Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2020. — Accomplished!
Publish my updated TBR post. — Accomplished!
Re-organize the filing system. — Semi-Achieved.
Finish cleaning out the cabinet above the oven. — Accomplished!
Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet. — Semi-Achieved.
Begin the binder of university newspaper articles for preservation. — Accomplished!
Send at least five cards, letters, and care packages. — Did not accomplish.
Continue preparations for P.E.O. Virginia State 2022 Convention. — Accomplished!
I had a really good month. I’m still working from home, as is Al. We are grateful to our companies for keeping us and our colleagues as safe as possible as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in the United States.
I’m really happy with what I’ve accomplished with this session of Camp NaNoWriMo. I wanted to add 20,000 new words to the novel I started during NaNoWriMo 2013. Look for a post about that in August.
I’m really pleased with finally getting to cleaning out the cabinet above the oven. I filled a 13-gallon trash bag nearly full with expired food and spices. A lot of it had gotten pushed to the back of the cabinets, and it’s hard for me to reach back there without standing on a chair or step stool. It’s so much easier to find the spices now. The next step is to install either a Lazy Susan system or moving shelves in both cabinets so that it’s even easier to locate what we need when we’re cooking.
The dining room buffet is a work in progress. I finally got the kitchen table cleaned off, and have kept it clean and clutter-free for almost a full week.
The filing system is also being evaluated. I need to do a few more things in my office before that can be accomplished, but I’m hoping to get a few more boxes out of the room this weekend. I also filled a trash bag and three small boxes with old books and DVDs for donation to the thrift stores. My couch is clean again!
I’m excited to buy acid-free paper and sheet protectors to preserve my university newspaper articles. I got a 3-inch binder for free from a sorority sister that was preparing to move, so that should be plenty of space to store everything.
What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of July?
I found this on Facebook on July 29, 2020. It was originally shared by Heatherina Lavender on May 25, 2018.
This was utterly shocking to me. I’m ashamed of how shocking it was.
No wonder Americans have issues with eating disorders!
The resounding comment I got when I shared this on my Facebook page/profile was about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Many of my friends have it, but almost all of them were not properly or appropriately diagnosed for YEARS. And that is completely unacceptable.
I remember learning about PCOS in “Family Life.” I think The Care and Keeping of You, by American Girl, may have covered it? I can’t remember for sure. I also read Girlology multiple times through the library.
Here’s some more information about PCOS:
The ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens, male sex hormones that women typically have in small amounts.
Some women do not have cysts in their ovaries with PCOS, and some women have cysts that do not have a PCOS diagnosis.
The most common treatment is medication, but there is currently no cure.
Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance.
Symptoms: Missed periods, irregular periods, excess body hair, weight gain (especially in the belly region), acne or oily skin, infertility, skin tags, dark or thick patches of skin in certain areas.
I’ve included a list of resources at the end of this post.
I’m not a medical professional, far from it. I’m not here to give medical advice. However – Something I completely agree with in this series of screenshots is this: Unless your child is severely obese, there should be no discussion of weight at their doctor visits, especially not in front of them.
Having worked for two different healthcare systems since 2012, I’ve watched the changes in body mass index (BMI), weight management, diabetes, nutrition, and more. It’s been staggering, and a lot of it has made my head spin. I can’t imagine how it feels for people with chronic pain, autoimmune diseases/disorders, and parents!
Also, the way weight is approached needs to change. A good example is what happened to a family member more than a decade ago, probably 17-18 years ago now. They knew full well they were overweight, and never went to the doctor regularly. Well, this family member ended up with a terrible UTI, and needed antibiotics at a minimum. They went, reluctantly, and the doctor advised bloodwork since they were already there at the office. To no one’s surprise, the bloodwork indicated Type 2 diabetes.
But, here’s the kicker. The doctor didn’t say “I want you to lose weight.”
The doctor said, “I’m giving you a week to improve these numbers. Then we’ll re-evaluate.”
This family member went home, started walking more frequently, and started changing their diet. It’s been a slow process, but the doctor was pleased with their progress in that one week. And the progress continued. Their diabetes is now under control, and has been successfully controlled for the last several years. It’s remarkable what that doctor said. It changed the family member’s life!
I mentioned eating disorders (EDs) earlier. I’ve been educating myself on EDs for quite a while now. I personally have never truly experienced or suffered from (or diagnosed with) anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating, or disordered eating, but I know many people who have. It’s mostly women, but I know men who have struggled as well. It’s called a disorder for a reason. Many of my friends, thankfully, have received help.
One blogger who truly opened my eyes has been BeautyBeyondBones. She posts the most amazing and delectable recipes based on her specific eating plan (Specific Carb Diet – SCD – among others), but she has also been incredibly candid about her ongoing journey with ED. She was in treatment, relapsed, and has been recovering ever since.
The other thing I noticed was “thin privilege.” I had to look it up.
In simple terms, it means that I, among others, have never experienced demeaning comments, unsolicited advice, medical discrimination, paying more money for clothes and airline seats, and other shaming instances because I’m “thin.”
Have I gained weight? Of course. I’ve gained about 35 pounds since I met Al in 2010. But, there are reasons why – I graduated from college and wasn’t walking around campus multiple times a day, every day; I started working a job in front of a computer (and that hasn’t changed since 2011, except for getting a sit-stand desk); and I got older. Studies show that a woman’s metabolism begins to slow down at age 25.
If we looked at my BMI, I’m borderline overweight for my height. But, I don’t let that affect me.
Do I struggle with body image? Yes. A lot of it was ingrained in my head from certain family members since childhood, church members, and my ex-boyfriend who was incredibly vain and wanted me to look good for him at all times. I struggled with how to work out properly for years.
Now, in my early 30s, I finally have a healthier mindset. You are not defined by your weight or image. Children are certainly not defined by that. I have vowed to remove this harmful language from my vocabulary!
I saw this on Lori’s blog, All Things Momma Blog, and decided to make my own post! It’s not a traditional tag, but a fun challenge!
Here’s what Lori writes: “The original of this challenge was fun and stressful and now there is another one. Hooray. Part two was created by Keeping Tabs and Current Chapter on youtube. It is a scavenger hunt type challenge with 20 prompts. You’re supposed to time yourself and see how fast you can find all of the books, but I’ll just be picking at the prompts over a couple of days when I have time to do so.”
I had a lot of fun with this. I was able to look at my entire bookshelf in a new light.
1. Do you have a book with a fox on the cover or part of the plot?
2. Do you have a book that was published the year you were born, or within a 3 year radius?
Meet Kirsten was published in 1986. I was born in 1988.
3. Do you have a book with music as a weapon or magic?
Columbine, Dave Cullen. Cullen came to my school, Longwood University, in the spring of 2010 to speak and promote his book. I was lucky enough to interview him for Longwood’s student newspaper, The Rotunda.
7. Do you have a book with a mostly red cover?
Finale, Thomas Mallon.
8. Do you have a book between 287 – 306 pages?
True Stories of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Kevin Dwyer and Jure Fiorillo – 249 pages.
9. Do you have a book with a main character who wears glasses?
As part of my continuing education on Black Lives Matter and becoming a better ally, I wanted to sit down and watch this documentary on Netflix.
Immediately after finishing it, I wanted to watch it again. I was overwhelmed, horrified, and angry.
Ava DuVernay is a master. The interviews that were conducted spanned from activists, to authors, to former Presidents!
Saturday, July 25th
I need to write more after I watch it again tomorrow. More to come. Thanks for reading!
Update – Monday, July 27th
I sat down and watched this again yesterday. I had my phone out and took proper notes this time. Keep in mind – This was originally released in 2016.
The United States makes up five percent of the world’s population, but has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.
The documentary is very much a timeline from the Civil War through 2016. One of the key points was D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” (1915) film. The burning cross symbol was created by Griffith, not the KKK, because Griffith thought it was a good cinematic image.
The Nixon era (1968-1974) was the beginning of the “War on Drugs.” Nixon took drug addiction and drug dependency and made it a crime issue, rather than a health issue. I also learned a lot about the Southern Strategy – Taking Democrats on multiple southern states and leading them to the Republication Party.
The Reagan era (1981-1988) was the modern war on drugs. Nancy Reagan embarked upon the “Just Say No” campaign. Crack cocaine came on the scene – It was in small doses, and cheaper than powdered cocaine. Mandatory sentencing penalties were enacted that were harsher for crack cocaine. Black communities were virtually decimated – Men started disappearing from the homes and neighborhoods overnight and not coming back for years because of getting arrested and convicted for possessing crack cocaine. At this point, economic inequality, hyper-segregation, and drug abuse were all criminalized. It turned into a war on communities of color. Black people have been (are still are) over-represented in the news media as criminals. The “super-predator” label was thrown around constantly. Black parents ended up, inadvertently, supporting policies that were criminalizing their own children. The Central Park Jogger case in New York City was absolutely awful.
The George H.W. Bush era (1988-1993) was affected during the campaign for President. The Democratic candidate, Michael Dukakis was holding a commanding lead, until Willie Horton was let out of prison on a weekend pass, and went on a horrific crime spree that included kidnapping, assault, rape, and murder. The Bush campaign used Horton’s story as part of a campaign ad on crime.
The Clinton era (1993-2001) sent a strong message of “Democrats are not soft on crime.” More police were put on the street, federal funding for law enforcement was upwards of $100 million dollars. Polly Klaas was murdered. The massive 1994 crime bill ($30 billion dollars) included the “three strikes law” – Three felonies and you’re put in prison for the rest of your life, mandatory minimums for sentencing, truth in sentencing where prisoners serve at least 85 percent of their sentence, parole was virtually abolished. This led to a massive expansion of the American criminal justice system, including prisons and law enforcement. Even the smallest police forces were militarized with military-grade weapons and equipment. Years later, Clinton admitted that “I made the problem worse.”
The documentary then goes into the case of Trayvon Martin, who was gunned down by George Zimmerman in Florida on May 26, 2012, and the issue of “stand your ground” laws since then.
One of the most fascinating segments was about the American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC). It’s a private club that brings together politicians and private corporations. Walmart eventually left ALEC, but the American Bail Coalition and Koch Industries remain. One key stakeholder for years was the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). They make contracts with states to build private prisons, and then the states are required to keep those prisons filled. CCA has made $1.7 billion in profit – They’re getting rich off punishment. In addition, CCA holds contracts to detain immigrants. In essence, CCA has merged the immigration system and the prison system. After a major story from NPR in 2010, CCA left ALEC.
However, the Prison Industrial Complex continues to make money. Companies such as Corizon Healthcare, Aramark, and the National Correctional Industrial Association are involved with supplying healthcare, food, and “jobs” to prisons and prisoners. I say “jobs” in quotes because what I really mean is prison labor.
Another problem is the issue of bail and bond. Kalief Browder was arrested for a crime he did not commit. His bail was set at $10,000. He couldn’t afford the bail, so he sat in jail. They offered him a plea deal, but he said no. He wanted to go to trial. After three years, all the charges were dropped. However, by that point, he’d been in Rikers Island and in solitary confinement multiple times. The system is designed to break you in 30 days. Browder died by suicide at 22 years old after he was released.
In the United States, there has been 100 years of Jim Crow, terror, and lynching. If you’re a convicted felon, you can’t vote and you can’t get a job. How do you re-enter American society? You can’t. Some progress has been made in “removing the box” to take the felony conviction question off job applications, but there’s a long way to go.
The lifetime likelihood of imprisonment for white men in 1 in 17. For black men, it’s 1 in 3.
Black men make up 6.5 percent of the U.S. population. Yet, they make up 40.2 percent of the U.S. prison population.
There was footage of riots in Watts (1965), Detroit (1967), Newark (1967), Los Angeles (1992), Ferguson, Missouri (2014). The common thread? Police brutality.
The overarching message from the interviewees is that people of color want to have human dignity. And to live in the United States, the supposed greatest country on this planet, and there’s a significant number of people who don’t have human dignity? That’s not okay in my book. We need to do more work, America.
Today is the day that I have been strangely anxious about for the last several weeks.
Today – July 17, 2020 – marks ten years since I escaped from my abusive boyfriend, John.
While I haven’t written down the entire book of what happened to me from 2006 through July 17, 2010, I wanted to share pieces of it, and things I’ve learned in these last ten years.
Something that Elin Stebbins Waldal wrote in her memoir, Tornado Warning, will stick with me forever:
“… I know what he can be and is capable of so I almost always feel on guard. It’s hard to just relax and trust him. It’s all so weird.”
The abuse started gradually. It was all mental and emotional abuse. John’s words could cut me like a knife. One text message could spin me out of control into What-If-Land, where I was terrified that I’d said the wrong thing. Eventually, even the words “I love you” didn’t feel safe.
John hit me twice in the week that I broke up with him, that fateful week in mid-July 2010. That was the only true physical abuse I endured. I was lucky to get out when I did.
