Friday, June 29, 2018

When the legends missed a few details

Ok, so I got into a discussion on Facebook about this image.  I changed a few details, but here's what I've come up with so far.

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I didn't expect her to give it back.  Well, I didn't plan to drop it in the first place.  She was 14.  Naive, but kind.  And, pure as the crystal waters of the Irish sea.  I admit I was being irresponsible. I hadn't done the proper checks as I came ashore. 

In my defense, she was a tiny thing. She blended into the rocks along the shore, and wasn't visible from a cursory glance.  Her hoodie shrouded her face so she blended into the rocks, and the midsummer morning drizzle didn't help either.

So, there I was sitting cross legged with my coat draped over my shoulders enjoying the droplets as they hit my human face and traced their way over my cheekbones, waiting for sunrise to dry everything out.  I picked up a pebble and threw it.  Not just a toss, but really wound up and let it go.

It was a silly game my father taught me.  As my arms grew stronger I was able to sink it farther and farther at sea.  As my father aged his grasp grew more feeble and his distance ebbed.  I took a deep breath and let it out slowly trying not to miss him.  I wish I had known 7 years ago would be our last excursion.

I picked up a slightly larger stone and nearly grunted with effort, trying to throw all my sorrow into this one, and for one second I loosened my grasp and let the coat slip behind me.  I didn't care.  The stone whistled as it sailed and I couldn't even see where it made contact with the swirling tide.  I exhaled again and put my hand over the place where my human heart beat in my chest.

I'm not even sure when she picked it up.  I thought I would have a sense of my coat's whereabouts, a sort of sixth sense tying my nerve endings on my exposed skin to the hair follicles of my coat.  I was wrong, because suddenly she was just there, holding it out to me looking apologetic.

"Oops, dropped your coat."

I snatched it and threw it over my lap, hoping the darkness hid my naked form.  I realized at once I had overreacted.  Her mouth turned to the side and she ducked her head deeper into the hoodie.  She waved, crossed her arms and turned quickly away.

I struggled to my feet tripping slightly as my long limbs untangled themselves.  Bits of shell and sand dug between my toes and I nearly dropped my coat again in my haste to catch up to her.  I wrapped it around my waist and tied it off to the side willing it to stay put.  I put my hand on her arm and she twisted away and picked up her pace.

"Wait! No.  I just wanted to say thank you."

"You're welcome, ok?  No big!"

She ran up the porch steps of the nearby house and ducked in the glazed back door.

The sun was just coming over the edge of the horizon.  The rain had stopped sometime while we were, um, talking or whatever you'd call our exchange.  I waited a few moments watching the house, hoping to see her reappear.  I probably stayed there too long. I watched through the door as an older woman began to shuffle around the kitchen.

When I could smell the coffee and bacon coming out the chimney my stomach finally snapped me out of my daze.  I only had one day and I didn't plan to spend it staring at some random girl's back door.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Item #124

A whip cracks, slicing through the silence. Simultaneously a flock of birds recently resting on the branches of a birch tree flap furiously away. Three figures stand tensely across the space of the corral. The whip pulls a Colt revolver across the dusty, hoof stamped surface.

The scruffy desperado holds his bleeding hand to his chest, willing himself not to cry out in pain. The discharge of his wound is barely noticeable amidst the grime thickly layered on his leather vest. "You had no call to get involved, Mister. We was doin' just fine afore you showed up."

Across from him stands a man of exceptional good looks. A finely tailored charcoal pinstripe three piece suit is complemented by an ebony cravat with a large diamond pin. He, too, looks toward the third figure. "I assure you sir, I had everything under control. Your assistance was unnecessary."

"I beg to differ," comes the reply. The whip is deposited smoothly in it's holder and the Colt is kicked deftly into the left hand. The right hand grasps the brim of a pale straw Stetson, pulling it off with a flourish. "And don't call me sir." Silky auburn hair cascades over her shoulders in waves. The revolver barrel points menacingly toward the finely dressed man. "You, sir, remove your piece and slide it over... slowly."

