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Citrus Flowchart!

So, I haven’t posted in AGES (I’m too scared to go check JUST how long that has been…) but after I announced my somewhat geeky flowchart diagramming of “what to do with leftover citrus rinds”, some people expressed an interest :) so here it is! This was inspired by @HipGirls great post , which is full of many great ways to use up those peels – yummy, useful and efficient ways to create less waste. SCORE! I didn’t include all the items (just the main ones of interest to me) but this should be a good visual addendum – post it in your kitchen and let me know how it goes. :D

Maybe next I will post the one I did for the kids – now required to be followed for all ipad time requests. It’s pretty new, so no word yet on whether this has succeeding in cutting down whining…but I am ever hopeful!

CitrusFlowchart

Thank you Hope

Dear Hope,

Thank you for being amazing. Thank you for brightening so many of my School Sundays with your delightful presence at brunch. Thank you for being the calm, cheerful, patient parent you so clearly are, the kind who doesn’t freak out when her kid gets into a “paint fight” at a T-shirt decorating party and instead helps paint her daughter’s face with whiskers to match the speckles she acquired in said paint fight. Thank you for your great perspectives when I am talking out a relationship issue, and for opening up to me on your own issues. Thank you for being a kindred spirit. And of course, for being so darn cute!

Much love, always,

Ginger

Dear Awesome Boss,

Thank you for taking me aside to warn me that the other people I work with have been giving me bad reviews. I really appreciate that you both gave me a heads up to be on top of my game – and, yes, I know full well that I have slipped up in the past few months, and I knew people I support had noticed and were unhappy – and also for standing up for me, pointing out that you think I’m incredibly intelligent and capable and that while the past few months have not been my best, looking over the entire year as a whole, I still performed excellently. Your willingness to communicate to me what is going on behind closed doors, and your confidence in my ability to get back on my A-game and fix things, means a great deal to me, and shone a ray of light into a dark time.

This year I am embarking on a slightly different adventure. I thought long and hard about my body, my fitness level, my extra bodyfat, my thoughts on body image and my own internal struggles with a desire to not conform for the sake of conforming. I have long had a desire to get in better shape, but I don’t really act on it. I may think about it a lot, even make a few steps here or there but very rarely have I made an actual push to lose weight. I have not been on any diets save the raw food thing (and that was for spiritual not physical reasons, though it had great physical side effects) although I have certainly pondered many over the years. But in the end, any diet or fitness regime required a level of commitment I just didn’t have, despite not being totally happy with my body. It took me many years to realize that a big part of this is a holdover from my experience with ballet, my strong feminist leanings, and where the two interact.

I had a pivotal experience when I was 15 at my fairly well known dance school, wherein I was told by the director of the school that the reason I had not gotten into the audition-only summer program (that I had been in the year previous) was because “you’ve gotten fat, didn’t you notice?” No joke, those were her exact words. As a psychologically tender 15yo (especially shaky given that I had lost my father a year before), these words were incredibly devastating. I had until that point had every (relatively reasonable) expectation of a career in dance. This turned my world upside down and let me wondering what to do to address this.

I should explain a bit here: I was 5’2″, and had gone from 98 pounds to 108 pounds. I was maybe a size two. I am currently 155 pounds and I am not overly unhappy with my curves. Certainly at 125 (years later) I was very happy, and got a good amount of admiration for my body. However, at that time, somehow 108 was “fat” to this woman, something objectively at the time I knew was absurd. See, despite my love, infatuation, and overall adoration of ballet, I still had a very strong feminist-raised ME inside…and that me saw two choices: 1) obsess over my weight, try to diet and workout to fit a ridiculous and unrealistic ideal pushed on me by others, and give myself an eating disorder and huge psychological problems for life or 2) say FUCK YOU to the ballet establishment. I chose option 2. This meant that I spent several years totally unmoored with no idea what to do with my life, as well as resulting in my eating a ton of junk all the time, no longer dancing or working out at all, pretty much in a direct, quite unhealthy bodywise, rebellion. I gained 50 pounds in a bit over a year. I embraced dating and blossomed in my sexuality now that I had time to be social. Over the years I lost a good amount of the junk food weight and stabilized around 130. However I was never quite okay with not working out, not being able to use my body in the way I was used to. Getting winded easily SUCKS and it hit me like a punch in the face every time it happened.

Quite a few years later, after two pregnancies and a stressful dissolution of my marriage, I am back up to 155, almost as much as I weighed when pregnant with my second – and slightly more than I weighed in my first pregnancy. Still, it took me some time to get to the point where I was willing to let go of my “OMG losing weight = conforming to patriarchal standards” mindset and finally want to DO something about all this excess fat I am carrying around and the non-fit state I am in.

