Wildflower Seed in the Sand and Wind

My eyes-Help them to Look as well as to See

Location: The Triangle, North Carolina, United States

I try to keep an open heart & open mind.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day Two

Ok. something I love about myself. Hmmmm...I haven't thought about it as much as I usually do when I try to draft a post. Usually I work it out in my head somewhat, then try to get the words down, and then work on the organization part so there is some coherency, and then tweak it. I am a constant tweaker which makes it hard to keep up with daily posts. I also like to have a more conversational feel to my writing when I am writing here (with lots of asides which I typically put in parentheses) so I tend to be all over the place at times. So I am gonna go all stream of consciousness here and let the words flow...

To pick one thing I love about myself is difficult. I am my hardest critic I would say and I may sell myself short at times and at times lack confidence...wait yesterday was what I hated about myself and here I am going on and on about the negative. I guess it's hard to say good things about myself at the risk of sounding conceited, or worse deluded. But I would have to say that I think my open mindedness is the thing I love best about myself. That is a broad concept that can include some other qualities I like about myself. My compassion and kindness toward others. My acceptance and tolerance of those different than me. My willingness, or rather compulsion, to learn about other ways of thinking, even if it clashes with my current state of thought and may at times anger me (especially when the way of thinking is not open minded).

Looking ahead I know religion and politics are coming up on another day so I will have a chance to expound more on those topics, but open mindedness is certainly something that challenges those constructs. In order to have faith or belief in one thing means that you have to abandon, and in some cases vehemently reject, any idea that is in contrast with that belief. I just have a hard time with that. I mean time and space is so vast, so diverse, so limitless, it would be so smug and elitist to think that just because I happened to be a woman born in the late 1960s to a middle class Catholic family that the world view that most of my social group adheres to is the one and only way. It is a conundrum of sorts that really puts me at odds with organized religion, or politics for that matter.

I feel like my opinions and beliefs are dynamic and fluid, they can be ever changing depending on new things I learn or new ways of looking at things as well as the situation at hand. Although I can't say that I will always understand others' beliefs that are vastly different from mine. However, I don't really have to. All I can say is that I support their right to hold those beliefs, otherwise I would be a hypocrite. Just because it may not be a belief that I necessarily share, doesn't have to mean that one is right or one is wrong. I don't need to tear down another's beliefs to validate mine. It does not threaten me in any way to acknowledge competing beliefs exist. What I do take issue with is that not everyone opens their minds to this possibility.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day One

Ok, I haven't been on this thang (not a typo) lately. I would like to say that it's because of a lack of inspiration, but it more likely has been a lack of motivation (uh story of my life). I have been reading other blogs like the dickens, but just can't seem to get the wherewithal to pick this back up. Oh well, I have decided that I will "try" to participate in this 30 Days of Truth thing that is circulating amongst bloggers. I previewed the list and have tried not to dwell too much on what is coming up instead focusing on one day at a time (now I sound like a 12 stepper and I really have to stop with this parenthetical disclaimers). So here we go....

Day One-Something you Hate About Yourself
Funny how the first truth involves finding fault and negativity with yourself. I suppose once you get down to the nitty gritty of what the hell is wrong with yourself it gets easier to divulge other truths about yourself. I would have to admit that the thing I hate most about me is my sensitivity. Not that I think it's a bad thing to be sensitive. Actually, I think it very important that we feel things with all of our being, that we empathize with others, that we follow our hearts.

So what I more specifically mean is that I hate how my sensitivity is displayed, or rather not restrained in certain situations. Whether I am angry, sad, frustrated, yes even proud, I have a propensity towards tears and an inability to properly articulate how I feel. I am sure that past boyfriends were dismayed and at times annoyed by my tears during fights. So with interpersonal relationships the crying can be problematic. I don't do it to emotionally manipulate, for the most part (this is supposed to be truths afterall). But I especially hate it when it happens at work. I guess I just feel like it shows a weakness in me for the rest of the world to see. I want to be seen in those instances as that person who has grace under pressure (not the sitcom) who can calmly and succintly express myself.

