Friday, December 31

What I will Miss

As we round out the year's end, in my home, we are also rounding out a four year tour in Saint Ignace, Michigan and a six year life in the United States Coast Guard. We have exactly 2 weeks left in this town, and in this life. I have often found myself complaining about the places I have lived more than enjoying and embracing them. I thought it fitting then, instead of reiterating all that I do not love about this place, instead writing about all that I do love, and will miss.

In the fall the trees are world class. There has never been a more beautiful fall anywhere I have ever been. The forest is too thick to see more than five feet into, and the trees are so many different species, the forest becomes a rainbow of fall colors. Some trees look like they are on fire with the color of red/orange/pink they turn. I will miss those fire trees. When you drive into Traverse City all the apple and orchard trees pass and pass and pass and all are ripe for the picking; the smell of cherries is everywhere, and the hills roll with abandon and seem to go on forever, just like the forests. Fall has been lovely here.

This summer, was a summer to never forget. It was the first year when our children were old enough to truly enjoy the beach. As we knew this was going to be our last summer here, we never passed an opportunity to go. The water was cold at first, and towards the end of July warmed so that even the children waded out to their necks (with supervision), and we would all take floaties into the water and ride the gentle waves. We never feared sharks or jellies, or anything at all. The water was so clear the lake bottom glistened with sunlight, and danced with the little fish that came close to the shore. We went so often to the beach our car was filled with sand all summer. It found its way into the car door compartments and into the under part of each car seat so that even after two rinses sand still clung. I am sure some remains. We never took our beach gear from the car, and we all smelled of sunscreen for a full two months. We visited the beach in Traverse, and I spent hours scouting the clear waters for the state stone at Charlevoix. I came home with three.

We have loved many. People have come and gone, but how it has been our great honor to watch families grow. We have witnessed babies learn to sit up, and crawl, walk and talk back. Babies have grown into toddlers, into what cannot be denied as children, children into the first signs of adulthood. We have learned the value of friendship, an experience we often overlooked in the shadow of family. We have lived tightly wound within each other’s lives, clinging to the family we made, when we were without the family we were given. I learned family can be anyone you choose, and it is love that makes them, with enough love you will make a family out of anyone, and that is just what we have done. But now I am talking of the military in general, and perhaps I also need to speak in a positive way for that experience, for it too, often receives more negative than positive. But I digress.

Speaking of family, there is one individual I must mention. Perhaps she will stumble onto this blog when she mozies on over to her neglected Gmail account, and read about how much she meant to me, which of course she already knows. I met Katrina Elder in June of 2008. Her children were about 7, 10, and 4 months. I remember the very moment I met her. For some reason I was in her house, with another friend, while she was not there, I imagine the other friend was watching Katrina's children and had invited me over to meet the new boat wife and her family. Little did I know these people would become part of the glue that held my life together; each and every one of them. Katrina returned from where ever it was she had been and went into her kitchen. I followed her, anxious to make a new friend. She was reserved, and polite with a hint of a southern accent. She didn't say much, but I won her over as I enthusiastically helped her to unpack her newly delivered household goods. We unpacked all day, and began a friendship. She has been comfort, understanding, woman time, and woman power. She became very not soft spoken, but one of the most outspoken, and genuine people I have ever known. I cry in my car thinking about reading books together, rushing to be first in line at Twilight premieres, drawing single lines and guessing straight away the Cranium answer, that she knows when I ask for a beer I have absolutely no intention of drinking it, but will cook with it, that my son cries for "tina" when he is in trouble at home, that she calls him boyfriend, and likes my children when she rarely likes anyone's children, stumbling home after karaokeing for hours, and cooking cooking cooking. She has been the best friend I have had in all the years since I graduated high school. She was my first grown-up woman friend. Of everything, I will miss my Trina.

I am sure I can name numerous things I loved about his place, and this life, but I will end with that which has been the dearest to me.

