Oct 4, 2011

Parenting Double Standards

So, last night, I accidentally stumbled onto a conversation regarding a parenting decision. I want you, right now, to think of the parenting choices you have made that you would FIGHT for. That you would tell anyone and everyone that wanted to hear about it why it was a good or a bad thing. That could be breastfeeding, co-sleeping, vaccinating on schedule or not, circumcision, putting baby in a crib from day one.....or even things for older children like nutrition....whatever. Think of one.

Let's say, I believe that every child, everywhere, should have a pony for their first birthday. And I have all kinds of important and valid reason for that argument. And maybe I have research studies, and doctors and specialists, and big stars like Oprah doing specials on why every child should have a pony for their first birthday.

But.....what if you didn't want your kid to have a pony? What if you lived in an apartment, and having a pony would be too messy, or too loud, or your landlord wouldn't approve? What if you couldn't afford to pay to feed that pony? What if you felt really strongly about the fact that they absolutely HAD to have a certain amount of space to run around and play, and you didn't have that space? What if you had been kicked by a pony as a kid yourself, and the idea of having a pony sends you into a panic attack?

What if having a pony isn't right for you, or for your family? And so, you decided to sit down, and think about it, maybe do some research, maybe ask friends with older kids what they did about having a pony....and even though most of them loved it, or was happy to have made the decision to have a pony...what if it still wasn't right for you, and your family?

Should you get a pony?

Let me answer that for you - NO. We like to sit here, and assume, that issues that we find important to us, are important at the same level for everyone. Or important for the same reasons. Or that logistically it's something that everyone can do. Or that we all agree on the data, and what the specialists and the doctors say.

Truth is, we don't.

But, we all have the CHOICE to have a pony for our one-year-old. We all have the RIGHT to make the decision on whether or not we get one. We all have the ability to do our own research and DAMN IT we have the right to come up with a different answer for our family.

And ya know what? That really important thing, that I asked you to think of earlier? Someone has the right to make a choice that doesn't fit inside your decision on that too.

Or maybe (and I'm just gonna get crazy here)....they don't place it at the same level of importance as you, and they decide to have a different opinion. 

I really hate to burst anyone's bubble here, but your opinion may not be right for everyone. And their opinion may not be wrong for everyone. What is important, is that they assessed their needs, as an individual and as a family, and made a decision.

Just like you want to be able to do for your child. 

This of course brings us to another place - there are things that are somewhat irrefutable.Think back again to your hot button parenting topic. Think about all of the research and information you utilized to make that decision. Or, think about what you WISH you had known then, and most certainly do now.

Now, let's pretend that your best friend, your brother or sister, your son or daughter - let's pretend that they don't think it's as important as you do. Or, they plan on doing the opposite of what you think is right. Hmmmm. They must not know the things I know. Or, they must not care about their baby like I care about mine. Or, they just need to get ed-ju-macated.

As a doula, I work with new parents, and sometimes not new parents in making those decisions. We talk beforehand about breastfeeding, and circumcision, and co-sleeping, and vaccinating, and interventions during labor and birth, and everything else you can think of that falls within my time frame that I serve this family. But ya know how I begin every single one of those conversations? Like this -

"You know you're having a boy. You're going to be asked about circumcision by the staff, do you know what you want to do? And, would you like any more information on that?"

I'm not going to sit there and jam my opinion down your throat. EVEN, if I think it's the most righty-right-correct-and-you-are-so-wrong opinion of all times. Because I wouldn't want someone to do that to me. I wouldn't. I would want to know I could get an opinion and information if I wanted to, or was ready. I would want to know that I HAD an option. I would want to know that I could talk about it after I had thought more on it. I would want - TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO MAKE A CHOICE.

This was my status update, and I think it wraps up how I feel about this - 

I get so frustrated with this - if you want the ability to hold a strong opinion about something regarding the care and raising of your child (breastfeeding, co-sleeping, vax, circumcision) THEN YOU MUST AFFORD OTHER PARENTS THAT SAME RIGHT EVEN IF IT DOESN'T AGREE WITH YOUR OPINION. It is such a double standard. All we can do, if we are to do anything at all, is to educate, advocate, and allow parents to come to their own decisions. Jamming your opinion down my throat won't make make it my opinion.
Taking away a parents right to make decisions on behalf of their own child leaves us with the thought - then who ultimately gets to make that decision? Do we want the government to decide? Are you going to decide what is absolutely positively right for every child? And....what if you're wrong? Or what about the people who slip through the cracks? Or what about these people -
  • Every time I breastfeed my baby I want to grab her off my breast and throw her across the room. Maybe it has to do with some sexual trauma I experienced as a kid. All I know is that if I keep breastfeeding her, I might hurt myself or the baby.
  • I really want to co-sleep, but my husband is a large guy who is VERY hard to wake up. I know it's supposed to decrease the risk for SIDS, so I guess I'll just have to hope that he doesn't roll over on the baby and suffocate him to death. Maybe I'll stay up all night and watch, just to be sure.
  • I know vaccinations aren't always cut and dry. And even though our family travels outside the country, my stance on no-vaccinating is so strong that I don't even think I will worry about those. I'll just try to look for and avoid all of the things we vaccinate for that actually still DO exist in other countries, even though we aren't blessed to have them here.
  • I want to circumcise my son, I am Jewish. But, you didn't circumcise your kid and told me it was a bad awful thing to do. And ya know, my friends and family will look down upon us if we don't. And while that seems like a righteous price to pay for protecting the foreskin that I don't actually have a big opinion (guess what, it's not important to everyone...), I guess I'll just have to deal with the lack of support and friends right after my baby has been born because you said I would be a bad mother if I circumcised my son. Oh, and fuck my faith as a decision making tool, btw. That's something only crazy people do.

