Standard

myludicrousuterus:

Tired of being told how not to get raped? Here is a list of rape-prevention strategies for men. Thanks to San Francisco Love Story for sharing.

Originally posted on San Francisco Love Story:

How to Prevent Rape

If a woman is drunk, don’t rape her.
If a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her.
If a women is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her.
If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her.
If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don’t rape her.
If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her.
If a woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her.
If a woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her.
If a woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her.
If a woman is in a coma, don’t rape her.
If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don’t rape her.
If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don’t rape her.
If a woman is not…

View original 452 more words

Whine and cheese basket…beggars can’t be choosers?

Standard

So, this post will probably be all over the place. I’m on a healthy dose of NyQuil right now for a nasty cold. Fair warning. I tried to ward the cold off with garlic soup, apple cider vinegar, a neti pot, and high doses of zinc and vitamin C, but it came on anyway, starting in my throat and moving its way down into my lungs. I think that if I had not used those things, I would be feeling a lot worse right now. I have to admit, I have also been keeping a steady regimen of pseudoephedrine, dextromethorphan, and ibuprofen going through my system along with the natural remedies. I have still to find a natural medicine that will stop me from coughing and open up my sinuses enough to allow me to sleep through the night (suggestions welcome!).

On a seemingly unrelated note, last week I was shopping at Earth Fare because I had a wicked curry chick’nnn salad craving. I’m mostly trying to avoid fake meat, because it is kind of creepy, but there was no talking myself out of this one. If you try to talk yourself out of something you’re craving for a week and you still want it every morning when you wake up, just get it. The craving isn’t going away.

There was none on the salad bar (forsoooooth!!), so I bought a few ingredients to try to make the deliciousness myself at home (I’ll put up a recipe and a picture as soon as I can connect my camera to the computer…it turned out great). I was feeling good about making good choices and buying fruits and vegetables, and as many organic products as I could get. I spent $29 altogether on various items, which would make about ten meals with the other things that I had at home already. That’s pretty good, right? Then…after being in the store a while, and counting up the price of my groceries, I began to get a guilty feeling about shopping in a specialty health food store. I could have saved several dollars if I had gone to the local discount grocery store, where all of the produce and cereals scream “genetically engineered” at me as I look at them. I could also have saved $1.50 on peanut butter if I had gotten it at the discount grocery, where I would have been unable to stop myself from reading the food label and finding “high-fructose corn syrup” and “hydrogenated vegetable oil” as the second and third ingredients, after peanuts. With the money I was about to spend on all this organic, animal-product-free, minimally-processed food, I could be buying 58 boxes of “2 for $1″ macaroni and cheese, or 100 packs of conventional, chicken-flavored ramen noodles. Nutritionally, ramen and mac and cheese are pretty much null, but economically, those items would make more meals out of the $29 I spent.

Then I thought to myself, why am I not allowed to buy healthy food, just because my financial situation sucks big time right now? I held up my end of the bargain and busted my ass all through school; it’s not my fault the economy sucks. I still need to be healthy. How am I helping myself financially by knowingly allowing my health to suffer, by eating food that is barely food at all? What I don’t spend on food, I eventually will more than pay back in medical bills after I have a heart attack or get breast cancer at the age of 35. So I bought the damn organic groceries. And I liked it.

Since Wednesday night I have had a cold that makes me feel like Satan is kicking me in the face, chest, and teeth pretty much all the time. Which makes me wonder, what good were those antibiotics I just finished? And is this cold something that was caused by taking these antibiotics? Is this something I picked up at work? Did the antibiotics weaken my immune system? Because I feel worse now than I did when I had that supposed raging kidney infection. I’m also wondering if I ever did have a kidney infection at all, or if the CRNP at the health department just thought she’d err on the side of caution and throw me a bunch of antibiotics because I was at the health department, where people normally go to get rid of syphilis. Arrgh.

“You need to go to a doctor!” my friend told me yesterday. I probably do…simply for the reason that I have called in sick two days this week, and I get the feeling that having a note written on a doctor’s letterhead would be more effective in convincing my boss not to fire me than my simply coming in and explaining that I was too sick to stand up for more than five minutes at a time. The manager I spoke to today said, “Ohh-k?” when I called in and told him my situation…with an intonation in his voice that said, “Didn’t you just call in sick yesterday?” I also had had to drive up there earlier today to pick up my check, because today is the utility company’s cut-off date. I’m sure that word got around that I had been there earlier, and I’m sure that that fact could be used against me. Never mind that the job is so low-paying that I barely miss having my lights cut off every month. In the case of last month’s utilities, I had to miss two hours of work so that I could go to a church charity and beg someone to pay my utility bill for me. Literally. I literally begged them. And then I went to work feeling guilty for being late, at which time one of the managers reminded me that I’m still in my 90-day probationary period, and that I can be fired at any time. Thanks for that. Sincerely, that was just what I needed to hear right then.

