lunabee34: (sga: rodney profile grin by mona)
2016 was not a good year for me, the worst in a very long time. I spent the first six months of it going through the five stages of grief re: celiac, lingering the longest in anger as is my tendency. I had a complicated surgical procedure to diagnose the celiac. My husband was denied tenure, and that situation still is not completely settled. My father hurt my feelings terribly this summer, and then he was diagnosed with treatable but uncurable cancer. The first round of treatment he tried categorically failed, and he came very close to dying (which my mother only just told me over the holidays). I was diagnosed with yet another autoimmune disorder, interstitial cystitis, bringing the tally up to three. This diagnosis is very recent, and so I have just entered the five stages of grief for it although I have naturally skipped directly to anger.

Dwelling on all the ways in which this year was terrible would be very easy for me, but to do so is to do myself a disservice because 2016 was in many ways one of the best years I've had in a long time. Because the celiac forced me to reevaluate all my eating habits, changing the way I eat became doable for me in a way that it's never been before. I can't eat out very often, so I'm not frequently consuming high calorie meals at restaurants like I was before. I've learned to eat when I'm hungry and just until I'm full; no seconds and thirds and enormous portions. I've learned to snack wisely and to truly enjoy my snacks instead of mindlessly stuffing my face while I'm watching TV or surfing the internet. I have managed to find a way to eat good food in a healthy manner without feeling deprived or hungry or obsessing over meals, something I never thought possible before now.

I had stopped exercising at the beginning of 2016. I've been a daily exerciser since my mid-twenties, but it had started to feel pointless to me, and I got so depressed over having celiac that I just quit. But in August, I was able to resume my habit of daily exercise, and I discovered running on the elliptical. I find it challenging and rewarding in a way that I haven't found exercise in about ten years. It doesn't feel like a pointless thing I'm doing to check off a list, some abstraction that might let me live a week longer when I'm 84 or whatever. It feels tangible and real and exciting as I see my stamina and distance and intensity increase.

As a result of changing the way I eat and exercise, I lost 41 lbs in 2016 and five inches each from my bust, waist and hip measurements. I started the year out wearing clothes that ranged from 18-1X depending on brand, and ended it in a 12.

I developed good sleeping habits in the last six months of 2016, going to bed at eleven or before (sometimes closer to ten) most nights. As a result, I am less tired in the morning and naturally wake up earlier. I no longer want to sleep all day long and have more energy.

I have also seen an abatement of some of the Hashimoto's symptoms. One of my doctors told me years ago when I first began my quest to figure out what was wrong with me that losing weight might help with the hot flashes and night sweats because fat stores estrogen. Turns out she was right; as I have lost weight, I have had fewer and fewer hot flashes and night sweats until I hardly have them at all. I also have had a sharp reduction in knee and hip pain since I've lost weight. My knees aren't hurting even when it's raining or bitterly cold now.

My father is responding very well to the second treatment his doctors tried, and the cancer is very close to remission right now. I am very grateful that he is doing so well.

For 2017, I want to build on these positives and continue to grow in positive directions.

1. I am really looking forward to building the wardrobe I want that is full of clothes that fit and flatter me and that I bought because I love them not because I had no choice. I will be expending a great deal of energy on that project this week, and then will probably go to buying one garment on my list per month until I've bought everything on my list. I'll be posting about this project throughout the year.

2. I am looking forward to upping my exercise game. I don't expect my cardio routine to change much. I'm enjoying running on the elliptical; it takes me about 46 minutes to reach 500 calories, and depending on how quickly I run, somewhere between 5-5.5 miles. What I want to do now is add in weight training. I've been saying I'm going to start lifting weights again for months and then not doing it, so now's the time. I also want to continue to occasionally run on the ground (maybe once a week). I'm not very good at it, and when I say running I mean the absolute slowest values of running possible LOL, but running on the ground works my muscles totally differently than running on the elliptical which is almost like riding a bike standing up.

