Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

Big Girls You Are Beautiful! July 27, 2008

Filed under: Weight — Addicted to Yarn @ 7:16 am
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Big Girls, You Are Beautiful

This makes me want to cry. I’ve found my new theme song.

 

Self loathing and how to get rid of it. July 2, 2008

While flipping though a recently filled journaling/shopping list/sermon note/random lists book, I came upon this observation:

Does the fact that I don’t believe the Bible verse, “His (God’s) commandments are not burdensome,” reveal a serious lack of faith? The two greatest commandments, says Jesus, are to love the Lord and love our neighbors. So loving is not burdensome but it is. I believe the Bible is true and that Jehovah is God Almighty. So the wrong is with me. Why? How do I get over it?

So many wrong ways of thinking are revealed here. The one which seems clearest deals with self-loathing and personal value, something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I spent over a decade and a half of my twenty-seven years on this earth struggling with low self esteem and self-loathing. During the last six months to a year, a lot of those struggles have disappeared. When my sister asked what I had done to get over or rid of self-loathing, I struggled to answer her. There have been so many changes, both to me and around me, I wasn’t really sure exactly what happened to reveal to me, my own intrinsic worth.

The number one factor is my husband. He is my biggest fan. He’s hugely encouraging and always ready to tell me I’m wonderful and beautiful and brilliant. But I can’t share him. Wanting something to pass on to my sister and others I know, I’ve spent the last two weeks mulling over the question, “Who do you rid yourself of self-loathing when you don’t have an Israel Walker in your corner?”. I’ve talked with my husband at length, started at least one blog, and have talked with some close friends about it. The answer I’ve come to is that it’s all about belief; heart belief to be specific. What you really believe in your heart of hearts. Some things which, were you to voice them out loud, you would deny believing but deep inside you embrace them as truth.

One of the main beliefs whose dismissal has changed my view of self is revealed in this passage from my journal.

I said, “The wrong is with me.” Because I believed the Bible was true, literal and the inspired word of God and exactly as modern Christianity said it was, when it said that God’s commandments weren’t burdensome and yet I found them so, the only answer was that I had a problem. If I take myself back three years ago and I imagine a friend coming to me and explaining that she finds loving people to be burdensome and asks what to do about it, I would have answered that she was trying too hard to do it on her own. I would have advised that she rely more on Jesus to love people through her and not lean so much on her own understanding.

The problem resided in me. It was my fault. I was either not “faithing” enough or not trying enough. I didn’t have enough discipline. I was too busy seeking pleasure. Simply, I wasn’t good enough.

If I wasn’t finding joy in Bible reading, it was a failure in me. It couldn’t possibly be that bible reading wasn’t something I enjoyed and therefore not joyful. I wasn’t good enough.

Other parts of my “Christian” doctrine supported this. As a teen I was given a list of statements about my identity in God. I was a child of God, saved by grace, filled with the Holy Spirit, etc. This was how I was to build my self esteem. By realizing I was these things, I wasn’t supposed to be discouraged by the world’s view of me.

Yet, I only had this identity in God because Jesus had died for me. Without that, I was worthless, all my goodness as filthy rags.

A couple of thoughts sprang from this. If I’m a dirty rotten sinner without Jesus, (This is one of those heart beliefs I spoke of earlier. Most Christians would refute this belief but deep inside it’s what many believe and I certainly did.) then Jesus died for a loser and God loved and was willing to sacrifice his son for a world of worthless people. Jesus must not have valued his life very highly to give it up for piles of crap.

I wouldn’t step in front of a speeding bus to save a cage of hamsters. My life has more value than that. However, if they carried, within them, the cure for AIDS or cancer or depression, suddenly they have value and are worth my life.

So by believing I was worthless without Jesus, I not only removed the value of my own life, but also from Jesus’ as well.

The other thought turns to the promises of the Bible. To be honest, I’m not sure how many of these “promises” are actually Biblical but they are definitely “Christian.” You will find joy in the Lord. Your day will go better if you have a quiet time. You will feel peace when you spend enough time praying and meditating on the things of the Lord.

These didn’t work for me. Focusing on who God said I was didn’t lift my self esteem. Reading the Bible, praying, “pressing into the Lord,” none of it brought about character or behavior change nor did it even make me happy. Happiness or contentment being the safety net if everything else fails. “You should find contentment in the Lord. Be content where you are. Bloom where you are planted.” etc.

