Friday, December 31, 2010

My 2010 Disappointments

I suppose this might be the obligatory post that I'm supposed to write after the new year but I suck at those kinds of posts so instead, I shall flog myself.

2010 was a very decent year... as are all years in the whole grand scheme of things. I used to believe that "bad" years are put behind us and a new year meant hoping for a "good" year BUT... I now believe that's a load of crap :) We all have years that are good and bad, and they all fade into one long running memory that shapes and molds us into new little person's whenever we so chose to let it happen....

That being said, I shall finish with my self flogging here.

I have been very moody lately and it has a lot to do, I believe, with the reflections I did do for myself of the past year.... So I'm going to a construct a "How I disappointed MYSELF" list and see if I can jump start my happy little tooshie into re-directing myself back onto the right track.

1. DIET
WHAT I BELIEVE:
For the longest time, I have been trying to find a better diet for my family and for myself. I have a horrid DISLIKE for Western Culture and the eating habits taught and associated with it. The American diet is full of nothing but junk. Processed foods, meat with hormones, government controlled crops, fat, etc. I believe this diet is one of THE MAIN contributing factors to poor mental and physical health, medication abuse, and is the root cause of many ailments that plague us as a society today.

WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR:
I have failed, and failed miserably. With the increase in activity in our lives, I have taken the easy way out. McDonald's and quick fix processed food dinners have become my crutch. And that's their job.... they are in business to be this crutch for the too-busy-lifestyle. As a result, I feel stressed, we have all been more "ill" then normal, and I generally feel like crap. I even had to get rid of a lot of our garden produce due to the fact that I didn't have suitable time to care for, harvest, and properly store many of the delicious and natural things I produced for the year.

WHAT I PLAN TO DO:
It's time to step back and take a breath. I am currently going to read, "Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson and I hope it inspires me. I will get better at meal planning. I will get better at discussing what is for dinner the day BEFORE said dinner instead of 5 minutes before it has to be on the table. I have pinpointed some of mine and my families ailments and I will be altering our diet to help with these ailments instead of continually digesting medication that doesn't FIX the problem but just hides us from being in touch with our bodies.


2. MADE BY HAND AND CREATION
WHAT I BELIEVE:
I believe that something home made is 100% better then anything you may purchase from mass production. It also enables the brain. To create things home made you have to learn the skill, take the time, and physically do the work. It also can create a greater sense of satisfaction. I don't know about you but when I BUY a hat, I simply make the purchase. Now, learning to knit a hat??? That takes time and skill, and when I'm done with it, the satisfaction must cause a boost in Serotonin because I literally am HAPPY. Also, my mind must be FREE to create. I can't very well create or make products if all I can think of is how tired I am, how much "stuff" I have to do, etc.

WHAT HAPPENED:
Once again, busy busy busy! When I am busy, my mind has NO desire to create. I KNOW I can paint one helluva picture but if you put a blank canvas in front of stressed out me, I will produce nothing. My mind is simply too busy to create. We have been buying more things then necessary for this house, all due to lack of time and interest in seeing if there is an alternative to spending money in a mass consumer driven market. We are purchasing purchasing purchasing and it is horrible. We have spent more money then is necessary, we don't take care of things like we used to, and we have been utilizing the concept of "quick fix" versus patience and creation.

WHAT I PLAN TO DO:
Yep, belts will be tightened. I am tired of wasting money money on products that have no value to me as a person and that will break. It's the story of stuff peoples.... the more you buy, the more it breaks, the more we buy again. It's a nasty ass cycle of consumption and we will be sitting back and start making better decisions about purchases around here. There will be no more of this, "I need **fill in the blank**, so I'm going to Walmart." Instead, when we need to purchase things, we will start by discussing those "things" necessity. Do we REALLY need this item? Or do we THINK we need this item. What is the price? Can we make it ourselves? Can we survive with OUT this item? Yes, my family, the belts shall tighten. (John, don't roll your eyes too much please :)

3. MY NEUROSIS
WHAT I BELIEVE:
I have always been OCD a tad. I DO believe in a clean house (everything has a place). Yet I used to understand that messes will happen, things will become disorganized, and chores may take some time to complete.

WHAT HAPPENED:
I have done lost it. I have let my OCD come straight up to the surface and it is unhealthy for myself and my children. I have become extremely stressed about keeping up with "housework" and "cleaning". I have become so obsessed with it that I have forgotten that the time I am taking to clean and organize could be time better spent with my children and family. I find myself yelling at the children a lot more, and for what? Because they are children? Because they PLAY with things? I have let a "clean house" become my focus. I have let my neurotic attitude take over my conscious decisions. I am BAD.

