A Note for Victoria Jackson

For once, I am almost speechless.  I just saw the interview on CNN with former "SNL" star Victoria Jackson where she discusses the liberal agenda as it pertains to homosexuality, Muslims, and the "sickening" gay kiss on the "Glee" television show.  Ms. Jackson wrote about the kiss in her column and it caused a stir. 

Note to readers: Ms. Jackson calls CNN the "Progressive Propaganda Channel" on her blog, but I guess it was okay to be interviewed by CNN in order to promote her column.

Note to readers: I will not call Ms. Jackson a bimbo.  I will not call Ms. Jackson a jerk or an idiot or a racist or even a fundamentalist or a homophobe or a has-been.  I don't think that name-calling gets us anywhere.  That said, I will call her out on what she does.

I could talk/write for hours on how wrong I believe many of her words are, but I will just address one thing in today's blog post.  She calls "two men on a wedding cake" a "comedy skit" that is "ridiculous"... and thinks that a gay kiss on television is sickening.

I am someone who knows several happily married gay couples who are responsible, loving parents and amazing members of the community.  I think that Victoria Jackson and her fans should break from the rallies and actually meet a few people who are different, including gay couples.  To say the very least.

I've never seen an episode of "Glee" myself; I guess I missed that page of my liberal instructional manual.  However, as Ms. Jackson well knows, it's a free (read: Capitalist) country and this is what some people want to watch in a sitcom.  Unless, of course, she wants us to be a Socialist country and only have state-run, squeaky clean television?  I mean, television like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARSEUsCyWj0  You know, the kind that she got famous for and made her money from, and stuff like that.

Note to Victoria Jackson: I have a certified copy of the Liberal Agenda.  One of its main precepts is to accept and affirm people's choice to love whom they wish and practice their religion as long as it hurts no one else.  Imagine that.  P.S. I am a Christian, too, and I read the same Bible, sweetie.

Here's the interview: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/showbiz/2011/03/22/sbt.victoria.jackson.hln?hpt=T2

Here's her website: http://www.victoriajackson.com/

Here's the column: http://www.wnd.com/index.php/index.php?pageId=276421


Freedom From Fear

I am a fan of realistic fiction in both literature and in art, and one of my all-time favorite visual artists is Norman Rockwell.  I've been to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts a couple of times, and the works never fail to impress me.  Most may know him from his folksy Saturday Evening Post covers, but my favorite Rockwell paintings are the powerful ones, including the "Four Freedoms" series.  For those who are not familiar with the series, more information is available here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Freedoms_(Norman_Rockwell)

I was struck tonight by the news of the bombing of Libya and its parallels to the other allied actions that have taken place over the last century.  On one hand, taking action is a necessary evil: violence that must be done to counteract violence against people.  On the other hand, violence often begets more violence, and there will always be the question of whether we could have used more peaceful means to get the same result.  I can see examples of both.  If we don't fight against violence, we're damned.  If we participate in violence, we're damned just the same.  There are no winners here.  Nevertheless, sometimes the sin of omission is worse than the sin of commission, so to speak, and to sit idly by while evil is being done is to condone it.  It's sad how these things always turn political when those innocent people caught in the crossfire (literally) have no allegiance except to life.

But I digress... back to the freedoms bit.

Look at the Freedom from Fear painting of the American parents gently tucking their children into bed right after the Blitz.  As I was tucking Lolly into bed tonight, knowing that her bed was the safest place for her, I had to stop to remember that for millions of people in the world, there is no security.  Look at the tragedies in Japan and Libya, and all over the world, wherein parents cannot tuck their children into bed without worry.  Even in our own country, how many families live in fear right now?  How fortunate we few are right now to be reading this blog with the freedom from fear of imminent danger.

I'll end with the seventy-year-old speech excerpt that inspired the paintings:

"In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb."
— Franklin D. Roosevelt, excerpted from the State of the Union Address to the Congress, January 6, 1941


The Cranky Idealist Being Cranky

Grrrr.  My day has turned me from an Ed Bradley to an Andy Rooney.  Why do these little annoyances, put together, have the power to ruin my mood?

1. When an organization insists that people must fax paperwork in order to complete an important process, why is it seemingly impossible to locate a fax number on the letter, the website, or the phone?

2. What happens when someone parks in a public lot and doesn't have the 25 cents needed to exit the lot?  (Whoops!) 

3. Why do so many drivers ignore road signs, like "yield" and "stop"?

4. Why do fancy coffee drinks have to cost so much?

5. Why did I have to roll the windows down with loose paper in the car, which allowed my husband's private financial information to fly out and land by the road somewhere?  (Double whoops!)

