Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Release

I was listening to NPR this past weekend.  There was an interview with Ariel Levy, author of The Rules Do Not Apply

During the interview she was recounting a couple of life changing personal experiences.  A miscarriage at 5 months of pregnancy, and the loss of her marriage from her spouse's addiction. The interview was so interesting that I purchased the book and am just starting it now.  Toward the end of the interview she said something so profound, it made me stop and think.  The author talked about coming to the realization that those were things in her life over which she had no control. That all this time she was trying to change those things, and it was a futile attempt.  She had to let go of those circumstances, release that effort of control, and focus on those areas of her life which were under her control, those things she could impact to change her life situation.

She decided to let go, to release.  That word, release, was my word for the year 2014.  A thoughtful, life changing word for me. Releasing events, people, circumstances, effort, things, and making room for more, so much more.

It can be so freeing to let go.  Try it.  Really take inventory of your life, every aspect, your friends, your interests, your relationships, your living situation and make decisions.  Are these things working for you, are they moving you in a forward direction toward more.  Or are they wasted effort.  Are there areas you want to change over which you have control, or does that control fall somewhere else. Then make the conscious choice to let go, to release.  When you release you free up space in your head, in your life, in your day, for other relationships to blossom, for other ideas to percolate, for other interests to take root.  You free up time to work toward the change you want to see happen.  You free up energy to work on those areas that pull on your attention.  Great things happen when you make the choice to release that which is not serving you.

I need to revisit that space periodically.  Like a room in my house, it needs cleaning on a regular basis.  I need to focus energy on releasing, to make way for continued growth.  I am so looking forward to reading this book, and seeing her process.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Have Tos...

A friend of mine, on social media, posed a question a few days ago, on her page, 'what do your children have to spend their own personal money on.'  And that isn't an exact quote, but pretty close. I was going to respond, then I decided to hold back after I read a couple of the responses.  I was questioning my interpretation of her question and figured I had not understood what she was asking, so I passed it by. But couldn't help thinking about it over the course of the next several days.

As I read her question, in my own head, what I was hearing was "What options do your children have available on which to spend their own personal money."  I gathered after reading the responses, that the intended meaning was "what items do you, as the parent, make your children purchase with their own personal money."  Way different intent, and meaning.  I guess it does show how my thinking has evolved over my 23 years of parenting.  In thinking back to my own childhood, I would have taken that question to be a parenting question of force.  But in my evolution, I am happy to say, that my initial interpretation was one of options.  So much more freeing, so much more autonomy, less about control and judgment.  I am so pleased with my process and my thinking.  It really shows how what initially might take time and effort to change, will become a gut instinct.  That you really can change how you think and respond on a deep level, it may take time but it can be done and is worth every moment of effort.

As a reader, it also confirms, to me, why face to face interactions are important, and on line conversations can be difficult, for me.  You can't always read an intent.

Back to the question, the answer I was going to leave in response, would have been something like...
"Lots of things.  My children have lots of interests and save some of their money, they do enjoy purchasing new computer games, steam games.  They also choose books or at times art supplies. Those are some of the choices they make about spending their own personal money."  I won't get into the "have to" aspect as my boys have never "had to" do anything.  When issues arise we work on them as a family, and that includes money issues.  A topic for another day.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Connections

Standing in line this morning at Lowe's Home Improvement in Morganton, there was a man in line in front of me and I looked down and what tattoo did he have on his leg....a leg lamp....YES on his leg, how funny.  I thought to myself, how cool is that, we have something in common (no not a leg lamp tattoo) but the love of the all time number one Christmas movie, A Christmas Story.  Too funny, I love it.  As this man stood there reading his phone he turned slightly and what T shirt did he have on....another whoo hoo....it was a Citizens Earth Media T shirt.  OK so we have at least those two things in common.  The guys that own Citizens Earth Media are awesome.  I almost said something to the man about his tattoo and his T shirt, but you know my introverted self, I didn't.

