Monday, November 26, 2012

Success and Failure, all in one! Succailure?

this November I have participated in my very first Nanowrimo Challenge.  I posted about it not that long ago. If you want to know more you can visit the website here.  this was the first time I heard about Nanowrimo, I read about it in an article posted by another participant at XOJANE.  ( I  loooove that site!  Check it out ladies!  And Gents too, but it is a "woman's" website.) 

The Nanowrimo Challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  there are places to go and meet with other writers, and a ways to track your progress and all kinds of other tools.  I have seen both praise and complaint about the program.  One that stuck with me was one of the Negative comments "Nanowrimo: Anyone can be a writer if you set the bar low enough."  I was shamed for being excited about Nanowrimo. 

As a writer with a day job, and a husband and two very demanding hound dogs to care for I find it hard to make time to write.  Even for this blog, which is mostly lighthearted and fun.  Mostly.  If you follow my other Blog, you'll see that I cant even make time to take and post a picture every day.  How was I going to write 1,667 words a day for the next 30 days? 

(Huh, I never did the math before.  1,600 words a day should have been easy!)

It is day 26 and I am not anywhere near my 50,000 words.  To meet my goal I will have to write approximately 9,000 words a day for the next five days.  Will I try?  Yes.  Will I succeed?  Time will tell, but I suspect not.  Yet, I do not see this as a failure.  I have written a novel, I am currently having it edited, before sending it to publishers.  (Scary!)  But since sending it off in March, I have written practically zero. So Nanowrimo, at least got me writing, it got the juices flowing and I wrote more in the last four weeks than I have in the past year.  (Excluding my blog here of course).

To me this in itself is a success.  Any tool that gets a writer writing or keeps them writing is a good one.  For me at least, that is the essence of Nanowrimo.  Not to become a writer, not to try something new, but to continue to be a writer.  To give myself goals and attempt to stick to them.  It's a chance to track my progress in a tangible way.  In a way that I have never really been able to before.  I am also more productive when I can track my progress in a public venue.  When others can see my progress too, Nanowrimo provides that for me.  Even though I have only written about 5,600 words in 26 days I still call this a success. 

I have started writing again, and I have given life to a new project, that will hopefully get finished and sent off to the editor like the last one.  In fact, it has sparked enough creativity to get a second story going, Part of my issue was that I could never decide which story to work on!  i can only track one at a time, so I chose one and now I am rolling on it!  I cant wait for next year!  Maybe there will be more success, or maybe not.  Either way I call it a win, and I will not be shamed for it.

Oh Thanksgiving Dinner, You Fickle Mistress

I'm feeling a bit nostalgic, so I would like to recount to you the horror and hilarity that was Mine and J's first Thanksgiving together. 

It was a mere three years ago.  We work in Hospitality, so our thanksgiving dinner took place on our day off, the day before the actual holiday.  the place we work at gives out free turkeys, so we had a ten pound bird, stuffing, potatoes and broccoli.  More than enough to feed just the two of us right?  Perhaps, but nearly none of it actually ended up getting eaten. 

So many things went so wrong with this dinner I cant even begin to tell you. 

Problem #1

J is crazy freaked out about leaving food out, to dethaw or otherwise, so we didn't even put put bird in the freezer when we got it, as it was frozen solid, we put it straight into the fridge.  The Monday before our fiascogiving I wanted to take it out of the fridge and put it in the sink.  Nope, he didn't want it out, bactieria and salmonella and if I tool it our of the fridge we were going to die.  So it stayed in the fridge. This resulted in it still being more than half frozen the night before we were to cook our bird. 

Google saved the day!  We looked up ways to expedite dethawing, and put the bird in the sink covered by room temperature water.  Overnight, to J's dismay.  Unfortunately even though our Turkey seemed to be dethawed, such was not the case, and we discovered that when, after cooking it was still completely raw, and partly frozen int he middle...

Problem #2

J was determined that even though I had cooked many a thanksgiving Turkey, he wanted to do it the way his Momma does.  So, that meant stuffing the bird with lemons and limes and oranges.  Which actually sounds quite delightful, if only our Turkey had cooked.  *Sigh* So my traditional sausage stuffing, that I always cook, in the bird, (Yeah, yeah I know salmonella blah, blah.  I've been eating this for years and I;m fine, get over it.)  would have to be made on the stove top and oven.  I looked up recipes for sausage stuffing and found one that had directions for cooking outside of the bird and went with that. 

The result:  Burned Bread and not entirely cooked sausage, and lots and lots of salt.  Yuck!

Problem #3

Instant Potatoes.  Hey, I love me some instant potatoes!  Really, we eat them a lot and its so easy for a regular weeknight!  But we now had no stuffing and no turkey, adding instant potatoes was like adding salt to the wound.

Problem #4

Gravy, J hates canned or jarred gravy (or anything really).  I endeavored to make some from scratch.  But oh yeah, uncooked turkey=salmonella and unsafe drippings.  So, no gravy.

