June 30, 2004

The Only Thing to Fear is the Lawn Mower

"There are few things, apparently, more helpful to a writer than having once been a weird little kid." -- Katherine Paterson

I often wonder when my parents realized that I was a bit of an odd duck. Looking back, it may have been my vehement opposal of the lawn mower.

In the beginning, I hated the lawn mower because the orange beast on four wheels would careen around the yard with my mom perched on the seat and mow off the dandelions. I used to cry when my mom mowed the lawn in the summer because I didn't want the dandelions to disappear or be cut off (or "killed" as I put it). I would look across the lawn and see the whole thing covered in yellow (my favorite color) and I believed that dandelions were somehow part of the sunshine. I would go around and try to "save" bunches of them by picking them before the lawn mowing began and then giving them as bouquets to my mom and grandmas.

Later, I hated the lawn mower because I was deathly afraid of it. I remember thinking that I would get sucked under it as it drove past me, roaring and spitting out shredded dandylions, grass, and Kleenix. I was afraid I would be torn to bits and pieces.

I don't know if my mom did it to calm me or just because she was cool and wanted to keep me entertained while she mowed, but she made me a tent out of our picnic table one day. She spread a pink flowered flannel blanked over the top and held it down with heavy wooden blocks. This draped down to the bottom on one side. Then on the other side, she hung a blue flannel blanket in the same way. Finally, she cut me a bunch of flowers. I don't know if she was pruning them or if she was picking some and picked some for me to play with or what. I remember thinking that she had cut them all for me. They had almost no stems, so maybe she accidently cut them too short. I sat under there on the already-mowed part of the lawn with pink sunlight filtering through the blanket and flower tops strewn around me. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to have a carpet of flowers, and so I strewed the flower faces all across the grass so that I almost had the whole "tent" carpeted with flowers. At first, I was worried that the lawn mower would go out of control and shred them, too. But after awhile, I forgot all about the lawn mower. It still roared around the lawn until my mom finished and came to get me, but I felt like I could protect the flowers, so I could probably protect myself. I don't remember being afraid of it after that.

After being sad and afraid, I grew furious at lawn mowing practices. My cousins and I made an entire "play house" out of sticks set up in a gigantic outline on the ground and pretended that we lived there for an entire fall. We refused to let my mother mow there any more that year. She yelled at us finally and made us pick it all up and we were all quite livid about it. She that we had decided to leave sticks all over the yard and we because we were about to become make-believe homeless.

Now I just don't really see the point of mowing the lawn. Luckily, I pay rent so that the lawn is someone else's problem.

But then again, I also used to believe I could fit through key holes (as in I thought that everytime I looked through the keyhole, I physically went through the key hole), so maybe "weird little kid" doesn't quite cover it.

Posted by LoWriter at 11:00 AM | Comments (3)

June 28, 2004

This Dream Presented in Technicolor

The question of the day is:
Do you dream in color?

No matter what anyone says, I do. I often see blues, purples, reds, greens, oranges, and grays. Sometimes the color is less bright and everything has a yellow hue, but most of the time, the colors in my dreams are brighter and more fantastic than they are in normal life.

For instance, recently I had a dream which involved a volcano. The volcano was black, but the lava was a brighter red than it is on TV. The orange was a shade short of florescent. In contrast, the surfaces which it touched/was breaking through were grey. The contrast in my dreams is quite stark.

So, do you dream in color? If so, how do you know? Many people have argued with me that people do not dream in color; they merely add the color in after they wake up. I will argue passionately that this is not true for me because sometimes the color is the most important thing about the dream. I will remember thinking consciously in the middle of the dream about the unusual shade of a certain blue or violet. In fact, in the volcano dream, I remember being amazed at how brightly the lava glowed in real life as compared to on TV.

My dreams appear in technicolor; how about yours?

Posted by LoWriter at 02:20 PM | Comments (2)

Read the Court Jester's Blog

If you haven't already, you should definately check out my friend Carl's blog. His topics are much more interesting than mine.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:15 AM | Comments (5)

June 24, 2004

Be Who You Is, Peeps

“The brother that gets me is going to get one hell of a fabulous woman.”--Aretha Franklin

Dieting is, by and large, a complete and utter waste of time. It is the most ridiculous occupation around with the possible exceptions of Watching Trees Grow and/or Curling. Also high on this list comes Spoon Polishing.

