2017/06/16

This Is How You Do It: Body Positive Message

Da Goddess @ 02:57

A mom on Instagram had this discussion with her kids after her daughter called her fat:

My daughter called me fat today. She was upset I made them get out of the pool and she told her brother that mama is fat. I told her to meet me upstairs so we could chat. Me: “what did you say about me?” Her: “I said you were fat, mama, im sorry” Me: “let’s talk about it. The truth is, I am not fat. No one IS fat. It’s not something you can BE. But I do HAVE fat. We ALL have fat. It protects our muscles and our bones and keeps our bodies going by providing us energy. Do you have fat?” Her: “yes! I have some here on my tummy” Me: “that’s right! So do I and so does your brother!” Her brother: “I don’t have any fat, I’m the skinniest, I just have muscles” Me: “actually everyone, every single person in the world has fat. But each of us has different amounts.” Her brother: “oh right! I have some to protect my big muscles! But you have more than me” Me: “Yes, that’s true. Some people have a lot, and others don’t have very much. But that doesn’t mean that one person is better than the other, do you both understand? Both: “yes, mama” Me: “so can you repeat what I said” Them: “yes! I shouldn’t say someone is fat because you can’t be just fat, but everyone HAS fat and it’s okay to have different fat” Me: “exactly right!” Them: “can we go back to the pool now?” Me: no.

Each moment these topics come up I have to choose how I’m going to handle them. Fat is not a bad word in our house. If I shame my children for saying it then I am proving that it is an insulting word and I continue the stigma that being fat is unworthy, gross, comical and undesirable. Since we don’t call people fat as an insult in my household, I have to assume she internalized this idea from somewhere or someone else. Our children are fed ideas from every angle, you have to understand that that WILL happen: at a friends house whose parents have different values, watching a tv show or movie, overhearing someone at school — ideas about body image are already filtering through their minds. It is our job to continue to be the loudest, most accepting, positive and CONSISTENT voice they hear. So that it can rise above the rest. Give me a (high five) if this resonated w u! Just do you! Xoxo Allie

When we stop allowing media or other people define beauty for ourselves, when we consistently teach and remind our children that true beauty comes from within, we will have stronger, more well-developed kids who’ll spread that message, who’ll grow up avoiding fad diets and unhealthy practices, who’ll grow up with stronger, healthier senses of self, and who will be advocates for body positivity.

God created each of us to be unique and that’s what we are. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Beauty comes from within. It’s something we all have innately. But we forget. We allow media to dictate the definition of beauty and that must stop. We don’t need to have people who have long forgotten that beauty is about the light and love we have within us rather than some airbrushed image they paste on the cover of their magazines. We are more than what someone who’s never met us tells us we are or should be!

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! WE ARE BEAUTIFUL. Just as we are. Remember that. And help others believe that.

2017/05/28

Memorial Day 2017

Da Goddess @ 17:52

I miss those weekends with Little Dude. The weekends we spent at Ft. Rosecrans, planting flags before graves of those who served. I still get misty as I think of how seriously L.D. took his duties, how we’d stick around after everyone else left, walking amongst the tombstones. It was a sacred practice for us and precious, too.

Gardens of Stone - Fort Rosecrans

Gardens of Stone sit in stillness
The lives of those buried here are mostly forgotten
They whisper to us, but rarely do we listen
And yet they speak volumes

In Gardens of Stone there reside
Those who served, at home and on the front
The wind scatters leaves and secrets
Speaking volumes of those who can no longer speak for themselves

In Gardens of Stone names are carefully etched
For family and friends to visit for a while
After many years, the visits taper off
Speaking volumes of our commitment to those who have died

In Gardens of Stone some of us wander
Searching for clues
Honoring the dead
Praying for their souls

In Gardens of Stone on this weekend
Everywhere you turn
You will see flags and flowers
Speaking volumes that we still care

In Gardens of Stone we pray
For those who continue the tradition
The sacred honor of protecting our way of life
We pray their service speaks volumes that war may
Someday be unnecessary

Until that time, we walk in Gardens of Stone
We gather to remember for those who cannot
For those who will not
Because the next to lie here will someday be just
Another name etched carefully in granite

In Gardens of Stone we are never alone
In Gardens of Stone we must continue
To pray and remember and learn
So that someday there may be smaller Gardens of Stone