Blinking as the sun glints off her highly polished badge, the gentleman removes an ivory handled stub nosed Smith and Wesson from it's holster and gently places it on the ground. He kicks it toward the waiting sheriff, and shakes his head in disbelief. What kind of woman... He doesn't finish the thought

Miss Jean Louis picks up the piece with her right hand, keeping the colt in her left aimed at the gentleman. Her thumb strokes the figure of the stag carved into the handle and whispers, "I've missed you baby," before pointing it toward the desperado. "You can join your friend there." She motions for him to move. The desperado obeys quickly and stands beside the gentleman.

Miss Jean Louis whistles shrilly her eyes never wavering from the two forms now completely in her control. A long moment passes. Suddenly the sound of hooves is heard pounding in the distance, drawing quickly closer. A white stallion comes skidding to a halt next to her. She holsters the colt and her left hand reaches up to grasp the saddle horn. With a quick hop she glides smoothly across the surface of the saddle.

Her gaze never leaves the two men as she lifts the reigns. "I usually consider myself a kind hearted person. I hate to make you two walk all the way back to town, especially with your horses standing right here. But considering you both have a reputation for disappearing where lawmen are concerned, I'm gonna have to insist."

Heads hung in shame, the pair begin to shuffle toward the corral gate. "And in case either of you get any ideas on running, I taught Annie Oakley everything she knows."

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Religion and Politics

So we've gone this far, have we? Back in January Christian conservatives were given several positive political choices. Ted Cruz: Raised in an evangelical family with a history in the church. A politician with a strong pro-life stance, and an unwillingness to waiver in the face of religious complacency. Marco Rubio: A practicing Catholic with strong ties to the non-denominational evangelical church. Another strong Pro-life candidate who tries to live out his faith in the midst of a godless political culture. Ben Carson: a non career politician with deeply help pro-life beliefs, who specializes in separating conjoined twins. A seventh day Adventist with a strong religious perspective. John Kasich: an Anglican who believes in the literal Noah, and is trying to be a voice of hope for the poor and mentally ill. I could go on. Candidate after candidate with strong faith in God and a desire to lead the country back to Christian values. And then there's Trump.

The grand old party voted. 58.3% of Republicans decided they would rather have the savvy businessman run our country than any of the other candidates. That's right... a party that has an overwhelming majority of Christians voted predominantly for a man who bears almost zero resemblance to Christianity.

If 81% of republicans claim Christianity, and 58% of republicans voted to nominate Trump, even if the 17% of the non-Christians voted exclusively for Trump, that still leaves 41% of Christians who picked a cut-throat businessman over several other decidedly Christian possibilities. We are supposed to be the ones praying for God to guide our country back to him. We are the ones who are supposed to be humbling ourselves, praying,seeking God's face, and turning from our wicked ways, so God will hear our prayers, forgive our sins, and heal our land. And now we're here. The general election is 5 months away, and my social media is being peppered with headlines like this:

Honestly, I'm appalled, I'm embarrassed, and I'm angry. What is the point of this kind of media? What do they hope to gain? Is the body of Christ this ignorant? Are they willfully misleading people? Do they actually think Trump is saved?

Let's look at this critically. Let's say he's been saved all along. Do we want the kind of back sliding Christian leadership that this man represents? If he has been a Christian for years, he's broken his marriage vows, twice. He's owned and operated and invested in pornography in the form of at least one strip club. He's been cut-throat in business, protecting his personal wealth through legal loopholes while declaring bankruptcy in several failed business ventures, leaving thousands jobless. He's been an abortion supporter until the last few years.

Let's say he he only recently got saved. Is it really a good idea to put a baby Christian in the oval office? He will be subject to the scrutiny of the world, and attacked on all sides by demonic opposition. Is it right for those of us who have been in the faith longer to leave a vulnerable fellow human being open to that kind of spiritual abuse? If we truly had his best interest at heart, we would refuse to enable his pride and foolishness and encourage him to build up his spiritual inventory before taking on such a monumental task as that of being president. Then there's another possibility, but I hesitate to consider it. Is the church so desperate for unity in the face of our party's appalling nomination that they feel they must lie and manipulate fellow Christians into a false sense of unity by declaring this man a Christian when he has no Spiritual fruit to show? Certainly Christian leaders would never stoop so low. Surely Christian leaders would be willing to be honest and trust God to keep our nation safe no matter who is elected president in the fall. I'm being sarcastic, but I can't seem to shake this nagging fear in the back of my mind.