Friday, December 24

No Christmas This Year

There will be no Christmas this year. I will not be waiting until the little people who live in my house, gently slumber off to sleep so that I can lay out their gifts. In the morning we will not open presents under the tree. There is no tree. No, tomorrow we will probably eat cereal; my children do not know it is the "official" holiday in the morning. This has nothing to do with my religion or whether I like Christmas or not, because I do. I remember the last time I shared a Christmas with my family. We stayed the night in my old room, we were childless, not yet in the Coast Guard, we had never been anywhere together, much less Texas, or Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, the Mississippi, or Michigan. We had been married a mere 7 weeks. That's right. The last time I spent the holidays with my family was six years ago. With our move coming up in 1,788,933 . . . 1,788,929 . . . 1,788,923 seconds (that's 20 days for people out there that don't count down by the second) we decided to phone Santa and plead that he postpone our Christmas so that the biggest gift each of us receive this year is the gift of being together at Christmas for the first time in a very long time. So tomorrow while you are celebrating I won’t be sad we won’t be joining in the merriment, I won’t wish we had gotten to join in on the unwrapping, and the feasting, or that we had just set up the tree for fun, because this year for my Christmas, I will be getting the best gift in the world: my entire family. And since we celebrate in the coming year, we will get two Christmases!

Friday, December 17

Figuring out the Feminine

I’m not sure if it is hard to be around me when I am talking/intruding on a conversation in order to coax women I don’t know into coming to my Bunco party, or if I just don’t like myself/read into people’s faces something that looks like irritation and isn’t…or is. I am perfectly aware I am loud/obnoxiously loud. I know I am abrasive/self centered (not a great combo). But I am pretty sure I am nice. I am mostly sure I smile a lot, and I am not disingenuous. I can’t figure why I think I make people feel uncomfortable/make them think I am fake. I can’t put my finger on why I am very concerned people know I really am interested in them/would like to be friendly to them for no reason than that it is nice to be nice, to feel included, and to feel thought of.

How do you convey you have no agenda? I think, for the most part, I have a difficult time with females. Men are much simpler/friendlier. There is no sense of them being threatened by you. I am still struggling with how to put my finger on what this is I have with the fairer sex, the sex that is mine, what it is that I have so much trouble with. I worry I am being inconsiderate by coming and, without introducing myself, speaking directly and abruptly but in a friendly and happy way, with completely unsuspecting women who do not have a clue who I am. Maybe the strange emotion I read on people’s faces is just utter shock. I don’t think most people are perfectly fine squeezing into an unknown group and making nice very loudly and cheerfully; even at a Christmas party that is for the group your husband works with and their families. I just don’t have a problem talking to people. I really don’t have a problem being myself. I think most people are taken back by that. And that I talk so damn fast. They are probably shocked by the initial conversation invasion, then after they have recovered from the invasion  they spend the rest of it trying to catch up to a monologue that is going 200 miles an hour that they were perfectly unprepared for and are just trying to take it all in. Probably something like you are now. Good thing I can't see your face, or I might be self conscious. I think that must be it. I should remember to speak slower, and maybe introduce myself, then pause, ask for names, and make a seriously conscious effort to stay calm and speak slowly. Don’t chew on my words; don’t try to get everything in in 7.6 seconds. It isn’t a race; adults do have a longer attention span than a three year old. I imagine this might be insulting on some level. I am just going to have to slow down, otherwise people are going to get whiplash from trying to keep up with me and my scrambled/frank/hyped up brain.

Thursday, December 16

Early Preparation

When my dad started building my children's bunk beds, in preparation for our move there, he thought he had started way too early. After all it would be three months before we would be there, but he was just so excited! He figured he was going to get all finished then have nothing to do, and have to sit and be bored while waiting in agonizing anticipation. Then life happened, deaths, more life silliness, driving back and forth to Utah, injury, bad back, on and on, now we are down to the wire, and boy is he glad the beds were finished when they were because of all he has to do!

I have had a similar thought. I am seriously excited to move home, to Costco, malls, my sister, restaurants, the land, my mother, nice movie theaters, swimming pools, my brother, more than a single park, really nice parks, my dad, my dad playing guitar, singing with my dad while he plays guitar, could I go on and on thinking of all the things I have missed over the last six years? I could indeed. I thought for all the reasons I have to be very, agonizingly, impatient, that gathering boxes and beginning my packing now would have me facing similar issues my dad feared, in getting to the end and have nothing to do. Today these are the tasks I did: took down my photos, gathered my living room knickknacks, wrapped both things in newspaper, boxed them, sorted through my movies and chose which ones we want access too for the next month and our trip, then packed the empty cases, packed the rest of the movies, my books, then moved all 5 boxes into the garage. I realized some things when I fell into the rocking chair after I was done: firstly, packing boxes and preparing entails a lot more than just the gathering and boxing of the things I listed; there were several other things that needed to be done in order to get the packing done. Secondly, there is no too early. Judging from my current state of exhaustion, having a leg up will save me from the endless work we have to do at the end tail of this move, which will be a condensed week of packing, packing a truck, scouring every inch of this house for inspection and check-out, driving, driving, driving more, then unpacking and then starting school again a week later. Life is bound to happen in between our moving tasks. Maybe I don’t have an early start on it. Maybe I am right on time.

