Monday, August 27, 2012

Here comes the politics....

Okay, I have to get this blog out of my head because I need room for more fun subjects.

First I am going to start out with letting you know that as political season heats up there will be more and more political blogs. Can't help it. It's what will start to take up more and more of my mind space because it will take up more and more of what is being presented in the news. Now I also know that no matter what I say if you disagree with me you won't "hear" me. I've linked it before and I will link it again, political bias breaks your brain.  So I know that most of what I post will be met with either nods from the people who agree with me or head shakes from those that don't. And that's okay. I will post because I need to get the argument out of my head to make room for other things.

Now all of that aside, we get to today's blog. And in this one I will actually make both the right and the left shake their heads. It's part of the joy of being an independent. Sometimes just when you have me all figured out, you find out you don't. Or even if you know my stance on an issue you don't fully understand why that's my stance. This is one of those issues. And because I always like to start out with why I take the position I take before I post the rest I will do that now.

I am pro-choice. Strongly, staunchly pro-choice. It's one of my cornerstone issues and I have changed my mind on who I will and will not vote for based on this fact. But I am also very much anti-abortion. I believe that it's amazing each and every time a woman gets pregnant. If you ever read the biology on all of the pieces that have to work together just exactly right in just exactly the right time window and then keep on working just exactly the right way for the child to make it to delivery, well it amazes me that babies are born at all. Let alone so many of them!

My own history is tied to the debate. If I had stayed in the church it would be part of my "inspirational story" and as it is it's part of my mother's. My mother should not have had me. The birth control failed or I wouldn't have been conceived. Once I was conceived the doctors warned her that carrying me to term would surely end up with my death and her death as well. And it almost did. The amount of blood my mother lost while delivering me put her right in the path of dying. But she didn't. And I didn't. Doctors are sometimes wrong. But for my mother having an abortion, even though her life was as risk, wasn't an option. It just wasn't something she was willing to do. And I would be insane to say I wish she had made a different decision. Because I'm here. And she turned 80 this year. We both came through in the end.

When I became pregnant with C I knew from the very start, before the test, that I was pregnant. And I knew that I was having a boy long before the results from the ultrasound came in. I just knew these things. And I would sit in the rocking chair in what would become his room and rock and sing and read to him long before he made his appearance in to the world. I felt that he was a child, my child, from the start. And I loved him. When he was 2 we decided that we didn't want any more children. That one was good. About 6 months later my period was late. Then it was later. Then later still. I started to have all of the symptoms I did when I was pregnant with C. So I took a test. It came back with a light pink wash over the positive side instead of a clear pink line like a positive would be or a white pane like a negative would be. So we waited another week and I took another test. Same result. It was a weekend and I decided that I would go in to the doctor on Monday for a blood test but sort of reached the conclusion that I was pregnant. Didn't matter that we had decided we wanted one child looked like we were having two. Then the cramping started and I miscarried. But if I hadn't, even though we knew we only wanted one child, we would have had two. There wouldn't have even been a question to ask, we just would have gone forward with the new plan. The same way we would have if C had come when we were 18 and not ready for kids instead of 24 and fully planned for him. It's what I feel is the right thing to do.

So now you ask, why am I pro-choice, and staunchly pro-choice after all of that? Because I feel like abortion is the wrong thing to do. I feel that way. Science doesn't back up my feelings. The science is very clear. What I miscarried was a clump of cells that had just started on their pathway to eventually becoming a child. Maybe. If everything worked out exactly right. We didn't lose a baby that weekend, we lost a clump of cells. That's the science. I might have cried over the potential. We might have had another discussion on if we really did only want one child after that, but there was never a second baby. I wasn't that far along. And I cannot justify voting for laws on what I feel instead of what I know. Abortion isn't murder. That clump of cells cannot exist as a person on their own even with breathing tubes and feeding tubes and the fullest advances of our medical science. Just because the potential for a human life begins at conception doesn't make it a human life at the moment of conception.

And what I know is that what I feel isn't what everyone feels. And it shouldn't be. But what I know is that I should vote based on the facts. Laws should be made based on facts. Not on feelings. Feelings vary from person to person, facts are facts.

Okay, so where is this blog going then? It's about the abortion debate and the piece that makes me absolutely bonkers. The exception for rape, incest and the life of the mother clause that gets added in to legislation. It's a complete piece of bullshit. It is. And anytime either side uses it someone should point out that it's a complete piece of bullshit. So here I am pointing it out.

If you believe, truly believe, that abortion is murder then you do not believe in those exceptions. You can't. Paul Ryan said in an interview that the method of conception doesn't matter when asked about the rape exception specifically. This is what he truly believes. And if you believe, truly believe, that a life is a life at the moment of conception you have to agree with him. You have to say that you cannot punish a child for the crime of the parent. Incest is the same. Potential death of the mother? Tricky. But do you trade the murder (remember if you are in this camp this is how you think of it) of a child to save the mother or do you put your faith in your God that he will deliver you and the child through the pregnancy safely? You know the choice my mother made. And it worked out for us. You hear about those stories, the ones like mine, where it was the right call. you don't hear as many of the ones where it wasn't. But they are out there as well. Sometimes the doctor is wrong, but more often they are right.

If you believe, truly believe, in choice then you have to hate the rape, incest, safety exception discussion because it doesn't make sense. If you think abortion should be legal and the choice of the woman who is pregnant than saying that's it okay to have it be illegal except in those cases means that you are saying it's not okay. Why? Because you are not going to find a doctor that is willing to take the chance on performing an illegal abortion. In states where it is pretty much illegal (except for the big three exceptions) you would be hard pressed to find a doctor who will do the procedure. This is the way it works. You say you are pregnant due to a rape, but do you have a rape conviction yet? And what are the odds that the justice system will move quickly enough to find your rapist guilty in time for you to have an abortion? And incest? You say that's how you are pregnant but we need to make sure we do screening and how far along do you have to be before that would be conclusive? And can you get a DNA sample from the relative? How long would that court order take? Safety of the mother? How many doctors do you have to get to say that you would die before you can get an abortion? It's considered a victory for the anti-abortion group to get legislation passed that makes abortion illegal even with the three exceptions because they know that it makes it illegal in point of fact.

The reason why it even gets brought up is because it makes people feel better. You can take a stance against abortion but still feel like you aren't punishing the woman who has to carry her rapist's baby. You can take the stance that abortion needs to be kept legal in the case of rape, incest or health of the mother and feel like you are really doing something for the pro-choice movement. But it's bullshit. No matter which side you take, it's bullshit. And it drives me crazy when people harp on it. When it's pointed out that though Ryan doesn't believe in the exceptions Romney does so we should all feel better about that position.

Big picture time again. Just using the abortion debate as the canvas for the discussion. What I feel is that I would carry a baby to term no matter what. It's what I feel is the right decision for me. For me. But what is the right decision for you? That's up to what you feel about it. That's what feelings are for. To drive personal choices. I feel this way so I do this thing. You feel that way so you do that thing. But when you vote, when you make laws, when you are making decisions that affect everyone? Then you need to step away from what you feel and find out what you can know. Facts. Science. Rational Thoughts. It's hard. I know it is. It's much easier to make your decisions based strictly on what you feel. But it's bullshit. You know it and I know it.

Feelings are different than facts. Please oh please, try and keep that in mind when looking at all of the political debate this year and all of the issues. And please oh please, make sure you are voting based on facts not on feelings this Fall.


Week Two Wrap Up...

Here we go, weekly check in time!

Last week's goals:
1. Add in that second workout. I have some tricky scheduling days ahead so it will be a challenge but I can do it.
2. Keep tracking my food to see how my diet really is.
3. Decide if I need to change the nutrition aspect starting next week.
4. Don't eat all of the chocolate when C leaving for school and PMS meet the middle of this week.
5. Positive thoughts! (this one will probably be repeated a lot!)

How did I do?

1. Got in all of the extra workouts. On the days where I had other appointments and the schedule was tight I just rearranged when I did the second. Instead of one in the morning and one in the afternoon it was two in the morning and on Friday it was back to back. Which was actually a nice "push" for the end of the week. And then just because I had the time on Saturday I actually added in an extra 20 minute workout that isn't on the "required" work schedule.

2. I tracked all week but because it was my birthday and C's last few days in town before he left it wasn't really a typical week so it's hard to say.

3. Because of #2 I think I will do one more week with just a few changes (no birthday) and see then how the diet needs to be adjusted. This is the piece that will be a moving target.

4. I didn't eat ALL the chocolate. Just some of it. But the PMS did affect me and it's good to make a note of it in my tracking pages.

