Sunday, August 21, 2011

Let them eat cake

Something odd happened to me last Monday.

I got a call later afternoon from the camp I worked at for years and years. It was from my friend (and facebook wife) Foxx, and she called to tell me that a package had arrived for me at camp.

Given the fact that I wasn't working there this summer, it was pretty exciting. Getting packages at camp is very exciting. You're living in that place for 10 weeks, and packages become this social event. Everyone is excited. When you get one, you have to sing for it in front of the whole camp.

A package?! For me?! How exciting!

Since most people knew I wasn't working at camp, I assumed that it was maybe from a former camper, who didn't know I wasn't working there. I told Foxx that she could open it, and I'd pick up whatever it was on Thursday night when I came to visit.

The package contained the following book.

Inside the book, there was an order form that said who sent it. I knew who it was. It was a person I'd worked with at camp years ago, and was no longer friends with. In fact, I hadn't spoken to this person in years.

Our friendship ended at my choice. It wasn't anything dramatic. I just stopped calling.

Later that night I got a call from this person. Their first words were, "So I'm a jerk...".

Now, a couple of things. Firstly, I am fat. It's not an insult to me to be called that. I already know.
Secondly, I haven't spoken to this person in years. This attempt to either get back at me for ending our friendship, or open some line of communication is so petty that it's really not something I'm taking to seriously.

In fact, it's great! Now I can eat this whole cake and know how to dress my body afterwards!
I find the book itself much more troubling. It's written like the worst issue of Cosmo that was ever published.

I'm all for people dressing to flatter their body types if that is what they are interested in, but this book is clearly not for me.

Here's an excerpt from the quiz that tells you if you are dressing fat.

1. Your winter coat is:
a) A metallic silver puffer that hits mid-calf
b) A short black puffer that's belted at the waist
c) A navy single-breasted wool or cashmere three-quarter-length coat

5. Your every day shoes are
a) Platform wedges
b) Kitten heels
c) Knee-high black suede boots with a heel

8. Your white pants are
a) High-waisted
b) Stretch cotton capris
c) Flat front trousers

I am clearly not a fashionable woman. I don't even have a puffer in any color, much less silver or black! And whose everyday shoes are knee-high black suede boots with a heel? I mean, someone I'm sure. Not me though. And I don't have any white pants at all. I eat to much barbecue sauce for that!

I haven't felt so out of touch with a quiz since I was 11 years old taking a "What Kind of Girlfriend are You" quiz in Seventeen magazine. They even have a section of how not to look fat in workout clothes or pajamas. The whole theme of the book seems to be that you should try to look as least fat as possible in every given situation, which depresses me.

Body image is a really tricky issue. I think that if you want to look sharp at all times, that's great. Please do! I love looking at sharply dressed fashionable ladies. I just don't like that this book seems to imply that it should be a goal to look "not fat" at all times.

To combat this feeling, I brought party hats to camp when I went to visit (and to pick up the book).  Even though I'm wearing a "hi-fat" color, I still managed to have a good time.

Hey I think Sam (far right) is wearing a puffer! So that's what they are!

Also, as I mentioned previously, I haven't quilted for awhile. This has been sort of a rough month, with cleaning out my childhood home on the weekends, but that's only half of it. There's also this.

Once, at a guild meeting, one of the members told me that she liked my blog, but that I needed to clean my house because it was so dirty that it made her teeth hurt. My sewing table was approaching root canal levels of tooth pain. Even when I would like to sew, the thought of tackling the mess put me right off of it.

Yesterday I spent about one and a half episodes of Medium on Netflix instant watch cleaning up and got this result. Strangely enough, cleaning out my childhood home has given me some really good strategies for cleaning up a space.

It's still messy, but more of "I just ate a bunch of candy" teeth hurting level. I mean, I can see my sewing machine now! I'll take my victories where I can get them. If my next post doesn't contain quilting in some form I'll eat my hat (metaphorically).

