Wednesday, December 22, 2010
2010 is almost gone. During countless conversations and hours spent on social networking sites I have come to the conclusion that the general consensus is that people are ready for this year to be over. For most people 2010 has been a year of loss. There have been loved ones lost, jobs lost, relationships lost and some even say their dreams have been lost. This year has definitely had some disappointments, but fortunately for my family there have been more ups than downs. When I look at this year I will try to remember the good times and not dwell on the bad ones. I will remember that my best friend in the world had her first beautiful baby, my daughter started school and I got to attend her first school programs and watch her grow and learn before my eyes. How she had her first Irish Dance class. I will remember my furry baby Patches joining our family. I will remember that although it has not been without struggle, that my husband began pursuing his dreams. I could go on, but I will stop as these things mean nothing to most of you. I implore all of you to look back one 2010 and remember the good memories and not dwell on the bad. DO NOT let the downs shape who you will be for 2011. No matter how bad you feel 2010 was for you, remember that it was worse for others, and be grateful. I still have a roof over my head, food on my table and a beautiful, loving and supportive family by my side. Did all my dreams come true this year? Certainly not! I look at it this way…….Whose did?
Do I believe that at the stroke of Midnight on January 1, 2011 that all my problems are going to be gone? NO! Its gonna be a rough few months for my family. People have to pick up the pieces of the crappy year that has passed. However I know that for 2011 to be better for me. I must be proactive. And thats what I plan to do! Every year I make countless New Year’s Resolutions that never get keep. Most I do not even start. My resolutions for the coming year will be to stay positive, expand my family, write more, finish “projects that have been started (although that falls under write more) and help those who may not be as fortunate as myself. I will continue to support The Backstoppers but would like to volunteer at a women’s or children’s shelter. What will you do to make 2011 a better year for yourself and those in less fortunate?
Happy Holidays from my family to yours!!
Friday, September 24, 2010
The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who have tattoos, and those who are afraid of people with tattoos.
In this modern world we live in, I am always amazed by the amount of discrimination people suffer, at the hands of others. There are racial slurs to describe people of every skin color, people are made fun of because of their income bracket, and are teased because of their hair color. Religion, sexual orientation, and physical appearance are all excuses people use to hurt one another. While I obviously am not an expert on discrimination based on skin color, I have suffered its effects. Growing up in an inter-racial household I saw the discrimination first hand. While it was not directed at me, it affected me. I saw what people did and how they judged my parents. Words and looks were very hurtful. I gave kids many reasons to make fun of me growing up, but I always tried to remain the person I was and not change to make anyone like me.
But this blog is not about Black and White, it is not about income levels, and it is not about sexual orientation. It is about another reason that people look at me and my friends and judge. It is about Body Art, or Tattoos.
People around the world have been tattooing themselves for over 5000 years. Skin was the first canvas for art. In early days tattoos were thought to align a person’s soul with Gods purpose. They were also believed to increase fertility and virility. They were used to delineate hierarchies and define roles within tribes. They were used as clan markings, to determine who was a friend and who was an enemy on the battlefield. Throughout history, tattoos have been used to express magical, spiritual or religious beliefs and personal conviction. Some were markings of honor, while others were means of memoriam. They have been cultural traditions or a means of freedom of expression. Those who donned tattoos were always regarded with reverence.
So when did tattoos become an unacceptable tradition in our society? When did it become ok, to judge a person because of the ink on their body? People with body art are stereotyped as trouble makers, rebellious, degenerates, low-class or trashy. While tattoos are widely seen as unacceptable, people are even more judging of woman with ink. It is sad and very unacceptable when one of the first things an application asks is if you have any visible tattoos! Is this legal? It is illegal to ask one’s sexual orientation, religion, or race; so how is this an acceptable question?
I have several tattoos, some visible and some not. I have some family who love them and have their own tattoos and others who just don’t get it. My ink was not done while drinking, they were not a dare, and they were not a rebellious act. They were all personal conscious decisions. They do not make me any less intelligent, talented, or feminine. They all represent a major aspect of my life. I do not regret a single one of them. The tattoos do not make me who I am, but they are a part of me.
So before you judge someone with ink, ask yourself why are they tattooed? Better yet ask them. You never know the reason or the symbolism without asking. I’m quite sure they will be happy to tell you about them. Then maybe you will have a better understanding of the person before you judge on appearance alone. It is very hurtful.
