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.

Winter 2008 Gift/Beauty Recommendations

5 12 2008

Instead of my usual righteous anger-type posts, today I want to talk about something pleasant.  The Holidays are here, in case you haven’t noticed.  It’s Winter, things are hectic and you probably have a list of people to get gifts for.  I love to shop (which is hard as I don’t currently have a job, heh heh), so talking about my finds seems like a natural result of my hobby.  In this little list of recommendations, personal grooming products abound.  Why?  Well, the reason is two-fold, really.  First off, Winter is a dry, gross season for me (I love the Northeast, but dang, it can get cold up here), so I have to find products that help me get through it without my skin cracking off and my hair turning into a big puff cloud.  Second, it’s fun to buy yourself something cute or nice while you’re out grabbing things for friends/loved ones/pets.  So, the list will be a mingling of gift ideas for others…and yourself!

Old Navy Scarf Cardigans, $36.50

on610799-00p01v01Sweaters are a natural choice for Winter gift giving.  Old Navy has a very large selection, especially if you/the person you are buying for is in the 18-22 range, size-wise.  Need a bigger size?  Fear not!  Old Navy’s Women’s Plus section has loads of cute sweaters, including the one pictured at left.  This sweater comes in sizes 1 though 4x, and in my experience, the sizing can be generous on these sweaters.  A 4x should accommodate anywhere from a 28 to 32.  I am a 28 on top and I frequently have to size down to a 3x with Old Navy’s sweaters.  Anyway, this particular sweater is a great item for this Winter because of the excess material up front, which is to be used as a scarf.  It’s nice, and kind of artsy, and a breath of fresh air when compared to the usual Fair Isle-style sweaters you see around this time.  Not that there’s anything wrong with Fair Isle!  This sweater comes in great cold weather colors as well: black, baby spinach, gentle fawn and crystal peak.  It remains to be seen if this will be a popular sweater or not, but I, for one, love it and it’s definitely on my wish list this Christmas.  Note: Old Navy Women’s Plus is only available online, and shipping is seven dollars USD.  They do, however, have free returns.  If you file for an exchange on the return slip, I believe the shipping is free for the exchanged size, as well.  As of 12.5.08, though, Old Navy’s sweaters are all on sale, so most of the prices I have listed are higher than the current sale price.  If you’re thinking of getting any of these, pounce sooner rather than later!

Other Old Navy Picks: Cashmere Scoop Neck Sweaters $79.50, Cable-knit Hooded Cardigans $39.50

The Body Shop Satsuma Perfume Oil, $16.00

The Body Shop comes out with fantastic seasonal fragrances every year, but Satsuma (a fruit known to many as Clementine) perfume oil is a standby for me.  I’ve worn it since I was 13 and would recommend it to anyone, especially in colder months.  Citrus fragrances generally evoke thoughts of Summer, but this warm, zesty, orange-like scent is very cozy.  Application of this oil to your pulse points allows the warmth of the scent to gently waft around you.  This kind of orange is reminiscent of Pomander balls more so than the light, airy orange Summer citrus scents.  As shown, the oil comes in a cute little glass bottle, and has a small plastic rod inside for dabbing/application.  It’s easily slipped into a small box for wrapping.  An added bonus of this product is that it can be added to lotions and some body sprays.  You could start with an unscented base lotion (there’s one on this list), or, you could add it to a cinnamon or gingerbread-scented lotion for a super holiday feel.  This product is available at any Body Shop (found at most major malls), or online.

Other Body Shop Picks: Zesty Satsuma Takeaways $25.00, Satsuma Body Butter $10.00-20.00, Cranberry Sheer Body Shimmer $20.00

MAC Lipstick, $14.00

MAC is famous for their lipsticks.  Why, you ask?  Well, their range of colors and finishes, coupled with their long-wearing comfort and comparatively low price tag on the department store circuit has earned them quite a following.  Each lipstick has a light, but not overpowering vanilla scent and flavor.  While there are literally hundreds of colors to choose from, for holiday giving, I like pale pinks.  Pale pink is a great color for this season, but doesn’t look out of place in the warmer months (if the giftee uses lipstick slowly) or in warmer climates (where you don’t always see an apres-ski look in December-January).  My current choice of pink is a color called Ahoy, there!  It is, however, discontinued.  MAC has loads of similar colors, though– for your very pale friends, Pretty Please is a good selection.  For medium tones, try Syrup.  Darker skin?  Party Line.  If pink does not suit you or the person you are buying for, try a beige such as High Tea or Viva Glam II.  Added bonus: all the proceeds from Viva Glam products go to the MAC Aids Fund, which has done a lot to support those living with AIDS.  The price of these lipsticks makes them great for groups of people.  The women (or men!) at work, friends, teachers– there are a lot of options.  You can find MAC in many department stores (Macy’s, Nordstrom, Saks), or in free-standing stores.  MAC has a very helpful find store section on their website.

