Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday is movie night

Despite all of the hoopla over Netflix changing their pricing around, I jumped back on with them when we moved into our new place. We do not have cable, so having TV shows to watch whenever I want it a major plus. One that I am currently in love with is the cartoon Home Movies. The show is about an 8-year old boy who enjoys making home movies. He lives with his mom and baby sister and plays soccer. If you like the show Archer, you'll recognize Coach McGuirk, and love him.


I also really love Paula, Brendon's mom. She is a single mom who seems much more like my mom  sassy, mouthy, tough, and willing to do anything for her kids) than other moms out there in the cartoon world. Brendon and his two friends, Melissa and Jason, spend all of their free time making movies. That's right, kids spending time in a creative outlet and are encouraged by the adults in their lives to do so. Wonderful.

I'm hoping to get some more time tonight to watch one of the many documentaries in my queue, but I have been tied up playing Lego Harry Potter.

What is everyone else watching?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What I am reading

In an effort to get me posting and writing more often, I'm giving days themes and trying that out for a bit. So Tuesdays and what I am reading.

I just finished a great non-fiction book, The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti. I have been reading a ton of women/feminist books lately and this author is wonderful. She is a younger woman that connects beautifully with my age group and makes issues appear as important as they are without painting a picture that is too bleak to overcome.



The Purity Myth focuses on America's obsession with virginity. In our culture young women can either be perfect virgin or a dirty whore and there is no room for any shade of gray, which is just incredibly fucked up. Valenti manages to dissect the ways this dichotomy is presented to young people and how adults actively enforce it on themselves and other.

What I took away from this book was this: While there is nothing wrong with being a virgin until marriage (something friends of mine have done and are happy with) there is also nothing wrong with having safe and consensual sex before marriage. And that virginity is outdated at best, since it seems to only apply to heterosexual.

Jessica Valenti also has written other wonderful books and has a delightful Tumblr and founded Feministing.


I am currently mid-way through book 10 of Robert Jordan's massive Wheel of Time series. These books were recommend to me by my brother and while I have many qualms about the writing, the story is what interests me and I cannot stop now. I am really enjoying this particular book, mostly because the main character of the series is delightfully absent. Seriously though, someone needs to redo the cover art on all of these books. Last time I checked, people and horse legs were not the same length.


What are you reading?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Love it

It has been awhile since I have posted here for a number of reasons. We moved to a bigger place and adopted a new kitten, and frankly, I have been just plain distracted by life. But since yesterday was National Love Your Body Day, I thought I would post a little something and some sweet links.

Like most women, I have my body hang ups. But there are so many things to love about my body. So yesterday I treated myself to a giant bubble bath and clothes that I am super comfortable in.

I love my freckles and my pale skin. I love the way my curves look. I love not dieting but still eating healthy (most of the time). I love being active and I love taking a day off to take a nap with the cats. My body has taken and thrown punches, fallen out of trees, and floated in oceans. It has seen me through 26 years with no broken bones, just sprains, migraines, and a plethora of bruises. I have laugh lines and a crinkle in my brow that matches the one my mother has. I love the tattoo that I have behind my right ear.


My body is a temple, and I refuse to hate it.

Here are a few links to some other love your body day posts:

20 ways to love your body
20 Things I Want To Say To My Twenty-year Self

Photo by the amazing Wildlove Photography

Friday, September 30, 2011

Get me home

I used to live in downtown Minneanapolis, right near Loring Park. I worked at a great store at the Mall of America. Many times I would take the cheap light rail instead of driving my car. Driving was it's own ordeal that caused me a lot of grief - mainly in finding a parking spot by my house that was 1. in an ok part of town and 2. closer to my place than the light rail. Here is a summary of how getting home went for me.

At work we were encoruaged to dress cute and so I often wore skirts and low heels. While at the store I was often hit on by guys who used lines like "Man, I have to tell you, redheads really get it going for me," while they have me pick out earrings for their girlfriends. I had more than one man follow me out of the store on my break as I went and grabbed lunch. And I just bit my toungue and moved on with my day.

When the store closed I would enjoy the empty time while I straightened, blasting Mika and dancing as I put products back and then rush to the bathroom to change from my skirt and heels to a pair of jeans and my sneaks. I would shove my fancy clothes into a bag and walk out of the backdoor into the back alleys of the Mall with my fellow coworker (who was almost always a lady as we only had one male employee).