It’s not just that dieting is regarded as the be all, end all factor in landing a member of the opposite sex, it’s that it’s turned into a national obsession. If you’re not on a diet, then you’re not a good American, damn it. How dare you contribute to the fictional national obesity problem?
How dare you eat cheetos in such a heretical
manner and with such flagrant disregard for our new national pastime? Don’t you realize that you should long and indeed in some places ache to be skinny. And don’t you realize, like all other things in America, this weight loss has to happen fast? Tomorrow, in fact, if you can afford it by way of surgical intervention, but if not tomorrow then definitely by the end of the month. Don’t you understand that you have to be skinny in order to be happy and, above all, sexy?

Well, now that you mention it, no. I don’t.

Fad diets have been around for years. First it was the “2000 Calorie Diet.” Then there was the Fat Gram Counting Diet, which involved a substance called “Fat Burner” which you could buy in bottles at K-Mart. It tasted a little like asphalt, but you did lose weight. (Mostly because eating is less fun when you can’t taste anything but pavement every time you chew.) Somewhere in this period Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and a few other knock offs were born. Also came diet pills, which it turned out, could give you brain damage and other mental disorders. After awhile, the combo Calorie/Fat Gram diet took over. You had to count both factors and hope and pray that it added up to your magic number. After that came the Subway Diet (meet Jason, the token spokesman). Then it was Adkins. Then it was South Beach. Now it’s LA Weightloss.* By the time I post this, there’ll be a new one. Get over the diet fetish already, America! Not only is the hysteria ridiculous, but also we are missing out on all the important things in life that really matter. (I.E. Spaghetti-Os and Jesus and Harry Potter and happiness and Skittles and raspberry jam.)

In high school, I skipped breakfast and lunch and ate only very small suppers, which included half a piece of meat and a tablespoon full of whatever vegetable we were having, and which excluded any kind of dessert. Often, my entire food for a day would consist of a bowl of cereal. I exercised obsessively. I began drinking gallons of diet pop (which is highly addicting and damaging to your brain, and which I was finally able to quit last summer. I have been off it for a year). And I definitely lost weight. I lost about 30 lbs in about 2 ½ months. I was 15 going on mental. I screwed up my metabolism and for what? The idea that in order to be loveable, I had to look a certain way and weigh in at a certain poundage. And that’s just plainly a lie.

Nothing is more attractive than confidence. Over the last year, I’ve been asked out more than ever before, and the reason is not that I dropped several pounds and something magical happened. The reason is that I’ve been more confident in myself than ever before. I walk straight and tall and I swing my hips and I don’t take nothing off of nobody. I’m just as excellent as anybody else on the street, and I have every right to be content with my bad self. I love my big brassy hips and my bubilicious bubble of a bum and I’m fairly certain my smile can light up rooms, light bulbs, and other faces. I have a body that can move, that heals quickly (even after surgery as I discovered this summer), that can bend any old which way I want it to and that keeps me going daily. I have all my teeth and all my hair. I can still see. I have all my appendages, and I have all my senses firmly intact. Not everybody has these things to look forward to when they wake up each day. I’m intelligent, kind, funny, witty, and talented. And pretty. And yes, even sexy. And if I don’t notice these things about myself, why should anyone else bother? And if people don’t like that I like myself, they can go to hell.

I lost 20 pounds in a month once when I was sick, and do you know what happened? The bed springs poked me at night in places that were previously nicely padded, and I hurt more all over in general. Also, I didn’t much like it. In a related story, I remained surprisingly single and unspoken for.

The only way to find love is to love yourself. The thing of it is that losing weight doesn’t attract that special someone. That special person is going to turn up whether you lose weight or not. The fact that they aren’t in your life yet just means that you haven’t yet crossed paths (or that you haven’t recognized each other yet). If somebody honestly doesn’t like you now just because you weigh such and such a weight, then that person will only love you so far and no further. And what happens if you change? Will they stop loving you then? Maybe I’m naïve, but I want the love that fairy tales and old people have. I want the kind of love that holds your hand when you are too old to walk without help anymore. I want the kind of love that helps you pick out pears in the grocery store when your eyes are too dull to see. I want the kind of love that loves me no matter what I look like or act like or talk like or write like, and if I can’t love myself that way, then how can I expect anyone else to?

