Thursday, January 16, 2014

Beauty Standards

My daughter and I were talking last night.  I was brushing her hair, and she said, "I just don't know why everyone adores me."

First of all, because you say stuff like that.  It is damn adorable.  I said, "Because you're so adorable."  Cutest exchange ever?  Maybe.

Then she turned to me and asked, "Did you look like me when you were little?"

I told her that I did.  In fact, some pictures of her look exactly like mine from the same age.  She turned around quickly and narrowed her eyes.  "Will I look like you when I grow up?"

I told her she might, but she will look like herself.  Then she sighed.  "I just want to be straight."

(Side note: She does not refer to straight in a sexuality sense.  Straight refers to thin bodies.)

I told her that she might grow up to have a straight body, and she might grow up to have a more round body, and either of those are ok because we will love her no matter what.

"But, I just want to be beautiful."

Here's the problem.  I want her to value all aspects of herself, not just her beauty.  I also don't want her to only see beauty in one narrow shape.  And mostly, I don't want her to start having body image issues at the tender age of six.  It is a long road in this life to self-acceptance, and to start worrying about it before you can read scares the crap out of me.

Also, we don't shame or elevate body types in my house.  I never talk negatively about my body in front of the girls, and I don't do diet talk around them.  My husband is affectionate to me and the kids rarely watch television with advertisements.  But they do watch Disney movies, so I know they aren't immune to societal images of perfection.  

So.  I asked her, "Do you think Mommy's not beautiful?"

"You are beautiful Mommy.  I just want a straight body."

Ok.  Fair enough.  I can understand that she has an idea in her head of the person she wants to be.  I get that.  I told her that she needs to eat healthily and exercise for a healthy body.  We also talk about the girls' other great traits more than their physical appearance.  We compliment their intelligence, humor, kindness, and generosity often.  I hope that gets in.

But this conversation is going to be ongoing.  I see a future of changing bodies, clothes that fit oddly, "bad" foods, and judgment.  I hope I can talk to her in a way that makes her know that bodies are different and that's just fine.  Mostly, I want her to understand her worth is about so much more than her body shape.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Resolving...

It is the first month of 2014, and also the week of my 33rd birthday, so that means it is time for a check-up on last year's resolutions and a list of all new ones.

Last year I met about half of my resolutions.  I blogged more, both here and on another forum.  I also submitted three stories to contests.  I haven't heard on the last one yet, but I'm just proud that I got out of my comfort zone enough to send them off.

I also completed National Novel Writing Month successfully, for the first time in four years.  I'm pretty proud of that accomplishment.
 

I bought stuff to make 72-Hour Emergency Kits, but I didn't really put the kits together.

I met with the women of the local Roller Derby league, the Animas Roller Girls.  They were very welcoming and excited to see a new face.  However, I injured my leg (not nearly as badly as before) shortly after the meeting, so I decided to put it off again.  

So this year, the list grows.

1.  Make the 72-Hour Emergency Kits.
2.  Revise the NaNo book into something readable.
3.  Complete the unfinished stories I have backed up in my computer.
4.  Get my teaching license again.
5.  Blog weekly (here or Tumblr).


I have had a lot of time off to become more serious as a writer, but I haven't really had much of a focus about it.  I am dedicating this year to making writing more than a pipe dream.



There are a few other things that I want to accomplish, but those aren't for sharing right now.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Living the POOG Lifestyle: Managing Expectations

So, I'm an avid fan of Pinterest.  I love looking through the pages of aspirational decor, effortless fashion, and adorable DIY projects.  I also know that pinning these things are pretty much the closest I'm going to get to having those things in my life.  My house requires massive remodeling, which must be done before I can paint any chevron walls or hang any cute photo collages.  I'm a fatty, so fashion is anything but effortless, as it takes quite a bit of searching and money to find anything on trend in my size, especially in my small town.  In theory, I can make some of the DIY stuff (and I often try), but it never looks like the pictures and I often get frustrated.

But that is where the POOG Lifestyle strategy of Managing Expectations comes in.  I have to know that I'm not as awesome as all of those people.  And that's ok.  I'm me.

So I decided to try my hand at a DIY bookcase-to-dollhouse conversion.  The pictures on Pinterest look like this.

Image via Frankie.com

That's cool.  I really like the simplicity of it, and I love the staging on top.  But I also know that my daughters have about 7000 Barbies that need to be stuffed into a case.  Also the case available to me is not that kind.  So mine is going to look different.  

And that is okay.  

We had a cheap three shelf unit in the girls' room that was filled with hand-me-down VHSs.  We haven't had a working VCR in two years, but we kept the VHS in their room because...reasons. 

But the DIY bug got me.  I was going to solve our Barbie storage problem, rid their room of unnecessary video clutter, and give them something to play with for cheap.  So I boxed up the videos and set them aside.  In their room.  Where they still are because...reasons.  

My husband wanted to toss the shelf in the garbage, because it "isn't structurally sound."  Yup.  Because the most important thing for a child's doll house is that it needs to stand up to hurricanes and earthquakes.  I told him to buzz off.  

