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Last week, after the sudden death of a friend’s classmate in a car accident, I was thinking about the blessed lack of tragedy that had befallen the group of kids I went to school with. Though our school was small, our Sr. class consisted of only 27 graduating seniors, things happen. I can no longer say that something terrible hasn’t happen to one of us. A classmate, a very sweet guy who I was friends with in a sort of passersby way, died Friday evening while working. An autopsy is underway but we’ve been told that it was most likely a heart related incident. His father died young of heart complications of some type, at least that’s what many of us seem to remember. It’s so sad, he leaves behind a wife and two children that will undoubtedly miss him very much.

Kenneth, or KK as he was called in school, was such a nice guy. He was a tall, lanky kid with the strawberriest of blonde/red hair. He had a lovely smattering of freckles and a funny gait that tall teenager boys seem to gain from growing too fast for their bones to catch up to. I honestly do not remember him ever being cross with anyone. Even at our ten year reunion, he showed up a little late, but he was so polite while I helped him get a plate sorted out and fixed up. He had four siblings, if I remember correctly, three brothers and finally a baby sister. I remember his mom because after I married my husband, my mil reminded me of her a lot. She could have been his mother’s mom, actually. Tall and thin, blondish long hair, that sort of thing. After school, as most do, we lost touch and I believe his family moved away from our small little town. I suppose his mom had to work things out after his father died, he was in his forties so she was young, too.

KK had worked in various food establishments, I’d seen him a couple of times after graduation, and he always had a smile and remembrance in his greeting even though we were not close friends. So, I suppose, that the goodness of a man is best remembered in times like these and I have no problem what so ever remembering Kenneth as a pretty great guy. My heart bleeds for his wife, I can not imagine what she must be going through, and his children who must be quite young still. Rest well, KK, and here is to a blessed afterlife without the burdens of this life.

My husband’s aunt passed away this week, too. Her funeral was today and it was so hard. I am crazy about one of his cousins, a daughter, and it broke my heart to watch her suffer. Losing your mother, no matter how old you are, is something that causes great grief and soul searching experiences that I do not wish to ever have to relive. Which, I suppose I never will since you can only lose your mother once. I hope for the kids, all five of them, peace and calm. I know that Mrs. Ellen is in her own personal heaven as she so strongly believed in, but I wish her peace as well.

The turmoil in Arizona seems overshadowed by political rhetoric but as a parent all I can think about is that a family lost a darling child, innocent and pure, to madness. Senseless and tragic, my heart goes out to her family, too. My grandmother says that no mother should ever have to bury her child and that there is no greater pain. I hope to never have the experience, I’m sure most feel the same. From mother to mother, my deepest, heartfelt sympathy goes to Christina-Taylor Green’s mother (and her father, which I do not diminish his grief, I just have no fathering experience so I’ll have to leave that up to the boys).

With the holidays my diet has been completely mad. For most people this is a fact of nature. For me it’s pretty dang scary. I’m searching for some ghost craving and it’s making me miserable. I eat foods that I don’t really want, then an hour later I’m looking for something again. It’s purely psychological, I think. It is possible it’s a need for nutrients, I’ve considered that, I am not good with the vitamins…

I should probably do the five day pouch reset, I’ve heard it can do pretty good things. Excuses, excuses, I know, but I hate protein powder. The reset consists of a lot of protein shakes and liquid dieting to which I’m no stranger. However, post surgery, I find that I am incredibly lazy and the protein powder has to be a certain brand. Which I have to order and I have to play holiday catch up first. I’ll probably try to modify the reset diet and watch what I’m consuming a little closer. Probably. I hate feeling this miserable, though.

It has been three and a half years since I took the trip to Monterrey, Mexico to have Gastric Bypass with Dr. Rumbaut. It was a terrifyingly exciting decision and for the most part I haven’t regretted it one bit. Losing weight didn’t change the things I thought it would. I’m still incredibly anxious and people shy. I am not able to start or hold conversations well. I still don’t like to get out of my house when I’m in a funk, which is a lot. I had thought when I was ‘skinny’ that would change too. No more depression because the fat wouldn’t be holding me back. It turns out, the depression wasn’t because I was fat. It was because I have a pretty serious tendency toward depression and severe anxiety. I still hate to shop, even if I can go into any store and buy clothing off the rack without worrying if it might fit. Funny how you can’t go into Victoria’s Secret even though you’re a size six because you’re convinced that everyone in the store knows you don’t belong because you’re way too fat. Hi, eating disorder.

