blue lights

Festivus for the Restivus

So you all know what festivus is...remember, from Seinfeld? I decided this Christmas that i wanted to campaign to add a sort of Festivus celebration to my holiday season. Not as the article above boasts about, but rather something a little different.

The holidays as 'properly' spent in our society are to be focussed on time with your family. In Canada at least, you do what you can to travel to your family and spend the time with them. If you don't like your family (or don't have one) and choose to not do that, and you're lucky you can maybe find an ex-pat Xmas celebration or two going on that you can join. But for the most part, most of your friends are going to also be heading off to their families as well. If you're lucky in an alternate way you might get invited into a family Christmas as well, which can be nice. And hell if that family is totally against the norm it could be a very special and wonderful time. But you'll still feel like a fifth wheel and essentially be an outsider. Even if they are the most welcoming friendly family in the universe there will still be two million years of in-jokes and short-speak that you're only going to get if they continuously explain them to you in asides. However, they'll still mostly be you-had-to-be-there kind of experiences. The only way to get around this type of thing is to come back to that same Christmas year after year so you too start to build up a lexicon of shared experiences. That's what we all do when we marry into a family and start spending time with them.

But i sort of discovered something this year as the wife and i went from x-mas to x-mas (we attend 3 very different x-mas celebrations between our two families). I am a huge closet sentementalist (shhhh, it's a secret - also this is not what i discovered, i've known this forever). I found that every time that i found the joy of christmas somewhere inside of me trying to come out it was strangled by something. The xmas spirit for both the wife and i this year was very difficult...we didn't really feel it was christmas time until alone, mid-christmas morning driving from the first celebration to the next listening to a Michael Buble x-mas CD. The extent of our x-mas decorating from home was moving the jingly xmas hangy thing from the front of the fridge where it got put last year cause it missed getting into the x-mas storage box back to the apt door.

But as we were driving along, just the two of us, playing the carols, i started to feel all warm and friendly and family-y. I find that during christmas at home, or homes, whenever i start to feel like that, someone will yell about something, or someone will bring up something from the past that was best left unsaid or they would just bring out a piece of their repellant personality that you put up with because they're family. in short, the warm friendly feelings that you might want to have overcome you with feelings of joy and love, are destroyed as quickly as they come. This has alwasy been the way for me, well it always was the way until i went back east to school. For the six years i was at school i spent xmas with my grandparents, aunts, uncles cousins and etc. During that time i was taught what a delight that christmas can be. Returned the joyous feelings that i remember from my early childhood. Christmas was just a time of joy and laughter, hugs and healing, family and friends.

Now i'm not saying i don't want to spend Christmas with my or J's family. There is still something special and wonderful about that time and i don't go give it up. And i don't want to suggest that we didn't have a good time over the holidays. We did, there were islands of time during the 4 days that were really quite enjoyable. What i found when i was driving down that road with my wife, suddenly feeling the spirit of christmas was that i really wanted to give a particular friend a christmas hug and let her know how much i missed and cared about her right that moment. feelings that should be a part of christmas but don't seem to be a part of the holidays we have been spending.

i came up with a thought experiment at that time, that i'd like to maybe travel away somewhere just with a couple of friends for xmas to see how it ends up being different. but that also has it's issues.

so here's what i would like to do.
institute festivus - a day to spend your holiday with the people you choose to care about rather than those that you are forced to care about. (i know, i know, some of you would also choose to love your families given the choice.

this isn't just a big party, it's not so much of gathering and mingling and getting drunk.
it's a small to medium group of people that you gather to to hang out, chat, talk, eat some food and most importantly laugh.
a glass or 6 of port, sherry or fortified egg nog is fine but it's not the goal.
no presents, too much of that already but i think i'd like the idea of a set of gift bags set up in a room and everyone who comes in can go in and put one stocking-type gift in each bag. just something small and thoughtful and fun. it's so hard to just buy someone a cute little moisturizer or something these days. then later in the gathering we'd opening stockings amongst more laughter.

timing could be a challenge (see above travelling statements) but maybe it's something we could fit in either the week before xmas or maybe even on new years day. close enough to the day to have meaning but not necessary to be right there.

so that's my idea and my campaign.
what do you think? would you participate?
far looking

blogging query

does anyone remember that great post from about 3 years ago that went around that was a big long how'to of making an effective, readable personal blog? i looked around for it and can't find it. i liked it and a friend it just starting a blog and i wanted to point him at it. all i remember right now is that it was on a blue background.

turns out that every person in the universe, and their donkey, has written a post about writing a good personal blog these days.
far looking

Diabetes is my bitch.

