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Monday, July 30, 2012

Needing to Write

I should be sewing, or cleaning house, or doing any number of other more "productive" things, but for whatever reason, today I need to write.  I need to just sit here in front of this keyboard and keep pressing these keys to make them say something, anything.  I don't even know what I need to write about, I just know I need to write!  For days I have been fighting it, just pumping out an occasional blog post between seams when someone pissed me off enough, but today I can't fight it anymore. so I am going to sit here and keep typing until the obsession passes. 

I have mentioned before to those who follow along that I pretty much stopped writing for nearly 25 years because of the risks it posed to my real world make believe life.  I couldn't let people know who I really was, or how I really felt about much of anything because my family wouldn't have approved.  I let their narrow minded world views inhibit nearly every aspect of my personality, and my creativity, for more than half of my life.  I can't do it any more. 

When I blew up at my Father last year before Christmas I know I should have felt bad.  I should be saddened by the fact that no one in my extended family has made a single effort to speak to me since then.  But I don't.  I don't feel bad for what I said, I do feel bad for waiting so many damn years to say it, but I don't feel bad for saying it.  They have no idea how much pain they have caused me all my life by treating me as if there was something "wrong" with me not thinking like they did. They silenced and belittled me all of my life for having any opinion at all contrary to theirs, and they had absolutely no interest in knowing anything about who I really was or what I wanted from my own life. 

I wasn't sad when they walked out of my life, I was relieved.  A great weight was suddenly lifted from my shoulders.  As if a giant anchor that had been weighing me down and holding me back all of my life, had suddenly broken free from its chain and there was nothing restraining me any longer.  I am still learning to find my voice, as a writer, as an artist, and as a person, but I am finally free to find it.  My husband and my oldest son keep trying to find ways to heal the wounds between me and my Mother, but I can't go back to being silent and withering away in the corner anymore, and I know that is the only way she will ever accept me.  I tried all my life to be close to her, but the price I had to pay in losing myself is not something I am willing to pay anymore. 

I am who I am supposed to be.  I like who I am.  I like the life I have chosen for myself, it has not always been easy, but it has always been mine.  I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I have learned from everyone of them and I hope I have become a better person because of them.  I don't profess to be any better than any other person on the planet, but I refuse to stand by silently anymore while someone else claims that I am somehow less than they are because I don't believe what they do.  Fuck that noise.  Did that far too long already, I am done.  I am no better than anyone else, but there is also no one better than me.

"What Will the Neighbors Think?"

"What will the neighbors think?" Oh my freaking Gawd I hate that question!  Stupidest mother fucking question ever asked in the history of all time as far as I am concerned.  It was, of course, my Mother's favorite question, which may have some bearing on why I have such disdain for it.  I swear I must have heard that question at least once a day, every day, for most of my childhood.  What makes it all the more ridiculous a question than I might normally perceive it to be was that fact that my parents were never friends with any of their neighbors, they didn't even like the people.  Why the Hell do you care what they think?

If you have read anything I have written or seen what I post on Facebook, you know by now that I don't give a damn what anybody thinks about me.  Never have.  That was the biggest problem I had growing up in my family, everyone else thought it was extremely important and I didn't care in the least.  Maybe it is because I am crazy, but I find it extremely amusing that the people who seem to like other people the least, care the most about what those other people think about them!  Or, maybe it is just much easier for me to Love everyone, because I don't care what they think.  I don't know, but I find it funny anyway.

My Mother thought it reflected badly upon her if I did something weird, or socially "unacceptable", or otherwise "bad".  I never had the heart to tell her that our neighbors thought badly of her and dad because were more concerned with their appearances than they were with their kid, I doubt she would have understood the concept anyway. 

The kids in my Junior High School taught me that it really doesn't matter if you do everything right anyway, people are still going to think badly of you if they want to.  I watched a young woman's life destroyed when she was raped and had the audacity to report it.  "The Neighbors" called her a "whore"and thought she did something wrong!  These are the people who's opinion I am supposed to care about?  I don't think so.  "The Neighbors" are fucking idiots.  End of discussion.

For years I did let concern over what my Mother would think prevent me from doing a lot of things.  Some of them it was a probably a good thing that I didn't do, but I also let it keep me from my art and especially my writing, and that was not good.  For years I could not write anything because I was terrified it would get out and my Mother would read it. And, no matter how hard I try, when I try to write without offending her, whatever I write just turns out to be boring drivel.  I knew even as a child that if she ever knew everything about me she would disown me.  So I kept quite for 30 years, out of fear of offending my own Mother by being myself.  Damn, that is a fucking sad statement.  I mean, if I was a serial killer, or some other hurtful type of person, that might make sense, but there is nothing hurtful about me.  I strive to be exactly the opposite, I give from my heart to the world everyday, in anyway I can, but that is not acceptable behavior in my family. 

 I do still tend to guard my words in fear, but only in fear of my government now.  And that is also a very sad statement, one that I will address another day perhaps.  But as for the neighbors, or the rest of the world, I couldn't care less what they think.  I seriously doubt that any of them waste a whole lot of their time thinking about me at all!  And on the rare occasion that they do think about me it is probably as "the quiet, crazy lady who does all kinds of weird stuff in her front yard", and that's okay with me.  I know that where we live right now, half of the neighbors think my husband is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and the other half think he's a raging asshole.  The funny part is, they are all correct!  And at the end of the day, he doesn't care what any of them think any more than I do, thank goodness!

If there is one thing I do know to be true in this life it is that no one is ever guaranteed a tomorrow.  You can plan for the future and  pray for an after-life till the cows come home, that doesn't prevent you from dying before the sunrises.  So whatever time I do have in this life is far too precious to me to waste any of it worrying about what somebody else thinks about me.  If you Love me, I will Love you.  If you hate me, I will still Love you., I won't want anything to do with you, but that doesn't mean I don't Love you.  But Love me, hate me, or anything in between, either accept me as I am or don't bother me, because I really don't care what you think.  I am far too busy thinking for myself to be bothered with any of that.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The "Controversy" Over Gay Marriage

Mother is angry again, or still, I am really not sure which anymore.  It is starting to mess with my calm though and I am not fucking happy about that.  I have been trying to sew for the past three days but I can't even concentrate on that because I am so damned angry.  I am sick and tired of mean, selfish people, and I am especially tired of listening to them whine and complain about other people being mean to them!

