Friday, November 20, 2015


This has been running through my head lately and I need to put it somewhere so it's going on my old blog (despite blogging being a dying art- no one wants to take all that time to READ, heavens!- but I can't sum this up on a meme for Instagram) and on Facebook. It initially started as a Facebook post but then it just kept snowballing. Now it feels ​like Jerry Maguire's Mission Statement.
When I lived in London nearly 18 years ago (seriously, I had to work that out on the calculator because when I did the math in my head I was like there is NO WAY it has been that long- but the little kids I looked after back then are grown up and traveling the world and getting married and who knows what else) social media didn't even exist. It cost money just to check my email on a computer in the bookstore basement, and only one (very rich) girl I knew had a cell phone. That year was a time of massive personal growth for me, and I would not have been as completely immersed in the experience of living in another country as I was if Facebook had been tying me back to the friends I already had back home. How would I have met new people if I had my nose in my phone scrolling through Facebook on the train to school? How would I have joined up with the crazy Australian girls (pretty much a college travel requirement) in York if I had been distracted by a text conversation with friends from high school? Would I have been as engrossed in the history of Hampton Court Palace if I was trying to take (and filter) the perfect picture for Instagram while I was there?
Does social media hold us back from participating in new experiences? How are we making room for new things in our lives when what we're being presented with is a blue/white (it's black and gold!) dress or a red cup that has to be analyzed immediately, with opinions formed instantly​, and the entire episode discarded from the collective conscious within a day? The "info-edu-entertainment" variety of social media is isolating and insulating. Don't get me wrong- Facebook and the like are amazing tools (and I'm using those tools RIGHT NOW, I get the irony). But I want to explore how I can use them to open my world up instead of making it smaller. 
Fear Of Missing Out on social media is literally causing us to miss out on our very real lives. We are distracted because we want to share everything with everyone. We can't just enjoy what we're doing, can't live fully in the moment, because many of us are wondering how we can share that moment with everyone who sees our feeds, and be validated that we're doing something worthwhile by the number of likes we get. Do we even know how to be completely present in the moment without that validation? And how many times do you look at someone's "perfect" online life and wonder where you went wrong? It is hard not to compare yourself with posts from celebrities on Twitter, let alone Pinterest and Instagram. Don't think for a minute that those "candid" pictures of the perfect house, perfect car, perfect garden, perfect body, perfect meal, and ​perfect vacation, which can make you feel completely inadequate, ​aren't heavily staged and edited. ​No one needs more pressure to live up to expectations so unrealistic that they require 3 apps to make an image post-worthy. Make sure what you're comparing yourself to is REAL.
I worry about how focused we have become on every. single. tiny. detail. that is brought to our attention. Think for a moment about who determines what those details are. There is a lot of very broad, shallow knowledge out there. Can we determine for ourselves what is really important anymore? On a darker note, our focus is being pulled in a million different directions by advertisers and influencers who continue to get more and more subtle in their ways of getting into your head (and your wallet). All that yelling on “news” programs? They know that "fight" gains them attention, and therefore more advertisers. When two of their actors (sorry, I can't say anchors) go toe to toe about an issue, do you really think they're sharing their honest opinions, or the opinion that is likely to get the most clicks when it is summarized in a piece on an aggregate website and shared on Twitter? The media loves a crisis. Elections will probably be won or lost based in part on someone losing their cool on a campaign stop and getting recorded on a 7th grader's cell phone and that video going viral within hours. There is no time to edit. There is no time for reflection. The only response we see is reaction.
We are so quick to judge and slow to forgive.

This is the world we live in. Do I want to stop my involvement? No, I would be completely out of touch with many things I find important. Do I feel overwhelmed by all of the STUFF coming at me? Absolutely. Don't we all?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sexism. It's Everywhere.

THIS is a fantastic commentary on a wonderful speech about sexism on the show “Scandal” of all things.  Lisa Kudrow does a great job as a woman who is trying to get the nomination for president.  She completely dresses down her opponent, the interviewer, and the network for the every day subtle sexism that plagues the lives of women everywhere.
I don’t know how long this link will work, but I hope it isn’t pulled before you get to see it.

Originally posted 11/11/13.


This brilliant piece of writing is in response to this obnoxious photo.
I wish that there wasn’t a need for those who aren’t fitting into society’s mold to list their reasons why, but I know it is necessary.  Until people understand there will never be acceptance.  And when it comes to body image, fat acceptance, and ending the desire to cover bullying criticism with “concern”, understanding is the only way to go.
What the hell is so scary about fat people?
One of the comments on the post pointed to this excellent, and very moving, TED talk:
I’m not saying anything new, I just want to put it out there and share.

Originally posted 10/31/13.