5. Needed those thoughts.

Sunday is the "official weigh in day" and after keeping my weight steady all week and then down on Saturday it was up when I stepped on the scale Sunday. What? How can I be down a pound on Saturday and then on Sunday be up by half a pound? There is no way I gained a pound and a half over night! *stomp, stomp, stomp* Times like this it's good to have a spouse that understands you. There were a lot of very valid reasons that my weight would swing like that. The aforementioned PMS (ladies understand that weight stops making any sort of sense for 3-4 days a month as your body holds on to water, then releases it, then gathers it back up), we also ate dinner very late on Saturday night and it was a higher in salt meal. And since my weight had been steady then dropped it was most likely just a fluctuation and it would steady back out early in the week. As Brent recited all of these facts to me (which I had already recited to myself to keep from throwing the scale out the window) and then also acknowledged that though I knew all of this it wasn't going to make me feel much better, I actually had to smile.

I know all of that. I know it's all true. I also know that it didn't matter. Sunday is the day I write the number on the chart and it looks like I didn't do the work last week because the number went up. And I did do the work. So I took my positive thoughts from #5 up there and I reviewed my journals. I read the daily notes I made about what I did. I looked at the calories I burned by working out. I acknowledged that the skinny bitch inside me was panicking, as she does, because the numbers didn't go down like they are "supposed" to. And then I let it go.

Because, after all, that's not the point this time. The point is to see how strong I can get. How much muscle definition I can bring back. How much more fit I can be. I'm not here to please the skinny bitch who wants to weigh an impossible to maintain amount. I'm here to find out where the fit fabulous 44 year old can take her body. So we move on.

This week's goals!

1. Keep on keeping on! Two work outs a day M-F with the stepped up time on the Zumba portion. One on Saturday.

2. Track the food again. No major changes to the diet just yet. Minor tweaking (breakfast mainly)

3. Keep the skinny bitch in check.

4. Positive thoughts.

See you next week!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Birthday!

So I did this last year and I liked the idea enough that I decided to do it again this year. Last year I waited a few weeks after my birthday to wrap up the year but decided this year what better day than today?

So 44 today. That's me. I like the sound of it. Forty four. It's an odd word thing because it's not fourty like you would think it should be but forty. Like a fort. But then you get four following it just to point out how ridiculous our language really is. Forty four instead of fourty four. So for a word person it tickles me. I also like the double number, 44. Forty two was great just because it was 42. Round numbers are better than others so 40 was also nice. Forty three always felt off to me. I'm 43. It was just lacking. But 44, that one I can get behind. And it puts me one step closer to 45 which is cool because it's a mid-decade number AND it's sequential. 4-5.  But for now I am really happy with 44, it's even, it's doubled. The numbers geek is pleased.

So what lessons did I pick up in the last year? What were my big moments? I had to think a little harder this year than I did last year. Mostly this year was about making the big changes of the year before fit in to my life again. It was a true year of meditation and preparation I think.

I spent a good amount of time mourning my father. I still miss him, of course, but the sadness had mellowed from the gut wrenching pain to a soft melancholy now. On the anniversary of his death as I talked to my mother I was able to get through the whole conversation without breaking out into the big cry. I am still a little bitter about the whole timing of his death. Someday I really do believe I will come up with some poetic reason for it being on my mother's birthday, but I'm still not there. I also know that there are those in the world who say they miss their parents every day when they pass, and I know I am not one of those people. Sure, if I stop and think about Dad or if something reminds me of him that day I will stop and think how I miss him. But I will also go for days and not think about it at all. When I realized this (sometime in the Fall of last year) I sort of felt bad for a bit. Like I was a bad daughter. But then I thought, he raised me to be independent and to take care of not only myself but those around me. I cannot for the life of me imagine that he would have wanted that to change just because he died.

I didn't try many new hobbies last year. I took another round of ice skating lessons, I like to skate. I don't know if I will take many more lessons or not. Brent would like to get better but I am at a good level for what I want to do, which is just skate. I don't want to play hockey or learn how to figure skate. I just like skating. So for me this is probably enough. Though I might take a few more series of lessons just to keep Brent company.

We did pick up season tickets to the Winterhawks (speaking of hockey) halfway through last season and enjoyed that so much we bought a full season this year. We enjoy hockey and junior hockey has been a hoot. The team is a lot of fun to watch and the crowd really gets in to it. Hard to remember sometimes how young the players are, then you see them off the ice and in street clothes and yep, kids. Most of them younger than C. Brent is worried that I will become a billet. I thought about it for a little while, but I raised my son. I don't really want one or two more teenage boys in my house. I'm pretty sure. Mostly positive. But the season tickets we will keep. It takes a chunk of time out of our week during the season but we have it, so why not? C goes with us when he is home from school and he likes it too. Nice to have a family activity that we all enjoy.

Last year I was trying to decide what I was going to do when my massage license expired. I had already pared down my client list and was thinking about closing the doors for good. Well I had just reached the decision to shut it down in August when the license lapsed when I was told by our doctor that I needed to stop sooner. I had a shoulder injury that just wasn't going to get better if I kept working. So I stopped abruptly in April instead of slowing down and wrapping up. It was a little odd for a few weeks. Even knowing I was planning on stopping to have to stop before my time, and not on my terms? I felt a little out of sorts. But that has passed and now I just need to sell my equipment to fully move on from that section of my life. The lesson there was that I knew what I wanted to do, I just had to accept it when the universe told me that my timing was off.

I turned another corner with my writing. I think by reaching the conclusion last year that what ever comes of it comes of it and that I write because I must I freed something that had been stuck in my brain. I sent out a children's story to a few publishers this year. I haven't heard anything back but all that means is I am in the same place I was before I sent it, except braver. I will send to a few more and see if I hear anything back and if I don't then I will decide what I want to do. But I'm not worried about it. I also started writing here more. And putting out some fiction pieces here and there for you all to read (as you know) and that was super scary at first. Which is so odd. Since most of my blog is personal all about me stuff you would think that posting something made up would be easier. But it wasn't, as odd as this sounds, it was more personal than the personal stuff. When I write about what I think about life, it's about me reacting to the world, when I write a fiction piece, it's all my world. So thank you all for reading those pieces and for giving me feedback and encouragement, it's meant a lot to me.

My biggest challenge has been coming to grips with the weight issues. Realizing that I haven't put all of that behind me. That I am having the same conversations with myself, the same rationalizations, the same arguments now as I was 5, 10, 15, 25 years ago... It's been an eye opening discovery. And I am hopeful, ever hopeful, that now that I have really faced it. Or admitted it at least, that I can put it all away. Starting a new fitness program right now with the goal of changing my focus. Fit instead of skinny. Trim and toned without worrying about the numbers on the scale or the size of the clothing. Seeing what I can do with my body. How strong can I be? And how healthy can I make my mind while I do it? We will see what I learn from this new phase.

But for the most part last year was quiet. Time spent doing a lot of thinking. Reflecting. What is working in my life and what isn't? What do I need to fix and what is just fine the way it is? Like I said, it really feels like it was a year of preparation, of really starting to understand who I am and what I want in this phase of life. Which gives me a lot of hope for the coming year. Big things on the horizon, I think. Unless they aren't. Which will be okay as well. One of the things I discovered works for me is my ability to accept life as it comes. On its terms. I'm okay with the world and the world is okay with me.

See you all next year!

(okay, well, honestly I will see you all tomorrow or the next day as well, but that just sounded better as a send off)






Week One Wrap Up...

Week two day one starts today! So first things first, let's look at last week's goals and see how I did.

1. Do the daily workout. No excuses.
2. Keep an eye on my shoulder. The rehab was great for internal and external rotation but there was a little muscle tweakiness on the circumduction movements. This might need some trigger point therapy, either self or from someone else.
3. Start thinking about what work outs I want to do next week.
4. Start thinking about the food part.
5. Positive thoughts!

How did I do? Well....

1. Worked out every day M-F and got in the one weekend workout. Saturday was going to be a chopped up schedule day and I had been trying to figure out when to fit in the workout. I couldn't sleep Saturday morning and instead of lying in bed just waiting for everyone else to get up I went ahead and got up and worked out. Bingo! Done before the weekend even started so I feel as though I got two days of recuperation.

2. The shoulder is doing pretty well. It warms up nicely while working out but every once in awhile I am still getting a pull where the muscle wants to hold. I will keep working on it and keep an eye out to make sure I don't re-injure but for right now I feel like it's just going to keep improving.

