Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Cheese Grates It: Goals for 2020

Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

I refuse to do New Years' resolutions. Those always imply crap like "New You in 52," which, of course, means diet culture. I raised the middle finger to diet culture closing in on ten years ago, and I'm damn well not sorry. I suppose it will be a battle every day of my life till the day I die to be treated as a human being without buying into the same shit that never worked for me in 33 years of yo-yo dieting and trying to hate myself thin, but it's a battle that I will fight.

Here are my big fat goals for 2020.

To format and release my first non-erotic published work in 13 years. Ketil and Yitzy's Adventure in the Xura Dream House is finished. I am currently in the process of editing and formatting it. It will be published in January of 2020.

To start publishing my poetry. I am currently formatting a book called The Poetic Rejects of 2019, which will, as the name implies, contain all my rejected poems from the past year. It may also contain some rejected prose, depending on the length of the piece.

To continue to submit works here and there, now and then, all the while giving no fucks whether or not they are accepted or published.

To continue working on and publishing my own stories, regardless of whether or not anyone else likes or reads them.

Basically, to survive another year.

Oh, I do have one resolution.

I resolve that I will never again do anything like the Battle of the Poems.

That was really stupid of me, and I'm dreadfully sorry.

Best wishes to you, whatever your goals are in 2020. 

You are welcome to have resolutions, but if they are diet-y resolutions, I don't want to hear about them any more than I want to hear about your bowel movements.

I guess I have one more resolution.

I resolve to keep bringing the snark in 2020. It is my goal to make the ghost of Ambrose Bierce proud.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

I still miss these fuckers. Just sayin'.

Friday, December 27, 2019

The Cheese Grates It + Fat Friday: Is It Worth It?

Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

I approached this post with trepidation and end my experience with applause because the author is that rare person who takes a position similar to Health At Every Size.

I became bulimic at twelve. My thyroid burned itself out in my early teens. I had PCOS (I say "had" because I've gone through menopause and now my ovaries are atrophied so I don't think it's an issue anymore.) I struggled with yo-yo dieting, orthorexia, and trying to hate myself thin for 33 years. None of it made me thin, it just made me hate myself. I had to stop dieting so I wouldn't gain more weight because every time I lost weight it always came back with friends. I can tell you from personal experience that it is NOT worth it.

These days I won't let people get away with being jerks. This includes medical professionals. Think what you want about my appearance, but you are not entitled to be abusive about it.

I still struggle with my abusive life partner, ED (Eating Disorder.) People don't believe me, but I am actually very good at restricting food. I went through a couple of days this past week where I refused to eat all day. Considering that I have diabetes, this is not a good thing.

This time of year is rough because so many people take up the rallying cry of "new you in 52," "I'm going on Keto (or whatever diet is currently in vogue)," or other such crap that I don't want to hear about any more than I want to hear about their bowel movements.

Thank you so much for being a voice of reason.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Thursday, December 26, 2019

FOAD Thursday: 21 "Harmless" Comments

Found in this post on The Mighty.

1. “There are so many people worse off than you.”

I heard this one a lot. One of the times I really remember was after our neighbor had died at 35 from leukemia, leaving behind an 8-year-old son. I know now that my bipolar disorder onset when I hit puberty. Back then, I was just seen as weird and hypersensitive. I was distressed because a fellow I liked didn't even know I existed. As the coroner took our neighbor's body away, my mother said to me: "there, you see, you don't have anything to be moping around about. Just think how much worse "Sandy" has it. She just lost her husband!

2. “You’re just like your mother/father.”

I think my mother may have said this to me at times, but it wasn't a real sticking point.

3. “You’re too young to be going through that.”

I heard this a lot. "You're too young to be tired all the time." "You're too young to be this sad." Turns out my thyroid was killing itself and I had a major mental illness coming on. So, I guess I wasn't.

4. “You’re pretty for a ‘big’ girl.”

When I was younger, I would get the "you have a pretty face. If you could just lose weight..." comments. Now that I'm older, people don't even bother with the "pretty face" thing. Maybe they can see by my chronic bitch face that I'd rip them a new one.

5. “Why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?”

My brother was always the favored child. Since he was a boy, he didn't have to do chores. He always showed more promise.

6. “I’m sorry your feelings got hurt.”

The day my father died, my mother was trying to think of a song that he liked. When I said which one she might have been thinking up she told me to stop talking. I sat there with my hand on my father's arm looking at her like "what the actual fuck?" She said, "I'm sorry you got your feelings hurt." I just muttered, "Yeah, whatever." My father was dead, and I was her verbal punching bag at that point. My phone wasn't working properly and she had left two voice mails before I realized she had called. In the second one, she informed me that my father had passed, that I needed to get to the hospice center, and followed this up with: "you're never there for me." 