I feel fortunate that I didn’t suffer as much physical abuse as Elin did, but, to be honest, the emotional and mental abuse was worse. The two hits that John delivered on that Monday and Wednesday simply solidified my beliefs that I was not happy, that this was not right, and that I finally had enough courage to speak up, say something, and leave.
John and I dated from July 1, 2006 through July 17, 2010. The first year, and part of the second year, I thought they were great, although there were red flags that I missed. John swept me off my feet. He romanced me. I thought he truly loved me.
I thought we were okay because we’d successfully dated the entire first year at different high schools. Turns out, he completely changed his college plans to be with me. I knew I was going to Longwood in November 2006. He had been accepted to VCU, which was only 45 minutes away in Richmond. But, he applied to Longwood, got in, and decided to go there to be with me. It sounds romantic, but it was the beginning of the perfect storm.
He started isolating me almost immediately. I remember how upset he was that I got to move in earlier than him, because I was going on a retreat with my Honors College classmates the weekend before the semester started. I could hear the anger and jealousy in his voice during the few phone calls we exchanged before he moved on campus. Each phone call made me feel horrible, like I had done something wrong.
It only got worse from there. I spent nearly every break from college crying to my mom, unloading all my worries, anxieties, fretting, fears, and more. Once I dried my tears, I felt better. I picked myself up, dusted off, and moved along. But, the next break, it happened again, like clockwork.
Abuse manifests itself in so many ugly, horrendous forms.
It took years for me to see the light. Even though EVERYONE around me saw right through it, years before. I finally realized, at some point in 2010, that I was not the same Laura Beth. I wanted to change.
The key with abusive relationships (and friendships) is that YOU have recognize that you’re being abused. No one else can convince you otherwise.
When I read Janine Latus’s book in early 2016, I made these observations in my Book Review:
The constant feeling of walking on eggshells when talking to / being around your partner – You never feel calm / relaxed around them.
Being contacted multiple times by phone / text/ Facebook message, etc. – Always checking in, concerned if I was minutes late to something with him.
Restricting time with friends and family.
Manipulating ideas and thoughts (Example: John put the idea in my head that my own mother was one of the laziest people on this Earth, and he convinced me to tell her that. It was absolutely awful. Mom forgave me, but I still feel terrible about that, all these years later.)
Certain habits become routine / expected – John was always hunting for the new trends, and wanted me to go along with him. He wanted me to wear what he thought looked best. He asked me multiple times to change clothes (phrased as, “You’re wearing that?”), even if I felt great in what I had been wearing.
This book hit me harder than Tornado Warning, which surprised me. I remember reading the end of this book while Al was asleep next to me in bed, and my eyes filled with tears as I closed the book, filled with gratitude that I found and married the man who loves me for who I am and doesn’t want to change me.
I’m glad I read this. It renewed my gratitude that I am a survivor, but also renewed my awareness that women (and men) still suffer from, and die from, abuse every single day.
If nothing else, there are two specific terms that I want you to take away from this post: Love bombing, and gaslighting.
Love bombing: The practice of showering a person with excessive affection and attention in order to gain control or significantly influence their behavior.
Gaslighting: manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.
The minute I saw the trailer for the Netflix take / re-boot of The Baby-Sitters Club, I knew I wanted to watch it!
I ended up watching all 10 episodes over the course of one day – Last Saturday. I was so easily sucked in!
As someone who devoured the books as a kid, I was a little nervous, as the Netflix series appeared to have been updated for modern times. But, it worked out really nicely. I want to re-read all the books now.
The girls playing the club members were cast so well. I was so gleeful when I realized, at the beginning of episode two, that the creators and producers had used the handwriting of each girl. I remember that from the books, and the CD-ROM game! I think I had the Clubhouse Activity Center.
If you’re looking for a lot of nostalgia that’s updated for today’s girls, tweens, teens, and moms (Dads, too!), this is a great series. It’s fun, easy to watch, and engaging. It also covers a lot of real-life experiences, particularly friendship, parents, divorce, boys, periods, and bullying, among other things.
My recent mole biopsy was not cancerous. It was labeled as an “atypical mole.” This is on the low end of the spectrum for pathology and dermatology. I do not have to come back for another exam in 2020 unless the area becomes pigmented. If that happens, then they will need to get what are called clear margins, which can be significant. This is what happened at least once with a mole on my back.
I’m so grateful to the staff at my dermatology practice!
Thanks to everyone for reading my earlier post, commenting on it, and offering support. This is one of the many reasons why I adore the WordPress community.