3. I added Zumba this week. Figured that a straight up cardio would be a good add while I am in my "warm up" phase. I dabbled in Zumba last Fall but didn't get very far. So this time I am actually starting with their instructional series and working my way in to the routine instead of getting cocky and just jumping in with both left feet. Imagine that....

4. So the food part...that was interesting. I figured I would take these two weeks to try out different tracking programs and see where I need to improve. Since I am not planning on going back on WW I needed something that would track caloric breakdowns and let me figure out nutrition that way. I started with myfitnesspal.com since I have noticed a LOT of my friends using it. I think I will be sticking with this one. Nice database for food and I can track my workouts as well and it does a nice trick where it adds those calories burned back in to your daily allowance so it should help me in keeping up with eating enough. Now all that being said I wasn't going to start worrying about food for a few weeks, and I'm not, but just the act of tracking changes your behavior. WW has emphasized this for years with people. If you write down what you eat you become very aware of what you eat and you make different choices. By next week I might decide I really don't need to change much about my diet but just keep an eye on my portion sizes.

5. Positive thoughts!  So far so good on that front!

So accomplishments last week:
1. I met all my goals.
2. I ended up losing 2 pounds.
3. I kept going this week.

What are my goals for the next week?

1. Add in that second workout. I have some tricky scheduling days ahead so it will be a challenge but I can do it.
2. Keep tracking my food to see how my diet really is.
3. Decide if I need to change the nutrition aspect starting next week.
4. Don't eat all of the chocolate when C leaving for school and PMS meet the middle of this week. :-(
5. Positive thoughts! (this one will probably be repeated a lot!)

There we go! Week Two started with a bang. One work out down, one to go for today. Yay! Piece of cake...oh yum....cake....

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Don't be so sensitive....

So today's blog is a lecture. Just know going in that I am using my mom tone of voice on this one and that there is a "lesson" I am trying to impart. Also know that I am lecturing myself just as much as I am lecturing you.

How many times do you hear people saying that they are tired of the world being so "politically correct" or tired of how "overly sensitive" everyone is? Harden up. Grow a pair. QQ. It's all there online and in every day conversation. I do it too. I have been known to hear someone complaining about something in their life and reply with the eye roll, exasperated sigh and "If that's the worst thing you have ever had to deal with then you are pretty lucky." Or if someone is complaining about how hard a task they have to accomplish is I've been known to tell them to put on their big girl panties and deal with it. So I am not standing on a pedestal telling everyone else they need to behave here, I'm talking from the middle of the crowd.


So when you read that do you automatically think, hell yeah! Or do you think, you're kind of an asshole, Mr. Fry. Or is it someplace in the middle? I'm firmly in the middle.

I do think at times people wander around wanting to be offended. Yes, you read that right. They look for things to find offensive. They look for slights and insults and things that shock them. I am very practical in these sorts of matters. If you are offended by things like gay marriage then don't watch Modern Family. You can prevent seeing what you don't want to see and risk having your sensibilities wounded. There is an organization out there that polices television for all of us, they find things in shows that they find to be offensive and shocking and they rally their organization to file complaints to the FCC about the offense. Now the members of their group probably never saw the offensive material, nor would they ever have been offended about it if not directed to it by the organization, but now they are highly offended. These people I have no tolerance for. To these people I say stop looking for ways to be insulted! You are doing it to yourself and I don't need you to "protect" me. They will say they are doing it for "the children" which I also have no tolerance for. Parenting, everyone with a child should try it. It's not easy, but it's your damn job. (another blog, another topic, another lecture)

But then there is the other that happens. Someone makes a joke or a statement that is pretty offensive and when it's pointed out, "Hey, did you know that's pretty offensive?" they sit back and huff an puff and talk about how everyone expects you to be so "damn PC" these days! Well, if you are talking about practicing courtesy then yes, I expect you to be PC every day. And I will tell you that the times I am the most defensive myself is when I'm pretty sure I've probably done something wrong and I just don't want to face it. So instead of looking at why what I did might have truly been offensive to someone I decide that really they are the ones with the issue, not me.

I see it in political arguments. Both parts. The people that are just dying to find offense in what someone is saying and the people that really did do something offensive but refuse to acknowledge it. And sometimes it's just because of where you are coming from. You want to offend me? (and I say offend but what I really mean is piss me right the fuck off) Call me uppity when we are having a difference in opinions. Uppity is never ever used in any other way except to try and belittle the other person. Someone cannot be uppity if you view them as being on the same level as you can they? Just by calling someone uppity you are implying that you are above them and they are trying to overreach and get to your level. Other people might not view it that way. But I will. And I will call you out on it. And then you will say not to be so sensitive and I will realize that you are just an asshole who is going to defend your bad behavior so any further discussion is stopped. Just from a word.

And everyone has those words. Retard. That's one for me that I have to remind myself not to use. It was common growing up to call someone or something retarded if you didn't like it. Well as an adult I know that there are people that are very hurt hearing that word used like that. Casually. As an insult. They feel about it the same way I feel when I hear someone using the expression "That's so gay." Does it make me easily offended? Does it make them? Or does it mean we should all watch our phraseology (to quote the Music Man) a little more?

Now you are wondering about those that really do suffer from a lack of perspective in their lives. The ones who do really think that FML is the appropriate response to the grocery store line having more than 5 people in it...to them I say. Bless your heart. Because honestly, we've all had days like that. Where nothing has gone the way we want it to. The dishwasher leaked, the cell phone fell and broke, the car ran out of gas, the boss yelled at us and then we picked the slowest line in the grocery store when all we wanted was to get home with our pint of brownie bits in chocolate ice cream and eat ourselves in to a food coma. So at that point the 5 people in line does seem like just another slap on the day. And you saying that I need to harden up is just going to make my day worse. And possibly make you end up with a face full of ice cream depending on how close you are standing to me when you say it.

Now, if they are chronically bummed about the little things then yes, they need to stop QQing about it and move on with  life. Make it better. But guess what? You telling them that they are too sensitive isn't going to stop them from being that way. And if it offends you that they whine about their day then....don't listen anymore. De-friend them or hide them so their status updates don't bum you out. Don't look for reasons to be offended, in other words.

Yes, I believe the world needs to be more PC. Positive and Caring. Practicing Courtesy. Productive in Communication. And you telling me how I shouldn't be offended by your offensive statement doesn't get us there any faster than me looking for things to be offended by does. And the next time you really want to lay in to someone for being overly sensitive about an issue, flip the script. Put yourself in their shoes with one of your issues. Imagine how it would feel to you if someone casually insulted something you believe in and then got mad when you pointed out that it was insulting. So take a deep breath next time you want to tell someone to lighten up and stop being so sensitive and think.  And if you want to try and tell me that you never ever get insulted or offended, then please believe I will take that as a challenge. Just a reminder that my mom voice is a little different from other mom voices....

So I guess the summation of this blog (I know, it's a wandery one, give me a break it's a Saturday afternoon and I am feeling wandery) is don't get offended when someone points out that you were offensive. Instead of getting your back up and deciding that they have a problem, stop, think, figure out if maybe you were out of line and even if you wouldn't have been offended by it understand that they were. And then do better. And if you are the sort of person who finds offense at every corner, figure out why. What is really bugging you? What can you change in your life so that you can enjoy it a little more? Because we only get this shot at this life. It's up to you to make it the best you can.

Now HTFU or ease up, buddy, which ever the case may be and get out there and live the best life you can! No offense....

Friday, August 17, 2012

Impact

Today I listened to the last broadcast of the Mark and Brian Radio Program. They've been on the air for 25 years and I've listened to them for 17. And as they have been talking all week about the show coming to an end I have found myself teary eyed on more than one occasion. Leading up to full on ugly cry this morning as they said their final goodbyes. I felt a little silly about it. After all I don't know these guys. Not really. I've met them at a function, briefly, and they were lovely, very polite and kind and nice (especially Mark) and I've listened to what they wanted to share with all of their listeners on their show. But I wasn't really expecting how emotional I would be when the show ended.

Part of it was listening to all of the people in the room with them, and them as well, getting emotional and sobbing. Part of it was Mark had written out a thank you letter and included his sister and parents in the thank yous and they are all three gone. What he would have said to them, what they meant to him, what they still mean to him. It was all very moving.

But what I realized is that the honest truth of it all is though I don't know them, not really, they were still a big and consistent part of my life. I have distinct memories of specific bits they did through the years, where I was when I first heard the bit. They have been with me in New Mexico and in Oregon. When we lived in Colorado Springs the fact that M&B didn't broadcast there was added to my list of gripes about the place. I have laughed until I cried over funny things they have done. And I have cried with pure sadness for them when tragedy hit their lives.

