Monday, September 28, 2015

I want...

Chinese food.

I also want to hard boil some eggs.

A nap.

To rest my head on Max's purring belly.

To sort through papers and throw stuff AWAY.

To sit with my roommate and relive our housewarming party.

I want to feel excited every day to work on my book.

To write thank you notes to all the kind people who came to our housewarming party, several of whom arrived not-empty handed. We feel very loved and happy to have such generous, warm friends.

To watch more football with my baby. Lying on his couch with a belly full of Thai food yesterday, listening to those Midwestern sounds of childhood, struck a happy chord deep in my heart's core.

To make cucumber sandwiches for a tea party.

To build a house in Mexico.

I want to curl up and read, read, read Into the Wild. I've started it and it's fascinating. I also quite enjoyed Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air.

To turn on a movie and tie knots into a friendship bracelet, with Abs by my side to chat with.

To make tissue paper jar lanterns, to light up my tea light candles in.

To snuggle with my muffin (human muffin, Alex, not the cat muffin. But I love to snuggle with him, too).

To eat a Wendy's pulled pork slaw sandwich. Mmmmmm.

But first, Chinese food. Lo mein and cashew chicken.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup.

To watch a Disney cartoon with my niece and nephew.

To hold hands with Alex at Disneyland. To eat a sweet treat and buy a fun treasure in a store. Take our time enjoying the day.

I want to go to all the live music.

I want to visit dive bars throughout this crazy city.

I want to cuddle up in a blanket and look at the city at night.

I want to have lunch with my parents.

I want to play with Nick at the beach. And by play, I mean lay out, cool off in the water, talk, and buy popsicles from a vendor.

I want to blog until I am old, and then blog some more.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My impressive stockpile of books

I don't know (entirely) why, but for the first time in many years, this has not been a reading year.

It is not the Year of the Book.

I went to Goodwill on my lunch break today, and bought five books. One will be a gift, one is an adult nonfiction read, the remaining three young adult fiction.

I bought a memoir on Amazon this morning.

Normally these would be pored over at the ripe hour of 8 p.m., as I lie on my belly in the gooseneck lamplight, Max sprawled nearby, quietly licking.

Today the books will likely go on my shelf, instead.

I'm not sure why, but I just highly doubt I will read tonight. Or tomorrow or the next.

I look forward to it, with great gusto that creates a gurgling in my tummy, but I know it won't be soon.

It's very strange, not reading. But such has been my life for the majority of 2015.

I'm "fine" with it, in that I don't feel an aching need to read at present. But rather like a teenage girl who prowled the mall for years and suddenly lost interest, I look backward at my shelf lined with memoirs and kid books and think, "Hmm. Isn't that interesting that I'm no longer clamoring?"

One could say I'm distracted. I cross stitch often. I live with someone now. I have the cutest cat in the land, who requires much petting and being stared at.

Perhaps it's simply a shift in the routine. I used to read out of joy, certainly, but also as a means to fall asleep. Lately I seem to sleep just fine, no book needed to get me there. I count this a win, as for years I suffered from miserable insomnia.

(Honestly, I wake up several times a night, but it doesn't aggravate me too much and I slink right back into slumber most of the time).

Maybe, on some subconscious level of myself, I'm trying on a new me. Seeing what it's like to skip reading for a while.

Who knows?

I do know that I fell in love this year.

That throws one out of whack.

I started hanging out with his friends in addition to mine, so my social calendar has, in a way, doubled.

He works late, which makes me stay up late, and at the end of our hanging out time I am ready to crash.

These things all are true.

But I wonder where the ache went? Where the insatiable need to take in letters on a page wandered off to? Will it return? I presume it will, probably right when I have a teething infant, and God will lovingly chuckle at me from above.

It's so strange how powerful it is to read, considering that written language was invented. Spoken language is natural, of course. But the need to write, to read, to get things just right in these words that we've come up with over time and, specifically, to consume them from a piece of paper...

That's bizarre!

Is it not?

I think it is.

I love it, don't get me wrong. It's my profession, my calling, my (once) #1 hobby. But it's so strange, when I really stop and contemplate it. It's like when you say a word -- or your name -- too many times and it suddenly sounds so foreign that you actually have to cover your ears and have the urge to yell: "Don't say it again!"

And then you give it enough time and the word sounds normal again.

And when I give myself enough distance from over analyzing anything, be it my profession or what have you, it all seems normal, fluid, again.

And maybe one of these days soon I'll be reading again, and all will be normal, fluid. Reading was so very much a part of me that I kind of wonder who I am without it. Which again brings us back to:


In any case, I can't wait to get my hands on Into the Wild, On Writing, Pippi Longstocking, Orphan Train, and 11 Birthdays, when the time is right. My future bedtime date with them promises to be lovely, I'm sure. Perhaps all that more sweet after our time apart. And maybe I'll be a new girl, when I meet again with those inky strands of letters that so mysteriously capture our hearts.

