Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday's Woman: Heidi Cave

When I asked today’s guest blogger to submit a piece for Wednesday’s Woman she not only said, “Yes,” but also, “It’s such an honor.” 

After reading her submission, it was I who felt honored—overwhelmed with honor.  I was humbled.

It is a story of her willingness to share her experience with another woman—a woman who has been launched into a similar journey, and ironically, a woman the same age as she was when she was propelled into her own life of "after".

The keen insight present in her account of moving towards offering support elicited a stirring reaction, an emotional response, unparalleled to anything I have read.  

It became clear.  

Today’s guest blogger is in fact today’s Wednesday’s Woman:  Heidi Cave.

Finding Ordinary in Extraordinary

Heidi Cave
Looking into the mirror I am quick with my face, my hands. I apply make-up, think about today’s schedule, this month’s calendar of field trips and practices for recitals, and as I add mascara to my eyelashes I catch the green of my eyes, the scar that curves around the right side of my chin, the faint lines around my mouth. I see someone who has lived.

On our way to school, in the car, Annie asks me about Ottawa. “Is Ott-o-wa in Ontario?” Yes, it’s the capital of Canada. I tell Annie and Benjamin how we have nothing to do after school – a day of rest! They cheer! We arrive at school in 2 minutes and they lean into me to peck my lips before they tumble out of the car in a blur of backpacks, jackets and eagerness. Annie is the last one to leave. “Bye, Mommy!” There is a moment where I see her. How our eyes are the same shape. Her face is changing, she’s growing older, determination set in her small shoulders. I see someone whose life has just begun.

I come home to a phone call from a family member asking can I talk to this girl who just lost her leg. After I find out what happened, I ask, “How old is she?” 23. The same age as me when my life changed. When I suffered burns and limb loss. When my life was divided into before and after.

I said, “Of course I’ll talk to her. When she’s ready. She has to want to see me or what I say won’t matter to her. It won’t stay with her.” Sometimes you don’t want to see the tragic turn your life has taken in someone else. You can’t bear that your future has just stepped into the room.

When I lay in a hospital bed, my body and soul undone by a car crash, I wondered if I’d have a normal life. My feet gone, my body ravaged by fire, covered in wounds and grafts and bandages ‘ordinary’ seemed impossible. I would never be the same. I was worried how I’d be perceived by others now that I had a new life. I didn’t want to be a shell, to be less than myself. Scarred and sad Heidi. Disabled and reduced Heidi. I just wanted to be Heidi.

To survive, to get better; I fought, I protected, and I created a new version of whole. It didn’t matter what others thought of me. I needed to be comfortable in my damaged skin. My feet were replaced with prosthetics and I adopted them as my own. I could not reverse time. I could not return to the 23 year old girl who hadn’t been introduced to this kind of horror. I had to heal and train my eyes to see myself as whole, even though I was torn apart. Change is always with us and I would always discover, always adjust, and always accept.

My body, my scars are a map of where I’ve been, of what I’ve fought for and overcome. Life begins over and over again.

I speak into the phone, “She can have a normal life. I’ll tell her. I’ll show her it’s possible.”

Burn Survivor Heidi Cave's tragic, yet inspiring story.

You’ll be able to read Heidi's full story in her memoir Fancy Feet, scheduled to be published by Behler Publications in 2013.  In the meantime, you can visit Fancy Feet Blog where you will find parts of her story and other writing "...about what I found inspirational or amusing or provoking. And sometimes...a platform to clear my head."

photo credit: AshtonPal via photo pin cc

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I need your help!

Last week my laptop crashed.  I hadn’t run a backup since October 2011 and therefore lost a lot of material. 

I am over the loss of several "to-do" lists.  I am slowly getting over the loss of writing and photos.  However, one lost item that causes me to kick myself for procrastinating on running a backup is my schedule of guest bloggers for Wednesday’s Woman.

My trusty Toshiba is in the shop.  I just know I will soon hear that some genius at Staples retrieved my files.  I wait.  I hope.  I wait.