I am tired just thinking about all we have to do. Did I mention I have two toddlers and a huge dog, or that we are moving from a steady income with 100% insurance and free housing, to no insurance and no job into a house with my entire family? Can you picture it? I so can.

All to be a midwife. But not really. My family will make it all worth it. At least…I pray to God they will.

Did anyone tell you how much fun being a grownup is?                         n't

Tuesday, December 14

That's a Wrap

Well now that I am down one more semester I have some time to get on here and scribble something. This was a challenging semester. There were many stresses that I never would have anticipated for my life. The prospect of moving across the country, leaving our military life behind, and moving on to a life that doesn't have a job in it (right now), a life of school, and living with my family (which will be undoubtedly trying at times), all these events have created a very unusual experience. It truly has been a hell of a year. For that matter, I have officially finished my first year of school, only 7...or 8.....or maybe 12 more to go....depending on whether I decide to go to medical school or not, though it is looking like a "not" right now. I don't have...well...anyone's support.

I did well again this semester, and I suppose now I can accept it is not a fluke; I am not dumb, and I am capable of getting good grades. What a concept! I am gearing up for my first (of several) science classes. I am taking a first semester biology course with a lab, and I am taking it online. I am pretty excited about it, as I have to buy a lab kit, a microscope and all sorts of sciencey stuff that I will use in....the garage or something (the words “e coli in the fridge” have been tossed around in regards to this course). So that should be fun. Also on the agenda is Anthropology, and I am continuing my math courses. I am on to new mathematical territories, as I have never been beyond pre-algebra....sad as that seems. I ditched math in school for choir, drama, dance, and.....well, boys. That was s-m-r-t. We are moving in T-minus 1 month. My dad arrives in three weeks to help lift (with his bad back...what was I thinking!), spackle, and drive. I can seriously hardly wait to see him.
So here we go! Wooo

Sunday, November 28

You Didn't get to Drive the Boat

Over the last few days some attention has been drawn to this story I put up on facebook so I decided to bring it over here. I need to put it in a safe place, plus I just must share as it is quite a little giggle of a story. Enjoy!

As I am quite fond of stories, I decided to document a tale that has become the stuff of comical interfamilial history. Of any who witnessed the following brief events, when retold, none can forgo the overwhelming urge to smile and giggle to one’s self at my expense.

In the summer of 2006 the circumference of my center torso had expanded to include the imposing protrusion of a very active watermelon with legs that liked nothing better than to kick me repeatedly in the ribs. Stretch marks graced the sides of my once slender hips. My feet and hands swelled with the excess fluid of first time pregnancy in humidity hell. My parents traveled from the “Rocky Mountain State” to the “Everything is Bigger State,” where my husband and I were impatiently residing. Hoping to catch the birth of the watermelon, my parents planned a two week “no pressure” visit.

In our desire to fill up the baby-wait, we attempted to keep ourselves busy. We planned various activities; swimming in the gulf, movies, dinners, all while everyone attempted to desist looking at the calendar, and clock, while simultaneously avoiding asking any prodding questions like “how are you feeling?” or “have you felt anything interesting today?” On a fine and tirelessly infernal day, my parents and I took an outing to Port O’Connor. Bound towards the beach, it was a day to cool off. I bobbled like a buoy in the endless waist-deep and bath-warm ocean water, and tried not to think about sharks. Sea life aside, being weightless and buoyant was a welcome treat. After an hour or so Dad got stung by a jelly fish and that brought an end to the beach trip. We hopped in the car and ventured over to the station a few miles away to get the official tour from my hubby Nate. Wanting to be the ever impressive Coastie crew, the “guys” set out to give us a spin on the 47 ̶ a medium sized Coast Guard boat. Despite having no shame or denial about my lack of sea-legs, and quite conscious of being even further off-keel than normal considering my beer gut, I put on a smile and waddled on board. At the helm was a crooked toothed sailor, with a big laugh, and an easy sense of humor, by the name of Tony Duckworth. His wife called him Tony, but no one else could find it in them to call him anything but “Duck,” and it suited him. Duck’s right hand man, and Nate’s rack mate, was named Ivan Figueroa. Equally well tempered as Duck, but with a subtler sense of humor, and a much quieter disposition, the crew called him “Figs.” Figs liked to rap, and all the Coastie crew liked to drink beer. They were sailors after all.

