Thursday, December 30, 2010

My year in rev…. ah, fuck it

It looks like everyone is putting up their end-of-year posts where they look back on 2010 and go over the big events of the year. They’re reviewing the good, the bad and the meh, and linking to their most popular posts.

So I thought: why not? I can do that. It’s been a big year.

Let’s see… big events. Hmmm, well, maybe best not to start with those. Okay, how about popular posts! Well, there’s this one here….ooh…maybe not that one, it’s kind of a downer. {Looking, looking} Hey, this one had a lot of hits! Oooh, no, crap, if people have to read that one more time they’ll staple their eyelids shut.

Enter the angel on my left shoulder. She says the generous thing to do would be to separate the wheat from the (considerable) chaff and just focus on all the wonderfulness of 2010. Then again as I sit here typing this and sipping my tumbler of NyQuil on the rocks, her voice is drowned out by that of her sister in red on my right shoulder who counters, “Seriously? Wouldn't you rather just take 2010 and flush it down the toilet? Erase from life’s hard drive? Adios, fucker.”

So, yeah. No. We’re moving straight into 2011. Because I've already decided that’s going to be my year.

2011 is my year to:

Take back my life
Move the hell away
Sleep peacefully at night
Conference in Syd-nay
Write a book or two
or just write and write and write
Reaquaint myself with joy
Take flight
Pierce the veil
Prevail
Exhale*

Thanks for sticking with me through that year we won’t mention. See you around the bend, my beautiful friends. xx


* Don't worry, I promise not to write sucky poetry in 2011.  We'll blame this on the tiny people arguing in my ears.



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Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Island - Please help

If you're in Australia, you're aware of the tragedy unfolding on Christmas Island.  If you here in America or elsewhere, you may not have heard the news.  A boat carrying about 90 asylum-seekers -- men, women and children of Iranian, Iraqi and Kurdish origin -- slammed into the cliffs of Christmas Island last week and nearly half the passengers have been lost at sea.  The boat was thought to be piloted by human traffic smugglers.  The survivors have been taken to a detention center on the island.

One woman in Melbourne, Louisa, has started a movement to collect gifts for the children at the detention center.  Several companies have made contributions of toys and other gifts.  BHF Couriers has agreed to ship the goods at cost and she is trying to raise the funds to pay for the shipping:  AU $930. She is halfway there.  She has a paypal widget on her site.  If you are able to make a donation, even a small one, every little bit helps.

The gifts will go to the children in the detention center.  Some have been there for quite some time.  Some are the new arrivals from the shipwreck.  Many from both groups have lost family members in the tragedy.

Whether you can donate or not, please feel free to grab this widget and put it up on your site.  Let's all do what we can. xo



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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Don't ask, doesn't matter, never did

Today marks a big step forward in American civil rights.  Today the Senate voted to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military.  The House passed the measure four days ago.  President Obama will sign the bill into law next week. The news was met with cheers and sighs of relief across the country. Welcome, my friends, to the land of the free.

I remember when "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was instituted during the Clinton era.  Clinton tried to lift the ban on gays serving openly, but the opposition was so strong that they came up with this compromise.  We just won't ask. Ignorance is bliss. As long as you're willing to deny your truth and pretend you're something you're not, we'll let you risk your life to protect us.

Pardon the sarcasm. Openly condoned prejudice makes me cranky.

I feel like I should say I'm proud of my country, or that it's progressive of us to repeal this ban, but that's not how I feel.  Don't get me wrong.  I am thrilled the ban was repealed.  I feel light and happy and I want to celebrate.  But to high-five our government would be a bit like congratulating the class bully for finally releasing his classmate from a chinlock.

Today a friend, Will, shared his own experience of serving in the military. He fought during the Gulf War and won the Bronze Star during Operation Desert Storm, as well as several other medals of merit. He served his country gratefully, risked his life, won honors for his bravery, and after eight years he was discharged because he decided he no longer wished to remain silent about his sexual orientation.  You can read his story here.  I had the pleasure of working alongside Will several years ago and know him to be a person of intelligence, kindness and integrity.  Why on earth would we not want someone like that representing us in such an important capacity?

As Will's story demonstrates so eloquently, by asking servicemen and women to hide such a basic part of their identity, the military both teaches and denies integrity at the same time.

I admit that with the exception of spiders in my kitchen, I'm pretty much a pacifist.  I don't like conflict of any kind and when it rears its head I like to put my fingers in my ears and say "la, la, la, la, la".  But I recognize the need for a military and I'm exceptionally thankful for the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us.  If someone feels the calling to serve in that capacity, it shouldn't matter to us, to Congress, to anyone at all whom they choose to love.  All that matters is that they are willing and qualifed, and for that we should only be grateful.