Break the Cycle

I recently had a conversation about race and labels that really set the wheels in motion about the bigger picture.  I’ve been thinking about it for days.
It made me feel like a tree-hugging hippie too.  But sometimes I am a tree-hugging hippie.
I went to dinner with some friends of mine last week, and the issue of race came up.  It wasn’t so much the issue of race as it was the issue of labels.  Specifically, the word “nigger”.  (I have to admit that just typing that made me feel like a horrible person.  But it is the point of this post so I’m not going to gloss over it by saying “the n-word”.  That would take the power from the word.)
So, the person talking about this grew up in the deep south.  He and his friends have no problem using the word “nigger” and other derogatory terms for black people.  He laughed it off like it’s not a big deal.  He pointed out that black people use that word with each other all the time, so why is it any different when he says it?
Then he said that where he’s from black people hate white people just as much as white people hate black people, so what is the problem with using words like that when they’re just as racist as we are?
I can’t even describe the thoughts that race around my head when conversations like this come up.  I am going to try to put them in order but it gets messy.
#1 Labels.  Words hurt.  My friends and I can sit around and joke about my fat white ass, but if a stranger talks about my fat white ass that’s a WHOLE other thing.  It goes from casually laughing with friends to being targeted for an aspect of my physicality.  If I call my close female friends “tramps” or “hookers” it is from a place of silly fun.  I never mean it, and the irony is that if I did mean it I would certainly never say it.  And I would NEVER label a stranger with a word like that.  I have a feeling that being called a nigger would feel about 1000 times worse.  I have no exact frame of reference, since I am a white person, but being a woman can be marginalizing as well.  So maybe I do have a hint of understanding about this.
#2 While I’m sure that I have subconsciously racist tendencies just like everyone else, I really don’t like being put in the “us” versus “them” box when people talk about race.  If “we” hate black people, and “we” are hated by black people, I don’t want to be a part of your “we”.
#3 Stereotypes.  Generalizations.  I am sure that not every black person in Mississippi hates white people.  And vice versa. Groups of people may share some attitudes, but there are always exceptions.  There are always going to be those who don’t identify with a group they inherently belong to.  And there will be those who are actively trying to change perceptions and relations.
#4  Which ties directly to this: telling yourself that an entire group of people hates you gives you an excuse to not bother trying.  This is cowardice and laziness and fear.  Don’t get to know people who are different from you, they’ll hate you anyway.  Don’t waste your precious time helping your neighbor, they won’t want your help because they hate you.  When you examine Muslims vs Christians, Rich vs Poor, Black vs White, Gays vs Whoever Hates Gays (for whatever reason), there is an underlying idea that the few represent the whole.
Are all Muslims terrorists?  Of course not.  If those who hold hate towards all Muslims did some research they would be shocked at how peaceful the religion is.  I can’t think of one religion where killing is condoned, but all religions have some extremists who use their faith as a front.
Are all Christians right-wing conservatives?  Of course not.
Are all poor people lazy good-for-nothings and all rich people greedy republican snobs?  Again, of course not.
Do all black people and all white people hate each other?
I hope you see where I’m going with this.
And here’s where I turn into a hippie.  We are all citizens of this planet.  We are all people with the same feelings, hopes, and fears.  We all want our children to have better lives than we do.  Nothing makes us better or worse than anyone else except for maybe being close minded and indifferent.  The world won’t be a better place if we don’t put aside our differences and come together in the spirit of understanding and bridge-building.
If you want to be Christian about it, Jesus taught about acceptance, and loving your enemies while praying for those who persecute you.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Do you want people to hate you?  No.  No one wants to be hated.  So you have to be the one who turns the other cheek and practices what you preach.
Be a rebel!  Be the one who goes against the grain and questions hatred and prejudice.  Am I getting preachy?  Yes.  Because I truly believe that intolerance and a lack of compassion or understanding are where the world’s problems come from.
I will leave you with quotes!  I have heard these so often since I was a child that they feel familiar as breathing, but when you really REALLY think about them, they are profound.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Nothing in this world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”  Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Mahatma Gandi
“A coward is incapable of exhibiting love, it is the prerogative of the brave.”  Mahatma Gandi

Originally posted 10/30/13.

Oh Balls

No word yet on the effects it will have on the testes.

Originally posted 10/1/13.

Shaking My Head

This story made the news last month.  A judge ruled that a couple couldn’t name their baby “Messiah.”  She made them change it, even though the case she was working on pertained to the baby’s last name, not the first.
I’d like to point out that there are a number of names that also mean Messiah or “Anointed”.  A quick Google search brought up: Christian (and it’s million variations), Emmanuel, Shiloh, and Seth.
I am constantly amused/bewildered/outraged  by Tennessee and wonder what those who don’t live here must think of the people and politics.  Sometimes it is baffling.

Originally Posted 9/24/13.