In the meantime, if you are one of the generous bloggers who committed to being a guest for Wednesday’s Woman, please email me with your scheduled date.  Please?

Thank you.

If you are confirmed for “sometime in the fall” or “at the end of June” or some other vague time that I gave you, please email me.  Please?

Thank you.

If you would like to submit a guest post for Wednesday’s Woman and I haven’t contacted you, email me.  Please do not be afraid to be afraid of saying, “Hey, I want to do Wednesday’s Woman!”  I dig enthusiasm and gusto.

Thank you.

Photo Credit:
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Dimitri N. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday's Woman: You're a Lifesaver

This week's guest blogger for Wednesday's Woman is nothing less than astonishing.    I mean that in the true sense of the word.

a-ston-ish: to amaze somebody to a great degree

Delilah the Semi-Domesticated Mama
Yes, she amazes me.

If you want to know why, check out her space in the blogosphere, Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama.  Start with the page devoted to introducing readers to her family—a husband of almost 16 years, two adopted children, and three children by birth.  You’ll find links to stories about each member of her family and you’ll want to read all of them. 

Once you know Delilah the Semi-Domesticated Mama’s family, read . . . everything.  I’m not kidding.  You will relate to accounts associated with her struggles and triumphs amid parenting, family life, and school issues.  You will be stirred by stories of personal growth which are filled with humor, courage, and wisdom.  You will cry after reading one story and laugh after the next.  The scope of her writing is limitless, as is life itself.  I guarantee you will connect with her on many levels.  

Delilah is not afraid to engage in self-examination.  You will find this to be true after reading her submission to Wednesday’s Woman  which tells of her struggle with postpartum depression (PPD).  She’s brave.  She’s an inspiration.  I am grateful to have her today at Sperk*.

Wednesday's Woman: Katherine Stone

Postpartum Progress

I often hear people use the saying "you're a lifesaver" and while it's obviously quite a compliment, generally the person is not an actual lifesaver. The woman I want to highlight today actually saved my life even though she has no idea who I am or how she helped me.
Her name is Katherine Stone. She is the founder of Postpartum Progress, a non-profit website dedicated to raising awareness and the standards of care for Postpartum Mood Disorders. After suffering through her own Postpartum Mood Disorder, she also founded a peer support site to help both educate and support woman going through their own battle.

The Non-Profit's Mission
Postpartum Progress Inc. is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of women and children by increasing access to and quality of support for women with postpartum depression and other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth.

I first came across Postpartum Progress back when my now 7 year old daughter was just a toddler. I was just coming through the last few months of dealing with a mild case of Postpartum Depression (PPD) and found the site while doing a Google Search. I glanced through the website quickly and bookmarked it for later, never realizing just how badly I would need the resource in a few short years.

Postpartum Progress Blog
Postpartum Progress is the most widely-read blog on postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. You won’t find more comprehensive information on PPD, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, depression during pregnancy, post-adoption depression, postpartum PTSD, depression after miscarriage, or postpartum psychosis anywhere else.

After the birth of my last child I was hit very hard by Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. I was nearly incapacitated by the overwhelming sadness and anxiety. I found myself browsing on Katherine's blog daily, reading the stories of the Warrior Moms and envying that they were on the other side of the struggle I was still enduring. One of the best aspects of Postpartum Progress is the Plain Mama English wording in the articles. The last thing I needed was to try and decipher the technical and confusing medical terms for what I was dealing with and feeling. I needed the Plain Mama English and that is what Postpartum Progress provided for me.

I spent hours reading the hundreds of articles available about everything from Advice for Dads to the comprehensive FAQ page. I started slipping further and further down the rabbit hole and I was withdrawing from my family and my friends. I stopped talking, I stopped answering my phone, I stopped living the life I was accustomed to living. I did not recognize myself but I also didn't know how to stop the downward spiral.

