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Oh…. Hey There

Its been 2 months since i’ve written here… not uncommon I know…. but today… the day after Christmas… The house is quietish… and picked upish….. and i’m eating a piece of Pumpkin Pie with a pile of whip cream the size of my face … I figured it was time to catch up here… and prepare for a new year.

To say  the least…. this last year has been absolutely tragic. I’ve spent hours upon hours reading stories about the mass shooting in Vegas, Hangings in Mexico…  the natural disasters affecting multiple countries, and sexual assault cases that make me ill. It’s hard not to be affected or impacted — some of us much more so than others.

That’s why today I wanted to do something different.

Rather than go off on my personal opinions about each event that has transpired (because I think the entire social media world has got that covered)… I wanted to shift my focus to something more positive.

Some people may view it as selfish and some may not. However, the only thing that brings me joy and realization of my privilege in this world is gratitude.

As you (may or may not) know…  I LOVE CHRISTMAS. It’s a magical, mysterious, and unicorn-esque holiday that no one really seems to understand — but just know that it exists.

So, here are 12 things I am thankful for this Christmas –  2017

1. My health… Yes, Really.

This year has been a roller-coaster of emotion for my personal physical health. I’ve been in and out of blood work, some terribly intrusive procedures, and am currently rubbing special honey from New Zealand on yet another virus…. this time MRSA… I’m grateful that it is not worse. It can always be worse

2. My beautiful family

There is not much to say here other than I feel so extremely grateful to have the support system that I do. I love each and every one of my family members, and am so excited to grow old with one another… Tall Child and her Tinies make everything an adventure… Small Child and his mustache growing rebellion… Smallest child and her extended time with us now. The Perea’s with their black baby girl jesus in a manger on the porch… and well… if you don’t know betty… you just don’t understand 🙂

 

 

3. Genuine friendships

I’ve always had my core group of friends (whom I am eternally thankful for). This Christmas I got word the local food pantry was out of Toilet Paper…. Yes… Toilet Paper… The only budget I had left was my friends christmas gifts…. Guess what they all got for a gift this year…. a case of toilet paper… or socks and hard candy for the veterans gift bags… donated in their name … and you know what… they thanked me for it.

While at the food bank this little monkey got informed that if you don’t eat right… even santa will not deliver lucky charms… so we delivered those right to the food bank as well….

4. Being equipped to handle life’s’ obstacles

Okay, okay, it’s super hard for me to get through one blog post without bragging about Mr Amazing…. I have a very hard time with the amount of privilege we have with all that is going on in the world… in fact… it is hard not to wallow sometimes in the depravity of it all… So how do you tell the one you love so much that you really just do not want to have christmas at all? when his favorite thing to do is buy you gifts? Well… Let me show you just how amazing he is.

This company donates a pair of socks to the homeless for every pair sold… they also employ them.

This beautiful necklace was made by a sex slavery rescue… Named Rose. As a way to get her on her own feet and it is absolutely beautiful…

These lotto tickets were alot of fun…I won a weeks worth of water and meals for someone in need  With the purchase of this beautiful candle someone in Kenya without light received a solar light

 This Keychain was made by rescued woman in india… giving them work to keep them from sex slavery.

These bracelets were designed by displaced women in Northern Uganda … combating poverty.

These chocolates had a cause and were delicious! They were a donation to darfur.

This bag is what held it all… from buy the change… is designed with a hand written letter from a syrian girl who escaped the war… she escaped because she was able to find work at somewhere like this foundation… the words written on the bag are heart breaking… and yet I will carry it with me everywhere… and let people read it… they employ trafficked children and displaced women.

5. America. Just, being American. 

I love this country and every single thing about it. The beautiful nature, the welcoming people, and the diversity. I know we’re not all sunshine and rainbows — but we certainly are not what our government portrays us to be either.

6. Feeling safe

I am thankful and realize how privileged I am to be able to freely speak about the things I am passionate about. Not everyone can say that they have the opportunity to voice their opinion without fear of repercussions, but I am hopeful that one day we will all feel safe in our communities.

7. How talk has been about the importance of mental health

It’s truly refreshing to see how many people are now vocal about their personal experiences with mental health. This year has been a tough one — but it has also taught me that ignoring something so very important just isn’t an option. Thanks to all those who have been my rocks.

8. People who share deep and personal stories on the Internet

While we’re on this topic — I am so incredibly thankful for people who are bold enough to share their stories in a public forum for all to see. Stories that just 10 years ago would have been brushed under the rug or criticized. You’ve made it easier for everyone else, and I’m on board AF with your bravery.

9. Every opportunity I have been given career wise

Nothing should ever go under-appreciated, and I worry that sometimes we forget this when it comes to our day jobs. I am super grateful for every opportunity that comes my way.

