cropped-erinchicken.jpg

Perhaps it is just my time (or maybe I am loopy from a recent inability to sleep at night, or ever for that matter), but for whatever reason, I have more drive to begin working on a couple of writing projects that I have placed on the back burner than you can shake a stick at. I am very excited as I watch my characters develop with each chapter. I have also started a public Facebook page where I am going to be giving updates on these projects (but probably not many spoilers!) Please do follow me on it for even more frequent updates.

Anyhow, being new to the world of following through with writing projects, I look forward to learning more about editing and publishing options. If any of ya’ll have good insight or advice, by all means please feel free to post it in the comments sections because I am very open to gathering new information and ideas regarding the editing/publishing process.

Worry not, I will still be posting articles on this blog site too, albeit they probably won’t be anything brilliant but I try to keep them somewhat reflective, entertaining, and/or humorous.

That’s it for today, have a good one!!

withkiddies

Today is one of those cloudy days. The type of day where, even though it wasn’t planned out, I wish I were soaking in the salty ocean waters, watching the kids dig for sea shells and clams, and shooing off the seagulls who fly closely overhead determined to make my cheesy hot dog theirs. Okay, well maybe not shooing off seagulls (by the way, those guys can get pretty mean).

enjoyingbeach

It’s one of those days where I felt more tired than usual and a bit lost. My husband, being the stellar person he is, undertook the task of wrangling 6 screaming, bored children to Wal-Mart and I’m here, alone.

In an unprecedented occurrence, I walked down the stairs without nearly breaking my leg on a small piece of Lego and after writing the piece about relishing my children as babies, I began thinking about the day when they all grow older and move out the house. They’ll have careers, families, or both.

Would I sound as mad as the Hatter to say that I might just keep the Hot Wheels and Legos and place them on the stairs and down the hallway to recreate the chaos that I would no longer find myself living day to day?

Perhaps, as I mentioned the other day, my oldest daughter is nearing twelve and my oldest son turned ten a few months back. I was thinking about the day outside my Grandma’s porch when she began screaming the shrill screams of a toddler who just saw a boogie-man. Her large brown eyes widened as her face turned from red to purple and I watched in horror as Grandma started laughing.

“She saw her shadow,” Grandma said.

I will reiterate that while I enjoy every stage of my children, I love the innocence and freshness of a toddlerhood. It is only in their wide-eyed imaginations that unicorns can poop Hershey bars and fart rainbows, it is only in the voice of my “Threenager” that I can piece together a stream of consciousness fit for a toddler, and it is only in their untainted and beautiful minds that a shadow could be scary or piling into a cardboard box and riding it down the stairs serve as an altogether safe pass time.

Admittedly, I was very uptight (and even that is an understatement) with my first two children; everything had to be perfect: birthdays, holidays, clothing, hair, and development.I worried so much that many times I failed to loosen up and just have fun.

By the time I gave birth to my third child, a curly-haired, blue-eyed little girl I was wondering if the local looney-bin had any openings. Luckily, I loosened up and realized that them little ones are more durable than I thought.

My motto quickly became: If nobody is hurting anybody else or themselves then what’s the problem?

Now, I find myself just as excited as the kiddies to go through the Krispy Kreme line, or watch the latest Pixar movie, or even to go on kiddie rides and slides at theme parks (some of which I have been kicked out of for being too big). I don’t find myself worrying to much about the dishes. They’re not going anywhere, trust me, I’ve let them alone for quite some time and they’ve never moved. The clutter? It doesn’t go anywhere either.

The realization that I have come to is that my babies aren’t picky eaters they are simply training as food critics, they’re not stubborn they are opinionated, and all the screaming (??) what of it? They are merely exercising their little lungs on the off chance that they might one day be invited to sing on Broadway or perform at Carnegie Hall.

