Monday, April 29, 2013


I am the worst viewer in the history of television. Advertisers, writers, producers and actors would hate to ever have to please a demographic made up solely of people like me. I cannot stand to sit through a whole show let alone a series and heaven help you if you think I'm going to remember that I'm supposed to watch again starting next October. Yeah, I put that right in the iPhone calendar. I'm on it.

There are a few shows, however, that by virtue of the fact that my husband watches them, I actually know what is going on. Coupled with the incessant need for every show to 'catch you up' on what's happening, I can miss several episodes and still know what is going on with nary but a few quick questions...

In the case of one particular show those questions run the line of:  "Isn't he gay?" "Wasn't he married to the redhead? No, the other redhead..." and I must tell you,  this Game of Thrones is a show that I have not only watched, but  it also has the almost godlike ability to suck me into its ridiculous fictional drama because it provided me the inspiration to coin the term "Brotherfucker". I know she has a 'real' name and I used to know it, but Brotherfucker is way funnier. I was so surprised that her father is going to make her marry the gay boy that I shouted my new term right out loud. It sounded so good I started using it like Samuel L. Jackson and had to calm down.

Thankfully we have the good sense to get our kid in bed way before thinking about watching this show. I still DVR and skip all the commercials, but television- if you keep finding gems like this incestuous mess, I will do my best to watch a show or two. Plus, I know I am not the only one that realizes what a medieval porno the whole thing is. Reality shows are a heap of dung compared to what people can make up in their own minds.

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is coming up and I have had a revelation....In fact, if a book was dedicated to my life at this point, it would be the Book of Revelations (Save your angry blasphemy comments, my atheism is the subject of a whole other post)... and this one came screaming out like hot lava from the depths of whatever hell you believe in on its furious way to help everyone understand how I feel about total bullshit like Mother's Day.

I don't need a Sunday in May to come around once a year like a rare butterfly and grace me with the presence of its beauty and perfection, fluttering around momentarily so I can see its wings and the intricate design created by nature for this magnificent creature to just fly away for another year. Fuck that.

What I need is for everyone to stop thinking that I wake up and activate my XX Chromosomes of Glory every morning, flip a switch, and climb into  to my Give A Shit mobile because I cannot wait to drive right into their needs. I do not push myself through 364 days each year to get a potted plant and card created by some half baked failed poet to tell me how great I am in order to nourish me through another year of making sure everyone keeps getting all of the comfort out of life that I can possibly manage to shove into it for them. If one more person tells me that Motherhood is the hardest job, but its the best job, they better back out of the room or I'm breaking my foot off in their ass.

Sound bitchy? You don't like me now? Fair enough. I never promised you a mommy blog and we aren't even close to done yet. This revelation came with a lot of baggage it dragged upward in its reverse demon tractor pull, and one piece I found dangling with it was that I don't have two flying fucks to give about what other people do and don't like. I am living in a world that is a constant collision of women trying to be who they really are and all people, women included, trying to maintain the status quo. It's like the big bang...and new things are going to get created in the process. Clutch your pearls and grab your bible because this is as real as it gets.

Let me help everyone out: Don't even dream of coming to my house, deciding you don't like the furniture or thinking it looks messy, then train your eyes on me in order to start judging and figuring out why I am not following the script. You will get marched out on your ass, and I won't so much as offer you a drink. When I try to be a whole human being and not the need fulfillment center, the collisions are often loud and result in bits of expectations strewn all about the wreckage. 

Expectations are at the root of it all. We need them in order to feel secure and know what people want from us so that we don't feel like we are floating little jellyfish in the ocean of society, never able to gain approval from our social group. We also need to temper them, because they have a way of being based on experiences, memories both real and imagined and historical information on what 'someone should be'. That is dangerous shit. Way more dangerous than the vase I will throw at you if you come tell me how I am doing what women are best at. I am not good at taking orders and growing boobs didn't make me any better at it. My aim however is getting much better, so duck and run.

Mother's Day has become the greeting card version of telling someone that they should want to take care of others, that it is their job on earth, and rewarding them with the notion that it will bring them joy to bring you dinner. Don't bring me flowers because you want to even the score. Bring me flowers because you think I will like them. Don't patronize me with how other women can sympathize. Someone else getting screwed over won't make me feel better. Oh, people think she has nothing better to do than dishes, too? Well, at least I'm not alone! Can it.

To everyone who is shopping for their Mother's Day gifts this year or waiting until next Saturday to punch in a promo code on the florists' website: listen up! Don't make a big deal of this. Instead, take care of yourself to the extent you are able. Don't rely on the woman in your house to remind you of every appointment and responsibility you have. Get your crap together and this will be obsolete. Then if you feel like you still need to show some respect to a woman who did/does so much for you, leave your pre-printed greeting in the store where you found it. Think about why you want to thank this person then do it. In person or on the phone. Say what you feel. Appreciate them for the person they are, not the expectations you want to continue to place on them. Don't absolve yourself of guilt with daisies. Tell them what they mean to you. Then s
tep away, leave an open bottle of wine and the best book you can find on the counter and get out. I promise, we'll do the same for you.

Monday, April 22, 2013


There is an outright war in my house. Much like the Cold War of decades ago, this war is fraught with obvious sides and yet a battle that just bubbles at the surface once in a while. Soldiers exist, the battleground is set, but one of the sides wants to pretend as if there is really nothing to be concerned about. Look away, nothing here folks, move along. I don't need to tell you that is NOT the side I am on.

This is a 12 year old child we are talking about. A beautiful girl in every way. Many parents of the half girl/half teen breed we call 12 are trying to keep her from being 16. From acting and dressing 14. Anything to keep her interested in friends and sleepovers and dolls and not makeup and sex and cigarettes. I have the exact opposite problem. My sister left her son's old stroller at our place during her move and I swear my daughter won't stop looking at it. This is not good.

The crux of my problem is that I am raising a garden variety only child. Somewhat introverted, likes to make up her own dimensions and hold drawn out plays with characters in her room, does great in school, beloved by students and teachers alike.... Is so well behaved it is remarked on every week... was and is still given a license to act like a much younger child by grandparents who'd like her to stay young. So what is the issue, then? Why am I not over the moon with this creature and her well behaved, grandmother- loving, doll-playing amazingness? 

I am......except what you don't see:

THIS KID REFUSES TO BE TWELVE. She has it in her head that she is somewhere between 6 and 8 with occasional visits to 4. With a side of super privileged. There is a constant dependency that is not really needed at this particular place in her life. I am expecting some snarky back talk and instead I'm getting alerted to the fact that she is going to use the master bathroom. Uh, ok...didn't need an update but thank you. I understand pre-teen and teenager laziness and attitude, I don't quite get this "I don't want to hold my own cup, can you hold it?" bit that takes place (in public)!

My kid is defying the rules of aging. If we bottle her, we'll all be rich!

So I did the unthinkable and asked her what was going on. I got her patented move back. The dead stare at my face. She can hold this a long time. Do not go to bat with this kid, y'all. You will lose. I implored as to what might be the reason that she was acting like me asking her to take care of her things- (dust and clean up in her own room)- was some sort of punishment. She believes it is. Does she know her friends all have chores and take care of their own stuff? Yes, that is true and she gets that. Um, well does she realize that we all have to contribute to our own well being and clean up after ourselves (especially when we are 12!)? Um, yeah...but she thinks this could be done, perhaps.. by a maid.

What?! Yes you read that right. She wants a maid.

I proceed to find out- has she ever met a maid? Does she know anyone who has one? Do her 12 year old friends sit around and watch maids clean? No, no and no. Where did this idea come from you ask? Well, according to my dear child, she just thinks it would be a good idea. I shit you not. This conversation took place.

I am desperately trying to get her to realize that at this age, she needs to take care of chores and be responsible for her actions and remember her own school deadlines and sports clothes and water bottles and she is internally fighting me to get back into a crib and watch through the bars as someone vacuums the rug underneath her. The reality is that I will not win this war at all. In fact, once it is over she will remain oblivious that we were ever fighting it. My allies are other parents' nightmares: her friends. You see, the realization is starting that it seems strange and weird and not all that cute when you are acting like a baby in middle school. That pressure is turning the tide in my direction. 