After saying goodbye I would race to the basement to catch the light rail. Once inside I would try my best not to look anyone in the eye yet still look like I was aware of my surroundings and usually would try to read a little. Before I got off at my stop I would make sure my red hair was back in a tight bun and shoved into a baseball hat. My mother had me carrying one everywhere, especially when I was driving alone at night.

I had a long walk down a pretty empty street. I pasted Mary Tyler Moore's Statue hoping that the other people getting off of the light rail would branch off and not walk close to me. If there were too many (and frankly sometimes one could be too many) people near me I would cross the street. My keys sticking out from my fist and a permanet snarl on my face I stomped home as fast as I could.

Closer to my apartment, I had to decide whether to go down the well lit street that was home to cheap pawn shops that were chained up and super sketchy, or the not well lit street that was home to more upscale apartments. I never figured out which street felt safer because neither did.

At my building, I rushed into my apartment and locked and deadbolted the door. I checked to make sure the locks were on the windows that overlooked a very popular dumpster that homeless men frequented. I usually went straight bed and curled up hoping that the customer who had been bothering me about how my skirt made my shape look good would not be back anytime soon.

My mom came up once and wanted me to get a gun or pepper spray, but I never have had either.

This post was inspired by this article from Rookie: First Encounters with the Male Gaze

This article on rape culture is also worth a read: Rape Culture 101

Also, MN people, please, please think about taking part in this weekend's Twin Cities SlutWalk.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Gimme a H! Gimma a P! Gimme a V!

So Michelle Bachmann has been speaking out against the great threat to women, a vaccine that can prevent HPV, which can cause cervial cancer, because she claims that they can be harmful and have effects that will ruin the lives of us poor women. Please check out this article from my favorite magazine, Bitch, that explains and links to some great information.

When I was 20 and in college in the great state of Minnesota, I got a call from my doctor back home. My yearly tests had come back with abnormal results and I needed to come back in for more testing. I asked if I could do so on my next school break since home was three and a half hours away and I did not own a car. They told me that I needed to see them that Friday or Saturday. I was reluctant to make an appointment until they said "pre-cancerous cells". I made the appointment.

I was supposed to go on a sorority convention trip to the twin cities that weekend. But my bf agreed to drive me back home and I fired off an email to my soroity president and advisor. I do not know what, if anything, I told my roomates ( 2 of the 3 were also in my sorority) but I had mentioned the possiblity of cancer and HPV in my email to the head honchos. My president demanded a note from my doctor and she campaingned to get me kicked out for missing this big deal meeting. Our advisor was very curt with me about it too and while I was able to stay on, I did not feel the same about it. Neither of them ever asked me how the doctor's visit went or what the results were and I did not feel the need to share with them. So I do not think I mentioned it to mroe than one or two other girls in the group.

I could write a book about my mixed experience with this sorority, but this took the cake to me. I had very little support at the time. My mom was busy with her divorce and my sister's illness, all of my college friends did not know or were at the convention, and my boyfriend, while earnestly helpful could not really give me the ladies' perspective I needed. And the response I got when I told two people who were in a position of leadership sent me the message that going was a poor choice and if I had to go then fine, but between worrying about how my probable cancer would devestate my already crumbling family and crying my eyes out while doctors scraped and proded me, I had better damn well get a note that explained why I miss sorority pooloza.

The tests that I went through that weekend were painful and scary. So much so that I do not really want to go into them but let me just say if you have ever had a biopsy on the inside of your lady parts then you know what I mean. While I came out negative for cancer, I do have a strain of HPV and had to have tests monthy for over a year to make sure no cancer cells appeared.

So I am not surprised that ladies aren't talking about HPV and when they do they feel like they should just shut up about it. HPV affects so many people  - many of whom are men who might be passing this on to their sexual partners. And while Michelle Bachmann might say that these vaccines will cause harmful effects and right-wingers will say that they will turn young girls into sex mainiacs, in my case it has kept me from getting a more harmful strain of this virus and keeps me one step away from cancer.

Also, please watch yesterday's Colbert Report for great coverage of this issue!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

honesty is the best policy

I have always prided myself on being an honest person, especially when it comes to my life experiences. I am not ashamed of the people I have slept with, the crazy moves that I have made, or any of the "bad" choices I have made. And so it strikes me as off when I encounter other people (girls mostly) who try to represent themselves as other than they really are.

