I spend a good deal of my time thinking about food. There are so many diets, philosophies, etc. out there and I just wanted to share a bit of my journey with food and where I'm at right now. I want to start by saying that I recognize the fact that I am relatively thin, that this is a blessing of genes and not necessarily habits, and that I have a certain privilege when it comes to my physical appearance. When I go to the doctor's office, they assume I have healthy habits. When I go to the gym, I'm not stared at. I recognize that I didn't do anything to earn these privileges, they are part of who I am because I was born with a great metabolism. Moving on.
Food Is Fuel
A Different Way
The Next Step
My Current Philosophy
The best "diet" advice I've ever heard is to not pick a diet that you can't see yourself doing for the rest of your life. It will just be a fad and will not help you physically or mentally in the long run. Again, there may be a food intolerance that cause you to restrict for the sake of your overall health/sanity, but otherwise intense restrictions aren't necessary. On my past vacation, I loved being able to eat what I wanted, guilt-free. Picking whatever foods I felt like eating at that time, and not overeating for fear that I would have to give that food up when I came home.
Burgers - Salad - Donuts | A place for every food.
Earlier this week something happened that ignited enough fury in me to begin writing again. I have been going back and forth about starting a new blog, maintaining this one, etc. Mostly, I feel like no one reads blogs so I'm not really sure my voice matters anymore. But oftentimes I yearn to write to process things that have happened. Right now, I'm in a stage where I need this space to process, so without promise or grandeur, I am here today.
It was parent-teacher conferences, so I had dressed up in a skirt and button down shirt. As I walked down the hallway, chatting with a male coworker, another male coworker came up next to us. Flicking his finger up and down in the direction of me, he commented to the other male "This is my favorite outfit of hers. She looks really good, doesn't she?" If you're as disgusted as I am, I'll give you a moment.
Why is this problematic?
First of all, I was never addressed or acknowledged in this conversation. I was gestured at and commented about as if I weren't a living, breathing, thinking human. This is a form of objectification. Secondly, my coworker decided to say this to another male, which somehow makes it worse. It's as if to say, "we have a say in how this other species dresses," to reduce us to less than human. I'm not even going to get into how I personally felt about why me in a skirt was his "favorite outfit." It's too speculative and honestly too disturbing.
Could it be interpreted as a compliment?
Yes, he was technically saying something kind about my appearance, but I did not take it as a compliment. First of all, the comment was not directed towards me. Secondly, he didn't compliment anything that I'd done, rather just how I looked. He didn't say I had a good eye or a knack for dressing well or anything that I had control over.
Why didn't I say anything?
Because why the hell should I have to? I shouldn't have to go to work wearing a perfectly appropriate outfit and defend myself. I shouldn't have to be gestured at and commented about as if I'm not an equal human being. And because I work on a daily basis in this co-worker's classroom and I didn't want to change the relationship we have. But mostly, because it's a lot of work to fight to be treated like a human being. I am so fortunate in that being a woman is the only way I am marginalized and I do not take that lightly. I recognize that this fight is so much worse for people of color, women of color, trans people of color.
So if you're a man who is reading this, please don't do this. Please don't kiss me on the cheek without asking. Please don't touch the small of my back as you pass me by. Please don't comment on my red hair or long legs. Please just start treating women like equal humans.
As you (hypothetical reader) may have noticed, I haven't blogged in about 6 months. I've been going back and forth trying to decide if it's something I think is worthwhile/important/helpful/fun for me to do. I have not yet decided. BUT, every year since I began blogging I've done this, and so I will carry on the tradition today!
Favorite New Experiences
1. Buying a home!
2. Being the proud owners of a pre-owned 2007 Toyota Prius
3. Beginning grad school at Viterbo
4. Being the wife of a musical artist who released two albums & had over 10 gigs this summer!
5. Joining the senior choir at our church
6. Having a few different roommates live in our home with us
7. Kayaking through the caves on the shore of Lake Superior
8. Spending summer evenings on my patio/the sidewalks of the raw deal with Tosha & co.
9. Hosting "come as you are, bring what you can" dinners at my home randomly throughout the summer
10. Becoming a part-time babysitter to the world's cutest 5 (now 6) year old.
1. January - Willow River State Park
2. Feburary - Lake Wissota State Park
3. March - Fleet Farm. At least 3x/week, sometimes 3x/day.
4. April - Council Grounds State Park
5. July - Sibley State Park in Minnesota
6. August - Spending a few days in Duluth, celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary
7. August - A quick jaunt to southern WI to visit Ariel, Rachel & long lost Lara, home from Germany!
8. Winona MN, Duluth MN, Durand WI, Rice Lake WI, Eau Claire WI, and Cochrane WI for Sam's Musical Endeavors
Favorite New Routines
1. Daily walks
2. Going to the library every 2 weeks to get new books & return the old
3. Swimming out in the mornings & arriving at work extra early with chlorine-smelling hair
4. Spending Wednesday evenings with the OSL senior choir members
5. Sunday night roomie dinners
Lessons I've Learned
1. Community is good and also hard. Being there to move somebody (or many people), cook dinner for someone, take someone's kid for the day, inviting people to stay overnight/for a few months in your home is HARD. But it is more rewarding than anything else in this world.
