Talking about comfort foods…

I ended the work day today sitting at my desk talking with one of the student office assistants about comfort foods. It was a stressful day; I was tired; and I was basically at the end of my rope, completely out of spoons and ready to just turn in to a giant puddle of salt water at any given moment. I mentioned needing to stop and get litter and cat food on the way home and she said something about me stopping at Safeway. I responded with, “naw, I’ll probably go to the pet store because if I go to the grocery store I’ll buy potato chips which I probably don’t need.” I don’t often talk about foods I don’t need and in that moment I caught myself moralizing potato chips (see, totally hard day). She perked up and said something like “oh…potato chips, wait aren’t those chips on your desk?” And yes, they were. Maple Bacon, an ill-conceived purchase from the week prior which managed to make their way to the office just in case I was working late and needed “something” to snack on. I gave the bag to her, she tried one and declared it “good” so I told her to take them home with her adding, I guess I probably will stop by the grocery store and get me some chips tonight. Then she started talking about wanting to go get a candy bar, a Butterfinger and I mentioned how my dad had brought me a Butterfinger when I was in the hospital in the fourth grade and tears welled up in my eyes and the conversation turned to the subject of crying and how the best place to cry for a long period of time is in the shower because then you avoid the red puffiness that accompanies prolonged crying, and so on and such matter….

While sitting there I was observing how this conversation essentially about comfort foods was likely made more comfortable between us by the prior weeks panel discussion on the Politics of Size which both the student office assistants attended. I’ve been reading reflection papers written by students who attended and one of the recurring themes is how many of these students never thought about how they talked about food as moralizing it or how stigmatizing it can be for a fat person to eat food in front of a room of other people. Also, I recently had a conversation with a dear friend where we talked about the craving of comfort foods in reaction to a hurtful interaction about weight with a parent. So the moralizing of food has been on my mind lately.

I really do not like to go grocery shopping, partially because its one of those tedious tasks that you end up repeating week after week and its easy to get in a boring routine around food, eating the same things over and over again. Also, grocery stores are full of concern trolls and food police with looks of “you really think you need to buy that?” and looking down ones nose at the contents of my cart. For concern trolls, its bad enough that I might think about wanting to buy a bag of potato chips because I’ve had a bad day, let alone actually do it.

I was kind of excited that this conversation with students was so positive around the types of foods we were talking about eating, even though they were being associated with what other’s might refer to as emotional eating. On the drive home and physically hungry, I started thinking about the kind of foods I could purchase that would feed my need for nutrients as well as my need for emotional solace, i.e. comfort foods. I walked out of the store with litter and cat food, a loaf of white bread, cheeses slices, dill pickles and potato chips. Tonight’s dinner would be tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwich and pickles. The chips would probably wait ’til tomorrow or maybe the weekend to be eaten.

IMG_6765I’ve seen people physically cringe when a person of size starts talking about comfort foods or eating because they “feel” a certain way. I know there is a lot of moral judgment and stigma around the kind of food people eat in relation to the size/shape of their body. I write a lot about food and cooking, I post pictures of my meals on FB and IG. It’s probably not surprising to know that I think it’s perfectly ok for a fatty (person of size) to not only talk about comfort foods, but to eat them.

First, because well, I am the boss of my underpants. Second, because all food brings us comfort in one way or another. We all have different views on what we think a “comfort food” might be, but  food brings comfort to our bodies: sustenance to fuel our movement and thinking, fluids to keep us lubricated. Without food, we would be uncomfortable. All of us would be, not just the fatties of the world. So if I talk about eating particular foods because I like them more than others when my body is in need of either emotional or physical solace, there’s nothing wrong with that.

So says my underpants and me…

On the move

I just spent a solid hour and twenty minutes in the shower; crying. Last night after returning home from a lazy day watching the football championships from a friends couch, I came home and cried myself to sleep. And on Saturday, after spending the afternoon and evening with some amazing people fixing and enjoying a community dinner followed by dancing with a couple of friends, I dropped a friend at her place and on the drive home, I busted out in full on tears.