I clearly recall in 3rd grade when I accidentally dropped by trapper keeper all over the classroom floor. Mrs. McCall yelled at me for it as if I had intentionally spilled all my papers over the floor only to scoop them up and distract the entire class. I started crying and got to that rather unattractive point of sobbing to where you feel like you can hardly breathe. I am a pleaser so part of the emotional response was because a person in a position of authority called me out on something I did by accident. And the other part involved my unwillingness and discomfort with being singled out and have the whole class looking at me. Then is just snowballs with my frustration with crying in the first place which leads to even more crying.

I am a pretty hopeful and optimistic person so I have to tell myself that if this is what I hate most about myself I can't be doing too bad. But I have many times wished I could put on a strong front so crying is not perceived as a weakness. But at the end of the day I would much rather feel the depths of emotions in this way then to feel hardened and stoic, or worse to feel nothing at all.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Brave New World

Technology is a rolling stone (and moss don’t grow fat on it). The minute you walk out of the store with the newest gadget, you better believe that it has become out of fashion, or worse obsolete. Now, I will be the first to admit that technology has made life easier, quicker, and perhaps more improved. You can heat a Hot Pocket in 45 seconds. You can call a tow truck if you break down on some dark country road. You can connect with family and friends and make new virtual friends on social networking sites and through the blogging community.

However when I think those who predicted a future where one should fear technology as it has the potential to cause harm and exert control over the masses, such as George Orwell or Aldous Huxley, I wonder if maybe their visions were a little misguided. Instead of some government conspiracy or powerful entity that seeks to control others through technology, I wonder if the real culprit to our downfall is not the technology itself, or some organized group who uses that technology to control society. I am beginning to think it is the individual who holds the power to use technology in positive and well- intentioned ways. What we have to fear most are the individual choices that others make as they use this new technology that promises a better, more improved life.

Two examples have been weighing heavily on me- one for some time and the other recently in which I will describe later.

For starters we have cell phones and I suppose many bloggers or just real live people having a conversation (imagine that! foreshadowing) have ranted about their experiences with inconsiderate and downright rude cell phone users. If I had a dollar for every time I have either been annoyed, or worse yet almost been involved in an unplanned meeting of vehicles because of some other driver’s cell phone usage, I wouldn’t be a millionaire but I would be able to buy a new pair of Levis (which by the way I need). Or how about that really important guy at the table next to you at the restaurant or in the waiting room at the doctors office (which by the way many doctors’ offices have no cell phone policies) who must talk loudly so that everyone around him knows he is a Super Important Person? And don’t get me started on those who can’t even bother to put their cell phone down when dealing with others in their community-the cashier at the grocery store, the bank teller, the wait staff at the restaurant. It’s sad that some in our society almost look down on those service people as if they don’t deserve attention and respect. After all they could have gone to college and gotten a “real” job, then they could treat those who work in the service industry like a second-class citizens.

All that gets my panties in a bunch, but recently what has set me over the top is the cowardly and despicable behavior I have witnessed on the internet. The internet is at your fingertips and is seen as a playground and certainly operates on playground rules. You have your bullies, you have your perverts, you have your cliques, and at times can be a free for all. Particularly in the blogging world, as there has been an explosion in the amount of people who have blogs. Part of the deal with blogging is that you oftentimes have an opportunity to comment to blogging posts. Most of the time the comments on the most popular blogs are harmless and at times don’t add much to the conversation at hand. There has been some controversy, I suppose, as to whether bloggers have a right to delete or moderate their comments. Some are very annoyed by this practice as it does not allow for dissenting opinions and reinforces sycophantic behavior. It has caused some to frequent certain “hate” blogs (whose owners have their own agendas - right or wrong- that is not really my point at the moment). Others are perfectly satisfied with this practice because their attitude is that the blog belongs to the blogger and it is the blogger’s domain to choose what comments they want posted.

I don’t have a lot of blog readers, but I have had my share of “your (sic) stupid” comments. I have no idea how those people got to my blog in the first place and I often wondered what possesses a person to take the time out of their day to express their opinion that the blog post or the blogger him/herself doesn’t meet their high standards. I have happened upon many blogs that I think are not my cup of tea, but I don’t take the time to express that to the blogger. What would that accomplish?

