September 30, 2011

Plus Size Guilt

I was just responding to some comments on the original plus size post and I realized I was writing about as much as I normally do in a blog post. So here are some more of my thoughts on weight, my weighty thoughts.

I think the reason a lot of woman feel badly about being overweight and hate their body is because they feel like they shouldn't BE fat--that they obviously made a concious choice to overindulge, so it is all their fault--like being a certain size is  an indicator of virtue. Now I am NOT implying that someone else is responsible for how fat you are--you can't sue McDonalds or society. But at the same time, there are sometimes biological reasons (stress, depression, hormonal imbalances, seasonal changes, etc) that can can subconsciously push  people to over-indulge. Think PMS chocolate cravings, ice cream therapy, and fall soups, stews, and casseroles fattening you up for the upcoming winter. Then there are some naturally bigger people, who couldn't be thin unless critically ill.   We are victims of circumstance!

The truth of the matter is, Americans overindulge. It is that simple. Afterward, we guilt and anguish and self loathe, telling ourselves that if we have our legs chopped off at 45 because of diabetes it isn't our fault. (Or am I the only one who talks to myself like an indignant mother?)

Every once in awhile, we read about Europeans. How they eat "horrifically" according to American doctor standards, yet are thinner than Americans. The reason is pretty simple. Italians and French don't do guilt about food--it isn't in their lexicon. Food should ALWAYS be good or what is the point of eating it? American women (yes I am stereotyping!)  feel like they should be existing on salad, fat-free yogurt, and diet soda. Not a scrap of which is going to trigger your brain that your stomach is full and satisfied. Which means food is on your mind a lot. There is this vast realm of forbidden food, anything fried, anything with cream, anything with fatty meat, anything with lots of butter in it--pretty much most Italian and French foods.

I  remember reading an article about a mother who had a 10 year old daughter who craved chocolate all the time. It was getting to the point of being excessive and the 10 year old was gaining weight. The mother went to a doctor (or was it psychologist?) who suggested doing the counter-intuitive thing of stocking the kitchen with never ending chocolate. The girl was told she could have as much chocolate as she wanted and her mother would always replenish it. The first week, the chocolate was completely finished every day. The second week, there was a little left over each day. This went on until the mother was restocking chocolate only once or twice a month. The girl's weight stabilized at a healthy weight and she still loved chocolate. But the compulsion to eat had been removed. The article said it was due to the girl being reassured that there would always be chocolate to eat and it was okay for her to eat it. The guilt was removed.

Sounds simple enough. But how can you remove guilt that is so ingrained in our brains? If I stocked a never-ending supply of reeses peanut butter cups and fettucinie alfredo, I would be thinking "I shouldn't, I shouldn't" the entire time. I think I might go crazy. Indulgence and restraint would be yelling at each other in my head and I wouldn't be able to hear myself think over the din.

If we were going to blame anyone, I think we could trace all this back to society's Puritanical roots. The Puritans were over here making life difficult for themselves and likening laughter to the devil, while the French and Italians were living the life of Riley (what does that mean?)  and enjoying themselves immensely. We excel at guilt while Europeans corner the market on pleasure.

 Can you sue the people who founded your society? I think the Puritans would have been disdainful of  lawsuits.

September 28, 2011

Plus Size

I got my fall Talbots catalog the other day. I like their stuff. Ultra classic with an occasional pop or embellishment. Half way through looking at it, I realized they had this model in several of their shots--the red haired one. And in this particular shot, I see (gawsp) a slight bulge. This model must be at least a size 10, possibly 12.

I was pretty pleased with Talbots. So many companies talk about having a positive body image and being healthy, yet they still have their size 2 models in all the shots. So go Talbots! for putting a totally normal looking woman in there. Talbots does sell Womans sizes, so that is probably why they included this particular model in their fall catalog. Nothing more annoying than shopping for plus size clothing (which starts at size 12. Really? Because 12 seems pretty average to me.) and seeing some size 2 girl staring disdainfully out at you from the computer screen. Since I never shop Talbots due to a pricing dispute between Talbots and I (namely I think their pricing should be about 50% less) I decided to go on their website today to see if they have fab deals in their sale and outlet sections. Pricing is more agreeable, but still not my buy price. And there, I found THIS model. Origami-fold tee
I understand some people are thin. I grew up amongst 4 naturally thin friends. Fortunately I had three naturally not thin sisters with whom I could lament the treachery of biology Still, it is never easy or pleasant to be the fat girl. Not that my friends would EVER have said or hinted at that. I have really good pals. It was just a fact of life. Probably one they never even thought about much. (Do naturally thin people notice other peoples weight as much as naturally un-thin girls do? Hmm...) Growing up in this naturally thin group, I understand that some people are just really thin. Even when they eat a lot. But this here model looks unhealthy. Her arm looks awkward. My naturally thin friends never had arms like that. Or at least I never noticed them if they did.

