Friday, May 30, 2014

So now what?

When I was 12 years old I was jumped.

I had the shit knocked out of me because I was trying to be nonviolent at the time. Lousy timing and it didn't stick as you can well imagine, but the damage was done. I had the shit knocked out of me. Not something you really ever forget.

I was spending the weekend with my best friend and we were walking to the little corner store to pick up cigarettes for her mother and candy bars for us. A normal thing to do. A girl from the apartment complex that she sometimes hung out with was with us, I think her name was Debbie, but can't really remember. Anyway, to get to the store you could walk all around the block or you could duck through a vacant lot. We always ducked through. You went in the fence where it was cut, walked across the lot and back out the cut in the other side which would drop you right at the store. So this day we were walking and my friend went through the fence to leave the lot first then the girl from the complex stopped and blocked my way out. What the hell, Debbie? Move!

And then the voice behind me. "You know what's about to happen."

Well, hell. Yeah, I had a pretty good idea. Because she had told me earlier she was there to beat me up. Just that reason and no other. I hadn't taken her nearly as seriously as I should have. Still didn't, in fact.

Now fighting was (sadly) not a new thing for me. I had dealt with the abuse from my sister before she got cleaned up and it hadn't been that long before this time period. But I wasn't going to fight this girl. I had no reason. And I told her that. Again. She told me then I was going to get hurt. I told her that the Bible said to turn the other cheek so I would and she said that was good because she wanted to hit both of them (which is actually a really good line). And then she did. A few times. And I didn't hit her back. I told her I wouldn't. I told her it was a religious choice and she told me that she'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints and I laughed and said "you are quoting a Billy Joel song?" she didn't find that amusing and hit me again.

And so it went for awhile. Until something broke inside me. Not like a bone or a tooth but more like the self-preservation part of me kicked back in. I don't remember it. But from what I was told I gave her a warning that she should stop. She basically laughed me off, and why wouldn't she? I had literally stood there and let her hit me for however long it was. Then I backhanded her and when she was off balance from that I punched her twice in the lower rib cage. Face shots are fine and dandy if you are looking to make a statement, which she was, but they are just as likely to damage your hand as they are the person you are hitting. A good solid blow to the lower ribs will knock the air out of someone and potentially crack or at least bruise a rib or two. If you want to deal damage a close in upper cut to the lower ribs will do some.

Now this shocked her, as you can imagine. When the person you have been whaling on that you are convinced is just some sort of patsy all of a sudden whales on you  and solidly you are a little taken aback. And I am not sure how bad it would have gotten (I will come back to this and you will see why) but someone finally noticed that there were two girls fighting in the vacant lot and yelled, she took off and then we headed back to the apartment.

When we got back I got my first look at the damage. The left side of my mouth was split open. She was right handed so that side took the most damage. I had two rapidly swelling eyes that would turn all sorts of lovely colors by the time they were done. My nose wasn't broken but it was cut. And I have a variety of little cuts and swelling on my face. And then the slash in the shirt and the cut on my rib cage. Apparently there was a knife. Who knew? (Yes, who knows how bad it would have been. I don't know if it was getting cut that snapped me out of the passivity or if it was me fighting back that made her decide to pull a knife, but either way it was a bit of a shock to see and not remember it happening)

When my friend's mother saw me and got the story out of us she grabbed me by the hand and walked me over to the apartment of a boy that lived there and screamed at his mother, "LOOK AT THIS CHILD'S FACE!"

Now you are saying, wait? What boy? I thought you said you were jumped by a girl?

Yes, I was jumped by a girl because that boy told her to. The boy that I had my first real French kiss with just a few weeks before. The boy that I realized was a little more aggressive than I was comfortable with and told to back off. And then when I came back to visit my friend again and he realized I wasn't kidding, I wanted nothing else to do with him he called a friend and had me beat up. Because, you know, he was a good guy and would never hit a girl. Isn't he swell?

So, you know where this is going now right? I got beat up because that boy felt like by kissing him I was agreeing to let him do what ever he wanted, when ever he wanted and when I said no, not okay, he punished me. Because who was I to have the right to say no? And he wanted my face messed up so that no other boy would want me. Which is an odd thing, did he think that would make me come back to him and say he was right? Did he think that I would die a lonely spinster woman thinking, If only I had let him cop a feel of 12 year old boob this would have never happened! Oh what a fool I was!