I guess that behavior is harmless enough, I mean after all if you’re putting yourself out there you have to expect that and grow a thick skin, right? That being said, I have to say that I am utterly appalled that some commenters I have read on two blogs of mothers mourning the loss of their children (heather spohr and shana myers) have stooped (or slithered might be more appropriate) to the lowest level I thought possible. These two remarkable women have been dealing with every parent’s worst nightmare, and have been using their blogs to vent their feelings and work through their grief. I know as a fellow writer that writing is so helpful to me in working through problems and issues. I also imagine that they are leaning on their readers for support and hopefully gaining some strength from their blogging community who are heartbroken over their losses. And although most likely not their motives, they are helping other grieving people who have been directed to or just happened to stumble upon their blogs. With all that positive energy, how could someone be so cruel as to post a comment blaming a mother for her infant’s death or to tell a mother that she needs to suck it up because she isn’t the only one who has lost a loved one or to question a mother's acceptable level of grief based on the age of the child.

What would motivate someone to say those things to a grieving mother? Most people would never utter those words face to face with someone. That is the problem with the anonymity of the internet. Pedophiles use it to seduce their prey. Unscrupulous people have duped people into thinking they were corresponding with someone other than who they really are. High schoolers have been cyber bullied, contributing to their suicide or low self worth. And anonymous commenters have kicked a grieving mother when she is at rock bottom.

I guess some would say that those people are miserable in their own lives and these behaviors are what help them gain some control over their own problems. Others would just call them vile, hateful names because they themselves can’t understand why someone would do such things. I don’t know why. But I implore blog commenters to really think about what they are saying before hitting the send button. We can disagree in polite and respectful ways, after all I'm not suggesting that we are now allowed our free speech. But to judge a mother who is grieving, to tear her down with heartless, insensitive and downright cruel comments is stepping over the line in my opinion. We each have an individual personal responsibility to make this world (internet and beyond) a better place- whether that be through our words or our actions.

So, technology while it has opened a new world of possibilities, like the nuclear power, has the potential to seriously and irrevocably harm when in the wrong hands.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


You know how they say that everyone has a gift. Something special about them that makes them unique, and hopefully gives back to the world. I often thought about what I would say my gift is.

At the risk of sounding arrogant (or worse deluded), the one thing I have been told by others was my gift is the ability to write. When I think about the history of my “writing” my first recollections are my Dear Diary entries. I can distinctly remembering reading back one such entry many years later (from my 5 year diary mind you so each daily entry allowed a few lines).

We are moving to Florida. My friends gave me this diary as a going away present, so I will write about our travels to Florida. We ate at Stuckey’s today. Dad said the chili was from a can. And my orange juice was really just Tang. Yuck!

I know, I know it doesn’t sound like writing is my gif, but bear with me. Writing eventually became the best way I knew how to get over something upsetting or tragic. I would journal about my crazy high school boyfriend who didn’t like my mini skirts or make up. I wrote a poem called “Kyrie” after being in a car accident. (It was the 1980’s and I used that song as a metaphor to describe how I felt after that trauma.) I even wrote a poem after some crazy guy shot up the shopping center that my family frequented and sent it in to the local newspaper. I had teachers tell me that my writing was to be cultivated, and I was on my school’s literary magazine. I don’t know why but it has been cathartic for me to write.

But I do feel like I may have lost my way a little.

My last blog entry dates back more than 1 year. And before that the posts became pretty spotty. When I first got turned on to blogging four years ago I felt like I had finally found the forum for me to use my gift. However, the blogging world, as it turns out, is much like a junior high clique. There is definitely a hierarchy and I thought I had wanted to be up there with the popular girls smacking their gum and rolling their eyes at the other dorks. But, I just didn’t have the wherewithal to comment on a bunch of blogs to drum up traffic or to really market myself out there. You see I am shy and insecure when interacting with strangers, and at times lack confidence.

So partly I felt like I just couldn’t come up with witty enough comments that would have directed others to my site. So I avoided that. Thus, my blog was really only read by my sister and a friend of hers-and I always appreciated their comments. I also had a certain level of apprehension with sharing personal information in the blogosphere. I wanted to retain some level of anonymity, and so I was afraid of directing attention my way.