Incorrect Language

This article on CNN details what happened to a child when she was married to a man in his 40s in Yemen.  The first sentence says:
“Yemen’s human rights minister wants child marriage outlawed after an 8-year-old girl reportedly died of internal injuries that she suffered on her wedding night.”
While this sentence is outlining a horrible act that happened to young girl, it doesn’t go far enough or place the focus in the right place.  Where is the mention of her attacker (husband)?  A better way to put this sentence might be:
“Yemen’s human rights minister wants child marriage outlawed after a 40 year old man raped an 8 year old girl, resulting in her death.”
Wedding night brings to mind romance, anticipation (the good kind), and kindness.  It doesn’t invoke the terror and violence and pain this child experienced.  Later in the story they phrase this type of violence against girls in a slightly better way: “In 2010, a 12-year-old Yemeni bride died of internal bleeding following intercourse three days after she was married off to an older man…”
There is a lot of controversy in Yemen around this crime, the least of which is if it is even a true story.  To me the fact that it is possible is enough.  It is bringing up the right questions so maybe something positive will come out of it and the laws can be changed.  This is not the first story of its kind out of Yemen.
CNN should know better than to make the story only about the girls who are married off too young.  The story should be about why men in their 30s, 40s, and older are finding it acceptable to “marry” and then rape girls who are far too young for sex in every way.  They may be their wives by law and probably considered property (that may be the only means of survival for girls living in extreme poverty around the world), but they are still children.  Anyone who can’t recognize that needs help.

Originally posted 9/17/13.

Language and Labels

A TED Talk about  violence against women.
What struck me most in this was how the language of violence against women is framed to keep from labeling men (or attackers) as abusers and therefore labels women (or the attacked) as victims, starting at about 2:50.
1.  John beat Mary.  (John is the subject, Mary is the object)
2. Mary was beaten by John.  (Same sentence, passive voice, Mary is now the subject)
3. Mary was beaten.  (John is out of the picture, it’s all about Mary)
4. Mary was battered. (The term commonly used now)
5. Mary is a battered woman.  (Mary’s identity)
Do you see how men have been completely removed from the story, and therefore from claiming responsibility?  The label and responsibility now rests on the person who is abused.  You rarely hear in the news that “A man raped a woman,” it’s almost always, “A woman was raped.”  Language is a very powerful tool in the fight for equality and identity of people as people, not just victims.
While I am all for protecting victims and making sure they are not named if they don’t want to be, I think it is important that the person abused has an identity outside of what was done to them, while the abuser is held responsible.  So when you look at your neighbor with the bruises you don’t think, “Oh poor Mary, why is she still there?”  Instead you could think, “John belongs in jail.”  Although the statistics on that are depressing and show a shocking lack of resources for the Marys of the world.

Originally posted 9/17/13.


Hello.  My name is Heather and I am a developing feminist/humanist.
After posting so many articles and other forms of information on facebook having to do with inequality and injustice around the world and in my own back yard, I decided it was time to just give the subject its own space.

Stuff From Another Blog

Last summer I cooked up this grand scheme that I was going to start a blog about human rights and feminism.  There was a lot of stuff going on that I found upsetting and wasn't covered in the news to my liking.  SO I started a wordpress blog.

Then I started to find other blogs that were addressing my feelings about these things.  And the comments on those blogs really made me mad.

I decided that I didn't want to receive so much hateful stuff in my comments, and that I wasn't really going to offer anything new.  So after about 4 posts, I stopped.

I don't want to maintain that blog and pay for the domain, but I don't want to lose the writing either, so I'm posting it here.

The name of the old blog?  The Humanities Report.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

How I Stopped Destroying My Fingernails

I think 3 weeks ago now I got disgusted enough with myself to really stop biting my nails.  It's a habit that has been with me for a long time but it was a compulsion to bite at my nails and my cuticles.  It was gross. It's an image I've never wanted to project.

So I stopped.

My cuticles are still puffy from the years of trauma they've endured.  Excuse the slightly tacky nail polish, but keeping a good manicure is the only way I've found to really keep from picking.

Here's what I did to stop.
I picked up a bottle of this stuff at the drug store.  SUPER NASTY tasting, but in a couple of days I realized I put my fingers to my mouth roughly 85,000,000 times a day.  I just didn't know.  I couldn't believe how serious it was.

Awareness is half the battle.

I was constantly aware because the ends of my fingers were literally itchy from not being messed with.  I would chew or pick until I bled, and I guess my fingertips were used to nearly constant stimulation.  It's a really weird feeling.  I found that just pressing on the cuticles around my nails would help it to go away.

