Monday, December 9, 2013

CHALLANGE! Accepted and Completed.

(Yes I know challenge is spelled wrong, I want you to say it with a snooty french accent!  Like this, chal-ah-nge)

So, while I am making peace with my body type, (it's fat if you're new here) I still want to be fit and healthy.  So I have taken to those 30 day challenges that are all over social media.  

I have tried to have steady fitness habits in the past, without much success.  It seems the key for me is is breaking it up into manageable 30 day chunks, with a cheesy chart telling me exactly what is expected of me each day.  It simple and silly, but it works for me.  
This is the challenge I completed
My friends and family encourage me to go to the gym, or to do a "real" workout.  They are also encouraging me to do these things to lose weight, which is not the goal here.  (It's not that I'm opposed to losing weight, I am just tired of wasting my time and energy on it.)  But going to the gym doesn't work for me or my lifestyle.  I work a crazy schedule 6 and 7 days a week, non-traditional hours, and have a husband, 2 dogs, and a home to care for.  In addition to that I am a writer and I work on making edits to my novel and I am trying to get back into posting here more regularly.  I get bored frequently and need to make changes to my routine or I risk stopping all together.  A lonely dusty treadmill stands in my living room attesting to that.   There is no way a typical gym would work for me.  
This is the push-up challenge I will do next
So what is a busy living-life-to-the-fullest fat girl to do?  Thirty day challenges.  They are usually easy moves to master, using nothing other than your own body.  Things like Squats, crunches, push-ups and planks.  And you have a 30 day schedule to follow, telling you haw many to do a day and what days to rest.  It takes me about 5 minutes or less at night while I unwind from my day watching TV to complete the daily challenge.  Its not easy, for me anyway, and it gets progressively harder as the challenge moves on.  I complete my first 30 days tomorrow, its a squat challenge, and I did every single day of it.  The hardest day was 175 squats.  Y'all, I did 175 squats!  I have never done a squat in my life!  I am incredibly proud of that! 
I think I will do this Crunch challenge after this next 30 days is up
After this first challenge is done I will move onto the next one, push-ups, *shudder*, and I might even continue with the squats, doing it all over again, in addition tot he push-ups.  I think I finally found a system that works for me.  If I lose weight so be it, and if not that's okay too, but I know that there will be nothing but benefits to continuing this.  I will post here at the end of each 30 days and I hope that maybe I can inspire others to try this!  If I can do these, anyone can!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Wedding Pics! FINALLY!

So... my elaborate steam punk masquerade ball has been put on hold.  Marrying the man of my dreams?  Not so  much!  We still got married on Halloween, with a small contingent of friends and family.  Like including J and I and the JP there were 11.  Like I said, small.  However, I promised pictures, so here they are!









































Saturday, November 23, 2013

Oh the Speeches you'll write...

So, I have decided that I want to give a speech at my best friends wedding on January.  I have a rough draft, and I'm looking for some advice on it.  (Keep in mind I will be giving the bride and groom a copy of Oh the places you'll go)

Some of you  may not know me,I'm Mandee and Stefanie and I have been best friends for more than half of our lives.  It wasn’t always that way, Stefanie and I actually got off on the wrong foot, I laugh now thinking back on that time, because I cant imagine my life without her.  Stefanie and I have been through some tough times together, and some truly amazing ones.  We have been separated by miles you could walk,  miles you could drive and miles you should fly.  Even an entire ocean once.  And we don’t get to talk every day, or even every week, but I have never had a more dear friend.  When Stefanie asked me to be a part of the start of her new life with Eric I was thrilled I have known Eric for nearly as long as I have known Stefanie.  I could not be more proud then to stand by their side while they enter into a commitment to last a lifetime.

Stefanie is the nicest most genuine person I know.  She will drop everything and help out friends and family in need.  She has an ear to listen, a warm hug to comfort and a shoulder to cry on in both joy and sorrow.  She is the most driven and dedicated person I know.  And has talent to boot!  She has always know what she wanted and never let anything get in her way.  She worked her way through her associates degree, then decided she wanted a bachelors, and now holds a masters degree and makes a living doing what she loves.  The old saying goes, do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.

Stefanie and Eric always hung out in the same circles, it was inevitable that they become friends.  But time and distance changes everything, and we often lose touch with people we were close with.  Years spent away at college and building careers and growing up separated Stephanie and Eric.  Until a few years ago when they got back in touch.  (Oh, the joys of social media!) they started dating not very long after and Stefanie had never been happier. 