Onboard the boat we headed lazily out onto the water. I stood with my legs positioned far apart as to widen my center of gravity, and grabbed onto chairs, or poles, or passing people, in the desperation of not toppling feet over belly. Duck and my dad were hitting it off nicely and Duck decided to hand the helm over to him, and let him get a feel for the old girl. We approached the beach my parents and I had just left, and my dad took to the open waters beyond it. He steered steady and sped the boat on fast. The harrowing wind was no match for my massiveness, but the swerving boat was another matter. I gripped onto the rails for dear steadiness, and prayed a miraculous gift be bestowed upon my fluid-retaining legs that they would instantly figure the sea movement out so I wouldn’t fall over the boat’s edge.

With body-rocked anxiety in my eyes, Duck offered me the helm next “you can bring her in!” He positioned the boat station-bound in the 200 foot wide I.C.W. and assured me “It’s just like driving a car!” I took hold of the wheel feeling quite crowed and certain that for a 15 foot wide boat, 200 feet was not nearly enough space to navigate. Feeling anxious, I steered conservatively and straight. Despite my intense concentration and determination to keep the boat running parallel to the shore, I found driving a boat might be something you may need to have a knack for, as I couldn’t manage to keep it moving straight. For the first few moments of driving I tried to keep a cool face and mannerism. Panicking wouldn’t save me if I ran us into the ground. A small ways in the distance a crew ship approached us. I felt I was undoubtedly not adept enough to steer the boat in a straight line and avoid a crash. Eyes fixed on the path ahead; I politely informed Duck I was done driving. “Nah! You’re doing great! Keep it up.” He appeared to be preoccupied with some navigational Coast Guard matter. I felt the boat drifting towards a marina with several yachts parked happily in their slips. I attempted to turn the boat in the opposite direction and felt no immediate change. I tried in desperation to wipe the panic off my face the boat responded at last and moved away from the millions of dollars in sailing adventure. There was less than 100 feet between our boat, and the crew ship coming towards us. Feeling very claustrophobic I noticed the boat, again, was beginning to drift in a diagonal direction, right towards the bow of the crew boat. In a frenzy I turned and turned the wheel with no response from the stubborn boat. At my wits end I screamed “THERE’S A DELAY!!!” and proceeded to whimper and scream for someone to come and take the wheel before I smeared us all onto the bow of the three-times-our-size crew boat. At this point I began to hear stifled laughs coming from the people behind me. I tore my eyes from the way ahead, and chanced a desperate look towards Duck. Biting down upon his hysteria, I noticed he held his hand upon a small and inconspicuous knob: a lever. Duck, and the entire rest of the people onboard the ship, could contain themselves no longer. A huge cacophony of laugher erupted, Duck’s laughter howling loudest of all; the evil conspirator. As I gaped beneath my realization and embarrassment, I grasped, at last, that I had not driven an inch of the I.C.W. I waddled at maximum pregnant velocity towards Duck, fists flying. I got in my few vengeful girl-punches, and exhaled a brilliant sigh of sweet relief; I was not going to kill us after all.

Guiltless tears of laughter lined the eyes of everyone. Every single person had known from the very first signs of my poorly hidden panic that I was at no point driving the boat. They had whispered and motioned it to one another behind my back, pointing to Duck’s hand upon the lever and snickering under their breath. I felt certain the panic and frenzy of it all would send me into instant labor before we reached the slip, and I would, after so much “pressureless” waiting, precariously give birth to my daughter on the deck of the 47; alas, she was born 3 days later in our living room as we had planned. But that is another story.

My father delights in this boat-prank story, perhaps more than any other person present on that hot summer day. If it comes up in conversation he must always chime in with a giggle, and a “Yeah! You didn’t get to drive the boat! I did! But you didn’t!”

Friday, November 26

Religious Intolerance

Today I am spine shivering, inconceivably disturbed by a handful of heinous events in history. During the 15th century Protestantism was established, and there was no possibility of religious toleration between the Protestants and the Catholics; none at all. The motto of the day was "Un roi, une foi, une loi," one king, one faith, one law. Their solution to religious intolerance? Whatever religion the king is, is the religion of the subjects whether they liked it or not. This meant people had to flee their homes to communities of their same faith during the reign of a king of the opposite faith in order to avoid being....well persecuted just doesn't seem to be quite the right word. The warring that ensued between these two idiot religions resulted in the massacre of infants and the starvation and slow roasting of French Catholics.