The most important realization is that when the house is quiet like it is now and I find myself with ample time write without a baby sliding across the keyboard or a fight over which color of Angry Bird someone gets to be this time is that while all the clutter and dishes aren’t leaving anytime soon, my children are. They leave for school, summer camp, and one of these days they will leave home forever.

threenager

Wanna see my Duplos?

I gotted them for Christmas,

Santa Claus comes when it snows

because he doesn’t come at ten o’ clock.


Do you want to see my batman cape?

I wore it yestertime,

Mommy washed it.

Batman goes fast

and him fly with his cape.


See my blue crayon?

I have red too.

Look at the wall,

see what I drawed?

I drawed my name:

Maverick.


Want to see my house?

I can showed you it.

This is the potty,

I pee in it and I get M&Ms.

Yestertime I stepped on the white floor monster.

I did not bitted me,

It bitted Mommy because her cries after her steps on it.


These are hats,

there’s two of them.

I wored them on my head outside

and Mommy gotted mad.

You can’t wored them outside

Mommy wored them under her shirt,

She hided them.


This is Gabby,

her’s my sister and hers a baby.

her likes to cry at night

and eat my toys,

her tooked my toys all day,

but it’s okay

her’s just a baby,

her doesn’t understand.

Fence post

Hello friends,

I hope you enjoy the new post.

I know, it has been quite some time now since I have graced my blog with horrible drafts of poetry, articles about domestic violence, or mocking the news. For that, I apologize. I won’t bore you with the details of a horrible semester that involved the death of Taco, our elderly Chihuahua, or the protesting and unrest on campus. I won’t even tell you the gory details of fishing coins out of the bathroom toilet to get it unclogged or ripping up our bathroom tile (still under construction). I’m not even going to share the relief of not only surviving the spring 2015 semester, but actually managing to get two A’s and one B.

My husband is the one who keeps pushing me to write on my blog; so here I am. In reality, I have had plenty of time to write a few lines; you know, locked in my bathroom while my children beat the door down because God forbid I have five minutes of rest. The crux of the issue is that many times I doubt my writing. I feel self-conscious about my writing and perhaps that is the result of too many papers being turned in at college and torn up by professors with red pens. Not that I do not like most of my professors, I do, I just wish that I could read a few lines of a major paper between the red marks. Maybe I feel timid about writing because for the first thirty years of my life I was taught to second guess myself. I read a lot and I think that so many wonderfully talented writers exist that I question what new element I can bring to the table.

Now, before this post sounds like one GIANT pity party (Don’t let me fool you, it may very well be), I also want say that I was thinking of deleting this blog until I checked my email one day and an old post of mine had a new ‘like’. Ha! Flattering after all of this time. It was kind of inspiring. So here I am, writing about absolutely nothing, reveling in my ramblings.

welfare-state

Happy Friday the 13th; I know it’s been a while since I posted and I can attribute that to the constant circus that is six children and college. Between the snow days and the reading, this semester is killing me, by the way.

Worry not, I am here, writing, about nothing in particular so that all two of you out there who read my blog will have something new to laugh about.

The only thing I really have to write about is the new law that states are now adopting which requires individuals who receive welfare to undergo mandatory drug testing. I have always considered myself to be somewhat conservative and I know that typically  I focus on humor and not politics; however, I must say that as a person who has been employed since the age of 15 years old, I find those who commit welfare fraud to be deplorable.

With that said, as a former welfare recipient who was not a drug user, I am not quite sure how I feel about this law. My biggest problem with this, aside from the fact that it endorses a blanket assumption that everyone on welfare must also be doing drugs, is that with all the welfare fraud that is committed already and the high case to social worker ratio, I am wondering how adding another mandate will be enforced.

Perhaps I am too compassionate, but I think about people with drug addictions, particularly those who I met when my children and I were homeless after escaping my abusive ex-husband. I am not justifying their addictions, but many of these women were suffering emotional and physical trauma from being abused that, in many cases, proved worse than mine. I was fortunate that I was able to have a bit of financial support and access to better resources than many of these women.