Christmas isn't complete around here without a visit from Elfis (an Elvis impersonator from the North Pole). I say soup in a goofy voice that is lifted directly from a character Brian does in many sketches. I have gotten impressions of what sort of person a celebrity is by how they are on their show. I was one of the handful of viewers who watched The Adventures of Mark and Brian on TV and really believe they were just ahead of their time with that show and if it debuted in the past 5 years it would have been a huge hit.

They have made me laugh on days where I didn't think anything could. And this, for me, is their greatest gift to their listeners. They made us laugh. And they did it without being mean and nasty. A lot of radio shows went the Shock Jock route and they never did. They stuck with the comedy show on the radio format. Two guys being funny, talking about what was going on in their lives, in the world and with the family members, which is what they called everyone who worked with them. Family. They did it with old fashioned radio skits. Characters and comedy set ups. Miniature Theater where they would take an old corny joke and turn it into a play. Simple things really, but very well done.

And as they broadcast their goodbyes this week they also remarked on how surprised they were at the well wishes they were receiving. At the number of people who reached out to tell them how important they had been in their lives as well.  The impact they had on their audience. Just by being funny. By making people laugh when they needed it. For the daily reminder from Brian as they would sign off "Be Good Humans".

I will miss them. I will miss their show. I will miss the laughs. And now I will ponder what sort of impact I am making in my daily life. Who am I affecting that I don't realize? And is it positive? Could I look back in 25 years and be pleased with what I have done? Things to think about...

Be good humans....

Monday, August 13, 2012

Well that was quick...

...sort of.

So I know I just wrote about this on Saturday and that I was mulling at the time, but I had been mulling silently for a few weeks and then said it out loud to Brent in the middle of the week last week and then to you all on Saturday and then I found a journal like what I talked about needing that was for, yep, 6 months and a few motivating words from friends and decided...why the heck not?

So I am going to set out on my latest challenge. Treat my workouts like a job. So what this means for you is that you can skip every Monday blog if you have no urge to hear about my goals for the week and my reflection on the past week. Starting now. Go ahead, back out now, I will pretend you weren't even here.

Okay, Week One Day One! Here we go. Setting up the ground rules first off and then moving forward.

For the next six months I will be treating getting in shape like it's part of my job. I have the time and right now I have the motivation so let's see where this takes me. So where did I start?

I bought a workout journal so I can actually track my progress. It had a spot for starting stats which I did yesterday. I am a mish mash of fitness. My resting heart rate is good. My push-ups are average. My sit-ups are average. My squats are excellent and my flexibility is poor. These things were not really surprises. I've been doing cardio with C all summer so heart rate is good. They let me do the lady push-ups so in those I am pretty average. My goal is to get to good/excellent in numbers with the full on push-up. Sit-ups were a little lower than I normally am, but it was a timed test and I probably just didn't crank as hard as I should have. The squats I finally stopped doing since you were supposed to do them to fatigue and I was already in the excellent range and could have kept going. I have very strong legs. And as far as flexibility goes I have never been able to touch my toes. Not when I was a kid and definitely not now.

I also took measurements and before pictures. There is a space once a month to update these so I will have a continuing motivational boost built in. There is also a space for weekly recaps which is where I will be using this instead of the book. See, it's all pre-done questions and I tend to find those things to be less than helpful. You can answer everything put in front of you and still not see where you need work, or focus, or less focus because though your answers were great, you were asking the wrong questions. In this format I am free to ponder and write and then look and see what issues are recurring, what problems I am facing.

As far as weight goes I want to lose 10 pounds and rearrange 5 more. My challenge is that the skinny bitch who lives in my head is screaming at me to lose 25, even though I know I don't like the way I look at that weight, it's one of her favorite numbers to work towards. So part of my 6 month job is to keep in mind that I am working towards being the best and most fit me I can get to in that amount of time all while telling the skinny bitch to hush and eat something already.

And as this is a job I am treating it like I would any job. I have a ramp up period. This first week will be working out every day. Next week will be working out twice a day. The third week I will add in the nutrition aspect. Then from there on out I will be tweaking what works and what doesn't and pushing the workouts forward towards more and more challenge. For those of you keeping track at home you just saw what I did there, yes, I put off the food part until after my birthday and after C leaves for school. I'm no amateur...

As far as schedules go, the everyday thing is the work week. Monday-Friday is once a day for this week then twice a day starting next week. The weekends will be a recuperation time. One workout for the weekend. Either Saturday or Sunday depending on what we are doing that weekend with one day completely off to rest. It will be a mix of cardio and weights and yoga. Let's see how close I can get to my toes by the end of this thing.

What do I want to accomplish? I don't know. I don't really have a vision of what I look like at the end of six months. That's kind of the point. I would love to get some muscle definition back in my legs. Find my six pack again, though honestly it's always been a four pack, my lower abs don't pop like that. Keep up the progress on my arms. I'd like to be that girl that you go..."Whoah, check out her guns" when you see me reach for something. Can I do all of that in six months? Don't know. Will I want to stick with it? Hmmm...we will see. That's the other part of it being like a job right? If I truly hate it I can always change careers. It's not like I am lacking in experience in that area.

But as Brent and I always say, I can do anything for 6 months. Thank you US Navy.

So today was the start. First set of challenges, the new DVD player in the basement won't work. I will have to go down and work on it after I post this blog. I bought it at the beginning of the summer and then C and I got a Groupon to a local gym and used that and some printed weighted workouts instead. So this morning when I went to do my workout....nothing. I fussed with it for about 15 minutes getting more and more frustrated before giving up and coming upstairs to use the machine in the living room...which wouldn't work either. Now, this is the point where I give up or at least push it a day but instead I thought, well I guess I will put on my shoes and go for a long walk. Not the workout I was thinking of but it will work. One last try with a new set of batteries though and we were off and running with the DVD.

So challenges for this week:
1. Do the daily workout. No excuses.
2. Keep an eye on my shoulder. The rehab was great for internal and external rotation but there was a little muscle tweakiness on the circumduction movements. This might need some trigger point therapy, either self or from someone else.
3. Start thinking about what work outs I want to do next week.
4. Start thinking about the food part.
5. Positive thoughts!

Happy Monday, everyone! Six months starts...now!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Latest potential obsession....

Okay, so anyone who knows me and knows how I tend to make decisions knows that I am a muller.  Ideas hit me all of the time and I grab some and discard them quickly but the ones that seem like they might have potential I mull over for awhile before I decide. And then I usually set a future date to start to make sure I am prepared and that I really want to do it before I start. So the latest thing came to me the other day and I am in the mulling stage right now. I've mentioned it out loud to Brent once to see if it sounded ridiculous coming out of my mouth and I've started thinking about what it would look like in my life on a daily basis as well.

So you know when you are watching movies and the actors are all in such fabulous shape? Or the latest trend (which actually makes me nuts and I will rant about it if you bring it up so you probably don't want to) with female celebrities getting their "bodies back" just a few months after giving birth? Every time we see something like that Brent and I both say, "well, it's their job." Because it sort of is. Looking good is part of the skill set they have to keep current to keep working. Learning lines, getting cast for parts, working out. Those are all parts of their jobs. And depending on the movie or TV show they are in they have to devote more or less time to the part of their job which is keeping in shape.

So last week while I was pondering my latest round with weight and what to do about it I thought to myself, "What if it was my job?" Which then led to thinking about what if I took 6 months and treated it like it was my job? What changes could I make in my body? What benefits could I get? How seriously could I treat it? Not getting too skinny, which is a problem. Not letting myself off the hook completely, which is another problem. But really and truly treating it like it's an actual job. Food, exercise, all around health.

Now, of course, the biggest road block to this is motivation. How do you keep motivated every day to work out? I'm not one of those people that love to work out. I work out so I can eat and not be the size of a house. And how do you motivate yourself to make the dietary changes everyday when your six months covers Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Bowl Games? Yes, Bowl Games are food holidays in my house, you have your celebrations I have mine. Not to mention Beaverton Bakery nights at the hockey games. And for me how do you do the dietary changes like that without going too strict, as I have been known to do more than a few times.

So these are the parts that I am mulling right now. When I brought it up to Brent he said "Go for it, make it half your job. You write for half, you work out for half. That way when you do your book tours you look the way you want to." Have I ever mentioned how much it makes me smile that my husband just assumes I will be successful in what ever I choose to do? I have enough self doubt at times for three people so it's nice that he is pretty sure what ever I set my mind to I will be fabulous at.

