Category: Change

Random Thoughts VI

So I’ve tried to write this post tons of times but for some reason wordpress keeps erasing it.

Here goes again.

Pain- Day 2 of hypthoroid pills has come and gone and so far I am cautiously optimistic.  No major side effects and today I actually felt pretty energized.  Still have the pain but there are things to feel good about (I have learned to be grateful for a good day no matter what the cause of it is).

Something about this photo I really like

I was thinking today of the scripture in D and C 122:7 when God tells Joseph Smith “that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”  That I idea of giving us experience is so interesting.  Every trial I have gone through has helped me relate to a new person in a new way.  It has literally given me experience. (In my new ward I’ve met like 6 people who have chronic pain in some form or another and I can relate to them. My experience gives a connection). Something to think about…

Breakfast- One of the things I have really struggled with is eating a good breakfast.  Lately all food looks gross to me, all the time, but especially in the morning.  Things I normally like such as eggs produce the gag-reflex. Plus, it means I have to get a pan dirty and chop stuff and I’m tired (you get the idea).

I would say more than any other category, aside from maybe dessert, it is hard to make breakfast healthy.  All of my favorite things I can never have- french toast, toast, fluffy pancakes, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, most cereals (the hardest of the list), donuts, bear claws, etc.  Any ideas you have for a healthy, quick way to do breakfast that would be great.

I recently made this breakfast quinoa that was pretty good.  In the rice cooker 1 cup quinoa, 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup water.  Then I put nuts and dried fruit on top.

breakfast quinoa. It would be really good with half and half or cream...

Books- I’m on the lookout for cheerful books. I’m talking fun, even silly, happy books. Not the type of inspirational overcome challenges type of books but just overtly happy books. For example, the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency is bright and funny (Alexander McCall Smith is kind of the king of the happy series), or Sophie Kinsella’s books I really love in this regard. Especially The Undomestic Goddess. Is it great literature? No, but it makes me laugh without fail and actually has a few things to think about on the side.

Food- Recently I came up with this list. What are your top 5?
Top 5 Foods I miss:
1. Mashed Potatoes (Potatoes in general are a rarity)
2. Non whole grain cereals.
3. white bread with honey and butter
4. most yummy breakfast foods- french toast, fluffy pancakes, cinnamon rolls, donuts, honeybuns…sigh
5. Pies and fresh hot cookies (and the cookie smell)

On the plus side of food I am finally getting a bountiful basket!  http://bountifulbaskets.org/.  It is this organization that combines farmers produce to get fresh produce at a discount price.  My friend Kate and I are splitting it and it should be delicious! This is what the baskets look like.  Yum and since we are splitting the cost it will only be $20 each including the organic and citrus package!

I am told this is what a typical bountiful basket looks like.

So I might take boxing lessons! I just found out about this club in Salt Lake just for women and boxing. Looks awesome. I’ve always wanted to learn. I took a self defense class in college and it was really fun! It will be fun to spice things up a bit. Lately in my training we’ve been using the punching bag and I love it! (Get out all that angst!). Did I finally think of something that suprises a few of you’all?

Living alone- So in my new ward I am the only never married single person. Isn’t that kind of amazing? Still, things have gone very well. One funny thing is that everyone is so surprised I live alone. I’m kind of used to it. Its really not that big of a deal to me. Yes, friends I live alone and love it! The only time I wish I didn’t live alone is when I’m sick and someone could go to the pharmacy for me (and listen to my moaning and groaning!).

New Calling- So it finally came. I got called into primary.  I was actually quite disappointed because I have loved teaching Sunday School.  I will miss the gospel interaction with adults….However, it will be a new challenge and I am sure I will learn a lot.  It is teaching the 9 year olds so if any of you have suggestions for engaging that age group please pass on.  I’ve heard bring treats from a lot which is hard because I don’t really eat treats but I will see what I can do.