Monday, September 21, 2015

A word on body image

I somehow missed the self-conscious train in life.

I don't know where I was the day they handed out tickets -- perhaps I was sick and stayed home from school, playing Mario Bros. in the basement.

That's one theory.

I also blame my father a little bit. He doesn't give a rip roarin' you-know-what about what people think of him. It is for this that he has been able to enjoy dancing in public, being silly and generally loud. And thanks to genetics and that phenomenon of following our parents' actions, I have been able to enjoy such activities myself.

And while we're playing the blame game, I'll go ahead and blame genetics for my body's build.

My mom was always pretty slender, as are my dad's sisters. I come from a lean people.

Thus I've always been a bit of a thin lass myself.

That is, except for a few occasions in my life.

One was when I first came to hang out in this world, with some good ol' toddler thunder thighs.

Actual legs pictured here, circa 1986.

The second occasion was after I studied abroad in college. Ironically, people predicted I would lose weight during my international excursions, thinking the food in the foreign lands would be unappetizing.


We had two women who cooked for us, who had this terrible wonderful habit of baking us fresh bread, that was served STILL WARM. So you can bet your bottom dollar I cut myself inch-thick slabs of that stuff and slathered it with butter. And gurrrrl was it worth it.

One of my lifelong besties Samantha and I did a little show and tell at one point with our clothes. We held up certain pants and shorts that no longer fit us as the semester rolled forward, and took to wearing elastic band skirts that we bought to fit our new bodily needs.

The people in my life were gracious enough not to say anything about my weight gain upon my return -- instead they focused on my new almost-tan skin -- but waited until years later to look back and poke fun at me, after I had lost the weight.

Which brings us to today.

For the first time in my life -- minus the chubby baby legs period and post-study abroad season -- I am pretty uncomfortable with my body.

It feels so weird to type that, to make this a topic of focus on my blog.

It's so un-me.

It's so un-me, because this whole body self-consciousness is essentially brand new to me.

I mean I'm not immune to it, of course. I remember a time in high school when I gave up television for Lent, then turned the TV back on after 40 days and realized just how jaded my view of a normal body had become. The fast from seeing skinny minis all over my screen was a real wake up call for me, showing me just how realistic my "reality" had been as a teenager who thought she had great body image.

But aside from my Lenten learnings, for the most part I've had a very smooth ride in terms of confidence in general and happiness with my body type. Very smooth compared to most among my gender.

So I almost feel like a hypocrite -- for lack of a better word -- writing this. I guess a better way to describe it is I feel like I'm trying to join some club that everyone else has already been in for their entire adolescent and adult lives and I'm trying to budge my way in, long after dues have been collected and duties assigned.

But enough about me being embarrassingly late to the Insecure Meeting. Let me just tell you how I'm feeling of late.

For starters, let's take a look at this picture that was taken of me last month:

I feel like I look just fine, right?

But I can see the extra cush in my face, and all I can think about lately is my stomach.

It has some extra padding these days. Oh boy, does it have some extra padding.

And it's somewhat inexplicable to me. Not entirely, but somewhat.

I have had an uptick of beer intake since I moved in with a girl who loves beer just as much as me. We like to bond after work with a couple of cold ones.

I've eaten a fair amount of burritos this year.

But I've also completed a half marathon this year. I've spent a lot of time on cardio machines in the gym. I've eaten salads for lunch two to three times a week for most of the last several months.

So what's the deal? Is it just the beer? Is it my medication suddenly making me chubby? Or should I say "chubby," as this is all relative?

Regardless, I can finally understand where some women are coming from. And for the first time ever, I feel a little bit helpless. I've always been able to coast along when it came to diet and exercise, and able to make minor adjustments to correct any sudden body changes.

I've enjoyed exercise for a long time. I like the taste of vegetables.

I also like the taste of pizza, but I don't mind a nice helping of lima beans now and again.

I used to be able to make minor tweaks in my life and get back to the body I was happy with. This isn't proving to be true these days.

I'm annoyed that I can't prance around in my bikini anymore. My pants are tight. My girly fit tops seem to just grab my stomach.

And it just makes me go: Harrumph.

I don't know where I'm going with all this. Maybe just venting. Maybe apologizing for years of not getting what my fellow womanhood has so agonizingly suffered through without me. Maybe trying to be real, saying I'm finally there with you.

It's occurred to me, in recent months as I've begun to contemplate all this, that the times I've been really thin -- of a thinness that I quite enjoyed, and did much bikini prancing about -- were perhaps times when I was unhealthy.

The most recent time I can remember was when I was unemployed two years ago. During that time, I was being extremely conservative with my money, and to be honest, I was hungry quite a bit. I also was running a lot to fill my otherwise empty, monotonous schedule.

A time before that was when I worked at Starbucks. I worked eight hour shifts on my feet each morning, consuming nothing more than a pastry, coffee, and a small McDonald's sandwich during my breaks, and I was running 4-6 miles each day after work.