So I am mulling. And starting to think of plans. Where would I start? What would I add and when to keep things moving along? How many hours a day would I devote to this? How much planning (meal and workout schedules) would I need to do? And where would I do that? I am a pen and paper planner. It makes people laugh that I still have a calendar I carry and write things in. I've tried the electronic, but I don't care for them. You only use what you like and what works for you right? Electronic just doesn't seem to be for me in this arena.

It fits nicely in with the limiting down my Facebook time. Which is going along slowly but consistently less and less, thanks for asking. If I have a weight in each hand I can't really be checking my phone for Facebook updates now can I? And it works with writing,  but everything works with writing so that's not a huge stretch. But I am thinking, breakfast, drop Brent off, first work out of the day, clean up myself, write, lunch, house chores, second workout, pick up Brent, dinner, relax....pretty easy schedule with flexibility depending on what chores and errands need run. Potential for combining second work out with errands on days that the errand is going to the store.  Weekends would be a little trickier, maybe pick back up hiking and make Brent hike with me since he likes it as well. Hmmm....things to think about.

So what do you think? Realistic challenge or pipe dream? And am I just mulling this because Fall is always my season of change so I am just following my own personal rhythms and it will fade in a few weeks on it's own?

What things are you mulling over right now? Any potential new obsessions on your horizon?


Friday, August 10, 2012

Seems like I should...

Well it's Friday, I was cleaning, I had weird dreams so it just seems like I should be writing a blog.

The problem is that nothing is coalescing into a cohesive post. Stop laughing, I do too make cohesive posts! Not all the time, but often! Or at least sometimes. Okay, they make sense to me at least.

So instead of a nice tidy little blog you are going to get a few paragraphs of randomness put together on the page. Call it blog goulash!

First off...have you ever read a book where you just didn't like the main character? Ahem, Twilight, ahem. They were just unpleasant in some way. Maybe whiny or vacant or vague. Maybe something in the character reminded you of people you know and don't like so you couldn't ever find that bond with the character, that sympathy or empathy or just feeling of well being for them that you know should be there. Or maybe it's a character that you normally like and they took an odd turn. Harry Potter, I'm looking at you here. You were very likable for most of the books but there was one in there that I started rooting for Voldemort, I didn't like pouty teens when I was a teen, didn't like spending time with one any more as an adult. Katniss Everdeen, don't you start snickering now, you know you had a personality transplant in book 3 and went from "tough girl in a tough spot doing the best you can" to "petulant, whiny, crybaby with a vindictive streak who is unhelpful at best and intolerable at worst" but I still liked you enough to over look it all.  To know that if there had been a book 4 you would have bounced back just like Harry did.

But what do you think the writers feel? Do you think they know that the character is unlikable? Or being unlikable? And if you write what do you do when you have one of these people in your head forming? Someone shrill and spoiled and not really likable. And what if they are insistent that they have a story that needs told? Yes, you know where I am going with this. I have this character that has been popping up more and more. She hasn't fully formed yet, she hasn't given me a lot to work with but she's there. And she's really unpleasant. Spoiled child is what I am getting from her. I know it sounds weird but this is the way stories form in my head. The people start showing up. Sometimes they have a fully formed story that is just ready to come out. Sometimes they are waiting for the rest of their crew to show up. They go in to notes and wait. But the more I write out pieces of this woman's story the more I don't like her. What am I going to do with her?

Next...last night I dreamt that I was at a party a friend was holding. I didn't know anyone there but the hostess. One of the guests started talking about how he was going to get shock therapy for his daughter. He kept asking people what they thought about it and I finally spoke up. I told him that it was in no way shape or form okay to get shock therapy for an 8 year old child. I kept trying to get him to tell me what he thought was so wrong with the child she needed this. He wouldn't tell me, just said she was going to be "better" after the treatment. Then in the dream everyone at the party got mad at me for calling him out on this because his daughter was at the party and I shouldn't have questioned his parenting in front of her. They were all uncomfortable and were going to leave the party because of it. I tried saying that I would go so they could all stay but no, they all lined up to leave. I knew they were going someplace else to continue the party but couldn't convince them to stay and just let me leave.

Then as Brent, C and I were waiting to take the Max home they went to stand further down the platform so they could get on a different train than me. They were embarrassed to be with me after my bad behavior at the party. In the dream I couldn't figure out if everyone had gone crazy or if I had. In what world was I the bad one for saying the child was fine and he was okay for saying she needed shock therapy? It was one of those dreams that sticks to you when you wake up. I wanted to ask Brent why he wouldn't ride on the Max with me even though I knew it was a dream. When I told him about the dream this morning he said he was sure there was more to the story than I was telling him if he and C were shunning me as well. Harumph....

And lastly...

Dusting. I hate dusting. One of the really good things about living in a rain forest area is that you only have to dust every other week or so and your house looks fine. Usually. They are doing construction across the street right now and with the windows open for summer I am getting a layer of grit on everything all the time. Instead of dusting every two weeks I am dusting every two days. And it's not enough. And it's driving me nuts. I dusted the main room this morning and this afternoon as I was rinsing something in the sink I looked over at the dining table and....*sigh*... it's covered again. I can't keep up. I know laundry is this way for a lot of people. There is no end to it. As soon as you get all of the dirty clothes clean there is another load that pops up ready to go again. It's never ending.

Okay well after that brain dump let's see if there is room in there for a story or a blog to come together. Or maybe for less odd dreams.

Wait one more bit of randomness for the day...C just shouted downstairs that there is a wasp in his room. It's in the window on the cross frame. I asked what he wanted me to do and said he wasn't sure if there was a plan or not. Now I am wondering if we should have a wasp removal plan. I told him to trap it and kill it. That's all I've got for a plan. That and I am planning on freaking out a little that a wasp got in the house.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In the cold light of day...

Laying in bed early this morning I came up with just the best idea for a book. It was seriously genius. I was so pleased with myself over it I almost jumped up and started writing right then. But I waited. I tried to go back to sleep, then finally it was time to get up. I brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes, had some breakfast, got Brent to work and me back home, and sat down to start writing up my notes on this fabulous story idea. And....

...well....

...ummm....

It's really kind of weird. And maybe not all that great. And possibly unreadable.

Don't you hate when that happens? When you get what is absolutely the best freaking idea in the world at 2 AM but then in the bright light of day you realize it was only good because you were sleep deprived? I cannot tell you how many best selling novel ideas I have had at 2 AM that when looked at again at 8 AM turned out to be..."And then the fish says what?" How many times I have thought up a PLAN a PERFECT PLAN for life only to be reminded the next day that I can neither fly nor have access to millions of dollars.

Being a chronic insomniac I do spend a lot of time thinking in the middle of the night. And often I really do come up with good ideas and plans for the next day. But these are always just the good ideas the really brilliant ones are the ones that you wake up with in your head. The ones that are coming to you fully formed because you were dreaming about them as you woke up. And because you were dreaming about them they make perfect sense to you. That is until you fully wake up. Then you realized that maybe your idea to market eggs with the bacon inside the shell so you could get a hard boiled bacon egg (though genius for sure) was probably not exactly well...possible.

That's not to say that I haven't had good story ideas come from dreams, I have. But those I always know were a dream when I am thinking about them the next day. I think to myself what a weird dream...that would make an excellent story. But the ones where I think I am fully awake, the ones where I am just coming out from under....those are the ones that I am sure are brilliant but are really whack-a-doodle. It's an odd time that twilight sleep. When you are awake(ish) and asleep(ish) and both parts of your mind are talking to each other. And they think they understand each other but they don't, not really.

It's like two drunks having a conversation. Have you ever been the sober one listening to that? They think they are making perfect sense, they are pretty sure they are communicating and understanding each other, but really it's a lot of:
"Hey, hey, hey, do you remember....."
"Oh yeah....that was....hey, did I ever tell you about that time when...."
"Hey, hey, hey, do you remember....."
"You just asked me that.....we are talking about that other time now...you know with that guy..."
"Oh yeah....that guy."
and both together..."Good times"

That's what that twilight sleep is like for me. When I am just falling asleep and the ideas are coming fast and furious and they get pulled down in to the dreams where my brain then twists and turns them into weird fantastic scenes and schemes. Or when I am just coming out from under and the dream is still clinging to me coming up to the surface of my brain where the awake side takes over and tries to make sense of the hard boiled bacon egg (the more I say it the more you see how brilliant it is right?) and you end up with a really rational plan for a really irrational idea.

Though the more I think about my brilliant story idea from last night the more I think there might just be something to it. There might really be a fabulous story in there...or I might just need more coffee....


