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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Goofballs: Josie and her temper


Josie has been going going through something the last few weeks. Maybe teething, maybe sick, or maybe just a phase. Regardless of cause, the effect is she doesn't want to go to bed like she did. When we put her down, for naps especially, she pops back up on her feet and SCREAMS for an hour before eventually giving up and going to sleep. The same new "habit" has resulted in some rough nights for mom and dad.

We have seen her temper before. She throws toys that frustrate her. If her brother takes the teasing too far, she knocks him on his ass and doesn't hesitate to jump on him and pound away. Taking things from her she shouldn't have (like her favorite toy, a scewdriver) results in tantrums the likes of which we had only before witnessed on TV.

When she naps, Jo wears a sleep sack -- like the one here on the right. Basically part bag, part blanket, with a zipper that keeps her from tossing it off in the night and getting cold.

The other day, Nicole put her down for a nap. Jo cried for about an hour, as she does now. But understand; when I say "cry" I mean "screamed and shrieked as if murder was being committed". Eventually, to our relief, the raging stopped, and little Josie went to sleep.

An hour an a half later, she woke up. I went upstairs, opened her door and -with my mouth hanging open in shock - muttered "oh my god." I immediately called Nicole, telling her she had to see it too (I should have taken a picture, alas).

Her sleep sack, designed to be escape proof for little ones, hung from her in tatters; she hadn't unzipped it, she had ripped the zipper open. Her hair disheveled, looking as if she had spent her time upstairs yanking on her locks in fury. The few stuffed animals we had left in her crib were on the floor by the door, on the other side of the room. Except for one. One toy was torn open, its stuffing everywhere; in the crib, on the floor and sticking to Josie's unkempt hair. In her rage that we would dare try and get her to sleep, she had destroyed everything she could reach in a tantrum the likes of which I have not seen since the last time Nicole convinced me to play Monopoly with her.

Josie was eighteen months old yesterday. I.. am unprepared for what the future will bring.

Goofballs: Diary of my little brats

My blog has been a bit stagnant. for a while. I keep trying to fix it, and I keep failing. I just don't have a purpose for it. Well, inspiration hit the other day at work.

A friend of mine mentioned her kids, now teenagers, love reading the diary she kept of them when they were children, and that I should do the same. Well, what a great idea!

So this will now be a place where I can share the funniest and or strangest of stories about my two little goof balls. Hopefully one day they will enjoy reading the tales; in the meantime, hopefully you will!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why I don't like Pink for my Daughter

I don't like when people buy my daughter Pink items. And I always get asked why. Well, its not the color I have a problem with. In fact, Josie has several pink outfits that have my seal of approval.
Its what the color pink has come to mean. When you buy something pink, chances are the message on it is not exactly pro-feminist. Things like "little princess" seem harmless enough until you see the boys outfit from the same line of clothes saying "future engineer".

Check out this article. This line of clothes lets boys be super heroes, while girls get to DATE super heroes. Think about that message: how the boys are the strong ones, while the girls wait around for a man to take care of them (the EXACT message of Disney Princesses, btw). Get my daughter a pink outfit with a superman/woman shield and she can wear it; get her a pink outfit that says "Future Engineer" and Ill put it on her myself. Get her one that says "I only Date Heroes" and it will never leave the drawer.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Depression and Suicide, and my thoughts on Robin Williams



When I was a teenager, I wanted to die.

To this day, I don’t really know why. I was lonely, and had fallen into a darkness I could never understand, filled with a depression that was overwhelming. I felt my sanity slipping away, and getting out of bed every day was a struggle. I wanted to die, more than I wanted anything. I cut myself -and I still bear the scars - in an attempt to bleed off some of the inexplicable pain that dragged me down like an anchor.

So when I say Robin Williams was a selfish coward to take his own life, I say it with empathy and understanding. But the fact is, his children, his family, his friends will never be the same. He hurt them, badly. And I understand that.

