Monday, April 7, 2014

Organization, and Me...

  And so begins the Spring cleaning. I don't make New Year's resolutions anymore; I make spring ones. I tell myself to be more organized, clutter free, and fit. I drool over garden books, plants and tools. I oooh and aaah over storage bins and ideas. I re-look at Pinterest. It's a dream, and goal, of mine to be that person who really can get her stuff all together.

  And then I laugh and laugh, and go back to Facebook.

  But this time, it's a tiny bit different. I've been on my herbs for a year (or slightly less), and it's made a helluva difference in my energy output and drive. Yes, I still have black days, and a few days before my period ain't pretty, but pretty much I'm able to do what I've always said I would do. I even got my mom's birthday present done and sent when I said I would. I still need to finish Shelley's Christmas present, and Steven's afghan.... but I'm getting better!
  I've been able to keep the house clean(er), keep up with teaching the boys, and keep myself from descending into a pity party hell that normally happens. This is HUGE. I like myself a lot more now. I've embraced my nerdiness and geekiness, and I revel in passing that on to my boys.
  Boys are doing well; Lug is finally 2" taller than me. Ugh. Packie is still cute and cuddly, but he's starting to get that 8 year old lip that isn't fun. I have to create a chore chart that they can daily use. Writing stuff out on the whiteboard isn't working anymore; they need a hands on chart, and I found an idea I'm going to try, using velcro, white tagboard, and lists. Schoolwork will still be written on the whiteboard, but I won't have to write the repeatable stuff up anymore. YAY!
  What else: Keven is trying to get his kickstarter project up and going.
Pietus Secularum
This is HUGE! He's writing a curriculum for Christianity that is NOT denominational. In fact, it's a scholarly look at Christianity from it's beginnings on up to modern times, as well as how to read the Bible, Hermeneutics, language, etc. It's meant for people 13 years on up, from homeschoolers to churches to people just interested in learning about Christianity. If you're not a facebook friend of mine, you probably haven't seen me pimping this out, but I hope that you check it out! We've got some nice bits for helping fund it!
  Shelley and I will be working on our crafting blog, 2 Dainty Crafters, as a team now, as she's ready to take on subjects! wOOt!! So watch for those posts; they should be happening every Wednesday (give or take a holiday!).
  That's all I have for now! Laters!
Alyssa

Monday, February 10, 2014

Today is a GOOD DAY!

