Sunday, December 30, 2007


It's strange, I thought that when I didn't have to work anymore that I would blog a lot. But I seem to have nothing on my mind lately. So, I'll just say a few little things.

My husband's mother has recovered well enough to be moved out of the hospital. Any American who complains about the US needs to take a trip to Mexico. They may not feel the same when they come back. There is not heat in the hospital. Apparently, the hospital was freezing. So, they brought her home so that she could be warmer. She still isn't well and will have to rest a lot. They want to move her to her daughters house, which is in Culiacan, Mexico but she isn't well enough for the trip. It would be better for her there, it is very warm in Culiacan. Tiajuana in the winter is not a good place for her to be with a lung condition.

My husband will probably be upset when he comes home because I know that he would like to be there taking care of his mother, but he just can't stay any longer.

My son came home for the holidays. He lives in Arizona. It made Christmas nice. Isn't it funny how when people in a family get together, they just seem to have a rapport that can't usually quite be found outside of family? In my family, we all have a very distinct sense-of-humor. Me and my sister have noticed that each kid in the family, once they get old enough to crack jokes starts to exhibit it. It's fun watching kids grow up.

I'm looking forward to 2008. Everything changed during 2007 but left me in a limbo. In 2008, I will get to find out what is going to happen. I have a good feeling about it! I think 2008 is going to be good! Hope yours is too!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Posted by Picasa

See the nice new punk style my younger daughter gave herself? I was thrilled you can be sure. I figured out that if I put both sides in pigtails that you can't see it, so I guess she'll be wearing pigtails for the next year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Blue Christmas

My husband left for Mexico last night. His mother is sick and they are very worried about her so he went. He won't be back until 2 days after Christmas and it is all very unexpected and I feel strange to not have him here. I'll be okay, it's just taking my mind a little bit of time to adjust.

But of course, it isn't really about me, it's about her. I don't really have a good idea of how she is yet. I will hear more in the next few days. I'm hoping that they are all just being really careful and that it isn't as bad as it sounds, but I just don't know yet. Unfortunately, it sounds like it could be CHF.

Funny antecdote:

The word for Grandmother in spanish is Abuela (Ah-bway-lah). When my older daughter was small she used to call her Grandmother Umbrella (Oom-bray-lah).


Well, it's so nice to be off of work and have time to just be, I have had no time for this in such a long time. I am thinking about a lot of things that I plan to share but in the meantime, I would like to leave you with a poem that I discovered.
I hope that you enjoy it!! (Hope it isn't too sappy!)


The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to the silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth before anyone said so.

The cat sleeping on the ledge is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to the floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not famous at all to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to the shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous, or a buttonhole,
not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgets what it could do.

Namoi Shihab Nye
in Hugging the Jukebox

and also

"The man who is often thinking that it is better to be somewhere other than where he is excommunicates himself."

Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Blah blah blah di blah


I used to love to cook. But with a full-time job and 2 little kids, it got to be too much of a pain. First of all, I worked in the evening and I had to get supper ready before I went to mean feat, I assure you. Second, 'gourmet cooking' involves lots of fresh ingredients and it's hard to go to the grocery store all the time when you are working. Thirdly, my kids turn up their noses at things that are too exotic.

So, I became very uninspired and I threw together whatever was easiest. My family really didn't care but there were lots of nights that I brought what I had made to work and couldn't choke it down.

I'm not working right now and have been trying to find things to do with myself and I have rediscovered cooking. Since I have been off, I finally made Tamales. I've only been saying that I was going to learn to make them for about 7 years now! Tamales take an entire day to make. Or two mornings if you want to cook the meat one day and assemble them the next. They turned out to be pretty good for a gringo or a garbacha as my husband calls me, but next time I need to flavor the masa harina a little bit better...definitely needed salt!

I also finally managed to make pozole and have it turn out good. I've tried pozole lots of times and didn't have a good recipe so it didn't turn out right. It's hard to learn to cook things that use ingredients and cooking methods that you are not familiar with. So, as well as renewing my hobby of cooking, I have been traveling via my senses.

I visited India last week! I made chicken tandori! And it turned out pretty good! I couldn't put cardamon in it because it was $12 for a little bottle, but you know what? I may spring for it someday (or not)! I love Indian spices!

I also made a trip to Italy! I made steak brachiolli (please forgive my spelling errors, I don't feel like running and looking up the spelling.) And I made arborio rice to go with it. I told my husband that when the guys at work talk about what they had for supper that night, he could tell them that he had Steak Brachiolli, Arborio Milanese and a salad of crisp greens in a tangy vinaigrette dressing. He said that if he told them that he would never hear the end of it. I guess its one of those Real Men don't eat Quiche things or something.

I have also taken several nice trips to the French countryside and this week we are going to New Orleans to eat some Jambalaya. Anyone who wants to come over and eat...let me know. Give me a little bit of advance notice if you don't mind though.

Johnny Cash

EOTR often talks about Johnny Cash on her blog. I have never been a country music fan. I hate to say this about myself but I have been very close-minded about it. When I was younger, I just didn't think it was very cool! But since EOTR, whose opinion I respect, recommends him so highly, I've finally started listening. And I watched I Walk the Line the other night as well. And I have become transfixed! Not just with him, but with that entire era. I sat and watched videos last night. Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Jerry Lee Louis, Elvis and Patsy Cline. What have I been missing out on all of these years because of my small mind?

Why do I like them? Because were authentic I suppose. There's nothing that I can add to that, you either understand what I mean or you don't.

If you like this genre there is someone I would like to recommend. Her name is Maria Muldaur and the 2 cds that I would recommend are Waitress in a Doughnut Shop and Louisiana Love Song. There are not many like her. She's been around since the late 60's, and she has never gone commercial, that's why you may not have heard of her.

Also, while I am mentioning this I will also say that because of X-dell...I love Prairie Home Companion as well. I was also close-minded about that. I didn't really know what it was, I just didn't like the way it sounded. Silly huh!!! Listen to it sometime if you haven't. There is nothing else like it and it will make you laugh. But always with, never at. How rare is that? If you turn it on and it sounds weird at first, just keep listening. You'll get it!


I don't care what anyone says about Christmas. I love buying my kids presents. I don't care if anyone thinks I'm shallow! I try to be careful about what I buy though, I want it to be useful. I'm almost done shopping, but I still have to wrap! Yuck! I hate wrapping presents!


I've decided, I don't think I will ever perform bellydance. Why? I don't like people to look at me. Why learn bellydance only to not ever let anyone see you dance. It doesn't make much sense, does it? And I really don't care. I just want to know how.

This was sort of fun!! I couldn't think of a post topic so I just blathered for awhile. I've sort of had writers block or something so this got me going again. Hope you all are well. I may do this again! (I thought of doing this after I read BBC's blog!!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Sorry I haven't been around for awhile. I've been.....doing absolutely nothing, just sort of fretting about what I am going to do with myself now. Frankly, I hate to say it but I've been a little self-obsessed, I really need to quit. Trying to figure things out and is like beating your head against a wall....the future is unknown we just have to make a choice, don't we?

Last night, I went with a woman to a sign language interpreter class so that I could get some sort of idea of what was involved with that. They all had to bring an object in and describe it to the class and the class had to guess what it was. One woman made a triangle shape and the teacher told her that she had actually made the sign for Vagina.

I talked to the teacher after the class and she said that roughly 1 out of 3 people can pick up sign language well enough to be interpreters and that graduating from the program was no guarantee that you would actually be able to be one. She said that she has seen people who wanted it very badly and just couldn't get it. She said that she has also seen people who seemed to just....have it inside of them and it just burst out.

I don't know how I know this but I know that I am one of the second, I just have no doubt that I could do this. I'm not being arrogant, it's just something that I know. I am worried about money of course, she said that it is possible to earn money doing this, that you can earn enough to live on. So, my mind is filled with this right it a good idea?

Well, according to the tests that I've been taking online it is. I am an INFP!!! Introverted, intuitive, feeling percieving....about as right-brained as you can get. So, obviously something like sign language would be something that I would be suited for. And it was also listed as one of the jobs for my type! Wierd! And I thought I was so unique! It is a fun test to take, it is called the Meyers-Brigg personality test! Look it up online, you will be amazed at how completely accurate it is.

I sorta think that this may be my calling. So why do I keep trying to talk myself out of it? I know I would like it, I know I could do why do I keep trying to get out of it? I guess it's the commitment. It's so hard to make a commitment, isn't it?

I forsee that if I were going to do something like this, I would have to start becoming a lot more involved with people than I am now. I am sort of a loner. I'm not really outgoing. I can talk to people but a lot of the time I am stand-offish. In order to do something like this, I would have to force myself to be more outward focused, which I think would be good for me but its scary I suppose because it is the opposite of how I am.

Interestingly, the Myers-Briggs said that around middle age, people start changing and feeling a need to develop the undeveloped parts of themselves. People who are introverted find the need for more connection, extroverted people find the need for more self-reflection etc... Jung said that we were all on a journey to become whole, the journey continues for all of our lives and that it is a need that we have, if we don't develop the undeveloped parts of ourselves, we become stagnant and stop growing. So that's some stuff to think about.

So anyway, I know this isn't much of a post but this is what's going on with me right now. Like a soap opera, I hate it!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Grandma shoplifted!!