COME ON PEOPLE. We all want the right to say what we want. We all want the right to decide what is important to us, and to our families. And by asking for that right, and demanding it - we must appreciate the differences and rights of other people to have the same opinion that we so desperately want to protect. Because - you're shoes don't fit everyone. And instead of TELLING everyone why you're right, maybe you should shut up, LISTEN to what they are saying, and learn a thing or two about individuality and the right to make choices for yourself. I don't even care if you offer to give them more information, but remember, they have the right to say no.

And, not everyone wants a fucking pony. So please, get over it.

Aug 29, 2011

Black as my Soul Tilapia

Yum. Be jealous. I had Blackened Tilapia, Roasted Potatoes and Baby Portabella Mushrooms for dinner. Want the recipe? I know you do.

Blackened Tilapia

  • 4-6 Tilapia
  • 2 T Paprika
  • 2 t Salt (or to taste)
  • 2 t Lemon Pepper
  • 1-1/2 t Garlic Powder
  • 1-1/2 t Ground Red Pepper
  • 1-1/2 t Dried, Crushed Basil
  • 1 t Onion Powder
  • 1 t Dried Thyme
  • 1 C unsalted butter, melted

How to make it

  • Heat iron skillet on high 5 minutes.
  • Mix all seasonings in a bowl.
  • Dip fillets in melted butter and coat with seasonings. (I drizzle the spices on each piece of fish to get an even coating. Don't be afraid to coat heavily)!!
  • Place fillets in hot skillet and cook 2 minutes on each side.
  • Makes 4 servings.
  • Enjoy!!!

And then, ya know - Baby Portabellas. Again. I know. You can be jealous. I will say - the cast iron skillet is vital to the fish. If you don't have one.....well get one. Not just for this recipe, there are SO many reasons to own a good, heavy bottom, cast iron skillet. Sometimes if you are lucky you can run across them at Goodwill.

I'm also pretty much exclusively using coconut oil for cooking now. I just love this stuff. The research on saturated fats just doesn't work out the way 'They' would like us to believe. Take the time to read it. And using something like corn/vegetable oil? Think about how much WORK has to go into making that. How much work do you think your body has to do to digest that? No thanks!

Mwah! Happy cooking.

Aug 27, 2011

When everything seems uncertain....

You can come home and make delicious Vegetarian Enchiladas.

I have this awesome friend that I go to nursing school with, and this is her recipe. I ran across it the other day while cleaning out my inbox (I had asked her for it) and decided that I MUST make it. Try it. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. I am going to simply copy and paste her email in (and add a few notes of my own).

One large white onion, chopped (next time, if only for color, I will use a purple onion)
Two sweet peppers (yellow, red or orange), chopped (a green one would add even more color)
8 oz box of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
One can of black beans (drained and well rinsed)
Half of 8 oz bag of cheddar (you will use the second half on top)
Taco seasoning to taste (I used about half of packet of taco seasoning)
8 Burrito sized tortillas

Saute the onions and peppers until just tender (still slightly crunchy) and then mix together in a big bowl with the rest of the ingredients. (I used coconut oil, about a T to saute the veggies)

Fill eight tortillas, roll up tight and place them in a 9x13 baking dish. Cover with an entire jar of Frontera enchilada sauce (Frontera sauce really makes a huge difference ... it's the tastiest and everything else tastes like butt compared to it, in my opinion). Sprinkle the remaining half of the bag of cheddar on top. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, and you're done.

I completely agree with her notes on the Frontera Sauce. Unless you have another favorite, you should really try that one. I choose to only make 6 of them, and reserve the remaining filling to put into a Quesadilla the next day. They. Are. AMAZING. I serve them on top of a bed of lettuce with some sour cream. If you are trying to stick to a slimmer amount of calories, you could do them in smaller tortillas, you could use 2% cheese, and I used about a tablespoon of coconut oil to saute the veggies in, you could either use less, or use something a bit lighter. You could serve a decent size salad and you'd be good.  

Because I know that I would be curious - here is the nutritional info. I don't have an after picture. They were gone before I could get the camera out.

  Calories 375.1
  Total Fat 14.9 g
      Saturated Fat 8.5 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
      Monounsaturated Fat 2.8 g
  Cholesterol 29.8 mg
  Sodium 826.4 mg
  Potassium 336.5 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 44.5 g
      Dietary Fiber 6.5 g
      Sugars 3.3 g
  Protein 16.5 g

Aug 14, 2011

Hard Week

Lots of .... stuff happened this week. And, at the same time, nothing happened at all.