To paraphrase what Israel said in a blog, “I didn’t want to feel better about my crappy character and unhealthy behavior; I wanted to not have a crappy character and not have unhealthy behavior.”

Another thing I believed was that a wife should be submissive to her husband. I was never raised believing this made exploitation or abuse acceptable but simply that the wife was to put the husband’s needs and wants before her own. Another quote from my journal:

The Lord said to me: …Your job is to minister to Israel. You will have other ministries but right now, your sole ministry is to Israel.

I asked: How?

He says: What means a lot to Israel? A clean house? Clean the house. Your time? Give him your time. Your full attention? Give him your full attention. Your enthusiasm? Be enthused. Ask in my name and I will give it.

Jesus, I ask in your name for more enthusiasm when it comes to things that interest Israel. In Jesus name, I ask that what he finds interesting, I would find interesting.

I should change. I should mold myself around Israel. Why would God create me as me if He only wanted me to be a drone of Israel? It’s not even what Israel wanted then nor wants now.

Because I believed I was his help meet and nothing more, what I wanted to do with my life wasn’t important.

When I was a high school freshman I had an English Literature teacher who encouraged me to go to college. I said I didn’t want to, that all I wanted to do was be a stay at home mom and raise my kids (homeschooling of course) to be godly men and women. I thought I would raise them to be something amazing. Of course, if I never did anything with my talents but be a stay at home mom, why would my daughters aspire to anything else, but that’s another blog. I said “no” to college because I thought my place was at my husband’s side, supporting his dreams and his passions.

A couple of months ago, Israel found a bit of information which rocked my world. He came across a discussion about the apostle Junia(s) (Romans 16:7). There is debate as to whether this is a man’s name or a woman’s name. There is support on both sides but it leans toward being a female name. A female apostle wrecks a lot of havoc with other verses and beliefs regarding women in the church and the leadership roles they are or are not to take. Finding out that there may be biblical record of a female apostle is not what really rocked me. What bothered me was that I was twenty-six years old before I found out it was even a possibility. I grew up being taught that women should not be in leadership, until I joined the Rock, which taught that men and women are to partner in leadership but never drew upon Junia as an example. With this simple name, I began to take an honest look at some of my deep seated heart beliefs and began to reject many of them.

Around this time I also read a book called “The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life” and it, too, had a profound effect on me. I began to see where my self loathing had come from.

I’m fat. I’ve not always been fat but I’ve always been a big person. I have a large frame and I’ve always had a good amount of muscle. But since the third grade, or there abouts, I’ve thought I was fat. And with this fat came a whole slew of unanticipated baggage. If someone was rude to me, it was because I was fat. If I didn’t get the part in the school play, it was because I was fat. If I didn’t have a boyfriend, it was because I was fat. If I wasn’t having a quiet time it was because I was lazy (a.k.a. fat). Fat became the reason behind every bad thing that happened to me.

It wasn’t until I read Shanker’s book that I realized how unhealthy and unrealistic blaming everything on weight was. I began to ask myself where this idea of fat being synonomous with lazy, unlovable, undesirable, untalented, and worthless came from.

The conclusion I came to was startling. My religion told me I sucked. I felt within that I wasn’t really that bad and so subconsciously I found something abhorrence worthy within myself to hate. My weight was an easy target. Our culture readily agreed with my prognosis of ugliness and inadequacy so it was an easy transition to begin hating myself for my fatness rather than for the unbelievable innate worthlessness Christianity told me I had.

Letting go of the religious lies I’d been told, whether purposely or not, was the really big change; the change heralding in the rest.

During the time of belief cleansing I began to challenge my view of sex. I think I was a fairly unprudish woman with a healthy sexual appetite but when I began to see myself as someone with value, I found myself incredibly desirous of my husband. My sex drive kicked into overdrive, much to Israel’s delight. As I began having more frequent and more fulfilling sex, I felt more desired. As I felt more desired, I wanted sex more. It was a fun self propagating circle.

I began to feel sexy and beautiful. My naked form in the mirror did not induce gagging as it once had. I began to see the beauty in my full thighs and supple abdomen.