I grew up not knowing most of my family, I knew them by reputation only and their reputations proceeded them. So compelling were their reps that though I didn't even know them, still they had a great influence on me. They were always with me.... I had no faces to attach to them, scarcely any memories to go with them, only the stories. And the stories weren't many, but they were very intriguing! But my mom refused to talk about her family, so I didn't ask.

I didn't ask, but I'm sorry to say I snooped! I was so curious that I could not resist. Sadly, my snooping did not pay off. All I found was a few pictures. My mother had them in a box in her closet. They did not jibe at all with the stories and impressions that I had gotten. Somehow, I expected neglected, half-starved children but instead, they were beautiful and well-tended. This only added to the mystery and intrigue.

And so I continued to try to solve the puzzle of my family, the family who were distant, mythological figures to me. The stories that I heard of them, whenever I did hear a story, sounded so wonderfully romantic. I filled in the rest that I didn't know about, which was most of it, with little snippets of knowledge that I had obtained here and there. Overheard conversations, the few times that I had actually met any of them and what I remembered from those times and of course, the snooping and thus the myth was born. And like most myths, it was all true in its way.

The story starts with Grandma, who was and is a flamboyant, colorful figure! There were 4 children and my mother always said that my Grandmother, who had grown up the pampered only child of a Doctor, just wasn't ready for the responsibility. I never really understood what she meant by this, because she never told me.

But I did know that my Grandma used to like to shoplift! My mom said that she never went into a store without walking out with something extra. Once she shoplifted a poodle skirt which I think is hilarious! It was rather strange because my Grandpa, her husband, was a physician as well so obviously, she didn't need to do this. She apparently did if for the thrill. Grandma was apparently very outrageous!

She missed the flapper era by a few years. But since I'm not sure what they called the girls like her from her generation, I will call her a flapper. She smoked, drank, cussed and of and I suspect, may have been pregnant with my mom when she married my Grandpa. And now at 90, when she gets mad, she strips off her clothes which only serves to illustrate the uncompromising integrity of her character.

A lot of people on my mothers side, probably suffer from some kind of mood disorder, my Grandmother being one of them. Not much was known about this type of thing in time for it to help her, but Grandma had some money, so she was considered eccentric, rather than crazy.

My own mother has a love-hate relationship with eccentricity. But she's had to learn to live with it because I don't think that anyone in my family really has any choice but to be slightly eccentric, it's in our upbringing, or maybe even our blood.


I have gotten away from blogging recently, as you have probably noticed. While I was having problems, I spent so many weeks hunched over my keyboard that I sort of needed a break. I have been working on this post for awhile and it is coming very slow, so I decided to publish the first part, even though it is not even close to being finished.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A mixed episode

I've been reading old posts that I wrote when I first started blogging. I'm surprised to see how hard my stuff was to read. My sister says I've gotten better since then, I hope so. I found this one and decided to transfer it to this blog. I've had a few people ask me about bipolar disorder and I thought it might be helpful to them. I know it was helpful to me when I wrote it. I was very sick when I wrote it perhaps that explains why it was so disjointed. Anyway, I've edited it, so hopefully it will be easier to read.

A mixed episode

In the beginning, I seem to have an increase in goal-driven behavior. I want to do everything and it all seems feasible when in reality I could never do all of those things unless I stopped sleeping. I want to learn Spanish, I want to do artwork, I want to start working out, I want to cook...and on and on I go.

It is a good feeling a charged feeling. Your supposed to go and see a doctor when you start showing these symptoms but it's the last thing you want to do. You feel so wonderful, how could anything be wrong? And honestly, you don't want it to end.

You begin to feel like there are no limitations, no barriers to anything, everything seems possible. You can't imagine why you ever felt depressed about anything, Now you can't even fathom why you ever thought that you had limitations at all. If I could bottle this, I could make a fortune!

I smile a lot, become very friendly and outgoing and talk to people like I never met a stranger. But a lot of my conversation will become this sort of 'stream of consciousness'. I prattle on and on, my ability to censor what I say goes away, I'm often embarrassed and ashamed of what I said afterwards.

I feel expansive, almost as though some boundary between me and others and even the universe has melted. I experience it as a metaphysical merging with everything. I begin to see synchronicities everywhere and feel somehow as though I can follow them and be led to something wonderful. I have an anticipatory feeling, though I don't know what I am anticipating. I begin to feel as though I am chosen for something, like I'm meant to do something special.

As an aside, I am not entirely convinced that the spiritual aspect of all of this is a false perception. I sometimes suspect that when one ones consciousness is altered, as it is with bipolar disorder, that one is actually perceiving things on a heightened level and that the things they are perceiving might be a version of reality that we are not aware of when in a normal state of mind. I've heard other bipolar people say the same thing.

The downside to all of this, is that I can't stop. And then, there is my temper. I have had a horrible temper most of my life, starting when I was a teenager. It went away when I starting taking medicine and this is how I know I was diagnosed correctly. I used to be like a wildcat when I lost my temper. I still had enough self-control somehow not to hurt other people, the violence was turned toward myself. I felt so ashamed of myself, ashamed of my lack of ability to control myself, ashamed of how I treat people. The shame that I felt made me punish myself.

Things begin to spiral out-of-control. I expend a lot of energy trying to apply the brakes, but my brakes are almost out. I begin to ruminate on things, on my past, what someone said to me. I get very worked up about these things. I brood and worry.

My thoughts begin to feel like wasps buzzing in my mind. They begin to spin so fast that it is no longer fun. I begin to lose my ability to concentrate. I try to do something and my mind is 10, 100, 1000 paces ahead of the task that I am on. On to the next and the next and the next; in the space of 30 seconds my mind has left me in the wake of it's dust. I have a pen in my hand, it is gone as though it evaporated, I have no memory of putting it down. I go to the store and buy things that weren't on my list and forget to buy what was on my list.

Right before I finally got medicated, I locked my keys in my car twice and locked myself out of the house twice. Altogether combined, this costed me $200. It's so frustrating. I knew that I shouldn't be at work but I didn't know that I had a choice, so I would go in anyway and screw everything up. One time, my younger daughter needed her diaper changed. I asked my older daughter to get me a diaper and when I went to change her, her diaper was already changed. I had changed it and I had no memory of doing it.

When I try to think about something, it feels like it does when you look into the sun and afterwards everything you see, appears to have a hole in it. That is how my mind feels....holey. It feels like a sieve that everything runs through. As I still have to function and I still have all of my responsibilities, everything becomes overwhelming.

I become very irritable, very tired. But I can't sleep. People begin to get on my nerves. Everyone seems like they are moving too slow. When I am in traffic and I am in a hurry, I get so tense. Everything seems overwhelming. I just want my mind to stop and it won't.

I feel like I did some bad angel dust. I have all of this adrenalin coursing through my body. It is a very physical, somatic experience. I can't sleep, my stomach hurts. I stop eating. I read every chance I get. Reading stops the thoughts, it calms me.

People with loud voices or people who talk too fast irritate me. I want to leave the room, they get on my nerves so bad. They drive the wasps inside of my head into a frenzy! Everyone seems stupid and they all get on my nerves. A store with loud music playing bothers me really badly, even lots of bright colors bother me, everything makes a discordant noise in my mind.

Then begins the depression. I haven't slept much for such a long time. My become hypersensitive. I begin to be paranoid. Things people say seem to have hidden innuendos. I don't know when to trust my own perceptions. I am tired and only want to go to sleep, but I can't sleep. My dreams become disturbing and atmospheric so that when I wake up, they stay with me throughout the day, coloring everything.
I feel very hostile, and luckily I am somehow able to, for the most part keep this a inside of me. But energy I expend doing this causes me to be infinitely weary.

Thank God they have medicine to help people with this and I'm so lucky that it works for me. Apparently the medicine doesn't help everyone. When I get stressed out, I get really scared because I'm afraid that it will all happen again, but so far since beginning the medicine, I've never gone into a full-blown attack.

I know that I need a job that is not high-stress. They say that stress makes everyone sick but it kills me. Bipolar disorder is truly a destroyer of souls. I wouldn't wish it on my worse enemy. But I know that I am strong simply for the fact that I have survived it relatively intact. Bipolar disorder has the highest rate of suicide out of all the psychiatric disorders. I truly believe that I am lucky to be alive.

I'm lucky that I have my kids, my husband, my sister..I'm lucky in a lot of ways. I lost my job and I am still lucky. I've been given a new lease on life and I am so grateful. But the bogeyman never goes away entirely. I am very afraid of losing control. Maybe as time goes on I will become more confident that this won't happen. My life has been very hard but I've had gifts too and I choose to concentrate on those.

One of the things that I'm really proud of is that I have not let this make me a bitter person. There are things that I am angry about, I'm angry that the professionals that were supposed to help me didn't, until I was 40 years old. But I am grateful for the understanding that it has given me.

It's bad and it isn't. But I'm happy, not deliriously happy, but I'm working on it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Big Butts and Immigration

I started my second session of belly dance I on Wednesday. I was a little disappointed because we aren't learning any new moves but I need to practice the ones that I have already learned so I guess I'll just have to deal with it. I've discovered that I am at a decided disadvantage in belly dance because (hope this isn't too much information!) my butt isn't big enough! We all shimmied for awhile and though my shimmy is adequate I just can't get those coins jingling, I'm just not 'juicy' enough!