If you have been around me for any length of time, you know Mother is an adamant supporter of all personal freedoms and the personal responsibility that is necessary to maintain those freedom.  You cannot have one without the other as far as I can see.  This whole controversy over gay marriage is so ridiculously freaking stupid to me that I find it hard to comprehend to start with, but then to have those who create the controversy try to claim that people shouldn't be upset about it, and they certainly shouldn't criticize it in anyway, well that is just wrong.

Let me be very clear here, Gay people did NOT cause the controversy over gay marriage, they are just the latest in a very, very LONG line of people who have been singled out for their "differences" and vilified and abused in the name of "God" and religion.  I don't know what world some people think they live in, but in the world I live in, a marriage license is a legal contract issued by the government.  Period.  When my husband and I got married we went to the city hall to apply for our marriage license, not a church.  And I do not recall anyone testing my virginity before they issued it, nor do I recall my father giving him any goats or sheep in return for taking me off his hands. 

Just because someone sees marriage as a "religious institution" does not make it so for everyone else.  If churches do not want to preform marriages for gay people, that is fine, I absolutely support their right to refuse to do so.  I would not contribute financially to that church in anyway (not that I would anyway), and I might even talk about how I thought they were mean for doing so, but I fully support their right to do so, and to tell the world that they are doing so.  But they have NO right to tell me that the laws of our government should conform to their beliefs.  Churches are given tax exempt status for a reason, they are supposed to stay OUT of our government and its laws!

Okay, so the gentleman from the Fast Food Restaurant chain who actively opposes gay marriage is not a church, he is a business man, and he (I will give him the benefit of the doubt here because I really have no idea) probably does pay a lot of money in taxes, and he absolutely has the right to speak out on any issue that he wants to speak on, and support any cause he wants to support.  As long as he takes ownership of his words and his beliefs, I actually salute him for standing up for what he believes in, and for telling people just where their money is going when they eat at his restaurants.  I do NOT support his beliefs, I find them offensive, and as much as he has a right to express his beliefs, I have the same right to express mine. 

People seem to conveniently forget that 60 years ago it was illegal for a black man to marry a white woman in some places in the U.S. of A., and why was that?  Oh yeah, cause the bible said it was bad.  100 years ago women couldn't vote in this country, and why was that?  Oh yeah, because the bible said that was bad.  200 years ago, slavery was legal in this country, and why was that? Oh yeah, because the bible said that was good!  Does anybody REALLY want to have our laws determined by the bible?  I sure as hell don't.  And since the bible talks pretty adamantly against being wealthy and greedy and unkind, well, some people really ought to be careful about just what they are wishing for.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Respecting Religious Freedom vs Respecting Religious Beliefs

I want to start off today by saying Thank You to everyone who showed their support and appreciation for yesterday's blog post.  I was overwhelmed by the amount of love and positivity that almost everyone expressed.  I even want to Thank the one woman who got herself banned from my Facebook Page yesterday by responding negatively to that post.  She was kind enough to provide me with today's topic of discussion, and for that I am grateful!

This is gonna be another touchy subject for some of you, and I understand that so I will apologize in advance for any hurt feelings this may cause.  I am not trying to hurt anyone, I never do, but I am gonna say what I have to say anyway.  I am truly sorry if it hurts, but I am not sorry that I need to say it because I think it needs to be said.  That being said, in all of the words of support and agreement I received, there was one woman who felt the need to voice her displeasure with what I had written.  And she felt the need so strongly that she had to leave the same comment both here on the blog AND on the link on my Facebook page.  Now you all should know that Mother moderates EVERY comment ever made in both places, I am rather obsessive about it in fact.  And that NO comment that I don't like is ever going to be allowed to stay on MY page or MY blog.  I have always been very clear about this, it should not come as a surprise.

Anyway, this very upset woman was angry with Mother because she did not feel I showed proper respect to her "God" or her religious beliefs, and that I should be more respectful.  Ummmm, NO.  Sorry, but that is NEVER going to happen.  I absolutely, 100% support your right to believe whatever you want, to worship whatever "God" you want to worship.  More power to you, I support and respect that right wholeheartedly.  That does not mean I respect your religion, your "God" or those beliefs.  I don't.  And I won't.   I am not saying that what you believe is wrong, I am just saying that I, personally, think it is stupid.  That is just my opinion and it does not matter one hill of beans in the grand scheme of life so get over yourself.  You don't respect my beliefs, why the fuck do you think I should have to respect yours?

I have never tried to convince any of you that there is no "God", if you want to believe in such a thing, that's fine.  As long as it is making a positive affect (did I get it right this time Cousin Jennie? - I am trying) on your life, then I think that is wonderful for you.  Personally, I do not believe in any "God", and having read the entire bible cover to cover I have to say that if I did believe he existed, I would think he is an asshole.  Again this is just MY opinion and it has nothing to do with the price of tea in China so if I am "going to Hell" for it, fine.  I spent ten years living in my own Hell when I was married to my ex-husband, so your "fire and brimstone" sounds like a vacation package in comparison.  Bring it on.

My respecting your religious freedom does not equal my respecting your religious beliefs, anymore than you respect mine.  We can agree to disagree, and go on peacefully co-existing forever as far as I am concerned.  If you don't like my thoughts and beliefs on the subject all you have to do is not read them.  That seems pretty simple.  Its not like I am out writing laws that say everyone must be taught to believe as I do.  I think the world would be a better place if they did, but I am not trying to force anyone to do so.  You are NOT respecting my beliefs when you say that "gay" people are unworthy of the same rights as straight people.  You are NOT respecting my beliefs when you try to have your religion taught in public schools or the commandments being displayed on public property.  You are NOT respecting my beliefs when you try to legislate what I can or cannot do with or to my own body.  You are NOT respecting my beliefs when you tell me I should be "killed" or "rot in Hell" because I believe differently than you, why in the world would you expect me to show any respect for your beliefs?  Seriously?  Can you not see how ridiculous you sound?