__________________________________

For every name upon a stone that might ring familiar, there thousands more which we may not recognize nor find in any book. Their names, if we look long enough, become familiar to us, become part of our extended family. For they are the ones who secured our freedoms and allowed us the rights we enjoy today. The protesters on the street can do so because of these men and women. Those who cry out for freedom from religion (we’re guaranteed freedom of religion — to worship [or not] as we so choose) can do so because of these men and women. Those who demand this and demand that are able to do so because of these men and women. We can stand up and publicly deride our leaders because of these men and women. We are free to speak in English or any other language we chose because of those who lie in the Gardens of Stone.

Most will never have monuments. Most will never have books written about them. We can, however, take the time to remember, even if in general terms.

___________________________________

Memorial Day is not just about hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, the gatherings of friends and family, the drinks passed around the campfire. We’re free to do so, yes, but it is due to the sacrifices made by people whose names we’ll likely never know.

Please take a moment this weekend to give thanks to those who have served, to those who continue to serve, and honor them with a moment of silence. That’s the least we can do for them.

Gardens of Stone - Fort Rosecrans

2017/05/18

Five One

Da Goddess @ 21:24

Today I turned 51.

My exciting day has been full of thrills, the likes of which you’ve never seen. Well, you probably have, but I’m betting you wouldn’t wish to experience.

I got back my voice after a day of not having one, the consequence of some crazy ass sore throat of unbelievable intensity. My uvula was swollen and bumpy, as was the back of my tongue. The tongue bumps were large, scratchy, and raw, surrounded by hard patches. I’ve never had anything like this before and hope to never have again. I’m dousing my throat with chloraseptic spray, eating jello, drinking tea and water, and basically resting as much as possible, while also trying to keep my back pain to just under a roar.

This was on top of knowing my sister was dealing with my dad getting out of the hospital for the second time in three weeks due to congestive heart failure. It’s a new diagnosis for Dad and I know all too well what that means for him. He insists he feels fine in between hospital stays, but it’ll eventually get to the point where he’ll need more meds to help keep fluid from building up and he’ll become less comfortable more frequently.

Dad’s 86 now and even though I’m older, I don’t like the thought of losing him (or my mom, or any sisters) any time in the near future. I’m not ready for this.

So. Yeah, so. That’s how I’ve spent my birthday. Happy fucking birthday to me.

2017/05/16

#15: The Blogiversary

Da Goddess @ 10:29

In the past 15 years, a lot has happened.

I’ve moved ten times (more if you count the times I’ve had “transitional housing” in between stops), I’ve made some lovely friends, I’ve lost three of my favorite bloggers (death can suck it), lost several offline friends, finalized a divorce, lived with one blogger, broke up with that blogger, met the love of my life, had to say goodbye to the love of my life, moved forward, lost a career, gained a new perspective on life (one I wouldn’t wish on anyone), have taken THOUSANDS of pills in an attempt to fight pain, had two kids graduate from high school, had one kid get married, met a swell guy whom I love a great deal, became a “grandma” by association, became a crazy cat lady mommy to two​ lovely cats, had one cat die, have doted on remaining cat, taught remaining cat a number of tricks, fallen in love with hummingbirds, done some traveling, complained a lot, cried even more, had poop bark, laughed, cursed, found joy and sadness, and just kept on living life one day at a time as best as I can.

It’s been strange and occasionally exciting, fun and delightful, heartwarming and heartbreaking, and I still survive.

There are no deeply profound lessons to be found here in this post. It’s just the verbose version of making a mark on the door jamb as a means of recording the passage of time and the growing pains that come with the territory. I’m here. I exist. My blog still rambles along with me.

You know, when I began blogging, I had no idea where it would lead (I still don’t) or how much it would change my life, but I’m glad I started this journey. Fifteen years seems an eternity. Fifteen years seems like the blink of an eye. Either way, it happened and the archives offer some smidgen of proof that it did.

Thanks to all who’ve stuck around for the ride.

2017/05/05

Another Day, Another Thin Skinned Whine

Da Goddess @ 20:20

Trump: “Mommy, Colbert said mean things about me again!”

Mom (a.k.a lawyers, natch): “and did you provoke him again?”

Trump: “Um, no??”

Mom: “you did, didn’t you?”