Although over the past year my life has changed dramatically, I couldn’t find the time or energy to write. I had a baby, almost 10 years after having my first. Going through a pregnancy, as a 39 year old would have been a perfect time to chronicle my journey, right? The differences between being a 29 year old pregnant woman is different from being 39 with all the genetic tests and screenings they offer and a whole new level of worry. I also was finishing a Masters thesis, which really kicked my ass. In fact I was submitting my final draft four days after giving birth. And prior to that I was stressing out with edits and feedback from my committee while at the same time praying that I would not go into labor until it was all done. In addition, I had my job, which required me to complete a major annual report at the same time. So it was much easier with all that going on to close down the blog, or rather just put it on the back burner.

Although I took a break from writing, I didn’t stop reading blogs. I had my usual suspects that I read daily, when posts were available. However two blog-related things happened recently that really have affected me in ways I never would have imagined.

The first was coming across a link to a blog that serves as a critique. The blog owner targets the major Mommybloggers players who she perceives to be exploiting their children for financial gain, as well as other blogs that she perceives to lack integrity or honesty. At first I delighted in the snarkiness of this blog. I won’t mention that name of the blog because this post is not about directing traffic that way, or worse yet calling attention to myself. But the point of mentioning it is that it kind of articulated some of the uneasiness I was feeling about myself and what I put out there on my blog, as well as what I was reading about the lives of total strangers.

I do see some value in this blogger’s opinions. It does bring up the question of what is the line between entertainment and exploitation/deception? I guess the reader should always beware of what they are reading anyway. But the topics on this particular blog really made me re-evaluate what I have posted on my own blog. I went back & read through my archives and all in all I don’t have a lot of parenting posts. But, I do think I will write with a more critical pen so to speak, so as not to embarrass my children or put my family in any danger (not that I am even close to the level of having groupies or stalkers.)

The other crusade this particular blogger is on is to eliminate or reduce the negative spin that many bloggers use to describe parenthood. It has become more acceptable for mothers, and fathers for that matter, to say they are not always peachy keen with parenting. There are times that our kids drive us absolutely nuts. So the question remains, is it okay for parents to be honest about their feelings and share them with the rest of the world on their blogs? Does this serve as some public service to let other parents who are struggling to understand that they are not alone and help to verbalize some of the frustrations with parenthood. Or does this only serve to create or validate a parenting culture that only sees the negative aspects of parenting and doesn’t celebrate the joys? That it almost creates bad parenting experiences and feelings because the negativity has become more acceptable to articulate.

I’m not sure how I would answer those questions because I’m still trying to figure it out. I do believe in honesty and when I talk to new mothers I make sure that I share the struggles as well as the joys of parenting. I was misled by other mothers before the birth of my first child who, in hindsight, probably faked the total joy and bliss of parenting a newborn. So when I was struggling to figure out how to be a Mom, I felt like a failure and that there must be something wrong with me because it wasn’t as perfect as I was lead to believe. On the flip side I do see the danger in dwelling on all the negative aspects of parenting and that media (tv, movies, internet, etc) has a way of creating a “reality,” a self-fulfilling prophecy if you will.

The other major thing that happened surrounding my blog reading was coming across two different Mommybloggers who lost their babies last month. I don’t know why I was compelled to go to their sites and read their heart wrenching posts all the while crying at my desk. Both bloggers lost their children unexpectedly (one to SIDS and the other to a respiratory illness), so I guess the terror of those losses is what has affected me so deeply.

I also believe that their poignant and courageous attempts at writing about their experiences and grief have also impacted my life. I have tried talking about it to my husband and mom, but I just can’t seem to get the words out to fully explain how these two strangers’ experiences have broken my heart in a thousand pieces.

I suppose some of it has to do with my own fears of loss. I feel like I am so goddamn lucky to have a loyal husband who is my best friend and two healthy children. The unexpected gift of a baby, although brought about a set of financial and emotional challenges, has made me feel so blessed to have completed our family. I keep thinking that someone is going to pull the rug out from under us and destroy the happy little life we have built.