Have I mentioned that the company I work for has more money than God? Why is God having to make up for what this company doesn’t pay its employees, then? If they paid me enough for me to cover my bills and get health insurance, I wouldn’t have to live in fear of them firing me. Seems kind of backward, does it not? Every time I come in a few minutes late due to babysitting issues, health issues, or some issue related to me needing to pay for something (like a flat tire, or gas) and being unable to, I have to feel shame, as if it’s my fault that these things are happening in my life, and that it’s my negligence that is causing them to happen. But it’s not my negligence. It’s life. People get sick. Tires wear out. Gas ain’t free. If both heads of the household have to work at the same time, a babysitter must be procured. Life costs money. And minimum wage is not enough to live on. I guess that’s the point I’m getting to. I’m tired of feeling like I’m the one who is failing when I am unable to stay on top of life and keep it running smoothly, due to a lack of money. And I’m tired of feeling guilty about things like flat tires, or my inability to find a babysitter who is willing to work for free three days a week or more, or wanting to be healthy just like people who have good jobs and health insurance. I know that this is true for millions of Americans right now.

Do you ever wonder how a store is able to keep its prices very low, when stores that carry the same items seem to be charging twice as much for that item? It’s because the stores that have cheap products don’t pay their employees a living wage, and they expend a lot of effort trying to see to it that they are able to keep everyone who works in their stores on part-time status with limited benefits and low wages, in order to maximize their profit margins. What they don’t pay their employees is made up for by the taxpayer in the form of food stamps, Medicaid, Section 8, and other welfare programs. These types of megabusinesses also drive smaller, hometown businesses to bankruptcy by undercutting their prices and stealing their customers, since they’re saving so much on overhead that they can afford to make less money off the same products. Think about that next time you go shopping.

*end rant*

#*%& $@*% Jan Brewer #&%* @!#$ $%^@ stay out of my uterus [explicit language and adult themes].

Standard

This morning some friends and I were having a candid conversation about an article about the new Arizona law which says that a woman’s pregnancy is now to be calculated from the first day of her period. I had not read this particular article before having the conversation, but I had read another article about the same issue earlier. Here is an excerpt from said article: “In Arizona, women are now legally pregnant two weeks before conception, according to a new law, the Orwellianly-named, ‘Women’s Health and Safety Act,’ signed yesterday by Republican Governor Jan Brewer.” No, it is not an article from the Onion. Tragically, this is real.

I thought I should post some snippets of our conversation, as an example of what a cross-section of American women (and men) actually feel about how women’s bodies are being dictated. As average people who work and have lives (and we are educated, but are not politicians, doctors, historians, or economists), we speak as average people who have read the average amount of information on any subject. The fact is that an egg is not fertilized until sperm and egg meet, and therefore a woman is not pregnant until this has happened. There are a lot of cuss words in this post, folks, because we are average, angry people. Names have been excluded for anonymity. Except for me, of course, because you could probably figure that out anyway (pardon my soapboxing).

First, the article: http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/pregnancy-begins-2-weeks-before-conception-now-the-law-in-arizona/politics/2012/04/13/37993

Now the conversation:

1 (male): WTF!!!!!!!!!!

2 (male): I know dude…. I’m not sure of the authenticity of this site? But, it’s just another weird ass story from Arizona!

1 (male): I’m not sure I believe it either. They don’t have to say that bullshit to constrain the abortion timeframe parameters…. What I mean to say is, that’s not even a law. That headline doesn’t even make sense. Presenting a scientific falsity as “law” is absurd to the max.

2 (male): Agreed, man.

3 (male): It’s f’real.

4 (female): I have read another article about it from a more reputable source. It seems legit. However, it seems almost impossible to determine a specific date considering Aunt Flow never arrives when expected.

5 (me): It’s a real article. I read another one last week. When predicting a due date, the estimated date of conception is your first day of ovulation. I think this bill is designed to shorten the window in which a woman can legally get an abortion. If you’re getting the pill, which makes the abortion come on like a normal, if exceptionally painful, period, you can only get it for 56 days into gestation, or you have to get a dilation and [curettage], i.e., the one where they scrape your uterus with a razor-spoon and suck everything out with a vacuum cleaner. Since most women don’t figure out they’re pregnant until after they miss a period, this pretty much says that if you want an abortion, you have to get the razor-spoon and uterus-vacuuming. It’s pretty sadistic in terms of psychological damage on the mother, who, shockingly, may not be using abortion as her primary method of birth control. In another state they’ve filed some paperwork saying that if a fetus dies in utero, the mother has to carry the dead baby to term until she goes into labor naturally. And there’s a big battle going on right now over whether or not employers should have to provide insurance that covers the plain old birth control pill, which prevents women who can’t afford to have children, from having them-if the employer doesn’t believe in contraception. Which means that if your girlfriend, wife, daughter, or sister works for a devout religious person who believes that sex should be used for procreation only, she will have to pay out of pocket for birth control pills, and if she can’t do that, then oh well.