I also began belly dancing. Belly dancing is very sensual. It does not have to be sexual. I read a book, “Grandmother’s Secrets: The Ancient Rituals and Healing Power of Belly Dancing,” which told of Arabic women belly dancing for and with the women in their family and community. It was a dance of life, a dance to celebrate a girl’s entrance into the realm of womanhood, a dance to ease the pain of childbirth, a dance to share with one’s granddaughters, and a dance to mourn the passing of a loved one. It was feminine and beautiful. It was full of life and vigor. It made me feel alive and graceful.

I practiced belly dancing in my living room, in front of a full length mirror, with my pants or skirt pulled low on my hips and my shirt tucked up under my bra. As I danced, I watched the way my body moved and found it pleasing. I watched the way my muscles jumped when I flexed them and saw beauty. I shimmmed and reveled in the way my belly undulated.

I started taking care of myself. I began to eat healthier. Not because I needed to lose weight. I ate healthier because I was worth taking care of and I deserved to feel more energetic and clear headed.

I started taking care of my appearance. I was worth those couple of extra minutes.

After meeting a weight loss goal (for my health I do need to lose some weight but it is no longer a life sucking obsession), I got my hair cut. The haircut and products were nearly $100 but I was worth it. I don’t have to look like a frumpy old woman.

I started studying and reading books which previously I would have overlooked as “too technical” or “too involved.” For what? My tinee-tiny little brain?

I started looking into taking college classes. I have been given intelligence and it is wrong to squander it.

We had some of the guys from Israel’s shop over for dinner. Not the crappy guys you might have heard us complaining about. These were intelligent guys. They were fun and flirty with me, which Israel didn’t mind and I really liked. For some reason, I was suddenly able to see what Israel had been telling me for years. I was beautiful and desirable. I had believed for so long that Israel was attracted to me more out of duty than out of actual attractiveness on my part. Having these two single guys, well versed in the ways of the world, find me attractive was hugely encouraging.

Because these friends, the guys and others, were not “ministry opportunities” or “prayer concerns,” we were able to just be ourselves and enjoy having friends. We enjoyed having them over and there was never any pressure to “turn the conversation to things of the Lord.” We could just be our selves and give ourselves to our friends and receive what they had to offer. Both parties left feeling rejuvenated and eager for the next meeting.

Instead of feeling quilt at the end of every night because I’d made love to Israel, wrote a blog, and made curtains instead of spending time with God, I felt happy I’d had a day so full of life.

So was my newfound self-respect and, dare I say, self love, a result of turning my back on religiousness? Or was it making friends and realizing I was liked for me? Or was it bringing my weight under control?  Or was it realizing a life half lived is one not lived at all?

I don’t know. As I said, so many things have happened and changed at the same time, I’ve no idea which was cause and which was effect. All I know is I’ve quit trying to be a perfect christian; I don’t count calories; I try to do things which bring me joy; I try to spend time with people who have something to offer me and to whom I have something to offer in return. Maybe that’s the secret to happiness. It’s working well for me and mine.

 

Chloe Marshall and the (hopefully) coming changes May 4, 2008

Chloe Marshall is a plus size model who recently won the title of Miss Surrey, making her the first size 16 contestant to become a finalist for the Miss England title.

Chloe MarshallI think she is beautiful and I am excited, though not hopeful, about the changes she may bring help bring about in the fashion industry.

There are those that are hard on Chloe due to her weight. They claim she is a poor role model because she is saying it’s okay to be fat. Funny thing about that…her BMI is 25.3 (not the 26.3 being reported. If you take her height, 5’10”, and her weight, 176 pounds, and plug them into a BMI calculator, you will see that she is at 25.3), which puts her right on the line between healthy and overweight. So she’s either at the top of healthy or just barely overweight. Seems like a pretty good role model to me. She’s not grossly overweight and therefore telling teen girls it’s okay to be irresponsible with their eating and exercise but she’s also not giving these same girls an unrealistic expectation of beauty. She is, in fact, a model of the average American (or English, as she is from England) girl.

There are more overweight people than underweight people; I won’t deny that. But there are also a lot more people who feel ashamed for their bodies and feel pressured to become something or someone they are not. There are a lot of mentally unhealthy people out there. I personally believe one can not be healthy between the scalp and the feet until they are healthy between the ears. What good does living until you are 89 do you if you are miserable and self loathing the entire time? Who wouldn’t rather live until 70 but have loved themselves and their life for most of it? I would prefer that. Of course I would prefer to live until 89 and have loved every minute of it but if I had to choose, I’d rather be happy and short lived than miserable and long lived.