I share this, not because I want sympathy, but because keeping things real is important to me. If I dropped the information that I’m changing up my entire life to go on an indefinite road trip adventure with no real plans for a final destination and then went on through it all sharing only the exciting and great parts of it, I would feel like a fraud. I need to share about all aspects of this adventure and that includes the parts that aren’t all shiny and exhilarating.

After a week of sharing my plans with pretty much every person I know and getting incredibly positive support and encouragement, I’ve hit a wall. The anxiety and stress of preparing to move, the overwhelming ever-growing to do list, and the sadness of leaving friends I love behind have found their way through the cheers and elation. Lets be clear. There are no second thoughts. I’m doing this. I want to do this. I’ve been thinking about it and working all the “angles” out for months. And now I’ve pulled the trigger. Adventure awaits. I’m excited and nervous, but damn if there ain’t a shit ton of things to do and friends to spend time with. I’m buggin’ just a bit. Trying with everything I have to keep moving forward and not allow this anxiety to paralyze me. With a three-day weekend, I had the perfect opportunity to get moving on the list. I did, but not until today and then only a couple of things.

Here’s what I’ve decided, I have at least 5 weeks. While I’m going to do my best to not let myself think this is all the time in the world to get things done, what I am going to do is breathe. Relax a little bit and look for a way to get things done without stressing out too much.

So here’s the plan; every day I’ll:
pack one box
complete and check one thing off the “to do” list
do something fun (self-care)

I started today. Tomorrow I’ll do it again. In 5 weeks it will all be done and I’ll be off on whatever adventure awaits me. Guaranteed, there will be more tears as well.




leila drive 1

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” -Meister Echkart

If you know me well and/or follow me much (fb, ig, twitter) you know that change has been kind of a theme for me over the last 6 months or so. Mostly small changes in how and where I spend my time socially, using my free time to significantly engage more in my passions around activism and writing and attempting to live more simply. Internally, I’ve felt that more significant change has been headed in my direction. Subconsciously I’ve been preparing for it for months. And now its upon me.
I’ve been in California now for just over 9 years, the longest I’ve lived in any one place since I was 18. Frankly, I never intended to stay this long. I disliked the Bay Area a lot after moving here, but slowly it grew on me and there have been times in the last couple of years that I’ve actually referred to myself as a “Californian.” I’ve definitely become acclimated to the mild weather and semi-infinite sunshine, as my multiple freckles can attest to. I have found favorite spots I really like to hang out. I have friends here I love dearly and relationships that have opened my eyes to a wide range of experiences. And a job, which though it barely pays the rent, I love. I also have a second job, which does pay the rent almost anywhere else in the United States and likely beyond.
Working two 32+ hour a week jobs for almost 4 years has begun to wear on me a bit. I’m more eager than ever to spend time and energy on creative pursuits and anxious to also put all of my work energy in to one job. My lease at that $1900/mo 700 sq. foot apartment I’ve made home is up at the end of February.
I’ve been having conversations about my options with close friends and with some suggestions and encouragement, I’m taking some chances and heading out on the open road.
I’m guessing right about now you may be wondering…what is she talking about? Is she moving? Where is she moving to? What is she going to do?

Some of those questions have answers, others not so much.

I’ve given notice at Santa Clara University, last day is February 6th. I’ll be working my full-time gig as Director of Operations with The Institute for Democratic Education in America. It’s a remote job, meaning I can work it from anywhere, literally anywhere that is conducive to video calls, online collaboration, and access to a major airport. I’m giving up my little apartment, selling or giving away most of my furniture and other such stuff. Storing the things that matter most and I’ll want for starting over in a new place some day in to a portable storage container. And packing up only the necessities into my little blue Honda Fit and hitting the road with Leila as my copilot. Princess Ophelia, my lovely long-haired cat, will be going to Oregon to live with my very best of friends. She has been talking about bringing a cat in to her home and having spent a month there this summer, we both think it’s a great place for Ophelia. She’ll get the one to one attention she deserves being the only pet in the home.
Where am I going, may be the bigger question. The answer: I don’t know. And the beauty of it is, I don’t have to.


