Month: September 2012

Waiting

strabismus surgery on my eye coming up Wednesday

I don’t know if there is anything worse than waiting. Especially waiting for something unpleasant.  I suppose waiting for your wedding day might not be so bad but waiting for surgery is the worst!  Trust me I know!

On Wednesday I have my strabismus surgery.  I had it last year and the recovery wasn’t too bad, but the day of the surgery was brutal. Recovering from the anesthesia was the worst of it. They also gave me lortab which made me sick and nauseated.  Hopefully this time now that they are changing that medicine my recovery from the anesthesia will be better.   I really don’t know how people undergo surgery just for cosmetic reasons.  The whole experience is awful.  A few months ago I had a discussion on facebook with some people that acted like cosmetic surgery was no bigger deal than a hair cut.  They clearly recover better than me!

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/one-eyed-vampire/

My doctor also said my recovery from the surgery will be more challenging this time.  I have scar tissue from last year that will cause more pain and redness.  (Pleasant to think of hah!  The mind reels!).    This time I am going to do some eye therapy to try and make the surgery stick.  I hope it does!  Anyone out there had experience with eye therapy?  Anyone out there had strabismus surgery and done anything to make it more effective afterwards?  I would love to hear any of your experiences.

In the meantime I am waiting.  I hate waiting.  On my mission my mission president made me right a 20 page paper on patience (He saw the academic in me and the impatience!).  I guess I am a bit of a control freak (aren’t most people in the end control freaks?  Don’t most people want to have control over their lives?).    That’s why I hate dating.  No control.

Anyway, it sucks.  Please come out and visit me Thursday-Sunday.  Would love it.  My Mother is coming into town tonight which is the joy of having surgery.  I get to be taken care of by my mother.  I have not been a needy kid and the downside of being from a family of 6 kids is that I rarely get the lone attention of my Mother and what girl doesn’t want that?   Thanks Mom!

I also get meals on Wednesday and Thursday from the Relief Society.  My first time! That’s the benefit of being in the family ward.

So how do you handle the waiting in your life?  In the end, I suppose all we can do is put the waiting in God’s hands and ask Him for strength and patience.  Like the scripture says “In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19).

Please send prayers my way that the surgery will work and that my Doctor will be inspired and watched over.

strabismus surgery

Well, I will end with a joke:

Things you never want to hear your surgeon say:

• Now where did I put that scalpel…. I KNOW I just had it a minute ago…..
• Ooooppppssss!!!!!
• I need that hooky thing, you know the one with the little…..
• AhhhhhhhhChooooooo!
• What the hell is THAT ???
• Ok, now where should I put this
• I’m sooooo tired I can hardly see straight
• Damn! lost one of my contact
• Wait a minute, if this is his spleen, then what’s that?
• Accept this sacrifice, O Great Lord of Darkness
• Bo! Bo! Come back with that! Bad Dog!
• There go the lights again…
• Ya’ know… there’s big money in kidneys… and this guy’s got two of ’em
• Are his relatives waiting outside?
• What do you mean, “You want a divorce”!!!
• FIRE! FIRE! Everyone get out!
• This scissor looks rusted
• Rats! Page 47 of the manual is missing!
• Isn’t this the one with the really lousy insurance?
• Now where did this spider come in from
• Hmm!! Looks like I removed the wrong one!!!!!
• Yes, nurse, hand me the whatchamagigger and the doohickey and hold this whatchamicallit, while I get a hold of the thingamabob. Thanks

 

 

The Curse of the Should Be’s

Frequently I have people say to me ‘you are a great ______’ and then followed by ‘You should be a _______’.  Some different variations:

You are a great cook.  You should open up a restaurant.

You are a great writer. You should be an author.

Your blog is great.  You should do it full time.

Your state your opinion well.  You should be a political writer.

You should be an editor, lawyer, politician, speech writer, teacher, PHD, fiction and non-fiction author, event planner, singer, ect. (Ironically nobody has ever said ‘you would make a great mother…)

The sad part is they are all right.  There are so many dream jobs I have.  There are so many things I should be doing and would be genuinely good at, even brilliant, but how did I end up doing accounting?  Basically I took the first job that was offered to me after my mission and I ran with it.

In 2008 I tried to make a change and get something in marketing or event planning.  Something a little more creative and had no luck.  Its a tricky cycle you get into because you need experience to get most jobs and to get that experience you need experience.  So even if I went back to school my position really wouldn’t improve much because I’d still have the same experience.

I don’t mean to seem ungrateful because I’m not.  My job has tons of perks and it gives me a lifestyle I love. It’s just not what I envisioned for my life. I didn’t have some specific dream but I never thought I’d be an accounting clerk my whole life.