In high school, my friend and I snuck out of my house to go to a local band scene where we danced in a smoke filled basement to bad techno surrounded by guys who worked with us at the local Shopko. I do not remember much of that night other than being disappointed that my crush did not show up and being surprised that my straight-laced friend made out with a guy who was on Ecstasy. But more power to her I thought as we tottered home in the cool night air of our town's tiny down town.

Yet afterwards, my friend went out of her way to tell me that should I ever revel that she had kissed this guy (in public I want to add) that she would deny it and call me a liar. This is not the only thing she did over our years of friendship that came with the same warning. She wasn't dating anyone at the time and simply asking me not to tell would have been ok I guess, but she implied that she would be believed because of her goodie-goodies reputation and I would not because I had had sex before and made out with guys without dating them. She had an image of herself as a good Catholic girl and she aimed to keep it that way. Because I thought she was so awesome, I did not say anything about how this bothered me.

She was (an still may be) all about saving herself for marriage. I have no problem with this mindset per see. I think it is a gamble, but if that is important to you then that is what is important to you. And so this friend of mine never talked about the first time she had sex. She just pretended it never happened while it was happening. It was a long time after, and I think a bit to drink after, that she mentioned it and then brushed it right back under the rug.

Not being able to talk about sexual experience in my eyes is a big trap. Whatever that experience may be. And I believe that it traps others as well. If you are enforcing that the only way to be "good" is to ignore the sex, lesbian curiosity, groping with strangers, or other fantasies then others who look up to you will try to do the same.

And I want to say that I have and do have friends with very different sexual points of reference who are still able to be open about their views. My dear friend in college once asked me frankly what my views of sex were over coffee at a local joint and then shared her views. She never once made me feel my views were bad because they were radically different. That conversation was so unlike any I had ever had with high school friend.

High school friend and I are no longer in touch for many, many reasons. We stopped being close for awhile due to my honesty and it made me view many aspects of our friendship differently. Anyone who tells you that no one should believe what you have to say because of your "whore" image is not being a good friend or a good person. Some people are stuck by their small fairy tale image they have of themselves that when they see someone out there who is free they have to strike at them any way they can. I deserve better than that. You deserve better than that. Everyone does.

I own my experiences. Everyone of them. From the whirlwind romance that Geoff and I have now to the unrequited love I had in high school, to the time I made out with a friend and then continued being just friends to the guys with girlfriends I fooled around with at college parties. All have shaped who I am as a person. And that person is much more interesting than any image I could manufacture for myself.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A day at the Capital

Yesterday I volunteering at the downtown Madison Farmer's Market.  Myself and four other girls had a table set up for Panned Parenthood and we were passing out information, pins, and condoms and asking people to sign our petition. Many states are loosing funding to their Planned Parenthood and other laws are being passed that are causing clinics to shut down and women are left without things like birth control, pap smears and pre-cancerous testing. Wisconsin Planned Parenthood has lost a lot of funding and two clinics have shut down already. Our petition urges lawmakers to restore that funding: you can sign it here.

I am always nervous about hanging out with new people but one of the gals and I clicked and we set off together. We actually left the table and wandered the crowds asking people if they would sign. Which was a little scary, because I did not want anyone to tell me I was an awful person.

I was amazed by how many people approached us. We were wearing some pretty fly buttons and my pink hair tends to draw some people in. Certain older ladies and men came up and signed and talked to us about how glad they were that we were doing the work we were doing. We had a few people who were a little rude, but nothing we could not brush off with a smile.

We did have to explain to a few people that the because of the Hyde Amendment (passed in 1973), federal funds do not cover abortions. Which means Planned Parenthood does not use your tax dollars to pay for abortions. After hearing that a few more people did sign, which was good to see.

All in all I had a great time and am excited to do more for this organization. I am interviewing for an internship position with them and am signed up for the next Farmer's Market day as well. Plus I got to leave with a ton of free condoms.

Also I wanted to throw these pictures in, there is an organization and I did not catch their full name and so cannot find them on Facebook, but they put on little plays in the park and have a marching band. They did a play about Governor Weasel as a portrayal of Walker and it was great. Does anyone know their name?



Friday, September 9, 2011

sniffle sniffle

Hey everyone, sorry I have been lax in my posting, but the changing weather has given me a horrible head cold. Colds turn me into a giant baby so I have been loafing on the couch, surrounded by used up tissues and pouting at Geoff to bring me more hot tea. What makes you feel better when you have a cold?

