Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wild diva diversity

Or maybe this should be titled "Hello, I am a Hamster."

I've been thinking about this for awhile now, especially lately since I've put myself back on the rack of weight loss/fitness/nutrition blah blah blah. If you've seen any of the Planet Earth series, you've seen the incredible diversity of wild animals in nature, miraculously evolved to subsist in whatever climate or geography they're in. Isn't it possible that humans are so wildly diverse for the same reasons?

We all know those people who are born skinny, eat like garbage scows and stay thin effortlessly. Then there are those of us who fight like hell to stay within a "healthy" weight range, only to pop back up to the same weight no matter how many times we lose those last ten pounds. And of course our standardized Western image of female beauty is skewed to six-foot-tall lollipops with inflated boobs and poufy lips, never mind that it's only 8% of the female population.

Elephants, for example, are huge. They are big, gray, and wrinkled, and they remind me of my jolly fat grandfather in his gray work pants. Maybe that's why I like elephants. I watch the series about the African plains and admire the nimble, lovely impalas and tiny dik-diks and marvel at the fluidity of their movements in the herd. But elephants aren't graceful. They don't glide or leap in graceful symmetry. They plod. They stumble. They plop down in the muddy water and roll around in the mud, lazily.

But suppose they treated themselves the way human females do. Suppose a normal elephant decides they want to look like an impala. Do they sit around with the herd and think, I need to eat eight thousand calories less every day and by the time we migrate to the reservoir in June, I'll look just like that fancy-ass impala over there? I'll cut down on the bamboo -- I swear I will! -- and I'll jog around the swamp at night, that'll do it. Or should I have my tusks reduced?

Would an elephant do that? No. A skinny elephant would not be a healthier, happier elephant -- it would just be a smaller, probably weaker elephant. And it sure as hell wouldn't look like an impala, or be able to leap gracefully -- it would still plod on its big stumpy feet because dammit, that's how elephants walk.

I laugh when I think about what certain animals would look like if subjected to humanity's perverse expectations. Imagine a skinny hippopotamus -- those short legs would look hilarious with a giant skinny ribcage flailing around on top of it. Or a scrawny, angular panda bear? Where's the cute in that? Even those darling little dik-diks probably wish they were taller. Would they pump up the steroids, trying to match heights with a gazelle?

It tires me. I have fat friends and skinny friends, and all of us sit around and criticize ourselves and wish we were thinner/taller/blonder/younger/prettier blah blah blah until it makes me crazy. I don't exempt myself from this behavior either -- otherwise I wouldn't be trying to get back in shape -- but I'll be damned if I'll kill myself to look like a dik-dik. I'm not tall. I'm not angular. I will never have long, lovely legs and broad shoulders and no hips. I have more in common with Marilyn Monroe than I do with Kate Moss. I couldn't run a mile to save my life. I'm not an elephant, but I'm not an impala either. I'm more of a lioness who lazes around and sleeps a lot but can haul ass in a hurry if the food's getting away.

Wouldn't it be radical if we just decided to accept ourselves the way we are? If we just tried to be healthy and strong, no matter what animal-body-type we are? If you were an animal, what would you be?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


No, this is not a post about the Numbers, that mysterious cult of Superheros known for their man-devouring she-devil superpowers. (That is a lengthy post for another day.)

This is about my commitment to numbers. As in: I am committing to the number 100. Because it's a nice, round, easy to remember number. Easy to divide. Easy to double, easy to figure out percentages, but not so long with staggering numbers of zeros and commas that would make me quiver with fear and incomprehension, like the national debt or the amount of shoes/lipsticks/holey underwear scattered around my closet. Here's the breakdown:


* Days between now and May 1 I will eat 500 calories less than I need
* Times I have done just that. Will the 101st time be the last?
* Dollars I will save in those days by not drinking wine
* Percent better I will feel at the end of that period of time
* Inches I need to lose on my thighs and ass

OK, I faked that last number but not by much.

This is Day Two. Only 98 to go!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Life, unfinished

Taking a break from the snark for a moment to wonder if anyone else has persistent, recurring dreams. I've always been fascinated with dreams -- why do we have them, and what do they mean? I'm terrific at interpreting other people's dreams, but suck at interpreting my own except for one annoying, repetitive dream I have which I had again just last night.

It's the dream where I have gone back to school. Sometimes it's high school, usually it's college; once I actually dreamed I went all the way back to elementary school. (Boy, did I look weird sitting at the coloring table with all those little kids.) The other infuriating thread running through these dreams is that I have either not attended class all semester and am about to have a test, or I can't find my classroom, or I am about to receive my mid-term grades and I am sure I've flunked out.

Last night's version was: me moving into a dorm at college. Not finding my room, or my room key. Wondering who would be rooming with me, how we'd fit everything into the tiny dorm room, and how I was going to explain being so fucking old to all the other girls. During the dream I was setting up stuff in my room while frantically looking for my class assignments and could NOT find them. Tearing up piles of papers and clothes looking for it, sure that I've missed classes already, and not knowing who my professors were or indeed even what my purpose was for being there.

It's not that I don't get the overall psychological theme of this. I just wonder why I keep having it! I want it to stop. This is not a dream I ever want to have again because I wake up feeling completely stressed out and like I've really fucked things up for myself. Even knowing that it's only a dream doesn't always help.

I know there must be others out in the universe who have recurring dreams. What are they? How do you deal with them? How often do you have them, and what do you think they mean?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Haiku Limerick Wednesday!

To pull myself out of the blues,
I tried to write a haiku
But later I said
better go back to bed
Only two words that rhyme: fuck you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


If a single word could sum up this month so far, it would be DUMP. And all its derivatives.

