Peace and happyness to all who wander through this blog.
My life long friend (we went to high school together and despite the 4,000 miles between us in the last 27 years we are still in touch!) just sent me a CD from her son's girlfriend. And it is really cool. The young woman has a great voice, and the musicians who accompany her did wonderful arrangements. She wrote the six songs on the album herself. The violin player is great and the last song is a tribute to her mother and her death. She passed away two years ago. It is a great first album and I hope she is successful and can sell a lot of them. It is not for sale in the US, but in Quebec. Anyway, I was delighted to see her progress as I have known her for some time now. I just love to see what these "kids" are turning out to be. Now that I am passed the hardship of launching my own daugther, some of you may remembers how hard that was, I just love seeing folks I have known as children grow up and become part of the world and contributing to it either through music, art, activism, or any talent they may have.
I put the term in parenthesis, because I feel it is used as judgement of folks, particularly women, who do not fit the stereotype of American "beauty." Two beautiful friends of mine have experienced prejudice most of their lives due to their weight and this issue is close to my heart. Folks come in all size and shape, and health is not solely related to weight. Corporate america is taking it one step further in attacking folks whose weight deviate from certain norms by charging them health care penalties. I read in the paper today that workers who meet overweight criteria will be charged a fat fine. In addition to obesity, other factors that may warrant the fine ($30 every two weeks) would be high blood pressure and high cholesterol, maybe diabetes too. One of the person surveyed stated that she thougth it was a good idea and that her weight is fine. What happens when other health concerns make the list? Should I pay more because I have asthma that requires a lot of maintenance medication? Yes, we all have a certain amount of control over our health status, but there are other factors that need to be examined as well. What if an employee has a very stressful position within the company which leads to high blood pressure? What about genetic predisposition to these conditions? Should they be included in the equation? Or do we need to get a Gattaca-like society where health status dictate our social status.
The last couple of months have been nuts! I am currently training for a Triathlon, yes, I am not kidding you, a triathlon! It is a short distance, but any distance does not seem short to me! The swim is 1/2 mile, the bike ride is 15 miles and the "run" ( I will most likely walk most of it) is 3 miles. The bike ride is probably my most comfortable event. I do like to ride my bike and have done some decentrides in my days, so with a little training I feel ready for that one. Especially since the course is a little hilly, but no great hills or climbs. The worst part of the bike ride is it can get windy, and the return trip would be against the wind if it is windy. So I'm hoping it's not a very windy day. The swim is my next favorite event. Although I am very slow, about a 1/2 hour for the 1/2 mile,(most folks get it done in 20 minutes) I do love the water and feel comfortable in it. In the last few months, I have learned to relax in the water and just keep swimming and pacing myself when I get tired. At first I could barely do 3 width of the pool and now I do 36 comfortably. I had a setback there when I actually learned to swim (that is, learn how to have a good stroke, where to keep my feet instead of letting them get down and drag) I found it much harder at first and even became much slower and I was very discouraged, but this week I finally got back to a decent speed and apparently I look good in the water! The run, ahh the run. Well as I said, I will mostly walk. First, because after the swim and the bike ride, my lungs will be done. And second, I still can't run 3 miles straight, even when that is the only thing I do. My lungs just quit after about 20 minutes to 1/2 hour, even at the slowest pace that I can get myself to go to. And then when I run that slow, my legs hurt, I probably can walk as fast as that slow run and it does not get me so out of breath. Go figure! Also, the middle leg of the course is all uphill, and even experienced runners say that it sucks, so I'm walking. My friend's brother who has completed several triathlon and an Ironman in New Zealand said that as long as we cross the finish line running, we should look good! Anyway, I'm very excited and scared at the same time! And maybe if I train all year, next year I actually can run the run!
Such a long time without writing. Well, the semester is done and it does not look like I will have a class this summer, so far only 4 students! I'll have some work though through my old job and the new one. Always something. I had a lovely visit from my cousin this last week. It was hilarious how, for not having spent time together for the last 30 or so years, we have so much in common. It was great to reconnect with her and get to know one of her daughters. I did recognized my mother, my daughter and myself in her and that was almost surreal in a way. We are about the same size, our hair is very similar, and we have very similar habits. Her daughter and the Kid were laughing at us. It was so great to speak my own language for a whole week!
I am an emotional wreck. I have attended a two day seminar on racism, and it was incredibly painful. I am welling up as I write. We came so close to each others, and shared such pain, and supressed feelings. I have not felt so touched in so long, I was disarmed by it. For so long, I have felt invisible, unheard, because I am part of a multitude of nondescript people. All white, all the same, all inconsequentials. I know part of my ancestry is Montagnais, a tribe of Native Canadian (First Nation as it is know in Canada) or at least I believe that is the correct tribe, yet I know nothing of that culture, of that language, me who loves languages so. Also, as I stated today, through tears, I look nothing like that people, I look so white, so "american," and I hate that. My white skin, my redish hair, I look Irish,and I don't feel Irish. I long for my difference, for my identity. I look at my sister, with her long nose, dark straight hair, dark skin, stong brow, how native she looks, how beautiful; and she tries so hard to erase all of that, dies her hair, plucks her brow, uses lots of make up to mask her beauty. I wish I had my mom's skin which darkened, even in the winter from hanging the laundry. If you know the winter in Montreal, you know that she could not have exposed much skin for much time to gain a tan, but she did. I heard one woman say how she was told as a child that she was ugly because she looked "India." I so wish I did look "something," anything but the blandness I have.