It’s Welsh for a place where a being feels it ought to live. So if there’s an answer that must be had, I’ll be in search of that place.
I do have some destinations in mind and while my initial travel will be to Oregon and Washington in late February/March, I’ve committed to heading south, first to Jackson, MS for a bit of time where I’ll work with some local organizers and parents to help start a new school. From there, I hope to explore more of the South. Then, who knows. I’ve always wanted to live for a month or two in the heart of New York City. It could be fun to spend time back in Nebraska at some of the old places I knew growing up and reconnect with family and friends. And Puerto Rico, definitely Puerto Rico. There’s also Minnesota, the East Coast, and Florida.

So that’s the plan. Drive to where ever the road takes me. Work. And Write.

I’ll chronicle my adventures here, on social media (fb, twitter, ig) and am contemplating a video channel on YouTube.

I hope you all will follow along, keep in touch and maybe even consider visiting me at one of my new homes on the road.

The next few weeks will be a blur of spending time with friends, packing, and preparing to start this adventure. I’m sad to be leaving behind so many great friends, although I’ll hang on to those friendships as each and every one is so important to me. I’m really excited to start this new adventurous chapter of my life and currently resisting the urge to frequently break out into my own version of John Denver’s “Leaving on Jet Plane.” I’m so appreciative of all the support and encouragement I’m receiving from those I’ve shared the news with personally before sharing with all of you here and on social media. It reminds me of how blessed I am to have so many amazing people in my life and also makes moving on that much harder. Moving on, but not letting go.

I hope you’ll come along with me, in whatever way you can, on this adventure!

“You can’t always wait for the perfect time. Sometimes, you have to dare to do it because life is too short to wonder what could have been.” – Unknown


World Piece

It’s been one of those days where all kinds of random thoughts have been popping in and out of my head. This particular one has stayed for a while, maybe even taken up residence and has made me think just a little bit deeper about it.

And here’s what I think. Despite all the hopeful beauty pageant contestants alongside political leaders and their platforms of “world peace” throughout the ages, there never has been such a thing as world peace. Never. At least not since human beings have lived on this speck of universal dust we call home.

Consider this.






The very first ever cave drawings, visual documentation of the first known human beings on this planet, contained images of battle. Everyone wanted their hand on a piece of the world.



And surprisingly, since we are so fond of giving clever names to wars, this hasn’t yet been monikered as “The First Man Wars.” Yet it seems like this was exactly what was going on. We are so fond of naming our battles and wars in fact that we can trace “famous” wars all the way back to 1274 BC, The Battle of Kadesh. I assume someone actually knows where Kadesh is or was and why it was being fought over, but that’s not of critical importance at this moment. Wars continued to be named for a thousand years before 1 BC and we are now well in to 2000 years of named wars on the other side of 1 AD without an end in sight. So clearly, never has there been world peace, at least that I can find traces of. And I got some mad Google skills.



Dan Plesch, author of The Beauty Queens Guide to World Peace argues that “world peace requires an economic and political revolution founded on the principles of democracy and human rights.” I’m not sure we can get everyone on the same page with this. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we are all warmongers. But it’s pretty clear that we all do want our own piece of the pie (mmmm, pie) to enjoy however we want and we certainly don’t want others telling us how, what, where, or when. So principles of democracy and human rights don’t always fit in to that same equation. We are a selfish people. We…all of us, every human being. We just are. Even if we aren’t warring nations, we are so often at odds with race, sexuality, gender and other individual rights within our own nations. Human rights!!!

In fact, experts currently believe that it is easy for us to feel like the whole world is at war because this is almost universally the case. “Of the 162 countries covered by the Institute for Economics and Peace’s (IEP’s) latest study (August 2014) just 11 were not involved in conflict of one kind or another.” Do you see that? 11! And I think we can all agree that even in those 11 countries, there is some kind of internal conflict happening. Human rights!

And to think that I am always hearing how conflict adverse people are. Seriously? Seems like a contradiction to me.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. Just working through this lingering thought which seems to have lodged itself somewhere near the repeat button in my brain today. As an individual, though I am not without hope, I don’t believe that we as a human race are capable of world peace. We are to innately selfish, even the most generous and humanitarian amongst us. What I do think, is that we should really focus on what is going on in our own back yards, cities, counties, states, country before we go knocking on someone else’s door with our WMDs. How about just holding on to and making our piece of this world a pretty good place for EVERYONE who lives here? How about that? Why not focus on race relations, equity, homelessness, hunger, education, and all the other things that prevent us from being at peace here at home, let alone peace further abroad and world-wide.