I did not realize at the time that my Postpartum Depression has slipped into Postpartum Psychosis. I had no frame of reference for what psychosis would look like. All I had ever studied in my Psych classes about psychosis involved things like hypomania and psychomotor agitation. Those terms seemed so far away from the reality that I was living. I hit rock bottom when I could no longer avoid the voices that were echoing in my head constantly. I made one attempt to end my suffering and failed. I was planning my second attempt when I happened across The Symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis on Katherine's site. It was written in Plain Mama English and just like a lightbulb being flipped on there was an instantaneous recognition of my own symptoms.

I reached out immediately for help, scared to death of the magnitude of what I was facing but knowing that the alternative would certainly be worse. It was a long, very difficult, journey back from rock bottom. I am so glad that I was able to refer my family and friends to Postpartum Progress so they could read about ways to help me. I was not able to give them suggestions because every ounce of myself was concentrated on just surviving. I know without a doubt that had I not read about the symptoms of postpartum psychosis written in such plain terms I would not have reached out for help. I would have tried to end my life again and I would have succeeded the second time around. I owe Katherine Stone my life. 

A conversation on how recovering from postpartum depression & anxiety is similar to recovering from major trauma. Katherine Stone, Postpartum Progress, Recorded on April 25, 2012  

photo credit: Armando Maynez via photo pin cc

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yes! It's a Softball Dance

House Talkn


Yes, I am fashionably late!
Yes, I am sporting my pink hat!
Yes, it's my submission to the
 May Bloggers Dance Off!

Softball Dance
by Sperk*

Be sure to click the badge and check out the rest of the blogging moves in the May Bloggers Dance Off!
House Talkn

Monday, May 21, 2012

Prince Charming's 'To Do' List

This week's theme for Monday Listicles is 10 Things Husbands Should Do.  I don’t have a husband.  I have an “other” and he is significant.  But I won’t marry him.  Not right now, anyway. 

Don’t get me wrong.  Every now and again, I browse wedding gowns on websites of the top designers.  Sometimes I peruse travel websites with Eiffel Tower destination wedding packages.  I still have that little Disney Princess lurking within, wanting a Cinderella ending.

However, what happens to ol’ Cindy and the Prince after the honeymoon is over? 

The scenario is a long one, filled with in-law trouble, financial woe, and infidelity.  But, because you came here for a blog post and not a novel, I’ll skip to the part where Cindy emails a “to do” list to Charming.

Prince Charming’s To Do List
 by Cinderella

I ~ Check on salaried positions in the castle for my talking mice. 

II ~ Fire the servant who spilled gazpacho on my pastel pink gown. 

III ~ Revoke my step-mother's and step-sisters' invitations to our 10th Annual Memorial Day Garden Party.  

IV ~ Buy me a new horse.

V ~ Hire me a new horseman.  (He must be between the ages of 25 - 30, in the height range of 6’ and 6’4”, and in fine physical condition.)  

VI ~ Send messenger to Gucci boutique informing the head shop girl that I will be arriving tomorrow promptly at 10 a.m.

VII ~ Don’t forget to have messenger give statement of credit to Gucci boutique. 

VIII ~ Fire the queen’s lady-in-waiting.  (If you don’t, I’ll post those pictures I found in your satchel on Instagram.)

IX ~ Hire the queen a new lady-in-waiting.  (She must be between the ages of 50 - 65, short, and stout.)

X ~ Please, please, please, start listening to your advisers and try reading over staff memos.  (The Kingdom’s current decline is embarrassing to me.  Possibly that lady-in-waiting being out of the castle will help?)

What do you think a husband should do?

The best way to spend Monday in the blogosphere!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I Know This Blogger. . .

I know this blogger who likes my blog.  She’s really cool and can write really well.  Her name is Michelle Longo.

I admire Michelle’s ability to tell a story—her story.  Her writing is powerful and pulls emotion from the reader without being flowery in her use of prose.  It’s real.  When I read her work, I feel it.  You will, too.  She blogs at The Journey.

