Monday, June 27, 2011

Home, not-so-sweet home

Today I have an article appearing In The Powderoom. We usually think of our home as a safe haven, but they asked me to write about it from the perpective of one who has experienced otherwise.

It's a very short piece and I hope you take a moment to read it. If you like the article, there are Facebook and Twitter share buttons at the bottom.  Thanks. x

Here's a link.





Saturday, June 25, 2011

New Yawk, New Yawk!

Lawmakers in New York voted late yesterday to legalize same-sex marriage, making it the sixth and largest state in the U.S. to recognize the rights of gays and lesbians to marry their same-sex partners. The vote was an emotional and hotly contested one, as is always the case anytime the issue of gay rights meets a legislative body.


New York's Catholic Bishops issued the statement, “The passage by the Legislature of a bill to alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage leaves us deeply disappointed and troubled.”

 
In the end, the vote passed by a slim margin and New Yorkers (the 59% who supported the measure) and supporters across the U.S. celebrated the victory.

 
I spent the evening woo-hooing with friends (on Facebook, of course). It's always a great accomplishment when those in our nation can cleave together and recognize deep and highly-nuanced concepts. Like, you know, sometimes one human being falls in love with another human being and they want to shack up together. And wouldn't it be nice to have the same recognition and legal rights as all the other couples shacking up around them?

 
The right to marry makes it easier to access a number of other rights and benefits, such as inheritance, employment/health care benefits, medical power of attorney, life insurance, social security, taxation and let's not forget the right to divorce.

 
I've never understood the resistance to homosexuality. There are so many messed up things going on in this world of ours. So, so many. Why get worked up over two people loving each other? Isn't that what we're here to do?

 
Now, if you don't mind, I'm going back to celebrating with my friends. In fact, I'm so excited about this I may just switch teams and head east, if only so I can finally get a $%@!*# divorce.

 
Rock on New York. We love you.



Friday, June 24, 2011

Do you mind? I'm in the powder room

Hello, still here. I've been under a rock for most of the last week, taking a blogging-twitter-facebook vacation. Kinda nice. My email has been sadly neglected, too. If you're waiting for a reply from me, sorry. You're not alone. Bad me.

I had an email recently from an editor at In the Powder Room asking if I'd contribute an article to their site (of course I would -- it's coming out Monday). When I popped over to take a look at their site I saw some familiar faces.  Did you know that Lori from Random Ramblings of a SAHM is one of the finalists for their permanent blogger competition? She is. It's a paying gig, and a cool one. The winner is chosen by votes. You can pop over and vote for her (you need to send an email to feedback@inthepowderroom.com with RRSAHM in the subject line). Easy peasy. You can go here for more deets.

But wait! That's not all. There's more. Did you know that Glen from Glen's Life is giving advice to the women on the site? 'Tis so. I loved his piece. You need to go read it.

Well???

Whaddya waiting for? Git!!




Photo from Harpers
(I turned down their cover story, so they went with this chickie)



Monday, June 20, 2011

Blogus Carnivalus

Ooh! It's that time of the month again. No, not that time. Time for the Digital Parents blog carnival. And guess who's hosting June's carnival? None other than the fantabulous carnival creator herself, Brenda at Mummytime. After creating it, she crowned me Carnival High Preistess, which means that if you want in on the hosting action, despite what Brenda says, you need to send your bribes to ME (now accepting cash, paypal donations, dark chocolate and Qantas tickets). Or, you can just go to the Blog Carnival page at Digital Parents and sign up there. We're scheduling into late 2012 (yeah, we're that popular)!

Not a member of Digital Parents? Go sign up now. It's a site for Australian blogging parents. And those of us who are faux-Aussie enough to infiltrate. Their border patrol is pretty lax. Bet you can get in too.

But for now, pour yourself a cuppa and head over to Brenda's house for some good reading. My post Soul Mates is featured this month. Just click the button below.



Digital Parents Blog Carnival



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Use SEO keywords to take your blog to the next level

I know you're used to coming to Wanderlust to hear me wax on about social causes or see pictures of my adorable children or, in the good old days, read about naked rugby, but today I'm going to do something a little different. Today I'm totally in a giving back mood.

I've been combing through some of the most popular google search terms that land people on my blog and I'm going to share them with you, along with an analysis of what I've learned from them. Here are some from the past few days:

Things to do while on Vicodin – Aside from 'Wanderlust', probably my number one search phrase. I get this several times a day. If, like me, you suffer from killer migraines, you're in luck. Write a post, like this one, on what you like to do while hopped up on painkillers. Title it appropriately using the most common SEO-friendly narcotic search terms. If you don't have a chronic health condition or injury that requires prescription painkillers, you might want to try drinking that bottle of Stoli vodka you've been saving for a special occasion and then going to town on the band saw.

Painting of dead woman in lake – This is one I now get several times a day after writing this post. Who knew this was such a popular painting? And what kind of freaks sit around and google this all day? Anyway, to take advantage of this one, write a post about your ex who's into dead chicks. If, like 99.8% of the population, this doesn't describe you, feel free to write about me and score some SEO points. I'm always happy to take one for the team.

Sex in Bhutan – Seriously? People actually google this? They do. Several times a week. You see, once I wrote a post about a Facebook conversation that started out with a rabbi talking about Seder in Bhutan and ended up being about my friend Amy Leigh's sex life. And then you end up with all kinds of weirdos finding your blog. Cool. Moral of the story: People will google anything + sex.

Copulating snowmen – also courtesy of a post about Amy Leigh.

Nice vulva – Why thank you.

You sat on my tits – Don't you secretly want to know who is googling some of this stuff? Yeah, me neither. Suffice it to say, if you ever write about your ta-tas, you'll get google hits. Moth to the flame, moth to the flame.


I think the obvious conclusions we can draw from this anecdotal analysis of SEO keywords is that google is basically used by people looking for sex, drugs and the occasional macabre painting. Someone may accidentally mistype a word now and then and end up on our blogs (“Woogsword? Crap, meant to type Boobworld”) but otherwise we need to pepper our posts with high-ranking SEO keywords from the trifecta of sin.

There you have it folks. Sit back. Watch the hits roll in. And for heaven's sake, stop posting pictures of your kids because god only knows what kind of freaks you're going to have crawling all over your blog now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

DV awareness event and interview

Melody: Who are your heroes? Who inspires you to push for change?


Kristin: I am inspired by everyday people who have been through trauma or personal tragedy, of any sort, and have gotten back up on their feet afterward and kept moving forwards. Who have remained open and honest and used their challenges to develop compassion for others. Who despite the wounding words of others, have learned to listen to and respect their own truth. Who understand that life is not about counting your wins and losses, but simply about learning to love.


What's that all about?

It's a short excerpt from an interview I did yesterday with BrooWaHa to discuss the important issue of Domestic Violence. BrooWaHa is associated with Blogcatalog and I'm working with the staff there to put together a DV awareness event set to take place in a few months in conjunction with BloggersUnite. We're still drawing up the details, but once they're finalized, I'll announce them here. I'm going to be an ambassador for the event and will be encouraging other bloggers to participate. I hope you'll consider posting about DV for the event. I have a fantastic giveaway lined up to kick it off, so stay tuned!


You can read the entire interview here.

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback yesterday on my last post. I think I'm going to make the theme just about "sharing the love" and have bloggers link up posts that focus on anyone, themselves or someone else, doing something to benefit another. That way you can post about a favorite cause, another blogger, or your own experience. Simple. More on that later.

And more on the BloggersUnite / DV event as details are fleshed out. I'm so very excited about this!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gauging interest

Do you remember this post I put up for International Day of Compassion? Where we wrote messages on balloons and let them go in the hopes they would find the people who most needed them? The kids and I really enjoyed doing that and I decided it's something I want to do on a regular basis. Not necessarily the same thing, but something, anything, that is done for someone else, to make them smile. Because the act of giving takes us outside of ourselves and whatever our concerns and anxieties of that moment are and lifts us into joy. It's win-win.

So I was thinking of starting a monthly link-up that would encourage others to do something like this and write about it. I want to know what the experience is like for you. I've read other posts around the web on this subject and I find them so uplifting. I find myself wanting to read more. Here are a few examples.

Eden waltzes into the cancer ward of her local hospital and replaces their boring paintings with colorful, vibrant art that bedridden patients will actually want to stare at all day (I know I've linked this before, but I love it so much)

After posting about a homeless vet she often sees who was having a particularly difficult time, Tricia and some of her friends put together a care package for him.

Louisa starts an internet movement to gather and deliver gifts for the children of refugees on Christmas Island after a shipwreck kills many of their family members.

These bloggers really went out of their way to turn life around for others. But for the link-up, it doesn't have to be a big production. It can be as simple as complimenting a stranger or leaving chocolate on someone's desk. Or it can be a big deal. Whatever strikes your fancy.

So I'm curious. Is this something you would be interested in participating in? If I set up a time next week for the linky, would you be in?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Opposite day in Kansas


Did you read Mrs Woog's post on opposite day earlier this week? Of course you did. Everyone who's anyone reads Woogsworld. She leads a pretty cool life, doesn't she? Yes, but not quite as cool as opposite day here in Kansas.

Observe.

In the morning I sip coffee in bed as the kids ready themselves for school, picking out their own weather-appropriate outfits and never forgetting clean underwear. We enjoy a nutritious breakfast that includes fruit flavoring.

I open the newspaper to learn that the state has gone blue in the last elections, the forecast includes no severe weather warnings and Qantas has slashed their fares by 75%.

Anna is dropped off for school at a time that does not require her to practice the 100-yard dash to make it to her class before the bell rings and Daniel has no chocolate around his mouth. Because he doesn't eat chocolate cereal for breakfast. He eats fruit.

Having the day off from work and an unusually large balance in my checking account, I decide to shop for some outfits for my upcoming book tour of London/Vienna/Rome/Singapore/Perth/Sydney. Seeing as I no longer fit into anything in my closet, svelte thing that I am. Besides, I have all the time in the world, secure in the knowledge that the house is spotless, the dishwasher empty and the laundry folded and put neatly away. As always.

After cramming all the new packages into my trunk, I have time for a quick 1.5 hour massage before heading off to pick up the kids from school. On the drive home traffic is light as I weave my way among the small, fuel-efficient cars whose friendly drivers not on cell phones pull to the side with a wave to let me pass.

The kids are quiet and polite on the drive home. Anna doesn't make any condescending remarks to her brother about his pronunciation of the word 'onion' and in return, he does not take his shoe off and throw it at her. When I ask them what they learned in school that day they answer in unison, “Why, the basics of evolution, of course.”

I drop the kids off at a friends' house for their weekend-long sleepover, kiss them goodbye, go home, pop open a vintage bottle of red and have mind-blowing sex with someone other than myself.

That is all.


* * * * *


By the way, today is the day that all the private emails between Woog and I are going to be released to the public. The fact that it has taken three years for us to get around to releasing them should not arouse suspicion. Neither should the fact that I have only known her just over a year. Instead of releasing them electronically, we've decided to distribute cuneiform tablets to six different media sources, as determined by the Magic 8 Ball.

We will be in Bali when the headlines start appearing.

Ciao



Thursday, June 9, 2011

All the cool people

Sit down and prepare for another post on how much the blogging world rocks. Connections made, friendships formed, all that stuff.

Do you know Toni, over at Chick Chat? Toni lives in Western Australia, about as far from Kansas as you can get. Yet she has been a beautiful and unwavering friend and source of support over the past year.  She checks in periodically, leaves the most gorgeous comments on my posts and best of all, keeps me in stitches with her humor. She's even offered to open up her home to me and the kids, should we ever need a place to stay.