 I think Talbots probably should have air-brushed some fat on her. Do they have a fat-ify button like they have the thin-ify button? Sometimes I honestly think that the fashion (and Hollywood!) world's fascination with ultra thinness is part of the reason the rest of America is so overweight. Since they are portraying as beautiful a state of thinness that is a biological impossiblity for most healthy people, people just give up.

There is no way I will ever be model thin. At my absolute thinnest, when my collarbone was starting to stick out awkwardly and I was toying with an eating disorder, I was a size 12. To be smaller than that would be verging on (if not flat out) unhealthy for me. And yet I was not even in the recommended weight range for my height. About a year ago, I read an article in the paper on a study that showed people who were overweight (10-20 pounds over their recommended weight) were actually healthier and had longer life expectancy than the people IN the recommended weight range. I just googled this and came up with a mixed bag of reputable studies showing being overweight increases or decreases your life expectancy. So take your pick. Still, there have been enough reputable studies to show that being overweight is actually better than being a healthy weight, that it might be time to reevaluate what the healthy weight IS. I am not sure this will empower people to make better choices, but it might.

I have very soft, crammed together teeth. As a result, I have had my fair share of cavities and extractions. The dentist I normally went to was sick one day, so a different dentist attended to me. The normal dentist always told me my teeth were in a terrible state and I needed to take better care of them because I was on the fast track for dentures at 30. The new dentist said my teeth weren't so bad, but I did need to be careful of them. I took a lot better care of my teeth after the new dentist than the old.  I think the medical world is doing the same thing with weight. Americans DO need to weigh less. But doctors often resort to scare tactics--listing heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressue, trying to scare people onto the treadmill. I don't think doctors understand that this is depressing instead of goading. And a lot of people have an emotional component to their eating. If they are depressed, they eat.  Being told that they are doing some things right might make people feel like more of a grown up, more confident in their choices, and interestingly enough make them make better choices. If society ever wants to follow through on this positive body image campaign, they need to change the tone of the weight discussion. Overweight can't be always Bad! Bad! Bad! in the medical world, and translate into, "You are beautiful at a size 14!" in the real world. Something's gotta give.

So keep the average models, Talbots, but let the ultra-thin ones go. They are depressing me with their awkward arms.

September 27, 2011


Lily is four today. A fabulous four. She slept in a little this morning, so she didn't get to see Orianna or Daddy, but as she rolled out of bed at 8 all crazy haired, the first thing she said was "It's my birthday." Currently she is playing with her birthday present (a Playmobil farm) on the table in her room. Gilbert is in solitary confinement in his crib, since there are lots of small losable and swallowable pieces in playmobil farms. Autocorrect does not like me adding -able to whatever word I like. Autocorrect has no imagination.

Click on the image please, in order to see the content of this item.
This is the playmobil farm. Isn't it darling? Evan and Justin accuse Clover and I of liking playmobil better than the kids and this might be true... But the kids do like it an awful lot too.

I did purchase virtual cyberspace from Google. How nebulous is that? It doesn't hit your account for 24 hours, so no pictures today from my camera. Until tomorrow or Thursday I will copy and paste pictures at will. I was debating whether I should just copy and paste instead of actually purchasing space from Google. But then I realized I was getting a spot to store my pictures, as well as uploading ability. Two for one! Yee-haw! Did you also know that you have a picasa web album associated with your blog? I didn't. Until blogger told me that I had maxed out my space on picasa. I went to look at my albums and some of them have hundreds of views. Who is looking at my pictures?  It might be combined with how many times the picture is viewed on my blog. Very interesting, learning all these things.

Have a beautiful fall day.

September 26, 2011

Random. Or Rad, mon!

