Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

My wish for you...


This is a time of year filled with holidays.  Every human culture, throughout space and time, has found a way of celebrating the change of seasons, a change of heart, a turn in history.  In the US, as in much of the world, we are a pluralistic culture.  We have so many things to celebrate.

Hanukkah, Chalica, Kwanza, Yule, Solstice, Christmas, Mawlid Un Nabi, Yalda, New Years, these are just a few.

We diversely celebrate.  
We celebrate in our diversity.
Out of the many - One.

And yet, it's a hard time of year too.   It's these holidays that remind us of those who are missing.  Loved ones who have died, family who are estranged, friends who are far away, we feel our loss.  For those whose family of origin aren't safe or supportive, it is an especially hard time.  Our hearts ache for something that is gone, something perhaps we never even had.

In the end, we are all seeking the same thing; community, comfort in the darkness, the warmth of love, moments of peace, a touch of grace.  

This time of year....
regardless of your faith

Be Kind, 
Be Patient, 
Show Compassion

 I wish you all, all the best.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

November Books

Dying for a Living, by Kory M. Shrum
Dying by the Hour
Dying for Her
Dying Light

So, ok.  I binged.  These were fun little reads, comparable perhaps to the Sookie Stackhouse novels.  This just goes to show that BookBub freebies work.  Now I've caught up with the author so I can't binge on these anymore.  Boo.

Yes, I read some other stuff.  Wish I remember what....

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Summer/Fall Books though Nov.

Sigh... Missed some books and months.
Maybe I'll get back on the horse soon, maybe not.  I just haven't been reading much, nor keeping track of my reading.

But, for what it's worth, here's a bit of what I've read recently.

How to be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran
Neverhome, by Laird Hunt
Redeployment, by Phil Klay
Pride and Predjudice, by Jane Austen
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, by Caitlen Doughty
Kennedy Wives, by Amber Hunt and David Batcher
Twilight Tenth Anniversary (alternate), by Stephenie Meyer
Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg

How to be a Woman is really, really good: funny, feminist.  Now I need to go find everything she's ever done.
Neverhome was good 2/3 of the way through when it took a turn for the weird, tragic, and depressing.  I should have skipped the ending.  (I'm a happy ending kind of gal, I don't need more reality or ironic tragedy.  Thank you.)
Redeployment is a collection of short stories, a bit uneven, but well worth the read.
P&P as good as ever, but I did have to check to be sure.  ;-P
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes was a little library find, and unexpectedly good.
Kennedy Wives was fine, reminds me that history has lots of stories we don't always explore.  At least, stories that I didn't explore since so much of this was before my time.
Twilight?  Not really any better re-imagined with a male in the lead role.  Ah well...

Lean In was a hard read for me.  I have not yet been able to articulate my response to this sort of feminism.  I'm still looking and waiting for the kind of feminism that doesn't require a looser. 
You can have the old patriarchy; women are for procreation not leadership and children need their mothers so they can't be spared for outside work. 
You can have the kind of feminism that was popular when I was being raised; telling women you can have it all, meanwhile the latchkey kids are the ones taking the hit. 
Then there's Lean In, which tells us that if we pick the right husband, make enough money, and find a good nanny, we can have it all - so cool - unless you're a poor woman, marry a schmuck, or accidentally hire a nasty childcare worker. 

Where is the feminism that makes sure the children have what they need, that men pull their weight, and where people (not just women) make family and childcare a priority?  (Last I heard it might be in the Nordic countries.)

See me going off on a tangent and blathering on?  That's why it's my blog.  

And aren't you glad you didn't have to listen to me while I read Lean In?

Monday, October 26, 2015


"Tough times don't last, Tough people do"

I can see why folks love that saying. It gives them hope that their troubles will end, and it makes them believe that they are the strong, the chosen "tough people".

Sunshine comes with shadows
But I hate that saying.

Because, for some people tough times do last. For some people they never, ever, end.
And what about those people who don't make it? ,
Guess they weren't tough enough, eh?  
Fuck that shit.

This strikes me as another kind of blame the victim game. In our western culture of individuality we credit ourselves with the power to change reality - and sometimes we can -ish. But a lot of times we can't. 
We just can't.

