This Wouldn't Happen If I Had A Penis!

My Mom emailed me an article.  It's amazing.  It said, in a much more articulate way, what I have been saying for years. Here is a link.  I highly recommend reading the whole thing but the gist is, society sucks.  OK maybe that wasn't their gist, but it's true.  This particular article is addressing the HUGE gender bias in LDS Church programs for girls VS boys. This short changes not only ALL the women in your life, but society as a whole.  Imagine what they could do if they were given all the options.  Not "girls can do anything boys can do" but "girls AND boys can do anything people can do".

Why are there lesson or statements being made all around us about how to be good men or women?  How about good people?! Why is my daughter being taught that patience is a "motherly attribute"? Do Fathers not need to practice patience too? Train them to be good PEOPLE.

This article is addressing a specific program and I do agree with their points.  But this issue sadly goes way beyond Activity Days.  It's everywhere.  In school, other church programs, homes etc.  Everywhere my daughters go they are being programmed.  Programmed to be women. To be pretty, wear the right clothes, keep an organized home, say the right thing, be smart (but not smarter than Timmy),  and don't question things. It's disgusting.

Whether it's 7th grade, turning 12, being in full public school or most likely a combo of all those things, Isa has changed.  I, like the author, have seen the light going out of my daughter's eye.  She is making academic choices for social reasons.  She reaches for her iPad before her homework.  She needs certain things with certain labels.  She wants to wear heels, makeup, push up bras and whiten her teeth.  She is picking herself apart physically and finding herself lacking. Lacking from what? Who told her that her main goal as a 12 year old is to look "better"? Meanwhile boys are showing up in sweatshirts and basketball shorts. They probably got up 10 minutes ago and my daughter spent more than that brushing her hair.  She is asking me for things to "improve" her appearance but not  her brain. She reads less and is looking for a screen more.  Last Christmas she asked for a bike.  This Christmas, iPad covers of her favorite TV show and name brand shoes. 6 months ago she told me her favorite celebrity was Neil Degrasse Tyson.  Now I'm afraid to ask.

Try as I might I can't seem to stop it.  I feel like I'm trying to hold back a tidal wave of preconceived ideas of what my daughter should be before they crush and change her into what a "girl" is.  It's impossible, she's already drowning. It's coming at her from every side. It's ingrained so deep in the world that she can't escape it.

 Right now she wants to be an Immunochemist which I think is crazy awesome.  I hate that she will have to work harder than her male counterparts though.  She'll be in a constant battle to prove that she is just as good as a boy and I just pray it doesn't wear her down. In school and work.  To make it even more fun she will also get paid less.  Because she's a girl. Her lack of penis was the only mark against her society needed to decide her fate.


I guess they are afraid she will "think with her lady parts". That would be a great T-shirt slogan for a feminist group.  " I think with my lady parts". Probably to clever for the masses though.

Sorry, you'll have to click the little "YouTube" in the corner to open the video.  It's worth it.



 I've always been lucky to have great men in my life.  My Uncle John was one of the more awesome. It's been almost a year since he passed away.  My heart still hurts from it.  All the time.  I think there are things that happen that make us sad, maybe really sad, but there are only a few that make that mark on your heart. That whatever portion of your heart that held that person permanently aches from their absence.

 I keep hoping that if I ignore it, next Tuesday wont come.  Just like how I wish I could not think about that moment when my Dad called to tell me.  But Tuesday is coming and I think about it constantly.  Knowing the pain and sorrow that's coming is hard.  I want to block it out but I feel like I'm really blocking out him.

My Uncle John was amazing.  He loved me.  I always knew he did.  He always had a hug and helping hand.  Even if sometimes the helping was really gross (thinking of the time he found Emmleine on the stairs with her g-tube at her feet along with everything that had been in her stomach. As her mother I can say it is NASTY.  Bet he didn't expect he'd run into that!).  The night he took all  us kids to an impromptu late night trip to Phaser Land was one of my fondest memories. Even if I did end up domino knocking down quite a few barriers because I was/am so clumsy. He was very giving and hard working and I admired that.  He made people smile.

Thinking about him makes me miss him more.  Knowing I wont have that hug and "Hi sweetheart!" as our next family get together is painful.  I want more.  So many more. But I'm glad I had the ones I did and I hold them close to my heart.  It's how I know he loved me. I hope I hugged back tight enough that he knew how much I loved him too. And always will.

