Category Archives: Monday Musings

Patchouli to Pine Sol My Parenting Journey

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The kids and I about four years ago.

The kids and I about four years ago.


I started out as a totally hippie, granola-munching, tree-hugging mama. I gave birth to my kids at home. I breast fed them for two years. I used Waldorf style toys and books (all wood, silk scarfs for dress up, and lovely fairy stories). I fed them organic vegan meals, which I made while thinking on how special my family was and how much I loved them.

Of course my kids had other ideas.

My son wanted to play with GUNS *gasp* and wear camo and crawl in the dirt and pretend to shoot bad guys.
My daughter wanted Barbies, and make-up, and her own gun and camo to follow her brother around.

I fought it.

They eventually won.

I bought Barbies from the Princess of the World Collection so at least my daughter had a variety of ethnic Barbies to play with.

I bought my son toy guns, camo, and G I Joe dolls but also toy swords and cloaks so he could play Lord of the Rings.
I took them to faerie festivals, folk music festivals, and to see the latest movies.

Then I started working at a group home, where the state licensing board sets the standards and rules. Where I work with kids who need clear firm rules and boundaries. Kids who don’t handle changes in their routine.

Kids who have to deal with public schools and conform to the rules, instead of going to alternative hippie charter schools.

Kids who need a doctors permission for me to give them herbs or vitamins, like I could ever get that. Kids I can give over-the-counter medications, but not homeopathic formulas. Kids can stay home only if they have a fever, diarrhea, or are vomiting.

Unlike my personal kids who stay home because they are sick, or super tired, or “Mom, I might shank someone if you send me to school today.”

So now my house smells like Pine Sol instead of patchouli.

Clothes are chosen based of cost and conformity instead of expressing one’s personal style this week.
I like what I do. I understand the importance of helping these children mesh with society, learn social skills, and fit in with their peers.

Kids who think that if you can’t behave in a socially appropriate manner you’re not eccentric, or expressing yourself, you’re hindered and awkward, and feel left out.

I understand that being a firm, stable, in-control person in their life is essential. And I’m not saying one parenting style is better than the other. In fact I personally believe a blend is ideal: firm clear boundaries and structure so they feel safe and learn ‘proper’ behavior, within which they are given freedom to explore who they are and their individual style, passions, and skills.

Alica Mckenna-Johnson

My kids six months ago.

What has your parenting journey been like? Are you the kind of parent you thought you would be before you had kids?

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International dance moves

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So I found this

Which is awesome and I shall diligently practice in case I ever get to travel to Canada. Then I wondered if there were more.

I found Korean, ’cause Kpop is king.

I like tutorial on how to dance in club because she takes into account that my awesomeness could be intimidating.

Now imagine for a second that someone is willing to dance with me … it could happen! I shall have to memorize these righteous moves.

And of course I want to help the guys, but honestly I leaned a lot of club culture/body language from this video. Apparently I should be ‘testing guys’ as they approach me at the club. You know, if I was ever approached, or could stay up late enough to go to a club.

Do you have any sure-fire dance moves we all should learn??

She’s smooth as Chunky Peanut Butter

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My daughter is smooth.

My daughter is smooth.

So last night I am sitting on my couch talking to my DD when she puts her hand over my eyes. “Shush” she says as I hear the rustling of the money on the table.

She removes her hand and had stuffed the bills in her bra. Grinning she says, “I’m smooth as chunky peanut butter. Oops missed one.”

She grabs the last dollar and stands up grinning at me whispers, “Smooth.”

She walks to the door, goes all ‘Aunt Brandy’ (flips me off playfully—it’s a thing at my house) then runs off cackling.

Why do I keep these people around?

Irrational Fears, Dating

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Since I am a writer, my brain is a special place. And I frequently have random weird thoughts pop into my head which turn into random weird scenarios and then into random weird fears.

One such weird fear is, what if I had to date again???

I am currently married and if I haven’t scared him off by now,—it’s been sixteen years (Holy shit really?)—then he’s probably not going anywhere. Kind of like life in prison, sure there are bars, but now you’re used to it, and it’s home.

Anyway I saw one of those online matching people services and wondered who would pick me if I put up a profile. Which got me to wonder about dating. Which quickly turned into fear as my entire dating experience is from high school.

I won’t talk about it, but I almost died of embarrassment just thinking about how I acted back then. In theory I would behave differently now, but what if I didn’t? What if I reverted back to sixteen every time I met a guy I liked? What if I used the same classy, sexy, seductive moves to let them know I wanted to be kissed?

TMI, but I just threw up a little in my mouth at the thought.

I am sure there are books, counselors, aversion therapists that could help me out IF hubby ever broke free of the chains. I DO keep them padded for his comfort. And seriously we have two kids, shouldn’t I be more worried about them, or money, or something real then if I’ll act like a clueless sixteen year old if I go on a date?