So as the story unfolds around the shooting last week and his messed up manifestos and the twitter #yesallwomen I thought of this for the first time in a very long time. Now this is obviously not a #yesallwomen moment. Not all women have had the shit knocked out of them for not liking a boy as much as he wanted them to, but I would almost guarantee all women have been called a name because of it. My favorite is when you get called a slut because you won't talk to some guy. Umm....what? But usually it's bitch, or snob, "you too good for me? Is that what you think?" heard that one a few times. Well gee...let's see, you are trying to get my attention by shouting about the state of my ass from a car window as you drive by and are shocked that I didn't stop and throw my phone number at you. Well, yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm too good for you.

But I guess my sticking point right now is that I was 12 when that happened. I am 45 now. That's a lot of years. So this isn't something new. No matter how infatuated the news is right this second with it. It's pretty deeply ingrained. So much so that the the #notallmen sprung up immediately because how very dare women speak about things that happened to them without first making sure that men understood we weren't saying all men do this. No, not all men, but some men. And it happens to all women. The best representation I have seen was a big bowl of M&Ms with the line, Imagine 10% are poison, now take a big handful.  No, not all men, but enough that all women are aware of an issue. All women have stories that we share with each other about things that have happened strictly because we are women.

So what are a few of my #yesallwomen? Let's just take some from sports...I've had to listen to people use my gender as an insult. Either by changing a male athlete's name to a woman's name or by calling the entire team ladies. #yesallwomen
The love of a sport is assumed to be because I think the players are cute. Go ahead, say puck bunny one more time, asshole.  #yesallwomen
I've had a man explain a game to me, and get it wrong, and then argue with me that he was right because I'm just a girl what do I know. #yesallwomen

Those are just a few from sports. I could do a whole list from work situations. From shopping. From walking outside. Things that as a woman you just learn to deal with. And if you dare complain about it you get the lecture about how it's not all men that are like that. Or that somehow you brought it on yourself because you should know better. Which to me translates back to you are not only responsible for your own behavior but for the men around you as well.

So what now?

I don't have an answer, I really don't. But I do have a son. And we've talked a lot about this issue over the years. And even more this past week. And that's really the best thing I can do. And the best thing you other mother's of sons can do. And the best thing that wives, girlfriends, friends of men can do. If you hear then say something that makes you cringe, say something. And for fuck's sake, don't be part of the issue yourself. Don't beat up other women (figuratively or literally) because some man doesn't like what she is doing.

I don't have a nice tidy bow to wrap this up with. I wish I did. Instead I will leave a link to a very well written piece that talks about this from the other side.

Your Princess is in Another Castle.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tell me why...

"You were lonely?"

"Yes. I was lonely."

"Why were you lonely?"

"Well Derick was out of town and..."

" mean right then that moment you were lonely? Not that this was some sort of deep loneliness? But just right that day because Derick was traveling you were lonely?"

"Yes. You asked what happened and I am trying to tell you."

"I know I asked, and trust me I am really trying to listen. But right this second, in this very moment I am not sure I can physically hear another word out of your mouth. I was prepared to hear your side. To try and understand the deeper reason. The whole two sides to every story part. But there aren't two sides are there? You just did something shitty and got caught. That's the only side."

"I told you I was lonely."

"So call a friend. Text Derick. Read a goddamn book. Or, oh I don't know, realize you aren't two fucking years old and need constant entertainment and get over it."

"If you aren't even going to give me a chance to explain..."

"Explain? I think you just did. I was lonely. So instead of waiting it out you got dressed up, went to a bar, hooked up with a stranger, and then got caught when your boyfriend came home a day early because he missed you and wanted to surprise you. You don't even like going to bars! Why would you do all of that just to get laid a few days earlier than you thought you would?"

"It's not as simple as that."

"Then tell me more. Because you just told me you did it because you were lonely. Right then. At that moment. Not relationship isn't working out lonely. Not Derick, who came home early from a trip because he missed you, ignored you lonely, but because nobody was right there right that second to pay attention to you lonely."

"If you are going to yell at me I can't explain."

"Okay, you're right. No yelling. Explain. Go ahead."

"Well now you are being condescending."

"Take your pick because until I hear a good reason it's going to be one or the other."

"Fine. I won't even tell you. Why do you even care? I'm your friend, not Derick. You have to take my side anyway."

"That's why I care! I want to take your side. I really do. But you aren't making it easy. Derick is a nice guy. I like Derick. Joe likes Derick. Hell, Joe said he was going to call him up and ask if he wants to golf with him next week."

"Oh no, that's not happening! Derick and I aren't a couple anymore! You can't stay friends with him, that's against the rules!"