10. Charlie Bosephis

Two weeks or so before Christmas Mr Amazing had to listen to me put my foot down… I was getting a kitten of my very own… I am 44 years old and have wanted one my whole life and god dammit I was going to get one… not some purebred savannah cat that he envisioned either… a rescue cat… and It was going to be all mine… and No one would stop me… That next day he went and got me the smallest weakest plainest close to death cat he could… and we ALL fell in love with her…. but mostly me… because she is mine… all mine… and I love her beyond words. Its hard to believe looking at her that she was under three pounds when she got here.. and scared to be put down… she definitely has tripled in size in just a few weeks… and is a basic menace to society… fits right in.

11. Strangers that go out of their way to do something nice

Rare, but so so so important. We see you, strangers.

12. Lastly, pumpkin pie.

Because I’m currently scarfing down a piece as I type this.

So Much LOVE AND LIGHT to everyone out there as we wrap up this year… 2018 will be what we make it… do not ever let complacency get in the way of decency. If you are going to complain… DO SOMETHING… and well… Be AMAZING! (like mr amazing).

There is still more good than bad… there is still happiness in the greif… there is still more love than hate.

And there is hope…. So Much Hope. (A Spark… Like StarWars taught ya!)

 

Like sand in an hourglass… these are the times of my life.

Soooooo Im gonna write… because I have so much in my head that is just screaming to come out….

I survived the summer… and the arts festival….

The above is a brief photo tour… but let me tell you about it… First off I stayed home this summer (Well not really… ever) but I mean I was unemployed…. So I brought in a Foreign exchange student and did an art show… and had what was probably the most stressful, and greatest summer of my life…. Aina was the College aged student who came to stay with us, and it was kismet… she was like our child from another country…. she is 21 and we instantly fell in love with her. The last photo is all of us crying as we said goodbye.

Small Child enrolled in school… I did the art festival… in 103 degree weather… and marked that shit right off my bucket list. We spent time with family and friends… the two tiniest tinys turned 1 and 2… and well…. look through the photos… memories were made… and times that will forever be irreplaceable are in our hearts.

I was able to stay with my smallest step daughter… who possibly will be us full time going forward.. and it was something that I wouldnt change a thing about. (More on that later)

The kids started school… and this morning I accepted a state job in the office of education. This is a whole different world for me, as Ive always had a fast paced marketing world… but I am turning 44 next month and have nothing to show for it. The state will offer 401K and benefits and some stability. Leaving me to pursue my passion outside of work.

Currently ive stopped with the street art… im sure just for a few days honestly… Im sick again… double antibiotics who’s side effects are worse than the illness… but at the end of the ten days the infection will be gone…. Small child is in college… wtf…. smallest is in the 6th grade and my first tiny has started kindergarten.

September is coming… in 48 hours and for the first time in my adult life i welcome it (If september confuses you… browse september in the blog history)

I will start work… and I just now booked my first ever girls weekend… San Diego here we come!

Our final summer adventure was a trek to get into the path of totality for the eclipse (Cue the photo montage again…because im on antibiotics and cannot think straight to type)

I really dont know why some of those are upside down… but there you have it… it was the perfect ending to the perfect summer…. Perfect means all kinds of things to me…. especially now that it is over.

OH! also!… we stopped being renters in our home… and bought it

.

Lastly…. This happened last night… and I need to say something

Mr amazing has been so fucking amazing… I cannot even tell you how blessed I am… this picture shows you how blessed… You see that HUGE family? its ours… And well… I am so grateful for everyone in it… but Mr Amazing most of all… He is my best friend… my biggest fan… and the love of my life. He has brought more happiness into my life than I can even express and continues to do so on a daily basis. I tell him all the time, but I think day to day he forgets that they are not just words… He is the best thing thats ever happened to me… and I love him beyond measure.

Fini!

Dear Johnathon

Dear Son,

Today you are a man… I feel like you’ve been one since before you even arrived but….In the eyes of the law, you are a man. I know, right? Weird? After all this time as a kid? But it’s true… You can vote… You can fight and die for your country.

These things don’t make you a man any more than your shoe size makes you a man… There are many so-called men out there wearing what amounts to clown shoes… They are not men… They are boys wearing the bodies of men… But let’s not dwell on them. I’m here to tell you what I think a man is. These are the things  important things in life.

 When you were small and we read stories together. Remember? Today I tell you the story of You… or the You I see in you. The seed of You that your father and I planted 18 years ago… the day you emerged and the day I first sang to you your Sunshine song.

You are a man because you’ve decided to be one

Is it really that simple? Can’t becoming a man be something more complicated, like finding the just the right shirt and wearing that man-shirt with just the right air of swagger that says to anybody who cares to look… “Hey there! I’m a man!”? Well, no. Sorry to say there is no man-shirt… No sign that you can paste to your forehead. Being a man is far more than looking the part. Man-ness comes from inside you.