WHAT I PLAN TO DO:
Ok, this one is a 50/50 thing. Yes, the house will still be clean... I can't function in a complete mess. Yet, I am OVER being so anal about it! My brain needs a break and my kids need that break as well!

4. MY ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIONS
WHAT I BELIEVE:
I believe Global Warming is very real and very scary. I believe that I should do everything in my power to leave a very small carbon footprint on this earth. I believe Bill McKibben. I want to learn more about this and dive into it head first. I believe we should promote and support all political and societal actions that directly affect global warming and climate change. I believe that one person can make a difference here by educating others and helping where and when needed.

WHAT HAPPENED:
I have been a very very BAD environmentalist as of lately. Of course I still recycle and the major things but I have stopped progressing forwards in learning how else I can affect the earth less. I have been very disposable and un-ecofriendly in the last 6 months. I have been driving and not walking, I have been throwing stuff away, I have been "whatever is easier is better". This is probably one of the bigger disappointments for myself really.

WHAT I PLAN TO DO:
Watch out biotches! I am BACK. I am ashamed of how I have been living and it's going to stop RIGHT NOW. I am going to re-read "Eaarth" and my butt is heading to the library once again to arm myself with invaluable knowledge to keep me just uncomfortable enough to kick start my old eco friendly habits!


5. BUSY BUSY BUSY
WHAT I BELIEVE:
When I became a stay at home momma, I realized that a slower life was so much better for me and my family. I was able to take time to educate myself about interests, I learned to create "things" again, I was able to freely volunteer my time with the children, and I was able to invest time into being "bored" (really, it's an art form, and if you can't do it, you need to learn how). I believe that the more we rush and over schedule our selves, the more we forget about what exactly is important in life and we disregard what we believe in. The more hurried I am the more I spend, the worse I eat, the worse I feel, the worse my attitude is, basically, all of the above.

WHAT HAPPENED:
Me. I happened. I done let myself get way over scheduled and way too busy. I went from working on all the things I felt were important to trying to jumble all of that PLUS going back to work and volunteering to be PTA president for a school that has a SERIOUS lack of parental volunteers. I let the kids start to be over scheduled and I also forgot about the power of the word "NO".

WHAT I PLAN TO DO:
Yep folks, you guessed it.


Ok, Ok, so I'm not THAT crazy but it is time to retreat. It is time to pull back from making sure everyone else is happy and time to recenter the focus on my family and I. We are all suffering from this being to busy stuff and it's time we all had a little more happiness again. It's time for me to set boundaries. It's time to not be the "go to" person. It's time to learn how to say NO again.

6. CHRISTMAS
WHAT I BELIEVE:
I dislike Christmas. Not to say I dislike the holiday but I dislike what it has become for myself and the children. We do not practice a set religion in this house however I chose to believe that Christmas, besides it's religious implications, is a time to GIVE. It is NOT TIME TO WANT. It is the most materialistic bullshit holiday that quite literally makes me crazy. (Hmmmm..... maybe part of the reason for this blog???)

WHAT HAPPENED:
I let go. I let go of what I believe in and got caught up in just getting by. I made the obligatory Christmas List and bought everyone I was SUPPOSED to a present. I barely made any gifts by hand. I SUCKED. My children have started to fall into the horrible routine of EXPECTING presents. Literally KNOWING that they will be getting a lot of presents form a lot of people.

WHAT I PLAN TO DO:
Oh yeah, this is BIG in my world. I am very seriously entertaining the thought of BOYCOTTING CHRISTMAS next year. I have totally done the math over and over again in my head and for the money and time we spent on Christmas this year.... we could have all taken an amazing vacation and not felt pressured to be anywhere or to buy certain things. It is very hard to go against family traditions, yes, but looking at how our Christmas went, I would trade it in for cabin in the woods in Montana for a week with just the kids....

Wow. I was REALLY disappointing this past year!!

Now, before people assume this... I am not looking for a pity party and don't want anyone to say, "You're being to hard on yourself." Truth be told, I am HAPPY that these disappointments came about because when I sat down and thought about how bad and disappointing I was, it fueled my inner fire. It made me want to stand up and smack myself! Disappointments are good as long as you can sit back and tell yourself, "It's time to do much better."

