Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Toast to the Reflective

The new year is a time for change blah blah blech. You will be hearing it all over the place, that is if you haven't already. I mean January magazine editions are hot off the press and everything is screaming in brightly colored letter accented by people with perfect bodies and the most perfectly chaotic/dramalicious lives that we can't help grabbing up an issue even if it is for just a moment while we are standing in the still ridiculously long post-holiday check out lines. I mean really, does anybody expect you to stand in line doing nothing!?

How to get a better body. How to be healthier. How to have better sex. How to abstain from the "bad" things in life. How to get more sleep. How to run more efficiently on less sleep. How to be "successful".

Setting goals isn't a bad thing. You may think that I am making a mockery of it but I feel the same thing. I feel the change vibes. Oh yeah. They are hittin' the groove stream. This whole next week is all about thinking back on this last year and looking forward to the next. It's the perfect limbo land and I am going to pump it for all it's worth! Really. I mean why let all of that excited energy go to waste? Why stand back and pretend that you are better than everybody else because you know that it is all a bunch of hype that people are going to be making a bazillion promises to themselves and others that they can't possibly or won't probably keep. So what? They aren't you. It seems a bit foolish to me to let the whole possibility on getting a little lift in to this next year slide by just because I am too snobbish to be counted amongst the masses that are setting themselves up for (failure to) change. These were my two picks for the beginning of the New Year. But that is just the beginning.

Change is in the air and I am going to let it give me the boost of enthusiasm that I need to get to the fullness of the New Year. But change never comes before reflection. So, a toast to the next reflective days.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cultural - Merry Christmas!

Those of you, whoever you are, who have been reading my blog may have got the idea that I am anti-establishment. You would kind of be right. I am more anti-institution but I know that lots of people don't really like to split hairs like that. Splitting hairs on some of these things is important. Why? Because it just is.

All this to say that there are some things that I know people boycott, especially holidays. I can't say that I blame them. My family has done that very thing. Boycotted the extreme commercialism and the intense pressure to buy buy buy for everyone, to go in to debt to buy everyone and their relatives gifts when what you are really giving is the gift of guilt and receiving gifts of debt. I know, bitter isn't it? I really think that a lot of us have to go through a stage where we boycott such things, it's almost like cleansing ourselves of the whole thing, detoxing, that is what it is, a detox. There is something to the whole detox thing. Really. I would say that my family "detoxed" from everything that is "normal" in our culture for years, we've come out a wild bunch of characters that is for sure. So I am not saying that it doesn't have to be done.

There is a time though when the bitterness must fade and a new era of sorts has to dawn so that you are able to live life and really enjoy it to it's fullest. I am with Solomon on this one, life is short, you have to live it!

What does all this have to do with Christmas? Pretty much everything. We draw names in my family which really makes things nice because you can go pick out a really nice gift for the one person that you have to buy for, it is really great, I know lots of families have lots of different ways they do things but I am pretty sure that it helps with our holiday stress. Why is that? Because we don't have any holiday stress! Seriously. Zero. It's about celebration and enjoyment. And FOOD! I am embracing Christmas. I am not buying things because I have to. I fully recognize that Christmas to us is very cultural, they way we celebrate it is cultural, our gift giving for Christmas is cultural. It's great! It can be so much fun! Finding a perfect gift, even finding a "good deal" on the gift becomes all part of the fun.

I don't know, maybe I drank something in the water up here but Christmas this season to me is all about embracing culture and family and drinking it in until I can hardly hold any more.

I honestly think it's because I was so empty from the years of "detox" that I finally have room to feel the hunger and be completely filled with loving Presence.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Of passion, disturbing experiences, Jillian Michaels, strong wills and lesbians

I had an interesting thought, or maybe a disturbing experience, I'm not really sure because a lot of my interesting thoughts come about because of disturbing experiences or because I have an interesting though I tend to look out for disturbing experiences or I let them actually cross my mind and realize they are disturbing experiences I'm not really sure. In most cases it's kind of like a "what came first the chicken or the egg?" type of deal.

Anyway, Netflix is where i had my most recent experience. Just this afternoon actually. I was looking at the different categories that Netflix had so kindly chosen for me in my play it now lists and ran across "quirky movies with a strong female lead." Yeah, I dig that. So of course I take a look at the list. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when a large section of the list was comprised of lesbian films.

The day before yesterday (at least I think) I was talking with a few people about Jillian Michaels, I admit it, I'm a fan. I was talking about the fact that I knew quite a few people who had questioned whether or not she is a lesbian. OK. Seriously. The only reason that question is being asked is because she is a strong female and isn't afraid to use it.

I just read a statistic in Glamour magazine (Yes, believe it or not I actually subscribe to Glamour). The stats say that only 9% of women express their anger when they are angry at the person they are angry at, most women stuff it.

So where am I going with all this? Strong women. Being a strong, outspoken woman does not make you bad, it does not make you lesbian and it doesn't make you an overall angry person. I would know. I am one of them. I have been accused of all kinds of things being the loud-mouthed opinionated person that I am and I actually can't say that I have been totally OK with that. I hardly think it is fair that I was born with such a strong personality and with such a desire for people to like me at the same time because believe me they don't really mesh well.

Being a strong outspoken woman doesn't make you bad. It is who you are. End of story. And there is really no point in trying to cover it up or fake that you aren't what you are because you will be miserable. Flat out miserable. Either that or you better go get your prescription of Zoloft right now. Oh wait a minute! An insane amount of women right now are on anti depressants. I wonder if that has anything to do with the 95% of women who are stuffing their feelings? Nah. Also, women are some of the biggest motivators! When women begin to speak there will be people to listen. We have huge amounts of influence.

Jillian Michaels has a boyfriend. I just thought all you doubters should know that. Strong women and being a lesbian don't go hand in hand, not all the time anyway. Trust me. I know. I dig my man. But I do understand why a lot of women choose that when they are strong opinionated people, they feel like outcasts and there are many men who don't like that kind of woman so they go looking for affection within their own sex where they won't be hurt by the hateful things said about them or by the way that men try to conquer and subdue them.

The anger... passion is often times mistaken as anger just as excitement is often times mistaken as fear. People are afraid of passion and of passionate people. Passionate people are disturbing and they very rarely follow the rules and they could care less about the "norms" that they are stomping all over in their haste to express their passion.

Just sayin'.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Easy for You

Here is on my favorite things and as I say that I can hear the soundtrack for the Sound of Music playing in the background with the sound of a high pitched soprano, the kind of tone I could never have, and the sweet voices of children singing "These are a few of my favorite things..." But these have nothing to do with "when the dog bites, when the bee stings..." or anything else like that and the list of my favorite things is actually a morbid list that isn't filled with puppies and warm fuzzy things but rather a collection of items that range from vaguely irritating to downright maddening and their subcategories are all my thoughts on the matter(s). This one definitely makes the list, maybe somewhere near the top.

There seems to be a good many people who think that since they have read a certain thing, or maybe lots of things, especially things that are backed by some sort of "evidence" of some kind. that they agree with that somehow they have done this thing and that it works out in actuality even though they have never actually done the thing that they are now pushing (Yeah, like a pusher but pushing an agenda of some kind not some sort of hallucinogenic) but the figure since the have all the evidence to back it and since they think it is a good idea that you should to. I was recently in a conversation with an older man who was telling my SM and I how we needed to "sit under" some older men (Yes, men in specific) to direct us. Ummm... first of you have no idea who we are or what we are doing or what we have done what exactly gives you the right to automatically think that we need directions from someone else? Here is another great example, people ask me about my son's birth and I tell them only to have them tell me how that just doesn't work or how lucky I am. I have people tell me all the time how things are just "easy for me" how it just doesn't work that way for other people. How the hell would they know? No one knows how I battle fear just as they do. Sometimes every day. I am actually fairly prone to panic attacks. I know. Embarrassing. It's true.
Here's a good one. Have you ever had someone stand there and tell you how to change your lifestyle so that you can have a healthy or active life while all the while they are sitting on their butts doing nothing and take up enough of the couch to prove it? And somehow you are the one who is in the wrong? And why should you change? Because your lifestyle doesn't fit in to their little box that's why and it is making them uncomfortable.

The unfortunate part is maybe, just maybe you have what a lot of people want. You are healthy, fit, active, you have a great family and you hardly pay anything for rent, you aren't in much debt, you travel, your happy and your free but "It's just easy for you." And to that I have to say....

BULL! I work my butt off and so does and have everyone else who ever gained any character or did anything in this world. You want some of it? You'll have to work for it too and guess what? It won't be easy. And you know what else? There are a few people out there willing to help.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fear - A sour, contaminating substance

Everyone knows that the favorite tactic of evil men is fear. Fear, unlike it's more pleasant counterparts, is a huge motivator, maybe one of the strongest motivators. I tend to think it is because it stimulates the adrenal glands thus pushing even the laziest person in to crazed action.

Truth. Truth is the way to combat fear but truth also is the cause of fear. Sometimes it is people themselves that balk at truth but usually it is because someone "above" them has conditioned them to fear certain truths, certain things that challenge ultimate authority.