Here are my go-to cold survival tips:
  1. Don't fight it, just carry that roll of toilet paper around with you because you know you are going to need it and the thought of scurrying to the bathroom over and over is not appealing.
  2. Clothing is key. Sweatpants, ratty t-shirt and some sweater that you can pull off and on at a moment's notice. Also giant woolly socks.
  3. Hot Tea. My favorites are Good Earth original and Traditional Medicine's Throat Coat. 
  4. The couch - something about being sick means that I need to be in the living room on the sofa wrapped in a quilt or two. 
  5. A good book, or alternately, bad tv.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Weekend recap

Did everyone have a good weekend? I did, even though it was a bit stressful.  I don't have many pics from this weekend, but here is a bullet list of my highlights:
  • Babysitting Little Sister on Sunday night, which included playing dolls yet her and I being boys, reading books about dogs and watching videos of funny cats on youtube.
  • Waking up to Little Sister telling me she loves me and could she watch Netflix now please.
  • Hanging out with my Gram on Monday
  • Portillos lunch with Gram
  • Fabric shopping for the backing of my first quilt - we found something that seems perfect and snatched it up.
  • I took Gram to go see the Help and was surprised by how much I liked it
  • My mom gave me some clothes that I had forgotten about
As far as the Help goes, I was apprehensive about it because of the whole idea that a white girl needs to save these black women from the situation they were in. But, I found the best parts of the movie had nothing to do with Eugenia, Emma Stone. There is some powerful acting and great scenes and I think it was worth a watch. It also had two perfectly cast characters from True Blood in it that made me happy. My Gram loved it, and the theatre was packed for a third week out movie showing in the afternoon. And afterwards almost everyone clapped, which I have not seen outside of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.

I am back home now and getting set to go back to work today. The weather is beautiful and I'm ready to tackle another week. I'm hoping to make a little progress with my quilt this week so hopefully I will have some pictures for you.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

meow

I stumbled upon this project that helps feral cats and I just think that it is too cool not to share. The Teal Cat Project sells teal cat figuring and the money goes to help trap-neuter-return feral cats to help combat the incredible population of stray cats.

They take donations of money and any cat figurine to be painted and passed on. Currently they are sold out of their first batch of cats and are getting ready for a new batch. However, they do also have t-shirts for sale.


I think this is a very sweet project that is doing great work on behalf of animals. And every one's apartment would look better with one of these cats in it.
Teal Cat Project website

I don't mean to be a b...

Last night while I should have been sleeping I got started thinking on how my personality is percieved. In high school and most of college, I feel like I had the abilty to be bitchy and blunt, telling people what I thought no matter what. And somewhere I lost that and now I feel that I come off as very passive and sweet, which is not how I see myself inside.

Now, I know that being bitchy is not seen as a positive thing, but I think it can be sometimes. If inside you are dying to slap your ex but instead you tell him you'll always be there for him, you are doing nobody a favor.

There are a few things I still get fired up about. I have no tolerance for those who make fun of people with disabilities and have walked out of classrooms and dates because of this. While I am not as likely to roll my eyes in public, I will give a wayward look of disdain.

Basically, I want that agression and confidence I used to feel by tapping into my inner bitch. And I want to feel ok with expressing those emotions when I feel them because as a society, I still think that women are supposed to be demure and agreeable unless we are wearing a tank top and fighting bad guys in heels. And even then we melt for the right person.

These thoughts came about because recently I have found myself apologizing to random people for anything and everything, for walking down the hall and for for filling up a cup at the water cooler. After I walk away I feel so stupid, because they did not feel the need to say sorry for using the last avaliable sink in the bathroom or for asking a supervisor a question. And I think I need to tap into the inner bitch that I used to let free.

To be fair to the word, I do not think that being assertive is the same as being a bitch, but culturally, I have noticed that most people view it as the same thing. While I do not want to be mean, or rude, I also do not want to be a doormat to other people while simply trying to get through my day.

Which leads me to my goal for this month  of September. I am done apologizing. I am going to stop and bite my toungue and just smile in an akward situtaion instead of saying I am sorry. If I do greviously wrong someone or genuininly do something wrong, I will apologize, but all of this unecessary bullshit is weighing me down and I do not need it. And if I do slip up, I think I will put a dollar in a jar and then donate that money to charity.