"It would be, except for the fact that you are the jerk here, not Derick! You broke the rules, not him. I can't tell Joe not to be Derick's friend when Derick hasn't done anything wrong except date you!"

"That's not nice."

"Then give me something I can use here! You cheated on him because he was traveling on business and away from you for 3 days. THREE DAYS!"

"I told you I was lonely! I told him not to go!"

"You told him not to go? On a trip he needed to take for work? What?"

"I told him it was a bad time for him to travel. That I needed him home right then. He didn't listen."

"So this is his fault really? If he had just taken you seriously then this never would have happened?"

"Right. See? I knew if you let me explain you would get it."

"No! I don't get it! You told him not to work. That he had to stay home with you instead of do his job! And then you punished him because he left. That's what this was right? Not that you were lonely or any bullshit like that but that he didn't do exactly what you told him to do and so you punished him."

"I told him I wanted him to stay home."

"You are always like this. Always. You either get your way or you punish everyone around you. And I'm tired of making excuses for you. I just can't do this anymore. I can't support your selfishness. I can't be a part of this."

"Why are you so upset? You aren't Derick."

"Because I've defended you over and over. For years. Every time someone would say you were nothing but a selfish petulant child I would tell them they just needed to get to know you. That you were really not like that. But you really are. And I just can't do it anymore."

"I never asked you to defend me."

"You're right you never did. You just assumed that I would. And I did. And I have. Over and over. And now I'm done. From here on out you are on your own."

"What? You're dumping me as a friend? We've known each other since we were 12, you can't just dump me as a friend. Don't push me away."

"Yeah, I can. I couldn't before. But now I can. Just imagine I'm traveling when you didn't want me to and find a new friend to keep you company.You are good at that."

"You don't want to do this."

"No, I don't. But you've pushed me to the limit. I just can't anymore"

"I'm going to tell you again, you don't want to do this. Don't push me away."

"Are you threatening me now? Like you did Derick? I'm done. I can't be your support system anymore. You've finally pushed too far for even me to be able to justify your behavior."

"You're sure this is what you want? Take a second to make sure here."

"Yeah, I'm sure. I've justified so much from you over the years but I can't anymore. You hurt too many people too often. I just can't sit back and be a part of it."



"Now I want you to take a minute to ask yourself one more question. How did you hear about this? Who set you off on me? To get you this mad at me knowing you would break ties to me? Maybe even thinking you would never speak to me again without ever giving me a chance to explain."

"What are you talking about?"

"Well, I didn't tell you. And I don't think Derick told you. So how did you hear?"



"Joe told me. He heard it from Derick."

"Really? You think so? Joe and Derick are so close that the first thing Derick does is call my best friend's boyfriend and tells him? Men don't do that. They don't share secrets. Especially ones like this."

"Maybe you didn't know Derick as well as you thought. Maybe he and Joe were closer than you realized."

"You think that's how it happened? Derick and Joe maybe grabbed a cup of tea while Derick spilled his tale of woe at Joe's feet and Joe was so mad on his good friend's behalf that he got you spun up against me. Or are you this mad at me because there is a little voice in your head asking yourself that exact question, how did he know? And where was he last Wednesday?"


"Maybe you need to have another conversation with Joe. And the next time I tell you not to push me, you should listen."

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Still grinding..

I have two different short stories that are vying for space in my head. They both really want to be written. I know this because they keep coming back up to the forefront when I am thinking of other things. But I am so stuck with them that it's starting to make me more than a little frustrated.

Part of the problem is that they are out of my normal realm for writing. One is a horror piece and one is's a mash-up. Two different stories that became one story, that I think will really work, but I only have these three scenes with no bridges and the bridges are killing me. And the two stories that are really one story are very different in tone from each other. But that's part of what I think works for the whole thing. The problem is I can't get it to work on paper.

The whole sand in my gears feeling. I am trying to get these two stories out of my head but they refuse to budge. Frustrating.

And while they are doing that nothing else is moving. It's like the other stories that are normally starting and forming have all gone quiet waiting for these to be done. So polite the voices in my frustrating...

So today I decided to take the oldest of the two ideas and just write. Force through the parts that weren't working. And I got about 30 lines in was crap. That's what it was. There is some piece I have to find to start and I don't have it yet. Without that key the lock won't turn. Super frustrating.

So basically this is another write so you write because you have to write to write blog post.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Let's Talk about Sex, Baby....

So today I'm going to promote a friend of a friend's project and ramble a bit about that.

