Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I’ve given myself some time to think about it and I came to the decision that I’m not doing Lent this year.  For many of my friends and community, Lent is a time of prayer, penance, repentance, atonement and a time to give up something.  This giving up of certain luxuries is part of a solemn reflection recalling the sacrifice, the death and ultimately resurrection of Jesus.  There are beautiful rituals and lovely traditions that happen during this period in the liturgical calendar.  Even for people who don’t attend church often, it’s a time of year where they get to press the reset button.  

In many ways I feel like the traditions and rituals of Lent no longer fit with the relationship I have with the Devine.  I’m sure this is in large part because of all I’ve been through.  Cancer, a near fatal accident at the age of 12, liver failure, facial paralysis, parents nearly dying and then going crazy, multi million dollar law suits, homelessness… these were all things that had me on my knees begging for a little gentleness. 

And then that prayer was answered when Jack came along.  When I married Jack the one vow he asked me to promise him was that I would endeavor to be happy.  I’ve really worked hard, daily, to honor that request and my promise.  This path of choosing happiness doesn’t always sit well with other people.  That's been sobering.  I am, however, learning that other people’s opinion of me and how I live my life is really none of my business.  What is my business is our home which is peace-filled... and my husband, who is content, and our life... which is full of blessings.  

I have no desire to give anything up this year.  A lot of people give up sweets or something food related.  Since I’m trying to have a better relationship with food, one that's not so adversarial, I decided I would just continue to work on awareness like I have been for a couple months now.  This seems to be benefitting me (currently I'm over 10 pounds down from Christmas).  I have no desire to add anything either.  Sometimes folks will suggest an alternative for Lent and rather than giving something up, add something like meditation, community service, or a new habit you've been wanting to work on.  Yeah, I’m already working on stuff.  A lot of stuff. 


So I'm gonna sit this one out.  I think God will gladly write me a free pass.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Let there be peace... or at least less mess

This week could have sucked.  In fact, parts of it did.  But more of it didn't.  I could have canceled the two dinner parties and stayed in bed on Sunday morning instead of going to church.  But more than wallowing in self pity (however justified) I instead surrounded myself with love.  I laughed.  I ate good food.  Friends let me bend their ear.  I didn't pretend like everything was "fine, fine, fine..." and yeah, I cried a lot, but I also didn't let the world end...

because it didn't end...

It is with a grateful heart that I begin this next week.  Yeah, I'm raw, and really irritated that I have no say in how some of this nonsense goes down... 

... but what I can do... and more importantly, what I will do is put one foot in front of the other towards the life I endeavor to have with my husband - a life over-flowing with love...

... and filled with peace.


Monday, January 2, 2012

I made a New Year's resolution!

I'm fat.  I'm 35 years old and this is the first year I can say that sentence without one ounce of icky feelings attached to it.  "I'm fat" feels like I'm telling you we have two fish and two frogs and a bunny who adores bananas.  It doesn't feel like a curse.

Finding peace with this fact is the result of all the work we have done this past year on our finances.  I know, it's weird.  Who would guess that setting financial goals would have such an effect?  It wasn't just the setting of goals, however... it was the honesty, it was the process.

For the last six months my husband and I have tracked nearly every penny spent.  We decided together how much we would save, when we would spend and what we would buy.  We were honest.  Oh my goodness, we were honest.  We wrote it all down in a spreadsheet I am so proud of (it should be framed really).  We planned for things we knew were coming up like insurance and rent and we had savings for the occasions that were surprises - like the parking ticket I got that I forgot to pay.

A college degree from NYU always made me feel like I should be better at finances.  I excel at math so I knew understanding math wasn't the problem.  The problem was and is that finances are not just about math, at least not for me.  Finances are all muddled up with emotions, expectations, commitments, and requirements.  - And so is food!!!

My husband and I were having dinner recently and he asked me if I could change one thing about my life, with the snap of my fingers, what would I change.  I said I'd be thin.  I was taken aback by my response because it was the first time I didn't feel self loathing.  I wasn't 25 wishing I was thin so I could fit into a size 4 skirt.  I know, I know, changing my appearance certainly sounds like self loathing if not a mid-life crisis, right?  Hear me out though...

I want(ed) to be thin not to fit into someone else's version of the ideal woman, I want(ed) to be thin because we want a baby and right now, being fat isn't the ideal for that.  Can I get pregnant?  Sure.  It would be a bit more complicated because I'm fat at the moment but fat people get pregnant all the time.