Am I the only one with an apology complex? Anyone else want to say no to meaningless "I'm so sorry"s?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A big post for a big weekend

I have been MIA for a few days because I had to take a wonderful road trip to my adopted home-state of Minnesota! Geoff and I went up there for a friend of mine's wedding and we had an amazing time. Having never explored the land of a thousand lakes, Geoff was eager to see some sights. So clearly the first place I took him was the Mall Of America.

We shopped a lot, met some of my friends at The Afternoon (which basically is the best store in the mall) and ate at my favorite place to eat at the mall, the Twin Cities Grill. Geoff approved of the food:



I also got to have coffee with a friend of mine there and after  awhile we drove over to my dear friend Megan's to stay for the rest of the weekend. Meg and I were college roommates and I have missed her like crazy. She and her husband Gabe showed us an amazing time, complete with pizza, scrabble, and their new addition to the family, Susannah:



Day two was wedding day and Meg scampered off to take amazing photos (you can see a sneak peak here at Wildlovephotography) and Gabe, Geoff, and I had pastries and a little vintage shopping. Turns out Scout Vintage, Two Birds and Salvage Strawberry threw up a vintage sale right next to where we breakfasted. I got a really fun sweater, an old singer sewing machine tin, and a key holder and Geoff got a snazzy tie and a zip up sweater.





Geoff and I got fancy for the wedding and went off to Delano. I had a blast and Aaron and Christa looked amazing and beautiful. Aaron has been my friend since we did college improv together and he is one of those people that is just so genuine and loving that I do not think you could leave a conversation with him without a smile on your face. I had not had the chance to meet Christa before, but she was everything Aaron told me she was. I am so happy for this couple.  Here is the groom and I:


And a couple more, of Megan and Geoff and myself:



 Day three was basically just breakfast with Meg and Gabe and another college friend, Laura. It was just a great trip and I am so glad we went.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Girl, why are you bleeding out of your head?

Tonight I wanted to talk about one of my favorite photos of myself. The photo in question is this:


I have sent this photo to my my and have used it as my Facebook profile photo. I was thinking about it the other day and wondered to myself about why it is that I  (and others) take photos of ourselves bleeding or bruised or otherwise hurt in some way.

I have gone through several friend's facebook pages and have found similar photos taken after skateboarding or wearing heels and some in an ambulance. Photos of scars and surgical stitches from collapsed lungs and head wounds, all carefully photographed and shared. Even fake injuries are represented, bruises painted on at roller derbies for example.

In my photo I am bleeding from my face as a result of ripping of a scab I acquired from falling on the pavement. And I think this is one of my favorite photos of myself. But why? Is it because of the stunning bathroom background? My amazing photography skills? No. But I love it. And I think it might illustrate a lager issue that I have dealt with my whole life and maybe others are dealing with too. .

Being damaged is interesting. And whatever the way one has to convey that damage, be it in this case, physical, emotional, spiritual, whatever, is an interesting way create identity. I could (and might later) wax poetic on my affair with emotional damage as a defining character trait, but that's not what this photo conveys to me.

I'm bleeding yes, but I have let the blood run down my face and am in no hurry to patch it up. And while I may be a little whiny at times about getting hurt, this was taken at a time where I was 99.9% on my own and had to deal with things myself. Because there was no one there to clean me up and put a band aide on me I realized that I really did not need one.

There is an element of pride in an injury. An aspect of not getting through life with a body perfectly intact and in the original packaging but one that shows direct confrontation with life. While my cut face isn't from anything terrible exciting, it does make for a good photo.

Monday, August 22, 2011

To Gram's house I go

I went to my Gram's yesterday for a long overdue visit. She made us dinner and she and I talked about quilts for a long time. She has closets full of quilts that she made as a girl and that her mother made and so on. They are all so pretty and fun and I'm really glad that she is teaching me to do the same. How cool do these old sewing books look?


She sent me on my way with a bag of her fabric scraps, pages copied from quilting books and a copy of Quilting magazine.


Today is my day off and I am just hanging out watching season four of Dexter and relaxing. I shopped around at the Goodwill today and picked up a few things, like this lovely green dress. I also planted a little chili plant I got at the farmers market:


I have another plant I grabbed this weekend but he isn't in the right pot yet so you'll have to wait for a photo of him. But I will give you a photo of my new drinking glass:







This reminds me of the drinking glasses my gram would always have for us kids.  Anyone else do any thrifting this past weekend?