Yet still, I’m happy with the outcome of my weight loss. I feel better physically, and I know now that the pain I was experiencing wasn’t just because I was ‘overweight’ as my PCP constantly suggested. It’s funny how people stop looking at your ailments as caused by your weight when you weigh 140lbs instead of 300+lbs. Same issue, but now magically it’s possibly RA or another auto-immune disorder instead of just Fatassitis. Sweet. Heh. I have a gorgeous two and a half year old that I wouldn’t have if not for the surgery.My kids don’t remember their mom being so unhealthily large and my husband thinks I’m great. Still. A pretty good dude, if a tad bothersome now with the ‘oh look a shiny new play thing!Eleventy!1’. Still incredibly cute though.

Life is a beautiful tragedy and no one makes it out alive. I have been blessed many times over and for that I am thankful. I haven’t the slightest idea how 2011 will go (one can only hope it looks better than 2010) but I do wish everyone a prosperous New Year full of joy, love, and good things.

post. It’s not. Nope, not even a little bit. Unless you’re a vampire, then sure it is. Happy Christmas. Cursing ensues, be forewarned…

I enjoy this time of the year most of the time. For whatever reason, this year seems so blah. Halloween has came and went, I barely even decorated. Tomorrow marks the usual Christmas decoration day tradition. I can’t decide if I will get the ump to get the stuff down and put the effort in it. Sophie really wants to decorate this year and I can’t let my awful mood affect her joy. The boys don’t really don’t care much but maybe the baby will get into it. We can hope the cat stays out of the tree, right?

I am thankful. I couldn’t even pretend that my life hasn’t been blessed. I have enough food to feed my family, a roof over our head, a husband who  loves to work if for no other reason than to provide for us, and extended family that we love dearly. Our children are healthy and mostly happy, they are bright and inquisitive. No, I can’t complain a bit. Perhaps the blues have a firm hold of my head but my soul knows that it is fed.

I’m putting some of my recipes together tonight, I’ll get up and make mashed potatoes in the morning. My granny is sick and I wouldn’t put the burden of our loud, large family on her even if she was cooking tomorrow. Later I’ll take her a plate and visit for a minute before we come home, presumably to decorate. She is 83 years old and I am so thankful to still have her. She is having fits worrying about not being able to gather us together, but she feels better since we’re going to his mom and dad’s.

Maybe we’ll watch the parade in the morning, I bet the girls will get a kick out of that. The boys have moved into the grandparents for the week, they are thankful for that.

My hope for tomorrow is that everyone will be able to find a warm meal to put in their belly. Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.

Is this the root of all the venom spewed lately? Today, as I was driving to pick up my kids, I had a thought. While the economic crisis that I see looming does bother me and scare me, I’m most concerned about the blatant hate rushing around. It occurred to me that as base as it is, fear is the real issue at hand. We tend to fear what we don’t understand. Just as I fear what is going to happen if this crazy economic nightmare is allowed to continue, the people behind the tea party fear people who are different from themselves. They fear the brown man. They fear the gay man/woman. They fear what they don’t understand. Under the guise of taxation reform, we have seen more blatant racism from this party than I care to chronicle  here. One small example was the ad that ran in Nevada encouraging Latino voters to just stay home, don’t vote, knowing they would not vote for Angle. We are slapped in the face daily with news of some other homophobia story, some kid committing suicide because no one cared to teach their children it’s not ok to bully those different than they are.

We could come up with theories all day long, find articles to support them, but the fact is that fear will push people. For example: Joe Blow says, “They’re just lazy Niggers.” in conversation. He explains that he doesn’t think all black folks are lazy, that people of all colors can be niggers. The fact of the matter is that it isn’t the truth. It’s a word we should lay to rest and move on from. What Joe fears, we’ll never know, but most likely it’s a man who is a bigger person than he is. Mov

ing on to the one that irritates me more than I can articulate. Faggot. Joe Blow says, “I hate faggots. If my son were gay, I’d never speak to him again.” He will not budge on his stance. What it says below the surface, “I don’t understand homosexuals. They don’t think the same way I do. They don’t like women and what if they are checking me out?” It’s an irrational fear. This would be the same man who will without fail make some lewd comment about the woman who just walked by with a beautiful body. What we have here is a double standard. Who cares if some random dude is looking at your ass, homie? You are subjecting women to the same base thoughts, but it’s ok because you’re white bread America, right? Then, I suspect we have some men who are threatened because they question their own base desires, the most intimate thoughts. Perhaps they can’t abide their own ‘impurities’. At the end, it is just fear. This same idea could be modified to fit a woman who is vocal and nasty in terms of gays. Fear guides us, it pushes us to extremes at times. In the end, we’re no better for it.