Appreciative of the reading recommendation?  Wondering why I am plugging someone else’s blog?

Well, that’s how bloggers roll when they are in an awesome writing community.

Our community is Yeah Write.  If you are a blogger who writes, a writer who blogs, or someone who enjoys a good read of less than 500 words, Yeah Write is the place for you.  For a little review on Yeah Write, check out Michelle’s recent post Thanks.  She says it all and says it well.

In that same post, she nominated me and four other bloggers for the Liebster Blogging Award.  I am grateful.  

Thank you, Michelle. 

When you get a Liebster, here's what you do:
  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you for it.  
  2. Link back to the nominator blogger(s).  See above.  Then click the links!
  3. Display the Liebster Award Logo.  Proudly.
  4. Nominate 5 bloggers with fewer than 200 followers - actual followers, not Facebook friends or Twitter followers.
  5. Let your nominees know so that they can do the same and keep the awards rolling.

My Nominees 
(I highly recommend you visit these blogs)

I am uncertain if the above have exactly less than 200 followers.  
If I'm wrong, who cares.  
Just go read them.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Looks Like It, Smells Like It, Must Be Parent Orientation

In the fall, my younger daughter will be attending the local middle school--the same school my older daughter has attended for the past two years.  Last night, even though I know a bit about what goes on during the 7th and 8th grade years, I attended the parent information meeting for incoming middle school students.  

Having insight due to experience is not always great.  It can lead to being able to smell bull-shit from more than a mile away.

Below I've listed a few points that I hope the administration will consider before holding their next parent orientation meeting. If action is taken for the better, it is possible that I may acquire some enthusiasm for witnessing my second daughter enter that most tumultuous right-of-passage we like to call middle school.

1) Late Arrivals to the Meeting:

When a parent shows up more than 15 minutes late, sits down before realizing she doesn't have the handouts, gets up to retrieve the hand-outs and disrupts the meeting for the third time as she returns to her seat, please stop talking.  I can’t hear you and I am very distracted by her need to wear short shorts to a parent meeting.

2) Academic Program Information:

If an academic program is significant enough to include in the informational meeting, please do not use acronyms to describe its various aspects.  Some of us are not familiar with what the acronyms stand for.

3) Handheld Devices:

When telling us about your student handheld device policy, which includes how you will confiscate them if they become distracting, please make sure the parents around me have stopped texting on their iPhones and actually hear you.

4) Teacher Web Pages:

Please check with teachers before telling us that their Web pages will be full of informative tidbits concerning what is going on in the classroom.  A majority of the faculty fails to post content, and if they do, they fail to update content past the first week of school.

5) Appeal for PTO Volunteers:

Inform the president of the PTO that saying, “You'll want to know which kids invite your child to their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs," is not going to compel me to volunteer in the school.

6) School Trip Funding:

Please do not tell us that in lieu of hiring an educational student tour company, the assistant-principle organized the entire Washington D.C. trip himself in order to save money.  Our property taxes are extraordinarily high and I purchased enough cookie dough and wrapping paper from the PTO fundraisers to hire a tour company myself. 

7) Athletics:

When telling us to check the athletic department’s website for information on sports, be sure to first try navigating the site yourself.  It’s confusing.

8) Facebook:

Telling us that our children’s behavior on Facebook is "worse than what we think" does not scare uninvolved parents into looking at their kid’s Facebook pages.  It just doesn't.  Those parents probably aren't at the meeting.

Saying, “Facebook only becomes my problem if it keeps a student from coming to school due to embarrassment," and "What kids do during non-school hours is not my problem,” is terribly misguided.  The kids are on Facebook while they are in the school building, during school hours.  They post updates all day long.  And if you take a look at the way students are socializing during lunch after they've eaten, they are not talking and playing ball.  They are nose-down into their handhelds updating Facebook.  It IS your problem.   It’s OUR problem.  Consider us working together on creating a social media strategy that works both at home and at school.

