Thursday, November 29, 2012

Look around and see the moment. . .

Yep, Angel has another rant spewing from her fingertips. . . . . my rant of the day - ipads/smartphones/cellphones.  You all know what I am talking about!  Those portable devices that allow us to be anywhere while we are texting/talking/web surfing. 

I love my internet as much as the next guy.  I get my hour or two in the am, and an hour or two in the pm.  I am embarrassed to admit the amount of time I spent stalking people on f-book, or window shopping at on-line Macy's to see if that dress I want is cheap enough for me to buy yet.  I have an addiction to the internet and I am trying to break it.  So maybe this rant is the pot calling the kettle black - who knows - but, when I am sitting down at the dinner table with my kids I am at that table with my kids.  When I am at the park with my kids I am actually there with my kids.  When I am driving my car I am actually looking around in traffic and driving. 

What kind of a society are we becoming where we HAVE to stay connected like this?  I have rules for my kids - no screen time between 8 and 8 (although technically Gabe's virtual school is screen time - I somehow don't count that - pot and kettle again).  During the day my kids have to be living.  Playing.  Interacting face to face with people.  We need these rules for adults too. 

At the park I see people constantly texting or playing a game or something on their i-something or other.  What the heck is so important?  Your kid is in front of you calling for you to see them do that flip they have done a thousand times - be a parent and watch them for Pete sake.  You created that kid - they didn't ask to be here - so give them some attention! 

If you are at the dinner table eating with your family and here a text bing - don't answer it!!!!  You are having dinner with your family!  Unless you are a doctor that needs to be contacted at a moments notice then nothing in the text is that important! 

If you are driving in traffic and you get a text - don't answer it!!!  Again - normal people will never have a text that requires endangering their live or the lives of people around them to check it. 

These stupid devices have made it way too easy to live your life with your head in a friggen screen.  They have made it too easy to check out on real life and the real world, and just walk around texting your buddies to see what they are doing or texting non-stop to see if that deal went through.  They have made it too easy to ignore our loved ones around us and become even crappier parents than we were before.  So - people- pull your head out of your - well - you know where it is and look around and take in what is around you.  You probably only have 80-ish years on this planet - do you want those 80 years spent texting/surfing or do you actually want to see your child do something amazing or see that beautiful sunset?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Marriage. . . .my thoughts and opinions

Here is one of my two cent blogs.  This is just my opinion and for the most part I have kept this to myself, but I figured since family was already writing me off left and right for my opinion then I might as well put it out there. 

I am not an expert on marriage.  I am not a psychologist.  My own marriage isn't perfect, but we have been married for almost 16 years now, together for 18 so I think that says something.  On top of that, our marriage has neither been perfect nor easy.  It began with the death of three members of my husband's family.  Our marriage continued with poverty, under employment, infertility, miscarriages, depression from both sides, unhealthy pregnancies requiring almost a year of bedrest between the four of them, one person moving 1400 miles away for a job while the other has to single parent it and pack up a home, death of loved ones, and children with serious developmental delays.  At this point in my life I have given up on ever being financially comfortable - we will be perpetually middle class, four child broke.  I also have to add that at one point my husband was working full time and going to school full  time (to a college that was three hours away) while I worked part time and parented four children.  Our marriage has been stressful, to say the least. 

In my life I have also witnessed many marriages/relationships crumble.  While I am the first to say that life is too short to be unhappy, and no one should live in a relationship that is either physically or emotionally abusive, I will say that it is just sad to watch people give up so quickly on what they once said should last a life time.  So - here are my thoughts on how to produce a happy marriage.

1.  Make sure you are marring the right person.  OK - this might seem like a "duh", but you would be amazed at how many people marry the first person they fall in "love" with.  I have seen people get married at 17 and stay married forever, it does happen, but I have seen way more people get married right out of high school.  Do you really grasp marriage at that age?  I don't think most people do.  I was purposed to by three different people in my life time.  Now, I am not an amazing catch, I am the first to admit that one.  That fact that I was purposed to ever still amazes me, but I had three very different, honest proposals to marriage.  I know that I would have been happier being alone forever then marring either of the first to men who asked me to marry them.  We wouldn't have worked well together.  They were both great guys, and I liked them both as friends, but there is no way that I would have been able to live the rest of my life with them. 