Then I went to graduate school where, again, I was very short on cash, and very busy, thus not scheduling in a lot of regular eating.

During none of these times do I think I had an eating disorder, but I probably wasn't eating enough. So I'm not sure it was all that great that I was so small.

So where do we go from here?

1. I'm going to the gym after work today. I love the gym, and working out, pumping some iron. So I might as well capitalize on that. I'm not going to train for any particular goal, but rather I'm just going to go and sweat for the enjoyment of it. I'm going to try and recapture that joy I once knew of zoning out on a cardio machine and then doing some bad-ass ab work before I lift weights.

2. I'm going to ask my doctor about side effects of prescription medications, and take it from there.

3. I'm going to try and cool it on the beer and burritos. Oh, the delicious delicious burritos.

4. I'm going to possibly have a new solidarity with my fellow sisterhood of women, being more sensitive to a crowd that I have for many years grieved, due to the worry of so many whom I think are just downright beautiful, curves or no.

5. I'm going to be grateful for my health. My bikini bod may not be on point, but as they say: How to get a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. I walked/jogged a half marathon three months ago, for crying out loud. I am able to lift, walk, run, swim, laugh, rest, stretch, love. And that's huge.

Bikini body in an earlier time.

What else is huge is my love for the people who doubt their beauty. Trust me, what I see is gorgeous.

All the love, with a few extra curves these days,
Daily Bailey

Friday, September 18, 2015

Crap -- I mean Grab -- Bags

I have a dollar store problem.

I like them.

A lot.

I go on my lunch hour, all sneaky like, like I'm hiding something. Which I suppose I am, except when I'm here exploiting my issue on my blog.

Between the 99 Cent store and the Dollar Tree, I've bought so many things for our party favor bags (that we're handing out at our housewarming party because we're the cutest!!) that my roommate is soon going to judge me.

...More than she might already be doing.

Packets of tissue. Noise makers. Candy. Gum. Spinny tops! What are my party guests going to do with a spinny top?! Nothing! But they're getting one in their party favor bag!


Abby and I have been decorating paper lunch sacks to make our very own party favor bags. We've been using markers, crayons, stickers, and cutting out pictures from magazines and gluing them on to the bags.

[Photos courtesy of the best roomie ever.]

 Each one is one of a kind. Here's one Abs made:

Now you're wishing you lived in LA and could come to this party, are you not?

I've always loved party favor bags.

I enjoyed filling them up when I had my birthday parties as a kid. My parents would show me how to assemble one and I would fill the rest.

Then as I got older the party favors became a thing to fill a void. That may sound dramatic, but I have never been one to take a good party lightly.

As I reached a certain age, I began to get jealous of the other birthday girls and boys in town. Whenever a classmate or a friend would have a birthday party, I suddenly was upset that I wouldn't get any presents.

What's worse -- I had to go sit and watch my friends open their presents.

This was also around the time in life that I started to get a sense of what being a "good" person was all about, so I felt this aggravating nudging that when I watched my friends open their presents, I should do so with a gracious smile on my face.


Anyway, it was the party favors! that got me out of my little grump slump regarding the gift issue.

I realized at some point that I wasn't leaving these parties empty handed. I was gettin' little baggies full of junk!

I continue to be a sucker for cheap and free stuff in my adult life. And I figure: who says the party favor fad needs to stop just because we're all (sort of) growing up?

Hence the recent late (read: 9 p.m.) nights with the roomie, slapping glue onto paper bags and chuckling at our creativity for design. We are pretty clever, though, really.

So all this to say that I think party favors make the world a better place, and I can't wait to hand them out next weekend to our family and friends.

Maybe Office Max will help us hand them out. ;)

All in all we're set to have about 40 bags, but the crazy junk-loving, dollar store-prowling me wonders if that will be enough...Hmmmmmm.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The crazy list of ingredients that were in our salads in our relatively tiny bowls last night

  • Greens (duh)
  • Chicken (in mine only; Alex kept his chicken on a plate)
  • dried cranberries
  • dried cherries
  • grated black pepper
  • parmesan/romano cheese
  • green bell pepper
  • pearl tomato
  • chia seeds
  • pecan bits
  • dressing
That's a lot, eh?

What can I say, I kept pulling things out of the pantry and adding them to the bowls.

Then we ate the salads.

Then we snuggled on the couch and Alex fell asleep. Then he woke up and decided to tickle me and,

rather inexplicably,

I decided to self soothe with the song "I Believe I Can Fly."

My thought process was something along the lines of: "If I can focus, I can be above my body's instinct to crumple and giggle and wheeze while Alex tortures me."

It went along with the lyric, "If I can see it, then I can do it."

If I just believe it

THERE'S NOTHING TO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This actually kind of helped.

And I'm very ticklish.

Ask Alex. It's like his favorite of my vulnerabilities.

That sounded weird.