Maine: Life Happened, or Why I’ve Been Gone For So Long

22 08 2010

So, I had this whole entry about my life and times and this and that and the other thing, but WordPress ate it.  I’ll keep it short– I’m hoping to write here more.  I have left the person I moved to Maine for, found out I love Maine, and I am sad I missed about on writing about several fat/weight-centric issues in the media.  I’m going to incorporate food blogging as well.

I’m back, hopefully.

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A Vignette

18 09 2009

Yesterday I stopped, as I usually do, at the Wendy’s in Augusta, near campus.  Class gets out at 6:45, and it makes more sense to have dinner BEFORE the drive back to Bangor, rather than ravenously devouring a Pop Tart or something ridiculous just past 8pm.  I always go in, because the staff generally isn’t used to someone wanting a Completely Plain Double Stack Yes That’s Right No Cheese.

So, anyway, I’m in there waiting for my food, and the slightly chunky young man who was operating the fryer was chatting to everyone.  The restaurant was pretty dead, seeing as Augusta shuts down at roughly 4:45.  He says, “You guys.  My doctor was SO mean to me.  He goes, ‘You’re fat.  You need your cholesterol checked.’ Just like that!  How rude is that?!”  So, I smirk and say, “Did you have it checked?”

“No…but he wants me to.”

I said, “Go ahead, do it.  Doctors do the same to me, but mine is normal, even low.  It shocks them!  If yours is in the normal range, he’ll be wrong and you can rub it in his face!”

He flashes this bring grin at me, and EVERYONE up front starts laughing appreciatively.  “Yeah, I think I’ll do that,” he replied.

I left in a pretty good mood.





Friends and when they don’t help themselves

18 04 2009

My best friend is in a tough situation.

I’m not talking her dog died, or she got in a fender bender and was at fault…I’m talking real, deep, tough.

She was born and raised affluent– a Cape Cod family with old Cape Cod money.  Her grandparents were very wealthy, and kept the money coming in via a heavily-used plaza in town that they owned.  Her mother lived with them as well.  They all lived in one house, and my friend’s mother had never actually lived independent of HER parents– my friend’s grandparents.  My friend’s mother works a low-paying call center job for a ferry company, never having the enthusiasm to work her way up any occupational or socioeconomic ladder because she relied strongly on her parents’ money.  My friend, well, she ended up with the complacency that old, permanent money gives you.  Do what you want, when you want, no matter the the cost or revenue-generating potential.

Fast forward to 2002.  My friend’s grandparents sell the plaza as they are quite old (early and mid 90s), and keeping up with it is becoming cumbersome.  They divy the money up amongst various family members.  Things are still going well, they still have the family money.  In 2003 and 2004, the grandparents die (I miss them, too.  I was very close to them).  This is technically where the story really begins.  My friend’s father figure WAS her grandfather, and she was very close to him.  The grandmother and my friend’s mother were incredibly close as well, so both my friend and my friend’s mother spiral into deep, deep depression.  They burn through pretty much all of the money left behind, not knowing much about the world and how money works.  Why would they?  They had both spent their lives cushioned by the family “fortune.”  My friend racks up several thousand in credit card debt, and simply stashes the bills when they arrive, either refusing or not realizing she has an obligation to pay.  At this point, she is 19.  No one has ever told her anything about money, really.  Her mother is doing the same thing: racking up debt at an alarming pace.

The debts default, and crediters begin calling the house at all hours of the morning, day, and evening.  The house they live in is worth slightly over one million dollars, so the taxes are high.  My friend’s mother’s job pays roughly 19,000 a year, which, on Cape Cod is LESS than peanuts.  She begins drinking again, thus going from “recovering alcoholic” to “raging boozer.”  My friend is immobilized by her depression.

Fast forward, again, to 2009.  It’s been four and a half years since this started.  They are still living in that house.  It’s for sale, but my friend’s mother is doing nothing to foster the sale of the house.  She gets drunk every night.  My friend?  She still hasn’t paid her debt off.  She has not completed any schooling, and cannot (or will not) hold onto any job long enough to generate enough money to do anything.  She calls me, distressed, telling me she needs to get out of the town, and asking for help.  Her car no longer works, as well.  Her debt is God knows how high.  I’ve never been able to get a straight answer.