Not one to usually set New Year's resolutions, this year, I felt inspired.  I have resolved to be thin.  Doing all that financial planning showed me I can be debt free, own a house, have savings... and be thin.  For the first time in my life that feels reasonable.  

Why do I want to be thin? Because I do.  That is reason enough, isn't it?  A baby, fabulous clothes, and a long life with my love are really good reasons too.   As with the finances, being aware will really help me - being aware of what I eat, how much I exercise, how I feel; all these help me have a better relationship with my own health.  And now I'm putting it out there.  I'm telling people I'm working on being thin because "they" say writing these things down helps keep it in focus and helps one actually accomplish the goal.

I figure I've been in debt longer than I've been fat so with persistence I'll be thinner sooner rather than later.  Cheers to a New Year!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Commitment

I did it.  I committed.

When we moved into our new house I put all the pictures and art in the hallway.  Maybe if I saw it daily I would figure out where I wanted the pieces to go.  I have a patient husband who lets me think... for eight months... without complaining...

The problem I have with hanging pictures and art, is placement.  I can lay stuff out on the floor and like it but I can't "see" it on the wall.  I can measure and measure again but inevitably I'll put the nail in a slightly wrong spot.  I then chase down that right spot but not before I find a few more wrong spots.  The poor wall.

There had to be a better way.  Today I wanted to commit.  I decided to use newspaper pieces to help me "see" the pictures on the wall.  I also was able to put a dot on the spot where the nail needed to go.  Jack was impressed.

This was actually the final configuration.  I had thought of a different arrangement at first.  When I put the papers up on the wall there was too much white space.  When I liked the configuration, I nailed the picture hangers in place with the newspaper still on the wall.  Once the nails were in place I removed the papers.  And here's my final result...


I really like the art up on the wall.  What I appreciate almost just as much is that behind those pictures is one nail in one proper hole.  No one will ever look behind those pictures but that doesn't really matter to me... because I know.

Now what are we going to put up on the hallway?...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I am a Fat Ballerina

I was wedding shoe hunting today and walked into a dance store - you know, the type of store where tutus and leg warmers are sold.  I walked in and I was looking at the cute leotards, adult sized one.  


This skinny chic walks up to me and says, "Can I help you with something?"  
I said, "Yeah, I'm looking for dancing shoes."  
She responded with, "Yeah, you don't look like a ballerina."  
To which I responded, "Actually I'm a fat ballerina... now that I've disclosed that I'm fat, can you please show me your shoes?" She looked embarrassed.  


She shows me the shoes and I ask for a particular style and my size.  Her boss follows her to the back.  She comes out without a box of shoes and her boss announces they don't have that shoe in my size.  


"Have you thought about this shoe instead?"  the boss asked.  
"Yes, briefly, before I asked for the other shoe," I said.  
"Well you can't wear that shoe outside even if we had it in your size."

So at this point I got mad... "You know, if I bought that shoe I'm pretty sure I could wear it outside, because it would be
my shoe..."

"I'm sorry..." she said.

"I'm fat." I said.

I left. I found my lovely shoes at Macys.

I'm still fat.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

April 2010 Daring Baker's Challenge - The secret I was all too glad to keep


The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

I can handle it, no sweat, nothing to fear, got it in the bag, strut my metaphorical stuff through the self rising flour, the sweet delish sugar to the brandy drowned raisins, bring on the...

Suet.

Suet?  Suet sounds like something that might keep my shoes from stinkin', my hair from frizzin', or maybe I'd sprinkle it in the garden to kill those pesky snails Jack is always joking I should fry up.  

I found the Daring Kitchen and want desperately to call myself a Daring Baker.  I loved the idea of being challenged, stretched, inspired!  Ok, really, I liked the idea of showing off.  I mean c'mon I've got some mad, crazy baking skills that make people swoon and tell me how I should have my own restaurant, bakery, coffee shop, or bed and breakfast thingy.  

I was so excited to get the challenge.  I had waited a whole month to find out what it was going to be.  Last month had been french macaroons and oh, how I wish I had been early enough to have that project.  

So what do I get... Suet.  Actually, it was pudding.  British Pudding to be exact and the challenge was to work with suet.  This was not a glamorous challenge.  In fact, I felt quite cheated out of a very good big secret.  I did not want to run out into the world and tell them I couldn't tell them I had to make a pudding with SUET.  In fact, I WANTED to keep this secret.  How much fun is that?!  I never knew I was a secret snob.