Now I’m buying a house and that makes it all the more difficult to make changes.  Sigh…

I guess a side of me feels like a sell out but I don’t know what else I could have done.  I took the only job offered to me. I get to work from home and have flexibility.  I’m pretty lucky in many ways.  Plus, I’m good at what I do. I work as hard as I can and have overall a nice life.

But always in the back of my head is that nagging question of all the things I could have been and done? Do any of you struggle with unfulfilled dreams? With what you have settled for in your life?  We all have to make compromises in order to live.  At least most of us do.   How do you reconcile your wishes with reality?

I know there are ways to contribute outside of my job, so I’m looking out for that right now. I think it is how I will have to do all the ‘should be’s’.
When did we decide that the only way to contribute to society was through your job or family?  There has to be other options for people like myself?   Got to start writing all those books and articles I dream about 🙂 .

Btw- thanks to everyone for all the encouragement.  It always makes my day!  I think my friends often see more potential in me than I do in myself.  In fact, I know they do. Thank goodness for great friends.

A Defense of Curves

Got Curves? I do!

I’ve mentioned the infamous Maura Kelly op-ed in Marie Claire many times on this blog . The one where she compares fat people to heroine addicts

“”I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine [sic] addict slumping in a chair.”

and

“I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other… because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything.”

It is hate speech of the worst kind and the fact that a major fashion magazine would publish and then defend the smut is unbelievable.

Anyway, I came across an article by Josh Shahryar for the Huffington Post refuted each of Kelly’s claims and her subsequent apology.  It is so awesome!

http://huff.to/992Yrd

I was particularly moved by his last segment called The Conclusion.

I don’t normally share whole articles on this blog but I was so moved I wanted all of you to read it.  Being on a new diet this last week I think I needed to read this article.  So beautiful and moving:

5. The Conclusion

I’m not a personal issues expert. But I’m a human being living in the West who knows what’s going on. And what I see is this: there is an incredible amount of bias perpetuated against overweight people in the media. They are almost never the central character — always neatly tucked in as a secretary, the nurse or a character who’s too old to rouse romance. The last time I saw overweight people in a movie as the central character was in Paul Blart: Mall Cop and recently in Precious. Both the movies had a bit to do with weight.

When they appear on TV shows, it’s about weight. Guess who the loser in The Biggest Loser is… Guess who’s huge on Huge (by the way, a very witty show that got canceled). And when it comes to commercials, There’re always those damn ‘fatties’ that can’t seem to lose their weight without this or that new magical drug or diet.

Criminals can and do get central characters, otherwise. Druggies do. Even rapists and child abusers get more frequently featured. Fat people just aren’t good enough. (And to come to this realization right now just truly, deeply and profoundly upset me.)

The only shows, commercials or movies in which they get treated as normal people are those oriented towards the African-American population. Kudos to them for having the empathy. Only the oppressed can feel the pain of the oppressed.

Overweight people have become marginalized by the media simply because they’re overweight. Just like African Americans were marginalized because they were black and more recently, gay people because they’re gay. I understand fully that unlike the color of someone’s skin or someone’s sexual orientation obesity is a medical condition and a problem, but obese people aren’t. That is the issue. That is the problem. That is what both overweight, “normal” weight and underweight people need to come together and fight against.

The first step towards losing weight is not putting your mind to it. It is not making a list of things you will absolutely not do. It is not locking up the fridge. It is knowing that even if you fail at losing weight, people will still love you for who you are and not the number of pounds you’re packing. That people will judge you by your character and not because you are unhealthy weight-wise (and some people are perfectly healthy even when they are overweight). It is that feeling that you are doing this for yourself not because you have to fit a mold created for you.

That cannot be accomplished as long as Western culture continues to brand people who weigh more than what it deems aesthetically pleasing as unacceptable. It’s gotten so bad that even a few people who’re skinny live in constant fear that they might add a few pounds and not look beautiful enough to not be judged by people. And since media plays a huge part in formulating our cultural perceptions, it needs to change immediately — whether people like Ms. Kelly like it or not.

To that end, I urge everyone who finds size-ism in the media as a menace to view this as a watershed moment. It’s time to come together and fight this bigotry to the bitter end. Change does not come without someone pushing for it. If we want this to change, if we want for us, overweight or not, to not be judged by our BMI, we need to not let this fire die down.

We need to stand up and demand change. Even if it means we need to force the issue daily on social networking sites. Even if it means we have to boycott media that continue to practice this bigotry. Even if it means we have to hold peaceful demonstrations for the end of this practice. If media does not change, we cannot change this culture that seems to have been forever marginalizing overweight people.

It’s not just people judging you on the street. It’s about losing job opportunities. It is about equal treatment in the health care system. It is about being able to breathe, knowing everything’s gonna be alright.