Now, to my point of this whole story.  Since the debt became an issue, my mother (financial wiz) and I have been trying to help her get through this, erradicate her debt, get through school and get a job.  My friend has had therapy and has since recovered from her depression regarding the death of her grandfather, but she constantly talks about how life “shouldn’t be this hard.”  The thing is?  Life IS this hard.  Everyone has to work for their financial independence.  Things are not just handed to you.  My mother and I have lined up all manner of methods for her to get on her feet– helping her with college paperwork, ideas about jobs, coping methods regarding her mother, calling to settle debt with the collections agencies.  She says she follows up, but I don’t think she ever has.  She still gets calls all day.  She went back to school, but quit when she got offered a job that she got fired from after a month.  She’s back to square one now.  And I, who grapples with her own very difficult (at this juncture) life, have nothing to give.

My friend’s mother has three summonses to court in Boston regarding her debt.  The house will either be lost in bankruptcy or reposession.  I find myself not even knowing how much lower my friend can go.  If she and her mother lose their house– where are they going to go?  When will my friend finally wake up and see life for what it is?  Is she even capable of taking care of herself?  These questions kill me: I have nightmares about it at night.  I feel that, sometimes, she wants my mother and I to offer her money or a place to stay.  That will never happen, mainly because she has shown no direction, no ability to get on her own.  We have tried everything, counciling her for countless hours– and she just sinks lower.

What can I do?  I’ve known her for 2/3 of my life.  We met when I was eight, and we grew up together.  I want her to enter the working, adult world as I am beginning to (I have a job…it’s temporary, but more on that another time), so we can continue to be friends and experience life together.

It makes me so sad.  All I can do is watch in horror.





Thoughts on 2009 and Resolutions

13 01 2009

Wow, it’s been quite some time since I’ve written.  I was out of town for over two weeks for the Holiday season, so things were just hectic.  This is honestly one of the first days I have had where I can sit down and really write– I’ve been back for some time, but the apartment really needed a good once-over, and I am STILL catching up on dishes.  All the while, my blog has been at the back of my mind, with a few things I’d like to talk about.

I know that around the Fat Acceptance blogs, New Year’s Resolutions are not a popular concept.  I know that I can barely make it through January with a sound mind, what with all the weight loss ads.  It’s gotten to the point that I have not watched TV for the past two weeks.  For the most part, I find the resolutions many people make to be self-damaging and almost doomed to failure.  People pledge to lose ten pounds, or to eat only salads, or what have you– why?  Most of the time, it feels like, the reason is so they can be considered more attractive, or that losing those ten pounds will fix their lives.  Fueled with post-holiday overindulgence, they sulk in their leafy greens at the company lunch table, saying things like, “Oh, I was sooooo baaaad at Christmas!”

Why do we do this to ourselves?  If people (women especially) were not constantly denying themselves things or foods they loved, perhaps they would not go so incredibly overboard on the pumpkin pie.  Actually, even if they DO have three slices of pie, the world is not going to end.  It may be a common sentiment, but I really feel that women as a whole could contribute so much more were they not bogged down with the pressure to diet and have a svelte little physique.

This all brings me to my resolutions.  Yes, I make them and I think the right KINDS of resolutions are not harmful.  I think resolutions that will truly better your soul or health (and no, I don’t mean “UR FAT UR GON’ DIE” health) are a great thing.  As far as health and what I mean by that, n example would be a diabetic pledging to test their blood sugar regularly to better manage it.  People who pledge to donate time to charities are also making good resolutions.  My resolutions?  Well, they’re small ones.  I would love to be in a position where I could be taking the time to give to charity, but right now, I AM the charity, I think.  My first huge resolution is to find a job.  I have decided to redouble my efforts, overhaul my resume and go door-to-door if I have to.  It’s been just over five months since I’ve moved up here, and the outlook is still bleak.  I’ve been fighting depression about it– it’s been getting harder to even apply for jobs on the rare occasion I see them, because I feel like I’ll just get rejected.  I have resolved to not let this get me down, and to keep on keepin’ on.