Isn't that nice? I think I'll go puke. Thank you Civilization in the West text book.

Monday, November 22

The Design Argument for God

This is an essay I just wrote for my Philosophy class. I thought I would share it, as it is a very close topic to my mind, and wandering thoughts. I hope you enjoy it. I have tried to culminate my Agnosticisms. I think it unwise to know these things. It is best to suppose, and to hope. Hoping will not shut out a wandering thought.

A complete solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes completely over the Sun. If you are located in the right place at the right time, you will see the perfect corona of the Sun while its body hides behind the Moon. When this rare event occurs, scientists use it to study the Sun’s corona, and anomalies like solar flares. What is brilliant about a complete solar eclipse is that is occurs at all. The Sun is approximately 400 times the size of the Earth, coincidentally (not coincidentally?) the Sun is also about 400 times farther from the Earth than is the Moon. What this uncanny set up of size and distance creates is the possibility for complete solar eclipses. It also creates the view of the Sun and the Moon that we have here on Earth; two vastly different sized solar bodies that appear the same size in our sky.
It is thought that the reason there is life on this plant is because of the Moon. There would obviously be no life without the Sun, but the Moon may play a bigger part than it might seem. At the cusp of the creation of life on Earth, the Moon’s gravity pulled on us, much in the way it does today. The Moon was much closer then, and it is thought that the extreme tides its close proximity created, helped to transfer heat from the Earth’s core to the poles, initiating the molecular evolution of DNA and RNA, or as we call it, life. It seems simultaneously possible, that this is the most fantastic display of luck and chance in the history of the universe, and that this precise balance of solar bodies was well crafted and thought out, like a clockmaker setting the hands of life in motion. The Design Argument for God is compelling; an apple fits perfectly within the palm of my hand, and it just happens to be one of the best foods for sustaining my life, health, and vitality. It seems slightly blind to look around at the perfect balance we each experience daily, and not see the craft in it. But it is possible that life has been perfecting itself for millions, or perhaps billions of years; that the chance in balance and order was just an uncanny and unprecedented one?

When I look into the sky I can imagine nearly any image upon a cloud. This one may look like a baby, that one a tree, the possibilities are endless. This is similar to the way the constellations were formed; collections of stars were anthropomorphized into heavenly beings, Aquarius, Andromeda, Virgo etc. We recognize their shapes in the heavens, and can imagine the human forms upon them. Though one could argue even the most striking likeness a cloud may have to an infant, it will always be slightly abstract; one must have a powerful imagination to see it clearly. Can we truly liken this to the imposition of design upon the Universe? However uncanny a baby in the clouds may be to a true baby, the cloud will never have the pink of a baby’s toes, or the open and rooting mouth. The cloud baby will be an outline at best. We may be able to impose any form upon a cloud, and find a meaning in it, but there is slightly more in play within the Universe. We understand the design in the clock. We understand the intelligence it took to create the clock, yet still not every clock made by an intelligent person will spin and give the accurate time of day. The most complex ships, the grandest of houses, nothing will ever match the unbelievable balance within the Universe.

When I was beginning to wonder about God and the afterlife, my Father told me a story about Einstein (though I am not certain today if it is an accurate story, the moral is compelling just the same). The story concerned an argument between Einstein and an Atheist. The Atheist wanted the ever genius Einstein to prove there was a God, and that the Universe was the result of intelligent and carefully thought out plan and execution. When argument failed him, Einstein resorted to convince the Atheist using his unrelenting intelligence and craftiness. Days later Einstein came back to the Atheist with a wondrous model of our galaxy, each planet in rotation, moving with a gesture of the hand; the Moon orbiting the Earth, orbiting the Sun, in play with Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and the rest. Astounded by its balance and beauty, and its careful and brilliant construction, the Atheist exclaimed “How did you do this? It is absolutely amazing, and must have taken you days!” to which Einstein replied humbly “I srew ze planets up into ze air and zey landed zis vay.”

David Hume’s argument opposing the theory of Universal design is a compelling one. It seems likely, given the amount of time it is possible to have taken for life to come forth, that the errors and imperfections of living organisms have been hammered out over the period of millions and millions of years. It also stands to acknowledge that if we are to use this analogy to the clocks and ships of humanity then we must impose the analogy fully, including gender, mortality, and collectivity. I anticipate collectivity. It has been a supposition of my own that if there is design in life and the Universe, like an interface, many minds and hands contributed to its design, execution, and ultimate creation. Oddly enough there are many minds and hands upon this Earth, all different, and free. This is very Hindu, hypothesizing that we are droplets, each of us containing a droplet of God, who has many forms.