Two wild and crazy guys!


As Mushy As This Girl Gets

In my freshman year of college I had my heart broken.  It was devastating and I thought there was no recovery in sight.  I was sure I would never move on and so I decided to plan out my life alone.  I still wanted kids so I assumed I would just use a sperm bank or something.  I was tough.  I could handle the logistics of child rearing and love the crap out of that kid.
Since Josh has moved I have been able to get a taste of this and you know what?  I can do it.  The logistics are the easy part. 95% of the time the girls get everywhere they need to go with a parent there if need be.  And yes, I love the crap out of them. I thought this was all I would need. I didn't see the most difficult part.
The hard part is the vacancy.  The absence of a partner.  Not in dealing with the kids (although that can be tough), but in dealing with myself.  The emptiness.
I don't rush  over to the couch to get the good seat, there isn't anyone else to get it.
When I turn to make an inappropriate joke, there isn't anyone to hear it.
There isn't anyone for me to slide my cold feet under to warm them up.
I don't put perfume on before bed, there isn't anyone to smell me.
When I feel exceptionally cute and realize there isn't anyone there to see.
The nights are the worst.  I wake up, multiple times a night, reaching out to lay my hand on the chest that isn't there.
Maybe if I'd never had it I wouldn't miss it.  But I did, and I do...


The Perfect Space

Those that know me well know that I frequently say the phrase "I hate the way emotions make me feel".  This is mostly due to the fact that when I feel an emotion I FEEL that emotion.  It is very very intense and I have trouble processing it.  In some cases like sadness, anxiety or fear it will cause physical pain that can overstimulate me to the point of a freak out/shutdown.  I even feel emotions I think other people should feel. I over relate. To most, this isn't news. They have seen this happen countless times.  
This reaction means that I usually try to avoid intense emotions all together and surprise, surprise, I'm a bit of a control freak.
Obviously I can't hold all the negative emotions at bay so sometimes, some leak out.  It isn't usually pretty. 
So, I came up with a way to let a little bit of emotion out in a "controlled" setting.  Music.  I can listen and feel whatever the singer is sharing for 3-5 minutes and then it ends.  Well, usually.   At my most self aware, I will use music to help make myself feel the emotion I know I'm holding back. So that I can feel it constructively and have a starting and stopping point. The songs I use for this must be carefully chosen.  Whatever I choose will be forever tainted with sadness.  Whenever I listen to it, tomorrow or years from now, I will feel the weight of that time.  The full emotion of whatever I let out during the song.  It will be associated with a specific memory and pain.
When I'm not so self aware I pick some cheesy upbeat music in hopes that I can make myself feel THAT way.  It works, for 3-5 minutes. When the song ends so does the illusion of happy.  Or sometimes I just listen to the sappy stuff so that music I love wont become tainted.  I can't hold the emotions back and I'm just out there, feeling it and and making correlations willy nilly.  You have to be careful with that stuff ;)  Josh hates my music now days.  He cringes when I turn it on. Knowing it will be something cheesy, with no depth, poorly written and poorly performed. It makes it fairly miserable for us to ride in a car together.  I don't want something good and he doesn't want something that makes him want to pull his ears off.  He's so picky.
But, I'm trying to be more of a grown up lately. Trying to teach your kid how to be more grown up will really help you see all the areas where you behave like a big baby. So today, I did it.  I turned on the Avett Brothers.  It's been 7 months.  Here's to hoping this doesn't kill them.


The Sweet Doctor

Shortly after the closure announcement a dear friend posted the last few seconds of 10's life.  The iconic phrase of " I don't want to go" was uttered and our hearts all broke. In that instant you know the emotional loss regeneration takes.  I used this line as a way of simply expressing my feelings about this place.  It ended up that I didn't have to go in the end, but Sweet Briar did. Sweet Briar died.  As much as we want to say it didn't, it did.  It brought that scene full circle for me.  Sweet Briar died but it didn't stay dead.  It regenerated. But, as any Doctor Who fan worth their salt knows, the new Doctor is different.  As is Sweet Briar.  It continues but isn't the same.  It has all the same memories, knows all the same people, has all the same places, but it has become something new.  No matter how hard it tries, the losses are still there.

Even though some students came back and some faculty and staff stayed, we are forever different.  It's still here but we feel the loss. Some lost students or friends.  Some are separated from their families. The whole place is filled with ghosts.  Everywhere I look I see an empty space. Where someone I know should be, but isn't.