I am not sure that taking resources away from welfare recipients who may have a drug addiction is the best option; rather, I would contend that mandating that they enter into counseling and are provided with extensive resources could prove a better option.

I feel like these laws simply mask the symptoms; it does not look to solve the core problem: if we advocate that people who receive welfare must take drug tests, then we must also believe that a significant amount of welfare recipients have drug addictions. Taking away their welfare is not going to get them off of drugs; for most people, addiction is a disease, in many cases it is not a practice that a person wants to continue.

In short, everybody has his or her own ‘rock-bottom’ and for the lucky few it might be a matter of running out of hairspray or being late for work. For some, it is physical, emotional, mental abuse, it is drug abuse, or addiction. If drug addiction is a significant problem, then we should also be looking to the systemic issues that made the ahddict feel as though he or she had no other avenues.

I know I will receive a lot of backlash if more than two or three folks read this. I also understand that people work very hard for their money and that it is their tax dollars being used for welfare and that these people find it incredulous that drug addicts are getting federal benefits. I get that; but I also see a lack of compassion, a disregard for the life circumstances that would lead a person to make detrimental choices in life. I dislike the assumption that those who receive welfare do not work, I worked and received benefits and I know many people who do work and receive welfare.

I just decided to write this because when I try to find material to write about, I begin scrolling on Facebook and some of the most interesting things are not the articles but the comments. Lately, I have been very discouraged at some of the remarks and the lack of intolerance and empathy. It has pretty much made me stop using Facebook because I cannot understand how one person has the right to harshly judge another when he or she has never and can never be in their shoes.

pillow protector All I can say folks is that my spring break did not go as planned. As the weekend neared and mid-terms were handed in, all I could envision was folded laundry, a clean pantry, and clutter free countertops. In reality, I was met with a horrendous migraine, which felt as though somebody had shoved an ice pick into my temple while my head was simultaneously being ran over by a freight train, six children home on three separate snow days, a leaky sink, a dishwasher that refuses to work, and a man at the mall who refused to sell me the pillow of my dreams. Don’t clean your glasses, you read that correctly: a man who worked as a salesman at a kiosk refused to sell me a pillow. I’m going to pause while you sit and reread that last sentence while thinking, “what the hell,” (I sure did). … … Enough, As my pain medication wore off, my husband and I found ourselves at the local mall. We happened upon a kiosk that sold pillows made of memory foam that claimed to help with migraines, allergies, and… you get the picture. Anyhoo, I put my head down on the first model and it was too soft; on a whim, I tried the next model and found it to be firm and exactly what I needed. Like the time I laid eyes on cake made of triple chocolate with chocolate icing and sprinkles (worry not, this cake did not last long), it was love at first sight; that pillow needed me. The salesman came rushing over to the kiosk (as though my husband and I were motivated enough to actually run off with one of these pillows, we’re both way too lazy to run) and asked if he could help us. I gladly told him that I would like to buy the pillow that I had just tried out, to which he replied that he would not sell me. Quite vexed, I asked, “why?” His reply, “Oh no– no, no no. This pillow is too hard for a lady. You’ll wake up with a migraine, you’ll be sore in the morning. I cannot sell this to you. Now this pillow (going to the first model I had tried), this pillow is better for you.” What the–? How do I get into these situations? How does this guy sell anything? Resisting the urge to scream at this fool about the fact that I am a paying customer who is willing to spend my money on a product that he is trying to sell and that any repercussions I faced, in terms of the pillow being too hard, would be a result of my personal choice, I asked him again to sell me this pillow. After triple-checking and asking him again to sell me the pillow and after his continued refusal, I finally gave up. I am resigned to accept that I will never find a comfortable pillow and when I do the salesperson will not allow me to buy it.  I am questioning many things now; I mean, should it be difficult to purchase a pillow? What other menial tasks will be met with such hardship? The next time I try to purchase my weekly Quarter Pounder with cheese, no onions, at the local McDonald’s, will they refuse to sell it to me because they are concerned for my cholesterol? What about buying that navy tank top that I have been eye-balling at the Belk? Perhaps a concerned sales associate would prevent me from making said purchase because it emphasizes my muffin top.  Just sayin’–

domestic

It’s the start of a new month and I think that I have finally figured out how to customize my blog. That needed to happen. If there’s anything difficult to read, aside from my horrid attempts at writing engaging material, let me know as I was not sure about the colors.

