January 28, 2008


I have a large group of sparrows (I think...could be chickadees) living in the shrub at my work. I've noticed them lately as they hang out in the branches and chirp and such. One day I saw the cutest little footprints in the powdery snow beside my car, and wished I had had my camera there to capture the tracks.

Today when I arrived at work, I saw that someone had dumped a bunch of birdseed on the snowbank beside the shrub for the birds. My boss denies doing it, but I wonder if he is just trying to hide the soft spot he may have for the little flock of birds who chose to make their home here by us.

I can't deny those birds have made me happy on more than one occasion as I parked my car and just sat and watched them doing their bird thing and seeming so glad to be alive.

January 25, 2008

Shout out

I had lunch today with a good friend, Meg, who reads my blog. It was a great time, and I look forward to future lunches and good times. She is into art like I am and is a fabulously outspoken woman whom I suspect I'll learn a lot from in the months to come! So fun talking with her.

Thai food is always best when shared with friends.

Friday at last

Tonight I am going to go watch the new movie Juno ~ I can't wait. I've been wanting to see this movie since I first heard of it. I'm wondering if it'll take me back to my days of being a pregnant college student, unmarried and afraid.

Work is a real bitch these days. I have tons of stuff to do for year end (getting info compiled for the accountants) and also have to bump up hell week in order to get billing done before my boss leaves for vacation. The piles of year-end filing all around me are starting to seem sinister. So far I've been keeping my spirits up ~ but maybe that's because I'm trying not to think of next week.

Hope the weekend is a nice one for everyone. I really do want to continue writing about Paris...hopefully this weekend I'll write the next part.


January 24, 2008

Had "The Talk"

Last night we talked with our teen son about sex and sexuality, and it went very well, I think. I thought I'd share the list of things we outlined, printed out, and discussed with him, most of which I got from a FLAK comment made by the fabulous Anti-Molly. Thanks to her for sharing her insight which helped us immensely!


- Remember that "normal" is as slippery as a greased pig. There's a whole lot of variation in people, male and female. And a whole lot of overlap between genders, too.

- Masturbation is normal. Girls do it, too. It's not a bad thing. It's just something to be done while you're alone and in an appropriate place.

- Sex is not dirty. It's something for adults, just like being in the military and drinking alcohol and voting and having a career.

- For many reasons (listed here), it's best to wait to have sex until you're emotionally and physically capable of handling its effects:
1. Health and safety reasons
2. Enjoy your youth and don't rush into adulthood too fast
3. Possibility of hurting your partner or being hurt by them
4. We want you to be wary of peer pressure and consider whether you are wanting to engage in sexual activity earlier than you feel ready to due to peer pressure that you would otherwise wait to do.

Some effects of having sex are:
1. Partner gaining strong feelings that you may not have in return
2. You could fall in love with your partner who may not feel the same toward you
3. Getting someone pregnant - or the worry and anxiety that happens if she is "late" having her period
4. STDs & fear of getting or spreading them
5. Emotional ramifications of being a father as a teen
6. Possible stigma of being a father as a teen
7. If your partner does get pregnant, and doesn't want the baby ~ Abortion? Adoption? Raise it as a single father?
8. Having the responsibility for another person's life and welfare (baby) can alter your entire life plan/goals
9. Will you be able to afford the (lifelong) expense of having to care for a child?
10. Some STDs have permanent, lifelong effects that can alter your quality of life

- When you decide to have sex, you need to protect yourself.

CONDOMS AT ALL TIMES. ALWAYS. EVERY TIME. It is only safe to have unprotected sex once you've been in a long-term relationship where both partners have been medically tested for AIDS and STDs and both of you have no other partners.

- You can ask me anything about sex and we will give you an honest answer. If you don't feel comfortable talking to us, we can find you a good book or you an talk to a trusted family member. Who would you trust?

- Sexuality is hard to define. So is the word "normal." Some people are heterosexual. Some are homosexual. Some are bisexual. Some people like to have sex a lot. Some don't like to have it much, if ever.

- All this doesn't mean that there's no ethics -- no right and wrong -- associated with sex and sexuality. There are limits, just like there are limits to everything. For example, obsession with anything, even something that feels good, is ultimately harmful. Or if you're hurting or taking advantage of someone physically or emotionally, that's wrong too.

