Friday, August 29, 2008

Faith and the Election

Earlier today I had a conversation with a friend and fellow blogger Jessica about the appropriateness of faith and religious language in public discussions.

Today, I offer you scripture:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
--Hebrews 11:1
This evening I broke down in my parent's living room. My sister and I had just finished watching Michelle Obama's speech on YouTube and were commencing to watch Barack Obama's speech where he accepted the nomination. I watched the speech last night, in my bed, after a long and busy day, and then I was moved.

Today I broke down.

I cried and told my sister about the hope I felt, that I, for the the first time in years, feel patriotic about my country and hopeful about my world. My mother, whose vote I was not sure of, talked with me, and for the first time in my life as an adult--I felt as if we truly saw eye to eye and made a deep, intellectual connection.

My faith in America and my family has been ignited. I stand in Faith and Hope tonight, not saying that Obama will be my president. The work of that is done. Obama is my president and I stand in hopeful expectation, with evidence of things not seen.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

After the Stairs

It was worth it, even though I was miffed. I climbed them and found it to be uplifting, in the end.

I'm going to write soon about my experience at PLU's Student Leadership Institute. First, das Essen. And then das Bett.

For an optimist, I'm pretty pessimistic . . .

After a day of walking around Tacoma, pushing past inconceivable limits, and making great strides through pain and discomfort, I am now sentenced to the lower floor of the UC. Without warning, cause, or information as to when the elevator would be fixed, facilities at PLU has decided to render elevator service out of order.

In a word: Livid.

In another word: Hurt.

In a few sentences: After a day like today, this was the last thing I needed. As a morbidly obese person, I hold on to the plans and precautions I make in daily living. I know when to walk, how to walk there, where resting places are, and how far I can make it in between. I know in whose car to ride based on my comfortably. I know what words and defenses to make when I can't do something.

There are major portions of tonight that I'm missing and this has thrown a serious wrench in my experience.

I'm going upstairs. Or at least trying.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Can I get my two-piece with a side of $300, plz?

Friday, I had a long day.

While I wanted to write you a blog post about all of the wonderful things I had done this summer in my internship, I had a hell of a time getting my last big project done. This brochure of doom (I feel like a Fettchen's Terminology Post is yet to come) was getting on my nerves and despite having excellent company for lunch, my microwavables weren't cutting it and I needed me some subway.

As my sister and I were strolling up to our local sandwich-artist-establishment, the radio station blaring, the music (Bleeding Love and other such delectables) cut to two female voices, trash talking, the kind of noise you just tune out. Today, however, was an exception.

Radio Transcript*

Did you hear about Alabama? They're giving people a year to lose weight and if they don't, they're going to charge them.


Nuh uh!

Yes huh.

You straight trippin'.

Yes, they're giving fat people one year to lose weight and then they're either going to have to leave, or pay.

Oh shit!

Yes, Oh shit indeed.

My sister and I were both completely taken aback. The people speaking on the radio station weren't so much outraged at the fact that a state was telling its citizens that they needed to lose weight or face paying more money—as they were thinking it funny that fat people were either going to have to "drop that two piece**" or flee Alabama.

I placed my order for a veggie delite, toasted, on italian herb and cheese with all the veggies (except green peppers), yes I do want banana peppers and mayo (light), oil and vinegar please, toasted while my sister had a mini-sub which she got for free with her card. I, of course, proceeded to get angry and bombast the radio talk show hosts with my sister. We both were completely flummoxed and despite our more than apparent anger—this invisible fear hung between us: It's happening. We, both overweight for our entire lives, have experienced the quite visible nonacceptance and at times blatant discrimination that overweight people face daily. Stares. Ugly little children pointing us out to their inattentive parents. Laughs. Ambivalence. The thought crossed both of our minds as we waited for our sandwiches.

If it could happen there, what's to stop it from happening here—happening to us?

When the radio was turned back on, we got the whole story. In fact, it isn't that Alabama is charging its citizens for being overweight, but its state workers. If after a year of leniency and access to state funded programs these workers do not make progress, they will be charged an extra $25 in health premiums, about $300 more than their BMI-efficient co-workers.

While I understand the logic (it apparently having worked for smoking state workers), I can't jump behind the motivations. In essence, this sends a message to the citizens of Alabama that their bodies aren't valued assets to the state, but are perceived as costing them more money, and as such, should be penalized. It doesn't look at diets, at body types, at activity, or even at overall health, but at a quantitative number that truly, only shows a minute part of someone's overall wellness. What should feel like a state saying "hey guy, it's okay, let's see what I, the recipient of your tax dollars, can do to help you become well" is instead yet another example of institutionalized discrimination against the obese.

When you penalize the obese, you send the message that they—that we—are unwelcome.

For me, this policy will creates more stressors and will likely cause people to lose weight rapidly and unhealthily. Alabama should be on the side of wellness and on the side of its state workers, not on the side of beauty and its pocketbooks.

*Artistic Representation not intended to actually quote the radio show hosts. Like, at all.
**This was actually said.


So. All I want to do for you people is write awesome, amazing, thoughtful, inquiring, and innovative posts. Developing the habit of blogging remains, however, daunting. Here's the deal:

I'm working on three posts right now, all of which look promising, and I'm going to get them to you by Monday.

I just feel the need to set goals and remain focused. Did I mention I've been up since 7:30?

