/*amazon_ad_exclude = "christian"*/ The Skin I Am In: February 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

My Sunday Sermon: Modern Mythology

It took years to cultivate, but I distinctly remember when the seed of religious doubt was planted within me. I was in the cradle of my youth, a sophomore in high school, when we examined Greek and Roman mythology in my Honors English class. I found the study culturally intriguing, yet ironically parallel to present times. These bygone civilizations, not unlike contemporary ones, placed the utmost reverence into superstitious deities who possessed unearthly powers. Several of my fellow Honors students found foolishness in these fictional far-fetched fables. Yet, what I found interesting was how the same intellectuals who mercilessly mocked mythology on Monday, mindlessly spent Sunday singing sappy sanctimonious songs.

Then I had an epiphany: it suddenly occurred to me that we super-intelligent present-day humans have done nothing more than reject one form of mythology to adopt another. How were the ancient mythological teachings any more preposterous than biblical ones? Mythology is defined as a body of stories held true by a particular culture which use the supernatural to decode the nature of the universe and humanity. Therefore, theistic theory is even more absurd today because we now have the scientific evidence revealing the answers to the mysteries that religion was originally created to explain!

In the 5th century BC once philosophy, history and rationalism began to take hold, poets and playwrights set about revising the myths to coalesce with new concepts and theories. It has been 2,600 years since radical philosophers began calling the tales comprising Greek mythology blasphemous lies. Although considered rebels at the time, they were eventually recognized for their unconventional theories and revered for exposing objective consideration as a necessary element in advancing societal ideals.

Yet, over two millennia later, traditionalists continue to repeat history. As science advances, Christians react in one of two ways. Negating any legitimacy to their claims whatsoever, they can simply reject scientific evidence and theories, such as the wacky fundamentalists who refute the existence of dinosaurs. Going this route is unwise, for in propagating such gibberish, they risk the threat of extinction. The more practiced alternative is to manipulate biblical passages to better fit a modern, scientifically consistent interpretation. This is why the bible's ambiguity is essential in maintaining it's credibility.

Minimizing the impact of scientific inconsistencies, any Christian will tell you that their loyalty is built upon faith, not proof. Of course it is! For without faith religion would cease to exist! Naturally, followers of ancient mythology believed in their traditions as whole-heartedly as current Christians, Jews, or Muslims. People are susceptible to discrediting logic in order to adopt faith because religion serves to ease concerns and provide a purpose to our lives. Moreover, it is inferred that by developing faith in light of what is tangible and scientific, one achieves even greater holiness.

I have yet to hear a compelling theistic argument worthy of my convictions. Personally, I find biblical tales and legends of Zeus equally entertaining. Nevertheless, just as in ancient times, modern mythologies serve a purpose to those who endorse them. In evaluating the purpose, one must consider that attempting to live a righteous existence is one thing; religious fanaticism is entirely another. I am genuinely intrigued how people can advocate one faith unequivocally, yet simultaneously reject the validity of all other religions throughout history. Spirituality is a very personal thing, and should be respected as such. Looking objectively, we can see that building societies on the foundation of fables and superstition only hinders progress for a more unified world.

Friday, February 22, 2008

My Impassioned Little Activist

...And Her Priceless Lesson in Politics

My nine year old daughter came home from school yesterday all fired up. And how. Apparently they had discussed global warming in her Advanced Learners class. I love that she gets so passionate about causes and genuinely cares about important issues. Unfortunately, she hasn't developed the ability to keep it from consuming her. She is urging me to buy 50% more groceries when I go to the store to cut down on the number of trips I make. I already go as rarely as humanly possible, so the hard part would be coming up with even more things to buy as meal-planning is not one of my strengths. I'm afraid the means to accomplish her end would be our family going hungry every other week. And I'm all for bike-riding, however, considering our neighborhood is tucked away between other tucked away neighborhoods, I'm not so sure that it is a practical means to save on gas.

She also informed me that it only takes 5% of the cost, as well as the resources that cause pollution, to produce a recycled can as opposed to a new one. And at this rate, the outer banks of North Carolina (the state we reside in) will be below sea level within 100 years. She additionally mentioned that in my great grand-children's lifetimes the Statue of Liberty will also be submerged and Alaskan polar bears will be extinct. This child has become a spreadsheet for environmental statistics. I haven't confirmed these projections, but she is rarely wrong about these things.

So, she's all impassioned about global warming and how to get the word out about it. I told her that many people are concerned and have been spreading the word. I also explained how many forms of advertising, which is what you are essentially doing by disseminating a message, cost a lot of money. We talked about methods of reaching large audiences such as billboards and commercials. Seeing she had a bunch of pinned up energy, I told her to go implement a creative outlet for her frustration by writing or drawing something that expressed how she felt about it. She came down with an adorable poster she drew advocating good environmental choices. Then I realized a way for to do her little part in spreading her message. She could make a poster that we could put in a window of our vehicle and it could serve as a traveling billboard. I explained that it would be special since it is a child's plea imploring others to save the earth.

