Wednesday, December 31, 2008

on stereotyping

Big Steve and I saw Quantum of Solace this afternoon as our New Year's Eve's event. (Not sure what the title means, even yet.) We are not eating out til Easter (yah right) and plan to lose a ton of weight, get fit, save money, and what the heck, get younger. (Since we are on a roll...) So our big plan was to go to the show, eat at home, and play scrabble. Whoopee!~

S0 here's the good news. There was a Canadian character in the movie. A Canadian spy. (Not sure we have those.) An intelligence agent. A gorgeous woman. Yah Canada. Not the burly butch/fem/Mountie we sometimes envision, falsely I might add. So the last sexy woman spy in the movie was a Canadian. A sexpot gorgeous woman. Intelligent. I am likin' this.

Now, all the previous gorgeous women spy's in the story have been, surprisingly, well, can I say, violent? Sitting cross legged in their little black dress, something happens to annoy them and suddenly they have you thrown across the room, spiked in the neck with a 4 1/2 inch heel and begging for mercy - without themselves having so much as a maladjusted bra strap. (Of course those fake boobs STAY PUT!~)

But the Canadian spy? She is sitting in her little black dress, and finds she has been taken by a bad person, is asked to leave the room, and .... well, she does it! She tip-toes softly to the door and obediently leaves the room!

Friends, there's more! It gets worse. The stereotyping grows, and as she quietly QUIETLY closes the door she murmers, "Thank you." ARGH!~ I know I know - Canadians are polite. Canadians are reticent. We apologize when someone crashes into US! We help little old ladies cross the road. We are almost, well, British.

No one in the theatre got the joke - you Americans! But WE GOT IT. We knew we were being mocked. We knew we are the butt of yet another ethnic joke.

Sigh. That is how it is being a foreigner in a foreign land. Abuse. Mockery.

Just wanted to make a point of all this. Just wanted to say that Canadians have feelings too. And thank you so much for listening to my rant. I feel much better. Hope I didn't offend you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

love love love (sung to music)

"May 12 angels guard you as you sleep...
that may be a waste of angels, I don't know..."

I heard this line in a funky acoustic song on WUKY this morning as I drove carefully on icy roads to my office ... and it came back to me over and over all day long. (Which means something in light of my slippery brain.)

Here's the thing. Nothing matters more than people. And most particularly, your very own people. Which list might be expanded to include all the people you love as well as those made of the same stuff as you.

I pray 12 angels will guard my infant granddaughter twins in Portland, while they sleep and while they grow. And may 12 angels guard my Kyra as she makes her way through the world of an almost teenager by bus and imagination and feet in running shoes. I pray 12 angels will keep my Megan's view of the world alive with flying dogs and faeries. I pray 12 angels will protect Ben and his three precious ones as they make huge changes and dare to step out of comfort and what is familiar. And without question, 12 angels for Vincent to sing over his life, and 12 for Rachel and Curtis to hold those cars together, in fact, make that 15 angels for the cars. And 12 angels for Mark and Tina to give them all the capacity they need for their expanding life. And of course, may 12 angels guard my Steve and keep him with me for a long long time.

All that and I've only begun. Maybe its a waste of angels. But I don't think so. What better could they do?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

blue guitar

They said, "You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are."

The man replied, "Things as they are, Are changed upon a blue guitar."
(Wallace Stevens)

One of my man-friends came into my office yesterday holding a barrel, well actually a 36 oz plastic container, full of pork rinds, chitin's, whatever. Now, pork rinds are a southern delicacy, basically puffed pork skin. (Have you SEEN unprocessed pork skin?) Light as a feather, so a container holding 36 ounces is a big bucket.
What ensued was a lengthy discussion of fat content, taste, and cultural appropriateness, resulting in me gingerly taking one yellow styrofoam feeling bit of popped pork and yes, eating it. The taste was similar to bacon, presumably if it was deep fried. My tongue perceived it as salty, bacon-esque, and falsely light.
For some time afterward I had a slimy feeling in my throat. And a queasy stomach roil. Could be that it was 'all in my head' or it could be that it is simply bad food. Clearly there are those who feel otherwise.
This small moment of shared culture illustrates one simple thing. We each have a different guitar.
My neighborhood (which consists of one main road and several small cul-de-sacs) has over twenty five inflatable Christmas characters floating just above ground. During the day they lay deflated on the lawn, sad as a discarded piece of rubber on the floor of a cheap hotel.
One life size Santa stands on a porch, waving, and singing LOUD carols, the benign kind, at a sound level that reaches into every home.
We display more light covered reindeer than needed to make a significant northern herd.
My taste goes more to a lit candle on the counter. My Christmas joy comes in the packages called Kyra and Flora and Blaise and Meg and Alaska and Zoe. A good laugh with a friend, a note on the counter left by Steve. Not so much about overblown Grinches and snowmen.
My daughter taught me about 'freak flags'. Apparently everyone has one. Not everyone flies their freak flag. For those of you who are uninformed, a freak flag is your outrageous, inner alter-ego. That bit of you, usually contained, which sneaks out now and again to startle your people. Never mind your people, it can startle your self! Your freak flag changes things as they are.
So although I am contained and moderate on many fronts, and although my best joys are simple pleasures, I have a grand ability to haul out my freak flag and delight in something extreme: wild boots (on sale), shopping in pj's, toasting miniature marshmallows over an open fire or chocolate cake for breakfast.
Try it. Be unpredictable in something. Things as they are can be less than we need.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


So... we do care about this. A record response. I knew it. We are all the same under our various number of levels of fat.

Here's what I heard this am on Good Morning America. Oprah, the world's most famous yoyo dieter, has written an essay basically saying, 'sorry, I got fat again.' Now... I gotta say, I felt better. I did not have a personal trainer. And by personal, I mean one I own! And I don't have a personal chef. And I don't have a personal diet and exercise regime. But apparently that is not what does it...

So I say WhOOO Whooo! to the Whos... or I mean, good! Even Oprah has the same problem.

Which reminds me of a woman, Elaina, who was a friend in Calgary. She said this to me, and I am not kidding. "Marilyn, sometimes I pray that God will keep you just a little bit fat like you are, so you aren't too fabulous and we can be friends." SIGH With friends like that ...and all.

But you get the drift. We want to know we are not alone. We want to be different - I am my own soul! - but really, we want to know others are like us. And I think it might be a time for me to just do some personal self acceptance training - or maybe to not buy any more perogys. Whichever.

In any case... I love you all my women friends. From all over. Of all sizes. Being a woman is fabulous in any body. More fabulous in some than others, I will concede. But still, fabulous to some degree in all. Let's just all buy something that fits for us to wear this Christmas and sparkle just by being ourselves.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

truth, dammit

Well friends, it is time that I treat you all like an AA group and finally be honest about myself.

Hello. My name is Marilyn. And I am getting bigger.

I don't mean this in the esoteric sense. I don't mean it in the enlarging of the human capacity for compassion. I mean it literally. I am getting bigger. Clearly my 'diet plan' isn't working.

I am not sure what is the cause. It could be, perhaps, that I pretty much have no self control. My body growls, "HHMMMMMMMM food! Feed me!" So I do.

Or it could be perhaps that I eat out four or five times a week and NEVER order off the WW menu. Perhaps it is simply that I am convivial and when food combines with people I am all about joyfully entering in.

However, my carefully laid plans to be a svelte old lady, willowy even, are being shot all to pot. I did work on this problem last month, dropped a full dress size, and went out and bought a cute skirt on sale. I came home, went to Canada, and now, the skirt doesn't fit. I figure I was that lesser size for maybe two days. A lesson to you all - don't buy clothes until you have kept yourself at the new weight for 7 days at least.