The other thing I did was figure out how to stop the little bits of dry cuticles from tempting me to pick or chew my fingers.  I did a lot of research and discovered that this:

Is some of the best rated cuticle creme ever.  It's also some of the most expensive EVER.  But the texture is exactly right- very thick and moisturizing and healing, slightly sticky.  I've tried other cuticle cremes and oils and even Neosporin, but nothing compares to the Christian Dior Abricot Creme.

So, what has worked:  forced awareness, nice manicures (if it gets chipped I will pick at it, and then it's all over), and stupifyingly expensive moisturizing creme.  And gallons of regular old hand cream.  Currently I'm using the Nivea Extended Moisture Hand Cream.
 Dehydration is the enemy.

It's working.  But I have to be very vigilant because it is really easy to slide right back into the habit.  Someone actually complimented my nails the other day.  And they don't embarrass me anymore.

And I also don't have to worry about getting some staph infection or something in my cuticles.  Ugh.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Mirena Experience

Hey Blog World!

I don't know if anyone noticed, but I really don't blog much anymore.  I'm working on a new blog at another site and when it's ready I'll link it back over here.  It's a much more focused blog and addresses human rights around the world- things that make me really angry and tend to get ignored.  But it's not ready yet!

I am jumping back over here today to write about my experience getting an IUD.  I am doing this because before I had mine "installed" I googled a lot and read everything I could get my hands on about it and what to expect and the pain levels involved.  My sister had a not-too-lovely month of bleeding after she got hers, and my best friend couldn't get through the procedure (she described pain, sweating, nausea, and near-fainting, and then after all that the IUD came right back out and she couldn't bring herself to go through it again).  I feel like it is important to share what I felt for anyone else making these choices.

I'm not going to gloss over anything.  So if you get grossed out just stop reading and rest assured that it was FINE.  Nothing like the horror stories I read or heard about.  But if you want more detail, here it is!

Here's a brief history of my birth control (yes, let's share this with the world!):
I started taking various BC (birth control) pills on and off when I was probably about 17 for really irregular periods and acne.  Good old Aunt Flo has never been what you might call predictable.  Back in the 90s I started with Ortho-Cyclen.  It was fine.  At some point my blood pressure got kind of high so I was switched to Mircette.  Still high.  There might have been another BC pill in there, but then eventually  I was switched to Yasmin. About 2 1/2 weeks after I started taking it my heart started skipping beats about every 10 seconds.  The nurse at the student health clinic didn't believe me until she heard it. Thumpthump.  Thumpthump.  Thumpthump.  Thump_______.  Thumpthump.  Woooo did I get a look.  That was a very scary day when I had to go get checked out for a pulmonary embolism.  Everything was ok, I stopped the pills and my heart was back to normal within 48 hours.

It was determined that the pill was probably not my bestest bet.

So then I took a break from BC, but once I really needed full-time reliable birth control again I tried the NuvaRing, and I was extremely happy with that for 8 YEARS.  I can't believe it has been that long!  It's easy to use, pretty much foolproof, the timing is fairly flexible, and (for me) it didn't seem to have many, if any, side effects after the first few months.  But I was getting sick of remembering to take it out and put a new one in.  I know, how lazy can I get?  I knew that the IUD was a better choice because you don't have to remember to use it, it has a lower dose of hormones, and is even more effective, so I decided to investigate further.

There are a lot of lingering horror stories from the 1970s about punctured uteruses (uteri?), pelvic inflammatory disease, and women being made barren (I'm using that word for dramatic effect.  BARREN!) from screwed up insertions and products.  And there are myths that IUDs are only suitable for women who have already had children.  Or that they're only suitable for women who are married.  (Seriously, they really make it sound like either having an IUD will turn you into some sort of whore or your whoring ways will turn you into an even  whorier diseased  whore).  Technology has come a LONG WAY in 40 years, and the IUD is no exception.

I have never been pregnant, therefore I have never given birth.  This seems to make a difference in comfort levels during the insertion process. Some doctors are a little behind on the latest research and recommendations, but my doctor was happy to tell me all about it and couldn't praise it highly enough.  His rundown of available options:
  • The ParaGard (copper IUD), lasts 10 years and contains zero hormones but tends to make your periods really heavy and gives you bad cramps.  I really did consider this one because I like the idea of not dealing with hormones anymore but there are better options....
  • Mirena:  Low dose of hormones, lasts 5 years.  Many people stop having periods completely.
  • Skyla:  Very similar to the Mirena, but slightly smaller physically with an even lower dose of hormones.  It lasts three years.  My doctor dismissed it as being "for teenagers".

I went with the Mirena.  My sister has it and she loves it.  I can't ask for a much more glowing recommendation.

I was very nervous about getting it put in though.  My doctor said he'd use some Novocaine to numb my cervix and since I haven't had babies he would use a cervical dilator to open things up and make the whole process more comfortable (Well, I'm not sure if comfortable is the word.  Less painful maybe?).  My appointment was for Tuesday.  I started taking Advil on Sunday to try to get my body ready for the cramps.  I took 2 Advil every 8 hours on Sunday and Monday, and then doubled the dose on Tuesday.