But such is the brain of writers. We create worlds, people, monsters, and fantasy. Unfortunately our own life is often at risk of such nefarious godlike plotting.

What are your irrational fears? Come on you have to have something better than spiders.

In my head I can dance.

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Well it’s not that I can’t dance, I can a little and I used to take belly dance classes. While I wasn’t amazing I didn’t suck. Even still it’s not a skill I’ve kept up. And yet in my head this is how I look when I dance.

Who can you dance like when you’re alone and no one can see you?

Trust

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I don’t trust a lot of people, or well, I don’t trust them with my safety or the safety of my children.

It’s not so much that I distrust them but that I trust they will be selfish, or self-absorbed, or just not caring much. That sounds really bad doesn’t it? Sorry, but I trust people’s actions not their words. I trust their deeds not their intentions.

Watching this video made me think of the few people I trust and know I can count on. The ones I support as much as they support me.

But it also made me think about how fearful I am. About how untrusting I am of people, of myself, of my strength, my ability to handle things. Because that’s what it comes down to isn’t it, not our fear that someone will hurt or betray us but that we won’t be able to handle what they do, that we won’t survive or recover.

So maybe if I could learn to trust myself, to trust my strength, intelligence, creativity, and value then I could be more trusting of others, of life, of opportunities, of adventures.

Are you a trusting person or do you hold yourself back too?

I Learned A New Word

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This Saturday I went to Can’t Stop The Serenity, find one in your area cause it’s awesome, and I learned a new word from Joss Whedon, Genderist, and he explains why it’s awesome and we need start using it.

What do you think of genderist? Will you start using it?

Anti-Zen: Quiet is for Wusses

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Doesn't this look calm and peaceful?

Doesn’t this look calm and peaceful?

So in my stupid and doomed attempts to do things properly I have never taken the time to try and do breathing exercises, or meditate because there are too many kids around, or I don’t have enough time, or I am hungry/sick/tired/horny and that will be distracting, or it just isn’t quite enough.

Guess what—my life will never be any of those things. There is no perfect moment for me. Those moments are for special people, like those without children, or who get abducted by aliens.

So the other day I was doing yoga while the kids were eating breakfast and getting ready for school. I don’t use a tape because I am constantly interrupted and I find it easier to stop and go back when I am doing my own things.

ANYWAY

I decide to try and do a breathing thingy. I don’t know why, inspiration struck. So I sit on the floor, cross my legs and start counting as I breath. I stop to answer questions. Focus back on my breath. Stop to make sure that yes he did brush his teeth. Focus back on my breath. The vacuum is turned on, I keep focused on my breath.
When I was done I felt more centered and calmer. I didn’t need quiet, incense, a special place, or a fancy round cushion. I just needed to do it, kids, noise, interruptions, and all.

At this point I think if I was in a totally peaceful and quite environment I would completely freak out. I’m sure quiet is lovely, but we are hardcore anti-zen—we don’t need your stinking quiet.

So quiet, so scary.

So quiet, so scary.

Tips for those with food allergies, and the people who love them.

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Beautiful things I can't eat. Photo by Molly MacRae

Beautiful things I can’t eat. Photo by Molly MacRae

About eight years ago I discovered I was allergic to gluten, then eggs started giving me problem, a year later fish began causing horrible stomach cramps, and I’ve known for a long time that dairy doesn’t love me as much as I love it, more an intolerance then actual allergy.

I wanted to share some tips I have discovered through a lot of trial and fuck-ups so hopefully thing can be easier for you 🙂

Food allergy first aid kit. You should always have on hand chia seeds, charcoal, ginger, and a digestive aid you like. NOTE THESE ARE NOT ‘MEDICAL ADVICE’ AND NOT TO BE USED IF YOUR ALLERGY AFFECTS YOUR BREATHING!!! THESE ARE THINGS THAT WORK FOR ME.

Chia seeds: these small black seeds are so amazingly helpful. If I eat something I’m allergic to, we’ll pretend it was an accident and not me being a pouty brat. I will put a teaspoon of chia seeds into a quart of water or juice, wait for them to swell, (they are gelatinous, just FYI) then drink them. I find the chia seeds remove whatever evil thing I ate from my body gently, effectively, and quickly. But I don’t need to stay near a bathroom all day. This is safe for me to use at work.

I find the chia seeds not only help with tummy/intestinal issues but also help remove the allergen so well that my migraines aren’t as bad.

Charcoal capsules: I get these at the health food store. When I eat something that causes a lot of bloating (gas), nausea, and cramping, charcoal is what I grab first. For me it seems to neutralize whatever evil is going on in my stomach. Just don’t freak out when what comes out of you is black/ grey in color. 🙂

Ginger helps soothe my stomach, helps digest greasy foods, and breaks up mucus. I find if my tummy is what needs the help, eating candied ginger works really fast. Ginger capsules help but they will help, including clearing up my sinus congestion .