The Rose has been with her Daddy for the last 10 days. It's been hard to say the least. If you noticed me online a lot more than usual, well that would be why. I knew it wasn't going to be fun, but it was REALLY hard. I missed her. She apparently, gives me a reason to kinda get up and out of bed. And change clothes. Which explains why I haven't really left the house too much, LOL!

The other major reason would have to be because it's my finals week. Lots of studying. But not enough. I got sucked into too many....shall we say side projects? I spent way too much time indulging in the solitude, and not enough time cracking the books. We'll see how my grades reflect.

I cleaned, I made a mess, then I cleaned again. I made a youtube play list. Eh. It happened. And it's about 20 minutes from being over. Then - we head to Michigan for a week. And I am leaping out of my skin excited.

Jul 31, 2011

Braised Cucumbers are indeed - a Revelation!

So, one of my favorite movies is Julie and Julia. The story of both women spoke to me in different ways. Meryl Streep's performance was brilliant. Amy Adams was also marvelous, although I have to admit that while I both connect with her character and think she did a great job, I found her character to be a wee bit self-centered even when she wasn't supposed to be anymore. But, it's a minor issue.

At one point, during a dinner party that Julie was throwing, she holds up a fork and says "Braised cucumbers are a revelation." The idea of cucumbers.....braised....huh. That's an odd idea. So, I went about Googling the recipe (because I still don't actually own a copy of the cookbook!).  I found several different sources that all had the same recipe listed, stating that it was straight from the cookbook. So, I saddled up to the stove, recipe in hand, and faced down the locally grown cucumbers I had gotten from The Berry Patch in Nevada, IA.

Braised Cucumbers

1 huge cucumber (or 2 regular sized)
1 tablespoon butter
1 dash salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 pinch dried mint

Put skillet on burner to preheat at medium.
Peel cucumber. Cut into quarters and remove seeds. Cut into 1 inch pieces.
Melt butter in a pan and add cucumber. Cover and cook about 8 minutes on medium heat.
Stir in salt, lemon, and mint. Cover and cook another 3 minutes.

I was oddly nervous about dropping cut up cucumber into melted butter in a skillet. It just felt....wrong. But it was so right. And delicious. I might go so far as to say sumptuous. 

I would say, next time, I will cook them a bit longer. They got to the translucent stage, but never really hit browned on the edges, which I should have waited for. It's kinda hard to describe the taste - sort of like delicious, buttery pickles, but without the sour taste. Almost like a banana taste. I will make them again. Oh yes.

Jul 30, 2011

I feel so....boring!

My entire life could be summed up in about 3 sentences right now. I studied today. I miss my kid when she's gone and am crazy about her when she's here. I am stressed out. Yup, those 3 will do.

There is another thing though....and I do this every single time I am halfway or most of the way through something....nursing school sucks. Of course I will finish it. Of course I will keep on truckin'. But I feel like I am being dragged kicking and screaming through the entire program. And, at first I thought it was just nursing school in general, but the more I talk to other nurses, and other people in different schools, and people that graduated from different schools, the more I realize. Mercy College is kind of an awful program.

The thing that bothers me the most is that I was actually told, by several different instructors and advisors, that the only people that tend to do well in the program are the people that also have the ability to work as a Patient Care Tech at the hospital. Hmm. So, in order for me to pass your program and feel comfortable or even remotely knowledgeable during clinical, I have to get a job and basically put in more hours there? And yet, we are counseled heavily upon admission that we shouldn't have any kind of job. So....if I have to get information and skills outside of the program, does that mean that your program isn't adequate? Because that's what it says to me.

The other thing that sorta kills me is that you are absolutely supposed to take THIS exact class during THIS exact term. Well, that's awesome.....until the only two sections that are being offered overlap with the nursing classes that you have to take. Um, guys? Are people talking to each other?

Due to the Catholic nature of this college, there are a lot of topics that are just glossed over too. Primarily anything that has to do with sex, birth control, or other cultures/religions. Well, ya know what? Even if it is a Catholic college stemming from a Catholic hospital, there are things we will encounter regardless of whether or not there is a giant cross on the side of the building.

So, I'm not bored with the material. I'm not bored with being in school. I'm pissed that I choose a horrible program. HORRIBLE. So, what now? I'm actually nervous that I am going to leave this program as a bad nurse. I suppose I will just have to suck it up, and find other sources to fill in the gaps. I'm just....not sure how to do that. If anyone has any ideas, I am open to suggestions.

Jul 19, 2011

Come on baby light my fire...

In a lot of ways, I feel like being a single parent has made me a better parent.

That's kind of a bold statement, but it's true. Having to be completely responsible for my daughter, my home, my finances, my world in general...I have had to step it up. I was never the type of person who liked to take out the trash, or do the dishes for that matter. But, obviously I have to do those things. And, there is something really awesome about the fact that I feel like I am more organized and more put together than I was before. I've had to plan my day out, plan my studying schedule, plan my meals out a bit more.

The one area that I love the most is that because I don't have anyone else to count on to do it, we have had a better overall routine with Redheaded Rosie. Bed time is very routine now, we are doing better about 'little' things like brushing teeth, washing faces etc.