7. “You need an attitude adjustment.”

Usually, this took the form of "stop looking for attention."

8. “You need to try harder.”

"Stop being so lazy."

"If you'd just try harder..."

9. “Don’t be selfish.”

Ah, yes, I'm well acquainted with this old chestnut.

10. “Are you sure you want to be [occupation]? That’s a lot of hard work.”

This one too.

11. “Everyone gets sad sometimes.”

I felt like saying, "well, 'everyone' doesn't want to kill themselves." But I didn't say it, because I didn't want to end up in the psych ward again. That place was hell, and I made a resolution that I would literally die before going back there. I've kept that resolution for the past 38 years. I have had some really bad crashes, but I will die before I ever set foot in a psych ward again.

12. “OK.”

Usually followed by "so, what do you want me to do about it?"

13. “Well, life isn’t fair.”

I'm very familiar with this gem.

14. “It’s all in your head.”

Whenever an anxiety attack would come knocking.

15. “I’m disappointed in you.”

My family was perpetually disappointed in me.

16. “You were an accident.”

I never heard this, but my mother did tell me that she never wanted children.

17. “You won’t be able to get a job if you don’t get good grades.”

I generally got Bs with a few As and the occasional C thrown in, so I didn't tend to hear this. I did hear that I wouldn't be able to get a job if employers knew that I'd ever seen a psychiatrist, so I needed to keep that shit a closely guarded secret.

18. “I don’t want to be seen with you looking like that.”

My clothing choices tended to be a source of contention.

19. “You have no idea what it’s really like to struggle.”

I know this one well.

20. “We were doing fine financially before you kids came along.”

They never said this directly, but I always felt like I was a burden.

21. “You’re so shy.”

This took the form of "you're too shy," followed by the spectacular advice that I should just be more outgoing. These days I can make small talk with clerks and such, but I never approach anyone I don't know unless I have to.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Sly's Tackle It Tuesday Holiday Edition + Inner Champion Workbook: Chapter 9: Find Strength in Adversity

Disclosure: If readers purchase a copy of the book through the above link, I earn a small commission from Amazon.

Today's post is written by my social activist alter-ego, Sly Fawkes.

Lessons I’ve learned from challenging experiences:
When it comes to people who are hateful towards me, I've learned that it really isn't me, it's them. Note that this does not prevent the things they say from hurting or stop me from going into a downward spiral of self-loathing in every case. However, these days I am more likely to consider the source. 

If you feel the need to say crappy things about another person, it says more about you than it says about that person. I am not talking about criticisms of bad behavior, I am talking about ad hominem attacks and negative stereotypes. 

dumb blonde
lazy welfare recipient
lazy fatty
lazy (insert race here)
they could just try harder
at least I'm not...
like a girl
maybe if they laid off the cheeseburgers
it's for their own good
users are losers
just get a job
if they just tried they could (insert oversimplified action here)
if they just didn't look so gay people wouldn't pick on them
godless (person who doesn't worship as I do)
disgusting bum
looks too healthy to be sick
probably faking their illness to get out of things
needs to just be more positive
was probably asking for it

Have you ever said any of these things?

Then your New Year's resolution should be to stop being judgmental and hateful. You don't know what anyone else is going through or what conditions or circumstances led them to be where they are now.

Even "if I can do it anyone can" is no excuse for being horrible to someone else. No, not "anyone can." Everyone's circumstances are different. 

Five ways I can positively channel negative energy in my life:

1. You think I'm bad at the things I do? Fine, you are welcome to think that. I'm going to do them anyway.

2. Try to educate through action. I hate the fact that damn near everything I read has to have its Moment of Size-Shaming, which immediately lowers my opinion of the work and its author. It doesn't make me popular, but I call this out wherever I see it. I also try to put my money where my mouth is. I try to have at least one large character in every story who makes a positive contribution. Actions rather than appearances are what makes a person good or bad. Fat is not synonymous with slovenly or lazy. Small is not synonymous with weak. Old is not synonymous with incapable. 

3. Realize that seeking approval from others doesn't work. Anyone who needs me to be perfect or they will ostracize me is not someone I want to keep company with.

4. Tell my story so that others who are being bullied and ostracized realize that they aren't alone.

5. Engage in activism. Try to encourage change in the way people like me are treated. Call out the use of words like "obese," which are used to stigmatize, shame, and silence larger people. 

Obese is a word used to excuse poor treatment of larger patients, to shame them into silence, and to practice lazy medicine, attributing any malady the patient reports to their adipose tissue. This attitude results in dead patients, and I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that.