The truth is still that your physique fades. We are all going to get saggy and old and wrinkled. We are all going to one day wish that we could have a cheeseburger and know that we can’t because it’s too salty or too fatty or too lactose-y when we’ve grown salt, fat, and lactose intolerant. If we’re lucky, we’ll still be able to walk and talk and do what we want. If we’re lucky, we won’t get a really dreadful disease and become incapable of eating or thinking or walking or peeing. If I died tomorrow would I miss my dress size? No. I think, if I were to be honest, I would miss my family and friends and writing and right behind those things would come chocolate. (Or tortilla chips. It’s a toss up, really.) The point is that I wouldn’t look back at my life or want other people to look back at my life, and say, “Wow. She was really gorgeous” or “Wow. She lost a lot of weight over the course of her life” or “Wow. Check out how light this casket is. She looks really good in that outfit.” No, I would want people to say, “Gee, she really had life figured out. I’d like to be as happy as she was” or “Gosh, she did a lot for others; she’ll be missed” or even “Wow. She was a great writer.”

It’s not that losing weight is stupid. Losing weight can be a perfectly healthy and intelligent move. Obsessing about losing weight, on the other hand, is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. Aside from health risks, obsessions are not attractive. You’ve all had that one crazy stalker who followed you around, called your house at all hours, and just creeped you out in general really, and when you’re obsessed with losing weight, that’s what you look like. You’re the crazy stalker of the elusive “skinnier,” which makes you pretty much inaccessible. Should I lose weight? Oh, definitely. My pants could fit better at this point, but losing weight is a lifelong commitment, and I’m just not in the mood to be that committed to it right now. I’m getting my four servings of dairy a day, which was my goal for this year. Losing weight is a process of eating the right amount of things from those little groups in that one pyramid we all like to ignore because it points out that we can’t have everything we want instantaneously and exercising as often as the surgeon general recommends…for the rest of your life. Even then, you’re allowed to have sweets sometimes; you’re allowed to skip a day of exercise because the pattern of your life is healthy, so a few unhealthy instances are ok.

Be who you are. That is the best thing that you can do for yourself and the first step to being attractive. Stop obsessing and your attractiveness will multiply. As for me, I’m a big gorgeous wonder woman, and I will be happy with who I am. And you should be happy with you. You can’t help but be gorgeous when you’re content with your fabulous self.

*The diet list in no way represents any kind of comprehensive or researched list. This is just the order in which I remember these diets becoming hugely popular. You may remember the order differently. Memories are funny things; no two are quite alike. If I cared enough about fad diets, I would have researched them and provided a comprehensive list. Unfortunately, I care about fad diets only a little more than I care about sidewalk cracks, so I have relied on my memory of events instead. Feel free to complain loudly about my inaccuracy and/or insert any diets you feel more closely represent the period from 1989 until present in your head when you read this section.

Posted by LoWriter at 07:32 AM | Comments (5)

June 21, 2004

Whoo Hoo

That's right everybody: Whoo hoo on a Monday morning before noon! I got a new and improved computer. I might even get Internet at my house now that I have a computer that will stand the shock. (Thank you Carl and Jill; you rock the free world.) Seriously, yesterday felt like some counter-curse had undone a really nasty spell, and suddenly, words were falling from my fingertips like petals from tree branches. I wrote for hours yesterday. I popped in a CD and listened to it on my new speakers and got lost under the music and found the words. For me, the words are everything. When they are gone, it is hell. Ah, but when they are there, it is magic! I would sell my soul for more. Yes, I am a crazy writer. Basically, that's why I don't have a real entry right now: I was too busy playing on my new computer. But I couldn't let Monday go by without celebrating a little. Maybe tomorrow, party people. Thanks for hanging with me.

Posted by LoWriter at 09:19 AM | Comments (7)

June 16, 2004

"Let's Keep the Lite in Social"

So, I'm taking a poll, but I don't have the ambition to actually create a poll, so weigh in on the comments. Here's the question: Should a hypothetical person (hypothetically me) go to his/(more hypothetically likely)her hypothetical all-school reunion? Why or why not?

Here's my take: I don't know if I really want to go to an event soley devoted to hanging out with people I didn't really have much in common with then and certainly won't have much in common with now. I would frankly rather beat my head against the wall than go and make polite small talk with people I didn't particularly even like then when I was younger and less intelligent. "Oh, why Tiffany, how are you daarling? It's been simply ages. I just have to know: Are you still a ho? How is that working out for you?" "Oh, Laurel, it's simply divine, and are you still a complete geek? Because I've noticed you have a blog, and I think that does indeed make you a geek." To which we both laugh politely, "Ah ha ha ha." I'm a little of the persuasion that when you leave something, you leave it, and you don't look back. Also, it's on 4th of July weekend, when I would much rather be here watching cool fireworks in a public park at an undisclosed location.