Tuesday afternoon came and there I was on the table stark naked from the waist down with a paper sheet over my lower half.  Did I mention that during your period is the best time to do this?  That's when your cervix is the most open.  The doctor came in and got right down to business.

First he cranked me open with the speculum, and he had to use a metal one for this.  God I hate that.  It's so cold.  He swabbed the decks with some kind of iodine-type disinfectant.  Next he did the Novocaine shots.  This is when things were decidedly uncomfortable.  It's one of those situations where doctors say "This might pinch a bit," and you both know they're lying, it's gonna fucking HURT.  He also said I might get a weird taste in my mouth or feel a little high for a few seconds.  (Nope.)  Next he clamped my cervix to stabilize it so it wouldn't move around while he was doing the next couple of steps.  Then, and this is what I was dreading, he did the sounding which basically measures how big my uterus is.  They have to know how far in to place the IUD, so they stick a plastic rod up in there until they hit the back (top?  back? other side?) of your uterus.  This, my friends, is where the cramps start.  I expected it, and it wasn't the worst thing in the world.  But I definitely wouldn't choose to repeat it.

After that they inserted the IUD.  DEEP BREATHS.  Big cramps.  Then he used some cotton to swab up the blood and iodine and god only knows what else, released the speculum, and I was done.  It really wasn't half as bad as I was prepared for.  The sounding was the worst, followed by insertion being 2nd worst.  The entire procedure probably took about 3 minutes.

He asked when my husband and I plan to have more kids.  I pointed out that I haven't had any kids to begin with (just ignoring the whole "husband" part), and he said, "Oh...  OH!  That went really REALLY well then."  He completely forgot about the dilators.  Apparently my cervix is Mammoth Caves or I'm a damn champ.

I sat up and he told me a couple of things (strings?  tampons?)  I don't remember at all because suddenly I got very clammy and nauseous and experienced one of those lovely vasovagal response spells.  The doctor had me lay back down and told me that whenever the cervix is messed with there's a slight risk that the vagus nerve will freak out and make you faint.  I didn't faint but I was definitely unhappy for a few minutes.  I lay down for 10 minutes, had some water, and then drove home.

The whole time after the IUD was in place I had really bad cramps which I imagine was my body saying, "Get it out get it out GET IT OUT!"   There was so much blood on my paper sheet when I got up that I'm pretty sure my uterus cramped out my entire period in a space of 10 minutes.  I know, you're charmed.  Just be prepared to shower when you get home.

I slept for a few hours, just like you'd take a nap during a really bad period.  I wasn't terribly hungry and I was nervous that my IUD was going to fall out or something (ridiculous).  I hung out with the heating pad, took some leftover Lortab, and slept it off.

The next day I was tired, but the cramps were gone.  I kept taking Advil that day and the next just in case.  Physically though I felt fine and was good to commence with, ahem, "relations" probably 3 days later.  Per my doctors instructions I did another month of the NuvaRing (like all hormonal BC, the Mirena takes a week to take full effect and he wanted to make sure I was completely covered). 

It's not long enough to know if I'll have regular periods yet or if they'll disappear or what.  But so far (about a month) I haven't thought about the IUD much at all.  I can't feel it, my boyfriend hasn't noticed the strings, and just knowing that I won't have to think about birth control for another 59 MONTHS is amazing.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat just for that.  Totally worth it.

I hope this helped.  Clearly I'm not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV), so don't take any of this as medical advice.  The whole thing was free (thank you insurance!).  I just want to share what my experience was so you can find one good or at least not so terrible story in a sea of THOUSANDS of horror stories.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Irrational RAGE!

Last week I was driving through a school zone with a crossing guard and everything.  The speed limit was 15 mph.  It was the first day of school and traffic was at a dead stop because every parent on the planet needed to pick up their kid on the first day!  Well okay, I can understand that.

But I only had a few minutes to grab lunch before my next meeting.  I did a u-turn and went back to go down a side road and get out of school traffic hell.  Very aware that I was still in a school zone I was going maybe 13 miles an hour.  I went to turn right onto the side street and "TWEEEEET" the crossing guard was glaring at me.


Maybe I'm not supposed to turn?  I look over again and she's doing that "slow it down" hand tamp thing.  I look at her like "SERIOUSLY?"  She keeps glaring.  And whistling.  What.  The.  Fuck?

I HATE THAT.  I hate when people accuse me of speeding when I'm not.  It makes me furious.  It's happened 3 times in the past 2 years and each time I have been tempted to get out of the car and be like "WHAT?!"