2.  Only you can make yourself happy.  No man or woman will make you happy if you are un-happy.  I am not saying that a person won't bring you joy, but you can't marry someone with the thought that you will be happy once you marry them.  Only you can make you happy.   You can not bring happiness to someone else either - they have to find their own happiness.  In marriage, you can hope that the two of you together can help you find your own happiness, and you can share it together, but that is it.

3.  Things will not work out as you plan.  I am 38 years old.  I had plans for my life.  At this age Nick and I would be financially comfortable, have three very bright, funny, and witty kids.  We would travel the world and share that with our children.  We would have a plethora of friends and we would both be nearing the top of our career field - Nick as a writer and I as a pediatrician. . .   Those where my plans when we got married.  Life happens.  You can't let the road blocks in life ruin you or your marriage.   I never went to medical school.  Nick never was promoted.  Sick children led to crushing debt.  Heck - two of our children have serious developmental delays that really have changed our views on the future.  We are broke - four kids - working class broke.  Heck, I am 38 and Nick is 42 and we don't even own a house.  Very little has turned out the way we planned for it to turn out.  You have to roll with it and not let it destroy you or your marriage.

4.  Sex does not define a marriage.  OK - this is probably TMI but we have four kids who hardly ever sleep.  When they do finally all fall asleep there is a good bet that the adults are done as well.  Sex may be an awesome thing, but not having it as often as you would like does not mean that your marriage is over.

5.  Bringing another life into the relationship will not "fix" anything.  I love kids more than anything.  I personally would have a baby every two years if my body could, but my body can't do that anymore and honestly wasn't all that good at it when it could.  I love babies and puppies and kittens, but if your marriage is in trouble don't get pregnant, bring home a puppy or kitten. . . . . .don't.  Adding another life to chaos usually does not mend the issue - it usually just adds more stress and makes it worse!

6.  There are no "his job" " her job" in a relationship.  You are a TEAM.  It is not one persons job to hear the money while another persons to clean the house and take care of the kids.  Work together.  That may sound strange when you know me, I am a SAHM and Nick works full time.  I do most of the house work and take care of the kids, Nick earns the money and takes care of the yard.  That is how things tend to fall in our house, but there was a long time where we both worked and we both had to clean the house and cook.  When you start assigning "jobs" to one thing or the other than I find there is usually a lot of animosity when one person ends up doing the other persons job.  It isn't like that.  You are a TEAM.

7.  Don't fight about money.  OK - I know lots of people fight about money and I never understood that.  Maybe it is because we have never had more money than what we need.  There is no money to fight about because every penny pays the bills and for food, but so many people fight about money.  I saw it with my parents.  I have seen it with my friends.  Money is just money.  Oh - and there isn't "my money" or " his money".  You are a TEAM - the money belongs to the team and should go to benefit the TEAM! 

8.  You will have to give things up - don't be mad about it!  There will be things you enjoy that you will have to give up on - at least from time to time.  I love going to plays and the movies.  Love going!  I could go every week, but going to plays and movies can get expensive and when the money is tight you have to give it up.  Can't get mad at your spouse for it.  I wanted to be a SAHM.  Really wanted to be home with my kids when they were little, but because money was tight I had to get a job in order for the kids to eat.  Can't be mad at Nick for that, just how it is.  Nick loves his motorcycle, but when money is tight we can't afford to get it on the road.  Kids come first.  He can't be mad at me for that.  My point here is that things happen and both sides will have to give things up every now and then.  Maybe you love to go to the bar with your friends, but sometimes that can't happen because of money, work, kids.  You can't let that make you angry - that is life!

9.  Make your spouses goals important to you.  We all have goals in life (at least I hope we all do).  Know what your goals are, and know what your spouses goals are and do your best to make them happen.  Nick someday wants a pilot's license.  I want to make sure he gets that license.  I someday want a big old home, Nick knows that and is working to make that happen someday.  Nick wanted his MBA - so we made this happen - together.  We both want to help put our kids through college, not eat dog food in retirement, and be debt free.  Sometimes that seems unrealistic (like now when all the money earned seems to go towards living expenses), but these are goals we both have and someday I will go back to work to help these goals become a reality.