I am trying to understand what I’m reading lately about this vast chasm that is our economy. The path that it is going down and why people are so angry. I know why they are angry. They don’t have jobs, they are literally starving. Selling off the things they’ve worked entirely too hard to afford just to get by. In turn, they’re coming out in droves to blindly follow an agenda. Some think tank somewhere came up with a brilliant plan to plump their party up. Get people fired up about taxes and spending and bury the real issue. It’s not that we don’t need less taxes on the middle/lower class, it’s that the upper class needs to shoulder more responsibility. The tax cuts for the wealthiest of our country isn’t garnering jobs, no, in truth it’s just padding bank accounts. They are tucking their cash away for rainy days. We all have hopes of becoming that wealthy so supporting tax cuts seems like a good idea, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of us will never become independently wealthy in that way. No, we’ll be the ones who will be scraping ourselves up off the carpet and trying like hell to put scraps on the table to feed our children when the system comes crashing down. You’d think we’d get the idea after what a dismal 2008 we had. Banks and corporations are out of control. Yes of course they would have us believe that tax cuts and incentives are what we need to push the economy. It favors their business. It lines their pockets and it will eventually drain ours.  This is my fear factor and until things start to look up I will own it. Wall Street might be bouncing back happily but my IRA isn’t finding that same tempo. This tells me the rich are getting richer while those of us down here in the grind aren’t as lucky.

Call me a hippy, a socialist liberal, pinko commie bastard, if it makes you feel better. At the end of the day, I have a conscience. I read about how I blindly follow what I read/am told, but when there are facts there that allows me to believe it. Not like the insane The Onion worthy ‘news’ I see being talked about among my friends and family. Another fear factor, where has our good sense gone?

So today there are plenty of friends, relatives, aquaintences, etc… who are laughing about our sore loser woes and reminding us to just ignore their gloating over that fantastic victory last night. Again we play, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Lucky for them, the frustrated seem to have a short attention span and over sight. These masses seem to forget that nothing happens over night and now they will really have to wait for some relief from this economic nightmare. They have surely forgotten what put us here in the first place. Where the huge deficit came from, originating around a war that didn’t need to be fought. All the problems that we face as a nation didn’t happen over the past two years, it started long before that with a Republican ran government pushing it right along.

Let’s talk a moment about taxation, shall we? Smaller government, no taxes, we want to control our money! Yay, now go on down to the police department and thank an officer for working out of hte kindness of his heart. Oh wait, yeah, taxes pay for that guy to protect your stinkin’ butt. While you’re there, go next door to the fire house and give a high five to the men and women who would suffer a trial by fire for you if you needed them to, they don’t really need that living wage. You’ll be happy to pay for that out of your pocket, right? The old people are going to die soon anyway, might as well let them do it on the streets. Taxes aren’t fun, it seem like a burden that isn’t fair sometimes. Chances are, as a middle class person, you’re paying too much while some rich dude sits back and counts his money. So let’s cut taxes, nevermind we’re cutting the taxes of the wealthy while the rest of us drown. Of course there is wasted money in government spending but that’s why it’s called taxation with representation and if you’re not happy about where that money is going, call your representatives, write them letters, be vocal about it. Giving people the right to health care isn’t a whack cause. Like the right to bear arms, it should be inalienable.

I am confident that you will find that these shiney new congress people will not bring your values home. It will be business as usual in Washington DC. With the exception of a lot of stand stills, head butting, and in fighting. Which does nothing but create a rather large mess. There will be no fixing the economy, you’re still stuck out here in limbo land while the middle class gets smaller, divided by a greater margin to the upper classes. Soon we’ll all be down here in the lower class where the wealthy like us, I won’t remind you that this was what you wanted and tell you to stfu. Even though it’ll be difficult.

The parts about this shift in government that concerns me most isn’t about taxes or the economy, while they are very important parts. No, I’m most concerned that bigotry that was overlooked and sometimes encouraged during this nasty, awful campaign will be allowed to run rampant. I hate it that individuals find it ok to be outright nasty. Again, I come back to the owning up to your ideals. If you hate a man because of the color of his skin, don’t hide behind some other guise. It’s transparent and people can see that. It makes you unappealing, even when you think it makes you so superior. If you’re afraid of a gay man, admit it, stop throwing him under the bus in the name of whatever religion you find works at the moment. It takes a real man/woman to stand up and not be afraid of what they don’t understand and accept those around them for people, not their sexual orientation. Trust me, they aren’t checking you out. Yes, these are the things that bother me the most. The POTUS is a Muslim, get him! Where is my Pitchfork o’ Doom? Oh, they are looming in Congress just waiting for their chance to impeach a president who has accomplished much in the two years he’s been in office. Whatever, friends, it’s a failed attempt and just another occasion that will put our government on hold and into a holding pattern that will bankrupt that beloved middle-classian waiting in the unemployment line. Maybe if we send all the illegals back to Mexico, he can find work picking fruit or mowing lawns for below minimum wage. Not that he’d accept it for less than $12 an hour with benefits, which our wealthy friends (who do you think capitalizes on this cheap labor most?) sitting back counting their blessings aka cash will scoff at. Careful what you wish for, you never know when you’re going to get it and  what might be lying underneath that great little gift you think you’re getting.

