One month later – how Nepal is faring

It took less than a month for mainstream media to begin forgetting about Nepal.  Stories of Nepal’s recovery are still being circulated, but not highlighted.

Much like Haiti, the repercussions of this quake will be felt for years to come.  What’s worse, donor fatigue is resulting in a lack of aid for communities who badly need it.  The best thing you can do if you want to help is to make a monetary donation to an organization working in Nepal rather than food or supplies.  Here are six sources from TIME magazine.

And here are some articles from the past day or two detailing what’s happening in Nepal right now:

Rebuilding Nepal to Survive the Next Quake

Nepal: with monsoon season nearing, UN races humanitarian relief to quake-affected communities

Donor fatigue hits Nepal one month after mega earthquake

Struggling amid the ruins a month after Nepal quake (with photos)


Putting on the scarf

I have a scarf in my closet that someone gave me for Christmas.  When I unwrapped it, I initially liked it.  I was actually surprised that someone had seen that scarf and thought of me, because I thought it was beautiful, and I was happy to have received it.

Until the person who gave it to me blurted out, “I knew as soon as I saw it that you’d like it, because I know how much you  like tacky things.”

I was incredibly hurt by that, not just because of the comment, but because for about a minute I *loved* that scarf so much, and to have that comment made to me was so deflating and so demoralizing.  I didn’t call it out then, because I didn’t have the arsenal of appropriate comebacks that I have now.  At that time, any attempt on my part to convey my hurt feelings would have resulted in an argument.  And since there were other people present, it wasn’t worth it.  But I do remember having to blink back tears and just feeling so shitty.  I didn’t really want to open any other presents, and I couldn’t really enjoy anything I got.  That one little “joke” had effectively ruined my mood for the entire day.

This was years ago, and I’ve never worn the scarf.  It sits in my closet, and every year when I do one of my bi-annual closet purges, I think, I should just give this to Goodwill.  I’m never going to wear this.

But I never do.

Continue reading “Putting on the scarf”

Seton Hall University: An example of how money overcomes morality

My alma mater is all over the national news today.  It’s in People, HuffPo, USA Today, NBC, Fox, Gawker, and many many other news sources – and for an infuriating reason.

Seton Hall University – or, more appropriately, the Archdiocese of Newark, which is a major blight on American Catholicism – has dismissed a priest who worked for Campus Ministry for tweeting support for NO H8, a campaign which supports LBGT rights that began in response to Proposition 8.  You’re probably familiar – it’s the series of photos of people with making tape over their mouths.  You can see the photos here.

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The worst possible way to think about weight loss

Back when I was in my weight loss phase, pre-body positivity, I was told not to look at numbers on the scale, but on how my clothes fit.  My trainer at the time noted that you can gain pounds while losing inches, and focused more on my measurements than weight.

Even that isn’t something I’d do today.  I don’t tie my self-esteem to numbers, whether that be weight or measurement or clothing size or salary or age.  The numbers don’t fucking matter.  How I feel matters, and I can feel good without having to consult a bunch of numbers.

So I was a bit disheartened to see this Weight Watchers commercial with a really bad cover of Another One Bites the Dust playing in the background, featuring all manner of smiling, dancing women and one token dude boogieing it up as they step on their scales and watch the numbers go down.

I’m not surprised, mind you – WW is very numbers-focused, and they’re selling a product.  But just that idea that people are dancing and laughing and celebrating while watching numbers on the scales decrease implies that if the scale goes up, you should just curl up into a ball and cry you fucking loser.


Look, if anyone reading this is thinking about losing weight, whatever the reason, go check out this website for Health At Every Size before signing up for Weight Watchers.  Because unlike WW, HAES won’t encourage you to tie your sense of joy, victory, and celebration to what the scale says.  HAES focuses on the overall person and keeps the priority on health and activity and self-esteem instead of putting all the focus on a quantitative measurement.   HAES doesn’t care what you weigh.  HAES cares about how you feel.

