We are not all waifs! Nor are we all petite Asian girls!

It has long troubled me that women’s clothing designers have decided that everyone is small, waif-like, and perfectly proportioned. I know about the impact of models on our psychological development and well-being. That is a rant I could easily devote many screens to. However, that is not my purpose here.

I am baffled by the continuation of this trend over time, particularly since we as a society have become somewhat more enlightened. People are more aware of the reality that most of us live every day. We have begun to recognize that not all women are tiny. The reality TV show, “How to Look Good Naked,” is an example of movement toward realistic thinking and acceptance.  The fact that the show lasted less than a year indicates that progress is often faltering and slow.

Unfortunately, globalization and outsourcing have intensified the small clothing size problem. Now that many of our garments are being shipped to us from manufacturing plants in India, China, Indonesia, and other parts of the Eastern world, the already small sizes have gotten smaller. Now, the assumption appears to be that we are all petite Asian girls/women.  It is growing increasingly difficult to find clothes in realistic sizes.

I was very happy to find that at many music concerts there are now more fitted “girly” tees and tanks alongside the usual “Adult” (read male) tees. Women like to show off their curves and more tailored styles are flattering. However, the manufacturers must assume that we were all buying size Small and Medium before. The women’s tees are not cut to fit actual women with real curves.

Even the manufacturers who are producing their products in the United States are failing us on this point. American Apparel is an excellent example. This is a company that I would like to support. They take a strong stand on immigration and have a project called “Legalize LA.” I admire some of the things that they have tried to do. Their clothes are made in downtown LA using vertically integrated manufacturing. These are all things that I can support. However, when I start looking at their size charts, I start running into problems. For example, model #2102ORG. This is an Organic Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T and in 2008 was marked as “Sustainable Edition.” Sounds great. I would like to wear that. I look at the size chart. The largest size available is a XXL. Sounds big, right? Well, it’s not, not really. The chest measurement on that is only designed to accommodate a bust that is 44″-46″ at fullest point.

pure t is a company that specializes in maternity tees.  Given the fact that most women gain weight when they are pregnant and that much of that weight is often in their breasts, I would expect maternity and nursing tees to be amply sized.  When I click on their size chart, I discover that the bust on a Large is only expected to fit someone with a 38″-39″ bust line.  That is also the largest size listed in the chart. Some tees may be ordered in an XL, but no details are given about that size.  Another incongruity is that the Large is marked as being equivalent to sizes 10-12 instead of the industry standard of 12-14.

It is depressing to realize that clothes made for real women with curves are difficult find.  I haven’t even discussed the problem of being amply endowed in the bust but not being correspondingly tall.  It is difficult to find long sleeved tops that will accommodate a large bust without expecting the woman to have incredibly long arms to match.  Shopping in the petites section doesn’t help on that front because if you’re “petite” you’re not supposed to be buxom.

I live in the in-between.  I find it difficult to shop in the regular sized racks because the busts are cut too small and the sleeves are cut too long.  I find it difficult to shop in the plus sized racks and stores like Lane Bryant because I am not far enough into the plus category for their clothes to fit me.  They also assume that the larger the bust line, the larger the waist line and hips.  This is not always the case, even for those of us without breast implants.  To get something to fit my bust, it ends up roomy in the waist and down right huge in the hips.  What are those of us without the budget for personal tailors to do???

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We are not all waifs! Nor are we all petite Asian girls!

BPA-free 5 Gallon bottles are available in San Diego County!

I am very excited to report that I have FINALLY procured some 5 gallon water bottles that do not contain Bisphenol-A (BPA).  After my October 2008 post about the evils of BPA, I discovered that the 5 gallon bottles I was using at home were made from #7 plastic.  I set about replacing them immediately.  Unfortunately, at the time, I could not locate any 5 gallon bottles that were not #7 plastic.  I found a site that claimed to sell them, but they were out of stock and could not tell me when that problem would remedied.

Pure Flo water company in Santee, CA has BPA free bottles for sale in their water store.  You may also purchase them from their website.  Pure Flo has a self-serve water station at their Santee location where you can fill your 5 gallon bottles.   When I bought my new, BPA-free bottles they came with a free fill-up.