I've never met Toni face to face. We only know each other online. Behold the power of blogging.

Two days ago a package arrived in the mail from Western Australia. Inside was a tiny little box. Teeny tiny.





Hmmm... someone knows I've been a little homesick for my other home.

Inside the box...





I've been clicking them ever since.

I love you Toni. You're amazing. xx

This isn't the first time she's sent me something. Last fall, after I was assaulted and the criminal investigation was new and raw, when I was reeling and still figuring out how to talk about what was happening, she sent me one of her little creations.












Can you read that?

A tissue to dry your tears
A bandaid to heal your hurts
A candle to light your way in the dark...

The box was filled with little miniature items, all of which held some significance to my situation. They are still significant.  My favorite is this:




Some words, in case you lose yours again.

I've kept that box on my nightstand ever since I got it, about nine months ago. I treasure it. When I see it, it brings me comfort. When it seems like this case will never come to a close, it reminds me to hold out hope. When I feel alone, it helps me feel less so.

I swear, I know all the cool people.



Thursday, June 2, 2011

A different kind of prison

The other day the doorbell rang and I actually answered it -- which is not something I always do, it's usually solicitors -- and it was a solicitor. Since she was selling something I was halfway interested in, I invited her in. We got to talking. And talking, and talking. This stranger and I, we ended up sharing our most personal stories. As one does with solicitors.

She had recently moved here from another state. She was making a fresh start. Why? Because in the small town where she used to live she walked outside her condo one day and encountered her neighbor, who had been drinking. He ended up making a sexual advance, which she refused, and he threw her on the ground and beat her. He bashed her head several times and left her there, in the snow.

Her abuser was charged with the crime. It took a year for it to go to trial. During that year she had to live in the same small town as this man. She was accused by the man's wife of instigating the attack by dressing provocatively and "clawing his neck" (there were defense wounds from when she tried to push him away as he was bashing her head).

The woman missed a great deal of work as she was recovering and after several months finally experienced an emotional breakdown. She went to stay with family where she stayed in bed and slept for several weeks running. She said she was incapable of doing anything else. Although she didn't seek treatment, I recognized what she was describing as classic symptoms of PTSD. To this day, she still has nightmares and flashbacks.

When the case finally came up for trial the assailant's attorney negotiated a lesser plea and the man ended up spending a week in jail.

A week.

At this point the woman chose to move to another state.

* * * *

Ever since my husband's investigation opened and, concurrently, our divorce stalled, I feel like I've lived in a prison. I can't move from this house. I can't start anew like I was so ready to do. I look across the ocean and I see my life moving forward without me. I live every day in fear.

My timeline for change, for comfort, for financial stability, for security, for safety, for peace of mind... it is determined now by the pace at which this investigation moves forward.

Have you ever lived every day in fear? For months on end? Been the target of rage? Been threatened? And all the while you must carry on with daily life and all it's responsibilities.  It's a kind of oppression I wouldn't wish on anyone.

* * * *

When I wrote this post on crime and accountability and prison, the quite brilliant Steve made the following comment. He said:

"I think too much is made of how bad our prison systems are and not enough made about the emotional prisons of the victims of crime around the world who never ever have a release date."

I think that pretty much sums up what I want to say. And there are so many victims of crime. Not just those directly victimized (in the case of child pornography it would be the children exploited through sexually explicit video and photography). But the wives and sons and daughters of the perpetrators whose lives are thrown into chaos and forever changed as a result of the crime.

What of the women who can't sleep at night or who must sit and calm their breathing before walking across an empty parking lot to their car? Or who leave behind an entire life just to erase the memories?

What of the children who grow up believing their only worth is their sexual image?

What of the children who grow up without a father?

Who is tallying the cost of what they have lost?

There are many kinds of prisons in this world. It it my hope that we, as a society, begin to recognize this and offer keys to all the innocent victims of crime so that they, too, may someday claim their freedom.







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