Thursday, August 27, 2009
I was there.
If you are looking for some diet or exercise advice or inspiration today, well, feel free to click elsewhere. 'Cause it won't be in this space today. And if you feel that you simply must drag politics in here, or speak of someone's imperfect life (as if our own lives were perfect and, therefore, superior), I do hope that you'll turn around.
Not today. Please, not now.
I live and work in Boston. And today was Senator Kennedy's last trip through the city.
It was a strange, stressful day, like the planets had aligned oddly, and there was an unfamiliar tilt to the axis. I suppose that's only fitting, as when people who are larger than life, they really are -- they affect so much. And so when they are gone, the tilt changes.
So, the tilt. Today work was a strain, which it has been lately. I very nearly snapped at a coworker, a perfectly lovely woman who only wants to work with me, and work well. But I saw her after that, and smiled, and we started to talk, about this of course because it is a very big deal. She is an immigrant, here for decades from India, and so her axis has tilted many ways, I am sure.
The immigrant experience is the story of America, whether you came here by boat or just stepped off a plane. She said, she had donated to some charity or another years ago, and her name was sold, and somehow she ended up on the mailing list for Irish Immigrant Aid. So for years, she'd get mail from them, including invitations to meet Senator Kennedy. I told her she should have gone, she could've said she was from Southern Ireland. WAY South. But she didn't; the dinners cost too much. And now it's too late.
I, too, have a tale. It was around thirty years ago. I was 17, just starting school here. And friends were going to the State House to hear Ted announce he was running for President. I didn't go. I don't know why, after all, 1980 was going to be my first year voting. But I just didn't. And now it's too late.
But there's something about that moment, the Globe mentioned it, they said Teddy was asked why he wanted to be President, and he just couldn't articulate it. That had doomed that candidacy, even absent Chappaquiddick, it was just, who wants an indecisive President? Or at least someone who's not sure why they're there, or even if they want to be there?
I tell you, I can totally relate. I am going to be 47 soon, hey, just about the age he was then, and I still can't tell you whether what I do for a living will make me happy in twenty years, or ten, or even five. I have always had that kind of indecision, that kind of not being sure why I'm there, and I can feel what that feels like because that's the country I live in.
Today at least I knew why I was there. I get out of my office early (my schedule is an hour shifted earlier from everyone else's) and today was no different. My office is across the street from City Hall Plaza, so I stood and waited. A crowd slowly gathered. There was a family, speaking what I think was Portuguese. Tourists. Elderly folk. Mailmen. Office workers. Students. People in wheelchairs.
And then it happened. The motorcade came by, and behind me I heard a man clapping, so I clapped, too, and pretty soon we were applauding, only stopping to wave back at the family as they waved at us. I know they heard us. I know they saw us. And I saw Patrick sitting in the front seat of the hearse. And in the first car behind, oh, it tore at my heart, I saw Victoria. And in the car behind her was Jean, the last of the siblings. And dozens of nieces and nephews. All somber. But many of them waving. They saw. They heard. They knew we were his people. They acknowledged and we did so in turn. They knew why we were there.
When they had passed, I realized I was standing next to a coworker, but not the woman I wrote of earlier. He turned to me and just said, "History." I agreed, and wished him a good night, for it was all I could say.
As I walked away and dabbed at my eyes a little, I hoped she had gotten a chance to see and be a part of it. To be a piece of that silent dance of "thank you -- no, thank YOU."
Luck did have something to do with it, to start, I suppose. But bad luck also had something to do with it, and mixed in with all of it was a boatload of hard work and also a dollop of "I don't know why I'm here".
I know why you were here.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Note: the music is good but some of the imagery on the video might be disturbing.
In web development, there's a phenomenom called WYSIWYG, It stands for, well, the title of this entry's song: What You See is What You Get.
And I've been thinking about that a bit lately, and I've decided that when it comes to clothing, from now on, WYSIWYG.
See, way back when, in the dark time, before Spark, before I gave a damn, it was all elastic waists, special little slimming panels, Spanx and control top pantyhose and the like. Everything was restricting or overly loose or deceptive or just, well, a tad surreal. Nothing actually fit.
What you saw was not me. I fooled myself into believing that I looked good or at least decent, that it took off the pounds and the inches and I looked like things were at least not out of control. But the reality was that the only person whose eyes were getting any wool pulled over was, you guessed it: me.
