Monthly Archives: October 2011

Miss Representation and Barbie Bullshit

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I just finished watching Miss Representation – a documentary which focuses on the way media impacts the futures of an entire society of girls. From cradle to grave, young girls are bombarded with images, standards and expectations which are hyper-sexual, derogatory and unachievable. Girls are taught from the time they can walk that how a woman looks is the basis of her value.

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Some outrageous facts from the film:

Female cartoon characters often dress comparable to women in an R rated movie. Tinkerbell and Ariel, for examples, are half naked.

Girls 11-14 are exposed to about 500 advertisements a day.

By the time a girl is a tween, $7000 will already be spent on beauty products.

53% of 13 year old girls are dissatisfied with their bodies. By age 17, that number jumps to 78%.

About 2/3 of all women and girls have an eating disorder.

I will be writing more about this as I think I want to make it the subject of my next editorial. But I wanted to pop on and talk a bit about it because of something my step daughter said to me today.

Just as I finished watching the film, she returned home and asked if I had a blonde wig. I said no but wondered why she asked. She informed me that she is going to be Barbie for Halloween. I am sure you can imagine my instant disgust. I said to her, “Oh, I really wish you wouldn’t. I really regret letting you guys play with those in the first place.” And I went on to vaguely tell her about the movie I had just watched. She was most uninterested.

Now, if this were Cassidy – my answer would simply be, no. I would gladly participate in actively seeking an alternate costume (as I would for Kenzie as well) but I would not allow her to be Barbie, a Bratz Doll or anything else I felt was inappropriate or damaging to her perspective. But I cannot do this with Kenzie. The harder I fight, the more resistance I will get from her and her mom and dad. Fact is, Charlie doesn’t even think about these things and would likely think I am over reacting. Of course, he has no clue what it is to be a girl or a woman and especially, a mother.

This movie really opened my eyes to issues I already knew existed – but I never really thought about how it all works together to keep women down. It is a definite must see for everyone – especially parents. And even more especially – those parents who allow their young girls to wear clothing with “Juicy” on the butt, heels, thick ass eyeliner (saw a 10 year old with darker make up than I have ever worn on the bus the other day), belly shirts and thong underwear.  Those parents have always made my skin crawl, but now…even more so.

A Day in the Woods (and I didn’t leave the kids there!)

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Yesterday we took a drive around SE Wisconsin. We wanted to see the fall colors – and we were a couple weeks late. But it was still pretty and a very nice day. We went to Holy Hill, Newburg and Menomonee Falls. We also stopped at the Mine Shaft in Hartford for lunch and ended the day grocery shopping at Woodmans. 9 hours in the car with the kids and I didn’t kill anyone. So I say the day was a success!!

Some pics…

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Pictures of Occupy Milwaukee – Updated with Video

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Although we did not participate, we took a swing by Occupy Milwaukee yesterday during our family road trip.

The pictures aren’t great because I didn’t get out of the car. But As you can see – the crowd is SURELY not made up of just a bunch of college aged hippies!!! Of course you won’t see that on TV.

Here are some pictures and videos…

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Me and My Mental Mind

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I have been pretty introspective lately. Something on my mind is a pretty repetitive trend in my usual thinking. I am constantly trying to figure out what the hell my problem is and how to fix it. 37 years and I am still not sure of either. But I can’t help but feel I am getting closer each year.

Since I am taking much less medication, my anxiety has peeked out its head here and there in the past months. Not situational, freaking out anxiety. Actually, things have been pretty calm. But it is the general anxiety of which I am always suffering at some degree. I have been trying very hard to just ride it out when it happens, to try to let it go. Easier said than done, that is for sure.

There are nights I lay here and THEE worst thoughts will pop into my head. I will have an image of Cassidy falling off her top bunk onto a pile of naked Barbies and colored pencils. I will picture myself having a stroke and missing my my family’s future. I dread situations which I am always sure will happen from disease to accidents to anything else horrible that happens to people every day. I have to talk myself out of these thoughts and try to distract myself with comedic TV.

I argue with my rational self all of the time. People die and get injured and sick all of the time. Regardless of age or health or lifestyle…it is just what happens. It is a part of life. I hear stories about little kids with fatal diseases or young mothers dying of cancer. I think to myself, “Why have I been so lucky?” And worse, “When will my luck run out?”

I can be a negative whiney pants much of the time – don’t think I do not realize that. What you may not realize – because some times I don’t realize – is that I feel truly blessed.

I have a husband who many women would love to have. Yea, he can be annoying as all hell. But his positives FAR outweigh anything I can complain about. And he totally and completely loves me for exactly who I am. Even when we fight, it doesn’t last long. He works hard and is a loyal provider. He cleans and is a wonderful father. He knows how to fix shit. I have never and will never have to worry about his faithfulness. I trust him entirely. And he lets me be me and do what I do with little argument (some, but not too much lol).

The kids are healthy (yes, I am knocking the shit out of all the wood around me) and happy. They are smart and compassionate. They are polite and tough. And even at their worst – they are far better than most kids…sorry, but they are 🙂 Mackenzie is creative and smart and sweet. If she stays the course – she will be in for great things. She has been able to adjust to many changes and instabilities. I think she will do just fine.

When I look at Cassidy I am simply amazed that she came from me. She IS a little me. She looks how I looked at her age, she has the same humor and she has this whole potentially wonderful life ahead of her. It is kinda like watching me starting over. There are times my mind is officially blown. As very very sad as I am about not having more children, I am FULL of gratitude for the one I have. She is really just my goofy ball of love.

