Avoiding Crisis

Archive for January 2007

weighing in on weight

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I’ve noticed that there’s been a lot of talk about weight in the media lately.  How could you not.  There’s always talk about weight, I know, but recently, it’s all about how Tyra Banks is fat and models are too thin.  Who’s fat?  Who’s thin?  Who’s recently lost weight?  Who’s put on a few extra pounds?  WHO CARES? Seriously, someone please tell me how many issues a year People magazine puts out dealing with weight related issues. We are a people obsessed with weight.  It doesn’t matter if we are talking about fat or thin, obesity or anorexia, we are talking about it.  Not to mention spending money on it too – almost $40 billion a year on diet products.     

It’s all about image.   As a mother of a young girl I am constantly reminded that a child’s mind is greatly influenced by her experiences.  It doesn’t help obviously that my daughter, at the mere age of 4, has a collection of Barbie dolls that would rival any serious connoisseur or that the bodies of every princess and female character that she adores have not one ounce of fat on them.  To her, these images are perfect.  But what is perfect?  And who got to decide that they were perfect in the first place. (I don’t have the heart to tell my daughter that Barbie is far from perfect and that if she was a real person she’d most likely be unable to stand up because she’s too top heavy with the measurements of  39″/19″/33″.)  

Now, here it comes: my real problem with the current focus on weight. (Well, that is, aside from the problem that we talk about weight far too much at the expense of other much more important issues.)   So my issue is this, while there is constant talk about obesity and anorexia, about what constitutes being overweight and what’s classified as an eating disorder, we hardly ever here people talk about what it means to be normal, what is means to be average.  We should stop focusing so much on the extremes, let the doctors and experts handle those, and start focusing instead on promoting healthy bodies, healthy living and healthy images. 

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Written by nicolemarie

January 31, 2007 at 11:07 pm

girls night

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Short post tonight.  It’s a girls night out! 

I’m off to get ready.  I will dine at Sucre.  Which happens to be one of my favorite restaurants here in Buenos Aires.  It actually has great ambiance, decent service AND good food – a rarity in B.A..  While you may find a resturant with one of these aspects, and on occasion two, rarely will you find all three under the same roof.   Obviously this is debatable and everyone has their own opinions, tastes and experiences; I’m just telling you how I see it.  But that’s a topic for another day.

Until tomorrow faithful readers…I’m going to have fun! 

Written by nicolemarie

January 30, 2007 at 6:29 pm

the ultimate search

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There is no such thing as the perfect pair of jeans.  They just don’t exist.  I know, I’ve looked.  Like most women, I hate shopping for jeans.  When I say hate, I mean it with a capital H.  And it’s not like I don’t wear jeans that often.  With no need to get dressed in business attire, it’s about the only thing I wear, aside from my favorite North Face cargo pants.  If only they made jeans that fit like those pants.  A girl can dream, can’t she?  The short of it, I wear jeans A LOT.  I also happen to own a lot of jeans.  I don’t like them all, I don’t even wear them all, but it is a mighty fine collection.  At one point when I was in college, I owned 22 pairs of jeans.  That number has gone down a bit, but just a bit.   I’m constantly searching for the perfect pair.  It’s been a long hard journey but I press on.

Maybe I’m too picky.  Maybe my budget limits me.  I will not pay $200 for a pair of jeans no matter how well they fit.  $100 is my limit, okay maybe $150 – but I’d still tell my husband that they were $100.   A very smart girl once explained to me that the cost of the nearly $300 True Religion jeans she bought could be completely justified by calculating the cost per wear.  She figured that if she can get 300 wears out of the jeans then they really only cost her $1 per wear.  And that’s a good deal.  WHAT???  

I think my problem has more to do with the fact that designers don’t make jeans for normal people.  I’m not fat.  I’m not super skinny either.  I’ve had two kids.  I have hips.  These days, the only women who should be wearing jeans have skinny legs and no ass.  I say this because these are the only people who could possibly fit into any of the jeans that I have tried on lately.  

