Saturday, August 22, 2009

I've the got music in me...

Okay, maybe I don't, but Christopher and his friends sure do.

Last night The Purple House Big Band did their last performance and it was excellent. What is The Purple House Big Band? You say you haven't heard of them before? Well that's because it's the equivalent of those old Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney movies from the 1940s. "Hey my uncle has a barn we could use as a theater, let's put on a show!"

The PHBB is directed by Alex Milsted. The band is a blending of some of the best Jazz musicians from all across the Portland/Beaverton/Hillsboro area. The catch is that the musicians range in age from 15-21. Alex graduated from Christopher's school last year and leaves next week for Berklee on a full ride musical scholarship. Caili O'Doherty who played piano for PHBB also has a full ride to Berklee. She graduated a year early to make sure she could take advantage of the scholarship. J.J. Kirkpatrick was a senior Christopher's freshman year at ACMA and he actually student directed the band Christopher was in that year. He returned to Portland for the summer and played trumpet for PHBB after three years at Manhattan School of Music (you guessed it, full ride scholarship). Devin Riley was one of the trombonist, Berklee starting his sophomore year this year. And a host of kids that I don't know because they were picked up from schools across the area.

Watching Christopher on stage last night playing with this group of talented kids made me really proud. Not just of his talent. Though I am. Who knew when we got him that trumpet back in the 4th grade that he would still be playing, or playing at this level? But proud of all of the kids on that stage and their commitment to their music. This wasn't a group put together by parents. It wasn't something they had to do. Like a school band or even all of the workshops and camps they all attend. This was a group of talented kids getting together and figuring out how they could all play in the same band. Rehearsals were scheduled at people's houses, venues were found, and practice happened without parental nagging.

I told Brent how amazed I was that they did it, and he said, that's what talent does, it seeks out other talent to be with. And that's what we were privileged to witness last night. Wish you had been there...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's all political...

So Christopher requested that I blog about politics. I have spent the better part of a week trying to decide exactly how to tackle this subject. I never did come up with a great way to tackle it, so I am just going to dive right in and work my way back out.

The very first time I can remember being even aware of the political world was standing in line in the cafeteria in what would have been the second or third grade, prices were going up for hot lunch and we were all talking about it. Heady conversation for 8 year olds to be having for sure. I can remember saying that if Jimmy Carter were elected president that he wouldn't raise our lunch prices. Now, I have no idea where I got it from or why I had this idea, but I was sure it was true. He was elected, and what do you know, he didn't really care about the cost of hot school lunch at Mitchell Elementary School in Albuquerque, NM.

The next time I remember really thinking about politics was waiting in the parking lot at Highland High School during the 1980 elections. Highland was the local precinct for my parents to vote and my mother had finished before dad so we were waiting for him to be done and then were going to get dinner. I said to my mother, you are voting for Carter right? And she was appalled! Oh no way, they were voting for Reagan and that's the way EVERYONE should be voting. New Mexico at the time was a heavily Democrat state and my parents I had just discovered were staunch Republicans. I really didn't know what to make of that. From what I had seen I wasn't sure what would make my parents think Reagan would make a good president other than his resemblance to my dad.

So then I started to pay a little more attention to politics. What made a candidate a good choice? What didn't? Why were my parents Republicans and the majority of my friend's parents were Democrats? And at 12, I didn't get it. I couldn't understand what would make people vote for one person over another just because of their party affiliation. I couldn't see a lot of differences between the two sides. So I let it sit for a few more years.

Voting and being part of the process was drilled into my head from a very young age. It's your responsibility as an American to register and to vote. Now, a lot of kids get the "you could grow up to be president" lecture, but I never did. My mother was of the opinion that being president was the worst job in the world. Too much stress, too much pressure, too much blame and not enough credit. I have to agree with her. All it takes is looking at someone when they enter the office and then again at the end of their first term and then their second. They age at such an accelerated rate it's kind of scary. So running for office never a thought but voting, that was different, that was a must. Christopher has been reading the voter's information pamphlets that come with the ballots since he was 10 or 11. He is ready to vote, just as soon as he turns 18, and wishes like mad that he could have voted in the last round of elections. And honestly I bet he was more prepared to make an informed choice than a lot of people who had the option to vote.