There are tons of digestive aids, some basic, some specific to food intolerance (not allergies). Find one you like and help your body deal with possible contamination. This is really helpful when I travel. I take some digestive aids before each meal I eat out, just in case .

Restaurant tips

Gluten Free option at one of my favorite restaurants.

Gluten Free option at one of my favorite restaurants.

Go to the friggin’ website. Most restaurants have their menus posted on their website. Do they label dishes for allergies? Can you find something to eat? If you have in-depth questions, please call the restaurant ahead of time, during non-busy hours, or email them. It is very inconsiderate to ask a list of allergy questions of a waiter during the dinner rush.

BTW, dear restaurant peeps put your menu up with allergy info, I won’t go to restaurants I can’t check out first.

Do not expect friends and family to do this for you, and if you show up someplace and can only eat the dinner salad because you didn’t do your homework, no pouting. You cannot expect other people to look out for you like this, and if they DO, thank them repeatedly.

ALSO tip accordingly to the amount of help and extra work the staff need to do for you.

AND help fellow allergy sufferers. If you find a good place, post about it, on your blog, YELP, a website for people with food allergies, whatever. Share the wealth!

Ask

Seriously, many many people suffer from allergies and/or know others who do and these people have little kernels of wisdom that can help you, if you ask.

One day I was complaining on Facebook about craving an egg sandwich that I can’t have because eggs hate me, and a friend asked if I had tried farmer’s market eggs. What? No? Why would I?

Now, I can’t eat normal eggs. Not even the organic, range free, from chickens who listen to Mozart all day, eggs. BUT I found out I can eat eggs from farmer’s markets, from chickens or ducks that run around someone’s back yard and eat bugs and stuff. No idea why. And I would never have thought to try them if my friend hadn’t mentioned it.

Food allergies are a pain in the ass, expensive, and frequently make me want to cry. But I’m not alone and neither are you. What advice, tip, tidbit do you have to share?

So, Who Are You Supposed To Have Sex With?

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I was part of a discussion on Facebook the other day about whether as a parent, you would buy contraceptives for your teens. I had to leave because some one said “No, because I believe in no sex before marriage, at least for girls—boys are another thing.”

UM WTF??? Not the no sex before marriage—while it is not part of my belief system, I understand that it is important to a lot of people—but why it is only important for girls. If sex is a sacred/spiritual act and purity of body is important to start a marriage, why are only women expected to show that level of commitment to their future husbands and marriages?

“Because girls can get pregnant.”

I’ve heard this answer before and I call bullshit. Yes, girls can get pregnant. If they try hard, they can get pregnant, have a baby, and get pregnant again in one year.

A boy on the other hand could get more than 300 women pregnant in one year. Yes it would be unlikely, but he could, which makes the consequences of boys having sex outside of marriage, especially unprotected sex, greater than the consequences of girls having sex before marriage.

So, if girls are supposed to remain chaste, who are these boys fucking? No, really. The girls who are good enough to become their wives and mothers of their children have to say no to sex, even though girls have the same desire for sex that boys do. So who does that leave?

Girl they don’t respect. These boy can have sex with the ‘bad girls’, the ‘sluts’, the ‘easy girls’. And is that really okay with you? If your religion/culture/spirituality says that sex is sacred, are you really okay with your boys having sex with women they don’t respect/love/treat well? Because these are the girls they don’t bring home. Don’t admit to dating. And won’t talk to in public. And to me this is sickening.

Married women. Should these teen boys who are being given permission to act like the easy, dirty, sluts we shun in girls, should they be having sex with married women instead of the teens girls who are supposed to be saying no? At least those women ‘saved themselves’ for their husbands, so the important bit is out of the way. It should be fine if they take younger lovers right?

Widowed/single women. Maybe these teen boys should be finding elderly widowed or single women to sow their wild oats with. These women can’t get pregnant, won’t have their hearts broken, and are lonely. Maybe this is the solution to this pathetically double-standard problem.

No wait, I’ve got it.

These boys should be having sex with EACH OTHER! It’s the perfect solution. The teen girls can stay pure and chaste, the married women won’t commit adultery, and the widows/singles, well they kind of lose out, but, hey, it was a squicky solution. The boys can’t get each other pregnant and they won’t be ‘ruining’ anyone for their wedding day because it’s okay if boys come into the marriage bed as dirty sluts. A win-win solution for everyone.

Huuummm I have the feeling not everyone likes that choice, so I have one final offer:

Professionals. Teen boys could get jobs so they have enough money to have sex with professional sex workers. This way, once again the teen girls can remain virgins, and the teen boys can live out the double standard to the fullest without it negatively effecting anyone else.

Have I missed any options? Who do you think these boys should be having sex with if the girls their age must remain virgins?