I've talked about Cami before and that it was actually through her that I had my big epiphany moment about homosexuality. And I've shared on Facebook her project Happy Hour with Cameron Stiehl where she is still bringing people together to reach common ground. But what I want to talk about today is another series that I got in to because she shared it. The Sex Talk. The one I'm linking is about bi-phobia.

Okay, so let me back up here. The first one I watched I watched because if you share something that is important to you I am going to watch it, read it, look at it, at least once. Because it's important to you. And if it's important to you then as your friend I should at least see what it is. Now that doesn't mean I will keep looking, reading or watching, but I at least want to know where you are coming from. So I watched one because Cami shared it.

So I watched and then got hooked.

The one today was a topic that I really only know about because of Cami. She's been out for as long as I've known her. And always as bi. She and Brent actually dated in high school. Yes, my husband dated a hot redheaded bi chick in high school. He also dated a cheerleader. Yes, I know and trust me I worked through all of that years ago...ANYWAY...I think because I was having my own realization moments of people are people hit during that time and I was around straight, gay, lesbian, bi and fighting it (not questioning, they knew they were gay they just didn't want to accept it yet because of the stigma, this was the 80s after all, things have changed, thank goodness) I just placed bi on the continuum and moved on. It wasn't until reconnecting with Cami a few years ago that I found out that she faces a nice dose of double discrimination in her life.

She gets it from straight people and homosexual people. Everyone just wants her to choose! And I hear it from others here and there. That they don't believe anyone is bi. That people just say that they are bi because they don't want to fully own the gay label. Or they want to sound edgy. This one time in college...

Which always stuns me. You want me to acknowledge that sexuality isn't a choice except for people who don't have a gender preference? Umm...nope. I really do believe that for some people it's really fixed. You only like one or the other. For some people it's constantly fluid. You just like the person doesn't matter their sex organs. And for some people it is really person specific. They might not identify as bi even though they've been with someone of the same sex. But it was really and truly only that person. They aren't attracted to the same sex as a general rule, but that person for them made it not matter. Same with people who identify as gay but have been with someone of the opposite sex because of that one person.

So anyway, The Sex Talk that I linked at the beginning of this post is about that. And so I thought it was interesting. But I've found most all of their talks interesting. Even when it's a subject that has nothing to do with my world. So why is that?

For one they are funny. And they are smart. And they just seem super cool. You kind of want to be friends and hang out. Or maybe that's just me....anyway...

The other part that I realized is part of why I really like them is BECAUSE they are out of my normal realm. If I was only ever talking to people just like me I would only ever hear things I already know. And how boring would that be? And even when they do address topics that aren't out of my realm (good advice on not using sex as a weapon last month) it's a fresh angle. And good advice.

So my good advice for you today is take some time to check out The Sex Talk  so you too can learn about important things like the two fuck rule. And of course, probably not a good work watch and if the little ones are around maybe a set of head phones. Because...two fuck rule.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blogger beginnings...

I wrote my first blog almost 10 years ago. Brent had been trying to convince me that it would be something I would be good at and I would like to do. But I really didn't think I had anything to say that anyone would be interested in reading. But he kept trying to convince me to try my hand at it and he set one up. We shared a blog at the beginning. And at first it was just him writing here and there and encouraging me to do the same. I kept pushing him off. I read a few different blogs and they were all interesting. People who were smarter than I was sharing ideas and perspective. I just didn't see it for myself.

And then came Oregon Ballot Measure 36 which amended our state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. When it passed I was devastated. That's not an overstatement to how I felt. I was just stunned. I remember crying when the results came in. Fifty seven percent of the people in the state I called home, the state I was SO glad to return to after our exile in conservative land, voted to legislate discrimination. I cried.

Then I wrote my first blog. I wish I had it. Not because it was anything special. Just me writing about how shocked I was that it passed. How hurtful I found it to be. But it was still the first thing I put out there. It took me a long time to really get more in the swing of writing more. After that I wrote maybe a few more things on the joint blog, but life was busy. I was working full time and then working full time and going to school. I got back to writing more in 2009. Little bloggy bits on MySpace. How is that for how long ago it was? And then I set up this page and moved those MySpace posts here and started writing more. This will be the 460th blog I've published on this site.

And it all started because I had no where to put my feelings about that amendment.

Today, almost 10 years later, I had tears about it again. This time as a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional and struck it down. I knew it was coming. The judge's ruling was to come at noon. And I sat in front of the TV waiting. I knew it would be the one I wanted to hear. I knew it. But I still worried a little bit because I knew ten years ago that there was no way it would be passed. No way that people would legalize discrimination. No possible way. But this time I was right. And the tears came again.