I thought the hard part would be leaving.  Driving out of the gates knowing I wouldn't be back.  I was wrong.  The hard part was staying. Staying and watching the others go.  Feeling the emptiness.  Watching others try and fill their place. It feels like people are pretending they were never here at all.  It's lonely. 


Sometimes You Just Gotta Yell and Scream! (in your head)

Everyone is very interested.  They ask all the time. In many settings and situations.  The questions are usually something like these.

"Isn't it great that Sweet Briar is staying open?"

"I bet you're so relieved!"

"Are you guys staying?"

"It must be such a load off."

etc, etc...

I smile, nod, and thank them for their concern. I should be all of those things, but I'm not and I try to get out of the conversation as quickly as possible. Why?  Because in my head I'm throwing a temper tantrum. As they are walking away I go into a haze. In my head I'm screaming at the top of my lungs and stomping.  I'm throwing things and rubbing my face. I'm not smiling, I'm not relieved, and it's not a load off.  It's awful and complicated and hard.  The raw pain is still there.  We haven't been through something that will fade quickly.  It has been traumatic in a way I truly didn't expect and wasn't at all prepared for.  It has made our lives an emotional roller coaster from hell and it is far from over.

It would be great if the settlement resolved everything!  It didn't.  We are still living in a world of uncertainty and fear. The shock remains and we are jaded.  I know the new administration is doing their best.  We all are. We are just so tired. The fight was long and hard and it hurts. That's the best way I can explain it. I hurt.  Physically and emotionally, head to toe.

It's difficult to engage with people and when I do I'm exhausted. I often go for walks around campus and get really angry.  We had something amazing here and it will never be the same.  In that, the closers were successful. They killed it. It will never be the same.  Sweet Briar will be here, but never the way it was. I get so so angry.

We have met so many amazing people.  Some have had to move on.
It looks so simple to an outsider. The college is open so we all get our jobs back so it's like it never happened right?  Wrong.  People had to take jobs where they could get them. Josh included.  People who wanted to stay but have had to sign contracts during the uncertainty.  This settlement came in the 11 hour. Perfect for some but heartbreaking for others. The pain continues.  I like to think that one day it will go away.  I'm not so sure though. I guess that's how it is when you're in the thick of it?  You feel like it's unending.  You try, but just can't quite find the way out.

I'm hoping that the rebuild will help heal some wounds.  I'm afraid all it will do it make me miss those that aren't here.  The missing ones who's lives were also shattered.

As they inevitably move on, I try and find my happy place.  Crying wont do any good, but I cry anyway. I can't help it. But there is nothing we can do. It is what it is. It's done. And it didn't have to be.


Why It Matters Enough to Take Over My Facebook Feed

I've tried going over it in my head repeatedly.  Why has Sweet Briar's Closure announcement been so life shattering for me?  I'm a wreck.  I break down at work, home, in the car, at church, at the doctor, everywhere.  I'll do my best to focus on whatever task I have in front of me but still find myself just going through the motions until I fall apart.
I feel it deep down.  My heart hurts.  It hurts to breath and move.  The crying doesn't really help either.  I have a constant crying headache.

My kids a heartbroken.  Emmeline the most.  I didn't see that one coming.  She is usually the one that goes with the flow.  She is used to not having much control in her life.  Yesterday was the first time she was able to mention moving without getting upset.  Up until then,  several times a day she would cry about it.  "Nothing will ever be the same" she would say.  What do I say? She wants me to say it will be the same, but I can't.  It wont. Ever.

We all thought this would be where we could actually make a home.  Where the girls would grow up.  Where they could have the freedoms I had as a kid and more. It's more than we ever hoped for.  I thought "we have had a hard go of it the last 6 years.  We all worked hard and this is our reward." I breathed it in and let this place settle into the deep, dark bitter parts of my soul and shed light where it had been absent for years.  I jumped in with both feet and fell head over heels in love. Not only is it beautiful here, there is a sense of family.  Everyone waives at everyone.  They are happy to see you and you help each other out.  You feel like you are part of something that you have been searching for but didn't know it until you found it. My girls have opened up and progressed in amazing ways.  Isa and her friends down the street have the most amazing adventures in the woods and throughout campus.  They have planned their college careers here and all the things they would do together. Emmeline has become so much more comfortable and confident outside.  Due to her balance issues she has always been wary of being on uneven surfaces.  Not here.  She runs and plays.  Yes, she still falls occasionally, but she just gets up and goes. I constantly find myself stopping and being overwhelmed with happiness.  I would look around, amazed that it even existed. It is, in one word, Magical.