Diabetes- One comment on the Paula Deen controversy.  I do think it is strange that she didn’t come out with her diagnosis for 3 years until she is a victoza spokesperson.  Seems shady to me.  However, I don’t really care about her.  The thing I noticed in the coverage is who the ‘experts’ kept talking about diabetes as this horrible awful thing, and it can be that.  Never do I seem to hear that it is a treatable condition.  I was a borderline diabetic at best but I got my A1C’s down in a year and am no longer a diabetic threat.  When I was first diagnosed I thought I’d have diabetes my whole life and that I was going to die.  That’s what I thought.  I had no idea it was treatable.  Maybe that’s just my ignorance showing but I wish more ‘experts’ would point that out when they discuss the issue.

Here’s a great flyer on the subject. http://physical-therapy.advanceweb.com/sharedresources/Downloads/2009/113009/pa_dec2000.pdf

So, there you go.  That’s my thoughts on a bunch of issues.  The most important thing is I am feeling hopeful in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.  Thanks so much to everyone for all your love and support.  I’m sure there is still a long road ahead but to feel hope is grand thing. 🙂

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Wilde Wisdom

Today I have had a lot on my mind.  Trying to decide to have surgery, getting immersed in a new ward (which went great btw.  More on that to come)etc.  Where did I turn?- yes to the scriptures, prayer and friends but also to Mr.  Oscar Wilde and his play An Ideal Husband.  Who would have thought that a gay man from the late 19th century would have so much to to teach a Mormon girl in 2012.

The play is about a politician who has a past unbeknownst to all of his friends including the silly Lord Goring. Unfortunately this past is used as blackmail and all pandemonium breaks free.  Well, here are some quotes that made me laugh and some that made me think:

Lord Arthur Goring: Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear. Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself.

Lord Caversham: I don’t know how you stand society. A lot of damned nobodies talking about nothing.
Lord Arthur Goring: I love talking about nothing, Father. It’s the only thing I know anything about.

Lord Caversham: Do you always understand everything you say?
Lord Arthur Goring: Yes… if I listen attentively.

Lord Arthur Goring: I’m sorry, Father, but the truth is, this is not my day for talking seriously.
Lord Caversham: Well, what do you mean, sir?
Lord Arthur Goring: I mean that I only talk seriously on the first Tuesday of every month. Between noon and three.

Mabel: Lord Goring, I gather you’re to be congratulated.
Lord Arthur Goring: Well, there’s nothing I like more than to be congratulated, though invariably I find the pleasure immeasurably increased when I know what for.
Lord Arthur Goring: There’s somebody I want to you talk to.
Lord Caversham: What about?
Lord Arthur Goring: About me, sir.
Lord Caversham: Not a subject on which much eloquence is possible.

Lord Arthur Goring: Rather than risk losing your love, he would do anything. Has he not been punished enough?
Gertrude: We’ve both been punished. I set him up too high.
Lord Arthur Goring: Do not set him down now too low.

(I like this one when thinking of couples I know after a break up.  Someone once too high, suddenly becomes too low.)

Lord Arthur Goring: Gertrude, it is not the perfect, but rather the imperfect who have need of love.
Gertrude: You seem to know a great deal about it all of a sudden.
Lord Arthur Goring: Oh, I hope not. All I know, Gertrude, is that it takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it. And even more courage to see it in the one you love. Gertrude, you have more courage than any woman I have ever known. Do not be afraid now to use it.

I think that last one is true of yourself.  Don’t you have those moments where you see yourself in all its tainted glory? I do.  Have had those moments lately (something about turning 31. You must face your own mortality, your own value to the world).  I feel closer to God and Jesus Christ than ever before.  In fact, I haven’t felt their presence as palpably in my life since my mission.

It is certainly true that ‘it is not the perfect, but rather the imperfect who have need of love.’ I’m proof of that!  We all are.  (Unless the perfect man really is out there and if so please show yourself to me at once!)

It reminds me of one of my favorite speeches The Solitude of Self by Elizabeth Cady Stanton:

“To guide our own craft, we must be captain, pilot, engineer; with chart and compass to stand at the wheel; to watch the winds and waves, and know when to take in the sail, and to read the signs in the firmament over all. It matters not whether the solitary voyager is man or woman; nature, having endowed them equally, leaves them to their own skill and judgment in the hour of danger, and, if not equal to the occasion, alike they perish.”

