Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tank on a Bike

When I was in junior high school, my girlfriends and I used to play football with the neighborhood boys. It was actually just a good chance for us to cop some innocent feels on each other. And it was fun. Anyways, the boys being boys nicknamed the girls. They called my best friend Boobhead, because she wasn't too smart but she had a nice body. (No sexism here, eh? Start 'em early I say!) My other friend was called Scrounger because she always seemed to be finding and picking up coins and shiny whatnots everywhere she went. And me? Well naturally I was called Tank. And I hated it. I was taller than everyone else and outweighed them by about 20 lbs. which granted 20 lbs. isn't a heck of a lot now, but back then it might as well have been 200 lbs.
So I've been riding my bike around the neighborhood here. We're on a hill and there are hills everywhere here. So I've gotten in some good cardio workouts lately. But I've been wanting to hit a bike trail and funny thing is, I wanted to ride in the daylight! For the past several months, any exercise I've done outside has always been at night time. It's a vanity thing. I never liked the idea of people staring, and a fat girl exercising is something people stare at! My bike isn't much, just a cheapie that we purchased at Kmart about 5 years ago and pretty much sat gathering dust until recently. We did a little upgrading by adding a "cadillac" seat (in other words, more cushion & more width!), some rockin' new tires that we got from the bike shop and other little assorted goodies. So today I woke up early...and early means 8 am for me...took a quick cool down shower (hot flashes are killin' me lately!), loaded up the bike and headed for a nice bike trail that my husband and I discovered last week. I cannot tell you how heavenly this was for me! I felt a freedom of movement that has been lacking in my life for so long. I unloaded my bike at the trail, hopped on and took off down the path that rode right alongside the Rio Grande. I had monarch butterflies and dragonflies riding beside me all along. And the people I passed by are nice! This is unusual and very hard for me to grasp. Everyone said hello...and good morning...nice day. I passed other bikers, people walking all types of dogs, and even some cowboys on horseback. I followed the trail for the full length of 3 miles, then turned around and headed back. Six miles total. When I was coming into the final stretch at the end of the trail, there were a group of older gentlemen all hanging out and talking. They all waved and said hello and one of them asked me if I had finished the whole six miles. When I said "yes...why yes I did!" They all started cheering and clapping. At first I wasn't sure if they were laughing at me...being obese in our society has taught me to think like this...but no, they were genuine. And I felt pretty good. And strong. And my old nickname came to mind and I realized that there is nothing wrong with being a tank. So on that note, I think I might do it again tomorrow!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Progress Pics

Soooo...despite the fact that I know I'm going to have a gain at weigh in tonight, I will NOT take the free pass. I will get on the scale and face it. And I will work harder next week.

I decided to take a few new pics today. My little girl is a future photographer. And astronaut. And paleontologist. And artist. And veterinarian. I think she did a good job. Except she wouldn't take the pics unless I smiled and said "cheese." Kids.

The only regret I have is that I threw out all of my "before" pics. Vanity is a killer. I wish I had kept some. But honestly they were too hard to look at for me. They are painful reminders of how far I let myself go. But like any addiction, one day at a time. One step back, two steps forward. Onward.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