3. I want to read more books. Over the last two or three years, reading has become a struggle for me which is something I never thought I'd say. One of the ways my depression and anxiety has manifested is to make me less interested in reading books and more interested in playing mindless games on the phone, for example. Every time I make myself pick up a book and start reading, I enjoy it and am glad I did, though. I got inspired by [personal profile] chelseagirl and [personal profile] umadoshi's links to their Goodreads roundups of everything they read this year and decided to start an account for myself. I set my goal for this year at 100, so we'll see what happens.

There are other things I want to do or change in my life, but in my experience, starting out small and succeeding is so much better than starting out too big and failing.

I sincerely hope that 2017 will be better for us all and that we can all accomplish the goals we set for ourselves.
lunabee34: (disney hair by phchiu)
So I woke up last Tuesday and discovered I was depressed, well and truly depressed, not just vaguely dissatisfied or a little unhappy or stressed out as I’d been supposing.

Depressed.

cut for discussion of weight )
lunabee34: (food:  sushi color by cattyhunts)
I'm really enjoying the conversation we're having about clothes and personal aesthetics. (Just in case you missed it, Lyr and I are having a fascinating exchange about wearing clothes to conceal personality vs wearing clothes to reveal it; she sees clothes as costuming, and I have always wanted my clothes to reveal my inner self.)

I've been doing a lot of thinking this month about my health, my wardrobe, and the way I look.

cut for talk of weight, exercise, dieting )

Commiseration and/or any other thoughts you have also welcome.
lunabee34: (Default)
I dithered for a long time about whether I wanted to make this post. I wasn't sure I wanted to be as honest in a public post as a real reckoning of the past year and a true forecast of the next would require.

See, here's the thing, and I have to go back several years to really get to the thing. Longtime readers will remember that in May of 2012, Josh had a nasty emergency appendectomy after which he developed pulmonary embolisms. He almost died. It was scary. And I thought it would be a watershed moment, a foundational moment, an epiphany, a turning point.

In some ways it was. Because Josh almost died, we have Fiona. I have been able to let go of some old hurts and move on from them. I have been able to give myself permission not to waste time on maintaining toxic relationships.

In other ways, it was less transformational than I'd hoped. Take 2015. I expected this year to be one of the best we've had in a long time. I was promoted, I got tenure, Emma gained so much confidence from running track and is the most comfortable with herself I've ever seen, Fiona is brilliant and almost completely potty trained, Josh applied for tenure with a strong application--this was our year.

And yet, I spent most of 2015 deeply anxious and unhappy. Some of that was situational. I have had a hard time dealing with the symptoms of my autoimmune disorder. Fiona has had a variety of time-consuming and frightening illnesses. But I also think it's because I've let myself forget the lessons I learned when my life was balanced on a knife's edge, when I was so grateful that I was allowed to keep what I've been given.

I made some progress on life projects in 2015. I stopped visiting the social media sites of former friends. I stopped angsting about the relatives I dislike and stopped being anxious about having to spend time with them (most of that stems from finally stopping myself from having endless permutations of mental conversations about what they might say and how I might respond; those thought loops led me to have emotional reactions to things that hadn't even been said and only existed in my imagination; extremely unproductive use of time).

But I still have work to do. Here's what I intend to work on for 2016.

Resolutions )

Mostly, I want the lessons that were so dearly won to remain fresh for me and not to fade away. I want to remember to live in the moment and enjoy what's good and turn my back on the petty and the selfish and the unproductive. I have a good life. I have a good career in which I am respected. I have a good relationship with a man who I might say was my soul mate if I believed in such things. I have two amazing children. I'm a good writer. I have close friends who deeply care about me. Come hell or high water, 2016 is going to be my year.
lunabee34: (meta foucault by jjjean65)
1. In my New Year's Resolutions, I committed to posting at least once a week. I've been feeling disconnected from fandom for a long time now and not truly actively fannish about anything except maybe reading FFA, and I don't know if you can call taking a vicarious interest in the mean things people want to say to their bosses a font of fannishness.