We are also eating NIGHT AND DAY better. We used to eat a lot of crap to be brutally honest. And wasted a lot of money. The nice thing about this is that I have dropped some weight, I feel better, and I am working on me. Which is something I haven't done for a long time. I am doing a bit of a juice fast. Which in all reality is just juicing a lot, and eating as cleanly and close to pure as I can with a lot of fruits and vegetables and some nuts here and there. But, for the next 2 weeks, most of my calories are coming from green juice. Autumn has been an amazing little champ - helping me juice and drinking it herself to, which makes me feel great.

BUT.......but. Damn it there has to be a but....

I don't know. I seem to have a shorter fuse. I seem to have a less patience for the normal everyday things that the Redhead does as well. Normal, adorable chattering that should be something of every parents fondest memories, is annoying. I feel like an awful Mother for saying all of this. We have a lot more time together than we have ever had before, and for whatever reason my patient is just not there. I feel like I have fire in my eyes sometimes.

My daughter is a treasure. And my time with her is also a gift. So, why can't I shake the irritation, the flying into rage, the absolute annoyance at her normal everyday kindergartener behavior? We are seriously butting heads right now. Everything is followed with a 'why?' right now. And I am not the kind of person who deals well with being questioned, which I absolutely hate about myself.

I am hoping, that just by having this realization, maybe I can become more aware of it. I need to take a deep breath, and just love my daughter for who she is. And remember that she is at a place of learning and growing and expanding. So, why should I expect her to be a mind reader, or to be satisfied with a 'because I said so' mentality?

I am going to work on it. One day at a time, eh?

Jul 15, 2011

30 Days - What would my episode be?

I've been watching a few episodes of 30 Days. If you don't know about it, this is a show on the FX network (I think it ran for 3 seasons or so) by Morgan Spurlock, the man who made the documentary Supersize Me. Good stuff. I liked the documentary, it was an interesting and somewhat lighthearted look at just how awful processed and fast food is for us.

He went on to create this show. The premise of this show is to put someone with a very firmly held view on a controversial topic in a home/environment with the person who thinks completely opposite from them for a period of 30 days.

Some of the episodes I have watched (streaming on Netflix) -

Gun Control
New Age
30 Days in a Wheelchair
30 Days in Jail
30 Days at Minimum Wage

And there are several more. I think the hardest one for me to watch was the episode on Gay couples have children (see below, aren't they ADORABLE????). They moved in a Mormon woman who had VERY strong views on gay and lesbian couples. She felt that their lifestyle was horrifically wrong. She felt that them having children was a horrible abomination. And over the course of the 30 days, she never opened up, never had a DISCUSSION. It was always a fight, with her being very defensive and close minded. It was hard to watch. The two men that she lived with for the 30 days were still in contact with several of the kids they had adopted. They adopted children through the foster care system. And....while some had reservations, they all ended up loving these two men and being grateful that they had adopted their children.

So I was wondering, what would my 30 Day Experience be? What issue do I feel so strongly about that I would have to go and attempt to have my mind open for 30 days? I'm just not sure. Honestly doing the inverse of above might be a good challenge. A very super conservative christian household? Pro-life maybe? I don't know. I just don't know about what would bring me to tears, or cause me to say or do things that I might not want to show the world. Some of these people that are put into these episodes just....embarrass themselves.

So, I'm not sure. I just don't know what my 'episode' would be. How about you?

Jul 14, 2011

Co-Housing....can I move in?


WOW! I went to a discussion/meeting tonight regarding Co-Housing, and the pending potential Co-Housing development at Turtle Farm. I have never been so drawn to something. It was just SO appealing. The presentation was by the man that wrote this book - Creating Co-Housing.

I am hoping to continue to learn more. This sounds like a promising project. I will admit, though, that the communities all looked very....shiny and new. And stick built. And I am a little bit more interested in Green Building techniques, such as cob, strawbale, etc. But, basically everything else resonated with me so strongly that I am going to stay on top of what they are doing over there.

Jul 2, 2011


And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. 
-Anais Nin

It's a funny thing, self esteem. What do we really base those estimations on? Standing in front of a mirror, the voices in your head, the things that other people say...what is it that we implement into our arsenal against ourselves? I think that for me, the absolute best thing that we can do for ourselves is to shut all of those off, but most women don't, or worse yet, can't. 

The quote that I put at the top of my blog post is one of my absolute favorites. There was always something kind of haunting about that quote to me. What makes a person go from being closed off and in the dark little space in our heads, to deciding that we are worth much more than our own stifled thoughts about ourselves? To explode into the beautiful thing that we all are, is something noble indeed. 


Jul 1, 2011

50 Questions.

I was named after my Great Grandmother. Cool lady from what I can tell!

This afternoon. But it was because of something sad that happened on a tv show, so I suppose that is sorta silly ;)

Nope. But it gets me by.

Blech. I am not a big fan of lunch meat. If I have to pick one, turkey.

One beautiful, wonderful daughter.

I don't know. I can be an......intense person, from what I have been told. And I know that I get depressed, and when I do I tend to lock myself up and forget about my friends needs. On the other hand, I am fiercely loyal to my friends. And I would do anything for my very close friends. I tend to have a very small number of close friends, and a large number of acquaintances. 

Pft, no. I would NEVER be sarcastic....

Yes, but I probably shouldn't. I get strep throat ALL.THE.FREAKING.TIME.