So I have been registered to vote since I was 18. I have voted in every major election since then and most of the minor ones as well. Nothing makes me crazier than Oregon's double majority laws. Basically to pass any new bond measures or taxes it has to get a majority of voters to vote and then that majority to approve to pass. What that boils down to is that someone who is too lazy or apathetic to actually put pen to paper and cast their vote ends up with more say in the system than someone who does the research and casts their vote accordingly. And of course to repeal it would take a double majority again. It's my biggest frustration with the way the system works here.

I am a registered Independent. I don't think the two party system is great shakes. I believe that when people start voting along party lines without actually looking at the candidates they give up their vote just as much as if they hadn't voted at all. My last ballot had both Republican and Democrat votes and I believe one Libertarian. Now I haven't always been registered Independent, when I first registered to vote at 18 I registered Republican. How's that for a shock for some of you? Yep, at the State Fair registration booth, signed up and clicked the R box. Brent asked, "Why Republican?" and I said, "...." I didn't have an answer. I was registering Republican because everyone in my family was Republican. My soon to be husband was joining the Navy so I must be Republican right? But when I got my first ballot and chance to vote and realized I wouldn't be voting straight Republican I decided to change my status to Independent, and I never looked back.

I really like a good debate and exchange of ideas. I like to know why people think the way they think and feel the way they feel. But more often what I find in politics is that people are so staunchly in their belief system they really don't care what the other side is saying. They just want to scream at them until they acquiesce. I am not a fan of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter or Keith Olbermann.

I lean left on social issues. When it comes to gay rights I lean so far left I could fall over. I believe in the separation of Church and State. I do not believe we should spend money we don't have. I do believe that before we stand around patting ourselves on the back about being the greatest nation in the world (though I think we are, all things considered) we should look at our education system and the homeless problem and the rampant poverty in certain areas of the country. I was in favor of the war in Afghanistan and against the war in Iraq. I believe you can support the troops without supporting the Commander in Chief's decisions to send them to war. I am pro-choice but anti-abortion. I believe in the death penalty for certain crimes, including child molestation. I believe that being called a tax and spend liberal is a laughable insult. I believe there should be a tax before a new budget item. Or a cut in an existing program, either one, but let's figure out how to pay for it before we buy it shall we? I think a "tax break" and no budget cuts big deficit conservative should be a bigger insult. I don't believe in unlimited welfare but instead in programs designed to get people on their feet and working. Ever want to see a great welfare system in action? Look to the LDS church. They take care of their own and then teach them how to take care of themselves and others. It's pretty darned impressive. I would have been really torn as to who to vote for in the last election if John McCain (who I respect and wish had gotten the nomination instead of W way back when) hadn't made the choice so easy for me with his VP choice.

So I guess that gives you the general overview. So when I start posting about issues you know where I stand. Right here in the middle.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Oh God, Book Two...

So to sum up...I was raised in a very conservative Christian family. I was a full believer for years and years and left the Church when I was a teenager. My family still practices the same religion.

As most of you know Brent and I were married as mere infants and then set out to see the world. Or at least he saw the world and I saw where ever we were stationed. Or at least he saw the inside of a Nuclear Engine room in a lot of different places around the world. If he made it out on deck, he definitely saw the world. So what does this mean to the God talk? It means I have been privileged enough to live in some very distinct parts of the country.