And so I'm writing again. Nothing big. You all know where I stand on this issue. It was my first blog and it's probably the one political issue I have written about the most because it's the most personal to me. My family. My friends. My loved ones. I feel deeply about this issue. And today I am so happy that a ten year old travesty has been set to right. And happy that the momentum is still swinging toward equality. And now I'll stop before I start crying again.

Oh wait one more thing just as an extra little tidbit. My first reader is still reading my blog today. I will never forget the day after I posted that blog seeing that I had a comment on it. That moment of, "wow, someone actually read what I wrote!" So thank you, Raquel, for sticking with me for the past decade and still reading what I put up here. It means a lot to me.

Friday, May 16, 2014


This morning I stopped to take some pictures. The first set I took I parked next to a grass farm (we grow grass for seed out here, where did you think it came from?) and could smell the dirt and a slight hay back. It reminded me of my grandparent's farm. Walking through the cow pasture smelled like that.

Then a little ways down the road I stopped again and the gardeners had been out cutting the grass on the side of the road. So looking out over fields still high with growth while smelling freshly mowed grass was sort of a disconnect. It shouldn't smell like that if it's still growing, right?

And then all of that reminded me that I wanted to write a blog about odd smells and where they bring you back to so here I am.

A few months ago I was out doing something (can't remember now) and I had to use the restroom. Now as this is a blog about smells you are getting nervous, but it wasn't that smell that triggered a memory, it was the paper towels. Cheap brown paper towels. There is nothing that smells quite like them when they are wet. Add to that the really cheap toilet paper that comes in little squares. You know the box on the wall pull out a square at a time? The thin thin thin stuff? There is just a certain smell that goes with them.

So while I was drying my hands I caught a whiff of that paper towel smell and then right after it another smell. But it wasn't as strong. I couldn't figure it out. What was that? A few hours later I realized what I was smelling. It was hot eyeliner. The reason it was so faint is that it wasn't really there. It was just a scent memory. One that went with cheap paper towels.

High school.

That's the smell of a Highland High School girl's bathroom in the mid 80s. Cheap, wet, paper towels and hot eyeliner. For those of you who don't know why the eyeliner would be hot here is the 80s way to apply your eyeliner.Take out stick eyeliner. Click lighter. Hold eyeliner over flame until it starts to melt. Blow on eyeliner just enough that it won't blister going on but not enough to cool it to the point of a solid again. Apply to INSIDE of eyelid. INSIDE! With something you have just heated with an open flame! Blink back tears. Look at self in scratched and cracked mirror. Repeat with other eye.

Crazy right? I haven't smelled that in basically 30 years and there it still was.

And here is the part of that that was so odd to me. I didn't do my eyes like that. And I rarely used the bathroom at school. I am not one of those women that goes to the bathroom in a group. I have a bladder that can last a whole day without an issue. I cannot stand strong bathroom smells, like gagging can't stand. And I also had the incentive of the horror stories from my sister and her friends as to what went on in those bathrooms so unless it was an emergency I did not step foot in a bathroom at school. So four years maybe 10 times. Maybe. But probably less.

But there was the memory. I can even picture the girls doing their eyes.

And then because I was thinking about smells and school I caught a whiff of hairspray and stage makeup from the dressing rooms at the theater. Old clothes and dust from the costume storage. And then the smell of paint. Always paint. Either Little Women pink paint dust stuck in my nose for weeks or brushes in the sink that need washed, YO! Freshman! Do that!

Not to mention that the smell of a clove cigarette takes me right back to UNM and Dramafest. Why that one? Why not any of the other times we sat around smoking cloves? Don't know. But it's always Dramafest. Which reminds me of people that you would only see there. Kids from other schools whose names have faded away but I can still see their faces. And smell their cigarettes...

Now smell and memory are closely tied because of the way the brain is structured and it's completely fascinating. I highly suggest you read about it. It's amazing. But even knowing that, knowing it's there, sometimes it's weird when it hits.

Like the smell of hot eyeliner.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Post apocalyptic schmost apocalyptic....

So I just finished a book that was on a few end of year best of lists last year. It was a YA novel set in a post apocalyptic world. No not that one, not that one either...another one...

And yeah, that's how I felt about it. A lot of pieces from other books and ideas put together in a new(ish) story. Maybe if I hadn't read the others I would have liked this one more. But probably not. It was a little too predictable. A little too much insta-hero, not enough growth. And a good dose of unnecessary sexual violence.

So then I started to wonder if I just have read too many of that particular genre and that's why I didn't care for it. I hit that wall with mysteries for awhile. I read a lot of them in my early 20s. It was pretty much all I read. And then I hit the wall where I didn't want to look at another mystery. Didn't pick up a Reacher, a Spencer or a Warshawski book for a long long time. Probably 15 years. Then I did. And remembered that I loved them. Just not as a steady diet. A mix in.

So maybe I just need to take a little break from the doom and gloom starting over after it's all been ruined world.

Probably a good idea.

On another note, watching TV today at the gym but with the sound off. Ancient technology, to hear the TVs I need to bring a radio, who carries a radio anymore? So anyway I'm watching TV and CNN and FoxNews are the competing channels. So watching and reading the closed captioning and see stories on the forest fires raging in Southern California, the failing infrastructure of the US, the end of the reserves for fixing our highway systems with no plan in site on how to get the money needed, the missing school girls in Nigeria, talking heads on Fox trying to explain how the presidential approval ratings going up really doesn't mean they went up, it means they are down see watch our new math, a story on Benghazi (surprisingly CNN not Fox so much for the "you won't see this on mainstream..." though seriously if Fox isn't mainstream I don't know what is), multiple stories about the upcoming elections and how the partisan divide is just going to get broader, a story on how the latest report on climate change is a scare tactic not something that should be taken literally, a story on an oil spill and...

Okay, maybe it's not the book's fault that I need a break for awhile.

Maybe it's that it's not so much like fiction anymore to imagine a world on the brink of collapse.

God I hate the news.


Not five minutes after posting this blog a friend of mine posted this as their status update:
Looking at the technology headlines today: The FCC is destroying the internet instead of regulating it, ISPs are working on new schemes to extract more money from customers while giving them less service, the DOJ is lying to the supreme court on the behalf of spy agencies in the name of "national security," the NSA is intercepting commercially purchased tech hardware and implanting it with spy equipment before it reaches customers, and the list goes on.
Is the internet a benefit to the populace, or just a honeypot for those with the power and money to exploit it? There are times I wish I could just take it completely out of my life.

So yeah, add this to the list...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sleepy seminar...

So today I listened to that seminar I was going to listen to yesterday. You know the one I was too tired to pay attention to. The one about sleep disorders? Okay, so yeah, that was today.

And it was interesting. I actually picked up a couple of tidbits that I didn't know before about insomnia and treatments. Which is really great because if there is something I tend to know a lot about it's insomnia. I may have even written about my own insomnia once or twice or so.

So anyway when this seminar came across my email I went ahead and signed up just to see what new information there might be as well as causes and treatment options. And here are a few things I learned.

Did you know most of the testing for sleep aids is done on people who normally are classified as good sleepers? So when they are looking at improvements they are saying, we took a good sleeper and made them an excellent one! Go us!

Child, please. Tell me what you can do for an insomniac. If you can dent that case then we will talk.

And I also learned that I had already figured out a few things on my own that they have now done studies on.

The fact that sleep aids might work for me once but then not again. That's fairly typical with chronic insomnia. The belief I have that I function better than most people do with less sleep. Yep. That's also true. Which makes sense on both parts. If you are wired to have chronic insomnia, not situation caused or transient insomnia, you are designed to sleep less so you function better with less sleep. It takes really bad sleep for someone with chronic insomnia to show the signs of sleep deprivation that someone classified as a good sleeper would show with just one or two hours less sleep than normal. Which I thought was really interesting. I've always felt it to be true, but it was nice to see the studies prove it out.

But here is my big secret. I've been sleeping really well for a really long time. Not perfectly. I still get a bout or two of terrible sleep here and there but for the most part I've been consistent in getting quality sleep. I haven't really said a lot about it because (and this was mentioned in the seminar today as well which made me laugh) I tend to be a bit superstitious about my sleep. If x,y and z worked then I will do x,y and z. And I will keep it a secret that they are working so when they stop I won't have to say anything. And it's also part of why I was pushing off watching this seminar. Right now it's all working. I didn't want to do anything to mess it up.

So what have I done differently? Ready? I talked about it last year and worked on it all this past year. I accepted the fact that I am what I am and that's just fine. I went back to before I realized that other people sleep more than I do, back before I found out I had a "problem" and I thought about it. Did I feel like I was suffering? Only sometimes. When I was bored. When my sister would yell at me to go to sleep and I wasn't able to. But for the most part I just slept the amount I sleep and was awake the amount I am awake. Done and done.