Both the bride and groom have wonderful families that will be only enriched by the wonderful bond of love being made today.  I have a small gift for them today, the book of “Oh the places you go.”  The advice written herein is often taken as advice for young people going out into the world.  But can be helpful to anyone, be they single, couple or group, embarking on a new journey.  I leave you with some words from the infallible Dr Seuss.


Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why my Body defines me.

I know, in this day and age, with projects like The Adipositivity Project, and Fatshion blogs in abundance and a more fat acceptance than I have ever seen,  how can I say that my body defines who I am?  I'm not really sure, I just know that it does, it always has.  

Growing up being picked on for your weight by acquaintances, "friends", and family alike, in addition to the media frenzy on being thin and dieting, does not bode well for girls int heir formative years.  And this has only gotten worse since I was a child.  I learned from a very young age that I should be ashamed of my body, and watched my mother who was always thin, and still is, diet and exercise like mad.  She wouldn't eat for days and then she would binge in the middle of the night.  She had my step-dad put a padlock on the fridge to stop her from eating, so I was surrounded by disordered eating and distorted body image.  

Granted I suffer from a serotonin imbalance casing anxiety and depression, but even when properly medicated the smallest things can set of a bout of self loathing with regard to my body.  Two seemingly minor issues I dealt with this week resulted in bouts such as this.

Issue number 1:  Bras
I have always had larger breasts, even when I was thinner.  However, weight gain has only made them bigger.  Fitting into a bra has always been difficult.  I have never had a bra where the gore (the center piece between the cups) set against my breast bone, or had straps not leave painful marks on my shoulders.  the list of grievances I have with Bras goes on, but i digress as this is not the point.  I knew I was wearing the wrong size bra, most women in the US are, but I had no idea what size I should  be wearing!  I went to several stores and got sized, and kept getting the same answer.  I finally found that being an overweight woman, the stores were measuring the area at the bottom of the bra, which was actually my stomach, not under my breast, which is how you get a proper band size!  Delighted with this new information from herroom.com, I measured myself and used the guides found at epbot.com to get a correct size!  Huzzah!  I was so thrilled!  Finally, I would be able to find a properly fitting bra.  then an epiphany, perhaps it would even be comfortable!  Could it be?  

The answer is yes, and no.  Unfortunately for me, my bra size in not available in the US, so i have to order from out of the country, and the selection is limited.  And they are often sold out.  I am young enough to want cute underwear!  and I am a newly wed to boot!  Only full coverage bras are available in ,y size meaning that not only are my bras ugly, but unless I'm wearing a turtleneck, it also pokes out from most normal shirt necklines.  And being heavy, i never wear shirts that come close to my neck, both for comfort and aesthetics.  I tried to find a bra this week on a recommended website from a fellow extremely busty gal, and the website stopped just shy of my size.  Instantly I wanted to cry and looked up breast reduction surgery.  (The cost of which is astronomical!  Even AFTER the insurance pays their part, if you qualify)  So I can get a bra that fits, for a ton of money, plus shipping, that will not work with  most of my cloths, and be hideous.  Fair trade right?  Not so much.

Issue number 2: Pants
Pants, pants, pants.  How I loathe thee.  But they are necessary at my workplace.  A cooler option in the blazing summers of Florida, because I must wear stockings if I wear a dress or skirt, not to mention the bending squatting and climbing that I do on a daily basis.  

Pants are not the most flattering on my body type, and I do prefer dresses and skirts, for many reasons, but pants in my size are available, kind of.  The problems are still there though.  I can get pants that pit well, and don't look ridiculous, for a price.  A price i cant afford on a regular basis, especially with my thunder-thighs rubbing together and wearing out the crotch so fast.  Being short, I struggle with finding a plus size pant in a petite.  People seem to assume that petite means you must be thin, this is not the case!  In clothing it simply means short!  Guess what?  I can be short and fat.  Promise.   

So I needed pants for work, and I found exactly one pair of pants in my size at a store we were at that boasts a large plus size section, not all of it is great, but it never is.  I already have a pair of these pants, and I hate them, but they fit and they are $20.00 or less.  So I get to wear horrible unflattering pants TO WORK.  Because that's all I can find, and afford.  Awesome.  