Growing up in New Mexico the predominate religion is Catholic. I was raised in the Christian church and attended a Baptist middle school. So as far as those three religious bases go, I was pretty well covered. And yes, I know they all fall under the big umbrella of Christian but if you are speaking to a Baptist he will let you know he is most certainly not Catholic and if you are talking to a Catholic they will tell you the same about Baptists. Same umbrella different storm. But by living around the country I have been able to see a lot of different storm fronts, if you will, and have my opinions on all of them. The Baptists, Southern Baptists, Catholics, Focus on the Family, Promise Keepers, LDS, Unitarian, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc. you name it, I know someone who practices it!

But here is the other religion that people don't mention, though it's really the same in my book. Atheism. I truly believe there are people out there that take their lack of belief in God and turn it into as much of a religion as someone who is a strong believer in God. Penn Gillette being a famous example of this. It's as if they have decided that they don't believe in God and it's their job to make sure others don't as well. Now don't get me wrong, I think Penn is a fabulous entertainer, I think Bullshit by Penn and Teller is a great show for those of us who tend to be skeptics. But having been raised in a church where you were told what to think about God, I am just as leery of someone trying to insist that I don't. A friend of mine calls this Devout Atheism.

A branch of Devout Atheism is the Mock the Christians branch. My mother-in-law is part of the Mocking branch, though I am not sure if she is a true atheist, or possibly an agnostic, anyway...About 5 years ago standing in line to see a movie my Mother-in-law, Father-in-law and Christopher are behind Brent and I and they were discussing the Harry Potter books. The discussion turned towards a girl who rode the bus with Christopher who wasn't allowed to read the books because they dealt with witchcraft which was against her family's religious beliefs. My mother-in-law announces to Christopher that that is because people who are religious aren't as bright as the rest of us and can't tell the difference between fact and fiction. Now, normally I will let a lot slide in their discussions, I want Christopher exposed to a lot of ideas, but I do feel there is a right and a wrong way to do it, so this time I couldn't. I turned around looking only at Christopher and said, before you let that sink in too much remember, fully half of your family is religious and do you really believe they are dumb? My mother-in-law had the good grace to apologize later, but it is attitudes like that among the devoutly atheistic that drive me crazy.

On the flip side of that, of course, are the devoutly Christian who feel they must convert you to save your soul. I tend to have a little more sympathy for this side of the argument, only because of motivation. If an atheist is busy trying to point out to me that my belief in God shows I am stupid I am not going to take that too well. But on the other hand, I know my mother is genuinely concerned that because I have not raised Christopher in the church and that because he and Brent aren't baptized they will go to hell when they die, I tend to cut her some slack when she tries to get me to go back to church. BUT I don't cut any slack when she tries to tell me I am not living a good life because I don't go to church. I would put my son's moral code up against any one else in my family without a moment of hesitation. He is one of the best, kindest people I know. And Brent and I did that without putting the literal fear of God in him. Living in Colorado Springs, the home of Focus on the Family and in Idaho Falls, bed of conservative LDS beliefs, I had my fill of people trying to convince me through ways big and small that as a non-Christian I wasn't a good person. I also have no patience what so ever for politicians who try to legislate religion. But that is, again, another blog for another day. Oh yes, we will talk politics too!

So before you think I am anti-everything I want to tell you about someone in my life. Megan (I warned you, you were going to show up in a blog soon!) is a dear friend of mine. She is a creative force to be reckoned with. (check out her blog to see her work But she is also the person that I think of first when I think of a Christian. She walks her walk and talks her talk. Her father was a minister and she went the good daughter route instead of the rebel route that minister's kids often take. Megan knows that I don't believe what she believes but we are still dear friends. It's not an issue. We talk about what she is doing in her church, she is one of the young up and coming leaders there. We talk about her path and her faith. I love that she believes so strongly in her faith. And I love that she accepts that I don't. Now I have to say, if I were meeting Meg as a clean slate, not a grown woman with years of opinion forming about religion behind me I would want what she has. I would have been going to her church, I would have been meeting with her for Bible study, I would be trying my best to emulate her lifestyle. Megan makes you feel good about yourself and the world around you just by spending time with her. And her faith is so strongly a part of her that it's just natural to associate that good feeling with her faith. If all Christians could harness part of what she has going on, which I believe is true honest belief, they could convert the world much quicker than they ever will accomplish by trying to force themselves on everyone.

