I Am Not Afraid

Note:  This is not going to be one of the normal FA posts.  I had one all written out, which will post on Wednesday.

This may be triggering, has to do with rape, so it’s behind the cut.

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Peach Census

In five days, I made:

  • 26 jars of peach marmalade
  • 11 jars of peach syrup
  • 4 jars of peach “butter” (made with the solids left over from the syrup)
  • one batch peach cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (my first buttercream type YAY!)
  • 4 bags of pie filling, frozen
  • 3 bags chopped peaches to go in my morning yogurt

I still have enough peaches for a pie and possibly an experiment with cheesecake.    As well as us eating peaches all week.

Yup, that’s what 54 pounds of peaches will get you.

I should be blogging regularly again starting Monday.

Home made bread

I have 4 loaves of bread cooling on the counter.

Three are plain white. One has cinnamon added. All will be teh yum!

It’s really an accomplishment for me to make bread completely from scratch. Back when I was married to the ex- (15 years ago), I tried making bread. It would raise beautifully the first time, but once in the pans, it wouldn’t go anywhere. The outcome, of course, was a flatish brick of cooked dough, but not anything I’d ever call bread.

Birth mother had gone through a phase when I was still living with her, when I was about ten I’d guess, where she would make bread every month. She’d make enough that we’d have bread for the whole month, freezing the loaves we wouldn’t eat right away.

I remembered watching her make it, and it didn’t seem like it was all that hard. Mix everything together, knead it for a while, put it in a greased bowl in the oven to raise. Once the dough raised double, take it out of the bowl, punch it down, put it into greased bread pans, and then put it back in the oven to raise again. (Or, if the oven was already being used baking another batch of bread, put it on the back of the oven to raise again.)

Did I mention that our oven at birth mother’s house was gas? The kind with the pilot light on all the time? Did I mention the oven I was using when I tried making bread 15 years ago was electric?

Yeah, there’s the difference. The pilot for the gas oven kept the oven at a slightly warmed temperature. Perfect for causing the yeast to grow. The cold electric oven never did that.

I made at least 20 loaves of bread before I finally gave up as it being a lost cause. And of course, the ex- used that against me — I was so useless, I couldn’t even make bread right! (But he never tried it himself.)

I felt a total failure. I *was* a total failure in my mind.

I eventually received a bread machine for a birthday gift a while back. I used it all the time, but it didn’t redeem my failure at making bread. After all, in a bread machine, all you have to do is put the ingredients into the machine in the correct order and turn it on. The machine did all the hard work (mixing, kneading, keeping it at the correct temperature) for you.

While I had the bread machine, I did a lot of research into bread making, and knew the theory of why I had hard, dense loaves of baked dough all those years ago. I still wasn’t willing to try to make bread from scratch. I knew when I failed (not if I failed, but when) it would just re-enforce how I was a failure. You know, can’t even make bread right.

When MiL bought the new oven, I saw it had a proof setting and thought it was time to get over my fear of failure with the bread. I no longer have the bread machine, so if I want fresh, home made bread, I will just have to do it the hard way. Still, it took 6 months before I worked up the courage to try.

Two weeks ago, I made my first ever batch of home made bread. It turned out wonderfully. It rose well, had a great density, wonderful grain, and tasted awesome! The only problem was that according to the recipe, it was only supposed to make two loaves, but it really should have made four loaves. So I had a couple misshapen loaves from when they over rose the bread pans.

Today, I made another batch. This time I used four bread pans, and I have beautiful looking bread loaf sized loaves of bread. They’ve just come out of the oven, so I can’t cut into them yet to see how the inside is, but I’m sure they are as good as the last batch is.

Even though I’m getting better, the old thoughts, the brain washing my parents and ex- did sometimes still creeps in. But I like that I can now add “bread baking” to my list of skills. I like even more knowing how far my self esteem has developed in order for me to even attempt it two weeks ago. At the time, I went ahead and did it, even though I wondered if I would fail again. I was willing to risk having to deal with the voices coming back if (when, the voices were saying) the loaves turned into flat loaves of baked dough.

Pushing myself can have good consequences, I’m finding. In this instance, delicious consequences. Later, once the bread has cooled enough, I’m going to cut myself a slice and spread some butter and honey on it. Yum

And now for some breaking news!