Unlike so many people these days I do take the few "freedoms" we have left very seriously.  I am a firm supporter of the Constitution of the United States (and yes I have read that too!) and I will defend to my death your right to say what you want, think what you want, believe what you want, and worship (or not) as you want, just not in my house - okay?  This is MY Home, I did not come to your house uninvited and shove my beliefs down your throat.  If you are reading these words YOU came to MY house to read them.  I am not forcing you to be here, you are a guest in MY home, act like it!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sexuality vs Morality

Mother is beyond being NOT Pleased this evening, she is down-right pissed.  Fortunately I have calmed down significantly from the blinding rage I was feeling last night, but I am still fucking pissed.  I shared a picture on Facebook  last night with a quote from Betty White in support of gay marriage and some blithering moron has the audacity to come on MY PAGE and say something to the effect of "Gay people need to go back in the closet where they belong".  Now if you know anything at all about me you should know that I do not tolerate that kind of talk.  EVER!  People do NOT belong in fucking closets!  Your fucking shoes belong in the closet bitch!  Your sick and twisted life view belongs in the fucking closet you worthless excuse for a human being. People should NEVER be put in a fucking closet!  I did mention I was angry right?

So Mother has got some things to say about "morality" today.  I am the first to admit that my "moral code" is probably not the same as a lot of people's.  And I will also be the first to tell you that mine is better, and I really do think it should be "the law of the land".  So in that way perhaps I am a hypocrite when I say other people shouldn't try to legislate their morality onto others, but there is one major difference, my moral code doesn't place any limits on what a person can do to themselves, unless it effects others.  What a person chooses to do to or with their own body is no ones business but their own, there is no morality or immorality involved as far as I am concerned.  For me, morality should be about how you treat Other people!

According to - Morality is "conformity to the rules of right conduct".  The "rules of right conduct" on my page are pretty clear - Don't type on My Wall if it is not nice.  By typing those hateful and hurtful words on MY Page she was the only one acting "immorally"!  Case fucking closed you judgemental fucking hypocrite!

All of this was pretty much a prelude to let me get away with talking about sex to be honest.  I am really uncomfortable talking about sex.  I mean REALLY uncomfortable, I don't even like to talk to my own husband about sex and we have married for almost ten years!  And yes, we have a very healthy sex life, I just don't talk about it.  But as uncomfortable as I am talking about it, I believe it is one of the most normal and natural acts a human being can partake in, and as long as you are not forcing it upon someone without their consent there is nothing immoral about it, ever (except in cases of adultery, but that goes back to how you treat other people). There is no right way to have sex.  There is no right or wrong in sex, except in whether it is consensual or non-consensual. Non-consensual sex is ALWAYS wrong and ONLY "immoral" for the aggressor, not the victim.

I do not care what you think "The Bible" says, or what your church leaders say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay. If you really believe "God man made in his own image" and "We are all God's children" and all that, why do you assume he that he somehow fucked up when he made gay people?  Was he like "Ooops, sorry, didn't mean to make you love people of your same gender, but since I did now I will decide that you are bad for it" ?  Really?  You really think that way?  And you worship that guy?  That is so sad for you.

I am not gay, I think I have made that pretty clear.  I have never had any interest whatsoever in having sex with another woman.  It does not appeal to me. At all.  Ever.  That being made perfectly clear I hope, I think women are beautiful.  I was stealing my dad's Playboys and looking at the pictures when I was a teenager, and I still like looking at beautiful women, with or without their clothes.  And, truth be told, I don't particularly like looking at completely naked men.  I am sorry guys, but them balls are not attractive to me.  Wrap them up all nice and tidy in a pair of tight fitting undies and hell yes, I can drool over that all day, but I prefer the package be kept wrapped until it is time to put it to use.  Maybe I am strange.  I really don't know, and I really don't care.  The only reason I am even admitting any of this to the world is to make the point that it doesn't really fucking matter.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.  Even though it is not something I like to talk about, sex is a natural human desire that should be enjoyed.  There is a reason it feels good!  If something is natural, and it feels good, why the hell are so many people trying to stop it?  If there is a "God" and that "God" gave us orgasms, wouldn't it be worse in his eyes to demonize that gift than to appreciate it? Think about that one for a while.

My sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with my morality.  To me they should be two completely different subjects.  Yes, I had sex before I was married, hell, I had a three year old son by the time I got married, so?  What does that really have to do with anyone else's life?  I did not receive a dime of Welfare money before I was married either, so don't even try to go there.  I have had more than a couple of sexual partners in my life, most of which I never had any intention of ever marrying.  I am a 44 year old mother of six children (from three different fathers), and I enjoy sex.  So what?  I am married now, so that makes it somehow better?  One has little or nothing to do with the other.  The whole discussion is just ridiculous as far as I am concerned. Sexual repression has done nothing for this country but cause more problems, just like every other attempt to repress normal, healthy human behavior.  People should not be afraid of their own bodies!  And they certainly shouldn't be denied what little pleasure that this cold cruel world has to offer them.  To me, denying people joy, that is what is truly immoral!

I do not understand why some people are so insistent upon concerning themselves with other people's lives and bodies anyway.  If it does not directly effect you, mind your own damn business.  And if it only effects you because you have chosen to let it effect you, get over yourself.  People have sex.  They always have, and they always will.  And there is nothing wrong with having sex in whatever way you choose, as long as you don't force it on someone who does not consent.  Period.  End of discussion. I sure as hell hope I never see crap like that again, but sadly I am sure somehow that I will.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mother Really is a Study in Contrasts

"Spring Fever"

Someone once asked my the question, "If you were a quilt pattern, what would you be?"  The picture above was my answer. It is bright and colorful, loud and cheerful, a little off-kilter and out of balance, and made up of little parts and pieces all sewn together with love.