10.  It is not your spouses fault.  Life is hard.  The dreams you may dream may not ever happen.  You can be broke, tired, angry, scared. . . . don't take this out on your spouse.  You may have lost someone you love, may fell guilty about it, don't take it out on your spouse.  Your kids may have been nasty all day, you might not have gotten to shower, might feel fat and bloated, don't take it out on your spouse.

11.  Apologize.  We all say things we don't mean.  All of us.  When we are angry, sad, broken - things come out that we don't mean.  Apologize for it.  It isn't a competition.  You don't need to always be right.  Admit to being wrong and apologize.

12.  Don't give up because you don't like them.  OK - this probably sounds strange - but if there is no abuse in the relationship don't just walk away because you don't like that person.  There is point where being with someone can suck away your happiness - then you might really consider ending it - but if you are at a point where you just don't like that person don't end it.  Wait a little bit.  Give it time.  I will say - there have been times in the last 16 years where I didn't like Nick.  Times where the stress of dealing with kids and finances made his issues seem trivial and made me not want to deal with him anymore.  There were moments where I felt like everything I had to give was giving to the kids, and I just couldn't give him anything more.  Heck, there was a couple of years where this was how I felt - Nick was depressed over his crappy job and the loss of his family members, I was working and Gabe had just been diagnosed with autism while Evelyn was a year old.  We were broker and our health insurance wouldn't cover a dime of Gabe's medical expenses so every month seemed worse than the one before financially.  Nick had shut down and couldn't even even deal with Gabe's diagnosis - leaving it up to me alone to figure it out and figure out how we were going to pay for treatment.  Things were bad then, REALLY bad.  I didn't like Nick at that point, felt abandoned by him, didn't have it in me to help him deal with his own depression - but we didn't give up.  We talked about it at times, but the reality of it was that - a - we stood before God and promised we would be together until death -b- it was hard but no one said it would be easy and -c- at the end of our lives the reality of it is that I could think of no other man's butt I would be willing to wipe and I could think of no other man I would be OK wiping my butt than him.  He was my best friend at one point and just because things where hard and we both changed didn't negate the fact that he is my best friend.  

13.  Trust them.  You married them - stand back and trust them.  If they break your trust confront them, but until they have broken your trust then just trust them.  On the same token - be trust able.  Don't cheat on your spouse.   Don't hide things from him/her.  Don't betray him/her.  You are married to this person - act like you are married to this person!

14.  Communicate!  This is probably the number one reason why I think my marriage has lasted through what it has lasted through.  Tell your spouse everything.  Tell them what you feel and how you feel.  Tell them your plans and goals - and listen to them as they tell you theirs.  If you feel abandoned - tell them - and let them tell you things you don't want to hear.  Be open.  Be honesty. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Food for thought. . . .

I have known for a long time that my life revolves around food.  I am a dietitian.  I spend hours planning menus and cooking foods for my family.  I get a lot of joy out of feeding people and cooking.  I am also overweight and I know part of the reason I am overweight is because my life revolves around food.

Living down here it is obvious that other peoples lives don't revolve around food.  They do other things to find joy and many of them could eat cereal for all meals and be fine.  They really don't care about cooking elaborate meals and trying new recipes, they have their life and they eat because they have to.  This is new to me.  I Michigan a huge chunk of the people I knew had their life revolve around food.  Not all of them are overweight, but food was a big issue up there where I lived.  Survival won out of appearances and most functions included massive amounts of food to share.

So I have been analyzing it - like my bored housewife brain does - and I think I get it (at least for me anyway).  It starts with Grandma (like so many of my stories do).

Grandma grew up very, very poor.  She almost died of starvation as a baby.  Food security was always a huge issue for her throughout most of her life.  Will there be enough to eat?  And an even more pressing question, will there be enough food for those I love to eat?  Grandma couldn't give us a lot of physical things, but she could feed us and that was the focus of her life.  Sunday dinners where we all came to her house for yummy food.  Holiday meals where she would make her awesome potato salad and the best gravy you ever had.  She loved feeding us because it was something she could do for us.  She went hungry many a night so her kids and grandkids could eat.  Grandma loved us so she fed us.