The last time was a guy in a neighborhood on the way to dog daycare.  I drove by at 25 mph and he screams, "SLOW DOWN!!!!!!"  My radio was on and I could still hear him.  He is LUCKY I didn't get out of my car and stomp my way over there and demand to see his speed gun.

The time before that was at the airport on a very crowded day.  I stopped to pick up a friend at the curb and the security guard knocked on my window and told me to watch my speed.  I was so incredulous that I actually said, "Me?"  And she was all attitude, "I'm TALKING to you, right?"

Oh boy.

I don't have a fast looking car.  It's not like that commercial where the dog runs into the car because it looks like it's going fast when it's actually parked.  I haven't had a speeding ticket since 1999.  I'm not going to say I'm perfect because I do stupid stuff just like the next person.
But oh my God, accuse me of something I didn't do and I AM LIVID.

This side of myself is a surprise.

What's your irrational rage trigger?

Monday, August 05, 2013

Do You READ All Them Books?

This weekend I read an entire book.  I don't know the last time I did that, just sat down and read a book and got all sucked into it and couldn't put it down.

It was Ender's Game, and I'm not going to go into the controversy about Orson Scott Card and his anti-gay stupidity because #1, the book was written almost 30 years ago and why was no one caring THEN, #2 the man is a Mormon and they're not exactly known for their gay-friendly outlook, and #3 it was a REALLY good book, and had zilch to say about marriage or sexuality at all.  It's a book about children..  Now I'm not saying that I'd look at paintings by Hitler and go, "Yeah, he killed all those Jews and started a horrible war and stuff but that's a REALLY good painting!"  Those would be hard to separate.  But this book?  This book was great.
I wondered a couple of things as I was reading.  The book starts when Ender is six years old and ends when he's around 20.  But it's definitely not a book for children, I guess more in the young adult age range.  I wonder how it would have impacted my life as a teenager.  Would it have impacted my life?  Would I have done anything differently?  Probably not.  It's always interesting to think about how books and other outside influences change you, or if they would have changed you differently if you'd experienced them at a different time in your life.

I also wondered if the book would have grabbed me in the same way had I read it on my Kindle.  Someone loaned me a copy of the paperback.  Would I have been so enthralled if it was the electronic version?  Again, there is no way to know this.  I can't re-read the book for the first time.

Ender's Game is about brilliant kids being trained to become commanders in an intergalactic army going to war against an alien race.  War games.  Strategy.  Survival.  It would be a good read for kids who feel a little different and have outsider status at school or in general.   I remember feeling like that when I was a kid- I didn't really come into my own until I was in my 20s.

I also painted my bathroom cabinets this weekend, and replaced the hardware, but that is another post for another day.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mad Style

So, my favorite fashion bloggers, Tom and Lorenzo, do two Mad Men posts a week when the show is on.  And it is some of the very best analysis of a tv show I have ever seen.  I think you can only do this with shows that are as detailed as Mad Men because otherwise you'd be picking apart the significance of something that was just a coincidence. 

Anyway, they do a post on Monday mornings that is about the latest episode, followed by a pure fashion analysis post on Wednesdays.  And I LOVE them.  They go into the symbolism of colors, and how costumes call back to (or conflict with) other characters, and other scenes, and even scenes in previous seasons.  Then they get into '50s and '60s fashion and how fast it was changing and how you can tell the older characters have trouble making themselves more modern.  It is so in-depth and interesting.  They point out things I wouldn't have noticed in a million years.

So, with coffee cup in hand, I have to go read that post now.

Join me!

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Note: Clearing out my email drafts tonight, I came across this post.  The funny thing is I don't remember this post or book at all.  I feel like this girl doesn't even exist anymore.  But I also want to keep this piece of writing.  I even went and bought the Kindle version of the book (it's $5 on amazon) so I can see if it has the same impact now that it had then.

September 29, 2010

I hate to say this- but this book might be changing my life.  It puts so much pressure on a book to be described as life-changing.  It also puts me in a position of feeling like I have falsely raised your expectations if you go out and get your hands on a copy of this book and you're sorely disappointed.  Well, I'm sorry about that.

But this book might be changing my life.

When I was in college my roommate told me that you are either the star of your own movie of your life or a supporting character.  And I have to be honest and say that I have always felt like I was a supporting character.  The star is a scary place to be.  It is too open to criticism, too exposed, and (it seemed) too self-centered.  But for a long time most of my friends were self-centered people so it made sense to feel like that wasn't a role I desired.

But there isn't a choice- is there?  You are the lead character in your own life.  Period.  You can't be the supporting cast.  To feel that way means that you aren't in charge.  And you are most definitely in charge because no one else is and no one else can be.  It is just you.  It is just me.