Teen suicide is on the rise again, raising from 6.7 percent of 100,000 teen deaths in 2003 to 9.4 percent of 100,000 teen deaths in 2007. 1. The CDC reports:

• 16.9% of students, grade 9-12, seriously considered
suicide in the previous 12 months (21.8% of females
and 12.0% of males) (Eaton et al. 2006).
• 8.4% of students reported making at least one suicide
attempt in the previous 12 months (10.8% of females
and 6.0% of males) (Eaton et al. 2006).
• 2.3% of students reported making at least one suicide
attempt in the previous 12 months that required
medical attention (2.9% of females and 1.8% of
males) (Eaton et al. 2006).

Female suicide thoughts and attempts are higher than their male counterparts. After the onset of puberty – after age 15 – girls and women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as boys and men. (The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D. p 53 and The National Institute of Mental Health.) There is a physical reason for this. Female hormones are much more cyclic than men’s but I wonder how much has to do with self image.

I know that I personally struggled with feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. I usually attributed such feelings to my weight. I know that the more television I watched, the more I succumbed to poor self esteem. The more magazines I flipped through and the more I focused on “beautiful” models and compared myself to them, the more embarrassed and stressed I became about my body. I just wonder what these statistics would look like if the “height of beauty” were a little more realistic. I want to remind all my readers that the average American woman is 5’4″ tall and 154 pounds while the average American fashion model is 5’10” and 117 pounds.

There was a recent study done that brought into question the “fat but fit” theory. Their study was based on nearly 39,000 women. They filled out a questionnaire on their level of activity (which is questionable to me because most people think they are far more active than they really are but oh well). The study, which based normal-weight/overweight/obese on BMI (20-25 being normal, 26-30 being overweight, and over 30 being obese) found that: “Compared with normal-weight active women, the risk for developing heart disease was 54 percent higher in overweight active women and 87 percent higher in obese active women. By contrast, it was 88 percent higher in overweight inactive women; and 2 1/2 times greater in obese inactive women.”

So, while being active while overweight does not remove your heightened risk of heart disease, it does lower it considerably from being inactive and overweight. Having regular exercise takes an overweight woman’s risk from 88% to 54%. That’s a 39% drop just by being active. If you are obese and active, your risk drops from 250% to 87 (lower than the overweight inactive group). That is a 65% reduction in risk.

So if you are overweight, start moving your body. “Women were considered active if they followed government-recommended guidelines and got at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week, including brisk walking or jogging. Women who got less exercise than that were considered inactive.” 2.

I was interested to see the statistics on underweight women’s risk factors for heart disease. We all know being overweight increases your risk. There are a lot more over weight than underweight people and so obesity is what’s been studied and reported about. I wonder what the underweight stats are. Are they higher or lower? I think of Luisel Ramos, Uruguayan model, who died of heart failure at the age of 22 after starving herself.

A simple Google search on “underweight heart disease risk” brought me some answers. Being underweight is unhealthy, too. The Scandinavian Journal of Public Health found that while being overweight or obese created more risk factors than being of a healthy weight, being underweight increased your risks as well.

Another study, this time from the Journal of the American Medical Association, came to basically the same conclusion. “Underweight and obesity, particularly higher levels of obesity, were associated with increased mortality relative to the normal weight category.”

What I would really like to see on television (when I watch it) and in magazines and commercials and on the big screen, is some women who are of a healthy weight. How about some women with a BMI between 20 and 25? Let’s start putting them in the lime light and setting them as our “role” models, if we must have some. Instead of setting ourselves up to fail, let’s have some realistic goals and maybe we’ll be able to walk back the “obesity epidemic.”

I hope that Chloe Marshall becomes the first size 16 model to become Miss England and go on to become the first to be titled Miss Universe. I hope that whoever judges these competitions are open minded enough to see that beauty is not conformity. And maybe, if England catches on, the rest of the world will follow. Maybe the U.S. will be next. Wouldn’t that be nice?