And then someone killed it.  But not right away.  Someone walked up and gave it 4 months to live.  And I get to watch it die.  Watch it slowly empty and all the lights go out.  Then leave it behind, alone.  Every day I feel sick.  Like I'm fumbling around trying to stay busy and ignore the impending doom.  Flip flopping between acceptance, denial, anger and sadness.  Mostly anger and sadness.

Someone drew a parallel to it being like a person walking up and saying "that person over there is bleeding to death, but there's nothing we can do, so just leave them there bleeding until they die." Doesn't seem quite right does it? It seems like you should try everything you could imagine until they actually die. Try until there is no more trying to be done. And so I post.  Anything and everything, so that people will know.  This place was here, it was real and it was amazing.


The Cat in the Hat

So I got an email from Emmeline's teacher saying that if we wanted to send our kids to school in a red t shirt or something for Dr. Suess's birthday we could.  Yeah, I think we can do better than that.
I figured I could whip something basic up from my felt stash and luckily I had just enough red. Here is what you need:
1 Black Shirt
2 (approx) sheets of felt in each red and white.
hot glue
1 headband
needle and thread

I cut an oval from the first sheet of white felt.  It took almost the whole sheet.

Then I did a (very) rough stitch around the edge.  I should note that I am planning on dismantling the shirt after the fact so if you want a permanent costume you would probably want to use a sewing machine.

I didn't have a whole sheet of red so if you use the whole sheet you would end up with a bigger bow.  I did and accordion fold and some pinching to get it how I wanted it and then used hot glue and put a few dots of glue to hold together the folds.

Then use a long strip, around 12 inches long.  About the length of a regular sheet of felt.  Then cut it to look like this.  Not the little notch in the top.  That is from a previous project.

Wrap the long piece around to cover the glue in the middle and make it look like a tied bow. Then hot glue it in the back to hold the long strip in place.

Then I sewed it (roughly) to the top of the shirt. 

On to the hat!  Use a large mouth glass to trace a circle.  Cut out two.

Sandwich the headband between the two circles and glue around the edge not leave a gap for the headband so you can adjust the hat once it's on your head.

For traditional Cat in the Hat you have a white brim and then 2 white and 3 red stripes.

Rough stitch them together alternating red and white.

Then sew it into a tube by sewing up the side.

Cut out a red circle and sew it to the top of your tube.  Then turn the whole thing right side out.

I then glued the tube to the white base. This can be tricky but it will work.  It would probably be easier if you stuffed your tube with a filler of some kind so it would be a bit more stiff.  Hindsight.

The Cat in the Hat.


A Mommy a Teacher and a Dentist

I am SUPER surprised that Emmeline added that last one to her list of things she wants to be when she grows up after this visit to the dentist.  She was in one word, Terrible. I have been taking my girls to the dentist since they were 2.  You would have thought that Emmeline had never even heard of one much less seen one.
We were there today because Emmeline had what dentist call "shark teeth".

This is basically when the permanent teeth come in behind the baby teeth and the baby teeth don't fall out thus creating two rows of teeth.

It was pretty obvious that Emmeline's baby teeth weren't coming out and that there was no room for the permanent teeth, so off to the dentist.  I figured they would just pull them.  I talked to Emmeline about it for days before hand in hopes that it would help her cooperate.  No such luck.  She barely let him look and after about 15 minutes of trying to coax her to open her mouth so he could numb her I finally had to institute the full body lock down. Some doctors have been pretty appalled in the past when I have used this technique but I think he was pretty relived.  We were hoping that we had been honest about the sting when she got numbed that she would believe us when we said the rest wouldn't hurt.  No such luck there either.  After another 20 minutes of trying to get her to open her mouth they decided to try gas.  They were out.  Not my day.  We tried lock down again and putting in a bite block so she couldn't close her mouth once we got it open but he couldn't get her mouth open.  At all.  The girls is strong. Realizing the end was near and they might say we should try again another time I grabbed the bite block, basically sat on her, pried her mouth open and wiggled the bite block until I got it most of the way in.  I don't think he thought I would be able to do it but once I got her mouth open he quickly helped me get her cheek out of the way so the bite block locked in place. Sheesh! I was totally sweating by this point.