My second resolution is somewhat related to the first.  I’m trying to take better care of myself.  I tend to get angry about a lot of small things, which is probably not too good for me.  I’ve never been able to figure out if getting angry about smaller things has been a decent way to vent my anger, and thus making me less angry overall, or if I’m just stressing myself out for no reason.  I have always been somewhat of an angry person.  I get pretty bad road rage at certain things, and I’ll generally swear if I drop something.  So, I’m going to make a conscious effort to control my anger more.  Deep breaths, you know.  I’ve also decided to finally bite the bullet and go back to the gym.  I think the lowered level of physical activity has made me more jumpy, and I find myself itching to go out and do something.  Lastly, I’m trying to eat more veggies and fruit.  That one should be obvious.  I’m very tired of almost completely depending on multivitamins.

So, here’s to 2009 being a good year for everyone.





How I feel this morning.

20 12 2008

People talk a lot about medical studies, the ridiculous OBESITY HYSTERIA, and bigoted people.  This morning, I’m just depressed.  It all culminated while I was flipping through October’s Martha Stewart Living magazine.  There is a full page ad for Boar’s Head meats, which are delicious, but…

Two thirds of the page is a picture of a child, having just taken a bite of a donut, complete with rapturous facial expression.  Below the photo is a short passage used to create a sense of unease in parent’s minds abut what their child is eating.

“Do You Really Know What Your Kids Had for Lunch Today?

Did your daughter trade her lunch money for junk before she got to school?  Of all the good choices available, did she manage to find a bad one?  Kids are great at that.  And with all the talk about obesity and type 2 Diabetes, you have every reason to be worried.”

Of course they use a female subject for the advertisement.  Of COURSE.  I am not being over-sensitive when I say women are the subject of severe scrutiny for their physicality from pretty much day one.  Boar’s Head’s other advertisements (I found a few on YouTube) feature a more diverse group of children, but this particular one just cut me to the bone.  It has a strong sense of paranoia in its marketing, and almost a “SAVE THE VIRTUE OF YOUR DAUGHTER” feel as well.  You know what?  I had donuts from time to time as a child.  That’s not why I’m fat.  Growing up, I was more active than most children are now.  I was on the swim team, I played outside for hours (all day in the summer), and I didn’t own a video game system until I was in 7th grade.  I wasn’t allowed to have one until then.  I was still fat.  I was still made fun of for being fat.  Though, looking back now, I don’t think the kids had a problem with me being fat so much as it was an easy thing to use as a tool for punishing someone different.

Anyway, this advertisement just makes me so tired.  I love my body and who I am, but to get up every day and go into a world where you are regarded as disgusting and irresponsible is exhausting sometimes.  To walk into the Gap to look for gifts for people, and to be greeted with, “I don’t think we have anything in your size” gets old.  I know these sentiments have been echoed in many a blog, but I don’t think I have ever uttered these things myself.  I have always kept it inside, for whatever reason, and finally, today, I am tired and sad.  To the majority of this nation, I will never be attractive.  I have never had a local date/relationship, ever.  Almost every guy I have met who has been interested in me has been in some remote area.  At this point, it is irrelevant as I am in a long term, concrete relationship (which has been local in that we live together for the last 3 1/2 months of the 12 we have been together), but is it shallow to want to be attractive to others?  It might be against the feminist or size acceptance creed, but it’s something I want.

I am tired of being considered unnatural and awful for what I am.  It’s an awful feeling that no human deserves.





Fatty Goes to the Gym

15 11 2008

So, in a week I’m off to Rhode Island to participate in a 5k memorial race.  It’s not competitive; I’ll be walking along with most of the people I know.  A 5k isn’t long as far as I know– Google told me it’s 3.1 miles, which I should have no problem with.  I don’t walk as fast as my (“normal” weight) acquiantances, most of whom live in Boston and simply walk a lot more than I have as of late.  A few months ago, my boyfriend signed me up as a “sponsor” at the U Maine school gym.  It’s a great deal: 25 bucks a semester.  A lot has been going on since I signed up, though, so I haven’t been able to make it out to do anything.  Now, of course, there’s a fire under my butt to start going.  I want the little boost of resistance and leg muscle to walk a little faster.  Thursday night, Kevin and I decided to go.  He’d do basketball pickup games while I waked on the indoor track and maybe hit the stair climber.