So take a deep breath and decide once and for all to own your future, to claim your birthright as a brilliant star, and to walk the path that you create — you and your sweet magic in the jungle of rejection, mistrust, uncertainty, and misdirection.

If there is anything I’ve neglected to tell you enough times over the past 18 years, it’s this… You are a rebel. You were born for greatness. You were born to change worlds…  I tell you this because I know you. I made you…and although I’ve made many missteps along the path of my own life… you are not one of them.

You are here for a reason… Live your reason with every part of you… Don’t stop until your heart beats in time with the universe and you know you are magic.

What Sort of Man are you?

That’s up to you. Completely. Being a man… as I see it… is being your own man. Being your own man means not taking someone else’s path. It means standing up to people who try to tell you what to do or how to do it. It means saying no… maybe dozens of times a day. It means saying yes to what’s in your heart… even though your head says something else. It means knowing that your thoughts lie to you sometimes but your heart never will.

Being your own man means being a man of your word — saying what you will do and then showing you mean it by taking action. Being your own man means walking in tune with your unique and beautiful heartbeat. It means doing the right thing even though that thing may be scary…or difficult…or you think will piss people off…or even seems dangerous. You do it because it’s the right thing to do. You know it’s the right thing to do because your heart tells you so. Boys do what is easiest. Men do what is right.

Men are good.

A good man knows himself… first and foremost. He knows who he is and what his mission is. He knows his shadow side too. A good man enters the depths of his soul and stares his shadow in the face… to shine light upon what has lived in darkness. A good man treats others the way they would want to be treated. He is fair in word and action. He admits to being wrong when he is wrong… and he defends his values when they are attacked.

A good man knows how to love. He loves with his whole heart and he knows that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but of strength. A good man tells the truth — his truth — and joyfully accepts the truths of others… knowing there is room for all. A good man lives for the joy of being alive and of knowing he is doing his best.  A good man constantly strives to be a better man.

A good man is a great man. And the world needs more great men. I believe you are a great man.

I LOVE YOU

There is truth in the saying that you cannot truly love others until and unless you love yourself. This phrase used to piss me off…but it was because I lived in denial of my self-hatred and wanted my love to count for something. Don’t let that be your legacy… instead… make love for yourself your top priority — always. You are an amazing being… a bright star.

 Maybe you don’t yet know your purpose. That’s okay.

I believe we are all here to love and be loved. So give of yourself generously… willingly…constantly. Wear your heart on the outside and let your love shine forth. It will be a beacon that calls other willing hearts to you. Yes… you will hurt sometimes. Yes… you will feel lonely sometimes. But let yourself love.

You’ve already lost some… you will lose more… what about sadness?

A great man has the wisdom to seek wise help when required. He knows he’s not an island and does not exist alone. A great man shines light on the shadow of his fears. He lets himself feel sad when there is something to feel sad about. He lets himself grieve what was lost and what might have been, but does not become lost in the loss and the might-have-been. He channels his anger into a force to be reckoned with…. for good

 

Choose to feel everything… then align yourself with joy
 
Find your community.

I believe we are all sparks of the divine. Remember the sacred places inside you and use them as your your inner compass. Spark your inner fire so that you may be a lighthouse for others to follow when their own lights dim.

There is god in you… A Light…  I see it even if you yet do not. Know it is there and remember it on those dark days and nights when nothing seems right and you feel lost. Remember the spark inside you — it’s light will never fully dim.

I believe in you, son. I believe in your heart, your wisdom, and your courage. I believe in the path you now claim that lies before you. I love you like the sun and I am deeply proud of the boy you have been and equally proud of the man you are becoming. A good man. A great man. It begins today. The world needs you.

 

I need you.

Mom

Happy Birthday Miss B!!

Today is celebrating you. It’s your day. It’s the day you met the world. Remember that celebrating you today isn’t simply about streamers… balloons… and presents. It also means creating space to think about your life…who you are… and who you want to be.

I have dreams for you… my step daughter… wishes for you that birthdays bring to the surface. I have messages I want you to hear from me… sometimes very clearly in word like today but always very clearly in my ordinary conversations and interactions.

I want hope for you. I want you to know that you always have hope no matter what… that you are never stuck where you are… hope that there is always another opportunity… always a way… that there is not simply always a “better” but there is always a “best” that you are moving towards.

I want meaning and purpose for you.When you wonder and you wander, I want you to remember that there is never a day—never a moment—that is without meaning and purpose for you.

I want joy for you. I want your heart to be filled with joy to the point of overwhelming. And… when it is not… I want you to choose to go fill it again.