If the argument from design is to work, it may be difficult to conclude the designer is a Judeo-Christian God. However, that does not mean there is no design in it; that may be too large a leap. It would not be the first time in history that humanity had missed the mark, and in this moment we are trying to hit a very particular target. After all, rocks do not fall to the ground because they will to be nearer to the Earth. The bubonic plague was not punishment from God, and entirely divine in nature, and the world is not flat. If we have gotten the idea of God wrong in many ways, well…how very human of us. Perhaps we are not meant to understand. The Hindus believe it is not possible for us to grasp the completeness of God; that individual enlightenment does not lie within God, for we can never comprehend God, enlightenment comes from within. The struggle must not be to know God, but to know yourself, and to maintain your personal karma. Trying to understand what, or why, or where God is, is a fruitless labor, it detracts from now. We must live now. But is seems very uncanny that this fruit fits so well in my small hand, that it is so good for me, that the Sun and the Moon appear as they do in the sky, that from the death of a star arises a new star’s life, that gravity holds us down upon our Earth, that gravity keeps us just close enough to the Sun that we are able to live and to create so beautifully. It surely is very odd. I may not be able to call it luck, for I have never seen such awesome chance do that sort of work on this Earth, nor do I suppose I ever shall.

Saturday, November 20

What Would You Like to Eat?

I love to cook. It wasn't until recently I learned that I am a hobby cooker; I guess that makes me a home chef. I tried to take up knitting, and crocheting, World of Warcraft, and many others at the insistence from my husband that I find a hobby. I didn't know I already had one. Most days I cook dinner from scratch, though I have worked in more quick meals since I started school. When we moved to Texas I realized, gone were the days of Hatch Sunday dinners, and sneaking over to my family's home for my mother's chunky spaghetti. Gone, also, were the days of restaurants. We have not lived near a decent selection of restaurants in six years. To give you some perspective on this; Olive Garden is one of the most common restaurants around, you and I both know this. In Texas we lived an hour from the nearest Olive Garden, and here the nearest one is two and a half hours away. Needless to say, I realized if I wanted to eat well, I was going to have to do the cooking. It was an experimental time, some of the first meals I made were lemon chicken, catfish with leaks, and barbecue ribs with homemade sauce (a meal I have perfected!), and I obsessed over the Food Network. The food wasn't always good, but I had begun a quest that I could never have anticipated would become a lifelong one.

Today, I fear no food, and I am just stuck up enough to say I can't remember the last time I made anything that tasted bad (except the rolls I made a few weeks ago....still trying to master yeast breads). The most difficult task in cooking is putting together a meal plan. I scour the net; I have a growing collection of recipe magazines and cookbooks. I plan my grocery list around the recipes and create meal plans, then use the recipes as guides for the ingredients I need to prepare for dinner. It is a pretty effective system for me, except as times, planning the menu is a bit daunting. It is hard to come up with new ideas, or find new sources for recipes, but recently I had an epiphany moment.

Nathan and I were enjoying the most recent and fabulous episode of The Walking Dead... (Did you know rich people don't like to watch television? They find it insulting, or dumb and for another time) we are watching The Walking Dead, and I am fast forwarding through the endless commercials (three cheers for DVR!) and a pasta dish from the Olive Garden flew by. Well I wanted to get a good look at it, so I paused the show; I thought "hmmm, this is as good a source as any!" and went to go get a pen and paper. As I jotted down obvious ingredients I could see from the screen shots, Nate came back from the kitchen and asked what I was doing, I replied "studying." I had a revelation. I am a good enough cook now; I "get" ingredients and food well enough, that with a basic idea I can formulate my own recipe. The Internet is such a handy tool, and every restaurant, two and five star alike, has their menu available online; maybe they hope you will make your selections in the car (thank you iPhone), of before you leave (which I think I may start doing when I live near restaurants again), I am sure pre-selection eases up the wait time, and work for waiters. I went to Olive Garden's website to confirm the ingredients in the dish, and found several more dinner ideas. I then proceeded to Mimi's Cafe, and the Texas Roadhouse. I am so excited for my next menu set!

I think if, for some wild improbable reason, I did not get to become a midwife, or perhaps I changed my mind (fat chance), cooking would be my back up plan; it is my sub-passion. Maybe I would apply to a fancy culinary school, become the next Julia Child. For heaven's sake they give a cooking show to anyone now days. Otherwise Rachel Ray would probably be a nurse, and Giada De Laurentiis would be a Coppola film star, or a bra model for Victoria's Secret...anyone else get tired of being starred down by her C cups?

