Saturday, August 30, 2008

First of all, sorry for the long stretch of no-posting. Things have been crazy busy around here. But hurray for three-day weekends! Here's what's been going on at the Blue household.

Lil'Blue moves up to the big girl room at daycare on Tuesday. *sniff* I have to buy her a little backpack to commemorate the occasion. I'm sure she'll pick the pinkest one they have at Target. Maybe we can bedazzle her name on it too.

I have an interview for that part-time gig at the law school! I've decided that I *really* want this job, so I'm taking the interview seriously (that isn't always the case for me...sometimes I go to interviews because its just nice to be wanted. But this one, I'm bringing the noise for.)

I've been in kind of a running funk lately - my longest run to date is 9 miles and since then, I've just felt sort of unmotivated. Plus, my right knee has been bothering me a lot and its just no fun to run in pain. But I have a 5K tomorrow that I'm looking forward to, so I think that'll help me get back into the swing of things. I've tried to run this race for the last four years, and something ALWAYS happens to make me back out (2005: dislocated hip 2006: bronchitis 2007: California) so this year, dammit, I'm going to run it! It takes place at the zoo so after the race Mr Blue and Lil Blue and I will go see the new giraffe exhibit. Yay! I've also decided to *very tentatively* pencil in the Akron Marathon for next year. It gives me 12 whole months to train, which ought to be more than enough. Mainly I just need to get this knee pain under control.

We spent last weekend visiting my hometown. It was Lil Blue's first time up there and she got to spend lots of quality time with her grandparents and meet some of her other aunties. We had a very nice time once we got there, but the 5-hour car ride was HELL. We ended up having to stop halfway during both trips and just kill time. I'm almost considering doing the trip in two days next time because I can't deal with the SCREAMING.

thanks to Feener at Mommyvents for helping me win my very first blog giveaway loot ever! yay!!

And extra-special thanks to all of you who commented on my last post. I wish I could give you all hugs IRL!!

Losing Myself

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It seems like lately everyone I know is on a weight-loss plan. They are my friends and I love them and I'm ecstatic to see them taking strides toward being happy and healthy. But I've mainly stayed out of the weight-loss talk, and here's why:

My name is Stella and I have an eating disorder.

It probably started when I was very young. From 4th to 8th grade I went to an arts school where I majored in ballet. I danced six days a week, twice a day on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. While I'm sure there are many ballet schools that teach little girls how to dance and stretch and wear tutus in a healthy way, mine was not one. (Case in point: a good friend of mine was 5'8" with an athletic build. Her ballet instructor told her that if she ever wanted to see the stage she needed to get under 100 lbs. She ate only one apple a day for a week. And I thought she was awesome for doing it).

I am by nature pretty muscular. When I exercise, I don't become lithe - I become strong. So ballet was a constant struggle to lose not only fat, but muscle. I'm not sure when I discovered purging as a weight-loss method, but by eighth grade I was doing it regularly. I would skip lunch or eat a plain salad with no dressing. I couldn't escape family dinners, so I worked out a complicated mathematical system where so many bites of food equaled so many minutes of running or biking. I joined the track team and swam laps. And eventually destroyed my knees and had to quit dancing. Ironically, that only made things worse. I started high school in a new school where I knew no one. Without dancing, I didn't know what to do with myself. I joined the track team and the debate team. Debating was fun but caused me a ton of stress, so I exerted control over my life the only way I could - by controlling what went in my mouth. Every meal I skipped, every pound lost, was a small triumph. I ate Dexatrim and caffeine pills like candy.

When I started college I was 5'5" and a size 2. But whatever god or goddess watches over lost young women decided enough was enough and by random chance I ended up rooming with the best possible roommates I could have had. I was at Miami University, a school notorious for its sky-high number of women treated for eating disorders. I could have very easily ended up with a roommate who, like me, thought the world revolved around the number on the scale. But instead I had my awesome roommate M, and our across-the-hall mates A & B. M & A were athletes and four of us instantly formed a tight bond that has lasted through the years. We ate at the dining hall together, went to the rec center together, and finally things started to come together for me. I had great friends, I was having more fun that I thought was possible, my classes were challenging and interesting. I put on 30 lbs and grew an inch. My sophomore year, I discovered martial arts. I stopped weighing myself. I started eating meat again, lifting weights regularly, and discovered that putting on muscle could be a good thing. I met Mr Blue, and the rest is history. Kind of.

