soapbox

A question of discipline

A Facebook friend has a 14-year-old daughter and her husband, while she was working, took the daughter to see a horror film that was really probably not a good thing for the daughter to see. She was feeling pretty conflicted about it and asked for the opinions of other parents….

An opinion? Why yes I *do* have an opinion!  I know you are simply shocked to learn that…… 🙂

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I started writing my response and, well, decided it was way too long for a Facebook post on someone else’s timeline and so moved my reply here.

I did my very best to keep my kids away from things that I thought would harm them. When our oldest son was a toddler, my husband was out of work and so during the day, while at home with our child, he would watch anything at all he wanted to, thinking it would have no effect on our son. After a  time we noticed our son acting out more and more physically and I found out about my DH’s tv habits.

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This was one of the shows he was watching daily with our son…….

I asked him if we could try an experiment: for 6 weeks, while our son was around/awake only non-commercial kids-oriented television would be watched, saving ad-filled and adult oriented tv for night-time or when our son was out (like with Grandma). Within 2 weeks, we noticed a big and positive difference in our son’s behavior, and so we went on along that way with all 3 of our children.

So, my children were not permitted to watch PG-13 movies before they were 13, unless either one of us had seen it before and deemed it appropriate. I also had seen some scientific evidence that caffeine possibly can prevent kids from growing to their fullest height, so they were not allowed caffeinated drinks (sodas, teas, coffees,etc.) til they were 15.

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Of course, I was unable to enforce these rules when they would stay over at their friends’ houses, but I was very persistent at home. Oh and how they would argue and complain about how mean I was!!!! How stupid my rules were! Nobody else had such stupid rules and so on….

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When, in turn,each one of them came to me to really talk/discuss (not just complain) about why I had such rules, I would tell them 3 things:

1) My children are the most precious things in my life and I want the best for them, plus I’ve given a lot of thought as to what would be best for them – it’s not about a power struggle.

2) Ruhiyyih Khanum told the story of when she was young, she very much wanted to read a certain quite scandalous book and her mother refused to let her read it. Her mother gave the analogy of a pot that has been formed and dried, but hasn’t yet been fired in a kiln (the greenware stage). Anything can easily make a mark or a dent in that pot and that mark will be permanent. Young people are just like that greenware and until they have been fired in the kiln of life experience,it is better that they be protected ( all 3 of my kids had done some pottery so they knew that this was true).

 

3) When you attain the age of being able to do these things (13 for those movies and 15 for the caffeine), you will enjoy them a huge amount more than you would have if they had always been permitted to you. When you are young, those ages seem so very far away, and I know because I have been those ages – I have the perspective of age and I know that waiting will not harm you in any way. However, my rules and these protections, as stupid as they seem now, are truly a gift from me to you.

My youngest is now 18 and 2 of my 3 children have affirmed that those rules were “probably a good idea” and one of them even apologized to me for arguing with me about it AND that they had tried to stay a certain friend’s house very often so they could break these rules “behind my back”. This grown child of mine said that even then, he could see the benefit of the rules, as his friend didn’t have them and in many ways, it took away his childhood innocence too early. This same child also had nightmares for years about one scene in “Shaun of the Dead“. I’ve seen it and it isn’t really that bad, but he knows now that he saw it when he was too young and it made a big impression on him.

 

Your mileage my vary, but I am in a stand for enforcing such rules, and most of the time it’s no fun, lemme tell you. Once something is seen, it cannot be UNseen, not until somebody invents brain bleach or something, and your children are worth it. Innocence lost is exactly that – lost.

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I was never in a hurry for my kids to be grownups. Childhood is very short nowadays….

The purveyors of movies and tv advertising DO NOT CARE about what is best for your children, they care about your money; do not let them make your parenting decisions for you. We are the protectors of our children and also the educators – the responsibility is ours and the world will do all that it can to tell you just how uncool you are for doing your job.

Good luck!

soapbox

What a summer/what a bummer and What’s for dinner? (part 2 -long)

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(Click here for Part 1)

What’s For Dinner?