After a tedious Sunday morning of trying to get the children ready to go out and about, I slipped on the ice outside and decided that I was simply not that motivated.

I did, however, manage to get called lazy; after making a post about how a woman should never be made to feel as though she should be a domestic slave because her husband or significant other has decided that a “man” shouldn’t do chores, I was chided because how dare I assume that a hard working man should participate in household chores. I mean, I am the one who is home all day long, (except for when I leave at 7:45 A.M. and don’t get home until 6:00 P.M.) but all of those loooooong hours at home should be spent with me in domestic shackles happily dusting and humming show tunes because I have a big, strong man out working hard to take care of me.

…Please? Can we untangle those puppet strings?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that my husband is hard-working; but so am I and there is absolutely no common sense in the idea that because he works he is incapable of changing a diaper or switching out a load of laundry.

It was also asserted that my husband just must come home and do all the work that I have not done that day. If that were true that means that he comes home, bathes all of the children, coordinates their outfits, does their homework with them, swims through the stacks of fundraising slips balled up in their backpacks, wrestles them down to brush their teeth, feeds them breakfast, carpools them to school, does the dishes, drops the younger two off at the babysitter’s, picks the younger kids up from the baby sitter’s, picks the older ones up from school, drives to Tae Kwon Do lessons, wrestles with them to get them dressed and ready, fights with the baby to keep her off of the Tae Kwon Do mat, busses them all back home, cooks them dinner, does more dishes, switches laundry, cleans the floor, and puts away the dishes.

*whew* He does a lot, if anyone sees my husband, please commend him on his ability to hold down a full-time job and manage all of the rest as well.

Some men, and note the word some need to not interject commentary into issues that they simply cannot relate to. In other words, I pity this man’s wife. It really blows to have a husband who objectifies you and treats you as though you have no other abilities but to hum songs from Annie while you get down on your knees and scrub the floor by hand.

Men: You ALL need to realize that some women enjoy household work and others do not take a natural interest in it. We have other talents. This does not mean that we are lazy.

Montana-contour-map-950

So here I am, Lil’ Ol’ me crunching on a bag of popcorn with extra butter while wearing a pair of navy blue yoga pants and a grey sweatshirt when I come upon an article that informs me, to my astonishment, that soon I could be a hardened criminal in the state of Montana.

Republican David Moore has submitted a bill that will make it illegal to wear yoga pants and speedos in public in the state of Montana on the grounds that it is indecent exposure. I had to smack my hand into my forehead because all these years I have been so confused, I always thought that indecent exposure was the guy with the hairy butt crack sticking out at the local KFC buffet or maybe those young folk who wear their breeches down to the top of their tennis shoes.

I am so relieved to know that there is one state out of fifty that has it so together that it can focus on guiding its citizens through their daily choice of fashion. In fact, I am going to assume that Montana has no homeless population, no poverty, a 0% crime rate…

OMG! We need to move to Montana: Utopia, folks! Right here in our humble clump of land, where one’s biggest preoccupation is, “what am I going to wear today?” and soon that won’t even be a problem because Montana’s government is going to tell us what we should wear.

I just have a few tiny concerns as to how far this law will go; in all fairness, are they going to also be policing the entrances of local Wal-Marts where one can basque amongst myriad offenders? What about string bikinis at swimming pools and lakes? Will one still have the ability to procure a copy of “Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition”?

What if I am caught wearing yoga pants because I am actually participating in a local yoga class? Will I then become an offender? On that point, does the practice of yoga become illegal?

These are incredibly important concerns regarding this law and since the legislature lacks more pressing concerns, I hope that they take the time to clarify these points for all of us folks ready to pack up and move!

domesticviolence

“More than one in three women and more than one in four men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime” (American Psychological Association).

For a large part of my life I never considered myself a writer and I still remember my stinging cuticles (because I bite them when I am nervous) as I walked into one of my first university courses called “The Writing Process”. What could have easily been a traumatic experience turned into an incredibly positive experience; with the help of a wonderful and supportive professor, I learned the importance of “voice” and the impact it could have on a reader.

The more I wrote, the more I could feel these ideas in my head, forming words, sentences, and paragraphs. 

And as much as I enjoy my feeble attempts at writing humor, I also feel compelled to write about domestic violence. I realize it is not a subject that people look forward to reading about and even though I am well aware of the statistics, I never can get over the initial shock when I hear tell of another woman (particularly a woman that I have known for sometime) escaping her abuser. I freeze up and at first, I am not able to process her story as I remain on the “cause/effect”: he abused her and she left.

He abused her, she was abused by him, he was her abuser; she escaped. 

In many situations I find myself comforted to know I am not the only one: I’m not the only mother who has almost baked her cell phone, I am not the last parent in the car pool line because the baby decided to have a diaper blowout on the way out the door, or I am not the only person sitting in rush hour traffic on 95 south from D.C. at 3:00 P.M. on a Friday afternoon. But, I would be more than happy to be the only person who ever had to experience the during and after effects of domestic violence.

As if experiencing domestic violence wasn’t enough, survival after escaping is even more difficult; but this can be overcome.

When I escaped I faced homelessness and I won. Even though the protection order gave me possession of the house, I was weary of living in an environment where he was familiar with every nuance. Likewise, many well-meaning friends offered to allow us to stay at their houses and I declined out of concern for their safety. My children and I lived in a domestic violence shelter for nearly a year.

I overcame poverty. He controlled the finances. My paychecks went into his account and I never had access to the money. He decided if and when the bills were paid. One morning, I was getting the children ready for school and as I turned the faucet to brush my son’s teeth, water did not come out. I found out later that he simply didn’t bother to pay the water bill and he also saw no need to inform me of this; he bought a gun instead. Needless to say, when I escaped, he drained the bank accounts. I had about $20. Despite this, I applied for any aid that I could receive for my children and myself, as we escaped with next to nothing. After sometime, I was able to continue working full-time and continue taking college courses.

overcame adversity. This might be difficult to believe, but some people treated my children and I as though we had survived the plague. When I told a person, in confidence, that we were living in a shelter, they asked if we had been exposed to TB. I was also scorned for using food stamps and welfare money (even though I have been a working taxpayer since I was 15 years old.) The thing that hurt the most was when I was told that the abuse that my children and I suffered was “a direct result of my life choices.” Those words not only angered me, they ripped me apart and I can’t say that I was told them, that person actually yelled them at me.

I want the reader to realize that I never chose to be abused, when I married my husband I married a Christian, police officer who seemed, by all outward appearances, to be supportive, loving, and stable. He had a great sense of humor and was supportive of my goals. There were no warning signs until about a year into our marriage. Suffice it to say that it wouldn’t have mattered if I would have married the neighborhood drug cartel; NOBODY DESERVES TO BE ABUSED; NOBODY.

How incredulous to believe that somebody, more specifically myself, woke up one day and said, “you know, I think that I am going to go find a dickhead that is going to push me down a few times, call me a bitch, keep me constantly pregnant, and then use our precious babies against me as though they weren’t even people, simply weapons that would ensure that I behave myself.” Sounds like good times right?

