I Aided in Fear-Mongering, and I’m Sorry

There’s really not much to say aside from that.

I used to be staunchly opposed to GMO foods.  I was, for a while, on the fence about vaccinating, and turned to a delayed schedule for our 3rd child, Mr. Monkey.

I wrote long rants about the money-grubbing of corporations like Monsanto without thinking about the money being made by corporations in the organic food movement (which I have deleted from the blog; truly, they were bad).

I never once double checked sources in articles claiming the detrimental effects of biotech and vaccine technology before sharing the articles.

I allowed myself to become a mouthpiece and free advertising for people like Food Babe, who railed against the use of BHT in health and beauty products, but has been making money from selling just such a product through her website.

It wasn’t until Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye stepped into the conversation regarding GMOs that I realized I was sitting smugly on one side of the fence, refusing to even look in the other direction.

I cannot say that I am 100% sure of my positions on anything now**.  I guess that’s what skepticism will do to you.

But I CAN say that I won’t be a platform for the propagation of misleading information anymore.

And I’m humbled and truly sorry that I ever was one.

 

**The entire Pirate crew is fully vaccinated though, because I do believe that the minimal risks are worth protecting our family and community.

Not all 12th Man Seahawks fans are band-wagoners, but why does it even matter?

hawksquatch

Friends.  The air here is palpable.  It’s electric.  It’s exciting.

There’s a frenzy broiling beneath the surface of this town.  Everyone going about their daily lives with an extra layer of exuberance.

I live in a place that has a history with Russell Wilson.  He played baseball in the stadium that stands next to the fields where my kids play soccer at in the fall and spring.  Every time we go by, my kids exclaim, “Mom! That’s where Russell Wilson played!” And it’s so cool.  My husband, the Captain, practically swoons with delirium.  Raising our kids to appreciate the things we do is important to him.  And, boy, do we love football.

I grew up in a house where football was the highlight of our television year.  Sitcoms could come and go, news broadcasts were a dime a dozen, cooking shows weren’t even acknowledged, but football… Football was the lynchpin of our Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays.  Before my siblings and I ever really had interest in the game, we would spend Sundays going about our business while my mom hooted and hollered at the players on the television.  If anyone ever wonders where my louder than necessary attitude came from, you need only peek inside my childhood home during a football game.

hawkfamily
We’re a Seahawk, Packers, Redskins family. ((Sorry, Nana. You make silly faces.))

 

As I got older and became more interested in football (read, after my skulky, attitudenal teenage years), I put an effort in to learn about the game.  As I started to understand the process, the rules, regulations, and the roles that various positions played, football began to be a source of entertainment for me.  It helped that the Captain, who is as big of a fan as my mom, is ever-so-patient with my, still, consistent questions.

My decision to learn more about football wasn’t completely because of interest in it though.  With family and a spouse that devoted so much time to watching this game that they love, I felt that I had two choices: Be a part of it, or find something else to do.  For me, it was a simple choice.  There are few things better than snuggling up on the couch with Captain, enjoying snacks, and sharing in the triumphs of our team.

Our team, which is the Seattle Seahawks.  As fans, we are called the 12th Man, because the franchise decided 30 years ago that their fans were so important that the fans needed to be honored with an official place on the team.  If you ever watch football, you may have come across a team getting a penalty for having 12 men on the field, since only 11 are allowed to be in play for each team at any given time.  But the fans embodied such a fierce love for the game, for the men who put their bodies on the line because they loved the game, too, that the number 12 jersey was officially retired, just for the fans.

Recently, the 12th Man has become less of an honorary position and more of a physical one.  The Seahawks have led the nation in false starts due to the noise level the 12th Man can incur.  Seismic activity has been recorded as the 12th Man goes wild for their team’s extraordinary plays.  It’s an amazing feeling, to be part of the tidal wave that comes crashing down on a team visiting the Emerald City.

It’s an amazing thing to be a 12th Man.  We do, however, catch a lot of crap for it.  To be fair, there are extremists anywhere that ruin the name of many things for many people.  The same is true with football fans.  There are those who are too cocky, too brash, too loud-mouthed, and just too much altogether.  So the rest of us are maligned for it.  The term ‘bandwagoners’ is tossed around like a hot, filthy brand to mark us as ‘not real fans.’