Ellen Maud Bennett was a 64-year-old Canadian woman. She had been feeling ill for years, but every time she went to a doctor to try and find out what was wrong, they told her that if she just lost weight, she would feel better. When a doctor finally took her seriously, it was discovered that she had stage 4 ovarian cancer. She died a short time later.

Ovarian cancer is extremely treatable in the early stages. If doctors had listened to Ellen instead of dismissing her because of her physique, she would probably still be alive.

Ellen did not want her death to be in vain. In her obituary, she called out the lazy and bigoted practices which resulted in her untimely demise.

Personally, I think that one Ellen is worth a million sanctimonious medical "professionals" half-assing their way through patient "care." Either treat your patients--all of your patients--with respect or find another profession. 

Sometimes doing the right thing means distancing yourself from people or ideologies who refuse to treat you with respect. I have stopped calling myself a feminist after 46 years of proudly bearing the title. I began identifying as a feminist in 1973 when I was eight years old and sick to death of being told what I couldn't do because I was a girl.

Feminism, however, has changed a lot since then. These days, it seems more and more that feminism is only for women who meet a certain standard of attractiveness, and that certainly doesn't include fat women. In fact, most feminists will tell you that they refute size activism because it "promotes obesity and unhealthy lifestyles." Meanwhile, all fat people, but fat women, in particular, experience great difficulty in obtaining compassionate and competent healthcare. Women's concerns already tend to be dismissed by a sexist healthcare system as "hysterical." Fat women are seen as hysterical, lazy, and stupid.

Our current healthcare system literally kills people due to size bias. This bias, by the way, kills thin people too. A thin person is automatically assumed to be healthy, which leads to health problems being overlooked. Medical "professionals" believe that fat people would all be healthy if they'd just lose weight, thus their real health concerns are overlooked. 

Model and photographer unknown

The fact that fat women are seen by modern feminism as unworthy of activism to improve and in some cases save their lives means that modern feminism is unworthy of my support. This does not mean that I will no longer fight for all women's rights to equal treatment and opportunities. It simply means that I will no longer identify as a feminist while doing so. My actions may be feminist A.F., but until feminism embraces all women, including the round ones and those deemed "unattractive" in other ways, then feminism and I must part ways.

Sly wishes you happy holidays, be you thick or thin, and hopes that one day we can find more reasons to embrace rather than ostracize one another.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright juliahenze @123rf.com

Monday, December 23, 2019

About Me Monday + Inspire Me Monday + Inner Champion Workbook Chapter 8: Try New Things

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Something new I want to learn about or try:
I discovered the vegan recipe book by Chef Allyn Raifstanger through the Online Book Club. I have been wanting to start incorporating more vegetarian meals into my meal plans for years. I would never be able to be a vegan. I like cheese and omelets too much. It is also unlikely that I will ever be completely vegetarian. However, I would like to eventually eat more plant-based than meat-based meals.

I can cook, but the truth is, I'm a lazy cook without a lot of patience. Also, most vegan recipes leave me flat when it comes to flavor and hungry an hour later.

The person who reviewed this recipe book via Online Book Club tried some of the recipes. When she said that the "chicken" recipe she tried tasted like chicken and the author wasn't preachy about health or veganism, I knew I needed to give the book a look. I don't abide preachiness, and I don't need anyone triggering my abusive partner ED (Eating Disorder) to resurface.

My plan:
I am going to write down the ingredients I need and try the recipes in the book. I am also going to try the Every Plate delivery service. The ingredients come in the box with enough for two people and I don't have to go shopping for them. As I told you, I'm lazy. However, not all of it is laziness. I do have real problems with fatigue.

Every Plate is a lot less expensive than other boxed meal plans, making it a good option for families on a budget, which is pretty much everyone these days!

A routine or habit that I need to change:
My all-or-nothing thinking. My worst habit is to immediately tell myself how something will NOT work, and it always spirals into telling myself what a garbage excuse for a human being I am.

How I will replace the negative routine or habit with a positive one:
I don't know if I ever will entirely. However, I have to continue combating this thinking by telling my lousy inner critic to take a long walk off a short pier with raw steaks tied to them into a lake of hungry sharks and offering counter-points to her negative arguments.

This isn't the same as jumping into a potentially life-altering situation feet first without examining the potential repercussions. It simply means not telling myself that I'm trash for considering something in the first place.

How will this change make me a stronger and happier person?
Getting the Inner Jackwagon to shut up more often than not would help give me the confidence to make potentially positive changes. Believing in myself a little more couldn't hurt.

Also, regardless of what the rest of you may feel about reincarnation, it's something I consider to be a possibility. I don't want to drag all this negativity about myself into another lifetime! Talk about hauling around a psychic ball and chain.

Like the tattoo on my left outer calf says, born to lose, live to win. Thank you, Lemmy!

Before anyone decides that this is an appropriate moment to pop off about how much you hate tattoos, allow me to shut that nonsense down before it starts. I'm not forcing you to get a tattoo. This is my leg upon which I voluntarily got a tattoo that has personal meaning for me. I was 51 years old when I got this tattoo, thus, well and away old enough to decide whether such a thing was appropriate FOR ME.

You are welcome to not like or want tattoos. You are not welcome to tell me what I should or shouldn't like or want.

Seriously, I've had people start railing about their dislike of tattoos on a post where I was sharing a picture of a tattoo I had done in honor of a person who was terminally ill and who has since passed on. It was my first tattoo, and I was (and still am) quite proud of it. The person who felt it necessary to display their rudeness was, no doubt, trying to show everyone how stainless and pure they were by not having any of those icky tattoos. From my standpoint, they only managed to show their backside. Don't be that person.

Free Use Image by Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay
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Good Stuff For Monday: Win Free Vanilla and More

Disclosure: I am an independent affiliate for Watkins Products

This post originated on the Good Stuff from Grover blog. However, I am sharing it with some of my other sites in case the opportunity may appeal to readers there as well.

Howdy, Grover Gang! It's the Ornery Old Lady here with a great giveaway and opportunity for my U.S. and Canadian readers, with apologies to my readers in other countries.

Every month, Watkins Products gives away $100 worth of extracts and spices. Wouldn't it be wonderful to win a free bottle of vanilla?

Watkins Products have been around since 1868. Choose from high-quality spices and extracts for cooking, grooming and home remedies made with pure and natural ingredients, and household products without harsh chemicals. These products are never tested on animals.

Unlike some home businesses which have monthly sales quotas and cost an exorbitant amount to join, Watkins consultants pay only $29.95 per year for access to the training website and their own page. You don't even have to recruit anyone or sell anything ever if you don't want to. You can simply use the membership to purchase products for your household at a reduced cost. This opportunity is only open to residents of the United States and Canada.

Happy Holidays from Cie the Ornery Old Lady and the entire crew at the Grover Hotel.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Crazy Creatives Cheerleading Camp Come As You Are Party + Inner Champion Workbook Chapter 7: Find Your Why

Disclosure: If readers purchase a copy of the book through the preview link, I earn a small commission from Amazon.

Five things that make me happy:
1. My son
2. Writing
3. Doing crafts, i.e. loom knitting
4. Exploring nature
5. Learning new things

Identify why each of the above makes you happy. For example, if vacations make you happy, ask yourself why. Are they relaxing? Are they a hassle or expensive, but worth every penny because of what you learn about the world? Is it the time spent with loved ones?

Why these things bring my happiness:
1. My son is simply one of those people who was born with a desire to be kind. He wants to make the world a better place. He doesn't care about being showy or flashy. He just wants to be able to do his own thing. He is very good at working with his hands and has a great artistic eye. 

At times, I have not been as supportive of him as I should have because I misunderstood him. My parents also misunderstood him and scolded him for not "trying harder" when he would withdraw. 

Neither my son nor I were aware until he was an adult that he is on the autism spectrum. He hid a lot of his distress from overstimulation. He was born in 1990, and at that time, most people believed that autism was identified by the pronounced behaviors in people who are more severely affected, i.e. rocking and screaming. Most people believed that everyone with autism is non-verbal.

My son has since been able to reveal such characteristics as extreme sensitivity to sounds. He turns on rain sounds because otherwise, the humming from his phone charger disturbs him. I can't hear the phone charger at all. He is very aware of the sounds of water running through pipes. One time when the washing machine hose was dripping and causing water to run down the laundry room wall into the basement, he heard it all the way up on the second floor of the house and went to check it out. I was completely unaware of the problem.

I first started to suspect that my son might be autistic when he would turn the air conditioner in his room down to the coldest level while he was sleeping in order to be able to sleep under his heavy comforter even in the hottest days of summer. Weighted blankets have been shown to be very helpful in calming people with autism. Fortunately, at this point, the knowledge about the condition has increased exponentially.

However, society is often very slow to catch up. People with autism still tend to be treated as if they are retarded. People with autism are intellectually diverse. Some have severe intellectual disabilities while some have higher than average intellectual capabilities. People with autism are often pigeonholed as having lower than average intelligence because they tend not to learn well using traditional methods. 

My son, for instance, has trouble learning anything at all from a textbook. He does not have problems reading long novels that hold his interest. The best way for him to learn a new skill, however, is by observing and doing, not by reading a boring textbook and attempting to answer a long roster of meaningless questions. For instance, when he was in the EMS program, he would become extremely frustrated by trying to read and answer questions in the textbook. It did not matter if I read the text to him, he didn't absorb it and trying to just upset him. However, he took a lot away from his clinical experiences, and he did well with the medical terminology and even the pharmacy calculations which were always a sticking point for me.

Unfortunately, at that point, the community college EMS programs were hell-bent on passing no more than 75% of their participants because they wanted to prove how "tough" their standards were. I was astounded by the amount of information that students were being expected to learn in the space of one semester. I had gone through the EMS program six years prior to when my son was in it, and at the point when he entered the program, the students were expected to learn skills that were previously part of the paramedic program. 

When my son opted to drop out of the program, I fully supported him. I was aghast at the changes that had taken place. It's a damn shame too because I think that my son would have made a good EMT. However, he probably would have opted to work in an emergency room rather than on an ambulance because, like many autistic people, driving is a skill that is problematic for him.

2. Writing has always been my main way to survive. I do not think that I would last long if I didn't write. If I go for several days without writing, I start to become clinically depressed. It helps me work through problems and provides me an escape from a world that I've always found hostile to my very being.

3. Unlike writing, there is no impetus for me to have a certain level of "success" when it comes to my crafts. I just do them because I like to.

4. Exploring takes me out of my everyday environment, away from civilization, to a place that does not judge me. Connecting to the natural world renews the spirit.

5. One should not cease learning simply because one is not in school. Without new knowledge, a person stagnates. Learning because I want to learn just feels good. 

How my goals connect to the things in life that bring me joy:

1. I want to succeed because I want to be able to support my son in his own goals and give him the best life possible. He deserves this.

2. I would like to earn my living writing. However, I doubt this will ever transpire. So, I intend to write as if I were earning my living doing so, but not as if I MUST earn my living doing so. I never want it to be a chore, and I never want it to become a duty or a means to seek acceptance. When I start doing any of those things, I know I'm on the wrong track.

3. I want to be able to have enough money to do my crafts anytime I want and not have to worry that I should be doing something that's earning money instead.

4. I want to have enough money to have the time and resources to explore and take care of nature.

5. Learning is necessary to find new avenues to obtaining my goal of multiple income streams. Also, without learning, life stagnates.

Free use image from Pixabay
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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Blow Your Stack Saturday: Feminism That Turns Against Our Fat Sisters is Not Feminist

I'm still discouraged by the use of the term "promoting obesity" regarding plus-size Instagram models by a feminist activist whose work I've long respected. Regardless of whether one feels these (generally young) women are exploiting themselves or seeking attention by posing in skimpy outfits, they are not, in fact, "promoting obesity.' 

I've heard the dismaying argument that feminism should not support size activism on numerous occasions. To believe this is to believe that a person's size is "a choice" and that everyone could "easily lose weight" if they'd just "eat less and exercise more." If this grossly oversimplified belief were true, there would be virtually no fat people because everyone who could do it would do it. If this oversimplified belief were true, I would have been a willowy twig during the years that I starved myself and engaged in orthorexia. I never was.

The woman above was Ellen Maud Bennett, a 64-year-old Canadian who died from ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is highly treatable if detected during the early stages. 

Ellen had complained to doctors of feeling poorly for years. Their response was to tell her that if she lost weight, she'd feel better. When one of them finally decided to take her seriously, it was discovered that she had stage 4 ovarian cancer. She died a short time later.

Ellen did not want her death to be in vain, so she had her family include a letter in her obituary. I hope that everyone will take the time to read it, especially those "feminists" who believe that there is a certain weight at which your sisters should be disowned.

For evidence-based arguments against current size-shaming medical treatment and societal prejudices against larger people, I recommend these three blogs.

Heavyweight Heart, in particular, has discussed the racism that was instrumental in forging our adherence to the hateful and unhealthy belief that a woman can never be too rich or too thin. All of these blogs are rich with scientific evidence against the currently held beliefs that fat is the very worst thing a person can possibly be. 

There are certain conditions that are correlated with a larger body type. Correlation is not causation. Generally speaking, telling a fat patient to lose weight in order to resolve underlying health conditions is like telling a man with male pattern baldness to regrow his thinning hair in order to lessen his chances of developing prostate cancer. There is a correlation between male pattern baldness and an increased likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Thinning hair does not cause prostate cancer. The underlying issue, increased testosterone levels, increases the likelihood of developing prostate cancer.

The Minnesota Starvation Experiment reveals what happens to the body and mind when a person engages in restrictive dieting behaviors. Diets do not work long-term in more than five percent of people who engage in dieting. Most people gain the weight they lost back and then some. After many years of weight loss attempts, the possibility of dieting bringing about significant weight loss sharply decreases.

I for one do not enjoy having every waking moment of my day focused on food because I am starving. I went through thirty-three years of yo-yo dieting, and all it brought me was "failure" and weight gain. Combining dieting behaviors with multiple endocrine conditions was a sure-fire recipe for a large body type. But neither I nor anyone else should be having to defend our right to exist and be treated with common decency in the bodies we have. 

If the majority of my sisters have decided to disown me and other women like me because we are fat, or to give lip service to supporting women of all sizes but then tearing down fat women as being lazy and "glorifying obesity" for not hiding our disgusting fat selves away from the view of decent people, then feminism has let me and my fat sisters down.

I will continue fighting for what's right, but I may no longer be able to identify as a feminist while doing so. I consider this a great loss. I first began identifying as a feminist in 1973 when I was eight years old and already tired as fuck of being told that I couldn't do anything interesting with my life because I was "just a girl."

Now I'm hearing "girls can do anything guys can do, but not if they're fat."

Fuck right off with that shit.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright juliahenze @123rf.com

Blow Your Stack Saturday + Inner Champion Workbook Chapter 6: Don't Give Up

Disclosure: If readers purchase a copy of the book through the above link, I will earn a small commission from Amazon.

How can I break this goal into smaller, achievable steps?
With the publishing goal, I'm already doing this.

I think I'm actually already doing it with the Goat Yoga Studio goal as well.

I've also been thinking about purchasing condos in the Denver area (single condos, not an entire building) to use as Air BnB/rental properties. 

I've become better within the past five years about breaking my bigger goals down into smaller, achievable goals. Which would have made me about eighteen when I gained this sage wisdom in my life.

Nah, I'm just messing with you. I'll be 55 in less than two months. I honestly still wasn't very good at breaking things down into smaller goals when I was fifty. Or fifty-one. Or fifty-two. It probably started to sink in when I was 53, although I was still recovering psychologically from the fact that I could no longer do the kinds of physically demanding work that I had done all my life.

Okay, I really didn't learn the lesson until this year. I'm kind of slow on the uptake sometimes.

How will I celebrate my accomplishments along the way?
With my son. Other than him, my family has never been supportive of my dreams. I could count my real friends on one hand if you chopped off half that hand. None of them live close to me and I've never met any of them in person.

Who will I turn to for help and encouragement?
See above.

If my first attempt does not work, what is the next approach I will try?
I'll just keep going at it with the publishing. However, as I previously mentioned, I'm not doing that to try and become The Next Big Thing. I'm just doing it because I want to.

With the goat yoga studio, if the property across the way is sold, I'll switch gears and move the idea to the fall-back property, which currently has a decaying structure on the land. The basic premise is the same but the execution is somewhat different.

The Air BnB/rentals in Denver thing is something that I've been considering and doing research on for a while now. It isn't a burning desire, so if it doesn't happen it doesn't happen. It's a potential income stream, but I have to be careful not to fall into a money pit.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Carpe Diem 7 Days Before Christmas: Light

Click to Enlarge
Haiga created in Pixlr 
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Carpe Diem 7 Days before Christmas: Peace Within: A Senryu

Image by Maciej Szewczyk from Pixabay

to have peace within
heart and mind beneath the skin
the greatest of gifts

Tawddgyrch Cadwynog: The Story of Me

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

left out, cast off
never let in
by friend and kin

never take off
never begin
never will win
she never could


Friday Flashback + Fat Friday: Dreaming of a Mythos Xmahanukwanzyule

This post was originally published on 20 December 2011 on the Miskatonic University Netherworld Annex blog, which is currently in use as one of my private cataloging blogs. I am updating the post to include reactions to this lovely Xmahanukwanzyule tree, which is currently set up in President Cthulhu's office at the Miskatonic University Netherworld Annex main branch in Nightmare Heights, Netherworld.

Beavis: Hey, Butthead, that tree touched my butt!

Butthead: Beavis, that tree would kick your butt, you bumhug.

Cactus Clem: Grover, I feel a kinship with this here tree. It speaks to me!

Ghost Town Grover: When Cactus Clem says this here tree speaks to him, I'm purty sure he means that literal-like. It ain't said nary a word to me, but I kinda feel like it's watching me.

Sketch of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

So, why are we making this a Fat Friday post?

Because EVERY BODY deserves to have a Happy Xmahanukwanzyule free of body-shaming bullshit. That includes everyone from the mighty Cthulhu to YOU!

Happy Xmahanukwanzyule to All


Inner Champion Workbook Chapter 5: Take the First Step (Fat Friday Edition)

Disclosure: If you purchase a product through any of the links in this post, I receive a small commission from Amazon.

Fair warning that I am having a dark day despite it being bright and sunny outside. In fact, the bright sunniness makes the inner darkness worse. I hate when people say things like "how can you be depressed when it's so beautiful outside?" Please, if you say that sort of thing to someone who tells you they're feeling depressed, STOP! It doesn't help.

And now, on with the show.

An important goal that I’m going to achieve:

I don't know if this will happen or not, but there is an empty building across the street from my home which is zoned for commercial use. I will be able to access my 401K without penalty at 59, in other words, about four years from now. If the building is still available at that point, I am thinking about investing in it and bringing my idea to life.

"It won't be available then, Cie," you are probably saying. "Real estate goes fast!"

In the city, yes. Not out in the middle of nowhere. The house I'm currently living in had been empty since 2013.

"Well, what the hell do you think you're going to do with a building in the middle of nowhere, Cie?" you say now. 

I am thinking about opening a goat yoga studio.

"Goat yoga?" you sniff. "Who the hell is going to drive to your stupid goat yoga studio in the middle of nowhere?"

As my son observed when I postulated that I could probably pull in a few yuppies from Denver to drive out to Podunk on weekends for a goat yoga session:

"Denver? You mean Boulder."

He's right.

"Oh, and are you going to teach yoga, you disabled lardass? Who would want to take a class from you?"

No, I'm not, because I don't know the first thing about teaching yoga. I plan to put out a call for volunteer instructors, who would be allowed to record their sessions, pass out business cards, recruit people to sign up for their regular classes, and have a tip jar available.

By the way, a big rule at my studio will be this:


No fat-shaming.

No thin praising.

No encouragement of weight loss. No selling weight loss programs.

I want to provide an encouraging environment for every body. I want my studio to operate with a Health at Every Size (and every ability) approach.

Why this goal is important to me:
Most yoga classes shame larger students, behaving as if a literal monster just walked into the room when a big person comes in. It is also difficult for disabled students to find a class. I want the classes at my studio to encourage EVERY BODY, regardless of size or physical ability.

Image by filinecek from Pixabay

Why goat yoga?

Well, for those who have never heard of it, goat yoga is actually a thing. The presence of the goats is shown to have a calming and encouraging effect on those participating in the class. The goats won't have to learn the yoga poses. They'll be free to wander in and out of the classroom. And if a participant spends the entire session just playing with the goats, that's perfectly fine! Basically, the goats are therapy animals.

What has been preventing me from taking the first step?
Lack of access to funds.

How can I remove these obstacles or work around them?
Currently, I'm just waiting for four years and hoping nobody buys the place in the meantime. I also have a potential secondary site in mind.

The first step I am going to take toward achieving my goal:
I am currently making micro-investments with my small and undependable pay. I am hoping these will start generating passive income. I am also trying to promote my freelance literary services, as well as continuing to do reviews. I am going to apply to Kirkus Reviews at the beginning of next year in the hopes of bringing in another income stream.

For support and accountability, I am going to share my goal with:
My son knows, and now you all do too.

I feel better after writing this post. Sending positive energy to Lauren for the gift of her workbook, to Linda for the gift of Health at Every Size which helped me break out of the diet mindset almost 10 years ago, and to Caroline for the encouragement not to fall back into that limiting mindset.

Here are a couple more books to help you say FUCK YOU to diet culture and instead concentrate on REAL health, both mental and physical.

Sly's Fat Friday: There Is No "Promoting Obesity"

Apparently, the singer Lizzo went to a Lakers game wearing a mini-dress with the butt cut out. Feminist Current correctly pointed out that this was one of those "WTF" things to do, which I agree with. However, the post then used the term "promoting obesity," and that is where they and I parted ways. The following is my response to the post. The comments are, predictably, a shit storm.

While I agree with pretty much everything you say here, I am disappointed to see the term "promoting obesity" used. In fact, I am disappointed to see the term "obesity" used at all. Obesity is a term used to shame, silence, and deny care to patients with larger bodies. There is no "promoting obesity." Further, that you would say such a thing implies that you feel that larger people are all gluttons who revel in their physique. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is, when you are looking at an "obese" person, you are probably looking at someone who is well-acquainted with restrictive dieting. You are most certainly looking at someone who is well-acquainted with self-loathing.

A person's physique does not indicate what or how much they eat as much as you think it does. DNA is the primary factor in determining the physique. Medical conditions and medications also play a factor. There is a high correlation between a heavy body type and poverty.

It is distressing to see the "feminism is for women, but not if they're too fat" ideal in play.

I am one of those horrible fat fatties, and I have always appreciated the fact that Feminist Current didn't seem to buy into this awful idea that women only deserve respect if they are thin enough.

