ok, it was about me losing some toes and having a big nose which I dont but I'll give her some artistic license since nose is really such a good rhyme for toes and because it is the only song that anyone has ever wrote about me that I know of.

I mean see? I dont have a big nose at all!

More pictures tomorrow!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Why I had a great Valentine's Day

I got up earlier than usual on Valentines Day because the very first guy in my life was coming over. Yep, I started out the day with my Dad doing me a huge favor. It's not every dad who will drive 45 minutes to pick up his daughter at 7a to drive her to the airport. But my dad is that kind of guy.

Then I got on a plane and flew to San Francisco where I met up with two of my all time favorite people (Gary and Shannon). The three of us spent the afternoon at the de Young museum looking at art. They have a really nice collection there, btw. It was 70 degrees out and sunny and clear. We spent a long time up the tower they have looking out over the city. San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

We had a Thai dinner in a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Then Shannon and I dropped Gary off at work. It was funny driving through the financial district because every other guy was walking down the street with a big bunch of flowers. One guy had this really nervous look on his face and I imagined that he was maybe going to finally ask some woman out whom he had been pining over for months and months. I hoped it went well for him. Shannon and I decided that the traffic would be too much since it was 5p and rush hour so we went to a nice cafe in North Beach before spending an hour or so browsing at City Lights Bookstore. City Lights reminded me a bit of a certain bookstore in Ann Arbor before it became a big sterile chain but I wont mention any names but I think most Ann Arborites who have been around for a while might know what I am talking about. It was kind of sad in a way.

Anyways, it was a good day. And I felt kind of good about being single which is very unusual for me to feel on Valentine's Day. But you know, if I werent single, I might not have been able to just pick up and go to California because I found a cheap fare (I guess people dont like to fly on Valentine's Day or something...I dont know but it was a hundred dollars cheaper to fly that day). So it was only because I was single that I got to spend a really great day with a couple of old friends. Old friends who I love a lot. And spending the day with people you love is what the day is all about so there you go.

Monday, February 13, 2006

What is up with those feminist bitches?

This morning, Ypsidixit had a post about a recent op-ed piece in the Eastern Echo. I felt that I needed to respond to to this article which is reproduced below in italics. The original article can be found HERE

Society must find more testosterone
By Randy Wood / Staff Writer
Good morning, EMU. By the time you read this, we can only hope that Jerome Bettis has earned his Super Bowl ring. It's great to have a football team to finally root for in Detroit, even if they are from the other side of Lake Erie. Win or loose, we can be sure it was a great story to have the bus come home to Detroit.
I love the Super Bowl. I love football in general, but more and more responsibilities lead to less and less time to watch games. At least we will always have the Super Bowl. I can't think of any other event where it is not only allowed but expected to have men gather to drink beer, eat barbeque, and watch football as they whoop and holler and curse calls from the officials. Just thinking about getting all the guys together for this sacred tradition makes me want to grunt a la Tim Allen. It is on the cusp of this great event that I need to get some things off my chest!
Our society is getting more and more feminized. Don't believe me? Turn on the T.V. You'll certainly see advertisements for "feminine products" every minute or two. Some people see this as a great progression that the United States is going through. They point to women in the workplace as the pinnacle of a modern society. While the rights of women are certainly no laughing matter, I'm writing this in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, so I really just don't care if some chick doesn't see the humor in this article. Unless she's really hot.

I have never heard anyone other than the Randy Woods say that having advertisements for “feminine products” on TV is a sign of any kind of great progression in the women’s rights movement. He is right though; our society is getting more and more feminized. And gosh darn it if you let women watch tampon commercials on TV, they might actually expect other changes too. Besides the great victories of having tampon commercials on TV and actually being allowed in the workplace (at much lower wages) that Mr. Woods has mentioned, more and more women are beginning to see that maybe it is time for women to be treated more fairly. Once those uppity broads were allowed to vote, they started getting all kinds of crazy ideas into their heads. Some of them decided it would be ok to own their own property even without a man. I know, I know, it sounds crazy but give a dame an inch and she’ll take a mile. Let her vote and next she’ll be squawking about running for office and then you have Hillary Rodham-Clinton. NEED I SAY MORE? There are even women out there who think they can live without a man. It’s crazy, I know! But seriously some of them do it. Luckily it is mostly the old, fat, ugly ones who don’t count anyways. Whew.