9) Dress Code:

“I know there are really cute outfits out there available for girls.  But if someone shows up wearing something they’d wear out on a Friday night, you’ll hear from me.”
As far as policy goes, this is subjective, relative and vague.  What do you think a 13 year old wears out on a Friday night?  And where are they wearing it?  At a sleep-over?  Our ideas about Friday night attire for the middle school girl are apparently different.

“How students dress for school is a decision to be made between students and their parents.”  
This is nice in theory, however, have you looked at your students' Facebook pictures?  They wear that stuff to school! Are you actually in the school?  I know you are, but you can't be because you'd then see that some parents and students have decided that booty shorts are appropriate academic wear.  I'm so confused.

Additionally, kids are in school for a majority of the day--more than they are at home.  Don't you think the adolescent brain could use some developmental support while away from the nagging voice of their parents?   Your lack of interest in maintaining standards for a school dress code indicates you lack interest in students'  growth outside the realm of academics.

Not only could my kid use your support, I could, too.  You're the professional and you probably came across the topic of adolescent development in your studies to become an educator.  Have you heard of parent education?  The most information you ever sent home regarding the emotional development of my child came as a reminder that she needed sleep and a healthy breakfast due to an upcoming achievement test.  I suppose the other days I should send her to bed at midnight and feed her Cracker Jacks in the morning?  Scoring high on the OAA only gets a person so far in life and only looks good for the school on paper, or as data.  How your students dress and act are more reflective of the school district than the score card published by the state's Department of Education.

Lastly, what if Susie Smith’s parents don’t care what she wears?  Are you to allow her to attempt navigating through clothing decisions on her own?  During adolescence?  When she's toying with her identity?  You think she'll outgrow the need to base her self-esteem on being sexually attractive?  Well, then.  You must not have seen the short shorts on the mom who arrived late to the parent orientation.  See point number one for further information.  

photo credit: Rinoninha via photo pin cc
photo credit: Enokson via photo pin cc

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Memories Captured: Frodo

After my divorce, I knew I would most likely never have another child.  This thought did not diminish my gratitude for the experiences I had with my then six and eight year old daughters.  But I did grieve babies.  

So, I purchased a dog.

A small baby dog. 

A boy dog. 

And I named him Frodo

I knew that he, like Tolkien’s character, would be interested in the outside world. 

Frodo frequently escapes from the confines of his dog life in our fenced back yard.  I send M out into the dangerous parts of our neighborhood to find him, while I sit and worry if his little body is being crushed under a car.

We have the fence rigged now, with bricks from our landscaping—all spaces filled, creating a barrier between Frodo’s safety and the outside world. 

When he is not enjoying the sun outside, he is inside, curled in my lap, or snuggled deep beneath the blankets on one of the girls’ beds.

He is not a real baby. 

He is not a boy. 

However, he is the baby boy I will never have.

Don't judge.

It is scientifically proven that the brain changes after one gives birth to a baby.

My brain certainly changed after my divorce.

Wednesday's Woman: Follow the Child

Today’s Wednesday’s Woman dispels misconceptions. 

One sees the words Mommy Blog and makes assumptions.  It’s a fact.  Not a scientific one, nevertheless, the title Mommy Blog arouses a dramatic reaction—either for or against such internet spaces.   

Ado - The Momalog
Guest blogger, Ado - The Momalog, is a mommy blogger.  However, once you look over her body of work, you’ll see that she is much more.  For one, she’s a writer—a brilliant and talented writer.  She does fiction, fact, reflections on her daily life as a mom, and observations on culture.  At The Momalog you’ll find prose and poetry, photos and videos, and even recipes and crafts.  You’ll find candor and wit that rises from a deep love for humanity and life.  She brings it, and even if you can’t take it, you’ll stay and come back for more.

Ado also has a profound regard for child development, evident in her writings about parenting and education.  Today, for Wednesday’s Woman, she highlights a cutting-edge, innovative educator who, like mommy bloggers, has a reputation wrought with misconceptions.