Mantra for today: I need to watch the news and put this in perspective.

True SAHM Confessions

I love being a parent.  I really do.  I love being a parent so much that I want to have a house full of children, homeschool them all the time, and enjoy every moment with them.  I left work so that I could be home with my kids.  I am living my dream, and I am extremely fortunate.

That said, I have my moments... those moments that are not my best when I just want to cry out about what I need.  Allow me to illustrate:

1. "I need space!!!"

I sleep with my baby every night and nurse him throughout the day.  I cuddle with my toddler and kindergartner several times throughout the day, and sometimes I sleep with them, as well.  I am around my kids all the time; parenting can be a physically intensive job.  Then there is that moment during the day when I just need some space.  Like, when I just want to use the bathroom in peace, and I can hear one of my girls turning the bathroom door... or if I lock it for privacy, they start banging on the door and calling my name.  Another time is when I am sitting down and I have not one but three kids who desperately want to sit in my lap at the same time.  Really, I feel like a celebrity with fawning groupies, and I just vant to be alone for a few minutes.

2. "I need quiet!!!"

The concern with having verbally precocious children is that they talk all the time.  Lolly even talks in her sleep!  There is a constant buzz of either talking, banging, giggling, crying, whining, babbling, cooing, or the rare scream... and then the phone rings, of course.  Sometimes in the car, my eyes glaze over as I have to tune out the constant buzz of noise just to get us safely to our destination.  It's not that I expect the kids to stop making noise - even if that were possible - but I just need some quiet time.

3. "I need money!!!"

Well, not really.  I don't need it, but it would be nice.  Children themselves really don't cost much money.  I mean, it costs money to feed them, clothe them, diaper them, and insure them, but really, those things can be pretty inexpensive if we choose wisely.  The spending frenzy comes with all of those optional things.  For me, my weaknesses are photos, secondhand toys and books, camps and classes, and birthday parties.  I have spent an embarrassing amount of money on these extras, and keep in mind that I don't even buy new toys or clothes for my kids.  Even the little kid snacks at the store really add up, and I don't have the energy to make alphabet soup from scratch.  Most of the stuff I buy is for the convenience factor, but some of it is just silly and wasteful, and I am ashamed.  That said, if we're ever going to travel by plane, remember that we'll have to buy at least five tickets.  That's where money could come in handy. 

4. "I need time with my husband!!!"

This is an overlooked biggie.  My husband and I have had dates every nine months (insert joke here), but I would love to just have an hour every week to have an uninterrupted cup of coffee or tea with him.  I feel like we're coworkers rather than spouses sometimes... albeit coworkers with huge crushes on each other.  Can't I just invite the husband over to my cubicle?

5. "I need to feel pretty!!!"

Okay, I'll admit it: I am one of those moms who has totally let herself go.  I don't mind it as much as I thought I would, but once in awhile, I think wistfully that I am in my thirties, and I will never, ever be a bombshell.  I've got the requisite flabby stomach, stretch marks (which my oldest once dubbed as "tiger stripes"), mottled skin, and my hair is in such poor shape that it looks like failed dreads.  I can't believe that I once used to wear swimsuits... like, for pictures, even.  I would like to take more time to look at least as gorgeous as the other moms I know.  Or at least I could shave my legs this year.

Love, the Mom

P.S. For more mommy confessions, click on these links:




I've done a lot of volunteer work in my life - not as much as some people, never as much as I should - but I've done enough of it to list it as one of my hobbies.  Anyone who's ever volunteered knows these things:

1. Volunteering feels good.  Even just wanting to help others is a sign of a healthy life.  Most people who volunteer for one cause are willing to volunteer for other causes.  (Charities know this, and this is why donating to one organization can put you on the mailing lists for other organizations forever!)  Another perk about volunteer work is that you can develop skills for your career or hobby that will enhance your resume and/or teach you new things. 
2. Volunteering can be challenging; you can feel overwhelmed, bored, helpless, taken advantage of, et cetera, depending on the situation.  A bad volunteer experience can make you not want to volunteer again.

With this in mind, I checked out a book from the library called "Everyone Helps, Everyone Wins: How Absolutely Anyone Can Pitch In, Help Out, Give Back, and Make the World a Better Place."  While it's not yet the kind of book that I make my loved ones read (Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People," or anything by Anne Lamott, Stephen King, or Flannery O'Connor), I think it's a great book with much to say.  As soon as I am done with it, check it out from the library!

