30 December 2015

In the aftermath of more diagnostic testing

Princesses get special treatment
for diagnostic testing.
Yesterday morning, Tink had an endoscopy as part of her ongoing diagnostic testing to deal with her frustratingly unknown health problems.

This was not my first experience taking Tink for diagnostic testing. We've done it a lot lately. And this was her second time going under sedation (she did better this time coming out of it).

I keep reminding myself that we're making progress. We've eliminated a lot of things, and we're honing in on what is causing all the trouble.

We hope.

There's still a long way to go. Because there's a lot involved in finding a name for something in someone so small. So we keep working toward answers and her health.

Yesterday, that meant an endoscopy. Thursday, we discuss the results with her doctor. And we'll take it one step at a time from there.

11 December 2015

Promoting self-care

Life has been busy lately, especially with work. Not only have my regular clients been sending lots of white papers my way, but I've been working on getting ready for the career shift taking place at the beginning of the year.

As a result, I've been sleeping less than I should, working more than I (probably) should, and running myself a bit ragged.

And neglecting self-care.

Unfortunately, I've been feeling the effects of the neglect, and have been having lots of high-pain days in the past few weeks. It's causing me to move slower, which in turn causes me to have to work harder to stay caught up with the workload. It's a vicious cycle.

It's going to stay like this through the end of the year, but I'll have some time off at Christmas and New Year's that I can use to slather myself with Icy Hot and hobble around with peppermint herbal tea until I feel better.

Hopefully, the upcoming time off will be what I need to recharge and provide some extra self-care, giving me the energy I need to jump into 2016 with a renewed energy and outlook.

04 December 2015

Olive Kitteridge: a reflection on perceptions

I finally finished Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge yesterday while I was waiting for Puck in the after-school car line.

It took me much longer to finish it than I expected, but was by no means due to the story. Our autumn has been chaotic, and I wasn't able to make time to read as I expected I would be able to.

But I kept reading when I could, and as we settled into a better routine after the wedding, I was able to find much more time. Like in the after-school car line.

I'm really glad I did, too.

As I started Olive Kitteridge, I didn't really know what to expect. It was recommended to me by a writer because of how I described the coffee house book; they thought it would be helpful in writing and revising my draft. (It has been.) But once I really got into it, I was much more pleasantly surprised than I thought I would be.

The biggest surprise to me was in the revelations about the titular character through each chapter. As I read, I thought I knew who Olive was, and then, later, in one chapter, everything I thought I knew about her shifted, and I saw her in a completely different way. That revelation impacted my reading of the rest of the book, and left me in a very different mood than I expected I would be in by the end.

Sorry for the vagueness of this reflection. I really don't want to give anything away because you should read the book yourself. Truly.

Since I finished Olive Kitteridge, it's been sitting on my heart. I'm torn between wanting to keep my experience of reading it just where it is because of the surprise, and wanting to reread it in a few months to see how my reading changes now that I know what I know about Olive.

I had a wonderful literature professor tell me that "literature rewards rereading." I believe wholeheartedly that Strout's novel falls into that category. I believe that if I read it again in a few months, it will be like an entirely different book. I'll see things I didn't see before, and Olive will, indeed, be a different person. Maybe I will be, too. And maybe that's the point.

01 December 2015

Making a shift, making a career

Some time ago, I started taking steps toward a shift in my career. While I was excited about the possibilities and knew it would be beneficial, I was not able to move forward with it at that time.

Fortunately, things have changed, and now I can!

Over the next month or two, I'll be working on getting back into doing marketing content writing again. While I'll still be doing a lot of white papers, one-sheets, and other marketing assets, I will be restructuring the work I do in order to include bigger diversity in content marketing as well as moving into a niche.

I'm not going to get into details quite yet, since there's still a lot to do in order to finalize the plan and launch the business. (Yes, it will be an actual factual business, y'all!) But as we get closer to the launch, I'll definitely be sharing it here, and might do a little (not much) plugging, especially at the beginning.

One of the reasons I'm making this change is because I've been thinking about the longevity of my career. I like what I do right now. The content I write is fun and interesting, and serves me well. But if I stick with what I currently have, I'll be stuck where I currently am. In order to continue advancing my career, I have to take this next (kind of scary) step.

So I'm giving myself a promotion.

Essentially, moving in this direction is a way of branching out, making my work more relevant to the industry, and ensuring that I can continue doing what I love.

I don't know how it's going to go, but it's happening either way. 2016 is going to be an adventurous year.

19 November 2015

Sometimes a blogging calendar is just a suggestion

I was going to post last week about Veterans' Day and what it means to me to be the daughter of a veteran. I was going to post this week about the wifey's birthday.

But very very early Tuesday morning last week, my dad called me to tell me my grandfather died, and that kind of derailed things. On top of it, I wasn't able to go up north for the funeral.

So I haven't been blogging the way I intended to last week and this week.

My grandpa was a good guy.

He was from an older generation with old ideals and values. He was born in Kentucky and, as an adult, was a member of a conservative, fundamental Baptist church (that kicked his son out for getting remarried after divorce). He had certain ideas about faith and life and people that made me decide not to come out to him.

Now that he's gone, I don't regret my decision. I wish we lived in a world where it wouldn't have mattered to him that I was gay. And maybe, had I come out to him, it wouldn't have mattered. But judging his reaction to his nephew's relationship with another man all those years ago*, he wouldn't have taken it well.

Now that he's gone, I'm letting myself think about the good memories. I have to, at least for now. So I remember the time I sneaked across the deck so I could dump a bucket of water on him during a water fight. I remember him telling us kids that if we could get his wedding ring off his finger, we could keep it. (My sister got it off once, too!) I remember helping him feed the beagles he bred as hunting dogs for his friends that he let hunt deer and rabbits on his property.

I remember my grandpa fondly. And I will say goodbye in my own way in my own time.

I miss you, Grampy. I carry your memory with me.

*That's a blog post for another day.

07 November 2015

If I had been a son....

When I came out to my dad (about three years ago), one of the things he said to me was that he would not have taken the news as well if it had come from one of my brothers.

I didn't say anything at the time, but since then I think about that statement from time to time.

My dad was raised in a highly patriarchal, conservative Christian family. And when I came out to him, he was raising his stepdaughters in the same environment. So, in giving him the benefit of the doubt, I can try and justify to myself that what he meant by that comment had to do with pride of sons and carrying on the family name and all that kind of thing.

But I know it's not true.

What really emerged in that comment from my father was a testament to this dramatic disparity in the perceptions of same-sex relationships in our society, most notably brought on by the gross glamorized sexualization of lesbians thanks to the porn industry.

Society has made lesbians sexy. Guys want to watch lesbians or "turn them" or join in or whatever, making lesbianism more acceptable than male homosexuality.

It was more okay for my dad that I cam out versus either of my brothers because lesbians are hot and gay guys are gross.

