Saturday, September 25, 2010

Last Month's Irritation

I'm finally ready to write about my original provocation. I thought this would be my first post, but Dear Biker crashed and I got moon cakes.

Last month I was flipping through a free parenting magazine when I saw this ad:

Where do I start? Perhaps I should begin my acknowledging this copyright-protected image does not belong to me. As my husband saw me taking a picture of the magazine he said, "I'm pretty sure that's copyrighted." I'm most certainly not trying to claim it as my own, I give Motherhood Maternity full credit. But I'm not too worried about that. I'm making no money from this. I am also confident that all four of you, my loyal readers, won't tattle on me.
So. . . ugh. This ad is almost indescribably wrong. It's precisely because I find myself speechless that I feel compelled to write. I've had time to think about it and distill my jumble of thoughts down to something manageable. Really my question is: Are we ever allowed to just be?

Why must women always be sexy? Merriam Webster defines sexy as, "sexually suggestive or stimulating: erotic, generally attractive or interesting: appealing" I find the examples listed by the dictionary fascinating, "1. She wore a sexy skirt. 2. Her legs are long and sexy." The she screams at me. Even the editors of the dictionary can't imagine the word sexy being anything other than female. When did sexy become our identity? (1925, according to the dictionary) The synonyms and antonyms are a bit telling, also, "Synonyms: bodacious, desirable, dishy, hot, luscious, toothsome. Antonyms: nonerotic, unerotic, unsexy." If we are not sexy, we become non and un.

I hope I'm not coming across as a male-bashing, world-hating, I-am-woman-hear-me-roar crazy head. I don't feel like one. I'm really just a girl who is sad. I feel weighed down when I see pictures like this. And it's not because I'm jealous. I know that the model's thighs are as big as my arms, but this isn't about body comparisons.

The exact same woman in the exact same ensemble would not be offensive if the editors had employed these changes: ditch the fan, use the buttons, close the distance between her legs. The heels are a bit ridiculous to me, but that is because I am jealous. I would love my feet to have arches that allowed some kickin' shoes now and again.

My despondency comes from imagining all the women who are pregnant looking at the ad and feeling condemned. I am troubled that others will flip by and think nothing of it, because they've seen it so much. Different girl, different company, same message. I am really horrified, though, that little girls will grow up to believe that their value is measured not only by their appearance, but also by their ability to satisfy others.

So I repeat my question (with a few extra): Will we ever be allowed to just be? Must we always be sexy? And what does being look like?

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's the Little Things

Here is something that has made me rather happy for the last few weeks: moon cakes. They're just so pretty. Here is what the box and matching bag look like:

There's a small typo in the corner, but that adds to the charm.

When you open the box, this is what you see:

That's a knife with miniature forks for everyone to share. And believe me, you want to share. One of these babies has 840 calories.

Here's a close-up:

Not only are they pretty, they're tasty too. Here's my son. He got a little tired of waiting to eat while I took a picture:

Thanks, GninGnin!

If you ever get a chance to try a Chinese Moon Cake, try it! (But I'm not sharing mine)

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm back!

I know, you had no idea that I was gone.

Our computer was consumed with a horrific virus early this week. We couldn't stop it despite our many layers of protection installed on the computer. As we were calling various computer repair shops, though, it became obvious that the thing was particularly nasty. It was going to cost almost as much as a new computer to save the current one. And a number of people said this virus was so bad that they would probably have to wipe the computer clean and start over.

So we mulled it over for a for a few days, trying to decide what to do. Meanwhile the computer sat in the office, massively infected, dying rapidly. We turned it back on to run another safety measure when it started erasing itself. Doh! We backed up as many files as were still left. Later I ran a system restore and wiped it clean.

We have spent the last several days trying to reinstall our programs. We saved most of our documents, but not all. A lot of my pictures are saved at shutterfly. Thank you Shutterfly! We did lose some pictures, but we have hard copies of the ones that were lost. Oh! The extra bonus to all this: our external hard-drive, which we bought for moments such as this, is fried. Completely useless. We backed up all our important electronic information, just to have it be cooked off when the lights went out during a recent storm.

But it has been interesting. Even though it sounds a bit silly and dramatic, I walked around a bit lost for a few days.  I can check email from my phone, but can't open any attachments. And replying to emails is a significant chore since my phone doesn't have a keyboard. I felt a wee bit empty, not knowing what to do with myself. How insane is that? The absence of internet access (and spider solitaire) created a hole in my life.

My son flourished, though. I try so hard to focus on him while he's awake, but sometimes he does find me in the office, looking at/for something "real quick." We were able to have such fun together this week. Life felt more rich.

The day I restored the computer, it took me hours to re-install our virus shield and spyware. At the end I was exhausted. I should have felt some satisfaction at my accomplishment. I rather felt like I had wasted a part of my existence, though.

Nobody else noticed that I was missing. Though I felt a big disconnect, nobody else did. I didn't get any panicked emails or calls wondering why I hadn't replied to an email or posted again on this blog. The world really did keep revolving without me wired into it.