Other MAC Picks: Tinted Lipglass $14.00, Kids Helping Kids Collection $6.00-$7.50

John Frieda Collection Brilliant Brunette Shine Shock Leave-On Perfecting Glosser, $6.99

My hair gets super frizzy in the winter.  No, who am I kidding?  My hair is ALWAYS frizzy.  It doesn’t matter what time of year it is– I’m the flyaway QUEEN.  This product, though, is very effective.  While my hair is still wet from being washed, I put a few squeezes of this in and work it evenly through my hair.  My hair dries to a high-shine, low-frizz moderate wave.  This was one of the first products I have used that has given me a good hair day!  I love this stuff.  It’s in a small bottle (2.4 oz/68g), but it’s worth the price for the effect it has on my ridiculous mop.  It works well with the straight iron/curling iron, as well.  It has gotten to the point that I don’t ever travel without a tube of this in my bag.  No, not my luggage– my bag.  It’s great to apply to dry hair as well.  This is a great item to include in a spa-inspired or pampering gift basket to a relative or best friend– I don’t know that I’d give it as a gift alone, for fear of implying something by giving it.  This is a great little something to get for yourself to try out.  You can find this product almost anywhere: Wal Mart, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS.  I got mine at Wegmans, a grocery store in Buffalo, NY.  It’s everywhere.

Other Hair Picks: TIGI Dumb Blonde Conditoiner $22.99, Lush Godiva Solid Shampoo $9.25

Vaseline Intensive Moisture Locking Lotion, $6.29

Let me start off by saying it seems like Wal Mart is giving out free samples of this product.  Okay, on with my little review.  Before I moved up to Maine, I lived in Buffalo, New York for almost five years.  The water in Buffalo is notoriously hard, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about the winters.  My Cape Cod Winter-pampered skin simply could not take the harshness.  Until I moved to Buffalo, I NEVER needed to use lotion.  Suddenly, my legs were flaky and my elbows rough.  I somehow stumbled onto this lotion and it was love.  I still use it, even now.  This lotion is hypoallergenic– no dyes, no fragrances.  This is not your typical, watery lotion.  This is a thick, incredibly creamy hydrator.  This, like the last product, is not something I would give to someone as a gift, this is more of a winter survival item.  It takes care of crackly, post-summer feet and crackly, mid-winter skin.  You can find it at pretty much any major drugstore or big box store for a reasonable price.  I have used lotions far more expensive than this that don’t do half the job this does.  If I were to make a winter survival list, this would top it, hands down.

Other Winter Skin Picks: None!  This is my go-to.  You can use it sparingly on your face, as well, because the pump makes for sterile product inside the container.

Merrell Spirit Tibet High Boots, $130.00

I have the privilege of living but two hours away from L.L. Bean’s flagship store in Freeport, Maine.  I have been visiting this store since my days in middle school.  My mother and I would drive up to Freeport from Cape Cod and stay for Thanksgiving.  It was always loads of Fun– Freeport is an outlet/shopping Mecca, for real.  Anyway, I was in need of good winter boots, so naturally I headed over there.  Pictures do not do these boots justice: seeing them in person, I was struck by their beauty.  They are quite expensive, but the warmth, comfort and style these boots provide is unmatched for me.  The suede outer looks and feels fabulous, and the grips on the bottom are perfect for slippery conditions.  This is an ideal gift for someone who lives somewhere cold (Maine, Buffalo, you know).  While a 130 dollar price tag seems steep, the craftmanship is undeniably quality.  Boots like this will last years, and look good to boot!  Hur hur, I said a funny.  They reach mid-shin on me, and are larger-calf friendly.  At the fullest point, my calves are 21″ or so.  These fit quite well, so they are a good gift idea for your muscular/larger-legged friends and family.  I believe other outdoor stores sell Merrill, but I choose to go through L.L. Bean due to their primo return policy.

Other Merrill Boot Picks: Puffin Mid-Height Boots, $100.00

Other L.L. Bean Picks: Maine Winter Socks $16.50, Bean’s Fleece Socks $15.00

Well, that’s all for now.  There is a possibility of a second part to this gift guide, if the spirit moves me.  I hope that a) people will read this and b) that it’ll help people find gifts for others!  The holiday season is a great time to share and express love and joy to others, especially through thoughtful gifts.  Please don’t lose sight of this amongst the throng of hysteria at all of the shopping malls and big box stores.  Enjoy the season.

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.

Through the eyes of Ruby?

29 10 2008

Today, I was puttering around my usual internet haunts, and saw a discussion thread about a new show on the Style Network: Ruby. This woman is really quite beautiful, with an attractive smile and Southern twang to her voice. She’s also almost 500 pounds. Actually, I think it’s 487, but the TV spots say 500 for sensationalism. At first, I was almost happy– could it really be that there is a television show about the life of a fat woman? A show which illustrates the dimensions of her personality? Her daily struggles to fit into society like a thin person might? I kept reading. It turns out that this show is going to chronicle her “weight loss journey” to become, in her words, “skinny.” Is it so much to ask that we could have a fat woman be the center of a television show who is NOT trying to lose weight? Showcasing a secure, self-loving fat woman (or man) in a lead or romantic role (especially with a thin partner) will always be “controversial” until someone bites the bullet and just produces something. Unfortunately, I am barring independent films from what I’m saying– as well as they may mean, independent films simply are not going to reach the masses of the world like a major production might.

I went to the official website for this show (link above), and started watching the previews and nosing around. Even if the main plot centers around her weight loss, should the show bring light to her inner workings and struggles, the show would do some good. The videos were hard to watch, and the “Getting Healthy” and “Living Large” were problematic in places as well.

Starting off with the videos: all three I watched featured that cheesy, piano-y, “inspirational” music. Not only does this set the stage for an ugly ducking-to-swan-like story, but it also creates a sense of pity for Ruby. She’s shown as being quite active, though– there are clips of her dancing and going to the gym, and also walking her dogs. Ruby’s voice is played over the music, saying various things that, frankly, made me very sad.

“I want someone to tell me I’m beautiful.”

“I can’t even cross my legs.”

“He said, ‘I want to marry you, all you have to do is lose weight.’

The first quote is depressing. Surely, many fat people have felt this way. Perhaps I am fortunate to have found the communities I’m involved in at such an early age (I became involved in the SA/FA movement at 15), but Ruby appears to be at least in her 30s. Has no one told her she’s beautiful? If that is the case, it’s incredibly saddening. She IS beautiful. I’m envious of her looks and smile, even just from the images I’ve seen of her just now. As for the second quote, well, a lot of people can’t cross their legs. I know I can’t, and I never could. Even when I was very young and on the swim team (and pretty skinny, looking back), I could never cross my legs. My leg muscles were too developed. Assuming I got down to a “normal” BMI, odds are I would still be unable. I know a lot of people who are not ever going to be able to cross their legs. It’s a shame that this action has become a symbol of femininity, when, much like other symbols, it’s unattainable for some/many/the majority of women.

Of all three quotes, though, the last is the worst. Ruby talks about a man who wanted to marry her. He tells her he will if she loses weight, and eventually leaves her. She says, in the video, that she realized she really loved him after he left, and that if she couldn’t lose weight for him/true love, then something really MUST be wrong with her. This really highlights the critical issues with females, the media and what we do to ourselves. Something is wrong with YOU because someone ELSE could not accept and love YOU for YOU? How is that your fault? Moreover, how could you love someone who would leave you because you were unwilling to change yourself? Women do this to themselves far more than men. Where are the women who are brave enough to realize that the fault does not lie with them? It would be wonderful to see women who don’t succumb to the guilt society heaps on this gender. At any rate, it becomes obvious Ruby has some self-confidence issues through this segment.