 

I am fat. Fat and sexy! April 20, 2008

I’m fat. Fat and sexy. I used to just be fat, and then lately, I’ve realized that I can love my body just the way it is. I’m not a bad person because I’m fat. I’m just fat. I’m not lazy or ugly or undeserving of affection. The word “fat” carries so much negativity with it that a friend of mine will not say it in front of her sons. She doesn’t even want him to know what the word means. My daughter, on the other hand, will pat my butt and say, “I like your fat butt, Mommy.” To us, “fat” references the quantity of fat cells one has. It’s not a value judgment.

For so long, I thought I sucked. I had been told I was a dirty rotten sinner for so long, I came to believe it in a way I don’t think the church ever intended. I came to believe that without Jesus I was worthless. I believe that deep in my heart, I knew this was false and so I had to find some reason that I sucked so. I chose my weight. It must be my weight that made me suck. It became my excuse for everything. Why didn’t I have more friends? Because I was too fat to be outgoing. Why didn’t I have a better job? Because I was too fat – revealing to potential employers my innate laziness and lack of enthusiasm. Why didn’t I get the full ride scholarship to Bible college? Because they saw that I was fat and “knew” I lacked self discipline and self-control (which is a fruit of the Spirit, revealing also the immaturity of my faith).

At some point in the last three months, I’ve realized that I am a valuable person, regardless of my weight. I don’t have more friends because I don’t go want more friends. I have a few close friends and that’s the way I like it. I don’t need a bazillion friends. I need a half dozen close friends that I can call up and hang out with when I need companionship. I didn’t get the scholarship because I didn’t apply myself in school. I didn’t do anything above the bare minimum. I didn’t get a better job because I was doing nothing to better myself. I didn’t look good in pictures because I bought crappy clothes because, after all, I didn’t deserve anything better.

Since coming to believe that I am valuable, I’ve changed some things in my life. I’ve spent some money on clothes. I went jeans shopping. The pair that fit best happened to be on sale for twelve bucks but I’d have paid the full price of forty for them. I went to a consignment shop and bought some cute shirts, spending about thirty dollars on five shirts. (Notice I didn’t go to the Goodwill…because it sucks here.) I bought a sixty dollar swim suit. I spent a hundred bucks on underwear (bras and panties). I’m scheduling a “spa” day for me. The hair cut will cost about sixty dollars and the wax another sixty. But that’s okay…I am a woman and I should not hid in crappy clothes that wear out in six months. I don’t have to have a bad hair cut (or in my case, no hair cut whatsoever). I don’t have to have a fifteen dollar Wal-Mart swimsuit that I’m embarrassed to be seen in. I don’t have to wear a shirt that I’ve had for over seven years and is full of holes. I don’t have to wear jeans that fit badly. We have the money for me to dress like I respect myself and so I’m beginning to.

I no longer stress about working out. I still try to get to the gym a couple of times a week. I need to be active for my health. I’ve no problem with that but I don’t beat myself up about it. I feel no pressure to have “perfect” attendance at Curves. I don’t pay a lot of attention to what I eat. We try to buy healthy foods so there isn’t a lot of garbage to snack on but when there is, I simply try to partake moderately. By not focusing on my weight all the time, I’m not focused on food all the time and it doesn’t control me the way it once did. It’s like Israel and porn. The more he stresses about not looking at it, the more he’s thinking about it and the more he wants to look at it. If he just relaxes and doesn’t beat himself up when he does, than it’s not that big of a deal. It’s the same way with food. If I think about eating healthy all the time, than I’m thinking about food all the time and what I can’t have and then I just want to eat all the time. (Right now, I am seriously having some cravings, even though my stomach is full of lunch and iced tea and I am absolutely not hungry.)

I don’t worry about not looking like the women on TV and in magazines. A number of months ago, we watched Dove’s Evolution video, Pro-Age, and Onslaught videos, and my personal favorite, True colors.

After watching these, I realized that I had let the “industry” tell me what was beautiful. I’d been frustrated because I knew that my body would never look like “theirs” no matter how much fat I removed from it. I knew this but felt deep inside that maybe if I just did more sit-ups or regular cardio maybe I’d bring about a miracle. It was magic thinking and I’m done with it. I realized that I am who I am. I began to love my body. It’s amazing. When’s the last time you walked into a store and instead of criticizing the way the entry doors make your hips look fat, you focused on the feeling of your leg muscles as they move your body forward? Do you know that we can’t make robots walk? They’ve been working on it and working on it and are beginning to make head way but nothing beats the human body for walking. Feel each muscle as it contracts and relaxes. Feel your biceps. Lay flat on your back and move your arms above you, feeling the beauty as they move in the way you tell them to. It’s amazing.