As it turns out on of the best ways to cultivate fear is to create an institution of some kind that can manufacture fear large-scale-factory-style with a few good men (and women) at the controls, usually something like a board of directors or something of the sort, along with some good minions to do their bidding that may or may not be in on the actual reasoning behind the fear-perpetuation of institution as a whole. Most people like to think that they are being looked after and cared for, they will swallow almost anything to believe that nothing has to do with money or control but stems from the goodness of a heartless institution because no matter what anyone would like to believe and institution is a dead thing.

We are continually told that certain things must be said and done "for the greater good". Who and what is the greater good and since when does the greater good come before the injured, suffering, sick or dying that is held in the arms of those that love them?

Fear is the catalyst to the control because the masses can be controlled by fear. Add just a bit of fear of the unknown to any suggestion and you can bet that the masses will flock to the familiar, or what is represented as the familiar. Fear is like a sour taste in your mouth, bitter bile that you want to spit out. It is contaminating like yeast, bubbling up the substance that houses it and growing it to consume everything around it. People hate what they fear.

Fear - salted sparingly with misquoted truth - turns people from intelligent, thinking beings in to nothing more than a stampeding herd of cattle.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Little Red Hen

I'm a fixer. I don't like to watch people fail and I really hate to fail. I tend to be very hard on myself and I expect the same out of other people. That can be a recipe for a train wreck. It can also be the recipe for intense motivation. I am learning a really good lesson right now from a kids book. My mom read this book to me when I was little and now I am reading the same one to my son but what he doesn't know is that it is mommy's favorite book right now because I need to read it over and over and over again until the reality of what it is saying sinks in deep and some part of me really digests it and I start living this little book, guilt free. Why? Because I know it is going to make my life better. I know that I am going to be less stressed and in doing so I will be less frustrated with other people because not only will I not expect them to live up to an insanely high standard I also won't be frustrated when they end up not doing anything at all.

The Little Red Hen. In short this hen does everything around the house for a lazy dog, cat and mouse, one day she finds some wheat and asks for some help to plant and then tend and finally harvest grind and make the wheat in to a cake. The response of the other animals is "Not I!" until the little red hen gets to the part where she asks "Who will eat this cake?" of course everyone jumps up and comes running in to the kitchen wanting a piece of cake. What does the little red hen do? Well she gives her cake up of course because she is the perfect martyr and then cleans the kitchen while fuming about how the others never do anything and she goes to bed hungry and angry. OK. So that isn't what happens. She tells them to take a hike. She says that she has done everything by herself and now she is going to eat the cake by herself. And she does. All of it. She doesn't even share. That wicked.... hen. The book ends by saying that from then on she had to do everything by herself and she was selfish until she died. OK. Not really. It says that from then on she had three very eager helpers. Her one act changed the lives of all of them. How is that possible? It boggles my mind! How did something that seems "selfish" end up being the thing that brought all these animals together and made their house a happy sharing home? Here's my take on it. Of course I am going to give you my take on it, I mean you are reading my blog after all and everything in this blog is jammed full of opinions but the warning is in the title. The hen knew that she couldn't just give in and continue to live life as it was with her being all pissed off that she wasn't getting any help and on top of it depriving herself of the things that she enjoyed. Even though she didn't get any help with the work it took to plant, take care of, harvest, grind and make the wheat in to a cake she did it anyway, she did the work because she enjoyed it and knew she would enjoy the end result of her labor, you see it isn't the work that gets her undies in a bundle it's the other animals thinking that they deserve all the benefits when they do none of the work. When she bakes that cake that day she decides that things are going to be different. She has a lump of guilt in her throat that she can hardly talk around when she tells the other animals that she is going to eat the cake alone and the cake may have been one of the hardest things she had to swallow, the first few bits anyway. But then something amazing happens, she lets herself enjoy eating the cake and when she is done she happily cleans up the kitchen and goes to bed, content. The next day she wakes up to three transformed animals. She doesn't become lazy, she loves to work and cook but now she has the help that she needs and she gets to watch them enjoy their hard work by eating the next cake that she bakes that they helped plant, tend, grind... and dang-it even if she hadn't got the help that she needed she had found out that she could happily go about her business but that it wasn't her job to make sure those other animals were fed. She didn't lose anything. She gained companions. And she had her cake and ate it too.

Friday, November 26, 2010


I joined the insanity today and it made me feel oddly American. In a good way believe it or not. Joining in traditions can be a great experience, in my opinion it is one of the only ways to really get to know a people. I don't think I every truly appreciated traditions in the US until I lived in another country and learned to appreciate and respect their traditions. It was odd how that happened. Opening up to love their country and a new (to me) people gave me the ability to look at my own country with a new pair of eyes and to recognize and appreciate things in a whole new way.

What I did not appreciate was the two young men who walked out of Herbergers at 3:30 a.m. this morning with two arm loads of Columbia coats that they had not paid for. Why? It is odd how a thing like that can make you feel violated. You didn't do it. You told someone about it (well, my mom did) but they still got away with it, it has an odd way of making a person feel dirty.

There are just some things about people all the way around, in this country and in every other that you just can't like.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dear Hospital

Dear Hospital,

First of all I would like to say that I am not pointing this at any of the staff that come to work every day like everyone else, hoping for a paycheck in this economy. I don't mean to make your day miserable because I am completely pissed off. I am sorry that you have to be the one that opens and reads this letter because I know there is nothing that you can personally do to change this autocratic system. But I have to be heard otherwise I sit here feeling like a victim, yet again.

I come to the hospital only when I don't have any other choice. I am one of those weirdos that likes to take care of things as naturally as possible, and yes, that does include drinking herbal infusions and taking tinctures. I also like to prevent sickness by eating well, exercise and sleep. Sure, I know that you say people should do those things but in reality if we weren't sick you would be out of a very lucrative job.

When I do venture in to a hospital, especially the ER, it really is an emergency. Unfortunately this last visit didn't have to be an emergency it's just that you haven't made care readily available in small towns at odd hours in any other form than the hospital ER and since I have no other choice other than to go to the ER you make sure that I pay for all the times that I didn't visit this year.

How in the world can you charge more than the sum of my house payment, groceries, internet, cell phone and power bill for one visit for an infection that I already told you that I had. Here is a direct quote from the RN "well we wouldn't have even had to test that, it was obvious what you had." all that while handing me the antibiotic that in the hospital they probably charged me $100 for when I went and got 10 pills the next day from Wal-Mart for $4. Am I the only one that see's something wrong with that?

When I called to complain about the outrageous bill you had sent me you said that that was only for the doctor and there was a second bill for me taking up space in the completely empty ER. The doctor worked for the clinic and they wanted their slice of the pie as well, my pie, my son's pie, my family's pie. And then they ask me why I don't have health care. Do you know what health care costs at my husband's job? $650 PER MONTH! We can't afford that. There is no way. I have been told that they have the "best" health care coverage in town. I don't know how anyone could know that because I don't know who in this small town could afford that on what they pay for wages here.

I have digressed. I guess this isn't your problem is it? You just want me to shut up and pay your bill. But I do want to know how a doctor gets paid almost $250 for spending less than two minutes with me. I mean I know that he is in his late 40's and probably would really like to pay off the rest of his enormous student loans and is probably paying one of his children through school right now but how do his costs get rated higher than mine? That RN got screwed. He spent all the time with me and I bet his paycheck wasn't half that.

Did I mention that I knew what I had? I even knew what I needed to take to get rid of it but do I have an option to purchase what I need or to get a quick checkup and prescription? No. I am forced to go to the ER. I am forced because there are no other options.

Something is terribly wrong. I know you can't fix it. I can't either. I can't pay your outrageous prices. What happens next time I need help?

Thanks for your complete lack of concern for the general populace.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Music Awards

So I'm back. I finished my NaNoWriMo. It was fun. I was really ready to be done. Which is king of funny considering there are still five days until I can even submit the thing for them to tell me that I have actually written over 50,000 words. I guess I jumped the gun a little bit.

Just a little FYI. I started a new blog. Just because. Now that I don't have a novel to write I had to put all that nervous energy somewhere. So go take a look. I think that I need to do some sort of makeover on my blog so that I can link them up and such. Oddly enough I really don't like doing that. It reminds me too much of scrapbooking. I hate scrapbooking. I love other people's scrap books. They look great. It's creative. I hate it.

So on to the real meat of this blog. I am hosting a music award this afternoon. Right now. Sorry I didn't give you all any warning but this isn't up for a public vote. I give the award. You all read my rant and we all stay happy. Especially after I get this doozy off my chest.

We were recording earlier this week and since we were playing music the subject of music was buzzing everywhere. Musical opinions are almost as volatile as political opinions. And the subject of lyrics came up. Now I'm not going to tell you about this whole conversation but it did start me thinking and that is where the great idea was born to host this award. One song and one song only will win this afternoon. I bet you are wondering what it is. I am going to keep you in suspense for the next couple of sentences while I explain the criteria for winning.