I've woken up, you could say, and decided to go back to what I really look like. I look at ads, at magazines, at catalogs. I suppose we all do. Use this to enhance your bust! Pick this style to hide a protruding waist! Just a little lift to your keister is all you need -- and here's what you need in order to do it! Quick, put this on, it'll hide your hips! Do your makeup this way and your second chin will magically disappear!
Naturally it is all very money-driven. After all, if a store can sell you a sarong to go along with your swimsuit, or Spanx for your evening gown, or a push-up Wonder Bra for your tee shirt or whatever then they make more bucks. No one needs a degree in economics in order to figure out that equation.
But what if -- whether you *need* them or not -- you tossed the Spanx? You ripped the slimming panel out of the front of your jeans? You still wore a bra, for sure, but not one designed to make you look two cup sizes larger?
And instead you let people see that you've still, maybe, got a muffin top. Or your hips are wide. Or your bust sags because, dare I say it, you're not 20 any more? And you don't look perfect because you're a work in progress and you're real and there's something very, very beautiful about that.
I am not saying that I will abandon things that make me look good. If anything, I care more about my appearance than I did before. I like having clothes in colors and cuts that fit and flatter me. I like it when I look better (yes, slimmer) than I truly am.
But I refuse to do it with panels and elastic any more. This is, I know, why it is taking me longer to lose this size than it's taken me to lose the other 7 (yes, really) I already have.
It's because the game is being changed. By me.
This may not be my absolute greatest motivation (my health is), but it is there. I want to be the woman who looks like she's wearing Spanx.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
How to measure your keister on camera and fail basic math! Oh, and it's my month in review post.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Over the past weekend (this is why I had needed cleaning elves), my parents visited.
They of course know me at any and every weight and so are thrilled that I am where I am but at the same time I was offered some chips. Hmm.
Be that as it may, it was an occasion to listen and observe. My folks are in their late seventies. Like many people of that age group, they've had some health issues. Plus their peer group has had health concerns including, sadly, some deaths. Friends are going into assisted living. Others have the start of Alzheimer's. Others have trouble with mobility.
In short, worlds are getting smaller, and dominions are becoming diminished.
I see their own world shrinking a bit, as they love to travel but now seem to have written off going overseas. Too many health insurance questions. Too many concerns about language barriers. Too many fears of bad food or less than perfectly clean water or the ease of finding proper facilities. Too much walking. Too far from doctors and the familiar.
This from people who, when I was six and we were driving in Germany, he said to her, "Hey, that sign is showing the way to Austria. Wanna go to Austria?" "Sure!" she replied.
So, no more impulse trips to Austria. Or to England, which they both love and obviously has no language barrier.
But I don't push. They make their choices, and my husband and I make our own and we are all adults and, presumably, all have the most and best and latest information at our fingertips. No one feels how someone else feels, really.
But it makes me wonder, how the choices I make today affect the ones that I will be forced into later.
* If I choose to be healthy today, then I might (there are no guarantees) be healthier in 30 years, or 35 or more (I turn 47 in a few weeks).
* But if I don't choose to be healthy today, then chances are good that I will remain unhealthy.
* If I exercise today, not only should I be able to exercise tomorrow, I should also be able to do more basic things in the future like ~
** climb stairs readily
** reach for an item on a high shelf
** care for my own lawn and garden
** drive long distances
** walk where I want to go
** ride a bike if I so choose
** keep up
* If I eat right today, then I have a fighting chance of, in the future, being able to ~
** eat without fear of diabetes
** eat without fear of a heart attack, or needing bypass surgery
** eat affordable, sustainable foods that are not just good for me but are good for my local community and the planet
* If I drink the water, then I just might be able to, in the future ~
** keep my weight down
** not have dry mouth or eyes
** not get edema
I want to be taken out of my home feet first. And I want that to be a long, long time from now. And in the meantime, until that inevitable day, I want my time to be as good as it can be.
On Saturday, we went out and played frisbee. It was some alone together time for Mr. J and me, plus we both needed to work out. I jumped. A lot. And let me tell you -- I have sometimes seen frisbee as a chore, ugh, I need to do cardio, I'm tired of cardio, blah blah blah.
But on Saturday, I jumped and jumped. And I remembered, from back when, I suppose, I was six or so, my parents driving around Austria.
Jumping is fun.
What a great word.
What an awesome, kick-bun word.
Fun. It's the essence. We should have some of it every single day, in whatever way we can, in whatever capacity.
It doesn't necessarily mean that I want to play frisbee all the time, or that I cannot be serious ever again, but I do want to have fun. Every day. For the rest of my life. For every day that remains, I want fun.
That's a lot of wrap up in a little three-letter word package.
I highly recommend it.
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