I am firmly convinced that eating disorders, like alcoholism and other forms of addiction, are life-long conditions. I am in recovery, but I am not recovered. Every day I have some sort of unhealthy thought. I don't keep a scale in the house and I do my best to avoid the one at the gym. About five years ago I started running competitively - gradually running longer and longer races. I think that being on a training regiment appeals to the part of my brain that needs to control my body.

My biggest fear is that someday my daughter will ask me if she's fat. Our society bombards our girls and young women with unhealthy images and unattainable goals. When I hear about girls in elementary school that are dieting - even taking diet pills! - I am so afraid for Lil' Blue. Even now I try every day to give her some sort of positive message about food. I keep her in the kitchen with me while I cook, and eat snacks and dinner with her every day. We try new foods and say "yum yum!" I don't read or keep any magazines in the house if they have models or actresses or other absurdly skinny women. And most of all, I try to let her know that she is beautiful and valued and wonderful from the inside out. Because I don't ever want her to feel that her value rises and falls inversely to the number on a scale. And because of her, every day I have a new reason to value myself - because she deserves a mother who is happy and healthy.

Jack and Lily giveaway!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Check out Now Entering Momville for a chance to win a free pair of Jack and Lily baby shoes. cute!

Citius, Altius, Fortius.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

When anyone tells me I can't do anything, I'm just not listening any more. Florence Griffith Joyner (American athlete, 1988 Summer Olympics)

Congratulations to 41-year-old mom Dara Torres for winning two silver medals in Beijing. Torres had retired after giving birth to her daughter (now two) but decided to make a comeback in the Olympics. Another congratulations to 38-year-old mother of one Constantina Tomescu-Dita who blew away the competition to win the women's marathon. Both women were in the spotlight for being the oldest to medal in their respective sports. Other women athletes are making their mark in Beijing: 38-year-olds Kate Allen (triathalon) and Elaine Youngs (beach volleyball) are expected to perform well, and 36 year old WNBA superstar Lisa Leslie is competing in her fourth Olympics.

These women, and the many other "older" women competing in the Olympics, are proof that women's bodies can continue to perform at the highest levels for decades. Additionally, the number of female athletes who have resumed training after having children are inspiration for all of us who have been told that our bodies will "never be the same" after pregnancy and childbirth. While most of us will never be Olympians, we can all aim for our personal bests and push our bodies to the limit. Don't listen to anyone who tells you that you need to shelve your personal goals just because you've hit an arbitrary age, or given birth to a child. Dara Torres has said in interviews that she wants her daughter to know that a woman can do anything she puts her mind to. What a wonderful message for all children - to see their mothers continuing to strive, and continuing to improve their bodies, minds and spirits.

In other Olympics news, be on the lookout for cougars prowling the US mens' swimming events. Rawr!

In a Reflected Light

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We are the sun and the moon -
you the brightness of day, golden hair and peachy skin
all the colors of sunrise.
Me the darkening shadows of night,
the secret rustling of creatures, furtive and restless under moonlight.
You are the vibrant flowers, laughing carefree,
I am the silent leaves falling under black trunks.
You are the fresh start, the hope of day beginning -
I am the calm of evening, the quiet exhalation of day ending.
But oh, my sun...
I could not shine without your light


La Leche League

Today I got started on the road to La Leche League leadership! I still need to apply and be approved, a process I'm told can take up to a year (during which I meet with local leaders and get lots and lots of training, while discussing my own views and personal breastfeeding experience).

All the News That's Fit to Blog

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Its been a busy few weeks around the Blue household. Lil' Blue came down with a case of roseola (seriously, its a real disease. I didn't believe it either. It sounds like something Oompa Loompas would catch. But in reality its no fun whatsoever) So we weathered that storm.

Half Marathon training is going well. On Sunday Mr Blue and I did an 8 mile run. My time is still pretty slow for the long runs - its definitely time to start incorporating intervals and speed work. Also? I discovered that almost-30 year old knees cannot be asked to pick up and run without adequate stretching and icing time. But, icing time = lazy TV time, so there's that.