Remember when the designs are chosen with care, tattoos have a power and magic all their own. They decorate the body but they also enhance the soul.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I would like to say that somewhere in my lineage the women of my family were part of the Women’s suffrage Movement. It’s a nice thing to believe that my mother’s great-grandmother fought to give me some of the rights I have today. I am not sure if they did or not for two reasons. First, my family immigrated to America around the time or shortly after the suffrage movement, and second from my research it would seem that women involved in the suffrage had a bit of money. Which my family most definitely did not. They fought for right’s that many women take for granted, specifically the right to vote. These strong motivated women paved the way for women to have the right to earn the same wages as the men in their lives. Which ironically, I have yet to witness. Many feminist may not like what I will say but Hey, they gave me the right to free speech as well.
I by no means intend to demean what they have done for women of the past, present and future generations. Their actions leave options for my daughter that she would not have had otherwise. She can get an education, she can vote for the president, or even inspire to be the president of the United States. She can even be a homemaker if that is what she chooses.
Now I get to the part that people may not like. What price as women are we paying for these freedoms? Prior to the 1970’s it was acceptable for women to be housewives. I believe now that the more politically correct term is homemaker. During the 70’s some women began to believe that homemakers were not treating women and men equally, and that women should do whatever job they were able to do no matter what their marital status was. Thus diminishing the work that a homemaker does. As a homemaker myself, I know the extent of work I do. While I do partake in viewing a certain daytime soap, I do not sit around all day watching soap operas. As a homemaker, my first priority is caring for my daughter. Children learn through play, and I am her first teacher. We have structured activities, such as art, gross motor, musical, fine motor and quiet activities. Like in a pre-school setting, there is a balance of free play and adult guided activities. Do I have Lazy days? Sure! Does my daughter suffer from this? Absolutely not!
According to The National Association of Child Care Resources & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), the average cost of childcare for an infant ranged from $317 to $1123 a month (depending on the state). According to this study Childcare in Missouri averaged around $464, which seems low because I know people who paid way more than that a month. It seems to me that unless you are a well paid executive in a company, the price of child care is about equivalent to the average income. This makes me feel like I would be working for free (which I have done, and am not a fan of). Let’s see how many men would work for free. I am not going to go into statistics about the cost of insurance because we all know too well, how un-affordable it is. So on the average income; it is almost impossible to pay for both childcare and insurance. Can’t get insurance if you do not work (not always then either), and can’t work with no child-care. So it is a vicious cycle for some, who are not as lucky as others.
My husband and I made the decision for me to stay home with my daughter. We decided it was the most beneficial option for her as well as the most economical option for the household. This decision does not come easy. Since I am not actively seeking work, I cannot receive any state funded healthcare; unless I become pregnant. Even in that case I better hope my husband had a bad year financially to fall into the approved income levels. So basically with one income we cannot afford health insurance, but with two we make too much. Seems highly unfair, considering jobs I have had in the past were not required to offer insurance. I can see why it is so hard for some people to get off of government aid. People who do not try to help themselves, but those who do try (and make hardly anything) get their benefits snatched from under them. Why even try then?
I had a conversation with a guy one time who told me that healthcare is earned. Is he crazy? What does my almost three year old need to do to earn insurance? He then said, that if my husband wants me to stay at home, then it is his responsibility to provide healthcare. I tried to explain that my husband works two jobs. His job supplies insurance for him and he pays for our daughter. Insurance for me is almost $700 a month (due to my age), and that is not feasible. With his second job, we now have insurance for all of us, however in this bad economy when he is laid off, he may not make the hours he needs to cover the insurance, and Cobra is crazy expensive. He basically told me that well, get a job or do without. UGH!!! Wait till he has kids!
I guess what I am alluding to is that while women gaining the right to vote, work and other great achievements in the history of women, we lost the freedom to lead the simple lives that many of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers cherished so much. We have been forced to let other people raise our children without being scrutinized for our decision. I am a housewife, I am a homemaker, I am a SAHM, I am a WAHM, whatever you call me, I am proud!!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
So a year or so ago, I received a letter from my doctor, my OB/GYN to be more specific. In this letter (which was sent out to all his patients) he informed us that he would no longer be prescribing birth control. The letter then goes on to state that he would strictly be using Natural Family Planning (NFP), specifically the Creighton Model. He also states that his two brothers, who are in the practice with him, would continue to prescribe BC. I initially had mixed feelings about his announcement, but it was not going to affect me for some time, since I am currently trying to conceive (TTC). However, I had several friends who saw the same doctor as me who were pissed and left the practice for new doctors. Which, I could understand, as they need their current form of birth control.
As a Catholic, I know that the church frowns upon birth control and believes that everyone should be using NFP. This has been something I have always disagreed with. Since every woman’s cycle is different and not always regular, NFP does not always seem to work. While children are a gift from God, they are an expensive gift. I think it is a person’s responsibility to only have children they want and can afford. I have always been a firm believe that it is a woman’s decision to choose when and how many children she has. Thus, I consider their policy on birth control to be silly. (NOTE** I do not consider Abortion to be an acceptable for of Birth Control).