There are, however, about four people that I really do want to see and will probably not see again unless I go to at least one of these reunion things. And I'm reasonably sure they will want to see me, too. I suppose if all else fails, I can always blow it off and leave.

My best friend from high school is flat out refusing to come, and I can't really blame her, but I feel an obligation for some reason. What do you all think? Have any of you been to your high school reunions? Do you think they're worth the effort? Are they just an excuse for the socialites of high school to get together and snub each other once again, or do they actually have some value in a person's growth process?

Posted by LoWriter at 08:20 AM | Comments (7)

June 14, 2004

Prayer Request

Hey all. Will you please pray for my grandma? She went into the hospital on Friday and got moved to the ICU on Saturday because she was having/had had another heartattack. For those of you who don't know, Grandma has been having heart trouble for several years. Last year she had open heart surgery and that seemed to do the trick, but in February she fell and had another heart attack. Now she's back in the hospital again. She's 86 years old, and her health is obviously failing, but she's very precious to me. She always lived close, so while our parents worked, my sisters and I spent our days there when we were really small and our afternoons there when we were old enough to go to school. She had a big hand in raising us, so she's very much like another parent to me. Thank you in advance for your prayers.

Posted by LoWriter at 07:29 AM | Comments (1)

June 11, 2004

Ronald Reagan

Today while I was getting my oil changed, I saw the end of one of Ronald Reagan’s funerals and decided that I’m very glad that I’m not a president. Watching Nancy stand there trying to be collected and calm when it was clear how miserable she was feeling was one of the worst things I’ve ever watched on TV. As I watched the songs and the people who got up to speak, I wondered how much say she or Ronald Reagan had had in the planning of the funeral. Further, when they carried out the casket, I thought about the other funerals I’ve been to where the deceased’s close friends and relatives bear the casket to the hearse, and I wondered how it would feel to know years in advance that members of the different military forces would be carrying out your coffin, not the people you relied on and trusted as your closest friends. Maybe it wouldn’t matter if you’d been president. Maybe you would realize that the military was probably one of your closest friends: that they were there under your command to protect the country you all served. Maybe that would create a lot of trust for any member of the armed services. But as they played “Hail to the Chief” and a serviceman walked Nancy Reagan down the aisle of the church, the Washington National Cathedral, which they probably only attended during the eight years he served in office, I realized that once you become that well-known, your life is never really yours again. All your arrangements become about the needs of other people, the expectations of the public, and the demands of society. Nothing is ever about your comfort again, whether you’re president of the United States or an actor or a famous author. You are never really your own person again once you cross over into fame.

All I can say is that Nancy Reagan has strength of character. She stood through it all with poise, albeit grieved underneath. Nancy Reagan, whatever can be said about the Republican Party, is a graceful lady.

The mechanic said this was about the fourth service they’d had for him, and I know that there was to be another one tonight. I can’t imagine having to go through that many funerals for your husband. I can’t imagine grieving on national TV. I don’t understand Americans' obsession with seeing people on TV. Why couldn’t we leave the poor woman alone? Since the advent of live television, we seem to think that we have the right to be everywhere. Maybe some things are meant to be left to the people who are really experiencing them. Maybe some things belong only to the people who loved and lost the individuals involved.

What do you all think?

Posted by LoWriter at 07:39 PM | Comments (3)

June 10, 2004

Check Out Those Links

Mostly because I don't have any time right now to write something witty and also because I really want to test out a post, I'm going to take this opportunity to tell you about one of the links on this site. May I highly recommend visiting My Nation. This site is cool because while visiting the Rogue Nation of Sunshine and Pink, you can even set up a nation of your own. This is fun for several reasons. First, the computer creates a government based on your answers to some carefully worded questions. (You can choose your own name and motto, though.) Then the computer sends you issues every day and you get to choose how you would deal with several political problems that are similar to those faced by the world at large right now. Your nation changes daily based on whatever hairbrained solution you accepted yesterday.

Next, it's fun because more obsessed players join the UN and get involved in forums, but most importantly, they set up their own regions that you can move to. If you know one of these weirdo--I mean people, you can join the region and compete against them for the top spot. They often leave obnoxious messages about their superiority on the region's message board, but everything has its downsides.

So enjoy the link, and hopefully by tomorrow I'll have something real to talk about. :)

Posted by LoWriter at 02:12 PM | Comments (11)

June 08, 2004

Lo will be here soon

Lo will soon set up her site to her liking, but don't you like what I've done with it?? :-)


Posted by LoWriter at 11:59 PM | Comments (5)