You may have noticed by now that I am a study in contrasts. There are countless examples of my contradictory thought processes and behaviors in every aspect of my life.  I have made peace with most of them, they are what makes me different, I guess, unique in my own twisted little way.  They do tend to present some challenges at times though.

You know I love you all Dearly, but I don't like people very much. I do not care what people think of me, but I hate to offend people. I am generous to a fault, but I refuse to be taken advantage of by anyone. I am probably one of the most giving people you will ever meet, but I am extremely selfish. I am extremely intelligent, but I do stupid shit all the freaking time. The room I am sitting in is 73 degrees, but I have three layers of clothes on and I am freezing! I know my husband is the most wonderful man in the world, and I also know he is an incredible asshole. Its never either-or in my world, its almost always both or neither. I guess that's one of the reasons I have such a hard time understanding other people, they seem so singular in their views and beliefs and I am just incapable of thinking that way..

I grew up in an upper middle class family, but I have lived in "poverty" all my adult life, and yet I have never felt richer than I do today. I am lazy, but I like to work hard and hate having nothing to do. I love technology and use it every day all day long, but I still prefer to do a lot of things the way they did them a 100 years ago. I would rather use a hand tool than a power tool whenever possible. I can and do use power tools when necessary, but I'd rather use my own power when I can.

I don't care about appearances, but I devote a lot of time to trying to create beautiful art. I am scared to death of trying new things, but I am always trying to learn something I didn't know before. I love the outdoors, but I hate being outside unless the weather is perfect and the bugs are under control. I consider myself a modern, independent minded woman, but I have never wanted a career outside the home, not even when I had one.

I refuse to follow the crowd, or go with the flow, but I hate to make waves.  I don't play favorites on things that matter.  I don't have a favorite color, or a favorite flower or a favorite food, but I do have a favorite football team.  I write all the time about being crazy, but I think I am probably far more sane than most people.  I don't believe in any God, but I try to be far more "Christian" in my behavior towards others than most people who go to church every Sunday.

I love to travel and see new places, but I hate to leave my house.  I love to take pictures, but I have remarkably few of my children.  I want people to buy my art and my books someday, but I don't ever want to be famous.  I have always wanted to teach, but I don't like to talk to people.  I find humor in tragedies, especially my own.

I am sure I could come up with a hundred more examples if I sat here thinking about it long enough, but I think you get the picture.  So if you didn't understand before why I always refer to myself as being crazy, maybe now you understand a little bit better.  How could anybody live inside my head and not be a little crazy?

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Day of Dyeing

Well, I spent the whole day outside today!  Mother was dyeing today!  And I had a grand time doing it too!  Technically I am still not done yet, I have the third batch of fabrics in the washing machine right now, and one more still pre-soaking outside waiting to be washed out.  I didn't dye any t-shirts today, just fabrics for my quilt making.  I spent the last few days cutting up a bunch of my hand dyed fabrics and was running low on certain color ranges so I replaced them.  I did take a bunch of pictures of the process, but all my batteries for my camera died so you will have to wait until later for me to download them. 

I ended up with about 4 dozen different colors of fabrics in varying shades of blue, purple, green and pink.  I even over-dyed some of the batik fabrics I started last year, with varying degrees of success. They all look pretty, but some show the pattern better than others.  I really enjoyed making the batik fabrics but I need a better set-up for removing the wax before I do anymore of it.  That was a pain in the ass!  Putting the wax on was fun though.  you know me and tools, well, I bought dozens of little metal stamps and shapes to use with the wax, along with specialty tools and brushes, and a special electric skillet, just for heating the wax.  I will use it all again, someday, but probably not this year.

I plan to use the rest of the summer to produce more handmade products for sale.  I have all these skills and talents, and I have been giving them away all my life. It is about damn time I see if I can make some money at it. Actually I have made money from it in the past, sporadically.  I have sewn professionally, both in a factory, and at home, many times over the years, but that was more about production than creation.  This is about creation.

As I mentioned I have been cutting fabrics for a new series of quilts I am creating.  I went through my boxes of batik fabrics I have collected and found some beautiful blue and purple fabrics this time and i cannot wait to see what they become.  I have been calling these my "Serendipity Quilts", because I have just been cutting the fabrics into different sized rectangles, squares and strips, and then sewing them together.  I have no pattern, no finished design of what they will look like, that's part of the fun for me. I will post some pictures when my camera batteries recharge, so you can see some of the ones I have done so far like this.  I really like them.

I am tired after a long day of dyeing, so no bitching from me tonight.  Hopefully I will have some time to write again tomorrow and I will have more to bitch about then.  But for tonight - I'm out.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

No More Negative Nelly's Allowed!

It is no secret that Mother has Issues.  I am completely upfront and honest about that fact, I do not hide it from anyone.  One of Mother's many issues is dealing with "Negative Nelly's"!  They are even worse than the "Spelling Nazis" who drive me crazy.  They may even be worse than the "holier-than-thou-oh-my-goodness-you-offended-me!" people, but probably not by much.  "Negative Nelly's", by the way are, in case you couldn't guess, people who need to throw a downer onto every party.  The ones who have to point out how "dangerous" something is, or how "fake" something is, when it is completely irrelevant to the point being made.

I try to share inspiring, positive, uplifting images and sayings whenever I come across them.  If I enjoy something, for whatever reason, I share it on Mother's Facebook pages just in case someone else might enjoy it as well.  I do not need anyone to tell me what is "wrong' with it.  Ever.  If I state something is a fact, and I am wrong, I do not mind being corrected.  Like when I shared the picture of the swirling sunflower that I said was not Photoshopped when it was TOTALLY Photoshopped, that's fine.  I was wrong, and I apologized for that error.  But when I post something about  Compassion, and the need for everyone to have a little bit more, I do not need anyone to tell me that there is anything wrong with either the picture or the sentiment.  Shut the fuck up already!