Went about my day and then in the grocery store this evening I saw another man with a Mountain Burrito T shirt on.  A delicious local restaurant here.  I am sure you have heard me talk about them before, if we want a picnic to take hiking that doesn't involve a lot of work on my part, we go to Mountain Burrito.

It just really made me think about all the little things we have in common with other people that we never realize.  That if I actually put myself out there I bet I could connect with everyone on some level.  It might not be anything deep or meaningful, but a connection.  Some place that we could put all the things we don't have in common aside and just connect for that one second.  A brief moment to share a common trivial, or not so trivial, item.

I bet we could all do that.  Maybe I need to start reaching outside my shell just a bit more and start connecting with strangers in my path every day.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Growing and Changing

Wow, my oldest turned 23 on Tuesday.  We were unbelievably busy on Tuesday so he chose to celebrate yesterday instead.   His pick was out to eat at The Wisteria, a local restaurant we enjoy. And then it was home for cake, ice cream and presents.  He chose, again this year, a sachertorte, for his cake.  He likes this, but it is a lot of egg, so I am out on this one.  He loved it, so I loved making it.  It is so hard and yet easy to believe he is 23.  I remember everything, the day he was born (of course) all of his firsts, just like they were all yesterday.

I have my BSN and had worked in the NICU and the well baby nursery, I was a lactation consultant and a Lamaze instructor, but none of that prepared me for how amazing and challenging motherhood has been.  Such a wonderful new adventure that changes daily.  I wouldn't change a thing and have loved every second of it.  I can't wait to see what is next for this amazing young man, as well as his brother.

It is just hard to believe, sometimes, that we have lived and laughed here in Burke County North Carolina for almost 20 years.  Hard to believe that I am the mother of a 23 year old human being.  Ah, such is life, my life, a wonderful life of growth and change.


In the photo you can see his tiny hand prints on the wall toward the top right.  
Those were done in the year 2000.  So tiny.  

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Anti Choice

OK I just deleted a comment from one of my social media pages.  It was against a woman's right to choose an abortion and I have no intention of giving that anti woman stance a platform on my page.  But I did have a few things to say about that.

First off I call it like it is, it is anti choice.  It is NOT pro life.  And I know you have all heard the argument that pro life would mean you would also be concerned for a being once it was born, for feeding, housing and educating that life.  But I would suggest it goes further than that, and would include health care for everyone, since everyone was born at some point.  Pro life would indicate an affinity for social programs that would lift people up, make sure everyone is properly fed, not just cheap unhealthy processed food.  It would indicate you want to support education in all forms at all ages, and a living wage for everyone.  It would also indicate that we should be looking at our elder care, retirement and nursing homes, social security and make sure beings are held with the utmost respect and care.  But that doesn't seem to be the case at all.  So I will call it anti choice.

Anti choice for women specifically.  Not anti choice for everyone, because if that were the case they would also be attacking penile implants, condoms, and erectile dysfunction medications.  So let's be clear it is against women specifically, anti birth control for WOMEN and anti abortion.

One of the greatest factors that impacts a woman's independence, social and economic standing and state of mind, is her ability to choose if/when she has children.  So controlling a woman's fundamental choice on pregnancy is, in my mind, an attempt to control women in general.  Punish them for being sexual beings or punish them for being victims.

So yes, anyone that comments "baby killer" on any of my posts about abortion, will have that comment removed.  If you don't approve, you can block my posts so you don't see them, or delete me as a friend.  It really won't hurt my feelings and actually I won't even notice unless you are one of those that feels the need to announce your exit.

If you are so "pro life" as you say, why not stop attacking and blaming, and start working in areas that really matter. Areas where we can lift women up, give women more independence, and more choices. Lets expand medicaid because nearly half of the births in the United States are covered by Medicaid. Lets make prescription and non prescription drugs more affordable, those prenatal vitamins add up.  Let's work on housing for the homeless, feeding all those I see in the soup kitchen lines.  Let's make sure people have the education they want and a living wage, so that these families can take care of these babies you preach about protecting every day.  Let's have real sex education in every school, and contraception affordable and easily attainable.  Why don't we work on making health care real, and everyone enrolled in a health care program, so that people are healthy and happy.

Instead of trying to place women in that dependent, subservient role, why not expand the options available.  Bring real meaning to that phrase "pro life".

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Recycling Plastic Bags

At a recent meeting of the Burke County Democratic Party Environmental Committee, we were discussing the recycling of plastic bags.  Just about every grocery store now has bins for taking your grocery bags to have them recycled.  Which is awesome.  I rarely use the grocery store bags, I take my own reusable bags.  But occasionally I forget or I am out and need to stop at the store and don't have a bag with me, so I do build up a little supply of the plastic and paper grocery bags.  I use them in the tiny bathroom trash cans and I had mentioned that I use them to crochet with occasionally, although that is harder than it looks.  I also used them as covers for my art journals.  I enjoy painting but much of the time I just don't have enough time for large projects so I keep an art journal and try to take 15-120 minutes a day to do something in it.  Nothing specific or planned out, just spontaneous random art that makes me happy.



Anyway, back to the cover, I use the plastic grocery bags and kind of fuse them together for a cover. I start with an iron set at a medium setting, and I generally adjust the heat as I go along.  Cut the bags and layer three bags between two sheets of parchment paper, lightly move the iron over the sheets until they are fused together.  I then add different colors of bags and more bags as I go along to get the thickness I want and the size I need.  Cut it down to the size you are looking for and it is great.  I think it adds to the recycled style of the journal as I use paper grocery bags, cut down, for the paper inside and I use bits and pieces of junk mail and magazines in my work.  So it all feels very recycled and loved.

I use an easy 5 hole pamphlet stitch for the binding, and here is a great video for that, if you are interested.



So here are pictures of my art journal, inside and out.  Sorry for the glare, I took these quick pics with my phone:



















Friday, June 16, 2017

Leachate...what is that?

Do you know what leachate is? No, me neither. I had to look that one up. Leachate is water that has percolated through a solid and leached out some of the constituents.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leachate  Why am I concerned about leachate? In reading through a few current bills before the North Carolina House of Representatives, I ran across House Bill 576, Allow Aerosolization of Leachate. This bill outlines what to do with leachate, or waste drainage water, from landfills. So, let that sink in for a minute, think of everything you throw away in your trash on a daily or weekly basis. Think about your neighbors with babies, or elderly populations. Think about the pets, think about food waste, just think about what goes into the landfill each day. And when it rains and filters through all that waste, the leachate is the result. 

That is the first part of the process. Now aerosolization, involves spraying this untreated leachate into the air, allowing any solid particles to settle and the water to evaporate. Now for a moment, think back to recent forest fires. I know here at my house, even though the fires were many miles away, the wind carried the smoke, making it difficult to breath. And then the ash in the smoke settled on everything. I thought about this when I was thinking about House Bill 576. If this putrid liquid run off from all the rotting, disintegrating trash is sprayed into the air, what keeps it at the landfill, preventing the wind from carrying it to neighboring property? Do I really want this blowing over to my house, settling on the land where I grow vegetables to feed my family, lakes in which we fish and swim? Who guarantees the quality of well water? These are important questions.

I read some more about leachate, wondering how long bacteria and viruses can survive, will that present a health risk when aerosolizing leachate. Really, I couldn’t find much. I did read one research paper from the Environmental Protection Agency (remember this is an agency that has been threatened with elimination) that states "This study showed that live infectious viral agents can persist for days, weeks, even months in the landfill leachate under certain environmental conditions."https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_report.cfm?dirEntryId=335601 

This bill has me concerned. Oversight of this activity in North Carolina falls under the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), here in North Carolina. The DEQ is an agency under attack by the North Carolina Budget proposals, some of our representatives in Raleigh would like to slash the DEQ budget. Is there anyone in Raleigh looking out for the best interests of the people? I am starting to think we need an overhaul of the General Assembly. Find and elect people who care about those they serve. People who have not lost touch with living in a rural community. Maybe it's time for a change.