Since almost everyone has heard of global warming she couldn't understand why more wasn't being done to stop it. I had to break it to her that there are a lot of people who don't believe it's a legitimate problem. Many people in the government refuse to give it any priority. That's why it is important to vote for people who care about the issues we care about. She said, who wouldnRt care about it? Who wouldn't care about the earth and the polar bears?” I decided to be frank. “They're called Republicans,” I gently explained. “Do you want to know who DOES care about it?” She nodded up and down. “Democrats,” I plainly stated, then added, “but this is only one issue of many, so we need to know everything a person stands for before deciding where to place our vote. However, the people that care about the environment are most likely going to care about similar issues I do, although it's never that cut and dry. We have to choose the person who will fight for the most issues that are the most important to us.”

Looking puzzled she inquired, “who would be a Republican?”

"Your father.”

"But why?”

"That I really can't answer, but it has something to do with taxes. And probably the war on terror.”


"Oh, and the Axis of Evil. Yet, considering Republicans are more concerned with allocating money to military strategies than medical breakthroughs, I would say they are the Axis of Evil.”

"Does that have anything to do with the glaciers melting?”

"What? Oh! No. Never mind. I was just thinking out loud. Why don't you go finish making your poster to put in my car.”

And she did. My little, sweet, bleeding-heart liberal. God, I love her.

My New Mindset...I Hope it Sticks

As many of you may know, I have been struggling with relationship issues for a while now. I think I officially hit rock-bottom a couple of nights ago. I laid down in bed and didn't get up for hours, not even realizing how late it had gotten. I missed dinner time, homework time, all that. I didn't even sleep; I just laid there, miserable.

Then last night, the final nail was secured in the coffin. When my 'husband' failed to heed what I had discussed with him in the morning, the reality of the situation struck me. Hard. I didn't learn anything new, or find any new insight. It was more a confirmation of everything I've known for awhile. Now I have found the fury. The anger. The disgust. But I know I have to let that go because it is only harmful to me.

Here's the optimistic news: By being pushed over that hump I had been teetering on, I am developing a new outlook. It is simply astonishing that changing the perception of one simple belief has the power to affect our resolve. I know that I will still waver, and suffer from doubt. I also know that there will be a grieving period. But I must remind myself that although my current life is dying, a new life will be reborn. The one simple phrase that has helped me believe I can do this, is to consider it an adventure. I've always been a sucker for adventure, and I guess my subconscious finally realized that this would be the best tactic to use.

Of course, my MissAdventuresAbroad blog should be enough to remind me that adventures don't always go as planned. Yet, how do we grow and learn if we don't ever take risks?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Okay, So It Wasn't A Real Award

I apologize if I was misleading in my "First Love" post from Valentine's Day. I realize, in hindsight, I was a little too ambiguous. It was not an actual award, merely a thoughtful gesture from a loyal reader. It was still sweet and appreciated, though!

I may never receive an award if I fail to use any control and post what I've been yearning to write about. I've been having lots of 'stirring' sexual feelings, and since I use writing as an outlet...well, you get the idea. I don't want to offend anyone with sexually laden material, but then again, I do give fair warning that this is not the blog for prude traditionalists. Besides, I personally find it offensive that society has made sexuality a 'dirty' thing when it is a completely natural and enjoyable part of life.

Hey, a girl's got to express herself. Consider yourself warned.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Chronic Case of Wanderlust

-n. A very strong or irresistible impulse to travel.

I suffer from a chronic condition. It does go into remission briefly a couple of times a year, but unfortunately, the cure is only temporary. Shortly after receiving the only drug curable to treat this disease, which is to get up and go, my wanderlust begins to flare up again. Here is why traveling is my only cure:

My endeavor to live life to the fullest is greatly aided in my pursuit to explore some of the amazing places earth has to offer. Experiencing the world beyond these familiar corridors is paramount to my vitality. Perhaps a fusion of curiosity, intuition and fascination lead to my affinity to travel. Much of it is the novelty of seeing diverse people, places and things. One thing is absolute: enchanting culture, alluring architecture, and unique experiences generate new insights not found in the comfort of conventional surroundings.These elements together are unequivocally the best means to replenish my sense and sensibility.

I think it's time for a trip. If you haven't done so, visit my MissAdventures Abroad blog which recounts the musings and mishaps I've encountered while indulging my soul. Some are humorous, and some just suck. As much trouble as I occasionally endure, I wouldn't trade a single one for having stayed home instead.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My First Love

Yay, me! Today, I received my first blog love (which just so happens to be my first blog award of any kind). What a nice Valentine's sentiment. I had just been lamenting how Valentine's Day is really rather stupid--just a manufactured holiday to generate revenue. I would rather be showered on my birthday because that's at least personal, or an anniversary because that has sentimental value, or Mother's Day because that recognizes the hard work I invest year-round.

Perhaps I am just a Valentine's scrooge.
But then I got this. Maybe I just needed to feel loved to appreciate February 14th.

With token appreciation, I humbly accept this award. I would like to thank the people (okay, fermentedfur) who made this award possible. I promise not to let it go to my head. There isn't room, anyway.

So, on this Valentine's Day, I hereby encourage each and every one of you to go forth and make love by planting it's seed in somebody you care about!

(Man, if only I had a bigger following. I would love to do a study and find out if there's a blogging baby boom next November)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fatal Obsession

In the four years since moving 1,000 miles east of where I spent my first 28 years, I have lived more freaking drama than Teri Hatcher in an entire season of “Desparate Housewives.” For whatever reason, I have been afflicted by several manipulative and narcisistic people. To my misfortune, two of them are my next-door neighbors. It makes for a very uncomfortable sandwich, indeed, sitting between two pieces of cold, white bread. If you have read my Neighbor from Hell post, you've already been introduced to Mad Cow. The other one, Nutcake, possesses severe OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Since our husbands work together, we moved here at the same time from the same city. We began as friends. At times, I would even say great friends. We went to dinner frequently, hung out with the same people, and spoke almost daily (of course, the conversation always revolved around her). Being so far away from our extended families, we even celebrated many holidays together with the rest of our “circle.” Those were the good times.

Her OCD isn't about compulsively cleaning or engaging in repeated hand-washing. That I could easily deal with. She is consumed with control. In essence, her narcisism is what drives her obsessive-compulsive behavior and vice-versa. Sadly, her devotion to her husband and son is more fixation than love. To her, they are nothing more than extensions of herself, and she treats them as her personal property. She has been to psychologists, but quickly abandons them. She has taken medication but quits, because it alters her sense of control over her tightly-woven universe. She hates her condition, yet is not willing to change.

If you can imagine the drama and instability in a 'friendship' with someone like this, it does not paint a pretty picture.

There was no argument or falling out between us. The excuse she manifested to quit talking to me perfectly portrays the severity of her delusions of grandeur. Since world revolves around obsession, she absurdly claimed that I was consumed with her.This is quite ironic since she was calling me 80% of the time. She told people I was spying on her from my house and was trying to keep tabs on her at all times. Since I was allegedly stalking her, she reported to a friend that she didn't want to be friends with me anymore, but we could maintain a 'neighborly' relationship. She gave the specific example that if I were to come over because I need to borrow a cup of sugar, she would gladly give me one. Such an asinine statement only reminded me how crazy she is! One night, shortly after she made that ridiculous 'neighborly' comment, she was having some of our mutual friends over for a small get-together. Lisa, who had reported the aforementioned sentiment to me in the first place, was included in the festivities, therefore providing an opportune moment. That night at about 9:00, I sent my daughter to her back door toting a measuring cup to borrow that proverbial cup of sugar. We laughed so hard when my little girl returned with the goods in hand. I thought this would make Nutcake feel extremely stupid in front of all of our friends and would be the end to the ridiculous saga. Instead, she used the incident to confirm her theory. She said that I sent my child over there to spy! Wow. I wonder if she gave my daughter the old pat-down before allowing her to enter. She is even crazier than I had thought.

At my wits end, I decided it was time to end her neurotic hysteria. A couple of days later, I called and left her a less-than-sugary message. You can imagine my surprise when she came over that evening with fresh-baked cookies as a peace offering. After she left, my husband said, “you should have let her have it months ago!” Considering I am now reporting these events, she must not have laced them with anything very toxic. Yet, as expected with an unstable person, the kindness was short-lived.

Nutcake must always be the center of attention, making sure to be the loudest and the crudest at the table. If someone pays me a compliment, you can bet she will implement some strategy to focus the attention back to her. She is equally notorious for her lack of tact as for her distortion of fact. I know she resents me because I occasionally bring conversations back to earth after she broadcasts some piece of information that is 1 part truth to 4 parts B.S. In other words, I was ruining her show.