I am also discouraged to see the number of commenters dragging this woman's body type into the conversation. It isn't necessary to mention her body type at all, even to say "nobody of any size should have worn such an asinine outfit." You wouldn't say that if a thin woman had done this. Why say it in this case?

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright juliahenze @123rf.com

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Crazy Creatives Cheerleading Camp + Inner Champion Workbook Day 5: Taking the First Step

Disclosure: If readers purchase a copy of the book through the Preview link above, I earn a small commission from Amazon.

An important goal that I’m going to achieve:
Publishing my own writing--again.

Why this goal is important to me:
It has been important to me for many years. To be honest, writing is the only thing I really know how to do, regardless of whether I do it well or not.

What has been preventing me from taking the first step?
I have published my own works before, in 2007 and 2009. It was a bad experience. I used a POD publisher who ended up with a lot of my money and I ended up with nothing to show for it but a couple of boxes of unsold books. I also ended up meeting some people who were really not good for me. My association with them very nearly pushed me to stop writing for good. There are still some areas of my life that never completely recovered from the experiences I had with these people.

How can I remove these obstacles or work around them?
I prefer to self-publish. I don't want to go the "paper my walls with rejection letters" route. For me, it's a huge waste of time. I'm not going for being The Next Big Thing. I just want to publish my work. So I am doing so, via Kindle. I can format the books myself. 

In the future, I will also not allow other people's opinions to get under my skin and destroy me, and I will be very careful about the kinds of people I allow to get close to me. I discovered that overenthusiastic "fans" tend to have problems that render them toxic and destructive, particularly to a sensitive person who has low self-esteem and a high desire to be liked. In the future, I will address any "fans" in a polite but cool fashion rather than seeming too available and/or needy.

The first step I am going to take toward achieving my goal:
I'm already taking it. I am working on a manuscript for a novella to be published in e-book form in early 2020. I submitted a poetry manuscript to one organization and am preparing another poetry manuscript to be submitted to Writers' Digest early next year. The poems I will use are the winners in my ongoing Battle of the Poems. I wrote 30 and had to narrow it down to 20, so I created what I thought was a fun competition. I appreciate everyone who participated and, hopefully, will have more participants in future Battles.

I am also working on the manuscript for an illustrated story in poetic form. I wrote the verses. The illustrations are being done by the Mexican Chibi artist Kamidiox. Kami's commission fees are very affordable. Check out her work and contact her if you'd like her to do a piece for you. Tell her Cie sent you!

For support and accountability, I am going to share my goal with:
My son and a couple of trusted friends (including Kami, who I mentioned above) know about my goals. I tend to not want to bother other people with my crap, so sometimes I keep things between me and the Universe. I'm still learning to open up a bit while also protecting myself. Everything is a balancing act.

Free use image from Pixabay
Will work for links and tips

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Inner Champion Workbook Day 4: Be True To Yourself

Disclaimer: If readers purchase a copy of the book through the preview link above, I earn a small commission from Amazon.

In answering the questions below, I am not trying to start any fights, change anyone's mind, or tell anyone else what to think. I am also not open to debating the matter. I am allowing myself to be very vulnerable in revealing this and would ask that readers be adult and respectful.

A belief, feeling, or perspective that I hide from the world:
I believe that there is an intangible part of a person that survives the death of the body. Call it the soul if you like, or just call it the personality. 

I've seen some shit, as in I've seen ghosts. Not as many as my mother's maternal great-grandfather did, just a handful of them. I did not see these ghosts when I was drunk or high, nor were they hallucinations from being sleep-deprived like the penguin I would sometimes see wandering the hallway on the fourth floor when I was running on fumes while working the night shift. They were straight-up ghosts. 

One of them was within a yard of me when I saw him, and he'd been trying to get my attention all night. He was someone I knew, although not someone I was heavily emotionally attached to. It was a profound experience that I will never forget.

Why I keep it hidden:
When people hear this, they tell me that I'm lying, delusional, or insane. I don't really give a fuck what people think, but nor do I need the stress of arguing with their annoying asses.

How is this limiting my opportunities to find strength in my authentic self?
It doesn't really come up that much, but I don't like keeping secrets. Sometimes I feel like I'm being a coward by not being open about my thoughts.

A belief, feeling, or perspective that I want to share with others:
People need to stop using religion and social trends as excuses to belittle or berate others.

Who do I want to share this with and why?
Everybody. I'm appalled that in the twenty-first century, people's minds are as closed as ever.

How will sharing this truth help me find strength in my authentic self?
I share it, but not all the time. Arguing with people tires me out. Speaking my mind reinforces my belief in myself. I do so when I have the spoons to do so.