To win the song must display lyrical power and a hip beat that makes everyone want to listen to it over and over it also must be the number one song that will push the average teenage right over in to having sex with his or her significant other after hearing played at this years prom (Has prom already past? Sorry, homeschooler talking here), anyway, it is important that this song just may make much older men and maybe the occasional pedophile also salivate over the fact that they could put their hands on a teenage girl. And before you all start freaking out let me first say that yes, I do know the lyrics of the song, and yes, I actually do have half a brain and I do know what she is "actually" talking about so you can forget leaving a comment correcting me. SOOOO... the moment you all have been waiting for. AND THE WINNER IS.... KATY PERRY singing "Teenage Dream". Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

And the tears dried

I have to take a break. This whole NaNoWriMo thing is getting to me tonight. Oh, don't worry I am totally keeping up with my word count. I am way too competitive to not have that happen. I just hope I don't run out of story before I get anywhere near my word count. I can feel a little bit of panicked frustration setting in. Anyway, this is the antidote. I am going to combat writing boredom by writing something. Something different.

I have always been a crier. My mom tells this story about me at when I was around five years old or so. I was sitting in a pile of laundry that I was supposed to be helping my mom fold. I was sitting there in the middle of the clothes bawling. Why? Because I just couldn't do it or maybe because I didn't want to do it which is very likely. But I can almost guarantee that there was this well of frustration bubbling up in that little girl. She was crying because she couldn't get it right. Never mind that this was probably the first time that she had actually tried to fold clothes in her mind she should be able to do it and do it perfectly, the first time.

I have carried that kind of attitude in to my adult life. When things are difficult I cry, when I am frustrated I cry, angry, sad... you get the picture. But these are not tears of some softy these are tears of frustration and disappointment. I am usually frustrated at myself for not being able to do something perfectly the very first time. There is a right and a wrong way to do things and if you don't get it right then you are wrong. That really has been the philosophy of my mind for as long as I can remember. I don't even know why. That is not what I was taught when I was young. I don't ever remember feeling pressured to be perfect at any of the things that have brought the tidal wave of tears.

I also cry when someone is frustrated with me or even if they are someone important in my life and they have a serious discussion with me. I can't help it. It's like the floodgates open up. They aren't floodgates of sadness they are floodgates of self-anger of frustration that I had not foreseen what I was about to be told and avoided it completely. The thing is there always has to be something wrong with me and if I could just figure it out and get it corrected then I would make everyone happy all of the time and I would always do things right.

Wow. I am actually getting tired just writing that. When it is all out there it sounds completely stupid. I might be able to see why a child would think that way but when it moves in to the world of adults it doesn't look quite as "right".

Recently I have been noticing something. My tears are drying up. Maybe it has something to do with getting a little older and (maybe?) gaining some maturity. Maybe it has something to do with being married for a few years now. Maybe it has something to do with having my own child. Suddenly I am finding some grace for myself. Oh, I am not saying that it is coming easily because it isn't, I actually have to trample over loads of guilt, sometimes every day, sometimes I have to get over guilt about not feeling guilty!

I knew something was changing the other day when I had had a few serious discussions with important people in my life and I didn't cry during any of them. As a matter of fact I didn't cry after any of them either. I took everything that was being said and looked at it for what it was, a conversation, an exchange of thoughts and ideas from one adult to another, they weren't doing anything wrong and I wasn't doing anything wrong. We were sharing.

I had an even more emotionally charged discussion tonight. Not once did I feel like crying. At one point I felt the frustration start to rise and settle at the back of my throat, it began to form a lump around which I was having difficulty swallowing. And then I realized how silly I was being. Why would I let something like a discussion dictate my emotions like that? Why would I start passing blame? Why would I blame myself for something that there was no blame in? Who in the hell am I anyway to decide that I am so powerful that I can direct the emotions and/or outcome of other people's lives and emotions. HA. When I look at it that way I actually have to laugh at myself. Which, believe me, is not easy for me to do but it is getting there.

I am leaving the clothing pile to the five year old and I am moving on.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Big Blank

So that is what my brain is right now. I am attempting to do this whole NaNoWriMo thing and so far I am keeping up but seriously, it's only day 3, not real hard to do. The worst part of the whole deal is that you aren't really allowed to do any revision, you are just supposed to puke stuff out, I am starting the think that is just what this is going to be, a pile of steaming puke. That is what "they" say you are supposed to be doing, it's supposed to get your creative juices flowing, apparently enough that it regurgitates onto the page. I would like to think that there might be something that I can "use" out of all of this how's that for a capitalistic thought?

So here's to puking this stuff up for the next month.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Boys - To make or break

There is a very pretty song for girls by John Mayer called Daughters it tugged at my heartstrings when I heard it the first time and I had warm fuzzy thoughts of my daddy and what a wonderful man and father he is. But the more I think about it the less I like this song. I have recently been faced with the incredible injustices that are being done to our sons. For example, take the John Mayer song that I mentioned before:

"Boys, you can break
You'll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on..."

I have also heard these sentiments from mothers "I quit bathing with my son when he was a young toddler because he started asking questions.", "I quit breastfeeding my son or am having a difficult time because it just feels weird nursing a boy, too sexual.", "I don't know what to do with his "junk".", "It just feels weird being pregnant with a boy, I mean I have a penis growing inside of me!".
At first glance you might think that these are just comments from ignorant people but they are not, these are comments from regular, every day mothers.

From the beginning our sons are made to be aliens, strange that they are growing inside of us. Soon after their birth they are whisked away to have part of their penis chopped off, we mutilate them for life, violate their rights, without ever asking their permission. We feel strange about spending time with our sons not fully clothed, we don't know how to deal with their private areas and so we don't lean on our motherly instinct but instead we defer to those that "that have that kind of equipment". And what about breastfeeding? How is it that breasts have become such a sexual object to us as a culture we can't even enjoy nursing our sons without feeling like we are doing something dirty?

I don't blame mothers. I know I may sound blunt but I am not aiming to heap guilt on a group of people who already feel guilty a large portion of the time, mothers who are constantly worried about whether they are making the right choices. But I do want to point out that there is an incredible injustice being done to our boys! Boys are breakable! Boys tend to be hypersensitive to criticism and their mothers are emotional havens of safety for them, if they are allowed to use them as such.
This has all been germinating in my mind for a while but came to a head last night as my husband, after receiving pictures of his childhood, told me story of horrific story of his childhood. Now my husband is a fairly extreme case but under it all I saw the damage that had been caused in his life by him being treated as "unbreakable", I saw confusion, hurt and shame that he didn't do something to stop his own suffering and the suffering of others around him, the guilt of responsibility weighed so heavily on him. He had in some ways "soldiered on", he never told anyone his story, he became a good man but it hasn't changed the fact that there is a damaged boy there that hasn't forgotten his story.

So many times you hear boys called "mamas boys" and I say "But of course they are!" We are their mothers, they are our boys, we are one of the two most influential women in their lives. We have the power to make or break our boys.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hope's Daughters

“Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be.” St. Augustine

This is what happens when you have an unending cold that you can't seem to get rid of and yes, before you ask I have tried all kinds of things to get rid of it, sometimes you just have to settle in for the long haul, such it up, something. The worst part is that this is a whiny cold so there really is no sucking it up, all I do is whine, it's disgusting really, I can hear myself but I can't seem to stop, I probably sound something like my 2 year old, ok, so maybe not quite that bad but you get the idea.


I am sure that you are wondering what crying about my cold has to do with the awesome Augustine quote at the beginning of this blog. It has nothing to do with it honestly this is just a large open forum to whine to.

Hope. Anger. Courage. St. Augustine says it beautifully and with complete poetic power, I can almost see anger and courage, their hair a flaming mass, anger is dark as a storm and courage is bright as a flame, they are clothed in flowing clothing and their eyes see in to your soul. I'm weird like that, I always see pictures as I read words.

I am angry. You may have noticed. I mean, who names a blog "screed" something like a diatribe isn't really mellow, it is angry. My posts generally ring of something angry. It is not that I am an angry person per-se except that I am. Content and angry. Content with my life and how beautiful it is and angry at the way things are. 

Lately I have heard some things that have made me good and angry. People being degraded, that angers me. I listened to a story of a young girl stolen from her car and made to be a prostitute, held by shame and fear she will die a slave. I heard a story of someone who was abused by a social group, no one did anything about it, drowning in shame and fear it took her years before she told anyone. but she isn't the only one. I have heard stories of women who are afraid to have any more children, they think that their bodies have betrayed them and that they are weak they are afraid and ashamed. I have heard of women who quietly suffer as the struggle with feeling attached to their baby because of their rough start together, they are full of shame and afraid.  I am outraged. The list could go on. I am outraged because there are people holding other people down, destroying them, putting them under a cloak of fear and shame so thick that they can't even see the hem of light that Courage wears. 