I lived with Grandma most of the first 8 years of my life.  Grandma wanted to make me happy so she always made the foods I loved.  Thankfully those foods were also fairly inexpensive - boxed mac n cheese, ramen noodles, pot pies, noodles and butter. . . . I could eat those for every meal and be happy and for the most part I did.  I never had to try a food if I didn't want to, Grandma would just make what I liked.  As a pediatric dietitian I could go on about how this was not how you should feed a child - but as a child I loved that I didn't have to eat the things I didn't like.

And boy was I a picky eater!  So many foods I didn't like.  I didn't like peas, meat, tomatoes, anything that looked like a tomato or looked like it had tomatoes in it, mashed potatoes, green beans, pickles, cucumbers. . . the list went on and on.  I did like the foods she fed me thought.  Then I moved in with my Mom and Dad. . .

With my parents I didn't have free reign with my food choices.  My mom cooked the meal and it was up to me to eat it.  There was nothing else.  My Mom and Dad tried to do the "be a member of the clean plate club", but the reality of it was that they never forced me to eat anything.  Honestly, that is how it should be.  I know that as an adult and a parent, but as an 8 year old kid who always had what I wanted this was an issue.

Somewhere around 9 or 10 things changed.  My mom started working full time out of the house.  Sometimes two to three jobs at a time.  My Dad started focusing on his businesses and at that point EVERYTHING was about earning money and not spending any of it.  It was at this period when food disappeared.  We had plenty of money, could have purchased any food we wanted, but we weren't allowed to.  It was also about this time I began to not like eating in front of others.  I am not sure why.  Maybe it was because people always made fun of my liking pasta with no sauce, burgers with just cheese on them, just a hot dog and a bun.  I began to be very self-conscious about what I ate and I was very uncomfortable eating in front of anyone except my Grandma.  Family meals stopped now, you ate what you scavenged and sometimes there was nothing to scavenge. 

I did spend summers at Grandma's though, as well as every holiday.  At Grandma's things went back to eating what I liked and there always being food, but now when the food I liked was there I made sure I stuffed myself full of it because I never knew when the next meal was going to show up.  I became one of those kids that school lunch was probably the only meal I was going to get in a day, unless I was lucky enough to have some popcorn at home to make that evening (popcorn for dinner was a staple!)  I honestly only remember getting fresh fruit at the holidays, always an orange in my stocking at Christmas.  Occasionally, when I was at Grandma's, friends would bring fresh fruits and veggies to her when they were in season.  That was always a treat.  Healthy meals were not even a thought at this point - getting food into my stomach to keep me from being hungry was.

Then my brother was born.  Awww, if there was ever a terrible situation to have a child born into that was it.  He became very self sufficient.  By 12 months he could open his own cans of cream style corn to feed himself.  My mom was always working and my Dad really didn't care at that point, so poor BJ would wonder around all day taking care of himself.  I have no idea how he survived it to tell you the truth.  That house was so not baby proofed! 

But I digress. . . . food was an issue as you can see.  I was told by my Dad many times that I didn't deserve to eat.  I was a no good piece of garbage who was never going to amount to anything.  I didn't even deserve food.  I was ignorant and lazy.  No one would ever want me.  Heck, my own real biological Father didn't want me so I was lucky to have him for a Dad. . . . That kind of crap really messes with you.  Heck, if you are so low you don't even deserve to eat. . . .that is low.

Anyway, my mom did leave him and we ended up with Bill.  I love Bill.  I miss Bill.  He died of cancer in 2008, and I really do miss him, but Bill had his own demons.  One was control.  Bill needed to be in control - of everything.  So I went from a "fend for yourself" situation where I helped to take care of BJ and the house and I cooked meals when there was something to cook, to a situation where I couldn't even go to the bathroom without permission, I was told what the meals would be and the food was put on my plate and I was told I have to eat it before I can leave the table.  Can you see how this may have caused issues?