Even when I posted a picture that simple had a beautiful child saying, "If you can't say something nice, shut up"  and I had to delete half a dozen dumb ass comments from people telling me how wrong that was.  Um, NO.  My fucking page, MY fucking rules.  And "Be nice or shut up" is my number ONE rule there, always has been, always will be.  If you do not like something on my page, share it on your own page and tell everyone there how wrong it is.  Your friends and family might care what you think, but I don't.  This blog and my Facebook pages are where I get to say what I think.  If you don't want to know what I think, don't "like" my pages or follow my blog.  If I want to know what you think, I will come "like" your page or follow your blog.

I am not sure why this concept is so damn difficult for some people to understand.  Just because I Love everyone, doesn't mean I have to care what you think, or how you feel, or what you believe.  I really don't care.  I am a very kind and loving person, I do my best not to deliberately hurt anyone in any way, ever.  I try to be sensitive towards people who aren't hurting anyone else.  Live and let live,... to each his own, ... and all that cliched nonsense is really how I live.  I started the "Mother is NOT Pleased" page on Facebook as a way to express myself without hurting the sensitivities of my extended family members who have no clue who I really am, and this Blog as an extension of that. I never wanted any "fans" or "likers", at all.  I have never asked another page to "Share" or "Pimp" my pages, I don't solicit anyone to "tell your friends".  I have invited a total of 10 people to come and "like" my main Facebook Page, and only three or four to the other.  I have never been about the numbers, I really don't care if there are 25,000 of you or the 10 I invited.  I do what I do for me.  I am thrilled that so many people have found Mother and seem to enjoy her crazy, fucked-up sense of humor, but that is not why I post what I post.

If you were looking for someone to cater to your every whim and never post anything that you don't love 100%, you are in the wrong fucking place.  I only cater to my own whims, and even I don't 100% love every single thing I post.  So get over yourselves, because I am so very over having to deal with it.  If you like what I post and you want to tell me how much you enjoy it, Fantastic!  But if you don't like something, and you really have no self-control to prevent you from telling me about it, I am just going to delete your comment so be prepared for that fact.  Even if you think it "wasn't that bad", if I don't like it, its gone.  Like I said, feel free to bitch and moan on your own pages and profiles about how stupid, dangerous, or offensive you think I am, just DON'T do it in my House!     

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mother is One Lucky Woman!

Mother had a pretty productive day today for a Saturday.  I finished my "work", fulfilled my obligations, and did my chores, and still had time to finish putting the borders on two of my new quilt tops.  For me, this is a very good day.  I know that I have a pretty nice life for myself here, and I appreciate it more than I could ever express, because I know how much worse it can be.

I have said before that find it funny that my most popular posts here are the ones where I am bitching about something, because I really have so little to complain about in my own life.  Oh sure, I have a fucked up extended-family from whom I am estranged, and my husband tends to be an asshole at times, and according to the federal government I have lived my entire adult life in poverty, but I know I am one lucky woman to have the life that I have.  There are billions of people around the world who would give their left arm to have half of the life I have.  I appreciate that fact. 

I have lived with far less than what I have now.  There was a time where everything I owned didn't fill the bed of a pickup truck, and even then I had more than many people ever have in their lifetime.  I lived "off the grid" for three years - without running water, telephone, or electricity.  Half a mile to the nearest neighbor, and ten miles to the nearest town, and I didn't even have a driver's license.  For the first 6 months, we lived in a 10' x 15' wall tent, until we graduated to a 10' x 50' beat-up trailer. Life was difficult, but even then I knew how fortunate I was to have a life of my choosing.

I am a simple person, my needs are few, and my wants aren't that much either.  I have no interest in fancy clothes, or cars, or things.  I have no interest in impressing anyone.  I just want to be comfortable, and to have the rest of the world leave me the fuck alone.  Is that really too much to ask?  I have never had any interest in being rich.  Yes, I would like to know I had enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life.  Hell, I would be thrilled to have enough money to know I could live comfortably for a couple of months!  It would be nice to not have to worry about money, but it seems to me that most rich people worry a lot more about money than I ever have.

I have been extremely fortunate in my life in that I have never been forced to go hungry, or homeless.  I have always known I had a place to lay my head at night, and enough food to fill my belly any time I needed it.  I would like to take some credit for never getting myself into a situation that required me to end up homeless or hungry, but I knew in the grand scheme of life I was really just fucking lucky.  I could have just as easily been born in a third world country to a family who couldn't afford to feed themselves.  I could have lost everything to a fire, a flood, or any other of an untold number of disasters could have befallen my life at any time.

There is a saying from my youth that sticks with me to this day - "There but for the grace of God go I".  Now, as I have mentioned before, I don't believe in any "God", but I do believe in grace.  I know it sounds contradictory, and maybe a little ridiculous, but it works for me, so don't argue.  Life is about luck.  Some people are luckier than others - usually by right of birth, but not always.  Sometimes we make our own luck, but the energy of the universe is not fixed, there are no guarantees in this life.  The only thing being born guarantees you is that you are going to die.  Any time you get in between those two events is a bonus, and if you get to enjoy any of that time, well, that my friend is what I call "grace". 

And I do enjoy my life.  No, its not all fun and games.  I don't travel the world, or do a lot of exciting activities.  But I have never had an interest in doing those things. The things that I enjoy most in life really don't cost that much, so the lack of disposable income has never stopped me from doing what I wanted to do.  I learned long ago to make do with what I had to work with, and to be grateful that I had as much as I did.  I may not believe in a "God", but I certainly know that I am blessed.  I may not have a lot of money, or a lot of friends, or a lot of much of any thing else (except fabric, I have a lot of fabric), but I have a husband who loves me, a comfortable home, and pretty much every thing I want. I know I am one lucky woman!

My Review of the Time4Learning website

Last month I posted that I had been given a one month free trial of the Time4learning website, in exchange for writing a review of their site on the blog here.  Our free trial expired this week so I am here to share my family's  thoughts and experiences over the course of the last month, as promised.

First a little background - I found the site while looking for non-religious based homeschooling curriculum for my two youngest sons, ages 8 & 9.  The site focuses primarily on Mathematics and Language Arts, and it is geared towards independent learners from Kindergarten thru 8th grade.  This is a subscription based web-site which charges a monthly fee of $19.95 ( plus $14.95 for each additional child) for access to all of the lessons and materials, which are all hosted on-line, there is nothing to down-load.