  Depression lies. We all know that, and my depression was trying really hard to make me believe some stupid stuff. Today, however, I felt that weight leave my shoulders, and I have the energy and attitude to deal with life. I also happened to look at my stats, and realized that I still have visitors to this little slice of the Interwebs, so I thought I would say a little something about our busy lives.
  I came to the conclusion this year that I needed to be more organized. Not in the New Years resolution sort of way, but in a if-I-don't-do-this-I-will-cut-someone way. So, I bought new Dry Erase markers, got an erasable calendar, and started making chore lists/school lists for boys. I quickly found that the erasable calendar was too small for that, so I went back to my big white board for them, and turned the calendar into a menu planning device... which works part of the time. I have a hard time planning meals ahead. I also adapted a cleaning calendar, so that I wouldn't feel overwhelmed with house tasks, and actually DO them. It's been a moderate success, and it does keep getting better, so yay!
  Boys are doing very well. I've got them doing more chores, and earning game time. We've actually cut their game time down to an hour a day (hour and a half if they earn it!), and it's working. They are doing things like making their beds and cleaning up their room so that they can get their "first half hour", without me nagging them to do it. Granted, this is not every day, but they're getting better. I did find out that Packie was cheating on his reading. He is supposed to read 20 minutes a day, and at first we supervised him, but he proved he could do it without us hovering. Well, he's been caught just watching the clock, and then skimming his book for the last 5 minutes. Now I have to make him read out loud to me again. Lug, on the other hand, has been really getting into his reading for 1/2 an hour a day. I picked out "Where The Red Fern Grows" for him to read, and now that he's most of the way through it, he's really getting into it. He will even talk about some of the characters with us, and what happens to them. Usually, I don't think he pays attention, but this time is different. I know that he's not a "reader", but being able to read, and understand what is written, is so important! So, I'm happy. :)
  Kev is working on a couple of projects right now. His job with Corborn's Delivers is going all right. He was experiencing extreme anxiety for quite a while, though, since it involves driving a giant delivery truck through Cities traffic. We finally came up with a solution for him, involving lavender oil massaged into his feet at night, and 5-htp before bed to help him sleep (getting rid of dreams about delivering totes!). We're both taking the 5-htp now, and I've been sleeping so much better. Also, taking more vitamin D has helped (damn cold, dark MN winters!). At any rate, he doesn't love the job, but it's been a boon financially.
  He's officially a member in discernment with the Minnesota Conference for the UCC. What that boils down to is another fucking YEAR of bullshit before he can officially tack that "pastor" title to his name, or get a church, marry people, etc. (mumbles about pastor that fucked us over.... ahem). My annoyance with organized religion is swiftly becoming hatred, and while I like a lot of people at the current church we attend, if I never had to set foot in those doors again, I would be the happiest camper. On the other hand, it has given Kev the boost he needed to work on his own projects, which I will talk about in another post soon (we're still working out kinks), and this is a good thing.
  I am still crocheting and knitting like mad, and need to get over to my crafting blog soon, as I have a ton of projects I want to share. I also got onto Instagram, and I should probably blog about that, and post my blog on Instagram... so much to do, argh!
  On the mega bonus side, I am over the hump with this particular depression cycle, and I feel ever so much lighter and better! I know there are going to be some rough spots in the next couple of days, but they'll be spots, not hours! YAY!
  And now for a Monday Funny... I haven't done a Friday Funny in forever, so I'm gonna just throw this atcha:
(if you get this, you are awesome!)
Alyssa :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Twitter!

*disclaimer: This is a serious post, with a serious question. It involves atheism and alternative religions, and I expect no answers. I just felt the need to respond to some things I have been witnessing on one of my favorite social networks.*

  Twitter! I love Twitter. I follow Wil Wheaton, Steve Blum, bloggers like Jenny Lawson, news sites, etc. I get my daily dose of comics and satire, and I am a happy girl. I also have friends/followers/random persons who are religious/non-religious on there. On the whole, I enjoy reading their different takes on the topics of the day. But I'm starting to get troubled by some of what I read.
  There are folks who are atheists (gasp) out there. I like to read their thoughts and concerns, because 9 times out of 10, they're the same concerns and thoughts I have. American culture is being warped rather quickly by extremists of all stripes, and I like to keep abreast of this, and the most honest things seem to come from the non-religious types. However, there can be a price to this.
  Blanket statements. Yup. I'm bothered by blanket statements. "What do you mean, Alyssa?" you might be thinking. "Typical Christian mentality" is the current one that has set me off. I am reading these tweets, and I'm hurt, not so much by what the tweet itself is saying, but by what the person who retweeted it is thinking.
  I am married to a man of God. He's halfway to ordination (goddess, that's been fun *insert sarcasm here*), and he strives very hard to live out those principles of Jesus. He's a scholar, a teacher, and a good moral man. He has given me the benefit of his education to make my own decisions about my beliefs, or lack thereof as needed. He does the same with anyone who has questions about faith of all kinds. He loves to teach. He wants to help others discern. He DOESN'T shove any form of faith down anyone's throat, and it irritates him when others do. So when I read blanket statements set for by atheists/agnostics about faithful people, I get a bit upset.
  I know who they are ranting against. It's not my husband, or people like that. It's not people like me, either. But when they post things that say ALL Christians/religious types are stupid and ridiculous for believing in a Higher Being of some sort, I get annoyed. Is this how I am perceived by someone I respect? Is this how my husband is perceived? I shouldn't be taking this personally, but it's getting to the point where I feel I am being called out.
  I started this post out with the idea of asking those who identify as atheist/agnostic why you are hating so hard on those of us who aren't crazy Right Wing Republicans/Dominionists/Fundamentalists, but it's boiled down to something much more personal. Why are my friends whom I love and trust making me feel like they think I'm crazy for having faith?  I can't prove my faith, nor would I want to. How I believe is how I believe, not how anyone else does. My experiences are my own, and as such are unprovable. I don't want to be angry or upset. I don't want to feel this way.
  I do get who they are reacting against. Fundies of all stripes piss me off, and fundie atheists are now up there. I want to applaud some of the things I have seen written, because they are thoughtful, provocative, and spot on. And then I read tweets calling Christians lunatics. Thanks. Glad to know I'm married to a lunatic. When should I commit myself?
  I guess, in the long run, none of this matters. People are people, and we all have human failings/triumphs. At this point, I may have to save myself some grief, and quit listening to/following persons who call me crazy. I'm just going to leave you with the link to my husband's blog about Grinches. Enjoy. Grinches