In a fit of curiosity about how often I'd actually been posting last year, I went to the archive only to discover to my surprise that I'd posted a hell of a lot more than I thought I had. I posted at least once every week in 2014 with the exception of one week in February, one week in March, and a four week stretch that lasted from September 19 to October 18. I averaged about two posts a week, and posted six times! one week in May. I am truly shocked, y'all. I expected to see that I'd been posting about once a month, maybe twice.

So now I'm not sure how committing to do a thing I'm already doing is going to have any impact on feeling disconnected from fandom in general and y'all in particular. LOL

I suspect that a lot of what I miss is getting feedback on fic, so committing to posting one fic a month should help there. And if I make weekly perfume posts, I might continue to meet people in perfume fandom and generate interesting conversations as a result.

2. I'm reading an academic book right now that could be so interesting. The author is talking about the significance of the blush in Victorian novels, and in the introduction she references Cher and Estee Lauder ads and an interesting documentary about skinheads that came out shortly before she wrote her book, and I should be digging this--except I'm not, and here's why. There's a way to talk about important stuff without sounding like an asshole, and this lady is not accomplishing it. Especially if you're throwing around pop culture references and making jokes with them, doing so in the middle of a sentence about the reification of the Foucauldian rhizomes and the textures of the evaluative binary (note: I just made that shit up and it sounds about like what she's writing LOL). It's like tonal whiplash. I do see value in specialized language in my discipline; however, I am a firm believer in writing as clearly, concisely, and plainly as possible (all while still using big girl vocabulary words!). I feel like many more people agree with me now than otherwise as I find much of the recently published scholarly stuff I read very approachable. But, man. The nineties. So much ridiculous posturing and saying everything in a much more complicated way than necessary.
lunabee34: (Default)
2014 had its ups and downs but was a good year, overall. The lows included getting my first sinus infection, almost being hospitalized this summer, and hitting a deer. The highs included watching Emma and Fiona grow up, cheering Emma on as she ran cross-country, earning tenure and other professional accolades, and cultivating stronger relationships online and off.

Going forward into 2015, I'd like to work on the following areas of my life:

1. Fitness. I was too ill this summer to go swimming every day like I normally do which really bummed me out. I love swimming. I love the way it makes me feel and how strong I get after a whole summer in the pool. I had a good track record of visiting the gym during the fall semester (I went 3-6 days a week beginning in Aug), but that derailed the week of Thanksgiving. I have barely been to the gym since Thanksgiving, largely because I had so many meetings to attend that required travel and then was traveling myself for Christmas. It deeply saddens me that all the fitness goals I spent four months gaining disappeared in just a few weeks.

I want to commit to engaging in some sort of physical activity daily. I have a friend who goes to the gym with me (which makes going so much easier), and I'd like most of my physical activity to take place there. However, I have to have some backup plan for when Josh is out of town and I can't go to the gym or I have meetings that prevent me from going. I start to lose momentum when I start missing days. If I go 6 days in a row, I feel like a rock star on day 7 and ready to hit the weights. If I skip 2 days, I feel like shit when I go back on day 3. The more days I skip, the easier it is for me to half-ass it when I do go.

I want to be more conscientious about keeping track of the cardio I do (what activity, how long, settings, etc) and track that. Similarly, I want to keep track of the weight and reps I'm lifting so that I can chart my progress. Part of the reason I stalled out is that I plateaued on the weight I was lifting and never upped the weight or reps and so it wasn't challenging. I've got a VivoFit, which will do some of this tracking, but other tracking will need to be done the old fashioned way with one of my fabulous tiny notebooks.

My schedule next semester is super sweet: I only have to go on campus three days a week and am done at lunch for those three. I will be able to go to the gym, take Emma to run, and get Fiona so that Josh can also exercise without feeling rushed.

Part of this fitness goal is accommodating Josh's exercise plan. I'm in great shape. My blood pressure and other vitals are textbook. I weigh more than I would like to, but I am healthy and strong despite that. Josh is not. He's had some elevated blood pressure readings, a cholesterol reading that wasn't so great, and I worry about his heart health. For two years, he's been promising to exercise with me or on his own and ultimately failing. I want 2015 to be the year that he actually succeeds.

