Archive | January, 2016
Aside 31 Jan

Confession time:

I feel bad when I’m being trained and I know more than the other people there.

Please, Call Me Fat

30 Jan

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If you haven’t seen the article yet, Matel has officially announced the release of the new Barbies: petite, tall, and curvy. Find the article here. You can also check out the various skin tones, ethnicities, eye shapes, and face shapes (and order your own Barbie!) at the Barbie.com website.

The new Barbies are absolutely gorgeous! That isn’t to say that I didn’t find original Barbie gorgeous, or even that I had a problem with her portrayal of women’s bodies. I didn’t. But these new Barbie’s are so beautiful! I was absolutely thrilled when I first laid eyes on curvy Barbie’s figure; it was so similar to mine!

But alas, we decided to call her curvy (which I won’t say she isn’t). Marketing a fat Barbie would’ve been a nightmare, so I get it (don’t get me started about “curvy women’s clothing). I’m also sure that half of the women out there, regardless of size or struggle, would be up in arms about that.

But I’m here to say please, call me fat.

After all, it’s what I am. I’m blessed that my fat falls in some of the more desirable places, but those curves are still made up of fat. We’ve decided that in order to be sensitive, we need to stop saying fat, but that just disguises the issue. If being fat is okay, then saying someone is fat is okay. I don’t want to be attractive because I’m fat, and I don’t want to be unattractive because I’m fat, I want to be attractive regardless of it. When we refuse to say “fat”, it feels like we should not only be ashamed of the word but of ourselves, too. Of course, I don’t want to disregard others struggles, because there are so many body types that could also be considered “fat” or “curvy”.

I am fat. I weigh 250 lbs. I’m okay with it. You should be too.

What is a descriptive term you feel we’ve removed from our repertoire to try to be “sensitive”, but it ends up working against us? How do you feel about “fat” vs. “curvy”?

Aside 29 Jan

Confession time:

I like to pretend I’m a model in a photo shoot when I go grocery shopping.

The Pure Joy Brought on by the KonMari Method of Tidying

8 Jan

“Every object has a different role to play…It is the same with people. Not every person you meet in life will become a close friend or lover. Some you will find hard to get along with or impossible to like. But these people, too, teach you the precious lesson of who you do like, so that you will appreciate those special people even more.”


“To me it doesn’t seem right to keep clothes we don’t enjoy for relaxing around the house. This time at home is still a precious part of living. It’s value should not change just because nobody sees us…Precisely because no one is there to see you, it makes far more sense to reinforce a positive self-image by wearing clothes you love…If sweatpants are your everyday attire, you’ll end up looking like you belong in them, which is not very attractive. What you wear in the house does impact your self-image.”


“It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure. This is the lesson these keepsakes teach us when we sort them. The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past. “

 

Those are just a few quotes that I really connected to while reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Really, I connected with the entire book and it was beautiful.

The discarding part I connected to more, and it got me much more excited than the organizing section. When she talks about organizing, she just sounds crazy, but I also feel like the set-up of my home is much different than the Japanese homes she continually references.

While I’m not skeptical of whether or not her method works (I’m completely sold, actually), I can’t help but wonder about the one thing she didn’t seem to mention: functional items that you actually use regularly. Of course, we have to keep toilet paper around regardless of if it doesn’t “spark joy” in our lives, but every time I open my cupboard I can’t help but wonder about my “spare dishes”. Yes, I have just about 56 muffin tins and could get rid of 54 of them, but my glassware poses a problem.

For Christmas, my mother gave me a new set of dishes, and they are absolutely wonderful. Every time I simply look at them I get all giddy and excited. I decided to use them only when I have people over or formal dinners, though, so I kept my old dish set around for every day use. That way I won’t break one and end up with an odd set. I also entertain for more than 4 people quite frequently, so I need the extra glasses and plates.

I plan on beginning the journey once I finish unpacking, and, as always, will keep you up-to-date on my progress!

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? What do you think about the dishes – do I keep them because I use them, or toss them because they don’t “spark joy”? How do you feel about the quotes I pulled from Kondo’s book?

Oregon Militia: Peaceful Protesters or Terrorists?

4 Jan

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted something political. I bet you’re absolutely giddy!

If you aren’t up to date on what’s going on in Oregon, here is basically what is happening:

Some ranchers set some fires in the early 2000s that ended up burning federal land on a wildlife refuge. They served time in prison for it, but now the judge says that they were supposed to serve more time than they did, and is sending them back. Cue militia. Some other folks with some guns went onto the refuge, and have taken up shop in the buildings. They say they won’t leave until the judge reverses the decision for the ranchers to be sent back to prison and the wildlife refuge land is returned to ranchers.

If you would like to read something other than that brief, extremely vague, synopsis you can get more info here and here.

From this, we’ve seen several meme-like pictures pop up, including this one:

Now then, I’m all for protesting. I’ve always wanted to protest for some cause or other, but haven’t really had the chance (apparently I don’t know anyone that passionate about anything). But when protesting, peaceful protesting and sit-ins are the only way to go. Peaceful protests don’t involve guns. That is where the Oregon militia becomes confusing, and why we are having such a hard time classifying what we are looking at.

First, while this militia group has guns, we have no record that they have used them to take over the buildings they are in, we have no record of hostages, and we have no record that they have forced entry or broken any property. For all it’s worth, that is pretty peaceful, and it points that they only plan to use their guns for defense. Now, according to the Oregonian, the man heading this protest has said they would “not rule out violence” if police tried to remove them (read). I couldn’t find a direct quote, and so I’m a tad skeptical. Assuming our sources are credible, this is a direct move away from peaceful protest. You know…the great part about sit-ins is if you sit and refuse to move, the people being rough trying to get you to move look like assholes and you become the hero. If you pull a gun, you become portrayed differently and as we know…violence begets violence.