"Chin up" doesn't cure depression.
Eating clean and thinking good thoughts doesn't cure cancer.
Faith alone can't heal everything (or anything).
And failure to keep a positive attitude and faithful spirit do not cause illness, injury, or death.

Sunshine comes with shadows, sorrows with joy, and it's not your fault if some days it's just too hard.

So, yes, I support working towards a positive attitude - that can make things more bearable, and help you find joy even in troubles. 
But I also give you permission to hurt, sorrow, grieve.  The troubles are real.
You are not wrong or broken to feel less than tough today.
You are loved and held as a child of the universe, regardless of how tough your times are, how tough (or not) you are.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Second Amendment

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

I'm a reasonable person.  I'm not saying ban all firearms.  I'm not saying lock up everyone who might loose it and become violent.  

I'm saying, it's time to do some research.  It's time to publish the results.  Then it will be time to take action based on actual knowledge and data, rather than ideology and faith.

Recently the topic of mass shootings came up while some friends sat in a coffee house.  I was surprised to hear my friends resistant to the idea of gun control, even after the shooting at Umqua yesterday.  This is astounding to me.

In modern times the part of the amendment that seems to be the focus is "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".  Yet the beginning part, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" seems to be ignored.

What part of "well regulated" is unclear?  The weapons being used to commit these acts of mass violence are not part of a "well regulated" militia.  The Supreme Court has ruled that this right is not unlimited and does not prohibit regulation of fire arms or other weapons.  Why are we not moving forward on this?  Why are we actually forbidding the CDC to study this?

It's not about mental health care.  Sure, we need more there, but no amount of availability of treatment is going to prevent crazy.  Crazy happens, let's try to reduce the amount of access crazy has to automatic weapons, eh?  Then at least maybe if they go bonkers it'll be with something that kills fewer people a little less quickly.

If we're so worried about violating someone's second amendment rights, shouldn't we also be worried about other constitutional rights being violated?  What about the rights of the victims?  They were murdered.  Every single one of their constitutional rights, civil rights, human rights, were violated.

Where is their free speech?  Who speaks for them?

It is time.  It's time to change our culture.  It's time to change our laws.

Please write to your representatives and encourage them to support research into gun violence.
Find your US Representative here.
Fine your US Senator here. 
Find your State Representatives and Senators here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Confession time

I have a dirty little secret.

I am not actually a nice person.  I try to be a nice person.  I act like a nice person, mostly because I try really, really, hard.  But  nice people don't actually have to try to be nice, they just are.  Deep inside I am a cold-hearted bitch.  I have been assured of that by more than one person. (Including my own mother, and you'd think she'd be in a position to know these things).

Take, for example, the crazy lady who verbally assaulted me at a recent church retreat.   She said I had been snubbing her, ignoring her when she waved hello, and turning my back on her in the social hall.  I honestly had no recollection of that and told her so.

She called me a liar, "You're not the only one.  Other people have been shunning me.  I know what I know.  And I'm very good with people, very good at reading them.  It's ok.  I'm over it now.  I know not everyone will like me."

It was my sense of humor that kept me in the moment.  I could laugh (internally!) at the discrepancy between her words and her actions. and use that energy to be kind to her, empathizing that it must have really hurt to feel excluded and asking what she felt would help.

What I really wanted to say was "Are we in fucking Jr. High?"  because that was the last time I had seen that kind of display.  As it turns out she had moved away for 3 years and had recently come back, and I didn't even notice (because, can we remember? I'm not actually that nice of a person).
In retrospect, she was probably right, I had been ignoring her.  Not ignoring her on purpose, but just -  not even noticing her existence, or lack there of.  Which, if you think about it, is even more insulting than making the effort to ignore her on purpose.

Here's what I do remember about her.  It was this same woman who several years ago during a shared meal on a group camping trip was trying to explain why it was so important that everyone should be vegan (like her).  It was impossible to change the subject, and finally she said "What if I ate your mother?"  Which made me laugh.  Unfortunately the image made me laugh out-loud, and my editor was so busy laughing too that I spoke, out-loud.