It is a scary way to think about life.  That you are in charge of the story.  But it is also sort of exciting.
I lead a boring life.  I am not going to act like I don't.  I get up, go to work, sit in meaningless meetings, deal with bullshit situations that aren't nearly as important as they claim to be.  I come home, watch some TV, or read, or knit, do some yoga, go to bed.  Day in and day out.

I like my life.  It is comfortable.  I don't like change (no one does), and I don't want to come out of my little nest at home because that's scary.   I am generally happy but that doesn't make things interesting.

Is this they story I want my life to be?  No.  It's the most boring story ever, being lived by millions of people all over the world.  There is no zip to this story.  No one would pull that book down and read it because it is dead boring.  My movie isn't going to recoup its costs in the box office, even as a slow little independent film.

I need an "Inciting Incident".  That's the catalyst that makes change happen.  It kickstarts the story.  Sometimes you can make your own inciting incident, and sometimes that incident is brought to you.

A while ago in therapy I was asked to make a list of what I want in life, and put it in words, describing each in the greatest detail I could.  Why were these desires important to me?  What did I hope the outcome would be once I got there?  Well, I couldn't do it.  I couldn't think of a single thing that I want- really want.  I felt like I already have everything.

Well that's boring and sad.  It's not about ambitious- I'm plenty ambitious.  I just can't think of a goal that I want to reach outside of my job.  How dull is that?

Living without a goal is a sure way to avoid any excitement.  It insures that your story is going to be so dry and boring your 13 cats wouldn't even read it.

What will my inciting incident be?

A good story requires that the central character has courage and daring and a sense of adventure, none of which I have ever thought that I had, but I didn't think I actively lacked them either.  However, when I am staring my stagnant life in the face and seeing the thruth, I know that I haven't never pushed myself enough to know if I do have these things.  I would like to think that I do.

I will never know if I don't have an inciting incident.

Donald Miller is regarded as a Christian author and talks about those moments in his life when The Writer (God) tells him to do something.  Sometimes he ignores it and the urge to do that thing only comes back.  If he does what it tells him to do, things generally smoothly work the way they are supposed to.

Now I know that I had a pretty good atheist rant a few weeks ago, and I still don't believe in God.  But I do believe that people are driven to do things by a force they can't explain.  Is that God?  Because if it is then I guess I will have to take it all back.  I believe that people are meant to do things.  I also believe in free will.  I also believe in that little voice that tells you something and you know you have to listen.  It could be something big, like being called to work for sweeping social change.  It could be small, like something tells you to switch lanes on the highway moments before a truck swerves that would have killed you.  When I was 11 or 12 I was alone in the house and putting dishes away.  I opened the cupboard where we kept the plates.  Something told me BACK UP and I felt like I was physically pulled backwards.  As I moved I heard a whoosing sound and our huge Corningware casserole dish fell from the top shelf onto the counter and smashed into about a million pieces.  There is no doubt in my mind that I would have been severely injured, if not killed, by that casserole dish falling on my head. 

So what was that?  Was that God?  Did the reflexive part of my brain hear the dish falling before I even registered that I heard it and forced my limbs to move?

I don't know.

It's been 2 years since my last big life story.  Although I guess technically, buying a condo a year ago was a big story too.  A big breakup, however, is much more dramatic.  I think I am ready to find another story to live, another thing to put my energies into.  I know that I needed time to hibernate and recouperate, but I don't think I need to do that anymore.  I think I need to get out there and live now. 

I need an inciting incident.

I wonder what I will choose.

It's BACK!

I took the blog down for a while, because, well, it got to be a burden.  The guilt.  Of not blogging. 

Oh come on Heather, it's just a blog.

Today I had deep thoughts to share.  For those of you with long hair (I had to stop myself from limiting the question to the ladies, because some men have very healthy heads of long delicious hair.  They are basically undatable because how vain does a dude have to be to have long hair and UGH.  So annoying.  But I digressed.  Look at that, the first big paragraph and she's tangential.  Wait for it, I'm about to ask deep questions.)  how often do you brush your hair?  I brush mine in the morning, and in the evening, and before I wash it just so it doesn't get as tangled up.  Otherwise I pretty much ignore it, until it's all up in my face, and then I pull it back in a ponytail and ignore it again.  This is how my hair gets really long because I'm not paying attention.

Anyway, I have a shit-ton of hair and it falls out all the time.  And sticks to whatever clothes I'm wearing.  And drives me nuts.  And it occurs to me that maybe if I brushed it more often, it wouldn't fall out so much.

Yes, I have been on this planet for 34 years and just now figuring out how to maintain my hair.

Another deep thought, I sort of hate those Tone It Up Girls. Do you know who I'm talking about.  They're all about health and wellness and sell a lifetime membership to their workouts and nutrition plans.  I don't have the membership, but a very very nice friend shared some of their info with me, because she's nice like that.