Diabetes 18 months after diagnosis.

Ok, I guess the first thing to say is that this isn’t an accurate subject line. Diabetes is a lifelong disease (or is it a condition) that can at best be kept at bay. If you for one second (actually more like 6 months) think that you’ve conquered it and forget to keep up the actions that have kept it reigned in for so long then it will come back worse than ever.

All that said I was at the diabetes clinic today. It was my, um, I’d say yearly but it’s like 9 months since my last visit. I will be going back to the diabetes clinic probably for the rest of my life on a yearly basis. I was a little nervous about this visit. The last four months have been kinda hard for my diabetes regimen. It’s always hard for me to objectify statements like that though. I understand that for some people being bad means having a bowl of ice cream and cake once a week (re my parents) but for me being bad is allowing me to have whole grain crust pizza one night two weeks in a row and having more of it than I should have. Different levels I guess. It’s not really that my diet has suffered a huge amount, I’ve actually been rather good but I have relaxed a fair amount diet-wise since last year. Ie – potatoes used to be relegated to maybe once a week because they’re a medium GI but now I eat them 4 or 5 times a week. This relaxing isn’t bad per se, I’m still getting fairly close to what the nutritionists say most of the time. (Diabetes-wise anyways, I’m not really close enough fat reduction wise as they’d like for general health). This would be my first time going back to the clinic after the relaxing however, and that was a bit scary for me.

In addition to the diet relaxation the last few months were pretty tough exercise-wise as well. Sept-Oct-Nov were pretty crazy at work and I was working some extreme hours. Some days were as much as 16 hours but they were pretty regularly 13 or so. This was leaving me in the state that the 45 minute walk home just wasn’t something I was able to do, either for time or just energy. At first I was forcing it quite a bit but when the weather got really cruddy by the time November hit, I wasn’t at my 5 trips walking per week anymore I was more like 1 or 2. December had even less as work eased up but life got so busy.

So I was worried going into today’s session. I’d made the time last week to get my bloodwork done in time for the appointment so I knew that they would have all the noose that they needed to hang me if necessary. OK, they don’t hang you, they just look at you with tired disapproval and try their best to help you not kill yourself. It’s just about as bad as parental disapproval (which hasn’t been a problem for years…not that my parents approve of me or anything they just don’t have that much impact anymore). And this bloodwork…the main factor that it presents is the A1C measure which is your 4 month blood sugar average. I’d had mine taken in early November and it was fine but because it’s averaging, that could have been my really good august/ early September overshadowing and making my average ok. I’ve also been feeling lately like I’d gained a bit of weight, nothing huge, I didn’t think, but having that confirmed isn’t high on my list of things to do either.

My A1C when I had last measured was 5.7. That’s good, it’s not perfect but it’s good. So when you test your blood in metric system you want a 6.0 mmol/L. That’s what an average person’s resting state blood sugar level will hang out at. A diabetic is happy if they can hit somewhere between 6 and 7. When you start hanging onto levels that are higher than that for longer periods of time you begin to risk cellular damage. The A1C measure isn’t 1-1 with that blood sugar level but it is close. If you add one to your number you get what your avg blood sugar level probably was at any given time during that 4 month period (ish). So i was worried that this value had drifted a lot.

Well my visit was a happy one.