Straight, white, cis male privilege at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.

What it comes down to is that, in our society, straight cis males have determined the "norm" for what is sexually acceptable. Since these men are sexually aroused by women (and more so by women with other women), lesbians are hot. But because these men are not only not aroused but often disgusted by gay men, the result is that homosexual males are not acceptable in society. Gay guys are gross, according to the heteronormative perspective.

So in that one comment, which my dad really intended as a twisted way of showing his support for me coming out to him (read: "I'm not disowning you. But things would be different if you were a boy"), the whole of society was encapsulated.

I was more acceptable because I am a woman. Well, because I am a sexualized object.

It's infuriating, really, to know that the only basis for this acceptance is the sexualization of lesbians for the gratification of straight men. It has nothing to do with who I am as a lesbian, or the desire for equality in society. Instead, it's just that society says lesbians are hot. I, as a sexual object, am acceptable.

But the moment you focus on the humanity of lesbians, we're back to it being sinful and unacceptable. And since men can't objectify other men's bodies the way they do women's bodies, gay men are unacceptable under all circumstances.

And, unfortunately, as long as we live in a society in which women are continually sexualized and objectified, this won't change. It's not about the people who happen to be lesbians, it's about the bodies and what they do with other (female) bodies in their intimate relationships.

Because if I had been a son, I probably would have been disowned in that first conversation.

03 November 2015

After a month of marriage....

Bo and I have been married for one month today. There's been a lot going on in our lives, and it has made the month seem to pass more quickly. So here we are, a month after the magical day, and I haven't even written about it.

A. Harris Photography
We held our ceremony at a beautiful outdoor location that is connected to a public golf course. The reception was held in the venue's banquet room.

A. Harris Photography

The weather was perfect: nice, but not hot, and not too bright that we needed sunglasses. And yes, I did wear blue suede t-strap heels with my dress.

A. Harris Photography

We wrote our own vows, and Bo's sister, who is a notary public, performed our ceremony. I'm glad it was someone we knew who could speak to our relationship instead of someone whose ceremony would have been far more generic.

A. Harris Photography

Afterward, we had a beautiful reception indoors. With all the food you could imagine, and our simply delicious cake. The top layer was Boston creme pie (mostly for the kids), and the bottom layer was pumpkin spice with cream cheese filling.

A. Harris Photography

Oh, yeah. We also had a s'more station. It was the kids' favorite. Kind of mine, too.

A. Harris Photography

It was a beautiful day, and I don't think it could have gone any better than it did. After all, what could be better than your very own princess at your wedding? We have memories to last a lifetime, and amazing pictures as evidence.

And now, one month later, we have settled into our routine, and life is good.

Happy, monthiversary, my Bo. I love you.

02 November 2015

The things I don't say

When I started this blog in 2008 (I can hardly believe it's been that long!), it was my intention to have it be strictly a writing/reading blog.

Since then, the blog has changed quite a bit. For a while, I wrote about family, my (former) faith, then back to writing and professional topics.

Lately, there's been quite a bit of family on the blog, along with topics that are important to me, like LGBTQ issues, atheism, and living a compassionate, holistic lifestyle.

But there are other things I wish I could blog about that I can't. Don't. Can't. Some of these topics are off-limits because of who they involve. Other topics are off-limits because of what they involve.

But there are ways I can talk about some of things, and so I'm going to start incorporating some of those topics into my blog regularly. I know it will make me feel better to talk about them, and I hope others will read them and find comfort or connection or whatever they need.

Because some topics shouldn't have to be off-limits.

21 October 2015

My story is true for me

I have been called a liar.

I have shared my coming out story to people, and been told it can't possibly be true. That I must be leaving something out or skewing it to make myself look better.Or that I knew all along and was a liar because I married Monty anyway.

But whatever anyone says, my story is true for me.

And it is that truth that I tell.

Now, I'm not saying "my story is true for me" in a way that says I've deluded myself into thinking that the story I tell is true even though it's not. What I mean is that regardless of what people think, assumptions they make, or how they react to what I tell them, my story is true. And for me, that's enough. My story is true for me.

When I made the decision to come out and divorce Monty, there were people who claimed that I knew all along that I am gay. There were people who said I'd married Monty just to get kids, or to get money from him, or whatever else they thought about me. That I'd planned what happened for a long time before I made it happen. But that's not true.

This came up again recently when I was participating in a conversation on Facebook. I shared my story and a stranger decided, based on the limited story I told in the conversation thread, that I was a liar. This person didn't believe that I really had no idea that I was gay until I realized it and came out.

But I didn't.

Here's the thing. My dad is a Baptist. A fundamental independent Baptist. So, growing up, being gay just wasn't really an option. My mom was always more open-minded and progressive, but we never talked about it. And, being raised Baptist, the expectation was that I would grow up, marry a good, Baptist man, and have babies. That was it. It never occurred to me that I might be gay because it never occurred to anyone in my life that there was anything other than being straight for Christians.

Looking back, I can see now that I have always been a lesbian. There were things in my life that I now see as indications of my sexual orientation that I didn't recognize at the time. Some of the things were small. For example, I didn't have a favorite male actor; when friends would talk about male actors they thought were attractive, I'd let others answer before me and pick a name they said. But in those moments, I didn't see those signs for what they were.

Now, of course, I look back and admonish myself for my blindness. How could I have not known? But I didn't.

Eventually, my life changed and was not so restrictive. And it was in this context that the edges of my mind crept toward the center, and I realized that the reason I always felt "wrong" was because I was a lesbian who'd just had a second child with a man I was married to.

That was a hard conversation.

I can't imagine how Monty felt at the time. I know how he reacted, but that was just the inadequate expression of his feelings. Things were very bad between us for quite a while when I came out and told him I wanted a divorce.

Things are better now. We're friends. He even went to my wedding!

No matter how many times I tell this story and am judged for elements that are perceived to be invented, my story is true. This is really and truly how it happened. No matter what anyone else says, this is and always will be the truth. And regardless of what they say, my story is true for me.

16 October 2015

The case for "they" as a singular pronoun

Throughout my education, "they" was always a plural pronoun. My literature teacher seemed to relish pointing out subject-verb agreement in our homework and essays. In fact, she corrected us verbally, as well, over the course of class discussion.

Language was binary.

But life is not.

On Monday, I read an outstanding post from Casey over at Life with Roozle about coming out as genderqueer. She says:
I'm taking up space in this in between, in this neither and both and everything I've always been and everything I want to be. Even though it's terrifying. Even though it changes nothing. Even though it changes everything. That's how language works. It's just language. 
Language is everything. Language defines us even when we don't want it to.
Yes, Casey. Yes, it does. I can't imagine how hard it was for them to write that post, but I'm so, so glad they did.