And my courage? I am making things the way they ought to be. One day at a time. One person at a time. It doesn't matter that I am strange or that I feel lonely while I do it. This isn't just one cause or really a cause at all it is life. Courageous life.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A old fashioned feminists manifesto

So how is it possible to be "old fashioned" and feminist at the same time? Well first off lets just start with what it means to be feminine. To be feminine means nothing more or less than being female! Having female attributes and character. So in the true heart of a real feminist who loves the fact that she is a woman and embraces every (or at least tries to!) quirk and the full blown power that it is to be female... here is my manifesto of sorts.

I am a woman. I am powerful creative and beautiful. I am a safe harbor in society a nurturing shelter and a rampart for safety. How do I know that I house this power? Because it has been this way for thousands upon thousands of years! Women have birthed the nations, they have nurtured greatness and created monsters. And I as a woman state my manifesto here today because I was created to be feminine and will (try) and embrace all that it entails, every part, without shame.

I will be sexy, mystical and alluring to my husband, my one and only, who I have saved myself for, I will be his satisfaction and he will be mine.

I will use my vagina to birth my children.
I will use my breasts to nourish them and I refuse to hide when doing so.
I will use my voice and my presence to comfort my children and quiet my husband in their distress.

I will choose to raise my own child, my own way.
I will use my strong mind and will to block the barrage of questioning that will try and shake me to my foundations about the choices I will make for me and my family but I will stand firm and I will know that I am right because I am a nurturer, it's in my blood, in my DNA, I know what is right.
I will look at myself and I will see...

That I am beautiful and I am worth spending time on. I won't let myself fall apart or become frumpy.
I will choose to be pale in the winter because I am white and that's ok. I refuse to tan because I refuse to opt for skin cancer.

I won't wear a bra for any other reason than for the occasions that call for it for fashion sake and then I will make the decision knowing that it is fashion and there is no piece of fashion worth my health (check out the connection between bras and and breast cancer).
I will choose to love, a lot and laugh really loud.
I will choose not to be embarrassed about my foot-in-mouth moments.
I will choose to sing and run and cycle and enjoy having an active body.
I will choose to live in a community because I like it.

I will choose not to explain myself.
I will remain teachable. 
I will choose not to be silenced.
So help me God. Because He is the reason I can do any of it.

The end.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My PTS Story

You may think that I missed the rest of the acronym but I really don't think that the D in the whole equation fits my experience very well.

I didn't even know I had it. It actually seems kind of lame to talk about it even now. Why do we talk about difficult things in our lives? Trauma? Are we vying for sympathy? Or is what I feel right now, the feeling that if I tell my story maybe there are others out there who have the same/similar experience that need somewhere to connect and maybe, just maybe there is an institution that needs re-vamping. You be the judge.

On our way home from our honeymoon 3 years ago I was laying in the passenger seat with my teeth chattering. I knew I was sick but thought I had the flu. I just wanted to get home to the apartment, take a bath and go to sleep. Hours later it was after 2 in the morning and I am sitting in the bath crying, shaking, sweating and not able to talk in a coherent manner. My SM took me to the ER where I ended up spending several hours answering questions to a nurse and a student doctor and filing paperwork in-between bouts of not being able to remember things and my chattering teeth. By that point my sweater was soaked through with sweat. I think they gave me 2 over the counter pain killers.

When the doctor finally arrived he asked if I had any idea what I might have I responded that I thought it may be a UTI considering I had just gotten married and it can go with the territory when it is your first partner. (Can I tell I am trying to put that as tactfully as possible, HA, I just didn't want to blast your delicate sensibilities with the fact that many virgins after having sex for the first time go rounds with a UTI.) The doctor briskly told me that wasn't the case, I didn't have a UTI and he needed to perform a vaginal exam. Out came the cold metal speculum, the room was filled with few nurses the doctor and the woman doing paperwork. It was cold and I was terrified and mortified. I had never had an exam. I had always been taught that everything there was private, that I shouldn't let people violate my privacy. I was confused, sick and both SM and I were worried so we didn't say anything. I just cried. After that they finally ran the urine test, the doctor came in shortly after and said "you have a bad UTI", he wrote me a prescription for antibiotics and sent me home. The didn't start me on any and we had to wait through the rest of the night to get the prescription filled as soon as anything opened.

To make a bad story worse it turns out that he gave me the wrong type of antibiotic and only a few days worth when I needed at least 10 days. It goes on with more drama from there but it would just subtract from the original story which was giving you a peak at my PTS realization.

I went in to the ER on Saturday night. Why? Well because I knew I had a bad UTI and of course it was Saturday night so nothing but the ER is open and nothing on Sunday and I knew I couldn't wait until Monday morning. Seriously, somebody needs to get a 24 hour clinic up in this joint. There was hardly any paperwork and there was no one waiting so I got right in to see an RN. When the doctor came in for his 5 second visit he had me lay down so that he could touch my stomach and back to see if there were key pain points. I froze. I started shaking and feeling panicked, when he touched me I flinched.

I can laugh at myself a bit now. The doctor on Saturday didn't do anything, just his job. But on the inside I knew I had touched on something. And now what do I do about it? Well, when a traumatic event has happened it takes telling the story at least 50 times for it to become history. So here is my

After reviewing I should actually add that this is not a diagnosis of any kind but merely a way, with some dry humor, to describe the emotions that I ran in to during my ER visit on Saturday and realizing that I still felt somewhat victimized by the events in the ER 3 years ago.

Monday, September 13, 2010

"Life is like...

... a box of chocolates." Or that is what Forrest Gump would have us believe. So I get his point, "you never know what you are going to get". Very true. That is why I was never a fan of those boxes of chocolates, I love chocolate and there is just nothing worse than biting in to something you should love and finding that someone stuffed full of some kind of gooey or chewy gunk. It is really a terrible experience.

I'm off track now. "Life is like a box of chocolates." Mmmm not so much. Chocolate is a wonderful thing but it does nothing to fill you up, it doesn't satisfy like real food does and an excess of it leaves you over-sugared, under-nourished and leaves you with a couple of extra pounds to carry around. Chocolate is an extra, a treat. Does that sound like life? Maybe. I have met people that seem to treat life that way and it leaves them the same way as a chocolate overdose.

I have always felt that I have lived a wonderful and adventurous life but this summer has opened my eyes in a new way. Maybe it was turning 25 and really having something click that I am REALLY an adult and that there are so many things I want to do in my life and that there is just a set amount of days... but it didn't come with the feelings that life was fatal it came with the feeling that life is to be LIVED, that life is ALIVE, that it is thriving and growing and moving. This has been the theme of the summer. Life.

Life to me is a meal. It is hot soup and a hearty cheese bred on a cold day. It is Thanksgiving dinner. It is comfort food. It is something that I enjoy every bite of and then scrape up the leftovers and something that a take a tiny bit more of even though I am full just because I want to savor one more spoonful.

Speaking of dinner....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Love Muscle

"I love you" can be one of the cheapest phrases ever to have a price. I have just ran in to a series of circumstances where someone would profess their undying desire to visit or their undying "love" but the odd thing was there was absolutely no action put behind the words. Who hasn't heard "love is a verb", how corny right? Who hasn't heard "actions speak louder than words", doubly corny right? I mean we all hear it, we all know it, duh, we all practice it right? Right?

I purpose that we are all acting under some sort of social rule, a rule that tells us that we have to be "polite" to people that we know, we have to act concerned and we must tell them how profusely we miss them and like them even if we know we are completely unwilling to put any effort in to actual human contact. So what is it that makes us say these things when we really have no interest in connecting with that person? Or is it that there really is interest or some vague sort of desire but we really have removed ourselves so far from the work that it takes to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships that our relationship building skills, our caring, has atrophied?

Love is a muscle and the effort that it takes to exert that muscle is the action and work that we put in to building and maintaining the relationships in our lives.  

Friday, August 20, 2010

Personal Experience

I am cross posting this from our ministry wiki, if you haven't checked it out yet take a look and join in the conversation and blogging whatever it is that you believe, it'll make things interesting. 

Frustration. What a common occurance in my life. I find that a lot of my frustration is caused by myself, why? Because I expect things out of myself and people that I or others don't live up to and I am left disappointed which for me leads directly to frustration.
Hands down one of the most frustrating experiences in my life is when I am talking to someone or someones and I am asked for my opinion, now those who know me know that I have plenty of opinions, it's no secret, occasionally I am ashamed of it but for the most part I try and embrace that part of myself while still reminding myself that other people's opinions are just as valuable as mine and if I take the time to listen them I will probably gleen something worthwhile, believe it or not you can gleen something from every conversation, either something that you would like to be like or do or something you definetly want to avoid becoming or do not want to do. OK, rabbit trail. Frustration, opinions, I'm back. I was recently in a conversation where my opinion on a certain item was asked. After I gave my opinion (just to be clear the opinion I gave was based on personal experience as well as some science and professional backing) the reply from the other person started with "actually", uh oh, at that point the frustration starts to rise from my chest and quickly make it's way towards my throat where it will slowly start choking my over the next few hours, days, weeks... "actually" is one of the most negatory words out there, when the word "actually" is used after someone has said something and before someone's opinion on the matter it completely negates what was said before it. "Actually", the word came flying out right before an entire explanation on why what I said probably wasn't true and had to do something with something else this person had read or researched. I then preceded to ask where the personal experience came from and was informed that the person I was talking to no longer did what we were discussing! Why? And get this, for the reason that I stated the product my opinion was asked on was used for! 