The gym was packed.  There were ten people on the (somewhat small) indoor track, and roughly 80% of the machines were in use.  Kevin said he’d never seen so many people show up for the basketball pickups.  We’re walking through the facility to find a place to put our stuff.  Looking around at the hordes of people, I realize: there is not a single female (possibly even male) that I did not outweigh by 180-200 pounds.  Yes, I had to be double the weight of almost every person in the place.  Not a single person even approaching chubby.  It was incredibly upsetting.  Now, I’m not really a self-conscious person.  I have no problem swimming at a public pool, ordering dessert after dinner, and I always go through the world as if it didn’t even occur to me that someone might think less of me because of the fat on my body.  Standing there, though, in that gym, surrounded by skinny girls and trim guys, I crumbled.  I was mortified.  I went to the car while Kevin played some basketball.

Sitting in the car, anger started to wash over me– at myself, at the gym.  I love being active.  I let myself deprive myself of that.  I started thinking, though– was it really me?  College girls can be truly awful.  If I got on one of the stationary bikes, surrounded by them, what might happen?  Could some of them be volatile enough to say something?  I really did not want to take the time to verbally rip them a new one.  I know that, when all is said and done, I have every right to be there, just as much as they do.  On some level, the assumption that I might be there to lose weight infuriates me.  I am not opposed to weight loss really, but I am not trying to and the concept of being misunderstood bothers me more than anything.

Too Fat for Fitness deals with this subject as well, sort of.  It’s hard as heck to be healthy and active when one can’t even go into a gym and feel comfortable.  Maybe a lot of fat people feel this way, and that’s why they don’t go.  In the summer, it won’t matter so much because it’ll be warm out, but it’s not like I live in Southern California.  This is Downeast Maine.  It actually gets cold here.  I guess I just don’t know what to do.





Finally, Maine.

2 10 2008

My life has, at last, reached a point where things have calmed down enough such that I may write about these past two (wow!) months. Here I sit, having just consumed a toasted peanut butter/fluff sandwich, having a pile of Sunchips and sipping some Cherry Coke Zero. I almost don’t know where to start– I did not think a 688 mile move to Central/Eastern Maine would be so complex. I had expected to have a job and apartment by Labor Day. Looking back, that was a foolish expectation; we didn’t even get into the apartment I found until September 2nd. So, I suppose I’ll start at the beginning.

I left midday on August 2nd for Rhode Island. My car was packed so full of stuff that there was almost not enough room for me. It actually affected the gas economy. I did a healthy amount of crying– I actually liked living in Buffalo. I have roots there. Had I been moving somewhere like Boston, a familiar place, I would have been more calm. I still find it slightly insane that I packed up and left for a place I had never been. Anyway, on the Thruway, things got a little funky. My camera bleached it out, but I saw the most serious storm clouds around Syracuse. Rain started flooding down. I had to pull off of the road on several occasions. The rain dissipated some time in Western Mass, and I made record time from the state line to my exit (10A)– about an hour and ten. Maybe that’s a strange thing to include, but when you consider it’s about 93 miles from Lee to Worcester and there are always backups, I was pleased.

Rhode Island was the logical place to stop for me: I had not seen my boyfriend in almost two months, it would give me a chance to grab some of Kevin’s stuff to take to Maine with me, and driving the last leg of the road to Maine would have killed me. I didn’t know that at the time, though. More on that later. Anyway, I got to Coventry at around 6:30– again, excellent time, especially with the rain. The following morning, we went fishing out of Narragansett on a flounder trip. I love it down there— it’s as beautiful as Cape Cod, if not moreso. I hadn’t been out on the water since I moved from Massachusetts in 2004, so it was really wonderful. It was sunny and warm and smelled like ocean (well, duh). I caught a fish as well, though it was a few inches short of keeper status.