- Looking and touching are different. Men and women both notice and appreciate nice specimens of their preferred sex, but it doesn't mean they love their significant other any less, nor does it mean they intend to be unfaithful. But a considerate partner will consider your feelings when deciding whether to talk about their observations or make them obvious to you or others.

- Bodies vary widely. Some parts are bigger, smaller, hairy-er, more or less sensitive, shaped differently, and colored differently on different people. What you see on TV is a skewed stereotype that only represents a few people. You can and should find beauty in your body and in the bodies of others, including the person you love. Be sensitive when commenting about other people's bodies, whether you like them or not.

- Respect your partner always. Listen to them when they tell you they are not comfortable doing something, and don't do it or pressure your partner to do something they are not comfortable doing. If they want you to try something that you do not want to do, you should say no and that should be OK. Remember that NO MEANS NO. You do NOT do anything if you hear your partner say no.

Respecting your partner also means that you do not kiss and tell. Ever. What you share with a sexual partner should only be between you and that person. Even if your partner discusses you with others does not make it OK for you to discuss the details of your private moments with your friends or anyone. You gain nothing from doing this and it brings down the reputation of your partner. Remember you marry who you date, so you don't want your friends knowing for life what your partner did with you in private. And nobody needs the mental image of you having sex. You do not want to be someone who plays a part in ruining another person's reputation either.

- Use of alcohol or other drugs can lower your inhibitions and ability to make smart decisions for yourself. Sometimes being under the influence of drugs/alcohol can make you feel it's OK to engage in sexual activity which you would never otherwise do while sober. Be very careful because actions have very real consequences.

January 22, 2008

Colder than a. . .

You know it’s cold when your teenager actually wears his winter coat to school. You know it’s DAMN COLD when he admits he’s going to brave eating school lunch in the cafeteria for the first time this year because he doesn’t want to go outside to get fast food.

-25 degrees Farenheit with the windchill today. I actually have a snowdrift on the floor inside my office door where the snow gusts in through the gaps ~ and it’s apparently cold enough inside not to melt. The wind is howling and whistling at my door ~ the perfect sound effect to the cold I'm experiencing.

I damn near got stuck in a snow pile beside the sidewalk as I dropped him off at school. The snowplows only clear the main streets, so side streets like those surrounding schools are ignored and cars are left with the daunting task of plowing through huge piles of snow. Turning your car off the main plowed street onto a side street isn’t good either because the pile of snow the plows leave at the entrance to the side streets is thick. I admit it is kind of fun to fishtail out of control a little while plowing through the muck, but that hardly makes up for the rest of the inconveniences bitter cold weather produces.

We actually had to shovel off some grass for our poor dachshund. He whines, quivers, shakes, and refuses to go near the back door in the morning during weather like this.

He learned that from me.

January 11, 2008


I don’t know if it was the really long and stressful day at work, or my exhaustion due to going to bed late and getting up early every day for over a week (among other emotionally exhausting events), but last night I was low enough to actually hear my son when he told me that I am often impossible to talk to, and I make people feel bad when I think I know everything and I lecture and go off and never hear what the other person is saying. He said that often when he’s most unhappy it has stemmed from interaction with me. I’ve heard similar words before, but have always been able to deny such truths to myself and brush it off as normal teen angst.

But last night, as I sat there and looked in his eyes, and truly listened to what he was and was not saying, I didn’t let myself not hear him. And it hurt. Hurt so damn bad.

I was immediately transported to my own teen years and recalled how impossible my dad was to talk to. He was so cutting with his words, and never wrong, and the lectures...holy hell, the LECTURES he would give! He could be so condescending to me. And I forced myself to actually look at myself openly and I realized that my son is right. It brought me to my knees, and I was devastated.

I am determined to change that part of me and become someone who can truly listen to understand, and not be so condescending to those people I love.

It’s damn good I finally found a good therapist. This won't be easy.

January 7, 2008

Is this true?

Henry David Thoreau wrote, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation."

Do you believe this? Why or why not?

(from Walden, 1854)