I am toying with the idea of changing the way I eat but am not ready to commit to that yet. I have a much easier time exercising on a regular basis than I do dieting, and I don't want to make any changes that are a flash in the pan. I want any changes I make to be sustainable, forever kind of changes, and I have never made a change to the way I eat that I was ultimately able to to live with. LOL As I get closer to reaching my fitness goals, I will reconsider this part of becoming more fit.

Bottom line: Daily exercise (even on days when exercising is inconvenient), track exercise progress, do cardio + weights, challenge myself when I plateau, accommodate Josh's exercise plan

2. Writing. I want to post more on DW/LJ. I want to write more original fic and personal essays. I want to finish that damn December talking meme. LOL I do not want to commit to daily writing or posting because that doesn't seem feasible to me, and I don't want to set myself up to fail.

Bottom line: post to DW/LJ at least once a week, make a perfume post at least once a week, post one fic per month, write original fic/personal essay once a week

3. Manage my emotions more successfully. I am an anxious, short-tempered lady, and I have grown even more so this past year. Part of it is parenting a toddler and a tweenager in the throes of puberty. Part of it is job related stress. Part of it is my fluctuating thyroid which contributes to anxiety, depression, exhaustion, and a feeling of mental fogginess. Some of it, though, is me just doing the same damn thing over and over again while hoping my behavior somehow changes without my input.

Bottom line: find better ways to cope with anger and anxiety

4. Be more present. I have done a better job with this in 2014, and I want to do even better in 2015.

Bottom line: no hours of mindlessly watching TV with the children (just minutes LOL), no paying more attention to my phone or my computer than the people in my house, less parallel play with Josh (him watching boxing and me reading FFA in the same room, for example)

Alright, that's enough of that. Maybe I'll go write up one of those December talking meme posts. LOL
lunabee34: (hp: hermione that feels good by so_sever)
I have had a completely brilliant day.

2014 is shaping up to be much better than the last year so far. I got so much accomplished today, Fiona had a great day back at daycare from the holidays and did fine with her new extended hours this semester, I made appointments to get my thyroid checked and to start therapy next week, I hit the gym and discovered that I have not gained back as much of the weight I lost while denying myself dairy for poor Feefer's sake as I thought I had (still below my pre-pregnancy weight! Whoo!), and I went to bed early last night! It looks like Josh and I also have good chances of getting (possibly substantial) raises in the next month. *big grin*

My resolutions this year are to pursue therapy, consistently exercise, and keep better contact with friends who I don't see as often as I'd like. I also want to have better sleep habits, but I don't think I'll be able to maintain a resolution on that one, so it remains an extra thing to be proud of when it happens.

Have a fic rec for this fine day:

Our Mutual Exasperation Will Not Be the End of Us by [archiveofourown.org profile] asianwest
MCU
Tony/Loki, established relationship
In which Tony and Loki do not always get along so well, especially given their cultural differences. I had fun getting the first read on this story.
lunabee34: (yuletide: star on tree by liviapenn)
(I apologize in advance for the spamming; I've got at least two more posts I want to make before this day is done, so y'all bear with me.)

Cut for tl;dr and negativity tempered with hopefulness and a wee tad of spite )

So come on, 2013. I'm ready for you. I've got a smile on my face, a glass of fizzy water in my hand, and I just finished the B's in the Yuletide archive. I'm ready to see what happens next.
lunabee34: (spn: crowley by flutterbyicons)
1. We're driving to town with Emma, and Josh and I are talking about The Princess Bride. Emma's never seen the movie, so she asks us what it's about. Josh and I look at each other and say, "True Love." Then Emma says, hand to God, "But none of that mushy kissing stuff, right?" She could not understand the gales of laughter coming from the front seat.

2. We heard "Gangnam Style" on the radio last night. You've come a long way, rural Georgia.

3. Book Club post on The Hobbit will be appearing in the next few days. Dust off your copies if you haven't already and get ready to share your thoughts on Bilbo, dragons, dwarves, and how like Dumbledore Gandalf seems in this book!