But, we don’t care.  And our team doesn’t care.

So often we flit through life from one popular thing to the next.  Diet crazes, fashion statements, music trends, and pretty much anything that a bunch of people ever said, “HEY, that’s cool! Let’s do that!” to.  It’s human nature to seek the newest and coolest, latest and greatest.

If half of the 12th Man is made up by bandwagoners, I say, ‘Welcome!’

If you, my neighbor, wants to climb aboard this train of excitement and skill and sweat and tears and hooting and hollering, then don your colors, whatever they may be, and scream loud when your teams gets that touchdown.  Revel in the thrill of the goosebumps that will take over your body when a pass is dropped or an interception is made.

It’s not for love of the colors, the uniforms, the wins or losses, or the glory (I’m also a Buccaneers fan. There is NO bandwagon for them).

It’s for the love of the game.

I’ll see you on Sunday.  I’ll be the loud one with the blue and green hair.

#GoHawks

I Refuse to Put My Phone Down

phonedown

Maybe that’s a bit extreme.  Maybe instead of “I refuse to put my phone down” it should say “I’m not going to stop capturing memories as often as I can.”

Because, I’m forgetting.  I hate to admit it, but there it is.

I’m forgetting.

I’m forgetting the way Cabin Girl looked as a baby.  Cabin Boy and Mr. Monkey, too.  I see their sweet baby faces every time I look at The Kraken, but when I try to remember their faces specifically… it’s slipping.

The toothy grins.  The little teeth.  The funny looks.

The phases of their precious babyhoods flew by so fast.  Their toddlerhoods and childhoods, everything sweeping by us in what feels like eternity but passes in a blink.  The days drag by but the weeks, months, and years are speeding past, too quickly to keep hold of.

And so I take my pictures.  I step out of one moment for 10 seconds so that I can capture it, savor it, and have it forever when I will no longer remember clearly.  I refuse to put my phone down, to be bullied by phrases like “You’re missing out on the here and now!”

I am enjoying the moment, stepping back from it, then jumping right back in.  No regrets that night, kicking myself for not capturing the way The Kraken gazed at her big brothers while they sang sweet songs to her.  They aren’t just moments for me, they’re moments for my kids, too.  Some day, my kids will hear me tell stories about the things they did together, the little, everyday things, and I’ll have to struggle to remember what they looked like.  Or, heavens forbid, I won’t remember some of the best, simple things they did.

So I refuse to put my phone down.

Because that day of not remembering is coming sooner than I’d hoped.

I Just Want to Be Alone book review

bealone

Plus my very own tale of embarrassment.

When I told Captain that I had been given the opportunity to read and review a book called I Just Want to Be Alone, he raised his eyebrows in a look that clearly said, “Oh, REALLY?”

So I had to quickly explain that I didn’t want to be alone (totally a lie), but the premise of the book was a collection of stories from some fabulous lady bloggers about the favorite men in their lives.bealone

He may have muttered something about Man-bashing at this point.

Which is, honestly, sort of what I expected.

There was one piece that explained why never having a spouse sounded like a pretty sweet deal, and really, who doesn’t long to have the bed all to themselves on occasion?

The rest, however, were wonderful, honest, open stories that really highlighted the challenges different couples face and embody.

On the few occasions I was gut-rolling laughing out loud (I’m looking at you Kristen (Life on Peanut Layne) and Bethany (I Love Them the Most When They’re Sleeping)) Captain would look over, realize I was reading my man-bashing book, and turn away, shaking his head, curiosity unfulfilled.

There were stories of engagement, pre-wedding jitters, and DIY projects gone wrong, and they all did such an incredible job of showcasing the unique bond each of these couples had, that it inspired me to share a story of Captain and I.