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tipping your server :)

  Many of us have had jobs in some sort of server capacity. You work your butt off, smiling at people, try to get orders right, and hope that when each person walks out the door, they liked you enough to leave you a monetary tip. (Servers make lousy wages) Yes, some servers suck, and others are fantastic, but the truth is some sort of tip should be left. You never know what their story is, and why things were lousy/great.
  My husband's grandfather, on his dad's side, was notorious for not tipping waitstaff, or rather, for leaving bible tracts as tips. It didn't matter if service was good, bad, or indifferent, it was his lousy way of getting out of a tip.
  Ok, so now why am I bringing this up? Well, my (practically adopted) son is a server at a popular chain restaurant. He is also gay. He's fantastic at his job, smiling through his crohn's pain, and he really enjoys the work. He's had his days of great tips, and not so great tips, but rarely is there anything too bad.
  Yesterday, Sunday, Kev had his first paying preaching gig, at the church we attend. As he is not an intern there anymore, they have to pay him, and they payed rather nicely. We decided to go to the restaurant that my boy works at and celebrate. We also brought his boyfriend with, as we wanted to thank him for all the work he did on Kev's compy. We surprised him, had some good food, and left him a nice tip for the work he did. As we were leaving, his boyfriend gave him a little, quick hug. Nothing dramatic or over the top, just a little hug. D'aaawwwww, right?
 Well, apparently, that was too much for the couple in the corner booth who witnessed it. They decided to scratch out the rather nice monetary tip they were going to leave him, and instead left him two bible tracts. Yup. They decided that saving his soul, via little bits of paper, would be better than making sure he could pay his rent and medical bills. Unreal.
  Now, I was a bit stunned when he brought them home (Kev likes to collect tracts, for giggles), but what really shocked me is that they make bible tracts specifically for waitstaff. I was floored.

*wait a moment, I'm fuming*

  I wish I had a scanner, so I could show you how insulting this is. I'll have to do this the old fashioned way and type out the front page:

  Thank you for your kind service! I really appreciate your friendliness and hard work, so I'm leaving you "More Than A Tip". I hope that you'll keep this and read it soon--on your break or when you get home. Thanks again!

  This is the front page. The inner pages go about the usual Evangelical gobblety gook, and saying their magic words that will fix everything stuff. Who the hell do these people think they are? Do they honestly think that giving a little book with poorly chosen, out of context verses, will keep a roof over someone's head, or food in their bellies? Spiritual care is all well and good, but when someone depends on your tips so that they can put something on their bus card so they can GET to work, this is a slap in the face.
  My husband is almost ordained. We're getting towards the finish line in this long process. We are a family of faith. Yes, it's a mixed bag of things, but we have a very spiritual approach to life. That includes making sure that if we have extra, we help those we can. We believe in living the words, not just saying them. As such, I would NEVER leave a pamphlet about as a way to "get out the Word". LIVE the Word, and tip your server! It's not rocket science, people!

Friday, September 6, 2013

What. The. Hell.

http://cheezburger.com/7780938496
I just... I almost can't understand this.  Almost.

If my boys EVER thought something as tasteless, disgusting, and filthy as this was cool, I would beat the tar out of them.

And there is our double standard, ladies and gentlemen.  If a house of college girls did this, people would be up in arms like crazy!  However, this is just "boys will be boys".  I want to barf.