We also have to wonder if they have the right to protest. They are trespassing on government property and they aren’t even part of this county. Bundy is from Nevada! Even the Hammonds, who are the people imprisoned for arson, aren’t supporting their actions. Really, one could argue that this isn’t even Bundy’s fight to fight.

Then, looking at this meme, we are drawn to compare minority protests to this apparently white militia. Again, I bring you back to the idea of peaceful protest. If a protest begins without violence, it is no longer peaceful when violence begins. As the protesting group becomes larger, the danger of the group becoming violent increases. From what I’ve read (and as always…please tell me if I’m wrong!), at least Ferguson protests began peacefully enough, and the goal was never to stray from that. But, as I’ve said, when your group becomes larger you see higher likelihood of violence, and once the scale tips, group dynamics cause it to continue. Then, actions like looting are only a step away. That is where these protests have differed from what we are seeing. Oregon appears to be a smaller group, and we haven’t any reports of violence yet. Yet.

Finally, we seem to be ignoring the real issue here. It isn’t whether they should or should not be protesting, it isn’t whether they are terrorists or peaceful protestors, and it isn’t about race. It is however about whether or not the Hammonds should be facing more time in jail, and if this area should be ranched or used as a wildlife refuge. This is a pretty classic and decades-old issue. We are highly dependent on agriculture, and to produce crops and meat we have to have land to do it on. That free-range cow of yours takes a lot more space than a cow housed in a feed-lot (this is not a position statement on cattle). In the same breath, humans are sucking the life out of the planet. We are killing things, and destroying land, and in order to help preserve what we can and fix what we’ve destroyed (habitat fragmentation, anyone?) we have to preserve land, too. It seems that the reasons the Hammonds are headed back to prison is because of a domestic terrorism law. Do I think that their fires were domestic terrorism? No, I really don’t. Do I think they should head back to prison for a sentence that is several years old? No, especially because it was an oversight of our judicial system. I can really, actually, get behind the protesting aspect. I did already say I’m pro-protesting. That will change, however, if violence ensues. As a zoologist, I also struggle with letting go of a wildlife refuge. They are so important for preservation and conservation, that while I don’t think there should be more jail time for the Hammonds, I do think that the wildlife refuge should stay a refuge.

Bundy’s message has been heard. I just hope that it rings true and rises above the race and gun issue, because if it has, and they leave peacefully, then I can see real change happening then.

What is your position on the Oregon militia protest? What do you think the real issue is here? 

High Hopes for the New Year

3 Jan

Anyone who has read my stuff or known me for any length of time know that I don’t do resolutions for the new year. I do resolutions, just not based around what month/day it is. About mid-December I decided to make one of these resolutions, but I haven’t quite had the ability to begin working toward my goals because of moving and finances and so on.

That goal is to buy an item to donate to homeless shelters/food banks every time I go shopping. I know firsthand that people donate more around the holidays. In fact, the Christmas season is enough to keep us stocked for most of the year in things like toys and treats, and we really don’t get too much the rest of the time. While that is great, this is something that we really should work on. Hunger and homelessness are something that are always an issue, not just when it’s cold out (though that is especially awful). Now, the next thing that I have to say might be a little on the unpopular side, but I really have a hard time getting on board for giving toys to kids for Christmas. I’ve also seen firsthand how some parents can afford several gifts, but not as many as they’d like to give so they ask for more. I’ve also seen children who get a “cheap” toy (think off-brand) and they scoff at it and don’t want it. Toys are important but I also think it is important to focus on something other than the commercial aspect of Christmas, and find better ways to teach them giving, caring, and family values.  That is why, when I heard about a program called “Gifts for Grands” I became so excited!

This program focuses on elderly people in nursing homes similar facilities. Think about how sad it can be when family stops coming for these people. The things they want aren’t extravagant, either, but every day necessities like soap and socks. I didn’t hear about it soon enough to be useful, but in the future I’m hoping to focus on giving in this manner.

I’m not here to preach, but I am here to share in knowledge, experience, and growth. I often ask my readers to join in with me on any challenges I do, and this one isn’t any different. I have a short list of things that I hear are really high in demand, so I’m not only buying food, but other daily necessities, too. Socks and tampons/pads are high up there (let that sink in for a moment). Non-perishable foods are always important, too. I have my eye on things like canned green beans and corn, but also things like beans, and even Craisins (just recently discovered and they are so delicious!).

Finally, before I’m finished, I don’t want to reflect back on 2015. I want to talk about 2016, and I have high hopes for this year. I woke up in a wonderful mood, and while I’m looking forward, I always have to give the disclaimer that this is how I feel now. That is the problem with resolutions. We make them with our best intentions, but times and people and situations change, so what is right January 1 might not be right June 1, or even January 2.

My hopes for the new year are to cut down on some debt that I’ve accumulated, and begin saving again. I have my sites set on a new car come the end of next year. I want to make my friendships a priority again (I started this a few months back) and see more of each of the people that I love so dearly. I also hope to finally get that significant other I’ve been pining for, and I think I’ve already taken some positive steps toward getting there. I also want to become more spiritual (for those of you who don’t know it, I’m actually a very spiritual person). I’d like to cook more (how many times have I said that) but I don’t foresee that changing in any less than 3 months. I’d also like to become more active. More hiking this summer, more yoga, and I’d like to pick up something fun like kick-boxing.

Those are my hopes. That is how I’m feeling now (and does it feel nice, indeed!). We’ll see where the year takes me!

Are you going to join me with my donations goals (we can totally co-blog about it!)? Any other ideas of hot commodities to buy? What are your hopes for the coming year?