The morning of the 4th, I packed up what little I had unpacked in Rhode Island and set off for Maine, at last. I was excited on some levels. The trip seemed easy enough– stay on 95 until Portland, Maine, and then take 295 until it ands and just merge back onto 95 until my exit. I figured it was going to be about five hours. The trip was smooth sailing up through Boston, really…the driving on 95 around Boston is hairy enough to keep you entertained. I just stuck in the left most lane the whole time. North of Boston, it dragged a little as there isn’t much going on there. New Hampshire was incredibly unfortunate. The tolls were backed up about a half of a mile, so I got stuck sitting there, stopped, for a good 40 minutes. HOWEVER. It didn’t get truly awful until the northern leg of 295 in Maine, and then the stretch between Augusta and Bangor. I had been warned by my mother, who had arrived the day before, about this piece of road. I did not heed her warning, though. “It’ll be fine,” I thought, “it’s like 88 miles. That’s like Falmouth to Boston almost.”

No.

This was the worst driving I have ever experienced. I can only assume this piece of road is paralleled only by places like South Dakota and Utah and Wyoming. Every now and again, I’d think, “Oh! It has to have been at least 40 minutes. I must be 30 miles from Bangor now!” And then came the mileage sign: BANGOR, 63. Sigh. This cycle repeated itself every ten minutes or so. I finally pulled into the hotel in my tiny new town of residence, relieved to think I was done with that drive for a while. I was so very wrong, but again, I’ll get to that.

I was surprised at the amount of neglect on many of the buildings in Orono, which I later learned is just how it is here. The university is the biggest thing here, bringing 11,000 undergrads each year. What do undergrads do? TRASH RENTALS. So, I sucked in a breath and got to looking for a suitable place. This turned out to be quite hard– the big apartment rush is in April, and so in early August, the pickin’ be slim. I called a few places up to take a gander, and it was…shall we say, unsuitable. After a few days, I got a call from one of the local landlords I had spoken to. He told me a new property was opening up at the end of the month, and so I made an appointment to see it.

The location was amazing. Right behind Main Street, within walking distance of all the restaurants in town. The only problem was that it, like many others, had seen better days. I agreed to take it anyway. I called Kevin to let him know I found a place (he wasn’t coming up until he got back from his family vacation in Cancun.) Even currently, we’re still working on the apartment. Someday, after I paint it, I will actually take pictures. Anyhow, the apartment would not be ready until September 1st. This presented a problem: I couldn’t go all the way back to Buffalo, and I could not stay with Kevin’s parents for three weeks. So, I did what most people might do: I called my best friend of fourteen years, who still lives on Cape Cod.

So, I headed down for the Cape. This was marking my third drive to/from Southeastern New England since I left Buffalo. So far, we got Buffalo to Maine, and then there was one trip back down to Rhode Island to grab the bed and some furniture, and now, down to the Cape. I was terribly sick of 95 between Bangor and Augusta. This is where the story gets interesting, I promise.

It felt good to be on Cape, and to see my best friend, and to be able to go to Boston easily. Kevin and I made plans to meet up with his friends in Boston on August 19th, which we did. He took the T up from Providence and I from Middleboro. The day was great; I don’t think it could have been better in any way. After meeting up at South Station, we went to Allston to have an early dinner and drinks with a very good friend of mine at the Sunset Grill & Tap. On a side note, if you are ever in the Boston area, look this place up. It’s probably one of my favorite places to go for food and beer, period. After dinner, Kevin and I went to one of his friend’s place in Cambridge. This place had the most amazing view. We all then went down to this tiiiiiny little bar called The Plough & Stars I had never been to this place, but again, a great place. It was really beautiful inside– the service was good, the prices reasonable and they played quiet indie rock a la old Modest Mouse. I’d honestly go back just to soak in the gorgeous interior. That night, driving back to Cape Cod, I had a calm, peaceful feeling I hadn’t felt in a while. I had just had a wonderful day, and the next morning Kevin was driving out to spend the day on the Cape with me. Since we met, I’d been trying to get him Down Cape. Things were going well.