The problem with language (right now) is that it is molded by people who can sometimes be closed-minded and traditional. They have a very specific perspective of what the world is, and they use language to perpetuate it. When that worldview is binary (particularly in gender constructs), language becomes binary, as well.



And they is relegated to a plural pronoun.

But humanity changes and evolves and develops. Language, by its very nature as an expression of humanity, must change, as well. If society is no longer strictly binary, why is language?

I wholeheartedly support the use of "they" as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. Casey, and others, already prefer they/them/their over gender-specific pronouns. So it makes sense that society accepts this reclamation of language to fit the needs of human expression.

I know that Puck and Tink will likely learn in school that "they" is a plural pronoun and should be used as such. Okay. But when they get home and tell me that, I will let them know that in our non-binary society, some people prefer to be referred to as "they" because not everyone identifies as strictly male or strictly female.

There are shades of purple in our pink-and-blue humanness.

What are your thoughts on "they" as a gender-neutral singular pronoun? Why?

11 October 2015

Still here. Still queer. Getting used to it.

Today is National Coming Out Day. And after almost four years, I'm still coming out.

Though now it's in much more subtle ways, and far less vocal on my part. It's a look of surprise or a double-take from a passing stranger when I'm out in public and take my wife's hand.

It's the I'm-being-polite "Oh. Okay." from friends I rarely talk to when they finally get in touch and hear that I'm in a relationship with a woman.

It's the reminders that happen occasionally from my wife that when people stare, it is she that draws the attention because she doesn't fit what so many people in society think women should be, and if she weren't at my side, people would assume I'm straight.

It used to bother me. As a newly-out lesbian, I wanted to be rid of the straight part of my old life. I am a lesbian, and I wanted people to know it. So I bought some shirts from HRC, cut my hair in a pixie cut, and changed my Facebook profile picture to one of me at a drag show with friends.

Since then, I've let my hair grow back out to chin-length. I still have a shirt from HRC that I wear sometimes. And my profile picture is a beautiful shot from my wedding with Bo. (I wore a dress.) So, if I'm not with my wife, most people probably assume I'm straight.

But it doesn't bother me anymore. I don't care what people I don't know think of me. The people I care about know who I really am, and that's good enough for me. My wife knows who I am, and that's all I need. The munchkins know they have two moms, and they're happy in their life with us.

I think there will eventually be a day in society in which it truly doesn't matter if you're gay, straight, queer, trans, or anything else. You will just be you. Kids won't need to come out to their parents; they'll just bring home someone for their parents to meet.

But until then, I'll keep coming out, and keep not caring that it surprises people.

27 September 2015

Renew your spirit with coming back to blogging

The last couple of weeks have been busy. I've had some rather intense blog posts that I've wanted to post, but life has gotten in the way of blogging lately.


I'm still here, and I am working on getting back into blogging regularly. I'm even scheduling a couple of posts for next week while Bo and I are away for our mini-honeymoon.

Now that things are settling, I'll be posting much more regularly.

Also, it's Banned Books Week, so find something to read that has been challenged or banned to show your support to reading and writing freedom, stand up to censorship, and get a great story out of it!

Enjoy your rebellious reading!

16 September 2015

Blood work and weight checks and follow-ups

In December 2011 (8 mos. old), Tink
could not stand (even assisted) and weighed
less than fifteen pounds. (She was 6 lbs at birth.)
A few years ago, Tink and I were almost spending more time at doctors' offices and in clinics than not. She was tiny and not growing, and her pediatrician wanted to know why.

It wasn't a matter of growing slowly. She simply wasn't growing. And wasn't hitting her developmental milestones.

So we went to specialists and she had lots of blood drawn and we were in the pediatrician's office more than once a month just so she could step on the scale.

We're at it again.

We've had appointments and blood work and x-rays, and a specialist who looked at her and said, "I've never seen this before."

So we're circling back to start again with the pediatrician, which means another round of blood work and a weight check appointment (that includes Puck because he isn't growing as quickly as he should because he doesn't want to be left out. Or something.).

With each appointment I make and doctor's report I get, I can't help but remembering where we were before, when Tink was in physical and occupational therapy. When she was a year old and couldn't stand unassisted. When blood work was so routine to her that she just stared at the tech that drew her blood with an expression that said, "And what?"

She's older now, and much more aware of the pain that comes with drawing blood. Or, as we call them, "pinches." She dreads them. And not only does she ask every health care professional if they're going to give her a pinch, but she recognizes the logo of Quest Diagnostics and whenever she sees it, she asks if we're going to the "pinch place."

Today, no. This month, yes. Next month, too.

It's harder now. She's older and understands more. She knows there's something going on. And she doesn't like pinches.

Neither do I.

It's going to be a long few months, Miss Tink. But we're right here with you.

08 September 2015

On marriage licenses and equality

Bo and I picked up our marriage license this morning in preparation for our wedding in about three weeks.

We didn't have any problems getting the license, and were congratulated by two staff members. In fact, the woman who helped us was even apologetic that the license says "groom," and said we could cross it out if we wanted to.*

And I couldn't help but thinking that I'm glad we don't live in Kentucky, where Kim Davis made the decision that her personal beliefs gave her justification to willfully defy a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court and refuse to issue marriage licenses in order to prevent from "participating" in the sin that is same-sex marriage.

I haven't blogged about Kim Davis. I've shared articles on Facebook here and there, and talked about it quite a bit with Bo. But I've been sort of avoiding talking about it here until more news came out. I thought it would be settled by now and I'd be able to write about it with a better understanding of the overall situation.

In case you don't know what's been going on, here are the highlights:

  • Kim Davis, a circuit clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, is a born-again Christian (she was saved four years ago) in a conservative denomination that condemns homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
  • Following the ruling by the Supreme Court, Davis made the decision to not issue marriage licenses because her name is on the application (as the clerk), and she believes that her name on the licenses makes her party to gay marriage and culpable in these people's sins.
  • Despite Davis's efforts to legally allow this ban through her claim that issuing the licenses discriminates against her religious practices, all of her appeals failed, leading SCOTUS to issue a one-line ruling upholding the previous ruling that said she must issue licenses.
  • When she continued to refuse, including instructing her deputy clerks that they were also not permitted to issue licenses, she was held in contempt of court. The judge told her that she would not be jailed if she would allow the deputy clerks to issue licenses in her stead, which she refused.
  • She has been jailed for contempt of court. The judge told the deputy clerks that they could either issue licenses or join her in jail. Five of the six (the one hold-out being her son) agreed to issue licenses.
  • Kim Davis is still in jail, and has attempted to file a new appeal.

Image source
There are a lot of factors in this case. On one hand, Kim Davis has a sincerely held belief that by issuing marriage licenses to queer couples, she is not only condoning the sin/behavior, but is equal part in it because her name is on the form. She is signing off on the marriage. I can see how she interprets that as her acceptance of same-sex marriage as an institution in the United States. Her signature makes the union legal in the county, so her signature says, "Yes, these two individuals are married."