My husband got to be with me for the pants excursion, and didn't understand my frustration or immediate mood difference.  And I couldn't tell him, because A) I would have cried  and B) its so hard to explain to someone who hasn't been taught that they aren't good enough because they aren't a size 2.  I have always wanted to be a performer, I can sing and dance and act, triple threat baby! But I have only ever been to 1 audition.  At a size 14 I heard the check in person tell the next person I would never get cast, because I was a cow.  I went in anyway, and as I waited for my number to be called it ate at me, for hours, eventually the insecurity won and I never even got through the audition.  I gave up on one of my dreams, because some jerk made a comment about my body.  Saying it sound ridiculous, and my rational brain knows it was insane, but my heart doesn't.  When someone makes a comment my heart hears the years of being called Orca, in Jr high and high School, my mother telling me it was okay to be so hungry my stomach hurt because i might lose a little weight.  And something so simple as not finding pants, sends me right back there. I become the insecure little girl again, looking at myself in the mirror and wondering if i will ever be good enough.  

Eventually this feeling passes, and I am back to my bad ass, uber confident self.  But each time I have to live through this a little piece of me will never be the same.  A little part of my soul becomes a bit more brittle, and I wonder if I will be able to bounce back next time.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

In between plans, Life happens, and God laughs...

So it just hit me that I haven't posted a single thing in 6 months!  I don't think I have any steady followers but that is not the point.  The point is that this blog is for me to write, about things i love, and things I hate and to use as a creative outlet and I have not done that.

So here are a few updates.

I failed attempt #1 at 1000 words a day
I will try again in January

I will be participating in NANOWRIMO again this year.
Hopefully I can get more words done this year than last year.

I am getting married on Halloween
I am planning a wedding for my aunt that will happen 2 days later.
AND I am the maid of honor for my best friends wedding in January.
I am wedding-ed out.

I have a few posts planned for the near future.  things at work will have slowed down for a little while so I should have some more time on my hands, thank GOD.

Oh, and of course wedding pics will be on the way!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

This isn't really a post at all.... (possible trigger)

Seriously,  I'm not sure why you're reading this, because I am not really sure why I'm writing it.  I have nothing relevant to say.  I have no new to report, nothing creative going on on my brain.  But I am trying to meet my 1000 word goal for the day, a daily goal which I rarely meet, and only because of a total lack of effort.  Not even for anything awesome like having kids or a life that gets in the way or anything.  Sucky right?

I haven't had much momentum lately, but I am starting to feel like myself again.  See, I didn't fill my prescriptions for several months and had been slowly being sucked back down into depression. It got pretty bad, like bad enough that I looked up some pretty scary things on the internet.  I wont get into what, but suffice it to say that it was a wake up call for me.  I wasn't better, I still needed my meds.

That was hard for me, knowing that I will most likely be chemically dependent on mood stabilizers for my whole life is a tough pill for me to swallow.  (Pun not intended, but it made me smile so it stays)  I don't want to be dependent on anyone or anything, but I must admit that my life without mood stabilizers is much much better than life without them.

Without my meds I cry about everything, and nothing, literally I cry for no freaking reason at all, for hours.  I also yell all the time!  Constantly yelling about everything, at the dogs, at my husband at my family.  CONSTANT.

Now I am back on my meds and it is getting better, slowly but surely.  There is less crying and more smiles.  Less yelling and more calm.  I don't freak out about everything, more like every other thing, and that too will get  better with time.

What i need to remember is that needing my meds doesn't make me weak, but remembering to take them can make me strong.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1000 words a day


Well today is day one of my newest challenge, one thousand words a day for a year.  It won’t be easy I’m sure but I just told my aunt who is currently in college and has her first writing course that writing 1000 words isn’t hard.  So here I am setting out to prove it.  If I keep up with my promise then I will have over three hundred and sixty five words at the end of a year.  I will try to complete a book, or a series of poems.  Perhaps I will just journal my way through a year.  Who knows!  But this is leg one of my journey. 

I found writing prompt online the other day and saved it for when I was stuck, but I think that it may serve me well in this endeavor:  you find yourself in front of seven doors.  A voice from above tell you: “these seven doors lead to seven places, Narnia, Neverland, Wonderland, Hogwarts, Camelot, Middle Earth and Westeros.”  Which door do you go through?  Why that door?  What happens?   And now it truly begins…

“Mandee, these seven doors lead to seven places, Narnia, Neverland, Wonderland, Hogwarts, Camelot Middle Earth and Westeros.  Choose wisely.”