The media’s side-stepping the issue and pretending all’s well reminds me of a scene from the movie Good Luck Chuck. Chuck is hexed so any girl who sleeps with him ends up meeting the love of her life in the next few days. His overweight secretary finds out about this and like any woman, she wants to find the lover of her life. She corners him one night and begs him to have sex with her, but he won’t. It goes on for a couple of minutes. Then, finally when he’s on the ground and she’s on top of him and he refuses, she tears up and says, “It’s okay. Close your eyes and pretend I’m someone beautiful.” He looks up, visibly moved, and says, “I’ll pretend it’s you.”

Well, pretending is just not good enough anymore.

(So awesome!  I hope I can keep the discussion going and show people a different version of what a fat American can do.  I bet Maura Kelly couldn’t swim a 5k!)

It’s not just girls that need the positive body image messaging

Dream Deferred

This will be an intentionally cryptic post.  Sometimes I wish I could be more forward than I am on my blog. I know I’m pretty forward but I honestly wish I could be even more so.   However, I try to only talk about myself and allow others to publicize their life if they chose to (which I highly recommend as it is thoroughly therapeutic.)  As the song says:

I am what I am
I am my own special creation
So come take a look
Give me the hook or the ovation
It’s my world that I want to have a little pride in
My world, and it’s not a place I have to hide in
Life’s not worth a darn ’til you can say
“Hey world, I am what I am!”
I am what I am
I don’t want praise
I don’t want pity
I bang my own drum Some think it’s noise I think it’s pretty
And so what if I love each sparkle and each bangle?
Why not try to see things from a different angle?
Your life is a sham ’til you can shout out loud: “I am what I am!”

(Btw, is there a better description of me than that song?)

As I was saying.  I was sitting alone at night lost in my thoughts, and I started thinking about a question asked to me by a friend when discussing a problem in my life.  She said ‘What do you hope for?’.  It’s such a simple question but so hard to answer.  What do any of us hope for?

The answer is simple and complicated at the same time.

I hope for an eternal family with a companion who loves me forever.

I hope to always have good friends. Friendship is hope.  Almost all the love I’ve had in my life has been from friends. I love that in the Greek language the word love is actually 4 different words, agape, philos, eros and storge.  Agape is especially moving as it means a love so great we would sacrifice all for it.  Fits with the scripture- greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).

I hope for a healthy body that can really be used to inspire other people.  I am healthy now but I know if I looked healthier to the average Joe I could do more good.  This motivates me to keep trying.

I dream of writing a book based on my life and my struggles.  My sister is the writer in the family but I have lots of ideas, both fiction and non-fiction that I think would be terrific books. Its starting and having the time to keep at it that keeps that dream deferred.

I dream of the ocean on a daily basis and can hear the wish, wish of the tide accompanying my life and keeping me calm.  I feel sad that this year will go buy without a glimpse of the ocean.  Someday I want to own a house near a beach.  Any beach.

I hope to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.   I think I do but I want to do more.  I want the world to know Rachel existed. I still haven’t figured out what my big contribution is going to be. Maybe it’s this blog and if it is I better be sure to make it authentic and the true Me.  Hmmmm

There are many more things I hope for.  I could spend all day.

But at the moment many of my dreams  are deferred.   I think a lot of us have to defer our dreams.  I love the Langston Hughes poem and had it on my mind today:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I don’t know what it does?  Probably some of everything?  That’s all I will say, but I have moments where it dries up, festers, stinks, sweetens, sags, weighs me down and even explodes.  I’m a bit of a control freak and a dream deferred  is the ultimate loss of control.

It’s a dream deferred and I don’t want to wait!

So those are my thoughts and as almost nobody reads my pondering posts, I will say goodnight to myself, and try to do some actual dreaming. Sigh…

Pepppers, Peppers, Peppers

So this week in the bountiful basket they had a box of hatch green chiles.  I’ve heard about these chiles and that they are highly prized and only available for a limited time period.  One blogger describes them as:

“New Mexico chile peppers are a pure culinary treat.  As much as I love all variety of chiles, those grown in New Mexico put the rest to shame.  Some say it’s the New Mexico soil, some say it’s the climate, and some say it’s simply the soul and legacy of generations upon generations of New Mexicans who have painstakingly labored to make chile peppers the state’s largest agricultural crop.”

She goes on to say:

“Whatever the reason, if you ever get the chance to get your hands on real New Mexico chile peppers — frozen, dried or fresh — buy up a bunch.”

How could I refuse a culinary delight?

I’d heard enough people express similar sentiments that when the chance came to buy a box at a great price (25 lbs for $15),  I decided to give it a shot.  Then Saturday I got my peppers and all of the sudden I was confronted with 25 lbs of peppers.  One thing to read it another to actually have it in your home!

So, what to do with 25lbs of peppers.  The only thing to do roast them and then either freeze or can them.  Here’s how it went.

I started with a big box of peppers!