Here is the shelf.  It originally had warped pressboard shelves, but Jason would not allow that.  So he cut some wood to put in the shelf.  
Those Barbies can have all kinds of wild parties on those shelves now.  
Here's Jason, securing the cardboard backing so the dolls don't go tumbling out the shelf.  
One way in, one way out, dollies.  

So then it was up to me to create the beautiful masterpiece DIY dollhouse.  

I took some scrapbooking paper and cut it to fit each room.  I wanted to divide each floor into two rooms, so I cut paper for six rooms.  I wanted to add some cardboard dividers for walls between each room, but I ran out of time, because I started this on December 24th because...reasons.  

After I papered the rooms (not pictured because my phone memory was full and I haven't uploaded pictures from the camera yet), I painted the front of the house.  I used acrylics, because that is what I had on hand, and I wasn't about to run to a craft store on December 24th.  

This is the end result of the painting.  


 
Much professional.  Many pretty. Wow. 
And the interior.

No interior walls yet.  Reasons.  
And here are the kids opening it on Christmas morning.  As you can tell, this is definitely a candid shot.  

Groovy hair ladies.  But they are having fun.  

So.  I could be sad that this dollhouse isn't Pinterest worthy, or I could know my abilities and limitations and remember that this is a toy for not-so-sophisticated children who don't even know that they should comb their hair before opening gifts on Christmas morning because of photography.  

You too could have this very doll house so long as you manage your expectations.  And if you need a box of VHS for...reasons, well, I can help you with that too.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

6 Whole Years

Today is my daughter's sixth birthday. 

Holy cow.  She's six.  She's becoming her own person. 

This time last year, she was so excited to turn five, because she couldn't start school until she was five.  Then she was disappointed, because she couldn't start school until the fall.  How cute is that? 

But this year, she is halfway through kindergarten.  She loves school.  She is so social and interested in learning.  The other day she started to cry because she is going to miss her teacher over the break.  I love that she loves school. 
Lookin' cute in an ugly sweater.


But I'm still a little sad.  She is growing up.  Sometimes, it seems, at breakneck speed.  She really amazes me with her kindness and generosity.  She shares with her sister and friends without being reminded.  She writes letters of apology when she feels she's done wrong.  These are things that many people much older than her haven't yet grasped, and it seems to be second nature to her. 

An apology note from Judy.  Roughly translated, it reads, "Mom I'm sorry for fantaf."  I'm unclear what fantaf is. 


Today, we took cupcakes, juice, and goody bags to Judy's classmates.  She took great pride in handing out the goody bags to her friends, and waited to get her own cupcake until everyone had their own.  She smiled shyly while they sang Happy Birthday to her. 

Then, as the class finished their snacks, and we began to pack up to leave for the day, Judy stood at the front of the room.  Her teacher asked the class to listen to Judy.  Judy said,  "I just want to tell you all that you are all good and I love you and I will miss you over Christmas."

It was all I could do to keep from falling into a blubbering mess in front of all the kids.  No one had prompted her, I have never told her that this is something that she should do before vacation.  She just felt in her big heart that she needed to tell them that she loved them.  They all came in together to give Judy a giant group hug.  I'm still getting teary about it. 

I am so lucky to have such a wonderful little girl, and I will continue to try to be worthy of her.  I want to be as kind as her. 

Me and a pretty neat little person.  Judy, you are wonderful. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dermatologist Visit

For the last three fall/winter seasons, I've had some skin issues. It starts as a rough patch on my chin near my mouth, then quickly spreads around like a red, scaly Van Dyke. At first I thought it was a fungus, but a couple of years ago I went to my family doctor, and she said it was just new acne. She gave me a script for antibiotics, which I took. For three damn months.

That's a long time. 

Then the next year it came back. More antibiotics. Three more damn months. 

So this fall, when the scales started spreading, I made an appointment with a dermatologist. There were two in town that accepted my insurance. One wasn't accepting new patients. So off to the remaining doctor I went. It took a month for me to get in. Scales all over my face. 

The paperwork came in the mail, and it was made plainly clear that this doctor will not accept debit or credit cards. Red flag. But my face was hurting. So I made sure to have cash handy. 

On the day of the appointment I drove to an older neighborhood that is full of homes converted to business offices. Then I went in. Signs were posted everywhere.  "Absolutely No Cell Phones" and "Credit Cards Not Accepted" and the like, all printed on garishly colored copy paper. So I switched my iPhone and my kindle to airplane mode, just in case. 

Then I was taken to the treatment room. Here's my face as I waited. I wanted a before to compare after any treatment. 


Scales. They hurt too. 

Anyway, it took quite a while, so I started to look at my surroundings. 

They weighed me on this. 


My grandmother has been dead about 20 years, and she got rid of this exact same model at least 3 years before she died. 

Next to that is the exam table. 


I think my dad may have thrown this out of an abandoned storage unit. Look closely, that outlet on the bed only has holes for two pronged plugs. 

Ok. Whatever. I'm not giving birth on that table, so no big deal. 

I keep snooping. 


Who is that pretty lady on the wall?  That's Courtney Cox, circa the heyday of FRIENDS. Like in the 90s. Before I graduated high school. 