Ado’s piece is an important one.  The educational system in America is in trouble.  It’s antiquated in its design and American students are falling behind the rest of the world.  However, we do not need to create an entirely new philosophy for educating the young.  We need to look no further than to Dr. Maria Montessori’s groundbreaking work beginning in the early 20th Century—a time when children were still living under society’s misconception that they were second-class citizens, only slightly above the status of animals.

Montessori understood children.  Ado understands children, too.  I am thrilled to bring to you information about both of these talented, strong, compassionate  women today for Wednesday’s Woman.

Wednesday's Woman: Dr. Maria Montessori

"What really makes a teacher is love for the human child."
 - Maria Montessori

"Speaking of controversial women

 on the cover of TIME magazine!"
Maria Montessori is at the top of my list of women I admire. She founded the Montessori method of education. My children have attended Montessori school since they were 3, and the "work" that children do hasn't changed much since her time. She was a forward-thinker, a genius, and a mother. But most of all, she understood that an educated, nurtured child is our only hope for peace in the future.

She lived from 1870 to 1952 so she saw a huge amount of change in her lifetime. She was born in Italy and attended medical school in Rome at a time when no women even considered becoming doctors. (The university had initially declined her admission because of her gender - and she took it in stride, saying, "I know I shall become a doctor.") Being the only woman in the school wasn't easy - she had to face all kinds of prejudices because of her gender. Despite this, she graduated and became the first woman to become a doctor in Italy. This was big news and probably would have made the front page of the HuffingtonPost today. She represented Italy at the International Congress for Women's Rights, where she gave a revolutionary speech arguing that women should be entitled to equal wages as men. When a reporter asked her how her patients felt about having a female doctor she said, "They know intuitively when someone really cares about them. It's only the upper classes that have a prejudice against women leading a useful existence."

As part of her work at the medical clinic she would visit Rome’s asylums for the insane, looking for patients. During one visit, the caretaker of a children’s asylum told her with disgust how the children grabbed crumbs off the floor after their meal. Montessori understood that these children were desperate for sensory stimulation and activities for their hands and minds, and that this deprivation was contributing to their condition. This may sound obvious to us now but in the late 1900s it was a revolutionary idea - and that is just what she started, a revolution through education. She opened a small school for the poor children of parents who had to work in the factories and who were gone all day.

Montessori work: Vintage Cylinder Blocks
The school became known as a "Casa dei Bambini" or Children's Houses. She spent thousands of hours crafting materials that would engage the children's hands, senses, and minds, and created an environment where the activities were designed to allow the children to know they had the power to educate themselves. People are sometimes in awe that she believed a child could do advanced algebra, geometry, learn Latin and Greek between ages 6 and 12, but she believed that the elementary school years are a sensitive period to introduce information for higher learning. The foundation for later abstract academic learning happens during this age span.

Montessori believed if you introduced advanced math, grammar, writing, reading, science, geography, languages and history to elementary school children, they would be able to survive the ups and downs of learning during puberty. The most difficult years, according to her, were what we know as the middle school years. She felt these kids should be nurtured like a small child. These children should not be stressed out with strenuous academics or over-scheduling.

Montessori uses Five Great Lessons as an introduction to all topics, a "Big Picture" that shows a child how the sciences, art, history, language, and geography are interrelated. Through the Five Great Lessons, children become aware that the universe evolved over billions of years, and that it is based on the law and order through which all the plants, animals, and the rest of creation is maintained.

The Five Great lessons are:

1. The Story of Creation of the Universe (she was a devout Catholic, and a scientist - and the first day of first grade my 6 year-old came home and said, "I have big news, Mommy. God had help creating the universe - there was this thing called the Big Bang.")
2. The Timeline of Life: shows a child the beginning of life on Earth from the simplest forms through the appearance of human beings.
3. The Coming of Humans.
4. The Story of Language
5. The Story of Numbers

I see these lessons today in my own children, who love school so much that they get upset at me if we have to miss a day. They are "turned on" - they're engaged. My 10-year-old is doing things I didn't even start until high school, like algebra and geometry. The first time I walked into a Montessori classroom for toddlers, I cried. It was literally a happy beehive of productive activity. I saw tots doing things I had no idea I could even expect them to do - like pouring water into large bowls and carrying it over to a table and going through all of the steps needed to wash it, and then methodically put all the materials away - without anyone standing over them telling them to do these things.