Nutcake has dominated her son's every move since birth. For 18 years, she dreaded the day he would graduate high school, because that signified his going off to college where she couldn't control his every breath. The fearful day arrived in June, and in August Andy went off to school an hour and a half away. Many of us speculated how he would adjust, never having freedom of any kind. Nutcake had already rationalized the possibilities. She knows he wouldn't take oral drugs, because he doesn't take a stinking Tylenol capsule. He is afraid of needles, allergic to smoke, and drinking won't be anything special because she let him have a beer on their family trip to Mexico. She forced him to spend the first six consecutive weekends of this, his freshman year, with her. Really jacked is that one of the weekends she stayed in his dorm room with him!

Well, Little Miss Control-Freak just got a very harsh reality-check. In the wee hours of Saturday morning, a mutual friend of ours got an unexpected and frantic phone call from her. Nutcake was actually back in our hometown, a thousand miles away. She and her husband had flown back because she had been subpoenaed to testify in a court case. Just before calling Lisa, Nutcake had received a call that Andy was in the emergency room with a lethal blood alchohol level and was non-responsive. His friends had taken him in because he was unconscience and vomiting blood. They had been pumping his stomach and were trying to revive him. I can't help but think that the timing was not a coincidence. This was the first time that any real distance separated his mother from him—the first weekend in his life that he knew she couldn't just decide to drop by unannounced. For the only time in his entire life--for these few days at least--she couldn't breathe down his neck.

Thankfully, they eventually stabilized him. However, the doctors reported that he would have died had his friends delayed in seeking medical help. The scary element to this equation is that many kids don't understand the seriousness of alcohol poisoning, and aren't able to recognize the signs when someone is in real danger and needs immediate medical attention. Not to mention, the fear of getting into trouble often overrides the intention to seek help.

If poor Andy thought his mother was over-bearing before....wow. I can not even imagine what he is in for now. She said she is withdrawing him from school. Although that is very unfortunate, it is not the least bit surprising. She would rather sabatoge his future, then to allow him the opportunity to learn from his mistake, as all people must eventually do. Now he's back on track to be a 40-year old virgin in the making. Maybe things will work out the way she wanted them to after all. Her obsession, indirectly, had near-fatal consequences. Her need to control his life is figuratively killing him, and nearly killed him literally, as well. But she is too blind to see or care that controlling him further by forcing him to quit school and move back home, will only make matters worse.

If nothing else, I deeply hope she has the wisdom to set her anger aside and thank those boys for saving his life. If not for them, she would be wearing some very different shoes now.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Unable to Forgive and Forget

I have learned that I can't count on him in times when a husband is most needed. In the crucial events he should have been there for me, he wasn't. Because this theme has been recurring, I am unable to forgive and forget. The real turning point in our relationship, was a year and a half ago, when he was yet again, unavailable for me. I told him straight up, “You failed me as a husband.”

I'll try to make the long story a little less long. We were on day three of an 11-day stretch of him being 3,000 miles away, when one of my fears became a reality. Somebody broke in and robbed our home. It happened on a Friday morning, and luckily we were gone. When I called him to get the serial number to my stolen laptop for the police and to relay what had just happened, he was very quick with me and didn't have time to 'deal' with it. Stunned, hurt, and furious, I said something about his work always coming first, and slammed the phone down.

Later, a sheriff from a different county called the house and said he had been trying to call my husband's cell phone but couldn't reach him. They had found a box of our checks with a few other random things on the side of the highway about 40 miles away. I was livid that I had to track him down, as if I didn't have enough going on, to tell him that he needed to spare five minutes for a f-cking sheriff!

Needless to say, I was scared, distraught, and overwhelmed, while having three kids to take care of and juggling police and crime scene investigators coming in and out of my house. I was terrified that whoever had been in our home would come back. Afterall, they new the layout, what we looked like, our names, and even whose bedrooms were where.

By that evening we were starving, yet unable to go into our kitchen, and because I was the only adult who could wait for the other authorities to arrive, I was unable to leave to get us food.

Considering it was a Friday, and he had only extended his business trip to include the weekend per my suggestion, I never even fathomed that he would not come home for this. It became pretty evident though, when he was too busy to even talk, and didn't call back until 8:30pm, which was 5:30 Pacific time. How convenient. The work day was over, so he could check to make sure we're still alive. That is when I told him that he had failed me, and I hung up, ignoring his futile attempts to call back. I didn't talk to him again for 5 days.

I was fortunate that a friend who lives 3 hours away came to stay with us, because I was too drained to make the drive to her. And there was not a chance in hell I was spending the night alone with my kids.

Since he did not come home for another EIGHT DAYS after this happened, I was forced to deal with every aspect of it myself. I had to change all of our bank accounts, change passwords, cancel website registrations, and clean a revolting present the asshole culprit left in one of the bathrooms before leaving. Most importantly, I had to remain tough so that my kids wouldn't sense my fear. The worst thing that thief stole was my children's sense of safety and security. Because this hasn't been the only time my husband has left me to fend for myself, I am unable to forgive. I don't dwell on it everyday, but I don't think I will ever get over it.