I do have one pair of almost perfect jeans.  They were the closest to perfect I’ve ever found.  However, after losing 10 pounds they’ve become my almost perfect jeans in a big, slouchy, comfy, I-couldn’t-possibly-wear-them-out-of-my-house sorta way.  But finding them in the first place was an amazing feat. Lucky Brand Boyfriend Jean.  I bought one pair.  I still had baby weight to lose, I didn’t want to have too many fat jeans lying around.  I figured I’d buy another pair after I’d lost some weight.  At least that was the idea.  No can do.  Unlucky for me, Lucky stopped making them.  I should have known as much, this is how it always is.  When I was in college, among my 22 pairs of jeans, was this awesome pair of Todd Oldhams.  Snug in all the right places without showing every imperfection.  You know what happened? Yup! Todd Oldham stopped making them.  It’s the story of my jean searching life.

One would think that when you stop making one item, another different, yet similar, item would appear in its place.  Obviously no one has told the fashion industry about this idea.  Last time I was in the United States I went into a Lucky store and asked about the whole Boyfriend Jean issue.   I demanded to know why they had stopped making them.  Like the sales guy had any clue, like HE cared. (Guys just don’t have this problem.  My husband walks into Old Navy and like 10 minutes later walks out with 3 new pairs of jeans that ALL look great.)   Since I was getting no where with my protesting the disappearance of the Boyfriend Jean, I asked to try on the next closest thing.  Yeah, the next closest thing, 2 times bigger than my typical size, wouldn’t even make it over my hips.  I said similar, SIMILAR…didn’t you hear me??!!! 

Don’t even get me started on jeans in Argentina.  Here, the idea of anything but ultra low- rise is a foreign concept.  Please, just once, I’d like to be able to buy a pair of jeans where I don’t have to worry about having my ass crack showing when I sit down.  Breast cleavage is one thing, butt cleavage another.  

For now, I’ll settle for my big, slouchy, comfy, I-couldn’t-possibly-wear-them-out-of-the-house Luckys and my waist-gaping but perfect-in-every-other-way Rapsodia jeans.  But don’t worry, I will continue on my quest hoping that one day I’ll find the perfect pair.  And when I do, I’ll be sure to buy several pairs.           

Written by nicolemarie

January 29, 2007 at 11:02 pm

is there a doctor in the house?

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Friday was my older brother’s  birthday.  He turned 32.  I had semi-jokingly mentioned that I would write about him on Friday because, after-all, it was his birthday.  But I didn’t.  Instead I wrote about myself – 100 things about myself to be exact.  Now, in his own special way, he’s making me feel bad that I didn’t write anything about him.  Better late then never, right? 

remember, he asked for it….

My brother has a God complex.  This might not be surprising seeing that he’s a surgeon and this is a common problem among those type, but it goes far beyond that.  When we were younger and my father brought home our first computer – an Apple – my brothers and I would play video games for hours.  I wasn’t very good.  The doctor (a.k.a my older brother) was excellent at video games.  He always had the top score.  You know how when you finish a game there’s that screen that pops up showing the rankings of all the top scorers.  Our’s went like this #1 God, #2 Jesus Christ, #3 Jesus, #4 God, #5 God, #6 God.  I am not making this stuff up.  Sometimes if i’d look at him the wrong way he’d put me in a head lock and force me to say “oh omnipotent one, most powerful in the entire world, I worship the ground you walk on please forgive whatever I have done to anger you, grant me forgiveness oh holy being….”  I told you he has a god complex.  

So aside from that one minor flaw, he’s a really good guy.  He always knows how to make me laugh.  Well, except for the time he dragged me down the hallway out of his bedroom into the living room along a blue shag carpet and gave me rug burns down my back.  That made me cry.   Or the time that he rubbed my head along the burgundy cloth interior of my mothers Oldsmobile Delta 88 until it caused enough static electricity to make my hair stand straight up.  Then he took my hand and touched it to the metal ashtrays.  Ouch.   

Yet in spite of the torture he put me through, today I consider him one of my best friends.  I should have my head examined.   

Love you doc.  happy birthday.            

Written by nicolemarie

January 28, 2007 at 9:22 pm

on failure

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I’ve failed my way to success. –Thomas Edison

Failure – the state or condition of not meeting an intended objective.  

Why do we, as a society, look upon failure as being so awful?  In classrooms, boardrooms, on the playing fields and on the battle fields, we are constantly reminded that “failure is not an option.”  But the truth of the matter is, failure is ALWAYS an option.  We should try to remember that more often.  We say that it’s about how hard you try, that you give it your all, that success is not about winning but about how you play the game.  If only that was true.  It’s all about winning.  It’s all around us.  We must succeed, we must be the best, nothing short of excellence is tolerated.  