Trump: “I’m gonna sue!”

Mom: “Of course, you are.”

Trump: “Will you come to court with me?”

Mom: “You’re on your own, kid. Your maid made your bed, you shit it, there’s only so many times someone will clean up after you.”

2017/04/29

Mr. Mockingbird Goes to Town

Da Goddess @ 00:21

Mr. Mockingbird’s patterns have revealed themselves.

We get the lion’s share of his nightly operatic endeavors, but he does share the love with others, thank God.

Mr. Mockingbird, henceforth known as MMB, now spends time in other trees in our neighborhood. He moves down the street one big tree at a time. Thankfully, some of the trees are slightly further down the street than others, giving me a most fantastic break from his endless racket!

MMB also takes a week off. I’m hoping this time, however, will be a permanent break because — fingers crossed — he’ll have a mate. That’s my wish for him. And for me. Mostly for me. Only slightly for him.

Say a prayer for me MMB that his songs​and effort have finally paid off for the little guy.

2017/04/16

Christos Anesti!

Da Goddess @ 08:52

Christos Anesti! He is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

Before the dawn, Mary and the women came and found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They heard the angelic voice: “Why do you seek among the dead as a man the One who is everlasting light? Behold the clothes in the grave! Go and proclaim to the world: The Lord is risen! He has slain death, as He is the Son of God, saving the race of men.”

Thou didst decend into the tomb, O Immortal, Thou didst destory the power of death! In victory didst Thou arise, O Christ God, proclaiming “Rejoice” to the myrrhbearing women, granting peace to Thy apostles, and bestowing resurrection to the fallen.

The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin! Again I say: Rejoice! Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb! With Himself He has raised all the dead! Rejoice, all you people! Shine! Shine! O New Jerusalem! The Glory of the Lord has shone on you! Exalt now and be glad, O Zion! Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your Son!

Happy Easter, my friends!

2017/04/11

To Kill a Mockingbird

Da Goddess @ 03:00

Atticus Finch said it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird, but he never met the asshat living in my tree. He also didn’t live during the time of car alarms, which are the preferred call of this particular miscreant.

I won’t actually kill the mockingbird, but I’m not opposed to serving up a big ol’ heap of “shut the fuck up!” on a silver platter.

This mockingbird in our ficus, well, his current occupation is night singing. Every night. Hour after hour, he continues with his nutso shrieking.

In addition to the car alarm impression, he does a particularly annoying crow, parrots, DUCKS(!), and he’s even managed to kind of hit upon meowing.

WTF is with this bird? Why our tree? Look, I get that he’s looking for a mate. And I get that he’s trying to “outsing” the other local males (which can be heard just down the street). I just don’t understand WHY our tree! Yes, our tree is lush and full of other birds, but whyyyyyy us?!?

I have no answers. I have a headache, but no answers. And my patience are running thin.

We’ve tried shaking the branches while he’s mid-song. He stopped singing for 30 seconds. We’ve hissed at him. He trills and squawks back. I’d let Fletch at him but 1) it’s dark and 2) Fletch would likely come away with more damage than the bird.

At this point, I’m open to suggestions from anyone and everyone.

Please. Please help end this nightmare.

2017/04/04

Random Facts: If I Were to Scream

Da Goddess @ 12:00

If I

    were

to scream because I had to define “subjunctive mood verbs” I’d be well within my rights to do so. Mostly because I had NO FUCKING IDEA there was such a thing!

I love the language of writing. I love that it’s often tricky and sometimes even downright ridiculous. But I also hate it when I come across something about which I’ve never even heard. Or, if it had been covered during an English course, it was so convoluted I simply blacked out from sheer confusion and lunacy of the whole shebang.

I mean, c’mon! Subjunctive mood verbs? When did someone find themselves so bored that they had the time to conjure up such a thing?

Was is used in the first and third person singular past. It is used for statements of fact.

Were is used in the second person singular and plural and first and third person plural. It is used in the subjunctive mood to indicate unreal or hypothetical statements. The words if and wish usually indicate the subjunctive mood.

Ridiculous, right?

At least I now know. And because I took the time to find out, my head hurts and I think I deserve some relief.

Sigh.

2017/04/03

Random Facts: Seahorse

Da Goddess @ 00:38

The seahorse can give birth to anywhere from 5 to 2,500 babies — or fry. Roughly 0.5% will survive.