There Is More Than Meets The Eye

With my last post, one may assume that I am just needing to sew my wild oats. It's not that simple at all, or I would try to shake things up with him a bit, not be ready to throw it all away. While, there is a smidgen of truth to that statement, you must know whether the chicken or the egg came first. My desire to do some oat sewing has evolved out of our marital problems which have been brewing for over a year.

With my new Adderall 'vision' I have been able to recognize the dysfunctional patterns that have led me to feeling so much resentment. I know we're supposed to overlook the trivial quirks that our mates have which drive us crazy, but how about when you were forced to rely on others because your husband wouldn't help you out in desperate situations? If I can not count on him when I need him, what's the point?

He does, of course, have positive qualities, and I'm not trying to belittle him. I am simply sharing candid insights into my life, and hoping to foster personal growth in the process. I admit, it's strange opening up so much about myself, but I have always found writing to be cathartic.

Libertine, you nailed it (pardon the pun) when you spoke of people growing and changing. Most of us are not the same in our 30's as we were in our twenties. Many of the things I loved him for are long gone or buried, and the things that I foolishly thought he'd outgrow (since we married young), he didn't.

Aside from the things he has and hasn't done, there are two primary reasons I fear our relationship is doomed. The first is that the word 'initiate' is not in his vocabulary. He refuses to initiate anything, including problem solving. The other is that it requires so much energy for him to invest the everyday gestures that a husband and father should want to put into his family. He didn't have a good example growing up, and although I thought he was a world apart from his abhorrent father, I guess the apple can only fall so far from the tree.

Another major issue is that he ignores anything he finds uncomfortable to think about. He brushes everything under the rug. No matter what I say to him, as long as I am not on his case at that very moment, he thinks it's all good. I have continued to express how untrue that mentality is. I told him that I can't be pissy every minute of my life! Just because we're talking and laughing, does not mean our marriage is in good shape! For God sake, if the issue I have expressed to you has not been solved, then it is still an issue!

He Says I'm His Spice; I Say He's A Snore

Aside from everything else, this snippet into our personalities lends some general insight.

Learning my psychology type (as referred to by Jung), has explained a lot. From the personality profile it states that, is unwise for ENFP's to settle down too early, and they make the soundest choices when they delay career and marriage decisions until their middle to late twenties. It also goes on to say, "ENFPs may have a difficult time remaining happy in marital relationships. The strong sense of values will keep many ENFPs dedicated to their relationships. However, ENFPs like a little excitement in their lives, and are best matched with individuals who are comfortable with change and new experiences.”

Naturally, I chose a person with the complete opposite profile as myself, therefore one who is not comfortable with change and new experiences. Fun and creativity are regretfully not a part of an ISTJ's life. He resists change of any kind and prefers consistent methods, even if there is a better way. ISTJ's are most well-known for coining the term, "ho hum." Instead of pursuing happiness, he merely fulfills obligations in attempts to avoid unhappiness. I've expressed that I can not breathe in that kind of environment, and perhaps he needs a partner who prefers knitting clubs to overseas vacations. Laughing, he denies that this is true and claims that he needs me to add some spice to his life. Frankly, I am tired of being the nutmeg in his coffee, the cinnamon in his tea, and the cumin in his chili. I need someone to be my cumin. Even enthusiastic people like myself get tired eventually.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Honeymoon Is Over. . .Again

My husband came home Friday night from being out of town all week. Perhaps there is something to the cliché that absense makes the heart grow fonder, because he was hardly on my nerves at all while he was gone. My resentment level was way down, and my tight muscles even loosened up enough that I was able to sleep better.

When he got home, the kids were naturally very glad to see him, and it started off wonderfully. We even snuck out of sight to have some hot, passionate guestroom time (figuring the kids wouldn't think to look in there). Afterward, I challenged him to a few games of target practice on the wii, and it was all good. I was thinking, maybe, just maybe, this could work out.

The honeymoom period lasted all of three hours. Then he had to go and be a dick. He went and spanked our 5 year old son for no good reason while putting him to bed. It wasn't a lashing, but it was loud enough that I could hear it in the other room, and it broke my heart hearing the way my little guy cried, stunned and confused. My husband is notoriously indifferent to peoples' feelings, especially the kids'. I tend to be very intuitive and empathetic. His complete lack of either of these two qualities frustrates me so deeply that at times I literally can not see straight when he behaves like this.