Mostly, it’s a story of how Captain should have run away screaming.  He must really believe it when he says I’m awesome though…

We had been dating for a whole two weeks.  I had freshly moved out of my parent’s house, giving me the freedom to stay the night wherever I wanted, and Captain was still staying with his mom, taking over the entire basement as his bedroom/media room.  Captain and I weren’t having sex at this point (I know, be in awe of our willpower for another week) so overnight stays were filled with sickly sweet cuddling and smooches, instead of sweat and heavy petting.

We stayed up late, cuddling in his bed, watching Harry Potter movies until we passed out.

I’m going to drop a little foreshadowing on you now… Have you ever had a dream that was so vivid that you just knew it was really happening?  For instance, you need to pee NOW, so you hunt down a toilet, and the feeling of relief is so real…

Oh yes.  THAT.

2 weeks into our relationship, no sex, and binge watching Harry Potter, and Captain had me awkwardly shaking him awake saying, “Um… I think I drank too much water before we went to sleep.”

Instead of doing what I would expect from any guy of his hotness status, i.e. Laughing, telling me to GTFO, then mocking me through any avenue he could find to publicly announce my bed-wetting status, he sleepily said, “Oh.”

We got up, stripped the sheets, and threw them in the wash with my pants and underwear.  He lent me a pair of sleeping shorts and we snuggled up on the couch for the rest of the night.

So, dear Mother-In-Law of mine, now you know why the bed was stripped and we were sleeping on the couch when you peeked in to announce you were heading off to work the next morning.

Lucky for Captain (and me, let’s face it), it was a fluke occurrence, and the only bed-wetters we deal with now are our kids.

Mine isn’t the only bedwetting tale to come out as a result of this anthology, but you’ll just have to read the book yourself to experience the other, and much more hilarious, one! And, while my husband is not effortlessly thin (he’s a sympathy weight gainer), doesn’t take on major DIY projects (without a considerable amount of nagging reminding), and will pop his own zits, there was something in each story these amazing ladies told that I could relate to and empathize with.

Though some stories were tinged with sadness (my heart still aches for Courtney (Our Small Moments) and Kathy (Kissing the Frog)), they all have the humorous bent I have come to know and love from those associated with Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat.  I recommend that anyone with a spouse, serious boyfriend, room mate, or companion pet that fills in for any of the latter get their hands on this anthology.

And, lucky for you, it’s available on Amazon!

Will YOU Be My Galentine?

happygalday

Yes, YOU.

With all the hype about Valentine’s Day, many women are listing why they don’t care about it, they hate it, or they could do without it.

Myself included.

Is it a defense mechanism?

Maybe.  It’s one of those ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ type things.  I know my husband won’t do anything nearly as romantic as Suzy Q’s husband, so I’ll just tell myself that I don’t need it/want it/care about it.

I know some of you out there really, truly don’t care.  Massive kudos to you!

Others, well… others just want to feel a little special.  A little appreciated.  Just a bit.

That’s why stumbling upon Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls Galentine’s Day event on G+ has me SO excited. (Yeah, yeah… Jessica, they did that on Parks and Rec, like, forever ago! Well, I don’t watch Parks and Rec, sassy pants.)

Because, we DON’T need to rely on the lovers in our lives to make us feel special.  We have whole communities of people who love each other just because they’re people, and worth loving.

People just like you.

YOU, who works 60 hours a week.

YOU, who works part time while going to school.

YOU, who is laid off and taking time to rediscover your hobbies.

YOU, who stays home with your kids.

YOU, who serves in our nation’s military.

YOU, who jetsets and explores this huge, amazing world we live in.

You.  Yes, you.

I want YOU to be my Galentine.  I want to celebrate the awesomeness that is you.  Not because I want to get laid, or because I’m socially obligated to make you feel special.

But because you deserve it, Galentine.  For being awesomely, perfectly, unapologetically you.

Call me sometime, and we’ll go do Gal-Pal stuff.  I’ll listen to you rant about the new guy at work, I’ll spare you the details of the latest poop catastrophe my 2 year old created, and we’ll laugh over mimosas and pedicures.

gal1platonic gal2crazy gal3pedisI put stuff in my hair and did my makeup for these, you guys.
You’re welcome.