So it seemed.

The next morning, Kevin and I set out for the Wellfleet Flea Market, which is about two hours from Falmouth, aka my home base when it comes to the Cape. We took a stop for breakfast on the Mashpee/Barnstable line at Persy’s Place. Post amazing breakfast, I hopped on 6 and made for Wellfleet, making note of the gridlocked traffic going the other way. After the Orleans rotary, traffic crawled to a halt. This was a random Wednesday morning– while it was tourist season, in all my eleven years living there, I had never seen traffic like this outside of Memorial or Labor Day. So, we crawled along with all the Connecticut and Jersey plates, eagerly motoring into the Wellfleet Drive In once we got there. It was a pleasant morning at the market; I found some cute knick nacks and whatnot. In what I thought was my endless wisdom, I told Kevin we’d have to go to Truro some other time– there was no movement in the traffic facing that direction.

After a surprisingly lengthy stop at the Bird Watcher’s General Store (I got my book signed!), I figured, “Why not take 6A down to Hyannis and avoid all that crap on 6?” I’m so smart. So, so, so smart. We’re driving along, having a nice little experience: 6A is a very scenic, tree-lined route with lots of quaint business and whatever. So, a large, white minivan is waiting to take a left turn from the opposite direction. She’s got more that enough room to do it. I don’t even have to brake. The speed limit’s only 35, and I’m going 37. She’s got loads of room!

She stops mid-turn, her rear half hanging out onto 6A.

I brake.

ABS kicks in, nullifying my brake-slamming.

I make it down to about 11 MPH before I SLAM INTO HER BACK PASSENGER SIDE.

After a moment of looking at Kevin (who is staring at me blankly, in a state of shock), I say, “welp,” and hit my flashers. The driver comes up to me and is like, “Oh my God, are you guys ok?” I told her we were, and made sure they were alright. I drove my car off of the road onto the side road the woman was turning onto, and got out to inspect the damage.

So, it started hemhorraging the coolant I just paid 50 bucks to have put in. The lady calls the Brewster Police while I call Geico. Long story short, the police fined the woman (who had stopped to turn around or something– damn tourists) and lectured her about how she was at fault and I was completely innocent. They towed my car and gave me and Kevin a ride to the station.

I spent three hours on the phone with Geico, Mid Cape Ford, my mother, and the place my car was towed to. Finally, I called a Thrifty in Orleans and got a rental car. Kevin stayed in Falmouth with me for the night. The whole day, I was almost alarmingly calm, enough that several people commented on it. I filled out my accident report and whatever. The accident happened at 1:04p, and I didn’t leave the Brewster Police until 4:30. I got my car towed to Mid Cape Ford, and managed to get to all the places I needed to before they closed. The following day, I went up to Hyannis to see how long it was going to take for my car to be fixed, hoping it would be done by Sunday, the day I was scheduled to leave. The guy working on my car (a total sweetheart who remembered me from my time at Cape Cod Community College) told me it would be two weeks at least.

I flipped out internally. In two weeks it would be Labor Day. What was I going to do with no car? Kevin took me back to Rhode Island with him. We drove up to Maine together, with my poor car imprisoned on Cape Cod. By this time, I’d been living out of hotels and places that were not my own for almost a full month. I was mentally exhausted. Couple that with the stress of the car, and you have crying jags and sleepless nights.

But, I pressed on. For two weeks in Maine, I was reliant on Kevin’s car. We went down to Boston for Labor Day, where I learned my car was postponed. They found out that, in addition to the smashed radiator, my fuel pump was shot. I ended up not getting my car back until mid September.

Back to the actual move, I don’t think there are actual words that can describe how good it felt to be back in a space that was mine. We still don’t have any chairs or a kitchen table, but I’m back to feeling normal. We’re talking about present day now. My car is back, my cat is here, and the apartment is almost finished. I just need a job, but this post is getting ridiculously long, so I’ll save that for later.

I’ll end this with a picture of Kevin throwing rocks at Menahunt Beach in Falmouth: