Toss that Bucket List

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I do not have a “bucket list” and not just because I think it’s a dumb expression. I have enough to-do lists in my life. Chore lists of things to due like laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping and naps. My idea list of novels and blogs to procrastinate writing. My list of belated Birthday cards to send. I will not let a list control my free time.

I do not understand people’s fascination with bucket lists, they limit experiences. Have we become such an organized, controlled society that even our fun experiences must be measured and tracked. If one is so focused on checking things off their list they miss out on all the joy of the experiences. And so many spontaneous experiences can be missed if they are not on that list.

The best trips I’ve taken, were to places I never thought of visiting until a few weeks beforehand.

One time, I requested a week off with no plans. Ten days before, I browsed an e-mail of last minute flight deals, did some research on my options and spent a wonderful week in Argentina. I did not have a list with Argentina written on it, in fact it wasn’t even on my radar. At the time Argentina was going through a financial crisis so my dollar went further than a ultra marathoner. My most expensive meal there, at a five star French restaurant which included wine chosen by the sommelier, hors d’oeuvre, entree, cognac and a dessert that contained chocolate covered rose petals cost less than twenty dollars. Since my life is not restrained by a list, I enjoyed an splendid week.

Fermented camels milk, crickets, blood pudding, rose petals, and horse meat were not on any list of mine, yet given the opportunity I tried them all. To me life is about new experiences and learning. I do not decide if I like something until I try it.

When I bungy jumped it wasn’t because it was on a list, it was because everyone I met in New Zealand had done it and loved it (except for one person, but he probably didn’t like sex either) I heard over and over “you should try it, bungy-jumping is better than sex” so I bungy-jumped. I do want to point out that I did not pay to jump off a bridge with a giant elastic band tied to my ankles. I traded a few hours of work pulling in the raft with jumpers on it, in exchange for my jumps. It was such an incredible experience that I walked out on the plank over the river twice and would recommend it cause it was better than sex. So if you have a limiting bucket list that dictates what you’ll do in your free time, add bungy jumping to it.

Another issue with having a life to-do list is change. People change. There are things I enjoyed as a teenager that I now find boring. What if I wrote a bucket list at 16? Would I be forcing myself to complete it even if I had to visit malls, dye my hair pink, become a doctor and drive a dune buggy? Places change too, a country that looks inviting one year could be at war a few years later, but if it is on your list, better add witness a war torn country onto that list. Be true to that list.

Of course there are things I read or hear about that I’d love to try and sometimes I schedule them. But I do not put them on a long-term list and focus my life on what I have yet to do. I think such a list would be stressful (how am I going to get the time and money to get all these off my list?), controlling (I’d have to turn down invitations if they conflicted with my list) and depressing in that I’d be focusing on the things I haven’t done. Always gathering up memories for a checklist as if on a scavenger hunt.

I have life goals, but even these I keep flexible. Change happens. Experiences should be savored, not checked off a list. Life is not a contest of completing tasks. Life isn’t a to-do list.

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Which Toenail Fungus Are You?

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There has been an onslaught of people sharing their results from various personality quizzes. I now know which smurf, which Disney Princess, which breed of dog, what beer, and what Twin Peaks character some of my Facebook friends should be.

Instead of judging someone by their actual career, where they live, or their horoscope sign, the quizzes lets us judge people by some magical fantasy stereotypes. I’d like a bit of reality added to the results.

One popular quiz lets people know their ideal job. From what I’ve seen all the options are glamorous: CEO, Writer, Astronaut, Surgeon, Professor, Athlete, etc. Maybe it’s that people don’t share on Facebook when they get other careers, like “I got factory-worker.”

I am glad some chose a different career path. I wouldn’t trust some of the “surgeons” to even slice a cake for me. I saw CEO for a friend that can’t even manage their social life – um, no. The perfect career for a few would be a back office job, with no human interaction. In reality, for others, janitor, cause cleaning toilets would fit them best.

Non-career paths should be options.  Prisoner should be a result for the unethical. For many their ideal job would be getting paid to do nothing. Maybe they’d get being a Kardashian. Then they could take a quiz to find out which Kardashian fits them best.

Another popular one lets people know which city they should be living in. Again, all I’ve seen are popular glamorous cities. What about Kabul, Detroit, Ulan Bator, and Delhi?  Or is everyone meant to be living in comfortable big cities. In my opinion, a few of these quiz takers should ideally live on a deserted island without an internet connection.

Enough already with the quizzes. There are so many, it has turned from silly to absurd, I even saw a which font are you quiz. At some point the quiz creators will run low on ideas for new ways to classify people. Then there will be quizzes for: Which toenail fungus are you? Which flooring are you? What color eyes should you really have? Which serial killer are you? Which STD are you?

And then I will find this all over my Facebook feed:

“I got Chlamydia, Which STD are you?                                                                           You prefer to be out of the spotlight, and work quietly and diligently to reach you goals. Sometimes you feel like your hard work goes unnoticed and that your work deserves to be more recognized. You sometimes have a burning desire to tell people what your really think, but faithfully hold back.

“I got syphilis, Which STD are you?                                                                                 You play it old school. You like routines, but occasionally you make rash decisions. You are very competitive and when you don’t get your way, can be a sore loser.

“I got crabs, Which STD are you?”                                                                                    You love to travel and are always up for adventure. Although loyal, long-term relationships are difficult, cause you are always looking for your next catch. You want to be on center stage, but need to be careful not to be annoying while seeking to have your attention itch scratched.

“I got herpes, Which STD are you?”                                                                                   You’re crazy spontaneous. You enjoy both quiet solitude and being the life of the party. When you socialize, you always make your presence known. You often have bad timing. You do not follow rules and never let others eradicate your fun.

For some Facebook users a “How many quiz results should I post before it becomes annoying?” quiz would be very helpful.


Strippers vs. Football Players

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I respect strippers much more than football players.

And, to clarify for the sake of all international readers out there, when I say “football,” I mean American football.

Both football players and strippers make money using their bodies to entertain others, yet one group is revered and the other denounced. Strippers treat their bodies with more respect than football players. Football players expose their bodies to injuries, strippers merely expose their bodies.

I used to be in the mindset were I disapproved of strippers because their work was degrading for them. I felt they were being used by men. Then after a few visits to strip clubs, after reading a memoir by a stripper, and after experiencing more life, I realized the women stripping were the clever ones; it was the lonely men paying them that were the fools.

The women get paid to dance naked. That’s it: dance naked, and men pay to watch. As long as the women have a healthy attitude about it and are comfortable with it, good for them. Unfortunately, by the time I realized how powerful and smart most of these women were and what an easy way it is to bank money, I was past having the body of a stripper.

Playing football, on the other hand, is a degrading career. The players get paid to run up and down a field and be pummeled—not to mention those tights.

It’s a bit less barbaric than gladiator times, but it’s similar, in that the audience cares more about who wins than the risks the individual players are taking. They are putting their health and sometimes their life on the line for the not-so-honorable reason of the enjoyment of the fans.

Also, football is not a sport that focuses on being healthy. I dated a guy that went to a college on a football scholarship and the school often had a keg of beer for the players after practice so they could bulk up. Big is better than healthy. He dropped fifty pounds after leaving football behind. The players’ bodies are nothing more than instruments used for entertainment.

There is a reason pole-dancing fitness classes are offered at many gyms. One must have strength and stamina to pole dance. Of, course there are some strippers who do not treat their bodies with respect, but still, they are not subjecting themselves to potential brain damage every time they get on stage. Although, they might subject themselves to comments that seam they come from brain-damaged men.

It’s no secret that football is one of the most dangerous sports. According to the San Francisco Spine Institute at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, California, up to 1.5 million young men participate in football annually, and there are an estimated 1.2 million football-related injuries per year. Not good odds. They are whoring their bodies out to potential injuries for money.

Football players are revered, they get paid by companies to advertise products, the media loves reporting on them, they get paid to attend events. They are trained and make a living being aggressive. It is a sport in which players can be arrested for domestic abuse, DUIs, sexual assault, animal abuse and still return to the game, and still have fans. They are called heroes.

Strippers also use their bodies as instruments for entertainment. But society believes they should be embarrassed about their career choice. Any full-bodied tackling done is an optional choice, done outside of their workplace. They merely take off their clothes, dance provocatively and men ogle their bodies and give them money. They are called whores.

We live in a society that finds violence an acceptable form of entertainment. Violent video games, movies, and sports are all approved of more than nude dancing. Men tackling each other to entertain people is celebrated. But women removing their clothes, something that everyone of us does everyday, is condemned.

Society accepts men injuring each other for money, but not naked women dancing. I respect the women dancing for dollars much more than football players offering up their bodies to be damaged for dollars.

Maybe someday respect will be giving to the group that respects their bodies more.


Love it or lose it

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“Lose the weight or learn to love yourself with it,” those were the words from a friend who hadn’t seem me since 22lbs earlier. I realized how true he was. I was not happy with the way I looked; my confidence went down when the pounds went up. I decided to lose the weight. I dropped 12 lbs in the first 4 months. The last 10 have been a game of chutes and ladders over the last year and a half. But, that first 12 lbs brought back a lot of my confidence. I even unabashedly wore a bikini last summer during a chute time, for the first time in years.

Finding the place where I like my body has little to do with what others think of me. I could care less if I am viewed as too fat or too thin, the important part is finding the weight that I can live well at. Everyone has their own happy weight zone. The place were they elude a certain confidence, were they wear their clothes well. The zone that feels healthy and sexy. Whether it is with extra padding, rail thin or somewhere in between.

I have a healthy thin friend who asked me for diet tips when she gained five pounds. Five pounds that I could not tell existed cause she could still fit into clothes from the children’s department. My first thought was to respond with “What the hell are you talking about? –diet, pffftt. You could gain weight and still be thin.” But I realized it was up to her to know where she was happy. I do not live in her body. If she was more comfortable with 5 less lbs on her body – then, as a friend I had the right to support her, as long as she was healthy.

I have overweight friends that are sexy as hell, cause they have learned to love their bodies that way. Their comfortable weight zone is higher. Some people feel more comfortable with themselves with a few extra pounds on them. Go curvy women.

I am not one of them. I have a friend the same height as me, who I was shocked to learn weighed more than 20lbs than me. She carries the extra weight well in her curves. I am envious of women that gain weight in their curves – that is not me. My fat shows up in my non-curvy spots. I gain weight around my boobs, so they appear smaller. I gain weight in my waist, so my hips disappear. I gain weight in that space between my ass and thighs, so they meld together into shapeless assthighs. I think if I gained weight in my curves then I could learn to love myself with an extra 22 lbs. But I enjoy having a shape. Clothes fit. Physically I am more motivated to workout, be healthy and am much happier. 

If a friend complains about their size, I will pass on the same advice given to me: lose the weight or learn to love yourself with it and encourage them with the choice they make. I still want to lose that last 10 lbs, but if I don’t, I will not let it stop me from living. I think there may be something in between lose the weight or love yourself with it. My happy body weight zone may just have to be given a bit of leeway as I age.


Flights, Fat and Fear

I’m not afraid of flying, but I do have a fear of being on a flight with several Sumo wrestling teams, a huge pile of people on their way to a NAAFA convention, the entire cast of a new season of Biggest Loser, and several football teams. How many pounds can a plane hold and still stay up? The luggage is weighed but not the passengers. With 500 passengers weighing 200 pounds more than average, there could be 10,000 unknown extra pounds. As more people are supersized than ever, this possibility grows and it scares me.

A long time ago, when airline security was lax or more stupid than today, I took a flight from Copenhagen to NYC. When boarding, I was told I had too much in carry-on and to go back and check a bag or re-pack it into one bag. I repacked it. I put one of the bags under my shirt, came back and walked through. “Oh, you found a way to decrease your bags,” said the airline employee. Yeah, I also some how became eight months pregnant within five minutes. I walked onto the plane, removed the extra bag and stuffed it into the overhead. See carrying extra mass outside my body was an issue but as part of my body it was accepted.

Why not weigh passengers with their luggage? The airlines can give a certain amount of weight allotment for both. They would know how many pounds were on the plane. I’d feel safer. And people would not be embarrassed about being weighed, as who would know how much was you and how much was your luggage.

This would solve the safety issue and my fear of flying with 400+ overweight people, but not the comfort issue. On a flight from Baltimore to Buenos Aires, I got squashed between two people, one being supersized. I felt a bit claustrophobic. I spent half the flight standing in the back of the plane with personalized drink service from an empathetic flight attendant. Eventually I got inebriated enough that I could sleep anywhere, including between a supersized person and a snoring one.

Some argue that it is not fair to make oversized people buy two seats. Is it fair to have to sit next to a huge person for twelve hours and feel their jiggling fat pressed against you? I pay to rent space on a plane. Would it be fair if I rented an apartment and just because my neighbors had more stuff than me, they put some of it in the space I paid for? If instead of lowering the armrest, I had to knock out a wall between the apartments for their overflow? One should have to fit into the space they pay for. 

If carry-on luggage must be a specific size or smaller, then why shouldn’t there be size regulations for people too?  Just as amusement parks have height requirements for the rides, why not have a default seat that one’s ass must fit into in order to ride in a normal plane seat. It cannot be comfortable for a large person to squash themselves into a too small seat for hours either. The airlines can figure out a way to provide larger seats, or charge for two-seats, or give three seats to two supersized people. And they can compete with other airlines for which one has the best service for larger people. And come up with ad slogans like: we fly the generously proportioned in comfort.

But until the airlines make changes, I hope my plane always has a lot of models going to a petite fashion show, a bunch of famished orphaned kids on their way to be adopted into wonderful homes, jockeys, gymnasts and lots of empty seats, especially the ones near me.


Beer, Bras and Bounce

My favorite sports bra went belly up, discontinued by Champion. While searching the Internet and catalogs to find a new sports bra, I found many sports bras described as flattering. That’s flattering not flattening; control, support, comfort – yes, but flattering? That’s not exactly something I look for in a sports bra. As if it doesn’t matter how uncomfortable it is for my breasts to be painfully bouncing all over the place as long as they are doing so in a flattering manner.

I found a sports bra from CW-X that looks promising, but it costs $70. At seventy dollars it should be able to do my workout for me. At seventy dollars it should keep my boobs from moving at all, it should be comfortable, come with a 2-year warrantee AND be flattering.

If flattering sports bras are actually a priority with women then that would explain why I see many women bouncing while they work out. I think “ouch”, but they might be thinking – “damn, I look good in this bra.”  Is it a case of supply or demand? Are women buying the ones that don’t work because that’s all they can find or do they actually care more about how the bra makes them look. Maybe the bra I liked wasn’t flattering so Champion stopped making it. Why else would a sports bra that worked great and was comfortable not sell?  How far away are we from bra manufacturers marketing padded, push-up sport bras?

The new thing in non-sport bras are ones that add two-cup sizes to your breasts. I would not wear one. Why draw more attention to my chest? I already get jealous of it when it gets more attention from men than I do. Do the women that wear these bras wear them every day or do they only enhance some days? Only so much of a difference can be blamed on one’s clothes –  would people not catch on to the size variances. Maybe I’ll get a add-two-sizes bra and wear it only on Wednesdays – have larger Wednesdays. Whiplash Wednesdays. Get dates for the weekend Wednesdays. Imagine the behind-my-chest nicknames I’d get.

And what happens when a woman wearing one of these takes a guy home? When the bra comes off so do the big boobs. Talk about disappointment, even a drunk aroused man could tell the difference between “D” and “B” sized breasts. “Gee, where did they go?” Two-cup sizes worth of anticipation end up on the floor. It sounds like a song lyric, “She wears her fake boobs on the outside.”

The only add-two-sizes bra I’d wear would have to have a purpose other than drawing stares– like the beer bra. It’s a new ingenious way to sneak your own beer into venues.  A bra one fills with beer that has a straw coming out under your shirt to drink from. A camelback bra. If you can deal with warm beer, it would save a few dollars. 

It also makes your boobs appear larger when filled. So it might be fun to watch the expressions of men when they notice your breasts shrinking as you sip your beer. I do think filling the bra with frozen margaritas on a hot day would be, well cool. I wonder if I could fill it with water and freeze it for a run on a hot day. But then, would it work as a sports bra and more importantly – would it be flattering?