"Good luck to you!"

Lego Kid assures me that "The world isn't really ready" for my humor.
I beg to differ.  I'm funny, GDI.
I'm hilarious.  I'm a riot.
At least in my own head.

In the real world I'm too sincere and earnest, but in my head I'm snarky as all get out.
Lego kid tells me it's a good thing I don't generally say aloud everything that pops into my head.

He's probably right

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Tonight's whine....

I am learning that there is no easy answer to improving the high school experience.

Homeschooled teen (back in the day) I'm bored, I want more teens to hang with, but gets to sleep in, do own projects, immerse himself in most recent passion. ( and later has no problem integrating into school setting)

14yo at traditional HS, has band, x-country, track, theatre, etc. but a boat load of pointless homework, no sleep, and more stress than is healthy or appropriate.

17yo at early college high school - no extras (like band, art, drama), but has college schedule, can sleep in, will graduate HS with 60+ college credits.
So, no matter what educational setting your kid is in, I salute you.

Good on ya for not strangling the kid or bashing the school!

As my 9th grader learns to "do" school, my 12th grader works through the college application process (at the same time as carrying a full college load), my youngest continues to homeschool (and try on adolescent attitude) and I run the Mom Taxi service, I am trying to practice detachment
It's so hard! I just want everyone to chill the f* out. Especially me. (Except, chill after you do your homework, 'K?)

Wine. Perhaps that the answer. I'll let you know

Monday, January 19, 2015

Girls and STEM (or STEAM, depending ...)

STEM=Science Technology Engineering Math
STEAM= Science Technology Engineering Art Math

When Lego Kid was touring  local high school (more on that later!) we ran into an old acquaintance touring it with her daughter.  We've since been conversing about what middle school seems to do to smart girls, especially smart techy girls.  Her daughter, who had previously been good at math and excited about science and tech, has come to believe that it's not cool for a girl to be into those things.  This isn't the only mom I've heard this from, just the most recent.

So, putting the hive brain to use (best use of FB ever!) we've come up with some resources that might help encourage girls to embrace their power and brains, to stay engaged with math and science, and to kick those cultural expectations into the dust.  (and I could blather on about that too. GRRRR)

We found a list of girl empowering movies, a list of math fiction, and non-fiction books  by Danica McKellar, like Kiss My Math and Hot X.  PBS has a youtube series called Math Club, it works to be inclusive and break down stereotypes.   Vi Hart is always brilliant, combining math and performance art into amazing videos.
Then there are organizations that encourage girls in STEM and organizations that work to teach empowerment like Girls on Ice.  Locally CSU has Pretty Brainy which has a workshop coming up this Feb. (deadline soon, scholarships available).

I discovered Rejected Princesses a while back, and while it's not generally about math or tech, it is about women so powerful (and sometimes so grim) that Disney wouldn't touch them.
And really, isn't that what this is about?  Powerful women are threatening to the current power structure.  We're conditioned to suppress our own power so that no one else needs to bother.
Tell you what, if we're going to be suppressed, let's at least make the suppressors do the work, eh?

Damn.  I adore my boys, but sometimes I really want a daughter.  I've spent their lives teaching my sons to be thoughtful, gentle, and kind.
I want a girl to teach to kick some ass.

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 books - lost to busyness

 Sigh... at some point, late spring or early summer last year, I stopped keeping track of the books I was reading.  I'm sorry I did that.  Not because you care what I read.  Not because I care about you knowing what I read. But because I like to look back at them sometimes and see what I've read, and remember the books.  I honestly don't always remember I've read something until I pick it up and start it again, and notice... "hmmm.. this seems familiar".

It's been fun looking back at my book lists to see what kind of reading kicks I was one.   Supernatural Romance might zoom into neurobiology which could bump up against an Austin streak.

Part of not recording books is not reading much, not having time, being a taxi cab mom.  Part of it is not just keeping track.

Ah well, as I tell my kids, you can always start again tomorrow, or today, as the case may be.

So, here are two books I read sometime in the summer of 2015.  :-p

Following the Curve of Time, by Cathy Converse
The Einstein Enigma, by Jose Rodrigues dos Santos