Friday, June 24, 2016

No! ... Just No!!!

I am beyond angry...

Granted there are plenty of things on Facebook that tick me off every day, and usually I can take a deep breath and scroll past them, or click the little "hide" button and move on.

But today is not that day.  Maybe I just have too much time on my hands while my BFF is away on vacation. Maybe social media anger has just been building up and this is the last straw.  Whatever it is, I'm at the point of wanting to reach through my screen and shake someone until their ears bleed.

Yeah, I'm still a Christian... we're allowed to be angry if it's righteous indignation, and I think this qualifies.

What is ticking me off, you ask?  What could possibly be so horrific as to cause sweet, fun loving, me to finally flip her lid?

Calvin Klein just announced they have a new "Plus-sized" model.

Meet Myla Delbasio:    She's a size 10  

To be clear, I'm not angry at Ms. Delbasio.  She's beautiful and clearly deserves the job. I have no beef to pick with her and I'm excited that she landed a high profile job in her chosen career.  I'm even happy that she's advocating change in the modeling industry.  

I'm pissed at Calvin Klein (and any other company) that hires a woman who fits in their normal sized clothes, and calls them plus-sized. It's such an obnoxious double standard, and marketing folks should be ashamed.

According to Cosmopolitan, "In the fashion industry, 'plus size' is a term for models who are size 8 and up."

Why can the fashion industry call their models plus size when their clothing sizes are not. Most stores stock clothing in sizes up to a 16 regular. A few stores, like New York & Co, might go as high as an 18, but typically these clothes aren't really designed for the curves of a heavyset woman.  Plus size clothing typically starts at a 14W and goes upward.    Calvin Klein doesn't sell clothes larger than a size 16 regular. Their famous jeans only fit women up to a 32x32, a size I couldn't fit after the age of 20.

Here is a picture of me at size 14. This was the smallest size I've reached since I turned 20, and I was only able to maintain it for about 6 months, despite insane levels of food control. I'm not kidding. I wasn't allowed to eat raisins or peas or other perfectly healthy foods because I was trying to be thinner than my DNA allowed.

If plus size is a size 8 and up, why do I have to pay extra for my plus size clothes? Typically internet merchants start up charging for sizes larger than an XL or size 14 reg.  The up charge can be as low as $2, but regardless, why should I have to pay extra for a tiny bit of extra fabric.

I understand clothing construction, and the amount of fabric difference between a 16 reg and a 16 plus is not enough to warrant even a $2 up charge.  If it was, there would be a $2 price difference for every size.  The plain fact is, merchants charge more for women who are above average because they know we have no choice in the matter.  

Yes, the national average is size 16.  So merchants know that roughly half the adult female population won't fit in the "standard" size category.  It's just plain business sense to make them pay an extra $2 for every piece of clothing they purchase.

Not only is it frustrating to me and the rest of my above average size female friends, it sends a terrible message to girls everywhere.  They already learn at a very early age that fat is a bad word.  They already feel self conscious and awkward when they enter puberty.  The last thing they need is to flip through a magazine or come across an ad on the internet touting someone who is their size as "plus size."  

Shame on you Calvin Klein.  In a perfect free market system, my sisterhood of body positivity would boycott your butts to bankruptcy along with any other clothing designers who dared to call a below average size model "plus-size."  The reality is that the modeling industry should start calling anyone below a size 10 "minus size" anyone from a 12-18 "average size" and anyone over 18 "plus size."