I don't want her to be a grown up yet. But I don't want her to be a baby. I know she has lots of experience at being babied by well meaning relatives, but I will be very glad to see this phase come to an end. Honestly, I think she will, too. The self confidence that comes with autonomy is really needed to defend yourself in your teens.Then we can move on to fighting about how short that skirt is and WHY IS SHE WEARING MASCARA? I'm way more prepared for those...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Your Prefabricated Life

Your life was made for you. I don't mean the sperm and egg creation. I don't mean the hopes and dreams of sometimes overbearing and generally well meaning parents. I mean your adult life in North America and many western countries, in that if you are sitting at a desk looking at a computer screen while being paid to work for a company or organization, you are inside the carefully crafted creation that was laid out for you. 

Even if you are not an office drone (and bless you for figuring out how not to do that), certain things have been crafted with your schedule in mind. Regardless of the hours you work, you work. Afterwards, you are tired and distracted and want easier, faster, convenient. They knew that. They made sure of that. The worst part is, 'they' are doing it to themselves on and you'll see what I mean.

We are all trying to get off the wheel and as soon as we think about it, another carrot gets added to the stick and so we think, well hey if I keep running I will get 2 carrots! But the carrots are plastic, the wheel is a desk with a computer and the chain that holds you to the wheel is invisible to your own eyes; it is made up of societal pressure, familial obligations, cultural norms, security needs and the exploitation of your basic physiology that takes place without your notice and agreement. You're the bunny in this scenario. A social bunny who needs its bunny friends. I like metaphors, so sue me.

The way I see it, unless you follow your dream at a very young age and reach out and take exactly what you need from the world, have a support system to pay your way until it works out, you will end up in an office/wheel and even if you have all of those things, the world will keep tilting you like a handheld maze game until you end up in an office/wheel anyways. 

And then you will slowly work to tilt the whole thing back a millimeter at a time to try to reach the cheese. That is only if you are ambitious and smart and hardworking. The rest of you? Good luck, Chuck... And we buy into the idea that there is no other way (literally and figuratively) and some of us praise a god or system of gods that are believed to be judging us, all to keep ourselves from sitting down, taking a time out, reassessing our lives, the purpose we hold dear and making real change. 

But you better pray to whatever god you believe in if you really do make the change. One rabbit jumps off and all the other rabbits will stare fiercely and cast the lone one out so it is not in the group, therefore making it uncomfortable, not supported by a structure of friendship and meaningful relationships. The pain of that pulls the rabbit back onto the wheel on its own, so it thinks it was its own idea. BAM!  The security is cruel and the system is self correcting. You are rewarded for your compliance.

The hierarchy that created all of this for you with mass marketing and plastic toys aimed at your children is amazingly linear..they cannot escape either. Those that will market to us for their own carrots are in offices, on their own wheels....and when they get off work that day, they too will buy the fast, convenient, easy item to fill in what is missing. Its a carrot shaped peg for a Grand Canyon sized hole, though. No satisfaction can ever be large enough to make up for selling yourself and so you will do it again, thinking you can buy enough carrots.

I feel like I have known all of this for a decade and at the same time like I am discovering the matrix.

You have to agree to this. You have to be complicit in the arrangement. That is how it works. There is no success to the prefabricated world without you as a participant/observer. There is no them without us and no us without each individual. Your complicity is the most unusual part. You have to be in on the illusion, and most of us are doing it without even realizing it. This is the devil of comfort, but that is a talk for another day.

I don't expect this to blow your mind. I really don't. The truth is, that you can read English and so you know that a great many things are crafted to suggest certain paths to you in the maze of life. That is knowledge you already have. What you do with this knowledge, dear bunnies, that is a whole other story.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Know This Sounds Crazy

I am forever torn between all of the things I am interested in, want to discuss, be a part of and solve. I am perpetually thinking about the plight of the poor, the treatment of women and girls, the state of the ecology of earth, climate change, illiteracy and general lack of education here and abroad.

This is not a focus on the negative. This is more of a 'needs assessment' if you will. See what is there, see what needs changing and needs help instead of looking away. These are the big problems, to be sure. Clean fresh water for everyone on the planet, the ability to read in one's own language and the societal and cultural shifts to get an education to the women and girls of every country and also eradicating hunger and long term poverty (and its effects) are enormous goals, larger than any one person. Larger sometimes than even thoughts to wrap around them.