There are moments in life when you get to know yourself- Aren’t those tough? but we need them to see our true potential.  Working on that right now, the solitude of self…

Interview Part 2

I know you are all anxiously awaiting my next entry in this trilogy of interviews, so I won’t keep you any longer.  Here goes…

Marriage/Courtship-

What do you think makes a good marriage partner?  I think it is just that, a partnership.  There shouldn’t be a sense of domination in any way.  Nor should one spouse feel overly defined by roles or responsibilities but the entire marriage should be a joint responsibility.

Too many people lump the decision of having kids and getting married together.   The two should be separate choices.  You should ask the question do I want to be with this person if we don’t have any kids at all?  Then you can say as a separate question will he be a good father?  That said, I really can’t imagine anyone that I would want to marry that wouldn’t also have the qualities of a good father but I think the 2 questions should be separate.

To me a good test of a relationship is will the person sit through something they don’t care for just because you are in it.  I’m not saying they have to love it but is your participation enough to count them in.  This is true for both people in the relationship.  He better get used to sitting through a swim meet and cheering and I can go fishing or do whatever outdoorsy thing he loves.  The other person’s happiness should make you happy most of the time (we all have our moments).

Another test- does the person make things fun that would normally be a drag.  For instance, I’ve always said I want to go dancing with my boyfriend.  I hate dancing, so if I can have a good time doing that we have genuine chemistry.  Maybe that’s silly but there you go.

Finally, the best couples I know have an intellectual chemistry which is tough to define.  Do you find the person you are with interesting? Not that they have to be interested in the same things per say but do they approach problems with a similar vigor, are you fascinated by the world?  Do you listen to each other in a complimentary way?  I could never be with someone who thought I was dumb or vice versa.

Why do you think so many marriages fail?  Actually in my life not many do.  Amazingly enough at 30 not one of my friends that I have seen get married has gotten divorced.  I have met friends after they were divorced but never seen the entire process from someone in my peer group.  Even in the Mormon church it seems highly unlikely that there wouldn’t be 1 couple.  None of my cousins or siblings have gotten divorced. Perhaps that will happen in this decade but so far so good.

I think when marriages do fail it is usually because of selfishness.  People begin to feel that their needs are more important than their spouse, and a partnership becomes 2 separate entities coexisting.  Every situation is different and some times people just aren’t compatible but I think usually there is some kind of selfishness involved.

How can you comment on marriage as a single woman who has never had a relationship?  Well, it doesn’t take getting shot to know it is not a pleasant experience.  Some things you can extrapolate as an observer of life and human nature.   I’m sure I will learn a lot when it is my turn but a girl can’t spend 3 decades and not develop any of her own ideas on the topic, so there!

I also have relationships that while not romantic have taught me something about how they work.

Family-

What is your ideal family?  I have no ideal.  I have never been a dreamer in that regard.   I’ve only had one time in my life (BYU) where an expectation lived up to lead up.  Most of the time it is best to take things as they come and be grateful for what you’ve got.

Will you be happy unmarried, without kids?  Yes. It has never been a big dream of mine to get married or have kids.  There are lots of reasons why but all I’ve wanted since I was a toddler (literally) is to be on my own, making my own life choices.  If the situation comes I will be happy and grateful but I don’t think there is anything wrong with being happy if it doesn’t.

If you did have kids how would you want to raise them?  What is important to you in parenting?  I believe that kids should be in the world but not of the world.  So, yes expose them to movies, literature, friends, education, but do it in a way that maintains their innocence as long as possible and allows them to have true fun.  I don’t think kids should be manipulated to be mini-parents.  They should be guided and counseled but also feel free to express their own views and ideas.  I want my kids to know that I like being with them and that they matter to me and to God.

I do love the homeschooling movement and feel if done well it can give your children the best opportunity to flourish.  You can communicate with your child in a way that no teacher can (as wonderful as they may be).  The argument against homeschool is always a social one but I feel this is silly because public school can be just as much of a social nightmare.  Any education requires monitoring by a parent and an active voice that makes actual learning the priority, not the grade received.

I love that with homeschool a parent takes ownership of how and what is taught to her child. She takes ownership of her child’s peer group, social activities and moral teaching.  Not that they don’t have those things, as some might claim, but they are guided by a parent.  There may be some who want to offer their children up to the alter of community good but not me.   It may seem odd for a single girl to have an opinion on homeschool but I think you will find there isn’t much I don’t have an opinion on!