Thankfully the broccoli and cheese came out good!  But I did cheat and buy that frozen, and I am an expert micowaver!  YAY! 

I cried and Laughed and J hugged me and reminded me that this is what memories are made of.  We have not attempted Thanksgiving since, but I will once we have a house, and I will be successful. 

This year I am tankful for all the wonderful things that life has brought, and being able to laugh at our amazing and terrible First Thanksgiving together.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

NaNoWriMo?

Hey there kids!  I know I haven't really been around lately, it's been a busy time for me, I do staffing for a third party at a theme park and we are gearing up for the Holidays!!

I am also participating in Nanowrimo (NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth)  you can get more info at nanowrimo.org

Basically it challenges you to write 50,000 that's right folks FIFTY THOUSAND words in 30 days.  I have never participated before, but its fun!  It's also a huge challenge, and I might be clinically insane for undertaking it.  I am waaaaaay behind with just 5000 words right now (I shouldbe at 20,004) and less than 3 weeks to go.   But it does have me writing daily, even if I cant get all the words down that I want it's better than not writing at all while I wait for my book to come back from the editor right?

The community organizes write-ins and you can connect with other writers through the site.  You can add writing buddies and see how they're doing too!  This is my first Nanowrimo, but it wont be my last!

Are you participating?  Let me know!  You can find me and add me as a writing buddy too, MandeeLee.
 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mammas, don't let your babies grow up to be Fatties

Hi, My name is Mandee and I am fat. 

This is how I have introduced myself to a plethora of people when I was in high School.  Mostly online, because as a fattie I would never introduce myself to someone IRL.

The worst/best part is that I was not  fat in high school.  I was active and healthy, even if I wasn't a size zero.  I could shop at all the cute stores and wear pretty much anything I wanted.  But I had such a terrible body image that I wouldn't let myself.

No tank tops, God forbid anyone see my grossly fat arms.  No short skirts, unless I had opaque tights on, and even then I felt awkward all day, cause eew, thunder thighs much? Boot cut jeans were all t he rage when I was in high school, and it took me years to get in on the trend (Turns out it's actually pretty flattering).  The thought of anything fitting my body so closely was repulsive to me.  I didn't need to show off my body, I needed to hide it. 

i am fat, i come from a (mostly) fat family.  I also come from a mother with some serious body issues and what I now recognise as the eating disorder anorexia with continued and constant disordered eating periods between the full on anorexia.  (These things are not one and the same or mutually exclusive)

My relationship with my mother varied from strained/bad to non-existent while I was growing up.  But her actions have had a huge impact on my life.  How I view myself and treat myself have been impacted by things that she has done or said.  Most of this was harmful, and I have to work very hard to not let the self hate overwhelm me. 

Harvard Medical School researchers did a study and found that girls who thought their mothers wanted them to be thinner were "two to three times more likely to worry about weight".  Girls who "thought" their mothers wanted them to be thinner. 

What about girls like me who knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that her mother wanted her to lose weight.  The article says:

“While it’s less likely that parents are directly saying something about their children’s weight, a mother’s desire to become thinner can directly impact her children’s attitude.”

Not only did my mother make direct comments to me regarding my weight, more and more as I got older.  But she also had patterns of eating disorders and poor body image.  Things did not bode well for my own body image from the beginning.
There is one incident in particular that sticks out in my mind regarding my mother and my body image.  It is an event that I go back to time and time again. 

It was summer time and we were headed to a BBQ.  This was an event for co-workers and friends of my mothers at another co-workers  house.  There was a pool and volleyball, tether ball, bad minton, horseshoes, cards, it was going to be so much fun!  Me and my best friend at the time went.  She had slept over the night before so that we would be able to leave early and get there right on time. 

The party started at 10am and went until everyone went home.  We rushed around all morning getting ready to leave at 9.  For those of you who may not know thins, getting 2 pre-teen girls, we were 10 or 11 at the time, up early on a Saturday in the summer is not an easy task.  We didn't have time for breakfast so we just headed up the the house, there would be food there after all it was a BBQ right?

Wrong.  There was no food when we got there at 10.  In fact we were the only ones there at 10.  (the reason for this became obvious later) But whatever it was sunny and awesome and my friend and I were going to hang out outside, poolside, all day. 

We skimmed out of our shorts and T-shirts and perched ourselves in chairs facing the sun.  Then my other walked by.  "You know Amanda, you really should put your T-shirt on if you aren't in the pool." 

My mother is an avid tanner, baby oil and iodine and hours laying perfectly still was how she got her tan on.  I was at least wearing sunscreen to avoid burning.  Clearly her comment was not about sun protection. 

"We're trying to get a tan!  I don't want to have a farmer tan," I replied in that snotty pre-teen way, I was so classy.

"Fine, but don't say I didn't warn you if people laugh, or boys won't talk to you.  Cute Bathing suit *Crissy."

Just go back and read that again.  Don't say I didn't warn you if people laugh and boys wont talk to you.  Really?  I mean, Really?!

If only it stopped there.  It gets worse. 

