Making my way through Asia (and grad school) one adventurous step at a time.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Adventures in the No Body-Snark Diet...

I've mentioned before that I'm a big fan of Sally over at UnbraveGirl. It might be because she's a super-fun award-winning travel blogger, but I think it's mostly because we've eaten something that looks like this:

Yes, it's a giant stack of bread covered in ice cream and honey
 In a place with decor like this:

Yes, it's a giant yellow dog-man guarding our giant stack of ice-cream bread.
That's not an encounter you'll easily forget. 
In fact, it's how life-long "I'll-read-your-blog-forever" bonds are formed.

Last Thursday, Sally threw down the gauntlet and issued this 2-part challenge. It was a challenge that struck a chord with her readers, set bloggers abuzz, and prompted a gazillion* responses. 
(* Actual numbers used anywhere in this blog are always either approximations or completely made up.)

Sally's 2-part challenge got me thinking about 3 things. (I warned you, numbers around here can be a little sketchy.)

Thing #1: 

I don't usually write about deep-down serious stuff. I don't think I've ever mentioned a reason, but it's  mostly because funny stories will always be funny stories. (Well, funny for you maybe. You're not the one who had ants in their pants.)

However, unlike some types of cheese, my writing about heart swelling feelings'n'such, (cue melodramatic 7th grade diary) or issues of sober importance and solemnity (cue pretentious undergraduate essays), don't get better with age. I cringe when I re-read serious things I've written after days, weeks or years have passed. I cringe because my fiery rhetoric has mellowed, my opinions have matured, or I've realized that my 7th grade heart-throb is actually a bit of a chowder-head.

But once it's out there - in print - it's too late to take it back.

If I wrote about such things here, I'd either have to put genuine thought into them, or else I'd be issuing caveats, apologies and clarifications all. the. time. So, I try to reserve this space for lighthearted musings.

In the days ahead, that might start to change - but not too much, and not too quickly. If that giant stack of ice-cream bread I shared with Sally taught me anything, it's that moderation is key.

Thing #2: 

When Sally issued the challenge to post honest-to-goodness full-body photos, I didn't think I shied away from posting unflattering pictures of myself. (No, I won't provide a link to November 2nd, 2006. It's really that terrible. Honestly.) However, I just went through my entire archive, and realized that in the ten years I've been writing this blog, I've only published one full-on full-length photo of myself...and that was from a costume party in 2005, so I didn't even look like myself. I've always made up some excuse about why the full-on photos never make the cut, but it actually has very little to do with artistic merit, and much more to do with the fact that I don't like the way I look in them.

Thing #3:

This body has stuck with me for a loooong time, even after I uprooted it, and dragged it through 13 countries over the past 14 years. Sure, it gets banged up now and again...

Working on a campus with a great special-ed program and extra wheelchairs available had some perks when I took a spill on the ski hill!
...but that's because it agrees to let me do wonderful things like go skiing, and scuba diving, and rock climbing, and horseback riding, and kayaking, and skydiving. (It doesn't agree to let me sing Karaoke in public, but that's probably a Very Good Thing. Thank you, body.)

It even lets me enter the Run for Relief every year. Why have you never seen me mention the Run for Relief on my blog? Primarily because the plight of displaced people in Burma is a serious issue (see Thing #1). Secondly, even though I spend the entire race thinking about, and praying for, people in Burma who are forced to run for their very lives, as soon as I see post-run pictures, I immediately focus on how much weight I've lost (or gained) since the previous year (see Thing #2).  

So, to participate in Unbrave Girl's very brave No Body-Snark Diet challenge, I will:

1. Stop being a jerk to myself, and quit referring to my participation in the Run for Relief as my Waddle for Relief.

2. Post a full-on picture of myself finishing the race:

Sure, I'm disappointed that I was slower than the year before, and walked a little more than I ran...but that's not the point. It was never the point.

As I've been writing this post, a funny thing has happened. As I've taken a moment to focus on all the great things my body lets me do, I want to take better care of it. I don't want to chastise it for picking up a few pounds over the years, and shame it into shedding them. Instead, I want to reward it with tons of vegetables and healthy things. Why? Because it's an aging machine that's faithfully allowed me to do things I love for a bazillion years. I don't want to force it to be smaller so I can fit into skinny jeans, I want to keep it healthy so it will let me keep on adventuring. 

But if Unbrave Girl ever comes back to town, I'd totally share another giant stack of ice-cream bread with her.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Adventures in Trouble Raining Down...

The other day was a bit hectic, and included fighting with Jason Bateman (in my dream), flooding my kitchen (in real life), baking an entire batch of cookies for the ants (in error), and gardening with the help of my ancient neighbour and his cane (wielded like a sword).

You may be asking yourself, "Why didn't I read about this? Why wasn't such a day recorded for posterity on this blog that I sometimes read when I have absolutely nothing else to do with my time?" Dear reader, I have no excuse. It just didn't seem news worthy.

However, since it's been so long since I've written, and you've been so patient, I'll tell you all about today's adventures. I'm pretty sure it's going to sound like I had a terrible, awful, dreadful day. I really didn't. Overall, I'm feeling pretty good...but today, the rains came...and when the rains come, they bring trouble.

I came home this afternoon to find water dripping out of a leak in my ceiling, an overturned lamp, a shattered light bulb and a completely complacent cat curled up on the sofa, blissfully unaware of the shambles around her. For a feline, she is remarkably un-curious. Not only will curiosity never kill this cat, it won't even give her so much as a hangnail.

I have no interest in the world around me.

Eventually, buckets were put in place, landladies were alerted, broken glass was swept away...then the bugs came. Every year, the first heavy rain of the season awakens the flying termites, who noisily swarm the nearest lights. Last year, I still had my mosquito net up, so took refuge under it and waited for the maelstrom to pass.

This year, I wasn't so lucky. Not only was I exposed to the onslaught of fluttery bugs, the floor fan in my room was sucking them in, mashing them up, and blowing an oscillating stream of wings and bug-bodies all over my room. I had high hopes that the cat would at least take care of some of them...but no. Even after one bug flew directly into her face...twice...she looked at me like it was my fault, then sauntered away, completely ignoring the fluttery mayhem around her. 

I needn't have worried about the mess the bugs made. Even as they were falling to the ground, the ants were marching to collect their fallen bodies and cart them off to who-knows-where. (Honestly, I don't know where...if I did, I'd do something about it.) Now, the only evidence of the bugs is a few scattered wings on the floor, and all is quiet. But the rain has started again...