(I will add that clearly homeschool doesn’t work for every situation.  I’m just saying that it would be my first choice if given the chance).

What did your parents teach you about parenting/life?  My mother continually teaches me to nurture others.  She is a very selfless person.  In fact, she even gave up her freedom of movement when restricted to bedrest for most of her 6 pregnancies.   This was a very difficult time for our family but she taught me that sacrifices are the most golden family moments.  Its like on my mission- the moments where I had given my all, were the one’s where I became a true missionary.  The moments in a family where you give all is when you are a true family.

My Dad teaches me each day to find joy in the journey.  I get stressed out with the details of life.  I put loads of unneeded pressure on myself and always have.  He has always been someone who can see a way out of stress and is a true optimist. He also has a zest for life that I admire and hope to emulate.

Friendship-

What do you think is a true friend? In the quest to save the family sometimes I feel we could focus more on friendshiping in the church.  Especially in the single-world friends have been a huge support for me.  As wonderful as my family is when I think of the trials of my life I can also see a friend who was there to see me through.

I’ve also had so many laughs with friends over the years.  A true friend loves and deserves love back.  A true friend sacrifices time to be with you.  A true friend has chemistry that just works.  A true friend listens when you need to vent and gives you frank counsel when required.  A true friend you could see every day and yet go years and still have that connection.  A true friend should not be work in the traditional sense.  It should be a happy work. (Its actually hard to describe a true friend, but you know it when you see it!).

One of the things I have struggled with in the last few years is maintaining an active social life.  It used to be so easy for me to gather people together.  Now it seems so difficult.  Even to have lunch with a friend can take weeks of planning.  I wish I had one friend I could call on a Friday night with nothing to do and do something.  That almost never happens.  People are just too busy.  Even getting people to come to book club or other activity can be so hard.  I’ve noticed I have more success with dinner parties or when hosting something for my swim group.  Not sure why but I’m trying to figure it out.  I love to entertain and would love to plan cute get-togethers.  After the year I’ve had I kind of got out of the habit. The Christmas Swimfest gave me a ton of confidence and I already have a Valentines Swimfest in the works.

It just sometimes feels that while friends are so important to me, they are less important for people with families.  There are exceptions which I am very grateful for and I understand the predominance family should take.  That said, it can still be hard and lonely to feel that everyone else has moved on to the next step and you are still in college-mode.  As much as I loved college nobody wants to be at the same spot forever.

Work/Adult Life-

What is the hardest thing to do as an adult?  Finding balance. It always seems that one part of my life is taking over whether it health, work, family struggles, exercising whatever.  Achieving balance is the goal of a lifetime.

In what ways has adulthood disappointed you?  This is such a good question for me because I wanted to be an adult so badly.  I would say the greatest disappointment is the mundanity of life.   I don’t know what exactly I expected but so much of life is routines and doing the same thing over and over again.  Even in the most glamorous jobs there is a fair amount of tedium. Its just part of adult life.

I also wish I had taken more advantage of time off as a young college student to explore or go places.  I think because my parents traveled I assumed I would be able to do that later, and I have been very blessed in that regard, but its hard!  Its hard to find the time, get off work, get ready, catch up when you get home etc.  Its something I should have enjoyed more when I had the chance.

I was also in a rush to finish everything.  I set a goal and I want to get it done now. This is why weight loss has been so tough for me because it is not something that can be done right in a few months.  It takes years, a lifetime really.  I don’t like things that take a lifetime!  Again, I should enjoy the journey more.

If you could have your dream job what would it be?  I think it would be cool to work in a political campaign.  I also love public speaking and think I might take a stab at politics some day. I feel I would be a good advocate for causes I believe in but I am sure the whole process would drive me crazy (again the waiting and the tedium are my struggles!).  Also, I think it would be great to teach college, especially at BYU.  I have pondered a PHD before but there are so few positions in the liberal arts that it does not seem like a good choice.  Still, it would be my dream job.