SO.... veering SHARPLY back into the slow lane... it's time to implement change and I found a great way to start it off! John and I are taking a break. We found a lodge on 26 secluded acres and this little trip is a MUST DO. We need a break from all the fast paced and busy work. We need time to reconnect with each other and ourselves. I am hoping this will jump start my mind and attitude on fixing all of these little road blocks I have identified....

So until I blog again....



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How Words Define Us


I was reading this post by a fellow blogger, anniegirl1138, yesterday and it started the wheels in my brain turning....

The post is an opinion from a widow about being widowed and how some people in this "widow club" chose to forever define themselves in this manner. Some of these other widows have turned this into their life's work, helping others, listening to their tragic stories, and befriending these other widows for strength and support.

Is this bad? Well, no. In general, it's a rather good idea. When Ryan died, I didn't know what to do, how to feel, and I too chose to utilize these support groups. I felt like other widows were people I could identify with, people who could understand this loss I had experienced and feel my pain with me....

Then after only a few short months, I quit. I deleted all my "widow board" accounts, stopped reading posts at YWBB, stopped talking to people about the fact that I was widowed.

Why? Because it's NOT MY DEFINITION.

After reading and writing and sharing with these fellow widows, I realized something. I realized that many, many, many other widows chose to keep this identity for reasons that are not healthy to the psyche. They not only use it to define their "marital status" anymore, they use it as an excuse to drone on this sad yet natural part of life. It's kind of like taking a word, one simple word, and wrapping yourself into it as if you can cocoon yourself from all else that is happening around you.

Then I started to think some more.... God help us all now... :)

People do this EVERY DAY. We all do it. We find words to describe who and what we are. We take our race, heritage, sexual orientation, lifestyle, all of these and pick and chose words to define ourselves. It's like we must live with in these squared off boxes of definition so that we feel better about ourselves. We take titles to give us excuses to act in a certain manner or to justify our beliefs.

Yet we don't have to. We are not words. We are not one set of words and that should never be our definition. Shit, I have a LIST of definitions: Woman, white, straight, mother, widow, wife, nurse, bohemian, artist, dancer, activist, volunteer, employee, horrible writer (hahahaha), and many more.... I am all of these. However I never live inside the boundaries of any one definition.

I find it truly sad that people strive to live with in the boundaries of these definitions. It's so constricting and actually can be counter productive to living a very full life. Personally, I see life as a process, an ever evolving and changing process that we take on one day at a time. Whose to say I will be the same person tomorrow that I am today? I like changing my mask from time to time, it leaves so many options out there for myself and also can create a more well rounded and full individual. It makes me feel complete to know that I don't need a definition to define myself.

SO in regards to being a widow... I prefer to live by this little ditty instead:

"I am not what happened yesterday, I am what I am today, and I will be what I chose to be tomorrow...."

And every single day I wake up being ME. Just me, Dana, my name. All definitions and words included in one package that I can guarantee you, it will change. :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

We Heart Zombies...

Anyone who has kids knows that Halloween is a crazy time... been busy... enjoy the pics!


Classy Zombies...

When they ALL try to walk like the dead....

Yes, even mom was a zombie!

Tryin to look dead...

2nd night for this guy...

Perfect!

Izeah and his zombie walk...

Good job babe :)

He's a sexy zombie :)

Zane.... the zombie PIRATE! ARGHHHHHHH.....

Izeah and his wound...

Kayla

Watch out!!! We're coming for YOU!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thoughts on Death, Dreams, and the Betweens...

For an obvious reason, Death is always on my mind. I suppose I'm slightly morbid but it has directly affected my life in the past and through this, I learned to embrace it as just another beautiful part of this life. Yes, It's a topic that most people don't want to discuss or consider to be inappropriate to discuss, but, when am I ever actually appropriate? ;)

Moving on now.... When Ryan died, I stopped dreaming. I don't know the actual reason why, all though I am aware that in the stages of sleep, I was probably burying my situational depression by sleeping heavily and not ever actually reaching my REM stage.... but it's whatever. I just dealt with it. Then when I started dating John, I started to dream again. Not a lot, I can now maybe still only recall one a week but at least I've been dreaming again....