We actually discussed this during the class. Though the teacher didn't outright mention my butt, I think that she noticed my wimpy coins and she said that people who are thinner don't usually have the same affect when they hip shimmy and have to concentrate on the movements that require muscle control....the undulations etc ...

For awhile I thought of just trying to eat a lot more food trying to make my butt bigger but hell....who am I fooling! If my butt isn't big after 3 kids it just probably ain't gonna happen. I guess it's undulations for me. (Honestly, I will understand perfectly if no-one wants to touch this one with a ten foot pole.)

So, I will go on with my next thought, one that you will perhaps feel more comfortable commenting on. So, here I was all high on belly dance, driving out of the parking lot when I noticed that the bumper sticker of the car in front of me which belonged to a lady from the class, said 'Immigration! Border Patrol!'.

On the surface, this is a technically neutral statement. It's not like it said 'Drown all the Mexicans in the Rio Grande'. But it has been my experience that people who are pro-Mexican rights don't tend to have these bumper stickers. So, now I am in a class with someone who probably thinks that my husband is here stealing jobs from Americans, someone who probably thinks that people like my husband are turning our country into a 3rd world country. And Blah! Blah! Blah!

And that's okay. I don't agree with her and she doesn't have to agree with me, I respect her opinion limited though it may be. (That's respectful, right?) I'm used to it, I've been married to him for 10 years. I had some idea of how things would be when I married him though I didn't forsee 911 and everything that ensued from that.

And my husband and I are not blindly 'pro-Mexican' either. We both realize that the situation can not continue in this way, that there are going to have to be changes and perhaps consequences as well.

We are for Amnesty. We feel that they need to be offered a way to become a part of the system and that penalizing them is not the answer. The United States has benefit ted from Mexican labor for years, our economies are intertwined and we have benefited more than they have from this relationship.

We need them and that is why they have been allowed to come over. This stance that we are being taken advantage of by them is only a partial truth, we have taken advantage of them as well. They would have been more than happy to have a legitimate means for coming over here and working and not having to do it illegally and we have never offered them this option.

Good thing my husband isn't overly-sensitive. He prints USA Today and he is bombarded with all of the arguments. He says that sometimes he catches people talking about him because he is Mexican but when they see that he has noticed, they smile this false, bright smile and try to pass it off. He has never been hassled by the police but of course, we have this fear that one day this will happen.

My daughters have never been treated badly. I'm not capable of being objective about my kids looks. I just don't know if people can tell that they are Mexican when they see them or not and if things might be different if it were more obvious. And I'm not trying to implie that I want to 'pass my kids off as caucasian'. I would never do that. I hate that!

I have had people ask me if they were my kids or not. One lady said, "Oh your kids are so beautiful. Are they yours?" KInda funny! And my husband is usually treated nicely. If anyone is mean to him, it is usually one of those random encounters, my husband is likable so when people know him they don't give him any trouble.

Some of the things that we deal with are just funny! Some times little kids practice their Spanish on him! They are so proud when he understands them! One time a little kid called my daughter a taco and his parents were so embarassed! Once my husband went to subway and this girl put so many jalapenos on his sandwhich that even he could hardly eat it. She thought she was 'being down', I guess!

The guys at work have a lot of fun with my husband. He has a viscous sense of humor and they like playing with him. People talk to my husband like he is a child sometimes though because he has an accent. I always wonder if this doesn't sort of batter him on a subliminal level but what can you do? They don't mean anything by it, they probably don't even realize that they are doing it.

Anyway, given our experiences, I tend to think that people aren't really as bad as they sound when you read the editorials and listen to the people who call in on talk radio. Becasue those people really scare me!

But we often have this feeling of people talking out of both sides of their mouths at us. Smiling and nodding to your face and then making a snide remark when you are not there to hear it. And really, they can think whatever they want. I haven't really spoken to too many people who are militantly anti-immigration who are really very well-informed. I would be more than happy to talk to someone who is well-informed who has opinions that are different from mine on the matter. I would be interested in knowing what they think. I haven't found this though.

It's funny, this woman (I haven't figured out which one it is yet) is probably a nice womean. She probably had no wish to offend anyone. She probably takes the truth of her convictions so for granted that she probably had no idea that it would offend anyone. Or if it did offend someone it wouldn't be anyone who she was in bellydance class with. It would be offensive to someone who is over there, who isn't the same as her on any level. Oh well. It gave me something to ponder.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Slackers and the Zen of Belly Dancing

Wisdom calls from every corner. When will you listen?

Where I grew up...girls are girls and men are men. (And the cows are nervous!) The girls all seem to ultimately become nurses. The Valedictorian of my sons graduating class, (he graduated from the same high school that I did), went to the local community college and became an RN. If you live where I live, its very difficult to believe that there is actually a nursing shortage.

Many of the people commute to Saint Louis, they have specific jobs with specific titles. Others work for local companies driving trucks, doing construction etc..
The adults around me, (besides being farmers) were accountants, an occasional lawyer, teachers and of course, nurses. Everything is all spelled out for them and it is all very practical and they seem to find it very soothing. I'm not like them. It isn't soothing to me at all, it sounds like a jail sentence to me. (Oh Jessie, I'm not talking about you!)

Since I read a lot, I was aware that there were other things that one could do that weren't so specific, which in my mind has always meant the same thing as limiting...but I had never seen anyone do any of these things. It always felt to me like these things were beautiful myths or romantic fables, they were unlikely to happen to me, they only happened to the few and fortunate.

If I had told someone where I grew up, I was going to become an archaeologist or a cultural anthropologist or anything that sounded slightly interesting...they wouldn't even have understood, not even most of the adults. Actually, they might have even laughed at my face or behind my back. They didn't think that these things were possible either. Who cares what they think, right? Unfortunately, I did.

I am an imaginative person but sadly my imagination failed me in such a big way. I don't know if I'll ever fully understand how or why. But even more importantly, and this may be what I need to understand, my faith failed me. Remembering back, I know that there was no feed-back, no guidance, no examples,no-one to lead the way, ....not there. The guidance counsellors had this list of acceptable occupations and there were about 20 or 30 listed and these were what you were guided towards and that was it.

I went to college undecided about what I wanted to do. None of the list of professions that my counsellors had told me about sounded appealing and as I said, I didn't have the faith to imagine.

I loved college! My dreams woke up! I was taking lots of different classes! I was enjoying myself so much! I was lit up! I was enthusiastic! I looked forward to my days! I looked forward to my future!

And inexplicably, I ended up giving up. I was with someone who criticized me all the time and I believed him. This is no excuse however, my real enemy was inside of myself. It the demon that destroys us from within, and the one inside of me was legion and it kinda got loose and went on a murdering spree inside of me and damn near killed me.

I listened to the bastard and I got trained for a job with a specific title and with specific and limited duties just like they always told me to do. And whoa! I was respectable! What a heady feeling, no longer the wild gypsy. I was appropriate and conforming. The gypsy was banished but she trudged away muttering prophetically...."Just wait! You'll miss me one day!"

It didn't take long actually. I no longer felt enthusiastic about the future, my job was something to be tolerated until it was time to clock out and I could come home and could spend a little time being who I actually am. And there was never enough time to be who I was because who I am is pretty big! There seemed to be nothing in front of me but an eternity of sadness. I crammed time for 'my real-life' in between the lines and told myself that this was good enough. I was putting food on the table and a roof over our heads and after all....many people in this world don't even have that so how indulgent of me to complain.

I stuffed it inside and ignored my own pain and told myself that I was immature...that I wouldn't be mature until I could let go of these childish dreams. You can't just run off and join the circus when you have 2 small children! I felt that I had no real choices. Of course, there are always choices...I know that but I have kids to feed and they will have to go to college one day and I don't need a buch of loans to pay off when that day comes. Ultimately, I lied to myself and we know that that doesn't work forever.

"Most men live lives of quiet desperation." I used to love Thoreau but now he really pissed me off! I had this strange, irrational feeling that he was chiding me. I was one of those miserable people living a life of quiet desperation and he had my game and he thought I was a real coward. He would dare to judge me! (Talk about being sensitive, eh!) But I had my defense. His words were those of a slacker. He was sort of the anti-bellum version of Garth and Wayne, his generations version of the guy living in his parents basement.

But of course he was right and I knew it even then, The people who are self-actualized, who have made it to the top of the mountain, they are the ones who can see over to the other side and lead us to what is ahead. Thank god for them.

The Zen of Belly Dance!

I started taking Belly dancing lessons. I hooked up with an old friend, we have known each other since we were three. We are a lot alike but she followed her muse and I didn't. She is a belly-dance instructor and has her own studio. I have post-traumatic stress disorder.:) She is so happy! I feel like I am recovering from a long illness. I think meeting up with her was one of those synchronicity thingies. Just at the time in my life that I need to learn this lesson, there it is.

I want to be happy! I want to be deliriously happy! Don't tell me it isn't possible, I don't believe you! I want to leap out of bed with a song in my heart and go bounding out of my house to meet the world. I want to be so happy that people look at me jealously and say, "She can't possibly be for real!" I don't even care if they think that I am on drugs! At the very least, I don't want to wake up and pull the covers back over my head dreading the rest of the day before my feet even hit the floor.