I also want to mention that summer time is a great time for cat poses, because to beat the heat they stretch out in super cute ways. I should also mention that pictures of Fritz take up at 50%+ of my photo library at any given time.

I don't know guys, all that fur makes him look sort of fat. I wonder if they have a cat version of the book...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Clean House

I haven't done much quilting lately. I've been wrapped up in cleaning out the house that I grew up in, so we can rent it out, which has been a pretty rough experience.

It's also clear to me that even though I have to do this crummy thing, I've had the good fortune to be able to take my time to do it. I keep reminding myself of all the ways that I'm a lucky person while I'm doing it, because it keeps me from feeling sorry for myself when I feel like crying because I'm sending our orange juice pitcher to Goodwill, when we used it to make orange juice every week for years when I was a kid and now it will maybe be bought by someone who has no idea that it's this beautiful familiar object that was a part of my daily family life for years and years.

And I don't even like orange juice!

My dad has been helping me out, which I really appreciate, and he keeps telling me that these are "just things", which is true, sort of. It feels so self indulgent to be upset about something like throwing away our old Rolodex when in truth it's a luxury to have this time to mourn for these plastic objects.

And in all honesty, it's not really the Rolodex. Letting go of the house means that portion of my life is really over. It was easy to ignore when I didn't have to pack it up, but now it's really clear that the family that lived there is really gone.

If there is anything I've learned, it's that part of living is dealing with the ending of things. It can be sad and heartbreaking, but it's part of the deal. I've been taking pictures of things that I have no reason to keep, but don't want to forget entirely as a way to deal with sending these parts of my life onto new places, like Goodwill or the dump.

For example, at the back of our lazy susan, we found an old box of my favorite brand of mac and cheese. My poor grandmother came to visit when my brother and I were kids and made us homemade mac and cheese, but we kept asking for the box kind.

They stopped making this brand, so it was a kick to see the old box. I always liked it better than Kraft. Before you ask, I'm not going to make it. It expired in 2001, so I think I'll just keep the photo and throw the box away!

I threw away a lot of Barbies with missing limbs and home haircuts. A lot of them were packed in to this carrying case, which I think I loved more than the Barbies inside it as a kid.

Maybe I will be Golden Dream Barbie for Christmas. It's a pretty sweet outfit, and I'll only need to grow about a foot in the leg for it to work.

This Fisher Price medical set was in the same set of boxes as the Golden Dream Barbie case. I had totally forgotten about it until I saw it. It was a fun set of tools. My friend Rebecca and I spent a lot of time jamming the needle to give shots with into each other's arms under the guise of playing doctor.

I still have to tackle my bedroom, but the house is mostly packed up and cleaned out. One of the last things I did this weekend was clean out the window seat in my mom's bedroom, and jammed in the back behind happy birthday banners and party hats (and with two books on improving sex in marriage, thanks mom, this is the third time I've found sexual improvement books with notes from you and dad written in the margins) I found a journal my mom kept when my brother and I were very young children. She was 29 at the first entry, which is about the age I am now.

The very first entry was about a time when she was feeling sad, and it echoed a lot of what I was feeling at the time. It was just so nice to find that, to have that connection to my mom, and to know that she felt these things too, and wrote about them like I'm writing about them now. I'm not the kind of person who believes in fate, but this was such an unexpected comfort to have.

It's to be expected that there will be good times and bad times. This is  not a good time. there is something to be said for the bad times though, when in the emotional dumps I am much more likely to turn to thoughts about the breadth and importance of life and how to live it, thoughts about how my day to day activities are weaving into a larger fabric and where I want that design to go. These are hard things to think about, that's probably why I do it for such short time periods. The point is, if I keep a journal maybe I can tie these periods of...
So I'm going to try and follow my mom's words and only dwell on this for a short time, and then get back to fabric and design. Well, it's not exactly what she said, but it will make me feel better all the same.