Today, however, as I walked from my car to the building I have been working in for almost two years, I had a thought I have not had before. I wasn't even particularly thinking about all the world's problems and what can and needs to be done, but this thought was not a big bang either. It was spawned by listening to a news radio program about a study on the effects of warming and CO2 on the coral reefs and their inhabitant plant and animal species and what you could determine from that. They show this to students in hopes of giving them some perspective of the effects of our choices, the decisions we make and that we vote for.

I left the car and started walking in like I do on any other day...with my coffee, my packed lunch, my purse.... and I almost stopped in the middle of the road. What if.....

What if I have been thinking of all these things the hard way all along? What if I and everyone I have talked to thus far has it wrong? Could it be possible to work on all of these at once instead of separately? We tend to say- wow, this is a lot of huge problems with deep roots of political, economic, religious history and we cannot fix this. Or we cannot fix it now. Or we cannot fix it alone. It will cost too much, be too hard, we need to separate these and work on them one at a time. Someone else is doing this. They are working on it. I had that same thought right before this one. It is a defense mechanism. Your brain says, 'Hey, why am I not doing anything about these things?" and then you have your built up plausible excuses ready right then.

The worst thing is when we dehumanize these issues, we decide that poor people deserve what is happening due to the fact that they are not smart enough or working hard enough to fix their own problems. That the women are putting up with terrible men. If they would just not do that, it would be different. Then we turn our attention back to our life with its trappings of wealth and feel secure that we are good and that is why we have what we have.

This is a fallacy. We are sitting on the top of a pyramid and under us are the layers of imperialism, slavery, racism, industrial revolution, pollution, greed and manic corruption that holds us so close to the sun. Many women gave their lives so that I could have the education I have, the freedoms and rights I have, the ability to even write this right now. Change must take place and progress happens whether we want it to or not. We need change. To determine how to get everyone what they need while furthering their economic and educational lives, thereby changing the cycle and slowing the ruination of the natural world.....

But...what if....? What if in our need to educate people, is a way to not just tell them what to do? What if we found a way to help people get the clean water they need, the food they need at the SAME TIME as we teach them to grow it and develop a system to keep growing it...and using organic and non invasive species, alternative energies and conservation methods? What if the women and girls had the same holding in this and were not secondary learners to the systems? What if?

I know this sounds crazy and like Greenpeace, the Peace Corps and your hippie uncle all got together and came up with this idea while high on peyote...but hear it out. Let it roll around in your brain and marinade for a while like all ideas must do.  Sure it may be impossible, but seeing as how we don't know what we are capable of until we are tested, we need to do more than dismiss it and make excuses. The best ideas seemed crazy at the time. Cars, airplanes, going to outer space? Probably sounded nuts at the time. You take those things for granted now. What if we used our abilities to fix the worst problems the world faces, the people affected and saved the planet for everyone?

Crazy? Sure. But we have to do  it.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Last Stand


I hope you will join me in thoughts of hope and healing for those affected today in Boston. There are not words to express my sympathy for everyone involved in this fatal attack. We do not know who or when or why but we know human beings' blood has been spilled unnecessarily in a way meant to incite fear in all of us.

We have had our share of homegrown wackos in this country before but I fear we are starting to see a trend of the roadside terrorist, looming at potentially every corner of every busy city.We are not looking to NBC anymore, we are seeing this right here.

Those that would throw away human lives to make a point about their ugly message deserve nothing from us, so don't give them your fear. Don't give them your shock. Don't give them your horror. Turn your attention to the skilled hands of those who will lift the wounded and save their lives, who will carry the dead and mourn them properly. Put all of your thought into those hands and to them doing their best work today.

Today I am grieved for the human race. We are better than this. Nature removes those species who cannot make it and progress further. We will be dinosaurs and take ourselves out of the equation with our own guns and bombs if we do not progress from these destructive forces.