So I'm in a time of re-evaluation. How much freedom is this thing really affording me? How much more connected am I, truly? Is it possible (highly likely) that it may actually have stolen some of my freedom, and even caused some disconnect in my relationships? Do I need to start severely restricting my computer time? I do know I'm not going to toss these questions about while sitting in front of this glowing screen. I'm going to jump back into a book that takes place in 1871. Ah, the pleasure of turning a page. Scrolling can never compete.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Daughter's a Daughter

My stepmom shared a rhyming phrase of conventional wisdom with me over the weekend. It is now stuck in my head:

A daughter's a daughter for life. A son's a son 'til he takes a wife.

It keeps swirling about in my brain. I don't really have any thoughts on it, though. So why blog your thoughtlessness you may ask. I'm hoping that getting it out through my fingertips will help free up space in my mind. I'll use that space to either figure out precisely how I feel about it, or maybe even put in new information.

I do think, though, that the statement is true of our American culture.

What do you think? Is it true, or not? Is it right, wrong, or is it just the way it is? Is it because boys don't truly respect their moms? Is it supposed to be that way?

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A lovely, cloudy Thursday

My lovely husband took me on a date this afternoon. First he took me to a vegetarian restaurant, Eden Alley. It was great! It was so much fun to have a variety of foods to chose from. Following a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free diet can be a wee bit difficult here in Middle America.

I've been on a vegetarian kick again. I recently cut up a big piece of ham. Which is the polite way to say I butchered a dead pig's leg. Blech. It was so nasty. There isn't a gross enough word or phrase in our language to explain how icky it was. Perhaps if I didn't know my anatomy it wouldn't be so disturbing. But as I was hacking away at it I was able to identify veins that could hold an 18 gauge IV catheter, leg bones and skin padded with gobs of fat. Ugh. And it had already been smoked! I can not fathom how nauseating it would have been had it been raw. But I digress down a disgusting path.

We went on a date (woo!) And we had fun (double woo!) I had my delightful vegan avocado salad while my Love ate a spinach and mushroom loaf. It was the first time I had a cashew-based cheese substitute. We finished up with dessert. Chocolate + strawberry cake and coconut cake - both vegan. We then wandered through neighborhoods we've never visited on our journey to IHOP (prayer, not pancakes.)

IHOP was great, though the only available seats were up front. I don't like sitting up front because then we're on camera. To see what I mean, click here, then click on the play button for the live stream. It was wonderful to spend time worshipping together. Usually we are tag teaming tethering in our son, so the shared solitude was a treat.

We went to 2 book stores: DANGER! But walked out with one video for me, one book for him, and one book for our son. Now, had there been $500 sitting in our pockets, we would have left with full arms and empty pockets. But since our pockets were pretty much vacant heading in the shops, our arms were relatively free when we left.

A quiet drive under graying, dripping skies lead us home to our bubbling baby boy. It was wonderful. I pray you had a good day, too. . .

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The spirit is willing

Our TV quit working a few months ago.

Well, the TV works, but the converter box died. It was fried in a fabulous Midwest storm. And since our television is archaic, we require a digital converter box to watch our local channels. So, we haven't watched TV for awhile. And we really haven't missed it. (We being my husband and myself. My toddler really doesn't care because he can still watch his videos)

But. . .

We are visiting family for our Labor Day Weekend.
Family with a big TV.
With Cable.
That works.

I have spent untold hours of my weekend sitting on my booty, soaking my brain with useless images and stories. I should be sleeping or exercising or trimming my toenails. Anything! Yet I sit, sucked into another movie. (Though 3:10 to Yuma really is good)

Though this is a bit light hearted, it is also rather serious. None of the movies have encouraged my heart or edified my soul. They haven't strengthened my communication skills or broadened my knowledge base. I am absolutely no better for having watched TV. And the super-stinky part is that I didn't just waste time this weekend.  I will keep eating away at my life-allowance by replaying scenes in my mind and thinking about the story lines. I can't shake picture shows from my brain. Once they come in, they stick tight. Ugh.

I'm pretty sure our TV is broken because God knows I don't want to be sucked into hours in front of a television, but I'm too weak to resist it.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. -Matthew 26:41 NIV-

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Silly before Sunrise

Because my allergies are continuing to to flare throughout my head, I flushed my sinuses this morning. This is the stuff I use. It's a rather nasty process, but oh so therapeutic. I was pretty grossed out by the quality and quantity of junk that came sloshing out of my head. When I was done I decided to weigh myself, just to see if I had lost any weight.

I had weighed myself about 45 minutes earlier. I weigh on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. If I do it more frequently, I become neurotic. Less frequently, I become delusional. This is the picture I keep on my scale:

So I stepped on and started giggling. I stepped back off to re-weigh. (my scale is horribly inconsistent) It was the same. I had lost 2 pounds! Hee Hee! Nothing else had changed with my body. I flushed my sinuses and lost 2 pounds. It still cracks me up.

Of course, my dear husband wanted to know what could possibly have me giggling so after cleaning out my upper airway. He just shook his head at me and marvelled at my silliness.

I'm so glad I did it, though. What a fun way to start the day. And I can breathe!

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.