No. Never. Absolutely not.

I like Grape Nuts, frosted cheerios, raisin bran.

Not normally

Physically....not so much. Emotionally, definitely not.

Mint Chocolate Chip, or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Or both. Together.

Their eyes. The tone of their voice. Their posture. The way they smell.

.....least favorite colors, but I would probably choose pink.

Probably my depressive nature. And that I am pretty neurotic. I mean really neurotic. Well, maybe only a little bit neurotic. What? I'm not neurotic. Shit.

Koleen from Seattle. She was my best friend there. 

Just the pretty red polish on my toes ;)

A bowl full of raspberries. I would have preferred a chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard with extra cookie dough.

Adele. Like basically all the time. But right now, that's what is playing

Hmmmm. Interesting. I'm not sure. Probably a medium to dark teal or aqua.

Roses. The top of my child's head. Cookies baking. The beach. Stargazer Lilies. Chocolate. Limes. The early morning air.

My Mom. She made me feel so much better, and I don't know what I would do without her. Especially during this whole ordeal. She has a gentle way of telling me I am being an idiot ;)

A mountain hideaway on a lake would be PERFECT. Although I do really love a beach. Water needs to be involved somehow. But, I do like the nice, cool mountain air.

Sports? Blech. I don't mind watching Baseball in person, or hockey on tv. But I would pretty much rather watch just about anything else.

Right now? Auburn with some blond highlights.


I wear glasses sometimes, no contacts. I am supposed to wear them all the time, and I don't see very clearly without them, but they press into my temples (even with ample adjustments to the frames) and I get migraines. So, I put up with the blurry a little more than I probably should.

Berries. Chocolate. Garlic Naan. Pizza. Ice cream. Salt and vinegar chips. Taco salads. Cilantro. Fresh baked bread. Homemade limeades.

Happy endings. I always get pissed with endings that don't end in the fairytale.

Uhhhhhh......movie, I think that would have been Hot Fuzz. Brilliant flick.


Well gosh if those are my choices, then winter. I like the 'transition' seasons the best. Spring and Autumn. Milder temperatures.


Home style desserts, like apple crisp, or homemade pies.

Strength, I hate cardio. HATE IT. I would love to do kettlebells like every day of the week.

uh, yes? I tend to surf while I watch.

Unfortunately, nothing fun. It's all textbooks. Microbiology, pathophysiology, nursing textbooks. It's all I have time for.

I don't have one, I don't have a mouse either.

My daughters laughter. Adele singing. Rain. An amazing guitar solo.


That depends on where I was living at the time. I have only ever used my passport to go to Canada. I have been to Niagra Falls, Vancouver, BC, Jacksonville, FL, and Southern California. Been to all 4 corners of the US, but not outside of it very much.

Not really.

In a hospital in Ketchikan, Alaska.

In a lovely little apartment, that's all my own, with my lovely daughter. Des Moines, IA is where I am currently calling home, but I am not sure if I will be here for the rest of my life.

I'm not in a house. But my apartment building is off-white.


It got a bit exhausting there towards the end.....

Sweet Air Conditioning

I love my a/c. I really do.

It's been a real scorcher around here for the last few days. I absolutely hate the heat. I could do winter all year long if I didn't have to deal with the heat. This is one of those things that I miss about the Pacific Northwest. A day that was in the 90's was like.....news worthy. But, not so much out here, that's standard summer weather. It's humid, it's hot and all I want to do is hide inside, sit on my sofa, eat fruit and watch episodes of The Voice on my computer. But I digress. ;)

Studying is becoming overwhelming, but not in a way that I can't handle. I really do like being in school, to a certain degree. I mean it's awesome learning new things and meeting new people, and carving out a new career ain't bad news either. I just wish it was a little less pressure. I mean....what happens if I hate doing this? What happens if being a nurse is NOT for me, and was just something I thought I wanted to do? I mean I doubt that. I think the big problem is that I like working with a very small (or a very large depending on how you look at it) group of patients. Women of childbearing age that aren't sick, just pregnant. Normal families with normal medical needs. I DO NOT like the hospital, that is one thing I can tell you for sure. I might like to work in a clinic or at Planned Parenthood. We'll see. I will have several options, I am sure.

So, while I sit here and study my microbiology, with all it's wonderful varying bacteria, I am thankful today for my air conditioning. Because damn it - it's hot outside. ;)

Jun 25, 2011

Head Pain

I think they started when I was 13 or so. That means I have been having these headaches for...what like 17 years now.

I have had a lot of migraines in my life. Different kinds, with different symptoms. Tension, traditional headaches, cluster. And I've seen every specialist in the book. Tried all the medications, the maintenance ones, the ones that you take when you feel one coming on, the ones you have when you've had one. I go to sleep with them, I wake up with them, I have them all day, I wake up at night with them. Sometimes, headaches last for days. I think the longest one was 6 days long. I tense my jaw and my shoulders constantly. I can't tell which comes first, clenching from pain, or the clenching caused the pain.

I've had great luck with chiropractic, and have an amazing one right now. Tammy has done wonderful things for me, and for my TMJD, and I owe her a great deal. Even with chiropractic work, I still have migraines. They're sort of never-ending. The only time in my life when I didn't have migraines is when I was pregnant. I didn't have any during that time at all. It was probably the most blissful time of my life.