So what do I believe now? I am the bane of the Extremely Religious and the Atheists alike. I know it's coming...Spiritual but not Religious. One of the smartest people I know once told me that Agnostic was really the only logical choice to make, you can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God, or a godlike presence. (that very smart person being my son) I am more to the side of there being some sort of godlike energy, than there being a man in flowing white robes, but I do believe there is more to us than just a collection of randomly firing electrical bits. When I see the beauty in a sunset, the magic that is in math (look at a seashell to understand that), hear the laughter of a small child I believe there is something out there tying us all together. But I don't believe in Heaven or Hell as places you go after you die. I don't believe in God and the Devil as separate entities vying for your soul. I don't believe that the Bible is a book of hard and fast rules, but more a collection of stories with a moral.

I have Atheist, Agnostic, Wiccan, Christian (all branches Catholics to LDS), Muslim, Jewish, Flying Spaghetti Monster and I don't know get back to me later friends. And I have learned something from each of them. I have cherry picked my way through the world's major religions as well as many of the Spiritual flavor of the week trends and I have cobbled together what I believe. It's a discussion best held over drinks, amongst friends who can discuss and disagree without taking it personally, but it's always a fun topic for me. Understanding what you believe and understanding what others believe is the beginning of realizing that we are all really very much alike and that our differences aren't as important as our similarities.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tell me all your thoughts on God...

Okay, here it is. Blogging about religion. I think some of the most interesting discussions come from talking about the things you aren't supposed to talk about. How are you supposed to know what you really believe if you never explore it?

You all know me, I love my background stories, so here it is for the religion and God topic. I grew up in a very religious household. My family is Non-denominational Restoration Movement Christian. Non-denominational meaning not Presbyterian or Lutheran or Baptist or what have you; Restoration Movement meaning that it's strictly Bible based, the restoration being going back to the Bible and stripping away the things that were added by, oh let's say the Popes. This also means the belief is that the Bible is divinely narrated. Basically God wrote the Bible through the hands of man, but it's His word. As my mother sums it up, God said it, I believe it, that settles it. From here on out I am going to call the religion mine or ours just for simplicity sake. Because technically as a baptized member of the church it still is mine.

I was baptized when I was 6. This is actually really young for my church. The norm would be a teenager, if you were raised in the Church, or as an adult if you came later. But I was insistent on my baptism. The reason being I understood the teachings of my church to be, children were innocent and without sin but as soon as you knew the difference between good and evil, right and wrong you MUST be baptized or you were going to hell. I was not going to go to hell. So I pestered my parents, I pestered our minister (also my parent's best friend) and when the new youth minister started in the Church I pestered him as well.

I still remember the final argument I had that won me my baptism. I was sitting in the minister's office with both our minister and our youth minister and I asked about people that lived in parts of the world that had never heard of Jesus. What happened to them when they died? I was told that that was why we needed missionaries to reach those people. But I was insistent, what if the missionaries didn't reach them? What then? So I got the pat on the head and was told, God would protect them as he did little children who didn't know any better. Then this was followed up with, but if they are told about the Word and they do not follow it that is different. So I said, if you know that you should be baptized and aren't then no matter what you couldn't go to heaven? And they agreed. So I said, then you have to baptize me because I know that. And they knew they had lost the argument and I was baptized the next Sunday.

A typical week through my school years was church at least twice on Sunday, three - four times if you counted Sunday School and Youth group separately. Wednesday night Bible study. When I was in high school we had a Bible Bowl team (basically memorizing books of the Bible down to the number of times a word was used) and so we had BB study twice a week as well. One thing churches are good at is keeping kids busy and off the street. Summers were spent either working or being a camper at a Christian camp or touring with our youth group.