I was happily impressed with our free trial.  Enough so that I have agreed to stay on with the site as a paying customer.  And when you consider my limited income each month this is probably the biggest compliment I can give anything!  $35 a moth is a LOT of money to me, but I have looked at the costs of alternative programs and this is about as affordable as any I have found, especially considering all that is included. 

Both of the boys are enjoying the website immensely, and they are learning.  The site allows the parent to set the child's grade level for each subject independently, and gives the child independent access to all of the material in that grade level, as well as the grade level above and below in most cases.  This was a perfect option for my sons as we are able to adjust the program to fits their needs on a daily basis.

I do hope they continue to expand the site to include more Science, Social Studies, and other subjects, and it appears they are working towards that aim.  There are a few basic lessons for these subjects available now, and what there is appears to be good quality, but more would be helpful.

Our only real complaint was with the way the "Playground" access was set up.  The site provides a "Playground" with games and stuff for the kids to play when their lessons are done.  In theory, this is great.  Our problem came when the kids tried to get into the "playground".  Parents set up a time constraint, so the child has to spend so much time on their lessons before they can go play.  Well, that's a great idea, but the timer seems to only count if the child goes directly from the lesson to the "Playground", with no break in between.  My kids don't operate that way.  They wrok for a while on the computer, then they go do something else, then they want to come back and play, but the time they have already put in no longer counts.  It caused a little frustration the first couple of days, but we worked around it by just setting the timer to zero.  I know my kids will do their work first, so they didn't need the timer anyway, but we found the whole system there a little awkward to start out with.

A little more, or perhaps clearer introductory directions for the kids would probably also be helpful.  My kids are pretty computer literate and internet savvy for their ages.  They have had their own computer for 6 years, and monitored internet access for more than two years, so they know their way around these things, but their were a lot of options and things that they still didn't understand about the site after using it every day for weeks.  I am still learning it along with them, but I think we have gotten a pretty good handle on all of it now.

We are really enjoying the web-site.  They boys both rush to start their school work as soon as they are dressed each day, and they usually do at least double the amount of work I have asked them to do there.  When they were asked if they wanted to continue after our free trial ended, the answer was a resounding yes.  And from a Mother's point of view, not having to correct all those papers, and put all those lessons together myself, definitely make it a worthwhile investment for me.  I can print out a pdf file each day, or each week, or each month of the lessons that each child has completed and I can know in an instant what they need more help on or where they are having problems without leaning over their shoulders all the time.

I just wanted to add how much I appreciated the web-site's free trial in return for this review.  As a self-employed struggling artist, money is always hard to come by, and being able to explore the full capabilities of the site before laying out any money was a major selling point for me.  I will continue on as a paying customer for the foreseeable future as I believe the value for my family far exceeds the cost of the monthly fee.

 As a member of Time4Learning, I have been asked to review their online education program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. Write your own curriculum review or learn how to use their curriculum for homeschool, after school study or summer learning.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bitching About Bitching

Well Internet People, what shall Mother bitch about today? Hmmm, as usual the options are overwhelming, but I suppose I really should pick just one. I know! I will bitch about bitching! That sounds like fun.

I suppose to begin we should probably throw out some definitions here so that you all know just what I mean when I say something. When I say I am “bitching”, I mean that I am complaining, usually with colorful vulgarities sprinkled about to emphasize certain aspects of my personal irritations. Now there is a huge difference in my world between “bitching” and being “bitchy”. And I do make a conscious, deliberate effort not to be a “bitch”, and although I play one on Facebook sometimes, that is only in self-defense. I may do a lot of “bitching”, and yes, I can occasionally be quite “bitchy”, sometimes for no apparent reason whatsoever, but I really do try not to be a “bitch”, even when people may deserve it.

I think I have mentioned before (if anybody is actually following along here) that I don't really like to complain to other people. I like to bitch, but I prefer to do it to myself, or someone who knows me well enough to understand that even if they have done whatever I am bitching about, my bitching has nothing to do with them. My favorite person to bitch to is my oldest son. With him I am free to say whatever the fuck I want and he will just laugh with me at the ridiculousness of the world. Even if he disagrees with me he is quite adept at bitching back at me in a way that has us both laughing rather than fighting. Damn, I taught him well!

The one thing about bitching that I think is most important to me is never to single anyone out in my bitching, unless they really ask for it! I rarely call people out by name unless they are far MORE powerful and influential than I could ever hope to be. I don't pick on people. Not my style. I will however pick on the stupid shit that they do or say, the messed up crap that that life throws at them, or the messed up stuff that they throw at life, that's all fair game. But not individual people themselves.

Its is a fine line to walk, and once in a while I know I step over the bounds, but I really try not to. It really bothers me when other Facebook Pages call out their fans to attack other pages or people by name, I don't play that way. If I have a problem with a “fan” I ban them and go on with my day. If it really pisses me off I might do a little bitching about whatever it was they did that got them banned, but I certainly never tell anyone their name! Now I certainly understand when Page owners call out the beyond “offensive” pages that are just being cruel and hurtful, and ask people to report those pages to Facebook. I understand it, but I don't really like it, and I don't participate.

The one thing that I cannot stand is people who bitch about other people being nice to them. Don't complain that your Grandma bought you the wrong video game, or that the clothes someone graciously gave to your children out of the goodness of their hearts smells “bad”, that's just fucking rude! If someone does something for you because they care about you, you should be fucking grateful you stupid fuck, not bitchy! Sorry, but that REALLY pisses me off, in case you hadn't guessed. If you hate the 75th sweater that Grandma has given you, just say thank you, tell her you appreciate how much she loves you, and shove the fucking sweater in the back of the closet with the other 74, and keep your fucking mouth shut! Better yet, why don't you send some of them to some freezing person somewhere who would deeply appreciate a little warmth and kindness and quit being such a self-absorbed prick!