Even though I lost a lot, I would never take back my decision to escape. When I say I lost a lot, I mean stuff. I lost a lot of stuff: A LOT! But I gained so much more: the most important being my children, they are happy and confident; free to be children and we are embracing every precious drop of this! They are strong, survivors in and of themselves and throughout this they have exhibited a courage beyond their years. I gained independence, slowly but surely I have learned who I am and I have regained a sense of self: my voice, my passion for writing, and self-respect.

I once confided to someone that if I ever did get out, I wanted to someday share my story with others. To let them know that they are not alone. That person condescendingly told me, “Sure, if you really want to put your life out under the public microscope.” It’s not that I want to, it’s that I need to. These stories need to be heard, domestic violence survivors need a voice: they need many voices! I think I have about thirty people who see the articles that I post, and even if only five read this then that is five people that have heard my voice and even if zero read this then at least I have had a chance, for my own healing, to process this trauma through the art of writing.

My poetry professor told us the other day that when people write comments and blogs, then they should leave a name and take ownership and I am not afraid to put a name and face with what I write. I will spend the rest of my life, whether it be a year or many, many years writing and speaking out against domestic violence.

I DO NOT LIVE IN FEAR; I LIVE. 

I am going to try to attach a video, I am not technology savvy so I hope it works. This is a good friend of mine whose mother I knew growing up. Even though I spent many a night over at her house, I never realized that abuse was occurring in the home. This was one of those jaw-dropping, heart breaking moments for me and I hope, if I can get the link to work, that you all take six minutes and listen to my friend’s story.

Surviving Domestic Violence

4

I never meant to sit down tonight and write a new post; however with over 300 pages of reading looming over my shoulder, my only choice was procrastination.

Soooo….

I was reading in the news last night that Virginia, my state of residence, legalized public breastfeeding. Before this law was passed, if a mother was nursing in a public place and making patrons or staff uncomfortable, they could ask that she leave and with this law in place, they cannot do so or it is discrimination.

Some people say that this should never have to be a law in the first place because the simple act of eating should not need to be legislated.

Others contend that this law does not necessarily legislate the ability to breastfeed in public, but works to protect the nursing mother from discrimination.

So, if you’ve read any of my other posts you will know what I did next:

Of course– I read the comment section ( The comment sections of news stories are like indulging in hot apple pie right after you had to make a mortgage/rent payment.)

While many were debating the aforementioned issues concerning this law, others were more preoccupied with the fact that women should be required to be discreet about nursing. One lady in particular was very worried that she might be dining out with her husband and a breastfeeding mother at another table could just whip out her boob, begin breastfeeding, and her husband would be staring at the breastfeeding mother for the duration of the evening. She was not the only woman with these concerns.

While I do not take issue on whether there should be a law or not concerning breastfeeding, I am perplexed by the idea of using breastfeeding to find a man!

Having breastfed all six of my children and being faced with myriad scenarios where I had no alternative but to nurse them in public, I have never had the experience of being hit on while I was in the act. Which begs the question:

Are any mothers being approached by these lustful men who apparently have some fetish with lactation while breastfeeding in public?

Is it possible that these men are simply too shy to approach me?

At any rate, here is my apology to all of the women who are in a committed relationship or married whose husbands I have distracted while feeding my baby. It was never my intention to seduce men with my mad lactation skills, I simply wanted to make it through a meal in public without a hungry, screaming baby spitting up peas in a scenario reminiscent of “The Exorcist” and I was not aware that I was being so seductive in the process. I am sorry.

On the other hand, I sit here reflecting on all of the times I have been breastfeeding in public and it makes me feel a bit vulnerable. How many of these men were watching me? Were they hiding? Have I went viral on some sleazy low-budget peep show website and don’t even know it?!?

The possibilities are as endless as my hunger for chocolate. Unfortunately for all of you married or committed women out there, I will not be swearing off breastfeeding any time soon, so buy me a breast pump and call me Jezebel!