I make some really yummy things to eat, even now that I am a diabetic and have changed my eating habits so that I can keep my fingers and toes and such. But overall, I’m just an OK cook. My Dad and my brothers are people who really love to cook, they really show their love to others through their cooking. My Dad wakes up every day thinking about what he and Mom are gonna eat for dinner, which – given that my mother takes a fair amount of time & caffeine to really “wake up”- has led to 50 years of him accosting her most every morning, right when she gets up, and demanding to know what she wants for dinner, which leads to a very blank and confused expression on her face that I find pretty hilarious these days.

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Of course, Mom’s not wearing the hat or the beard…..

Now I might wake up thinking of food, but it’s a completed dish I’m thinking of, preferably one that could be conjured up and served immediately by the chef/butler we do not have. Since I’m the one who does the VAST majority of cooking around here, I have tried many different ways to make the decision of what we will eat easier, and some of them have helped. I admit that we go out to eat way too often, mainly because I just don’t wanna cook much at all anymore.  One of the things that has helped a bit has been subscribing to Blue Apron** for one week a month. Since I’ve been sick or gone so much this summer, I have not been eating the way I want to and need to, and we aren’t sitting down to dinner  together nearly as often. Fresh things are going bad in the fridge, mainly ‘cos I forget that I bought them. And there’s loads of things in the pantry that should be eaten as well. I’ve fallen into a very lazy & unthinking pattern about dinners around here that is not only costly to my wallet, but to my health. So here is my latest attempt to change this downward spiral & act like an adult-

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If you click on the picture, you can see it better. I’m just happy to have a reminder of what’s going on foodwise each day. Studmuffin would rather eat chicken than almost anything else on the planet, ‘cept maybe chocolate ice cream, so that’s why there’s so many “Chicken Somethings” in the plan.  I have a lot of cookbooks, for someone who’s meh about cooking, so I put in “Use a cookbook” in hopes that I might try something new; it could happen. My favorite innovation here *has* to be “Pantry Roulette” – go into the pantry and see what interesting thing could be made from what’s there and the older the better. Please feel free to try this out yerself, or put in the comments how you deal with the daily grind of ‘what’s for dinner?’ BTW, it’s Crockpot Chicken Teryaki tonight. See? Workin’ already.

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** If you don’t know what Blue Apron is, go to the website and check it out. I have some free meals from them to give away; let me know if you want to try Blue Apron in the comments section and if you live in the USA, I’ll send them your way.

Some Actual Good Things this summer

Singing with the band Kaleidoscope & becoming a much better keyboard player because the fellas let me play more and more, singing with One Human Family Workshop choir twice, been married to Studmuffin for TWENTY-EIGHT years, traveling to Dayton with Studmuffin, traveling to WV for the Studmuffin family reunion, the Force of Nature graduated from high school – in the top twenty of her class, taking the Force of Nature to Marion Military Institute for college, the Duke of Curl spent part of the summer working in Colorado, he came home and now is in school AND has a job, paid off a fairly large loan, going to Birmingham several times for Baha’i Ruhi Institute training, YARN! FABRIC!……there’s been good things, many good things.

THE END:A Real Grievance

The day after I wrote the previous post (The Gardening groove…) on this here blog, June 1st, my beloved dog Boris suddenly died. His sister Natasha has been ill/dying with a chronic parasitic infection for the last 3 years and we thought for certain, she would be gone first. We know their deaths are coming – they are 13 or 14 years old, and for their kind of dog to make it past 15 is quite rare, so we know it is gonna happen within the next 2 years certainly. Natasha, whom I have nicknamed “the Crypt Keeper” because she looks so bad – patchy fur, flaking skin and so skinny – is still living and quite happy. She gets all the treats now.

I has a sad....

I has a sad….