While I’m on a political rant, let me get this thought out. I’ve read much groaning about the separation of church and state lately. Heard a good amount about it on the radio during nasty politcal ads, too. People, when will you wake up and see that its not protecting the other religions while taking away from your own? It comes down to a moment of, “Are you that dull?” Do you not see that it protects your own religion and beliefs with as much gusto and verve as any other? All Christians should know that all churches are not the same animal and that men are corrupt. You allow the church to take over sections of government, you end up with something you don’t want. I remember as a kid, the warning that soon they’d take our bibles away and we’d have to hide our religion. Oh friends, as a child that did scare me, I didn’t understand what people were talking about. Now, I get it. I’m sure it was some conspiracy theory about Communism, which was a real fear at the time, I suppose. All of the people I have heard groan about the president turning the US into a muslim state is just… ridiculous. These same people would hand the government control of their religious freedom given half the chance not understanding that they would be at fault. It is astonishing to me. Logical thought tells me that the separation is a good thing for everyone, not just the ‘other’ religions. You know, the wrong ones? Yeah, whatever.

I’ll be wearing my Apathy tshirt today. Apathy Coalition. Join us, or don’t. Whatever.

So last year sometime I thought I’d be fun to sign up to be a Bzz Agent. It’s been interesting and I’ve been introduced to some cool new products and a dud or two. Right now, I’m going to participate in the Elmer’s Craftbond and X-ACTO campaign. I’ll post my opinions later but here’s a nice little graphic for their product line.

Cute. Orange and Pink, I likey.

Excited to start a new project, I’ll be sure to take pictures and post them when I’m done.

for the color of his skin, own it.
If you hate a man for his ambition and drive, own it.
If you hate a man for his disability, own it.
If you hate a man for the form (or lack there of) of religion, own it.
If you hate a man for the path he walks, own it.
If you hate a man for the love he chooses, own it.
If you own it, prepare for the backlash. It isn’t funny, cute, or right.
The food he eats, the water he drinks, the blood that flows through him, all are the same when compared to your own.

If you can learn to drive this hate from your person, don’t abide it. Let it go and enjoy the day, own it.
We all love, we all have the ability to understand and nurture education, we all have the ability to be humble, and we all need.
Blind fear pushes rationality out.

If after all of this you can’t own it, change it.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————

I am so appalled by what I read lately. It seems that everyone that is around me has so much hate in their souls. I am forced to wonder how they can function every day with such a sad mindset. I’m sick to death of the hoopla around the Islam Cultural Center to be built in NYC. I’m sick to death of the people who believe the POTUS is a.) Not American and b.) Muslim. I’m certainly done with all of the political ridiculousness that Faux News is spewing to people who seem too gullible to read a book or research anything for themselves. Sad state of affairs, if you ask me.

I know what it’s like to dislike the current administration. I also remember the big “Don’t disrespect the president!” when anyone expressed their dissent. What the Hypocrite? I’m so glad that I was born so free thinking and able to discern right from wrong. The tired, “We’re not racists, it’s true!” argument is a FAIL. You can’t stand behind an argument that is blatantly racist and say, “But I’m not racist. I just don’t think he’s a real American. He’s a Muslim, he’s going to make that our national religion!Eleventy11!” Sorry but yeah, racist and assumptive.

On the subject of religion: How could any God fearing individual want to bring in religious sanctions and restrictions on any religion in a country where religious freedom is so celebrated? Do you not realize that one day your own religion might be the one that is sanctioned? I’ve been in enough churches in my life to know that the Baptists and the AOG don’t agree on plenty, don’t think your brother in Christ won’t turn on your ass in a heart beat when it comes time to fight out who is ‘right’. Then you lose and you have no one but yourselves to blame. Ohh, or maybe those amoral Catholics will come around and boot both of ya out of the equation, not so funny now…

I find it amusing that no one takes a moment to look at history. The blood bath of religion as a whole, not just Islam (which we all assume is just a bloody, violent religion), is wide. Christianity doesn’t have a very clean slate. The slaughter of innocents isn’t reserved for those evil Muslims. Since we’ve evolved (seemingly; lately it’s questionable) to a more gentle people in the past few decades, it’s apparent we need a refresher course. The crusades, all of them, were nothing short of a holy war on people who were at home, in their home land, minding their own. Sound familiar? It should friends. The condemnation of Pagans, real and made up, a bloody way to get rid of those deemed ‘different’ or ‘weird’ by someone thumping a bible. OK? Not in the slightest. The justification of slavery and the subsequent racism and lack of respect for men/women of color, all justified in the name of religion. Lately the hate is pointed to the homosexuals among us, all justified hate on the basis of religion. People, get a freakin’ grip. Like I said above, if you hate someone because they’re not like you, OWN IT. Don’t lay your religion down as a way to justify your nasty ideas. Jesus was a cool ass dude, and I doubt he’d enjoy how you use his name to hate. After all, he hung out with the lowest common denominator, or so we’re taught in Sunday School. Lepers and whores, oh my! </end church lady> It’s all infuriating and sickening to someone who has the ability to see the value of life, not just before birth but throughout the years. If you need someone to hate there are plenty of nasty, evil men walking among you who are nothing but white bred good ol’ boys. Givin’ your babies their first taste of meth, ripping the innocence away from some child, murdering someone’s baby (1-100, that human is SOMEONE’s baby), etc…

Ugh, I gotta go get all this negativity off me, it burns.

And I think to myself, “What a wonderful world!”

I’m constantly worried about something. It has been this way as long as I can remember. I worried about things that most kids don’t even think about. A few years ago, I finally admitted these issues to a health care professional. The meds helped greatly. Fast Forward a couple of years, a surgery, a new baby, etc… Now, I can’t take what I was taking before that helped the most. The ones that seem to help minimally have side effects that I can’t abide. The one I’m taking now is just, well frankly, like taking nothing at all. I am not comfortable, it’s funny how much you change after not having this incredible anxiety for a while. You get used to feeling ‘normal’ and it’s almost painful to go back to having panic.

I don’t know if it would be this bad if it wasn’t for the situation in the Gulf of Mexico. BP and its monstrous mess has knots in my stomach and a head full of what ifs. I’m mad, frustrated, and just plain tired of the unbelievable hold that oil has on this country, dare I say the world. Boycotting is easy for me, there are no BP or affiliated stations in my area but if there were, you can bet I’d not buy it. Hurting the franchise? Perhaps a little but reports are coming in every day of these store owners switching brands. It can be done, it might not be comfortable but it is possible. Not until someone gives these monster companies a reason to be responsible, they won’t. Eventually the smallest trickle becomes a raging river if enough rain drops fall into place. Perhaps me not buying BP gas won’t hurt their profits, but a country full of gas stations taking their contracts away, that will make a difference somewhere. It has to be done. Someone has to make these companies accountable for their actions! Hearing a government official say that our president was too hard on them, essentially bullying  BP? Let’s just say I was seething. How dare they? Do they have no moral compass? What about the lives lost when this travesty happened that day in April? Who is going to stand up and say, “ENOUGH!” when it comes to safety standards? Please, this is not about your personal profits Mr. Senator. I would be willing to bet that the good sir is staunchly ProLife. Funny how that seems to only concern them until the child is actually born. Then it’s a free for all. Now the lives of countless children are threatened. Their parents are struggling to feed them, to care for them, now that their livelihood has been taken away. A delicate, already hurting eco system is going to be reeling for years. It’s a terrible tragedy and more people should take it more seriously.

We need reliable, economical, eco-responsible alternatives right now. Not ten years from now. I can’t stress it enough. Call me a tree hugger all you’d like, but I have children who will have children. I want their futures to be bright and not blighted by the greed of an industrial generation. We have made changes to our habits.  We use reusable shopping bags, we’ve switched out all of our light bulbs to lower wattage bulbs, just little things but I hope that it will make a difference. I can’t be sure of what the future holds, if the environment has suffered irreversible damage that will change our lives forever, but I hope things will turn out ok for the sake of our kids and my sanity.

TO make things worse, today is the final episode of Deadliest Catch. My beloved Phil will be making his last appearance tonight. I don’t know if I want to watch it or not, I sit here while it’s running but I’m not paying 100% attention to it. James is watching. I’m going to cry, why do we get so attached to ‘public figures’ on TV? He’s just a normal man who lived and died doing what he loved but for some reason I’m unreasonably attached to him. Here’s to you Phil, may you rest peacefully from now until eternity, adios mi amigo. To the brothers, his sons, I wish you peace.