I've also stopped thinking there is something wrong with me that I am a morning person. Like solidly a morning person. Don't want to stay up late. No urge. When Brent was out to sea and I was left to my own devices I actually went to sleep around 8 or 8:30 and woke up around 4. That gave me a couple of hours in the morning to finish homework or just read before heading to my first class at 7:30. Which was great. I always signed up for early classes. I was done with school by noon or one and never had to fight for parking. The one semester that I had to take a night class, serious night class it didn't get out until 10:30 I thought I would die. And consequently got my worst grade in that class as well. I'm just not an owl.

Now I go to bed around 10. It's a good compromise. I don't want to go to bed at 8 and miss out on family time. But I don't want to stay up until 1 or 2 with C either. Same way he doesn't particularly want to sleep past 10 or so but has no urge to actually wake up around 6 when Brent's alarm goes off. Let's not even talk about the fact that I've usually already been awake for awhile by that point...

I also read before bed on nights that I'm not sleepy right away. Screw the studies that say only sleep and sex in the bed. I need that time to disengage from the day. To shut down. To drift off. Reading helps quiet my head. So I read. Not for long usually. A half hour or so maybe. Then the book gets set down and I drift off. Usually asleep before 11 now. Which is excellent. I sleep soundly the first chunk then wake for awhile before doing my cat nap till morning routine. And it all works for me.

Except when it doesn't.

But here is the big lesson that is working for me right now and that I have a lot of confidence in it working for a long time. Even when sleep doesn't happen I don't freak out about it. I know that if I have a bad night, or two or even three it will settle back out again and I will get back to my little routine. That even the terrible stretches of insomnia are just the way I am wired. And that's fine. And that's made a big difference. Because stressing about not sleeping is the best possible way to ensure you won't sleep.

Which of course lends itself to a lot of life lessons.

Stop stressing about what you aren't.
Make sure you are grateful for what you are.
Notice what works.
Understand that you don't have to be like everyone else, you just have to be you.
And do what works for you not what people tell you that you have to do to be like them.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Late night last night with an early morning wake up call has left me not quite awake all day.

The funny thing is today I was going to listen to an IBP seminar I have on sleep disorders.

I need to listen to it before it expires in two days. I've had access to it for weeks and just haven't carved out the 6 hours I need to get it done.

Which is so dumb.

When I go to the seminars it's a full day. I drop Brent off, I go to the seminar, I leave there in time to pick Brent up. Full day chunked out. This time I registered for one of their web-based ones. I could have listened "live" but I had PT that day so figured I would just pick it up later. And then later got later. And then even later. And now I have two days before it expires.

And it's on sleep issues which is sort of important to me.

But I didn't listen today because I was too tired.

Which totally makes sense.

If you are me.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Check your sources...

I've written about this before in a round about way but I have it stuck in my head now and since this week is all about blowing out the systems you get it again...

I read Time and Entertainment Weekly. I listen to NPR to and from Brent's work roughly 5 days a week, probably 45 minutes total. I watch The Daily Show four days a week. And I am subscribed to a couple of local news stations' Facebook feeds for their weather reports. Basically just letting you know I am no news junkie. I don't read a daily paper (not local, not WSJ or NYT) I don't read an online daily news source (no CNN headline news or FoxNews homepage) I get most of my information from a gloss over news magazine, an entertainment report and a comedy show. I'm news light.

So when I rant about this next subject please understand where I'm coming from.

How often do you see a post about a story with the tag "I bet you won't see this on mainstream media!" or the more derisive "lamestream media" tag? It's quickly becoming a pet peeve of mine. First off because it's usually not accurate. Take the Nigerian school girl story, for instance, a couple of weeks ago it blew up on social media. "Why hasn't this been covered on mainstream media??" Well, it was. I knew about it. I heard about it when they were first taken, before the group that took them claimed responsibility. Not only did I hear about the story (including speculation that it was that terrorist group behind the kidnapping) I heard about the other girls that were taken before them. Oh did you no know about them? Or about the girls taken since? It's not because it wasn't covered, it's because you haven't been paying attention. Trust me, a hashtag on a instagram photo isn't the only place to get your information.