5 (me): Also, this law is pretty stupid, since two weeks before you conceive (which is only possible during ovulation, which occurs two weeks after the first day of your period), you will have been on your period. And therefore not pregnant.

4 (female): it’s all bullshit! I cannot believe women are voting for this. I bet you some of these women that voted for this bill probably had abortions…

5 (me): There may not have been any women on the panel.

4 (female): Oooo girl!…you know there was…stupid drones! This shit makes my blood boil.

5 (me): But yeah, there are some really stupid people out there…I don’t ever want to hear someone say “if you can’t feed em don’t breed em” again. As if poor people are just supposed to practice abstinence. If you’re poor, you can’t fuck. Yeah, right! When you’re poor, that’s one of the few fun things there is to do that doesn’t cost anything. Good luck with that shit. Or maybe…they’re planning on breeding poor people to make into…Soylent Green!!

5 (me): Don’t be mad at the women…you know this shit was thought up by someone who isn’t familiar with the menstrual cycle. [edit: after reading the article and learning that it was actually signed INTO LAW by two women, Jan Brewer (big surprise there, and not because she's a Republican...me and Jan already butt heads about a couple of things) and Arizona State Rep. Kimberly Yee, then yes. Be mad at the stupid, stupid women who don't give a SHIT about anything but their own bank accounts.]

6 (female): this is completely ridiculous.

4 (female):  I know, I know, it just boggles my mind. People are just coming out of the wood works with some random stupid acts against humanity. What’s next? We will all be forced to eat the same food and wear the same clothes? Removing our rights of expression completely?

1 (male): It’s been happening. And I wish that shit was “random” but it’s the opposite of random. It’s chosen, and planned, and carefully thought out, but using some or another fundamentally fucked line of reasoning, which sabotages everything flowing from it. It’s all over and has recourse to the same shit (i.e. delusion) and threatens to make us extinct in the next few hundred years, or less.

5 (me): It will only make us extinct if we sit here and say, “that’s just how things are.” Things got this way because people are too content to just accept things as they are. Meanwhile, the people who would rather make things happen are making things happen. Only what they’re making happen is that they are getting very rich by preying on the complacency of people who are either too lazy to think or speak for themselves, or they are so non-confrontational that they would rather go with the flow to avoid causing a scene (or the few who want to “channel positive energy” and hum in a sunlit loft somewhere…meanwhile, the world is burning down outside because no one is there to stop it, because [everyone is] in their lofts, humming…not that that’s bad, but some things require your physical presence rather than your astral being).

4 (female): I know it’s been happening…I just choose to ignore it because it will literally send me to a nut house.

5 (me): I feel the same way sometimes… I have to tune out occasionally and pretend I’m on a different planet…but it’s like when you get back to work after a couple of days off and nothing is where you left it, and the people who were working while you were gone fucked all your shit up, and you have to fix their bullshit before you can get anything else done. For instance, women in Arizona are finding out that they’re pregnant right now, despite being celibate and on their periods :P So now they’re going to have to fight that on top of everything else they might have wanted to do this month. Or they could just concede to be “pregnant”… which is dangerous for every woman, because if one state passes something that crazy, others will follow suit. Then they’ll eventually be giving us virginity tests and having our snatches sewn up to where the opening is the size of a pencil eraser and requiring us to drown female babies because they’re not male and setting women on fire on their honeymoons because their dowry isn’t large enough and all that other shit that is already going on in the world right now.

4 (female): makes me never want to have kids….however, why should I deny myself the joy of having a family because this world is so corrupt? It’s unfair and there is nothing I can do about it. I just have to ignore it and keep going on about my day. That’s the only way I can stay sane about all this.

5 (me): We have it really good right now, in comparison with the rest of the world, but we also have to remember that the US is one of the youngest countries on earth, and there is still plenty of time for us to get royally fucked up like some of these other, millennia-old countries that we talk so much shit about.

5 (me): You shouldn’t have to deny yourself that joy. However, if the world doesn’t change before your granddaughters are born, they will be the ones having to endure the hardships brought onto women by the complacency of their ancestors.

5 (me): Hell, I don’t even think it will take two generations for things to get all the way back to women not being allowed to vote or own property, at this rate.

4 (female): I know…it’s fucking scary!

***************************************************************

I wanted to share what we few people had to say when hearing about this law, and others like it. All the time, I hear people talking about how surreal the laws are becoming in this country, especially here in the last few months, pertaining to women’s reproductive health. Need I remind everyone that there are more women than men on Earth? Why, and how, is this happening? They got the guns, but we got the numbers. Stand up, ladies. 