Oh, and the average American woman is 5’4″ tall and 154 pounds. The average model is 5’11” and 117 pounds. Most of us will never, ever, ever look like a model. They are freaks of nature. You wouldn’t judge a Chevy Aveo for not being a Lexus. Don’t judge your body for not being freakishly tall and thin. You are you. They aren’t comparing themselves to you. Don’t compare yourselves to them.

Okay, so as this happens, Israel’s friends start to notice and it’s very flattering. When he worked at Pizza Hut, I knew the guys wanted me for my cookies (as in chocolate chip cookies, not a euphemism for something else). This is something new. I find out that I am, in the current shape I am in right now, desirable to other men. This sounds so funny to say because I should have known it but when your world view is skewed it affects everything. Subconsciously, I believed that Israel found me beautiful out of duty. He loved my body because we were married. To find out that he desires me because I am desirable is amazing. It was revolutionized my life. I feel so alive and so powerful. I have power. I chose to use it for good but I have power. I am not helpless. It’s part of what has given our sex life such power of late. I could be sleeping with any number of other guys but I’m not. I’m giving something of great value to my husband every time I choose him. And vice versa. He’s giving me something great as well. We are mutually choosing to be with each other, not out of desperation or duty, but from free will.

This has also affected how I spend my time. Since realizing that because I was fat did not automatically make me lazy and undisciplined, I find I don’t have enough time in the day to do all the things I’d like. Unlike before, where I spent too much time watching TV and movies and playing stupid games on the computer, I now don’t have enough time because I’m reading books that teach me things and reveal things about the world at large. I’m writing more (obviously). I’m researching things that are important and/or fun. I’m learning German. I’m trying to learn to belly dance-which is a ton of fun. If I can find a class here and then one in Germany, I’m going to be so psyched! My house is cleaner because I’ve realized that being fat does not mean I’m dirty and slovenly. It’s not necessarily less cluttered because I’ve also realized that there are more important things in life than having a clean house. My quality of life is improved by a clean house. It is more improved by reading lots of books and listening to lots of different music. But I can clean the house in about thirty minutes now, instead of the two or three hours it used to take me. I am comfortable throwing things into the closet to deal with another day (probably the day we move) because it doesn’t mean I’m a fat, disgusting, slob. It just means I’ve more important things to do then stress about where that pile of knick-knacks should go.

I think what I’m trying to communicate is this: it doesn’t matter what your weight is. It matters what your state of mind is. Example: if, a year ago, someone had taken me out and bought me really expensive, well fitting clothes and given me a “make-over,” I would not have been transformed. I would not have been happy with the clothes. I would have still looked “fat” in my eyes and it would simply have reaffirmed what I dreaded to be true: even with expensive, great clothes, I was still ugly. Until I felt beautiful within my own skin, I would never feel beautiful on the outside.

I just finished “The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life” by Wendy Shanker. A lot of my mental changes have come about because of this fabulous book. If you receive this book from me for Christmas, do not be offended. Everyone, fat, thin, zitty, short, tall, curly haired, big-nosed, apple bottomed, bow legged, has something to learn from her insights. If you have something you feel insecure about, you can learn from this book. If you are completely satisfied with yourself, good for you. You still need this book. It will give you insight into the heads and hearts of those of us who are working on self contentment.

 

Beaches March 31, 2008

Filed under: Anecdotal,Weight — Addicted to Yarn @ 8:09 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The beaches here are so much cleaner than last year. They’ve worked really hard and I appreciate it. Now, I am not saying that our beaches are nice but with what nature has given them, I think they’ve improved the beaches a lot since last year. Because of the islands off the coast, we don’t get real waves here and so the beaches don’t get cleaned naturally. When it rains, the whole sandbar which is Biloxi, drains into the Gulf, which is about two feet deep the first 1/2 mile or so out. So the beaches have a lot going against them.

Where as last year, the sand was filled with debris, supposedly from Katrina, this year, the sands are fairly free from crap. The water line is still yucky but like I said, I think that’s due to the storm run off as much as anything else.