At around 12:30 Crissy and I were getting Hungry.  Remember we didn't eat breakfast, and we were active tween girls, who had just spent the last two and a half hours on the Sun and fresh air. 

I approached my mother while Crissy was in the bathroom.  "Mom, when are we going to eat?  I'm starved."

"I think they're cooking at 2," She said between sips of her Kahlua and Milk.

"But I'm really hungry, my stomach is growling," I said, hoping she could at least offer a snack or something to hold me off until lunch. 

Instead she said, "Good, maybe you'll lose some weight," and walked off.

I didn't respond.  I just kind of stood there trying not to cry.  I went back to my beach chair and promptly put my shirt on, where it stayed for the rest of the day.  I did not take it off to go swimming, in fact, i did not go swimming because if I took off my T-shirt people would see me, and if I didn't then it would get all wet and clingy and then it would be like I had taken it off.  Y'all I love  to swim, and I didn't because even my own mother thought I was fat.  And how dare I subject people to having to look at me. 

When 2 O'clock rolled around and the grill was finally on, and my stomach hurt from being so hungry, I ate half of a Hot Dog and 10 potato chips.  I counted. 

Guss who noticed exactly what I ate?  That's right!  My beloved mother.  (No really, I love her, despite her flaws)  "Thought you were starving," she mocked.  She and the friend with her laughed and turned back to the volley ball game.

I went to the bathroom and threw up. 

This wasn't the first time she made negative comments about my appearance, and it wouldn't be the last.  i don't know what it was about this particular event that has made it stick with me for so long, and in such vivid detail.  I can describe my outfit, my mothers, my friends, i can draw a map of the yard and the festivities.  I remember every grueling detail of that horrible day.

Like being a tween/teenager isn't hard enough.  Basically everyone I know hated their body at that time.  It's changing and becoming something you aren't familiar with.  It's getting squishy and hard and smelly and hairy and where the hell did these tits come from anyway?  You should be able to count on your parent to help you through this rough time.  This was not my life.  Instead I had a mother who judged me and my body even more harshly than I did myself. 

My waist wasn't small enough., my butt wasn't big enough and my boobs were to "saggy".  I was a pretty young girl, but all I could see was the imperfections.  the dreaded double chin, which I so did not have, the hugely fat upper arms, gigantic thighs, not to mention my stomach wasn't totally and perfectly flat. 

Even as a grown woman I don't have an hourglass figure regardless of my weight loss or gain.  All my weight centers in my belly, I don't have wide hips or a small waist.  I have large breasts, they are not perky, and never have been.  People often tell me that I "carry my weight well".  And I'm not sure what that really means.  But the basis of it is that I'm fat, but not totally gross.  Is this a compliment? 

Even when I did not live in the wonderful fat comfort zone I am in now, I hated my body.  I still hate it, and I am working really hard at loving myself and my body again. 

I can;t help but wonder how much of this I would have to endure without the reinforcing of poor body image, as opposed to my mother teaching me to love my body and all it can do regardless of size.  Maybe i would still b self conscious as society wants fat people to be hidden away like the uncontrolled beasts so obviously we are.  But maybe, just maybe I would love myself a little more.

Lot's O talking going on in my house, mostly at night

So, J has been talking in his sleep lately.  Like a lot.  Like every. Single. Night.  Y'all he talks some crazy bullshit in his sleep.

For Example, there was some inane fairy tale craziness going on in his head recently, it went as follows:

J was laying on the blankets in the middle of the bed, i was cold and wanted to get under the blankets, which was impossible without asking him to move.

Me:  "Babe, roll over so I can get under the blankets."

J: *yells* "What time is it?!?" while rolling over

Me: "1:30"

J: *yells*  "It's 2:30?"

Me: "No it's 1:30"

J: "Wake me up at 2:30, I need mumble mumble mumble..."

Me: "What was that?"

J: "Wake me up at 2:30 so I (slowly waking up) can get my mirror?  So I know when I turn into a pumpkin?"

Me: *Laughing hysterically*

J: "What the F*** am I taking about?"

Me: " I have no idea, what were you dreaming about?"

J:  "apparently mirrors and pumpkins!"

At this point I continue to laugh so hard that I am literally crying.  J is crazy mad about this mirror/pumpkin exchange for some reason and gets up out of bed to stomp around and Wonder, loudly what on earth he was thinking about.  Once he calms down and lays back down, I cant resist but poke more fun at him about it.  (I'm a terrible person, I know)

Me:  "So... you still want that mirror at 2:30?"

J:  "Just prop it up on the night stand so you don't have to get up."

More laughter ensues.

The next afternoon via text message at 2:30pm

Me: Hey, it's 2:30 do you have your mirror?

J: It's only st 2:30 am.

Me: Well did you have it?

J:  I told you to get it for me.

Me: Uh-oh, are you a pumpkin?

J: Probably

Me: Awesome, I'm making muffins when I get home.

(for those of you who don';t know, I frequently call J my Pumpkin-muffin)

I haven't let him live this down yet, it may take a year or two... (I already told you , I know I'm a terrible person)