I think he ate something he shouldn’t have – probably some poisonous vegetation. He always loved to eat leaves and green things. I planted zinnias every year, not because I’m fond of them, but because Boris loved to nibble the leaves so much. Others have told me that Labradors tend to get stomach cancer and that is possible, too.  I did not realize just how sick he was until about 2 hours before he passed away; I spent about 5 or 6 hours that day driving the Duke of Curl to and from his dr.’s appointment in Birmingham; I would not have done that had I known that Boris was dying. We buried him next to Bluto^^ that night, and a week later I planted zinnias on his grave.

We won’t be getting another dog while Natasha lives; she’s elderly and sick, but she was the less dependent of the 2 and I think adjusting to a new dog would be hard on her. I will rescue more dogs after she’s gone, mainly because of this video: Shy Shelter Dog gets Adopted. But it will be a while. Emmy the cat was sick this last week with a bad cold and it brought it all back.

Boris was the dog of my heart and life is really not the same without him for me. I am reminded of him everywhere in our house and yard and all the streets nearby. It’s been nearly four months and I’m still grieving, which of course, I have mixed feelings about. There are so many terrible things happening in the world all over, and I’m crying about a dog. A dog who had a seriously wonderful life, who I was privileged to have in my family since he and Tasha were 4 months old. All I can say is that grief is the price of love and buddy, your death is costing me a fortune. You were the BEST dog for me and none of us will ever forget you. Thank you Borisman.

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^^Bluto adopted us in the early Summer 1997 (est. 3 yrs old) – died January 7, 2010

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What a summer/what a bummer and what’s for dinner? (part 1 -long post)

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This has been one for the books. So let’s jump right into the whingeing, shall I?

Illness

So I’ve spent a fair bit of time this summer being sick and recovering from being sick. The only reason I’ve time to write today is because I have a cold and I don’t wanna give it to others, so I can’t go and do things, but I’m not so sick I’m gonna stay in bed all day. Studmuffin has had this cold far worse than I – I think I’ll be fine by Friday.

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feeling yucky….

No, the mostest, worstest sickness I got was for about the first 2 weeks of August. High fever, then mega-chills, all over aches – I mean even my eyelashes hurt when I blinked. And I could not sleep for more than 30 mins to a hour at a time for nearly 2 weeks. I even went to the doctor, knowing that he probably could not help – it was a virus I was certain- but if it was one of the ‘named’ viruses*, I could be at least a public health statistic. But no dice – no help and an un-named virus, but he still took my co-pay (which has gone up about 30%) and suggested I come back in a few days if I was still sick. HAH!  I really considered going to the hospital, but then I remembered 2 things: I never get any rest in the hospital -someone always wants to ask you something or stick a needle into you the moment you’ve dropped off to sleep, and hospital stays are very expensive.

A friend from the next town over was in the process of dying, and I had previously promised his wife that I would sing at his funeral. He passed away & I was too sick to even go to the funeral, much less sing.  This is something I will regret for the rest of my life. Though I am very thankful that Studmuffin went in my place. No, he did not sing.

I lost 15 lbs. in 12 days I was so sick. I cannot ever remember feeling worse….and I was sick for all 9 months of my last pregnancy!

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*Zika, Swine, H1N1,Bird, Spanish,Influenza and so on

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(more…)

Yes, the past matters. A BUNCH.

I was reading this good article about Woodrow Wilson’s legacy at Princeton (The Chronicle: Don’t Repress the Past ).  I sometimes read the comments, though sometimes that *Really* isn’t a good idea because people will say the most awful things to one another sometimes.  However, I came across this and it really sparked something in me. Here it is:

“Why. Who is being ‘degraded’ by having a building named after W. Wilson. I am no fan of the late POTUS but give it a rest. It was almost 100 years ago. Isn’t there a statute of limitation on this kind of thing? “

IMO & my experience, I think there are lots of people who feel this way, and I wanted to give a somewhat serious response, which is below. Don’t worry, there will be knitting content in the next post, I imagine. 🙂

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I replied:

Ummm. No. There isn’t a statute of limitations, so long as we teach US History and deem it useful. What kids in the US – to this day!- haven’t heard “Remember the Alamo!” Or what about all those much more recent memorials for 9/11 that say “Never forget!”? Or is it just that those who have been oppressed should forget?