4. Conference in New Orleans was spectacular. The Hyatt Regency on Loyola is one of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in. Seriously swank. I wish it hadn't been so busy (in addition to our comparatively minuscule conference, NO was also hosting the Organo Gold coffee convention--think scamtastic Mary Kay--and a water/sewage/etc convention that was set to last a whole week long), but the amenities and the atmosphere were awesome. The conference itself was fantastic (yay for coming home with actionable info! Whoooo!), and they fed us very, very well. We ate at SoBou on Chartres St. pretty close in to Canal, and it was fantastic. The restaurant just opened this summer, and the same people who run Commander's Palace opened it. We happened upon it by accident, and I'm so glad we did. The decor is out of this world beautiful. Be sure and look at the photo across the top of the site that changes out because the pictures I took can't do it justice. Once whole wall is rows and rows of apothecary glass and another is apothecary glass set sideways into a light fixture, and the restaurant itself is this awesome mixture of industrial and quirky. It reminded me a great deal of Snack Bar in Oxford, MS, both in terms of the endearing hipsters pouring drinks behind the bar and the quality of the food.

5. I have been thinking a great deal this past year about karma (in the Western-lite sense of the word). I do not believe that when we get sick or misfortune is visited on us that we are being punished by God or the universe for sinning. I was raised to believe that, and I find it a vile and damaging belief. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. Many events happen randomly and seem to have no clear antecedents. And yet, I also believe strongly that you get back what you put into the world; that if you are a negative person who fills the world with negativity, that negativity will be revisited on you in some way; that if you constantly tear others down or mistreat them or live a life of cruelty, you will find yourself without friends or help when you need it most; and that if you live a life of friendship and love, you'll always have hope and kindness even in the darkest times. A petty part of me finds a great deal of comfort in believing that those people who have wronged me or the people I care about will one day (sooner or later) get some sort of cosmic backlash for that behavior, but a better part of me finds comfort in believing that when I am kind to others, I am also being kind to myself. (I have no idea if that makes any sense. It sounds better at the pre-verbal level all swirling around in my brain. LOL)
lunabee34: (help by jjjean65)
One of my dearest friends received this book for Christmas this year. Saturday, she gave me my very own copy because she has found it valuable in helping her deal with what has been an extraordinarily difficult year for her.

The Happiness Project is just what it sounds like on the tin. Rubin--married mother of two, successful writer and lawyer, and economically comfortable New Yorker--decides that while she doesn't necessarily feel unhappy (in fact, she generally feels pretty okay in the happiness department), she'd like to try a year-long experiment designed to increase her happiness. She devotes each month of the year to a particular area of her life and makes three to four goals for that area. She charts her progress on that area and attempts to maintain growth even while transitioning to the next month's focus.

I haven't quite finished the book, but much of what Rubin writes speaks to me. I think I want to start a happiness project of my own, and not because I feel pretty okay in the happiness department, which feels like a good thing.

So much navel gazing and rumination on the nature of happiness )

I will welcome any suggestions or discussion on how to make this project work for me. Since these are areas I struggle with, any advice is welcome and appreciated.
lunabee34: (Default)
Sooooooooo, I've been fairly depressed recently since my first attempt at my comp paper was rejected and I have to revise. I would rather not discuss that situation in any greater depth as it still makes me full of rage, but suffice it to say, that once I submit the revisions, the paper will be accepted and I can move on to the next step. I understand that this is fairly common. In the grand scheme of things, not so big. Although it feels REALLY FREAKING BIG. *ahem*

This happened right at the beginning of August before school started and I've been spiralling downward ever since. I've been overreating and drinking too much and not going to the gym and so tired and--yeah. Just find a checklist of depression symptoms and circle yes beside all of them.

So, Josh and I had a really frank conversation last night and today about changing some things in our life that I think are going to help me manage this depression.

