On the use of the word "curvy"....

The flabulous Lizzie Miller.

An interesting post appeared a few days ago about Lizzie Miller, the plus-sized model who appeared in Glamour last year with a flabby tummy.  Now before you get mad at me for saying it like that, let me say that I loved the picture and hope that all women’s magazines follow suit.  But there’s something going on with the way our culture has come to use the word “curvy”…and I mean to get to the bottom of it right here.

What I’m trying to pinpoint is the discrepancy between the use of the word “curvy” and the women held up as curvy personified.  

For instance, when a fashion mag runs a feature on how to choose the best jeans for your body, they refer to body types like “boyish,” “inverted triangle” and “curvy—“ with curvy supposedly encompassing rounder, more voluptuous, fleshier bodies.  Great.  I get it so far.    What upsets me then is the “curvy” ideal that illustrates the definition.    Because while Beyonce has fuller hips than some, her curves are in all the right (read: acceptable) places.   Her stomach is just about as flat as Kate Moss’s ever was, her arms are toned, she’s got great legs etc.   In other words, she has no flab.  Same goes for J. Lo, Scarlett Johannson and other celebs celebrated for their curvy figures. 

But there’s something off, in my opinion, about our culture praising curviness and acting like we’re all about embracing it when it’s really just Kim Kardashian’s butt that’s okay.  What about when the curves aren’t perfect?  When it’s more than just boobs and hips?  What about when there’s (gasp) flab involved?  Because while it’s great that our beauty ideal has (literally and figuratively) expanded just a bit—it’s still pretty rigid.

That’s why I like the Lizzie Miller photo, and think it’s way more ground-breaking than even something like plus-sized pioneer Lane Bryant, which promulgates the same limited definition of curvy as most media outlets (just check out the undies page on their website.)

And I like Lizzie’s use of the phrase “realistic-looking body types.”  It’s not as copy-ready and neat as “curvy,” but then neither are women’s bodies.

 

My dinner with Maple Leaf Foods

It's weird being a mom.  There are so many things I never thought I'd care about or don't know jack about. And one of them is food safety. Yeah, food safety.   Y'know, as in not wiping the door of the fridge with a raw chicken breast like in that Lysol commercial.  And now that I have kids, I find myself being more careful about things (ie tossing leftovers sooner, cleaning the kitchen extra extra well, and ix-naying-ay the chicken-ay as a handi wipie-ay.)

Then last month, I got invited to a Food Safety dinner for bloggers being hosted by Maple Leaf Foods (which, for those of you playing along at home in the USA, is a huge food vendor here in Canada.)  I wasn't going to accept given that I don't normally blog about issues like health and safety, but then I changed my mind--and I'm glad I did. 

May Moms Group Redux

Whatta bunch of gals. So the topic at the end of last month was Busy-ness...and how it relates to (or detracts from) our happiness as mothers. 

The upshot of the conversation was that yes, we are too busy and that no one (not husbands or even our own mothers) seems to understand just how much so.  Our group basically agreed that we don't have the time to take care of the kids as well as we'd like in addition to taking care of the home and the other details of our lives.  And ourselves?  Yeah, no. 

So what does that mean? Because when I write that out, it makes us seem like a particularly whiny bunch.  But yet, I don't think we are.  I actually think we're pretty typical of many moms today who had or have careers, who are educated, accomplished and want to hang on to some of that as we raise families.  

 

Day 148: Give yourself permission

Green and pink together make me happy.Ollie has scarlet fever.  Felix keeps coughing until he vomits. I got up five times last night. The nanny broke her foot. Chris is in Seattle (at a deluxe boutique hotel) with the car. It's pouring rain outside...

...and I'm giving myself permission to only do deep breathing today for my yoga session. 

 

(I also ate a fair number of cookies.)

Padma Lakshmi: Almost a body image activist

Padma, Padma, Padma. What on earth was going through your pretty little head?The Huffington Post is running a piece on Padma, her bod and how she feels about the universe now that she has a bebeh. 

"I was 25 pounds heavier than people are used to seeing me. There was nothing I could do about it, so I just accepted it.  I just thought, I had a baby, that's way more important. Women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes and I wanted to show women that you can dress well, that you can still feel sexy, that you can still feel confident, and it was OK if my boobs were big because I was feeding another human being."

Day 140. I am the master of my own back pain

My Mizuno Wave Runners, 9.5 AA, complete with custom orthotic are just aching to get out there.My back has been bothering me a lot lately.  No, like really a lot.  In fact every time I go to yoga, it chiropractically adjusts itself about ten different times in all sorts of poses.  

Sometimes all I need to do is lie down flat on my back on the floor, which I can't really do since my hips are torqued due to all sorts of problems with scoliosis, tight muscles and the like.  Other times, I can get my back to release by doing forward folds, child's pose or half tortoise (at Bikram), and ahhhh does it feel good. Until it starts to hurt again almost immediately. 

So in the midst of all these back issues, I decided to run around the block today--twice.

Girls, girls, girls

What? You didn't have the same outfit when you were eight?O, where to begin?

So these eight and nine-year-old girls danced their hearts out at a World of Dance contest in Pomona, California earlier this month.  And by all accounts, they were great.  Amazing even.  In fact, the Web is now chock-a-block (note my use of such a kick-ass expression) with professional dancers saying that they can't believe the dexterity and precision demonstrated by these girls.  