When I started the Belly dance lessons, I was a complete klutz. Sometimes I was knock-kneed, sometimes I went the wrong way and practically knocked people over and now I can do a dance. A whole dance! And I can do it passably!

Do you know what? I think that it is so good for my daughters to see me doing this. To see me doing something and looking like a complete dork and continuing on with it and actually accomplishing it.

Know what else? I want my girls to see me be happy and to do what I love. Not just belly dance, but everything! I want to live my life as an example to them. I don't want them to have a mother who sold out and did the safe thing and spent her life desperately snatching little moments of joy. I don't want them to live like that and I will have to be the one who shows them that it doesn't have to be that way.

I said that I was being responsible by putting bread on the table. However, perhaps there were other ways that I was not being responsible. Ways that aren't always thought about when one hears the word responsibility, Perhaps I have been irresponsible by not living my life and raising them to think that this is okay. So, I am now working now and I am sitting at home like a lazy slacker being responsible. How's that?

The Hanged man has a different perspective, he sees the world from upside down.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

You're fired!!

Well, I lost my job....... Before you feel sorry for me I would like to say that it was time. It's time for me to move on. To know's one of the most important things isn't it? I didn't know myself when I chose this field....or perhaps it was that I didn't accept myself for who I was. Being in this field was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Just isn't gonna happen. If you do finally force it in, it is damaged and broken in the process. It is time for me to move on before this happens to me.

Now for the good news. As the problems that have caused me to lose this job are considered a disability, I am eligible for assistance from the department of rehabilitation. So it looks like I am going back to school. If you were here right now, you would hear music playing because my heart is singing.

I've longed for this. For a long time I have felt like a prisoner trapped into a life caused by choices I made when I was not really capable of making good decisions. And now I am free. Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose. I don't have anything left to lose and I am free now... free now to indulge my hippy soul and find something organic, to do something in which who I am is flowing out of me instead of blocked. I can find my life's work. I actually believe in God again...okay....Godess.

So now it is my job to decide and to dream...that is my only job for now and I am thrilled. Maybe this writers block that I have had, this lack of joy, this crushing weight will lift now and maybe things will only get better.

Every once in awhile I have posted on this blog about something that I wanted to go back to school to do. These things were ideas born of desperation. I just wanted to stop doing what I was doing....but it was out of the frying pan into the fire! No more. I have been granted a reprieve and believe me, I know how lucky I am and I am not going to blow it!

I've decided that I want to become a ballerina! Just kidding! I'm exploring the possibility of working with the deaf. I want to become a sign language interpreter. Well, that's what I want to do today anyway. Who knows what I will want to tomorrow. All I know for sure is there will be no more dry technical stuff for this lady.

I remember the movie with William Hurt and Marlee Maitlin, can't remember what it was called....and sign language is so beautiful. When Marlee Maitlin signed, it looked like I guess if I did this I actually would be becoming a ballerina of sorts. I've always wanted to do this I just never believed that it was practical. Now I know that it is impractical for me to keep trying to do things that I am unsuited for.

My bipolar disorder is a blessing and a curse at the same time. Though it has wreaked havoc in my life, it has also made it impossible for me to tolerate intolerable situations, it makes it necessary to follow my heart. I can't fake my way through it like everyone else. I am constitutionally incapable of it. I wonder if that make sense? My weakness is my stregnth.

Don't be sad for me....I'm not.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I stated in my last post that I don't like to tell people that I am bipolar because I am afraid of being judged. I have given this a little more thought since I wrote this and I guess that I should explain in which ways I feel that I have been judged which may not be how you think.

Though of course there are some people who will look at you as a defective human being because your problems are mental, I am canny enough to not share the details of my condition with them. The trouble that I have had. has to do with friends who expect that someone with bipolar disorder should behave like a raving lunatic and since I don't, I may have allowed myself to be misdiagnosed.

This attitude from my friends highlights the ignorance there is about this disorder. My friends are intelligent people and that is what is scary. If anyone should know it should be them. I have come to the conclusion that no-one really knows what bipolar disorder is unless they are bipolar or have lived with someone who is.

Something that infuriates me is a certain attitude from the media that bipolar disorder is a over-diagnosed. Now, maybe it is or maybe it isn't, but this attitde creates a culture in which someone who is diagnosed can be treated like someone who is being faddish. You know, in the 70's we had focus groups, now we have medications.

I see this sort of journalism as so unbelievable irresponsible and it seems to me that this attitude is generally accepted even by people who are liberal. And it all seems to stem from this idea that the evil corporate giants, in this case the pharmaceutical companies, are involved in this mass conspiracy to get people to use their drugs.

I've seen it suggested that people like me need to eat healthy, excercise, spend time meditating, go through therapy etc..etc... instead of taking medication. They blame society. They say that we pathologize symptoms that are a direct result of the society that we live in rather than an actual illness. If I let it, it could make me wonder if I am an idiot for believing that I am bipolar and it could make me feel like I am taking medication in lieu of doing what I really need to do. My medication is seen as an avoidance.

I don't take these things seriously, they piss me off actually. The biggest problem that I have with it is that I feel alienated from people sometimes and I've always felt like that anyway so I can handle that. But I'm sure that there are people who are steered away from getting proper treatment because they feel that they are not politically correct.

Although there was an outcry about Tom Cruises famous statements on the Oprah show, I still believe that there are a lot of people who think like him.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Got them old Biplar Blues

There is something that a lot of you probably don't know and it's not something that I tell just anyone and that is that I have Bipolar Disorder. I'm always afraid that it will lower peoples opinions of me, which I'm sure is true in many cases but I will tell all of you because of my sense that you are all kind and won't judge me.

I was only diagnosed about a year ago. Sadly, I've been having symptoms since I was young and no doctor or counsellor ever caught it. So, I started taking medicine last year and there has been dramatic and amazing changes in me. The changes were so dramatic that I suppose they lulled me into a false sense of security. I thought that my problems were over.

It's very hard to be bipolar and not know that you are. Because you blame yourself for things that are not actually in your control. You know that you are different than other people but you don't know why. Many people are angry when they find out. I was relieved because I finally understood what had been wrong all these years and I was given hope that things could improve. The only thing that I was angry about was that no-one helped me a long time ago because I certainly did seek help....many times.

I cannot stress how much this disease has reached it's tentacles into my life in every possible way for over twenty years. Therefore, to try and completely separate it from who I am is difficult and would end up being not telling the truth and causes other, more practical challenges.

Bipolar Disorder involves a lot of self-monitoring. The doctor often has no way of knowing what is going on inside of you but what you tell them, unless you get so bad that it is completely obvious. There are no laboratory tests for this, no x-rays, just you and your family or friends to recognize that an attack is coming so that you can head it off before it gets too bad. Before you develop the full blown symptoms there is still time for you to recognize that they are coming and do something about them. Therefore it is important for you to know what your symptoms are leading up to the attack.

I have difficulty knowing when something that I am experiencing is something that I should tell the Dr. and when it is something insignificant because I still don't know too much about myself apart from the symptoms.... it's hard to explain. I'm afraid that I'm not quite sure what normal is.

I have recently come to realize that I am not nearly as stable as I thought that I was. I am not feeling well now and I think that maybe this has been coming for awhile and that I just didn't recognize it...or maybe I did recognize it but I just didn't think it would be this bad.

There is something called hypo mania, this is what I get. The person never goes into full blown mania. They get high energy and creative and its fun. You feel like you can finally keep up with everyone else as opposed to when on the downswing when you feel like you can't keep up with anything. A person constantly feels guilty about being depressed, you feel like you are letting everyone down. So when you are up, it makes you feel like you are the same as everyone else and you don't live with that feeling of self-blame and weariness. And it is because of exactly this that people tend to not address the early symptoms which are called pro-dromal symptoms, it is a perpetual trap that people with Bipolar Disorder fall into. And I knew this and did it anyway.

I knew that I was getting a little 'wild' but frankly, I liked the way that I felt so much that I suppose that I felt like the risk was worth it. But believe me, its not. and learn.

*************************************************************************************I assume that everyone has heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is a mood disorder like Bipolar Disorder. People have lights prescribed to them by the Doctor. Bipolar people are not supposed to use those lights without talking to a Dr. It can make them manic. When Spring came and the days started getting longer, I started having symptoms, I almost went to the Doctor, but they lessened.

Then I almost went in June when I found I couldn't stop crying about the Madeleine McCann case that I posted about in June, about the little girl who was abducted in Portugual. Then I started not being able to eat and this made me foggy. And etc..etc...and now look at me.

I hate being fragile, and I am fragile. Any little thing can throw me off. Not getting enough to eat, not getting enough to sleep, stress, hormones.....nearly anything! It really sucks!

I have been having a difficult time at my job and the stress of this has caused me to have a relapse. Plainly, the job is just wrong for someone with my condition. I am much more suited for a job where my rapid thoughts will be a merit rather than a handicap. I have a job where you have to concentrate, but on meaningless details. And when things get too fast, I get confused and can't keep up. I keep getting in trouble and it's getting to be too much for me, the job itself but also knowing that for me, it is a dead-end.