But I do like bitching. I am probably never gonna get off my skinny little ass and do anything to change the world beyond sharing a little love and laughter over the internet, so my bitching is probably generally pointless in the grand scheme of life. But then again, I think most things that people place value in these days are pretty pointless, so who am I to judge? If my bitching makes you laugh, great, that was kind of the point. If my bitching makes you think, well, that's even better. Just know that I am not bitching about YOU, I am just bitching.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Little Rant about Home Schooling Stereotypes

The general consensus seems to be that the best part of Mother's blog is when she is NOT pleased and is bitching about something. Okay then, if that's what you all want to read, I can give you that. I have always got something to bitch about. But you are still gonna have to put up with the occasional kitschy post too, cause that's just how I roll.

I did get one response to my “Atheist Rant” yesterday that I do want to address, and although the comments were positive for the most part I am going to end up being bitchy in the end so just wait for it. The comment that got me going was about homeschooling, and how that particular person couldn't do it personally, and the only people that they knew who did were religious zealots with weird kids. That was the basic gist that I got from the comment anyway.

First off, I am not taking offense at what was said, and I am totally paraphrasing out of context here, but it brought up some issues that I want to address. I have written before about the fact that I have been a “Homeschooler” for over 20 years, well, technically, for over 40 years, as I started learning long before I started school and have learned far more myself outside of a classroom than I ever did inside one. So it is a subject that is rather near and dear to my heart.

Yes, my children are a little weird, and socially awkward, and not only do I not deny that fact, I am damn proud of it. My ex-husband used to try to belittle my eldest son, by remarking on the fact that he was 16 and still a virgin, and he didn't even drink or use drugs. I am sorry, when did that become a “bad” thing? At 16 my son was a full-time College student, with a part-time job helping run the entire IT department of that College. His job involved not only dealing with computers, but also people, of all ages and skill levels, and he excelled at it! Today he is 25, he is a College graduate with a full-time job as an assistant manager, he has a beautiful girl friend who appears to be genuinely found of him, and he has a Mother who could not be more proud of the man he has become. And yes, he is fucking weird! And he is also damn proud of that fact! He has a heart of gold, and more integrity than any person I have ever known (religious or not), but he is a unique individual to the core and I would like to think that the years he spent learning at home rather than at “school” played a HUGE part in allowing him the freedom to become that person.

Of course I could be totally wrong. He could secret despise me for allowing him to stay home when he asked, but somehow I doubt it. I think he would have mentioned it by now since he usually tells me when I have pissed him off. I am the first to admit I was THRILLED when he asked and I learned that we could. I hated sending him to school. From the first day of Kindergarten I hated it. When other parents were counting down the days till they could send their kids off to school, I was dreading it. I don't like public schools. I didn't like them when I was a kid, and I like them even less now. I have nothing against teachers mind you, I have known some awesome teachers who really inspired me and made positive impacts on my life. Its the school, the whole damn system I don't like. Well, that, … and the other kids.

But more than that I hate being separated from my kids every day all day long, and then when they finally do get to come home they are supposed to spend even more time doing “homework” assigned by their teachers. Sorry folks, this is my fucking time, you had your time, if you couldn't make proper use of it that is not my problem.

I have mentioned before that I am weird right? So hopefully none of this is coming as a shock to anyone, but I like my kids, well, most of them. I enjoy spending time with them, and I enjoy helping them learn about the world in their own ways and in their own time. Do they miss out on a lot of social interaction with other kids, yes. And that is part of the point. They don't get bullied or harassed, which they all did to one degree or another when they attended public schools. They don't have to deal with a lot of peer pressure until they are old enough to know their own minds and make their own, responsible decisions.

Its funny, EVERY single member of my extended family has voiced their disapproval of our choice to Home-school, either mildly or profusely, at one time or another, but EVERY single one of them has also remarked repeatedly on how intelligent and well-behaved my children are EVERY time they encounter them. Gee folks, why do you suppose that is? You don't suppose there could be any connection there do ya? Naw, its just a fucking coincidence I am sure … yeah right.

The stereotype about most home-schoolers being religious zealots, well, there are certainly more than a few of those, but I don't know what proportion they really are. I certainly don't have any real religious motivation, or even anti-religious motivation for it. For me it is about providing my children with access to the best educational opportunities I can provide them, and for helping them grow up to be decent, happy people who are not afraid to do whatever they want to do in their lives. In some cases I may have succeeded a little too well in some areas, and not enough in others, but I did the best I could with what I had to work with. What more can anyone really do?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Deciding What to Do Next?

I haven't accomplished much today. I did write a blog post, so that is something, but its not much. Actually I have done a lot of things today, but I tend to overlook all the myriad of things that are just a normal part of day to day living, you know, like feeding the children, washing the dishes or the laundry. But other than feeding the kids I really haven't done any housework either today. I started the day writing a blog post about all of the projects that I had finished this past week, but I couldn't even finish that! So I have mostly wandered about the house aimlessly contemplating my next projects. I sorted fabric strips for a couple of new quilts, and cut half the strips for one, but I just can't muster up any enthusiasm for either of those projects, so now I am trying to decide what I do have the enthusiasm for.

I mentioned a while back that I have been trying to use up all those boxes of strips that I spent the winter cutting a couple of years back. They are all calico prints, mostly. Thousands and thousands of strips of different colors and patterns of tiny flowery types prints. The problem is I have absolutely no interest in using any of them right now. When I discovered batik and hand dyed fabrics I lost all interest in all that other fabric I had already accumulated! I think I will probably bag up all the strips I sorted out and put them away for another day, and go back to playing with the fabrics I want to play with.

Thursday looks like it might be a good day this week for dyeing, and I haven't done any of that for a while so I think I will try to plan for that. The boys have to go to the dentist on Wednesday, so I can't dye before that or I will end up having to explain why my hands are funny colors! I did manage to finish all of those pajamas that I had cut out for the boys earlier this month, so they are all set for the next several winters sleep. And I finished six different quilt tops last week from the strips I have been sewing together for the last month. The sad part is, those six quilts, emptied 1 box of strips, I still have like 40 more boxes! I thought about trying to sell off some of the strips on eBay like I have been doing with most of the yardage, but I am not perfect and I do not want to listen to the bitching that I would be guaranteed to get if some of the strips aren't perfectly straight, or aren't exactly the measurement that they are supposed to be. So I will just stack the boxes back in their hiding spots again for a while and I will attack them again another time.

