Smack Talking About the Ex Again?

Nov 14, 2014 at 4:24 PM
My ex-husband and I were discussing smack talking about exes the other day. We both see that come up in parenting groups on Facebook.

I don't think it's cool to do that. Sure, you might have a beef with him or her. You're exes, it comes with the territory. But if you've got kids with that person, you're in an unbreakable contract with that child that even divorce cannot dissolve, and the simplest requirement of that contract is to not harm them. Smack talk about the other parent breaks their little hearts. Just don't do it. Anywhere.

Facebook is a public forum, and your child, someday, might be able to peruse an archive of your posts. Would you want them to see those snippy cutting remarks you made?

Does it help improve the situation to speak poorly of someone behind their back? I don't think so. You should be trying to smooth things, not rile things up. If you can, go ahead and try as hard as you can to turn that negative relationship into a positive one. Steve and I could probably say a lot of nasty things about each other, if we wanted to be hateful. We chose not to, despite reasons we could have held onto. And our children are the better for it. It really needs to be about raising children together, not about the anger and failings and upsets and stupid stuff you've both done.

Not a Christmas Person

Nov 12, 2014 at 4:23 PM
If you must do Christmas the way the commercials want you to, try to buy locally and avoid the chain stores. Support your local economy, by shopping where the money stays local, feeding a family instead of a global conglomerate. Just a thought for those of you who are already a-tingle with Christmas fever.

I'm personally not a big Christmas person. I love the holiday itself, especially the pagan parts, and the local mythologies that have been sprinkled in. Winter elves, Sinter Klaas, evergreen boughs, holly, mistletoe, these are all local pagan winter solstice/ winter saints holiday traditions. I love them all. 

Anything that symbolizes hope during dreary times, I love. 

What I hate, and why I am now gravitating AWAY from Christmas more and more, is the sheer ridiculousness of the vastness of the freaking out that people do. 

Black Friday wasn't a thing when I was a child. And now the Christmas rush is starting even BEFORE Thanksgiving. On my birthday (all saints day) there were already stores putting out Christmas decorations. 

Some stores didn't even wait for Halloween to be over. The Christmas section was already up at Wally world while I was shopping for Trick-or-treater loot. That has to be wrong. Even to Christians. I'm assuming even the hardcore Christmas lover is now seriously doubting whether Christmas really needs to start three months early.

So, here's my prescription for the over-commercialization of Christmas. BOYCOTT the big stores. Shop somewhere local, somewhere unique.

Stay away from malls and stripmalls and big huge soul-less stores. Go find the local toy store and shop there. Go give your money to the one remaining local grocery store or local drug store that hasn't gone under and find your gifts there.

Some people tell you to donate to charity in their name. Yeah, that's totally unrealistic with kids. But if you shop local, you'll stop throwing money into the problem that is sucking up the soul of Christmas, taking all that is special right out of Christmas. 

Shop local, shop small, and you'll maybe help undo some of the soulless corporate takeover of your apparently favorite holiday. 

Smaller Grown ups

Nov 11, 2014 at 4:22 PM
If you have children, remember one thing above all else: That is a whole person. Speak to them and treat their questions and considerations as if they were already full-sized, so that they know how important they are to you.

Children really are our future, and when they grow up, you don't want them hating you.

When my children were babies, I flat out refused to allow anyone to speak to them in baby talk. There were people in my family that this highly offended, and some of my friends thought I was nuts. 

When my children started school, I asked each and every teacher to please speak to them like they were full grown people, and never talk down to them. 

Whenever they asked me a question, I tried to stop everything to explain the answer as well as I possibly could, so that I wasn't leaving them with ANY gaps of understanding. I never once said, "I'll explain it when you're older."

Whenever my daughters asked me hard questions, such as about sex, or about mythical characters we all pretend are real, I told the truth, even when I knew a piece of their childhood could shatter. 

Whenever my children misspoke or sounded funny making mistakes, I never laughed at it, or told them how cute they sounded, or otherwise reinforced their mistakes. 

All of this kind of treatment resulted in a different kind of mother/daughter relationship than most. More like a team, a set of colleagues, with tons of love, but tons of respect as well.  

It's not as though there is a lack of discipline, in fact, perhaps more than usual, as I never waver from my word to them. 

I never lied. Not once. I don't lie to my children. Not about Santa, not about where their nutella bottle went. I just don't lie. Ever.  Even white lies. They have only the truth from me, and I think it has made me someone they rely on to be completely always forever there for them in a way most parents aren't. 

Now, we're almost through the teen years and we still have a rock solid friendship and the exact same relationship we did when they were younger. Because I never gave them a reason to rebel. They were always my equals.

Just food for thought.

Framing Marijuana

Nov 6, 2014 at 11:59 AM
I realize that you will mostly disagree with me. But here's the way I think:

The entire debate about marijuana/medical marijuana in this country is backward, and the intended solution of Pharma controlled distribution only makes the problems I mention above worse. Attempting to solve the drug crisis in this country by making legal vendors out of the criminals in the pharmaceutical industry doesn't resolve anything.  Why are we letting pharmaceutical giants push into new markets this way?

And yes, this is a timely statement. There will again be a vote at some point, and it will run the wrong way whichever it goes. I'm hoping you'll recall that there are more than two viewpoints possible.

The marijuana debate is incorrectly framed, and no one seems to notice.

It's not #1 medical marijuana is good #2 medical marijuana is bad. What happened to the debate about simply ending prohibition?

I don't do drugs, it's not in my nature. But I'm all for ending prohibition, and instead prosecuting reckless or violent deeds committed under the influence. Exactly the way we do for alcohol. Currently we are prosecuting ownership or ingestion of substances, without any true crime being committed. We are not sending addicts to rehab, we're sending them to jail. We're putting people in jail for their entire lives because they had an herbal substance on their person.

Until a crime is committed, it shouldn't be a crime. If I'm holding a knife, I'm not committing a crime. Until I become aggressive against someone or rob someone or threaten someone, I am not committing a crime. It is not thusly with drugs.

Removing prohibition would restore individual liberty, place the responsibility on the individual, and remove the black market, as well as resolve a BLM land grab epidemic. I've seen farming communities decimated by barely legal land grabs backed up by flimsy laws that shouldn't hold water for a second in a constitutional republic.

These are rights that should never have been taken in the first place, ownership of property, rights against search and seizure.

Why are we asking the state to protect us from drugs? Isn't that our own job? Where is independent responsibility going? Why is it acceptable to continue to make it the government's job to accomplish your own tasks when you've all seen how poorly they accomplish the ones they already have been handed?

Stop handing your precious ideals to the government to enforce. No one is happy with that arrangement except the ones holding more and more power.

A month away

Jun 3, 2014 at 7:48 PM
I have spent the last month in Costa Rica. A week of that was awash in absolute pandemonium, with 17 children from my daughters school present. It was exhausting, and very compressed.

The rest of the time has been spent in a peaceful quiet solitude, mostly walking on beaches. I needed it. Life has given me a tumultuous couple of years... so much so that I barely blogged.

You may or may not have noticed, but I did. The art slowly leeching out of my life. Much less blogging. Much less singing. Not to mention piano, painting, drawing, or dancing…

Writing I still do. I can't help it. The hours of sneaking off into my office to write, with a nagging memory of a frown of disapproval for not having been working when promised. But such is my life. To fit the time into do anything artistic, something else must be allowed to lapse. Workety work work work.

I didn't do much of any kind of expression. The humming and singing died out... Physical illness played a part. But I'm recovering. Difficulties with relationships played a part. Being stressed beyond my limits played a part. 

But a month away spent mostly in quiet reflection has done a world of good for my sense of peace. Peace being essential to the creation of art. To the creation of anything.

I don't know why this noisy tropical country provides more stillness than my home life. But it does. There's something to not being a part of what is around you that allows you a sense of tranquility.

I'm hoping that I can retain this sense of calm once I have returned to the busy repetitious workaday life of my home. And the people there, who have waited patiently for my return, not understanding probably as well as I would like the degree to which I desperately needed some space.

As I near 40, I am just beginning to learn about myself how very much I prefer solitude to constant companionship. Or at least long stretches of solitude between times spent crunched elbow to elbow with others.

I'm not terribly comfortable with this fact, this lesson I have learned about myself. I would prefer to be a very sociable creature. The life of the party, the woman everyone knows brings laughter where she goes. And to a degree, I'm a social person. I can be depended on to help any of my friends when they need it. I don't shun the company of those I love. But, I find refuge in the silent spaces, the reflection time.

I know myself. I understand myself. And that's good enough for me when I am alone. I don't get lonely until a breadth of time that stretches the patience of those who are lonely without me. 

I've been here long enough, in this paradise of monocongos and birds in tall trees, or beaches and morning laughter from jokes in a foreign tongue, in this place of displaced people whose emptiness jars, in this land of wandering addicts, to now miss my children and my man, to miss the companionship and laughter of mealtime shared. To miss the sanity of understanding every word spoken around you.

I once again need a body beside me in the bed, and people to talk to. I think this good thing, to be coming home.

But, I hope I can retain the calm I've found, long enough to pick up the dropped strands of my various arts, and begin to weave them back into my life. They are sorely missed.

Headed New Directions

Apr 18, 2014 at 8:03 PM
For the last umpteen years (17 to be precise) my life has been dominated by the various neccessities related to raising children.

Within short order, they'll stop attending college part time and head off somewhere full time. They already spend most of their time working, on course, in school, babysitting, on projects, and at various outside classes.

In short, I now have young women, industrious and ready to be adults, in my home. Even if they don't both know it quite yet.

This means that the life I've grown incredibly accustomed to, with my children as my only constant, needs to shift. And shift soon.

I'm headed back to Costa Rica again, for a few weeks, possibly a few months. I need to think about what shape my life should become once it is no longer kid-shaped.

My friends suggest I write the great american novel, actually anyone who's read my story suggests it.

My sweetheart wants us to move to St Louis. Where he's from. I honestly can't imagine a less inviting place to live from my perspective. I have no allies there. But then again, he has not built up any allies here.

I don't really like living in Florida. But honestly, I don't want to move back to California. The stress levels of living there are what broke me down and caused my two years of poor health that I am just now recovering from.

So, once I'm back from Costa Rica, which I love desperately, I need to reconnect with this state. The state I've had an on-again off again love affair with for so many years. I intend to trek about, wander through the architectural richness of St Augustine, visit the keys, find something to love about this place.

Nearly all it has ever represented to me aside from heat and humidity is an ever present and difficult family dynamic. So perhaps it needs to start representing something else to me.

Or I need to find my niche in the state. Someplace that feels "me" ish. Because Tampa Bay most definitely doesn't, with the possible exception of Ybor City, where I sometimes feel a bit "Portland-y". I'm a west coast gal. But I can't be that anymore, if I want to live anywhere near my daughters once they are grown. They seem to love it here.

And they are definitely grown. Almost.