Maria Montessori saw the teacher as being a guide, as opposed to an authoritarian. In their classrooms, children can move around - they can choose to sit at a table, or do their work on a rug on the floor, or outside in nature.

By 1908 there were 5 Children's Houses in Italy and news had spread that Montessori children were making extraordinary progress, with 5-year-olds writing and reading. Word of the new approach to education spread, and the Montessori method caught on in other countries.

During the war, Maria and her husband traveled to India where they had to remain during the war, but she ended up spent some years there and meeting people like Ghandi and Nehru. Being in India guided her towards her thoughts about the nature of the relationships among all living things, a theme which became known as cosmic education. She and her husband went on to train thousands of teachers in the Montessori Method. She gave a speech to UNESCO, titled "Peace and Education."
She was nominated for the Nobel Peace prize - three times!

I admire Maria Montessori for the breadth of her wisdom and intelligence - the apparatus and "work" that my children use in their classrooms today were all invented by her. She has ignited in my children a profound love of learning - and for that I am so thankful.

Fun and informative video via Trevor Eissler, author of Montessori Madness:

Quotes by Maria Montessori:

"Free the child's potential, 
and you will transform him into the world."

"Above all it is to be noted that the child has a passionate love for order and work, and possesses intellectual qualities superior by far to what might have been expected."

"If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men." 

photo credit

photo credit: opensourceway via photo pin cc
photo credit: Jess and Colin via photo pin cc
photo credit: Queen of the Universe via photo pin cc

Monday, May 14, 2012

10 Things I Wish I Could Delete

Meaning of delete (verb)
forms: deleted; deleted; deleting
remove or make invisible; cancel; erase

Monday means it’s time for Monday Listicles.  I love Monday Listicles and hope it never to be deleted.  However, there are quite a few things I would like to delete.  Here they are in no particular order:

  1. My property tax bill
  2. Photos any “friends” downloaded from my old MySpace page
  3. Stretch marks on my lower abdomen, upper thighs and hips; acne scars; cellulite
  4. Fashion Story from my phone.  I’m addicted
  5. Pinterest, because I love it way too much
  6. Genes that carry addiction          
  7. Parents who are too afraid to protect their children
  8. Every Facebook page that belongs to a female under the age of 18 wherein the user has photos posted in which she is posing provocatively 
  9. The need to go to the dentist and gynecologist
  10. The world’s clock so that we could live in timelessness

What would you like to delete?

The best way to spend Monday in the blogosphere!

photo credit: Carlos Smith via photo pin cc

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day and My Pink Hat

              Source: via Sperk* on Pinterest

My maternal grandmother wore hats.  I have an image of her stored in my memory--a fitted dress, fabric printed with voluptuous yellow flowers and on top of her head sits a hat--possibly from my mother’s wedding album, I am not sure.  I am not sure if she even wore hats in my presence when I was a child.  Even so, when I think “grandmother,” I think, “she wore hats.”

I wear hats.  One hat in particular, a pink ball cap. 

I purchased it two years ago when the girls began playing softball.  I needed to keep the sun off my forehead to minimize the production of giraffe spots that were beginning to appear on my 40-something-year-old forehead.  

I was surprised at the comfort I felt wearing it.  It looked relatively cute, kept sun out of my eyes, and allowed me to forego hair styling all summer long.  Primarily though, it felt like a shield of some sort, a personal one.  I liked it.

Two years later, I am still wearing that pink ball cap.  Softball is merely in practice with no need for sitting through games under the sun, but I have been sporting my cap at all times with the exception of when I sleep.