The “Getting Healthy” section also shows problems. I’ll start by saying I’m not in any way against weight loss: people need to own their bodies and be responsible and healthy. However, this is not tied to weight alone. This section focuses pretty much only on fat loss, though. “Setting Goals” talks on and on about setting “realistic” ten-pound goals. It’s really a shame. There was nothing to be found about other types of goals: jogging for an hour without stopping, being able to scale four flights of stairs without getting winded– things that show improved cardiac health. The video clips had cleverly placed sound bites of doctors telling Ruby that she was headed for strokes, loss of vision, loss of leg function, etc. Nothing had been said about her having or being pre-Diabetes, so I infer that she’s getting the usual no-no speech from a practitioner. Of course, that won’t really be known for sure until the show is aired. The only part of the dieting section that I was impressed with was the five-week sample menu that Ruby is supposedly consuming. I actually got hungry reading some of the items! Unfortunately, it’s pre-packaged food from a Jenny Craig-like diet center. Personally, I’d rather cook the stuff myself. A lot of it would be amazing when freshly prepared.

All and all, the show makes me nervous. I want to think it will do some good– maybe show people that being fat is not quite the horror many make it out to be. Will Ruby have difficulty losing weight? It does say in her “About Me” that she has been fat as long as she can remember. And I guess, if it came down to it, I’d rather see this than MTV’s Model Makers.

Uh-Oh! Bed Bath & Beyond knows women can’t control themselves!

28 10 2008

This morning, I went out front to grab the mail. The only thing in there was this week’s Bed Bath & Beyond circular. Seeing as I am still without employment, I took an idle and semi-uninterested glance at the cover. Immediately, I felt shock and disgust course through my system.

Let’s break it down. You’ve got three pictures of beautifully plated and prepared foods in chafing dishes and on a tiered dessert plate: turkey breast with sparingly drizzled gravy and whole cranberries, meatballs (or stuffing? It’s hard to tell), asparagus and carrots (one with a small amount of cheese and onions, the other with onions and…squash rind or something), and finally, mini cheesecakes, some kind of chocolate cream poof, and petits fours. These three panels each read “yumm,” each panel with one more “m” in the word than the last. The fourth panel is a pair of women’s feet on a digital scale, which reads “UH-OH.” The added text reads “…YIKES!”

Perhaps you can see where I’m going with this? First, of COURSE it will be a woman on the scale. On occasion I will see males used in weight-related jokes or schemes, but nine times out of ten, it’s a woman. Let’s rewind a second and look at most of the food. Lean turkey (breast). Carrots. Cranberries, Asparagus. This is healthy food. Yes, there is some cheese and gravy present, but the amount shown wouldn’t even reach the bottom of the chafing dish. Yes, I think we can all agree that there’s nothing reduced-calorie about the desserts, but they are also seemingly small in size. Even having one of each variety is not going to result in a catastrophic weight gain. And even if you do gain five pounds, is “YIKES” appropriate? Seriously? Your world is not going to crumble.

This circular’s cover reminds me of magazines like Woman’s Day: a picture of a beautiful cake on the front, with the headline, “LOSE 23 POUNDS WITH POWER WALKING!” Translation: make a cake for your family while you eat celery and work out every day. Or the Special K ad where a mother and child are icing a cake. The mother goes to lick some cake batter from her finger, and then a voice comes on: “you’re about to undo your whole day.” With a lick of cake batter, really? Oh yes, puffed rice flakes with tiny bricks of vegetable oil and chocolate flavoring is really on par with cake batter. That’ll DEFINITELY get rid of your craving.

It’s sickening how often women around food is correlated with some kind of lack of control. Women are bad drivers, women are too emotional, women can’t have a normal relationship with food. NATURALLY, if a woman is around a dessert plate, she will eat ALL of the items, resulting in a weight gain (shown on her shiny new digital scale) that will surely end her life. The reality is that a plate of the food shown on this circular would not greatly affect one’s weight. And then, at the notion it MIGHT cause one’s weight to increase, negative imagery is used. ‘Cuz, y’know, God forbid. You might get the Diabeetus.

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.”


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:

Goodbye, tiny Rust Belt city.

31 07 2008

Tomorrow’s my last day here. I feel strange about it– I do love the area, but life is just pulling me away. I’ve just started this blog, but I don’t know when I’ll have internet available to write again. Once I do, though, I’ll surely have a lot to say.