Men are becoming more and more confused as to the proper way to act around women. This becomes extremely apparent when you see the woman who is, shall we say "endowed" wearing the low cut shirt with sparkly lettering getting offended when a guy (gasp) looks at her rack! This goes for the other side of a woman as well. Ladies, if you're wearing pants that are so tight that they look as if your backside is begging to be liberated, then don't you dare complain if you hear a catcall or two. Speaking of catcalls, do they even exist anymore? Men have been indoctrinated with this notion that if you whistle at a woman you don't know, that's immediate grounds for your castration.

Oh those crazy broads! Sometimes they act as if they have some other purpose in this world other than to provide men with sexual pleasure. Those tarts are begging for it when they dress that way. There is no way it is possible that a woman might dress a certain way for reasons other than to entice or attract a man. I mean come on! Everyone knows that a woman is only worth what some guy says she is worth. They should THANK Mr. Woods when he catcalls to them because he is a man and when he does that, he is letting them know that their butts and boobs have value. When a woman dresses like a whore, she is practically begging to be treated like one. It is just like how women LIKE to be raped. They let men know this by dressing in sexy clothes. Their lips might say “no” but their exposed cleavage says “yes”. If a woman doesn’t want to be treated that way, she should wear a burka. How dare a woman expect to be treated as a whole person and not just tits and an ass paraded for a man’s pleasure?

Not only are men expected to act like sissies in public, but many men are so confused they actually think they have to check their testosterone at the door as soon as they get a "serious" girlfriend. I'm sure everyone knows a guy who is dating a woman who defiantly "wears the pants" in the relationship. This is one of the saddest trends I've ever seen. As much of a crack-head as Freud was, he was on to something. Some guys need to call and ask permission to stay after work and have a beer with the guys! As a man, the only time you need to ask permission from your woman is when you're feeling nasty...

Oh my goodness! What is up with those feminist bitches these days? Going around wearing pants! How sad. Call your woman to let her know you’ll be home late? Dude, that is just like asking for permission and a man should be in charge. His actions are always right. Her job is to stay home and clean the place and take care of the kids so that he can enjoy himself out with his friends after work. Duh. It is wrong wrong WRONG that there are men in this world who dare to show a little consideration for their significant others. What a bad example that sets for the other guys or worse for the girlfriends of the other guys who might start to expect to be treated better than a servant.

The media's role? Not only do we have to sit through those damn commercials, but every show out there is about some loser guy and a hot chick. The hot chick is of course smarter than the guy, and it's so funny. Go watch an old "I Love Lucy" episode. (That was an old sitcom; ask a professor about it.) She had an allowance! Could you imagine what would happen if that show was made today? There would be mobs of short-haired women burning down television offices. It would be hilarious. As far as movies go, are there any comedies anymore? Every damn film is a "romantic comedy" with a guy falling in love at the end. It's pathetic. They try and make them more interesting by showing us topless babes for a few brief moments. Unfortunately, we're the Internet generation; we've seen pictures of topless women. Let's see some stuff blow up!

Randy, you’ve got a lot of ‘splanin to do! Wouldn’t it be nice to go back to a time when men had total control over their women the way Fred and Ricky controlled their wives? Yeah, those guys really knew how to lay down the law and Lucy and Ethel were submissive and obedient and were just like how women should be, except for the part where they are smarter and funnier than their husbands but since they made sure everyone knew who had the *financial* power by talking about the women’s allowances, I think we can forgive them for showing a woman who is smarter than a man. At least it wasn’t like today when they show women who are hot AND smarter than a man. Hellooooo? As if some floozy on TV could ever be smarter than a man. What are those TV people thinking?

If there are any women out there who are still reading this, good for you. Guys, there's still hope for real men. No matter how much they complain or how much they beg you to "share your feelings" with them, we can still be men. How? Because somewhere, deep down in the core of every woman, she wants a man. Not some sissified, whining, sniveling, limp-wristed, "Brokeback Mountain"-watching, talk-about-our-relationship girlie man. They are genetically drawn to the strong, gun-toting, meat-eating, cigar-smoking, bar-brawling, rock solid men. They can try to hide it all they want. But in the end, they actually like guys to act like men.

Thank goodness there are still women who know their place. Women who know that men are supposed to be men and women are supposed to be [Pick one or more: whores, maids, sluts, broads, dames, chicks, floozies, tarts, tramps, skirts, dolls, gals, or tooties]. Women don’t want nice men who treat then well. They want abuse and lots of it. Heck, if you don’t slap your woman around at least once a week, you are cheating her out of having a real man. I gotta say though, Mr. Woods. Do NOT, I repeat do NOT let your woman see “Brokeback Mountain” because she will watch it and will see some seriously strong, gun-toting, meat-eating, cigar-smoking, bar-brawling, rock solid men on the big screen who are well…kind of sissy if you know what I mean, she might start to question YOUR masculinity. Better to smack her on the ass and have her bring you another beer.