Yet, the last two have bugged me a bit... Ryan keeps coming into my dreams... Now before you think I'm getting all funny, no, not like coming into my dreams with a message or anything psychic wise, but just IN the dream, as if he never left this life. The first dream, he just appeared, like he had come back from the beyond to take care of his children.... The second dream (last night) we were at his parents house and I turned around and he was standing there hugging his mother. He was dressed like John but it was him. In each dream though, I am still aware that he is dead. It's like my subconscious and my conscious are fighting in my dreams....

Then it dawned on me today.... my aunt is nearing her final stages in her fight with cancer. My mother has been filling me in and we are all aware of which road this may take for her. Of course, we hope for the best, but I've learned in my career and in life that hoping for the best yet expecting the worse is the more common sense approach to death. This aunt was probably one of my closer relatives growing up. One of the aunts I saw more and I played with her kids growing up too....

Maybe this impending sadness is what is triggering these dreams? Maybe I chose to live life most days without thinking about the ACTION of death and when it surfaces, maybe it's when I feel the closest to death via Ryan...

Either way, music has always been my savior. Music and lyrics written by talented artists can sometimes feel that void I have when I'm at a loss for words. Lately I've been in love with Mumford and Sons (thank you hubby :). They have a song called Timshel that has to be one of the best songs I have heard that I interpret to correlate with thoughts on death.... Have a listen if you care too and I even put the lyrics on for you to follow along...

So with my dreams, death, and music.... this song grants me some peace :)


Cold is the water
It freezes your already cold mind
Already cold, cold mind
And death is at your doorstep
And it will steal your innocence
But it will not steal your substance

But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we'll hold your hand
Hold your hand

And you are the mother
The mother of your baby child
The one to whom you gave life
And you have your choices
And these are what make man great
His ladder to the stars

But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we'll hold your hand
Hold your hand

And I will tell the night
Whisper, "Lose your sight"
But I can't move the mountains for you

Sunday, October 10, 2010

IT'S GLOBAL WORK PARTY DAY!!!!!




And no, it's not significant to me due to the correlation of the numbers. It's GLOBAL WORK PARTY DAY! You can read more about it HERE. If that didn't work.... just go to 350.org and take a look!

Today is the day that Bill McKibben asked people from ALL OVER the world to go to work for climate change. Every country, every person, despite their race, color, or religion. There is no segregation or classes or boundaries when it comes to MOTHER EARTH. We are ALL her children. We need her love and health to continue on this planet. This post goes out to every single person I know and even don't know.....

PAT ATTENTION TO OUR HOME. PAY ATTENTION TO OUR PLANET.

Now, on to the global work party.

John and I tried very hard to come up with many ideas for this fantastic day.... and we failed horribly. We wanted to hold a class and buy 35 recycled barrels and teach others how to make their own rain barrels and compost tumblers. This failed. We wanted to find 35 people to plant 10 trees each. This failed. We searched for events near us that we could participate in with our children. This failed.

All I saw was failure.

So as I lay in bed this morning.... thinking to myself.... geez, for someone who cares so deeply about this Earth, I sure did FAIL.

Then it hit me... I haven't failed at all.

I don't need ONE day to do something good for the earth. I do it everyday. At least, we TRY every. single. day. to live on this planet in a more earth-friendly way.... I'm sure if you know me or read this blog, you already know the long list of things we do every day to reduce our carbon emissions, produce less trash, and live a more healthy life style. I even have documented struggles with this on my past blog. It is truly a daily struggle to remember to be friendly to the earth as we all live our fast paced lives....

And in thinking all this... I found my global work party that I want YOU ALL TO JOIN ME IN!!!!!!!

Here's the deal:

MAKE ME (and yourself) a PROMISE.

Open your eyes. Get your head out of the dirt. Stop living the lazy, stupid, American way of life. Get your hands in the dirt. Buy a bike. Go get a recycling bin and for goodness sakes, RECYCLE! Plant a flower, plant a tree. Plan a garden for next year. Stop buying your food at Wal-mart and find a local farmer. Get a rain barrel. Compost your kitchen scraps. Read a book about climate change. Talk to your friends about climate change. Buy used. If something breaks, FIX IT! Don't buy a new one. Run your heat less. Install a wood burning stove. Learn a new hands on skill. Take a walk to the gas station, not the car. Spend time outside. Throw away "anti-bacterial" soap and buy BIODEGRADABLE SOAP.Collect your seeds from your garden. Cut down on foods that contain government regulated corn, soy, and wheat. STOP LIVING THE AMERICAN WAY.