Now as a teen I had already been a baptized member of our church for ten years. At one point in time I would have put my Bible knowledge against anyone out there. Just for flat out knowing the verses, knowing the context and knowing what to use to back up any argument I might have. But like any other knowledge, if you stop using it on a daily basis you lose it. And I stopped practicing the religion I was raised in when I was 18. To be truthful I had been leaving the Church for a couple of years by that point in time.

You remember the argument I had with my ministers that won me the right to be baptized? Well I didn't stop having arguments like that as I got older and I stopped being satisfied with the pat answers of "it will just be okay". If it would be okay to die in deepest parts of the Amazon Forest without ever being reached by a missionary and as long as you lived a good life you would still go to heaven, then why did we need to be baptized? Or if you lived in the deepest parts of the Amazon and lived a good life but were never exposed to a missionary and you went to hell when you died what sort of God were we worshiping anyway? And what about the other religions? Because I wasn't sure if anyone had noticed, but they were all saying the same things, and couldn't it be possible that if God really is all powerful and all knowing he would know that certain people would respond to Jesus and others to Buddha, and others to Mohammad and as long as you found your way to him and to a good life what did it matter which book you were reading?

Then there was the growing feeling that the church's stance on homosexuality was just wrong. I have mentioned before that a friend of mine in high school brought the whole gay/lesbian argument to a tidy close for me, but I want to touch on it here with a little more depth. Stephanie (and oh how I wish I could remember her last name!)was a friend of a friend. But the first time we met we instantly hit it off. She was a complete New Waver (if you were raised in the 80s you know the look) and she was an out and proud lesbian. Tough choice for a 16 year old, and especially 25 years ago. Anytime we were at a party at the same time or she was visiting with Cami at the theater at school she and I would end up in these long meaningful discussions about life in the way only 16 year olds can.

Because Stephanie and I talked about everything and anything the talks eventually turned towards what I viewed as her choice to be gay. She looked at me and said, "When did you choose to be straight?" I said, "I didn't choose, I just am. I just like boys." and the light went on. She didn't choose any more than I had. She just was the way she was born and that was it. We talked more about how old she was when she realized she was different from her other friends. This was really important to me on a few levels. One of the main ones was that I was really starting to believe that my nephew was gay. Or would be gay, since at 4 I guess nobody has a real sexual preference. Stephanie was the first person I said the words to out loud. I believed my nephew was born gay. (again another blog for another day, but trust me we will talk more about my thoughts on this) But to tie this to my leaving the church, I was talking with someone I respected about who THEY were and they were telling me, it wasn't a choice, I was watching a person I loved deeply grow up and by all signs show that he was not going to have a choice in who he loved either, and the church was telling me that this was wrong. That choices were made. That God did not create them to be the way they were. Hunh...didn't make sense to me at all.

The final straw for me was my junior year I had a falling out with one of my Bible Bowl coaches. This particular year there were 16 of us that were on teams. There was a tournament at Cincinnati Bible College and only 4 team members could go. It was decided that the four oldest should go since we would be the closest in need of scholarships. Through some backhanded wrangling one of the girls that didn't get to go tried to get me kicked off the team. The coach called my parents with the accusation from this girl, my parents having raised one really problem child double checked the information before coming to me with it. What she had said was false, but if my parents had just believed the coach, like the coach had believed the other girl I would have been in huge trouble. But as it was, I was struck by the hypocrisy of the move and was livid.

See, that year one of the books we were studying was Matthew. There is a passage in Matthew that speaks to what you must do (by the rules of OUR church) if you have a problem with a member of your church. And as a baptized member of the church I should have been treated in the same manner. Matthew 18:15-20 if you are interested. :-) After a few more rounds of wrangling I ended up quitting the team. Looking back I should have quit when we got back from Cincinnati since the lesson the nasty little thing learned is that you can get your way by being awful, but that is my lesson, don't let the nasty people win!