So last night I was attempting to do this video.

Which is SO HARD.  And I got through one rotation and I was like okay that's enough for today.  Holy cow.

I wonder if these girls are the real deal.  Some of their advice is HIGHLY suspect, and maybe they're just genetically blessed.  Also, everyone looks better with a tan.  Maybe that's the secret.  Or maybe they really do drink kale juice and do 1,000 planks a day. 

Glow glow sparkle glow.

Anyway, that's it from me for today.

Heather, Out.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Goals Revisited- January

Sooooooo, here it is over 2 weeks since my last post and since it is the last day of January I though I could revisit the new year's resolutions I posted and see how it's going.

And I am laughing at this list because it's not going so well!

So, resolution #1: Blog.  A minimum of twice a week.  Well I think we all know how well I'm holding up THAT end of the bargain.

Resolution #2: Lose 60 more lbs.  This is going well.  I am in the gym about 4 days a week and I am still really focused and determined.  I love that I can feel the improvement in my strength and flexibility. I can bust out some perfect pushups.  I can grab my foot from behind me to stretch.  Baby steps!

Resolution #3: Go to 80% plant based foods.  This one is not going well AT ALL.  I've been craving chicken soup.  Lots and lots of it.  Probably because after I had the flu I got a cold and it has been lingering.  Chicken soup is soothing. I will get back to plant-based foods when I'm feeling better.  I'm not eating any red meat and barely any dairy products.  Just lots of chicken.  I have to admit I was slightly concerned because when I came back to the gym after recovering from the flu and going to plant-based foods, I almost passed out twice.  I'm sure that was thanks to being weak after being so sick, but it did make me wonder if there was something I wasn't getting out of my diet.

Resolution #4:  Twitter?  I should tweet more.  Meh, Tweets.  At least I am looking at Twitter more.  It is a great tool when bad weather is one the way.

Resolution #5: Dating.  Well I'm not dating new people but I do have a new boyfriend, so I think I knocked that goal out of the park!

I think this isn't half bad really.  The stuff I'm lagging with I can improve...  there are 11 more months to the year.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wallet Update!

Okay, I know this is only interesting to about .5% of anyone reading this, but I found a wallet that will replace my old busted one.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Kipling Large Brownie Organizer Wallet:
Ohhhh, it's so pretty.  Let's compare it to my old, rather destroyed, Kohl's wallet!

From the outside, pretty similar.  But instead of some sort of textured PVC that picked up dirt (the edges of this are red thanks to the red cotton lining in an old bag, and won't come clean), the new wallet is red nylon.  Lightweight and super durable.  And can I be honest and admit my OCD tenancies?  The metal embellishment on the old one is crooked.  It drove me bonkers.

Here are the organizer pockets.  I was using the silver Kohl's wallet exactly how the labels said:  Cash, Receipts, and Coupons.  I like that system so much I'm going to use it here too.  The new one has the exact same pockets, with a zippered coin pocket in the same place.

And finally, look at all of the card pockets!  They are exactly the same configuration as my old wallet, and the inside of the pockets on the red Kipling wallet are lightly coated with some sort of rubberized finish so the cards don't fall out.

The ONLY differences I can see functionally between the two wallets are that the Kohl's wallet has a zippered pocket on the back, which I never used.  And the snap to hold the card section closed is on the side on the Kohl's wallet, but on the bottom on the Kipling wallet.  (Or I guess on the top and on the side, depending on how you look at it, but I think the pictures will make it clear!)

Otherwise, they're twins, but the red is an upgrade.  I have several Kipling pouches in my purse, and I like that they are well-made, colorful, and durable.  This should hold up for a long time.


Holy cow I can't believe it's Monday already.  This is going to be a stupidly busy week.  Today I have some employee reviews and a dentist appointment.  Tomorrow I have more reviews and I have about 40,000 things to finish, none of which I can talk about because it's all work-related and I don't talk about specifics here.

I don't speak for my employer, y'all.

So, thoughts for the day.

Golden Globes: Did you see Jodie Foster give her big "coming out" speech?  She is amazing.  I hope I look half as good at 50 as she does, and that I will one day have the class and poise that seems to come so naturally to her.  Okay, THAT is never going to happen, I just snickered at myself typing that.  But what I want to say is that I respect the hell out of her.

Tina Fey was a knockout.

The fake nominations were hilarious- I loved the first one where they said Amy Poehler starred as a psychic who solved her own murder.  SO FUNNY.

And moving on from the Globes of Gold, I ran out of my stevia so I brought my old bag of Teavana's German rock sugar to use in tea at work.  What the hell is the point of this stuff?  IT DOES NOT DISSOLVE.

Put that down on the list of 8 million things I regret purchasing.  It's a long list.

Happy Monday everybody.  I hope your week is off to a great start.