Friday, August 19, 2011

Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin

I just read Already Pretty's blog post on body hair and really loved it. Women talking about body hair seems to never happen, especially about certain areas, such as gasp, chin hair and mustache bleaching. Sally talks frankly about her experience without trying to hide parts of herself. And reading it made me feel better. I get obsessed plucking and waxing and shaving and it is such a hassle that ends in ingrown hairs, rashes, and that one damn spot on my left leg I always miss. And that one time that the lady waxing me scratched the hell out of my inner thigh with her big fake nails. 

While I am still doing the whole not painting my nails thing this month, I'm not sure that I could be one to not shave my legs and other places. I would however, like to reach a point in my life when I don't stress at work that someone, somewhere will notice that I have a stray unwanted hair.

What do you think of this article? Do you feel out of whack when you forget to shave your legs/pluck your eyebrows/wax your tummy hair?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Taft

Without a cat, my home felt pretty empty. My first grown-up pet, Jack the cat, had run away after someone let him outside. After months of searching for him, posting up fliers, searching local shelters and looking everywhere, I had to come to terms with the fact that Jack was probably not coming home.


While I loved Jack dearly, he was not what you would call a nice cat. He would rub up on you and purr while you pet him one moment and then pin his ears back and bite and claw the next. He destroyed four DVD players and peed on a lot of things. But he was my cat.

I began my search for a new friend online. I looked at the local animal shelter and breed rescue and gathered info on getting a cat that would likely be nicer than Jack was. I read a lot about Maine Coon cats and was interested.

While trolling on Craigslist, I saw an add for a Maine Coon that needed a home or he would be shipped off to a shelter. His name was Noonie and he was gorgeous and within a 20 minute drive. I picked him up two days later.


The first night, Noonie hid under my bed until I was half asleep. Then he crawled up and snuggled his 18 1/2 pound body next to mine, with his whiskers tickling my face, purring louder than I have ever heard a cat purr.

He was renamed Taft after William Howard Taft because he is extremely large and likes to hang out in  bathtubs. Plus there is the resemblance:


Taft is a real trooper. He has been moved around a lot with me, from Illinois to Minnesota back to Illinois over to Ohio, back to Illinois and now in Wisconsin. But he makes my home home. He snuggles and night, talks all of the time and just follows Geoff and I from room to room, wanting to be near.


We are looking now at adopting another cat so that Taft is not so lonely while we are at work, but I think with all of the moving changes right now I'm going to wait. I don't want to overwhelm him with too many changes. It is looking likely that we will adopt another Maine Coon because of how amazing Taft is.

Going and looking at all for the abandoned pets breaks my heart. I cannot imagine ever being without Taft. He is more than just my pet, he is my friend and when I took him in I wanted to guarantee that I would not get rid of him because of life changes. And I mean to keep that with him and with my next pet as well. Keeping animals is a commitment that many do not take seriously and I feel for those poor critters.


If you do get a pet, please consider adopting one. No breeders, there are adult cats that are still kittens at heart (Taft was 2 when I got him) and they need a loving home. And spay and neuter them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Things in my mailbox

I got a little bit of super awesome mail today from CaPow's etsy shop. I won a giveaway she did for Little Chief Honeybee. I was so excited to win and picked out these two photo prints:


I can't wait to get these into frames and put them up in our new place. I think that this one is going up in our bedroom. 


And this one is going to probably go in the kitchen, or over the bar if I get my way and find a cool old stand alone bar someday. Love me some Minty Juleps. I also love me some give-aways, clearly. I think I enter at least 8 a week on average and have gotten some great stuff from some great people so far. If I am wasting time on the internet, I might as well be entering to win things. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Put down the cheese

While already feeling a little chunky lately, I went home and tried on my wedding dress. You can guess where this is heading. I think I need to lose about 8-10 pounds before I can comfortably zip that sucker up. Which is frustrating.

After being vegan for six months, I moved back to Madison and promptly began eating all of the brats and cheese that came my way. And I no longer fit in my skinny jeans.

However, I do like the way my body looks most of the time. I've always been a curvy girl and always will be. And I have been trying to promote self-love and I've been reading about feminism and loving what I have been reading so the idea of making myself loose weight to fit into a dress seems a little weird.

However, the dress cost almost 2 grand, so I think I have to suck it up and put down the Havarti.

Because please tell me if there is any other day in a woman's life when she is looked at more, with more scrutiny and intensity than when she shows up at the end of a wedding aisle? I can't think of one. Whenever anyone talks about any girl getting married it always seems like how the bride looked is a huge deal, but never how the guy looks.