2. I crave alone time & need to fight for it and advocate for it.
3. I enjoy working out, but it can get scary, quickly. I stopped having my period for a few months this summer and I am now approaching my eating/exercising habits with more caution around "rules" because of my perfectionist tendencies.
4. I can set limits with my friends & they will still love me.
5. Signing up for Grad School in the same month it starts is hectic, but not the end of the world.
6. Running with a pacer is the best way to run a half marathon, and the least painful
7. I look really good with short hair. I should have short hair for a while.
8. After spending a few months on an elimination diet, I am confident I cannot live without: chocolate, wine, and some sort of daily hot beverage.
9. The best Old Fashions can be found at Loopy's in Chippewa Falls, Zanzibar in downtown Menomonie, and Skoogs in North Menomonie.
10. Learning how to do long distance is key. Marco Polo makes it easier.
Best "Thinking" Books of 2018 (In order of greatness)
1. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
2. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
3. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
5. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
6. Evicted by Matthew Desmond
7. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
8. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Best "Just for Fun" Books of 2018
1. . Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
3. A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver
4. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
5. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
6. My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kember
1. Menstrual - roasted root veggies
2. Follicular - chicken satay
3. Ovulatory - shrimp scampi with zoodles
4. Luteal - one pan pakistani kima
5. Best easy meal: quinoa bowls
6. Best deluxe meal: butternut squash risotto
Cliche Experiences with my Roommate Emily & Our Adopted 5-year-old Friend
1. Going on a hayride to a corn maze
2. Carving pumpkins
3. Raking Leaves
4. Building a snowman
5. Picking out and decorating a Christmas tree
Looking Forward to in 2019
1. Spending more solo time hiking, especially on Sabbaths
2. Doing some hippie thing like buying a deep freezer for a cow, building a greenhouse, or getting solar panels.
3. Finding out who our next roommate will be (it could be you!)
4. Intentionally tracking the moon's cycles & mine
5. A trip to Austin, TX to visit friends & babies and a potential road trip to the west coast!
This post is a long time coming, but I think maybe I've been afraid to write it. Often, I feel timid in posting publicly about social justice because I'm afraid my white privilege might be showing. Uh, duh - I'm white, it will be.
Anyway, I read a book this last spring that opened my eyes and changed my thoughts unlike any book I've ever read. Maybe read is the wrong word, I actually listened to the audiobook while I trained for my half marathon that I ran back in May (I told you this post was overdue...). The book is called Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Bryan is a Southern Black man who became a lawyer and then returned to the south to work for, and later begin, a non-profit law firm.
The narrative of this book mostly follows the story of a black man named Walter who was wrongly accused of murder and put on death row for several years while Bryan continued to try to appeal Walter's case. There was so much corruption within the whole case, corruption with the local authorities, unfair juries, false testimonies, etc. Without giving too much away, I do want to share the end of the story. Walter, the man falsely accused of murder, had spent 6 years on death row. He had been denied freedom in his original trial as well as in an appeal several years later. After these traumatic years waiting to die, he was suddenly released back into the world, with nothing.
Bryan worked to sue the state and eventually won a few thousand dollars for Walter, but that did nothing to repair the emotional, mental, and relational damages Walter had suffered. His wife no longer wanted to be married to him, as her life had changed drastically since he began his time in prison. He was unable to safely return to his community because of the bigotry and hate against him, even after he was proved innocent. Even once he was free from prison, he was far from being able to live a free life.
Unfortunately, this is far too often the case. Many of the people who are put into jail or prison have no supports once they are let out. To compound this difficult situation is the fact that many people were in jail because of drugs, mental illness, or both. In any case, what is needed much more than prison is treatment. Even for those who go to treatment, there is little for them once they are out. How can we simply expect them to pick up their lives when there are so few supports in place for them? True, there are community organizations, but often I've seen them fail to help people in dire need - people applying for low income housing & being rejected because they don't have seven years of a clean drug record. Seven years. So after serving time in jail, going to treatment, and overcoming addiction, we expect them to begin a life with no opportunity for housing? With no address to apply for jobs or other assistance? No emotional support team for their addiction? Our communities have failed.
Which is why, after reading Just Mercy during all of my runs, I realized how much I wanted to run for this - run for a purpose, for freedom & justice for people who have gone to jail/prison - innocent or guilty - and are trying to have a fresh start. After expressing my desire to a close friend of mine, she told me about a mutual friend of ours who was trying to start a run for just this purpose - to raise money for a ministry he has started that helps others re-enter the community. I was 100% on-board, even though it meant running again in August, when I still didn't want to run the upcoming half marathon I had signed up for.
So in two weeks, Josh - the founder of Now What...Ministries and several other community members and I will be doing a bike/run from the Chippewa County Jail to the Dunn County Jail in an effort to raise money for this purpose. If you are interested in sponsoring my run, please visit gofundme.com/jail-to-jail-run. My goal is $500 and I still have quite a bit to raise, so it would mean a great deal to me & to our community if you considered it.
The biggest part of owning a home is recognizing which things you should DIY and which ones you shouldn't. Here's my list.*
*This list is entirely based off of my own failures & frustrations and not based off of reality/truth.
This post is mostly just to acknowledge and laugh at all of the difficulties Sam and I (and our friends who save our sorry butts) have been through in the last 3 1/2 months of owning our home.
Learning the ministry of paying attention & bringing voice to the voiceless.