I know from experience that some changes are very easy for me and others never happen. One of the things I do very easily is classes. I am a pretty damn good salsa dancer now after knowing nothing before I started classes. One year, I just decided I was going to take some ballroom classes. Once I signed up, I continued nonstop, finding time and money. Commitment was never a question, it was easy. I also know eating healthy is very doable for me, and the raw food thing I did was a great lesson. I loved it while I was on it, but once social pressures hit, I didn’t have the necessary habits cemented to stick with it, and one of my main downfalls kicked in: my “all or nothing” mindset. Once I started slipping up, giving up altogether happened almost immediately. So I knew any changes I wanted to make, in order to be serious, needed to create commitment for me in a way that was “easy” for me, and needed to be about longlasting, habit-based lifestyle changes that were sustainable and reasonable.

Luckily for me, there’s a program that I already knew of from my years of reading. Fitness and nutrition, as well as all sorts of random body-function fun facts, have long been a huge archair interest for me, unsurprisingly. Years ago I discovered http://www.stumptuous.com, a website about weight lifting for women that I adore for both her vast knowledge and her hilarious, uncensored approach to writing about it. Through Krista I learned about Dr. John Berardi, and was impressed with his focus on basics first, and his article on the compliance grid which I thought was brilliantly simple. Several years ago when Krista left the academia world to work for Dr. Berardi at Precision Nutrition, I knew a better endorsement could not be found. Still, I was not ready at that time to act. As the year came to a close however, I just knew…now is the right time. Spending $99 a month for a year – a previously “crazy” sum – now seemed perfectly reasonable. See, at the end of the day, I don’t need someone to creat a “perfect plan” for me. In fact I have quite enough knowledge to do so for myself. No, what I really need is someone to check in with my, every day, and say “hey, did you do simple step x today? Great, do that again tomorrow!”

And that is exactly what I have gotten, and I couldn’t be happier! I thought I would blog about this experience over 2012, however I probably won’t post overly frequently. I don’t want blogging to become more important to doing, and I know I need to be especially careful that I don’t let “oh well I didn’t post today so I may as well not bother doing this” stinking perfectionist thinking into my head! So, that’s all for now. :)

Comments welcome!

Celibacy Thoughts

Celibacy was a very curious thing for me. At first it was difficult – not only do I have a pretty active libido, but I also was quite used to sending out a vibe that said “Sex? Yes please!” and stopping myself from doing that proved to be an interesting process. In the end, what I ended up doing was essentially a hermitage – after all, if I am not seeing people, it’s not that hard to NOT fuck them. This wasn’t really my intent per se starting out, or at least, not one I thought of consciously, but it being one of the best pieces of it. Not that being a hermit is a great thing necessarily (and for me can easily be a sign of depression) but it really helped me to break my NEED PEOPLE OMG WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE??? addiction. And that, my friends, is a great thing. More importantly, it is a highly needed thing, especially in that it gave me the time and space to recognize, relinquish, and move on from my ended marriage.

I have always been addicted to the rollercoaster rush of intense emotions in a relationship – particularly a high drama, difficult relationship. This wasn’t exactly a newsflash – it’s fair to say I’ve known this about myself for many years. However, knowing there’s a problem and changing it are two very different things. Now, this issue had already gotten much better with the advent on poly in my life (and, for those that know me well and are raising an eyebrow here, let me just add: you don’t even know the HALF of what it was like BEFORE poly!). There was a time when I would have done anything for this man, and everything I could to get him back when he left. And, to an extent, I was better about that when he left this last time. I knew why it wouldn’t work, and why, although he is a lovely human being, we don;t work well as a couple. At least…I thought I did. But when I went through my celibate, hermitage period and really got away from…everything, including much of my own internal chatter, I had time and space for things to sink in, to become part of my *identity* in a way that they hadn’t before. (See? It all relates!) In fact, my identity was BUILT around my being in that relationship. It was part of my core. And while my relationship with D will *always* be a part of who I am (hell, I’ve known him now more than half my life, and had a relationship with him for longer than I knew my father, who died when I was 13!) I have finally altered how that fits in my idnetity. That me-shaping relationsip helped form me…IN THE PAST. My identity with regards to D has finally settled down into something that is not front and center. And, more importantly, my view of “ideal” romantic relationships has altered a great deal.

I realized a few months ago that D and I have always had a VERY strong sexual connection, as well as a strong emotional connection. And, as befots the societal narrative of One True Love, we tried to fit our relationship into the proscribed box. There’s just one problem with that: we are not compatible as a couple. We make amazing lovers and decent friends, but as a couple, we drive each other batty and easily bring out the very worst in each other. And yet we kept BELIEVING, because, isn’t love supposed to conquer all? The thing is, it doesn’t, and it really isn’t fair to expect it to. I still love D a great deal in many ways, but in no way, shape or form can we live together. And you know what? That’s ok. It is so much easier to accept people for who and what they are to you, than to try and make them fit some definition that doesn’t quite mesh. It’s a lesson I wish I had really “gotten” earlier, but hey, that’s part of the process, right? Part of what I realized is that there are many things I will not “do for love” anymore. I will not give up my identity “for love.” I will not uproot my life “for love.” I will not give up things that I need “in the name of love.” I occasionally fell anti-romantic like this, but it’s worth it, because I feel so much healthier. And happier. Not being plugged into the emotional rollercoaster (“but if you loved me you would change your name”) is less exciting, but does constant nausea really count as excitement? Not anymore, for me.