Are you disappointed to not be doing your dream job?  Yes but I’ve learned that how I work is much more important to me than what I am actually doing.  Working from home and being my own boss is worth any sacrifice- even working in accounting all day!  I get chills and feel nauseated at the thought of going back to ‘cubicle Hell’ as I call it.

My only regret in working alone is I don’t have the chance to mentor people.  I benefited greatly from mentors in my youth and I hope to someday have that chance as an adult.  I’ve enjoyed teaching in my ward the last 2 years and feel I have been a mentor to some of the younger girls (and I feel I mentor my younger siblings) but I’d like to find someone that I can really guide and mentor.

What is your greatest flaw?  Definitely holding grudges.  I grew up seeing the world in terms of bullies and victims.  That’s how I survived.  I learned that people who abuse do it again and I kept them in that spot forever.  There are still people from my life that I struggle with anger and resentment towards.  I know it only hurts me but it is tough.  I get better each year at forgiving and hopefully by the end I will be something like my Grandpa Richards who loved unconditionally.  That is my goal to be like him because he was so much like Jesus.  My relationship with Christ helps polish me each day and that includes grudges, resentments, fears and everything else.

Do you wish you were skinny?  I’d be lying if I said No. As I mentioned in my last post judgement has always been tough for me to absorb and unfortunately being fat carries tons of judgement.  I still feel great resentment at anyone who places a label on me because of my weight.  It would be nice to not deal with these judgements. However, I suppose society would just find something else to judge and I’d have to deal with it.  I do appreciate the strength my journey has given me and being heavy forced me to rely on God for praise because in a few moments that was the only place I could get it.  And maybe I do a little bit of good correcting prejudice and speaking out.  If that was the case, it’d all be worth it.

Well, that’s a lot.  Probably more than any of you care to read but it does me a great deal of good to say it.   The next entry will be on my views on the political and social issues of the day.  Should be pretty fun!   (I have had an interest in politics since I was in grade school and voted in every election since I turned 18.  It is very important to me).

Good Bad and 2011

So the end of 2011 has come and that means my traditional year in review.  I thought it might be fun to do something different this year by going through each month and citing one good and one bad memory I’ll take with me.  When I say bad I mean more challenging or difficult.  So here goes…

Good 🙂 Bad 😦
January Watched Sherlock on BBC and loved it Fell Down a Flight of Stairs/ Turn 30
February Make great strides in PCOS treatment Receover From Fall
March Work Success Difficult Victoza Response
April Royal Wedding Diabetes Diagnosis (then diagnosis lessened)
May Mom in Town Strabismus Surgery
June Surfing in Hawaii Exercise Pains and Struggles
July Family Reunion Difficult Preparations for Open Water Swims
August Deer Creek Swim Bad Date
September DC Visit Sore Throats
October Slam the Dam Fibromyalgia Diagnosis
November Thanksgiving at My Parents Tonsilitis
December Christmas Activities and Traditions Start of Poler (also great blessing)

Let’s hope for a 2012 with few struggles and tons of joy! Of course, we often find the greatest joy in overcoming the struggles…Still, a little breather might be nice!  Either way I am sure it will be full of growth and discovery.

It starts off with a bang.  In January I have to change my wards into the mid-singles ward.  It will be a lot of change which I am not a fan of but it will be a great opportunity to meet new people and get out of my comfort zone.  I also look forward to 3 open water swims this summer but will probably not get a big trip (have to spend money on trainers rather than plane tickets!).

Political Economy of Women

Today I must confess- I am jealous of my sister Anna.  Is it her good looks, fulfilling relationships, pretty hair?  Yes to all three but the main thing I am jealous of is yesterday she started her third year at BYU and is taking my favorite class- Political Economy of Women PoliSci 472.

I had three classes at BYU that dramatically impacted me- PoliSci 472, Theories on Human Freedom (PoliSci 308, which I took twice once as student, once as TA), and PoliSci 201 (Western Political Heritage, Ancient Thought, which I took 3 times- once as a student, once to improve my grade (where I met my mentor Dr. Holland, and once as a TA).   I will have to do an entire post about each of these classes but today I am waxing nostalgic for Poliitical Economy of Women or PoliSci 472.