When a Not So Small Town is Struck: Rape Culture

desmond

I’m trying to articulate my thoughts.  They are jumbled, scattered, yet so, so clear in my mind.  It’s the words that aren’t coming together right.  Like a jigsaw puzzle, I am turning each piece over, observing its defining characteristics, and hunting down its precise place.

I grew up in Eastern Washington, in a large city, with a bustling downtown and a conservative heart.  I have fond memories of it, in general, but nothing I can point out specifically that makes me wish to return.  After a stint on the coast, reconciling my liberal tendencies with my conservative opinions, I could visit it fondly and find it, dare I say, quaint.  What a sweet place this is.  Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to bring our kids back here to raise them.  Not that it happened, but the thought was nice.

So, imagine my surprise when a friend forwarded me a story about a new bar in my conservative home.  A bar serving a drink called Date Grape KoolaidUgh.  Okay, so some pig wants to make a buck off rape culture.  Gross.  I really thought, at first, that I would leave it be.  I’m not raising my kids there.  It’s not MY problem.  They’ll never see MY money. But, not one to leave things to lie, I popped over to the business page, to see what was up.

It is so sad to see humans with so little empathy for one another that they can callously joke about an abusive act of dominance against another person.  To read, not only remarks from the business owner, but from the general population telling peaceful protestors who are survivors of rape to get a life, get over themselves, to get a sense of humor.

All they wanted was the name to be changed.

Instead, true to the rape culture dominating our society, they were shamed.  Belittled.  Ridiculed.

I took to social media, as many others finding out about the story had, and continue to do, and shared my thoughts with friends who still live in the area.  Send this guy a message.  Make this drink disappear.  Get this place shut down.

IMMEDIATELY, I received this comment:

“Its a free country, did you spend a little to much time on the coast?? Taking away people freedoms is a little more serious than a stupid drink name. Your a writer, what if someone was telling you what you can and cannot write about?”

I. was. baffled.  If sending a business owner a clear message that he won’t make money off of jokes about other peoples’ abuses is considered akin to denying basic rights in our country then I DON’T WANT TO BE PART OF THIS COUNTRY ANY MORE.

This person went on to compare closing the business to being force-fed religion, and even accused me of denying my Pagan beliefs of ‘Live and Let Live.’ Side note, it’s, As It Harm None, Do As You Will, and it does NOT apply to this.  Making light of rape IS harmful.  Period.

Thankfully, other friends came to my aid.  Points like:

“Freedom of speech is to protect you from being trampled on by the government. This is not a freedom of speech issue. He has every right to name his drink that. I have every right to protest it.”

“We are on the cutting edge here of getting rid of the ideas that it’s okay for men to do whatever they want to women. Just like Dr. King had to fight to get rid of the idea that it was okay for white people to lay a beat down on people of color whenever they wanted to – just to keep them in their place.  Is it okay to name an alcoholic beverage a “funny” name when a lot of depraved acts are done and then “but I was drunk” is a means of defense? Do you not see the dangerous correlation here?”

“I understand they’re attempt at capitalism but would people react as passively if they made it about race instead of rape? Both are distasteful except one makes fun a crime that far too often goes unreported.”

Once others jumped in on the discussion, I received a personal message from the original commenter.  We talked a bit more, though at that point it was more of a futile beating-my-head-against-the-wall attempt at getting him to ‘hear’ me.  At one point I made the remark that maybe it was just impossible for him to understand if he had never felt truly threatened, and then he asked this question:

“What happened to you, Jessica?”

And I had to end the conversation.

THAT is rape culture.  If I am not a victim, I am not allowed to have an opinion.  If I am a victim, well, my story needs to be heard so I can be told I should have been able to prevent it, I should have been able to avoid it, I should have, I should have, I should have…

And giving money to guys who want to joke about it?  Literally buying into the joke?

“It’s very likely that in some of these interactions with these guys, at some point or another someone told a rape joke. You, decent guy that you are, understood that they didn’t mean it, and it was just a joke. And so you laughed.

And, decent guy who would never condone rape, who would step in and stop rape if he saw it, who understands that rape is awful and wrong and bad, when you laughed?