Cut for interminability and TMI )

I feel as if all these things are related to each other and that success in any one area is going to positively impact the others. This is a pretty ambitious list of changes to our lives (I didn't even talk about going back to church and how that's probably partly the impetus for these discussions as well) and I don't expect that we will meet all our goals all the time. There's room here for failure and for mistakes. But I am really excited about seeing some positive changes in our lives. And clearly I felt compelled to tell you all about it. LOL
lunabee34: (Default)
So, we took Emma to church this past weekend and joined the parish which was long overdue. But the whole experience raises again those pesky questions of mine that I can quell for years at a time by simply not thinking about them.

Wait, you don't want to read my spiritual history narrative? )

So, now that the teal deer have left the mountain glen, here's the real question for you guys: how to you make faith where there is none? If you're Christian, how do you reconcile parts of your life (being queer, reading and writing porn, cursing, etc) with pretty explicit indications that those things are sinful? If you're not Christian, do your beliefs place similar strictures on Things You Do Often and how do you handle that? Any advice?

(I want to make it clear that I equally value all religious expressions and that anyone of any faith is welcome to comment.)
lunabee34: (Default)
I am a grown, successful, happy woman. Although my parents' approval would be nice, it is not necessary for me to continue experiencing these attributes. My parents are also grown, successful, and happy people. Although I'm certain they also crave my acceptance of their choices, that acceptance is not forthcoming and is as unnecessary to them as their is to me. My mother is a grown woman and if she can't handle a conversation, then she can get herself out of it. I am not the peacemaker for this trip.

Today I have walked in a beautiful forest, seen chipmunks (who are totally my BFF) and loons and red-winged blackbirds and an otter and a woodpecker. I've gone fishing with my husband and my daughter and felt the spray of the water on my face and the wind and I've basked in the sunshine and picked wildflowers. It's been a good day.

I will not allow myself to be stressed out about my dissertation or my family or our differences in religion, politics and life choice. I can do nothing to change the latter and I can spend fruitful time in a beautiful setting on the former.

*breathes very very deeply the clean clean air*

[It's not cold today; the typing it goes better]
lunabee34: (lorraine is a teacher by emella)
[livejournal.com profile] kita0610 suggested HERE that "Silence is loud and mysterious . . . A post that simply says "I am not okay with this" can speak volumes. Don't assume people know where you stand."

I am a 29 year old, bisexual, white English professor who was born into a fundamentalist Baptist, middle-class home. I am a privileged person. I have to struggle against (sometimes on a daily basis) the racism I internalized in my upbringing. I often fail.

Because I am a new professor, my schedule is very busy. Most of you have noticed that I have been posting or commenting on lj very little this semester. I have been trying to catch up on Racefail, reading links from [livejournal.com profile] metafandom and from the flist whenever I can but I still have not read probably even a tenth of the posts yet. [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong's journal is a great place to go for a compilation of links to different aspects of the discussion; this is where I am getting my information.

I would like to end this post with a note about my role as a teacher. I consider it one of the highest obligations of my calling to expose my students to ideas and concepts and realities that may be far outside their own experience. For that reason, the reading lists in my classes always include works by those people who have been marginalized. I also do my utmost to make my classroom a safe place, a place where ageist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, racist, and ethnocentric commentary is examined and acknowledged as inappropriate. Often my students say and write things that they do not realize are hurtful and damaging and welcome the realization; sometimes, of course, they mean every racist word. In my real life endeavors to combat racism, I often fail.
lunabee34: (Default)
The end of the year is, for me, an opportunity to look at what lies ahead. It is also a remembrance and celebration of times past. In that vein and as I am wont to do from time to time, I reached into my two drawer filing cabinet where I have arranged chronologically and according to theme most of my creative endeavors of the past twenty three years. I get a huge kick out of re-reading my junior high poetry and thought you guys might too. Happy New Year, everybody, and let’s all laugh at wee!Lorraine. *g*

Poetry is thoughts that breathe and words that burn--Thomas Gray )

I bared my soul; now how's about y'all bare yours. That Civil War epic you wrote in seventh grade? Please do excerpt. That Next Gen play you wrote for you and your little brother to act for your mom's birthday? Give us a snippet. Those poems of blackness and rage and agony? Quote us a line or two. There's nothing quite so cathartic as laughing at yourself, and, well, everybody else too. :)

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