This class was special for so many reasons.  First, it was team taught by two amazing professors- Donna Lee Bowen and Valerie Hudson.  I always found the best classes in college were the one’s that teachers had a passion for- classes they usually only teach every other year.  This guaranteed a teacher with excitement for the topic and I think most anything can be made interesting by an enthusiastic teacher.

Dr.  Hudson is particularly amazing.  She is as close to a superwoman as any person I’ve ever met.

Believe it or not this description is for one woman, Dr. Hudson: (She even has a wikipedia page!)

a  full tenure professor, noted scholar of China’s one-child only policy (co-author of Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Populations), she has 8 children, 3 of her children have cystic fibrosis, she has authored 3 other books including one on women in the LDS church, and in her spare time she researched her children’s cf condition and discovered a hormone that may be associated with the condition (and had an article published in a medical journal!), anyway the list goes on.  She is an amazing person and just her example, let alone her teachings taught me that I could do great things with my life.

So the teachers are great…Moving on to the course content.  It is also fabulous.  Even now, nearly 10 years since I graduated, I still remember individual lectures and discussions that occurred  in PoliSci 472.  From the syllabus here are the course objectives:

  • To understand the roles women play in world society as producers, reproducers, agents of cultural continuity and change, and to render women “visible” in international and national affairs.
  • To explore in greater depth women’s choices about education, family, and work in the developing world.
  • To investigate transnational issues directly concerning women’s lives, and the objectification and subordination of women that often results.
  • To discuss the dynamics of change in women’s lives and in their societies, including the dynamics of religious beliefs, and to learn about programs for change that already exist.

Perhaps such topics sound dull to you but for me I begin salivating at the mouth I’m so interested.  I could talk endlessly about any one of those course objectives.

One of my favorite books we read Maternal Thinking by Sara Ruddick still has a prominent place on my front bookshelf.  It is a book that summarizes the purpose and teachings of the class well.  Ruddick says the work of motherhood “shapes the parent as much as the child, giving rise to specific cognitive capacities and values — qualities of intellect and soul. Doing shapes thinking, in other words.”

“A mother engages in a discipline. That is, she asks certain questions rather than others; she establishes criteria for the truth, adequacy and relevance of proposed answers; and she cares about the findings she makes and can act on.”

She then says we should take this nearly universal “cognitive capacity” of mothering and use it to promote peace and connectivity throughout the world.

I can’t explain why I found this so moving but for the first time in my life I finally understood why motherhood was important to the world, not just the family.  Through PoliSci 472 I learned that my life as a woman mattered to the success of the world. At the time this meant much more to me than the platitudes heaped on the alter of female divinity.  This was a concrete reason why women and femininity was important, even crucial.  Ruddick also says that “anyone who commits her or himself to responding to children’s demands, and makes the work of response a considerable part of her or his life, is a mother”.

The units on veiling and female circumcision had a particularly dramatic impact.  For the latter we watched a movie where they showed a girl being circumcised.  I couldn’t deal with it and literally left the classroom to vomit.  Clearly not an enjoyable memory but that doesn’t mean it was not impactful.   There are certain times while growing up where a child must be confronted with the evil in the world and deal with it- how lucky I was to receive such an experience within the protection and careful observation of such a great class.  I remember talking with Dr.  Hudson about how anyone could do that to their daughter and her inspiring me to make a difference in the world and to not give up on people.  What a great teacher!

We also talked a lot about the gospel and its views of womanhood.  The class explored things I had heard my entire life, like that Eve was a hero for her actions in the garden, but that had never really been defended adequately in my eyes.  I didn’t just want to know that Eve was noble and great.  I wanted to know why.  This class helped me with the why’s (not that I know the answer to every question but it helped).  Plus, it taught me to ask questions of the Lord and to not be afraid of diving into topics I did not understand.  I have learned that such experiences strengthen, not weaken, my faith.   Check out my post on Mormon Feminism to read some of my current views.

More then anything the class reinforced to me that there was room for voices just like mine (a whole class of them in fact, including the 2 teachers) in the church and in the world.  This is something I have never forgotten.  I grew so much during this class and that is what I am most envious of Anna.  I wish I could experience that kind of growth on my own but it is hard.  I am envious of the fantastic learning she is going to have presented to her and I hope she takes full advantage of the opportunity.  I know I did and I am SO GRATEFUL!