I want connection for you. You were made for relationship; it’s how you are wired. I want you to fill your life with others to both serve them and be served by them. Within those relationships, I want you to experience beauty over and over and a picture of what it means to be in relationship with someone that is like your daddy… someone who knows how to love without bounds.

I want inspiration for you. I want you to be able to stop moving and stop doing long enough to be notice the amazing around you. I want you to not feel like you are competing with others but that you are inspired by them to press on in the unique path set before you.

I want kindness for you. I want you to seek to do good towards others without cause or reason not because it’s the right thing to do—though it is—but because you know what it feels like to receive undeserved kindness and that your response to the kindness you have been shown both from others and even me would simply give you a spirit of kindness towards others.

I want victory for you. I take great pleasure in having a front row seat to your success, my love. And… I know you will succeed in so much. But… you will taste failure … lots. It is what we call inevitable; life isn’t life without the experience of failure. You are not perfect; and…  failure will come in the context of performance and in the context of relationship. It’s unavoidable.

I want gratitude for you. In all situations, every day… when things are hard…when things are not… when you are energized and excited… when you are tired and feel unable to go on… when you cannot help but smile… when you want to rest your head on your arms and not move… no matter what… I want you to be able to call out the good and see that you are blessed.

These are the messages I want you to hear as we celebrate you today and dream about the young woman you are becoming. And… you know what? They are the messages I need you to read over and over until you know what each word means. And… then I am inviting you now to remind me of them when I need reminding. I may seem old to you… and maybe I sort of am. But… I’m not too old to want big things for me too…to not only be better but be the best I can be too. And, I think life gave you to me to help me get there.

I Love You!

Dear Tall Child… Your birthday is not in July…. Sooooo I suck at your letter writing

But here it is in July

To my angel girl,

As I sat in here writing this morning,,,  I was filled with panic when as I realized because your birthday is not in the same week as your two siblings I often forget to write for you…. when you are usually my inspiration and  I began to think about all the things I fear. I think what I fear the most would be losing my memory and not knowing who Mr. Amazing and my smalls are… or not recognizing my grandchildren. I was filled with dread… imagining a situation where I wouldn’t know who I really was. You guys are who I am

I think what I fear the most would be losing my memory…To me…this would be worse than death. For death is a final ending of life on this earth, and the continuation of the soul’s journey. But being alive and not knowing those who love you and those who you once loved—that was too hard to imagine.

Suddenly I decided you were an adult and I could write your letter anytime. I smiled with relief—The words were just lying there dormant… and needed to come to the surface… SO MANY WORDS!

And even though I wonder: what if this really was the beginning of a mental deterioration that… once started… could only progress? I realized that since we never know what is in store… we must take the time now to say the things we don’t want left unsaid. And so, my dear daughter!

Know that more than anything else… I wanted to be a mother. The longer I had to wait… and the weirder way children came into my life…the more I knew how important it was to me. When you came to my home I was never happier to be home… playing..  cooking (HA! I cooked!)… reading (DUMBLEDORE DIED)… singing or dancing with you. I always hoped you knew that in my life you all came first. Ahead of work… Mario… Everything…. I was proud of the fact that…  while we did not always have as much material wealth back then… we were able to get by…  and hopefully you were all content with the fact that there was never a day that I wouldn’t have given everything I owned up… Just to have you come to me.

Know that I am proud of you… Everyday. Of your accomplishments and achievements, but more importantly… of who you have become in life. Not what you do… but who you are. Your caring for others … your sensitivities to those around you… your love and compassion.

Know that I realize I made mistakes… Sometimes I pushed too hard…sometimes I did not push nearly enough. I may have seemed distant at times…  usually because I was preoccupied with concern for another of your siblings. Sometimes it may have seemed that one or another of you got all the attention… and you were left on your own. Though I do not really think any of you were loved with any less intensity…I imagine you may have felt neglected or unimportant when my attentions seemed focused elsewhere.

I have been blessed to see you grow and find your way in life. We have watched you stumble… and tried hard to let you trip and fall but still be there to help Band-Aid your cuts… The hardest thing for a parent to do is to let go… Your midnight call from Idaho helped with that (Bahahahaha – Im in Idaho… because what are you gonna do? ground me?)

When I light candles and meditate I plead with the Universe to watch over each of you…  your babies daddy… and your children… I know that in the chain of our untraditional relations I am but a small link. But that link connects me with you and it connects you and your children as it continues through time.

But if you did not know it before… then I trust you will know now that you are the greatest gift given to me in this world.

I’m sorry that I gave you a heart stronger than a bear….  because it will take you years to learn that not everyone loves like you do. I am constantly in admiration of your desire to help others and I know that you’ve felt the sting of being used… hold onto to your generosity against those who only know how to take.

I’m sorry that you see only the good in everyone.

Sorry … not sorry.