Look to your higher selves. Find your message, learn the truth and speak with a soft and sure tongue. Leave the judgement of others to those we have elected to do such things. Send all of the positive feeling you have to the ones who will bring this justice. And if we are lucky, peace.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Change Your Life

Many times, starting in my mid twenties, I found myself fond of a particular phrase: It will change your life! I would tell people about a certain thing I had used or place I had been and in telling them, would attempt to sway their opinion about this amazing new concept by telling them that it really, in fact, would be so different than anything they knew before that it would change how they saw everything. This phrase worked perfect for communicating to my circle of friends and acquaintances just how perfect that new gelato place by my house was, or what some new website could do for them. I use it to convey to people how they will never again be able to eat another donut that is not from the wonderful Bosa Donuts once they have had a mere bite of the delectable cloud of perfection contained in that box.

In my opinion, everything changed your life. Every.Single.Thing.

People would interject that there should be some variation of this, that they weren't sure they believed that whatever it was could really alter their existence in any way shape or form. They wanted a Homeland Security color coded graph of just HOW much it would change their life. People are short sighted like that. Why would you want to quantify changing your life? This could only serve to assist you in weeding out opportunities, making your world smaller and leaving room for only the most shattering of changes. The only time you notice something would be an earthquake.

Is that what you really want?

Here is my proposal: Change your life. All of it. A little at a time. In big ways and in small. I know, I love your life and everything in it. Great. Then change it by doing more for your community with the talents you have. Go out and find something great and share the information with others. Not everything has to be a Hollywood directive to dump your spouse, move across the country or the world and start all over while ditching all of your responsibilities.

I offer to you, the people of Earth and believers in what is real- go out there and ADD to it. Find your cause.  Look high and low until you find a reason that today is beautiful and then help make it that great for the next person you see.  Change is inevitable and beautiful. Nothing is the same. Winter comes every year but no two winters are alike. We stand in awe of the changing nature of the outdoor world and we forget how malleable human beings are. Change that bad habit you hate. Change that you hate. Change it up to make it better. Then find something else to change. Don't wait for something to be 'worth' changing. There is no bar graph on this, you have to do it because you want to, not because it is 'important' enough. Sometimes the smallest of changes make enormous impacts. How will you know?

Drink more water today. Hold a handshake and look them in the eye. Give yourself a break. Take the walk you always say you want to take. Go on that hike you tell people on your dating profile that you love to do. You know what you really want to change. You are the keeper of that secret knowledge. Today, I challenge you, I beseech you-make any little change at all. Most importantly, don't be afraid. You will need to do it again and again and again.

Let's Talk About Something, Shall We?

Let's talk. Get your coffee, your tea, your sippy cup full of Bailey's that you think no one knows about, whatever. Just get your beverage and your ass into a chair and listen up. Put down your phone. We have to talk.

You know who you are. Don't look over your shoulder, dear. I'm looking at you. There is no one back there. Good? Good.

Stop posting shit on facebook. I mean it. Stop. You are on a hiatus.

For one month, just live your life. Go out, eat dinner, look at the person you are with. Talk to them. Enjoy the savory and the sweet and don't touch your phone. Keep your hands free to gesture while you talk, gently touch the hand of your loved one or stick your gum under the table. I don't care. But stop staring at the four inch screen that you think is better than the world. It is not.

Stop staring at the computer monitor. Yes, this one. This very one. Stop staring at it while lurking through other people's lives. Stop putting yours there. Because the truth is, Facebook and other social media sites are like a pair of glasses that don't belong to you. Sure, you can see through them. Maybe even better than your regular vision. But soon enough, they give you a headache. You are trying to see normally through a lens made to avoid just that. You are being fed certain pieces of someone's life and you are plucking out choice pieces of your own to offer up for slaughter comments. STOP.

This is your life. Right here and now. The feeling of your elbows on the too-hard desktop that you wish was a pillow. The tightness in your legs as you keep the laptop propped up in bed. The glow of the lamp you need to turn off to get any sleep. The feeling that you are being watched that makes your head tingle so you look up. Right into the eyes of someone who wants your attention. Give it to them. Even..... no ESPECIALLY if it is all you have to give. It is precious and rare and real and full. Like your life when you stop trying to live it through a carefully crafted narrative that you think makes you look better to people you never see.