Did you know that there is a photo quota on blogger? I didn't. Until I tired uploading pictures and was told I was using 99.99 percent of my usage. I should have re-sized my extraordinarily large pictures. If only I had known. Clover, who has been blogging for four years is using less than I, with 4 times the amount of pictures because she sensibly resized her photos before posting them. Sensible is not a word that is generally applied to me. Now I am probably going to be paying Google for 20GB storage space so I can continue uploading pictures. This bugs me. Of course, it shouldn't. After all, I AM using space on blogger. It is sort of like all the people getting worked up about Facebook changes. Someone posted an e-card that said "I'm appalled that the free service I am in no way obligated to use, keeps making changes that mildly inconvenience me." I am pretty much in the same boat. How can I get really irritated when I am using something free? Well I shouldn't, but I sort of do. I could discuss today's entitlement society, but that always make me feel somewhat self-righteous, so I won't.

Just to make sure I am not feeling self-righteous, I will give you an update on my self-improvement. So far, my lack of initiative and motivation has trumped self-improvement plans. Mostly. My house has seen definite improvement in organization and I have remodeled it quite a bit. ( I will have to put pictures up when I actually get around to paying google money) All of which has made me feel actually grown up. I have been better about having supper going when Justin gets home. Saving money has been a non-starter. As has losing weight. The more I think about it, the more I realize that money and weight are pretty closely linked. I never buy anything extravagant (I tend toward thrift stores, clearance racks, and drugstore deals, not Loius Vuitton ) but most of what I buy is excessive, even if it is a good deal. I don't have the worst diet in the world, but I eat more than I need to. And when I get depressed in my inability to overcome the one, I do the other.  Is there a weight-and-wallet watchers out there? I need one. Still, there have been some improvements and I definitely have realized my fault lines in the past two weeks. Sigh. If only self improvement were a lot easier.

This past weekend was Dad's 60th birthday. Owen decided that old men need companionship, so bought Dad a border collie puppy. A sweet black and white bundle of wiggly-ness. The kids are in love. They spent most of yesterday walking the puppy, playing with the puppy, and mothering the puppy half to death. Dad was given the honor of naming the puppy and he was just coming up blank. Then we got a call that Penelope Kate Douglas had been born that same day and Dad remembered that his first ever puppy was called Penny. It seemed fitting. So the puppy is Penny.

Orianna lost her fist tooth Saturday night. We went to the dentist on Wednesday, a first for both girls. They were told they had beautiful teeth and that Orianna had a slightly loose tooth on the bottom. This was the first I had heard about the loose tooth, but by Saturday it was a pressing concern, with Orianna crying about it hurting and saying she was only capable of eating ice cream and grape juice. Riiiiight. After a day of this, Justin got a tissue to see if it was pullable at all and out it came! She was perfectly thrilled. She was skeptical of the tooth fairy's motives in wanting her tooth, so we ruined any childish fancy by telling her it was us and that we promised to NOT throw her tooth away. She was okay with that and consented to putting her tooth under her pillow. She got 50 cents, which happened to be the change in my pocket. We are terribly utilitarian parents.

And now, I need to go figure out how to pay google and also, how to improve myself at as little inconvenience to myself as possible. (Does anyone else misspell inconvenience every time? When I right click, it suggests incontinent and inconceivable. Hmm...Maybe self improvement is more inconceivable than inconvenient.....)

September 21, 2011


I haven't been reading a ton these past few weeks. Life has been pretty busy, so I have been reading a lot of short stories that can be finished in one lunch break. Mostly L.M. Montgomery and P.G. Wodehouse. I like authors who initialize their first and middle names. 

I went to the library a week or so ago for the first time in a month. I got a few books and I will now dispense my wisdom concerning them. 