(PS- All 3 of the classes I mentioned were by no means easy.  They were extremely difficult but that’s part of what made them so rewarding.  Just goes to show don’t settle for the easy way out even in college!).

Anyway, I don’t know if I have done the class justice but it had a dramatic impact on my life and I am most grateful.  Did any classes have an impact on your life?  College as a whole was the most transformative phase I’ve ever had and I look back on it with great warmth and nostalgia.  I am so lucky and blessed to have had such great experiences.

More Random Thoughts

Today I have a lot on my mind, so I’m afraid this will be another one of my random, all-over-the-place posts.

1. I just watched Say Yes to the Dress and it has me all fired up.  There is a girl who is a 20 (which is still a touch smaller than me).  She can’t fit into any of the sample plus size dresses (this is the Atlanta show which doesn’t seem to have the plus size selection of Kleinfelds).  Anyway, as she fails in trying on the bridal dresses the upset woman says “Its not that bad.  I’m not that big.  I’m not this horrible person”.  What is wrong with our culture that big girls feel their size is not just a health concern but a sin, an evil- that it makes you a horrible person.   It is a classic example of the prevalence of fat stigma in our culture.  It makes me crazy!

2. So the former political science grad  in me has been eating up this recent debt ceiling debate.  I find it fascinating to watch the back and forth and try to guess what is going to happen (not only now but in 2012 as well).   It is a source of pride for me that the principles I helped fight for in the tea party rallies are being instituted by both parties.  Of course, I am the biggest fan of the cut, cap and balance bill but I think any spending cuts are a step in the right direction.

I’ve also given it a lot of thought and I don’t know what I would do if I was in Congress.  I respect the representatives that are sticky to pure principles but I also understand those that are accepting a practical compromise. I will be very curious to see how everything plays out. What would you’all do and why?

the government listened to my sign! 🙂

3. Today I made delicious whole wheat banana bread.  It is really good and actually good for you.  Here is the recipe:

1/3 cup grape seed oil

1/2 cup clear agave

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup mashed bananas (2 large bananas, 4 small bananas)

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup hot water

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large bowl, beat oil and agave together. Add eggs, and mix well. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter. Blend in chopped nuts. Spread batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing

4. Relationships are so confusing.  Its like the great mystery of life.  How does anybody get together in the end?  It happens every day so we just accept it but it seems impossible sometimes.  We hear a million talks in the church about how great marriage is and how we should all get married- if someone would please tell me how to do that I will be glad to oblige?  Anyway, finding love is hard  and that’s all I have to say on the topic.

5.  I am in need of good book suggestions.  I just finished reading the July-September book club picks (Life as We Knew It, All Creatures Great and Small, Anne of Green Gables- 2 out of 3 were terrific).  I figure I can’t read the October book so quickly (I’ve read it before, the Book Theif, but I want it to be fresh for book club).  Anyway, I am looking for engaging, creative, whimsical books.  They can be sad or even tragic but it just has to be something with likable, interesting characters.  I like historical fiction, classics, high-quality chick literature, poetry, and even some fantasy.  Please send me your recommendations.  Even if you think it is not my cup of tea please let me know what you have enjoyed and I will give it a shot.

6. My quest for the open water swim is going well.  As I mentioned in a previous post I had a great effort last week.  It was exhausting but thrilling. I did 5 tough work outs in one week.  However, this week was not quite as successful because of some stomach upset.  I have stepped up my dosage of victoza and once again my body did not like it.  I was doing so well for weeks that I thought I could up the dosage but not so much. Anyway, we will see.  Including tomorrow I will get 4 workouts this week which is pretty good considering I had 2 sick days.  I just want to be ready for the swim.  Next Thursday I will do a practice swim so that will be a good test to see if I am prepared.  If not, I can wait for the October swim but I hope I can participate.  Wish me luck!

7.  Today is the end of week 1 for the cpap machine.  It has been a hard adjustment but I’m improving each day.  Its difficult to get used to sleeping with a mask and it is hard to keep it from leaking.  I also miss being able to read before going to sleep.  Thank goodness for ipods.  (Also, thankfully I am not in a couple because the mask is not a romantic look!).

this is at the sleep lab but my mask is basically the same. Darth Vader here we come!