You would think I would be happy because now there was food on the table.  There were lots of things I was happy about - we had running water - we had heat - the windows didn't fall into the room when the wind blew - the house was clean (you better keep it clean or war would break out!) - but there are foods I still didn't like (and still don't).  I was glad BJ had enough food - but we couldn't eat when we were hungry we could only eat when Bill told us we could eat.  And we could only eat what he told us we could eat.  We had to cook the way he wanted us to cook.

Add to that the fact that meal times weren't fun.  We could make no noise when we ate.  Bill always watched the news while we ate (but it was at the kitchen table so that was awesome), but you couldn't make any noise because then he couldn't hear the news and a fight would start.  Every morning he would tell us what he wanted us to make for dinner, but when he came home he would start yelling at us that what we made wasn't want he wanted.  Everyday.  On top of that what ever it was that we made wasn't right - there was always something wrong with it.  We left something out.  Cooked it too long.  Cooked it not long enough.  Something.  So meals were spent with him loading up my plate (and BJ's plate) with the amount of food he thought we should eat (and he always gave us small servings of the stuff we liked and huge servings of the stuff we didn't), then the TV would be turned on at the threshold of pain while we ate, him yelling at BJ or myself for chewing too loud or eating too fast/slow, complaining about the meal.  I so dreaded mealtimes. . .

It was at this point where I decided that when I had control over what I could eat that I would never eat anything I didn't like.  I would never cook anything I didn't like.  It became a control issue for me as well.

The vast majority of my first 20 or so years was spent either worrying about if I would have enough to eat or dreading having to sit down and eat something I thought was nasty.  I really hated eating around anyone because I was so convinced that I ate "wrong" and that everyone would make fun of me for how or what I ate.  That first year of college was terrible!  Eating a dinning hall around all those other people.  In my own mind they were all watching me and making fun of me because I knew I ate wrong - too loud or too fast - not the right foods.  That freshman year in college I lost 20 pounds in a month.  I just didn't eat.  When I would get to tired to function I would try to go to the hall and eat by myself in a corner of the dinning hall.  I tried to go when I knew there wouldn't be too many people.  It was not healthy.  You can probably figure out why I thought dietetics was such an easy field - I had spent most of my life with food being the center so that degree seemed to fit my focus already. 

So know I am an adult with enough money to buy to food I like and the skills to cook just about anything.  I want my kids to feel good about what and how they eat.  I don't want food to be the center of their life - like it has been mine.  I am trying to change - for my kids.  I want my kids to know joy beyond eating - because I swear at this point in our lives the only joy we get is when we cook together - everything else is function (cleaning, school, baths, teeth brushing. . . . function and work).  I see how excited my kids get when the get to help me cook - and I am glad they get excited about it.  I am glad that when all four of my kids leave this house they will know how to cook - but I don't want that to be the only thing they enjoy and focus on.  We need to relax some and let the function go and find joy other places.  Need to change my focus.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Just plain sad. . . .

I love you.  I will say it - if you are reading this know that I feel some form of love towards you.  The reality of it is that I love everyone.  Some people I like and some I don't like - but I feel some form of love towards everyone I meet.  If I know you personally and I bring you some cookies, or do something for you I am not doing it because I want something back, I am doing it because I care about you and want to do something for you.  Now I will admit I have met people I have detested.  People do make me angry.  I have heard people say things that make me sick to the point where I just can't listen to them anymore, but when it comes down to it I love everyone and want to see good things happen to all. 

With that being said lately I have been very disheartened.  I have heard so much hate and anger spewed in every direction.  Part of it was the election - being told that I couldn't care about my children if I voted a certain way.  Hearing that people who are amazing Christians and loving people being told that they aren't Christians if they voted a certain way.  Reading things like anyone who would vote for a certain person would have to be ignorant and on drugs.

Along with the election though I have heard people just say and do horrible things to each other.  The young neighbor boy who is being made fun of because of his ethnicity.  The horrible things I have heard and read aimed towards those who fall in love with someone of the same sex.  Terrible things said about people who do not follow the Christian faith.  The amount of hate I see around me brings tears to my eyes and breaks my heart.