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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Photo shoot

I've had a few requests for professional quality photos recently.  And since, unlike previous requests, these weren't from anonymous men on the internet swearing I could become the next top model (and by the way, did I have a webcam!?), I thought I'd have some real photos taken.  By real photos, I mean not something snapped with a cell phone, which is what makes up my current photo collection.

So today I treated myself to a makeover and a professional photo shoot.  Merry Christmas to me.

It was a little disconcerting to see myself with a full face of makeup.  I usually just wear a bit of lipstick.  But it was fun.






Hey, now I have an author photo for the book I haven't written.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

13 things to do while on Vicodin


  • Sleep for four hours and then get up and aimlessly wander the house.
  • Deftly avoid children’s toys strategically left in places most likely to kill you, and then run into Christmas tree.
  • Stare at grooves in dining room columns. Because my god they’re fucking amazing.
  • Brush your lips.
  • Wash darks on hot.
  • Anything can be purchased online.  Sweet Mary, why haven't you thought of this before?
  • Admire pretty flame on gas stove.
  • Sleep.
  • Watch Oprah. Cry. Pick up phone and order six live koalas for children only to be told by man with sexy accent to fuck off.
  • Write a poem about flying.
  • When children come home, serve them cereal for dinner and turn on Scooby Doo.
  • Sleep.
  • Scratch head in confusion when 42 boxes show up on front porch a week later.

This post brought to you by my latest migraine. Remember, when taking prescription pain medication, one should never drive, operate heavy machinery or publish blog posts.


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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I just want to say...

To Elizabeth: your strength and unbelievable grace in the face of so much adversity was an inspiration. What an amazing woman. Your loss is felt by an entire nation. I hope that you are able to hold your son once again.


To asshat politicians who can justify cheating on their wives who are dying of breast cancer (and father a child in the bargain): karma’s a bitch.

To Lori: don’t ever think your words are inconsequential. Words are incredibly powerful. They have the power to wound or, in this case, the power to heal. Your words, and your friendship, mean the world to me.


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Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the month

That's right, it's AMB blog carnival time again! You were thinking I was going to say something else, weren't you?

Zoey at Goodgoog is our holiday hostess for December.  She's gathered together the best posts from November written by our AMB members and has posted them on her site. Go have a read. While you're there give her a tweet and a stumble.

Not much mistletoeing going on, but we are trimming the tree today. Afterwards I'm going to kick back in front of the fire and check out some of these wonderful posts.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

We are good mothers

What is it about us mothers? We are hard-wired to suck up guilt like a sponge.

I keep reading posts with a similar theme. Women writing about the push-pull of blogging and motherhood. On the one hand our every day is filled with the care of our children. We wash their clothes, pack their lunches, love them with abandon, clean up their vomit, cry at their school plays and extract for them another ounce of our soul. It is exhausting and satisfying and all-consuming. On the other had we have discovered in blogging something we love. We have written about our fears and passions and let our humor show and lo, others have responded wonderfully. They’ve laughed with us, and offered support and understanding. We’ve forged new friendships. It’s exhilarating and satisfying and fulfills a need for connection and self-expression we didn’t even realize we had.

At some point, these two worlds collide. If we’re spending more time blogging, we’re spending less time doing something else. Perhaps it’s watching TV, but it may also be housecleaning or making home-cooked meals or spending time with our family. Perhaps our spouse or kids are calling us out. Hence the guilt and post after post about needing to step back from blogging.

I get that. I struggle with the same thing. I’ve written before about the elusive quest for balance. This has become even more challenging since I've become a single mother, juggling too many responsibilities, and my posts have become less frequent as a result.  The other day my children were sick with the stomach flu and I missed two days of work.  The second day I was supposed to present our agency's 2011 budget to the board finance committee.  I ended up conferencing in by phone, explaining the budget as I sat in bed with my children lying on either side of me.  My initial reaction was to feel guilty for missing the meeting, and then to feel guilty for working while my children were sick.  But then I stopped myself and thought: no, I'm not going to do this to myself.

And I'm not going to feel guilty about blogging either because I know this. Writing my truth has brought me back to life and made me a stronger person. Blogging has forged relationships that have quite honestly saved me these past months when my world fell apart. I was able to pull my kids out of a dangerous situation in part because I drew strength and support from this community.

No, we are not superwomen, no we can't clone ourselves and be everything to everyone at all times. That is reality. But we need to feed our souls as well as care for our homes and our children, and by feeding our souls we are doing our families a great service, even if they don't always see it that way.

Should we seek balance? Of course, and each of us needs to determine what that means in our individual lives. But please, don't take on all that guilt. We are simply trying to fill our need for connection and self-expression, which is normal and healthy. And we are good mothers.


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