I went out on FMLA for 2 weeks, and have gone back to work on a reduced schedule. I talked to them about the Bipolar Disorder and they told me that when I don't feel like I can work, I need to take FMLA, not to come in. And if I do come in, I will be held responsible for whatever happens. If I had to work tonight, I don't know if I would be able to. My FMLA protects me from being fired for calling in, but it doesn't feel very good to take off work and leave the place short-staffed, it puts a lot of pressure on me.

I know that ultimately, I will not be working there forever, it is just a matter of when the job ends, not if. People tell me I should quit but this is where I have my health insurance and frankly, I don't know if I am up to starting a new job right now.

Since I am bipolar, I am probably eligible for some type of assistance. But the thing is, I have a job and they are going to look at that as...I am working so it can't be as bad as I say. I have an appointment to talk to someone on October 1st and I am going to tell them this, since it is the truth. I still have my job because I was cagey, and that is probably the main reason. And sometimes I wonder if it is ethical to keep doing what I am doing when I am not well.

Once I got really excited about Courtroom Reporting but I don't think that I could probably do that either. I probably couldn't handle the pressure and I would probably have days when I couldn't focus. I have always thought that I would like to be a paralegal too but the truth is that that is probably too stressful for me too. I would be working in an office with people and people really stress me out sometimes. There are times that I would probably be less effective and this would surely cause problems.

I have tentatively decided what I want to do, though I still have some people to talk to. I would like a vocational evaluation which could help me decide what I could expect to be able to handle and what I probably couldn't. What I am considering now is Web Design. I think that I would really like it.

It isn't that I can't concentrate at all, but there are only certain things that I can consistently concentrate on. One of my defining qualities is that I am full of crazy mad ideas which would be quite a plus. I think that I could be good at it. I think that I would like it and I believe that I could handle the stress of doing this better than other types of stress.

And I seem to do so much better when I have some way of channeling some of my creativity, which I experience almost like a physical urge. Which is why I took so well to blogging. When I blog, my head stops whirling around and I can actually concentrate.

Well anyway, lately I can write and watch TV, but am having trouble reading. I just can't concentrate. So sorry I haven't been around too much. Hope you understand.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Freaky little demon card!!

The 10 of swords is a card that can strikes terror in the heart of one who receives it. (That is if you actually believe in Tarot) Even if you don't believe in Tarot it could be startling to receive this gruesome card, especially if it was an accurate reflection of what is occurring in your life.

So, of course you probably know what I am leading up to. I got this card the other night....5 TIMES!! Yikes! It almost made me want to throw my Tarot deck away from me and run screaming out of the room. It almost made me want to perform an exorcism.:)

This card, you will not be surprised to know, is sometimes called defeat, and defeat is something that nobody welcomes. But defeat can also open new doors. For once someone has done everything that they can possibly do, there is no choice but to move on and start considering different options And once the initial shock of the defeat is over, leaving the path that you have been trudging down so wearily and starting on a new untried path can be a heady and liberating experience! Defeat is not something that anyone looks forward to but after years of being terrified by horrifying cards like this, we Tarot readers tend to come up with alternate meanings for them that are a little less discomfiting, which is one of the really cool things about the Tarot.

There is an another amusing interpretation of this card in Rachel Pollack's book, 78 degrees of wisdom, (which I would highly recommend even if you are not into Tarot, it is full of unintentional poetry and life lessons) in which she points out that the figure in the picture appears melodramatic or 'hysterical' as she puts it. And many people do interpret this card as representing someone who is playing the victim. They say it can stand for someone who wallows in their pain and doesn't want to move on or as I prefer to think of it, someone who is not in touch with their personal power and believes that they have no choice but to remain in the situation that they are in, which I think is a much kinder way of putting it.

In this situation, ones task would be to examine ones attitude and try to come up with positive, creative, proactive solutions to their problems. This interpretation is basically and sub-level of the defeat card, or perhaps sub-category would be a better way of putting it.

Along the same lines, another key phrase for this card is 'stabbed in the back'. And again this card would prompt one to examine situations that make them feel like they are being stabbed in the back. It may also prompt them to look at the part their attitude or behavior may be playing in the situation.

I wonder if you have noticed that contrary to being fatalistic, the cards are very pro-active in nature. Never do they suggest the situation is set in stone, they always suggest a way in which the situation can be improved or thought of differently. They are sort of like having a 'magical' counselor that you never have to pay.

I have had many people want me to tell their fortunes. To tell them what the future holds for them and I won't do this anymore. It makes me very uncomfortable and it also feels silly to me. I have however had some very strange things happen to me while I have read, so I do not entirely discount the idea that the cards do sometimes take on a life of ones own. I don't even try to understand that anymore. But I do not do fortune telling.

Tarot readers are often disrespected because we are looked upon as....well....fruitcakes! And there are many people who do fortune telling with them. And because of this, many people don't realize that the true purpose of the Tarot cards, at least to me and many others, is that they are a tool for spiritual growth. They use pictorial symbols to represent archetypal human experiences and allows one to think about things using their right brain.

I prefer to look at the Tarot as a tool for self-examination and if reading for others, I am the 'keymaster', I know the meanings of the cards. I am the guide..that's all. Tarot has many lessons, one of them I have just related to you. That ultimately, the answers are inside of us and we can find them if we search and that the Tarot can be a tool.

I'm still having a hard time concentrating and I realize that this post is a little disjointed and has some typos, grammatical errors etc...but it's the best I can do right now, especially since my kids are running around the house screaming like monkeys. I will come back and fluff it up a little more later, but in the meantime, I wanted to post it, warts and all!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I'm just a frazzled mess right now. I'm going to meditate on Mandala's for a few weeks per Jung's advice. Remember me. I'll be back eventually.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Life is fast-paced and life can be rough. Life can run over you like a steamroller and some of us handle it better than others. I have a bad habit, I take it all out on other people. I release my feelings of fatigue and frustration with how hectic everything is on others. Only in my mind, I'm usually pleasant in face-to-face encounters, or I try to be. But in my mind I am constantly complaining about people when they drive too slow, when they get in my way in the store and are so wrapped up in their thoughts that they don't notice that I am there and I have to shrewishly clear my throat to get them to move. I judge people who yell at their kids, people who are rude or unpleasant. I even criticize other women's fashion and hairstyles.

I don't think of myself as a hypocrite or a coward because I criticize people in my mind but am nice face-to-face. I think of the critical thoughts as myself blowing off steam. I realize that when I am complaining about people in my mind that I am not really seeing them, that I am objectifying them and as long as they don't know my thoughts that there is really 'no bad'. I comfort myself with the fact that I really am a nice person and that these thoughts don't really mean much, they are just static.

But you know, who am I fooling? Of course they mean something. Supposing that it is true that my thoughts don't hurt anyone else, (even though I don't really believe this) my thoughts at the very least, hurt myself. For, I feel ugly when I think these thoughts, I really do. These thoughts separate me from others and this is painful.

These thoughts also exist in a sort of endless loop. For who says that other people aren't aware of my thoughts? They may not be aware of them in a conscious way, but it's possible or even probable that they sense them. For I believe that it is true that our negative thoughts reveal themselves in subtle ways and provoke people to certain negative responses, again in a subtle way, and that these responses then justify our thoughts to ourselves.

I know that there is a definite difference in the way that I am treated by others depending upon whether I am in a good mood or a bad mood. I understand that a lot of it may be perception, that I am always encountering people who have a positive response towards me but just don't notice it when I am in a funk. But I don't think that that is the extent of the explanation. I again believe that people are responding to subtle cues that I am sending out, this time positive ones and it is because of this that people are responding to me in a positive way.

Have you ever seen anyone who has such a positive, loving vibe that people just seem to melt around them? It is very rare, but it truly happens. Once I was with a boyfriend and at the time, he was all strung out on life. We were waiting at a dry cleaners and there was a car blocking the window. The person driving the car had gone inside and left their car parked in front of the window. My friend was quite miffed and was involved in some very expert cussing when the door opened and a priest walked out and he smiled, no not smiled...he beamed at us. It was such a sunny smile that I have remembered it for all of these years. No-one could withstand such a smile, my friend included. Truly, what power lies in a smile! I know that this is sort of hallmark-yish, but it's true. As it's also true that people respond our moods more than we or even they probably realize.

What has prompted these thoughts? I was out the other day and it was like I had some sort of epiphany or some sort of worldly veil was lifted from me and I suddenly saw things as they truly are. I was suddenly unable to objectify people as is my habit and I started seeing them and they all looked so beautiful! And everyone looked that way! No-one escaped. Even people who gave off bad vibes, I felt sad for them because they were unhappy. And I couldn't stop looking at people like this was something that I had been hungry for.

Do you know the story of Helen Keller? It was one of my favorite stories when I was young. Helen Keller was deaf and blind. There was no sign language system in use at the time and people just didn't think that it was possible that she would ever be able to communicate with other people, then someone taught her finger spelling. For a long time, she didn't connect the words spelled with her fingers and the objects that these words were supposed to be representing. But suddenly one day she understood and she went flying around touching everything and asking for it's name. The world was suddenly opened to her.

This is what I felt like, I felt like she she must felt when everything was revealed and she saw how much more there was than she had ever known before. Except I didn't rush around and start touching people. All of a sudden that spiritual blindness left me for a time and I felt connected with everything in a way in which I usually don't and that feeling of being ugly that I carry around without even realizing that it is there suddenly left me and that was when I realized what a burden it was and how tired it makes me.