Unfortunately, I have so much built up resentment and frustration in this relationship, that it takes very little for me to be ready to give up again. The next night, out of the blue, I factually and unemotionally expressed my feelings of exhaustion, frustration, and readiness to walk away. It is not that I don't care about him, because I deeply do. We have built a life together, have children together, and had planned to follow suit by growing old together. However, things don't always happen like we plan. And caring about someone isn't necessarily enough to keep you together.

Life has resembled a roller-coaster ride recently. Sometimes I think I just need to suck it up and make the most of what we have. Other times, I feel that I can't take another day of his ignorance and denial.

He was home for two days, and just left again. It used to bother me when he left, but it's getting easier all the time. The more I get used to being without him, the easier it will be to call it quits. But then I think, who's to say the grass will even be greener on the other side? It certainly won't be greener right away; maybe it never will be. What should we reasonably expect out of marriage and out of life? Do we settle and make-do, or do we give our best shot at making this one and only life as rewarding and fulfilling as possible? How do you know which to give up-- a disappointing relationship, or your life's needs and desires?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Neighbor From Hell: Part I

(For those of you who read my Random Annoyances post, you will know what I'm talking about when I refer to "#5.")

Well, my husband is out of town again. There are pros and cons to this. The pros are that I get more time for myself after the kids are in bed, and I seem to be more productive in every aspect. I guess it's because I know that I am the only one accountable, and there is no one around to pick up any slack. Possibly because of this reason, I am much more organized when he is gone. I'm also 'in the know' about everything because everything goes through me, and he isn't around to "forget" to tell me stuff. Plus, the house usually stays cleaner because there is one less person leaving their crap lying around.

As far as the cons go, I am forced to get up a little earlier because he usually wakes up the kids before getting in the shower. However, that is sort-of, indirectly a pro because when I get up earlier, I also get more done. Another con, and since I don't have a pool boy, is only a con, is that I have been becoming a little "needy." This is a newer problem, as going without sex for a few days used to be the least of my concerns. Lately, it's a whole different story. The most troublesome of all cons relates to the fifth item on my previous post, "Random Annoyances."

For whatever reason, I think because she is part animal, my crazy, delusional neighbor seems to be able to sniff out the times when I am here alone. She is a predator. She's the type who likes to snatch up little children and snap them in two before eating them for lunch. And by the looks of it, she has gobbled up many. She is one of those people who is literally as ugly on the inside as she is on the out. I know it sounds mean, and if she wasn't such a foul, heartless wench, I would never call someone this, but I have coined a "pet" name for her. She just so happens to have big, brown and very wide-set eyes, and as mentioned, doesn't exactly have a girly figure. But less because of her appearance, and more because of her tirades, I refer to her as Mad Cow.

There are several stories I could divulge, like how she brought her husband over one evening, interrupting our dinner to rant about some tiff the children had earlier in the day.
Or like how she stormed over to accost me as I sat on my front steps on the day I was robbed. The freaking cops were still in my driveway for God's sake. I felt like a matadore, as she stood over me snorting and stomping her hoof waiting for me to get off the phone. Unable and unwilling to cope with such aggressive, erratic behavior, I got up and walked toward the officers in my driveway. Funny enough, she didn't take but one step in that direction before spewing some inaudible phrase and turning in defeat to return to her stall.

Oddly, the very next time my husband was out of town again, she attempted yet more abuse on my behalf. Knowing her patterns by this time, I anticipated her arrival by sensing vibrations in the ground, similar to those caused by aftershocks. I therefore closed all the blinds and instructed the children to be quiet, and under no conditions, to answer the door. She fumed there for a while, ringing the bell, then returned home to begin repeatedly calling my house. I never answered it, but decided to take the offensive role by calling her myself the next day.

In any case, the latest issue is one that has caused me to want to go over and accost her fat ass. Her son has been deciding to play basketball from about 8:30 pm to 10 pm every weeknight for two weeks. The problem with this is, it is very loud, and even on acre lots, we can hear every single dribble, slam dunk and bounce on the backboard. My daughter has great difficulty falling asleep as it is, many nights claiming to only get a couple of hours of sleep. This of course, significantly reduces the odds of her falling asleep at a reasonable time. Additionally, there are many school-aged children within earshot of his globetrotting.

My husband has addressed this issue with them three times this week. The difference in how we broach a subject with how she does (firstly, she doesn't actually have any issues, she just likes to yell at people), is that we are polite and respectful. When that doesn't work, what do you do? I am SO (not) looking forward to how this plays out this evening with me being home alone again. I wonder if I called the cops whether they would ask them to keep it down after a certain time on a school night? One lesson I haven't enjoyed learning, is that you can't play softball with people who play hardball.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Reflecting on Life's Choices

Over the last year or so, I have done a lot of analyzing and soul searching. In the process, I have made a lot of realizations, yet found no answers. I have realized how any given moment is a product of our previous choices. When it comes to some of my life's major choices, there's no sense in beating around the bush: I. Have. Doubts. There was definitely a trigger point, but when I started taking Adderall for my recently diagnosed ADHD, the feelings compounded even more so. It was like I began wearing glasses and was seeing clearly for the first time. I became aware of the subconscious feelings which were leading to so much frustration and resentment in my marriage.