In an attempt to save money, dodge sitting in a hair stylist’s chair for two hours, and avoid the intimacy that comes with getting one’s hair done, I colored my hair myself.  Not only did I color it, I took a stab at highlights, too.  In short, I look like a skunk.  No exaggeration.

This morning I woke thinking of my grandmother.

It’s Mother’s Day.

She would have worn a hat today. 

I’ll be wearing my pink ball cap until 1:00 p.m. 

It is then I will remove it, expose my skunkness for the world to see and sit in a hair stylist’s chair for a color correction.

This will be my Mother’s Day gift.  M and the girls are insisting upon it and have agreed to join me there for the afternoon.  I am too afraid and embarrassed to go alone.

I know this hair correction business would make my grandmother happy.  She was always well coiffed, never using hats to hide her hair.  If she saw me hiding beneath my pink ball cap, she would call me out on my lack of respect for life itself.  Even though she was far from a perfect mother, she was the epitome of a picture-perfect lady.

It will be a happy Mother’s Day.  Maybe even picture-perfect.

Here’s to moms and grandmothers.  And here's to hats.

In celebration of Mother's Day, browse my Pinterest pin board "Stories about Moms"

Source: via Sperk* on Pinterest

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

However: PTSD

I had not experienced an intense flashback for quite some time.  The little ones come and go, like minor aftershocks grown accustomed to from living on the fault line of child sexual abuse.  I thought I moved away from the earthquake zone after completing EMDR treatment two years ago.

Last night, I shut my laptop at 12:20 a.m.  After cleaning it with Norton Utilities, upon restart, Windows refused to load.  I couldn’t get it to do anything.  My Toshiba wouldn’t even work in safe mode.  All I wanted to do was read blogs that I enjoy, give a bit of reciprocity, and go to bed.  I was frustrated and tired.

I shut out the light and my head began to spin.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  Even thinking of it now I get dizzy.  I thought my body was telling me to prepare to hunker down for “The Big One,” a 9.0 on the Richter scale.  However, I ignored it.  I thought, "I don't have those anymore.  It's one of those little recurring things, it will pass."

And I got in bed.

It was there--all of it.  The one memory I knew existed, yet could not retrieve.

I hate it.

I hate it because in that moment, I couldn’t keep from reliving something that my mind worked very hard at burying away in the Mariana Trench.  I had no control of my thoughts.  At a minimum, I was horrified and panic stricken:
A flashback is an emotional return to trauma. It is a type of memory so strong that it seems like you are actually back in the time, place, and situation you are remembering. In your mind, you may believe you are back at the scene of the assault. In your mind you may have a picture of the assault. This picture could seem like an image that is frozen in time, like a photograph, or it could seem like you are watching a movie of your life.   (VADV)
I hate it because I couldn't beat it.  I was desperately trying to focus on the shadows on the wall, figure out what triggered this attack, but I couldn't:
Flashbacks happen when you are awake and can be triggered by almost anything: a smell, sound, taste, or touch. (VADV)
I hate it because my mind is too precious to lose.  I had trouble discerning reality.  I knew someone other than M was in our room.  I just knew it:
Your brain believes each flashback is a separate incident and a real situation. Some flashbacks are so confusing that it gets hard to tell the difference between what is happening in the flashback and what is happening in the real world around you. (VADV)
I hate it for M because he needs me today and I am not yet back to normal.

I hate it for my girls because I do not want them to be affected by this.  It’s not theirs.  It’s mine.  I never want my father to have anything to do with them, even if it’s in the mere residue of my behavior.

I hate it for every little girl who is going to go to bed tonight and be terrorized by an earthquake.


I survived.  The worst part was over many years ago.

I have a computer to fix and earthquake insurance to buy.  

When I stand on moving ground, although I feel weak, my well-worn feet still hold me steady.

On with the day.  

It's my life and I want it.

If you know any one who suffers from PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), 
support them in getting support.  

photo credit: CowGummy via photo pin cc