“What on earth?” I mutter to myself.  “Where am I?”  I found myself in the middle of nowhere with no recollection of how I came to be in such a place.  There seemed to be nothing at all anywhere.  I was in a sea of endless white; the only thing within my sight was seven doors.  They were free standing; I could walk entirely around them.  Each door was identical heavy oak doors with aged coppery gold fittings.  As I looked closer I noticed that the doors weren’t quite identical.  There was one difference that distinguished each door from its counterparts; the handles.  The first handle was inset with the head of a lion, the second a clock.  The third handle had a caterpillar on it, the fourth a pointed witch’s hat.  The fifth and sixth doors both had swords on them, though one shined blue, and the last door had hand grasping a crown.
 
Each symbol clearly designated the supposed location that each door led to.  The lion was for Narnia, the clock for never land, the caterpillar must be for Neverland, the Witch’s hat was clearly for Hogwarts, the swords were for Camelot and Middle Earth and the grasping hand and crown for Westeros, wherever that may be.  That was, at least according to the magical voice from nowhere.  I rolled my eyes and squeezed my eyes shut tight, and when I opened them I would be back home in my bed, after all this was clearly a dream.   I opened my eyes and sighed, I still wasn't awake.  Time to try the pinching, I hate being pinched and so I try to avoid it at all costs, I took a deep breath grabbed onto my arm and squeezed, “Ouch!” I yelped in surprise.  Well that didn't work either.  Well, I could always walk away and wait for this to turn into some other crazy thing.  I did an immediate about face and marched off, away from the doors. 

I walked for what seemed like forever.  I walked until my legs ached and my breath was labored but nothing changed, all I could see was the white nothingness of this strange place.  I stopped and turned around to see what kind of progress I had made; I was no farther from the doors than I had been when I started on my trek.
 
I sank to my knees panting, my mind reeling, how could I have walked so far and gotten nowhere?  Had I walked all the way around in a circle?  There was no way for me to know, I was too tired and thirsty to try again, and I apparently wasn’t going to be waking up any time soon.  I threw my hands up walked closer to the doors.  Now the question was how to choose?
I closed my eyes and spun myself dizzy one hand out, index finger extended, I would leave my fate to chance. 

I spun and spun; the joy and freedom of my childhood returning, laughter bubbled up in my throat and as a stopped spilled from my mouth.  When I had caught my breath again I opened my eyes and looked at the door my wild spinning had brought me to.  The door with the caterpillar on it; I was headed to Wonderland. 

I walked to the door, the many versions of wonderland I had seen ran through my head.  The version I envisioned when I read the classic Lewis Carroll tale, the Disney Cartoon version, the Warped Version from American McGee, the ABC miniseries and the Tim Burton Movie all made an appearance.  I wondered which one was closest to the truth, if any were close at all.
  
I was right in front of the door now, I touched it, and it felt like regular wood, I’m not sure what I expected.  I pressed my ear against it to try and decipher any sounds from the other side, to give me warning of exactly what was waiting for me on the other side, my hears found silence.  I held my breath and reached for the door, I jerked my hand back before I even got a grip on the handle.  My heart was pounding, and I was shaking, nervous as I had ever been. 

“This is ridiculous,” I scolded myself.  “This is a dream, it’s not real.”  And I reached out for the door again.  I steeled my nerves and yanked the door open stepping though without giving myself a chance to back down again. 

I felt a cool breeze and let the door close behind me.  I had stepped into a wood, I was surrounded by the tallest trees I had even seen, and I was standing on a carpet of soft moss, I could hear birds chirping in the distance.  I turned to take not of where the door was, so that I could return to it if I needed to, but it was no longer there.  I was now in wonderland with no discernible way of returning to the hall of nothingness and doors.

that is the beginning my friends, I don't think I will post every 1000 words, but I wanted to document my first step.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Best Part of Wakin' Up... Racist Radio Announcers?