That's one of the things she has a problem with. If her name/signature wasn't on the form, I believe she would still have refused to issue licenses, but that's a separate issue.

However, she's overreaching quite a bit. Not only did she take it too far by refusing to allow the deputy clerks to issue licenses, thereby putting their jobs in jeopardy (not to mention risking jail time), but she is also taking it too far by claiming that issuing licenses to same-sex couples (which, let's be honest, is the main component of her position as an elected official) constitutes religious discrimination.

I fail to see how issuing licenses with your name on them discriminates against you as a religious individual. So did the court.

Because, when you really look at the situation, you have to remember that the founding fathers established a concept called "separation of church and state," for this very reason. Allowing government officials, like county clerks, to make decisions and enact policies based on their individual religious beliefs and practices is dangerously close to sanctioning a state church. (Kind of the whole reason people left England to begin with, yanno?)

When she goes to work, she is no longer a private citizen. She is an elected official. Her religious beliefs don't matter because she wasn't elected and is not employed by the church or even by Christians. She is beholden to the law, when she took an oath** as an elected official, she swore to uphold the law and the Constitution, which now includes marriage equality in the nation. She can't just not follow certain laws because she doesn't like them or agree with them. Our nation doesn't work that way.

And, just as importantly, legalities of her duties aside, her rights only extend as far as someone else's. When she refused to issue marriage licenses, she violated the rights of the couples who were refused. And she can't do that, either.

One of the many problems with this situation is that, as an elected official, she can't just be fired. There's a whole process to remove her from office through impeachment. But she is finally being held accountable for her failure to do her job. And I hope that Rowan County (and Kentucky) continue to follow through with that.

Of course, the conservatives are having a field day now that she's in jail. She's become a martyr for the cause, with her husband even comparing her to the Biblical figures of Silas and Paul who were imprisoned for their adherence to their beliefs.

No. No.

She's not a martyr. She's not a conservative Christian hero. She's a small-minded woman who let her personal feelings and beliefs justify breaking hte law and is now being called to account for it.

Mark 12:17, y'all.

She may be a Christian, and may believe that she must ultimately answer to her god. But even Jesus recognized and accepted that there are laws and expectations set up on earth that Christians must adhere to. You can't claim god as a justification for breaking the law and defying a court ruling.

She's learning that the hard way. It's too bad that most of her fans won't really get the lesson, anyway.

*Bo said she doesn't care that it says groom. All she cares about is that it's legal for us to get married.

**The teachings of her denomination encourages members not to take oaths for this very reason, actually. When the oath conflicts with religious beliefs, it causes this kind of dilemma.

06 September 2015

Renew your spirit with feeling pretty

Sample French-inspired minimalist wardrobe (source)
Lately, I've felt pretty.

I have nearly completed my basics wardrobe (just a couple more items to acquire, all of which are not urgent in the least), and my skin has been looking better and better lately.

It amazes me how much of an impact these little changes have had on my outlook and confidence, especially lately.

I feel good because I feel like I look good.

My appearance and my impression of how others see me was a big source of anxiety for me for a long time, particularly because of my skin. But the longer I have been living authentically, staying true to who I am, the more I find myself caring less about what others think of me and more what I think about myself.

Despite moments of anxiety, things are going well for me.

Now that we're into autumn and work is beginning to pick up more, my work days are nice and productive. Summer is typically slower for me, and I'm glad to be getting back to the way things should be with work. It makes me feel more accomplished at the end of the day, and I really love the work I do each day.

Bo and I are getting married in less than a month, and things are coming together nicely for the wedding and our mini-honeymoon afterward.* We have some final details to iron out, but, mostly, we're ready. (And we'll be getting our announcements in the mail soon, so we can get those ready to send out.) 

School has started, and Puck and Tink are into their school-year routine, which is working well for all of us. The kids like having structure to their days, and knowing exactly what comes next in their days. In fact, each of them has a checklist for weekdays, and all they have to do is go down the list starting when they wake up. If they do everything on their lists, they'll have had a good day and gotten everything (chores) done before bed.

And, through it all, my perspective has shifted so that I feel much more confident and put together than ever before. I'm not saying it's only because of my wardrobe, but I know that if I feel like I look good, I feel good.

So I'm glad I feel pretty.

*We're taking a little trip after our wedding, and planning a bigger trip for next spring or summer.

31 August 2015

A retrospective on childhood and adolescent anxiety

Anxiety is a serious thing. It's something I have struggled with for a long time. I'm lucky because thanks to my support system I was able to get my anxiety under control and I'm doing extremely well now.

It wasn't always so.

When I was in childhood and adolescence, I was an anxious kid. But, being an introvert (or, as my family said, "shy" and "thin-skinned"), I didn't have the words to express how I felt or what I needed to feel better. So I thought that was just how my life would be.

I dealt with it because I didn't know what else to do. I laid awake at night worrying over insignificant things, replaying conversations in my head thinking how I could have handled it differently or better. I cried because I didn't want to go to school and talk to people I felt didn't like me or who openly teased me because I was quiet and anxious and didn't join them in gregarious games on the playground. And because, as a kid, I couldn't do anything about it, dreading school and being forced to go because my parents didn't fully understand simply made things worse.

Occasionally, I got some well-intentioned advice, such as, "You just need to make friends" or "Go out and play." As if an anxious, introverted kid who moved every three years could just go and make friends. As if it has ever been that easy for me.

Or ever will be.

At some point in my adolescence, I resigned myself to being alone and on the outside, using my isolation as a shield against anxiety. If I didn't spend time with friends, I didn't worry over what they thought of me or if I said and did the right things or that all I wanted was to go back home and crawl into my own skin and be left alone for fuck's sake.

I viewed my world as an outsider, watching even people I considered friends from a distance so I didn't have to let myself worry about how to handle close relationships. By the end of high school, I involved myself in extra-curricular activities to give me the appearance of normalcy and friendships. But I rarely spent time with my friends outside of school. I was busy, but still lonely.

Eventually, I found literature and writing and the world of grammar that helped me find people who shared my interests and made it easier for me to talk and make friends. College was transformative because I was able to immerse myself in literature and writing for about four years.

I'm still working my way through everything, especially when I meet new people or am among a lot of people for an extended period of time. I am an introvert, and that will never change. And I will feel anxiety about certain things in certain circumstances. That will never change, either. So instead of feeling bad (and anxious) about who I am and how it doesn't seem to help me fit in, I'm working on embracing it, seeing these aspects of myself as a strength rather than a weakness.

At least, that's what I'm trying to do. It's hard to change years of programming, isn't it?