That rapist who was in the group with you, that rapist thought that you were on his side. That rapist knew that you were a rapist like him. And he felt validated, and he felt he was among his comrades.”

Click on that text.  Read that link.  It’s not long, but it says SO MUCH that needs to be said.

Rape culture isn’t going to get rid of itself.  And it sure as hell isn’t going away if we leave it to others to fight the battle for us.

desmond

You can find updates to the struggle my hometown is having in getting this abhorrent drink and business removed by following the (peaceful) boycott group’s facebook page here

I got Sherm’s back: A Mother’s Perspective

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Mothers, let me ask some questions.  If someone was trash-talking your boy, what advice would you give them?  Ignore it?  Walk away?  Tell an adult?  Stand up for yourself?

If someone mistreats, verbally or physically, one of your children, how do you tell them to handle it?

If your child was in the final steps of reaching one of their biggest goals, personally or career driven, and someone told them they couldn’t do it, they weren’t up to the task, they weren’t qualified to make it happen, what would you encourage them to do about it?

I know all parents teach their kids differently, but really THINK about this.  I don’t need to know your answers, I just want all of us to think about them.

Would you blame them for shouting from the mountaintops in triumph when they proved the nay-sayers wrong?  Would you scold them for taking a stand and saying, “I DID IT and you were WRONG about me.”?

If your child tried to take the high road (i.e. Congratulate their opponent, this person who was one of their biggest critics, and offer a handshake) only to be literally shoved in the face, could you blame them for snapping?

Photo Credit: Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated/The MMQB
Photo Credit: Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated/The MMQB

Should Sherman apologize for his post-game outburst about Crabtree?  No, I don’t think so.  There were obviously a lot of pent up feelings and adrenaline surrounding the situation, and Crabtree is lucky a verbal outburst (with ZERO profanity) is all that happened after the way he treated Sherman’s peace-offering handshake.

When you excel at something you are passionate about, literally in the face of adversity, you are allowed to be pleased with the result.  You are allowed to tell it like it is.

We can’t tell our kids to take pride in themselves, to stand up for themselves, to follow and go and build and achieve, then get mad at them for celebrating with passion and vigor.  Why hold those they look up to to different standards?

If you can honestly say that you have never made something happen that you were proud of without freaking out, then you are a better person than I.  If you have never told someone who had nothing but trash to talk about you (and maybe you’re lucky enough that someone never had such animosity towards you) to stuff it, then you are one in a million.

But if you are like me, like 99% of the rest of humanity, with passions and feelings and impulsive behaviors, then quit dogging on Sherman.  No, he’s not a classless thug.  He’s an incredibly smart individual, who devotes time to a local children’s hospital, who made an amazing achievement and went totally crazy for a glorious, well deserved rant.

Tell your kids that it’s okay to get excited.  That it’s okay to go back and apologize for being rude (which Sherman did to the reporter who was the outlet for his outburst).  You can have role-models who are real people, and behave as such.

Go Hawks!

From the Elf Sidelines

toelfornottoelf

I feel like I’m watching an epic battle… or a ridiculously overpaid sports game…  or an insidiously petty cat-fight.

The Elf on the Shelf (EotS) is becoming the epicenter of the holiday’s version of mommy wars.

It’s no longer SAHMs vs Working Moms…

It’s EotS moms vs Anti-EotS Moms.

toelfornottoelf

Really people?  Seriously?  Do we have nothing better to worry about?

“Those EotS moms are making me look bad!”

“Those Anti-EotS moms don’t want to give their children joy!”

“Don’t project your ideas of holiday magic on me!”

“Quit being a scrooge!”

Ugh.

Maybe it’s because I’m coming from a place of indifference… The EotS sidelines if you will.  From my camping chair on the calm side of the white paint, there is only one thing I can say…

Y’all look ridiculous.

Also, I need more marshmallows for my cocoa.

Their voices are beaten out of them; We need to speak up

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I am heartbroken and PISSED and this is likely to be slightly incoherent and rambley.

A third child has been found dead thanks to the book “To Train Up a Child.”