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And who is being degraded, you ask? Every single one of us who considers ourselves an American, regardless of race, religion, creed, or origin.  Perpetuating lies when we know better/different – because it’s more comfortable and/or easier for some – makes us all accomplices to those lies AND it continues the wounding the wronged.

Here’s an analogy that may be useful in better understanding this issue. Just imagine if your whole life growing up, people told lies about your family. These lies are a hundred years old, but people still tell them. You know that what people say is not true, but the majority of the people you interact with, day in & day out, believe those lies to be true. When new people meet you, they hear your last name and they immediately say, “Oh are you one of that family?”  referring to your family’s untrue but widespread reputation. If they don’t ask out loud, it is clear from the look on their faces, that they are thinking about those lies, and it affects they way they treat you.  People you know well and have come to trust have learned that these lies are not true, mainly because you have taken the time to educate them, and to show them the proof that they are untrue. You do it, so you won’t go nuts, but you get damn tired of having to prove yourself over and over again to everyone. If an opportunity came along to educate the vast majority of people, to prove that the lies are untrue, do you think that you would take that opportunity?  Or would you listen to those who say,”Just forget about it. It’s untrue anyway. What’s the big deal? That was all a long time ago….”

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In the instance of the buildings, YOU may not care because it wasn’t you that has been wronged, but to those who have been wronged (and continue to be), it . does matter and it will continue to matter.

 

This lengthy blog pause has been brought to you by…..

….a whole bunch of things – let’s call it a life tsunami..perhaps tsunami is too big, the wrong scale for what’s been happening, but I’ve been really SWAMPED and overwhelmed.the-wave

I’ve been missing y’all though. So even though my darling readers (both of you) really deserve an extensive update, I’ve not got it in me.  Still, going with the idea that something is better than nothing here’s what I can give tonight: BULLETS.

  • My mobility from the end of February to early August was next to nothing – lots of pain & very hard to get around at all. That, coupled with increasing incontinence (I know – TMI!- but hey….), made gardening this season a joke – even with 2 beautiful keyhole gardens. That’s why no gardening speak on de blog. Sorry ’bout that. I hope to talk some about the garden in the next month, including the story of what happens If You Ask an Engineer to Design a Bean Trellis….
  • Modern medicine to the rescue -I got a steroid shot in the right ankle & another pill to take (vastly decreasing the incontinence(!) at the end of July and therefore was able to go on the first One Human Family Workshop Choir Harvest Tour – the first one in 9 years by my count. The ankle is still going pretty good and I no longer have to carry a towel and a spare set of clothes with everywhere I go…..

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  • Sang way too many low notes on tour ( I spent a good deal of time singing BASS – can you say ‘stoopid’? – & then talked my face off til 2 and 3 and nearly 4 am most nights…so the voice was TOAST when I got back home.  Then I got summer bronchitis….still coughing up nasty stuff 3 weeks after the course of antibiotics and do not have my high notes back yet…..
  • Celebrated TWENTY YEARS of NOT SMOKING on Labor Day weekend. Thank you God so much.
  • I’m still knitting on my Shaelyn shawl…which I’m thinking I will give to a dear friend instead of it being for me.  I had to tink back about 8 or 9 rows because of some really stoopid mistakes, but all is well and if I really knit on it every day I’ll have the knitting done in 5 to 7 days.
  • I’m most of the way thru the foot of a sock in a retina searingly bright neon sock yarn ( I just realized I have not even put a project page in Ravelry for this yet….aack!) and gonna try out the Fish Lips Kiss Heel on this pair.
  • I’m on a hat kick…again.  I’ve made 8 hats since January – here’s a few:      .. . . …. I’ve got one on the needles right now in lovely squishy Brioche stitch and gonna make AT LEAST 5 more pretty soon.  More & better pictures will happen…at some point. STOP LAUGHING!
  • Number One Son is supposed to move from NYC to Northern Virginia soon.  I hope all goes well.
  • The Duke of Curl was supposed to start college this fall as a computer science major, but decided at the absolute very last minute NOT to take on the $10,000 debt( and not allow us to take it on either) that would’ve been necessary for that to happen.  SO he will start at community college in January and is currently looking for work and generally being a sweet fella to be around.
  • The Force of Nature is focused on going into the Coast Guard after graduation from HS in a couple of years – more specifically the Coast Guard Academy and has been visibly doing HOMEWORK and has started running for actual exercise 3 days a week; she informed me today that she is on the A/B honor roll.  We are beginning to think some kind of alien abduction/ switcheroo kind of thing took place while we were in the bathroom probably…..
  • Studmuffin is still sticking with most of my dietary changes and so has lost about 25 pounds.  He has also discovered a deep and voracious love for grapes. Eating about 5 lbs. per week with little help from the rest of us.  I’m not complaining – just a bit amused.
  • The last 3 weekends I was off doing singing things – that’s an unusually high ratio even for me. I will write about 2 of the weekends for sure and soon.
  • The pets are endlessly amusing and every one of them sheds a bunch.  I am sick and TIRED of hair control….. Still, they continue to be charming. Currently, the are two cats surrounding the keyboard, the younger one keeps tryna lick my fingers and then licks the older cat’s head…..weird.
  • My potential career as a 911 dispatcher was cut short by my inability to type 35 wpm (I got 34 wpm) ::::sigh:::::  Need to find some employment – orthodontics aren’t cheap and neither is college tuition.  Plus, we need a new roof and well, you get the idea.
  • Work on the book is ongoing but slow. I am determined to get a first draft completed by the end of December!!!  Of 2014!!!
  • I’ve been flirting with sewing clothing again.  I’ve bought fabric and patterns at least….very little sewing has occurred.
  • Been practicing the piano most days for a good bit of time ( guess what? If you practice, you get better! who knew?)and have the opportunity to do a couple of house concerts too. We’ll see…….
  • I have been horrified at the killing of unarmed black people by the police for some time – I really became aware of Driving While Black about 20-25 years ago and started learning a lot from there on in. This summer has been truly remarkable (and mostly not in a good way) for the 1) wealth of information about white police officers killing/tasering black people with impunity, 2) the staggering naivete/ignorance/apathy of most white people about how different life is for black people in the US especially when it comes to law enforcement, and yes, I am gonna write about it here too.      albert einstein                                 I’ve been sharing a lot on Facebook about it and some people close to me really do not like it but I cannot be silent about it!  Even on my knitting blog. I encourage absolutely every person on the planet to investigate what is happening for themselves – do not take “the media’s” word, do not take the police’s word, do not take my word for it – learn about it for yourself. The truth will set us all free and then justice can take place and then unity will appear.

So much for brevity.  How’s by you?

Are you being yerself?

Reblogged from here  (I do have stuff to write about, but this felt plenty eloquent to me & I wanted to share it.  Love, Helen)

How much of yourself are you?  Do you feel like you are surrounded by people with whom you can be yourself? When’s the last moment when you feel that you were  yourself? ….

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of being yourself versus not being yourself.  I know that’s a bit silly.  You are who you are and therefore, you are yourself, correct?

Maybe. In life, no one ever comes out and directly says to you: “Don’t Be Yourself.”  But I feel it’s a message that we receive every day, not just from others but also from ourselves.  Many choices we make in life support the concept of “don’t be yourself” because, in many ways, we begin to think that we’re not good enough.  That we are lacking.  And to overcome the lack and to increase our worth, we must make up the perceived deficit by pretending and acting like we are someone other than who we really are.

When we choose not to be ourselves, we think we are gaining.  Gaining approval and accolades from others. Gaining respect.  Gaining the worth that we think we need to fill up the empty space inside us that results from not being ourselves. But do we really gain?