Now this is not a one time thing. It happens all of the time. I don't know if people aren't listening or if everyone really thinks they are so dang intelligent, maybe the internet is partly to fault because there is so much information floating out there ready for anyone to pick up on and read but there is one thing that makes all the difference, personal experience. Now I do think that there are some other ways to learn things as well, like learning from someone who has had the personal experience that is called trust, my listening, absorbing and then putting someone else's personal experience in to action you have gained wisdom.

Of course that is just my opinion.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yesterday was my 3rd anniversary. It of course drapes my mind in reflection. Reflection on love, what it is, what it isn't... at least a few things that I know about it.

When I was a teenager a young man wanted me to dive in to some cold water, I was reluctant, I have always been one of those people who tortures themselves by shuffling in to the cold water one agonizing inch after another, I have been told it is just easier to dive in but I just can't seem to make myself do it. This young man then stated "if you love me you will jump in". Now, I never did have an official boyfriend before my hubby but during my teen years I had a couple of brushes with teen romance of sorts. For some reason that young man's sentences lodged somewhere in my young woman's heart, it set up a precedence in my life about what love was between men and women. Even though I had not seen that kind of love demonstrated in my parent's marriage over the next couple of years I allowed several different men to talk to me in ways that were demanding of affection while they used their words to create insecurity, to tell me I was loud, too opinionated, not as good as so and so, to demand demonstrations of affection that I was not willing to give, to tell me that I had to choose them or my family, I was told time and again that I was intimidating.

I remember all this coming to an end at 19 when my family sat me down and said that something had to give. I was demoralized by their words and was constantly wondering what was wrong with me. I chose to change at that point. I didn't even know what that change was except that I had to get even more stringent, more guarded. And I did. For the next three years I dealt with the "ice queen" comments and more "I'm intimidated" comments. I have never been very good at letting things just roll off but my skills did improve considerably.

I did consider that there weren't any good guys left, I just figured whoever got to marry my brother was going to get a seriously lucky break. All the good ones (and plenty of bad) had already been taken.

What is it that makes so many men use love as a way to exert control over women? Love reduced to nothing more than a silly game of who can get what out of whom by playing the "how much do you love me game". The truth? The truth is where there is true love there is no one asking that question. There is no need to use "if you love me" because there are no ifs.

Solid. That is what love is. Anything less? Not love.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Death Grip on Life.

Warning: This post contains personal beliefs. 

The last blog was about birth and it just seems fitting that this is about death. Human conditions both.

It is no question that death is scary. It is scary and in some ways unnatural. Why? Because we as people weren't meant to die. Cancer, aids, murder... none of that is natural. But death... death wasn't natural, death now is natural.

I understand not wanting to die and I definitely understand not wanting a friend or family member to die. I say I understand because I listened as a doctor told me that my dad should be dead and they were hoping that they could get him in to surgery fast enough to keep his femur from compounding and my dad from bleeding to death. He was pale and in more pain than I have ever seen him in. I also called 911 as my dad held the limp blue form of my sister who had just had a grand mal seizure. I watched as my great grandmother died of cancer, dementia and advanced age, she died angry. I can't say that I understand everyone's situation and there are plenty of devastating situations that I am sure would send my world spinning out of control.

There is something that has been nagging me lately and it started with reading an article about someone dying after donating part of his organ. It was said that it was a "heroic act" the "ultimate sacrifice". I wonder if that is what his young children will think growing up?

I am not making a judgment call on someone's family or their own choices but it did set me to thinking about the un-graceful passing of people. Yes, young deaths are "untimely" and are "wrong" but doesn't that go back to the beginning of the discussion? Isn't every death "wrong"? When does a death feel "right"? It does seem more wrong when a young person, especially with a family, is dying or dies, it makes us question and grieve. But I find that I keep asking myself this question, where is the grace in all of this? I have a wild thought that I could die gracefully, that maybe I would be able to let go gracefully. I don't want to have a death grip on life.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

“You want to go into the most intense physical experience in your life unprepared? That doesn’t make any sense to me,” she said. “I thought, OK, let’s get to work. I wasn’t expecting someone else to get the baby out of me.” Gisele Bundchen (I got the quote of a fun blog I was just introduced to "Confessions of a Judgmental Hippie")

Gisele put that beautifully. I feel strongly about birth and about my part in it as a woman. You may say "duh" to the idea that my part as a woman in birthing a child, it is almost laughable to think that a woman doesn't have a part in birthing her child but it is the last part of Gisele's quote that really caught my attention "I wasn't expecting someone else to get the baby out of me." There is a prevailing attitude that doctors deliver babies. Deliver them, you know like a rescue mission of some kind, deliver them like they are prisoners inside their mother's womb. There is a prevailing attitude that women need to blindly trust doctors and the doctors believe they are the experts on all things women and baby, even if they happen to be males and as such will never actually be able to fully understand pregnancy or the birth process.

Now before anyone gets their panties in a bundle I will state that I know that doctors have a specific job that they are very good at and that is to deal with emergencies and abnormalities, they are trained to deal with it and are good at it. Emergencies and abnormalities. Babies are not emergencies, you have months to get ready for them and they are not abnormal, babies have been birthed for thousands of years.

It isn't even the fact that it is doctors but the fact that women expect doctors to just take care of things, look to them to "get the babies out of them" and then are grateful and owing their child's birth to a doctor when in all reality there is no one but a woman that can house and birth a baby. I think it is that attitude that leads to the laziness and the lack of prep work on the part of the woman. It is riding right at the top of the list of the most physically taxing, mentally challenging, emotional experience a woman will go through. When those lines appear it is time to go to work. Because no one and I mean no one is going to birth that baby but you.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


You know what I don't understand? People with no grit. You know, the kind that don't have any gumption, don't have a "lust" for life, people that don't go after what they want, who are waiting for life to happen to them. I don't really know what is behind this, maybe it is a personality thing. It just seems like I have met a lot of people like that lately, surprisingly most of them are young. Why do I find this surprising? Because young people have non-stop energy, or at least that is what I thought and that is how I was at their age and really at 25 continue to have more that enough energy to go around. So what is it that makes so many young people so... apathetic? Lack luster? Most of the time I do not even know how to label it.

 It seems that many people have become comfortable doing whatever they are told and if anyone steps out of line or starts to bring up questions quick and cliche platitudes are thrown out in abundance and I mean cliche in the worst way. There are some cliche things that are good, take roses, chocolate, condolences... etc. those things are all "cliche" in there way but good. Then there are all the wrote answers to what should be soul searching questions, you know what I mean, the kind that makes you wonder if the writer got them straight out of the "life lessons" book or if they modified them just a bit.

What is it that makes people shy away from the gut wrenching? And I don't mean watching a sad movie or the news. I mean the real grit and dirt of life. What is it that makes people flinch from real things? Things like real love, passion, having babies, death, spirituality, ethics, race, people... the list could go on and on. And it isn't the discussing of these things so much as the living of them. Talk is cheap. (See what I mean about cliches? That is a good one.)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I haul myself out of bed but this time not because I haven't slept well, my son is actually sleeping very well at night, at some point in time he comes to bed with us, good thing too because it is continuing justification for my king sized bed purchase last fall, so it isn't a lack of sleep that is making me drag and it isn't even the seasonal allergies that are kicking my butt right now it is the foot that is in my face and the other that is in my rib and it is the screaming laughter, ok, so mostly the screaming that makes me cringe and roll over slowly. It is another day with a two year old. You know people say a lot of things but my parents were happy to help confirm that the next year of my life is going to be one of the most challenging I have faced. "Challenging" that is a great word. Challenging really means miserable to me for the most part but that really doesn't have anything to do with the word itself. I am one of those kinds of people who doesn't really like challenges because usually that means I don't know how to do whatever it is I get frustrated, usually there are tears involved, sometimes anger of some sort and then... I overcome, HA! What were you expecting? I didn't say that I didn't overcome my challenges, I am a very competitive person.

But this is different. Why? Because this is a piece of life that I don't want to just bulldoze my way through, I want to not be frustrated for the next year and I certainly don't want to cry my way through it and the interesting thing about children is that they seem to adapt and overcome every one of my challenges creating a new and very creative labyrinth, amazing little people. But this is the time for me to overcome and in a totally different way because I can't use the same tack that I have used all my life. So what is it to be? In all honesty I am not sure but yesterday I came to a realization as I thought and wrote the words "I do not like being the mother of a 2 year old", now of course I love my son and there are plenty of great times and fun times but seriously almost every day I am brought to a crisis feeling in myself. I know that changing my thoughts about it to the "terrific twos" like I have heard some other parents say is just not going to work, as far as I can tell for me it would just be trying to cover up the fact that this is difficult with a false mental attitude that would eventually crack and crumble under the stress in a few weeks... a few months and usually things crumble with a BANG! when it comes to toddlers.