I am still working on that marbling idea as well. I haven't actually done anything yet, I haven't even started buying supplies for it, but I have been reading and thinking and learning as much as I can. I am thinking I will wait for next summer to actually try to do anything with it, but I might change my mind and spend some time playing with some smaller projects before them. I had some ideas that would lend themselves to being done on a smaller scale which might even allow me to do some of it indoors, but we will see how far I get.

At the moment I am working towards the idea of actually having some finished quilts available for sale by this Fall, probably late Fall, but Fall none the less. I can't do the actual quilting on any of them until the weather cools off, but I would like to have several of them ready to go once that happens. I don't know if any one will ever buy any of them, but I have to try. For years I have made dozens of quilts and just given them away to the people I loved, most of whom never appreciated either the quilts or me. I am so done doing that. I have to keep making the damn things, I have way too much fabric and a deep seated need to cut it all apart and sew it back together that only quilting can fulfill. So, either I try to sell them, or we drowned under them! We already have enough quilts in the house to survive a small ice age, we don't really “need” any more, at all. But I CAN'T quit making them, so somebody better buy them.

That reminds me, I have a funny story to share. I was talking with my oldest son on the phone last week, and we were discussing my idea of actually trying to sell some quilts. And he says to me, “Mom, I think you are way too hard on yourself. I know people would pay like $50 for the quilt you made me last Christmas!” I said to him, “Well, that's great hun, but that quilt cost me over $100 to make!” He's so funny! He has no clue what these kind of things cost, much less the amount of time that goes into them. He does appreciate it, but he doesn't really comprehend it. And that's kinda the problem, most people don't do either one.

Oh well, I can still try. I did manage to sell two t-shirts so far, and I haven't really even tried very hard. I still have a bunch of new ones that I haven't listed yet, and more that I haven't even dyed yet! So I may never be able to make a living doing what I do, but fortunately I don't really have to at the moment, so I can keep trying and maybe someday I will!

Mother's Atheist Rant for You Sunday Reading Pleasure ...

My brain seems to be on overload at the moment. I sat down here and starting writing a blog post about what I have been up to this week, and the whys behind it. But I can't stay focused on it because I have too many other issues racing around in my head that apparently need to be let out. So here goes:

Mother is absolutely sick and tired of all the fucking religious hypocrites on the internet, and in real life! I have no need, want, or desire for religion of any kind. I don't really have an issue with that fact that other people do, that is their life choice and if they would keep it as such we could all get along just fine. I don't care what someone wants to believe, and that is the point. I DO NOT CARE! My problem is that so many of these religious people (and yes, it is mostly Christians, sorry but that is a fact) who make a point of trying to shove their religion down other peoples throats. I live in the United States of America, this is not a “Christian Nation” - it IS a “Melting Pot Nation” where ALL faiths and non-faiths are supposed to try to coexist in harmony. Yeah, I know, good luck with that.

My point is your religion belongs in your homes and your churches and your lives, NOT mine. I don't go to churches and extol the virtues of Science and Logic, and I have never met an Atheist who did. Why in the world do religious people feel it is necessary for them to go to places explicitly designated for non-believers and try to take over?!? I am just sick and fucking tired of all of it! Do not go to an Atheist Facebook page and complain that all of their posts are anti-religion. DUH! What the fuck did you think they were going to be?

In the past five years I have watched two Yahoo groups in my local community that were started specifically for Atheist and NON-religious Home-Schooling Families get taken over by the religious folks in our area to the point where there is NOTHING but religious propaganda and “Glory be to God”: get-togethers! Just TRY to find Non-religious Home-Schooling materials anywhere in this country! Even the online program that our state uses as their “official” online learning program teaches 2nd graders that Jesus Christ was a historical figure! Seriously?!?

I am a fan of dozens of Atheist pages on Facebook, and every single one of them gets assaulted EVERY single day by dozens if not hundreds of religious people, threatening their lives, damning them to eternal hellfire and brimstone, and complaining that the Atheists are the ones waging “War on Religion”! What the fuck is wrong with these people?!? Now I am sure, to be fair, that there may be a few Atheists who post on Christian or other Religious pages trying to start shit, I have never seen it, but I wouldn't doubt it for a second. People are assholes after all, that doesn't require a religious affiliation.

I have to admit, I have an extremely difficult time understanding how any Woman living in the 21st century can be anything but a Pagan or maybe a Buddhist, but I can understand the psychological need that religion can fulfill. Everyone wants to believe that someone will love them no matter what they do, and that this short amount of time we are each given on this earth has some meaning beyond just staying alive as long as possible. Everyone wants to believe that there is more than just the day to day struggle for existence. It is comforting, and even empowering for some folks. I get that. But I do not get worshiping a God who thinks of you as a piece of property worth no more than a cow or a sheep. I do not understand worshiping someone who sees you as evil from birth, something that must be dominated and made to suffer for his own amusement. I don't get that. And, I am sorry, but if you REALLY believe the earth is only 6,000 years old, you are a moron. Nothing you can ever do or say will ever convince me otherwise.

I am not going to debate the merits of religion, my issue isn't really with the religions themselves anyway, it is with the “followers”, especially the ones who only follow the bits and pieces that serve their own interests. If Mitt Romney, or Rush Limbaugh, or the ultimate in sub-human slime – Newt Gingrich, are going to Heaven when they die, I do not understand why any self-respecting human being would want to go there with them. Please remember that according to his religion, Osama Bin Laden is also in Heaven, as is probably Hitler, and most serial killers. Sounds like one heck of a party, but NOT one I would want any part in! But that's okay, since it doesn't matter how good a person I am in this life, how much good I do, or how much love I give, since I am not a believer I won't be going there any way, right?

And people wonder why I have no interest in this nonsense. I just wonder why in the world they do.