Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's easier to blame Mercury

I noticed several Twitter and Facebook updates that indicate people are grumpy.  Everyone is experiencing some sort of backward pull or a severe magnetism towards the negative.  According to the trending hashtags, it is because we are in the midst of Mercury in retrograde.  This sounds good to me.  I can blame my lack of energy on the alignment of the planets instead of my inability to get to be before 2 a.m., the dark and damp weather, or my lack of affection for housework. 

The folks at Astrology.com are describing today, well November 24 – December 11, as a “snarlup!” of communication among the masses.  This makes people feel cranky.  To compound the exasperation, “Mercury retrograde gives rise to personal misunderstandings; flawed, disrupted, or delayed communications, negotiations and trade; glitches and breakdowns with phones, computers, cars, buses, and trains.”  Does this mean that there is no chance of feeling good about the current weather conditions or massive to-do list?

I can’t control the weather.  This I know.  So I won’t let it have me.  

My to-do list, well, I could start by creating one that is manageable.  Or, I could start by, um, opening my handy Cozi Family Planner and actually tapping on the section that makes it easy to create lists.
Solutions are good.  Now to tackle the reason I cannot sleep.

I'll start with facts.  According to Astrology.com Mercury in retrograde can be blamed for the past rearing its ugly head: “Unresolved issues from the past tend to push themselves forward.” I haven’t slept since hearing the  Jerry Sandusky interview with Bob Costas. Like 19.7% of the world's women, I have issues with child sexual abuse.  It makes sense that I would have difficulty sleeping. So, there I have it.  Sleep should be sound tonight.

Wait.  Penn State was in the headlines before Mercury was in retrograde. 

It must be Syracuse.  The story that has summoned a séance in my head is the one blowing up at Syracuse University—the one involving the victim who recorded his phone conversation with Laurie Fine, the wife of alleged perpetrator, coach Bernie Fine.  The story I heard on Sunday night during Mercury in retrograde.

In the recorded conversation Laurie Fine admits that she saw the abuse occurring. She knew.  She did nothing to stop it.  Can you say ‘aiding and abetting?’  She’s a soulless criminal.  What is more, she told the victim he shouldn’t have trusted someone like her husband.  Hearing her say that horrified me. Blaming the victim. Most of us know that’s a no-no.

She is obviously a sick woman who deserves nothing but prison time.  That is easy to conclude and I have the ability to rant about her for hours.  But let’s not get distracted from dear Mercury in retrograde and its gift of bringing the past to the forefront.
Unfortunately, I know people like Laurie Fine.  I know people who blame the victim, who pretend like they do not know, and who spend their life lying and heartlessly manipulating people in order to maintain denial and innocence.  This seems like a reasonable reason to lose sleep.  And of course Sunday, the night I encountered this story and taped conversation, was indeed part of this ongoing Mercury retrograde.  And, indeed, I have slept even less since Sunday. 

So what do the folks at Astrology.com prescribe for the insomniac who has unresolved issues from the past pushing forward during Mercury retrograde? 
For answers I turn to my daily horoscope:  “. . . try new things in your life. Why not sign up for a class with your best friend or partner? That way, if the experience turns out to be a disaster, you'll both have something to laugh about. After all, life is just one great big adventure...”


Writing with honesty. 
Fearful of nothing. 
Saying “yes” to the sink full of dirty dishes. 
Embracing all that is wonderful—especially about me.  Right after I wake up Michael so we can make it to our first knitting class.  I wonder if the instructor will trust us with those long needles?


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Proper end. Right Direction.

College degree can now be checked off the list.  Before I begin obsessing over the slew of things to accomplish now that I finished my post-secondary education, I am going to take a second and embrace this moment.  Yes, celebrating life’s accomplishments is important.  And this is a big one.  But, for me, the celebration encompasses more than getting a degree.  It’s about a proper ending.

My first attempt at completing my post-secondary education was messy and “happened” to me.  It was typical to any confused person in their early 20’s possessing no grasp of how the world works or how one’s actions influence the workings of the world.  Of course, I didn’t complete the degree.  

And looking back, really, I do not recall many, if any, successfully executed endings to, well, anything. 

I never broke up with a boyfriend by saying to him, “I want to break-up.”  I would leave my journal out, hope my boyfriend would read, “I can’t stand him,” and get the message.  Or, I would stop answering calls.  Or, in junior high, I would send a friend to dispatch communication scribbled on a torn piece of notebook paper.   

Whether it was a relationship or pursuit of a degree, what was certain was that the end brought sadness, loss and the stress of embarking upon something new and unfamiliar.

But I have learned during my 42 years of walking on this great planet that once success is experienced, or the fear is conquered, the fear ceases to exist.
Now, armed that elusive proper ending, which has come in the form of a college degree, I know that endings also brings joy, exhilaration, excitement and fire for embarking upon something new and courage to face the unfamiliar.

What’s next?

Let’s reflect.

I turned in assignments for my last class on Saturday at 12:35 a.m.  That afternoon and evening, I researched and applied for jobs.  I made note of grad school and technical school options.  