You may or may not know that I am an avid reader, of many many things, book, blogs etc, but also of the online Magazine XOJane.  Since I have been doing so I have become aware of many things that may have gone unnoticed before.  for example language that has been a part of my regular vocabulary that many people find offensive, some I have decided to change, and others I keep because I just like the word regardless of its offensive potential.  It has also made me more and more aware of things that others say and do as well.  (Thanks mostly to the amazeballs author Lesley Kinzel)

Enter the racial profiling I heard on the morning radio today.

At my job we have to park very far from our actual workplace, my job has provided a shuttle to those of us to lazy, or sleep deprived, still not awake.  it gets me a good bit more than halfway to my destination then I trudge my way on to punch the proverbial clock.  the bus drivers are a friendly bunch (mostly) and we get to hear the radio and get the weather etc.  The station this morning was no different, except that the guys hosting the show just kind of laughed and joked about everything, this is fine, i have no issue with it, in fact that is my preferred method of receiving my news.

And then they got to this story.  Kinda horrible, kinda funny (I know I'm awful).  one of the announcers was saying that couples going to the shooting range is therapeutic  it relieves stress and anger, plus if your lady doesn't know how to shoot you get to snuggle up to her to teach her.  He also claimed it's a double edged sword, because now she knows how to shoot a gun.  Funny right?  but then things took a turn for the worse.

The next words out of his mouth were "It's great for when Julio, comes through the bedroom window..."  Say what?  So many different words would have sufficed to describe a trespasser, trespasser in fact being one of them, burglar, intruder, invader, offender, assailant are all words that would sufficiently describe someone entering a premises without permission.  Instead this radio announcer chose to use a clearly Hispanic/Latino name.  Because of course people of other ethnic persuasions don't break and enter.  I tried to look up if we could sort perpetrators by race to see what race most commonly commits B&E's but the numbers are so skewed and so much conflicting information out there that there is no way for us to really know.

I like to think that any name of any ethnicity would have provoked the same ire in me, unless is was a general pseudonymous like "Johnny Break-In" or something equally silly.  But the fact of the matter is they chose and ethnic name.  

In fact it is my husbands name.  So yeah, there's that, I might be perhaps a bit more irritated than had they chosen another name, but irked and irritated and quite frankly angry.  I have no idea what radio station it was because once that little gem was heard I pretty much stopped paying attention, thoughts like "Did I really just hear that?"  were taking up all the space in my minimally functioning early morning brain.  

I wish I knew what radio station it was so I could copy this blog to them and send a formal complaint, because this is unacceptable in any media, and quite frankly in modern America and the world as a whole.  This is what so many generations of minorities and women and transgender people and more have fought against.  I wish that we lived in a world where these things didn't happen, but they do.  Maybe if we don't accept things as they are and we all fight back against these injustices someday our children's children can live in world without racial profiling.  I would love to say in  a world without hate, but I don't think that is what this is, I think that what I heard this morning was ignorance and ignorant people can be educated. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Goals for 2013 and beyond

Writing has been elusive lately, either I don't have the time, or I don't have the ideas.  A change of job means more hours and less pay, so I don't haven have time to try out any new crafts or recipes.    I did however have to make a goal sheet for 2013 as part of my job, funny thing is, none of my goals have anything to do with  my current job or company!  The exercise asks for personal, professional, and health goals for 1 year, 5 years and 10 years, it also asks you for specific tangible dates by which to have them completed, as well as one word to describe your goals for year 1.  Let me share mine with you.

1 Year

Personal:      Legally Marry J.  10/31 2013
                   Save $2000 toward my down payment on a house  12/31/2013
Professional: Finish editing my book 12/31/2013
                    Have 1 article published 12/31/2013
Health:          Be able to run 1 mile, without feeling like I'm going to die 6/1/2013 
                   (I'm REALLY out of shape)  
                    Eat more vegetables 2 a day by 3/1/2013
One Word:  Change

5 Year

Personal:       Be a mother of 1 12/31/2018
                    Be a home owner
Professional:  Get paid regularly to write  1/1/2018
                    Have my book Published  12/31/2018
Health:          Be able to run 5 miles  6/1/2018
                    Be back at my "goal weight" 1/1/2018

10 Year

Personal:         Be a  mother of 2
                      Learn to let things go
Professional:   Write as my only "job"
                     Complete second book
Health:           Maintain my "goal weight"
                     Have a stock pile of delicious healthy FAST recipes

Lets see if I can accomplish my goals for this year!  I am not off to a great start because I have been sick, but I am feeling better now so here we go!