I say, lets just do that for a while. And then, only when we are in mortal danger, or have taken care of our issues here in our own country, should we extend our involvement in to what those other humans are doing.



He hit me.

downloadHe hit me.
And I didn’t tell you because I was ashamed.

He hit me.
I was alone, scared and unable to move.

He hit me.
Shocked, I responded with “you don’t get to hit me.”

He hit me, again.

He hit me.
And for the first time I recognized through tear-stained lenses the choices I had made that put me here.

Too late.

He hit me.
His friends and family standing nearby, watching.

He hit me.
In a crowd of people I was alone.

He hit me.
And I realized that the only one who might have made me feel safe at that moment, had just hit me.

He hit me.
I took a deep breath and drove away, him in my car, threatening worse than what had already happened.

He hit me.
And I was frozen by fear and worried that this would not be the worst of it.

And then I got myself together and found my way to safety.

He hit me.
And when I called you crying and barely understandable, you stayed on the phone with me, until I was home. Safe.

He hit me.
And when I told you, you came to me out of concern and said you were angry with me for putting myself in that situation.

He hit me.
And almost a month later I wore the deep stains of bruising to my birthday dinner and told you.

He hit me.
Then called to wish me “Happy Birthday.”

He hit me.
And I said to him and myself, “I am not that woman.”

He hit me.
He said, “I’ll never do it again.”

“I know, I’ll never give you the chance.”

And now I’m telling you.

download (1)


For the Love of Fall


Photo Credit: joecephus martin

photo credit: joecephus martin

Autumn is my favorite season. The lower temperatures bring a crispness to the air that makes it feel new, even if it’s not. The staleness of the Summer heat and sweat moves on and people seem less “busy” for the sake of being busy and yet more busy because it’s a time to be in doors with those we love celebrating the many holidays that are recognized this time of year. I’ve always been at odds with the saying “Spring is for Lovers.” While I understand it, I’m thinking, really? Cause is there a better time to curl up on the couch or in bed with your lover, watch a movie…or whatever else seems good, than Autumn? Doubtful.

For many, the onset of Autumn is marked with color changes along the landscape, lower temperatures, and shorter days.

Autumn officially begins with the Autumn Equinox. But here in California we typically have about another month before Autumn really hits and without the more common signs, I’ve grown accustomed to my own signs that Autumn has arrived.

Little dogs in little sweatshirts, hoodies, and such.

Little pink hoodie

Little pink hoodie.

Trying to get out of the little pink hoody.

Trying to get out of hoodie.







The patio door which has been opened more often than not for several months, now is more frequently closed.

"Let me in."

“Let me in.”







Socks with pajamas…for that matter, pajamas.

Stripes and Dots

Stripes and Dots







Having been born in October, I may be slightly predisposed to a Autumn affinity. Regardless of how the changing of the seasons in your neck of the woods is marked, I think we can all agree that Autumn has officially arrived, even here in Northern California. I hope you’ll take some time to kick back and enjoy it.

Photo Credit: joecephus martin

photo credit: joecephus martin


Know Yourself


You may glance at the images with this blog and think it’s about food and move on. It’s not. Really. It’s about Self Care. Self care is a critical part of daily life. Most of us are really bad at it. We are really good at neglecting ourselves until we get to the point were we have no other choice. Those who are good at it, still have days, weeks, months where self care is not the priority. Life. Crazy Life, gets in the way. One of the best ways to care for ourselves is food. How much and what kind is neither of interest to this blog, nor anyone’s business. Our bodies need it. Food is a necessity. And so I pose to you that knowing yourself and what is going on in your life and preparing for that with the right foods for you is a major way to care for yourself when you might otherwise just skip right over it. The following are three tricks I use when I know life is going to be really busy and I still want to make sure to take care of me.

Fruit is yummy. I especially like berries, cherries, peaches and other kind of delicate fruits. I’m privileged enough to have access to and be able to afford basically all varieties of high quality fruit year around. Awesome, right? Well, when I’m busy I know I’m not going to have time to slice and dice fruit. Also these are the fruits that tend to lose their freshness more rapidly. So when things are busy, I purchase fruits that are easy to grab and go, like Halo Cuties, Fresh Fruit Cups, and Fruit Juices.