The point that I would like to make is that anyone can do volunteer work, and you can decide how much time, effort, money, talent that you put into a cause.  It's under your control!  You can choose where to go, whom or what to help, and for how long.  Isn't that liberating?  The best part is that you can know that you are making a difference, however small, and that you are appreciated, if not by those you help, then at least by the cosmos.

You can choose to do something as time-consuming and monumental as working for the Peace Corps or starting your own foundation, or you can do something as quick, easy, and non-committal as picking up trash on your morning walk, writing a letter, or putting an item in the food donation box at the grocery store.  The aim is not to outdo yourself or to stress out over volunteering, but to make a volunteering a steady habit in your life, in whatever form you choose.  If you don't have money, give time.  If you don't have time, give money.  If you don't have either, then start with something small. 

If you're looking for new opportunities for volunteer work, I highly recommend the website VolunteerMatch.org.  It's fantastic.  It matches your availability and interests with the kinds of volunteer work needed.  (Did you know that there is even "virtual" volunteer work for those who can't travel to a site?)  Go there today and see what opportunities might interest you!

At the very least, I'd like to say that even donating $10 to the Red Cross is something very, very good.  So please, do a little, give a little back, pay it forward.  Feel free to share your do-gooding stories on here! 

People Are Dying in the World, and I am Sad about Facebook?

Further thoughts on "leaving" Facebook...

1. This is silly.  I was sneezing this morning, and my first thought was that I should post that as a Facebook status update.  At no time before Facebook existed did I ever feel like my sneezing (or other bodily functions, for that matter) needed to be shared with all of my friends.  However, I now yearn for that kinship.

2. This is hard.  I was shopping on Saturday when I ran into some real-life friends, several of whom are on my Facebook friends list.  We only spoke for a moment, and I thought, Well, I'll just message them on Facebook later to say hello.  Then, knowing that I didn't have that option, I actually went back to them before I left the building to say goodbye.  (Did I mention that I am terrible at saying goodbye?)

3. This isn't exactly working.  Even though I am off Facebook - posting this blog or responding to people via email doesn't count - I am still spending way too much time online.  The other night, I spent hours reading other people's blogs after my family had gone to bed.  My unhappy husband woke up and wondered what I was doing in the wee hours of the morning.  Apparently, I have replaced Facebook with other screen time. 

I feel like Facebook is coffee, and this blog is hot cocoa.  Last night, I had a delicious cup of hot cocoa, when what I really wanted was coffee.  However, a warm, sweet drink does the trick... for now.

4. What in the heck did people do before social networking?  Well, we called people on the telephone, we wrote directly to them (even email, now passe, counts toward that), and we visited them in person whenever possible.  However, sites like Facebook make that so much easier.  Unfortunately, with or without three kids, I don't have time to visit my hundreds of friends who live in town, much less those who live out of the state or out of the country.  When I post to Facebook (or ideally, when I respond to others, since that is more social than narcissistic), I can connect with people with a push of a button. 

Facebook isn't bad... look at how it contributes to democracy and the unity of all people.  There, I said it.

I might take the kids for a walk today, after my 5-year-old posts to her blog.


The Unbearable Casualness of Life

One night this past week, I stayed awake until 5 am, worried about a few things besides money, crime, nuclear war, world peace, and my family troubles, which always worry me.  That's a given. 
First of all, what's with the earthquakes?  New Zealand had the earthquake last month, and now, Japan's citizens are suffering from the effects of an earthquake and a tsunami.  I watched news clips of people in Japan trying, in vain, to escape the rising ocean floodwaters.  I felt so helpless.  Why on earth was I worried about celebrity gossip when there were people who were literally running for their lives?

Humans committing evil against other humans is something that I've gradually and grudgingly accepted.  But nature turning violent?  Why does this happen?  Why are some populations in the world disproportionately affected by natural disasters, while others are fine for generations?  (I've been feeling like a cross between Jerry Seinfeld and Insane Clown Posse lately.  Freaking earthquakes: how do they work?)

I also witnessed a small incident this week that made me feel helpless and very sad.  [Due to the small size of my hometown, I won't give the details of where I was.]  To make a long story short, my 7-month-old found himself with a duckling in front of him.  He suddenly grabbed it by its wing and began shaking it like a rag doll.  Obviously, Ola had no idea that he was hurting the animal, and it was immediately taken away from him.  The duckling lay quietly in the grass, on its side. 