So next year when you're watching the Big Game, if your woman feels left out of the fun, smack her on the ass and have her bring you another beer. And to think they say football brings out the immature side of men.

And to think that football brings out the misogynistic side of men

Brokeback Mountain (with an unrelated rant about traffic)

I will begin today’s blog post with a small bit if advice to the drivers of the world. If you are at a red light and you decide to turn right on red, be sure to pay attention to the traffic on the street you are turning onto. You see, if your turning right on red causes traffic to need to brake hard…you are cutting it too close and you are a jerk. Also, if you are turning left onto a busy street and because there is a lot of traffic, you do that thing where you go into the left turn lane of the street you are turning onto, please don’t take off down the left turn lane like a bat out of hell while trying to merge into a wall of traffic. You will give me a heart attack when you nearly hit the sweet little old lady who is sitting a couple of blocks up in the left turn lane. Disclaimer: Yes, I know I am probably a worse driver than anyone I am complaining about. I know that there is probably someone out there bitching about the way I drive especially on mornings when I am late. But you know how it is…everyone thinks that everyone else is a worse driver than they are. I am no exception. Still, those people who drive slowly on days that I am late should know better! ;)

Ok, now that I have the driving stuff out of the way, I am going to talk a bit about my weekend. I finally got to see Brokeback Mountain. It was as good as I expected it to be considering how good the short story it is based on is and considering what a good director Ang Lee is. It is such a tragic story. It sticks with a person. It made me think a lot about how so many people are letting their homophobia keep them from a good story. Of course, as tragedies go, some bigots missing out on a good movie is a small one especially when compared to the big sort of tragedy the movie is about. Still, isn’t it those small things that add up?

It is just someone afraid to see this movie because he or she is afraid to see two men kissing. Then, it is a comment at work or maybe a joke told at a family gathering. Maybe in front of a kid. My very wise friend with whom I saw this movie mentioned to me how much she hates it when people she knows make jokes around children about homosexuality (or fat people for that matter). “Because,” she said, “You just never know how that kid will grow up.” It’s true. And even if they don’t consciously remember the comment or joke, they will know deep down that who they are is something people in their own family think is ok to ridicule. It isn’t a tire iron but it causes its own bit of harm.

I have been thinking about what makes this such a good story. I felt I could really relate to the characters in it even though in almost every way they are nothing like me. I remember some lecture some teacher of mine once gave about ‘universal truths’ and how they are what makes for a really good story. Brokeback Mountain has it share of those. There is deep love which is something almost everyone has experienced. And there is the tragedy of loving someone that one cant have for one reason or another which is something I have certainly experienced once or twice. There is that deep cultural hatred that pretty much everyone in this country who isn’t a white man has experienced on one level or another.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Big Fat Carnival

I just want to put a link in here to The Carnival of Fat. There are so many good posts there about being fat and size acceptance, it is almost enough to give a fat girl some hope.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Perfect Attendance and the Privacy of Blogs

I have been thinking about a couple of news articles I have read in the past week. I am too lazy to go looking for the links so I apologize for that.

  • The first one was about some high schools giving rewards to kids with perfect attendance. Sometimes it was cash but one school was giving away a car! I had some mixed feelings about these programs. On the one hand, they are reinforcing the concept that there is some value to just showing up. People forget that a lot of the time. As a person who has been in the position to manage others, I have been surprised at how many people don’t get that simple concept. I have seen a lot of people lose jobs because of attendance. I have also seen some *seriously* lazy people keep jobs far longer than they should have because they showed up every day.

    But, on the other hand, it probably isn’t kids who don’t know that there is value in simply attending school who are likely to have a chance at getting the prize in such programs. It is probably the kids who already have pretty good attendance who are in the running for the cash prizes or the car or whatever. So what are those programs really teaching those kids? That they should push themselves all the time, even when they are sick. That their own selfish desire for the prize is more important than everyone else’s health. I mean, any kid that has perfect attendance has almost certainly come into school when they are sick and spread it around.