Anyway, After some quick twisting and pulling, we got these suckers out! Look how long that root was?! Seriously creepy. This picture doesn't really do it justice.

Not quite as magical as I wanted her first lost  tooth to be but hey, nothing with her has been quite how I pictured it.

Here is her gap :)

I honestly didn't think she deserved a prize. I did!  But I think the dentist felt pretty guilty so he let her get 3 prizes!  She of course was more than happy to accept 3 prizes.  Stinker. At least I got a workout.


I Killed Bambi's Mom..Well, She Better Hope She's Dead!

Back before Christmas I was driving back from the store right at dark when a deer came out of nowhere and I couldn't safely avoid it.  I had just enough time to see it, slam on my breaks, realize I was going to hit it and then get really, really mad just before contact.  I mean, REALLY angry.  For a brief moment I thought "People die from hitting deer.  I can't believe you are trying to kill me right before Christmas! On the way back from getting Emmeline's gift no less! Like she needs that kind of guilt later!" To make it even more fun I was in a rental car.  Our van was having a total engine rebuild so I was driving a little Nissan Sentra.  Now, since I did walk away fairly unscathed I am pretty pleased with how it help up hitting a full grown deer. There was one pretty huge flaw.  When I made contact with the deer, my hood flew up and my entire field of vision except about 6 inches and the bottom center was blocked. When I hit the deer I heard a terrible sound.  I was afraid it was the deer stuck to the car somehow but luckily, or not so luckily, it was the engine. I managed to use the 6 inches of vision to pull over to the side of the road.
Anyhew, it was totally dark by then and I was on the side of a fairly busy highway.  I called josh and we agreed I should call the police to report it. While I waited I tried to take pictures but my phone and the dark plus headlights made it pretty much impossible to see the actual damage. So, you can imagine when I got a lovely packet of the damages from the rental company, I was pretty pleased.
Here it is in all it's glory.

I felt like I came out of it untouched.  Until I had to drive in the dark a few days later.  Not so much.  I haven't had to do that much deep breathing since I was in labor.  So not fun.  Now I want to become a hunter even more.  Down with the deer!!



There is this road right when you come in the main gate of Sweet Briar.  It called Sanctuary Road.  When I first saw it I thought "Yep, that's going to be my main running road".  It was perfect.  Packed gravel, only a slight incline, surrounded by tall trees on both sides.  My first time running here I ran straight there and headed down the road.  The road held up to it's name...for .3 miles...then it dead ends, along with my sanctuary.  I rarely stop during a run, but I found the dead ends so jarring that I found myself standing in the middle of the road, angry at first, then searching for a possible trail out the other side.  No trail.  Nothing to do but turn around. I found the run back out to the main road much less enjoyable than the run in. I quickly went back to angry.  Who names a road to nowhere that?! Why wasn't there a sign so people don't' get their hopes up?!
I have found several trails and routes I like but each time I drive by that road I want to run down it.  I imagine where it could go, what might be on the other end, and the sound of the gravel under my feet. Even though I already know the answers, I find myself imagining the wonderful places it might go.


Fumbling in Reality

Over two months.  I think that is the longest I have ever gone without posting.  It's not that I haven't been doing anything.  I've been quite busy actually.  The thing that got in my way?  Reality.  The harsh reality of life.
As some of you know I have started working part timeish.  I say ish because since November it has bordered on full time.  That has probably fed into my lack of fun things to blog about as well.  More work equals less running time.  Something directly tied to my sanity and creativity.  No running= no fun.  Plus all the work means I'm doing the same things everyday.  The same very boring things everyday. Who wants to hear about that?  I don't even want to know about it!
December was a rough month and the roughness is following me into January.  I lost someone dear and the hole will forever remain. A hole that sometimes makes it difficult to breath.  That sometimes makes me feel like I've been punched in the stomach and left in a heap in the floor.  It makes every part of me ache.  I haven't written about it here in detail and probably wont.  There is no justice to give it.
Others I love are hurting and I feel helpless to help them.  I do what I can but can't help fee like I'm falling short.
I flip flop between numb and throbbing.  But life continues to go on. So I fumble around and try to keep up with it. Keep up with work, school, Josh's work, doctors and church. Some days are more successful than others but most days leave me feeling exhausted and overstimulated.  Hopefully my fumbling is helping something or someone somewhere.