Now, I don’t think the law is necessarily Orwellian…but more Atwoodsian. Go out and get your hands on this book, which a futuristic novel, but was written in 1987, I think.

The Handmaid's Tale

Read it…and tell me that it’s not creepy how many of the things that go on in that book are already happening. If you don’t read, there is also a movie based on the book, but I can’t vouch for how true to the book the movie will be. The premise of the novel is that the religious right has taken over America, the United States constitution is suspended, and a new republic has formed. Women with money in the bank find themselves unable to access any of their own assets. Offred, the protagonist, is now used as a sort of breeding sow to an upper-class couple, because she is one of the few women left in the country who is still fertile. Hence, her duty in the new society is to provide a womb wherein her master, the “Commander,” will attempt to spawn his seed when she ovulates. Also, pregnant women in Gilead have no access to things like ultrasound, amnio tests, or any other way of knowing whether or not their babies are healthy, because abortion is out of the question. However, once their babies are born and found to have a defect, they are referred to as “shredders,” and made to disappear in some undefined way. This book is just chock-full of great, and weirdly prophetic, stuff. Doesn’t sound too far-fetched, either, what with genetically modified foods being linked to infertility and all. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/ge-threat-to-fertility-11112008/ And the “women as livestock” bill in Georgia. http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2012/03/31/at-11th-hour-georgia-passes-women-as-livestock-bill/ And all the talk last month about passing legislation that allows legal provisions for doctors who are opposed to abortion for any reason to lie to pregnant patients about whether or not their fetus will be born with a serious abnormality. https://www.aclu.org/blog/reproductive-freedom/kansas-pregnant-women-little-lie-your-doctor-wont-hurt-you

Now, I am not “pro-abortion” (I doubt that many people are “for” abortion. As in they root for it and try to promote it). I myself have never had one, and most likely would not ever have one unless it was a matter of life or death. However, I can understand why people have them, as long as they’re not using abortion in place of contraceptives (which are becoming increasingly hard to come by). And I strongly believe that a woman has control over her own body. Not allowed control over her own body, because the word “allowed” means that someone else, other than the woman, is in possession of a woman’s body. A woman is in possession of her own body. That means that she gets to say when she has sex, conceives, and gives birth, and no one else gets that say.

Anyway, I wasn’t planning to post today, but this all got me fired up. If nothing else, read Margaret Atwood’s book. I couldn’t put it down and read it all in one day.

Week One status check, or, I suck at being a vegan.

Standard

Today has been an atypical Sunday. Normally Sundays subsist of catching up on sleep, drinking a pot of coffee, sitting on ass watching old episodes of Saturday Night Live, washing a load of laundry, and going to the grocery store to get something that requires zero effort to cook for dinner. But today…TODAY! I cleaned the entire house (with the help of the hubs and kid), cooked lunch, mowed almost our entire five-acre yard, got everyone’s clothes ready for morning, and cooked a dinner. A simple dinner that took very little effort, but I did have to do more than open the box or can. I even have enough energy to do the dinner dishes and update this blog. And all without a drop of caffeine.

And surprise, my knees, neck, and elbows, which normally creak and kill when there’s so much as a cloud in the air, don’t hurt.

I am happy to say that the first week of this vegan-like diet has proven to me that I am actually capable of producing my own energy. I thought that that was long gone, with my posters of New Kids on the Block. I’ve never not drank coffee; not since I was eighteen. And since twenty-one I’ve been a full-on java junkie…a barista once threatened to cut me off. I’m not joking.

I say “vegan-like” diet because I would make a very bad vegan. If there is a Memorial Day cookout, I will probably go, and after a couple of margaritas, I will probably not stick to veggies. Dude, I live in the south, and if the sun is out and it’s warm, you and your neighbors may not be grilling, but I bet you can’t drive more than a mile without someone grilling something, right there in your face everywhere. Every time I smell barbecued chicken, it’s torture. And last night, I was cooking some really tasty tofu chilequiles-type mess for dinner, but alongside it, I was making taco meat out of ground beef in the neighboring skillet, for everyone else. I didn’t eat any of the beef, and wasn’t really tempted, but tonight I used that skillet to make my “vegan” dinner. I just can’t see going out and buying separate cookware. I know some people do that…but man, I washed it with Dawn. There’s no meat on it anymore.

Also, I have made a couple of boo-boos. Did you know…

1) “Veggie Slices” cheese has casein in it? Isn’t casein the stuff in dairy that you’re trying to avoid in the first place? Hence your buying of Veggie Slices?