You can all do it. Don't be afraid of work. Don't be afraid of hard work. It's not only good for the earth but good for your body as well.

NOW MAKE ME A PROMISE.

My goal today is 35 comments. I want 35 PROMISES from my friends. I want 35 people to tell me JUST ONE THING that you are going to do to recognize climate change.

Leave a comment here, or on my Facebook status. COME ON PEOPLES!!!!!!! STAND UP FOR CLIMATE CHANGE. Look at your child, or your spouse. DO you want to grow old with them? Do you want to see them grow up and have children of their own? Then this is important. More important than most of you can fathom.

SO make me a promise. In making this promise... you can be a part of this:






Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Zane, Red Heads, and Eyelid Stitching...

Little two part posting here...

Zane is the accident prone child here I swear.

Last night, apparently (since I didn't see it) our metal gate swung back and hit little man square in the damn eye! I was afraid for him to remove his hand from said wound based on his amount of screaming! Once removed, he most definitely tore his eyelid! (EWWWWWWYYYY!!!!) (Yes, even as a nurse! Eyes are just something I don't deal well with, eyes and toes!) Soooo.... off to the ER we went... I figured it would need SOMETHING. It was ripped pretty good...


Well, 5 hours later, he finally received 2 stitches. However, the reason for this post is my child's AMAZING tolerance to medications! First we tried eye numbing drops. This did not work that well, so we restrained him and did a Lidocaine injection. We tried to restrain him for the stitches but failed. Zane is one STRONG little child! So we attempted oral chloral hydrate (a sedative). Nurse and I both figured ten minutes and he would be out... yeah, not so much. 40 minutes later he was still up and bouncing off the walls, so we gave 4 mg of Morphine to help the sedative. STILL up and bouncing, and on top of it he was pissed we "stuck him in the arm without telling him FIRST".... so restrained again, and yet ANOTHER injection of Lidocaine. FINALLY we were able to hold him down and convince him to let us put the 2 little stitches in.... and done.


So after thoughts here... that was A LOT of pain meds for a 5 year old child. Then it dawned on me... whenever I've had pain medication, it doesn't work so well neither. When they did my toe, the Lidocaine worked but wore off after 30 minutes give or take, and I was PROMISED 4-5 hours. When I gave birth, I had to have stitches in *ahem* my nether regions... and the Lidocaine didn't work at all... (by the way, stitches with no numbing meds aren't too bad, you just have to grin and bear it I suppose). Zane has also had surgery, like myself, and morphine is kind of like a joke... it really only makes my stomach hurt, it NEVER takes away the pain, and it didn't for Zane's surgery neither...

So what do we both have in common?

WE ARE BOTH RED HEADS.

Yep, there's a very SMALL amount of research out there about red heads and apparently, this is one of those moments where I say, "NO WAY!"... but yes way, it's being researched that we red heads have a mutated MC1R gene which the debate is still out as to if we have a high pain tolerance (which I do so they can research me :) but it does show that red heads need more anesthesia then others of different hair color! Very interesting... here's a few links if you're curious...





So bottom line: If you are a red head? Local anesthesia and pain medications may be less effective for you... know this GOING IN, not DURING OR AFTER! :)


Monday, October 4, 2010

Struggling to Educate, or are we?

I went and did it again. Got my panties all worked up into a bunch over my kids, their intelligence, and school. (This still means I'm a good mother though, correct?)

At each point in Zak and Izeah's lives, I was worried as well. This is nothing new. Zak barely spoke until he was three. I let others' chit chat and worry over his lack of speech over come me and forgot to breath... I worried, read books on development, practiced "adult like speaking" to him ALL THE TIME, etc. Then one day in the kitchen, Zak looked at me and said, "Mom, can I have more juice please?" Clear. As. Day. So basically, he spoke when he was ready. (And now he's such a smarty I never worry.)

Then Izeah went to school. First Kindergarten conference didn't go so well... he was not meeting "standards" set forth by the school district. We buckled down, did flash cards, read to him some more, and by Christmas? It was almost as if a light switch just flipped in his little mind and he was completely caught up. Reading, writing, learning, meeting all of those ever important "standards".

Now it's Zane's turn. Yep, just had conferences. Not so hot, not so hot at all. So I made my little flash cards, have school supplies set to go, and it's time to buckle down once more....

I am worried of course, but last night, having "beer talks" with my husband, I realized a few things....