Thursday, November 18

Nap Time

Not much rattling in my brain. I am scrambling. Tired. My eyes are heavy, and my head feels swollen. Why do I always want to sleep? Midnight is not a good bed time. Will someone tell my husband?

Wednesday, November 17

Medusa Was a Neat Freak

Sometimes I consider the reversal of situations. I find myself meditating on the state of my house in comparison to the state of my grades. I don't love a dirty house. Mind you I am not filthy, but very cluttered. I was looking back on some home videos yesterday, when both of my children were babies. Claralynne spoke like James does now, and James was just figuring out how to scoot. I looked around my house in the video and it was nice and clean. A little cluttered with baby toys, but nothing obscene. And I remembered how back then I was able to stay on top of it more often than not. I realized I have recently given up on keeping my house in a shiny state. I am not bothered by a cluttered house. There are juice spots on my wood floors. The dog hair is unbelievable; I find it in my food daily (right!? Isn't that terribly gross! I am squirming thinking about it). But I find most often the reason my cluttered house bothers me, is not because it bothers me I worry it will bring about judgment from others. What a silly thing to draw conclusions from. In those moments when I worry someone is making conclusions about me, I wish to defend myself, explain it away, and I am not fond of my defensive tendencies. I wish to avoid situations that bring out the worst in me. But if people could only see! There is no use trying to keep up with my children. What is clean now, will be a disaster in 15 minutes. I have watched a spic and span room go from pleasant to hazardous at tornado-Tasmanian devil speed. Were it not for my fear that others may judge me based on the state of my house, I would very much be able to let it go. Why do I care what it looks like? It isn't disease infested, not unsanitary, just a mess. I have better things to do than pick up and scrub. Cleaning doesn't make me happy, and if I were to try and manage what my children dish out I would do nothing but clean. Then I'd turn into Medusa, start shooting laser beams out my eyes, and turning living beings into stone. They'd be clean then! No dog hair in my food then!

Now, I am unwilling to sacrifice my time for an immaculate house, but my that is a very different matter. I do not take a break from my studies. Ever. I do not take weekends. I am not lax about it; I am obsessive, and determined. My grades will be perfect, or I will bite my keyboard in half; start turning more living beings into stone just for the hell and fury of it. I haven't ever been able to harness that amount of fervor for cleaning, or getting in shape, or really parenting for that matter. I don't give a lot of thought to parenting. There is no accomplishing perfection. No royal parenting road. I will screw up. I will screw them up, and there is little I can do about it. Denying it, would be to deny my own flaws, and that would be terribly ignorant, and irresponsible. I must except my numerous flaws, and accept that those flaws will imprint upon my children who will subsequently become flawed individuals just like the rest of humanity. Accept that when my daughter screams like an enraged banshee, it is because I scream like an enraged banshee, and she is my brain rattling, seizure inducing, miniature banshee mirror. No sense trying to change it. Giving it a ton of thought will make me over think things, start doubting myself, doubting I am a good mom, and then? More stone people. But my grades, I can make them perfect. And I will. I could make my house perfect as well, but what do I learn from that? Do I learn about cultural social structure and become more enlightened about myself? Or the origins of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity; origins that come from the very same place? I guess I'll know how to get a mean stain out. I suppose that floats some people's boats. I wonder if they clean for their neighbors too? Or if people really clean for themselves? Maybe there are people who are truly like Danny Tanner. Would they answer honestly if I asked them? Who wants to admit they care about what you think? That they let it dictate their personal state of mind, and their actions? I know I don't.

Screw my neighbors; my house is a mess. I have a 4.0 for me.

Monday, November 15

Obstetrics vs. Midwifery

I wonder what it would mean to go to medical school. This thought has been circulating in my head for the past week or so. It would only be four more years of school than I am bound to finish as it is. I cannot practice as a midwife without a master's degree. I don't know what being an M.D. would mean for my ideals. Could medical school “medicine and science” my crunchiness out of me?

I used to shiver and quake at the idea of physics, or calculus, at a time when I was certain I was not intelligent. In my mind, my high school grades reflected everything my brain would ever be capable of. The boost in esteem that has come in achieving good grades, with little strain, has given me confidence for the notion that I have underestimated my capabilities. But still what would it mean for how I feel about birth? I have thought in this quest of medicine, the most prestigious title in the world, I could perhaps become the doctor I would want. Would I be able to accomplish it, or would science rewire the natural, organic, hippy, birthing in a blow up pool in my bedroom, nursing until my kid is 2.5+, no vaccinations, essence that I have come to consider so much of my identity?