Yay them!

Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women

When I was a freshman in college, I saw Jean Kilbourne speak in support of her documentary Killing Us Softly--and it quite literally changed my life.  It illuminated so much about how the media work and the impact of ads on our collective psyche when it comes to self-esteem, body image and women.  I am not exaggerating when I say that it, along with Sassy, put me on the path to becoming whatever it is I am today (girl advocate, body image activist, feminist writer.....)

April Moms Group Redux

Are we happy yet?The topic:  Happiness...how to find it, what it is once you've become a mom and how it's different from before.

We started, as always, by going around the table and sharing something about ourselves from before we became moms--something that defined us before we became known as "Taylor's Mom" and "Ollie's Mom" etc.

Finding Audrey....

Where's Audrey?I'm home in New York right now and it seems like old times.  I've gone shopping (oh, there's been a lot of shopping), seen friends from high school, had uninterrupted conversations with people, and just had time to think, explore and reconnect with myself (Sweet Jesus that sounds hokey).

My kids haven't really spent much time in New York yet.  On the few occasions they've been here, they were both so young they can't possibly remember anything.  As a result, I don't really associate New York--or the person I am here--with them.  Which means I have to keep reminding myself as I walk around and feel totally at home that I have two kids waiting for me.  In Canada.  Weird.

Day 101: "Don't label, just experience..."

"Keep an open mind!" Chris yelled as I left the house for my first Vinyasa flow class.  "Because you know you're going to hate it tonight..."

But I didn't hate it.  At least not entirely.  It did kind of mess up my back even more though.  It's the whole chaturanga to upward dog to downward dog movement. (In other words, the whole thing).  My QL muscle on the left side of my lower back does not like. And I knew that going in, but Flow is popular... I have to see why

Day 97: Roar

I yelled all day long today.  I yelled at my kids to get them out of the house for playgroup.  And I yelled  to get them from playgroup out to the playground.  I also yelled to get them from the playground home for lunch...

I am deeply ashamed. And I honestly do feel like a terribly mother.

I blame it on lack of sleep.  I blame it on having two boys--both essentially toddlers--who need endless stimulation and exercise.  I blame it-- well, it doesn't really matter.

Sleep (Take 1)

Ollie at 6 months--asleep outside at a summer cocktail party. How do kids do that?I really don't get a lot of sleep.  Which is a problem because I need 8+ hours to function properly and even begin to be pleasant. 

When Oliver was born, he didn't sleep much either.  I still don't know if it's because he legitimately wasn't tired, or if I fucked things up. I'd put him down for naps and ten or fifteen minutes later, he'd be up again.  Or he'd sleep for exactly 40 minutes (which I now know is the duration of one baby sleep cycle).  Then he'd be up, wide awake and cranky. 

As the weeks and months went on, I'd hear moms on the playground talk about how much their kids (who were the same age as Ollie) were sleeping.

You Can't Make New Old Friends.

"A lot of stuff can come up in this pose, so don't be surprised if you start feeling sad (or nauseated or angry or bewildered or [add emotion here...]"

I've been to lots of yoga classes where the teacher says this at some point during the class. Normally, it's right when we're about to do Camel.  But since I've never experienced any sort of Come-to-Jesus moment like that in the middle of practicing, I usually make some snarky comment to myself and just keep going.

Then today, as I was lying in savasana (corpse pose) at the end of Hatha class, I started to cry. Not because some old family trauma surfaced or even because I've had a particularly bad day.  It was because my Best Mom Friend (BMF) is moving away next week, and I suddenly glimpsed how yucky life is going to be without her around. 

Namaste, people.

Namaste, people.I'm into yoga now.

I used to be into running.  Really into it.  I ran for years on several continents, in many cities, in all kinds of weather, usually early in the morning. My running shoes and I have been everywhere together from Stockholm to Rangoon; from Nantucket to Phuket; from Lake Como to the Napa Valley. 

I wasn't particularly fast (2003 NYC Marathon time: 4h30min) but I was dedicated.  In fact, once I got in the zone I had a hard time stopping.  When I used to live in Venice, California, I'd go out for a run along the beach and if things went well, I'd end up calling my husband collect from a sandy pay phone and asking him to grab me some dry clothes before heading down to Manhattan or Redondo Beach--a cool 10+ miles around the Marina and down the bike path from our house--to meet me an hour later

My Day

11:15 am, the playground

  •  Get up (6:25 am)
  • Help bathe kids, wash hair
  • Dress kids
  • Feed kids
  • Load dishwasher that didn't run last night because the knob on the front is currently Felix's favorite toy
  • Eat
  • Check email
  • Strategize with Chris about a) Easter b) Thomas the Train day trip in June that we need to buy tickets for ASAP c) Spring program sign up for kids
  • Help Ollie get off to school
  • Fold laundry
  • Work on iCal spread sheet of possible Spring classes and activities for kids
  • Call mom-in-arms Willow.  No answer
  • Put away laundry
  • Call Mom.  No answer
  • Try to reschedule majorly important, once-a-year doctor appointment that I needed to do blood work for last week and haven't.  Without it, 9:00 appointment tomorrow is pretty useless
  • Change out of pyjamas.</li