So I am trying to find a balance between not wanting to go on a diet and still loosing a little. We're looking at gyms this week and I'm hoping some regular exercise will help. Plus it will give me a chance to listen to Lady GaGa without Geoff looking at me funny.

But that pull, that deep pull to stop eating everything I like and go back to nibbling on toast and popcorn is there. While in my dress unzipped, I can't help but think of myself as a Junior in undergrad when I had lost so much weight from depression. And I'm looking back fondly on that time because at least I would have gotten in my dress now - I fail to realize that I would not be able to hold it up though. The whole thing makes my stomach queasy because of how hard that compulsive need to diet and obsess about one's weight is just hammered into our little heads.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

NaNoWriMo

For whatever reason, I woke up this morning thinking about NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. It is an organization that encourages people to do their best to write a novel in the month of November, start to finish. I have tried past years and have never finished due to 1. lack of discipline and 2. my computer melted down and then I melted down. But I'm hoping this year is the year.

The main thing that appeals to me about this is that is forces you to break from the inner editor that is always on my shoulder. Whenever I finish a chunk of writing, I cannot help but go over and over it, without bothering to write the rest of the damn thing.

I'm really hoping that I can get off my butt and get some serious writing done on this story that has been rattling around in my brain for forever. I don't have expectations of it being read by anyone but myself, I just really want to find out what happens.

I used to write so much all of the time, and now I really only think about stories instead of writing them. But I miss the pen on paper, and hope that this can jump start me again. Because apparently every website needs a profile page, here is mine on NaNoWriMo.

Anyone else with NaNoWriMo experience? Or just writing advice?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Nancy Wake



Nancy Wake died at age 98. She was a World War II hero and there is a great remembrance article of her over at the Bust blog. She led troops and even killed a Nazi with her bare hands. This lady had sass in spades and was not about to sit at home when there was a war on.  My favorite anecdote of her exploits is this:

"On the night of April 29th, 1944 she was parachuted into the Auvergne. Upon discovering her tangled in a tree, the captain of the local maquis remarked, "I hope that all the trees in France bear such beautiful fruit this year," to which she replied, “Don’t give me that French shit."
 
She sounds like such an interesting lady and I really hope that they come out with a biography of her because I would love to read more about the White Mouse (as the Gestapo called her).


The best farewell to you, Nancy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Reach out and touch me

So the election went by and 4 of the 6 incumbents are still in office, but we do have 2 new state senators that seem to be pro-choice and pro-family and pro-not-taking-everything-away-from-the-working-class. I'm a little discouraged, but you just have to move on and do what you can do.

I wanted to check in with a little something I noticed while volunteering at PP the other day. I am a bit of a loner I guess and while interacting with a bunch of girls (and one guy!) I realized that I do not touch people often. With the most notable exception being my partner, Geoff. I was not always this way. In high school, my girlfriends and I would constantly hug or snuggle or tackle or punch or whatever. In college and afterwards I had girls and guys who I could hug without needing a reason. And now, well there is Geoff and Taft, who are wonderful and amazing, but I miss the touch of a friend.

And nothing big when I say "touch" but at this meeting, one of the girls running things would just put her hand on my shoulder when talking to be and another girl put her arm around me at one point and it was just really nice to feel connected on such a basic level to a person. I usually get weired out when people invade my personal space bubble, but since moving away from many of my close friends and growing apart from others, I am missing that contact. And maybe that is why, in between phone calls at PP, I found myself doodling a line of women with their hands entwined.



While I would never advocate touching strangers, I think it is worth thinking about who we touch on a regular basis and what that touch means to us. For me I believe it signifies a longing for female friendship and the need for a community of friends I can be comfortable around.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Get out and VOTE

Despite my confusion last night, I was able to get up and go downtown to help make some calls for Planned Parenthood today. I went to one of the downtown offices and met some amazing people and made some calls to encourage people to vote for candidates that support things like Medicare, Badgercare and Planned Parenthood. Most of my calls went really well and all in all it was a great experience. I got some buttons and stickers and am geared up to help out a lot more in the future.


I love this coffee cup! And check out this girl's purse - it is decorated with condoms (in the wrappers still)! She was telling me that she had also made a tie and a skirt and was trying to figure out a way to do the same to a pair of heels. I love it



And one last picture, while in between calls I was doodling away and drew a line of ladies all holding hands. One of the gals at the office really liked it. What do you think? Sorry that it's not a very good picture.