30 August 2015

Renew your spirit with getting back into the office

Image by Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Tomorrow is the last day of my vacation. It's been...weird...having time off. I've enjoyed it -- especially getting to spend time with my family -- but I'll be glad to get back into the office. I even have some new office clothes for the occasion.*

I'm taking the day tomorrow to clean my office, finish up any non-work administrative tasks I have yet to do, and organize for the week. Then I'll be officially back in the office at noon on Tuesday.

Fall is full of routines. I have routines for work, and the munchkins are back in school with their own routines. It's nice, and helps the days pass more quickly until the next milestone (our wedding!). We all do better when we have routines, and it will be a relief for me to get back into mine.

Structure helps keep me moving forward each day, even when I'm feeling overwhelmed or frustrated about something going on or that's out of my control. All I have to do is follow my schedule and focus on the very next thing I'm doing.

And drink loads of coffee.

*Yes, I work independently from home, but dressing for the office helps keep me in a professional, workday mindset each day that I'm working, so I try to dress for the office every day that I'm working, including wearing shoes. (Saturdays are "casual" days, but still office-appropriate.)

28 August 2015

You can't unread this book....

Yesterday I finished reading Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess).

And there's a hole in my life in the shape of an enormous metal chicken that I think can only be filled by a deranged-looking taxidermied raccoon.

The Bloggess posts frequently on her blog that she has found her tribe, thanks to the Internet. She's found people just as strange and broken as she is, and has been able to connect with them and make friends and feel not alone, especially when depression is lying to her. I have found that through her blog and memoir, too.

Everyone is broken. And when we find somewhere in which we can be broken and still magical, we win. Not only does Lawson's memoir show people that they can be broken and magical, but she does it with the same brilliant, acerbic style that brings me back to her blog with every new post.

She manages to talk about the very serious, scary things she has experienced wedged between absurd comedy that makes the overall memoir feel much lighter than it actually is. When you get finished, it's as if you've read a comedy, not a book that talks about rare medical problems, mental illness, miscarriage, and traumatic experiences with all the seriousness those topics deserve.

Lawson's memoir proves that she is more than the sum of her parts. Yes, she has had these experiences and difficulties and an incredible weirdness in her life, but she cannot -- and will not -- be defined by any of them. Or even all of them. Because, in the end, we're all just stumbling around until we find our tribe. She found hers.

If you're still looking for yours, or want confirmation that you're not nearly as weird as you think you are, or need a reminder that depression lies, please pick up her book. Read her blog. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter. Reach out in some way and know that you are not alone.

We're all a little mad here. Jenny Lawson just manages to talk about it in a way that makes you laugh.

23 August 2015

Renew your spirit with an Amazonian duck flock

Morning constitutional
There is a flock of about sixteen ducks that live in our apartment complex.*

They are all female.

Earlier in the year (spring and early summer), the ducks had paired off, with some females unattached to male ducks. Babies were born, and the male ducks were still hanging around.

But those male ducks were asshats. They constantly harassed the female ducks, driving them away from their babies (who would then cry for mama and attach to another mama just so they weren't alone). As the summer progressed, the female ducks started hanging around together more often, even protecting each other from the male ducks.

Now there's a flock of all female ducks in our apartment complex, and I haven't seen a male duck in months.

We've dubbed them the Amazonian duck flock because they've banded together to be strong against the onslaught of harassment. They watch out for each other, and I rarely see any of them separated from the group.

They're my favorite ducks ever.

* By which I mean they live on the property outside, not that they inhabit units. Just to clarify.

22 August 2015

Challenge accepted!

Some time ago I tried (unsuccessfully) the 100 books in a year challenge. It was embarrassing how badly I failed.

I'm a different person now, and I have a different daily schedule and life, and I want to do it again. But I don't want to wait until January 1st to start, so I'm starting now.

My goal is to read 100 books by August 21, 2016. I'll be using my discretion as to what books count. Children's picture books that I read to the kids won't count, but if I read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or The Wind in the Willows to them, that does count. I have to begin and finish the book for it to count. Rereads count (because there's nothing wrong with rereading a great book).

I'll be checking in around the 22nd of each month for an update, and I'll likely write little reviews and reflections of what I read each week (or at least once a month).

My amazing fiance gave me 52 books for Christmas last year, so I have quite a lengthy list from which to start.

I hope that this challenge will help me make more time to read for pleasure, which is one area I find myself lacking lately. If I need time for something else, reading is typically the first thing to go. I want (and need) to read more. For my sanity, for my writing, and for my own edification.

And what better place to start than with Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened?

What are you reading this month?

17 August 2015

Steeling myself for fall

I miss Midwest autumns.
On the heels of my current vacation is launching myself into the busyness of the fall work season. The work with my current big client rises and falls on a predictable schedule, with fall, the holiday season, and around April and May being the busiest times.

This fall is set to be even busier. It will be stressful, but ultimately, it'll be a very good thing.

So I'm grateful for these two weeks to mentally and emotionally recharge myself before this next busy season begins.

It will take incredible patience to balance my life this fall. In addition to work (which will be more intense than previous seasons) and a chaotic school schedule (Tink is in half-days while Puck has a full day), I'm getting married in October, right in the middle of the season.

My office space,
complete with writing buddy.
Thankfully, I'm much more organized than I have been in previous years. My office space is much more conducive to effective work. I got a new (larger) desk and have spread out a little bit.

I'm optimistic about what the new work season will bring, and the progress I'm making toward my personal and professional goals. There's still lots to do, but there's also a lot that's been accomplished, and I'm happy about that.

I started this year with the mentality that 2015 would be a good year. For the most part, it has been. There have been some hiccups and complications along the way, which is to be expected. But, overall, it's been good. And the past seven months are helping set us up for 2016 to be even better.

And it all starts with this fall, when I come back from vacation and jump into work, recharged and ready for all the chaos and stress and excitement of work and clients and managing my schedule. And I'll be ready.

Do you have a busy season? How do you handle it?

16 August 2015

Renew your spirit with optimism

I'm facing a major obstacle at work that is impacting the rest of this month. It's unexpected, but manageable, and I'm trying to make the best of an awkward situation.

As a result, I'm going to have a lot of free time for the next couple of weeks.

So, in my continued efforts to stay optimistic about life, I'm going to be using this time to sort of let myself recharge mentally and emotionally. I'll be finishing my draft of the coffee house book, catching up on some reading for pleasure, and cleaning the apartment when I have nothing else to do.

The first few days have been strange, but I've been able to focus on Tink's appointments rather than obsessing about what I'm not able to do for work.

In talking with Bo about it, I've realized that, ultimately, it's probably a good thing. I've been working very hard all summer, and was approaching a breaking point. This "forced vacation" (which is what I'm calling it) is giving me the chance to take a step back from work, shift my focus, and then jump back into it with renewed energy and motivation.

I'm anticipating a very busy fall season, so I'm trying to be glad for the time off for now.

Pardon me while I go wander around the apartment and find something to occupy my time.