So far,I like the bottles.  They are lighter weight and softer than the crown top bottles I was using but they take the same dew caps.  Gregory did discover, to our consternation, that the no spill top we used to use with our old bottles will fit the new bottles but is then almost impossible to remove when you want to switch bottles.  The bottles are molded AROUND the handles, so there is little chance that the handles will pop off of the bottles.  The handle seemed comfortable enough to use and did not seem to dig into my hand.

I do not know if Pure Flo will deliver water in BPA-free bottles or not but I’m sure they would happily entertain the question.

BPA-free 5 Gallon bottles are available in San Diego County!

Musings on hormones and health insurance

My acupuncturist made me borrow a book from her: The Sexy Years by Suzanne Somers. It surprised me by being interesting and useful. Its really aimed at women 10 years older than I am, but it was interesting nonetheless. I only read half of it and now want to get it back out of my house. It’s become part of the clutter problem and must go. But I digress.

The main thing I want to remember is the concept of bioidentical hormones. When considering hormone replacement therapy (HRT), bioidentical hormones are best. It makes perfect sense. Bioidentical hormones are easy for the body to process and will have the same effect on the body as its own hormones.

I also want to remember that testosterone levels are important for women and their libidos. In fact, decreased sensation in the genital region and even atrophy of the nerves can be linked to low free testosterone levels. I hope that in 10 years I can revisit this book and more recent research on the topic. I hope that my financial situation will allow me to seek out the right doctors for determining my own perfect balance of hormones if my health insurance won’t cover the treatment.

In fact, I wish that I could get some of that help now. While I was pregnant, I was healthier than I’ve ever been. My body liked the pregnancy hormones — A LOT. Almost all of my little aches and pains and some of the bigger ones, like hives, went away.  They didn’t start returning until a few weeks and months postpartum. Now I am beginning to take the mini-pill, Nora-BE®.  My hope is that it will help with the various symptoms I am experiencing – hives included – that may or may not be part of psoriatic arthritis.

Unfortunately, while I am hopeful that this will help, Somers’ book reminds me that this may not be right way to go about this.  For one thing, I haven’t had any hormone level testing.  I was hoping to do that before beginning any sort of hormone therapy.  I would like to know what my own hormone portrait is without contamination from a hormone pill.  In taking one last night, I have, at least for the time being, ruled out that possibility.  At least I think so.  The fact that this pill’s instructions are extremely strict about ingesting it at the exact same time of day every day suggests that maybe I could get accurate level readings by simply not taking it for a day or two.  Knowing my own hormone levels is important for both future potential HRT and for understanding my bodies hormone cocktail needs now.  Every woman is different, and taking a pill like Nora-BE® without investigating hormone levels ignores that reality.  If it works, great.  If it doesn’t work, it won’t mean that the hormones aren’t part of the solution to my issues.  In that event, it may be that the hormone was the right one to modify, but that the dosage was wrong.

A second indicator that this might not be the best way to go about this is the fact that Nora-BE® is probably not a bioidentical hormone.  Therefore, if it doesn’t work, it may be because my body couldn’t utilize it properly.  I am, after all, trying to trick my body.  It stands to reason that my trickery should be as convincing as possible, and how can it be if I am not using a bioidentical hormone?

I have asked for hormone testing repeatedly.  It hasn’t happened, I believe, in part because the doctors I have seen don’t deal with hormones very much at all.  It is outside the scope of their usual practice.  Somers described this problem at some length in the book.  I also suspect, particularly after reviewing part of my EOB for my health insurance, that my insurance would not cover such testing and that this makes doctors unwilling to prescribe it.

With all of the current public discussion about health care reform, I wonder — where is individuality in it all? Yes, we must ensure that everyone has access to health care, first and foremost. But let’s be real here. That is only part of the solution. For people to reach their full potential in personal, professional, and societal terms, they need access to health care that treats them as individuals with specific individual needs. Modern Western healthcare ignores the personal and the individual in favor of the standard and homogenous. In many cases, that does a disservice to the patient.

Finding Somers’ book on my table again was bittersweet because it has reminded me that I am taking the easiest, most cost-effective course of action and that may not be the most effective one.  Unfortunately, this is the road I am on.  I know I am on it in part because I want some immediate results and do not currently have the time, energy, and money to try to force my way onto a more appropriate road even if that road might have better results. It is depressing but true.