Sunday, August 5, 2012

There's a moral to this story....

...actually there are two.

Okay, so today is story from my past time. I think I need some sort of way back machine music when I go in to the "days gone by" stories, don't you? Not sure what it would be, but something to signify that this is an old lady talking about her childhood story. Anyway...


See this picture?

It's the ring finger on my left hand compared to the ring finger on my right. Today you get the story about why they look so different. And the moral of that story as presented by my mother. And then the moral of that story as thought of by me. And then the true meaning of the story, or at least what I've taken to be the true meaning of the story anyway.

So when I was either 4 or 5 I wanted to go with my mother when she was going shopping and my mother wanted to go by herself. I can't remember exactly how old I was, I know my oldest brother was not yet married so I couldn't have been any older than 5 1/2 but I could have been as young as 4 But anyway, I was very young. So my mother was going out to run some errands and I wanted to go with her, she didn't want to take me she wanted to go by herself. Parents can understand this, you can get done three times as many things in half the time on your own as you can when taking the kids along. But I was having none of it. So when she decided to leave me at home I decided that I would not kiss her good bye.

I honestly believe I was thinking if I didn't kiss her she wouldn't leave. Well you know what? She left anyway! She got in her car and was getting ready to pull out without giving me a kiss good bye! So in the logical, rational mind of a late toddler young child I freaked out! She had to kiss me good bye! So I went to the front door, opened it and was getting ready to go out to get my kiss good bye. So I got the door opened, and was holding it open with my left hand when the cross breeze from the back door also being opened hit the front door with full effect. Being a little thing and only having a loose grip on the door I didn't stand a chance. Maybe in today's day and age of hollow core doors, but in the early 70s with a big solid wood door? No way. Slam! The door shut...

...on my left ring finger. I remember the next parts in clips because, as I said, I was really young, but the clips I still have are super clear. First off, I have no idea how much it hurt. I know it much have been a lot because I can remember doing that shocked silent build up to the scream. I don't know when my sister appeared, if she had been next to me the whole time I was heading out to kiss my mother or if the slam brought her running, but I know as soon as the door slammed she was there and freaking out as well. Which she would have been 11 or 12 at the time so you can see she might not have been prepared for what came next either.

Which was opening the door. If you look at the picture I posted and you trace a line from the top of the nail bed on the right finger over to the left you can kind of make out a V shaped scar in the nail bed. That scar runs all the way around my finger except for about a 1/8 of an inch on the back. That 1/8 inch of skin was all that was holding the top of my finger to the bottom when we opened the door. And then the blood started. I was pouring blood all over the throw rug in front of the door. I remember thinking about how much trouble I was going to be in for making that mess.

I'm not sure if my mother knew there was something wrong from the difference in "I'm coming out to kiss you, wait!" to the door slamming, if she could hear me screaming or if my sister got her attention but she was back in the house pretty quickly and yelling upstairs to my oldest brother to bring her a white washcloth. Now when I got older I decided that I must have been remembering this wrong and she must have been calling for a wet washcloth but when I asked my mother about it she said, that no I was right, it was a white one. She wanted to make sure that no dyes would get in to the wound so wanted a white washcloth.

I can remember John standing at the top of the stairs, obviously just rolling out of bed, looking confused at the shouting and my mother shouting again to get a white washcloth and hurry up. He registered the blood and panic and was back down with a couple cloths pretty quickly. The next thing I remember is the ride to the hospital. I remember sitting on my brother's lap in the front seat of the car and just wanting to take a nap. He wouldn't let me go to sleep, kept telling me jokes and pushing my head back up when I would lay it down "for just a second." I still don't remember it hurting though it must have. I am guessing my brain just blocked that away from me. But I remember getting angry with John for keeping me awake when all I wanted to do was sleep. Of course, I know now, that he was keeping me from passing out.

I don't remember the hospital visit much. I remember the elaborate wrapping I had done to the finger, the hand and partway up my arm as it healed. I remember getting the stitches out. That part did hurt. They had grown in to the finger and getting them pulled out was a much more complicated thing than they had thought when they first let the intern try and ended up with another doctor finishing up the job.

When they were sewing up my finger they let my mother know that due to the severity of the wound and the fact that it wasn't a clean slice but a slice/smash combo the odds were that my fingertip wouldn't reattach. What they were really worried about was infection and possibly losing the entire finger. They gave it a try at reattaching because I got to the hospital so quickly, I was young and really why the heck not, but there was a better chance I would lose the tip than that it would reattach.

Well as you can see (and as they found out when they removed the stitches) not only did it reattach, but it grew extra. I have short nail beds that end well before the tips of my fingers on all of my other fingers. On this finger I have this gorgeous long oval nail bed that almost reaches the end of my finger. Which means that to grow my nails out past my finger tips on any other finger takes a lot of growing so long glorious real nails were always out of my reach. If all of my nail beds looked like my left ring finger this wouldn't be the case. It's also probably a 1/4 inch longer than the finger on my right side. If all of my fingers were like this I would have the long graceful fingers of a piano player instead of the short squatty hands of a potato farmer. I spent a lot of time wishing all of my fingers looked like my left ring finger.

Now I have a permanent reminder of that day. I have images tied in my head to that entire event. Pieces of my life from when I was very young that will always stick with me. And sometimes when I am trying to make a big decision in life I look at my left finger. If I press on the finger tip you can see the scar clearly. You can see that the color of the nail bed below the scar is one color and above it's another. I have a scar on my right ring finger as well (different story, different lesson though they work together like Two-Face's coin in helping me make decisions. They also both work together to make me literally queasy when watching a movie or TV show where someone gets a cut on their hand or loses a finger). Anyway...what is the moral of this story you ask? Well you might not really be asking that, but if I ended the blog right now at some later point you might remember the whole point of the blog was to get to the moral of the story...

The moral of the story (if you ask my mother) is that you shouldn't throw fits. That bad behavior on my part caused the whole chain of events and that if I hadn't thrown a fit I wouldn't have slammed my finger in the door.

My moral? Don't try to do something without me. See, my mother never made it shopping that day did she? If she had just taken me we could have all avoided this ugly mess. It could be why I have such a love of Maleficent. She wasn't bad, not really, she just wanted to be invited to the party. If they had only invited her in the first place the whole ugly curse thing could have been avoided...Scared yet?

Yeah, my moral is more of a joke, but it makes me laugh.

The real moral of the story for me is two parts. First off, you need to understand that everything you do has consequences, but the thing is we never know what they are going to be until they happen. I didn't want to kiss my mother good bye thinking she wouldn't go without a kiss. She still did. So then I realized that I really did want to kiss her good bye. When push came to shove kissing her good bye was more important than being a baby about not going. Opening a door is usually not a big deal, but not realizing there was a wind tunnel effect in the house made it one. Always have a firm grip on things. My soft touch on the door made it able to slam shut with my finger still in the door. And even if it looks really bad, like there is not going to be a recovery from a mistake, sometimes you end up with a better looking finger out of it. The whole mistakes make us stronger principle.

So make sure you really know what you want when you are making a stand. And secondly understand that even when have made what looks like a mistake to everyone else you can recover and possibly just possibly end up better than you were before. Even when everyone else is giving you little chance for recovery you can still end up okay.

That and when I say I want to go with you someplace, you should probably take me....

Friday, August 3, 2012

Okay, I'm not done after all....

So yesterday when I posted the link to this wonderfully written blog I said it was the last I was going to talk about CFA. My son told me, "No it's not." He knows me very well. But I feel like I need to clarify something. I'm not going to talk specifically to the CFA brouhaha anymore. I've said my piece on that and the blog I linked to earlier put it even better than I could, but that doesn't mean I will stop writing and speaking my mind about equal rights. The issue right now is that the CFA discussions are still going strong and so sometimes something I've read or heard or been asked about that subject is going to spark another round of my ranting. This is one of those times...

So as the whole CFA thing is still simmering and people are still talking about it I had someone I know ask me what my nephew thinks of the whole thing. I told them I had no idea as we hadn't talked about it. They couldn't believe it. They were shocked. And then asked me how I could be so offended by the whole issue when he might not even care. My only answer for them was that I honestly don't care what he thinks about this issue. Okay, well that's untrue. I would love to know what he thinks only because I love him and I love talking to him and if he wanted to share with me what he thought about this whole deal I would listen and be thrilled for the conversation. But what I mean is what he thinks about it has absolutely no bearing on what I think about it.

See here's the thing, the last time I checked Brian wasn't the card carrying spokesman for the entire homosexual population. People do this thing where they think they have the pulse of a group because they asked their, "gay friend" or "black friend" or "female friend" or "republican friend" about it and so they obviously know what every one in that group thinks. Why do they do this? Why do people assume that every group with one thing in common has everything in common?