A ninth grade biology teacher tried to teach me a lesson about failing.  He gave me an F on an exam that I had really passed.  He knew how important getting good grades was to me – how too important it was – and he thought that I needed to learn what it felt like to fail.  At the time I couldn’t see the value of his lesson; today I understand it a lot better.  As a parent I just hope I always remember to teach my children that failure is okay, it makes us stronger, wiser and much more prepared for the eventual successes that are bound to come. 

Listen, I’m not your optimistic, glass half-full type, but if I’ve learned anything over these past few weeks of “self-exploration” is that failure may be the best thing that has happened to me.  When I began this project, it forced me to face up to the fact that I had not lived up to my own expectations, regardless of how high or unrealistic these expectations might be.  I wrote, matter-of-factly that on my 30th birthday I would officially be a failure.  This one statement has elicited very strong comments both offline and on-line and these comments have forced me to think about what being a failure means, at least in the context that I have written.  What I’ve come to realize, or maybe what I’ve always realized but never wanted to admit to myself, is that had I succeeded in completing any of the goals that I had set for myself, oh so many years ago, I would be a completely different person.  And while I can honestly admit that I might not be completely satisfied with the current state of my life (I’d like to meet a person who is), I am happy. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m proud of not having accomplished the pre-30th birthday goals that I set for myself.  But in retrospect, it’s not like I tried very hard to accomplish any of these things either.  I thought about them a lot, but did I give it my all? No, not really.  Other things came up and I journeyed down a different path. With every life decision we make, one door closes and another opens.  While that door may not lead to where you thought it would, or even to where you hoped it would, you proceed and you learn from the next journey that awaits you.    

Don’t be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience.  — John Keats

Written by nicolemarie

January 27, 2007 at 11:20 am

100 things

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Well, since I did jump on the blog bandwagon I figure why not embrace it fully. Even if it means partaking in what may be one of the most over done postings – 100 things about me and/or my life.

Who started this crazy exercise? Anyhoo…here goes…

  1. I was born and raised in New York
  2. Rockland County to be exact.
  3. I lived in Manhattan for 3 years
  4. I moved to Washington, DC after graduating from college
  5. I bought a house in Northern Virginia when I was 23 and sold that house last year
  6. I’ve been married for 5 years
  7. I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  8. I used to live in Lima, Peru
  9. I will move again in 18 months
  10. I want to live in Africa some day
  11. I don’t really have a desire to live in Western Europe
  12. I don’t want to return to living in the United States just yet
  13. My husband works for the U.S. Government
  14. We travel and live overseas because of his job
  15. I don’t have a job
  16. I’m a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom)
  17. I have two children
  18. Abigail is 4 and Owen is 2
  19. I’ve liked the name Abigail ever since I learned about Abigail Adams in an American history class.
  20. Abbey speaks English and Spanish, Owen doesn’t speak (at least not yet)
  21. but i think it’s pretty amazing that he can recognize and say all the letters in the alpahabet
  22. I have two brothers
  23. I’m a fraternal twin
  24. My name would have been Jennifer had my twin brother been a girl
  25. His name would have been Nicole had he been a girl
  26. Had I been a boy my name would have been Andrew
  27. I’ve always liked the name Andrew and all nicknames associated with it
  28. I don’t like being called Nicky and/or Nick or any other shortened version of Nicole
  29. Only my father can call me those names; and maybe my friend Michelle 🙂
  30. I was born 13 minutes after my brother
  31. I was breech
  32. The doctors had to turn me around
  33. My twin brother’s name is Mark
  34. Mark is gay
  35. He just got “married” in Wisconsin. And no, gay marriage is not legal in Wisconsin
  36. I’m okay with the fact that he’s gay
  37. I’m not okay with how he told me that he was gay
  38. When I was visiting him in Washington, DC during our junior year of college I asked him who he was on the phone with and he said it was his boyfriend and that we were having lunch with him tomorrow right before I was to get on the train back to NY
  39. I told my parents my brother was gay
  40. Once he came home from college to visit and he left on his bed a book on how to tell your parents your gay
  41. When my brother went to the airport I gave the book to my mom
  42. She thought it was about me
  43. She was okay with that
  44. She cried when she found out it was my brother
  45. I’ve been to a gay club
  46. I didn’t like the club
  47. I didn’t like the fact that no one was looking at me – not good for someone with low self esteem
  48. I used to have short hair
  49. Now my hair is long
  50. I feel sexier with long hair
  51. I have two Siberian huskies
  52. I used to be terrified of dogs
  53. I’m obsessed with sudukos and crossword puzzles
  54. My parents introduced me to sudukos
  55. My mother-in-law bought be a suduko book for Christmas. It’s addicting
  56. I started doing the NYT crossword puzzles to get through a Intro to Microeconomics class at Barnard
  57. I graduated from Barnard College in 1999
  58. I graduated summa cum laude, phi beta kappa and with departmental honors
  59. I’m proud of myself for that
  60. I was a big nerd
  61. I was good at college; I miss being good at something
  62. I transferred to Barnard sophomore year
  63. I went to Ursinus College freshman year
  64. I probably chose to go to Ursinus because my parents didn’t want me to
  65. They wanted me to go to Syracuse University
  66. I didn’t fit in at Ursinus. It was way too preppy and conservative.
  67. I drank too much to get through freshman year
  68. I pledged a sorority at Columbia University. I deactivated within 6 months
  69. I attended AA meetings for a about 5 months
  70. I stayed sober for an entire year
  71. I didn’t drink on my 21st birthday
  72. I only drink wine and beer now
  73. I am particularly fond of the Argentine malbec wine
  74. I love living in Buenos Aires
  75. I speak spanish (though not as fluently as I would like to)
  76. On some days I speak more Spanish then English
  77. I feel very accomplished when I do this
  78. I was in a bicycle accident when I was 13
  79. I have scars on my knees that are black because of the pavement that I slid across
  80. I’ve never gotten back on a bicycle
  81. My daughter is learning to ride a bike
  82. I would like to complete a triathlon
  83. I need to get over my fear of riding a bike
  84. I recently ran a 10K race
  85. I finished in 1 hour 3 minutes
  86. When I was in high school I played field hockey and softball
  87. I was pretty good at field hockey
  88. I hated high school
  89. I hated myself in high school
  90. I had a big nose in high school
  91. People called me “nostrils” – that wasn’t very nice of them
  92. In elementary school a kid that went by the nickname “Moose” made me cry on more than one occasion because he made fun of my nose – something about being able to fit peanut M&Ms up my nostrils (stop laughing…it’s NOT funny!)
  93. I had to have surgery on my nose when I was in college (for reasons other than cosmetic)
  94. It was a good excuse to have it cosmetically altered as well
  95. I still don’t like my nose
  96. I had a tumor removed from my neck 5 years ago
  97. It was a pleomorphic adenoma
  98. I used to suffer from panic attacks
  99. I take Zoloft
  100. I don’t have panic attacks anymore

Written by nicolemarie

January 26, 2007 at 3:42 pm

second thoughts

with 3 comments

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”Syliva Plath

How I wish I was a gutsy person with a good imagination.  Maybe then this whole writing thing wouldn’t be so hard.  The complete lack of self-confidence in my ability doesn’t help either.  I should just forget about the whole writing thing.  Give up before I even start.  Start?  What’s that. It would be ever so helpful if I even knew how/where to start.  You can’t even begin to imagine what happens when you google “freelance writing.”  Well, that is, unless you’ve tried it.  Sorting out the crap from the useful information is nearly impossible. 

I did the next best thing.  I contacted the career development office at my alma mater to see if there were any alum that they knew of that wouldn’t mind being contacted about careers in writing.  They told me to look at the alum database because all the career information had been transferred there.  Great, I thought.  I’ll just search for alum that are writers, journalists, and/or in the publishing industry, etc.  Perfect. Not!  I’m just going to casually email Anna Quindlen asking for advice on how to get started.  Or, maybe I’ll write to Mary Gordon.  Dear Ms. Gordon, I didn’t take any of your classes while I was at Barnard because I was too busy with my nose stuck in history books and taking film classes (not to mention intimidated to take a single writing class because I’d be laughed out of the room) but I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction.  While I’m at it, why don’t I just drop “internet queen” Stephanie Klien a message with the subject “fellow Barnard alum waiting to be discovered – please help!.”   Yeah, this whole idea isn’t looking so good about now. I’m oh so motivated.  And then, I read something that gives me hope.  “Rejection happens to everyone. But I’ll keep writing because I’m not doing it for praise or condemnation.  I’m doing it just for me, being true to myself and what I know I was put on this earth to do.”  Thanks Stephanie.

Written by nicolemarie

January 26, 2007 at 12:02 am