While this post is not strictly a review, I feel I should note that I recommend The Sexy Years to anyone with an interest in knowing more about sexuality, hormones, and HRT. I would also like to point out that it is not just a book for women. There is a lot in there for men to learn in terms of themselves and their partners. It is also not just a book for people who are already in menopause or andropause. Don’t make the same mistake I initially did; don’t discount this book because of Somers’ image in your mind.  I am glad I was led to this book and I hope I will eventually find the time to finish it and to apply her advice to action in my own life and health.

Musings on hormones and health insurance

Music: Richard Marx & Matt Scannell (Vertical Horizon), Anthology, San Diego, April 24, 2008

This show was part of The Duo Sessions.  I would like to do a complete review of it, but for now I am just recording some notes that I took while there so that I don’t lose them.  I found my notes when I was going through a bunch of papers and things.

Anthology is an amazing, intimate venue in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego.  I was completely stunned to discover, just in time, that this show was happening.  If you ever have the opportunity to go there, I highly recommend it.  I bought a first floor dining room ticket.  Once there, you are able to sit pretty much wherever you like within the class of seat you have purchased.  I arrived early, but not vastly so and I was still able to obtain a table in the front row that was half booth.  Very happy!  There almost are no words for the food.  It was decadent and delectable.  I hope to dine there again soon.

Set list:

  • ?? (Richard Marx song containing a lyric “Dad lying in dirt”. Preliminary searches have not yielded results on this.)
  • “You’re a God” – Vertical Horizon
  • “Endless Summer Nights” – Richard Marx
  • “Sunshine” – Vertical Horizon
  • “Now & Forever” – Richard Marx
  • “Give You Back” – Vertical Horizon.  This one brought me to tears it was so beautifully performed.
  • “Hazard” – Richard Marx
  • “We Are” – Vertical Horizon.  Scannell’s second song on the radio.  Richard Marx loves it.
  • “Through My Veins” – Richard Marx.  New song.  Beautiful piece with piano and guitar.
  • Medley: “One of You” – Vertical Horizon; “Don’t Mean Nothin'” – Richard Marx.  The blending on these two songs was excellent.
  • “Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)” – Vertical Horizon.  This has been covered by Gary Allen.
  • Sing along: “Should’ve Known Better” – Richard Marx.  Before the song: (Richard) “If you guys don’t sing this with us, you just suck.”  After the song: (Richard) “You guys ruled on that.  For a minute I almost thought I had the mullet back.”
  • “Everything You Want” – Vertical Horizon.  He wrote this song at 4:00 am – woke up and it was done.
  • “Right Here Waiting” – Richard Marx
  • Encore: “Scarborough Fair” – Simon & Garfunkel
  • Encore: “I’m Still Here” – Vertical Horizon
  • Encore: “Everybody” – Keith Urban/Richard Marx

Early in the show, Richard Marx remarked about his mullet that “Bono started it and I pulled it off not at all.”  I couldn’t resist and called out to him, “You made it sexy.”  He almost didn’t catch it.  Matt Scannell stopped him and said “Did you hear what she said?”  He repeated it for him.  Richard said, “Thanks, Mom.”  and then, in a Mom voice, “You made it sexy, honey.”  It was pretty funny.

They were drinking a tea that was made of lemon, ginger, honey and cayenne.  It is good for the throat and for singing voices.

Be sure to check out their cd, “Duo.” I haven’t picked it up yet, but that’s only because I got really busy.  It is definitely worth purchasing after what I saw at this show.

They sold t-shirts that were made from a sketch that Richard did.  Very cool.

Music: Richard Marx & Matt Scannell (Vertical Horizon), Anthology, San Diego, April 24, 2008

Bisphenol-A, a scary compound that has already contaminated us all

There has been increased press of late about Bisphenol-A, or BPA, and its potential effects on humans. While this compound has been in commercial use for more than 50 years, and it has been suspected of being hazardous to humans since at least the 1930s, it continues to be in pervasive use in food storage containers and leaches into our food and water. BPA was initially studied only in mega doses and those mega doses were found to be relatively safe. The new focus is on small doses like the ones we get when we drink a soda, eat canned soup or vegetables, or use reusable plastic water bottles. BPA acts as an endocrine disruptor and can mimic estrogen in your body. This has the potential to impact us in huge ways.