12 August 2015

The dangers of Christianity, in 8 easy steps!--step 6: stop doing the little extra things

Previous posts in this series:
  1. The first part of so much wrong
  2. Part two of so much wrong
  3. Step 1: rebuke her privately
  4. Step 2: rebuke her publicly
  5. Step 3: bring her before the church
  6. Step 4: stop taking her on dates
  7. Step 5: no unnecessary household upgrades
It took me a little longer to finish this post because, at this point, I really feel like I'm repeating myself.

I was going to combine this post with the remaining steps because I feel like there's not much new to say, but the next step is a really significant one, and it merits standing on its own. So I'm going to deal with this idiocy so I can get on to the next idiocy.

So step six instructs husbands to "stop doing the little extra things." Our esteemed blogger says (emphasis mine):
You know those dinners you cook, or that vacuuming you do, or those things that really she should be doing for herself, but you have simply been trying to be nice and doing for her - STOP doing them. Stop giving her those nice back and shoulder massages she loves so much.
You have to remember that in the context in which this post was written, wives handle all the domestic tasks. So all of these kinds of tasks, like vacuuming or cooking, are things that she should be doing. And when a husband does them, it's meant to be a real treat for a wife. Like, it's her birthday or something.

Does this seem unhealthy to anyone? Or abusive? Because it does to me.

See, I was under the impression that marriage is a partnership. An equal partnership at that. So it isn't so much about her responsibilities and his responsibilities as it is sharing the load and responsibilities of life.

I also thought that in relationships with designated roles, such as one in which the wife handles the domestic responsibilities, the other partner tends to do those kinds of things not just out of trying to be nice, but out of love. If you know your wife really hates vacuuming but does it anyway because she loves you, then you might find yourself inclined to do the vacuuming for her because you love her.

But I see now that marriage is much more a business arrangement. Each individual has their own tasks and responsibilities and apparently the husband is the supervisor who gives reviews and if you don't measure up (read: have sex whenever he wants) then you'll get more responsibilities added, thankyouverymuch.

I guess what it really comes down to for me is that I just don't understand how people can be so callous to another human being. Apparently, what a wife is expected to do is so much more important than who she is as a person or her feelings or--dare I say it--human rights, that it's perfectly acceptable to treat her like shit to get your way.

Either she'll give in or get out. Win-win.

How can anyone subscribe to this nonsense and still claim to worship a loving, forgiving god? Does any of this blog writer's ramblings seem remotely loving and forgiving? Seriously? Does that make any sense at all?

I'm glad we're almost to the end because I don't know how much more eye-rolling I can handle.

09 August 2015

Renew your spirit with a quiet walk

I like to walk alone sometimes (when it's not swelteringly Florida-hot outside, that is). It's a good opportunity to be quiet and alone and sort of recollect myself. There's no work or family drama or worries about Tink's upcoming appointments. I can just be outside and walk.

I used to walk more regularly, but life got in the way and it got pushed away. So I'm trying to reintegrate regular walking into my routines.

No cell phone, no Clara or other people. Just me. I wish I had a little forest to walk in. Or along the beach. But I'll take what I can get in order to have the time and space I need to think and breathe and ground myself.

My goal is to walk at least once a week by myself on Sunday mornings for a minimum of about half an hour. More if I need it, less if I'm pressed for time. But my goal is half an hour.

If I can manage that every week, I think I'll feel much better equipped to handle some of the stresses I've been facing lately. And when the weather starts to cool off, the walks will be even better.

07 August 2015

Tink's adventures in health: a primer

April 2015
Today, I take Tink to see a specialist at the recommendation of Dr. M, her pediatrician.

As is usually the case with Tink, this was a next step in a long line of "stuff" regarding her health. And since there seems to be no end in sight with my sweet little problem child, I thought a primer might be in order.

My pregnancy was a bit difficult. I was healthy, and Tink was okay, but there were problems. For one thing, as I was nearing the end of my pregnancy I developed a cyst on my ovary that grew for a while. Thankfully, after Tink was born, it ruptured on its own.

When I went into labor, Monty and I went to the hospital. I wasn't really far enough along to be admitted, but when the nurse took my blood pressure it was very high, and she muttered the word "preeclampsia" to a doctor, which got me admitted, and on drugs to move the labor along. Of course, with the drugs came an epidural. Unfortunately, the tech that put the epidural in was not as skilled as I would have liked, and ended up having to move it. Very painful. Then, when she did get it in, which was still felt strange, it worked really well on one side and only moderately well on the other. By the time it was time to push, I was definitely starting to feel pain again.

When Tink decided it was time to actually be born, she didn't wait for the water to break. I called the nurse because it felt like my water had broken. She came in to look and immediately called for the doctor because Tink was really ready. But my water hadn't actually broken. When the doctor came in and got situated, he looked at Monty and said, "I've never broken anyone's water on the outside before."

Then, to make the delivery even more interesting, Tink was a face-up meconium baby, and aspirated when she was born. So as soon as Monty had cut the cord, she was whisked off to the side to suction fluid and make sure she was okay. They let me hold her for a few moments and then took her for observation in the neo-natal unit, where they put her under a light for light therapy because she was jaundiced. (I had some additional problems after she was born, but they were taken care of.)

Tink had to continue light therapy for the couple of days we were in the hospital after she was born, and the hospital made arrangements for us to borrow a light blanket to continue light therapy at home for a couple of weeks. Then, in her final exam before getting discharged, Tink developed a low-grade fever, so the doctor decided she needed to stay another day.

Eventually, we went home. And things were okay.

When she was about four months old, she wasn't growing as well as she should have been, so I was told to supplement my breast milk with formula. Then my milk dried up, so we went to formula full time.

When she was about eight months old, it was determined that she once again wasn't growing like she was supposed to be, and the doctor even used that dreaded phrase--failure to thrive--that prompted blood work and weight check appointments and special formula.

She was behind in her developmental milestones, too. At nine months, she wasn't standing (even assisted) and nowhere near walking. Her fine motor skills, too, were lacking. So she had regular physical therapy and occupational therapy for about a year, during which time she caught up to where she needed to be.

And specialists. We saw a nutritionist, gastroenterologist, neurologist, and pediatric geneticist.

At one point through all of these appointments, one of the results of her blood work was incredibly high, prompting re-testing, which came back normal.

At another appointment, Dr. Illinois was concerned about some test results and sent us immediately to the children's hospital for blood work and urinalysis, and if certain results had come up, she would have been hospitalized that day. But then everything looked normally.

And in the midst of this, we had no answers.

The geneticist was the last specialist we saw, and he said, "Let's just wait and see." The pediatrician in Florida agreed.

Some time after that, I moved back to Florida. Tink was doing pretty well, so we followed Dr. M's lead and waited.

In May, Tink had her four-year check-up. She's always been below the growth chart (or right at the bottom), but this time, she had gained three inches in a year and absolutely no weight. Really. She weighed the same in May 2015 as she did in April 2014.

