Stop and Think for a Moment

11 Sep

On September 11, 2001, four airplanes were hijacked by religious extremists and used to kill thousands.  Now nine years later, Islamophobia is rampant.  Stop and think about something for a moment, though.  Among those killed were members of the Islamic faith.  They were peaceful people just going about their everyday business.  They were working, taking care of errands, caring for their homes and families.  They were in no way involved in the horrible attacks on September 11.

When you decide that you’re going to judge all Muslims, stop and think about the families of the Muslims killed in the 9/11 attacks.  Think about how not only do they have to face the pain of loss of their loved ones, but also bigotry against all Muslims.  When you rant and rave against the “Ground Zero Mosque,” think about the fact that their blood was spilled on that day along with the blood of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics and the blood of countless others.

When you condemn all Muslims because of the horrific act of a small minority, you really have let those radicals win.  Think about it.

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Why I Can’t Show My, Um, Face in Nordstrom for a While

3 Sep

What would you do if tomorrow morning you woke up in a house or apartment that was nicer than your current home?  I’m not talking about situations where you have a few too many cocktails and wake up in a strange bed.  What I want to know is what you would do if you suddenly found yourself living in a much nicer place.  I bet you’d be pretty excited. 

While it’s been almost a year since I started my huge weight loss and I’m down over 130 pounds.  The funny thing is that I’ve been hovering around the same weight for a few weeks, but suddenly my body’s changed.  It’s done that once before and it’s truly odd.  So, essentially I woke up in a different, but nicer, house and I proceeded to freak out.

On Friday, I left for work in a pair of jeans that I’d bought quite recently.  The size tag was still in the double digits, but they weren’t technically plus-sized.  As I walked to work, I noticed they were a bit loose.  Later in the day, I noticed they were quite loose.  I could pull them down easily without unfastening them.  In fact, someone could have pantsed me very easily.  While I should have been happy, I was a bit alarmed.  That should have been a clue to what I would face later that day when I went to buy a bra.

All I wanted was a strapless bra for a dress with a wide neckline.  I’ve never worn a strapless bra, so I needed help choosing one.  The poor woman who tried to help me had no idea what would happen next.  She measured my rib-cage and started bringing me bras that had what I thought were tiny bands and huge cups.  Now I’m no brick house.  I’m not mighty, mighty.  I’m certainly not letting it all hang out.  However the choices the saleswoman brought me (while I was stuck half-dressed in my fitting room) I thought would be better suited to a petite Kardashian sister than myself.

I tried on over 25 different bras.  Some of them had bands so tight, I couldn’t fasten them myself.  It took a bit, but I was able to convince the saleswoman that I would never buy something I couldn’t put on unassisted — especially an undergarment.  After an hour, shaking and almost crying, I left the fitting room and went to the register with a $76 bra.  In the middle of ringing it up, I backed out of the purchase.  With my body apt to change suddenly I wasn’t going to buy something that had to fit so precisely.  The up-until-now patient saleswoman came very close to yelling at me.  Sure, she’d spent almost an hour with me helping me try on just about every bra they sold.

I understood her frustration, but she couldn’t understand mine.  Though being able to buy smaller, and nicer, clothes should be fun, not knowing your own body can be frightening.  Like I said before, waking up in a changed body is like waking up in a new house.  Your stuff is there, but you’re not sure where.  You don’t know where the bathroom is or how to use the microwave in the kitchen.  When you leave, you aren’t sure if the door automatically locks behind you or not.  What you’ve got may be better, but it’s unfamiliar and what’s unfamiliar is often scary.

I Can Charm the Jewelry off of Anyone

29 Aug

Here’s another story from my childhood.  Those are always funny. 

When I was about three or four, my family took an East Coast road trip.  I believe we were travelling to my father’s college reunion in Rhode Island.  Travelling long-distance by car with a toddler only means one thing — stopping constantly for food and potty breaks. 

At one refueling stop, we sat down in a truck stop diner for a meal.  I guess my parents were a little burned out from the long hours behind the wheel with me bouncing around the back seat.  Hell, it was the early 1970’s, they didn’t make me wear a seat-belt.  Anyway, they sort of lost track of me in the diner and began to worry.  When they saw where I was, they worried even more.

I’d wandered around the diner until I found an intriguing gentleman.  From what my parents say, he was probably a truck driver (or member of a biker gang, knowing me).  I’d toddled over to a hefty bald man covered in tattoos and wearing a large golden medallion.  Not quite understanding that I shouldn’t talk to strangers, I pointed at the medallion and said “Mister, that’s a pretty necklace,” in a very serious tone.  Luckily, he was a good sport.  His friends must have been laughing at the little ball of fluff that blew over to critique his accessories.  Instead of losing his temper, he picked me up and let me try on his necklace. 

To this day whenever I’m confronted with someone who probably considers him or herself a complete badass, I just act like Tweety Bird.  Nothing makes someone feel protective of you like projecting pure, wide-eyed innocence.  Even Sylvester doesn’t really want to hurt Tweety!  Don’t you think he’d have already gotten him if he did?

Very Stupidsticious

27 Aug

Sometime in April, I took a tour of some of the “haunted” locations in my city.  I had no idea that the park near my apartment used to be the city cemetery.  What great news!  How lovely!  I’ve walked barefoot through that grass.  I’ll never do that again.  E.  Ver. 

The tour guide, a complete misogynist (he rationalized all of his anti-woman jokes saying that he has a daughter — how I pity that daughter), wore a huge golden cross around his neck.  The cross itself was about 8 inches long.  He called it his spiritual “prophylactic.”  Jesus would be proud.  He claimed it would protect him from something “attaching” itself to him on the tour.  I myself wore a Magen David.  Although a cross can serve as a protective talisman (I think), a Magen David cannot.  What I needed was a Hamsa.  The tour guide told us to pray for protection, so I mumbled something about how I don’t want to be gotten by the ghosties.

So, skip to the end of the tour where we’re taken to Jane Adams Hull House (yes, haunted by a Devil baby!).  Captain Craptacular sends us out in the dark to wander the grounds and look in the windows (of course, the house is closed at this time, but still well lit to deter vandals).  We all meet in the side garden where he tells us that at least 25% of the time, someone gets sick and that we’re wandering around a portal to another world (or something like that).  Okay, no one puked, but I felt a bit queasy and I wasn’t the only one.  He also mentions that some time in the next two to three weeks, we’re all going to get up in the middle of the night and go to the kitchen or bathroom and we’ll see someone in the room who isn’t really there.

Until that point, I’d been enjoying the tour.  I enjoy learning about local history and nothing that was said up until that point was really that scary.  The idea of something attaching itself to me and depositing itself in my bathtub was an idea I didn’t need planted in my head.  I have a very fertile imagination and I see things out of the corners of my eyes as it is.  I’m not saying that I see dead people, but I see shapes and stuff whiz past just on the edge of my field of vision all of the time. 

When I got home from the tour, it was about eleven o’clock at night.  I’d left a lamp on so I didn’t enter a dark apartment.  The lamp didn’t help.  Almost immediately, my cat started acting skittish.  Since she’s the world’s most mellow cat, I got the heebie-jeebies right quick.  I couldn’t think of anything I could do to remedy the situation other than hop on Twitter and ask my Twitter friends for help.  Luckily, a friend of mine came through with a solution.  She said that when something similar happened to her, she put salt in all of the corners of her home before going to bed, and removed the salt first thing in the morning.

Placing the salt was a bit of a challenge.  Though my apartment is quite small, one corner is occupied by my bed.  That night, I sure as hell wasn’t reaching under my bed.  After much consideration, I taped that particular cup (I used Dixie cups) of salt to the wall just over my bed.  In addition to that, every time I got up at night to go to the bathroom as I approached the door I would practically shout “This is my apartment, not yours.  Get the fuck out.”  Once I even mentioned something about opening a can of anti-ghost whoop-ass on anyone who’d try to mess with Piper (cat). 

I’d stopped shouting out bathroom warnings a few months ago, and everything was going fine.  Unfortunately a few nights ago, there may or may not have been a man standing in the corner of my bathtub late at night. 

Can Piper and I come stay with you for a while?

So Easy, Even a Cat Can Learn It!

18 Aug

So I’m trying to learn some basic Hebrew. As of today, I know the first three letters and two vowel sounds. Also, now my cat Piper thinks her name is Vahraybaybah.

How Many Birthdays Do You Have? I’ve Got Two!

15 Aug

This post is part of Jewels of Elul, which celebrates the Jewish tradition to dedicate the 29 days of the month of Elul to growth and discovery in preparation for the coming high holy days. This year the program is benefiting Beit T’shuvah, a residential addiction treatment center in Los Angeles. You can subscribe on Jewels of Elul to receive inspirational reflections from public figures each day of the month. You don’t have to be on the blog tour to write a blog post on “The Art of Beginning… Again”. We invite everyone to post this month (August 11th – September 8th) with Jewels of Elul to grow and learn.

Boy, this is perhaps the fifteenth time I’ve sat down to write this in the past twenty-four hours.  So far, I’ve done better than before.  Look at that!  Two whole sentences!  Yay, me!  Now what?  What do I write about?  Writer’s block as the new fresh start?  Is blank the new black? Would a nap help me write?  Should I throw in a load of whites?  Will the tofurkey sandwich I just made nourish my brain?

Maybe I’m having a hard time because I’m trying to write about something about which I’ve written before so many times.  If you read all of my blog posts (and I hope you will, visiting another website between each post in order to boost my page views), you’ll notice that the general theme of my blog is starting over.  Starting with one of my first posts, “The World Is a Big, Scary Place,” I’ve chronicled my attempts to jump start my career and my love life after losing a huge amount of weight (about 125 lbs so far).

However, my story really began anew on Father’s Day of last year.  On that day, the daughter of an old family friend passed away and I decided to take drastic action so that I would not meet the same fate.  I talked about Laura and honoring her memory in “What Can I Say?,” but  I was a bit cagey about the decision I made as a result of her death.  So, here it goes — my second birthday.  The big reveal.  Are you ready?  Sitting down?  Got a drink?  I could use a drink.  But I can’t have a drink.

Why can’t I have a drink?  On December 11, 2009 I had gastric bypass surgery.  December 11 is my new birthday.  Since then, I’ve lost 100 pounds (I lost about twenty-five pounds in the period leading up to my surgery).  I’ve been told by my surgeon’s coordinator that I can’t have alcohol until one year after the surgery.  Others have said that I can drink alcohol six months after my surgery, I may have a drink around nine months after my surgery — on my actual birthday.

The surgery wasn’t a magic bullet.  I still have to diet and exercise.  If I’m not careful, I can regain all of the weight.  The surgery was merely a weight loss tool.  It made what seemed impossible possible.  Trust me.  When you weigh almost 300 pounds, losing weight seems like an uphill battle.  I’m sure it must have seemed that way for Laura.

Laura’s parents begged her to consider the surgery.  But you can’t steer someone towards that decision; that decision is one that someone must make on his or her own.  I know that until Laura passed away, when my parents tried to discuss the surgery with me I became very angry and just shut them out.  When Laura died, I knew what I had to do.  So, that’s how I came to have two birthdays.

Any chance that my big reveal distracted you from the shortness of this blog post?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Know What I Love?

12 Aug

So, this guy with whom I’m acquainted seems like a really nice guy.  He just got a new job and he just got engaged to a woman who also seems really nice.  I’m really happy for him because I like it when nice things happen to nice people.  Unfortunately, I don’t love it like I love it when shitty things happen to jackasses!