Henry Rollins posted this:

“I simply cannot understand how any parent could kill themselves. How in the hell could you possibly do that to your children? I don’t care how well adjusted your kid might be — choosing to kill yourself, rather than to be there for that child, is every shade of awful, traumatic and confusing. I think as soon as you have children, you waive your right to take your own life. No matter what mistakes you make in life, it should be your utmost goal not to traumatize your kids. So, you don’t kill yourself.”

People on the internet are of course calling him out for being insensitive, for being an asshole. Clearly, they say, Mr. Henry Rollins has never experienced depression. But here’s the thing: he’s not wrong.

When I sat in my room as a teenager, digging into my arm with a stolen steak knife, one thing stopped me. One thought of clarity, even as my vision was blinded by tears: my mom would be destroyed. From there, I thought of all the people that would be hurt – my sister, my father, even the friends I had distanced myself from. No matter how full of self-pity, self-hate and depression I became, I could not lie to myself about that. I would hurt them more than I could bear.

Robin Williams killed himself anyways, and left behind a lot of hurting loved ones. And I understand that too. Because a day or a week or a month after the revelation about my mother, the knife was again poised against my bleeding arm. And I cursed myself for being weak, knowing my suffering was hurting my family, knowing that my death would hurt them more, but knowing I could not go on. And I eventually put away that knife again. For a day, or a week, or a month, before I did it again.

Depression is a horrible thing. To this day, it still affects me. I like to say that I have beaten it, and perhaps I have. But I would be lying if I said I never glanced at a rope or a knife and thought it would be easier. Like hitting reset in a video game, I tell myself, except we only get the one life. But I’m happy. I love my family, and I love my life. And still, that darkness is there, in the corners of my mind, waiting to pounce in a moment of weakness. I feel it when I let my guard down, when I’m feeling low or lost or tired or weak or sick of suffering. When life again feels like more than I can handle. And I understand that the darkness will stay with me, forever and always, a constant battle that will likely never have a winner.

Perhaps Robin Williams grew tired of that fight, and let his darkness win. Perhaps the fact that he was allegedly facing a debilitating disease was too much, and it pushed him over. Perhaps that is something I may face some day, and maybe I too will eventually lose this war that constantly pulls at my thoughts and emotions. He lost the fight. And as a man that suffered from this terrible disease, he deserves our pity and love and understanding. As a man that fought for so many years, he deserves out respect. As a man that hurt his family, he deserves our anger and criticisms.

Robin Williams knew what he was doing, and whom he was hurting. Just like I knew, sobbing as I sat on a kitchen counter clutching a knife in front of my mother, that I was killing her with the pain of my suffering. I deserved criticism for that.  Someone should have grabbed me by the shirt and shook some sense into me; someone should have screamed at me to look at what I was doing to my mother, at how selfish I was being. I deserved it. But to act as if I, as if Robin Williams, did no wrong is foolish. We should be allowed to say that Robin Williams was selfish, without being called hateful or uncompassionate. He was selfish, and he would have known it, and that would have made him feel even worse, in a horrible spiral of suffering. Ignoring what he did will not make it go away. We all have a right to our anger. 
Beyond the anger of what he did, he deserves our forgiveness, and understanding. He fought the good fight, and lost in the end. This is a disease with no reason, a killer that can creep into the minds of any of us, any of our loved ones.  Its victims need our love and understanding, our forgiveness and compassion.
 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

World Without Heroes

A quick bit from a story Im working on.




She shivered suddenly, her naked skin breaking out in goose pimples. It was if the temperature in the room had just dropped a dozen degrees. She rubbed at the ache she felt in her breasts, and tried to slow her suddenly racing heart. Vickie had to resist a sudden compulsion to rub lower. Inwardly fuming, she did her best to squash her feelings of the man. And then she made the connection, even as she noticed her breath mist before her; the drop in temperature, the warming feeling in her loins.

            Daemon.

            Too late, she reached for the amulet that she never took off; before her hand connected with the strange metal and stranger gem, something grabbed her wrist. A shock of pleasure ran through her, filling her with a fire that peaked between her legs. She gasped, and something turned her forcibly.

            “The sssssorcerer Lexxxxx” a voice whispered in her ear, and she felt her pulse quicken. She struggled against the feelings, desperately, but her body was rebelling and giving into the alien influence. Its voice was a horror, filled with sounds like broken glass, awful and terrible; yet she found herself drawn to it. She struggled against the grip on her wrist, weakly. Feebly.