Product Details

pigeon english
Stephen Kelman
First of all, I love the cover. That is the sole reason I picked it up. It is written in the first person perspective of an 8 year old boy. An 8 year old who was recently transplanted from Ghana to London.  There is no bemoaning lost things or yearning for Ghana. With a little kids resiliency, he sets out to see what London is all about. This book chronicles his foray into the detective world, trying to solve a recent murder. Combining his Ghanian words with English is where the title comes from. This was a well written book, once you got used to the jumping around that an 8 year old mind might do. The pigeon english is fun. About 40 pages in, I wanted to make sure it ended well because you never know, so I read the end. It does not end well. One of the reviews is "You will be sad for more than one reason when this book ends." Which I took to mean it was exquisitely written and ignored the other inference there--it is a sad ending. I know I shouldn't do this, I know I am ruining it since the author doesn't want me to read that until he has me in the proper frame of mind. Too bad. I refuse to invest my time and emotions in caring about characters that I am then going to feel sad and mournful about. So if you want an entertaining book that ends sad, this one is for you! Or if you want to just ignore the last 5 or 6 paragraphs, it could be a decent book. Keep in mind, I skipped in innards. I knew there was a reason New York Times had not hired me as a book reviewer.

Next up
Product Details
Sisterhood Everlasting
Ann Brashares
This is the last installment of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books. There are 4 or 5 before this one. Mostly entertaining, light reading. This book sort of continued that trend, although this is more light adult reading. I don't think I am ruining anything here by telling you one of the sisterhood dies in this book. It happens 30 pages in and is what the entire book is about, so I don't feel like I am betraying anything here. For some reason, I was sort of detached with this book. I don't know if it is because the writing wasn't such that it pulled me into their emotions and grief, but throughout the whole grieving process, I was more "Huh." than grieving. Also, the author did not thoroughly research her diseases, which is probably fine for most people, but for this here symptom knower, it didn't work. A must read if you have read the other books, but not a rush out and read the previous 4 so you can read this one book. 

Product Details
French Lessons
Ellen Sussman

This was a really unsatisfying book to me. It is about 3 french tutors in Paris and their tutor-ees. Paris is the city of love--I get it, but for crying out loud there was a lot of intimate relations in this book. I like romance and love, but I don't feel I need to know the physical workings of everyone else's love and romance. It wasn't untasteful so much, as never ending. The unsatisfying part of this book was that it introduces one tutor-ee after the other, before you are done with the last. All three tutorees are having fairly major life moments, but you never find out how they resolve their issues. There is a vague, things worked out sort of feeling, but I like resolution! 
I wouldn't recommend this one. 

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The Penny Tree
Holly Kennedy

This was my favorite of the four I have listed. This isn't going to win a Pulitzer at anytime, but it is a love triumphs sort of book, which makes it worthwhile. The writing was sort of haphazard, occasionally slipping back 6 years for a flashback that felt like more of an intrusion than enlightening. I skipped over some of the flashbacks. The one thing I didn't really like in this book was that her mom is a symptom knower like I am, and goes around telling people that maybe it isn't poison ivy, maybe it is Hodgkins. This woman is the supreme symptom knower. There were so many little things in this book that can be a symptom for such and so that I keep reviewing them in my mind, making sure the kids, Justin and I don't have Hodgkins, a tumor in the central nervous system, scolodermis, or myocytosis. If you are a rational person, not a worrying freak of nature like I am, this is a good light, fairly mindless read. 

After all these vaugely depressing reads, I am solacing myself with Pat of Silver Bush by LM Montgomery. Nope, I don't care that it was written for young girls. I want something soothing and pleasant right now!   LM Montgomery did not believe in unhappy endings. She said it might not be true to life, but it was what she was going to write. So take your modern, meaningful books somewhere else. I want to pretend life has happy endings all over the place.

September 20, 2011

Pig Roast pictures

Alrighty. I am tired of thinking "I need to put up pig roast pictures." So without further ado....

How weird that I think I HAVE to put up pig roast pictures. Like someone is following me around saying "You have not blogged about ______ yet." Laura, Clover, and I think Olivia have already done enough Pig Roast pictures. But I would like to stake out my own little million-pictures-of-one-weekend corner, so just TRY to stop me.

I just went to Olivia's blog to get her url to link to up there and I saw this picture...

LOVE it! What a pig. Livia has some cool pictures. Check them out.

Well I am glad that there was no further ado there because that would have been excessive.

The first happening on Saturday morning (for ME anyway) was Owen's motorcycle fell over. No, this isn't headline news in anyway, I just thought it was funny.

Then Dale and Clover picked it up because they are nice

The smoker, doing it's thing

The guys doing their corn shucking thing

JoAnna and I walked up to the baseball game and Rilla came flying down the lane to see us.