It's always interesting to me when people I know have experienced migraines. We'll have these discussions about how when they get them they are out, the can't function, they have to be in a dark room with no noise, and can't imagine doing anything but that. Well, the answer is simple. If you have 3-5 headaches a week, sometimes lasting for days at a time, you can't live your life in a dark room. You learn how to manage and function and get through a day. I can go to class, go out to dinner with friends, have my daughter and play and laugh with her, and generally function mostly fine. I have had migraines during a good chunk of the birth's I have been at as a doula. It's just sorta always there, always......well in the back of my mind, so to speak, LOL!

It's an odd thing - chronic pain. I have been extremely lucky to have understanding friends and family. Sometimes I have to cancel plans if I can't get my feet underneath a hard migraine. I have been to the ER many times, and had to call out to work. I have complained to friends, whined at family members, and begged for neck massages from my ex-husband (not that I got many of those, lol!). I swear....the next Mr. Jackson will be a massage therapist.....

Oddly, while I think this sucks, and while I wish I didn't have migraines, it's really hard to feel like I can upset about it. There is something useful in having chronic pain. While it certainly isn't fun, it requires a certain amount of stamina to endure having a migraine for days at a time. And honestly, there are obviously people a lot worse off than I am. While migraines are no picnic, I am not going to die from them. They force me to take down time and just deal with them, which sometimes is exactly the mental break I need. Sometimes it's hard to find the positives, but honestly there truly are some.

The migraine I have this morning is purely a tension migraine. Jaws locked up, shoulders are scrunched up, temples pulsing, neck stiff as a board. Stress is a huge issue with tension headaches. I need to do more yoga or something ;)

Chronic pain is shitty. Migraines are shitty. They can make life shitty. Now excuse me while I go place a bag of peas on top of my head, shoulder, jaw and neck ;)

Jun 21, 2011

No longer waiting to exhale

And.....I'm spent.

Thankfully, the divorce is over. It's done. Finished. Ceased to be. And I cannot even begin to celebrate in the streets loudly enough. Outside of a few minor bumps in the road since then, things have been going extremely well. Redheaded Rosie is doing great. I'm doing great.

There has been, however, one thing that I am having a hard time dealing with. Apparently, Redheaded Rosie was introduced to a female companion during her last visit. And I'm not referring to a new female companion, I am referring to the female companion that he was with when we seperated. From what I understand, she has been around for quite a bit of time before our separation. I know at least 6 months, but believe I was told closer to a year. Regardless, the woman that played an integral part in separating me from my EX is becoming a part of my little Rosie's life.

I have some pretty mixed feelings about this. My biggest one, however, is that I didn't find out from the EX, I found out from the preschooler. Hmmm. There seems to be a breakdown in communication here, but if I were on the other side of this equation I would a)NOT introduce anyone into her life right now, even if I was dating someone, and 2)would have at least WARNED the other parent. I realize that I can't ask him to not involve this woman in our lives that he is allowed to do that. It's a double edged sword. Whatever rules, expectations, what have you, that I expect and ask from him, I have to follow as well. But, hey, I suppose I put the kid first and not my.....needs. A-hem.

As for me, I feel sorta of odd that I don't care that he's with her. I feel like I should be angry, or sad. But honestly, I just feel sorry for both of them. I really do. I mean, their relationship grew out of cheating.....curious how they expect that to end well, LOL!

Originally I was a little bit worried about posting things like this on the internet, but ya know what? I would (and have) said just about all of this to him/them. So, I guess I don't care. :-)

As for other things going on, Redheaded Wonder is going to start swimming lessons soon, I am trucking along in nursing school, and I have lost another 6 lbs. WOOT! It's still a bumpy and interesting journey and I gotta tell you, aside from those more irritating potholes like the one above things are wonderful. I can't control the actions of another person, all I can do is hold myself accountable to Redheaded Rosie, and be there for her should anything negative come of these experiences. It's probably the hardest part of this whole thing. But we're managing and even thriving!

Tomorrow is another day, and I think we'll spend it at the Science Center. ;)

Jun 11, 2011

Forgiving Yourself

This whole process has lead to a myriad of different emotions, transformations, realizations, and meltdowns. When I started this, I only blamed one person, and it wasn't me. I was angry and frustrated and betrayed. The more I learned, the more I had to experience, the more pissed off I became.

Then, somewhere along the way, I started to blame myself. I never really wanted to admit that, but I did. If I had done this differently, or been more attentive to that need, or not gained weight after the baby, or didn't go back to school, or chose not to become a birthworker.....if I had done things differently, the marriage that I failed so miserably at wouldn't have failed. It's not that I wanted to be back IN the marriage, that thought has never crossed my mind even once. It's that....I felt guilty and ashamed and horrified that I had let it come down to this. I felt bad that my daughter will have to experience her childhood this way.

But what a waste of time! Forgiving myself, and forgiving any part that I had in this is vital to moving forward. I am working on this. It's a process. Falling back in love with myself is part of it. Feeling confident that I can only be who I am, and that I was myself during this marriage. Knowing that my daughter is loved, by both of her parents. Admitting that I wasn't happy, and I deserve to be happy. Most of the time, I would say about 90% of the time, I am on this page. It's that 10% that I need to work on.