I have a question for all of these people who feel this way and say this stuff. . . Why?  What purpose does hating someone serve?  Why would you hate someone who is Jewish?  What has that person done to you?  Why do you hate someone who's Grandparents are from a different country?  I am betting if you looked at your family tree you would see that not long ago your ancestors were from a different country too.  What does it hurt you if that woman you see is in love with another woman?  How is that against you?

Life is hard for everyone.  Bad things happen to good people all the time.  Good things happen to bad people all the time.  Life is what it is.  I think we all know this.  So why would you make it your mission to go out of your way to make someone's life harder?  What do you get from that?  Does it make you a good Christian to scream "faggot" as a couple passes you buy?  To spray paint "faggot" on someone's car before you flip it over?  Did Jesus scream "Dirty Mexician" when someone of hispanic decent walked by?  Did Jesus scream, "Dirty Jew" when someone Jewish walked by?

Think about it.  1 John 4:8 "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."  God is love.  Again - GOD IS LOVE. 

How can you read the bible and be a Christian and still hate?  I admit I have not read the bible cover to cover - but I have read the bible.  The impression I got was that God put us here to love and support each other - not to judge and hate each other.

 John 8:7 "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."  Are you without sin?  I admit I have sinned.  I try hard to not sin, but I do.  I was created in sin, the child of an unwed mother.  I have done things I am not proud of.  I have done things I wish I could take back.  I have lied before.  So again I ask you, are you without sin?  I know I am not without sin.  All sins are sin - from saying something that is un-true to murder.  A sin is a sin.  From what I have read there are no sins that are worse than another - sin is a sin.  So how can anyone who has ever sinned condemn another?

Again - GOD IS LOVE.  How can anyone read those lines and still walk around hating those who aren't like us.  I may be wrong but the impression I got from reading the bible is that you want to live your life like a light.  Do the best you can do.  Love and glow with God's love.  Doing this will allow all those moths who may have a harder time hearing and feeling God's love to come and flock to your light.  Your light will draw them in way more than your words and condemnation.

When it comes down to it, only God can judge.  Only God.  Think about that when you stand before God and have to answer for your actions.  How are you going to explain the hate towards those who aren't like you to God?

I refuse to hate anyone who isn't like me.  I refuse to let that come in and permeate who I am.

"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."

What do you choose?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Dear Americans - I generally don't care if I have a huge following but if you read this and agree please share this one with everyone you know. . .

We are Americans and our country is in trouble.  It is one day past election day and I am already reading responses from both parties that neither one of them will budge on their party line.  This has been a major problem in the past and needs to stop.  I am asking everyone to write to their representatives on the federal level, as well as the majority leaders in house and senate to make this stop.  We are not Democrats and we are not Republicans - we are AMERICANS and we need to stop following party lines and do what American needs to have done.  I plan to do this - wish I had the money to write to everyone of them everyday for as long as it takes - but I don't.  I figure though that there are people like me - people who love America and want us to be great again.  I even produced a sample letter you could use if you would like.

This is our country founded by people like us - all of us.  Voting does help some - but the reality of it is that we need to make our voices heard.  Our founding  fathers knew we could get to this point and gave us constitutional rights to help change things - and we need to use these rights to make sure this happens.  I don't care what party you are - I think one thing we all have in common is that we love this country and we are all sad to see the way it is going.

Dear . . . . . . ,

I am deeply worried about America's future.  I have read in several different places that both sides, Republican and Democrat alike, are refusing to budge and come together to fix the problems in America.  This makes me very sad.  I love America and want to see her thrive again, and as a voting American I am asking you, my representative, to make sure she does thrive again.  Please put your political party aside and work together as one to bring America back.  As an American I do know that we are going to have to make cuts that hurt and we are all going to have to pay a portion of this debt and I, as an American am willing to do this.  Please work together to make this happen in a way that is fair and allows everyone to pay their fair share.

I love America and believe in America, now lets all act like Americans and make this happen.  We went to the moon because we said we would.  We banded together and pulled a little girl out of a well.  Lets come together now and do what is right for America, not what is right for just one political party.

Thank you, 

Your name. . .

Click here to find your Senator.  Click here to find your Congressman.  Click here for the President's address.  Click here for the Speakers address.

Send a letter to all of them.  The more people we can get to do this the better.  At least they will know what we want of them.