I went to the special grocery store (insert the word "expensive" for the word "special") and thank the goddess, Sandra had let me know you could ask the butcher for suet.  You, in fact, must, ask.  There is no sign that says, "We got us some SUET." Not one suet sign.  No one wants the stuff.  It's a secret even to the guys that work there.  Yep, I asked, "excuse me but do you have suet?"  Three guys look at the oldest guy hacking away at some huge piece of meat, "Sooout?" they asked him.  "Yeah, the packages are in the freezer.  How much did you want?" How much is 120 "g"s.  At which point I whip out the iPhone and ask for a translation.  "I should be fine with a pound, thank you."  

I arrived at the register and the woman says, "Is this going to do it?" as she swipes the butcher paper wrapped package over the magic scanner.  "That'll do it," I reply.  "That's gonna be..." long pause.  She takes the package and looks it over.  Then she looks me over.  "86 cents?  Is that right?" she asks me.  "I guess so," I respond.  "Did they mark it right?" she asks.  I looked at the package... "yep... suet..." I said.  They practically pay you to remove it from the store... this should be interesting.  

I had picked out a recipe... spotted dick.  If I wasn't going to have the thrill of keeping a secret, I at least deserved to have the opportunity to giggle about it every time I went to say what I was up to, researching, or buying ingredients for.  

Let me just say, for the record, I was so brave with this challenge.  The recipe was vague, at best.  Yes, I was given precise measurements for the six ingredients, but what order I put them all together was entirely up to me.  I was then to put it all in something that could sit in water and steam... but no one said if I was to grease or not grease that particular something.  Do I cover or not cover it?! Do I cover or not cover the pot I'm steaming it in???  And then there was the mention of a pudding cloth.  What is a pudding cloth?  Do I have one?  

I'm winging it at this point.

Sometime during the steaming I remembered there was a string involved so I put a piece of foil over it and tied it up... kinda... It didn't look like Sandra's.  And it wasn't in a cylindrical shape.  My spotted dick turned into a... well, a spotted boob more like.  It looks cool.  I was pleasantly surprised.

It turned out rather lovely, suet and all.  I felt like I did when I was making tamales this last Thanksgiving for the first time... there was no real recipe or instructions for doing that either.  The web was not helpful.  I was more confused the more I researched.  I had to call out my inner Mexican and feel the masa.  In this case, I had to dive into my inner Brit.  I am very pleased with the result.  I think Sandra would be proud.


  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stuffing

They say every girl grows up dreaming of their wedding day.  I can't say I did.  

Life kinda happened to me at a very young age.  My teen years, I was trying to live through a cancer diagnosis.  College years, I was trying to get my head around the fact I wasn't gonna die.  I was never a gushy dater... that I remember.  I remember being overly sensitive about my weight.  I remember dating people because they were fine for the moment but knowing this wasn't a forever thing.  By all accounts I was committed... sometimes for a long time... but I can't honestly say I was INVESTED.  

And then I met Jack.  Oh my goodness, to say I'm in love just doesn't cut it.  

I think that's what kept me focused for my one and only attempt at wedding dress shopping.  The first dress, I got stuck in.  It went on just fine, but it didn't want to come off.  In fact, I asked for help.  I swallowed any ounce of pride I may have had going in and offered to even get on the floor on my knees so the kid who was helping me could get some leverage to get the thing off of me.  She was a KID - maybe 17 or 18-ish, having only worked there 5 months and knowing nothing about body type, or how to listen, and had no skills on how to discern that this was a potential tear dropping moment.  She pushed at my fat as if stuffing a pillow into a stubborn pillowcase.  She told me I should work on not sweating as this was making the dress stick to me more.  And then the dress ripped.  RIPPED.  

I have no idea what other women feel like as they plan their wedding.  I can tell you there's only most important detail... that Jack is there.  Absolutely everything else is icing.  I'm so excited for the wedding and I'm even more excited about being his wife.  

No matter how much fat had to be unstuffed from that dress, regardless of how MORTIFIED I was in the moment, Jack loves me.  

This is the stuff Shakespeare wrote about.   

Oh, and I'm having my dress made by a lovely seamstress - Vogue Vintage here I come!