But I also feel like it is something greater, some deep instinctual drive within a mother’s heart, which allows us to feel (from a distance) the depths of anguish these mothers are feeling. That they are using their gifts as writers to put it out there, to open themselves up to criticism from the internet is truly inspirational to me. The courage and grace with which these two mothers have shared with the internet world in the face of sheer tragedy is nothing short of amazing to me. I hope they will find the peace that they need and know that the words that they share with us have the power to help us all be better people.

I don’t understand why bad things happen, but I do know that writing can not only provide a catharsis for the writer, but for the reader too who may need it sometime in the future.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Announcement from the Cabbage Patch

Well, I have officially hit the 12th week so I guess it's safe to make the following announcement:

I'm expecting, I'm preggers, I'm with child, I'm knocked up, I got a bun in the oven, I'm in a family way, I'm eating for two, I will have visit from the stork.

Yes, it is a bit of a shock, although the not using of birth control has been known to contribute to this condition.

But that being said after approximately 5 years without using said birth control I have pretty much figured either I had dried up or my husband was shooting blanks.

Needless to say I had at least one viable egg and my husband's little rascals somehow managed to penetrate and now I'm growing a baby.

Nonetheless, we are excited. My daughter especially, who is going to be racking up the babysitting bucks in about 3-4 years.

Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Debunking the Santa Myth (Or How My Parents Lied to Me)

The jig is up. We're busted, man. The cat's out of the bag. That's all folks! We have been called out for the fraud that we are. No, we haven't been outed or turned into the police. Instead, we have officially debunked the Santa myth in my house. First off to all those who are annoyed by early Christmas decorations, music, and references (and rightly so), I apologize that I am encroaching on the Christmas topic before Thanksgiving has been put to bed in all it's turkey goodness. But kids are already talking about Christmas, what they want -which gets more expensive and hard to come by each year (btw, has anyone found a Wii???)- and by extenstion how those wonderful Christmas gifts get to be under the tree on Christmas morn.

I have known parents, okay only one and I really couldn't stand this girl for a variety of other reasons, who have decided that they aren't going to "lie" to their children by telling them there is a Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy or Freedom and Democracy in this fair land. Oh yeah and no Barbie dolls, they're just another lie. No one can have boobs that big and perky. But for me, I have such fond memories of Christmas and how believing in Santa inspired a feeling of hope, magic and wonder as a child. Let's not forget that Baby Jesus is also an important component of this celebration. So there was no question that when I had children, the Santa tradition would be carried out until inquiring minds began to poke holes in the theory and looming doubts unfolded.

I think I officially found out about Santa not really existing when I was about 10 or so. I think I probably knew before that, but just kept the lie going for the benefit of my younger siblings and so as not to disappoint my parents who obviously derived great joy from shopping all over kindgom come for the pricey items we wanted. But the lie was truly exposed in my house the year we got 10 speed bikes. My sister and I had put them on our Dear Santa list because we just had to have the curly handlebars and hand brakes. I happened to answer the phone a week or so about Christmas and the caller said he was calling from Sears. When I told my mom that Sears was on the phone, she let it slip that "Oh, it must be about the bikes." Yikes! She had worked hard all these years to protect the myth only to have it debunked in one simple observation. Insert foot here, mom! To tell the truth I wanted to keep believing. It was much more fun that way. But as all children grow up into adults (well theoretically at least), the Santa myth ends and the only way we can keep it going is by subjecting our progeny to the tradition.

So, I figured last year that Santa's days were numbered in my house, but hoped that my daughter would hold onto the idea a little longer. This officially ended this past weekend when my daughter wanted a heart to heart talk. I wasn't sure what it could be about as it is usually about what some boy said or whose not her friend this week. But instead she asked me point blank "Is there really a Santa, or do you buy the gifts for me?"

How do you respond to a nine year old asking this question?

My first reaction was to say "If you believe in Santa, then he is real?" But the pragmatic side of my daughter wasn't buying that for one second. "Come on Mom. Tell me the truth. Is there a Santa or do you buy the gifts?" To which broken record style I countered back "If you believe in Santa, then he is real."