But I would be lying if I didn't say that I was happy, and excited about where life is taking me.

My final big step is to fall back in love with my body. But....more on that later ;)

May 20, 2011

Ya know that idea....

You know...if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all? That's where I'm at. I HATE FEELING LIKE THIS. I really do. I hate being Debbie Downer. I would give just about anything to not have neurotic thought after neurotic thought running through my head. I would give anything to not obsess and fixate on things until they are just thoroughly uninteresting to anyone but me. ARGH! At some point, I need to turn a corner. I just do. But sitting here at 10:30pm in a very empty apartment, it's hard to see a way up.

Feeling this way makes me feel weak. It makes me feel sad too. I HATE the weekends. At least when the little Redheaded Rose is around, I have someone to snuggle with. I miss her. I miss finding the joy in things that I used to find joy in. Everything is just so....dull and bland. And gray. So gray.

I suppose a few recent events have made things feel just a little bit worse. Rejection, or maybe it was realizations on my part. Failure, but I was up against a pretty impossible mission. I feel like my sense of reality has been warped. Things that normal people brush off, I internalize and allow it to consume who I am. I think the most marked issue for me is that if something happy happens in my life, I become happy. If something bad or sad happens, my mood shifts. Which sounds logical, right? But everything shifts. Being rejected by a guy shouldn't make your world turn upside down. It should be kinda sad, something you add to the larger mix of emotions for the day, and see where you even out at the end of the day. Who knows, maybe I have cyclothymia.

Either way, I gotta break out of this funk. It's not any fun. For me or anyone else.

Apr 23, 2011

Lonely. I think.

You know that phrase "Don't know what you got until it's gone"?

I am not missing anything pertinent from my relationship. For the most part, we were both two very self-involved people living under the same roof. I had the job of mothering, and schoolwork, and clients, and being a friend, keeping a house clean, laundry....the list goes on and on. But, at the very least, I had someone that I could talk to. I kinda miss that. My friends all have lives, and lists that are just as long as mine was. They can't be that person that wakes up in the middle of the night with you just to talk about nothing. Which granted, we didn't do at all in the last half of our marriage, but we still had moments of goodness where we connected. I miss feeling connected and rooted to something. Right now, I am just flailing around in the shallow end of the pool, relying on a lot of very surface level friendships and a few very close and deep liferafters to get me by when I feel the need to wade into the deep end.

I have never been the type of person who needs alone time. Ever. I know that a lot of people don't believe that's true, or that you can be a truly happy person unless you can appreciate your alone time. It's not that I don't appreciate alone time, it's that I am happier when I can control that. I don't need alone time. I need interaction, and socialization, and love. I kinda feel like I am drowning without it.

There is always the horrifying feeling of being the 3rd wheel. I love my friends, I really do. And I love spending time with them. But, almost all of them are married. And of course I take no issue with that, but I can't related to it right now. Marital problems, adorable interactions, conversations about what 'we' are going to do....only serve as a gentle reminder to me that I only have myself to steer the course of my life. And while I don't miss the last guy who held the job, I do miss having a co-pilot in general.

All that being said, the idea of dating and going through those motions both petrifies and nauseates me. Rejection, falling to hard, crashing and burning, breaking up, getting together, getting courage to tell someone you want to go to coffee, that you like them, that you love them, that...never mind we aren't working out and then going through it all again and again.....makes me tired. Not only will it be hard on me, but I of course can't involve my daughter. Which puts a whole new spin on things. I come with a lot of baggage. Narrows the 'playing field'.

So, I am caught in a predicament. I am lonely. I am scared. I am tired of spending entire days by myself with no one to talk to. I am petrified that I am doing something wrong by not being able to handle being alone, and I am petrified I am trying to force myself to deal with this situation in way that has been prescribed TO me and not BY me. I am scared of putting myself out there. I am scared that I am a fat, ugly slob that no one will ever think twice about, especially considering the baggage I have. I am scared that I will fall head over heels in love with someone who doesn't know my name. Most of all, I am scared that in feeling this, obsessing over not being alone, and being a big gigantic neurotic mess, that I will drive away those few life rafts that I have. No one wants a downer. Especially after almost 6 months.

So what do I do? Tell me universe, what wonderful message or experience can I pull from this situation, because right now I am going blank. I wish I could say that my identity was my own, and that I didn't need anyone but me to define myself, but everything about me says otherwise. I am a mother. I am a doula. I am a nursing student, soon to be a nurse. I am a friend. Everything about me is defined by my interactions with others. And ya know what? I like that about myself. I like knowing that I have been molded by my experiences with other people. It makes me feel connected and alive. And right now.....I feel offline, and out of touch. And it kinda stinks. So, I am sure this is normal. I am sure this is part of the course in front of me, and I am sure that I will get through this. I just hope I don't destroy friendships, opportunities, and myself in the  process.

Apr 16, 2011

Fat Mama

In an effort to be honest, I have been struggling lately with one thing - the fact that I am fat.

Now, before anyone tries to placate me, or tell me that it isn't so, I am not looking for a round of sympathy or pity. I am saying it because it's true. But I had a profound thought about this and I wanted to share it.