The CDC has just released their statistics from 2007, and have proven once again, that fat is indeed an epidemic that is going to kill us all!


Data in this report are based on death records comprising approximately 91 percent of the demographic file and 87 percent of the medical file for all deaths in the United States in 2007.


The age-adjusted death rate for the United States decreased from 776.5 deaths per 100,000 population in 2006 to 760.3 deaths per 100,000 population in 2007. Age-adjusted death rates in 2007 decreased significantly from 2006 for 8 of the 15 leading causes of death: Diseases of heart, Malignant neoplasms, Cerebrovascular diseases, Accidents (unintentional injuries), Diabetes mellitus, Influenza and pneumonia, Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease, and Assault (homicide).

Life expectancy at birth rose by 0.2 years to 77.9 years.




Statistically significant decreases in mortality in 2007 from 2006 were registered across all age groups except under 1 year, 1–4 years, and 5–14 years. The magnitude of the decreases in mortality (which are significant unless specified otherwise) by age group is (Table 1):

  1. Under 1 year (0.6 percent, not significant)
  2. 15–24 years (2.4 percent)
  3. 25–34 years (1.4 percent)
  4. 35–44 years (3.1 percent)
  5. 45–54 years (1.8 percent)
  6. 55–64 years (1.7 percent)
  7. 65–74 years (2.7 percent)
  8. 75–84 years (1.9 percent)
  9. 85 years and over (2.1 percent)

All quotes from:  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_01.pdf





Wait.  What?  In almost all age groups instances of death have decreased?  The quote above is raw data JUST stating deaths.  Not breaking it down for specific diseases, just a decrease in all instances of death in those age groups.  And the quote higher up states that incidents of death have been reduce for diseases such as “diseases of the heart, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes mellitus”.  Oh, yeah, so called fat-related diseases.

But, if what we’re being told is true, and we are in an epidemic of moribid obesity, and it’s going to kill us all, how does anybody explain the fact that instances in death in all age groups are going down, and that incidents of death by so called fat related diseases are going down?

Really, if there was that much an “epidemic” of obesity, and it were that bad for everybody, then the rates of death would be increasing, especially in heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

And what was that other thing?  The average life expectancy at birth has risen (again) to 77.9 years (which is the second year in a row of having a record life expectancy).  How can this be, when we are being told over and over that our children will be the first generation of kids to not outlive their parents?

Seems somebody’s lying.  I don’t suppose the hard data would lie.  Do you?

Thanks to Sandy at Junkfood Science for initially posting this!

Just a quick post…

To say I might not be posting much in the next week or two.

The peaches are coming in this weekend.  Three 18 pound boxes of them.  So far, I only have two batches of marmalade, a few pies, and a batch of peach cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting.  But it’s only Tuesday, and the peaches won’t be here until Saturday.

Who knows how many different ways I’ll be able to process these peaches.

Three 18 pound boxes.  Was I crazy when I ordered them?  Wait, don’t answer that question, I know I was crazy. 

But … Fresh peaches!  Yum!

I am not yet where I want to be

For those of you who are long time readers of this blog, you might have noticed I’ve not been doing my Friday “self esteem” stuff lately.  There’s a reason for that.

I don’t think what I have to say on self-esteem or my recovery process (which is what Friday’s had morphed into) is worth anybody reading about.

I’ve been having a tremendous amount of growth lately.  At least, that’s what my therapist tells me, and people around me.  I’ve been working hard, and am facing my demons (even the demons I never wanted to face and the demons that were so small I didn’t even know they were there).  I’m working my way through triggers with Tai Chi I didn’t think were ever going to be there.  Or maybe I’d told myself I’d already taken care of these issues.

So, yes, I’ve been kicking butt and taking names in my recovery.

The thing is, I can see where I want to be, and I’m not there yet.

I’ve come so far in my recovery.  In the span of a couple years, I’ve learned more about self-acceptance than I ever had my entire life.  Yes, therapy for 19 years (going on 20, oy) has laid the foundation, but even though I had the knowledge, I never had the beliefs to go with the knowledge.  In the past couple of years, the beliefs have started to happen. 