But that was really the end of it for me. I was starting to not believe everything I was being told. I was starting to see that there were other thoughts and ideas in the world that needed to be listened to and weighed. And I spent the next year going through the motions, I lived under my parent's roof so that meant, church and youth group on Sunday, but I stopped anything extra. And since I have been married I think I have been in a church for Sunday services twice. That was my end of organized religion.

Sheesh and I have done it again, an entire blog of back story and not even touching on the points I had planned to make! Okay, a new one later going into what I had meant this one to be at the start! Stay tuned for more God talk later... ;-)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

More to Love...

So I watched half of More to Love on Saturday night. For those of you that don't know it's a Bachelor like dating show but with heavier people. Now I don't watch shows like The Bachelor as a general rule. I don't understand anyone who is content to be part of a herd chasing one person trying to get them to love you more than the rest of the group that is doing the exact same love ME dance.

My excuse for watching any of this one is that while I was waiting for Brent to get back in the room to start Robot Chicken (the sort of high minded intellectual show I usually watch) TiVo reverted back to normal TV and that happened to be the channel it was on. Okay, so yes, I could have changed the channel, but there was a little write up about one of the contestants who happened to be from Portland and how she was the only one to show much personality so I decided to watch while I was waiting for Brent to come back into the room.

And they were right, the girl from Portland was sassy and witty and all of the things you would expect including tattooed and pierced. I kind of love her myself, not sure why she is on a dating show. ANYWAY...every time they would show a woman on camera doing the "one on one" chatting, they would put up her name, occupation, hometown just like normal reality show stuff AND her height and her weight! We can all see that these are not your normal Barbie doll, lollipop heads, do we need to see their stats?

But here is my own shame. Every time they would pop that number up on screen I would do the math. How much of a difference was there in my weight and theirs? How about at my heaviest? How much of a difference then? What is our height difference? And if she happened to be my height then her weight was scrutinized even more. How does she carry her weight? Would I look like her at that weight? Or would I look like one of the other girls on the show? For a half hour I compared every woman on that screen based on her weight vs. mine.

For those of you that have known me for any length of time you know right now I am in the process of losing weight. Again. I have put on and taken off the same 30 pounds three times in ten years. I am currently down 20 pounds from my starting weight and trying to decide how much more I want to drop. As far as weight goes I won and lost that genetic lottery at the same time. The losing is that I can gain weight incredibly easy. In my family I really am the thin one, and only because I really work at it. The winning is that I gain weight evenly. I am not a pear nor an apple but a true hourglass. The only thing that changes is how much sand is in the glass!

I have looked like the same version of me since I was around 12 years old. Big boobs, big butt, small waist. And I flex in and out from there. But it's the same basic shape. What that means for me is that I can carry a few extra pounds without people really thinking I am that heavy, I am full figured for sure, but I am full figured even at my lightest. Which is where the complication of my shape hits me full force. I don't ever look significantly different. Smaller yes, but still I will never be a hard body. I am built for comfort not for speed.

When I was younger I really struggled with that. I was always trying to lose that last 5 pounds. I look at pictures of myself from when we lived in California before I had Christopher and I think, "Why in the world did you worry so much about your weight??" I can remember on my wedding day as the photographer took a picture of me sliding the garter on she told me, "You are going to look back on this picture in 3o years and think how much you wish your legs still looked like this!" I remember it because when she said it I thought, "Are you nuts? Look at the size of my thighs!" Now on my wedding day I was the skinniest I will ever be. I had been very ill and dropped so much weight in the months before the wedding that my dress (which had fit at the final fitting two weeks earlier) was gapping and too big.

My 2os were spent chasing an unrealistic body ideal. I tried every diet out there to try and get to an arbitrary weight and a body shape I could not have achieved with out major surgery. I ate cabbage soup, I fasted, I did diet shakes, I worked out in plastic suits. I was never happy with the results. By the end of my 20s I was genuinely unhappy with the way I looked. I dressed to hide every bit of myself that I could. My weight then? About 10 pounds heavier than I am right now. That's all. But you wouldn't be able to tell from the oversized sweatshirts and loose frumpy work clothes.