So anyway, Jael and I went to the beach yesterday. It was a lot of fun. She played in the surf and sand while I laid out in my new swimsuit.

My new swimsuit. The first time I’ve ever spent real money on a swimsuit. I think I spent $28 on a suit in highschool. Since then I’ve probably spent about that much on the last two suits I’ve bought, both from Wal-Mart. This year, I decided I didn’t want to feel nasty in my suit. We have a pool and are a 1/4 mile from the beach. I figure I’m going to be spending a lot more time in my swim suit than I have since we lived at Knightsbridge. So I spent $60 on a two piece tank suit. You know that kind, it covers everything that a one piece covers but it’s in two pieces. I really like it. Because it’s not snug against my belly, it smooths the appearance there. It also has a skirted bottom, which, because it’s not connected to the top, hangs better and freer than others I’ve tried. It was totally worth it. I actually felt attractive in my swimsuit. I don’t know that that’s ever happened to me before. It was very exciting.

But…I got a little burned again. If I make it through life and never get skin cancer or have a skin cancer scare, it will be a miracle and of no credit to me. To be fair, I don’t think I could have gotten sun screen on my back in the places I burned so I don’t think I’m completely to blame. Of course I could have worn a t-shirt but what’s the fun in that?

 

Sweaty Story Time March 19, 2008

Due to a complete and total moron moment on my part, I arrived at story time very, very sweaty. It all started this morning at 5 o’clock in the morning…

Bing…bong...bing…bong...bing…bongbing…bong

The alarm went off as it was supposed to and I hit the snooze, as I am supposed to. Because Israel rides his bike into work, in order to be to the gym or the track by 630, he has to leave the house by 550 or 600. On mornings that he doesn’t feel like leaving so early (and therefore having to get up so early) he will drive the car to workout and then drive home, have breakfast and then I will drop him off so I have the car.

After hitting the snooze for the second time, Israel expressed the desire to not go work out but still go into work at the later time (830). Of course this is against the rules and he’s already received a Letter of Counseling for that exact thing. So I suggested that he take the car in, come home for breakfast and then Jael and I would drive him in. Since that means he can sleep until 550, he said great. I set the alarm for 550 and we went back to sleep.

At 550, we got up, I made him some Gatorade while he put on PC clothes. I kissed him goodbye and sat down to check my email. The only message I received was a voice mail from one of his sergeants from 530, telling him that they were doing a recall and he needed to be at work as soon as possible.

“CRAP!” I thought. I figured he would either find out at the gym or I’d tell him when he got home. Since either way, he was going to be in a rush, I got him clean clothes and put them on the dinning room table along with his razor and shaving cream. I made him some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast and got his lunch all ready. Knowing that a messy house stresses him out, I picked up the living room and swept the kitchen. I cleaned off the horizontal surfaces that seem to magnetically attract papers, pens, ponytail holders, combs, cups, plates, and other random things of life. I even got Jael up an dressed and made her breakfast so we would be ready to go. We were all ready to go and he wasn’t home yet so we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

About half an hour after he really should have been home from PC, he called. As he pulled up to the track, he was told that his squadron was doing a recall and he needed to go to the shop. Because he normally rides in, he had a uniform there. So he went ahead and went to work. But now he had the car and I didn’t. This wouldn’t be a big deal on most days but on Tuesday’s Jael has a date with Story Time and it is the highlight of her four-year old’s life. Israel said he would try to be home by 930 or 10 so we could take the car.

I told him to try but if not it wasn’t a huge deal because we could just walk. Here’s where the problem starts. The library used to be only one mile from our house. The gym was two miles from our house but on the same road as the library. We’ve moved almost four miles from our old house. Now the gym is about 1.6 or 1.7 miles from our apartment. The means the library is a lot closer to three miles away than the two I was thinking. But for some reason, I had it in my head that the library was only 2 miles away. So I figure the average walking speed is four miles an hour. We should leave the house about 930 to be at story time by 1000. About two blocks from the house I realize my mistake. So we start hurrying. I’m pushing Jael in the stroller, knowing she’s not up to maintaining a 4 mph walk for two miles. Have I mentioned the wind? It was very, very windy. Most of the time we were sheltered from the wind by buildings or overgrown fences but every now and then a gust would hit me and push against the stroller.