I love this picture

The kids with their picnic of water
Baseball. I love how Fiona is just standing their pointing. :-)
Owen hitting a homer

 It was too much from Bronson

 Alex and Lily

 Austin and Cheyenne

 Tim helping Cheynne hit a ball

 Wild grapes. Or you could just call them nasty-sour grapes

 Fiona laughing

  Elliott at bat

 Getting on the truck for the ride back down

 All aboard

 Setting up volleyball

 This volleyball set up was not wimpy. 

 Linda reading Corduroy

 Gilbert enjoying the ball sprinkler

 The meat pulling crew. The cowboy in the middle is the guy that owns the roaster
 Katharine and Elliott. Definitely goes in the embarrass them when they are older file

 The spread

 The main attraction. Yum!

 One hundred ears of corn, ultra awesome corn.

 Lucy's fruit salad

 Penny's out of this world salad

 Andrea's deviled eggs and I can't remember if that is Wendy's Canadian coleslaw or something completely different

 A salad Ginger made--pure summer in a bowl.

  Linda's salad--how could you go wrong with a tangy dressing, onions, and tomatoes? You can't. 

 Clover's coleslaw--you can't have pulled pork without coleslaw!

 They played rotational volleyball. A lot.

 Katharine, Chris, and Wendy

 Dad doing bubbles with Gilbert

 Laura, Katharine, and Dale. Apparently Katharine liked being in couple pictures

 Settling a discussion about hymns from the old hymbook

 The mud puddle was the kids paradise this day. If only I could get this excited about mud... Life would be more exciting.

 Bottling a little fresh Full Circle Farm mud

 The kids thought filling this baby carriage with mud was BRILLLLiant. 

 Everyone needs a tub of mud

 David and Rachel being chill with Coyote

 Just in case you missed it, the kids spent a LOT of time in this mud puddle

 Gilbert conked out while Mom and Laura discussed life

 A sunlit Lincoln

 Penny looks a little unsure about Victor here. Or the sunlight... :-)

 After meeting. Dave swinging the ginger as he called Nate, while Elliott rang those bells and Lily started at the leaves

 Elliott tries to make sure Coyote does not make contact with any part of him

 The guys. And Connie

 The girls

 Meanwhile, inside, lunch is getting ready

 Super sweet Moxie girl

 Pot o' goodness

Canadian coleslaw. SOOO good.

 Lori and Mom

 Wisdom watching the antics of youth

 Gilbert walked around like this for quite a while.

 Lily refusing to smile, even though it was JoAnna's last day. sniff, sniff.

Ty trying to look brooding on a crooked little kids swing. 


 If you are going to play outside, you MUST have a wheelbarrow to wheel your books around with you.

 Game done, switch over

 And the weekend couldn't end without one notorious kid moment. The kids climbed up in Tori's closet, got down her paint and proceeded to paint  pictures on paper on top of Tori's new cream carpet. It is not so cream anymore. But thanks to Rachel and Clover and Dad, it is more cream than it was.
 Olivia is apparently the outcast

 Driving by to check out the progress of the ice cream

 Clover grudgingly giving Lincoln watermelon since he seems to like it. Do you see the disgust on her face? 
 Katharine doing her bit to make the world fly free

 Discussing how Ty could bypass washed out Keene Valley

 Gilbert enjoying watermelon and people

 He was filthy and sticky

 Owen taking a doggie break


 I was RIGHT there and I still don't understand what on earth they were doing. No one died.

  Elliott is so concerned, he decided to take a drink of water


 This truck was the unofficial hauler of the weekend

 We are slowly but surely trying to turn Fiona into a farm girl

 Fortunately, the Fire Department of Bronson was there to help us with our bonfire

 Bug spray. And Lincoln high stepping through the grass

 They unearthed the pump organ, which had been in a 15 year retirement. Justin looks like he just DARING someone to say otherwise.

 Austin pumped away

 Gilbert wanted DOWN. Mainly to go poke at the fire.

 Coyote wanted to sing too!

 A picture with potential for danger and destruction. If only Gilbert could drive

 Dale, Laura, and Dad. Laura is telling me to take a picture of Dad

 So I did

 Abby joined in on the violin while Tim illuminated

 Homemade ice cream and chit-chat

And that is all. Phew. I am worn to a frazzle. Pictures will do that to you. I will now go unfrazzle myself by contemplating laundry while I think about what to make Lily and Gilbert for lunch.