I’m never going to tell someone not to lose weight.  That’s a personal choice.  I do encourage people who have gotten caught in a cycle of gaining and losing, or have had a lot of diet plans and weight loss products fail, to start exploring body positivity and HAES.

I also encourage people who are hell-bent on weight loss to not tie too much of their goal-setting to numbers, but to focus on making long-term lifestyle adjustments.  If you aren’t able to overcome the need to quantify your success, at the very least understand that fad diets and short-term solutions like cleanses probably aren’t the way to go.  Slow, steady lifestyle changes will work much better.

And while I’m all about people celebrating their personal successes, I always like to remind the world that fat people who aren’t trying to lose weight have the right to celebrate their bodies, too.  People who are gaining weight, whether intentionally or unintentionally, have the right to celebrate their bodies too.

Everyone, no matter what they weigh, has the right to celebrate their body.

Maybe, instead of playing Another One Bites the Dust for every pound lost, we play it for every nagging self-doubt that’s overcome, every body-positive thought we embrace, every instance of fat phobia and weight discrimination we call out and speak up against.

The Atheist rambles about Christian platitudes

God won’t give you more than you can handle.

I hate this phrase.  Of all the Christian platitudes I see floating around among my acquaintances, this is the one that pisses me off the most.  I think it’s meant to be placating, to assure people that whatever they’re going through, they can handle it.  And I can understand wanting to reassure someone who’s going through something difficult that they have the strength and fortitude and perseverance to get through it.

The thing is, when you actually think about this phrase, and dig into it, it gets kind of horrifying.

Continue reading “The Atheist rambles about Christian platitudes”

Dealing with flare ups with SIBO or Leaky Gut

So I was trying a Low Label Diet (my play on the No Label Diet) when I got sick.  When I’m sick, I’m less inclined toward food preparation, so I just did what I needed to do to get through my illness.

This most recent illness also resulted in antibiotics, which those of you with SIBO and/or Leaky Gut know can wreak havoc on the GI system.  And, as I expected, this resulted in my gut now being completely wrecked.  Taking the antibiotic was unavoidable, as the possible effects of not treating the infection I had were worse than the possible gut issues that could arise.  It’s just part of our lives now – all of us with these conditions will periodically have to take some sort of medication knowing that we’re likely going to have a lower GI flare up.

So let’s talk about what happens when you have gut issues and need to take medications that cause flare ups.

Continue reading “Dealing with flare ups with SIBO or Leaky Gut”

Transcending academia

Parking is kind of a nightmare on our campus (as on most campuses), so while I pay for a reserved lot that has plenty of space in it, it’s several blocks from the building I work in.  Which sucks in the winter, but not so much on days like today.  Last night it rained, and this morning it’s uncharacteristically humid for Colorado.  I walked to my office in air that was cool, humid, and unbelievably fragrant from all the flowering bushes that lined the sidewalk.  I couldn’t help but slow down a little, and breathe deeply, and just really enjoy the moment.

I like this campus in particular, and working in higher ed in general.  I found my niche on the operations side of things – I tried but didn’t particularly enjoy teaching, though I love the college environment.  And here I am, doing something I am good at, that I do enjoy, in an environment that feels like it fits me.  I’ve also gotten lucky with my past two jobs in having supervisors and coworkers who I really like.  Can’t ask for more than that.

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Things fat people shouldn’t wear this summer

Here’s my complete list of things that fat people shouldn’t wear in warm weather:


No, nothing’s wrong with the page.  I posted a blank box, because there’s absolutely nothing that fat people shouldn’t wear in the summer.

This reminder brought to you by my fed-upedness with the onslaught of “get your beach body” and “lose weight before summer” commercials, with swimsuit catalogs for fat women that feature only maximum coverage styles, with before and after photos, with health-related movements that appeal to people’s insecurities over their weight instead of just talking about health.