I have a modest but comfy home. I have cable and good food and a nice car. I have clothes to wear, a computer to use and cats to snuggle. At the moment I have a writing gig which – while doesn’t pay much – does give me extra money to pay down our debt while still being able to be here when the kids need me to be. Getting paid for writing is something I never thought would happen for me.

The point here was not to brag – I promise!! I am proving my awareness I suppose. I am also illustrating why my mental problems some time take over my rational thought process. You see, I don’t think that my mind is allowing me to be happy. It is creating these anxieties and depressions and obsessions because a part of my consciousness thinks I shouldn’t be happy. I have all these great things and people in my life. I have been so blessed and lucky and fortunate. So, either I am unknowingly sabotaging myself OR I am too frightened that the ball will soon drop.

I do realize this is all a symptom of my stinkin’ thinkin’. Magical thinking some would call it. I also know that maybe (if I stick to my magical thoughts) I have simply earned some happiness and some good. I have been through a shit storm of shitty shit shit in my life. More than I talk about here. More than most people know. So maybe it is finally my turn at happiness. But how can I enjoy it if I am constantly waiting for the anvil to fall upon my worried little head?

But I argue with myself and convince myself that I am not worthy of a disease free, injury free, drama free life. I convince myself that even Steve Jobs couldn’t invent himself out of cancer. Innocent little children cannot earn their way out of St. Jude’s. Why would I deserve any better for very much longer??

Do you see this circular bullshit I am talking about?? Its exhausting.

But as frustrating as it can be…I do feel I am progressing. I see a therapist every few weeks and she is really helpful. Her style is exactly what I need. And I really respect her. Its not that friendly kind of relationship I had with my last therapist – which I do miss a lot. But it is probably better this way. I worry less about what she thinks of me that way. Like I mentioned, I am take a smidgen of the medication I took only months ago and feel healthier for it. I think I am more accepting than ever too. But I do still have a ways to go.

I have just been typing like a crazy person (der)…I can imagine how blabbering this post must seem. I am not even going to edit it because I will just end up deleting most of it. I rarely make the time to blog anymore and I will be damned if this ends up being a complete waste.

Basically what this whole clusterfuck has been about is this…I have the makings of real true happiness and a fabulous life. However my mind either wants to protect me by making it less great (because if it isn’t great, the ball won’t have to drop) OR it doesn’t think I deserve the happiness for which I have been striving.

Totally mental. And with that – time to hit the sack and watch some mindless reality television.

Night y’all – talk at ya soon.

Our First Trip to Vegas – September 2011

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About a month ago, Charlie and I took our first trip to Vegas. As always, it was nice to get away – just the two of us. The weather was great and our hotel was nice. The scenery out there is beautiful and unfamiliar. But, to be totally honest, we probably will not go back.

We are just not Vegas people. We don’t gamble and we’re cheap. Everything there is outrageously expensive. I used to hear how you could get a prime rib dinner for like 5 bucks out there. My dad used to talk about it. But that isn’t how it is any more. One day it cost us 36 bucks for 2 subs and some soup at a take out joint. Honestly, everything was ridiculously pricey.

Then there is the party atmosphere – which was clearly no secret. But I didn’t realize how tired we would feel. The heat, all the walking and the 2 hour time change really left us feeling lazy as hell. We were in our room by 11 each night. See, we are people who like to relax and not be on a schedule. We don’t like to feel like we have to be doing something constantly. We like to lay around on the water or sit by a fire or relax in a hot tub. We don’t want to dress up, spend all of our money and run ourselves ragged. I guess we didn’t fully realize that until we were there.

I thought Vegas would be something different, something new. I figured it was one of those place you just HAD to go before you die. And it was interesting and neat. The hotels/casinos are quite something. But honestly, one day of all that is enough. The whole time we were there I was fanticising about floating on the boat down the Wisconsin River. I guess we are just boring 🙂

That all being said – it wasn’t awful. I do wish I had picked a different place to vacation since who knows when will be the next time without kids. But we had a decent time…ate some good food, saw a great comedy show (Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club), enjoyed our hotel and its mall (Planet Hollywood) and our drive out to the Hoover Dam was nice. We are just not Vegas people, that’s all.

Pictures below…

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Meet the New Members of Our Litter…

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Last week we adopted 2 cats from Countryside Humane Society. They are getting along great. I had planned on separating them for a while until they adjusted. But right out of the carriers they went up to each other (a picture of their meeting below) with no issues at all. They are both amazingly friendly and loving. Very social and affectionate. They slept in our bed beginning day one – never once has either of them hid. We have been so lucky.

I had the names picked out for a long time – long before meeting the cats. I wanted to use the names I would have used had I had more children. Lucy Lee and Grey Edward.

Unfortunately I had to name the grey one Grey because he is a boy. I just didn’t think I could pull off Lucy for a boy even tho my Brian was a girl. Anyway, he has the biggest cheeks ever. He is two and was a stray. He has had a upper respiratory infection since bringing him home. He’s been to the vet and has had a round of antibiotics. Its pretty icky. I have never had a cat with this illness before. Very snotty and sneezy and gross. He is getting better thankfully. But it isn’t gone yet. It sure hasn’t stopped him from being in good spirits tho. He purrs constantly.

When we first saw Lucy, I cried. At first look, she was SO similar to Bob that it really freaked me out. In fact, it was a reason I did not want to pick her. But the rest of my family argued and won. She is a total sweetheart. VERY fat and needs to be on a diet.  She is so fat it takes her like 10 minutes to gain the momentum to jump onto the bed.  She is a year and a half and was surrendered by her family who could no longer afford her.

We love them both and they love being here. Very happy about our decision. It’s nice having pets again. My heart and home felt empty for a while. But I needed time to get over my Bob…who I still miss so much.

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