One thing I didn’t expect at all is that my lust for sex and D/s in specific has cut down to a manageable level. I still miss having a live-in partner (daily sex is AWESOME and someday I’d like me some of that again, thanks) but I’m not clawing at the walls to get my fix either, and that’s a welcome thing. I am thinking about sex more now than over the summer (when my celibacy officially ended), probably because I did have a fairly regular partner at that time and now I mostly don’t (and my free time is going way down for unrelated reasons). With that in mind, I’ve giving thought to attending orgies again :D mostly because with so little time I’m not too expectant of finding a serious/primary partner and parties = lots of bang for your buck. ;) On the downside, none of said parties are local to me, so everything involves a fair amount of travel and that kinda sucks.

I was reading a great blog post about societal barriers to breastfeeding, and it got me thinking about habits, perseverence, willpower and identity.

In many ways, I am not a very self-disciplined person. I’m not that gal who decided to wake up at 5:30 am, change the way I eat, workout daily etc. and have it go easy-peasy. In fact, I still struggle with many MANY things I would like to change about myself. However, despite this, I *have* made major changes in my life – and they didn’t come about because I bullied myself. I wake up without an alarm clock at 6am every day. I no longer oversleep. I have eaten all-raw for months at a time. And, what prompted me to think of this, I breastfed for six and a half years over the course of two children. It wasn’t “easy” at first – in fact, with my second it was even harder than the first time, and I had thrush and pain and OUCH for weeks. Depite that, I stuck with it. The thought of switching to formula never crossed my mind. Why? Many many women drop breastfeeding when they run into difficulty. I don’t think I have any stronger willpower than they do – in fact, I often have less! So what made the difference? I think, more than anything else, it was identity and belief. I *knew* I could do this, absolutely, and never had any doubt about it. After all, women had successfully nursed countless generations previous or we humans wouldn’t even be here, and I knew the problems I was having weren’t “big” in the grand scheme of things. It helps that I have always been a very physical person. Dance is one aspect of that for me, and definitely helps that “my body does what I tell it to” feeling, but also I am VERY touch-oriented. I am very grounded in my body, and I knew “mothering” would come naturally to my body given time. Now, I also had a good amount of support from my family, my then-husband, my mother had breastfed (not exclusively), and I had done a lot of research, which helped me know what issues I might run into and how to deal with them. But mostly, anything other than the boob (and later pumping at work) was just not even visible to me. Formula may as well not have existed, for all I thought of it. (Of course, the fact that I don’t read magazines or watch TV probably helped in that I didn’t see any forumla advertising!)

So how else as that worked for me? I’ve written before about my need to make habits easy – in fact, to make them THE easier choice – due to my inherent laziness, but I’m not always great about doing it. However, those are changes I have thought about and try to implement. Breastfeeding wasn’t like that – it was part of my identity. I think when I did the raw food thing, it ended up working the same way. It just became this *thing that I do* – but not quite enough of my identity was invested in that, because later it became easier to let it slide for outings, and then I lost my grip on it altogether. Waking without an alarm clock definitely worked that way. I think it came about during my brief flirtation with 20-minute-naps-polyphasic-sleeping, and all of a sudden I just…woke up on time. Every day. And now? It’s been that way for over a year. It’s become part of “who I am”. I remember when it first started happening, I realized that if I *did* set the alarm, I would sleep through it. I actually functioned better *without* the alarm clock. And I thought “OK, this is kind of weird”…but I also just kept saying to myself “it’s this thing I do”. I felt even in the beginning that if I thought of it as a quirk of “being me”, I would be able to “keep” that skill.

I’m not really sure where I am going with this post – it seemed as good a start back into blogging as any – but I suppose it is “How do I identify myself?” And, if there are changes I want to make, how can I change how I *view* myself differently, how can I believe that I am the kind of person who keeps a clean house (for example)? Because I’m pretty sure at this point that that’s where I have to start for any lasting change.

Thank You to Jess

Dear Jess,

Thank you for your continual generosity. Because of you I have a computer now – a remarkable thing! When you told me you were bartering to get me one, I was astonished. I can hardly imagine a situation that would have surprised me more. But, when I think about it, I should not have been so shocked, as you had shown me earlier this year how your compassion led you to reach out and buy me (a ton of!) groceries during a time where I was struggling mightily.

I know you struggle with plenty in your own life, and yet you hold onto a wealth of spirit. Thank you for everything that you have done for me, and know that I think you are amazing.

May 2011 bring you peace, and abundance, in many forms.

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