And after a wonderful trip to Santa Fe, a successful weekend at the Hispanic Contemporary Market, I am now down a total of 52 lbs! Physically I feel great! But oh my gosh the restaurants in Santa Fe are to die for! I love good traditional New Mexican fare and I ate plenty up in Santa Fe! Tamales smothered in fresh red chile. Delicious, aromatic and spicy carne adovada. Stuffed sopapillas. Chile con queso and hot chips. Not to mention a trip to Manny's Buckhorn Saloon up in San Antonio (San Antonio NEW MEXICO that is!) for deliciously wonderful green chile cheeseburgers! I bargained in my brain that to eat the burger, I could not eat the homemade real potato french fries and it worked! Well okay, I ate about three french fries because I am not that strong. And I still managed to lose 2 lbs. in the past two weeks at WW weigh-in this past Monday. I might be starting to get the hang of this losing weight thing. Not to mention that I've been riding my bike everyday! I love that thing and yeah is glorious! Now I'm looking at upgrading my bike seat and tires too since I've found that the seat is not that comfortable if I'm riding for more than 15 minutes. Also managed to encourage my husband and younger daughter to ride with me. The recent feelings of freedom that I've had are almost euphoric to me. Yeah 52 lbs. is really only half of what I need to lose, but that also means that I'm halfway there too! I can actually feel my body as the pounds shed. And I'm just about at the point where I can feel comfortable flying. The fear and humiliation of being pulled out of line and forced to purchase a second seat has completely deterred me from flying for over 10 years now. I am starting to feel like life is opening up for me. One year ago I would have said that no way was I letting life pass me by. But now I can admit that yes, I have let so much pass me by. Fear of my weight and humiliation and embarrassment have held me back for so many many years! But I found my next wannado! On a drive up to Angelfire, NM (lovely ski resort area in the North), I saw some whitewater rafters going past in the Rio Grande Gorge. I freaked out and knew that I have found my next challenge. I want to go whitewater rafting! Me and my sis plan to go next year and take the husbands with us. One year ago I would have took pics and waved at all the kooks in that flimsy looking raft. Next year I'll get to be one of the kooks (God willing!) Yeah. It's all looking good.

just a little something...that kinda bothers me...

Okay maybe I shouldn't even say anything. I do believe in karma. But I keep having little nagging issues that gnaw at my brain every now and then. As an artist I have to wonder if I should just jump on the bandwagon. The "bandwagon" being that minority of artists who paint a subject simply because it's a moneymaker. Even if they have no knowledge about what they are painting. Example (making it as brief as possible!):

Vending recently at a large Day of the Dead event. Set up next to an artist selling Day of the Dead and other religious themed paintings. Very nice lady and pleasantly nice all weekend. Lady has no idea what the Day of the Dead is about. Lady paints skeletons and calls them Day of the Dead paintings. Lady sells several "Day of the Dead" paintings at $250.00 each. Lady is also selling religious painting of saintly woman. Lady has no idea who saintly woman is. Lady saw the saintly woman at a museum in Italy and copied. Lady sells saintly woman painting sells that weekend for $900.00.

Okay label me jealous. Yes I admit it. I was jealous that she managed to sell a painting for $900.00 that weekend and most of us were struggling to sell our $20.00 items. I was happy that she sold the painting. Any independent artist who sells a higher end painting is like a victory for us all. But she simply had no idea that the saintly woman she had sold was La Dolorosa. The image of the painfully weeping mother who has lost her only son and who bears the seven sorrows of man as swords pierced deeply in her heart and is a beloved image in the catholic religion. But lady manages to pull the deal off with the customer and sell her painting. *sigh*

When I started creating Day of the Dead themed art several years ago, one of the first things I did was to read everything I could on the subject. Yes it was a cultural holiday that was undoubtedly celebrated by my ancestors long ago, but I knew that I could not create serious artwork unless I knew my subject. In other words, I can't just jump on the bandwagon and start painting skeletons for profit unless I know my subject.

I suppose that the success of selling art is in the hands of the buyer. I rarely have a customer who purchases a high end piece from me and does not want to know everything about it from what originally inspired me down to the painting process and method.

I see so many artists on etsy who are misusing the term "Day of the Dead" on items that should more properly be labeled for Halloween. There are no zombies, blood or gore associated with el Dia de Los Muertos.

If I decided to become a writer one day because I thought it would bring in some money, I would never write a book on "How To Speak Fluent Russian In Just One Day."

So I will conclude with this advice to new artists. Take a few moments to utilize the net or your local library and learn a bit about the images you decide to use in your art. Yes skeletons are big sellers and they're cool and lots of fun to paint. But take the time to find out why they are used in artwork and where the idea was originated. It's never too late to learn about other cultures and civilizations. You might also find that it enhances your own life and inspires even more creativity.