And just to be clear, I'm not in the slightest saying that smaller women are somehow "less".  I don't advocate the ridiculous beauty war being waged amongst women.  Some of us are bigger than others, some of us have larger breasts, or a larger bust, or thighs thin enough to leave a space between them when standing.  We are different, period, but we still deserve to be treated with respect no matter how our DNA decides what our adult shape should be, and marketing companies need to stop pitting us against each other by blurring terms.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

School Dress Code vs Sexism

I've seen several similar posts on facebook recently championing the efforts of high school students trying to fight misogyny in their school dress codes.  If you haven't heard about it check this out. I've read the posts and I have to say I'm proud of the way these girls are handling this old sexist argument.

At the same time, however, I feel there is a necessary iteration of reality that needs to accompany this campaign.  Here is my response, and my message, to girls and schools and boys and feminists and pretty much anyone else who is willing to take a step back and look at this situation with wisdom and balance.  (note: if you're not willing to take a step back and consider a different point of view, please move along, I'm sure there are plenty of blogs out there that agree with you)

1)  Absolutely, absolutely I agree that the idea of telling girls they have to dress a certain way because they are a "distraction" to boys is wrong.  Boys will be boys, but that doesn't take away a girl's right to be a girl.  I think these girls are on the right track and I will champion their efforts to stamp out sexism.

I think school administrators need to re-think the way they handle dress code violations.  Telling a teenage girl she can't dress a certain way because boys will get distracted by how sexy she looks is the wrong way to approach this.  Boys know girls are sexy.  They have eyes.  The way a girl dresses should never give boys the right to objectify them.
2) Realistically, no matter how much we educate, train, or otherwise attempt to infuse character into our boys, they are going to see the sexuality of the female form.  It's in their DNA.  Does this give them the right to act on those impulses? No!  Does their chromosomal makeup somehow give them a free pass to objectify even the most scantily clad of women? No!

But there is some common sense to be had.  When I see a cute puppy I immediately am possessed with the desire to pet it.  Have I been taught not to touch someone else's dog without asking permission? Yes.  If I reach down to pet a puppy without asking and it bites me, I am the one to blame.  But I'm not just going to wake up one day and decide I hate puppies.

In the same way, boys find girls sexually attractive.  They may have the character to realize that they should wait until they are married to one girl before acting on those sexual impulses.  They may be taught by parents or school administrators that just because a girl is sexually appealing doesn't give them the right to act on their impulses.

3) What you wear in public defines you.  We can try to change this mindset, but it's been around forever and is deeply ingrained in our human makeup.  Hundreds of years ago society felt that it was wrong for a woman to uncover her legs.  There are rumors that during certain historical eras a woman could be arrested for showing her ankle in public.  Did that stamp out ankle baring?  No.  But anyone who saw a woman with bare ankles knew immediately that the woman was either a rebel, or a harlot (or both).  It really didn't matter if the woman saw herself as a rebel or a harlot.  Society chose to see her as such based on her reaction to the status quo.

You may not like society's determination of your personality based on your clothing choices, but they are there whether you like them or not.  You are free to fight against the current cultural stigma against certain clothing types, but you are not going to change everybody's mind.  If you want to fight this battle, you need to realize that it truly is a battle you are choosing.

You can wear denim underwear and a mesh top with a neon bra under it and walk around saying you are fighting the objectification of women and championing your rights as a feminist to wear what you want.  You have the freedom to do that.  I'm not going to take away that freedom.  But, when a misogynist approaches you and starts his feeble attempt to get lucky, you have to accept that your choice of attire sent him a culturally accepted message that you were open to his advances.  You can be offended by his actions, and you can decide in that moment to re-educate him, but unless you have some level of relationship with him, he's going to blow off everything that comes out of your mouth.

To reiterate with absolute clarity: what a person wears does not give anyone else the right to violate their personal boundaries.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

