Thursday, June 30, 2016

What I Read: February

I'm super behind in blogging my books read updates, and blogging in general (hello 2 month unplanned hiatus, whatevs). My goal was to read 60 books by the time I turn 30 on September 3rd. February brought me 2/3 of the way to my goal. So instead of being productive during the ~20 minutes of peace and quiet I get during rest/nap time, I'm going to write.

34. Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery 
A classic, and one of my favorite in the Anne series. Spoiler alert: Anne and Gilbert end up together and it's sweet and heartwarming. Despite having read the entire series more times than I can remember, I still love Montgomery's over-flowery descriptions and Anne's obnoxious passion for life. If Anne were a real person, she would drive me bonkers, but since she's a fictitious historical character, I can just enjoy her and chalk it up to the early 1900's... because who wouldn't be chipper and joyful about life when wearing floor length gowns and writing novels by hand.

35. Cloud Castles by Kathy Lynn Emerson
I had to google this book just to remember anything about it, which tells you what kind of impression it left on me. Finding it on Google was a challenge as well which shows that it's a wildly popular title. All sarcasm aside, this was an easy, beach read that was a little far-fetched. It's a "suspenseful romance", but hey, it takes place in Maine (woo hoo) (which is also probably the only reason I read it). The main character inherits a random house in middle of no where, Maine from a relative she barely knew and on the way there gets into an accident that almost kills her. When the cops do a tox screen, they discover she was on drugs at the time of the accident even though she's never taken anything... and the far-fetched continues from there. If nothing else, some of the stuff that happened made me laugh an roll my eyes, so it has that going for it. 

36. Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery 
This is probably my least favorite Anne book, mostly because much of it is written in letters to Gilbert and takes a different tone than the other books because of that. That said, it was still an enjoyable read. Usually I skim this book when reading the series, but this time I actually read the entire thing and got a lot more out of it than usual... I should probably share that example with my students about how even I can be a crappy reader sometimes and what happens when you actually put in effort.

37. Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
I continue with my Anne reading with Anne and Gilbert's wedding and the start of their marriage. It's cute, sweet, with just enough heartbreak and misfortune to make it both believable and engaging. I have a slight Gil crush on both book and movie versions of the character (and was crushed to discover that the actor who played him in the movies had died... like 10 years ago). This book shows another side of Gilbert, which is why I always enjoy it. Also Anne grows up a bit and is a little less perky which is always a plus. 

38. I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had by Tony Danza
Not going to lie. I picked this book up because I figured I could laugh at Tony Danza's attempt to teach and complain about how hard it is... and then he put his heart and soul into making a difference in his students' lives and I changed my tune. Everything that's hard about teaching, he actually did and worked through; unruly students, lack of parental support, struggling readers, he worked to reach them all, and I was impressed. Granted, he did it for a year, had a tv studio recording it, and had the name/money on his side, but he really worked his butt off. The book isn't fascinating, but it's interesting and will make you respect all the teachers you know for all that they do. 

39. Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery 
In this book, Anne is really all grown up with several kids and another on the way. It's less about Anne, and more about her kids and the scrapes, mishaps, and mischief they get into. It's cute and sweet, but I do wish there were more of Anne in it as she is the focus prior to this. Alas, I guess that's life; pop out a few kids and no one gives a crap about you any more. I kid... kinda.

40. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
The only book in February that was truly amazing. It's a sci fi tale of what happens when the Earth's rotation suddenly slows down significantly. At first it just slightly lengthens the days and screws up clocks, but then bigger and bigger changes happen as a result of the slowing earth. The first big issue they face is whether to go by clock time or daylight time, but then the issues get bigger. What was great about this story was that, while all this was going on, real life continue too. The main character, Julia, deals with the effects of the slowing along with her parents' struggling marriage, friendship issues, and growing up. There was not a single thing about this book that I didn't enjoy. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

When the doctor is wrong, and why I'm not going to lose weight.

Bear with me, this is long, but I wouldn't be posting my weight and clothing size on the internet if I didn't think this was important:

I'm 29 years old. I weigh between 133 and 136 lbs depending on the day and how many pieces of candy I've scarfed down the second both kids are in their beds for rest time, and my size 6 pants are loose. Over the past 4 years I have given birth to two children, gained over 70 lbs in the process, and lost all of that weight and then some. I workout 3-5 times a week, and can kick butt at intense workout videos. I can run a 10 minute mile while chatting with a friend, and I manage to haul around a 38 lb. 4 year old and 18 lb. 16-month old on a daily basis. While I'm no twig, my body is strong, capable, and at what I consider the best it's ever been. I've never before been as comfortable in my own skin.

Which brings me to a few weeks ago, when I went to the doctors for a check up. I stepped on their scale, saw a mid-130's number flash on the screen and thought nothing of it. So imagine my surprise when, 20 minutes later, the nurse practitioner informed me that my weight showed that I am "unhealthy" and "overweight" and that I should work towards losing 5 or so pounds in order to be in a "healthier" weight range.

I'm not going to lie, I was rather taken aback. We like to blame the media for perpetuating this impossible image of the ideal body type, but what about the"experts" in the medical field who know all my information, yet tell me that I'm just not "healthy" enough. That the two numbers that went into creating a BMI determine whether my body is at its best. These are the people we trust to care for our bodies and advise how we can get or remain healthy. Were I to take her advice and attempt to lose 5 or so pounds, I would not be able to do so in a safe or healthy way. I'm confident in my body, and willing to stand up to "professionals" who give inappropriate advice, so I was quick to question the situation, but many people are not and many would take that advice as doctor's orders and attempt to lose more weight.

I will not be working to lose weight. My body doesn't need to be smaller or have zero fat on it. I will continue to run, and strength train, and push my body to its limits. Not because it needs to change, but because being strong and capable makes me feel good and because taking the time to sweat it out on a regular basis is the best gift I've ever given myself. Also, because I like to eat junk food, lots of junk food. 
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