Although I'm pondering decisions I made in the past, such as marrying so young (we were twenty-one), it wouldn't be fair to call them bad choices. Perhaps a better adjective would be inexperienced. Even in hindsight, they seem like the right thing to have done at the time. When you're immature and inexperienced, you don't always recognize that other possibilities will lie ahead. It is rational to fear that if you pass on something good when it comes along, you may not get another chance. By the time you realize that you may have acted hastily, some 10-odd years later, your life has already been set on it's course. Not that the course can't be altered, but there are a lot of questions that must be answered first.

I interestingly came across this food for thought the other day. It's only a few years late and several dollars short: "It is unwise for ENFP's (myself) to settle down too early, and they make the soundest choices when they delay career and marriage decisions until their middle to late twenties.”
Hmmm...this could have been helpful to know.

Random Annoyances

I received an email from my well-meaning, but annoying sister-in-law yesterday that inspired me to create this list. Not having heard from her in nearly a year, with the exception of the annual “My Kids' Christmas Lists” notification I get in December, I unexpectedly received a shutterfly album from her. I initially thought it was pictures of her kids, until I noticed the album name, “trip to Mexico” containing 250 photos. Yes. TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY flipping pictures of.....well, I assume her and her husband in Mexico, but couldn't say for certain because with 250 pictures, I dumped the sucker. Deleted it. Didn't click the link. Didn't enter the 'secret code' to view the photos. Why? Because sending anyone that many photos of anything is downright ridiculous! Let alone sending them to everyone on your email list! She must have imported the entire SD card, because surely she didn't HAND-PICK 250 pictures to email? I went on a trip last June to 3 different countries on 3 different continents and only emailed 50 pictures of the 700-and-something I took. It's a little something called selective reduction.
So, what I'm trying to figure out is this: Is she just lazy or does she think that people actually care that much?

Well,on to the list of things that annoy me and/or piss me off. Enjoy!

#1- When people send autobiographical material like an annual newsletter or a list of annoyances, and preface with, “Enjoy!” Like reading about their trivial tidbits is the highlight of your week. Yes, as mentioned, the primary culprit is my husband's sister. She even included the cute little tagline on the aforementioned Christmas List! The list was actually in an attachment, so the content of the email went something like, “Click here to download what my kids want you to buy them for Christmas. Enjoy!” Yes, I'm dead serious.

As if that didn't sicken me enough, living 1,000 miles away, she also expects me to package and ship the stuff.

#2- When people (my husband) fail to turn off a light when leaving a room, namely bathrooms and closets. It takes a fraction of a nanosecond to flip the switch on the way out! How hard is that???

#3- LOUD restaurant patrons. You know them. You can hear every word they say, whether you want to or not. Your own conversation is often impeded due to this oblivious narcissist who doesn't seem to realize that they are in public and should spare the entire establishment their obnoxious laugh and poor sense of humor.

#4- Kids with pacifiers. Pacifiers are for infants, not toddlers and children! First of all, let's think about the very name of the item. Pacifier....for pacifying....to soothe....when does someone need to be pacified? When they are upset to begin with! Kids walking around stores and parks with a pacifier hanging out of their mouth is ridiculous. Especially when they are attempting to speak, but can only utter a lisp! How are they supposed to learn to talk with that thing constantly in their mouth? Parents, get a freaking clue. Your desire for peace and quiet is understandable, but come on. Throw away those damn pacifiers before the kid is walking and talking! ...Cheesus.

#5- Mean people. Like my neighbor next door. I will have to dedicate an entire post, if not series, to that crazy biotch and her little biotches-in-training offspring.

#6- People who take all day at the register to buy or return something. They must think they are really important, because the rest of us obviously don't have anything better to do than to stand behind them, holding our merchandise, waiting and waiting. Some of them are just the annoyingly clueless type who looks over each item, then checks their receipt, making an event out of a single purchase. Then there are the ones with the jerk rod up their ass, who think that the mother of all retail rules (return something with a receipt, or get the sale price) should be broken for them. Of course, they can't just accept the golden rule. They must talk to the manager as the line behind them grows longer and longer. I am really tired of people who think they deserve special treatment.