At the time that I received the letter I googled the Creighton Model, read a page or two and moved on about my business. It wasn’t till my mother told me there was an article about my doctor in the St. Louis Review (a catholic newspaper) that I thought about it again. After reading the two page article on my doctor’s decision I decided to do a read more about the Creighton Model. I won’t bore you with the details but it was rather enlightening for me. As those close to my family know, we have been TTC for 8 months now. The Creighton model does not only teach you how to not get pregnant, it educates you on how. I think everyone should read about NFP, because it is important for a woman regardless of how sexually active she is, or what Birth Control method she uses to understand her body and how it works. As women who are responsible for our bodies and well being it is important to understand your fertility before making decisions.
I found the article rather interesting and learned some fascinating stuff about that man who knows my body as well as my husband!! He has prescribed the pill since the beginning, because that is all they were taught back in the 80’s, but he has never done a sterilization procedure. I recently put the link to the article about my doctor on facebook and got some interesting feedback. Some people thought it was amazing and some thought it was taking away a woman’s right. My doctor made this decision based on his personal belief. I don’t believe it was done to keep women down, I actually think it empowers women. It gives us a freedom from relying on man-made contraceptives and pills, if we choose to go that route. He also is giving options to women who have the same belief system as him. While he will inevitably loose patients, he will also gain new ones. What I found to be amazing is that he chose his personal beliefs and God over money. Something most people would not choose do.
The fact that my doctor stood up for his own personal beliefs and that he is the most amazing and fun doctor I could have asked for, will keep me going back to him. I am a few years away from worrying about what Birth Control method I’ll use, but it is nice to know that I have options as a catholic woman.
I do want to give a 50th Birthday Shout out to The Pill! Here’s to 50 more years!!!
Here is the link to the article about my doctor:
Thursday, March 25, 2010
It has been a while since I have written, but I feel very compelled to make sure I post this particular blog. It has taken me several days to write this and am at a loss for words. Those who know me, know that this is something that does not occur very often. My heart is heavy right now, and I am saddened that more people do not feel the way I do.
In just a short six or seven months time frame 3 senseless Line of Duty (LOD) Deaths have occurred in our community. I grew up with several family members who were first responders, more specifically police officers. As I get older I have more friends who have taken the oath to "Protect and Serve". It always breaks my heart when a LOD death occurs. Each and every one feels like a personal loss to me.
So I take it very personal when I read some of the readers comments on websites like ksdk, kmov and stltoday.com. How can people say that these men are at fault, because they should not pursue suspects. They are doing what they were paid to do. And regardless if these officers were following procedure or not, they did not deserve to die. I wish people would think a little more before they post comments on message boards about these brave men. Have a little respect. Remember they were someone's son, someone's husband, someone's father, and someone's hero.
There is very little respect for first responders now days. People do not yield to squad cars, fire engines or ambulances anymore. It seems as if usually most people are trying to beat them through the intersection. People on message boards, websites, musicians and many more medias and outlet encourage the attitude of "Fuck The Police". However, remember they are just doing their jobs. Maybe if more people did their jobs and committed less crime they wouldn't have such a strong dislike for the police.
(This photo courtesy of www.stltoday.com)
I was taught (even after bad childhood experiences with them) to respect the police, and I will instill the same attitude in my children. First Responders are the real everyday heroes not athletes, movie stars or musicians. While I would be terrified for their lives, I couldn't be prouder of my children if they chose to be Police Officers or Firefighters.
As part of my efforts to help my children respect and understand the sacrifices and importance of first responders, I took Fiona to watch the funeral procession of Fallen Police Officer David Haynes. As we stood on the overpass, holding a flag and watching the long and very moving police profession I couldn't help but cry. I talked to my 2 year old and told her a police officer was hurt, and now at night she includes (on her own) police officers and firemen in her prayers. There was an over pass in front of me with no one on it, and one behind us with a fire engine on it. I wondered where everyone was.
While I never knew my Great-Uncle Frank Dobler, who was a Police Officer killed in the line of duty in 1972, my mom told me many stories. Especially about his funeral and the procession. My mom said that during his funeral procession people pulled over and got out of their cars. People lined the streets. Men removed their hats, women put their hands across their hearts and there was such a showing of respect from the community. When did this stop? When did first responders become enemies? How do we get back to those days where people respected the people who swear to protect them?
This probably sounds like a lot of rambling to some, and many may disagree with some of the things I said, but this is something that I stand firm on (does not happen often). However, I set out to make people think, and maybe people will think twice before trying to beat a emergency vehicle through an intersection. And if I inspired anyone please make a donation to the backstoppers.....even if it is only $10.00. At a time like this every dollar helps.