Halo Cuties

Halo Cuties

Fresh Fruit Cups and Juices

Fresh Fruit Cups and Juices







Comfort Food.
We all have those favorite foods that for whatever reason bring a sense of peace and comfort. One of my favorite is mashed potatoes. A super quick substitute: baked potato. I just grabbed a bag of bakers at Safeway for $5. Both economical and delicious. I encourage you to find short cuts to your favorite comfort foods so you can still enjoy them even when you are crunched for time. This is like a double dose of self care: comfort and sustenance.

Baked Potato

Baked Potato







Crockpot Dinners.
Did you know you can make lasagna in a crock pot? Yes! You can. I have a true fondness for crockpot meals. I love to walk in the door and smell dinner already cooking. I own two crockpots and have absolutely had both of them cooking at the same time. One of my favorite tricks is to prep full crockpot meals just after shopping, freeze the ingredients all together in a ziplock bag then pull that from the freezer, drop it in the crockpot, add some seasoning and come back home to a delicious ready meal that I can enjoy and then spend the evening relaxing or moving on to my next adventure.

photo (7)






The best way to take care of yourself during the hardest times, is to know what you need and maybe, just maybe, try to prepare for that in advance.






  • Star Light, Star Bright


    image by Robin Hallett

    I can’t tell you how many times as a child I looked up at the night sky and repeated these words, over and over at times oh so hopeful that my wish would come true. Looking back, my inquisitive mind thinks it might have been a good idea to keep a record which of those wishes actually came true, so as an adult I would at least have a statistical basis for wish making.

    It’s been several years since I truly made a wish. By which I mean a wish verbally expressed, birthed from a desire deep down in the core of my being and pleaded to the stars above. It was my birthday yesterday, emboldened with the knowledge of Mercury coming correct and an assurance from a friend that the stars would certainly be on my side, I took whatever risk there was and made not one, but two wishes.

    The first of these wishes was for me, very personal and will go without sharing. The second wish was for you.

    Maybe I’m reaching by calling it a single wish, because within it were the many things I wish for you:

    • A life with no limits you can’t overcome; of abundance; full of all the necessities and enough of the wants.
    • A fearless life where you are emboldened to take chances and leap, sometimes without looking.
    • A life where you get to do what you love and love what you do and where you are doing it.
    • A life where challenges are welcomed adventures and opportunities for growth.
    • A life of acceptance: of yourself and others, without caveats, and with celebration of your uniqueness and gratitude for all that brought you to this place.
    • A life of peaceful presence where the past was, the future is not yet and all that is important is here and now.

    Most of all, I wish for you a life where you live your truth every day, without fear.

    How to Love a Fat Girl or Boy

    480900_451243814958361_1530752660_nI’m a major fan of the meme “how to get a bikini body.”  You know, the one that then tells you to buy a bikini and put it on your body, then you have a bikini body (pic).

    Well, I’m pretty sure that loving a fat girl or boy is similar.

    It’s ok, try not to go all huffy, hissy fit on me and start talking about how complicated love is and such. Love is not complicated. Relationships can be and I’m not in any way attempting to minimize that. Also, just like you can find articles that will tell you how to get a bikini body in just 6 short weeks, there are articles, blog posts, and other such stuff with lists of rules and suggestions about how to love a fat girl (boy).  If you feel you actually need these rules, they are a simple “how to love a fat girl” google search away from your fingertips right now. This, is not that.

    Fatties (aka fat girls or boys) are human beings. I know this because I am a fat girl. There’s nothing special or particular about us. All women and frankly, men have or have had body issues at one point in time, society basically dictates it. Some of us have lingering feelings and emotions about the ways we’ve been treated about our bodies, some of us don’t. Some of us may require a little more convincing that you really do love us, some of us won’t. I don’t think the variations are really that different from any other combination of individuals with different body types when coming together in a love, like, lust connection. I don’t believe that loving someone who is fat requires a special list of instructions (you may not agree with me and that’s ok). So basically, I’m going to keep it simple and direct. How do you love a fat girl or boy? Find a fat girl or boy that stirs that feeling in you that is undeniably about wanting to share your days and nights with her or him in all the ways a human being lives and moves through life and if she or he feels the same way about you, go ahead and love them. And be happy.