I wish that I could instill all of my lessons into you… but I know that you needed to learn on your own. I can spend days with you in the moonlight telling you life’s truths, but in the end my experiences won’t necessarily become yours.

I’m sorry that you feel everything as deeply as you do.

There are caverns inside of your soul that ache to feel everything that this life has to offer. I can see the way that you feel compassion for strangers… and how you sometimes just stop to look at me as if I hung the stars in the sky… yep… I’ve seen it! don’t deny it!

I can see the way that you are brimming with the ability to feel the world around you and with it… all of the heartache and magic it can offer.

You might have moments where you wish that this wasn’t so,,, and while I’m sorry that I have given this quality to you… it’s a gift.

And so.. while I am sorry (not sorry) that you are so much like me… I also couldn’t be more proud of you.

I see the way that you forgive everyone around you without a second thought… and how you already have learned to stick up for yourself and your needs.

I see the way that you’re already so much smarter than I was…so much better equipped to handle the ways of the world… and in those instances… I know that there is no doubt you will one day learn how to use your wings. Because you’re my angel.

 

You are so much more… my warrior princess… my fairy… and most of all…my heart.

As you grew older…  the world began to tell you that magic doesn’t exist… and while I know that you may have your faith in “fairies” tested… I hope that you continue to wish on falling stars and believe in all that is unseen in this world.

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~ Roald Dahl

I’m sorry that you are so much like me… but only because I know how hard this world will try to change you and at times break you. But more than anything else… I love you more than there are stars in the sky.

So, while every day you may strive to show how different you are from me… there is no doubt—nor has there ever been—that you are my angel girl… my daughter.

And I couldn’t be more proud of that fact.

You know your sweet babies are the light of my life… My failure to mention them was only because I wanted this to be for you… I fucking love you.

Mom

Winter Montage

  A photo journal entry…show us what winter looks like in your town.

So little known fact… when your small avoids senior pictures… and you wait until the last minute to take them… you take them in the snow!

That same small with his childhood friend… they go to rival schools… and are fake fighting in front of the third rival school…

Because graduation announcements should be fun… and the fact that he is growing up makes me wanna punch him in the face!

They are pretending to steal this car… which if I werent photographing… they probably would

This funny tilted sidewalk picture was probably my favorite….

They were freezing!!

Stay Warm Folks!!! We have more winter ahead!

Live like the Italian

My son is leaving for Italy this June… right after graduation…. Lately being an American woman … an american anything…has been both a source of pride… and … well lets just say we will get this all sorted out.

But the Infamous

Light and Shade Challenge

… who I used to mostly respond with fiction short stories to their prompts… but I find reality needing so much more attention these days… have prompted my gypsy soul…. that travels the world… which apparently I have given my Small … a taste of Italy.

Image from WikiCommons, taken by Andrea Pavenello and used under the Creative Commons Agreement

 

      Yes.. I realize this is a bit of a stretch with this image… but it is what it sparked in my mind… and this is my blog… so we are going with it

Eat a Light dinner….Buy natural… fresh foods–preferably organic. Italians frequent local farmers’ markets every week and buy breads at bakeries,… fish and fish mongers and meat at butchers. Or… better yet… learn to grow your own food… Sure… they have supermarkets…  but on regular occasion… food is purchased fresh for use the same day…. Dinner is about celebrating a day of hard work…. and family…. Italians respect their elders much more than Americans. They also dote on their children and consider them as the most precious things in their lives… Slow Down and Stop Rushing… Most of the time we do not take a lunch break… or eat on the run during the day… Dinner can be an all night event… talk… drink… be merry…. and enjoy your time… Americans drink far more wine and hard liquor than Italians do… even though most Italians will have wine and occasional cocktails…. The difference is they drink wine with meals for the taste–not to forget the stresses of the day…  Italians will also have a small aperitif before a meal… Drink for the taste and with meals to drink like an Italian… Embrace people… The Italian hug and kiss. Old men walk arm in arm–women do too… Even men embrace and kiss each other on the cheek… We are way too distant from each other… Hugging a friend to show how glad you are to see them is a great thing… Don’t let a day go by without touching another human being… and animal… pets count! Take a walk with your family or friends. Each night in every town in Italy, Italians get out after dinner to walk in the piazza or the main viale (boulevard). They call it the passeggiata It’s a time to relax and digest… Meet and visit neighbors… relatives and friends… It’s also a time to shut off the TV and just be still for a moment. Finally…. Learn to live with less…Smaller houses and apartments and smaller cars… That is the Italian way… oh and PIZZA!

Sunday Morning is my favorite holiday

Every Sunday Morning I get a playdate with my favorite young men/toddlers and the newest little tiny princess…. I take this opportunity to take them places that they do not normally get to go… and it of course makes me the first to take them to the zoo… or to ride a roller coaster… or to go down a water slide… It has become quite legendary…. a great example of some of the lengths I go can be found throughout this blog…. but Ironically the favorite story ever came from a missed week… and if you missed… you’re going to want to see this – GrandParents Day Out

But just this morning I was tweeting our local news channel and museum about a lego exhibit… and then I saw the prompt from Kat…. must be a sign.