#7- This will come as no surprise: People who refute scientific evidence because it doesn't coalesce with their religious beliefs. Two examples are evolution, and...wait until you hear this one—dinosaurs. Yes, I actually had a friend who was visiting from out of town announce at dinner that she does not believe in dinosaurs (surprisingly, she is a college grad). Unable to speak, my jaw dropped open and my eyebrows receded into my hairline. She then uttered something about God and/or the bible. I pulled myself together and pretended that I hadn't heard a word.

In summary, I dislike dumb people, clueless people, loud people, mean people, lazy people, and people who think they deserve special treatment. Oh, and kids with pacifiers. This is a partial list....I'm sure to remember more later. =)

Am I just being bitchy?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

At The End of My Rope

I don't think I can take it anymore. I feel like I am being suffocated by my own life, and the only way to catch my breath would be to run away for a week, maybe two. I am in desperate need of some me time. My husband has failed me one too many times, and one of my children, who is afflicted with ADHD is beyond my last nerve. The child NEVER zips her lips. She has chronic diarrhea of the mouth, much worse than what most people can even fathom. I am not exaggerating. I am unable to cope right now. Anyone ever feel like this:

Like you're simply








Friday, February 1, 2008

A Recipe for Disaster?

If you were familiar with the conservative suburb in which I currently reside, it would come as no surprise that I place myself in the minority of my demographic population with my liberal religious views. When religion is being discussed within my peer group I rarely share my beliefs and often shake my head. Wishing to cultivate fair, open-minded individuals, raising children in the bible belt is...well, frustrating to say the least. Fundamentalists surely think that a house with no God is synonymous with a house of Hell. Well, I am here to give you the inside scoop on this "House of Hell" and the lessons I try to impress upon my children.

I myself regard spirituality to be a very personal choice.
In our home, atheism is not discussed, let alone taught. If anything, I have done little more than introduce the idea of agnosticism, for the truth of the matter is that no body, regardless of age, rank or education can prove or dispute with certainty the existence of a supernatural being . I therefore aim to expose my children's sponge-like minds to a variety of things by teaching them about religious and cultural tolerance so that they will grow into open-minded individuals. In order to make informed decisions, people need to be enlightened, not preached to. One of the principal reasons I discarded Christianity is it's propensity to blindly influence its followers; considering this, I am certainly not going to engage in mind-control by forcing my personal beliefs onto my children's developing attitudes.

I don't say this to be boastful, but my children are extraordinarily intelligent. It may not be a direct result of my parenting, but it does lend to the fact that it's impossible to endorse a line of bull when I want to, let alone when my heart is not in it! When they have questions, I give them honest, unbiased answers. In giving a truthful response, one can only present something as absolute if there is factual evidence to support the claim. The bible, by itself, does not qualify as evidence. My son has wanted to know the origins of humanity since he was three years old. A friend of mine was actually dismayed when learning that I had answered his inquiry scientifically by explaining the process of evolution (as much as one can to a 3 yr old). “Shame on you! You taught him evolution?” she scolded. My response to such thoughtlessness is this: Why wouldn't I? Why wouldn't any parent who wants to foster an informed and educated child? For if we are comfortable passing on fables as truth, we could, alternatively, just teach our children about the stork. We may regret doing so once they hit puberty, but aren't fairy tales the answer to all the tough questions?

Last year my son attended a Catholic preschool because it was acclaimed as the best in kindergarten preparation. After school one day, he began talking about cheeses. Sensing my confusion, he elaborated, “you know, baby Cheeses.” Just as I was preparing to correct him on the pronunciation, he looked at me with a puzzled expression and added, “Why would his mom and dad name him Cheeses?" I said that they didn't, technically, because his name was Jesus. We talked about Jesus being a very important person, and that Christmas is celebrated in honor of his birth. Then, at Easter, we talked about Cheeses dying on the cross. In May, on the way to his preschool graduation, he informed us that the ceremony would take place in Cheeses' house. The poor kid just didn't get it. In any case, I freely discuss these issues with my kids, but introduce the information in a historical context to avoid endorsing biblical stories as truth.

After my grandparents died last year, my daughter inquired about death and Heaven. I conveyed that many people truly believe we go to Heaven after we die, although no one can report the accuracy since the only ones who know are dead. I was slightly more gentle in my delivery, but she is very logical and was satisfied with that. Imagine, a child being satisfied with the truth! If, when my kids are grown, they choose religious faith as an adult, it will be of their own accord and not because they were brainwashed. Likewise, it is their prerogative if they prefer to view the world as a scientific masterpiece. I see blind faith as not only unadulterated acceptance, but also a lack of vision to the world's realm of possibilities.

I genuinely feel that I would be doing my children a great disservice if I instilled unilateral thoughts into their minds, for it would consequently hinder their infinite potential.