    That is all.



    why I #selfie

    Reason 1: I can, I am amongst the privileged many who can afford the technology, time, and energy that being a regular taker of selfies requires.

    Reason 2: I’m fat. Yep, you read that right, I’m fat and it’s a reason why I take and post regular selfies. I believe that people of all sizes should be seen, not just in places where it’s expected and feels safe, but also in the unexpected, unsafe spaces. And that certainly includes places like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Selfies, and selfies of a fat girl are not safe or exempt from hatred trolls. Nor are we exempt from fetish trolls and trolls who think we should be charmed and excited that a stranger (male or female) finds us attractive enough to message multiple times with unsavory and not anywhere near grammatically correct comments.

    Reason 3: Is related to reason 2 but goes deeper. While I can now proclaim loud and even proudly, without a quiver of my confidence that I am fat and completely comfortable in the body I live in now, that hasn’t always been the case. For years, and by years, I mean over a decade, maybe even two decades, I lived without a full length mirror in my home. I had been taught and believed that I should feel shame for the size of my body; that no one wanted to look at it, so, why would I want to look at it? And so, for years I didn’t look in a mirror to check my appearance, the outfits I was wearing, nothing. I applied the minimal makeup I wear with a hand-held compact mirror and later a small round mirror hanging on my bathroom wall.

    Until I started to selfie…

    Like most of us who selfie, mine began on FB. I came to FB mid 2008 while working at Stanford University. At first FB was a distraction with games and a way to connect to people I hadn’t spoken with or seen in years.  I didn’t really interact much and I didn’t post very many pictures of myself. And when I did, they were definitely not full body selfies.

    Profile pictures in 2009

    Profile pictures in 2009

    ONLY selfie 2010

    ONLY selfie 2010











    In 2010, I discovered a welcoming size-friendly–positive even–community that I became actively engaged with.  I had new friends and a burgeoning new social life. I started taking pics with friends going out and then in 2011, selfies prior to going out. As my confidence grew so too did my desire for more options in my wardrobe and thus more pics of me in new outfits.  It was an avalanche of confidence, acceptance, self growth and the beginnings of activism. I know not everyone agrees that selfies are a form of activism, and that’s ok. I wouldn’t say all selfies are, but I take mine with the intention of activism, a fat body being seen; being seen happy, healthy, active, relaxed, having fun, working.

    2011 Selfies

    2011 Selfies

    2012 Selfies

    2012 Selfies














    In 2013, my taking and posting of selfies increased quite exponentially (the following is a sampling).


    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies







    At the beginning of 2014, I started the new year with a goal to take a selfie in a different location every day.  This has proven to be harder than I thought it would be and I’ve not really kept up with that, but I have taken and posted selfies nearly every day. Some from interesting places I traveled for work or vacation and others just at home or out and about with friends or at my place of work. Again, I post them primarily, because I and others like me deserve to be seen. We should be seen enjoying life: going out on the town, bathing in bikinis by the pool, chillin’ on the beach, or shopping at the corner market. All bodies are beautiful in their own ways and all bodies deserve to be seen and acknowledged. If you can’t acknowledge my body, then you can’t acknowledge me as a whole person; and my body is more than just a part of my physicality, it’s a part of my psychology, spirit, and emotion. I feel and witness all things through not only my mind, but also my body.

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies























    I guess I have a hope that by visibly living in the body I have now; truly living, not just accepting but embracing its differences, its strengths and its weaknesses that others will see that it’s a much better way to live than loathing ones body or pretending that it doesn’t exist at all because it can’t be seen in the mirror I’m looking in.  And if perchance my activism by selfie method does nothing at all to change the world or another human being’s perception about bodies, its done an incredible amount of good for my own body image, my own acceptance for my own perceived body flaws. And on the “bad days,” because yes, I still have them occasionally, I can look back at the legacy of self-acceptance and be reminded of another reason I selfie…

    Reason 4: I’m stunning…to the person looking in the mirror.

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies