Writing Meme

In keeping with the writing theme I have pilfered the following meme from E-Dawg. Okay, he kind of suggested that I should do the meme, but saying I plifered it makes me sound like some kind of meme bandit. Woo hoo! I'm such a rebel.

1. Do you outline?

I don't know if you could call it an outline, but I usually sketch out the idea I want to work on. I do this because a lot of times I am working on multiple projects and I don't want to lose any of the ideas I get.

2. Do you write straight through a book, or do you sometimes tackle the scenes out of order?

I do both. I have written stories where I start at the beginning and go to the end. For others I skip around, writing scenes as they come to me and tying them together as I go along.

3. Do you prefer writing with a pen or using a computer?

When I first start working on a new project I'm a pen and paper girl. I own almost a hundred different journals...and that's just the blank ones. Once I get the bare bones down, I switch to the computer. I just like the feel of pen on paper.

4. Do you prefer writing in first person or third?

I prefer writing in the third person although I will challenge myself sometimes and write a story in first person. First person is MUCH harder. It's hard to stay in that voice.

5. Do you listen to music while you write?

I actually have set playlists for the type of writing (drama, sci-fi, stage) that I'm doing. There are three specific types of playlists so that they match my mood. How anal does that make me sound?

6. How do you come up with the perfect names for your characters?

When I'm writing, the characters usually name themselves. For those times when I really need to find that perfect name I own several baby name books and other name reference books and I have links to some name generators.

7. When you're writing, do you ever imagine your book as a television show or movie?

There are some stories that I start writing as a short or with the idea of doing a novel and I'll stop about half way through and set it aside because I realize that it would be better as a movie or a mini-series.

8.Have you ever had a character insist on doing something you really didn't want him/her to do?

All the time. Characters will start out as just characters and by the time I'm done they are living and breathing. It makes me sad sometimes to come to the end of a project because it means I have to put those characters aside. But there are always new characters around the corner.

9. Do you know how a book is going to end when you start it?

I like to think I do, but things don't always go as planned. Writing is kind of like life that way....you don't always know what to expect.

10. Where do you write?

Where ever I am when the mood strikes. Right now I don't have a "writing schedule", although I'm going to have to set one soon.

11. What do you do when you get writer's block?

I read or I write fan fiction. I know writing fan fiction sounds like an odd thing to do when you have writer's block, but it doesn't require as much as creating something brand new. You get to start with a set of cannon characters, a background and a place to go from there, all you have to do is run with it. Reading or re-reading a really good book does the same thing, it frees up my mind so I'm not concentrating so hard on what I think the problem is.

12. What size increments do you write in (either in terms of word count, or as a percentage of the book as a whole)?

I write until I'm done. Sometimes thats four or five pages, once it was one hundred pages. When I've tapped myself out, I can feel it and I stop.

13. How many different drafts did you write for your last project?

At least four....with some of my poetry there have been as many as fifteen rewrites.

14. Have you ever changed a character's name midway through a draft?

In my rough draft if I'm having trouble with a secondary or background character I'll just drop a name in, like Bob or something equally generic, when I do rewrites I change the name to fit the character.

15. Do you let anyone read your book while you're working on it, or do you wait until you've completed a draft before letting someone else see it?

If the person is reading for me to help me catch possible problems, then yes. Otherwise I don't let anyone read what I'm working on until I'm finished.

16. What do you do to celebrate when you finish a draft?

Like Ian said, I usually feel a little sad when I finish something. A lot of writers actually say they feel that. You spend so much time working on these characters, getting invested in them and their lives...they become like family. Then one day...you're finished and you have to let the project go to someone you know is going to "edit" it. It's kind of a sad moment.

17. One project at a time, or multiple projects at once?

I'm actually laughing as I type this. I wish I could do one project at a time. I pray daily for the ability to keep my mind squarely focused on one writing project. I usually have three at any one time.

18. Do your books grow or shrink in revision?

That all depends on what the point of the revision is. I can't edit my own writing, something I'm working on. When I look at things every word is important, every syllable a must keep, so if it's cutting that needs doing, I'm not the one doing it. Additions I can handle. I get someone to read for me and point out where they felt the story lagged or needed more, then I go in and revise the story accordingly.

19. Do you have any writing or critique partners?

I live in a small town where I don't have many friends, so at the moment I have two people I can turn to for help critiquing. One lives in Salt Lake and the other I know from on-line. I'd like to have a group I can go to, but there's no one in my community that is interested in it...well no one that I've met anyway.

20. Do you prefer drafting or revising?

Let me put it to you this way. I would rather spend an entire weekend locked in a room with a televison stuck on C-Span than have to revise something.

Writing is MUCH more fun. The editing and revision process is a special kind of hell.

There you have it friends. I'm not tagging anyone with this, but for any of my fellow writers out there, I encourage you to pilfer this from me. Come one, you know you want to......

Well, I'm in for it now.

I did it. I signed myself up for Script Frenzy. I have never written a script before in my life. I'm not sure what kind of insanity came over me, but this next month should be interesting. I have a couple of ideas already, one based on a short story I wrote when I was younger and one based on a story idea I had a couple of years ago.

I'm actually really excited about this. The script I end up with might turn out to be complete junk, but it will be an interesting creative endeavor.

I also have two writing projects in the works. Anyone that answered my call for bodies can expect to get a follow up email later this weekend to give you more information and ask you to answer a few questions.

I'm all a twitter with excitement over the many projects I have in front of me. We shall see how long that excitement lasts.

Wendy's Weirds Me Out...Again

Has anyone seen the latest Wendy's commercial? It just weirds me out.

If you haven't seen the ad I'm talking about you really should go check it out.


It's the one with the guy in the red Pippi Longstocking wig. What the hell does a bunch of people standing around kicking trees have to do with Wendy's? And why is that man wearing a Pippi Longstocking wig?

Maybe it's a spoof on the whole, "I'm thinking Arby's thing." I don't know. What I do know is that it creeps me out even more than the idea of them using "Blister in the Sun" to try and hock fast food.

I think the ad department at Wendy's is being run by stoners.


I need a body count.....

As many of you know, I fancy myself a writer. I have a great idea for a new story and I need bodies for the body count. If I've intrigued you and you're a fellow blogger, let me know. I'll email you with details.


Tag! Dammit...

I have been tagged with this meme by Brillig. This means that not only do I have to answer the question, I have to think of people to tag in return. This reminds me an awful lot of those Slam Books we used to get in trouble for when we were in Junior High.

Okay, so on with the meme:

Where did you get your kids' names from?

Let's see, are we talking nick names or real names? Let's do both shall we?

May daughter's name is Alexandria Nichelle. I picked Alexandria because I wanted her to have a strong name she could grow into, but something she could shorten and have fun with when she was younger. Nichelle I chose because I think it's beautiful. I'm a Star Trek fan and the actress that plays Lt. Uhura is Nichell Nichols. The name always sounded great to me and the actress is accomplished, well-spoken and was one of the first strong female role models in entertainment.

My daughter actually has two nick names: Bubba for when we're feeling playful or silly and Baby Angel. I started calling her Baby Angel the day she was born. I looked into her eyes and she looked like a tiny little angel staring back at me. When she turned twelve she said to me,"I'm not a baby anymore you know." I smiled and told her that no matter what age she was she would always be my baby.

My son is three. His name is Jareth Malachai. My husband and I picked Jareth because of our fondness for the movie Labryinth. And no, I'm not joking. It's a unique name and it's one he can grow into. Russ and I both love the movie and have fond memories of watching it when we were younger. We chose his middle name basically because it sounded good with Jareth...I wish there was more to it, but there's not.

Jareth's nick name is Buddah. I honestly have no idea where it came from. We've been calling him that since he was about six months old. I don't know which one of us started it, or why, but it's what we call him. Sometimes I call him Booger, usually when he's being a pain in the ass. He will usually laugh and say,"I'm a Booger." This makes me laugh...it's a good time.

Now, who do I tag? I'm going to tag:

Ian (mostly because I want to listen to him rant about being tagged with yet ANOTHER meme..Love ya Ian!)

Have fun ya'll!
The other day I was over at Never what you think it should be.... and the utterly fabulous WhiskeyMarie was lamenting her misbehaving hair. Now folks, I have to tell you this woman has got to have the single most impressive collection of hair care products I have EVER seen in my life. I bow to her hair care devotion. She is my new hair care GODDESS! (For those of you who don't know me well, I'm a "wash and go" girl. This means I spend five minutes TOPS on my hair. I wash, spray with leave in conditioner, comb, clip up or shake out depending on the day and we're off.) For someone to have the sheer amount of dedication it takes to know how to use those products, let alone shop for them...I am in awe!!!

That alone would deserve a post, but it's not why we're here. No. We're here because while I was admiring her seriously industrious hair care collection I started thinking about my own obsession with something. I, dear readers, am obsessed with skin care.

If I owned a digital camera this would be the point in my confession where I posted pictures similar to those found on WhiskeyMarie's blog. I don't own a digital camera though as I am frighteningly behind the times, so you will just have to imagine the sheer size of my skin care collection.

I counted and I have twenty seven different kinds of lotion, fifteen different facial products, and about fifty different kinds of skin cleansers, buffers and deep conditioners. I could start my own spa. I have special socks for deep conditioning my feet. Special callous removers for both my hands and my feet. I have specific face creams for day and night. I know how to make my own facials from all natural products like oatmeal and strawberries. I know how to use mayonnaise and stale beer to make my hair soft and shiny. I know that olive oil, avocado and honey is a GREAT moisturizer.

I lay in the sun like I'm still a teenager and this pisses my friends off because I still look like I'm 25. I moisturize, soak, scrub, sooth....I'm obsessed with my skin. But dammit, I'm going to look GOOD when I'm 70!!!!!


What a difference a generation makes

I have a dear friend that is in her seventies. She is like a mother to me. My closest confidant and my shoulder to cry on when times are hard. I love her. I have always known that she and I do not see eye to eye on many subjects and, in fact, it is one of the things that makes our friendship fun and vital.

The other day as we were talking about rising gas prices, global warming and rapidly rising populations it was driven home for me just how different we were in our thinking. Comments she made started me thinking about the generational differences that still exist and how they often contribute to problems like social policy change, eradication of race issues and progress in political stability and the tendency towards religious fervor that can show up in times of crisis.

My friend and I were talking and I made the comment about the human race not being able to self moderate when it came to population. That animals will stop breeding if the herd becomes to large for the environment in which it lives to sustain it, but humans will not follow this same pattern. She responded by saying, "But if we don't keep having babies the colored people will start to outnumber us and then where will we be?" I sat and looked at her for a moment, not sure how to respond. She hadn't said it with any malice in her voice, it was very matter of fact and yet it had struck me as a very racist thing to say. I know this woman and she isn't mean spirited and would never think to judge a person based on color if they needed help or assistance of any kind. And yet, here was something so ugly coming from her. How did I reconcile this? It took me back, it shocked me. I did the only thing I could think of, I changed the subject.

Others of my generation would most likely condemn this person out of hand. Angry denouncement of "Racist" and "Bigot" would be hurled. I have to admit, one of the first thoughts through my mind was, "I didn't know she was so racist." And then I stopped and thought about it. I gave thought to where the comment might have come from and if she even understood, really understood how it would have been perceived by someone else. Would she have heard the racism in the comment, or would it have been just a normal thing to say for her?

My friend lived through the Great Depression, World War II and the social upheaval of the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam Era. She also witnessed the turmoil surrounding the Women's Rights movement and the entrance onto the social forefront of the Gay and Lesbian Rights activists. Environmental activists, human rights activists, criminal rights activists all of these groups came into being during her lifetime. The concept of "childhood" as we know it was developed and placed into society during her lifetime. When you stop going to school, when you start working to support a family, when you get married....all of these ideas have changed. Who you associate with, what's appropriate behavior in society, what's appropriate to talk about and even how you say it...all of these ideas have changed as well.

My generation takes these things for granted. We expect that everyone will accept and understand these ideas. That they are part of the societal norm is a given for us. We have forgotten that there is an entire generation that did not grow up with these ideals. They had them thrust upon them. Are still having them thrust upon them.

Imagine being seventy-five years old and having a twenty-five year old woman, covered in tattoos with purple hair, her breast barely covered walk up to you and start speaking to you about the right to have an abortion. She is mixing profanity in with her speech and waving a crudely painted sign in your face. How would you react? Or imagine turning on your television and being bombarded with images of a world that looks nothing like the one you were familiar with...hearing ideas that do not match the morals you were taught all your life. How easy would it be for you to change an entire moral code?

How do we combat that? Fighting against groups like KKK is hard enough. They perpetuate hatred based on ethnicity out of sheer fear and ignorance, born of a time when it was a right and nurtured for centuries. This kind of racism is much quieter and hides in people that really mean no harm. My friend's children grew up hearing such quiet statements and probably make them themselves, carrying the cycle forward. These are not monstrous people. These are men and women who give to charity, help their neighbors in times of crisis, bake cookies for the school bake sale and make friends with people of all colors and ethnic groups...all the while, lurking just under the surface....How do you diffuse that? What is the way to break a cycle that you can't see?

Vote For...ME!!!!

I would like to officially announce my intention to run for President! Running with me will be Suzanne. Shortly after we are elected we will be appointing Gunfighter as our Secretary of Defense, super des,Brillig,and unquietheart will be taking seats on the Supreme Court so that some REAL decisions can be made. Ian will be taking on duties as the new White House Chief of Staff. My good friend Steph will be taking on duties as Press Secretary.

This will only be the beginning. If I didn't include you in this list and you feel there is a position you would like to have, please let me know. Once we have fixed the United States, we will be taking over the World. We will be running on the "Common Sense" platform and using the "Preschool Mother" form of unilateral control. This means: If you wouldn't let your pre-schooler do it, it's not okay for you to do it. "Getting your hand slapped" will take on a whole new meaning.

"By the People, For the People" will mean something again. During my tenor, you will have a flawed, human government, but we will always tell you the truth, we will always do what is actually in the best interests of the country, and we will always look before we leap.

Vote for ME!


Okay...so the comment about tattos may have been ill-advised.(She says in response to the many, many comments she has gotten from her wonderful readers who have tattos) What I meant was this:

Kids need parents who know who they are BEFORE they have kids. If you get the tattos because you love them, either before OR after having kids..that's cool. I'm referring to the "cool" mom or the "hip" dad that runs out and gets a tribal arm band and an eye brow piercing because it's "in". Or the thirty-five year old guy that has his ears gauged out and his wife that runs around dressed like she's fifteen with a thong riding somewhere above her jeans and a "cute" tatoo strategically placed where you can see it while she's carrying her adorable child in her expensive baby sling.

I'm all for body art, piercings and other forms of expression...as long as they're all about you and not about riding the tide of "cool".

I will now slink back into my corner and hide while I think about what I've done.

*grins because she realizes no one will take that last comment seriously*



Got into a little argument with the husband person this evening. Lately I feel we don't have much in common. I want to talk about the state of the world, he wants to play video games. I want to discuss a book I just read, he wants to play video games. I want to show him something new I just wrote, he wants to play...well, you get the picture.

I used to think I could be happy in my little corner of the world. I'm not so sure of that anymore. That crazy, idealistic person I was when I was young has been poking her head out and making a whole lot of noise lately. How do I make room in that world for a person that nods and says, "Huh?" while looking at me out of the corner of his eye?

Can you build a lasting future on good sex and similar taste in movies? We can't even agree on why you should keep a book. I collect books because I will read them over and over. He collects them because he "wants to have them". It's odd, I never realized we had grown so far apart. It's weird, isn't it? How you can wake up one morning and look at someone and see distance where there used to be closeness?

It troubles me.
My kitchen is meowing at me.

Imagine this:

It's two in the morning. I'm half asleep and I'm thirsty. I walk into the kitchen to get something to drink and.....the kitchen meows at me.

I don't own a cat. You can imagine I'm a little surprised to hear my kitchen meowing. I immediately start to look for the source of the meowing. It is coming from the air vent in the floor. Great! Now it's two in the morning, I'm half asleep, I'm thirsty and there is a kitten stuck in my air vent. And it's scared and meowing. Now I have guilt and thirst. I'm never going to get any sleep.

I go and put pants on (no, I don't sleep in pants) and get some shoes on and I go outside. It's cold and it's raining and I can hear this kitten still meowing. I crouch down and shine a light under the trailer and call to it. I see nothing. I can hear it, but I can't see it. Terrific! It's crawled up between the floor and the insulation. This means that I have a kitten stuck between the floor on my trailer and the duct work. I can't get to it and it can't get out.

I called my landlord. He won't do anything about it. I called Animal Control. They won't do anything about it. My husband is going to crawl under the trailer after work tonight and try to get to the poor thing. If not, the guilt is going to KILL me because that poor little thing is just going to sit there and meow....


Leave your Selfishness at the www.

"Attention: All Hip Parenting Bloggers. You are being served with notice. Your parenting rights are about to be suspended. You are all in desperate need of a parenting class, or at least a healthy dose of reality and common sense. I am officially nauseated by your bitching, whining and complaining. Children are not social accessories. It is not their job to make your life easier, prettier or more exciting. I am hereby boycotting all "hip parenting bloggers". (While this boycott may be wholly ineffectual, it's principle based...a virtual sticking out of the tongue, if you will)

Children need parents, not buddies. They do not need you to have tattoos, piercings or be "cool". They need you to set boundaries, make rules and understand that it is, in fact, your job to clean up after them when they make messes. They need you to be the grown-up. They need you to not care if it makes you uncomfortable to confront the parent of the bully down the street because she's a friend of yours, they just need to know that you care more about them than you do about your social standing.

I am officially tired of the rhetoric being served up as "journalism". I am tired of being told that I am somehow failing as a parent because I am not trendy. There will be no bandwagon jumping here. My children will not be given cell phones to "keep in touch" with me. I will not buy them clothing that costs more than I spend on electricity in a month. I will not wrap them in so much protective gear that they bounce when they hit the ground. I will not enroll them in every after school activity known to man in the hopes that thirteen years from now some pinched faced matron will be kind enough to allow me to spend fifty thousand dollars on a college degree they can get at the local University.

I don't know where this new trend sprang from, but I really wish someone would stuff a sock in it. This "new voice" of parenting is, quite frankly, embarrassing. You make us look like a whining dissatisfied bunch of immature babies. You don't speak for me....so quit trying."


Guilty Pleasures

Bravo TV reality shows: I watch them all. Top Chef, Project Runway, Top Design, Shear Genius. I'm addicted. *hangs head* And after I managed to avoid American Idol AND Survivor.

America's Next Top Model: You thought the Bravo TV thing was bad....I admit it, I watch every cycle. I can't help myself. It's like a really skinny train wreck.

Judge Judy: Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse. I love to watch her tear into people. I just love it. She's this tiny little woman with a nasty temper and she gets to say things I would LOVE to say but never get the chance to. Redneck entertainment at it's best.

Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls: Tiny bits of chocolate heaven that go straight to my thighs. I don't care what anyone says, Hostess ain't got nothing on Little Debbie!

Diet Pepsi: I drink enough of this stuff to float the Titanic! I have a 32 oz. mug that is never empty. I carry it around the house with me. The first thing I do in the morning? Crack open a Diet Pepsi. I'm as bad as a smoker.

Romance novels: I read Amanda Quick. Not only do I read her, I read her over and over again. I also read those cheesy vampire romance novels that spring up everywhere. I keep them tucked away behind the "respectable" books. Even worse? I have several short stories that are the beginnings of promising romance novels...I'm a romance writer in the making.

Journals: I own over fifty of them. I keep buying them. I'm enamored of their soft, blank pages and their wonderful, promising covers.

I have a few others....but I'd rather hear about yours.

Well? What about you? What are your guilty pleasures?


Are college educations like electronic equipment? Can the quality of the education you get be directly correlated to the amount you paid for the education? I've been wondering about that a lot lately.

I'm paying roughly $4,000 a year for my education. When I apply for my Master's program, I will be applying to a school where I will have reciprocity and so will receive resident tuition. I will be paying about $5,000 a year. This seems to be considerably lower than many of the universities I read about other people attending.

I'm choosing to attend Utah State to complete my BA and then plan to apply to Morehead State for my MFA program. I wonder, what do you think the difference is? Why the discrepency in cost and is there really a difference in the education received? Will I learn less? I don't believe I will.

What do you think?

The Awesomeness that is My Readers!!!

Once upon a time I stumbled upon a little tool that told me how much my blog was worth. It came back with a sad, but not unexpected, $0.00. I posted this piece of information, finding it humorous.

Today, I was reading over at des's place and she had the same nifty little thing posted. I thought to my self, "Hmm...I wonder if I'm still worth $0.00?" So I popped over to check.

Guess what? I'm worth more now. Check it out:

My blog is worth $5,645.40.
How much is your blog worth?

I blame all of you that come here and read in support of my sick need to feel that someone in the world is listening to me! Thanks for that!!!!! YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!


The View Outside My Window

When I woke up this morning, it was a good day. I was happy. I felt good. I have just returned to college and feel a sense of pride about making that happen. I played with my son. I read a good book. I spoke with friends. I laughed.

It's 10:30 at night and I'm painfully aware of the regrets and unhappiness I carry inside of me. I feel a bitter sense of disappointment about the things I haven't been able to accomplish. I look around me and I see people doing and being the things I thought I would be doing and being when I was this age. It makes me sad. It makes me lonely. It makes me a little angry.

The irony here? Tomorrow morning I will wake up and I will feel fine. I will know that what happens happens for a reason and that my life is good the way it is.

I hate Bipolar Disorder.


Just Poke My Eyes Out

We have a "War Czar" now.

What the FUCK????? Does Bush think his name is Alexi? Is Rasputin whispering in his ear? Did Laura spike his Wheaties this morning?

Does the "War Czar" together with the "Drug Czar" and have lunch? Can't you just imagine that conversation?

Drug Czar: "Soooo, what'd ya do this week?"

War Czar: "Oh, not a hell of a lot of anything. Had a couple of press conferences. Have to shine the public on about how we're giving it our best effort..blah blah blah. You know the drill."

Drug Czar: "I know, they've had me spouting that same crap for YEARS now. They won't actually let me DO anything."

War Czar: "Oh hell no. But it's a good gig, if you can get it."

And the most frightening thing? Go find a picuter of this guy. Remind anyone else of Oliver North? Can you say Iran/Contra? I knew that you could.

I hate math, have I ever mentioned that?

I just downloaded the lecture notes for my statistics class. It was an 83 page document filled with graphs and charts and talk of x and y and z. My brain hurts already and I haven't even gone to class yet.

I hate math. I have always hated math. I'm going to hate this class. It doesn't help that the teacher apparently thinks he has a sense of humor and has therefore chosen a text called "Statistics for People Who THINK They Hate Statistics". Yeah...I don't THINK. I KNOW.

I need a Diet Pepsi.

Today we are wearing....

My son dressed himself this morning.

This is what he's wearing:

A Thomas the Train pajama shirt. It's bright blue.
A pair of dark blue bermuda short length swim trunks, they have red, yellow and green fish all over them.

And the crowning glory? Blue snow boots and his fathers Bronco's baseball cap!

I SERIOUSLY need to get a digital camera.


The right to be upset or expecting special treatment?

It's Monday so let's start the week out with a little healthy debate. As I trolled the web this morning I came across this little tid bit:

Becoming a mother a dilemma and victory

The article details the decision of a young woman who was a awarded a track scholarship at the University of Memphis and became pregnant to keep her baby. The decision meant she lost her scholarship.

There are a lot of people up in arms about this one. They are calling it many things: illegal, immoral and just plain wrong. I'm going to hop over to the other side of the fence though. Let's look at it from the another standpoint.

This isn't a fourteen year old girl we're talking about. This young woman is a sophomore in college. That makes her 21 at least, so I'm guessing both she and her boyfriend are conversant in the current methods of birth control and the fact that using only one method can sometimes be risky...you can double up, say a condom and the pill. There's also the fact that when she was awarded the scholarship not only was she aware that the standard good grade guideline applied, she was told and had to sign an acknowledgement that if she fought, got into verbal conflicts with the coaches or became pregnant she would lose her scholarship. It's something all the students awarded the scholarship sign. So it's not like it was a surprise.

Isn't this part of the freedom of choice? She's an adult. She got pregnant, reviewed her options and choices and made the one she thought she could live with. In a perfect world the school would say, "Well, we know we gave you an athletic scholarship and now that you're pregnant you can't perform athletically, but we'll let you keep the scholarship anyway." This isn't a perfect world. Why should the University make exceptions for pregnant women? It's not like there aren't ways to prevent becoming pregnant, chief among them, not having sex.

Now...I know someone reading this is going to jump all over me for that last statement. "But Serena, this is the 21st Century. This is an era of sexual freedom. Women should be allowed to express themselves and their sexuality and not be penalized for it." Blah blah blah.....great. You go ahead and express yourself. The reality is this: You have sex, you run the risk of getting pregnant. Period. It's that simple. Even birth control isn't one hundred percent. It says so on the back of the package for cripes sake.

Freedom of choice doesn't start after you get pregnant. It starts the moment you decide to have sex. Freedom of choice means that you are choosing to accept the responsibity for everything that comes after. It isn't the University's fault that she got pregnant. Think of it this way: If she were a man and on an athletic scholarship and that man violated the terms of the scholarship, would anyone blink when they revoked it? Nope...but this is a PREGNANT woman we're talking about and that evokes all kinds of mushy "AHHHHH" feelings in most people....

Isn't is actually kind of sexist to say that BECAUSE she's pregnant she deserves special treatment? Would she deserve less if her grades had slipped or she had slapped a coach?

Weigh in on this one folks. What do you think?


Beating the Dead Horse

And once again the breastfeeding frenzy is upon us. It seems that actress Maggie Gyllenhaal was recently photographed breastfeeding her child in public uncovered and it has sparked the contorversy anew.

I briefly entertained the idea of leaving the following comment on the Stollerderby comment board:

"Get over it. Yes, we all know they're only boobs. But you also need to know that not everyone wants to SEE your boobs. By your wonderful, if skewed, logic no one should be upset if a man wants to whip it out in public to pee. I mean, urination is a perfectly natural biological function and come on, it's ONLY a penis, right?"

But then I thought better of it as I'm sick and damned tired of the new and the "hip". I'm tired of all the self serving bullshit. I'm thrilled for Maggie. Great, she whipped out her boobs in public and didn't mind that some dumb ass of a photographer (who I think is a complete asshat) took a picture of her. Wonderful! Good for her! I really doubt she did it to become the new poster girl for breast feeding solidarity. She was probably thinking, "I better feed my kid."

The lack of thought given to other people here is astonishing. I would be willing to bet that if someone were to do something that made these same women uncomfortable, they would want them to stop. The basic, underlying principle here is this: When you live in a society with other people you have to be aware that you can't just do whatever you want, just because you want to. Yes, you should be able to feed your child, but that doesn't mean that other people should be asked to be uncomfortable while you do it. If that means that occasionally you are asked to cover your breast while you breastfeed...GET OVER IT!!!!! Jesus!

Oh...and before somone decides to trot out the "Men can take off their shirts in public" thing? Yeah, until men's chests are considered sexual objects? Not even close to a valid argument. You may WISH that women's breast weren't viewed as sexual objects, but they are. You know it. I know it. The guy sitting next to you on the bus knows it. Deal with it. Men look at a womans breasts and it calls up all the mystery and the "Hmmmm I wonder..." He can't help it. You can't stop it. This is not the Star Trek Universe and you are not Lt. Uhura...we are not boldly going. Got it?

You want to make social change? Great! Let's change something important. How about applying a little of that righteous indignation to oh, I don't know, fixing the health care system? Helping the seriously impoverished? Working to help young women who suffer from low self-esteem and end up using sex as a substitute for love? How about jumping on one of those causes?

Quit beating this particular dead horse, it's starting to smell bad.


The Wrong Focus

There's a story out today about a couple that was senteced to life in prison in the death of their six week old son. He died of malnutrition. The headline reads: "Vegan couple sentenced to life over baby's death
Malnourished baby was fed soy milk and apple juice, weighed 3 1/2 pounds"

The article takes the wrong focus. The death of this child had nothing to do with this couple being vegan and putting that fact first and foremost in the headline is the same as standing in the street screaming "VEGANS ARE NEGLECTFUL PARENTS!!!!"

I'm not a vegan. My son drank soy formula until he was almost two. He's fine. He's big and happy and healthy. He's above average for his age group in all his developmental markers. Now, if this couple were giving their child a food product that was intended for consumption by older children or adults against the advice of a doctor...that's just plain STUPID...and again, has nothing to do with them being vegan.

If this were a problem with them choosing to be vegan, we'd have kids dropping dead left and right and we don't. There are plenty of parents out there that choose alternative life styles and know that they have to make different choices for their children based on nutrional need.

Sadly, these two boneheads were just that...boneheads. It's sad. They have to live with what happened for the rest of their lives. It disgusts me that they sat and watched their child waste away and decided that their "principles" were worth more than his life....but let's not condem everyone that chooses that lifestyle because of it.


Today we talk about "hip" parents

You know what? I am a tragically un-hip parent. If you look at my book shelves you will not see one parenting book. Until I started reading the so called "parenting blogs" I wasn't even aware that there were things like "Attachment Parenting" or "Helicopter Parents" or even "Hip Parents". When did this start? When did parenting become a thing we need recognition for? Did I miss the memo on this?

I grew up with siblings who were younger by eight and ten years respectively. This meant that I was the default babysitter, diaper changer and entertainer for a number of years. I learned to make bottles, change cloth diapers, how to care for an umbilical stump, how to burp...all those things, before I was twelve. When I had my daughter I just took her home. The nurse asked me if I had any questions and I think I probably looked at her like she was nuts.

I never worried about the "breast or bottle" thing. I can't breastfeed. So that made that decision for me. Both of my children were lactose intolerant, so we did soy formula. Guess what? Neither one of them is damaged. They both grew up happy, healthy and smart...no mental delays here.

I never "sleep trained" my children. What is that anyway? You stand at the door to your child's room and listen to him or her scream with the idea that it "teaches" them something? Okay....you do that. My kids learned this lesson: Mommy is there if I need her. If my children need to snuggle, we snuggle. If my children need to sleep with me, fine. It's hurting who? Once they're asleep, I pick them up and move them back to their own bed.

And don't even get me started on the whole whiner ass attitude of parents that need books and support groups so they can talk about how "monotonous" it is to be a parent. Newsflash: It is not your child's job to be entertaining or to make you feel fulfilled. It is your job to make your child feel safe and loved and ensure that they never feel like you see them as a burden...you big dumb IDIOT!! Apparently there are people out there that have children and are then surprised to learn that it is, for the most part daily repetition of the same activities because, well, they're KIDS!!

Here's an idea, if you aren't prepared to give up most everything in your life (not that you actually have to, but you should be prepared to) then don't have children. Being a parent is about being able to place the well being of your child first...all the time...everytime. Once you have kids, it's not about you anymore.

I don't know when it happened, but I think sometime in the last decade I morphed into my grandmother. I find myself shaking my head and muttering about the lack of good common sense when it comes to parenting today.

Yes, I am a tragically un-hip parent. Thank God.


(I dug these out of an old journal)


good morning

sounds like rain



in the dust

incomprehensible whispers of the past

like the suns rays


through the clouds

we spend our time

chasing shadows

of what we wanted to be

the children

we were

the memories

that become us

lie like naked reminders

of our pain

belligerent screams

pointed towards

your incoherent God



topless pink chocolate in a frantic symphony


delirious whispers

of screaming


produce languid bitter versions

of crushing


(This is your brain on drugs...*laughs*)

Art on a Monday Morning

Just wanted to share some artwork my daughter left behind for us. When she was little, everything was kittens,rainbows and flowers. Oh, how things have changed.

The Big, Ugly, Gaping Hole in my Heart

My daughter left to go and spend the summer with her father in North Dakota this weekend. This means I will not see her for three months. THREE MONTHS!!!!! May I say, on a purely selfish note, that I HATE summer? I'm happy that she gets to see her dad. I'm happy that she gets to see all her friends. But now I have this huge gaping hole in my heart from missing my kid.....and she's only been gone for two days.

I found two things that cheered me up when I got home from the airport. One is a shopping list of things she wanted to get before she left. Please note item number one on the list. My daughter was trying to spell "Hagen Daz" and because I was asleep when she wrote the list, just tried to "sound it out". I don't know that I've laughed that hard in weeks.

The second is a poem I found lying on her dresser when I returned. It was tucked under a few pictures she had drawn. It illustrates perfectly one of the many reasons I love my daughter so much...she has inherited my twisted sense of humor.

Summer vacation never seemed this long before, but now three months sounds like an eternity.



Suzanne left a comment recently in the post I did about the mark reading "Hiroshima" by John Hersey and "Night" by Elie Wiesel left on me. She made an excellent point, something that I had not touched on in my original post because I was, at the time, only talking about how much the books themselves had left a lasting impression that carries on even today. I want to address her comment now though, because she brought up something that is an issue I face quite often.

Here is the comment:

"I agree with you that war is vile, but I am curious how the Holocaust would have come to an end had WWII not happened. It wasn't the war that perpetrated the Holocaust. I'm pretty sure that no one would have done anything about it at all had their been no war."

The point she makes is right on the nose. In fact there is historical evidence to support the assertion that our government was aware that Hitler and his military were carrying out the systematic murder of millions and did nothing. Our government continues this type of behavior even today. You only have to look at the situation in Darfur to see what I mean.

The question then becomes, how do I reconcile, in my mind and in my soul the violence that would be necessary to stop the genocide of millions with my distaste and hatred for war and violence?

I struggled with that question and here is the answer that I arrived at. I believe that being a pacifist, just like anything else, is never an absolute. You can never say, "There is NEVER a good reason..." because, as much as we would like to say that, sometimes, stepping in to defend those less powerful than we are becomes a necessity.

The defense of one person against harm from another is a vastly different thing from the wholesale destruction of a people and culture because of some misguided attempt to inflict "democracy" on a society. I say "inflict" because when you go into a country, as we have done in Iraq, and become responsible for the destruction of their homes, businesses and lives...you are not helping anyone. The violence, in a case like that, is senseless, useless and in the end, serves no real purpose. It only serves to perpetuate the cycle of violence.

Using WWII as an example: Had our government stepped in when the war first started and they were first made aware of Hitler's genocide against the Jewish people, it would have been a humanitarian effort. The defense of a people. When we went in after the attack by Japan, it was in retaliation for that attack...and to prevent them from doing it again. The end of the Holocaust was a by-product of that. A good by-product, but a by-product none the less. The truth is that most likely our government would never have involved themselves UNLESS the war brought itself to our shores.

Compare two situations that are occuring today:

There are millions of people dying in Darfur. Millions being targeted for slaughter and our government sits and talks about "diplomatic solutions" and basically turns a blind eye, much the way it did with the Rwandan genocide. There is no gain to be had by stepping in to defend these people, and so our government doesn't. It would be for the greater moral good, outweighing even my belief that violence is a terrible way to solve things. It would be the defense of the defenseless. Yet we do nothing.

Then you have the war with Iraq. A war started and perpetuated by lies. While Saddam Hussein was a terrible man, the Iraqi people had not reached out to the world and asked for help. They had not gotten to the point of wanting to solve their internal struggles with outside military intervention. Our government presumed to step in and inflict our beliefs and our culture on a society that hadn't asked for our help. The result was what we see on the news everyday. A country now torn apart by continued violence, violence that escalates daily.

While Hussein was a dictator and a vile man in every sense, under his government the streets were not lined with burned out husks of cars. Sidewalks were not littered with the remains of buildings and covered with the blood of innocent bystanders to a war they did not start. It's true that he needed to be stopped, but that should have been up to the Iraqi people, not to us. It was a matter for them to handle, to decide when they had had enough of him. It happens all the time. China, Cuba, Romania...just a few countries where political change has been led by the people. Sometimes that change is good, sometimes it isn't, but it's the people of that country who decide what path it takes.

This is that kind of war I am talking about. This is the kind of violence. The needless, senseless destruction of a people. We will leave Iraq one day and what we will have left behind is not the image of a benevolant friend who came to the aid of someone who was defenseless, but that of a country who believed it knew what was best and then stepped in and inflicted that on a people with no regard to what that group of people wanted. In short, we started a civil war. We have also helped to perpetuate the cycle of terrorisim, a by-product that no likes to talk about.

An entire generation of Iraqi children will grow up hating this country, hating everything it stands for. That entire generation of children will be the crop the fanatics and zealots recruit from. They will use the images of dead loved ones and destroyed homes to spurn these new recruits to violence, and we played a hand in giving them that ammunition. For no real reason.

The war in Iraq has not stopped terrorism, it hasn't even made a dent. The war in Iraq has served no greater good, no humanitarian cause. The war in Iraq has brought no one peace, installed no stability to a country in turmoil. It has simply caused chaos and more violence. Meanwhile, our soldiers die and the Iraqi people die and our government buries its head in the sand to avoid admitting it made a mistake.

This is what I abhor. This is what I am opposed to.

The images in those books drove home the reality of war to a twelve year old child. They stayed with me as I grew and helped me form an opinion about the necessity of defense vs the futility of violence.

I don't have all the answers. I wish I did. I know that I see mothers, not unlike myself, watching their children suffer and die and I ache for them. I cry for the women in Darfur who will watch their children starve, or worse, be slaughtered and I am angry because I know we could stop that pain. I cry for the mother in Iraq who will rage and scream because she lost a child to another bomb and I will know that this to, is something we could help to stop.

These are two very different sides of a coin. There are no easy answers to some problems. I don't think morality was meant to be easy. I think we try to make it easy. I think we try to shape morality to fit what makes us comfortable and it's not supposed to be like that. We have become to used to turning a blind eye to the things we don't want to see.


Apparently, Resistance IS Futile, Who Knew?

I saw this picture over at Wil Wheaton's blog as I was browsing through his Flickr album. If you laugh, you're as big a Geek as I am.

I want to be THIS cool

I have discovered the level by which all future levels of cool shall be measured.

Allow me to introduce you to:

Brotherhood 2.0

This is Wil Wheaton cool with the added bonus of being video. I am full of Geek Adoration for the brothers John and Hank.

If I were a cooler person and this were a cooler blog there would be ticker tape or drum rolls or something to accompany this post. I am, however, merely a lowly bookworm and things like HTML and ActiveX make my head hurt and my eyes go all blurry so we will all have to just close our eyes and imagine the ticker tape and drum rolls.

Props to Stephanie and her Super Awesome Web Surfing Abilities for bringing us tasty treat.

Can you remember when?

Can you remember the exact moment in time when you developed a specific moral stance? Do you remember that precise instance?

For some of us, an event in our lives is so galvanizing that it shapes who we will be forever. It leaves a mark on us that can not be erased. For me that event came in the seventh grade. The two books pictured above are directly responsible for me being a pacifist. I was twelve when I read them. My mind could barely grasp the information. I could not understand how such terrible things could be done by one group of human beings to another group of human beings.

I looked to the adults in my life for answers. I asked questions. Why had these things happened? More importantly why had they been allowed to happen? No one had good answers. I read every book I could find about WWII, The Holocaust, the Japanese Internment in America, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The more I read the more my mind turned. War is a terrible thing. I read all the words. I listened to all the explanations. None of it rang true.

All I saw in my minds eye were the dead. All I could think about was what it must have been like for the President to have to live with the knowledge that he had ordered the deaths of millions of innocent people. The hell that that must have been. Where was the "right" in that? And in that instant, that moment, a moral stance formed. It solidified in my mind, took hold of my soul and rooted itself in my character. I have carried it with me in my judgements and my decisions.

As an adult I have watched my country go to war on differnt occassions. I have listened to friends talk of patriotism and been told I'm a "bad American", like a dog who peed on the rug, but that moral conviction has stayed strong in my heart. Steadfast. When others see the nescessity I see the death and the perpetuation of violence. When others talk of having to take decisive action and promoting democracy, I cry for the mother who will bury a child to young to have died so brutally. I rage inside for the futility that the cycle of violence creates.

I watch my nightly news and see tears on the faces of mourners for the victims of a school shooting and I wonder where the tears are for the hundreds that died that day in a country an ocean away.

All because of a single instant in the seventh grade when I was handed two books.

A "super" post

Today I would like to tell you about des. I started reading des's blog a while ago after seeing her link at another blog I read. I was bored that day and the title looked promising, so I surfed over. I decided that I liked des right away. Anyone that can use the word "banality" in their banner has to be good fun.

des lives in New York with her Craig. They have been together for ten years and recently celebrated their decade. YAY!!! I feel this deserves a parade of some sort as the longest relationship I've ever managed to maintain in my entire 36 year history is eight years....she's two up on me. (And her Craig is VERY CUTE...Go check out the pictures at des's blog )

des has a Masters in Comparative Literature. I think this is extremely cool and also worthy of a parade of some sort. I may be slightly biased on this point as I am also an English major. des recently applied to grad school and was understandably upset when she did not get accepted. I turned into the mom that I am and left several pep talk messages on her comments. I hope that des feels better soon! (I am sure that her friends, family and her Craig are helping out in this particular area!)

des is also a talented artist. des makes jewlery which she posts pictures of at Jewlery By Des. I have shown this site to my thirteen year old daughter who tells all of her friends about it. She thinks des is probably one of the coolest people alive, even though she hasn't met her. I was there this morning and noticed some very cool Turtle earrings. I don't have peirced ears, but the earrings are very cool and I may request a Turtle necklace. OHHHH....a Turtle anklet. That would ROCK!!!

The Wonderful World of Des is something I look forward to every day. des makes me grin with her wit and wry humor. Some interesting facts I have learned about des : She once made a very unfortunate hair cut choice ( haven't we all?) and she once won a video game contest.

I am also jealous because des is the kind of cute that means she can wear just about anything and get away with it. This annoys me in the tiniest of ways. I have decided to forgive des for this as she is a fellow book nerd and we have to stick together.

des is currently working at a job she hates. des is forced to sit in a cubicle all day and deal with the mundane and worse the idiots that come with....dum dum dum....Customer Service and all its Ilk....I hate its Ilk. (I'm not really sure what its Ilk is, but it sounds really cool doesn't it?) des is going to be quitting her job but is hoping she will be able to hold out until July. I think this makes des a Person of Superior Quality. I would have slapped the crap out of some of The Idiots and just left, but that's just me.

I hope that you have enjoyed this "super" post. Be sure to pop over and check out The Wonderful World of Des!!!