 List your favorite local kid-friendly activities.

Im pretty lucky… I live in a beautiful area…. that has all four seasons in their full glory…. Surrounded by mountains… and I live in the desert…. So there is quite a bit to do… However they are little…. and Sunday is ummmmm Sacred around here? Meaning nothing is open… ever… LOL so we get creative…

This weekend we will be at The Leonardo (The lego exhibit sounds amazing)

Some of our other small child adventures have included… The Zoo... The Natural History Museum…. Bounce Houses are always a hit!

The list goes on and on…. In fact we have been doing this for over a year now… If you don’t have a regularly scheduled adventure date with the smalls who hold your heart… I highly suggest it… here are a few images of pure joy 🙂 (You are just going to have to tilt your head… Its too early to fix some of these)

Ofcourse some of our favorite memories is just at home… in our toy room… with a home made breakfast and arts and crafts.

 i

 

Merry Musings of a seasonally affected Mind.

Write a blog post inspired by the word: Merry.

(and just like that, like I didn’t take a year off from the writers workshop… here is my post.)

I love the word Merry! To be Merry is to be cheerful… light-hearted…carefree…joyful… joyous… festive …happy… gleeful!

Proverbs 17:22 says  “A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

That’s one of the reasons I love to decorate for Christmas (and  all the seasons for that matter)…it creates a merry…joyful….and festive atmosphere….and that kind of atmosphere is good for us! Beauty inspires! Beauty lifts our spirit! We could all use some of that right now…  It refreshes us.

This Tradition of crazy amounts of red and green decor…  It can give us a positive outlook on life… It’s a way of celebrating the light in the darkest part of our year… Seasonal depression hits for me… like clockwork… the day after Halloween.

I can feel my shoulders slack and my mood weaken. November is usually busy enough to stave off the desperation that will hit later… thankfully… But the fear and paranoia are there: The sun is setting before 5 p.m. and one night spent bored and alone in the gathering dark might pull me under permanently… and honestly it is something I force myself  to keep going to do all the things all the way through the 21st of December… when suddenly my brain magically starts to believe it…. and I feel good again…

I have depression all year… It bobs up like a buoy, sneakily but regularly…I become reclusive… because showing my face when I feel awful inside is deceitful… I frequently believe my depression isn’t real… or my anxiety is from lack of sleep… so I end up feeling worse about both.

If you find yourself scrolling these pictures of Snowman Bathrooms and Painted windows (yes yes… I did all that magic LOL) let me remind you… Our environment and the atmosphere around us can effect our emotions… and our emotions can affect our physical health. Dr. Don Colbert says ” How you feel in your heart can show up in your body, for your heart and body are more powerfully connected than you have ever realized.”  So even the tiniest bit of  candle glow or sparkle here and there can remind us that the days will start becoming longer again… and the sun will return…. life will come back to the frozen ground and trees… and the earth will be Merry again!

“The holly’s up, the house is bright,

the tree is ready, the candles alight. “~German Carol

 

 

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,
just like the ones I used to know
May your days be merry and bright,
and may all your Christmases be white! ~Irving Berlin 1942

 

Annnnnnnd…. Now to take it all down again 🙂

 

Ideology Vs. The Reality of Sexual Assault and raising smalls.

Today… I prolonged a rape… I wish like hell I could say I had stopped it…. I definitely stopped it in that moment… but I am not naive enough to think that it is not going to be inevitable if something does not change.

Sometimes when teasing Mr. Amazing I pop off with some very sexist degrading remarks when we are bantering back and forth over different stereotypes and he always looks at me kind of baffled…. because I am actually kind of proper… and he wonders where I would come up with such language… (This must come as a surprise… anything you have ever heard me say has been only for a reaction… I don’t really consider myself quite as sexually revolutionized as I suggest) I often laugh it off… but the other day I looked at him and he really wanted to know where I had heard the words I had spouted off at him… He wanted to know if someone had said them to me… I explained they had been said to me … many times over the years… “Wanna see my Penis?” …Sometimes they don’t ask first… and just assume you do…. and had been to most every girl I knew… and would be said to his daughter as well most likely… It was just part of being a girl in our society… right or wrong… it certainly wasn’t ideal… it was the reality.