Fat Princess

29 07 2008

I’m gonna get it for this.

I don’t have a problem with Fat Princess. I think it’s kind of charming, in a way. The game itself looks fun to me, and I am not offended by the concept of a princess being fed cake until it’s nigh impossible to move her. There are many, it seems, that are offended at this concept. I’m not entirely sure why, though. First, I have to say that video games are not as influential as people may think, especially not ones you can buy and download for five bucks that would have had virtually no hype if they had not been made controversial. The game itself looks like fun, and realistically, it will probably release, be mildly popular, and then fall away as most games do. Nothing about Fat Princess screams “INSTANT CLASSIC.”

Some of the things others are reading into the game are a little out in left field to me, as well. Maybe she’s not helpless when faced with cake. Maybe she ran away to the opposing kingdom’s castle and wants to stay there and eating copious amounts of cake is the idea they all came up with. Then, there’s the idea that there is some kind of fat joke underlying the whole game. I haven’t seen any articles elaborating on a plot in the game, so I can’t say if there even is one. I doubt there is, so really, all this about fat jokes and women and food and everything is speculation. Everything I have read about the game thus far shows it to be relatively simple, almost like Capture the Flag with a fat chick instead of a little pennant.

Besides, the game could awaken a whole new generation of fetishists. Sexual deviance makes the world interesting. That wouldn’t be so bad, right? Or, is that just as bad as those who laugh at fat people?

People don’t generally make video games to influence the masses. There are, of course, exceptions, but for the most part, creators just churn ’em out. The developers for this game may not even be aware of the message some are gleaning from this game. Maybe they thought it was harmless. It would be great to see an interview with them, though, and maybe that’ll happen in time.

Maybe there are just bigger fish to fry, I think.

The No-Man’s-Land that is 24+

29 07 2008

Just now, I was reading some complaints about B & Lu, and I got to thinking.

At one point, B & Lu carried almost everything up to a 30. Skirts were a good ten inches longer on me than they should be, but that’s what tailors are for, right? I thought maybe they were just sold out of a lot of things in the higher sizes lately, but apparently, they’re just scaling down. Why? It seems like a popular trend. Avenue is doing the same– half the time I go to look at an item I’m interested in (a rare happening in and of itself), and the biggest size is a 26. Even with Avenue, B & Lu, Lane Bryant and Old Navy, the selection is sparse for those above a size 24. This is not to say those who are a 24 can shop anywhere; it’s more of a tiered thing. 20, 24, 28 as I see it. Anyway, this downsizing of size ranges really bothers me, as someone who wears anywhere from a 26 to a 34, but most of the time, a 30, as I have a hard enough time as it is. I don’t need less people to select clothing from.

I’ve also noticed a lot of people avoid Old Navy because of the veritable slap in the face that pulling plus sizes from the stores was. I’d love to shop on principle like that, but I get probably 90% of my clothing from Old Navy. It’s cheap (yeah, sweatshops. ‘nother can of worms), comfortable and fits me well. The style also meshes well with how I like to dress. I call them often to leave feedback, but I will never stop shopping there. This may be counter-productive, but I’d rather wear clothing I like that is comfortable rather than too-short shirts (*cough* Lane Bryant) and thin, short-lived pants (Avenue).

I think Silhouettes is the worst offender of all, actually. They’ve never boasted anything particularly fashionable, until recently. They have had some really cute stuff for sale in the past year or so, but guess what? It stops at a size 26. So, all you fabulous women who wear a larger size? You can wear their basic, vanilla clothing. That has a fantastic size range. Anything with current styling, well, guess you’re just out of luck. This dress is a dress I would wear. It has been on sale forever, because I guess those who want fashionable clothing in a 26 or less go elsewhere. Their size chart says their 26 is equal to a 28, but I’m not sure about it. I don’t know that it would fit me, anyway, because I really can only get into a large-cut 28. Silhouettes is a company I refuse to buy from due to their sizing. Without a doubt, when I get a catalogue, I flip through it, and every item I like goes up to a 26 only. In fact, most of their items only go to a 26.

So, where is the love for people who wear 24+? Or, 28+? As stated probably a million other places, these people care just as much about fashion as smaller females. Why is this group left to huddle in the corner in plain, boring (for the most part) clothing?

Don’t even get me started on skinny jeans.