During my sister Susan's first marriage her husband regularly hit her. So when Rihanna had the shit knocked out of her by Chris Brown I guess I should have first called my sister to see what she thought about it all before I formed my opinion? Is that the way this logic works? Or is it that when you see something that is wrong, you know it's wrong. And even if other people aren't bothered by it (my sister stayed with her husband for a very long time, Rihanna reconciled with Brown) it still doesn't make it okay. Even if they have something in common with the person that the injustice happened to.

I know how my niece feels about it, since she posted about it. I know how my sister Ann feels about it since she posted. But I don't know how my nephew feels about it. I know how some of my gay friends feel about it. I know how some of my straight friends feel about it. I know how some of my religious friends feel about it. I know how some of my non-religious friends feel about it. Everyone who has weighed in and posted about the issue I know how they feel. And even the ones with one thing in common don't all feel the same way on this issue. And none of these opinions change what I feel about it.

I've had an opinion on this issue and issues relating to other gay rights and equality for all for a very long time. Before Brian ever came out. Before he ever knew what being gay was. My position has evolved and changed over the years but from the time I was 16 and the realization that what my church had taught me about homosexuality was just wrong (religion blog way back here) I have known that the way our society has treated gay people in the name of religious freedom is wrong. Since I've felt this way for as long as I have I have a lot of arguments and counter arguments to make. I can keep my calm for the most part and I can stand my ground. Part of that is because the people I have fought the hardest over issues like these have been family members. And when you are arguing with family members over dinner you have to learn how to make better points than, "you are an idiot" and you have to make them calmly enough that nobody gets disowned by dessert.

I want to share with you all the story of my nephew coming out to me because there is a lesson in there for all of you who talk about your "gay friend feels this way so it must be true."

Like I said in the blog I linked up there about religion I knew from the time Brian was 4 that when he reached the age where he was starting to think about dating it was going to be boys, not girls he was interested in. Sometimes there are stereotypes for a reason and my nephew has been stereo-typically gay since he was too little to know what gay was. Now this actually worried me quite a bit. I know what it's like to hold a different opinion about religion than your family. I know what it's like to completely disagree with them. I know what it's like to have your mother tell you that she is praying for you so you don't go to hell. Because I chose to leave the church because I didn't believe a lot of the teachings anymore. But what worried me is that Brian was going to be raised in the same church. And it wasn't going to be him realizing that he disagreed with the teachings they had about other people, it was going to be him listening to teachings about how who he was was wrong.

Long before the "It Gets Better" movement, long before the media coverage of gay teen suicides there were gay teen suicides. Growing up gay in a conservative Christian family is difficult at best and heartbreaking at worst. And all I knew about it was from the outside looking in. I knew how hard it was for me to leave and to be honest about leaving the church. But it was my choice. Brian was who he was by birth. There is no choice there. And he was going to have to deal with it all. So I did my years of telling him that he was great no matter what. That who he was was perfect. That he didn't need to change for anyone. But I did all of that never mentioning the word gay. The church and family he was being raised in said being gay was a sin so I wasn't going to force him to come out to me until he was ready. But I was definitely going to try my hardest to let him know that he was great, just the way he was, and hope he got my not so subtle code.

So fast forward to him turning 18. We were emailing each other and I was telling him about my 18th birthday. I spent part of it with a friend of mine who I share the birthday with and who happens to be gay. I told Brian he was gay because it's part of the very funny story about the birthday, a cake, a case of mistaken sexual identity and being friends with a couple who share the same first name. So anyway, after I tell him the story he emails me back and tells me that he is proud of me for having gay friends. I had a choice to make right then on how to handle that statement and I went with what I would have said to any other member of my family or my friend circle who said it. I emailed him back and told him that unless he was proud of me for having straight friends or any friends at all that he shouldn't be proud of me for having gay friends. That friends are friends and sexual orientation has nothing to do with it.

He then emailed me back and let me know that I was right, and that he was glad to hear me say that and he let me know that he was in fact a gay man. I emailed him back that I was thrilled he finally felt like he could tell me but that I had known since he was 4. And then we talked about why I felt like I knew that, we talked about how he had actually been the final piece of the puzzle for me to see that people are born the way they are born. That there is no choice that is made in which sex you are attracted to, that it's part of you from birth. I think we were both very relieved. Me for finally not having to bite my tongue and him for having a family member not only be fine with the fact that he is gay, but not be shocked or even phased at all by it. His coming out to everyone else didn't go as smoothly and we talked about that as well. Now that people have had quite a few years to get used to the idea they are starting to come around.

But even though he is gay, though I knew that he was gay, I couldn't sit back and say, "Yes, good for me for having gay friends!" Because that's just silly. I have friends. Some of them are gay. Some of them aren't. It doesn't matter to me. And it doesn't mean that I need to consult with them on issues about the gay or straight community before I form my opinions on them. So when you tell me that you talked to your gay friend and they are fine with CFA or you talked to your black friend and they are super cool with getting rid of the NAACP or you talked to your female friend and she thinks Planned Parenthood is a scam please know that the first thing I am going to think of is your posing like Stephen Colbert with your said friends and the second thing I am going to think is I wonder if I am your liberal friend? Or am I your ridiculously good looking friend? Or your OMG she's totally a genius friend? Hmmmm....probably your snarky friend....

And yes, C won. I'm not done. Not even by a long shot. Sadly. Because I'll only be done when people are given the same rights no matter who they are attracted to. Even Rihanna....




Thursday, August 2, 2012

Well isn't that sinister....

Today while I was cleaning the bathroom (yes this is a cleaning fumes blog, haven't you missed those?) I was having a hard time getting the angle right on a corner of the tub I was scrubbing. See I made a mistake when I bought my new scrub brush, I didn't hold it in my hand at the store to see how it fit. And I ended up buying a brush that was angled for right handed people. Ugh. I hate that.

Yes, I'm a leftie. A southpaw. A left handed girl in a right handed world. I am not as strongly left handed as others. I can do a lot with my right hand. I use right handed scissors. I bowl and hit a ball equally well (which means not at all) with both my right and left hands. When I wore a watch I wore it on my left wrist instead of my right like many lefties do. I don't do that weird hand wrap thing when I write. Though I do have truly awful handwriting. And when I realized the reason I couldn't get the angle right was because of my left I switched hands and kept scrubbing.

Only 7-10 percent of the population is left handed. And the majority of lefties are men so being a left-handed female is fairly rare. When I meet another left handed woman we always share that "Hey! I'm left handed too!" moment of recognition. When I am watching a movie or TV show or the first time a President signs a document I always watch to see what hand they use, and I'm always thrilled when it's the left one. Eight US Presidents have been southpaws, by the way.

I can remember the first time I was in a shop that specialized in left handed products. We were in San Diego at Seaport Village and there was a little lefties boutique. My dad was with me and we are both lefties. It was like a kid in a candy store moment for both of us. Look! Soup ladles for lefties! Notebooks with the binder on the right hand side! Scrub brushes that are angled to be held in the left hand! For me it was a novelty, for my dad it was even more.

See in my family it is my Aunt Dorothy, one brother and one of my nephews that are left handed, and my father was left handed. Family dinners are orchestrated things of who sits next to whom. It doesn't matter with Brent and I, we have been married for a long time and neither of us wings our arms out so we can sit on either side of each other, but if you are a lefty sitting next to a winging righty eating becomes a combat sport. My dad and my aunt though are both of an age where being left handed wasn't just an inconvenience at the dinner table, it was something to be fixed.

The first time I can remember my Aunt Dorothy talking about being left handed it was to ask me if I had gotten any grief in school about it. I said no, of course not, why would I? Then she told me stories about her school experience. Of teachers tying her arm to her side to try to force her to use her right instead of her left. Of getting whacked in the knuckles with a ruler if she reached with her left hand first instead of her right. I thought she was making it up but my dad said he had the same experiences. Being left handed wasn't okay, it was something that needed fixed. So they could be normal. Well my Aunt Dorothy was stubborn enough that she persevered and my dad was so strongly left handed that they finally gave up so they both made it out of their childhoods with their left handedness intact.