And before that the last big story was about that Bundy guy standing down the BLM. Now, I will say when I got the first "You won't hear about THIS on lamestream media" post in my feed, I hadn't heard about it. But it was a weekend and I don't tune in to much besides sports on the weekend so that wasn't super shocking. But here is the really weird part. Once I did get the first story about this HERO standing down the government who was coming to STEAL his cows for NO reason I went to Google and looked up more information. And of course got the rest of the story from lamestream media. Isn't that weird? How even though all of the stories said there wasn't information out there I looked anyway? And then found that there was! It's so's almost like the writers of that story only wanted me to see their spin. Now of course even MORE of his story has come out and the places that wanted to make him some sort of hero are back peddling just as fast as they can. But it was all out there. I didn't blame the news for me not being informed, they can write the story and if I don't read it, that's on me.

And that's really my point.

Most of the time it has been covered. The information is out there. And if it hasn't? Well, there's usually a reason for that as well. I get that the one story about the one kid in that one school that that one thing happened to fits your world view and you want it reported nationwide but it's one kid in one school one time and unless it's local, most of us don't care. And it's probably not that important to anyone else except that one kid, his family, and that school. It's probably not a trend. Or a disturbing sign of the coming apocalypse. It's really not news.

So I guess the bottom line for non news junkie, more concerned with playoff hockey right now than most other things, shallow world view me, is that if I know about it it's been reported. And if you are shocked that mainstream media hasn't covered it you need better news sources.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there. I hope your day is just what you deserve.

Being a mom is hard. Anyone who has had one or been one should know this. And being a mom is a lot more than just donating DNA. Lot's of step moms and adopted moms and aunties who step in as mom and just women who fill the role can testify to that. It's a complicated job. And even when you think you are doing okay you might find that you aren't. Or when you aren't sure you are doing well you might find you did a really good job.

As you might guess I don't make a big deal out of the day for myself. C usually buys me a gift, which is lovely, but it's not necessary. We go out to breakfast, but we do that every Sunday, we just make sure to keep in mind that EVERYONE is going out to breakfast and choose accordingly. But it's a made up holiday, just like Valentine's Day, so I don't really care. In fact the woman who made it up (a hundred years ago, happy anniversary Mother's Day) ended up hating what happened to the holiday. It was supposed to be a day of honor for mothers, she set it up to honor the memory of her own mother. But by the end of her life she had seen it morph in to a greeting card and box of chocolate day and she hated that.

Now I'm not one to turn down a box of chocolates, but I get her sentiment.

Brent, C and I actually talked about this yesterday. I don't like "off the hook" holidays or gestures. You know, you can be an ass the rest of the year as long as you get sappy and sentimental on the "day" (Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, your anniversary, what ever) then you are off the hook for being a douche. Nope, sorry, you aren't. I want good behavior most days which will then get you off the hook for the rare days where you are a douche. It's harder for sure, but makes for a better, more even keel life, in my opinion.

So swinging back to Mother's Day and being a mom. Every year when it rolls around and I get something for my mother (usually flowers and I make sure to call her, I might not care about the day, but she does) I remember back to a turning point that could have changed everything.

When we first left New Mexico I was not on the best of terms with my family back home. Now, I say that but I will guarantee you that they had no idea how angry I really was. They knew I wasn't happy with some recent decisions but I don't think they realized how bad it was. I can remember standing in front of a rack of Mother's Day cards debating whether or not to send one to my mom. I was on the the tipping point right then of crossing the relationship with anyone left in New Mexico off. Just being done. I had had my fill. I was angry. I was hurt. And to be perfectly honest I was just tired of all of it. And because I couldn't see it ever getting better I thought very hard about just being done. And not buying a card would be the first step in undoing that relationship.

I bought the card and sent it. Not happily. But I did it.

And things eventually got better.

Because just like I made the choice that day to buy the damn card I made the choice over and over again over the next few years to let things go. To forgive where it was needed. To understand that people do the best they can for the most part. And that though the choices that were made weren't the ones I would have made they were their choices and they made them for their own reasons. And to understand that as frustrated and angry as I get with them they get that way with me. We are all very different. But that doesn't mean that we aren't all doing our best.

And it doesn't mean that my mother isn't awesome. Because she is. And if I hadn't sent that card I would have forgotten that. And I would have missed years of being reminded of that. And once I had my own child and I have had to make decisions regarding his life I understand how sometimes there are no good ones. Just ones that are less bad. And you do what you can. Will I ever completely agree with her choices as a mother? No. But she will never completely agree with mine either. But that doesn't mean we both aren't good moms doing the best we can with what we have. Or that we've both made mistakes that our kids have had to move past.

So if you are on the fence about calling your mom today, call. Even if it's a five minute stilted conversation. Keep that door open. Keep that relationship going. It just might get better.

Trust me.