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I think no.  I think we lose.  I think of times when I stopped laughing so that it wouldn’t seem like I was out of line, when I stopped crying because I didn’t want my tears to be a bother to anyone, when I stopped choosing what I loved in order to take steps up a ladder that maybe I never really wanted to climb. When you choose to be yourself, you have to choose to be okay with being yourself.  You have to choose yourself over and over again.  It can feel vulnerable to be yourself, and re-open the door to what other people think about you (what people like about you can take you just as much away from your real self as what they dislike about you.)

Woman Standing at Fun House Mirror      OR           beyou2

I’ve been practicing being myself more often.  Choosing howI am more often over how I am not. Being more aware of when I make either choice, and how it feels when I choose one way over the other. When I choose myself, it feels good, and that’s a good incentive to keep trying it out.  I am comforted by the idea that by being who I am, I will attract all the people into my life who love me for me, not for who they do or don’t want me to be.

In my imaginative, creative, romanticized world, I have a lot of ideals and philosophy.  I also have a bit of reality mixed in there, and I know that it’s probably within the reality that messages like this one connect.  It’s easy for me to say….”just be yourself,” but I know that years of choosing otherwise might make that a difficult starting point.  What if you don’t even know who you are?  What if you’ve shifted into neutral for so long that you don’t know what it means?

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I recently shared a quote with a friend that said: “do what brings you more joy,” and he laughed and said, “easier said than done, what if I don’t know what brings me joy in the first place?” So, here are some possible starting points for you.

  • First, think about who you were as a child and what you really loved to do.
  • Second, think about the last time you felt a bit of positive emotion in your life and see if you can reconnect to what it was that generated that feeling for you.
  • Third, just start listening to yourself.  The signals may be hard to pick up on at first but the more you listen, the more you’ll start to feel…oh, I like this, oh I love this, oh, I want more of this.
  • Fourth, give in just once in a while.  Laugh when you want to laugh, sing when you want to sing, cry when you want to cry.

Just be yourself.

-Rachel

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Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Now let’s do something else that’s meaningful.

Is everybody good? Fat n’ happy?   Coming down from the high (pie-induced) of Christmas?

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Remember this book? So sweet.

Good.

I asked Studmuffin to write a family update (read last year’s here), and he did think of some things to say, but would not SHARE. Hmpf. Now he & the Force of Nature are in West Virginia visiting Grandmamma – the Duke of Curl & I have to work. So I guess no funny letter for 2013.

So this noontime I’ve been paying bills and sending $ donations to our favorite charity – Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders.  Some years ago, Grandmamma started giving a donation to Catholic Charities instead of giving us Christmas gifts; a change I welcomed! Goodness knows I keep us well-supplied with mountains of stuff….  Studmuffin has 5 siblings and several of them send us lovely things – pears, cookies, meats & cheeses – every year for Christmas. We don’t do it every year, but when we do give something, we give a donation in their honor to a charity we like. In the past, we chose:  CARE, Habitat for Humanity & Direct Relief.

We like to use different ones – not that we give huge amounts (I wish!).  There is SO MUCH need and giving money to these VERY worthy organizations adds much meaning to this season for me.

Stepping up now

Stepping up now

I encourage you to do the same!  We chose  Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders because they are working in all those places you hear about in the news where TERRIBLE things are happening.   You can let all that stuff make feel powerless, guilty, cynical and depressed OR you can give some scratch; the choice is all yours.   And they are doing AMAZING work – even if you don’t/won’t/can’t give, take a little time and read some of the blog posts from the volunteers and patients. LOOK HERE.  It will do you good, I promise!

::::STEPPING DOWN NOW::::

Not much knitting is happening because of the KITTEN.  She is loads of fun and FEROCIOUS.  I’ll tell much more about her in a later post. But I do promise actual knitting photos soon….and gardening stuff too!  I know – you gotta SIT DOWN because of all the EXCITEMENT…..

Have a terrific 2014 everyone. Lemme hear from you at some point. 🙂

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