When I hit my 30s I started to find personal acceptance of my shape. I am built the way I am built, nothing is going to change that. I decided I could learn to love my curves or continue railing against them. I took stock in my body and got realistic about it. I stopped dressing to try and hide my body but chose to show it off instead. Brent's ring tone for me on his phone is "Brick House" and I am Mighty Mighty. And the amazing thing is that as soon as I stopped struggling with it I lost weight. This was the first time for that decade. I was working out, eating well all of the things your are supposed to do and the weight started coming off.

Then we moved. It took awhile, but the combination of really not liking living in Colorado and changes in routines I put back on the weight I had recently lost. But I was okay, still fine with what I was doing and how I looked. We moved back to Oregon and I put back on a few more pounds doing the fast food convenience thing as we settled back in. Then Brent decided he wanted to lose weight. I had been toying with the idea of Atkins for awhile and it really appealed to him so we did that. And within 4 months the weight was gone. Amazing! But two problems for me, first off I really really love bread and carbs as a whole. So yes, I liked being thinner, but I wasn't going to be able to maintain that way of eating for ever. It just felt too much like deprivation to me. The second was that the weight came off so quickly my body didn't really have time to adjust.

This one is hard for people to understand. I really didn't like the way I looked at the end of losing weight on Atkins. Yes, I was thinner. Yes, my basic shape was still the same, but I felt like I looked hollow. Like my skin was too big for my body. I just didn't feel I looked "right". My face seemed too bony, my clavicles were too sharp, my skin was too loose. I just didn't like it. So it wasn't a real heart breaker for me when I started to put it back on. I thought, just a little and then I will level out. Of course that's not what happened. I put on a little then a little more then went back to how I was eating before and put it all back on.

So this time around, looking in the mirror one day I decided that I had more sand in the glass than I was comfortable with and more than was healthy and I was adding sand at an alarming rate! So I looked around on the internet, trying to decide what to do (I went back to Atkins for a small amount of time, didn't lose a pinch) and Weight Watchers kept coming up. It's the slow and steady way to do it. It's the most successful program out there, blah blah blah...I wanted quick and easy. Then I thought...(beginning conversation in my brain) okay, wait, what are you doing this for? Health or vanity? Honest answer...a little of both. Okay, well, odds are you are still going to be vain in 10 years, so what does it matter if it takes you longer to lose the weight this time around? You are supposedly doing it mostly for your health so go get healthy. (ending the peek at the conversation in my brain)

And that's what I did. I have the time blocked out on my calendar every week to go to meetings. I track what I eat. I pay attention to making sure that for the most part what I use my limited number of points on each day is good for me. I am working out again. I am doing this the right way. I have lost 20 pounds but I don't look hollowed out. My body is tucking back in the way it's supposed to. No easy answers, no magic bullet, just following the plan. And the deal I made to post results every week good or bad, that's been huge. Accountability for the win!

So this brings us back to the rerun of More to Love on Saturday night. Watching and comparing my weight to that parade of women. I have to say at first I didn't really even notice I was doing it. It was like an automatic response. So then, of course, once I noticed it I had to analyze it. Why? Why am I still after all of this time measuring myself against everyone else? Why am I not just happy with my rate of weight loss? With how much better I look and feel? With the milestones I have been knocking down? With the lifestyle changes I have been implementing that are making me and the rest of the family healthier? Why?

And I don't have an answer. And that bothers me. So I will keep chasing that dream of total self acceptance. My 20s were the decade where I fought my shape, 30s were the decade where I started to appreciate it, let's see if the 40s can be the decade where I accept myself completely.

She's a brick----house....
she's mighty mighty just letting it all hang out
yeah she's a brick---house.
the lady's stacked and that's a fact
aint holding nothing back....