Obviously I cannot redo my past; my children will always have come into this world in the hands of homebirth midwives, but could this course create regret in that? Science supports the paths I have chosen, but so often we are subject to the mentalities we are surrounded by. It would be difficult to repress labeling and association when I am continuously surrounded by medical professionals who are largely not in favor of the choices I have made. Yet, I know there are people who have done it; gone through the whole medical process and clung to their ideals, become obstetricians that have their babies at home with midwives. I have met them. Could I do it? Become the doctor of my own dreams? It is a very alluring idea, but I do still feel my calling to midwifery as I have for 7 years. I am going to have to think hard about where my path is leading, what my destiny is, and what I truly want out of life.

Thursday, November 11

Killer Stress

I wonder at what point do we chose to allow stress to be our guiding star in life; or if we chose it? It often feels I am making a conscious choice to remain stressed, to obsess, and decide to hang on to little things and big things alike, until my life is consumed by the difficulties instead of the pleasures. And I do have many pleasures; at least as many, if not more pleasures than stresses.

Is stress a result of life not exceeding, but continuously failing to reach our expectations? Is it for those expectations we create goals, that not met create stresses in the desire at attaining them? Even if only left to simple goals, stress awaits. I wake up and have a simplistic expectation for the day, that there be few spills, limited toddler feuding, a reasonable period of time in which I can enjoy a bit of silence, that when not obtained, create a stressful day, reading is difficult, cleaning a source of overwhelming tension, creases in my brow, and consequent exhaustion.

Perhaps my expectations of life are too high. In psychology they teach you that stress is a necessary component of living a full life. There are optimum stress levels under which we all function best. Too little stress, complacence and a sense of stagnation will set in. Too much stress, life becomes overwhelming and difficult. At optimum stress we feel productive, not overly or under worked, just motivated enough to keep a pace. Do we have too high of an expectation that life will continuously operate at the optimal stress level? There is also only so much you can do to try and regulate your stress level. Inevitably life will happen outside of your scope of reach. You can't always scale down either. When realizing you are operating outside the norm you can't always eliminate stress contributors, or for that matter introduce them (what ever that would mean). I can't put my children in a sound proof box. I can't push a button and have a home cooked meal. My computer won’t do my homework. Eliminating these stresses would require me to run away from my life, which I cannot, and would not do. So when life serves me up so much my cup runneth over, all I can do is let it run, feel the boil, and try not to break bottles or scream.

I fully expect to have a stress induced brain aneurysm or heart disease by the time I am fully 42. After all, heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, maybe its because we stress so damn much.

Wednesday, November 10


It has occurred to me during the nearly two years since I posted to this blog last, that I may have overreacted in closing it. It was a difficult time in my life then, and not much has changed today. Perhaps I am wiser (that seems inevitable, gaining wisdom over the period of years, if it is only very little). I enjoy an audience, I know I always have. It was joyful to write and be listened to; to document my own day to day, and my thoughts in those days. So here I am to do just that.

There are somethings I will not divulge. I am realizing the importance of discretion. I also see it is not important to write long drawn out and colorfully pictorial blogs. This blog will be about me. My children and family are a part of me, they define me in many ways, but there will be a key difference in my writings today as compared to those from years past; what I write will be my thoughts alone; and I cannot be here to win you over.

This blog will not serve as an update in my life in regards to my situation, my children's development, or anything but the simple wondering of a searching mother, student and wife. I will do my best to keep it entertaining. I have been known to be funny. But mostly what I want to do is write; from what I hear I am not bad at it. I am opinionated. I am not Christian. I am not any religion of any kind. I am for same sex marriage. I hate our government. I feel passionately about natural birth, and passionately about each topic I mentioned. I cannot stand judgement, or ignorance. I will write about these things and I will not be limited by taboo. I may become very controversial, which is something I avoided with devotion during my last blogging experiences. I will not write about you as an individual. I will give my very best to remain within the realm of myself and my own thoughts, in as much as they can be unaffected by outside witnessing influence.

So that is what this will be, an exercise in writing my thoughts without the limitation of assignments, essay questions or taboo. I was advised to write only for myself; and that is what I shall do.

So let us begin.

I am having difficulty re-enabling comments. Bare with me.