In general, the male seahorse will be ready to breed again within hours, which is pretty remarkable as they’re the ones that must gestate the eggs in a pouch for 9-45 days.

We humans have it so good.

2017/03/30

TJH: Inspire — What Do You Think It Is?

Da Goddess @ 17:46

Can you guess what this is?

What Do You Think It Is?

2017/03/02

Happy World Book Day!

Da Goddess @ 15:06

If you know me, you know I absolutely adore books. I love the written word. I love getting lost in the written word. I love the feeling I get from reading, even if that feeling is of frustration or anger at the writer (if I’m involved enough in a story to get upset, then the author’s done something right — they made me CARE!).

My mom gave me the second greatest gift of all when she taught me to read. The first gift, obvs, was love. But even if she hadn’t loved me, I’d still have reading. And reading is power.

A good story will draw you in. It will make you FEEL. It will make you forget the real world for a while. It will open your mind. A good story will open your heart. It will take you to places that only exist in the imagination. It will help develop your imagination. And, dare I say, a good story will inspire you to reach for the stars, and beyond.

There are no goals without imagination, without dreams or dreaming. How do you learn to dream, to believe something is possible if not for the stories other people tell?

I often ask kids about their favorite books. I ask them what they like about the story and the characters. Many kids tell me how they’re inspired by the ideas set forth in the books they read. They tell me how the story could continue, what adventures the characters might find in a new chapter (or seven!). When a kid can tell you what they’d like to have happen next? Well, my friends, that’s magic! That’s imagination. That’s the sign of a child whose brain has been engaged. And that’s a big win in my (pardon/no pardon the pun) book.

Whether our children are reading physical books or on an electronic device, WE ARE WINNING! They’re learning. If their minds are engaged in reading, they’re developing tools they’ll need to become whoever they dream they can be. Because, and here’s the secret, when they read, they can become the characters in the stories, if only for a while. And if they can do that for a while, they begin to believe it’s possible more and more often…in real life. That astronaut in the book? That could be me! That brave knight/princess in the story? That could be me! The character who just discovered a new tribe or animal? Me! Even when the author includes a physical description of a character, while you’re reading, that description falls away and you begin to inhabit the character. If you were to close your eyes in the middle of the tale, your face is the one you’d see if the character looked in the mirror. That’s the power of reading, of imagination. That’s how you start teaching kids to dream.

When I was little, I loved stories that inhabited colorful lands full of colorful characters. Dr. Seuss knew what he was doing. Sneeches, with or without stars upon thars, were fun playmates on days I was kept inside. Or maybe one of the twenty-twenty Daves would come by to save…the day from absolute boredom while stuck in my cave. Chances are, the Cat in the Hat would also stop by, if only to help me find trouble to squeeze out of by the lash of an eye.

As I got a bit older, Trixie Belden became my muse. With her and the Bobwhites, I solved neighborhood mysteries that no one else could have solved. I traveled with her, laughed with her, cried with her. When I felt lonely, Trixie was there for me.

Always, always have a book. When you’re watching TV, have a book to read during commercials. Going to the doctor? Take a book. Got a lot of books and spend a lot of time at the doctor’s like I do? Ask if you can bring in a few to start a lending library. Old magazines will only last so long.

As soon as possible, get a child their own library card. Make the library or bookstore a regular part of your week. Investing in a child’s mind is investing in the possibilities of their future. Let them become invested, too, as they tell you what they’ve read and what it means to them.

I know I’ve told the story many times of how Mojo would walk into walls because her nose was stuck in a book. And how LD was potty trained with the help of book on dolphins, porpoises, and whales. He was so proud the day he was allowed to take that book everywhere he wanted because he was finally out of diapers. And let’s not forget how my kids would do their chores or finish dinner because their reward was a trip to the library or bookstore!

As my kids grew up, people would give them gift cards for Borders or Barnes & Noble so they could choose their own gifts. Instead of ONE present, they ended up with many. And they were the kind of gifts that kept giving because they turned out to be creative, thoughtful, and funny people. Had they only had TV or video games, I doubt I’d be saying the same (or I’d be lying about them).