1. I am pudgy, flabby, pasty, and just generally dumpy right now. Ick. (See Dumpy Nerd Kid.)
2. Work is being dumped on my head. Stupid work.
3. Everyone in my house is down in the dumps because of the weather.
4. Even my sweet little ten-year-old boy that I have nicknamed "dumplin' " is down in the dumps, and that's rare.
5. The dog won't take a dump unless my husband's out in the yard with him, which means the hubster is crabby because of the forkin' weather.
6. My finances are in the dumpster.

signed, Dumpy Diva.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tag? Just let me take off my headgear and get my gym shoes on

OMG, I've been -- tagged. By the famous Hairbanger! I feel like the dumpy nerd kid who just got picked to play kickball. I'm so excited! But uh, I don't have 7 blog-friends to tag. I'll do my best, but remember, I'm the dumpy nerd kid with only two friends, one of whom is his pet ferret.

Here are the Rules of This Tagging Thing:

Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog, tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

OK! Here goes!

1. I can tap dance. Whenever I watch An American in Paris, especially the scene where Gene Kelly is dancing for the little French kids, it makes me want to go back to class just to tap dance again.

2. Movies: every year at Christmastime, I have to watch The Apartment because it is my favorite funny pseudo-holiday-themed movie, and yes, I do know the whole script. See: Dumpy Nerd Kid.

3. People who fuck up punctuation, especially apostrophes, make me blind with rage. Blind. How can people make it up half a rung of a career ladder when they can't even write in their own fucking native language! Sweet Jesus on a lighthouse, it seriously drives me to blithering fury.

4. I can do an excellent Marvin the Martian voice. Actually I'm quite good at all sorts of accents, too.

5. If I could sing anything, I would sing opera. Or the blues.

6. I have only left my house without mascara on twice in the last 25 years. It was six months before I would let my husband see me without eye makeup on, and it was a huge act of trust for me. If I could never wear eye makeup again, I don't think I could go on living.

7. I was adopted as a three-week-old infant from the Indianapolis Orphans Asylum. And if that isn't the funniest name EVER for an adoption facility, you need to get your laugh muscle checked.

OK, so here's the point where I pick my blog-friends to tag. Hmmmm...

Stacey Leigh.

Stacey's friend Beth.

Uh, anybody else want to be on the team? Anyone? Feel free!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A diva dilemma

So, to go along with the other side of my List, I have the companion List of Things I Never Want to Do. It's equally important, I think, to know what you will NOT do in your lifetime. Plus it's a hell of a lot easier to achieve. Yay for not doing things!

Numero Uno on my list of Things I Never Want to Do: Sell anything. (Thanks, Lloyd Dobler.)

It does cause some tiny dilemmas in my diva life. Because as I stated yesterday (good Christ, this is my second post in two DAYS!!!! Who do I think I am, Joyce Carol Oates?) I am determined to continue to make art. Which in some cases means making a lot of jewelry. Which I can't wear all of, so I either have to give it away, which I can't afford, or sell it. And I do Not Sell. I allow people to buy stuff from me, but let's just say if I were hired to sell water at the Boston Marathon, I'd wind up with sixty cases of leftover bottled water and Boston Commons would be loaded up with the bodies of people who died of dehydration. I'm that bad at it.

So I need to find a way to cast my art out into the universe so that people who like it can buy it without me having to hog-tie and threaten them. Because that's what selling feels like to me.

Maybe this year I'll figure out how to magically move photos off my camera and onto my blog so people can see what I make. Tell me, oh Universe, would that work?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The List

The perfect is the enemy of the good. - Voltaire.

Or, as Anne Lamott would say, Shitty first drafts. I have GOT to remember this. I wasn't going to post again today because my List is not perfectly finished. Uh, and besides, I still can't find it. Fuck it! So what! I'll start a new list! Geez, can I just let myself up off the mat once in a while?

Numero Uno on my List of Things to Do in my life is:

Make Art.

It doesn't have to be perfect, or meaningful, or history-smashing, or marketable. It doesn't have to be hip or tragic. It doesn't need to have shock value. It only has to be satisfying to me to make, and fulfill my creative urges, and bring me joy in the expression. Oh, and no matter what it is, it will be nine hundred and forty-seven times better than the shite-fest that is Thomas Kincade, may he rest in peace in one of his own homes-lit-by-a-flamethrower-from-within.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Diva New Year

I never make New Year's Resolutions. Never. For a long time I've had a list of Things I Want to Do and a companion list of Things I Never Want to Do, and about this time every year I look at my list and edit it. Now if I could just find the stupid thing...

Obviously I should be more Organized. But I hate organizing things. I don't know what it's a sign of, but almost always I have things randomly scattered on my desk at home or at work because I need to see things around me while I work -- papers, books, folders, and I literally cannot think without a pencil in my hand. The important things are stored not in neat color-coordinated boxes, but in my head marked Important Things to Remember, unfortunately stored right next to the Bad Neighborhood in My Mind where my evil side lives. Gah.

Anyway. Back to the list of Things I Want to Do. Practicing yoga was on the list for a couple years, and eventually I found a teacher and a place to practice and it's been a hugely positive addition to my life. Other things, such as learning to rollerblade, I accomplished and then promptly marked them off my list because they ended up being something that wasn't that much fun for the long term. But it was worth trying!

Having a blog was not ever on my list of Things to Do. It's Stacey's fault, but that's OK, because it's been a fun thing to play with. I don't know if I write well or not, but I have to give credit to my darling sis because she pointed out to me that although there are a squillion other blogs out there, none of them were mine. Maybe something will come of it, maybe not, but at least it's here -- my tiny scratches on the cave wall of humanity. I Blog, therefore I am?

I am going over my list and will post it soon. Maybe that will give me the kick in the ass I need to make it happen. Happy 2008, and thank Christ that Bush will outta the White House this year!