By the time I hit school it wasn't something that needed fixed anymore. It was something they didn't really know how to deal with, but not something they needed to fix. Remember those little elementary school desks? Those are designed for right handed kids. You got to rest your right arm on the desk while you wrote while I got to have my arm flapping in the wind. Though sometimes there would be one or two left handed desks. which was great except usually some right handed kid took it because it "looked cool" or if you did get it when everyone was getting in and out of desks you got out to the "wrong" side making a traffic jam in the aisle.  And finding left handed scissors that didn't suck? Forget about it. I just learned to cut with my right. Though I still can't cut a straight line, I wonder if I could blame the scissors? Oh and writing papers. First off most teachers are right handed so even learning how to write, especially cursive, was a chore. Then actually writing. Check the left hand of any lefty in school and you will see the tell tale smudge of ink from pinky to wrist. See when we write we then drag our hands across what we just wrote smearing the ink and smudging our hands.

And I already mentioned that weird wrapping thing that lefties do when the write. You've all seen it. Either the page gets turned almost perpendicular or the hand is wrapped around the top of the page and you end up writing almost upside down. We do that because right handed people trying to tell us how to write don't make sense. It's all backwards. The angles are all wrong. MC Escher was a lefty and I swear that left handed wrap is how he came up with the ideas for most of his pictures!

The world is designed for right handed people, as a lefty you learn to adapt. And you learn to not be offended when someone is offered a left handed compliment; when something is described as gauche or even better, sinister; when you discover that there are 25 negative references in the bible about being left handed or having something on the left. Compare that to the 6 negative references to homosexuality and I am amazed that I was allowed in to my private Baptist school at all.

But though I am in the minority I am thrilled at how far we have come. When my father and my aunt were kids they were treated poorly because of their handedness. People tried to fix them. When I was in school nobody tried to fix me, they just didn't make it easy for me to be left handed. Now kids have computers and type with both hands and can use a mouse with either their left or their right with just a flip of a switch. It gets better. Each generation figures out a little more. People are born the way they are born and even if they are in the minority they are still people just like you. Left handed or right.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Perspective? I've got your perspective right here!

Okay, I promise soon I will walk away from politics and hissy fits and move on to fluffy bunny posts and some more fiction and fun stuff.  But I have another one here that needs to get out before that happens...

After the name calling slows down or sometimes in the middle of the name calling portion of any debate there is always the "get some perspective" portion. This one is a difficult one for me because on one hand I hate it when people say such things, it makes you sound condescending at best and like a sanctimonious douche-bag at worst. And then on the other hand I have been guilty of it myself which as soon as I post something like that I think oh god you sound like a condescending, sanctimonious douche-bag!

You all know what I am talking about right? Like when a celebrity dies and people are posting about how it makes them sad and then someone else comes in and says, "You know 1,000 children died from starvation yesterday and you didn't shed a single tear." Don't you want to just reach through the computer screen and slap people when they do that? What's the point of it? To show how much more concerned they are, because we are assuming they cried over those deaths? Or to show that because we don't mourn the many we have no right to mourn the few?

Right now I sort of feel like that OPEC argument in the CFA debates is venturing into this territory. The whole, "You are protesting marriage rights yet condone death?" Well, no. It's not that simple. One, I have little to no control over where the US gets their crude oil from but I have complete control over where I get my chicken sandwich from. And two, because I drive a car doesn't mean I condone anything. I would love to be able to change the laws in those countries, but just because I can't that doesn't mean that I shouldn't speak my mind in my country.

There is a psychological part to the mass death vs. single death scenario. Part of it is that humans have a very difficult time imagining large numbers. You can picture 5 people. You can picture 20. You might be able to picture a few thousand, say by thinking about a concert or event. But when you get higher than that you have a hard time visualizing it. And then when you try to add in the concept of them dying? To imagine each one of those lives and the families of each one of those people? You sort of have to stop. Your brain says, nope, this is too much for me so we will think in groups and depersonalize this or you will drive me crazy and I won't have that.

But one or two deaths? We can imagine that. A celebrity that has touched our lives in some way? Even if it's just that you know their name. We can picture that loss. We know how it feels for their families. And yes, if we are fans of their work we can feel that we will miss them as well. People we watch on TV, whose music we listen to, whose movies we watch, they are part of our lives even if we aren't part of theirs. Brent and I watch Deadliest Catch and there is a guy on there, Jake Anderson, he has had a rough life but he seems likes just the nicest kid and has the best smile and you root for him to succeed. Brent and I have both said it, we want good things for this guy. Now we don't know him other than what we've seen over the years watching the show. He has no idea who we are, but if something happened to him I would be sad. From the same show, when Captain Phil Harris died I mourned for him. I was sad for his family, I worried about his boys. And I wasn't the only one. Fans of the show from all over were devastated and grieved. Did we know him? Do we know his boys? Not really. But the grief was still there.

To take it down to a more personal level when my dad died I know that weekend thousand of other people died. I know that somewhere children were starving. I know that we were still fighting two wars and  I know that there was a group of our military men and women who didn't make it through the weekend. But did it make the loss of my father any less devastating to me? Did I even think about those other deaths and those other families? I didn't. When I was at my father-in-law's funeral surrounded by hundreds of men and women in uniform, looking at pictures of him in Afghanistan, listening to the volley of shots being fired, thanking the Patriot Guard for being on hand in case the Westboro Bastards showed up did I spend a lot of time thinking about the hundreds of other military funerals they had all gone to? The fact that his unit was getting ready to ship out again and that some of them might not make it back? No I didn't. On both of those occasions I thought only of my grief. Of my family's grief. Of our loss. Would you have dared tell me that I had lost perspective?

It all reminds me too much of when I was a child and my parents would tell me to stop crying or they would give me something to cry about. Even as a child this just pissed me right the fuck off. Now, I would never have told my parents that they pissed me right the fuck off because then I would have gotten something else to cry about in addition to what I was already crying about. But if I was crying I obviously felt I had something worth crying about. How dare anyone tell you that your feelings aren't valid because there are worse problems? I never used that phrase on C while he was growing up. That's how much I hated it as a child it didn't slip in and become one of those "you just turned into your parents moments" I just banished it from my mind. If he was crying I might try to jolly him out of it, but I never told him that what he felt wasn't worth feeling. That his frustration over not being able to tie his shoe was silly and that if he wanted a real reason to cry I would give him one. I just suggested that he do something else for awhile to calm down.

We've all heard the opening to the Serenity Prayer, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Even if you aren't religious it's a pretty good base to start from. Know what you can change, work towards that. Know what you can't change and let it go. And keep in mind that both are in the world. And please refrain from pointing out to people that they shouldn't be upset about the smaller things if they aren't fighting against the bigger. That they shouldn't mourn the one when they don't mourn the many. Control what you can, let go of the rest and don't be a condescending, sanctimonious douche-bag over someone else's choices.

And it's August...

First off HAPPY BIRTHDAY MONTH EVERYONE!!  Okay, now we can move on...

So today is day one of operation Facebook Phase Out.  It's 8 AM and I haven't been on Facebook yet today. I answered email, wrote some replies to my CFA blog, deleted a few more, let's call them colorful, comments that came in about the same blog and am now writing this. But no Facebook, not yet. I will log on to post this blog when it's complete, spend a brief amount of time catching up with people then log off again until this evening when I have a fabulous picture of the day to post.

I know a lot of you are thinking, it's 8 AM. How big of a deal is this really? Well, by this point in time I have usually been on Facebook for a few hours. Not constantly. But it's one of the first things I do in the morning and I check and recheck pretty consistently from there on out. I made some changes to help reinforce my phase out. I deleted bookmarks off of my phone, I moved the Facebook app icon into a sub-folder so I wouldn't just press it by habit. I put my phone in my purse on the drive in to work (Brent drives not me) instead of keeping it out. I know from when I quit smoking that it's the automatic things that do you in. You can only consciously hold the thought of change for so long and then BOOM! you find yourself clicking the icon that you always click and you are back online.

So today after I post this and make a sweep of Facebook (which will be done with a timer set so I have a physical reminder to log back off) I will do a variety of things. I will do some housework, I will go to the gym, I will go to the grocery store, I am hoping to get a short story written and I will read. That's the plan anyway. But I would guess what I will do most of the day is hold my hands together and force myself to think of other things besides "I wonder what everyone online is doing?" Breaking any habit is hard. I know this. Breaking one that has been a feedback loop of contact will be even harder for me. But I also know that I quit smoking 20+ years ago with another smoker in the house and if I can do that, I can do anything.

Nicotine or Facebook? Which is the more addictive? I am betting it was nicotine...I hope I am right!

Okay, I promise that every blog over the next few days will not just be a timer of how long it's been since I last Facebooked.  Just wanted to put it out there today that I did start like I said I would. Oh and to remind you all that IT'S BIRTHDAY MONTH!  Woot!!