My A1C was at 5.8, which is what it was at my last clinic visit. So I might have had a slightly worsening but really not too bad and that can be fixed lickity split by a re-invigorated exercise regime. My bad cholesterol is great (dr’s words) and my bad cholesterol, while slightly less good than last year is still pretty good. My triglycerides are also good. Sure I might not be so very lucky that I have diabetes but I’ve been very lucky that I don’t have bad cholesterol to boot. I really don’t have any reason to expect with the way I ate my life for the first 35 years that I should have reasonable cholesterol. Apparently my parents’ DNA has been good for something.
My blood pressure tested at 130 over 70. Given that last year I tested 150 over 90 and the doc wanted to put me on a blood pressure drug and I talked him into letting me monitor for a while instead I am very happy about this. I think the high level was related to ‘white coat syndrome’ which is something my father is plagued by, where you test high at the dr cause you’re stressed about testing. I think it was also related to the fact that at home the machine makes me be at rest for 20 minutes before I test and at the dr’s office I generally have just walked briskly 20 blocks or so to get there and don’t get very much rest time before I’m dragged in. My dr was very happy about this measure and said we should monitor a bit for tests over time but really it’s not a concern anymore.
We are going to leave me on the diabetes metformin pills for another year. Last visit we’d talked about maybe reducing the dosage but with my body being so happy with them and with the fact that they have produced such a stabilizing result for me the dr thinks we should keep going with them. So that’s ok.

The one dark spot was I had gained 12 lbs over last year’s weight. That’s not very good as I’d also dropped a bit in between. But they weren’t super concerned about that. Said that it was post holidays and everyone’s a bit up there. Well I’m not happy about it and I will be adjusting things and re-increasing the exercise to help work on it. The dietician was nice, indicated that I was doing pretty well overall and showed me some places where I need to improve. As far as I can tell dieticians are like dental hygienists, it doesn’t matter how well you do they will always find somewhere for you to improve. I don’t disagree with her, I need to improve in those areas. One is that I have to eat more…at snack time. I also have to put some more protein back into breakfast.

The last thing that the dr said as I was on my way out that it was really good to be able to give some good news for once. I get the impression that people doing what it takes to be healthy with diabetes isn’t the norm that I would expect it to be. On the other hand, when I watch the people in my life with it…I do see where they are coming from (more my family than you B). I try, I really try to not be holier than thou with this stuff and George knows that I’m not perfect about it in any way but some things people do are so weird. Like the guy at work who controls his sugar lows with pepsi and fudgeos. I don’t mean as an emergency measure, he eats a pack and drinks pepsi daily. I am going to do whatever I can to not be the guy on a needle. Barring that I’m going to do whatever I can do to not be the diabetic guy who loses his eyes. One thing about it is, it’s degenerative, no matter how well I do, eventually I might have to do more to maintain the same level. Well my plan is to keep up at this level as long as I can until there is some sort of cure. We’ll see. Another factor that makes holier than thou seem stupider is it’s only 18 months…out of a possible 50 more years. Maybe I’ll let myself be smug in 10 more years if I still have a 5.8.

spoken word music...

Back from the dead…might be.

So I was walking to work today all bundled up for the cold (which never really came) and yet still wearing shorts when ‘one burbon, one scotch and one beer’ came on on my playlist. I realized as George started the song that it was a spoken word song. You know, a song where the artist is basically speaking and telling a story as he goes rather than outright singing. I hadn’t ever really thought about it before but it turns out that I am actually a big fan of spoken word songs. When one comes on I am filled with warmth and happiness.

My thoughts progressed from here to jump to the CBC Radio show Vinyl Tap, the one that Randy Bachman of BTO hosts where he picks a theme, like ‘B’ sides or ear worms or whatever and then proceeds to pick songs from his experiences and tell a story about them as he relates them to the subject. I quite like the show. The stories are almost always interesting to me and his interplay with both the audience and his wife/helper are pretty amusing. This jump wasn’t so very random because I was thinking that maybe I should send him in a show idea (something they encourage) asking for a show that talks about songs that have spoken word within them. Walking along thinking about this made me consider more and more how these songs have related to my life. from this point i sent this email to the vinyl tap request email.

Hello there, my name is spad (changed that from my real name) and I wanted to drop a line with my suggestion for a Vinyl Tap show.
I love the show and listen as often as I can.

Today on my walk to work, ‘one bourbon, one scotch and one beer’ by George Thorogood and the Destroyers came on and I was struck once again by how much I love songs that have a spoken word component. They aren’t something that I seek out but when they come on by chance I seem almost mesmerized by them. I’m not really one for listening to lyrics in general, I almost dissociate them from the music in some ways. I hear the words, they’re part of the lyrics but I can listen to the same song for years before what it might be trying to say bubbles through my brain. The same is not true for spoken word, it, if you’ll pardon the pun, speaks to me. I remember the very first time I ever listened to Alice’s Restaurant. I was in 2nd year university and was just preparing to head out to a class when it came on the radio. I’d never even heard of it before let alone heard to it. Before it was time to leave I had listened to about 2 minutes of it…I couldn’t leave. Most songs are only 3-5 minutes long right, I could finish it, hustle and still make it to class. By the time I realized I had no idea how long this song might be it was far too late for me to be on time for that class. By the time the song was actually over, I just gave up and skipped my class. That may have been the start of a distressing trend in my academic life but I hardly blame the music.

I think that storytelling is an art that doesn’t get enough respect in our society in this modern age. I know that most songs attempt to tell a story through their lyrics but it always seems so much more powerful within the choice of spoken words. It’s like of like the comparison between poetry and prose. Poetry might try to tell a story but it’s trying to hook you on some more base ethereal level at its core. Prose wants to hook you with the story it wants to tell. Same thing for lyrical songs versus spoken words songs in my opinion. At their heart their goal is just slightly different.

I can remember, as a kid watching the Tommy Hunter show on TV. It wasn’t really by choice so much as I didn’t really care for country music then any more than I do today but we only had the CBC back then and even at that age, or maybe even more so at that age I had an unhealthy attachment to television. So I would play or read or do whatever else might take my attention during the show but at some point he would stop the show and sit on a stool in the middle of the stage with darkness all around and just a focal spot tight in on him and do a reading. Whatever else I had be doing would be dropped and I would sit there rapt and listen to his story that he read as he played along. Not necessarily spoken word but I think the two things speak to the same part of my soul.

There are other examples, of course, but I think I have already taken up more of your time than my simple request warrants.

Anyways, I would be very happy if you would do a show focusing on songs that have as a core component some spoken word story telling.

One other example that i didn't include that i kind of wanted to talk about was Ani DiFranco. I was in a Virgin superstore one day about 11 years ago and was at one of the listening centres. i hadn't ever heard of ani before and popped on the headphones. one of the songs, 'fuel' i think, played. it was spoken word. i loved it. i bought the album. i kind of enjoyed the entire album. So i figured i must like ani diFranco and i bought some more of her music. as i bought more i realized that her music wasn't really like that one song for the most part and that in general i wasn't really a fan. too much anger in her music (i don't like anger in almost any form - i try to blame my rage-o-holic family.) or maybe too much message. but i do enjoy that song and most of the first album i bought as well.

feels like there should be a conclusion at this point but somehow i don't think this story is complete. it's more like one of those movies that begins in the middle, has some stuff happen and ends before the ending. i love those too.

editted to add this response...

Yes, we've had a lot of requests to do a show on Story songs, so we'll probably get to that this next season. Thanks for the entertaining letter about it!

Denise McCann Bachman for Randy’s Vinyl Tap CBC Radio One Saturdays 7 – 9 pm, (8-10 pm in Atlantic Canada), Friday repeat 11 pm – 1 am, and on CBC Radio Two Sundays at 6 pm [all times ½ hour later in Newfoundland]
far looking


this little guy was at dufresne's wedding.
the trellis is in the half circle path at the top of the rose bowl.

the the photo was just a continuous button press with my camera as i panned along the squirrel's path.
munchkin duck

feeling just a little stupid

a conversation i had today with bebby

(2:57:04 PM) spadoink: so when we moved in, we started parking in our parking spot. we believed that our spot is 28 and 29. they've both been empty as long as we've been there except for our car.
(2:57:06 PM) spadoink: that's not ish.
(2:57:21 PM) Bebby: what?
(2:57:23 PM) Bebby: really?
(2:57:32 PM) spadoink: at some point i thought i maybe saw something that might have said our spots were two others but i lost the piece of paper and had a pretty strong memory of these spots.
(2:57:34 PM) Bebby: So, who told you? Did you get a nasty note?
(2:57:47 PM) spadoink: so yesterday someone parked in the other one of our spots.
(2:58:00 PM) Bebby: OH
(2:58:01 PM) Bebby: my.
(2:58:02 PM) spadoink: and j was all, 'let's leave them a note' and i made her wait until i could figure it out.
(2:58:24 PM) spadoink: so i looked through a few hundred papers and found only one that referred to such things, and it was a hand written inspection form so i wasn't sure about it.
(2:58:31 PM) spadoink: so i emailed the strata president.
(2:58:43 PM) spadoink: and he confirmed it. we have been wrong teh whole time.
(2:58:51 PM) Bebby: gosh darn.
(2:58:55 PM) Bebby: are your new spots good spots?
(2:59:23 PM) spadoink: they're fine, perhaps slightly better, although further from the door. but same from elevator and basically same to storage, although there's an extra door.
(2:59:30 PM) spadoink: and can pull in park.

what a bunch of maroons.

endless diabetic blather...

This a response entry to littlegirltoast’s entry about diabetes and weight.

A couple of things about diabetes and then I’ll talk about weight and image and exercise. This may end up being a huge comment…or not, depends upon my day I guess.

Although the dr didn’t talk about my case in this way I’ve kind of figured it out after talking to others and reading and stuff, I’ve been caught very early. Or I have a moderate case. I’ve figured this out because of some of my friends that have the big D and their sugar levels and averages were significantly higher and yet they’re still on drugs and diet for control. The longer you wait to diagnose this sort of thing the more damage that gets done and the harder it is to come back from it. With two of my uncles and my father, they have started on either diet only or drugs and diet and have had such a hard time holding to what they needed that they have ended up on needles. This is one of the big things that hits you…it’s hard to follow a good healthy diet for 90% of the time for the rest of your life. It’s a long time, it’s hard. It’s easy to be good for a month or two, short term dedication is pretty easy but in the end, the lifelong formed cravings may take over. That’s what happened to them all. I think it’s especially bad if you’ve dieted before and fallen off and then on again. it builds a sense of no real bad effect from falling off the wagon into your psyche.

But as a reassurance I have more than one person, (and a lot of people have reached out to me after I posted about getting it, diabetes is an extremely common affliction), who started out diagnosed and on diet and drugs and after weight loss and exercise are back off drugs. I’m not sure if this is accurate, but even though they say they’re not diabetic, I’m sort of running on the notion that it’s the same as alcohol addiction, once you’ve got it, you’ve got it forever. If you lose the weight and come off drugs and process sugar ok again…that doesn’t mean that you can gain weight again, cause then you have it again.

Since I’ve started dealing with my own Diabetes I’ve learned some stuff, for sure. When you consume too many carbs, then your blood sugar goes up, obviously, but the insulin tolerance means that it’s going to stay high for quite a while. The only thing that I know about that will bring that down nicely if you have the intolerance is exercise. This is one of the tools that I’ve implemented in my arsenal and I have another friend on needles that uses running for the same thing. High blood sugar plus extended activity = low blood sugar.

The big thing about the changing to eating healthier is basically cutting out free sugars from your diet. Oh, and I should preface, most of this information isn’t even 2nd hand from official source yet as my actual diabetes training isn’t until nov. it’s been gathered through numerous sources and my own regimine of blood testing. Free sugars means more than just lollipops and coca cola, it’s all the, as they say, the white stuff. White bread, white rice, pasta, potatoes, etc. Those things have such easy to process carbs that they count as much the same thing as a spoon full of sugar helping the medicine go down. Coming into these changes in the past few weeks I’ve found that I am VERY lucky that I’ve done atkins before. It really introduced me to the notion of a low/no carb diet and tought me the tricks and tips that I would personally need to get through it. In some ways, in comparison, the diabetic diet is a lot easier…I’m allowed a piece of whole grain toast as a diabetic, no such luck on atkins. You still have to count carbs, your count is just different. In others it’s harder, on atkins you can’t have insane fat but because it’s atkins you’re actually processing fat way more efficiently than normal and need a certain amount of fat, as a diabetic, one should be low fat. Things like dropping potatos and pizza from your diet (for atkins) or reducing them (well, to zero for pizza) is really tough – things like that that can make or break a person’s ability to conform to the need.

But all that’s kind of bonus info, you’re not diabetic yet, you just have to be aware of this shit going down and start eating healthier and then boom, never an issue. But it’s even harder to think that you’re eating like a diabetic so you don’t become a diabetic. If I go to dinner at someone’s house I get to say, ‘I can’t eat that, I’m diabetic,’ you get to say, ‘I can’t eat that, I’m worried about becoming diabetic.’ It’s tough. Even the people in your life who say, ‘come on, just onnnnnnne mini doughnut…’ it’s tough. that happend to me as recently as sunday

Ok, so exercise.

One of the big things coming out of this is that I have to exercise. My bad cholesterol is ok (I think I can actually thank atkins for that cause otherwise it boggles my mind that it would be ok) and my good cholesterol is a touch low but the dr said that exercise would help that. and then there’s the whole controlling sugar levels thing and just general health and losing weight so I’m not diabetic anymore. And I have other reasons, my weight is also a contribiting factor to lung problems. Ok, so lots of reasons to exercise.

I’ve tried a number of different ways to just exercise. a few years ago I became a gym rat - 6 times a week guy, alternating my days between cardio and weights. I figured out that there were different times of the day that were better for me. That first thing in the morning was awful for me, made me feel like crap all day, that the evening was ok but was hard to overcome the whole ‘home now’ aspect and get out to do it. I made a deal with my boss at the time, I came in a bit earlier and did ½ an hour at the gym every day at 10 a.m.. This worked pretty well for me. But really…I hate working out at the gym. Once you make it a habit, you can do it, but I always had to force it. I think I did that program for about 6 months and then it dropped at xmas and never came back.

Organized activties is another way to go. If you join a volleyball league, or a mountain biking club, or something like that. something that schedules normal regular meetings, it becomes a good part of a habit. I hate that kind of thing too, for the most part. Not sure why. Probably cause I don’t really like strangers much and don’t like over-competetiveness and have never been especially talented at any particular sport. So, not for me, but really works for some of my friends.

I’ve never used a personal trainer but know a bunch and the motivation can obviously be a super powerful tool to keep things moving.

I read a comment about the push-ups…just a story about something I used to do. When I was finishing high school, I was already pretty big and decided one day that my arms were really flabby and I wasn’t strong enough. I didn’t want to start lifting weights because then my family would have ribbed me about it. So I started doing pushups. Well, I did my first pushup from the floor and that was about the only one I could do, I think. I didn’t see how collapsing after one pushup a day was going to get me very far but what I did learn was that pushups are easier when you do them at an angle, so I started doing them against the side of my bedframe. I could do about 20 there when I started and within a month I was up to 100 and a month after that I was doing 50 on the floor. A year later I won a bet because no one believed I could do 100 pushups. That’s all well and good though, now I’m probably back to 1.

So how am I conquering the exercise bug? I’ve always loved walking. I used to walk a lot more. When I had nothing better to do on a Saturday I’d leave my house in the morning and come back to it 4 hours later or 8 hours later and all i did was just pick a direction and walk. It was also a defense I adopted when I was staying with my grandmother in guelph during holiday season. it was middle of the winter but when her ‘stories’ came on in the daytime, I’d pick a direction and walk for 3 hours and learn more about guelph.

The very night that I got my second confirming diagnosis of diabetes the wife and I started walking. We’re doing an hour or so about 5 nights a week. I’ve also started taking the skytrain only halfway to work so that I get an extra 20 mins in the morning. There’s a trick to making walking exercise though…it has to be fast enough or hard enough to get your heart rate up. I like to include hills in my walk so that I get heart rate spikes coupled with the notion that I walk fast enough to keep it up there. The same would be true about biking. If it’s easy for you it’s not doing as much good. I’ve heard some people say that walking isn’t any sort of exercise but that’s not true, it’s all about the heart rate. In the 3 weeks we’ve been walking we’ve increased our average speeds quite a bit and hills that were hard before are a lot easier. It’s really a very good time to spend with the wife, although sometimes, you’re short of breath and really energetic conversations are harder. (imagine finding something to talk to audra about...) In addition to that, walking is a lot quieter than a lot of other excercises and listening to podcasts, music, radio etc is a lot easier. CBC has definitely been my friend in this for a lot of my life.

And to tell you the truth, I’ve always been completely in love with picking a direction in a city and walking for an hour turning right, walking a half hour and then turning towards home. You can cover a heck of a lot of distance in that amount of time and it’s a marvelous way to learn your city inside and out.

Will I increase my exercise from these levels? I dunno, maybe as I get in better shape, for sure. Or the rains are going to come here soon and it’s going to be less likely that I will walk. The wife and I are considering our options and they will likely include a gym just for the lack of rain. I’m not looking forward to that part, but I really do want to keep this condition under control so it’s going to be a must.

Body image…that’s a tougher one. So I’ve been large since I was about 10. I had this one friend in elementary school that I had been chunky around the whole time we knew each other and he one day said that he’d made a discovery the night before. I had been on a little league team that his mom coached a few years before that neither of us remembered and I wasn’t chunky then. Something changed in between those times. Large wasn’t a shock to me though, my mom’s large, my dad’s large, my sister’s large (although mom and dad were thin until into their 30’s - although…my brother is quite skinny.) it’s always been tough for me to violently attack my weight, because I’ve always been pretty happy with me. Loving me. I’ve fought against not being in shape, I’ve fought against my clothes not fitting, but mostly, I’d always had a large problem picking a diet/exercise regime because I was just so happy with who I was. changing it…there was no overriding impetous to make it happen. There were a few lackadaisical attempts that lasted a few months at this that and other other thing but nothing that really lasted. I lost something like 40 lbs when I was wandering europe for 4 months and while I liked the smallerness, it didn’t matter that much to me.

The one thing that really made things stand out fo rme though happened a few years ago. I was in the second annual united way tug of war between our company and one a few floors from us. in this second year they made us weigh-in because the year before we had destroyed them. They had a really good scale out there but I hadnt’ weighed myself in years. The machine went to 350… but I was over that. not a lot but over. That opened my eyes.

At that point I’d been talking to my cubemate about atkins and his participation in it. My dubiousity was about the size of kilimanjaro about atkins at that point but I read the book and did some research and thought about it an awful lot and then did it. And lost 70 lbs in about 5 months. and atkins for me seemed to work without any need for exercise.
That was really cool…losing weight is so addictive…the feelings you get when your clothes get looser and you look forward to that next notch on your belt. Racks of clothes that you thought were closed to you were suddenly open. You get a spring in your step that had faded because you’d gained weight. Like a real and true tangible step. flights of stairs that really made you tired before, they become suddenly easier cause you're not carrying a giant backpack up them with you.
These factors become brilliant and addictive and etc. of course, so’s eating ice cream and pizza. Anyways, that lasted for 8 or 9 months and then I was off it and managed to maintain that weight for a year or so and then it started to drift back up again. I would go on atkins stints afer that until present that really just kept me from ballooning back up to the full original weight. Which brings us to present. To date I continued to be happy with myself, my body for the most part with these little concerns about health or being too big to do something that I wanted to do. Like parachuting…cant’ do that at this weight, I’m higher than the safety rating.

It’s always a mental struggle. Our society fills itself up to the freaking rim with stereotypes about almost every facet of people imaginable. Fat people quite a few of their own. If you’re fat you obviously never do anything active and only eat potato chips. That’s so untrue, I’ve known some amazingly active fat people that just don’t lose weight. On the other hand, there are somethings that do apply to myself. They have never really seemed to matter. I take it upon myself to make sure that I’m not sitting on rickity chairs and things like that but not really more than that. I dunno. Eventually it’s not just about society though, eventually it’s also about your health.

In some ways, for me, personal image, body image, they’re really difficult things to play with. My confidence comes from how much I love myself and while I love myself a lot in my head, there is still room in that for a pretty negative body image. I know that I have to work harder when I find a not obviously beautiful person to find the angle or the side that my photographic eye will find beautiful. There is always something that I am going to be able to find to take a picture of that I will find beauty in but it takes more work, more imagination, more creativity. that’s a very positive thing I think. The working harder part, maybe not, but I fully admit that’s a me thing, perhaps aided by society but totally coming out of my own head.
i've found myself trying to justify that in different ways over the year. the fit body, or not even a 'fit' body but a body with gentle curves is closer to the gentic, evolutionary perfection, why shouldn't my eye find their beauty easier. a lot of the time though that doesn't read as reasonable to me. really, i'm just happy, i guess that there are still many cases where i don't have to work at it for people who aren't in the perfect realm, that they are spontaneously beautiful. maybe for some i work that way too.

gosh, ok, this is a book already.
there's stuff still in my head percolating and maybe there will be another post.