I don’t know where I’d be if not for the books I read as a kid. I don’t know where I’d be if not for the books I read as an adult. I do know I’d never have dared to dream of becoming a nurse if I hadn’t read books about candy stripers and nurses. I’d have never dreamed of being a photographer, either. I wouldn’t be passionate about wildlife if not for reading “Born Free” or even “Misty of Chincoteague”. That’s how powerful the written word can be.

I wish you a very happy World Book Day today — and every day! May the book be with you.

* Inspired by Definitely Dreaming

2017/02/26

Closed Borders

Da Goddess @ 05:11

Back when the bookstore, Borders, was still around, I’d often take the kids over for storytime and to just look at/read books. It was a wonderful way to spend the day. It was a treat for all of us.

Borders was brilliant in that they always had carts and racks of books on clearance set up at the entrance of the store. I always stopped to take a look. ALWAYS. And 99.98% of the time I’d end up with a stack of books to sort through and purchase.

Best part? I’d find so many $2 books for the kids that I’d always have a special treat/reward for them at the end of the day or week or after they accomplished something special.

Two of my favorites were “Showdown at Lonesome Pellet” and a book of mazes. A long time ago I blogged about “Lonesome Pellet” and I may have even mentioned the maze book. I’ve found where to get a copy of “Pellet” but haven’t yet solved the mystery of the maze book.

I don’t recall the name of the book (which, of course, makes finding it nigh on impossible) but I recall quite clearly the look and premise of it. It was colorful, inside and out, and to get from one page to another, you had to “jump” through a hole. A literal hole. In the page. There was always more than one, too. Sometimes you went through to the next page, sometimes you went through a few. No matter, it was FUN! Each hole took you somewhere new, kinda like a choose your own adventure story.

I’ve tried googling the book using every description under the sun to no avail. Why can’t I find it?! Why did Borders have to close? WHYYY?? They were so helpful and informative when it came to researching even the vaguest book description.

Someday, maybe someday, they’ll be back.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

2017/02/25

Bathroom Ban

Da Goddess @ 17:31

In my home, there will NEVER be a ban on who may use which bathroom. If you’re in my home, you’re my friend or relative and I love you for just being YOU.

But there is now a ban in place for myself. Why? What? Am I mad? Frankly, yes, but that has nothing to do with the situation at hand.

Henceforth, I am no longer allowed to let Fletch or my cellphone into the bathroom at shower time.

I have to do this. HAVE TO. Because if I don’t, my shower time becomes epic in proportion.

1) Fletch is too entertaining. He climbs into the linen cupboard (second shelf is completely clear just for him) and bats around a hairclip. He’ll bat it around inside and them knock it out for me to pick up and toss back in. We do this for at least 15 minutes. He usually waits until I’m completely naked before he decides to play, so that’s kind of a comedy in and of itself.

2) If my phone is with me, chances are I’m forehead deep in Twitter blackhole. I do a lot of reading on my phone these days (and I’m currently writing this on said phone) and sometimes the best finds come via Twitter. Yeah, yeah, I once said I’d never do Twitter, but that ship sailed back in 2010. Needless to say, it’s just as bad a time suck as anything else, but I’ve been extremely pleased with the vast majority of my Twitter experiences. Because of Twitter, I’ve had conversations with Carrie Fisher (God rest her soul) about hummingbirds. I’ve won some sweeeeet prizes (Black Sails has been very good to me lately!). And I’ve been able to stay in touch with some friends who don’t do much in the way of email/text/blog updating.

The phone is allowed to come to the bathroom with me ONLY if I’m in need of entertainment while my gut isn’t playing nicely or if I’m showering and am expecting an important call. Otherwise, I’m going to abide by the ban.

2017/02/14

Happy Valentine’s Day, My Lovelies!

Da Goddess @ 10:46

Happy Valentine's Day or whatever

Here’s hoping you have a Sam and Molly* moment or, perhaps, a Nickie and Terry° moment (but only the part where they’re reunited, but without the need of a wheelchair) today.

Or better still, go listen to this. (Still don’t know how to do embeds from my phone.)

What I mean is: Happy Valentine’s Day!

* Ghost (1990) — the pottery wheel scene, not the whole Patrick Swayze dying and returning as a ghost part.

° An Affair to Remember (1957) — Cary Grant & Deborah Kerr version because #CaryGrant, obviously.

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