I should have taken a picture of all the peppers at the beginning but this was the box and it was full!

Then I roasted them until charred.  450 degree for 20 minutes or until charred and bubbly

charred peppers

Then I put the peppers in ziplocs and it steams the skins lose from the peppers

See the steam

Then the skin comes right off and here’s what the final result was

3 bags of roasted peppers ready for lots of yummy recipes

I look forward to enchiladas, chili rellanos, burgers with chiles, pork chili verde.  If you have any recipes you like send them my way.

Now my hands are burning from removing too many chili skins.  I’m done.  Enjoy your labor day!

Diet Before 10

I shared this with my facebook community but thought I’d do the same with my blogging community.  I think this photo tells a lot.

I can relate to this photo because I was on diet before I turned 10.  I have almost no memories of not being on a diet in my life.  In fact some of my most vivid memories are being put on diets or being told I was fat by kids or even coaches, other adults.  As all my readers know I was also bullied for nearly 2 years (4th and 5th grades) because I was overweight.

I have to say compared to some of my overweight friends, my parents have actually been pretty great.  They did put me on a diet when I was young but overall they tried to be supportive and loving.  I did not get a ton of pressure from them to lose weight and I certainly was never told that I was ugly, embarrassing, fat, whatever.  I hear such stories from some of my friends and I’m grateful for good parents.

So what is my advice to parents who have a heavier child and don’t know what to do? Here goes:

1. Set the whole family on a healthy lifestyle regiment so that one child is not singled out. Then everyone wins.  It could even be a fun project to do together.

2. Explain that it really isn’t about appearance. Its about health, energy, happiness.  Perhaps give them examples of athletes, other adults who maintain a healthy weight.  (show them my blog about my swims 🙂 )

3. I think a lot of parents feel guilty about their overweight children and that just makes the child feel worse for failing their parents.

4. Do not EVER be embarrassed by your child.  This will only teach them to be ashamed of their bodies and could lead to behaviors later on that are far worse than being overweight such as self-abuse, eating disorders, and addiction.

5. Try to avoid using food as a reward or a punishment.  It will happen on occasions such as birthdays or at a party and that’s fine but in general find non-food related rewards

6. Avoid equating food as a sin.  Do not make a child feel guilty for what they eat.  Just encourage the good and move on from the bad. I still struggle with feelings of guilt and even sin when I stray from my diet and I don’t think that is a healthy behavior.

7. Introduce your kids to new food experiences so they don’t think that healthy food=boring food.

8. Involve your kids in the cooking process so they can see what goes into it.  A processed packaged meal will never give your children any excitement for fresh, healthy ingredients.  Also take them to farms, have them learn how to milk a cow, see where eggs come from, how to make cheese, whatever.  This may be a drag for some kids but in the end it will help them build healthy eating habits and a love for good food.

9. Be positive, positive, positive, positive!  Even today, I find I need overwhelmingly positive feedback from my trainers and other support.  I know what I could improve on.  In fact, I’m usually beating myself up more than I probably should and don’t need any help in that department.  Any added ‘tough love’ just makes me feel depressed and hopeless

10.  Make sure you explain all aspects of health to your child.  Meaning physical, mental, spiritual, emotional whatever.  All of these aspects are important for a healthy person.  Writing in journals, meditating, having honest discussion, learning new things, reading, prayer, other worship,  and learning to manage stress are all AS IMPORTANT as our weight.

11. Make sure they have correct information about weightloss, health, etc.  Despite all my dieting I never learned that type 2 diabetes was curable.  When they diagnosed me as border-line a few years ago, I honestly thought I was going to die. I was petrified.  Instead of just scaring kids with words like cancer, heart disease, diabetes.  Let’s explain what they really are and how they can be prevented and overcome.

Recently I did a wellness challenge where there were 10 categories of health including 15 minutes of spiritual reading and setting daily goals.  I think this type of overall wellness would be a great system for kids.

Now some of you may scoff and say ‘she’s single.  What does she know about raising kids?’.  Well, I was a kid once and I know intimately what it is like to grow up as a fat kid. I also have kids in my life who I want to support in the right ways; therefore I have given the topic much thought.

Its important to understand that as adults, we are all fighting an uphill battle when it comes to the health of the kids in our lives.  They have so much coming at them from the media and even other children and adults at school.  We must conscientiously work at fighting this messaging or our kids will get their self-worth from the myriad of other sources trying to claim it.

Unfortunately sometimes people that mean well can be a destructive influence.  Celebrities like First Lady Michele Obama have started a ‘war on childhood obesity’.  I really wish Mrs. Obama would rethink this wording.  I wish she was more focused on health of all children whether they happen to be heavy or skinny.  I certainly am proof that an active heavy person can do things that a lazy skinny person could not do.

Health, health, health not weight, weight, weight.