I've had things that have happened to me and just like anyone else, this is why I developed some of the attitudes I developed. I think that our attitudes sometimes protect us, they are an armor we wear and we are supposed to grow so that one day we do not need this armor anymore.

It's time for me to move on, as I've seen, it certainly would feel much better. Going through the world seeing everything through new eyes would make going through it so much easier.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Need a good laugh?

I've been in a bad mood lately, got some things going on. As you all know, the age old remedy for a bad mood is supposed to be laughter so I've prescribed myself some. I'd like to share it with you. These are called Tom Swifties. They were originated by Edward Stratemeyer in a series of cartoons in the 1920's.

"I dropped my toothpaste," Tom said crestfallen.

"Who would want to steal modern art," Tom said abstractedly.

"My investments are worth more everyday," Tom said appreciatively.

"I have to keep this fire alight," Tom bellowed.

" ", said Tom blankly.

"You've got the right to remain silent," Tom said arrestingly.

"I've only enough carpet for the hall and landing," said Tom with a blank stare.

"Sure I can climb cliffs," Tom bluffed.

"This wind is awful," Tom blustered.

"Use your own toothbrush," Tom bristled.

"Yes, I have been reading Voltaire," Tom admitted candidly.

"I've been to a film festival in the South of France," Tom said cannily.

"I love the novels of D.H. Lawrence," said the lady chattily.

"Another batch of shells for me," Tom clamored.

"We've taken over the government," the general cooed.

"I'd like to be a chinese laborer," said Tom coolly.

"Those cobs are amazing," said Tom cornily.

"Give me some pre-packed cheese slices," said Tom craftily.

"I'm dying," Tom croaked.

"A greek woodland deity is no more," Tom said with a deadpan expression.

"I can no longer hear anything," said Tom deftly.

"Have I been emasculated?" Tom demanded.

Don't let me drown in Egypt," said Tom in deep denial.

"I want the statue to look like the Venus de Milo," said Tom disarmingly.

"That sure took the winds out of my sails," said Tom disgustedly.

"I can't find my reefer," said Tom disjointedly.

"I'll never give up my hounds," said Tom doggedly.

"I'm now on welfare," said Tom dolefully.

"It's made the grass wet," said Tom after due consideration.

"Let's get married," said Tom engagedly.

"Get the stick, Rover," said Tom fetchingly.

"I have a split personality," said Tom, being Frank.

"We have no bananas," said Tom fruitlessly.

"This food tastes of plutonium," Tom said glowingly.

"For what we are about to recieve, make us truly gratefully," Tom said gracefully.

"Would anyone like some parmesan," Tom said gratingly.

"I only have diamonds, clubs and spades," Tom said heartlessly.

"It's my maid's night off," Tom said helplessly.

"The doctors had to remove a bone from my arm," Tom said humorlessly.

"That's an ugly hippototamus," Tom said hypocritically.

"I brush my teeth 10 times a day," said Tom implacably.

"His honor is crazy," Tom admitted judgementally.

"I'd like chicken soup with matzo balls and gefilte soup," Tom said judiciously.

"My parents are called Billy and Nanny," Tom kidded.

"I refuse to make an agenda," Tom said listlessly.

"It's only average," Tom said meanly.

"According to this sonograph, the average frequency of my voice is 160 Hz," said Tom with measured tones.

"A million thanks Monsieur," said Tom mercifully.

"Perhaps I will," said Tom with all of his might.

"Do you call this a musical," said Les miserably.

"My sterios half-fixed," said Tom monotonously.

"The sun is rising," Tom mourned.

"Momma is German," Tom muttered.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Only a vehicle

How much of what you think of as yourself, the part that you experience as 'I', the part that speaks in your mind, that carries your thoughts is only biology? I think that most people would consider this question hypothetical, an interesting question but not really one that affects them too much.

However, how would you feel if you saw someone close to you, someone who is mentally ill, take medication and suddenly become better? How would you feel if you saw someone who had had a certain behavior all of their lives, someone who had tried everything that they could possibly think of: counselling, life-style changes, dietary changes self-analysis etc....desperately tried everything that they could possibly think of with little or no result and then, suddenly that person started to take medication and their problems virtually disappeared?

I don't think that many people would deny that that is a good thing. but if one thinks about it, it can bring up some very discomfiting questions. Especially for the person who is experiencing these changes through their 'I'. Negative or positive, this person has been experiencing this behaviour and these thoughts as stemming from inside of them, the side that they think of as me. Suddenly, it's all gone and everyone is glad, everyone who knew them is glad. This person is glad too, but it is still very strange.

Think of this from their perspecive. Once the many things made him or her angry, now annoy them, but that is it. Being angry isn't really worth the energy that is expended. They may have made many of the decisions that have brought them to the point of life that they are at now but they made them when they were sick and now they have to live with them. They may remember what they felt like when they made the decisions but they don't really feel that way anymore. They aren't even shure what caused themself to make these decisions, the thoughts that they had were their thoughts, true. But they were their thoughts modified by some bad chemicals. Could that possibly make one wonder if ones life is built on some fallacies? Ya think?

Suppose they have a lot of memories of bad things that they have done, mean things, stupid things...wierd things. Time after time that they may have failed because they were sick, but they didn't know they were sick and they have been filled with self-loathing and self-blame. Then suddenly they find out that they have an illness and that perhaps these things were not their fault after all? Does one let themself off the hook?

Is it easy to see how someone could be left with the conunundrun of wondering, "Who am I then, exactly? If this wasn't me that did all these things then what was it? If it wasn't me that what am I?"

For most people, as I said, these are philisophical questions. It may be amusing to find out for example, that there is a gene that controls sense of humor, but it certainly isn't the same as finding out that nearly everything that you thought was you, may not have been you after all. This person has become stablized but has also lost many of their ideas and worse, their spark. What were they after all?

I happen to believe that our bodies are a vehicle for our souls. Perhaps the person who has been having these experiences would feel comforted by this belief. That their "I" transcends the physical. I am sort of brain dead right now. This is all I can write.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I don't have to be mature if I don't want to! So nyah!

I don't think that 40 is old. I don't think that 50 is old. I don't even think 60 is old though your getting there by then I suppose, but I wonder if I will feel the same way when I am 60.

I work with a group of people in their late 40's and in their 50's who, one and all, describe themselves as old. Interestingly, the man I work with who is 60 does not describe himself as old and is in better health than all of them. Before you start thinking that there may be a correlation between how well he feels and his feelings about aging, I also work with people younger than he is who think that they are old and they are quite healthy.

I find it...oh what do I find it. Offensive? No, that's not quite right. Do I feel disdainful? Actually, I do feel a little disdainful. Do I feel disgusted? Not really, I think I feel shocked, confused, and a little disappointed. Disappointed because I am probably going to be working with these people for a while and I find this attitude to be a real downer.

There is a woman the same age as me who constantly refers to how we're old now. Excuse me? Maybe you are, I'm not. (I don't say that.) A lot of the people who I work with have health and dietary habits guarenteed to send one to an early grave and constantly talk about their health problems as though they are just an inevitable part of aging. AND THEY AREN'T EVEN THAT OLD!

The other day, I heard a woman say to another woman that she really wasn't familiar with 80's music. She said "I went through that stage where you listen to music in the 70's" That stage where you listen to music? Listening to music, a stage? Huh?

Younger people are always afraid of getting older and who can blame them with these examples of 'graceful aging'. To think that you are going to have terrible health problems and be hobbling around complaining about your feet and that you will no longer listen to music because it is a juvenile activity, doesn't make one look forward to growing older.

Naturally, one will have more problems due to the normal wear and tear of age. It's at this age that congenital anomolies may make their presence known or that genetic predispositions may start causing health problems. But most of us can prevent having serious health problems by taking care of ourselves.

I have found that comments like the ones I mentioned above are beginning to be a pet peeve of mine. Firstly, because I don't agree with them but hey, people can agree to disagree. No foul. But because it is so negative. It perpetuates a negative stereotype and makes you complicit with an attitude that is damaging to a large segment of the population in which you are included, if not now, then eventually.

I heard a radio show once that spoke about age discrimination and the gentleman pointed out that aging is unavoidable. Living in a society that has such negative stereotypes about aging causes low self-esteem. It is to everyones benefit to confront these stereotypes, especially if you are young now because things will be better for you when you are older if you do.

The idea that common phrases illustrate attitudes and form them at the same time is interesting to me. An example of this would be the phrase 'my generation.' This phrase is commonly used to mean the late teens through 20's and maybe early 30's. It seems to mean the time when you are young. It seems to imply that only during this time are you entirely revelant and once 'your generation' has been replaced by the new one, you are not really as important. You are consigned, as a woman, to the ranks of soccer mom. Pooh! What is wrong with loving your kids and being a mom. What does that say about our society that we lump and entire group of our population into a one-dimensional phrase that we say with a sneer on our faces. It says more about our society than it does the women that they are referring to.

At any rate, this is my generation. As long as I am alive, this is my generation. It was my generation when I was in preschool and it will be my generation up until the day I die. I will not become less relevant, nor do I believe that I will lose touch or lose my edge. I don't believe that we have to. But it's something that we have to fight because all of society seems hell-bent on putting someone who is not a 'youngster' anymore into this slot.