I have not come to a full conclusion but I know it has something to do with becoming more of the new person I started becoming when I birthed my son just over 2 years ago. Honestly, he ranks right on up there with the more frustratingly cute teachers I have ever had.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Andrew's Blog - because I promised.

Normally I am not one to stick up for those I find do not really have it that hard in life. I mean there are some people that just have it a little easier in some areas of life than the rest of everybody. It's just a proven fact. It is really nothing to be ashamed of if you fall in to that category. It can actually be a huge benefit to you and to others around you if you choose to use it in a compassionate and eyes-wide-open manner. If you recognize that you are privileged in an area (or several in your life) you are more able to embrace that and put it to work for you and others around you.

I am getting off subject already and I haven't even introduced the subject of this blog. His name is Andrew. Andrew is a true blue Northern Minnesotan. He is from Scandinavian decent and white as can be. Andrew belongs to a privileged group of people. He is a white American male with good work ethic from a small town and a small school who has been well educated. Now we could spend a long time delving in to his life and talking about the privileges and benefits or difficulties or get in to a debate about whether or not you think he is actually privileged just because of the aforementioned characteristics. I don't really care. Because the topic of this blog is actually the disadvantage that he faced the other day. We were talking and he was expressing his frustration about a conversation he had had where someone informed him that he could not understand what it was like to be a minority. You may agree with this statement and maybe for the average person in his situation that might be true but Andrew has chosen multiple times in his life to live outside of his comfort zone. He has visited India for several months, Mexico and Colombia.  Now did I mention that Andrew is white? I am going to mention it one more time because Andrew is not just white he is white, seriously, sometimes in the winter we have actually debated whether or not he was glowing and it is hardly any better in the summer (sorry Andrew). In the crowds in foreign countries he sticks out like a sore thumb, his presence screams at passersby to badger him, grab him (literally) and to laugh at him. Now he may be able to walk through an airport and not be stopped or to move from country to country with much more ease than the average, he may even be able to get higher paying jobs or all the things that we know go along with his privilege but Andrew does know something about being minority, the stares, the whispers, the butt grabbing, no, I'm not kidding, just ask him the story sometime, and the constant badgering for money.

I asked him why he had not explained some of these circumstances to the person he was in conversation with and he said something that struck a chord with me, he said "I can't say anything because then I will look like I am defending myself when I am one of the most "privileged" people out there so how would anyone ever believe that I could understand what it felt like to be a minority."

So I sit here once again to give a voice to someone who felt that they had no right to a voice. Everyone has a right to a voice it is what you do with that voice and who you lift with that voice that counts.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A girl's best friend

When I was 13 my great grandmother pulled me aside to give me a piece of sage advice. Ok. So it didn't really look like that. My family never does things that way. We are a family (my mom's side) chuck full of loud, bossy, sometimes brassy or crass, animated, emotional women. My great grandma yelled at me to listen to a what she had to say. I was kind of thrilled. This would be the very first piece of advice that my grandma would give me and I was expecting something... well... I'm not really sure but you always read about the advice that people get when their great grandmother calls them aside so being the strange book nerd that I am (I know, hard to believe huh?) I expected something that would be found in the pages of a novel. Instead the conversation went something like this: "Jasmine! Listen here", Me: "What?", Gma: "Do you have a boyfriend?" Me: "No." Gma "That's fine, you just need to remember one thing when you do get one", Me: "What's that?", Gma: "Diamonds are a girls true best friend." End of discussion. Translation: "Men really aren't worth much it's just the stuff they give, especially diamonds." Proven out by that family of women who received everything from diamonds to mink coats to motorcycles... etc. from men all of the time.

Now I may not be quoting my conversation verbatim considering it has been a fair amount of years but that is how I remember the conversation going down.

Day before yesterday SM took me to the jewelry store in the Mall of America, we don't have a Helzberg anywhere near here and that is where our wedding rings were purchased at. We went to renew our ring insurance to the new lifetime coverage that they are switching to as our insurance had run out. My wonderful SM got me an early anniversary present, the second band to my wedding ring. Everyone say "aawww". It really is beautiful. I never thought that I was a diamond girl and still as a general rule I prefer other types of stones or no stone at all in my jewelry but when it came to an engagement/wedding ring I found that my heart had been softened towards that particular type of stone. But what my grandma failed to tell me, or maybe it was that she missed out on it, or let it die in her own life, is that it isn't the stone that are your best friend but the wonderful man that is giving it.

And there you have my sappy, quite early, anniversary blog. I won't burden you with another. Please throw your tissue in the trash by the door as you leave.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just a short addition to the things I've learned...

I have learned Victoria's Secret. Oh I know, I have heard the joke before to that there is "nothing secret about Victoria because it's all out there for everyone to see" but really, I know what the secret is. She has the best bras out there, they are comfortable and cute and the sizer actually gave me my correct size. It is also well worth it to buy some nice underwear and really... she has that covered as well. PJs? So nice. So her secret? Quality underwear. Really.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Life Lessons

I really should be writing this in January a "this is what I have learned over the past year" or at the very least I should be writing this on my birthday just because it seems like the right time to tell people about all the lessons you have learned over the past year. So this is pretty much just coming out of left field here and smack in the middle of the year and not anywhere near my next birthday I am going to bless you all with the profound insights that I have gained over this past portion of my life.

1. Having a child is really nothing like having a pet. People who don't have children like to equate children to pets but it just isn't that case, sorry. One of the biggest reasons being the fact that when you are just having an "off" day you can't just ignore a child like you can a pet and you definitely can't put them in a kennel. So even though some of you may really love your pet is just isn't like having a child. Trust me on this one.

2. Having an array of shoes is a good thing. I really have been shoe resistant. It isn't that I don't like shoes or haven't admired other people's shoes before it is just that I happen to have really wide feet for a woman, apparently anyway because I can hardly ever find shoes that fit right, so in my frustration I pretty much gave up on finding cute shoes. Wrong. I have found that it is worth the extra effort that it takes to find the them when you are strolling around in cute comfortable shoes. By the way, if you happen to have wide feet Miz Mooz shoes are the sweetest shoes ever, don't believe me? You'll have to check out my brown leather Miz Mooz knee-high boots. Amazing.

3. Good makeup, totally worth it. My grandma got me some mineral makeup for my bday this year. Great stuff. I don't know what I was doing all this time changing makeup around searching for the perfect one when all this time it really was in a this wonderful powder. And don't forget to buy some good brushes to apply with! I don't have any idea why I hemmed and hawed for years (seriously) before purchasing a good set of brushes, what a great $19 purchase. Seriously, I was in agony over spending $19! Speaking of which that reminds me of a story... Once upon a time. OK, not really, the other day I went bike riding. I threw on an older set of workout clothes and was complaining to myself about how cheap clothes were because the top was faded and the shorts had practically lost all their elasticity. I was thinking something along the lines of "see, this is why I don't purchase new clothing it is such a waste" I then realized that I had owned this particular pair of workout clothes for 3 years and that I had worn them at least once every 2 weeks, usually more, for those 3 years. Seriously?!

4. Designer jeans. I used to smugly laugh at women who bought designer jeans. Now, I have to say first off that I really can't swallow paying the full amount for jeans so don't think I have become a total convert but hey what is ebay for anyway? Back to the jeans. They are amazing. I have never had jeans fit so well. Those weird gaps? Gone. And I can actually buy jeans that weren't made for teenagers! It is great. I am sold.

Oh so you thought that this was going to be a list of profound life lessons? HA! It is the little things that make life what it is and if you can't appreciate the little lessons there is no way that you will recognize, pay attention to or apply the "big" life lessons. Believe me or not on that one.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Paul and Babe

During a long road trip a few days ago my mom and I took the opportunity to fill our resident Texan in on the great history of Northern MN in regards to Paul Bunyan. Now Paul Bunyan somehow is housed in the annals of history as a hero, a folklore hero but a hero none the less. Who was Paul Bunyan you may ask? He was a giant man, he lived in the frigid north, which may actually qualify him as a hero right there, he had a giant blue ox that he rescued (what a heart of gold) from a blizzard, he made flapjacks, or at least he could eat them like crazy. Paul Bunyan was a logger. He logged the north woods of MN. Northern MN used to be forested with giant white pines, amazing giants of trees. Paul Bunyan was the arm of progress providing the ever hungry consumer with the fuel it needed to to keep the engine of progress roaring. Paul Bunyan was not just a man, he was a symbol, he was loggers, he was more than that, he was the logging industry, he was progress, hard work and the name that made the cold, bitter, un-beatable Northlands cower.

One of the strangest things about this large man is that his name graces a state park, bike trails and many things natural here in MN. I have to chuckle as I read the signs boasting the name of the man who almost single handedly brought the mighty white pines crashing to their knees in shuddering surprise. Interesting that the very thing that he destroyed is now protected under his name.

With that bit of history I think I am going to wrap up this blog and go put in my vote to have an oceanic aquarium named after the CEO of BP.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bad mom

I had a bad mom moment today. No. I am not going to tell you what it was. It is none of your business and completely irrelevant to the story as a whole. The point is it was bad. It was bad for me. My son was fine. Which kind of leaves you to wonder just a bit about bad mom moments. Here my child is clean, well fed, loved... and here I am crying in the arms of my own mother because I am having a "bad mom" moment. Go figure.

And for your viewing pleasure the cutest little tea-drinker ever:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Internet Gypsy

I was given my guitar. I wasn't given just any guitar either. It's a Taylor. If you don't know what that is then you are obviously not a guitar player and I am not looking down my nose at you but I am thinking about what you are missing out on. This is a beautiful instrument. It also came to me used which I also enjoy because you don't have to worry about being the one to make the first scratch... kind of takes the anal-ness out of it. And what, you may ask, does this have to do with being an internet gypsy? Don't get your undies in a bundle, I am getting to that part. The name of the guitar was Princess I say was because when I got her I just didn't fit us. I mean I know it could have been cute the whole Princess Jasmine thing and all that but for whatever her and I were going to become Princess just didn't fit us. So I changed her name. Gypsy. It fits. It fits us. I am an internet gypsy. Maybe it is all the years spent traveling. Maybe it's just the fact that I feel a fresh wind blowing (every watched the movie Chocolate? You should. You'd get the wind reference then.) and I just have to change.

I am changing my blog space again because I wanted to be close to everyone else. Every other blog seems to be on blogspot and I can't follow anybody! Plus I have to admit I would like to make it easier for peeps to follow we as well, who likes to have an empty "follower" space.

Feel free to welcome me back and I will try not to stray far again.

I am here to cauterize

It seems that when the cool blade of life and criticism slices in to the nape of your neck there are two amazing things that happen. #1. You do not experience the huge amounts of pain that you expected. It’s much worse. #2. It severs whatever was left of the “I care what other people think” cord that was dangling by a thread anyway. Now here is an interesting thing the “I care what other people think” cord always grows back. Sometimes in pieces, sometimes stronger because it has been chopped once and has grown back with scar tissue. I have decided on a course of action to keep it from growing back. I am going to cauterize it. Painful? Yes. I have a plan of action. We have camp here at the community base for the next couple of days. I am going to make sure that by the end of camp I have seared those puppies dead.

You may think that it is important to care what other people think. I mean it would be terrible to have a bunch of people running around with no feelings about others I have no desire to become a psychopath. I have lived with the early stages of psychopathy in my home before and there is nothing that would make me wish that on someone else. BUT this cord I am talking about is not the same thing. This cord is the one that lets other peoples choices, thoughts and criticisms dictate what you say and how you feel. It is the cord that lets other people damage me. It is the cord that dictates what I am worth. This week(end) I cauterize.

The interesting thing about cauterizing is that is only a step in several and it isn’t the first. The first is the pain and understanding that things just are not going to change unless you do something differently. The second is that you must face your own personal guillotine. Failure. That’s right, failure. And then there is the choice. Leave it be? Let is grow back? Hope that it doesn’t? Rave about it? Let everyone know how you have been set free only to be back again a month, two, a year later?

Pass the red hot poker.

The Guillotine

I can feel writing boredom hanging over my head like a guillotine waiting to drop and cut short my blogging experience. Why? Because I have run up against what normally happens when I take on a writing project like this. I want to dive in too deep. I want to talk about things that are so gritty and sometimes emotional and… well frankly it isn’t that I am afraid of criticism. I actually don’t really have many “real” friends to lose. It is just the fact that sometimes what I want to talk about involves such personal detail that I don’t know if I want just Joe or Jill Whatserface reading about it and then there are the times when I am concerned that someone might read something I have written who is actually close to me and be hurt. It is so hard to convey the actual passion or original thought behind the black and white. I guess that is what a good writer is supposed to be able to do.

The rope is slowly coming apart that is holding the guillotine blade at bay my head is suspended beneath it and yet just like a dear in the headlights I can’t seem to move.

A better version of me?

There seems to be a trend in moms especially “crunchy” or hippy-ish moms, of which I count myself a proud card carrying member. It is not only in these mothers but seems to be in the lives of any woman who has a “cause” and that includes children and all our extras. The trend is that all of us cause mamas tend to be just thought, totally focused on who we are and what we are doing and forgetting all about what we look like while we are doing it. I have learned something from “What Not to Wear” and that is the fact that many women who have causes think that the only way to seem fully absorbed in their cause is to look like they don’t care about anything else. They are too focused on feeding their family right or on their art, music, writing, children… and many many other things.

Not long ago I would have counted myself among that number. Thinking that my personality was the only thing that I needed and if people didn’t appreciate that then they were probably just shallow. Thinking that clothes, makeup and all the rest wasn’t really worth anything because I was too busy doing something worthwhile.

I have had a slow transformation over the past couple years of my life. A lot of the credit I have to say has to go to my Superman. I have come to a place where looks, my clothes and fixing myself up a bit has become a small but important part of my life. People do see you differently when you make an effort. Like it or not it is the exterior that people see first even though some of us would argue the point you can’t actually wear your personality. I am finding that exerting that little extra effort helps me to reap greatly. My Superman appreciates the effort, actually all of the important people in my life, superman, mini man and my community are able to see through my effort every day,besides those occasional pj days that we all have. But that is the problem, many times occasional is used in the reverse and we end up putting forth no effort for those who we care about the most.

I was completely amazed about how I saw myself in a different light when I started putting myself together on a regular basis. I feel more confident. I feel like I am going to accomplish things not just today but from here on out.

The Million Dollar Middle Ground

I am not really big on happy mediums. I am very much an either/or black or white yes or no type of person or at least I was. Something about getting older, getting married and having a child has changed me when it comes to hard lines. I guess you could say that I have “softened”, actually quite literally.

I have found parenting to be frustrating not because of parenting my child I actually am more what I would call an “instinctual” parent I go with my gut a lot and it really does work for us. I attribute a lot of that to being raised in a healthy well-balanced family. What I find frustrating about parenting is other parents. Not other parents exactly but all the different parenting styles that have labels and the fact that there seems to be a very black and white style face-off going on. I belong to several groups and they are very close to black and white opposites one is on the “attachment parenting” side of things and then there is the “babywise” style. Now if I need to label myself I would land on the attachment parenting side because I have seen first hand the damage done in the lives of children who were not firmly attached to anyone. I would also call myself an attachment parent because I firmly believe in co-sleeping, breastfeeding and responding to your infant. I do not think it is ok to leave your infant to scream, ever. I am bolding the word infant because I think it is very important to make a distinction between the way we parent infants and the way we parent as our children grow. One of my favorite analogies for raising a child is an inverted triangle, when a child is small the have very little room, they are kept close and tight to you and they are not allowed as much leeway if you will but as a child ages there is more and more freedom and they are able to make more and more choices on their own. I would not say that I have any “babywise” tendencies at all I just can’t put together the babywise philosophy with the way I feel like my child and the way I feel as a parent.

On the other hand… I am finding that there has to be some other thing that doesn’t have a name yet. I don’t know what it is. Whatever it is that is what I am. Why do I think that? Because researchers have discovered that there are two ways that a child can have attachment problems the first way is through their needs not being met and the second through everything being over-met, basically a child is smothered and spoiled until they develop problems.
I know this may seem shocking but I really do not believe that discussing things with a toddler works. I do think that is important to talk to your child even if it is over their heads and to explain things, even explaining the discipline makes sense to me but to watch a parent get down and have a serious talk with a toddler and actually think that it is going to keep them from hitting that other child again is actually quite laughable. Developing respect for other people does not come naturally. We are naturally very selfish creatures. You can see that in toddlers especially, we are not naturally kind and giving, we learn to do mean things without ever being taught how to do them, it is shocking but true. How do I know that it is true? I have watched it with my own child I have been surprised by some of the selfish behavior he exhibits without it ever having been modeled for him. Going back to the triangle analogy I find that confident secure children that grow to be emotionally, mentally and relationally healthy are those that basically “ran up against” their parents when they were toddlers and found them to be immovable. I do not mean unkind in any way but that they find that there is a safe perimeter set up in their lives that they can bend or break but it also can not be bent or broken by anyone or anything else.

So in practicality what I mean is exhibited in the story of my non-sleeping child finally becoming a sleeping child. My son was a terrible sleeper and was up 6+ times a night up until he was 11 months old. There was finally a point where we were both so exhausted that I put up the pack n’ play right by my bed, I was less than a foot away from him. I laid down in bed and placed him in the pack n’ play during one of his out and out fits about going back to sleep for who knows what time that night. He was nursed. He was warm. His mommy and daddy were right there. He proceeded to throw a fit the size of Texas. Then my child slept. And I slept. This did not stop all the waking. There were still waking but they were to come to the big bed with mommy and daddy which we willingly allowed (and still allow) him to do. He still needs us, he needs our comfort and we do not deprive him of that but we also came to a point where his waking was no longer needs based and his crying had turned from needs crying in to fit throwing and that is where he chose to start testing the parental walls.