            “Let me go,” she managed to whisper.

            The creature giggled. It opened its mouth, and Vickie could smell death wafting out. Needle like fangs dripped yellowish salvia as the thing smiled at her. Its face was a tall narrow oval, its features nearly human; the nose was too sharp, the brow too high, the cheek bones too severe. Its skin was scaly and black as tar, looking wet and reptilian. Its body was enveloped in cloak just as black, shrouding the tall slim form that towered over her by nearly two feet. The hand that gripped her like an iron cuff was cold and dry, the fingers ending in talons that would eviscerate a man with little effort.

            “Noooooo,” it answered her plea. Its dark eyes flashed with something resembling humor. “Neeeeever again.”





 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ethics: What I Believe Part 2

A little while ago, I went to the vending machine at work, looking for a bag of chips. Clearly, whomever had been there before me had a spell of bad luck; it was obvious they had paid, but their chips were still hanging there, taunting. Having experienced the same awful twist of fate myself, I knew how the poor bastard must feel.

When I put my change in the machine and selected the appropriate buttons, my chips fell to the dispenser with a satisfying crash; on their journey down they somehow reached out a hand towards their trapped cousin, and pulled that not quite forgotten bag of chips to freedom.

I proceeded to abuse the company email by emailing everyone in the office to let them know their lost snack food had been liberated. I wanted that poor lost soul to experience the small joy that they would get their morning snack after all.

A person I take break with, a person insistent in her catholic beliefs, was a bit shocked at my attempts to return the errant snack to its rightful owner. Her words, and I do paraphrase a bit as this was a while ago, where: "Considering your beliefs, I'm surprised you would go to the trouble to give those back."

Because yes, only Christians can be good people. Only Christians can be the least bit empathic, and actually consider how another person might feel. And yes, I am aware I am only talking about a bag of chips here, and not a lost wallet or car keys or something.

Being an atheist does not mean I get free reign in our world. It does not mean I can go through this world committing the most heinous crimes, like murder or chip theft, all willy nilly. It means I don't believe in a god, a supreme force that created everything, watches over us, and punishes us when we steal someone's chips. Murder was wrong long before the church said it was, sometime in the middle ages. Before that, people did not need the threat of an eternity of suffering to understand that, and neither do I.

To me, ethics come down to treating people the way I would want to be treated. And yes, that jesus guy got this right, son of god or not. I wouldn't want someone to steal my chips, so I won't steal theirs.

There has been enough evil done in the name of god in this world; I prefer to rescue chips in my own name, thank you very much.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

God and the Easter Bunny: What I Believe Part 1

When I was very young, something about Santa Claus just did not sit right with me. We didn't have a chimney, and my parent's explanations did not fit for me. Flying reindeer seemed silly. Delivering presents the world over, while under the cover of darkness provided by a single night -complicated by time zones - was impossible. So, I pretended to sleep one Christmas Eve, and snuck downstairs just far enough to watch my parents put the presents under the tree, playing Santa. Ah, I thought, now this makes sense!

Later, at my Catholic grade school, I remember learning about Greek and Roman mythology, and I remember thinking it made about as much sense as Christianity. I remember questioning the nuns at my Sunday school (and getting kicked out) about the things that just didn't seem to fit for me. Where are the dinosaurs? How about evolution? And how the hell to you explain all those animals fitting on a wooden boat, and how did they not eat each other? Reasonable questions, I still think.

Those were the kind of questions I had on my mind, when in grade 8, I went to talk to my priest. For those unaware, this was to be the year of my Confirmation. This was a big deal, a ritual where one essentially swears his or her faith in God, promising a lifetime of devotion and loyalty. I did not like the idea of one day breaking my word, so I told that priest I had doubts. For me, much like Santa and the Easter Bunny, something about this god just did not fit.

And the priest said to me: "Don't worry about it. Just say the words and you should come around some day."

And with those words of wisdom, my already shaky faith crashed down around me, starting me on a path of discovery that would take years to complete.



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