Fight! Fight! Fight! I have never lost my teenage rebellion and it will hold me in good stead. Don't worry, I have learned to rebel with a little more finesse. (Rebellion is another thing, by the way. Why is it always considered more adult to mold yourself to the situation around you, to stop fighting and accept things that you know are wrong.) Our poor children.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Being a parent Part 2

my previous post was something that I have been thinking about writing for a long time. I'm afraid that I may have come out sounding a little self-righteous. If I did, please forgive, I didn't mean to.

I was a terribly sensitive child. I got my feelings hurt very easily. I fretted about slights, worried when I thought that I had done something wrong and I went through a stage where I almost wouldn't speak when I met someone new. I was painfully shy and just sat back and I watched people much of the time. I was very aware of what was going on inside of other people (to the best of my ability, I was only a child) and if someone was angry with me I felt this very intensly.

My children come from my genes (their dad is also sensitive, so they got a double whammy!) and they have a quality similar to mine, or maybe it's environmental I don't know. This is why it's hard for me to be tough with my kids. I wouldn't have needed anyone to be tough with me, all you would have had to do was talk to me and 90% of the time I would have complied.

My mother is the cerebral sort, doesn't place too much importance on feelings. She also wasn't ready to have a kid yet when she had me and didn't want to be bothered with me. As long as I didn't interrupt her from her reading or talking on the telephone or whatever and as long as I didn't make a big mess for her to have to clean up, I could do whatever I wanted. But when I annoyed her, the punishment was harsher than it needed to be and was done out of anger.

I remember how emotionally painful it was for me to be punished like I was and I suppose it is all these things in combination that makes it hard for me to be rough with my girls. The thing that I remember most is being so surprised that anyone would treat me like I was a 'bad girl' because I knew that I wasn't. I really felt the unfairness of that.

I'm not trying to go into a big 'whine-fest' about how mistreated I was as a child. I grew up in a fairly affluent household and had many advantages as well, it wasn't all bad. I'm merely trying to explain from whence my attitude stems.

I also grew up in a small town of people who were intrinsically different than my own family. Since I was already shy, this was very painful for me. They made fun of me because I liked to read, they made fun of me for my liberal views, they made fun of me because I wasn't good at sports though strangely, when I played sports with a group of friends that I didn't feel shy around, I did jusr fine. I didn't relate to them at all, but it never occurred to me when I was young that maybe they were the ones who were wrong, not me. There were so many of them and I was just one. My mother was completely oblivious to what was going on, she just wasn't made to deal with things like that.

So, I'm soft with my girls. I assume that they are the same as me, that when they do something bad it is because they didn't really understand or because maybe what I am expecting from them is too much for their age. So far it's worked. I realize that there are children who may have a different temperament from my own and that my approach may not be at all effective with these children.

I didn't do as well with my son as I have done with my daughters, though my son has turned out great too. I let people pressure me. They told me that I was being too soft on him and that if I wasn't stricter that he would turn out bad. Joel was sort of contrary. And there are people who think that if your child doesn't blindly obey your every order that they are bad kids. I let one of these people influence me when I was young. I wish that I hadn't. If I could do it all over again, I would have raised him just like I do my girls and he would have ended up good like he is now but we would have happier memories.

It was about this time that I found a book, which I read, that affected me so deeply that I was finally able to break away from this pressure of wondering whether or not I was wrong in being so soft with my son and to finally believe that I was not leading him towards trouble. It was called The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller. This book has become a classic with therapists from what I understand.

Ms. Miller obtained a popular childrearing manual that German mothers at the turn of the century used for advice in the best way to raise a child. These mothers were the mothers of the men and women who grew up to be the Nazi generation in Germany. By using quotes from this childrearing manual and tying them with circumstances and occurences she sheds much light into the psychosocial dynamics of why things like the Holocaust occur.

The main culprit is what she calls 'shame-based' childrearing practices. Shame-based childrearing practices evolve from the belief that children are bad and that it is the job of their parents or caretakers to force them towards goodness, left to their own devices they will never grow to become moral people. This involves breaking the will of the child, forcing the child to accept authority. Their moral compass then comes from outside of them rather than being something intrinsic. As they are always looking outwards to other people to tell them what to do, they lack the ability to think for themselves and can be easily led to commit immoral acts, especially if they are being prompted towards committing an immoral act by someone whom they consider to be an authority.

As force is used against them in order to bend them to will of another, they begin to associate 'power-over' as being the only type of power that there is, they don't fully understand power that comes from within. If brutal force is used against them then they associate brutality with power, there has to be a winner and a loser and they intend to be the winner. I have known people like this and I've noticed that they talk about respect a lot yet they seem to respect no-one. They seem to think that respect and obedience are synonomous.

I was talking to a woman I work with last night (she really gets on my nerves.) She was talking about the good old days, (my god, she's only 50) when kids got off their fat asses (her words) and walked to school, they didn't need a bus to take them 4 blocks. I mentioned to her that people don't want their children to get abducted or targeted by child molestors and she retorted with, "We had all that stuff back then too." as though being abducted by a childmolestor should be some sort of rites of passage ceremony.

Then she went on to say that if you did something wrong and someone elses parent saw you then they would (her words again) beat your ass, tell your parents and your parents would beat your ass and by the time it was all over with, you might have had your ass beaten 3 times. This was what she called being taught respect. Knowing that there are people loose in this world with that attitude make me even more inclined to protect my children. (You guys, the people I work with drive me nuts. This blog is my life-line.)

I just don't see all of these horrible kids that she is talking about and I hear other people talking about them too. I do see lots of lost souls however. Guess it's just a difference in perspective. Why do I, who am not religious, tend to see 'lost souls' and people who I know that are religious seem to see 'sinners.'

I guess there is going to be a part 3 to this, I am not quite able to get done.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Being a Parent Part 1

I am a lenient parent. Some of you might be appalled if you saw what I let my kids get away with. If they don't want to eat at supper time, they don't have to. If they get hungry later, they get to eat. They don't get spanked. I've given them little, minuscule smacks before, but that's it. If they aren't tired, they can watch TV til 1 in the morning. I really don't care. They still have to get up though.

My kids have lots of toys, at least, the classic toys like paints and blocks, dress-up clothes, books etc... The concessions I have made to moderninity are video games and computer. I usually give My girls what they ask for. Why do I give them what they ask for? Because they never ask for anything. My daughter Claudia is about the most unmaterialistic kid you'd ever want to meet. Much less materialistic than her mother. My younger daughter very rarely asks for something when we go to a store. As a matter-of-fact, I can't remember the last time she asked for anything.

And I'll tell you, my kids are the kind of kids that you would choose to have at your house if for some reason you were forced to babysit someone but were able to choose who you had to babysit. They are very well-behaved. People call my older daughter an 'old soul'. And when I tell people at the daycare how rambunctious my younger one is at home, they look startled and seem skeptical.

I do not have lists of chores and reward charts and the punishments all mapped out. I expect things from my children but what I expect is that they are good at heart and that I will not have to make them do anything, there is no need because they already want to do what is right.

This might appear to other people that I am raising my children with a lack of discipline and direction, yet my older daughter is very disciplined. She always turns her homework in, always has it done, she gets straight A's and she has never gotten in trouble one time in school and she has finished 4 grades so far.

Okay, before I go on, I'm not trying to imply that either myself or my daughters are perfect. (Do you actually think that I am going to admit our flaws? I'm not but trust me, we have them.) There are plenty of things that I think that I could have done better and plenty of things that I think I could do better with now. I am not here to talk about that. What I am trying to illustrate is that my child-rearing practices seem to flout traditional methods yet for some reason, I am ending up with the results that parents using more punitive measures are trying to achieve. So I am not going to talk about my 'failures' least not today.

I worked with a woman who, when she was pregnant, talked quite a lot about how her child was not going to be a spoiled brat and I spent many evenings patiently listening to her talk about the methods that she would use to ensure her well-disciplined child. Though I applauded her ambition I was a little confused as to why she she was already expecting an unborn child to be a brat and thinking of ways to thwart the childs 'evil proclivities'. I honestly never expected my children to be bad. I knew that they would make mistakes and do bad things, but I never thought that they would be bad. And they aren't.

(I keep bringing up my older daughter because I think that I don't know how my younger one is going to be yet. I don't expect her to be a problem child or anything but I don't want to have to eat my words later.) But anyway, is my older daughter good because I expected her to be? If I had expected her to be bad and steeled myself for battles and wars would I have had a daughter who was less well-behaved than the daughter I ended up with?

Obviously, there is no way that I will ever know this. But my hunch is that part of the reason that she is a good child is because this is what we expected from her. People speak of having high expectations for your child and as best as I can tell they mean expecting good grades and exemplary behavior. I never expected these things from my children. I expected them to be good people and assumed that these things would follow, and they have.

My younger daughter has thrown a fit in public twice. Both times it was my fault, she was hungry. I shouldn't have let her get so hungry. My older daughter did it twice too. The first time she was coming down with something. The second time was right after her sister was born and she was trying to get used to not being the only child. Both times, I was glared at by people who seemed to expect me to....I don't know? Spank them? Yell at them? Stop it somehow? Stop a small child from having a meltdown indeed!