Now I am home and ready to chill out and relax with some pizza and a good book. What are you up to?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bad News Bears

I was super excited to volunteer tomorrow with Planned Parenthood and then in one of my confirmation emails it says Milwaukee instead of Madison. I am really confused as to if I initially signed up wrong because none of the prior emails said Milwaukee (although they didn't say Madison either) and I've sent emails but I'm not sure if I will get a response in time.

Grumble.

On the plus side, I got an email about this other organization I really like, Madison Area Down Syndrome Society (MADSS) about their annual Walk and I am going to be doing volunteer work not just the day of but leading up to as well. This organization is near and dear to my heart so I am excited about becoming more involved!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

mini post

I tweaked the blog set up a little bit so check it out and tell me what you think. There's a poll on the side that I'd really like to have some input on too! 

And, here is a photo of my haul from Goodwill today.






I almosts hrieked when I saw this Carebear garbage can.How cute is it? I loved them as a kid and this is going in my bathroom for now.The little turtle planter will probably hold a catus or some such plant soon. He was too cool to pass up for 90 cents.


SlutWalk and me

In my new issue of Ms magazine, there is an article on SlutWalks which is a topic that I find very interesting. I have been looking on tumblr at some ladies who have been to some SlutWalks and liked how empowered and positive their experiences seemed. So I did a little more research and then experienced a major facebook blowout.

SlutWalk started in Toronto when a police officer made the comment that,


Amazingly, this did not go over that well. Unfortunately, this viewpoint is not uncommon. Victim blaming is so prominent and the idea that women who dress like they are asking for it (whatever that means) deserve to shoulder some of the blame for being brutally assaulted is still very prevalent. Many rapes go under reported by police and rapists are not prosecuted due to backlogs of  rape kits which is not some kind of a kit that goes to the victim like I thought, but is the evidence gathered from the victim's exams such as hair and fluids that needs to be DNA tested. These kits are just sitting in some states, and nothing is being done about them.

And so a group of people started SlutWalk. A protest style march to show that women (any gender really) should not be blamed for crimes committed against them. From SlutWalk's website:

"We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault."
 
These events have gotten a lot of flack from feminists and others for the use of the word "slut" and stating that trying to get that word to a more positive connotation is a waste of time.To some extent I agree with  the fact that "slut"probably is not ever going to be a positive thing. HOWEVER, I think that misses the underlying point. To me this is about creating an event that will have a lot of media coverage(which obviously it has) in order to show that people are upset and fed up with how our culture treats victims of rape.

Which brings me to a Facebook argument that revolved around a man's point of view that this is a waste of time and he would go to ogle the ladies (note: it is not required in any way to dress "slutty" for these walks) and that if a woman goes out drinking dressed provocatively (which he never defined) then he "hope[s] rape was worth it." Can we say unfriended?

SlutWalk's Minneapolis info page here
SlutWalk Toronto's main page (with links to planned walks in other cities) here

Geoff and I are both signed up to go and I am really pumped. I think all I can do is get as educated as I can and try to pass that information along. Has anyone gone to one? Thought about going?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Check out that girl's armpits

So I get a lot of emails and while most of them end up in the trash, I got one from Dove today that I opened. I have mixed feelings about this company. While I really love that they have used non-tradition models for their add campaigns, I'm not wild about their camaign to help ladies have more beautiful armpits. Because I was really worried that my arm pits weren't attractive enough. So when I read the following from my Dove email:

"Around the world, 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful, according to new research conducted by Dove®. And when girls feel bad about their looks, the majority will avoid everyday activities like giving their opinion or even going to school."

It makes me kind of want to scream. First of all I would bet that that percentage is higher and second of all, maybe the feel this way because of your marketing strategies!

“If we don't continue to invent products that improve consumers' lives, we'll have trouble growing our business,” says Kevin Hochman, a marketing director for Procter & Gamble Co.'s female beauty brands, told the Wall Street Journal. (from the Globe and Mail article)

It seems to me (and a lot of people) that while they are inventing products they are also inventing problems. And it seems like this company is taking 3 steps back for every step forward they take. I love the idea behind the Real Beauty campaign and wish we saw more diverse and non-airbrushed models out there. I love that as a company, Dove seems to be doing work to promote self estem. But with the other hand they remind you that parts of your body need to be felt bad about. 

All and all, I think I'll stick with Toms of Maine.