At the beginning of my marriage, I was at a wonderful weight for me. I felt good about myself, I liked myself naked, I was doing just fine. Then, our relationship got serious. Then we moved halfway across the country. THEN we got married. And then....some of the first big marital issues started to happen. Point is, things started out good, but stressful. Then, my marriage started to have more holes in it than swiss cheese, and that was just during the first two years. Lying, cheating, getting fired from a job for flirting with customers. You get the idea.

Leaving out a lot of details, good times and bad, we eventually after years of trying, got pregnant. I had a baby. I lost all of the baby weight and more almost immediately. Then, I gained it back. Very slowly at first. And then I gained more than the baby weight back. And then I gained a little bit more.

I had this thought about all of it. My weight, has always been in direct correlation with any bigger issues going on in my life. It's like a visible outward symptom of a bigger, deeper hurt. And as benign as this realization could be, it made me feel so extremely lost that I didn't quite know what to make of it. I mean, at what point did I not only lose control of my marriage, but of myself too? Why did I let this happen?

The good news, is that I am actually working on my weight right now, and it really doesn't feel like a chore most of the time. I have lost around 25lbs. And I am going to keep going until I am at a healthy weight range. I could say that it's so that I can find a new partner, or any number of other possible reasons. But really, it's just one more way that I can regain control of myself, and of my life.

And it feels really good.

Apr 12, 2011

Turn on the MIC!

I was having this realization just now - I had lost my voice in my marriage. Literally.

When you are so unhappy, and your marriage is such a mess, you start to lose sight of all the things you love. And for me, in this world, I am nearly euphoric when I am singing. During the last several years of our marriage, I never sang. Not in the car very often, not walking around the house, definitely not in the shower. But now, you can't get me to shut up (my poor friends!).

I think, for me, this is a good sign of moving forward, moving on, and becoming the person I want and need to be. It's not going to be easy, but honestly, surviving my divorce has been easier than overcoming my fears about truly singing in front of other people. I don't know if that's a good thing, if I am deflecting, or if it's just bad in general, but right now it feels right.

I hope I keep moving forward. Because honestly, at this point, there is no turning back.

Apr 10, 2011

A little background.

So, this whole Single Mom gig is very new. My husband and I separated in January. Over the last couple of months I have discovered some truly horrific things about the life I was supposedly living, and the only reason I am sharing them now is because there will likely be discussions about my divorce. And hey, background information always helps to round out the bigger picture.

Since I am a big fan of lists - here we go.

1) My husband asked me for the divorce....because he was dating someone else. He apparently did that quite a lot. Over the course of our 9 year marriage, he cheated with approximately 10 different women.

2) After informing me of said desire to part ways, he told me that my daughter and I were not allowed to live at the house, because he wanted it. I asked if we could stay through the weekend so that I could find somewhere for us to go and he said no. Now I did ask if during that weekend that he not be there, I figured he could go stay with his girlfriend, or his Mother, or any number of other family members that he has (and I don't - I have no family here). He wouldn't have that, so we had to leave town to go to my Mother's house with whatever I could squeeze into the minivan she came and saved me in.

3) We had some major custody battles, and finally have a schedule sorted out. It isn't without problems, and I am still battling the fact that he moved his girlfriend into our home almost immediately. He denies this, but it's sorta hard to say that she isn't when she is always there, sleeps there all the time, and leaves her stuff all over the place.

4) The rest is sorta private. At least for the purposes of this blog. But, let's just say, that this is the tip of iceberg.

So, what's a girl to do? Continue on with nursing school, graduate, and move on. Simple as that? Well of course not! The trials and tribulations of maneuvering a divorce are much more complicated than that. Not only that, but what ABOUT being a Single Mom? There are so many nuances to this new role that I never considered. And then there are the obvious ones - like Mama's got needs, or how do I pay the bills?

It's an interesting journey, but not one I would wish on my worst enemy. It's hard, and horrible, and yet it has been such a wonderfully liberating experience too. Truth be told, I wasn't happy. But I was loyal, loving and devoted. Having the wool pulled over your eyes for 10 years makes you re-evaluate yourself, and everything you have spent a decade committing yourself to. The one thing that I can be sure of is this - it might take two to be in a relationship, and two to mess it up, but that doesn't mean the ratio on that equation is 50:50. I have had to take a long hard look at my life, my marriage, my separation, and my role in all of that, and I am 100% comfortable saying that I was merely a spectator in the dissolution of my marriage. My husband led a double life and apparently for a few years a triple life (3 of us at the same time! Awesome!). And it hurts. A lot. But those are emotions best saved for a different post, on another day. 

So for today, I think that's enough baring of the ol' soul. I'm feeling a bit naked. It's hawt, I know. ;)

Let's do this.

So, I have this friend. We'll call her....Tattooed Mama. She and I are BFF's. With my separation and impending divorce, my friends have become my new family. She most assuredly has been a rock for me. So of course, when she recommended that I do a blog....well I had to oblige. My biggest worry is keeping up with it, and finding things to say that anyone will care about. I realize this is a weak little intro post, but that's fine with me. Hopefully, I will have something interesting to add after this afternoon.