Do me a favor—keep reading, even when I'm all crazy and shit. I mean, you wouldn't be here unless you liked crazy and shit, right?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Squash Soup, Redux

So I had a little too much fun with Photobooth in the office. Sue me.

The squash soup, on day two, was not the best thing ever. Which makes me sad, because I have a good track record soup-wise. I suppose the main issue is that it isn't soup, it's a vravy, which is my new word for vegetarian gravy.

What's interesting about my soup making is that it coincides with amazing soup weather. Western Washington was besieged by hot weather of doom, which caused me at times to feel nauseous. In less than 24 hours the days of 85-90 degree weather somersaulted (heh—that boys and girls is what we call a pun) to 65-70 degree weather. It seems that my Squash Vravy-Jasmine Rice-Two Tortilla combo was right up nature's alley.

A short post yes, but whatever. It's 11:31 and I think, for the first time in months, I'm tired before midnight.

In the coming days: Fettchen's Goodbye to his Summer Internship and Fettchen's Corolary to Godwin's Law. Should be fun. I expect y'all to be on the edge of your seats. snore.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Squash Soup

  • 1 Whole Onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sized bag of baby carrots, chopped
  • 5 small potatoes, chopped
  • 1 2 lb. bag of frozen, chopped squash
  • 2 cans of yams, rinsed
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • garlic powder (lots)
  • curry powder (some)
  • basil (little)
  • paprika (bit)
  • salt/pepper
  • water (omg lots)
  1. Sweat Onions and Carrots in butter/oil mixture until soft and slightly caramelized
  2. Add Potatoes, Squash, Yams, Garlic Powder, Curry Powder, and Basil
  3. Stir and let cook a bit
  4. Add water; set to boil
  5. When boiling add paprika, salt, pepper
  6. Let boil and reduce by 1/2 inch
  7. Use immersion blender until smooth
As you can see, I more of an intuative cook. This also means that I a) make a shit ton of soup and b) I have a general sense of how things are going to work out, but there are always some surprises.

In this instance, I think my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants soup turned out more like an really good recipe for vegetarian gravy. There wasn't enough bits to make a thick immersion, but it tasted amazing over rice. I think recommendations for my next try at Squash Soup (I have another bag of frozen, chopped squash) will be to:
  • Add Corn
  • Use less Water
  • Add Vegetable Bullion
Now, you may ask, What does Squash Soup have to do with your blog, Herr Fettchen?

That shall be explained tomorrow. Until then, das Bett.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Can't sleep, busy dreaming

It's Monday, 3:01 AM and I need to be working in less than seven hours. There are a host of reasons why I can't sleep, most of which boil down to the fact that I can feel an immense change in my life coming.

The title of this blog is das Fettchen, German(ish) for fatty. The actual word is das Dickerchen, meaning literally "little thicky," which, for my audience, made mostly of English speakers, could become tricky (sidenote: one of my favorite phrases when I was first learning German was ich ziehe einen dicken Pulli an, or I put on a thick pullover. Say it out loud if you don't think its funny yet. There you go. Incidentally this is a good way of remembering the masculine of the accusative case).

Where was I: I chose the title das Fettchen for my blog because 1) I like the way it sounds, way better than Dickerchen, 2) I speak German, and 3) frankly, that's what I am—a fatty.

Since I was born, I've been a big kid. My mother, who was 510 at the time I was born (she's since gotten a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery and is a paltry 200) broke her pelvis pushing me out. A Pentecostal Christian at the time, she bore me, all 11 lbs 3.5 oz (she claims the other 0.5 oz for effort) on nothing more than aspirin and prayer. The joke growing up was that I, days old, pushed her out of the hospital.

But this blog isn't about where I came from. It's about who I am.

I have, for the duration of my life, been overweight. Since I was in eighth grade, I've been morbidly obese. Morbid Obesity is defined as having a BMI over 40 or being 100 over one's desired weight. My BMI is 75.

I don't write this to frighten you, or me (although it does), or to elicit your pity—I need to give you some idea of what I'm working with.

The subtitle of this blog is Young, Ambitious, and Morbidly Obese in America. You've been prepped with the nitty-gritty. I, like many of my excessively-overweight peers, don't spend my life committed to losing weight. I spend my life living, inking out an existence same as you, but under the persistent heaviness of health, of society, of normalcy. You will come to learn here about what it's like to be me—I'm 21, a college student at a small liberal arts school, an English/German Major, Chinese Studies Minor, a co-editor of a literary magazine, a design layout editor for a college newspaper, a student leader/liaison for a Diversity Center, and a 3.89 GPA student, who's taking 400 level German after skipping three semesters from 102, a 300-level American Lit class and senior seminar on Shakespeare's Contemporaries in his junior year. Did I mention that I'm also a drag queen?

The point of all of that is to say that in spite of my size, I've lived my life and have excelled in it. I have pushed past the point of what normally-sized individuals would call success and rounded up honors and accolades all to prove a point—this size does not own me.

But the clock is ticking.

In the next year, I plan to do something about it. Follow me in my journey.

Plans for the Week:
  • Update Layout of Blog
  • Finish _Black, White, and Jewish_ by Rebecca Walker and Re-read of _Want_ by Rick Barot before Sam gets here
  • Get flashcards started for German verbs found in _Crazy_ and _Töchter des Himmels_
  • Make Squash Soup