Some studies have found links to BPA levels and miscarriage in women. Others have found that pre- and postnatal exposure (in the womb and through baby bottles) can cause hyperactivity in children. Hormones are critical to our growth, development, and fertility. Exposure to excess amounts of hormones or their mimics can drastically alter normal growth and development. This is particularly true of developing fetuses and children who are naturally more sensitive to hormones than adults.

No one can say with certainty that BPA is not the cause of frightening trends in our health and well being. No one can say with certainty that it is not part of the cause of rising infertility rates. Prostate cancer, breast cancer, and early puberty are all likely candidates when looking for BPA’s effects. And what about autism? I don’t think that can be crossed off of the list either without extensive study.

The food industry has a lot to lose if BPA is declared unsafe. The EPA continues to base their rulings with regard to BPA on data that is 20-30 years old. Although some progress is being made, we have a long way to go before BPA stops leaching into our food and water.

Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco/North Bay) authored a bill (S.B. 1713) that would have removed from shelves all BPA containing products intended for children under the age 7. Unfortunately, that bill was defeated (31 ayes, 36 noes) in August. While that bill had its own flaws, it would have been a start at reducing our children’s exposure to this chemical.

As a nation, we consume vast quantities of bottled water. My office is one of thousands if not millions that provides a water cooler for its employees’ use. It is cool, refreshing, and convenient. The majority of my water intake each day comes from that cooler. The rest comes from a crock at home. Both use the big 5 gallon plastic jugs common to large water distributors such as Arrowhead and Sparkletts. Unfortunately, I just checked the number on the bottom of the Arrowhead bottle on my office cooler. Sure enough, it says that it is a #7 recyclable plastic, or polycarbonate. Polycarbonate leaches BPA. It does so at room temperature. It also does so continuously, so the longer something is stored in a polycarbonate bottle, the more BPA has been released into it. Furthermore, the amount of BPA released by a polycarbonate bottle increases as the bottle ages and as it becomes exposed to other chemicals such as cleansers. I do not know how Arrowhead cleans their big water bottles, but I am willing to bet that it involves sterilization through a combination of heat and chemicals. These processes can increase the amount of BPA that the bottles leach. So can scratches and other damage to the bottles. I also do not know how often the bottles get replaced. This is disturbing to me. In my attempts to drink more water and be more healthy, have I been feeding myself increased does of BPA? I certainly have.

I can’t wait to find out what the bottles at home say on them. They are likely the same. All of the water we use in cooking comes from those bottles. All of the water that is drunk by the humans and animals in my house comes from those bottles. And all of it is likely laced with BPA. On the bright side, it looks like I can replace the bottles at home with polyethylene bottles which are safer. Sadly, I can’t replace the one at the office. And that is where I drink most of my water.

This is frustrating because I do not see doing nothing as an option.

If you want to read more, you may find this article from The Green Guide interesting.

This article from GreenerPenny has some good information about alternatives to #7 and #3 plastics.

I have read some of the journal articles that all of this is based on too, but I don’t have those citations handy at the moment.  Sorry!

Bisphenol-A, a scary compound that has already contaminated us all

Keys to the kingdom….

OOOOO…..shiny…..I just discovered that I too have the keys with which to unlock this site. Nifty. My husband must love me or something. *smirk*

Now if only I felt like I had more to say…..and more time. I’m stealing this time from work. SSSHHHH….don’t tell anyone!

I do have an oddity though…..okay, it’s odd to me. Maybe not to people who pay attention to how such things work, but it’s odd to me. I joined meetup.com because Leticia wanted me to. I finally put up a pic last week or so. It’s probably my newest POIC (point of internet contact). (I love making up acronyms.) For some reason, that page is the one that comes up if you use google to look for me by first name and maiden name. Not anything else (at least on the first page of hits). Just that one. Even though it’s under my full last name. As are other things. This is very strange to me.

Do I like that random people from my past have been finding me? I don’t know. I suppose it shows that they care enough to try. 🙂 And I like finding out what people are up to. It’s just odd HOW they find me. Especially when my email address hasn’t changed since I left Bradley. Odd.

Keys to the kingdom….