1. Zane is JUST FINE.

The end. :)

Ok, not really. He will need some extra help of course. I do plan on having "school" at home during their break and we will work daily on simple things I take for granted (ABC's, 123's, all of those small building blocks of knowledge)....

I just need to remember the very basic thing I learned with child number one... I need to throw away those damn parenting books and not pay so much attention to those "standards". Every single child is different and learns at different paces and in different ways. If there is truly a problem, we will know. Zane is bright, funny, inquisitive, friendly, and has a heart of gold. All things that will make him a unique and beautiful person. I need to remember that I'm going to love him whether he meets those "standards" or not. I need to remind myself to take a deep breath.


"It's important that you not try to pre-determine your child's academic future. You can fit a square peg in a round hole if you have a big enough hammer and don't care about how you go about squeezing it in. But this certainly isn't the most effective method. It would be better to find the right hole to put that peg in."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sometimes I just need to review....


Whoa.

That's exactly how I have felt in the last few weeks.

I am NOT centered nor grounded right now...

I have had experiences, have had numerous important and defining conversations and debates with my hubby and friends, have had family events happen, and all of these have really tested WHAT I believe in as a person.

Right now, I just feel like saying some of what I believe out loud. This is not meant to piss anyone off either directly or indirectly, it's just what I believe....

1. After coming home from Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (more on this later) I am confident that I am a feminist. I find it COMPLETELY empowering to know that I made the choice to be with my children more, raise them with these view points, be married to John, and still maintain a feminist attitude and way of life. There are many females in this world that give a bad meaning to the word "feminist", I would honestly like to believe that I am not one of them and that I give a positive outlook and definition of feminism.

2. I am proud to be surrounded by males in my feminist way of life. I do NOT think males are the enemy, I think they just need to be enlightened as to the ways of a strong woman. Shit, even my dog is male.

3. I am a very good mother. I have faults and yes, I will make mistakes, but everyday I take pride in my whole family. My children may be very energetic, high spirited, and on some days very challenging, but I love them with every part of my being and from others I have heard that they are very kind spirited and loving young men. That makes my heart sing :)

4. When I said I would become PTA President, I will confess... I did not want to be "that" mom. Yet I have realized, I was prejudging the image that I had given to that title. I actually LIKE being PTA President (so far). I like taking the image we all hold of "PTA Presidents" and turning it upside down. I like walking up to school bra-less, gauge eared, multi-colored hair, with tattoos and greeting other parents. I enjoy being a younger mom in this position. Sure, I'll probably make mistakes and it will take time to really get to know everyone but I love shattering society based images of certain people with titles.

5. I am still anti-technology. Not horribly though.... I know the basics of computer use, I own and use a Droid, and I've even been known to answer a few techy questions. However, I still do not ever desire or feel like I need the latest and greatest tech gadget that just hit the market. I will never be that way. (Sorry John)

6. I believe in giving everyone a shot when it comes to being a friend. I think that we are all unique individuals. I also believe that everyone you meet in your life can have meaning for you at some point. People come into and flow out of our lives sometimes for reasons far beyond our understanding. I don't feel I can be a well rounded nor well grounded individual unless I let go of barriers that may prevent me from having the opportunity to learn something or to develop a great friendship.

7. That being said (above), I am currently working on letting go of hazardous relationships. No good friendship is one sided. Also, no one will hurt my children. I'm learning the differences between being used and being in a reciprocal relationship. I have let certain relationships take over my life and over shadow my beliefs in the past, and that is currently all changing. Yes, this hurts in some ways, yet the end result will be much more healthy. I will not live in unhealthy relationships.

8. I will never be able to keep up with the Jones' so I don't even bother trying.

9. I like thrift shopping, bargain hunting, reusing items, or recycling them into another form. You can call me cheap if you want but I down right love it.

10. After the first year of marriage to my husband, I have come to the conclusion that we will always fight. I am Alpha Female, he is Alpha Male. We will just have to agree to disagree on certain things. Makes fighting more enjoyable :)

So yeah, that's some of me in a nutshell. Feels awesome to review some of my core beliefs in this life.

(and a big thank you to the woman in this pic, Nina. You've inspired me to take stock more then you probably know... and of course, where this pic was taken will never be forgotten! Ha!)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh. My. Goodness.

AGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Bill McKibben (the author of "Eaarth") is coming here to speak!!!! Only about 10 blocks from my house! And it's FREE! And I seriously love this man right now. He is so freakin' smart.