We went to the park… out in the middle of the City… we do this often if it is not too hot to get some exercise and spend some time together as a family… (This is code for PokeMon Hunting)… We parked and walked around the several blocks long park enjoying the 80 degree weather… but severely disappointed in the lack of Pokemon… we had been there several times just like this… and spent hours there enjoying our “Family Time”… We buy a quick treat on the west side of the Duck Pond and Big Hill… and us adults cringe a little as we realize it is Sunday… Which means Drum Circle…. Which we affectionately refer to as Drug Circle… and try to not call attention to the obvious cloud of smoke and sounds coming from the hill…. and we talk over ice cream about how drugs are not okay… to three tuned out kiddos…We decide that the park day was just not what we thought it would be and we would head back home after about 40 minutes after leaving our vehicle… and rather that walk past the hill crowd we took the sidewalk back around the duck pond laughing about how before Pokemon go we would have thought just the walk and the weather and the ducks were the greatest thing ever… as we neared our car I saw her… someone younger than my adult daughter… but older than my small (17 year old) at least I think she was… She was most likely the age of my niece (who is the third kiddo with us today… 18 almost 19)…they all look so young to me now… they all are someone’s baby… she is sitting on the curb… one car from mine… with her head literally on the ground by the tires… she’s quite flexible… I am pretty sure her position is equal to putting her feet behind her head… and she is obviously under the influence of… well… god knows what…. I motion for Mr. Amazing to get in the car… because see in our society… because he has a penis… he cannot help this girl that is intoxicated… or small children if they are scared or hurt… because he just can’t right? …. he ushers the kids in and knew that I was going to make sure the girl was okay… this is not our first rodeo … infact… its pretty much a regular occurrence….We never just walk by and shake our heads at people in bad situations… not the homeless… not the mentally challenged or ill…. not anyone… and we certainly do not pull out our phones… and take pictures… or video…. People are never invisible to us…. essentially… I do not mind my own business…. ever.

“Hey… Hey… Are you okay? Can you get up?”

Half way through the sentence slurring of “some kind of friends I have… WHAT? Yeah… I’m okay”

“You dont look okay… get your head off the ground and let me look at you.”

She lifts her head and looks at me… she is completely wasted…. but her eyes are not dilated… I check her pulse… she is not pale or sweating or shaking…  She is not vomiting or complaining of any pain. I have seen at least 2 police patrols in the short time I have been there… I think I see one go by again now. I don’t really have an opinion about what goes on in Drug Circle on the HIll…. Because I only make choices for myself… and obviously I am choosing not to be there. That being said I see a ziplock bag with what is obviously Marijuana on the grass next to her and a wallet (a nice one actually) on the grass behind her “Is this yours? pick it up… right now… put it in your purse… I am not dealing with this shit just to make sure you are okay…. Do you want me to call someone for you? Who are you here with? Can I help you?”

“What do you got?”

“Nothing you consider ‘good'” besides… yours is still on the grass next to you… pick that shit up now” She does so as I move around her to get the wallet which seems much safer to pick up and hand her… I ask her again if she is okay… and she assures me she is… I tell her to be careful… and stop laying on the ground… as I move to my car to go… kind of chuckling to myself that my kids have witnessed this entire thing…. as I climb into the passenger seat… I spot the man… Id seen him when I approached her as well… but just assumed he was watching her curiously… he was still there… walking back and forth on the walk behind her… “Don’t leave yet” I mutter to Mr. Amazing… who nods as I point at the man who is to well groomed and clean to be hanging out at this stupid young drug circle…. the man keeps watching her and looking up at us to see if we are going to leave… his brazenness startles me a little… and I realize he knows the chance of this girl being awake or coherent enough is slim… and no one is going to call the police… because… drugs galore.

Suddenly a young man walks across from the hill and sits beside her on the curb… I get out of the car again… the girl has once again dumped the belongings of her purse (which is also quite nice… as are her clothes… and makeup… and hair… she isn’t without a home) is leaning on his shoulder…. losing some stupid clip in extension of hair in the process… which he graciously just picks up… and I approach again “Hey.” They both look up… out of the corner of my eye I see the man still pacing… closer now… and I am angry at this point. “Do you know this guy?” to the girl… motioning to the guy she is leaning on.

half way slurring into his face “do you have my shit?” she turns and faces me “No, I’ve never seen him before” The guy slaps his forehead… I roll my eyes… the girl smiles up at me idiotically and hugs my legs whispering to the guy “She’s got my back” The guy stands immediately knowing it looks bad for him… which is stupid… this girl is being completely… well…. inebriated. I point openly at the creeper waiting patiently for the girl to be left alone again… “This Prick over here is just waiting for her to pass out again… complete freak… I need to know who she is here with” They both look at the guy… who completely ignores this exchange but does not back off at all… infact he comes closer… it dawns on me maybe he is her pimp? but my gut tells me thats not the case… she is not on the streets… not yet… and this guy with her is actually in better shape that she is… soberish… not marks or scratches… clean clothes… well groomed… just young kids being complete dumb asses and making really stupid choices. The guy nods understanding and looks at the girl “You want me to get Haus?” seriously? haus? is that even a name? why are these people here … im angrier still… the man is closer still…. Mr Amazing informs me at this point he has a hand on the door and one on his phone…. “You have to take her with you”…

Girl who is probably really quite intelligent and well spoken but currently is completely dumber than a box of rocks “I don’t know him”

“What is her name?” I had picked up her wallet… seen her credit cards… student identification and such… and he tells me the correct name.