I don’t think that this is a middle ground because I don’t think it is midway between “attachment parenting” and “babywise” I don’t think there is some mystical perfect middle ground so to speak I think there is just some other way of doing things, maybe if I come up with a good name I’ll write a book and make millions. But until then I’ll just remain broke and keep blogging.

The Mini Van

I was cleaning out my mini van yesterday and thinking about all the harassment I have endured for first purchasing a mini van and secondly, horror of all horrors, actually enjoying it! But as I was lifting the pads of my son’s car seat to make sure I vacuumed all the cracks (dirty car seats just happen to be one of my pet peeves) I was rehashing why so many people hate mini vans. I know there are probably a hundred million different reasons but I really think that it really comes down to the mini vans contents than anything else. I mean sure they don’t have the most stunning bodies and they don’t have the best gas mileage but still a heck of a lot better than many SUVs. I really think it comes down to the fear of what is inside a mini van. Mini vans contain children. Children have food in the car. Food gets spilled in car. Frazzled mom can’t find time to clean the up the food/beverage spilled in the car by the children it contains therefore it sits there. For eons. Mini vans smell. The smell like… I don’t even know. But you know what I mean. It is “the” smell. It’s the “I carry children” smell and not just children but dogs and gear and whatever else but they all seem to smell the same. There is stuff everywhere, paper shoved in cracks, coffee cups, plates, last summer’s sunscreen and most of all, snacks, crushed, mooshed snacks. Not only do mini vans contain all these things but they also contain the main operator, the mom. Now the mini van mom is something to be truly feared. She is the one who proudly slapped the “My child is on the honor roll at….” on the back of her van in honor of her 2-year-old that is on the “honor role” at the local day care along with everyone else so that no one got hurt feelings. There are stickers with soccer/football/baseball, and everything else played with a ball, located somewhere on the back windshield. You know what she does at those games. We don’t even have to ask do we? We hardly even have to waste an imagination. We’ve all seen ‘em. Mini van moms. Everyone knows ‘em, no one wants to be them and yet there are out there, hundreds, thousands of them.

I was thinking of all this while cleaning my van and it made me put a little extra effort in to vacuuming every tiny crevice that I could possibly reach in the whole van. I spent time smelling around to see if there was even a trace of “that” smell. I checked for loose toys, pieces of paper were discarded anything and everything that could possibly turn this vehicle in to that… thing… I really do like my mini van. A lot. I can even take the harassment that goes along with owning one because I know that all you SUV owning parents have the same problem you just aren’t owning up to it yet but one day, don’t worry, that will carry a stigma as well, oh wait… ok, not going there, not tonight.


Dear rigorous workout regime I sincerely appreciate how you transformed my post-baby body in to a much fitter mommy body but you would mind terribly much if I requested that you give me my boobs back? I actually enjoyed my pregnant/nursing boobs.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Your truly,


Engaging in Commitment

Don’t worry I am not going to give some sort of word definition lecture. I am pretty sure that we all have a good idea what commitment means. But then again that may be assuming too much. I have just recently realized that I assume way too many things about what people understand. I thought I no longer assumed a lot of things about people and I have just recently been brought back to earth in my assumption of my amount of assuming.

So even though I said I was not going to give a definition lecture and I am not going to break my promise but I do have to give the definition of commitment because I can not assume that everyone knows what it is.

Commitment: a pledge or promise; obligation, engagement; involvement. (Definition used from:

I have been pondering the meaning of commitment. Thankfully I am no longer pondering it from the side of men since I do have the commitment of a wonderful man. But there are so many other commitments in our lives. I am not going to start a long discourse on every one of those things because they are different for every one of us. But I am going to discuss it as it pertains to living in community.

Commitment in community is a promise to live alongside people and gives you an obligation to consider others more than yourself but it is so much more than that it is engagement and involvement. You can not live in community without being engaged and involved and here is the weird thing there are actually people who think that they can live in community without involving in yourself in life together, without working, eating and having fun with the people that you live with. Engagement is a huge part of living in community engaging in life, engaging by recognizing your emotions and communicating them. But it is so much more than that it is an almost overwhelming sense of being with others, engaging in life. When a commitment is entered in to by any number of people it takes the vulnerability of all parties and a desire to place others needs (and sometimes even wants) before your own.

When a commitment is broken it carries with it every feeling of every other kind of brokenness. When commitment is broken and not even recognized as a broken commitment by one or more of the parties involved it makes it even worse. I am in the midst of broken commitment. Unfortunately whenever this happens it doesn’t matter how much reasoning I do and it really doesn’t matter how often I attempt to talk myself out of the broken feelings for me to really get through it and come out the other side still holding on to my own commitments I have to engage in the brokenness.

Worth It

I headed to the bathroom which is located right behind the main cabin, it is actually attached to it but can only be accessed from the outside. Relevant information only if you visit us at some point but it sets the mood for the story. Anyway, I am headed to the bathroom and find the door locked, not a surprise considering there is 1 bathroom being shared by 10 adults. I then quickly turned around (who knows how long they are going to be in there!) and headed to the nearest outhouse, we have two of them. The outhouses are finally functional again. Not that you couldn’t use them during the winter but it would be at the great risk of getting frosty… uumm… cheeks.

This little outhouse event occurred after spending the afternoon hammering the old rusty nails out of the old barn wood so that we can finish the interior of our cabin. A cabin that I should mention is just over 400 square feet. No kitchen. No bathroom. No running water.

Why you may wonder do we live in such circumstances? That is a fairly normal question. Most people tend to pawn it off as us being hippies or even the dreaded C word. You know the C word. I wouldn’t call it either. But then again who ever asks the people who are actually living it? Labels, names, all that comes from the outsiders, those observing.

Now when asked about living in a community setting it would be easy to rattle off the inconvenience of not having the normal amenities in the house or sharing a kitchen and having to wait for the bathroom. And then there are the occasions when I am pounding old nails out of old boards that I would kind of like to go purchase the boards new and cut out all the middle part. But there is something about putting the extra work in to the boards that we are putting up. The boards have character. People pay thousands of dollars for refurbished barn wood. I am saving us $$$ and saving is pretty much as good as earning right? In theory anyway. I don’t really know if it works out on paper that way. Either way it is the effort that I am putting in to these boards and the fact that they are not generic. No one else has these boards, pre-made boards don’t have their character, no other boards have my time investment and that makes them all the more unique and all the more mine.

My boards are like my community. There are things right off the bat that look like they are more work and may actually take a higher initial investment, even more than that they take a more personal investment, it is something I can’t just throw money at. Then there are the things that I was thinking about while hammering the nails I was making a bonus list of living in community (if that is what you would like to call it and for lack of a better word). We pay $450 a month, that includes groceries, house payment, internet, electricity, supplies… it doesn’t include the cell phone. That allows me to stay home with the mini man while superman can work just one job to me that is worth the outhouses. I have built in baby sitters not only that but they are people that also care about him like no baby sitter could. I don’t have to be alone. Even though I am a stay at home mom I have adults to talk to. “These are just a few of my favorite things”.

In the end you just can’t put a dollar amount on character or on being able to commune with others and it’s worth the outhouses and everything else because there is freedom in the lack of claiming individual rights.

Health Care

I would venture to guess that blood was boiling before the actual reading of this blog commenced. Health care is an extremely hot topic as of late and so I figured that I would go ahead and share my opinion with you all. Now before you get your undies in a bundle I will first off state what I am actually going to be talking about. I am not going to let you in to my own personal opinions on this matter in this case the a recent quote that I picked up is completely appropriate, well if not appropriate at least it fits the situation fairly well and at the very least is bound to raise some eyebrows”opinions are like a**holes, everyone’s got one”. My opinion is not going to be on the health care plan itself but on a select group of the nay-sayers. I am not specifically picking on this particular group of nay-sayers or really on the nay-sayers in general, in fact you may never know whether I am counting myself amongst the nay-sayers or not and I am not likely to tell you. This particular group of nay-sayers has had the happy chance of catching my attention and even evoking several chuckles in the process of airing their strong nay-saying opinions to the general public and since they felt that it was not only a good idea to make public their political opinion on this issue but they felt it necessary to invoke the criticism (or acclaim) of whomever happened to read their Facebook status I thought that it was obviously an invitation to elaborate, pick apart or otherwise discuss these views.

The task at hand is to discuss those who are in the military complaining that under the new health care reform they will have to pay for the health care of others. I have heard it mentioned several times by several different military men that they are extremely peeved about that fact. At first glance I did not even pause as I lazily continued to scroll down my list of yahoos and nay-sayers all putting in their 2 cents about the health care reform. It wasn’t until a day later that I began to chuckle. A thought had suddenly struck me, “how absurd” I thought, actually it may be downright humorous that people from the military are complaining about paying the health care of others since I sit here as a tax payer paying not only their wages but also their… you got it… health care! HA! So of all the nay-sayers I must say my hats off to the beloved (and yes I do appreciate you) military men that made my week by airing the political opinions on Facebook.