ONCE AGAIN.... Check him out HERE

Seriously. You guys should go and just listen to what he says. October 17th @ St. Paul on Brady Street.

I'm going.... are you???? :)

One Day...

Finished the book. Awesome. Forming thoughts and actions. Even more awesome. Until I can sit and post something, here's a song that I am obsessed with lately. It's beautiful and amazing. (I'm still sad I missed the chance to see him this summer too!)


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

EaArth

Back to Peak Oil and Climate Change.

Quite honestly, it just blows my mind! I feel like I have spent a good portion of my life in a deep sleep and now I feel like my eyes are WIDE OPEN. I've lived with blinders on for my entire adult life up until a few years ago.... and it's heart breaking to me. It's heart breaking and exhilarating all at the same time.

Yet, I have so many questions too.... How did I grow up NOT knowing this? Why did it take me, and you, so many years to finally just start to understand what so many scientists, environmentalists, scholars, and so many others have known for decades? How do we as a WHOLE WORLD plan to embrace this change? How do we fix it? How can I ALONE help in this battle against Mother Nature (and boy oh boy is she PISSED)?

Well John checked out this book from the library:

Simply put, it's pretty amazing. I've still got one chapter left but for the first time in a long time, I am so interested in this book that I'm proud to say I HAVE NOT been speed reading! It's too important to me to understand exactly what is happening that I have to read it slowly, absorbing every fact, re-reading every statistic, and learning how to be progressive in this life on a new planet.

I will warn you, the first few chapters are very morose. Very "if we don't change we will all perish on this great earth" attitude. Very IN YOUR FACE.

But it's awesome. It opens your eyes even farther and lets you in on how and why this is such a drastic and monumental time in history. The author also makes it so easily understandable. He takes the hard to decipher statistics and facts and brings it down to reality for you. Takes you out of the big world and says, "Look around you! Look at where you live! Look what is happening right in your back yard and tell me global warming isn't happening or that peak oil isn't happening." To look at it locally for a second... For some of my local readers.... flooding? Torrential rains and storms? How many floods did our parents encounter living here on the Mississippi? Now how many have WE encountered? Read this book, it will tell you EXACTLY why we have so many more floods then our parents ever dreamed they would.... Don't like the heat? Summer's are getting more hot? Well get used to it peoples, it's the way it's gonna roll....

Yet, it's scary. It's SO scary. Every time I look at the kids I feel my heart going out to them in hopes that we as human beings can change this course so that they might have a chance to live just as full a life as I have been given.

This book makes me want to change deep down inside. More change then I've already done. A full and complete change in life style.

Yet, that is hard too. It's not just so easy to give up our everyday lives and give everything we have away and learn to function on a whole lot less.... yet that's why it's so exciting!!! I can't tell you how much LESS stress it is to function in a more simple manor then living in the modern world... soooo much less stress.

So onwards and upwards! When I'm done with this book, I expect a whole lot more ramblings to come out of my mouth... look out!
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Things I have done, or will do, today to reduce my oil dependence/live a more sustainable lifestyle:

1. I have NO car today! I'm actually not too upset about this one. Sure, it's stressful having to plan a day around this with children and the fact that we usually have both cars, but I'm excited to HAVE to learn to do with out. To rely on community and family to help my children get to where they need to be. To rely on my own two feet to get to places I need to be today. Exciting! And also good for my butt may I add :)
2. Yesterday, since I was busy, John blanched and froze some of our green beans and squash for use at a later date.
3. I learned to can pickles! (Which if anyone knows me, canning scares that crap out of me....)
4. "Eaarth" is from the library. Borrow, trade, barter. Awesome.
5. I'm hanging clothes to dry today.
6. As is everyday, I recycle, I help my friends, I support my community, and I try to enrich my children's lives with education every single chance I get.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One choice... Four years ago....

"I am not what happened yesterday. I am what I am today. And I will be what I chose to be tomorrow."

*************

Four years ago. Yep, it was four years ago today that I was watching them try to put Ryan back together again. Which leads to tomorrow, which will be four years ago tomorrow that for one day in my life, I wasn't given this opportunity to chose what I wanted to be.

There was no choice.

The Universe said, "So sorry... you're a widow now, you get to be a single mom and raise 3 boys alone."

Yet, on this anniversary day I want to not be bitter at the Universe. I want to try to be thankful for how I have changed from this loss of choice...


Thank you for teaching me that I would like to be remembered when it's my turn by my actions, by how I care about others, and by how I gave my time and love to my children.

