Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Funny Thing about Time

I've spent a lot of time this winter being bored.
Really bored.
I've had enough time to do all the necessary things. Enough time for the laundry, the dishes, the paperwork, and all the other glamorous things that life as a grown-up entails.

But I've noticed that I'm just really not keeping up anyway.

A few weeks ago for some mysterious reason, I got re-inspired to pick up the darfur project thread. I've found time to sew, to post, to mail, and to design.

And you know what? I have more energy for the vacuum now.

That's the funny thing about time. The more you have; the more you dawdle. Apply some pressure, and you become a lot more efficient.

Feels good.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fridays Are...

.... the day I determine to find the original surfaces. A counter that is utterly bare. No backpacks, muffins, valentines, sheets to sign, novels, cameras, or lego scraps.
A table. Laying in wait and expectation.

This eases the transition into noticing the beautiful corners of my world. The tiny vignettes, the ordinary joys, the delightful details.

And the knowledge that the weekend has indeed arrived.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

All In A Day's Work

And how was YOUR day at the office?!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

That Valentine Guy Was Some Kind of a Saint!

It's no wonder a whole day got set aside to celebrate Valentine's day. Just observe its powers: Little brother writes love notes for big sisters.

Daytime kid makes out her very own valentine cards, complete with phonetic spelling.
Packing school snacks is easy, since heart shapes seem the only applicable choice.

And for this one special day in February, craft time is snack time!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Approaching Change With Kindness

I've been happy at 150 lb. I've been terrified at 150 lb. I've been happy at 127. I've been terrified at 127. I've gone into the hospital nine months pregnant at 154. I've lived unpregnant and happy at 154.

My size doesn't actually define my level of satisfaction.
But my state of mind most certainly does.
My size doesn't entirely determine how confident/comfortable/attractive I feel when choosing clothing. In the days when I was relatively thin but living in constant fear of fat, the "thinness factor" brought very limited amounts of happy into my life. Then there were times when I lived in a thin body without the battle- a relatively effortless way of enjoying food and life without fear or the pathology of an erratic bathroom scale. I enjoyed being thin at that time of life. Wearing clothing was easy and effortless, body parts didn't jiggle and sag so much, and bathing suits were a little less horrifying.

In the last ten years or so, I haven't exactly been that kind of thin. But I've also been pretty happy. I don't struggle pathologically with food or body image. I don't torture and torment myself with inhumane methods of weight reduction. I don't hate and shame myself endlessly. I do find myself often yearning for "thin" (the way I was) but I'm far enough along in my psychological development to know that if getting to thin costs me all my kindness and happiness, it's an exercise in futility. A ridiculous waste of time.

But as the years continue to speed by, I never stop desiring change. I'd like to be in better shape. I'd like to weigh less than I currently do. I know it won't be my magic bullet secret to eternal happiness, and I'm wary of causing myself stress or causing some form of self-hatred to flourish.

So, I wonder. Isn't it a good idea to pursue change with kindness? And is anyone interested in joining me? My intentions are to pursue change slowly, kindly, and with acute attention given to the thoughts and feelings that arise. There is no "winning" and no "losing". Only the possibility of making more peace with one's body; where it is headed; and how we are getting there.

My Kindness Approach looks a little like this:
  • exercise is good for your body, your brain, and your mental health. However. If you hate the gym, don't join one. Engage in something that brings you some kind of joy or pleasure. Think "sustainable".
  • Be mindful of what you put in your mouth. Eating is one of life's greatest pleasures, and we get to do it every day! Mindless eating is a coping mechanism that deserves your undivided attention. Geneen Roth recommends eating while sitting down in as pleasant a setting as possible, without noisey distractions (tv, etc). She recommends a whole lot of other things, and if you struggle with the mental issues of weight obsession, DO NOT PASS GO - get yourself her books. They are worth it.
  • Do not engage in dialogue about how much you suck; how much you hate any of your body parts; or how you have no willpower. That's not kind. Just pay attention, and see what your own body has to teach you.
  • Support one another with the understanding of the point above. I've hesitated to write about this because there's nothing more destructive than a bunch of women clucking and clacking about their levels of fatness. Seriously people. Use your energy for something more productive!!

There's more. But that's a start.

I'm thinking about blogging about this journey on a private blog page. It's really personal and makes me feel brutally vulnerable when I speak of my lifelong journey, making peace with this body I've been given. I'm happy to share, but not with; like.... the whole world. Or the guy next door. So, if this appeals to you, give me a clue. You can e-mail me (if you want to retain your privacy) at You can leave me a comment. You can send me a top secret message by courrier if you're so inclined.

Meanwhile, I'm going outside for a walk. It's incredibly gorgeous out, it's Sunday, and walks make me happy(er).

Be happy, life is short.

Friday, February 11, 2011

High Aspirations

The Brother:

"Joyce? Can I be two things when I grow up?"

"Sure- like, you could be a firefighter AND a nurse".

"Because I'm not sure what to choose. I want to be a cool car driver AND a wild guy."

"Oh! awesome. Well, what you could do is be a cool driver like; Monday through friday and then on Saturday and Sunday you could go into the wild!"

The Sister:
"Joyce- I'm going to be Cinderella AND Belle."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Thing(s) About Kids

  • Kids appear to want sets of toys. They appear to want toys in general.
But what kids want is small coloured objects of varying sizes and shapes to throw onto the floor. They need something to trip over, and crush as they run in endless circles around the staircase. These floor-bound objects, once in their desired positions on the floor, release childrens' ability to scream and exert excessive amounts of energy.

  • Kids appear to want to eat. They appear to be hungry and thirsty most of the time.

But what kids want is permission to sit at the table and reject food. They want to be assigned chairs which they then squirm in and say; "Joycie.... tan I go now?" They also want a platform within which to say; "I don't like/want/need that". While they are busily rejecting or dawdling over their mid-day meal, it's not at all uncommon for someone to ask the all important and pertinent question; "Doycie... when it snack time?"

  • Kids appear to learn the language that is spoken in their home/dayhome environment.

But kids come up with their own stuff, entirely. For example, just a few days ago, I heard a long, languishing tale about a "fodda dodda baw". I nodded and smiled at what I hoped were appropriate intervals, but I hadn't the foggiest notion what the topic of our conversation might be. I asked; "What do you do with a fodda dodda baw?" and was met with the type of blank stare reserved for the impossibly stupid. Then, by sheer luck, I received a helpful clue. Her brother would not be invited to share in the fodda dodda baw.

Then the lightbulb began to flicker: Father/Daughter Ball!!

Sometimes children do authentically learn the language spoken by their caregivers. This is usually a good thing, except when caring for a toddler whose first language is Spanish ; second language is Portugese; and eventually whose third language will become English. I nodded and smiled and "hmmmmm..-ed" so much in those two weeks that I began to appropriate a bobble head toy.

  • Children appear to be charming and delightful company.

And they really are.

Most of the time.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Friday, February 04, 2011

Not Of This World

It had vexed her for much of her lifetime: Why did she feel so "not of this world"? Why did she not identify more closely with her peers? Why did her thoughts and ambitions always seem so far fetched?

She decided to become more observant.
At the very next meeting of the relatives, she tapped into a higher sense of awareness and really looked at the humans she called her forefathers.

And in an instant, it all became so clear.