Today I caught up with my oldest to help her with some study and note-taking strategies.  I researched such teen issues as dating, online behavior, and brain development . . . went over my finances to figure out how Santa will acquire gifts . . . made a plan to get the house cleaned-up . . .

I am looking forward to incorporating exercise back into my day, journaling, reading for pleasure, and finishing up some projects around here . . . dogs could use a consistent daily routine. . . fade out.

. . lights up. . . new beginning in the making. . .

Friday, November 18, 2011

Write On.

Writing is an empowering, mind-clearing tool that can help me become focused and free.  I have found that I can't get to the good stuff until extraneous stuff is purged which makes daily writing an important exercise.  Today, I have two papers due for my current class. Therefore, I am certainly not at a loss for what to write about.  But what happens when there are no assignments?  I look around the web for inspiration.  Here’s some great blogs and web pages with writing prompts that I like to use:

The One Minute Writer.  I especially like that like many of the blogs, it gives a daily prompt.  I also like the cute little video timer and that you can link your post to the blog.  Here’s one from this week:

Today's Writing Prompt: News
Write about a piece of good news you recently received.

I hear good news every day when the girls come home from school and tell me about their day.  No matter if they’ve passed or failed that big math test, had trouble finding a seat at lunch, decided they want to have a sleep over with a friend. . .hearing that they are getting along well at school always makes me feel grateful.

Mind Bump  is where other bloggers post prompts that are linked back to their blogs.  It's a great promotional tool that gets me thinking about topics I wouldn't have thought of on my own.  If I am not moved by the prompt that appears when I arrive at the page, I can refresh for a new one.

Writers Digest has some challenging prompts that are great story starters.  And for inspiration Write on Edge and Daily Writing Practice never fail to rouse some words to the page.  If I am looking for an alternative to my anagram games, a great word challenge SMITH Magazine's Six-Word Memoirs.

If the above fail to get me writing, I look through my Twitter profile. There's plenty of inspiration in the blog writers I follow!
Happy writing!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Judge and the Coach

It’s been two weeks since Hillary Adams posted the video of her father, Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams, beating her with a belt.  The scandal involving Penn State covering up child sexual abuse has been heavily covered in the media since the story broke on Saturday.  The old adage, “When it rains, it pours,” is certainly applicable to child abuse in the media.  If you haven’t been talking about it, at least a little, then maybe your umbrella is a little too efficient at being a protector from the elements.

Many have been outspoken about the case for spanking children. This stance never fails to amaze me; therefore, I have been pouring over APA research documents to understand the difference between acceptable corporal punishment and child abuse.  It is a complex issue because some believe that corporal punishment delivered in a controlled manner is an acceptable means of providing consequences for behavior.  But research points to the fact that even light, controlled spanking can lead to increased aggression and anti-social behavior.  And the spanked child is likely to abstain from the punishable behavior only when not in the presence of the spanker.
APA on corporal punishment

I don’t know about you, but I would rather put forth the energy it takes to engage in positive discipline (which takes longer and lacks the result of instant behavior modification) than worry if my child will behave if I’m not around to spank her.  The results of positive discipline are about positive child development—results that are lasting and help children to become conscientious critical thinkers.  And really, if you do not want your children to grow up believing that hitting someone is the way to solve problems, then do not hit your children—out of anger OR in a controlled manner.

The Penn State football team is currently practicing with their coach, Joe Paterno.  I can’t help but wonder what those players are thinking?  It sends a message to those young men that Penn State thinks it is acceptable to protect child molesters.  It sends the message that the upcoming senior football game is more important than the soul of a child.  I’m sorry folks, but college football players are still developing human beings and a university is charged with giving them the right message so that if these players witness their buddy sodomizing a child, they do the right thing.  Paterno did it wrong and should be gone, like yesterday.  It’s very similar to the Catholic Church who responds to abuse allegations by saying, “we knew and we told the Pope.”  Excuse me, who was the one who dropped the ball on calling the police?

There is much more to both issues of the judge and the coach.  And I am sure to revisit the topics regularly.  What is important NOW is that the focus shifts from what is going to happen to the judge and the coach to what WE can do to prevent child abuse.  Here’s a good place to start:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why is Buttons under my bed? He's dead.

mindbump suggested by UBROT - Untitled Blog of Raves and Other Things

"List things you are curious about."

What am I curious about? Because of the greatest invention of all-time, the internet, curiosity, for me, is fleeting.  It is the day of instant gratification.  Look it up.  Immediately.  I can’t get enough.  And look out if I think you’d be interested in what I find, because you’re getting the link. I am addicted to hitting my share button.  Maybe I love this easy access to information because I grew up in a small town with a limited scope of resources?

Which starting NFL quarterback has the most passing yards so far this season?  Ask the neighbor who is sitting next to Dad at the bar.  Who is losing their job or cheating on their spouse? Ask the ladies in the salon at the bottom of the hill called Walnut Street.  What am I going to be when I grow up?  I thought I wanted to be the President of the United States of America until a family trip to Cleveland.  How do I get to heaven? Pray to that scary corpus hanging over the man in drag humming in Latin. Why does that amazing sound coming from the stereo give me fortitude to keep asking?

Curious?  Well, I saw what happened to Buttons, but I'm no cat.