This is relaxed homeschooling

This year of school is winding down. Since our family homeschools year-round, this means that certain classes may be ending but others are beginning. A couple weeks ago Deborah and Hannah started their new math books. Amelia is a little over half done with hers. They aren't always at grade level. Sometimes they jump ahead and sometimes fall behind a bit. We just started a Logic co-op class, and will possibly be starting a history/geography co-op class. These will last a few of months, and then be replaced with something else. The goal is never to drill or memorize useless facts, but to create a pattern of asking a question and then seeking the answers. Our weekly commitments will shift. They won't end, but will hopefully fit our current phase of life better for now. I finally made the transition to in-home guitar lessons for Deborah, so our Tuesdays just got a bit busier, but our Wednesdays will be much more open. The Tang Soo Do classes we started last fall will continue year round, taking the place of the 3 hours of PE on Thursday afternoons. Since we are done with our annual PE program, I'm busy looking for art classes to fill the Thursday time slot.
"Graduation" is next week for us, but learning will continue regardless. My son will officially be done with high school, not next Monday, but when he passes his GED. Although my girls will be technically promoted next Monday, their annual evaluations won't be till early June. Summer will slow down in some areas, but pick up in others. We will be taking advantage of day camps to get in large blocks of learning. I'll most likely be teaching sewing again, not to my children this time, but to a group of girls in nearby cities. This is the life of a homeschooler who is actively trying to re-think education. This is what anti-establishment, authority questioners become eventually. This is the result of over 24 years of questioning why the education system does what it does. This is the logical conclusion of applying the "Lost Tools of Learning" and not allowing schools to "kill creativity." If you want help transforming your child's education, contact me. I've been doing this with my kids for 18 years. I promise you will mess up. I promise you will regret some things. But I promise you will not be bored, and your children will benefit.* *In a few cases, children are better off in traditional classrooms. The majority of folks who don't think they can homeschool, however, either confuse true education with the ridiculous elaborate system of educational day-care we currently have available to us or are willing to sacrifice their children's education for a higher income. Harsh? Perhaps. Go ahead... comment your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How Far I've Come

I went through some of my old documents today. I found a rant I wrote in June of 2013 almost 3 years ago. It was about my frustration over my inability to lose weight. It makes me sad. Not sad that I haven't been able to lose weight. I'm happy I'm at peace with my body now.  

It makes me sad because I know there are women out there who have struggled like I have and still feel like that every time they get on the scale.  

It makes me sad that there are still folks preaching "calories in calories out" to women who have no hope of ever reaching their goal weight. 

It makes me sad that there are skinny people out there smiling sweetly at plus sized folks and telling them to try harder because it's best for their health, while never, EVER realizing the crap they go through just to maintain their current weight.  

Here it is in all it's awful glory: 
Photo Credit:

The crap hit the fan today in the form of a bathroom scale.  
I’m officially 222 lbs.  Not that big of a deal?  Lot’s of people gain weight? Try dieting?

These are pretty standard responses.  Others are less appreciated.  “Have you lost weight?”  “You look thinner, have you been working out?”  “You don’t look overweight.”

I’ve been working out for over a year.  To be exact, I started working out the day after Mother’s Day 2012.  I’ve been training with a professional trainer for two days a week since July 2012.  When I started I weighed 205.  I can’t think of anything more frustrating in my entire life.  

I tried Jenny Craig for about a year and lost about 20 lbs.  I’ve tried getting in shape and then found I was pregnant within a matter of weeks.  I’ve done the HCG diet 2 times.  I have not felt this angry and frustrated any of those times.  

I tried interval training yesterday.  I decided to get outside and enjoy creation while I worked out.  Today I feel like I sprained my ankle.  I did 4 30-90 second intervals of jogging and walking.  I realized this morning as I stepped on the scale that my ankles aren’t designed to carry 222 FREAKING lbs when jogging.  

I am beyond pissed.  I have prayed pretty consistently since the beginning of the year that I would be 160 lbs by July 13th (my anniversary).  I made myself a weight loss chart this morning, I charted how long it would take me to reach my goal of 160 lbs I came up with 32 weeks.  I weighed 210 in January.  Losing 50lbs by July was a completely reasonable goal.  Made even more reasonable by the fact that I was working out 2-3 times per week, and trying to be careful (but not obnoxious) with my eating habits.  According to every legitimate diet plan I’ve ever heard or read about, this was an achievable goal.  Now, a little over a month from my original date, I am up 12 lbs.  It would not only be stupid to think I could lose 62 lbs by mid July, but it would be dangerous.  

Last month I was 216.  I thought, this is going to take a miracle for me to reach my goal.

Perhaps God is trying to teach me something. What must I learn?  Why am I a failure at this?  Why am I not allowed to be a healthy weight?  Why haven’t I lost the weight I want to lose?  Is 160 lbs a bad goal weight?  Is this process supposed to humble me in some way?  All these questions go unanswered as I head back to square one.  

222 lbs.  I am heavier than I have ever been while not being pregnant.  I am heavier than I have ever been during three of my four pregnancies.  I am heavier than I was one month after my biggest pregnancy, my last one, where I weighed about 230 lbs at my last prenatal check-up.  My waist is bigger than a pregnant woman’s according to a baby shower game I played recently.  I carry so much belly fat that I can’t breathe in child’s pose during a yoga work-out.  

Here’s is my health score according to several web based calculators.  My BMI is 34.8.  I am one pound shy of 35.  This means that I am obese.  According to

\If your BMI is 34.7, you are considered obese. The cutoff for obesity is a BMI of 30 or above. This means you may have too much body fat, and should try to lose weight to lower your body fat levels. Your doctor can help you come up with a weight loss plan.

Really?  I have too much body fat and should try to lose weight?  Tell me something I don’t already know.  

Knowing that I have gone up 20 lbs since my last pregnancy makes me livid. I mean really pissed off.  I’m struggling not to take it out on my kids and failing pretty miserably.  Here’s what has to say about the physical response to anger:

When anger kicks in, your body readies itself to respond to a perceived threat. Your muscles tense…your digestive processes stop…and certain brain centers start firing in ways that alter your brain chemistry.

Well, that’s just peachy.  Now that I’m royally pissed my digestion is basically at a stand still.  The stress of knowing that I’m apparently unable to lose weight normally makes me gain weight.  I haven’t been this angry about my weight since I signed up for Jenny Craig over 4 years ago.  So all those peaceful thoughts I had about maintaining my health haven’t helped me one bit, either.  

So here I am, not even at square one anymore, but more like square -20.  I joined Weight Watchers online today.  I’m done praying about my weight now.  Apparently I had it all wrong.  The way to stay healthy is to spend all my time reading articles about health and trying to apply the right ones to my life.  I guess I’m supposed to just try different approaches over the course of my life and see which ones work for me long-term.  

Then again, maybe I’m just supposed to be fat.  Maybe I’ll get my chance at 15 minutes of fame in the form of the Biggest Loser, instead of Survivor.  

If you need to find me look for the frumpy lady at the restaurant who’s giving the professionally trained chef instructions on how to suck all the taste out of her food in an attempt to stay healthy.  I’ll be the one playing the martyr at all the parties, complaining loudly about how there’s nothing for me to eat and bemoaning the fact that I haven’t had a french fry in years.  You know, the one who talks about nothing but what ice cream does to my hips while simultaneously making you feel like a jerk for being healthy without trying.  

Oh, and this is a formal apology to my children for the rest of their childhood.  I will now be the mom who makes the whole skinny family go on a diet so she doesn’t have to be tempted by their high calorie foods.  The one who makes everyone stop eating real mayo and whole milk in favor of fat free and skim.  The one who rants about it when they take a sip of soda and curses them by telling them it will make them fat some day.  

I suppose while I’m at it I should apologize to my husband.  I apologize for being hypocritical about asking you to try to lose your tiny middle aged belly when I outweigh you by an entire 6 year old child.  I’m happy that you’re going to be able to lose that extra weight within a month of skipping soda, and I’m sorry you’ll never see the carefree lady you married again.  

I think I’m done for now, but don’t be surprised if there’s more verbal diarrhea later on.  Oh and lots of crying when hubby gets home and the kids are finally in bed.  It’s a good thing I decided to weigh myself today, when he’s already told me he’d be late.  Maybe anorexics have the right idea, not that I could even hope to try that, since I don’t even have the self control to skip a single meal.  


If you struggle like this, please don't hesitate to send me a note. I'm here for you, and I hope I can help you out. No... not because I finally found the perfect diet. Because I finally realized there is a lot more to life than fitting into societies idea of beauty and health.