I'm beginning to doubt my decision. Maybe this lady isn't a dermatologist, but is some sort of people-suit maker and she's going to harvest my non-scaly skin for a dress. Is there any medieval equipment laying around here?


Just a weird electrical box with knobs on it. It looks like equipment the Dharma Initiative left behind in the hatch. (Topical and current!) (Much like this office!)

Well, what do we have here?


Just your standard doctor's office supplies. Alcohol, cotton swabs, forms. Is that...what is that behind the soap on the sink?


Just an old-ass bottle of mustard (the worst condiment known to man). So she's not going to make a people dress out of me. She's going to eat me. That's why no credit cards. Paper trail. 

While I'm over here, let's look at these supplies. That peroxide bottle says Walgreens on it. I thought doctors had special suppliers for stuff like that, but oh well. Cut costs on the store brand if you need to. But that label looks a bit dated...


That's because this shit expired NINE FUCKING YEARS AGO!  Before the birth of my oldest daughter. 

So I sit down to plot my escape, and I'm more like this. 


Still scaly, but scared of my fate. Then the doctor comes in. 

Turns out I have rosescea. I got some topical stuff, and my face is healing. She wants me back in January to see how I look (and hopefully not to check that I've fattened up enough over the holidays to be fit for consumption / dressmaking).

Don't know if I should go back. 









Monday, October 28, 2013

Be Like Me: Introducing POOG, a Lifestyle for Anyone



Over on Gawker, Hamilton Nolan's piece about lifestyles and those that peddle them got me thinking.

I, too, wish not to work.
I also wish to continue to acquire money, as well as the goods and services that money can purchase.

How do I bring those two incongruous plans together form maximum profit from minimal effort?

I give to you the first installment of POOG, a lifestyle you can attain through barely trying at all.

Today's post is about the benefits of this lifestyle.  I truly enjoy my life.  I have a wonderful, supportive husband as well as two amazing kids.  I am very lucky.  I wake up everyday in a house we can afford with enough clothing and food to sustain us, as well as some luxuries like internet, cable, iphones, etc.

I know.  I know.  I'm bragging.

How did I get these things?  Well it is quite the story, which is why there will be multiple installments.

"Why should I envy and emulate your life?" you may be asking.  Because it's an awesome life.  I have dogs.  That's multiple.  As in two.  One pit bull and one miniature dachshund.   If you follow POOG, you too could be yelling at the big one to, "Get off the damn sofa," and gagging as you shove Pepper through the dog door hollering, "Poop goes outside!"

I am Marci.  I won't stay off the sofas.  
I'm Pepper.  One day I will learn that poop goes outside.

But wait!  There's more!  You can also drive a mini-van around, listening to The Princess and the Frog for the 7 millionth time because you keep forgetting to put a new DVD in the van and your kids refuse to use the headphones. 

Stay tuned to this blog for tips and tricks to becoming just like me.  An overweight, underemployed 30 something lady with an internet connection.  Imagine the possibilities!   

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Judy Goes to School

Today is Judy's first day of school. We walked the 15 minutes to school, and she was excited the entire way. She's been waiting for her first day since she turned 5 in December. She even asked for an alarm clock and watch so she wouldn't be late to class.

I remember holding her when she was a baby, and praying that she gets the opportunity to grow up and do whatever makes her happy. Today, we took a momentous step in that direction. She picked out her own clothes, her hairstyle, her lunch box, her backpack and design. She is already making decisions about how to represent herself as a person, and I love it.

Here's her school supply haul that we gathered a few weeks ago.
She was so excited to see all of the stuff she would get to use, and she was understanding that some of her supplies would go into a shared pile with her classmates.

Here's her backpack that we personalized with patches she picked out herself.
She was so excited about the sparkles and rainbows, and when I told her that no one else would have a backpack like hers, she was very proud.

And here she is getting ready for our walk to school this morning.

She was ready to get the show on the road!  Also, that dress has little deer all over it, and I wish it came in my size.

As we walked to school, Judy was so excited, and kept checking her little watch (thanks Missy!), to make sure we were on time.  As we closed in on her school, she shouted, "There's my school!  We're almost there!" She was so excited, and not even a little nervous.  We arrived at the school, and began walking around to her classroom, but another parent intercepted us and told us we had to walk through the building.  We hadn't done that on meet the teacher night, so Judy looked up and me and said, "I don't know where my classroom is."  I reassured her that we would find it.  We walked up to her classroom and found her name on the bulletin board (names on bananas!).  She was very excited to see that.  We went into the room and found her name on a table.  We took her lunch box out of her backpack, and I showed her where her snacks were.  She smiled and nodded, and continued looking around.  Then it was time to leave.  Another mother was already sobbing, making ugly face and all.  I looked away, for respect, but mostly to keep myself from crying too.  "Bye Judy, have a great day!  I love you."  I kissed her on the head, and gave her a high five.  "Bye mommy!"

And I left her in her classroom for the first time.  I'm so excited for her!
She's ready!  And I'm proud!

About Me

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Farmington, NM, United States
Old enough to know better, young enough to change.