So that’s my random thoughts.   Love you guys!

Memories

To flee from memory
Had we the Wings
Many would fly
Inured to slower things
Birds with surprise
Would scan the cowering Van
Of men escaping
From the mind of man

Emily Dickinson

Memory is a strange thing and there are times I wish I could flee from mine.  Isn’t it odd how most of us  remember the painful moments with stunning clarity while the joyous times go by in a blur? Why is that?

In the excellent movie After Life (1998 Japanese film) the recently departed are required to choose one memory to be recreated and filmed for them to take on to the next stage.  After viewing the films the participant vanishes to an unknown fate.  The movie does a great job presenting different types of people who struggle to come up with a memory.  What is most important? What is the happiest memory in life? Some chose Disneyland or their weddings but others refuse to choose and feel their life is not worthwhile- not one memory.  If you have not seen After Life rent it on Netflix.  I promise you will get used to the subtitles.  It is well worth the effort.

The great Thornton Wilder play, Our Town, has a similar plot.  The lead character Emily must pick a memory to go back and view before moving on.  She tries to pick an inoxuious day- her 12th birthday but in reliving it she understands that no moment in life is without meaning and value.  In fact, it is the routine and ordinary that are often the most important.  As I mentioned in a previous post there is a filming of a Broadway version of Our Town staring Paul Newman that is worth checking out.

I bring this topic up only because lately I have found myself drifting to memories, some of them painful.  As much as I’d like to focus on the family vacations, hugs goodnight and nearly constant reading aloud, some of the memories that are the most vivid are the taunts, teases and frustrations.

There are two memories in particular that I can’t seem to erase from my mind (not that I want to).  The first one happened in the 5th grade (so around 10?).  As the chubbiest girl in school, I was repeatedly teased and called a ‘fat dog’ by my classmates.  One  day I was drinking from an outdoor water fountain and was trying to ignore the taunts.  Eventually one kid decided it would be funny to push me into the water and shove my dress above my head so my underwear showed to the world.  I remember this moment so well I could tell you the dress I was wearing.  It was nautical with little flags.  I’m a 30 year old woman and yet I still remember with pain the taunts of stupid 10-year-old punk kids.  Why?

The other memory which stands out I am almost hesitant to bring up.  My parents did such a great job with me that this was a rare misstep.   Around the same time of the teasing my parents sat me down for a talk.  I remember it as if it was yesterday.  We were on our deck in Salt Lake and they told me I needed to go on a diet and that ‘I weighed as much as some grown men’.  Then they gave me a tuna fish sandwich on pumpernickel bread with baby carrots.  It was the first time in my life  I was told I was fat by someone I loved and I think a bubble of childhood was burst.  I remember feeling confused and puzzled at how I had let this problem occur and what I was to do about it?  In the 20 years since, there has always been a part of me which has accepted my weight as my fault- as my great flaw, the one thing I couldn’t figure out or conquer.  How could a little girl be expected to overcome such a problem?

Of course, now I know that I likely suffered from insulin resistance problems back then.  In fact, with the early puberty, weight gain,  and fatigue, the diagnosis is obvious.  However, I did not know this information then- nor did my parents.  To their credit they did take me out of school almost immediately after they found out about the teasing and put me in Reid School– a decision which changed the way I learned and boosted my self-confidence at a critical junction (and made me a passionate supporter of alternative schooling for my entire life)

In addition, my parents have been unfailingly supportive of me, no matter my size.  The funny thing is I can only think of two other time’s growing up when they mentioned diets or losing weight again.  No parent is perfect and no child is ideal.  They did not know I had an insulin resistance problem and considering it took me the last 14 months to figure it out I do not hold it against them. I wish we had decided to get healthy as a family, instead of singling me out, but I know they did the best they could.  I always knew they loved me.  Like the Dickinson poem says I wish I could flee away from the memory.  I wish I didn’t have it and certainly that it wouldn’t be so vivid.

Perhaps, however, I would not be where I am today without such memories?  Who is to say?  I don’t know, but I think part of this life-changing process is coming to terms with how I arrived here- the good times and the bad.