I checked on the duckling.  It did not look good.  I believe that Ola either killed it or hurt it pretty bad, and I was horrified.  Eventually, the duckling was placed into a box.  There was something so profoundly sad to know that a duckling, which had lived its short life as a mail-order prop, would be maimed by a child who didn't even know what it was.  Lolly asked if it were sleeping, and coward that I am, I just played along.  I felt cold shame. 

...Contrast all of this worldly sadness with good times and the ephemera of humor on a good day.  I had a fun day out with two of my dearest girlfriends today; we had breakfast, got our nails done, and went shopping.  Later, relatives came over to visit with the kids, and my husband made a delicious dinner, which was shared with them.  It was an easy, fun day with no problems.  My biggest choice was deciding what color I would have painted on my fingernails.  (I chose blue.)  My biggest concern was that I had to miss celebrating the birthday of a friend.  How fortunate I am.  How fortunate I am. 

We all had a good laugh today at what my grandmother, who is a coupon fanatic, decided to give to us, to be helpful.

With gratitude for what we enjoy...


Darn you, Mark Zuckerberg. Darn you all to heck.

Hello, everyone!  It's been ages since I last posted a blog.  I am especially eager to write again because I've given up Facebook for the entirety of Lent.  That's right: no status updates, no debates, no picture comments, no "Happy birthdays" or anything substantive on there during the entire forty days.  Cold turkey!

By the way, for a great article on this very subject: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/03/09/2710193/some-choose-to-give-up-facebook.html

Here are my observations about giving up Facebook, so far:

1. I am still just as busy ("occupied" might be the better word) as always!  Apparently, I am finding ways to fill my time, even if those ways aren't related to Facebook... writing this blog is one way. I was hoping that this wouldn't be the case, and that I would magically find that there were more hours added to the day.  Haha!

Giving up Facebook time doesn't mean giving up computer time.  I still have plenty of emails to respond to and send out; homeschool stuff to organize and record; and little bits of church, financial, and personal business that take some time on the computer.  Of course, I have my Wiki and Slate browsing habits, blog reading, news junkie time, and the occasional "Real Housewives" episode to watch on Hulu or old music videos to watch on YouTube.  I don't think that God intended me to fill my mind with that at Lent, but I am weak, and there it is.

2. I realize how much I thought of my everyday life in Facebook terms.  (Yes, that is as scary as it sounds.)  For example, with almost every article I read, I think, "I'd like to share that with my friends on Facebook and find out what they think."  I also remember little bits of conversations that I've had with people, either online or in person, and I want to follow-up with a Facebook comment.  Most tellingly, I find myself thinking of "clever" status updates that I'd love to post, about everything from sweeping the floor to the so-called Mommy Wars.  All of this will go by the wayside for the next 40 days.  However, the fact that I plan to post this very blog on my Facebook account for my friends to read pretty much says it all.

3. I've had lots of friends sympathize with me.  That either means that there are many fellow Facebook addicts, or that my friends realize that I have this awful addiction, and they are glad to see me seeking treatment.  (They tried to make me get off Facebook, and I said: no, no, no!)

4. Speaking of my friends, they actually deserve your sympathy!  The reason is because I've been talking like crazy to people.  I saw a few friends today at the park, and I couldn't stop talking to them!  Even my beloved aunt had to do the polite, saying goodbye at the door, backing-away-because-I-need-to-leave thing.  It's like I am bursting with things to share, Facebook or not, and I am hungry for adult conversation.  To my friends who've endured this: my apologies.

If you really want to know the impact of my Facebook time, I can illustrate it in one sentence.  Recently, Lolly and I were having a conversation, and she said to me, "Mommy, I asked you for help, and you didn't help me because you were on Facebook." 

Bam.  Right there.  My priority is my family, and here I was, allowing a social networking site, of all things, to take over my time.  That is a sign that I need to stop and reevaluate my priorities.  (Thank you, Lent, for providing a structured, motivating time for doing this!)  Yes, I need a social life.  Yes, Facebook is a great tool for that.  However, I can't justify one missed moment with my kids on account of that.  I can't.  Perhaps this break during Lent will allow me to see how I can use Facebook in moderation, like normal people do. 

Honestly, this site?  http://www.avoidfacebook.com/
Sounds like a bunch of Luddites put on paper hats and went to the mountaintop.  With laptops.

Facebook is neither good nor evil in itself; it's a tool that people can use.  People can choose to use it wisely or unwisely.  It's my responsibility to use it wisely, and not to let it control my life... same thing with every other pleasure in life (coffee, junk food, sex, kids, Disney World). 

Mark Zuckerberg, I guess you're off the hook for now.  It's only been two days.  I think I'll live. 

P.S. If you're reading this: thank you.  *sniff*