But, it’s not linear.  I want to go from Point A (I’m scum, everybody hates me — and rightly so, I might as well take myself off the planet and stop using up air that people who are worthy of it could be using) to Point Z  (I’m great, I have talent I use, I’m secure in my abilities and able to take correction when it’s warranted, and I can tell the difference between somebody who’s really giving correction versus somebody who’s just being critical) by going through Points B, C, D, E etc.

It doesn’t work that way.

So, all these new found beliefs, the ones where I can say “I’m an artist” without feeling like I’m lying (for example) are wonderful.  Unfortunately, they also are still in their infancy.  It’s still very hard to say, “I’m an artist” without hearing the voices in my head sneering at me that what I do isn’t art.  And even if it was art, it’s so bad nobody would want to buy it.  (The fact that few people are buying anything right now leads credence to the voices.)  It’s hard for that poor little, newborn belief that I’m an artist, and a good one at that, to hold it’s own against the long term entrenched feelings.

It’s like that in accepting my body.  In Tai Chi, there is a long wall of mirrors in the dojo.  It’s there so people can make sure their form is correct as they do the exercises.  I look in the mirror as I’m doing the exercises, and, as long as I can concentrate on what I’m doing, I’m okay.  The minute Sensei has me stop (to teach me the next part of the exercise or whatever), I see a fat lady staring back at me.

Yeah.  “Fat” isn’t a four lettered word and I really do believe that.  But mirrors have never been my friend, even as a child, when I was skinny and saw a “fat, ugly person” staring back at her.

I can see where I’ve been.  Ten years ago, I couldn’t have looked in the mirrors at all.  The fact I can look in mirrors is immense progress.  The fact I still see “fat woman” (as opposed to “woman, who happens to be fat”) shows me how far I’ve yet to go.

Physical healing is not linear.  I learned that after my knee surgery.  I’d have good days and bad days, with my knee progressively becoming better and stronger.  Yet even six months after the operation, I’d still have really bad days.  If I know healing isn’t linear, why do I think emotional healing is linear?

Maybe it’s because I think that, after almost 20 years in therapy, I should be done by now.  Yes, I know better.  I would tell any other person making these same statements, that they just are where they are, and that they have come so far.  That life is a process of learning and healing and dealing with things, and it’s never done until we’re dead.

Good words to tell others, huh?  I guess it’s much easier to give that advice than it is to take it for myself.

Julie and Julia

Over the weekend, I went to see the movie Julie and Julia.

The movie follows two women, Julia Child and Julie Powell, as they experience similar difficulties in life.  Julie Powell decides to blog about working her way through Julia Child’s french cookbook.  524 recipes in 365 days.  The movie then intertwines the stories of Julia Child (as told through her own memoirs) and Jule Powell.

One thing I really liked about the movie was the way they did a passing nod to the whole size issue, and then dropped it.  In the beginning of the movie, Julie goes to have lunch with “friends”.  It’s the “dreaded Cobb Salad luncheon”.  As Julie is sitting in the restaurant, ignored by friends who are too busy with their own lives and success to have time for her, she takes a bread stick and starts nibbling on it.  One of the friends, on the phone talking upper 6-figure business with her assistant, pulls the bread stick out of Julie’s hand and shakes her head.

In another scene, Julie complains about putting on weight, and her husband looks at her like she’s crazy.

And that is all that is said about dieting or weight for the whole film.

Even when we see her friend Sarah, played by Mary Lynn Rajskub (who is definitely not Hollywood skinny in this film), there are no fat jokes.  The not-skinny friend doesn’t make any self-depreciating comments about her weight or anything.

Truly, for a movie that has food and peoples relationships around food (dinner parties, learning to cook, enjoying life) as a theme, it was surprisingly neutral in it’s portrayal of weight and weight issues.

The plot of the movie itself was awesome.   As a foodie, I loved watching about both Julia Child’s life and how she went into cooking, and the struggles of a modern woman trying to cook all of Julia Child’s recipes.  The scene where Julie cooks lobster is the best, in my opinion, of the whole movie.

I definately give this movie a thumbs up.  It’s engaging (at least to a foodie like me it was), and best of all, no mention of how butter or eggs or anything was bad for a person.