So there it is. I read somewhere that when you tell people your goals/needs/confessions etc. it is empowering. In the cause of honesty I must tell you now that I am not feeling that empowerment. Perhaps it is because I am eating cabbage rolls and sour cream as I type this. It could be that YOU are just not supportive enough. Whatever, I will keep you posted.

This is the first day of the rest of my life, so they say. It is yet to be seen if it is the first day of the rest of my fat life, or my svelte one.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Well, it's been a big race this week, back at work, graduation and the requisite 134 emails to answer. But before I forget I want to reflect a little on the Month of November, which has flown past.

First, Regina, Saskatchewan (watch how you say that...) - The cold north city of Saskatoon welcomed me into the life of an old friend. To be with someone you have known for thirty odd years is remarkably comfortable. Nancy and Joe are just like always, except they were wearing old people costumes, complete with beard and wrinkles. It was pretty realistic, too. In some ways nothing changes - we still rag on our 'menfolk', laugh about our misadventures long ago. We were 19 when we met. Having someone who was there when I was 19 helps me believe it actually happened. I saw several herds of deer and a fat white rabbit.

Then Calgary - Kari and the grandkids met us at the airport. Blaise and Grampa Steve have a big thing goin' on and little Flora seemed to like me. Ben taught Blaise to say that Grampa Steve has 'hepilepsy' and then he (Blaise) does a little mock spasm. Tasteful. Ah yes. Can't make enough fun of the 'old silverback.' ;-)

The highlights were:

hearing Ben give an address - I had not heard him speak since he was valadictorian in high school, and his presentation was clear, gripping, engaging, funny. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was actually very taken aback with his giftedness.

going to Kananaskis with Joy for a spa day - that outdoor hot pool is worth the trip;

dinner with 30 or so of Ben's and our friends - Ben was looking very metro-sexual and we closed the restaurant (figuratively - remember we are old!~)

Steve had a fantasy weekend - attended a game and Detroit beat Calgary in hockey, watched the Calgary Stamperders win the Gray Cup in Montreal, and was presented with a Detroit hockey sweater from his friend Dalton, signed to him by Steve Yzerman. (Who is a hockey player of note. I know, I don't know any thing about it either.)

So... home we came, a little fatter and smiling. Rae and Curtis and The Girls met us here the same night. We play this little game with The Girls where we pretend we are not going to get to their house til later than expected, or never. This time I was fooled by the girls who phoned to say there had been an accident on the highway and they were going 20 miles an hour for miles and miles. They sounded so dejected and bored - and then they burst into the house early~! I am so gullable. We started the week with pizza late that night, indigestion, and big fat smiles.

Here are some highlights:
Planning a surprise breakfast Harry Potter Party for Rachel, complete with a menu of quiche and chocolate cake.

Driving around with the girls in my car, Christmas music playing loudly on the radio, looking at houses decorated with lights - and in Nicholasville there are some VERY tasteless, over-loaded, child delighting festive displays. We found them all.

Turkey dinner with JV making the sweet potatos, and Rachel making much of the rest.

Seeing Bolt, a kids movie, in 3D.

Shopping with The Girls for 12 Christmas presents for their sister to make for the 12 days of Christmas.

Making paper out of old newspapers with Kyra.

A whole day of SALE SHOPPING with Rae in which we plundered the Egyptians.

Toasting miniature marshmallows on Papa's fire, because they were the only marshmellows we had. Very interesting. Very small. Very easy to light on fire.

Whole days in PJ's. Pumpkin pie. Long table games with lots of banter. The new James Bond movie. Chasing the cats away from the bird cage. Feeding the cats. Feeding the birds. Cleaning the cats mess. Cleaning the bird mess.

Showering and blow drying girl's hair. Painting toe nails. Eating chocolate.

It was a grand weekend. A teaser for Christmas. Saw everyone but Mark and Tina and their babes. Seeing them would have made it a perfect month.