There is actually a lot of pressure on parents to be mean to their children. It's subtle but it's there. Did you hear about the flight attendent who put the mother and her 18 month old baby off the plane because the baby wouldn't stop talking? He wasn't crying, he was talking. I think a lot of people have the attitude that the flight attendent have, but aren't bold enough to say anything.

When I talk about what I bought my children for Christmas I get knowing looks, they seem to think that I realize that I am spoiling my children but that I can't quite control myself. They chuckle indulgently, they think that they are laughing with me. Little do they know that I don't think that I am spoiling my children by making sure that they have materials in the home that will help them learn the things that they need to learn during whatever developmental stage that they happen to be in at that time.

Well, I have run out of time. I will finish......hopefully tomorrow. I will be reading you tonight too.....unless I get too busy. Expect comments some time soon. (I know you live for my comments!)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Getting closer to being done!

Don't worry everyone. I haven't forgotten about you. (How could I? Your all so great!) I actually read your posts at work but don't comment.

I may actually have some spare time tomorrow, (Yipee!) But I'm not sure yet. (Ah, the suspense!)

I got the upstairs clean. Next is the basement! EEEWW!!! Then maybe I'll be done enough to start all over again!

Plus Monday is my oldest daughter's birthday! Preparing for that! Shopping today! See you soon!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Time to clean! No more procrastination!

I have to cut down on my blogging for a little while. Quite frankly, I need to get my house cleaned up. It is a mess that I can no longer ignore. We just have too much stuff. I need to get rid of some of it etc....When I get everything clean, I will be back. Hopefully, it won't take too long!

(Sometimes I wonder if there is some Freudian reason why I often choose pictures of girls much younger than me.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Shake Hands With the Devil

Right now I'm trying to save money on books. I spend sooooo much money on books. Instead of buying from Borders etc....I have been going to used book stores and thrift shops.

I never know what I am going to find when I take this route. You just have to choose from what is there. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised as I am picking books I wouldn't normally choose. So, right now I am reading Shake Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. It's written by Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire.

He is the highest-ranking military officer ever to suffer openly with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He gives a detailed first-person, insiders account of the events leading up to the withdrawal of all the major powers and what he saw and felt.

I'm very interested in what happened in Rwanda and also other things going on in Africa, though I must confess it is a somewhat morbid interest. Things like this are so scary and I guess I want to try to understand what is going through peoples minds and how something like this could happen.

Also, and please don't anyone take offense at this but my mother is very anti-military. She is also very ideological and tends to see things as black and white. So, I was not raised to be open-minded towards the military. Since I've left home and grown up, I am more open-minded and realize that the prol-military have their poing of veiw as well and I respect it for the most part, though I don't entirely understand. So, it is eye-opening for me to read about how he felt about being a soldier. of yet, the book is a little boring. Okay, not a little, a lot. But I am trying to wade through the beginning because I think it is going get better. (Well, I know this is sort of a lame post but it's all I have time for right now. I'll come up with something better soon!) So, what are you reading?

Friday, July 13, 2007

What would I do with myself if I was my daughter?

When I was 15 I went to San Francisco to spend time with my uncle Micheal and my aunt Amy. When I got off the plane and we got to the car, my uncle said, "Wow! You must be tired. Here have some of this." and he handed me a joint.

Thus started my 2 week trip to San Fran. I never liked pot that much actually. It opened me up too much. I lost my boundaries. I felt like people could see what I felt and that I could feel what they felt. I got confused. I wonder if anyone else has ever had that experience with pot?

When I was out there, my uncle took me to a used record store. One of the albums I purchased was Horses by Patty Smith not to be confused with Patti Smith. She is a poet and a musician (and I emphasize the poet part of the equation). She is absolutely awesome. I recently purchased the CD. She is just as relevant now as she was in 1974 when she cut the album. (She has been inducted into the Rolling Stone's top 100 artists.)

Here are some of the lyrics to her song, Land.

The boy was in the hallway drinking a glass of tea.
From the other end of the hall a rhythm was generating
Another boy was sliding up the hallway
He merged perfectly with the hallway
He merged perfectly with the mirror in the hallway

The boy looked at Johnny
Johnny wanted to run
But the movie kept movie as planned
The boy took Johnny, he pushed him in the locker
He drove it in, he drove it home, he drove it deep in Johnny
The boy disappeared, Johnny fell on his knees
Started crashing his head against the locker
Started crashing his head against the locker
Started laughing hysterically.

He gets the feeling,
He is surrounded by Horses, Horses, Horses, Horses
Coming in in all directions
White, shining, silver studs with their nose in flames
He saw Horses, Horses, Horses, Horses, Horses, Horses, Horses, Horses, Horses.

Life is filled with holes
Johnny laying here, his sperm coffin
Angel looks down and says, "Oh pretty boy, can't you show me nothin' but surrender?"
Johnny gets up, puts on his leather Jacket
Taped to his chest, there's the answer
You got pen knives and jack knives and switch blades preferred
Switch blades preferred
Then he cries, then he screams saying
Life is full of pain, I'm cruising through my brain
And I fill my nose with snow and go Rimbaud, go Rimbaud, go Rimbaud
And go Johnny go and do the watusi, yeah do the watusi

So, this is the stuff I was listening to at the age of 15. I guess was a creepy little kid. I bought a copy of the Satanic Bible by Alasteir Crowley. I didn't want to become a Satanist, I just wanted to know what it said. I read The Feminine Mystique and The Woman's Room. I read On the Road, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest and Catcher in the Rye. After I read On the Road, I started experimenting with drugs because they made it sound so necessary and almost killed myself one night huffing gas.

Did all of that stuff give me ideas that I was too young to understand? Yes, since I was a mixed-up kid it probably wasn't the best thing for me to read. If I was my mother, would I let myself read these things? Listen to these things? Would you let your daughter?

Personally, I would. If she wanted to know those things, I would let her know. But she wouldn't read it alone like I did. I would read it too and talk to her about it. I don't blame my parents for not doing that with me. I was a difficult kid. Not many people would have known how to deal with me. I would know how to deal with a kid like me, but a lot of people would not. And I think I was pretty cool, warts aside.

I'm going to put in the rest of the lyrics now. I know some of those with poetic inclinations will enjoy them. but I didn't want to put them in earlier because people who are not impressed with poetry may not like to read something this long.

There's a little place, a place called space.
It's a pretty little place, it's across the tracks,
Across the tracks and the name of the place is you like it like that,
You like it like that, like it like that, like it like that
And the name of the band is
The Twistilettes, Twistilettes, Twistelettes, Twistilettes
Twistilettes, Twistilettes, Twistilettes, Twistilettes

Baby calm down, better calm down,
In the night, in the eye of the forest,
There's a mare black and shining with yellow hair,
I put my fingers through her silken hair and found a stair
I didn't waste time, I just walked right up and saw that
up there--there is a sea
up there--there is a sea

The sea's the possibility
There is no land, but the land
(up there is just a sea of possibilities)
Except for one who seizes the possibilities
(up there)
There is no keeper but the key
(up there there are several walls of possibilities)
Except for one who seizes possibilities, one who seizes possibilities
(in the heart of man)
I seize the possibility, is the sea around me
I was standing there with my legs spread like a sailor
(in the sea of possibilities) I felt his hand on my knee
(on the screen)
And I looked at Johnny and handed him a branch of cold flame
(in the heart of man)
The waves were coming in like Arabian stallions
Gradually lapping into the sea horses
He picked up the blade and he pressed it against his smooth throat
(the spoon)
And let it deep in (the veins)
dip into the sea, the sea of possibilities
It started hardening
Dip into the sea, the sea of possibilities
It started hardening in my hand
And I felt the arrows of desire

I put my hand inside his cranium, oh we had such a braniac-armour
But no more, no more, I gotta move from my mind to the area
(go Rimbaud, go Rimbaud, go Rimbaud)
And Johnny go down and do the watusi,
do the watusi
shined open coiled snake, white and shiny twirling and encircling
Our lives are now entwined, we will fall, yes we're together twining
Your nerves, your mane of black shining horses
And my fingers all entwined through the air,
And I could feel it, it was the hair going through my fingers
(I could feel it, I could feel it, I could feel it)
The hairs were like wires going through my body
I, that's how I
That's how I
I died
(at that Tower of Babel they knew what they were after)
(Everything on the current)moved up
I tried to stop it, but it was too warm, too unbelievable smooth,
Like playing in the sea, in the sea of possibility, the possibility
Was a blade, a shiny blade, I hold the key to the sea of possibilities
There's no land but the land

Looked at my hands and there's a red stream
That went streaming through the sands like fingers
Like arteries, like fingers
(how much fits between the eyes of a horse?)
He lay, pressing it against his throat, (your eyes)
His vocal cords starting shooting like (of a horse)mad pituitary glands
The scream he made (and my heart) was so high (my heart)pitched that nobody heard,
No one heard that cry
No one heard (Johnny)the butterfly flapping in his throat
(his fingers)
Nobody heard, he was on that bed, it was like a sea of jelly
And so he seized the first
(his vocal cords shot up)
(like mad pituitary glands)
It was a black tube, he felt himself disintegrate
(there is nothing happening at all)
and go inside the black tube, so when he looked out into the steep
Saw this sweet young thing, fender one
Humping on the parking meter, leaning on the parking meter
In the sheets
There was a man
dancing around
to the simple
Rock and Roll