2) Dairy is hiding in places you would least suspect it…like bread. The other day, I bought a loaf of some Arnold whole-wheat bread that was on sale. As I was nom-ing a delicious sandwich, I glanced at the list of ingredients and there, in bold letters, it said “Contains Non-fat Milk.” WTH for?

3) O’Soy yogurt gets its live cultures from milk.

I am going to continue eating these products until they’re gone, however, because while I am aware of the unethical treatment of animals in dairy and meat farms, I would also feel dumb for throwing out twenty dollars’ worth of food just because it has a fraction of a percentage of dairy in it, when gas is four dollars a gallon. Eventually I hope to have the time and resources to successfully grow everything I eat, so that I can dine without the guilt of knowing that my food is flavored with the tears of baby cows…but until then, I guess I’ll just pay better attention to food labels before I make purchases.

But otherwise, I think that I have done fairly well at avoiding refined sugar and flour, and purposefully-ingested animal products. Next week, maybe I will have enough energy to keep the whole house clean, do my own auto maintenance, start a band, and write a book. :)

(Edit: Speaking of labels, I got halfway through the antibiotics I got at the health department for my kidney infection…then I thought to look it up on Wikipedia and found out that there is reason to believe that this medicine has a carcinogenic effect on humans. Why would anyone prescribe this for anything? So do I stop taking it, or what? What is medicine if it makes you trade one sickness for another?)

Poop…the cornerstone of every nutritious breakfast.

Standard

And bugs, and antifreeze, and cardboard. Check it out:

Ingredient: Carmine. Also known as: Cochineal extract. Used for: red food coloring, often in juices, yogurts, and lipstick. Source: The crushed and squeezed bodies of beetles.

Ingredient: Cellulose. Also known as: Carboxymethylcellulose, CMC, cellulose gum, sodium carboxymethylcellulose. Used for: texture in breads and meat (or meat-like products), a binding and anticrystallization agent in store-bought frosting. Counts as dietary fiber in nutrition labeling. Source: wood and cotton lint. Next time there’s more people than food at the barbecue, just tear up the paper towels you drained the lettuce on, empty the dryer trap, and mix it all into the hamburger meat. I always knew there was some way to recycle that stuff!

Ingredient: Propylene glycol. Also known as: propylene glycol alginate. Used for: texture in dairy products and salad dressings, store-bought frostings (also helps to produce the water vapor in those electronic cigarettes I was talking about in an earlier post! Aggh!). Source: According to Dow, a manufacturer of propylene glycol, it is “a petroleum-based raw material.” It is very versatile, making it perfect for just about anything. More from Dow:

“Propylene glycol (PG) is a clear, colorless liquid with the consistency of syrup. It is practically odorless and tasteless. It is hygroscopic (attracts water), has low toxicity and outstanding stability, as well as high flash and boiling points, low vapor pressure and broad solvency. In addition, propylene glycol is an excellent solvent for many organic compounds and is completely water-soluble. These properties make PG ideal for a wide array of applications, such as:

  • Antifreezes, Coolants and Aircraft Deicing Fluids
  • Chemical Intermediates
  • Cosmetics and Personal Care Products
  • Flavors and Fragrances
  • Food
  • Heat Transfer Fluids
  • Hydraulic Fluids
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Plasticizers
  • Solvents
  • Thermoset Plastic Formulations”

You know what? Here’s the link to Dow’s info page on propylene glycol: http://www.dow.com/propyleneglycol/about/ …they can say it better than I can. There may be different strains that they use for making antifreeze and ranch dressing, but I”m kind of freaked out about knowing that I’m eating something that is one molecule away from being antifreeze. It’s like that poop burger they supposedly made in Japan.

There may be a lot of processing that goes into removing the doodoo flavor, and there has since been some speculation that the “shit burger” was a hoax (although nothing I’ve seen has proven for a fact that the feces burger was not a real thing). But you can’t take that back. LOL at about 1:34…look at the label on the fridge. It’s right there. I’m sure that once this hits the market, they won’t be calling it Potty Patties or anything of the like…they might even label it as health food that’s low-fat, high in protein, and doesn’t require the slaughter of animals, and market it to vegetarians. I wonder what kind of scientific word they’ll come up with to put on the label to disguise the fact that it’s poop.

Here is a link to a handy-dandy list of food additives, where they come from, and what they’re used for, for sometime when you’re bored and reading the back of the Doritos bag. http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm

I got into this post on food additives today because I’ve been doing some research, and thought I’d share. Yesterday at the clinic, my pap was smeared, but the CRNP told me that I needed to go to a real doctor (really.) about my uterus, since the results of the PAP would take three weeks to come back (really?!). She could tell immediately, however, that I had a bacterial infection of the kidneys. I’ve had no symptoms other than some occasional dull pain that I thought had to do with normal menstrual happenings (not that I have any menstrual happenings that resemble normal). What caused the infection, then? “Some food additives,” she said, “can cause bacterial infections.” Awesome.

Also, apparently refined sugar is filtered through burnt cow bones, or “natural charcoal,” to remove the color. http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2007issue4/vj2007issue4.pdf

So these are just a few of the things I’ve found out in the last day or so. It all just cements, for me, the notion that people should eat food that still resembles the form it came in originally.

Curry makes it better.

Standard

I had a crazy day at work yesterday. I think that the machines and computers there are becoming self-aware, and they are no longer content to be our robot slaves. Absolutely nothing I tried to do at work went right the first time. I single-handedly ruined the lives of everyone I came in contact with. But I’m sure they’re fine. Probably. Or they will be. Eventually.

Yet with all the shenanigans and triggers of the day, nary an animal product crossed my lips. Because I couldn’t fathom coming home after a day like that and eating a plate of lettuce or anything else that wasn’t hot and didn’t bear some kind of semblance to comfort food, I made spinach curry for dinner (chopping and cooking after work, whaaaat?). And I’m glad I didn’t stop at Taco Bell like I had thought about doing. I didn’t even miss the meat. Also, I feel less anemic today from the buttload of iron in the spinach and onions. I would have put up a picture, but by the time I thought about it, there was nothing left :)

Indian food cures all ills, in my opinion. It’s good for a case of the blahs, because it’s like an adventure in your mouth. The flavor of any Indian dish seems to change on your tongue as you eat. I used to drive thirty miles to get to a good curry, and every time I left the restaurant I would wonder, “Why is it so good?” Now I know: Garam masala is the ingredient that makes Indian food taste like Indian food. It is not one single mystical spice, but a blend of stuff you probably already have in the cabinet if you bake pies or cook spicy foods. You will have to travel far and wide to find a jar of it in the Tennessee Valley, unless your town has an Indian grocery store. Mine does not. The first time I made my own curry, I went to four different grocery stores looking for it before I made my own (recipe follows). Traditionally, you’re supposed to roast the seeds of all of the spices and grind them yourself, but this will work if you don’t have the time for all that mess. Put into a leftover spice container and shake together:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom

If you’re feeling really crafty, you could put 2 Tbsp whole cumin seeds, 2 Tbsp black peppercorns, 2 Tbsp cardamom seeds, 2 Tbsp coriander seeds, 1 broken-up cinnamon stick, and 1 teaspoon of whole cloves in a medium-hot skillet and toast them for about ten minutes (stir often so they don’t burn), then cool them and grind them to a fine powder in a coffee grinder (or with a mortar and pestle, if you’re really hardcore) with the nutmeg and a pinch of saffron strings. The flavor is richer when it’s done this way.

On a side note, my attempt to make veggie chicken tikka masala with Gardein “Chick’n” cutlets was a huge fail. The spices did not absorb into the Chick’n well, and the texture made it seem like eating chunks of one of those yellow, square sponges, or a booger-flavored vegan shoe sole. Never again. I would like to find a better form of fake chicken to use at a later date, but that experiment made me wish there was no such thing as food.

Appointment at the health department later. Fear.

nuts eggs raisins candy easter basket

Standard

Hello. This is an introductory post with some backstory; it will be long, and it will be real. If you’re offended by names of parts of the female anatomy, cuss words, or bodily functions described in lay terms, run screaming now. Vagina.

First off: I am overweight. I know this, and I’m not going to try to attribute this fact to some bullshit like glandular problems or an inexplicably underactive metabolism. My metabolism is slow, but that’s because my ass is usually attached to a couch, car seat, or desk chair. When I do get out and do things that do not require ass-to-couch contact, I do them slowly so as to avoid raising my heart rate or increasing my respiration. I don’t care for that.

I have poor eating habits. I know that I eat food that is terrible for me. Earlier today I was thinking this as I ate Little Debbies and felt the waxy “icing” that creates the airtight seal around the cakes lining the roof of my mouth with a film that did not go away immediately after I finished eating them. I developed poor eating habits as a child; unaware that there was any difference between eating 200 calories of Little Debbies and eating 200 calories of watermelon, and preferring the taste of greasy hydrogenated oil, sugary refined sugar, and high fructose-y high fructose corn syrup all whipped together with ingredients that have too many Xes in them to be made out of food, I chose the latter, and continue to do so when the notion strikes, even though I know better now. All you have to do to get to a Little Debbie is open the cellophane…opening a watermelon requires that you cut it open, remove your portion, and return the rest to a covered container of some type and put it in the fridge when you’re done. That’s like, fifty times more effort.

Sometimes I tell myself that today will be the day that I change the way my brain works and stop being so lazy. Then I get tired thinking about it. Mainly because I’m tired all the time. Probably from eating bullshit and not sleeping. I also smoke electronic cigarettes, which have a million times more nicotine in them than regular cigarettes (approximately). Nicotine is a stimulant, and if I smoke one of these things at night, I may get to sleep, but there will be a period of about three to four hours throughout the night when I am lying there, eyes closed and trying not to move, hoping that my brain will turn itself off and I can snag another ten minutes of REM sleep before the sun is up and it’s a lost cause. Alternatively, when I’m not sleeping too little, I’m sleeping too much. Twelve hours a night, with a possible nap in the afternoon from around four till about six. It’s terrible, right? I know.

I am getting to a point, I promise. Just not quite yet.

There was a time in my life when I was as…robust…as I am right now. But after a decades-long and hellish teenagehood full of name-calling and death-threats, I lost over 100 pounds and got into the best shape of my life over the course of two years, and stayed more or less healthy and in good physical shape (my actual shape was what most people would consider “out of shape,” but underneath what was left of my formerly flabby ass was pretty much a muscular figure) for about four years. Then I had a baby, and within six months had lost all of my baby weight, plus ten pounds. During this time, I was basically a vegetarian, with soy being my primary source of protein. I rarely ate red meat or full-fat dairy, never touched fried foods and stayed the hell away from sweets. I went to the gym occasionally, walked to the store instead of driving, hiked, swam, danced…I was an outdoorsy person and would occasionally break into a run for the hell of it. I never tried to measure the distance or anything, but I’m pretty sure I could run about a mile or so. That’s a pretty big deal for someone who wore a size 20 dress in 6th grade.

But alas…a size 20 would now be my “skinny jeans.” I don’t know what or where or how, but gas station deli food became not a guilty pleasure, but a major component of my diet. No longer does one measly little pint of Ben and Jerry’s last me through two months of estrus-related chocolate cravings.

Speaking of estrus, have I mentioned that I’ve been on my period since August of last year? August of 2011 to April of 2012…yup, that’s roughly nine months of bleeding out my vag. I stop for a week here and there some months, but mainly, no, I just bleed out the vag. I Googled the symptoms I’m having. WebMD and others have provided a handful of undesirable possible diagnoses. None are anything I’d like to have…some of the top answers I’m getting are fibroid tumors, cervical cancer, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Of all three of these, I’d like to believe that it’s PCOS. PCOS is fairly common in women with my weight and reproductive system-related issues, and ovarian cysts are a side effect of the Mirena IUD, which I had for two years. “I’d like to believe that it’s PCOS”…it’s hard to believe that I’m saying that. Right now I can’t allow myself to entertain the thought of anything worse.

Why not go to the doctor? Well, I had planned to. I guess I also should mention that I have no health insurance. I understand that if I were to be diagnosed with cancer, it would be hard for me to get health insurance, since cancer is considered a pre-existing condition (the Affordable Care Act could change that, but wait for it…I’ll get to that in a minute, too), and money is tight. My original plan was to get a good job after my college graduation in December (HA! Silly me), then get insurance and go to the doctor, where he or she would tell me what was wrong, and it would be fine because the condition was discovered after I already had insurance. After three months of searching for a good, desirable job, it became apparent that I would not find one, so I decided to lower my standards and get any job. Any job is better than none, and any insurance would be better than no insurance.

After two weeks of screening and interviews for a job I thought might be passable as something I could see myself doing for a while, I was hired. Finally! I thought. With this much effort put into the hiring process, they really must take good care of their employees. Uh huh. As my new boss was putting my information into the computer, I learned that I was to be working part-time, not full-time, for $7.35 an hour. (I had wrongly believed that no matter how low the pay was, surely no one got paid less than $8 an hour anymore. That’s just cruel and unheard of.) Here is a lesson learned: I had read all these job hunting and interview “tips” about how it’s considered bad etiquette to discuss pay before a job offer is made, and since I had no other prospects, I didn’t want to blow it. I had already used up almost an entire tank of gas and eight hours of my time on all of the interviews I had to give to get this job. It took me an entire seven-hour shift to get that money back, after taxes. And it takes me nearly an hour’s pay to get to and from work every day. Screw etiquette.

So I thought, to hell with it, I’ll get the beshitted part-time employee insurance and go to the doctor…well, if I didn’t need to cash my check immediately for paying bills, I would post a picture of one so that America can see what “$147.74″ looks like printed on a check, in case they don’t already know. While doing the mandatory counseling about my health insurance options on my company’s website (after watching the mandatory anti-labor union propaganda, of course)–and taking the test that followed (I guess this was so that we could all be sure that I have a deep understanding of my insurance options as an underpaid part-time employee), I learned that health insurance would cost me about 1/5 of my check every week, and that since I am not working full-time, my insurance does not qualify for the Affordable Care Act’s provisions, meaning that should I choose to take this insurance, it will only pay for $10,000 worth of coverage per calendar year, at which time my insurance will begin covering the next $10,000, and so on. Also, if I do have a pre-existing condition, I will have to wait up to six months to get any coverage whatsoever. Point me in the direction of the nearest Discount Hysterectomy House, I guess.

Edit: it occurred to me that some might wonder why I don’t sell my computer, if money is such an issue. I’ll answer now, so that I don’t have to in the future. This computer has paid for itself in the amount of income that my husband brings in with his hobby of writing programming code in his spare time. Without a computer, we would not have that extra income. I’m also working swing shifts, meaning that I open one day and close the next, open then close, close then open…which makes it hard to find a second job when you have a different schedule every week. I suppose I could work during those hours I spend every night lying in the bed doing nothing…but instead I spend most of the time that I’m not at work applying for other jobs.

So anyway, now I’m waiting for an appointment at the county health department for an exam. Maybe I should have done this sooner…for the first couple of months, I thought I was just having one of my typical irregular periods, or that my hormones were still working themselves out from having my IUD removed two years earlier (although, I did think that any hormone-readjusting should have surely been finished by then). For the next couple of months, I thought that if the bleeding hadn’t stopped by Christmas, I should probably worry. Well, tomorrow is Easter. The word Easter came, according to the Venerable Bede, from the name of the goddess Eostre, in whose honor feasts were/are held by pagans at the beginning of the spring equinox. Eostre (or Ostara) represents rebirth and renewal, and, interestingly, is also where we get the word estrogen. And my estrogen is still effed all the way up, and my body apparently is trying to rebirth something by cranking out my eggs all day every single day. I have a suspicion that this may also have something to do with genetically modified food, since the food is genetically modified to get big and reproduce as quickly as possible in order to maximize profits, but I still have research to do on that, so I’m holding my tongue on that one for now.

Most of the “home remedies for PCOS” Google searches I’ve done have returned advice about changing your diet to one that is primarily plant-based, and incorporating more exercise into one’s daily regime. Of course, having been on every diet from Susan Powter’s Stop the Insanity to Atkins to Slim-Fast (and occasionally the Slim-Fast/Dexatrim combo…it was the 80s. Yeah, that’s a different story), as soon as I decided to do this, I said that it would be after Easter dinner. There is no getting around that. If I tell myself that I’m going to go to the in-laws’ and eat tofu and fruit salad instead of ham and deviled eggs, I’m setting myself up for failure. I tried to tell my husband about my plans while I was grocery shopping for, among other things, nuts, eggs, raisins, and my daughter’s candy and Easter basket, and it went like this: “I eat nothing but crap, and I have to start eating better. After tomorrow, it’s nothing but healthy food forever…GAAAHHD, THAT’S A LONG TIME!!” And he laughed, because he knows that every spring I eat healthy food for about two months, then I go out for beers one time and get a hangover, and it’s sausage city for the next month. Some people are addicted to crack; I’m addicted to sugar and grease. One meal of steak and chocolate cake and I’m off the wagon. Thank god that I have managed to instill good habits in my kid so far…she hasn’t even thought about digging in the closet for the Easter candy, and she’d rather have strawberries than french fries. She’s really a smart little person…she always gives me positive reinforcement when I cook vegetables for dinner, and lectures me about how fried foods and cookies are “sometimes foods.” I wish I had known what she knows when I was her age.

know that what I put in my body affects my health–one of the main ways I lost all that weight earlier was by living by the motto, “you are what you eat,” eating only whole or minimally-processed foods, and cutting out white sugar and flour (wouldn’t it be more appealing to feel like a crunchy carrot than a floppy, sloppy Whopper?). After a car wreck that nearly killed me, I healed my body by listening to it, and giving it what it needed, whether it was kale or sweet potatoes, or an occasional shot of chocolate. I know this sounds like a bunch of hippie shit, but for reals, that’s what I did. I didn’t diet, and I think that’s why I succeeded then, and why I fail when I try to restrict myself now. I also walked everywhere I went, or otherwise kept moving for the better part of the day (this part will be challenging, since I also had no husband, kids, or obligations which would require me to get to and from a place in a small amount of time…it was no problem for me to walk to town with a backpack, hit the library, go to the store, take my time shopping, and walk home afterward. Now I count walking inside the grocery store as part of my exercise). So I’m going to do that again.

In closing, I guess that what I’m getting at is that I’m going to be keeping this blog as a journal while I try to treat my PCOS or whatever with a plant-based diet and exercise. I don’t know what this blog will be or what it will turn into, but hopefully it will help me to stay focused, and hopefully I will track some major progress in my health along the way. If anyone has made it all the way to the end of this ramble, I thank you. My next posts will probably be shorter, have pictures, and some interesting rabbit food recipes that I’ve found, as well.