Thank you for giving me the strength to endure through a mental hell that is hell enough to make grown men cry and leads many others to depression and drug addiction.

Thank you for teaching me how to be more in touch with my emotions, and that is IS okay to cry.

Thank you for teaching me how to appreciate every single breath I take.

Thank you for shooting me like a sling shot into a world which I now know is never planned, counted on, nor promised.

Because of that, thank you for allowing me to now have the knowledge to try to enjoy every moment. Today I sat at a park and watched my kids play... no book, no TV, no Internet... just watching them play.

Thank you for teaching me to respect and love those in my life who respect and love me and my family.

Thank you for teaching me that it is not tolerable to have people in my life who DON'T love and respect me and my family.

Thank you for humbling me and teaching me the hard way about our own mortality.

Thank you for giving me the chance to prove to myself that I AM strong, that I WILL succeed, and that I CAN carry on.

Thank you for opening my eyes to a whole new way of living, by dreaming and making use of a more simple lifestyle.

Thank you for teaching me to be okay with myself. Just myself. Sometimes in life, all we have is ourselves and I am happy that I have found comfort in who I am.

Thank you for showing me that we ALL make choices every single day about what we want to do, how we choose to live, and who we want to be.

Thank you for teaching me to make these choices with my heart.

***********

Ryan,
I miss you. I miss you a lot this time of year. No one will ever make that pain go away. Yet I think, if you happen to be peaking in from time to time, that I am managing okay so far. Your boys are... well... they're boys. They are rambunctious, loud, fun, sweet, caring, and most of all, they are just like you were as a child. They are so smart and so in love with life. They miss you all the time too.... but don't worry, your name is on our lips each day. There is not one day that goes by that we don't speak your name. Some may have forgotten about what happened to you over time, but I never will. They will never forget neither. As long as I'm here, they will know what kind of person you were and how much it must have hurt you to have to say good bye.

Thinking of you and still loving our memories,
Dana and the Boys

Thursday, July 8, 2010

We are all here today.... thanks to the stars....

Do I believe there is a higher power out there? Yes.

Why do I believe there is a higher power out there? Let me tell you a story...

Last night, John and I left to play volleyball around 6. We left the boys with our regular babysitter, who is amazing. She's excellent with children, bright, responsible, over the age of 21, all things that I really like to have when it comes to sitters. Its was our last volleyball night until next season so there was a tournament and a pot luck. We didn't play until 7:30 and we planned on being there til at least 11:00.

But it rained. No, actually it was more like a monsoon. Either way, it did it about 10 minutes before we were supposed to play... and the game was called. We kinda figured that it was only called until the rain let up, but the ref actually called it for the entire night. What!?! Well all right then, guess we'll head home.

We pull in just a smidgen past 8:00, and as soon as we open the back door, we were immediately hit with the smell of gas. IMMEDIATELY. John looked over and the stove was on. He rushed over to turn it off and started opening all the windows. The smell was all through the whole house.... into the living room and upstairs in all the bedrooms...

The babysitter had no clue. How would she though? We get accustomed to an odor in minutes... unless she would have went outside for a bit and came back in, she NEVER would have smelled it! We don't know how it came on neither... last time they were in the kitchen was around 7:00. So the gas had been running for an hour. We weren't mad at her though... shit, it could happen to me or John just as easily.

It all happened so fast that I didn't even really think about it too much.... until today.

WHOA.

My children could have died. DIED. Go ahead, do some Internet searches... Yeah, they could have died last night.

But they didn't. And there is no way I can sit here and say, "Man, we were LUCKY."

I'm sorry, but there has to be a higher power controlling things out there because that was more then just luck.

If we would have stayed and played, even stayed and played in the rain, we wouldn't have been home until maybe it was too late. If the ref would have called it for only a half hour and then went back to playing like we NORMALLY do, it would have been too late.

But it rained. And for some reason, he called the games for the night. And instead of hanging out and having some beers with friends, we came home. And we got home before it was too late.

That's not just luck folks. I honestly believe in my heart of hearts that there was something or someone who aligned the stars just right and my children are all still with me when I woke up this morning. I don't care who or what anyone out there believes in for themselves.... God, The Universe, Yahweh, Allah, Mother Earth, Guardian Angels... I believe that there is something that helped us out last night.

This could have been us:


But it's not. And I am immensely grateful to whomever or whatever helped guide us last night.