Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh. My. Goodness.


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


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!
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.


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.


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.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Council of Dads

So, taking a mental break from Peak Oil ramblings :)

I really enjoy Time magazine. I especially enjoy the last page, kinda the "Essay" section. This weeks essay part was about a father who knew he was going to die from cancer. He knew this ahead of time, so he formed a "Council of Dads" for his little girls. The council consisted of men that were his friends that he trusted to help raise his daughters after he passed. In forming this council, he realized that he had to clear up with each person exactly how he felt about them and why he chose them. You can read the article HERE.

This article obviously hit home with me a bit. Being as Ryan died suddenly though, there was no time for us to form this council for our boys. Ryan did have some good friends though and I remember after he died, each one of his best friends came forward to tell me that they would help with the boys. They would be there when I needed them if the boys had questions, or just wanted to spend time with them in a "father and son" manner.

This article is a wonderful article and yes, I personally believe that it takes a village to raise a child, but the more I think about this article, the more it actually makes me bitter in a way. I'm not disputing the fact that having this council is an awesome plan, and that it gives much comfort to the dying person, but I think this concept is a unicorn (unicorn = fantasy). I am actually curious to find out if this Council is still helping to raise these girls...

Fast forward 4 years and the reason for this post.

In 4 years, not one of his best friends has come to visit the boys. Not one of them has offered to take them fishing, to take them to a ball game, to take them to talk about "growing up", etc. etc. I understand that people grow and change and our lives go in separate directions but yes, I am still a bit bitter. I have learned that if you want something done, its best to plan on it being you, and you alone. Even families will fade away after some time....

Basically, instead of writing to Time magazine, I'm just venting and sharing what has happened in our specific situation. Learning through experience is the best way to learn, and I have experienced this first hand.... I can literally count on ONE HAND the people that have offered to and have helped with raising the boys. Thank you to those very few, your help through an extremely challenging time has not been forgotten. However I feel that I was basically raising the boys myself and the kicker of this whole situation? A PERFECT STRANGER came into our lives and is now helping to raise them into fine young men. Never in my life did I ever imagine a man coming into this house and take on the challenge of raising 3 young boys with out batting an eye. Never. Yet as fate has it, I found that man and I have my "council" for now :)

I don't even know how to end this little vent except for words of advice... If you make a promise to a dying person, or to the family after a person dies, follow through. Don't make empty promises. Also, talk to your spouse about what would happen if the other dies, this is a topic most people don't talk about at young ages. We think we will all live to see 100, and in truth, we all won't. Make sure your lives are structured so that when your support system FAILS, you can carry on with confidence. Acquire life insurance. Learn to do things your spouse "normally does". Haven't ever mowed the grass? Do it so you know how. Never changed a flat tire? Do it so you know how. Keep your independence along side your love and dependency, you may need it someday....