Police Officer David Haynes
End Of Watch 3/24/2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
So I missed last weeks’ blog and am late with this week’s one, but I guess thus is the life of a writing mommy. I am always mommy first. I have also been struggling about what to write. It’s hard because sometimes the things that I am passionate about others could care less about. I figured that if I do not write about things that interest me to some extent, my writing would not be worth reading.
The other night, I was watching my daughter playing dolls by herself. Let me add she plays very well independently. I realized that by time I was her age I had already met my best friend. At the young age of two, I had already met the girl who would be my biggest confidant later in life. Just learning to talk, we were able to communicate enough to form an unbreakable bond. It made me cry. Why? I was crying for two reasons. First, because I was lucky enough to still have this girl in my life 30 years later. Second, I wondered if my daughter would ever be so fortunate to have a bond and a life-long friendship like I have. Not everyone is that fortunate. I wondered has she met her best friend yet, or has she yet to be born?
So looking beyond me and my best friend, or who my daughter’s best friend would be, it makes you think about friendships. I know not all friendships can be as strong or long lasting as one could hope. People become friends for various reasons. There are friends from the neighborhood, school and college friends, work friends and friends who are your friends out of convenience. Some friendships are give and take, as it should be. Others, are one sided. You chase and chase trying to appease this friend, but they only want you around when they need something. Some friendships last a life time and others end abruptly. Whether it ends because of a disagreement or betrayal or just because the friendship has run its course, they were never really true friendships. A true friend can have the world in common with you, or nothing. They laugh no matter how many times you tell the same story, always give you a shoulder to cry on without saying “I told you so”. You do not have talk to a true friend for months, but when you do it’s like you never miss a beat! A true friend loves you unconditionally.
Whoever my daughters’ best friend turns out to be, I can only hope she stands by her through the good and bad, helps her make right decisions and loves her unconditionally. The way my best friend has been there for me.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I attended St. Louis Cathedral School for all of my grade school years. One thing I really remember from Cathedral is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I do not recall if we were off school in observance of this holiday. However, I do recall having a school assembly every year in honor of Dr. King. I remember listening to guest speakers, singing songs and learning a lot of history about the civil rights movement. I even remember learning Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. At the age of like 9 or 10 I could recite his speech without thinking about it. It makes me wonder if they still teach it in school. Dr. King had several speeches many as powerful and moving as the “I Have a Dream” speech.
Dr. King was an amazing speaker! Probably one of the best in history. He was articulate, passionate and inspiring. Not only did Dr. King inspire me to be a better person, but he inspired me to write. I wanted to write speeches like his. I wanted to move people, the way he did. I wanted to still inspire people years after my death, the way he does. Ah, the dreams of a child! I know that I will probably never write something as moving as Dr. King, as I have never felt the passion and drive for a cause as he did. I have never lived through the things that he endured, and thanks to him people will continue to live better lives than the people of his generation did.
While watching all the people observe Dr. King’s birthday this year, I have to wonder if he would be ashamed of society today. The murder rate is at a high, people are killing their neighbors, families are killing their own, and people are killing each other for what seems like pocket change. As a supporter of non-violence I believe that Dr. King would be ashamed of the way people are acting today. I think people should look back at his peaceful, non-violent approach and then take a look at their own actions.
I believe that education begins at home. As a mother it is my job to teach my daughter wrong from right. It is my job to explain to her that people come in all cultures and races. It is then my responsibility to teach her that while all people may be different they are all equal; just as my mother had taught me. I want my daughter to know that love is blind in respect to color. I will use her grandmother as a great example.
When people told my mother she was a sinner, or disowned her for falling in love with a man of different skin color, she told them to all to go to hell. She made a life with my dad, proving them wrong when they said it would never last. Did they eventually split up? Yes, after 16 years together. And they split because they could not live together, not because they did not love each other. They suffered harassment from family, friends and even the police but it only strengthened their union. I remember one particular instance as a child when my dad and I were walking home from school and the police stopped us. I had my pig tails and was wearing a catholic school uniform holding my dad’s hand and smiling from ear to ear. The police asked me if “I was supposed to be with this man”, and when I said yes, he asked “If he told me to say that”. I said no, but we were still put in the back of the police car and taken to my mom’s work so that she could verify our identity. She would do so, and then usually had a few choice words for the police after doing so. This happened more than once. I grew up hating people who judge people by skin color and still do.
I plan to teach my daughter the kind of open-mindedness that my mother taught me. I plan to read her various speeches by Dr. King and hope that one day she will be as inspired by him as I am. I hope she is inspired to love people no matter their race, I hope she knows we don’t care who she loves as long as he or she is good to her. I hope she is inspired to be anything she wants to be and I hope she knows why we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter".~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.