“You go with him over to the hill… or I get you help… I wont leave you here… this complete asshole is going to hurt you” again calling the man who is very close out loudly… and again… he does not change… or back off…. I am stunned by this as I realize… this is probably a regular thing for him… infact… I don’t smell alcohol on her and what has fallen out of her purse does not explain her condition… He could have slipped her whatever was… or not… as she loses another extension… and all the contents of her purse… again… as she falls trying to walk with the guy to the hill as I am telling him loudly that if he touches her and anyone touches her I will kick his ass…. this time a small jar of small smoky looking stones…. why oh why …. all these horrible decisions are still not a reason… I force her again to pick it all up … I again offer help… I do not call the police… People will surely think that was the right move… but my gut told me otherwise… the police were here… the police had driven by her… I wanted to call an ambulance… or a mom honestly… but I only had what I had to work with… I continue my tirade against her and the guy “You both look smarter than this… what the hell… get her help… dont leave her… keep her around people… do not touch her or let anyone else… ” switching the lecture to the girl “Do no drink or ingest another thing… get your ass home… this is so stupid… you could be hurt or worse… so stupid… you are better than this.” I walk them half way to the hill…. the man is following… the girl at this point is thanking me profusely and watching him over her shoulder… so is the guy… I still dont know if I have done the right thing… I dont know what was really going on… all I know is what would have been going on at that moment had we not come back to our car Pokemonless…. I glare at the man… Mr Amazing wants to call the police… I shake my head… for what… the man hasnt done anything wrong… yet… we watch as the two young people make it back to the Hill and the people and the drums… at least she is not alone… I dont know if she is any safer. I did the best I could do … I would be able to sleep at night with my decision….

I look back over my shoulder into the back seat at the two teens and Smallest girl sitting between them… “Thats why we dont do drugs”

We all kind of recap what has happened… and I realize… what will make me lose sleep…

The message to my son was clear…. Don’t do drugs… Don’t touch anyone who isn’t able to give consent… ever. This is not new … and honestly… he doesnt understand why someone would find that helpless girl kissing the concrete something to “rise to the occasion” about…. He does not get it. At All. I LOVE that about him. A Penis does not make one a Monster… It does not make you do anything or behave in any way at all… it is an appendage of your body. Not the ruler of your intelligent decision making ability. The conflicting message for him was…. simply because he had a penis… he would be treated that way… and that was something he was going to have to deal with… he couldnt help… he would be accused of thinking and wanting to do things that are below him. Not Ideal… but very Real

The messages to my girls were a little more disturbing…. If this girl had not done drugs… in this case… she would not be in the situation that was about to take place… that did not make the situation okay… that did not make it her fault… but I had to say the words… “Do not let yourself be in this situation… because this will happen”… and my feminist screamed at me…. but it was real. “She did not give that man permission to touch her… so if he did… and hurt her… it was not her fault… but if she could walk… or think clearly… he may not have approached her”… and part of me died a little… the part of me that had finally put some blame for things in my life on the appropriate people… because… I was where I shouldn’t have been… I looked again at my son and immediately put it right back where it belonged… for both me and the girl… you see… this wasn’t about a penis… and a girl is not just a hole for one… “The problem was the man… his brain wasnt wired right or something… he was scary and not okay”

Small girl will go through maturation this year… she is in fifth grade… unfortunately because of this… we will have to tell her what rape is…. as we explain the beauty of sex… our bodies… the amazing way they are wired to release stress… give affection… love… because she wants to know what that man wanted … why was he following that girl.

There is nothing wrong with your body… but keep it covered…

Its never your fault… but don’t be in places where that can happen

Men are strong and wonderful… unless you don’t know them… dont talk to them… get help if one smiles at you… No you don’t have to be grateful they said you’re pretty… no you don’t have to smile because they said to…. No… its not okay for them to show you their penis…

You can always call the police…. sigh… I don’t know how to explain this one even to you as I type it.

This was my experience today… I know women can be creepers… and men are assaulted as well… I am not making blanket statements…

I do not know the answer to my predicament… I don’t know what the right advice is to give to my girls… or my men.

I have to accept ideology vs reality. I can believe one thing…. but have to act against my core belief in order to keep people safe. I hate that.

How do you all deal with it? Really… what do you tell your children… your peers… Discuss… because I am at a complete loss… and how do we fix it.