And she had been having leg pain for some time in her right leg. It started out that it seemed like her knee would buckle every once in a while when she ran. Then she started limping semi-regularly. Most recently, she walks on the balls of her feet occasionally, or she'll turn her right foot all the way out and walk that way.

So Dr. M ordered blood work and x-rays of her entire right hip and leg. An abnormality in the latest round of testing has prompted a follow-up appointment with a specialist.

So here we are again. Back to tests and specialists and asking lots of questions without enough answers.

I don't know what's going to happen today or in the near future or even in the long-term future.

So all I can do is keep stepping forward, one little bit at a time. And Tink will keep things interesting.

06 August 2015

Six on the sixth

July 2015
Puck is six today.

And I can hardly believe it.

Each year that passes, Puck continues to amaze me with all he learns and does and how he grows and changes. From the little skinny scrap of a peanut way back in 2009 to the tall, funny, silly boy he is today, Puck is a great kid.

He is sensitive and sweet and can be so, so kind-hearted. He's a good brother (when he's not being ornery) who cares for his sister fiercely.

He has always been a good kid. When he was a baby, he was clingy, but not colicky. He didn't have a lot of health problems. He was a happy, happy baby.

Now that he's in school, he's so eager to learn and grow. Most recently, he's decided he wants to be a geneticist so he can bring the dinosaurs back to life. But only the plant-eaters.

Spring 2014
And if he can't do that, he's going to make robotic dinosaurs.

Because he's practical like that.

He does well in school, though he's impatient which can lead to messy handwriting at times. Still, he reads well, and loves math.

In fact, one of his favorite car games is solving math problems from the backseat. Even if he gets tripped up and frustrated, he feels proud once he finally gets the answer correct.

Puck also likes to build things. It started with Legos and Chima figures, and has moved on to metal model vehicles (like the ones he got for his birthday from Mimi and Papa G) and wood (like the coin bank he built with Papa G this summer). I love watching him create with blocks or other tools, whether he follows "constructions" to make something specific, or creates his own structure based on his whims.

Fall 2013 (with his pre-K teacher)
And, of course, there are the Puckisms. He's a treasure trove of misspoken words (like "constructions" instead of "instructions") that keep my Facebook feed amusing.

One of my favorite is his consistent use of "rahmbo" for "bravo." He's said it that way as long as I can remember, and I don't think he has any intention of changing it.

Puck is also a bit fastidious.

There are days he doesn't want anything on his hands, even finger-foods.

And he likes to line things up "properly." Stacks should be even, and things on his toy box should be lined up with the edge appropriately.

He is full of spunk and personality and keeps us on our toes.

I'm so, so proud of the boy he is becoming every day, and I'm looking forward to seeing the young man he will become over the next twelve years.

Happy, happy birthday, sweet boy. Your mama loves you.

03 August 2015

New desk, new space

I have a new (bigger) desk and bigger office space. We didn't move, but we got rid of a big desk that wasn't being used to make room for a bigger desk for me, and a space much more conducive to my needs.

This is what it looked like yesterday as I was finishing getting it set up:

Much more room, much better view (I can see out the patio door now!), and a much better feeling. I actually like being in the space much more now. I think it's partly because the new layout makes it feel more office-y rather than a desk put in a convenient corner of the apartment. It's a dedicated office space rather than taking what was available.

It makes me feel more professional.

I know that when we move again I'll have something much closer to an actual office. But in the meantime, this is a very nice space. I'm very happy where I am.

02 August 2015

Renew your spirit with an impromptu family visit

This is the last time we got a picture of the four of us together.
Christmas 2011
I got to see my brother yesterday!

He and his girlfriend spent a week in Florida at the house of a friend of our mother's (near Tampa). They're headed back today, so on their way out of the state, they stopped by for lunch.

It was wonderful.

I don't get to see my siblings very often anymore. I saw them in 2013 when I took the munchkins up for Christmas, and I hope/expect to see them in October for the wedding.

But life has unfolded in such a way that it's not feasible for us to go up as often as we'd like, and they aren't able to come down as often as they'd like. So we make do with phone calls and texts and Facebook messaging.

My brother (the guy on the right in the picture) and I have gotten a lot closer as we've gotten older, even if we do live states away from each other. We're in similar places in our lives and have much more in common than we once did. It's nice to be able to have that connection with him.

And he's an amazing uncle. He hasn't seen the kids in ages, but jumped right into typical uncle duties as if he hadn't missed a day. He plays and jokes and gives them his rapt attention. Puck and Tink adore him. In fact, even though Tink hadn't seen him in over a year, when he came in, she ran right up and jumped into his arms.

It was a good opportunity to touch base with family to get me through until October when I'll get to (hopefully) see everyone again. And we'll make sure to get a picture.

29 July 2015

The dangers of Christianity, in 8 easy steps!--step 5: no unnecessary household upgrades

Previous posts in this series:
  1. The first part of so much wrong
  2. Part two of so much wrong
  3. Step 1: rebuke her privately
  4. Step 2: rebuke her publicly
  5. Step 3: bring her before the church
  6. Step 4: stop taking her on dates
Before we jump into this continued escalation of nitwittery, I just want to take a moment to remind you that from step four on, the blog post writer does not see anything wrong with taking these steps even from the outset of the "issue."

In step five, husbands are reminded that their money is their money and their wives can't spend it without permission. This step says (emphasis mine):
Ordinarily, I am all for a husband funding things like new furniture for the house, or new paint for the walls. Wives will come to their husband's [sic] for these and many other household things. What you need to do as a husband is, unless it is a true family need, and not just an upgrade to something -- Do not allow it.
See, because if you remember from the previous step, all that is required of a Good, Christian Husband is that he provide his wife food, shelter and clothing. So when the couch breaks, she's not entitled to a new one. She can just deal with it until she decides that the couch is more important than being able to make her own decisions about her own body.

Once again, this is retaliation, pure and simple.

Husband is butt-hurt because Wife isn't willing to spread her legs whenever he demands, and so he says, "Well, I'll show you!"

Far be it from these types of husbands to actually grow up and handle shit like adults. No, no. We resort to pettiness. That's much more effective.

I remember now why I was so incredibly irritated when I first read this post. It's just escalating the same thing. These husbands aren't willing to see and deal with underlying relationship issues.

Let's set aside, just for a moment, that a woman's body is her own and she can decide whether or not to have sex with it whenever she wants without reason.

If Wife is routinely "denying" the physical part of the relationship, chances are, there's a real reason behind it. It could be something going on with her. If she's stressed, she may not be in the mood. But it's just as likely that it's something going on with the relationship. Many women I know must have some kind of emotional connection before they can have a physical connection. So if there's something going on in the relationship--tension, fighting, her picking up on his bad mood--it's not going to happen.