  • The second article was about teenagers and blogs. Apparently some school here in Michigan suspended some kids from sports and a school dance because of things that school officials read on their blogs. Again, I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I am not sure school officials should ever feel that they are responsible for policing kids’ after school activities. I also think that it is unfortunate that they should take something like blogging which could be a very valuable educational tool and then essentially discourage it by punishing kids because of what they write there. People are always talking about how kids these days cant read and write as well as folks in the past did although I am not sure if that is true. Still, it cant hurt to encourage reading and writing. Both skills, by the way, that are necessary if one wishes to blog.

    On the other hand, I think that a lot of teenagers forget that blogs are public and that anyone can read them. Heck, I found out the hard way that even if you don’t use your full name, a blog can be discovered by an especially determined person. And even though in my case, my blog was discovered because I told someone I trusted about it and they told someone else, the point is that blogs are always public or have the potential to be. Therefore, it is always a good idea to be careful about what one writes. And these kids were writing some pretty stupid stuff…essentially admitting to criminal activity online and providing proof in the form of photographs. I see this all the time with blogs and especially blogs written by teenagers. So the punishment for the activities described in blogs probably is a very good lesson that once something like a blog is unleashed onto the internet, it isn’t private anymore.

    Surely there must be a solution other than banishment from school sponsored extra curricular activities that can bring the point home that blogs aren’t private. Heck, just have Mrs Oldlady the math teacher or Mr Crustybones from the English dept leave a comment or two. “Oh Skippy, *that* is SUCH a funny story, you should tell it in class on Monday” That would clue ‘em in right quick let me tell you.

Monday, February 06, 2006

How I Missed the Super Bowl

I have to admit it. The biggest event this area has seen in forever occurs 35 miles from my house and I stay home and don’t even watch it on TV (except for the half time show). I hurt my knee last week and it snowed and I am a lazy bum. So I declined all my invitations for Super Bowl Festivities and I abandoned my original plan to head into Detroit just to see the streets all cleaned up with tourists on them which is something I have NEVER seen.

It is something so unusual that last year when Kate and I went to Detroit to take pictures, we were gawked at a lot by everyone and given helpful advice at nearly every corner that generally amounted to “Two white girls with expensive cameras should be a little more careful even in the daylight” But, I cant say that I felt it necessary to heed that advice since so many people were giving it and since the streets were full of people on a week day. I figured that the people of Detroit are mostly good and sometimes believe the stereotypes about their city in the same way that fat people often hate other fat people.

So I missed seeing tourists on the street in Detroit.

But I finally got to see Topper with Cary Grant which I have been meaning to see since forever and happened to be on AMC.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Spirit of Detroit

I love Detroit. I really do. I grew up there. It will always be my hometown. But every city has it's dark side. No matter how much I wish it werent so, Detroit is a city that likes to dress up statues:

There. I have said it.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Vernors and Faded Ladies

My friend Kate takes pretty good pictures. I thought I might talk about a couple of my favorites.

I like this one because even though it is a photograph of a scene in Ann Arbor, it reminds me of my childhood in Detroit. I like that the paint is peeling and there is an element of "you cant go home again" in there. The ad is old and fading which is fitting because it was an ad for the original Vernors, the GOOD Vernors that no longer exists. Oh sure, you can go to the store and buy a pop that is called "Vernors" but it wasnt made on Woodward Ave in Detroit in a plant with a gnome on the sign and it wasnt aged in oak barrels and it has high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar. It just isnt the same. And in the same it is with so much of my childhood. I can drive to Detroit and walk the same streets but everything is different now and somehow, like Vernors, it isnt as good.

This one which is titled "Faded Ladies" is one that evokes very similar feelings in me. This one photo totally describes how I feel about Detroit these days. It was once a really wonderful place and now most of its charm comes from the whole faded glory kind of thing. And it is charming in an odd sort of way. This past weekend, while driving by the old Michigan Central Depot, I remarked that I thought they should clean it up but not restore it. It could be Detroit's Glorious Ruin, an idea inspired by the website The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit Sometimes I find it sad but sometimes I LOVE the grittiness of Detroit. And this photo of Kate's captures that feeling in me more than any other I have seen. I feel sad that Detroit has had such hard times but really, when I think about it...deep down, I love Detroit and I love saying that I am from Detroit (even though in all fairness, I havent actually lived in the city in 20 years). I love those faded ladies just as they are...a representation of what once was.

Detroit seems to have some life in it recently what with the Super Bowl and all of that. If I didnt work in Ann Arbor I would seriously consider moving back there. I really hope for good things for the city but I also hope it retains some of its "faded" charm too.

Oh yeah, Kate has those photos and others for sale at