I find nothing about this funny, and actually, neither do the commentators on the site, which somewhat unusual.

And that is all I have to say right now.  My articulation has left the building.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Motherhood, babies, and religion

Great Risk, Great Reward
  That's the link to this article about a couple who adopted a pair of embryos, and are giving birth to at least one (I couldn't tell if both embryos took or not).
  First reaction: Yay for her!  She made a choice about her reproduction abilities, and was able to do this.  Congrats on their upcoming bundle of joy.  The world, mostly, loves babies, and I certainly do love to hold/cuddle/feed/be with the little poop makers.  (Haha, I love babies, but they are little poop machines, don't lie!)
  Second reaction: Well, they went with an organization that only allows married hetero couples adopt the little embryos.  Well shucks, isn't that special.  Way to cut down chances of healthy ladies adopting these little bundles of cells.  Oh, you're a lesbian?  Nope, sorry, your uterus isn't good enough.  Oh, you're gay, but found a surrogate mom to carry for you?  Nope, sorry, you might molest this baby/teach it to be gay.  For real?  Good parents will be turned away simply because they are gay/lesbian.  Fuck that.
  Third reaction:  She will lose her sight.  What a brave woman.  No, she's not brave.  I'm sorry, I don't see that as bravery.  She has a condition that she was treating with medication, and instead of continuing her meds and helping already born children with cleft palettes, and her other pediatric duties, she willingly made a choice to do this to carry more children into this world.  My opinion: continue to help the children already born who have life threatening deformities.  Don't discount all the good you were all ready doing. 
  Fourth reaction: She's already over the age of 40.  That is cutting it a bit close, biologically speaking.  Children born of women who have them later in life tend to have a long hill before them.  And, it's potentially detrimental to the health of the mother as well. http://www.babycenter.com/0_age-and-fertility-getting-pregnant-in-your-40s_1494699.bc  (I'm only posting one link; google can be your friend too :)  ). 
  My reactions may seem extreme.  I don't apologize for that.  This is, after all, my reactions to an article, and yours may be very different, and that's what makes for a lovely discussion (for more on that, check out Kev's post at http://keventhinks.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-nature-of-choice.html).  I just cannot stand stories that make out persons to be hero's, simply because they're pregnant.  Millions of women get pregnant; it's not that huge a deal.  I've been there, done that twice.  I understand that there are women out there who are desperate to have children; I don't discount them.  Motherhood is the greatest/hardest thing I've ever done.  But more than that, it's the "look at what they're doing, why can't you be that self-sacrificing?" attitude you can read between the lines.  I knew I was done having kids after my second.  I don't have it in me to handle more than 2 of my own brood at a time.  (so yeah, not trying for a girl, sorry!  too old and broken for anymore of that shite)
  So, take what you will from this rant; I apologize if I came off as harsh, but this is something that always, ALWAYS bothers me.  It smacks of religious fervor to control a woman, and I get mad enough that the government wants control over my body.
 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blargh.

  Today should have been a good day.  Yeah, it's so hot that it feels like you're going to melt into a puddle the second you set foot outside, but nothing should be getting me down.  I am so down that I can barely move.  I despise my depression.  The Amoryn is working; I'm up and coherent, and I've only yelled twice at the kids all day.  But I cannot get myself up for more than 5 minutes at a time.
  I despise days like this because all I do is live in my head, and tell myself what an awful person I am.  I'm a terrible housekeeper, lazy mother, I don't do enough work/crafting/teaching, etc.  I even call myself fat/ugly/stupid.  The worst part: I know that none of this is true.  Not one word of it, but my stupid brain won't stop saying them.  I just want to punch myself, but the lethargy won't let me have the energy to do it.
  This isn't a cry for help.  I'll be fine. I just needed to get this out, because there are others out there who need help.  Depression is awful, and it makes life miserable, but we can make it.  I have a great support group at home and with my friends and family.  Everyone needs to remember their support groups, and let them know how much you appreciate them being there for every down as well as up.





  Now if I could just get up and actually do something today....