The only people who need to cover their bodies during the summer months are those of us with fair skin – it’s time to stock up on sunblock again, my fellow sunburners! Slather that shit on!

I’ll take Fat Shaming for $200, Alex

Tonight Jeopardy had a category called ‘Large and In Charge.’ It had a few clues about tall people. It had a clue asking which monarch ballooned to a 42 inch waist after her husband’s death. (Queen Victoria.)

Then it had a clue that said something close to ‘this Australian territory didn’t spell its name with a h when ____ was premier.’ (Don’t remember his name.)

The answer? New South Wales. Cuz fat people are whales. Get it?


For a show that encourages people to use their brains, the people behind the show’s questions sure as hell weren’t using theirs.

Baltimore, Freddie Gray, and police brutality

Here are just a handful of people writing important things about recent events in Baltimore, Freddie Gray’s death, protesting, and police brutality in general.

Nonviolence as Compliance – an article in The Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates


Freddie Gray and the Legacy of Slavery in Baltimore Policing – and interview with Dr. Gerald Horne

Police and ‘Black Baltimore’ – short op ed written by Baltimore native and artist Shaun La

March Envy: What Does it Mean if Crowds Don’t Show Up to March for Black Women? – from blogger Gina McCauley on her blog What About Our Daughters? – information on what’s going on in Baltimore

Black Lives Matter – created in 2012 after the murder of Trayvon Martin, a resource for the movement with news, articles, ways to offer support and get active, and more

How one university structures its messaging about sexual assault

Sexual assault awareness month is drawing to a close, and before it does, I wanted to share something.

My day job is in higher ed.  And those of us who work in higher ed know that even when we make a committed, consistent effort to educate our students and provide as many resources as possible, we cannot completely eliminate sexual assaults on campus.  The best we can hope is to reduce the number of assaults, help students feel safe reporting any criminal or inappropriate activity, and help victims to feel believed and supported when crimes are committed.

I work for a university that has been actively including strong messages about both physical assault and psychological abuse in its emails to students and staff, as well as engaging in a signage campaign that defines and condemns assault and abuse while letting students know where they can turn to for support.  The signs are hung in areas where students tend to congregate.  Other efforts are also being made to make sure that our university doesn’t merely meet Title IX requirements or the requirements of the Clery Act, but exceeds them by making a sustained and consistent effort to create a safe and supportive environment through education, awareness, and ample resources.

On that note, I want to share with you a small snippet from a campus-wide email on the topic of sexual assault that recently went out (click on it to make it bigger):

Continue reading “How one university structures its messaging about sexual assault”

When we talk about the earthquake in Nepal, let’s talk about Nepal

And here’s what I mean by my title – I’m seeing a lot of posts on FB about the Americans who were killed in the earthquake in Nepal.

Is that sad and tragic?  Absolutely.

But you know what’s even more tragic?  That not only are thousands of Nepalese people dead, but the damage to their country is devastating.  Just like Haiti, this will impact them for years to come.  (Remember Haiti?  Yeah, things still suck for them.)

Point is, long after we’ve done virtually mourning random dead Americans who we don’t even know by posting well-intentioned but ultimately pointless shit on social media, the Nepalese people will still be experiencing this tragedy – the loss of lives, loss of cultural artifacts, loss of resources, loss of housing, loss of jobs, etc.  The clean up will take years.  And I don’t just mean the physical debris.

If you really care about Nepal, donate what you can do a reputable charity or other organization sending aid – and try to make sure that your money will get directly to the people in the form of aid workers, food, medical care, other supplies, etc.

Haiti probably wouldn’t mind a bit of help and attention, either.  It’s been five years, and they’re still recoveringBecause even financial donations are generous, there are things that can get in the way of that money trickling down to the people who need it the most.  (See linked article for details.)

At the very least, stop mourning random dead Americans while ignoring the thousands of dead, and many more thousands of living souls native to the affected area who will have to deal with this physically, emotionally, and financially for a very long time.