Then, as we neared the train tracks, we heard the train’s whistle. I knew we were already going to be pushing it to get there on time and if we had to wait on a train, we would definitely not make it on time. So I started walking faster. Luckily, as we reached the tracks, we saw that the train was far down the line and we were able to make it across without having to race any trains.

We finally get to the library (after having to wait for the crosswalk of stupidity. Notice in the picture how the button is 10, 15 feet from where the sidewalk ends. Yay Biloxi.) We arrive 15 minutes late. I’m not hot until we step into the building and I bend over to unbuckle Jael. Then the sweat starts pouring off my body. I step into the bathroom to grab a paper towel and try to mop myself up. I look in the mirror and the back of my shirt is completely soaked through as are my pits. Yum. I look like a wreck. Of course my hair is everywhere because it was so windy. I can’t take of my outer shirt because my under shirt is too revealing. And the temperature in the library must be over 80. I thought I was going to die. Luckily, they don’t ever say anything to me about drinking water in there because I was guzzling my water like there was no tomorrow. Luckily by the time we headed outside for the Easter Egg Hunt, I was cooled off enough to be mostly presentable.

Of course this was the week that we had about five new families at story time. The other three mom’s know me and I don’t feel too embarrassed about being a sweaty mess. They saw me all last summer after we rode in so this wasn’t too new. But the poor new people. They must have thought I was a freak.

But Israel came and picked me up which was wonderful. Chris and Arianna had both offered me rides home so I wouldn’t have had to walk back home, not that it would have been a bad walk if I wasn’t hurrying.

But, as Chris said, that was my workout for the day. So all in all it was okay. I worked out on Sunday, doing various arm and chest, leg, and abdominal exercises; Monday, at Curves; Tuesday, walking to the library. So today I’m headed to the gym again. Maybe I’ll actually have a good week of working out. Here’s hoping!

 

Creepy old men March 17, 2008

I’m not sure what bothered me more…the lameness of the parade or the creepiness of the grown men begging for crap.

We went to a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade yesterday. We’d not taken our daughter to a parade and thought she might enjoy it. She did so our mission was accomplished it but it was still odd.

The parade itself was, well, different from any other parade my husband and I had ever been to. The parades we’ve gone to before included: marching bands from local high schools, decorative floats from extracurricular clubs, floats from various business and clubs from the city, antique cars, the shriners, clowns, etc. This parade had large trucks, semi tractors and tow trucks, pulling trailers which had been painted marginally in St. Patrick’s Day colors but bore a uncanny resemblance to what I would assume Mardi Gras parade trailers looked like. Green, yellow (or gold), purple. Cheap beads. Beer. Load music.

We had fun but would not probably go again. The music was WAY too loud. It hurt my ears. The crowd is standing not five feet from the “floats” and yet the music is blaring loud enough to hurt the ears of someone twenty feet back. (My hubby stayed back in the shade.) We stood next to two men. Both were older and very…well, they were really fat. Both had that look. I saw it often when working at the Pierce Street Fareway and often when working at OU (which I had a nightmare about last night, oddly enough.). It’s a look of voluntary mental retardation.

There are those who are born with a small cup. There are those born with average cups and those born with large cups. The size of your cup is predetermined. You can’t change the size of your cup. What you can choose is how full your cup is. A mentally retarded person who has a smile on their face and has worked to better themselves in every way they can, has a full cup. They have my respect. An average Joe or even a genius who, through laziness of the mind and body, has a small swish in the bottom of his cup and nothing else, has nothing from me but disgust.

These men were in the latter category. They were fat not from the love of food but the hatred of doing. They stood there begging for a handout because they’d given up self respect and dignity long ago. They gathered their useless baubles and cheap cups, baseball caps, plastic footballs, toy pipes, and the like with a greedy urgency. They lugged their tote bag of “treasures” away with them as though they’d actually received something of value.

Sorry to have ranted on two strangers. My daughter lugged her crap home with the same emotion. She feels she got real treasure and to a four year old, a couple of pounds of shiny Mardi Gras beads are treasure. I simply hope that by the time she’s an adult, she has more permanent treasures to seek.

Oh, and I got sunburned. Jael is fine. Israel is fine. I toasted. Which I do every summer when I pull out the tank tops. You’d think I’d learn. I guess my cup’s not overflowing yet, is it?

Me after the St. Patty's Day parade