Eventually she begged me to tell the truth and to not lie to her with tears brimming in her eyes. I couldn't help but have Jack Nicholson "you can't handle the truth" moment. But I finally relented because she pleaded with me not to lie and so went on to explain "Well, there really isn't a fat guy in a red suit who comes to everyone's house on Christmas Eve to deliver presents. But the magic and spirit of Santa is very much real and parents help carry it out."

So the nosy side of my daughter asks "Where do you hide the gifts, then?" I told her I wasn't going to spill the beans on that one. I'm rather limited on hiding spaces. Then she said "Well I was beginning to think that he wasn't real. Because how can someone get presents to all the kids all over the world in just one night." Furthermore, the wheels turning in her head, she also stated that she thought the note that Santa left her last year looked like Daddy's handwriting. I told her most definitely Daddy had not written the letter (which technially was not a lie because I wrote it in all caps trying to disguise my handwriting). Then she asked who ate the cookies. I told her I didn't know (which technically was not a lie because I really can't remember).

So after our conversation she looked at me and said "I wasn't ready for the truth!" I opened my arms and held her there for a few moments. I told her that she can keep on believing in Santa because the magic is still there. Her whole world had been turned upside down and this probably meant there wasn't a Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny either.

Now I'm beginning to wonder when I am going to have debunk the stork myth of where babies come from.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ain't Broken, But Badly Buckled

We have officially entered the coveted Parent Club known as-The Broken Bone Association. We don't hold regular meetings, but our membership relies on the adventurous and not so well thought out intentions of our children whose bones could no longer take the abuse.

My daughter and friends decided on Sunday that it would be a neat idea to play roller coaster with a wagon, a sloped road, two passengers, and one driver. Well, needless to say the driver soon lost control of the runaway wagon and the passengers tumbled out onto the paved street. In the process of saving themselves, my daughter hurt her wrist and scraped up her left side. When she came to the house crying and I asked her what was wrong she started by saying "I know it was stupid idea..." and then relayed all the gory details.

I felt bad that her first feeling was not to run to Mom for comfort but rather to fear Mom's wrath. But after reassurances that Mom was not mad and that everything would be all right, we figured that the wounds sustanined would quickly heal themselves.

I have never been a Mom who ran to the doctor over every little sniffle or cough. I pretty much have trusted my gut to guide the times that we haved called on the doctor. So, I took the wait and see approach until Tuesday when her wrist looked a little swollen and she was gaining any movement in the wrist without having paid. So we spent yesteday morning at Urgent care visiting with the nurse, the xray tech, the nurse practicioner, and finally the very peppy doctor. After xrays and exams it was determined that she had a bone buckle.

Now, I have never heard this term before. What it means is that the bone did fracture, but because thank god kids' bones are pliable and resilient instead of it actually fracturing apart the bone fuses back together and forms a bump (or buckle) on the bone. So treatment has begun with a splint wrapped in ace bandage and a referral visit to the orthopedic for a possible cast. If she gets a cast she gets to pick out a colored one, which I think she is a little bit thrilled with the idea and the attention she is going to draw.

During the visit my daughter worried about how much this was all costing. I told her that kids shouldn't worry about those things and that's why we have insurance. Again, is there something in my parenting that is making my kid worry about such things?

As parents, I hope we all examine our parenting from time to time. I did so and realized that when my kid gets hurt my first reaction shouldn't be anger to the effect of why did you just do the stupid thing you just did to get hurt, especially when I warned you about running on the stairs or trying to ride your bike with no hands (which incidentally I did all the time and I recall vividly the time I thought to myself how I would feel to ride my 10 speed down a culvert ditch with no hands-needless to say that didn't go over too well or should I say I went well over and landed with a splat). I have to remind myself that kids don't do those things just to annoy parents. They do these things because they're kids and they're still learning the things they shouldn't do.

I also wonder how my daughter picks up on our financial concerns. I guess she hears us discuss things because we don't talk about such matters behind closed doors. Maybe we need to re-evaluate that too. I just don't recall as a kid being worried about such things although in hindsight I know my parents struggled from time to time as many families do.

So, the lesson in all of this is do not ride in wagons at full speed down hill or at least have a good insurance policy if you do. Oh, and to try and be a better parent. Which is almost like riding downhill in a wagon. I'm still trying to hold on.