I am not coming to you from a place of perfection.  It is a struggle every. single. day for me to parent from a place of love rather than frustration.  We have our battles of will, and more often than I care to admit I resort to threatening my kids with a spanking.  99% of the time we can avoid it, but there are times…  Times when I feel like everything else has failed me and this child just needs a good swat on the butt to make them understand.  To make them toe the line.  I hate myself for that feeling.

No amount of physical pain can make someone’s brain understand anything except pain and fear.

Beating a child until he/she submits to your will is not parenting.

A child in his shell is not a child, but a voiceless creature.  Being brought up to be walked upon, or fear the consequences.

“…police photographed a 15-inch length of tubing lying on the parents’ bed next to a children’s book about a frog and a toad, which authorities say 7-year-old Lydia had been reading from when she mispronounced a word, which led to the beatings that continued over two days.”

Children are not meant to be broken.

Sean’s 9-year-old brother was beaten so badly he limped, a prosecutor said. Bruises marred Sean’s backside, too, doctors found.  Sean died after being wrapped so tightly in blankets he suffocated.

Nor are they meant to be beaten.

Children are not animals, and even animals are protected by law from abuse.

Swatting a 6 month old infant is unacceptable.  There is NOTHING for them to learn from you at that point aside from fear.

Training a baby not to leave a blanket lest they want to be whipped is disgusting.  It is not showing them where they are safe and loved, it is enforcing a fear of exploration and independence, which is the whole nature of childhood.

Restraining a child so you can beat him/her until he/she is broken is making that child learn to fear those that are supposed to love and care for them.

If you feel like the only way you can raise a child is with the threat and fear of being beaten with plastic piping behind you, then you need help.

Not only are you teaching that child to fear physical abuse should they say no, but you are showing them that it is acceptable to use violent force against those who say no to them.

How many children are there intentionally being starved, showered in hoses despite having clean, warm water, knowing that should they push the boundaries (as it is important for children to do as they develop) they will be beaten and physically restrained until they adhere?  How many first time parents are coming across this book, not knowing that there are other, better ways to raise their children with a respect for their parents and the rules?

Even one is too many.

Please join me in getting this book removed from Amazon.  Share the stories of Sean, Lydia, and now Hana.  Grab Muse Mama’s button for your blog.

Please.  Help be a voice for the children who are having theirs beaten out of them.

Muse Mama

Stop With Your Memes: I’m the One Who Cares

noonecares

I’m going to start this with a vent: I can’t stand those “No one cares” memes.  You know, the ones that say “No one cares what you did at the gym today” or “No one cares about what you made for dinner.”  Kids, pets, food, workouts… everyone seems to have something they don’t want to see people posting about.

someecards.com - No one cares what you think no one cares about.See what I did there?

Maybe it’s because I am one of those people that posts about my workouts, my kids, the chores I do, the meals I make that I hate them.

The things is, I LIKE seeing other peoples’ posts.  That’s why I like social media.  I like seeing what other people are doing.  I like supporting my friends in their every day endeavors.

If we were hanging out in person and you proudly told me about the workout you did yesterday, or the meal you cooked for your family, how big of a douchewaffle would I be if I flat out said, “No one cares about that crap, let’s talk about something else.”  That’s a happy side effect of a healthy friendship; you support each other.  And even if I can’t do it in person, I still want to support my friends in their every day triumphs.

Is your baby another month older?  Hell yeah, look how cute he/she is! 

Did you make a freaking awesome meal for your family out of scratch?  Share the freaking recipe!

Have you and your partner lost 50 pounds together?  Tell me how you did it!

Get your whole house clean and still pick up your oldest from school on time?  You’re a beast!  Good job!

The next time someone proudly posts their workouts every day for a month, don’t get pissy because it’s not something you’re interested in.  Give them a virtual pat on the back, or hell, give them a phone call and congratulate them on their consistency.

Quit being a Negative Nancy trying to shame people into not sharing what’s important to them.

Or, if it’s honestly a problem for you, stop following them.  If you don’t care about their every day happenings, what’s the point of being in touch with them anyway?

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