And if it's occurring regularly, it could very well point to some problem in the relationship. Retaliation doesn't fix that. Open communication, maybe some counseling from a real, trained, not-a-pastor relationship therapist.

So instead of playing these bullshit games, these husbands need to pull up their big kid pants, dry it up,* and actually be an active part of their relationships.

* "Dry it up" is a phrase I use with the munchkins when they're fussing or throwing temper tantrums for attention or to try and get me to give in.

26 July 2015

Renew your spirit with self-care

If you've been reading my blog lately, you know that I've been struggling a bit with anxiety an depression popping back up in my life. I'm lucky to have an amazing support system, though, so I'm doing okay.

But feeling the way I have lately has reminded me how important self-care is in my life.

I am currently the sole breadwinner for our family, using my scribbling to make money for important things like coffee, cookies, and World of Warcraft subscriptions. I adore what I do, and I'm good at it. But it can also be stressful since freelancing income, particularly in my field, can be variable.

Most of the time I can handle the stress that comes with my every day life. I keep pushing through and get things done the way the need to be done, and all is well. But sometimes, like last week, I'm reminded that if I don't take care of myself, I can't take care of everyone else.

So along with all of the get-shit-done, there's an element of stop-and-take-a-breath that needs to happen.

I've gotten away from yoga, which had been helping. So I'm re-committing to yoga regularly, even if it's only once a week to start.

I've also gotten into some bad eating habits (like not enough healthy, whole foods). So I'm re-committing to healthier eating.

I hope that taking some smaller steps toward better self-care now can help keep problems from getting too big later on. Plus, it's nice to feel like I'm spoiling myself once in a while.

What do you do to take care of yourself regularly?

24 July 2015

The dangers of Christianity, in 8 easy steps!--step 4: stop taking her on dates or trips

Woman in Window by John Vanderpoel
Previous posts in this series:
  1. The first part of so much wrong
  2. Part two of so much wrong
  3. Step 1: rebuke her privately
  4. Step 2: rebuke her publicly
  5. Step 3: bring her before the church
According to ye olde blog post, we're escalating our process now that we're in step four.

However, let's not forget that the blogger says he doesn't think it's wrong to begin some of these steps alongside the first three steps of the process.

Step four tells husbands to stop taking their wives on dates or trips to address her sexual refusal. Here's what the post says (emphasis mine):
Stop taking your wife to her favorite restaurants. Stop taking her out to those movies she wants to see. Don't take her on those weekend getaways she wants to go on. I am not saying to stop talking to your wife, or ignore your wife, as that is not an option for a Christian husband. But your wife does not have the RIGHT for you to take her on dates or trips--these things are a privilege that you may remove at any time.
I could barely type that without shaking my head so hard I couldn't see.

Let's turn to my second emphasis, shall we?

Here's the thing. In normal, healthy relationships, both individuals need to invest time and energy into the relationship. Part of that is spending time together. Like on dates or taking trips.

But this blog post implies that if a wife does not submit to her husband sexually, he can retaliate (because, let's be honest, that's what this is) by not taking her on dates or trips and not spending time with her. Because, as your wife, she can't do anything on her own, anyway. So this step has bonus features! if she's not going somewhere with you, she's not leaving the house at all!

I would also like to point out (in the first emphasis) that this step is advocating everything but ignoring the wife. If it weren't, the blog post wouldn't feel the need to point out that ignoring the wife isn't an option.

"You can't simply turn your back on your wife and literally not speak to her, but this is the next best thing."

The further I get through this post, the more it angers me at the way women are treated within this population group. The next few steps really emphasize the way Christian husbands view their wives.

She's lucky (well, they'd use the word blessed) to have him, and should show him that. Because he's not obligated to give her anything except food, clothing and shelter (which we'll get to in a later step, actually). So if she doesn't put out, neither does he.

I came very close to marrying into that dynamic. Not that I was in a relationship with someone who was like that. But when I was in high school and very into the church, there was a young man I saw myself marrying. we were unofficially courting (we liked each other), and had my life taken a slightly different turn, I probably would have married him, stayed home, and had babies. And everything that is expected of the wives this blog post is talking about would have been expected of me.

That would have made it really hard to be a lesbian....

23 July 2015

Yesterday was what it was

I intended to post something yesterday. It was our first day home from our trip, and I was optimistic about jumping back into the routine of things.

But then, Bo woke me with the news that a branch had fallen onto our car in the complex parking lot. It dented the front hood and broke through the windshield Final Destination-style.

Here's our hood. There's internal damage, as well, apparently.

Here's the windshield. The branch bounced off the dashboard, as well, so the shop has to check the systems behind the dashboard to make sure there's not any additional damage.

So that's what we did much of yesterday.

Before it rained in the afternoon, just as Bo was driving the (not really fit for driving) car to the shop. It could have been worse. No one was hurt and the damage is repairable. But it was certainly not what we wanted to come home to from our vacation.

I know this is life. Shit happens. And Bo called the insurance company, so we're in the process of getting it all taken care of. It's going to be okay. We'll get the car back in a couple of weeks, good as new, and get back to life as usual. In the meantime, we have another car we can use, so our lives aren't as disrupted as they could have been.

And once everything has settled a bit more, maybe we'll be able to laugh about the fact that Bo parked in a good spot to unload our luggage, and the tree betrayed us.

19 July 2015

Renewing my spirit with wedding plans

I've needed things to look forward to lately. I've been struggling a bit emotionally, so I've been clinging to things that make me happy.

Like wedding plans.

Bo and I are getting married in less than three months.*

And that makes me happy.

We've been doing a lot of piecing together in the past few weeks. The invitations are ready to be stamped, assembled, and sent. We have a rough outline of the ceremony that Dantielle (who will be performing the wedding ceremony) is using to plan out the ceremony itself, The cake is ordered and paid for, we have a basic menu planned, and we even have an idea of how we'd like the room set up for the reception.

There are a few things left (Puck and Bo's suits, Tink's shoes, and a few odds and ends), but for the most part, we're ready.

And that makes me happy.


18 July 2015

My body has been rebelling against me

Clara understands the need for naps.
I've been sick. It sort of snuck up on me, and for a couple of days I had a low-grade fever. The whole week I was absolutely exhausted, and it took all my energy just to do what I needed to do every day. You know, like get dressed and stuff.

I'm doing better. Slowly. I'm still incredibly tired all the time, but I'm managing. No fever anymore, which is a very good thing. And naps here and there have been helping with the fatigue.

It's frustrating to feel this tired all. the. time. There's no reason for it. And whether I let myself sleep until I wake up or limit myself to the standard 6-8 hours, I feel as though I've barely slept.

I feel like my body is rebelling against me. No matter what I do or change or try, it doesn't seem to make a difference. I've reached the point that, for now, I'm just pushing through, one day at a time, assuming that it will eventually get better.

Eventually, I will get better.