The Blue house is undergoing some renovations. Its a nearly 100-year old Craftsman style home with lots of "potential", i.e. "hey we're getting a great deal on this place, all it needs is new paint/roof/deck/carpet/retaining walls/more paint/exterior and interior doors" We have a contractor (yet another!) coming to give us an estimate on rebuilding the craptastic DIY deck currently embarrassing the house. I had a near-meltdown when our front door lock spontaneously broke down (I didn't even know that could happen!) Of course this happened when I was outside, which necessitated a trip into the house via the dining room windows. As the lock was apparently melded permanently with the (also craptastic) front door, I was afraid we'd need a new door. But Mr Blue's handiness with a power drill, razor blade, and hammer enabled us to remove the lock and replace it. I've since decided to paint said craptastic door, which apparently in its former lives has been 1) bright green; 2) teal; and 3) purple. Yuck.

I applied for a job at my former law school. I don't want to spill the beans on which position it is, but it sounds like an awesome job, and one that would allow me to actually make a difference (for reals!) So my fingers are crossed!

Lil' Blue continues to amaze us with her new skills. Every day it seems like she has a new word or new thing she can do. And she walks almost like a regular person, as opposed to the drunken Donkey Kong style toddling she had been doing. Even though we've sacrificed much in terms of quality of life, I wouldn't have traded the past 14 months for anything. Watching her grow has been the most fun I've ever had. We're off to a local water park this afternoon, where Lil' Blue has discovered the wave pool. She likes to go deeper and deeper until the waves actually crest over her head. I apparently have a reckless adventurer like myself....hurray! And oh no!

Backwards and in High Heels

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I've been wanting to write this post for awhile...ever since I passed a road crew on my way to the market. It was the usual assortment of big guys and one woman. Who was wearing a pink hard hat. I thought about that pink hard hat for a long time, and wondered about the woman wearing it. About how she probably started working construction wearing the standard-issue yellow hard hat. She seemed to be a strong woman, she'd probably never really thought about being female. She worked hard, probably harder than the guys, just to be accepted. Construction was just a job. So when did she think to herself "I need a pink hard hat"?

You don't have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump. Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word. ~Elizabeth Bibesco

I've always been the girl who hung with the guys. I wasn't a jock, necessarily, I just felt more comfortable in the company of men. Even as an adult, I tended toward activities where I was often the only woman. Boxing, flying...these are all still firmly in the man's world. I had never thought about being female. I had to work harder, hit harder, push myself farther, just to be accepted. But
boxing and flying were just things to do. I was never particularly feminine until I was surrounded by men. It wasn't until I started flying that I started wearing pink. Something about all that masculine energy seemed to bring out the latent girlyness in me. And it's not just me. Did you know they make pink boxing gloves? They do, and I never saw a pair until I left the relatively gender-balanced world of Tae Kwon Do for the rough and ready Mixed Martial Arts arena. I've been lucky to meet a group of strong, independent women and I'm proud and thrilled to be their friend. While I'm still more likely to be watching the game with the guys then scrapbooking with the girls, I've managed to find a balance. Whereas when I was younger, I tried to be just like the guys, now I realize that I can enjoy those masculine things while still embracing what makes me uniquely feminine.

The little rift between the sexes is astonishingly widened by simply teaching one set of catchwords to the girls and another to the boys. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

And so I look at my daughter, who loves all things pink and sparkly, and hope that she doesn't lose what makes her sweet and feminine. I hope that she doesn't feel that she must make a tradeoff between feminity and respect. But I also watch her play with toy trucks and building blocks, and hope that she can feel comfortable and welcome playing with the boys. Because while little girls have spent too many years trapped in the pretend kitchen with the dolls, its just as limiting to feel that you must hide your feminine side to be accepted by the boys. Feminism isn't just about the freedom to box or fly or work construction. Its about being able to wear the pink boxing gloves and the pink hard hat if that's what you want.

If Only I Could Fly...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A real post is coming soon...[spoiler alert! We'll be discussing feminism and dilemmas of raising daughters!]

Until then, I leave you with this graph, from the totally hysterical (but not in the feminine kind of way) Graph Jam

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes