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Hear yours truly on NPR’s “The Story”

3rd June 2010

Hear yours truly on NPR’s “The Story”

by Rachel

It seems that your F-word bloggers have gone a bit AWOL this past week. Charlynn and Greta are still basking in post-graduation bliss meets The Real World and I’ve been battling an ever growing feeling of thyroid-related fatigue and malaise these past few weeks. I know there’s something wrong when it’s June and my garden planters have yet to be planted! I just had bloodwork drawn today and am scheduled to see my endocrinologist soon, so hopefully I will be back and blogging with my own brand of sass and wit relatively soon. In the meantime, remember the “The Story” segment I recorded a few weeks ago with Dick Gordon? I had found a painting on an online auction site last year and did a little detective work to track down the family of the woman in the portrait. I usually don’t listen to the radio at all while I am working, but I used my lunch break today to go get the bloodwork done and again, rather serendipitously, heard the start of the program and MY voice on the radio! To listen to the archives and see the painting, click here.

And yes, I was extremely nervous, but luckily Dick started with Evelyn and so my nervousness had some time to dissipate before we chatted. Brandon says it sounds like I put on my “reporter voice.”  I don’t know about that, but am glad to hear that I managed to sound at least somewhat coherent.  Feel free to use this as an open post to discuss your own uncanny coincidences or other happy accidents.

posted in Personal, Rachel | 5 Comments

11th May 2010

What’s been eating away at my blogging time

by Rachel

I took in two orphan kittens at one of the worst times for one to ever take in two orphan kittens.  It was the summer of 2003 and my eating disorder madness would reach its pinnacle those sultry summer days.  I was barely able to take care of myself, let alone two one-week-old orange balls of fluff that had been abandoned by a feral cat my dad occasionally fed, but I read up on hand-feeding via an Internet primer, bought a bottle and some kitten replacement formula and became a surrogate mom to Teddy and Bug (named for his huge bug-shaped eyes).  I was working third-shift those days and always had trouble sleeping in the daytime, but the kittens didn’t care.  They needed fed every three to four hours and would let me know in loud, incessant mews when feeding time drew nigh.  Bug, the runt of the litter who lacked a suck reflex, unfortunately died a couple of weeks later from pneumonia that had traveled to his brain and caused encephalitis.  I had intended only to foster these kittens and then find them homes, but as I buried Bug in a sunny spot next to my daisies, I knew I could never give the other one up.

I sincerely believe that hand-feeding Teddy and his brother helped me begin to learn how to re-feed myself.  The kittens followed a schedule and required feedings several times a day, usually at around the same times.  It’s a funny thing with self-starvation… food becomes the one thing you think of constantly, but you begin to believe that such mundane details as breakfast, lunch, dinners and snacks are for other people.  The kittens provided me with a jolting reminder that normal, healthy people usually eat three meals a day plus a snack or two.  It also reminded me that food can do a lot to sooth both the body and soul.  I would cradle Teddy in one hand with the other holding the bottle, and watch his entire body relax, his eyes half-close and his little paws grasp the bottle as his white Buddha belly rounded out in contented bliss.  Seven years later, I still have a bond with my now big fat orange cat that I have never quite had with any other cat before or after.

And so now I find myself a surrogate mom to not one, but five two-and-a-half-week old kittens whose mother was killed by some outdoor animal.  Funnily enough, one of them looks almost like a dead ringer for my Teddy at that age… same coloring and markings and everything.  I’m only hand-feeding these babies and weaning them — the rescue I work with will then take them into their shelter at 8 weeks to find them homes.  I work out of my home office and it’s easier for me to hand-feed them than for other volunteers, but they still take an inordinate amount of time, so posting might be light from me for the next couple weeks until they can be weaned.  For your viewing pleasure, here are the adorable black nursing holes (from left): Davis, Ella, Lil (Lily), Louie and hidden in the back is the runt, Miles.  Anyone who can spot a naming theme here gets a virtual cookie :)

orphaned kittens

The little orange one looks just like my Teddy, pictured below:

posted in Personal | 12 Comments

10th May 2010

This is what ED recovery looks like

by Rachel

Health food company Quorn may need to revamp its marketing appeal (food made of fungi? ewww), but the products itself are simply fab.  I’m a big fan of Quorn’s line of soy-free vegetarian products that taste like real chicken breast and white meat turkey, and their veggie chik’n nuggets and patties are really good too.  I did some light grocery shopping this morning and noticed that my grocery store now carries a new brand of Quorn meatless turk’y burgers and picked up a box to try.  I arrived home around lunchtime and read the instructions on the back of the box briefly before popping two patties into the oven at the recommended cooking temp of 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  After the oven timer chimed, I ate them plain with yellow mustard mixed with just a touch of spicy brown mustard, along with a yummy side salad.  The turk’y burgers were a little dryer than Quorn’s line of meatless chicken breasts, but were still very tasty and made for a nice refreshing change to my vegetarian lunch repertoire.

That was some two hours ago.  It only just now occurred to me that in all the time I looked at the box in the grocery store and then read the back of the box for cooking instructions, I never once took notice of their nutritional content.  And by nutritional content, what I really mean here are calories.  Granted, Quorn is known as a health food company and a vegetarian one at that, so chances are that most, if not all, their products will be relatively healthy for you, but keep in mind that I am a recovering anorexic and bulimic who once wouldn’t eat anything that contained more than 100 calories and could rattle off the caloric content of most foods with ease.  I noticed the box on the shelf, thought the product looked tasty and I ate them.  All. Without.  Checking. Calories.

posted in Personal | 17 Comments

27th April 2010

Skinny dreams meets skinny reality

by Rachel

I have never liked running.  Before I lost weight, I thought I didn’t like running simply because I was physically unable to run and believed that once I lost the weight, I’d magically become one of those cross country runners sporting an armband iPod and gloating about my runner’s high.  Fast forward one year and 175 pounds lost.  I weigh 125 pounds, wear a size four and guess what?  I still can’t run more than a mile before dissolving into a huffing and puffing red-faced mess.

MSNBC has a great story out today on people who’ve discovered that the skinny dream is just that… a dream. The story profiles three women, all of whom thought their lives would be just fabulous once they lost the pesky weight holding them back, and discovered that weight loss isn’t a panacea for life’s problems nor has it made them a better person.  Self-described “accomplished fat girl” Jen Larsen had a master’s degree in creative writing, a great job working in an academic library, a great boyfriend and a slew of friends.

By age 32, she believed she’d be writing a book, “doing something important,” she says. The only thing holding her back, she thought, was weight.  “Not so,” she now says. “The only thing that’s different is the size of my ass.”

Larsen thought skinny came with a mega-boost of self confidence. And a huge dollop of happiness. She thought she’d be dynamic and brave and ready to take on the world, just because she was thin.

“I think fat people are sold a fantasy, and then get no support in the reality, because we’re simply supposed to be grateful that we’re no longer fat,” Larsen says.

…In a culture obsessed with BMIs, the tears and triumphs of “The Biggest Loser,” and the latest-greatest surefire way to lose weight and keep it off, Larsen’s take on her new lean physique sounds like heresy. But weight loss chat rooms, forums and blogs are filled with people who are wondering why their newfound svelte selves and stellar metabolic profiles are leaving them ever-so-slightly disappointed.

Jennette Fulda, a.k.a. PastaQueen, was a national merit scholar, her high school class valedictorian and graduated with highest honors from college — all accomplished while weighing 372 pounds.   “You can be fat, accomplished and pretty darn happy.  I think people forget that,” she said.  ““I guess we all really think that losing weight gets rid of our issues. But in so many ways we’re still the very same person, not that skinny woman we dreamed about.”

It’s something that Darliene Howell, 55,  knows all too well.  A yo-yo dieter since the age of 6, Howell says she’s tried “every diet on the planet” and has counted calories, points, carbs and proteins “until I thought I was losing my mind,” she says. She finally lost 100 pounds on a liquid diet.  “I’ve weighed 150, 250 and even 300, and each time I lost weight I thought I was going to live the skinny dream,” she says. “My life was supposed to have changed. I thought I was supposed to be more popular, more attractive, if only I were thinner. Well, that didn’t happen.”

I think many of us suffer from the delusion that is the “skinny dream” — that if we just lose weight, everything else will follow.  We will become vastly more interesting, creative, outgoing, self-assured.  Guys will beat down our doors laden with bouquets of roses and people much cooler than ourselves will clamor to be our friends.  We’ll finally land the dream job we’ve always wanted, become a veritable social butterfly, get the guy and live happily ever after on that thin, thin cloud of delusion.

Reality check: weight loss, in itself, is unlikely to bring about any of the above.

I’ve been morbidly obese and I’ve been on the low end of the “normal” range of BMI and have now settled somewhere comfortably in between.  Before my weight loss, I also suffered from the delusion that my weight and weight alone was the only thing holding me back from becoming the person I wanted to be.  I discovered all too quickly that happiness can’t be found in the junior’s department. If you read the so-called weight loss success stories, they’re chock full of just how awful and miserable an existence life was before weight loss and how fabulous it is after.   And yet, I have never understood (or fully believed) these people who lose weight and lay claim to some newly found self-confidence that has just laid buried beneath fat, like a diamond waiting to be mined.  If anything, I was even more insecure after my weight loss than before!  I still battled the same self-doubts and fears.  I still had the same old fat girl self-image.  I still had the same money problems.  I still had the same unresolved family issues.    The only thing that changed was that I went from being morbidly obese to morbidly afraid of regaining the weight.

This is not to say that weight loss did not change my life in any significant way.  I sincerely believe I would never have landed a contract job with a major computer corporation had I weighed 100, 75 or even 50 pounds more than what I weighed at the time.  Sales clerks, professors and classmates and even some family members treated me more nicely than before.  It was easier to find fashionable and affordable clothes in my size.  My personality even changed after my transformation to the point where my sister, the person to whom I was closest to at the time, remarked that I was like a new person.  It wasn’t that weight loss freed some skinny girl inside me clawing her way out, but rather that it took a while to reconcile my split identities between living Life as a Fat Person and Life as a Thin Person.  For a while, I felt like an imposter infiltrating a thin insider club, a fat girl masquerading in a thin suit, laying claim to a title I had no right to claim.  I always thought I wanted to be part of them, the Thin People, but after my weight loss, I found myself literally disfiguring myself with body piercings in an attempt to salvage some element of my Fat Girl identity, to show that I wasn’t one of them.

Although I struggled with my identity, being thin did not grant me membership to some exclusive club in which being thin absolves you of all your problems.  If anything, the compulsive calorie-counting, over-exercising and general obsession with my weight only created more problems and took away from the time I could have dedicated instead to facing the existing problems I had, like, oh, resolving longstanding issues with my mother, my poor self-esteem and dead-end job situation.  And surprise… once I committed to face the real problems head-on, my issues with food and  body also began to resolve themselves.  

How about you?  Did you (or do you still) suffer from the delusion of thinness?  How did your skinny dreams measure up to reality?

posted in Body Image, Mental Health, Personal, Rachel, Recovery | 41 Comments

21st April 2010

The perils of perfectionism

by Rachel

I’m in the fourth week of an advanced dSLR community class and our first assignment — five images of patterns, manual setting — is due tonight.  There’s about 35 people of all skill levels in the class and we’re going to spend the evening sharing and critiquing everyone’s work.  I really wish now that I had waited to take the class — I’m hopelessly busy with about 20 different projects and while I don’t lack in motivation, I lack the time to shoot really well-crafted images to my standards.  I was getting a little stressed last night trying to cram in as many shots as I could before class tonight and I was trying to explain the madness to my husband.  “You don’t understand,” I said.  “Not only do I have to take five images of patterns, but they have to be the five best images of patterns in the whole class!”

I admit it… I’m a highly competitive person, prone to excess, beholden to the Draconian voice in my head that compels me to be the very best at practically every undertaking I attempt.  When I was in undergrad, it wasn’t enough to make the Dean’s list — I had to be the very best and cleverest student that professor had ever had (which probably led to my unfortunate typecast as Suck-Up).  My type A personality certainly paired well with my eating disorder.  No matter that it had taken more than 20 years to put the weight on, I wanted it off immediately and was hellbent on achieving that goal, health be damned.  I constantly pushed myself to run faster, starve longer, burn just 100 calories more — all the while excelling in my undergraduate studies while holding down a full-time job.  Even now, years into recovery, I still feel a twinge — okay, more like a maddening compulsion — to outdo my sister-in-law (the diet junk food-munching Weight-Watcherer), who’s recently taken up running.  And I don’t even like running!

I’ve self-analyzed my perfectionist and competitive nature with perhaps more scrutiny than Freud ever dedicated to his psycho-babble-sexual theories, and while it may be, in large part, simply my DNA-encoded personality, part of it stems from being growing up a fat kid.  The taunts and jeers started in late grade school, picked up steam in junior high and become a daily battleground throughout my high school years.  My mom used to be an EMT and I was always fascinated by the stories she’d tell of emergency rescues (I later became an EMT myself), so in middle school, I poured through her EMT training book, absorbing multi-syllabic words I could barely pronounce, let alone knew what they meant, and when other kids would begin to harass me for my weight, I’d throw back insults that often left them scratching their heads in puzzlement.  Even with my personal history of more clumsy gaffes and embarrassing blunders than I care to remember, I still have a kind of phobia at being laughed at and it’s this crippling fear, I believe, that lies at the heart of my maddening need for perfectionism.

I’ve come a long way in easing this self-imposed compulsion since entering into recovery for anorexia and bulimia.  One of my greatest triumphs, in fact, is that I graduated with my master’s degree only cum laude, and not summa or magna cum laude.  Yeah, yeah… I can see some of you rolling your eyes in bemusement, but for me those few tenths of a point meant the difference between a complete nervous breakdown and mere over-exhaustion.  When I interviewed for my job several years ago, the news editor asked why I would make a good reporter.  “That’s easy,” I said with a laugh.  “I’ve embarrassed myself so many times now that I have no problems talking to anyone.”  And it’s true — I’ve been able to plunge into my work in even the strangest of situations without that familiar paralyzing fear of appearing stupid or ridiculous. These days, whenever that need to be perfect jackknifes in my brain, I try to stop myself, take a few deep breaths, and mentally repeat, “I do not have to be the best.  I do not have to be the best.  I do not have to be the best.“  Some days I even believe it.

Okay, so I’m undecided as to the last two images I should share.  Again, the assignment was to take five manual setting images of patterns.  Here’s the three I’ve decided on (click for larger res images).

And then I have to pick two more from among these images.  Which ones do you suggest?

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

posted in Eating Disorders, Personal, Rachel, Recovery | 22 Comments

9th April 2010

Feel Good Friday: Serendipity, online

by Rachel

So, last year I posted about a pretty cool reunion I had a role in making happen.  I was procrastinating in writing a paper by perusing the auction site www.shopgoodwill.com and stumbled across an original oil portrait of a striking blonde woman signed and dated by the artist Paul Wesley Arndt.  The auction was ending in less than two days and was at a ridiculously low price and so I googled the artist, thinking perhaps I might bid and end up winning the Antiques Road Show lottery.  Instead I came across an inquiry made four years ago by a woman who appeared to be searching for the very same portrait — it was of her mother, who died in 1995 and was her best friend.  I tried contacting the woman, but the email address she had given was no longer valid.  To make a long story short, I used my google-fu and finally found her by way of her daughter just in time for them to bid on the auction and win it.

My husband has been after me for months to submit the story to The Story, an hour-long radio program aired on NPR.  A few weeks ago, I finally took the time to type it all out and submitted it shortly before I went to bed at midnight.  The Story is a popular program among NPR listeners and I assumed it must get lots of submissions, so I was quite surprised when I got a call from a very interested producer before 11 a.m. the next morning!  We’ve been trying to schedule studio time for me and Evelyn, the woman who I reconnected with the painting, and now after a few cancellations due to host Dick Gordon attending a funeral and the holidays, we’re finally recording today!  The producer told me that it takes about 3 days or so to edit, so I expect that it might air sometime within the next week or two.  I’ll be sure to let everyone know and post a link to it when it’s archived on The Story’s website.

The digital age has spelled the death knell of serendipity, argue some, but it actually engendered my story.  Does anyone else have any stories of serendipitous happenings or coincidences, online or not?  Oh, and any tips on how NOT to sound like a bumbling idiot on-air?

posted in Personal, Rachel | 11 Comments

20th March 2010

Off-topic, but read it anyway: Spring!

by charlynn

Today it is the first day of spring, and for those of us in the northern hemisphere, it is the season of renewal. (For those of you in the southern hemisphere, please humor me and think back to a few months ago. ;) ) Few things make me feel as alive as when I see the first sprouts of green grass, fresh leaves, and colorful flowers taking place of the lifeless landscape that’s dominated for the last six months. Never mind that it’s not even 30 degrees where I live today (thanks, Arctic chill that blew in yesterday). Even in my frigid corner of the world, the snow is melting and the days are warmer; we’re expecting a high of 54 tomorrow, so I’m not completely living in a fantasy. Surviving yet another wretched winter gives me hope, and in celebration, I make a list of at least five things I want to accomplish during the spring season each year. This helps me feel like I’m kicking ass and making the most of my favorite months of the year. Here’s my list for spring 2010:

  1. Survive Latin 1020, by far the hardest class I have taken and must pass in order to graduate this summer. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m hanging in there, and I’m writing this here as a reminder of how important it is that I keep working hard until the very end.
  2. Upon passing Latin 1020, my next goal is graduating this summer! Even though I technically won’t finish until the end of summer semester, I still get to walk in the ceremony this May. I’m stoked.
  3. Before my family comes to see me walk, I will give my house a thorough spring cleaning. Since school started, I have only been doing the housework that’s been absolutely necessary. I’d rather not have them all think that we’ve been living like slobs since we’ve moved here…even if that really is the truth. :P
  4. I will listen to music, take photographs, write, and satiate my creative drive by making time for even the smallest of things that will inspire me every day. Carpe diem.
  5. I will consume fewer aspartame-laden drinks and, darn it, drink WATER instead! I have difficulty with this, despite my hunch that aspartame is what has been killing off my short-term memory in the nine years I have been drinking it.
  6. I plan on visiting my pal Bro at the Casper Humane Society whenever I am in town. Here’s the backstory: On the same day I started volunteering there five years ago, Bro and his sister, Sis, were also new to the place. They were scared kittens that had been abandoned at the front door. I watched them transform into confident, trusting, sociable cats in the months that followed. I fell in love with them both. I even considered taking Bro and Sis home, but as you probably know, Teddy ultimately stole my heart. Sis eventually found a permanent home and I was so excited when I thought Bro’s day had finally come last year, only to see him back at the shelter the following week; he had been urinating all over the place in his new home. Staff thought it was a behavioral issue at first, but it was later discovered that Bro had kidney problems that were only going to become worse. Now it looks like he will spend the rest of his days at the shelter. He has less than a year of life left and must stay in the quarantine room because he’s on prescription food only he can eat. It warmed my heart when Patrick and I visited him last weekend and he recognized us; we hadn’t seen him in months, but he clearly remembered who we were. And, despite a terminal illness, he was his usual perky self and appreciated our company. The staff is doing everything they can to make Bro’s last days as comfortable as possible, so all that’s left is letting him know how much I love him.
  7. On a lighter and much more superficial note, my last goal is to take a risk with my hair, i.e., a haircut. I will, just once, not settle for a trim on my same-length long hair in hopes of finding a new haircut that totally rocks on me. Uhh…suggestions are welcome since I have no idea where I am going with this. Ideas must be low-maintenance yet fabulous. :)

So, am I the only person who does this as a way of welcoming spring? Even if you don’t make a list, what sorts of goals have you stored in your mind as a way of embracing the season?

posted in Charlynn, Personal | 7 Comments

10th March 2010

Totally off-topic, but totally cute!

by Rachel

So, I mentioned in yesterday’s post that we were going to start fostering rabbits soon.  I joined a few local organizations that takes in rabbits and picked up my first foster from the county shelter today — a black and white speckled mini-lop I named Stella… and her three babies!  Stella and her mate were surrendered to the shelter last week and shelter workers were quite surprised to see three little balls of fuzz born on Monday, which may have had something to do with why she was surrendered to begin with.   Two of the babies are white with  black-ringed eyes and spots and one is a rich chestnut color; all are as big as a hamster.   I’m trying to think of names for them, but since we won’t be able to determine their genders for another two months or so, they have to be gender-neutral names.  I also have a peculiarity in that I have to give my pets proper names (side note: I got my first bunny at about age 11 and named him Snuggles.  I  always suspected this to be the reason for his cranky disposition).  Any suggestions?

posted in Personal, Rachel | 20 Comments

9th March 2010

The selflessness and selfishness of altruism

by Rachel

Meet Stella.  She’s the gorgeous bloodhound who spent an hour happily slobbering on a bone in the backseat of my car on Saturday as part of an animal rescue transport operation I volunteer with.  An owner-surrender to an animal shelter in northern Ohio, Stella eventually reached her destination later that night with a nonprofit bloodhound rescue group in Tennessee, who will train her to work with law enforcement.

I’m passionate about many causes, but grad school really ate into any free time I had to volunteer the past couple years.  After I graduated last year, I, in typical ADD fashion, wanted to immediately throw myself in an avalanche of causes.  Part of successfully living with ADD is realizing that your zeal and enthusiasm often exceeds the grasp of your limitations and so these past few months I’ve thought long and hard about what it is that I’m most passionate about.  Yes, I’m very concerned about poverty and homelessness issues and this blog is evidence of my commitment to eating disorder awareness and promotion of healthy body images, but what I’ve been most passionate about since an early age is animal rescue.  Our house was always overflowing with both kids (there were four of us) and animals and our pets were all very much beloved members of our family.  I rescued my first animal at the age of six — a box turtle slowly meandering across the street I lived on who found a new home in the woods behind our house.  My mom worked as a 911 dispatcher at a police department and through it we adopted a black lab puppy some cruel boys tried to kill by cinching it in a plastic garbage bag and throwing in the dumpster (Bear lived to the ripe old age of 15), and a Irish Setter mix puppy, abandoned with his litter mates in the snow (all but one of the seven puppies found homes within the department).

Our family menagerie has included cats, dogs, fish, hamsters, rabbits and even a trio of baby Lovebirds I tried to nurse after their mother died.  A family who lived down the street from my childhood home had a mini-farm with cows, goats, chickens, a turkey and even burros and they’d hire me to “farm-sit” whenever they went on vacation.  The hours I spent there at the farm, laying in the hayloft with only the quiet cooing of speckled chickens insulating their eggs, are among my favorite childhood memories.  My mother sometimes referred to me as Dr. Doolittle for all the time I spent with both our critters and various wildlife and indeed, as a fat kid who was taunted and harassed virtually every day of the school year, I often preferred the company of animals to that of other kids.

Just months after moving into my first apartment, I defied my no-pets lease and rescued two kittens I’d found on the side of the road.  Word must have spread, because I was soon “found” by a succession of stray cats, none of whom I could resist.  A few years later my eating disorder struck and I went vegetarian, originally because it offered me a convenient excuse to exclude large swaths of foods from my diet.  Later, I saw a flier for a local Earthsave chapter that held monthly potlucks and was amazed to find that there were actually other vegetarians in Porkopolis.  It was then that I began to learn about the horrors of animal slaughter and the often brutal and inhumane treatment of the animals and I soon realized that I couldn’t very well say that I was for animal rights so long as I continued to eat them.  As I learned more about factory farming and animal abuses and progressed in my own personal eating disorder recovery, I became an ethical vegetarian, a lifestyle I remain firmly committed to today.

Our furfamily now consists of two rabbits, six cats and a foster-who-am-I-kidding-I’ll-probably-keep-cat and I will be picking up several bunnies this week to foster until I help them find their forever homes.  We recently got involved with rescue animal transporting, which some have called kind of like an Underground Railroad network for dogs.  The way it works is this: dogs are rescued from high-kill shelters and/or abuse and neglect and transported by volunteers to shelters or adoptive homes waiting for them.  States like Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia are considered non-adoptive states for the high numbers of unwanted/abandoned animals, so sometimes these animals can only find temporary or permanent homes in regions like the Northeast where there are more adopters than adoptees.  The transports are broken down into legs of about 60-90 miles one-way and volunteer transporters — or pet taxi drivers –  then hand off  the animal to the volunteer taking the next leg of the journey.  Sometimes these travels can be two- and even three-day long events.  We transported three dogs a couple Saturdays ago that were coming from the Midwest and going to Canada!

Volunteerism is supposed to be altruistic, undertaken selflessly in the name of helping others without the expectation of personal gain, but I have to admit that I’m a selfish volunteer.  What do I get out of animal rescue?  Joy. Pride. Laughter.  Confidence.  For me, helping animals is not only the right thing to do but I find the gratitude of a fast wagging tail and sloppy kiss rewarding beyond measure.  I get to meet lots of like-minded people who don’t think I’m crazy for the number of cats I keep and get the chance to indulge my dog fix (I can’t have one of my own as our lot isn’t suitable for a dog and Brandon is adamant that he doesn’t want one).  I also do rescue work as a tribute to all the pets who have immeasurably enriched my own life and for those I was unable to save.  But perhaps  most of all, helping animals helps me feel better about myself.  Knowing that you’re needed, that you’re making a difference even if only in the life of one dog or cat is one of the biggest self-esteem boosts I’ve ever found and the animals never gripe that you’re doing it wrong.

How about you?  Are you involved with any causes, organizations or activities that you find enriching and rewarding and help you feel more accepting of yourself?

posted in Personal, Rachel, Vegetarianism | 12 Comments

3rd March 2010

Beautiful Blogger award

by Rachel

The-F-Word has been awarded the “Beautiful Blogger Award” by Andrea Owens at Live Your Ideal Life.  Thanks, Andrea!  To claim this award I have to regift it to 15 blogs I love and read, so drumroll…. the awards go to:

  1. Big Fat Deal
  2. Frozen Oranges
  3. Feed Me!
  4. 5 Resolutions
  5. A Celebration of Curves
  6. Blogxygen
  7. Body Love Wellness
  8. Fat Nutritionist
  9. ED Bites
  10. Life With Cake
  11. Oh, the Profanity!
  12. Weighing In
  13. Pretty Pear
  14. Operation Beautiful
  15. AnyBody

And to claim this prestigious award I also have to tell you seven things about myself, so I’ll try to tell you a few things you might not already know.  Without further adieu…

  1. I have a phobia of bugs.  Ladybugs, ants and even some spiders are okay, but most other bugs send me climbing a chair and shrieking for my husband like a 1950s housewife.  My sister even has to walk me through the bug house at the zoo, eyes closed, before reaching the butterfly house at the end.
  2. I am obsessed with plucking my eyebrows.  I didn’t start until my early 20s when a bunch of women I worked with talked about eyebrow waxes and I decided to get one on a whim.  I have naturally bushy eyebrows and the contouring made a big difference in the way I looked and my self-esteem, but it’s become somewhat of a stress reliever for me now.  My husband even got me a pair of eco-tweezers the other year for Christmas.
  3. I have ADD, which is to say that I lose my car keys and cell phone on a weekly basis.  But I can remember weird things like phone numbers and birthdates with aplomb.  I still remember the phone numbers of some of my childhood friends from 15 years ago.
  4. I absolutely despise skirts and dresses.  The only occasion of me wearing a dress (since childhood, that is) was on my wedding day and it’s the only dress I own.  Give me a nice pants suit with low heels any day.
  5. I once slept beneath a freeway overpass with a homeless camp I befriended and it was a better night’s sleep than I’ve had in some hotels.
  6. My name is Rachel and I have a book-buying obsession.  It’s not nearly so bad as it once was, but we still venture to the Half Price Bookstore a couple times a month to indulge my obsession.  I have stacks upon towering stacks of books in my office, boxed up in crates in the basement, and I’m loathe to part with 98 percent of them.
  7. They say that the average American will have eaten 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before graduating from high school.  I can count on one hand the number I ate.  I hated peanut butter as a kid and it wasn’t until my early 20s when the college cafe was out of celery sticks and Ranch dressing and substituted peanut butter instead that I discovered I liked it.  I still don’t like PB&Js, but I’ll have a spoonful of peanut butter every so often with apples as a snack.

posted in Administrative, Personal | 3 Comments

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