Life, Love, Long Hair, Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth, and other mysteries

All this and more, from a semi-Serbian, slightly sane, former editor for physicians and surgeons, who is the mother of seven kids.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Hot Beverages - No Shugga Tonight!

As I poured myself a cup from the pot of coffee my 17-year-old daughter brewed, I thought of how nice it is that she makes coffee.

Then I thought of how my 19-year-old daughter used to set out two mugs before bed - one for me and one for herself - each with a green-tea bag leaning up against it, ready for the morning, back before she grew up and moved out on her own.

And then I remembered how my 14-year-old daughter used to be "the Krakus maker" when she was little.  I'd be working on something homeschooly in the living room with her older two sisters, and she'd call from the kitchen, "Who wants Krakus?" And she'd make a tea-pot full of it for us all.

Hot beverages.  They warm more than your mouth.  They warm your heart.

That sounds corny!

Reminds me of the adage about firewood warming you twice.  I do know that to be true, having split many a log round in my day.  A splitting maul and sledge-hammer were a couple of my buddies back in the wilderness of Alaska.

Hmm... Maybe I'll blog about my Alaska days sometime.

Thinking further back, I remember when my mom left my dad, when I was in my late teens.  The biggest hole in my life with her being gone was that I missed drinking coffee with her in the mornings before I went to work.

Further back still, I recall how my dad used to make me hot tea with whiskey or wine in it whenever I got sick.  Not a huge amount, mind you.  About a cap-full (which, being whiskey, could taste pretty darn strong) in a cup of Red Rose tea, mixed with honey.

He did that as far back as I can remember.  I always assumed it was a Serbian thing he carried over from "de old country".

More than the temporary sleepiness or physical healing brought by the medicinal beverages, though, I still carry the indelible love benefits of the memory, feeling my dad's long-ago concern for me.

And best of all, for me, was when my dad came home from work, he'd often say, "Who wants the speck?"

"The speck" was the last few drops of lukewarm coffee with sugar and milk in my dad's construction-site-worn thermos.

The tradition of "the speck" continues as all my kids have gotten specks from me.

But really, it's the little things... ya know?

Randomosities Of a Long Haired Person

On a long-hair discussion board, the topic of stereotypes of long-haired people was brought up.  I will share my contribution here so the bored person has something to read.

So, a few things I'll throw out there about me, for whatever it's worth, in no particular order:

1. I wear Birkenstocks, sometimes even in winter

2. For 12 years, I baked all my bread (ground my own wheat, too - had to quit when I had to start working for a living)

3. I've made my own gluten-free, sugar-free granola many times (sweetened only with stevia)

4. I generally avoid sugar

5. I have a homeopathic doctor who's helped my family in many ways

6. I also have a naturopathic doctor

7. I'll go to an allopathic doctor if absolutely necessary but they have seldom helped me

8. I gave birth to my last (7th) baby at home, unassisted, with not even a doula (not brave, not crazy, just educated!) (That birth story at this link)

9. I'm a staunch homeschooler, but some of my kids do go to public school (against my will - long story, see here:  Why I Escaped and From What Did I Escape?)

10. Sometimes I wear makeup, sometimes I don't

11. I love tie-dyed clothing, own a lot, and have made a bit myself

12. I'm a poet

13. I'm a writer

14. Sometimes I wear long skirts, sometimes yoga pants, sometimes jeans, sometimes camo, but always cotton

15. I play guitar passably, and sing

16. My musical taste is eclectic - metal, country, folk, random alternate unnamed style, Christian, etc

17. I drink green tea with stevia and organic soy milk

18. I love apples

19. I believe that Jesus died for my sins, on the third day He rose again, and that I will spend eternity in heaven with Him.

20. There's more to me than that, but I gotta get back to work (doing medical transcription here at home).

Tuning a guitar in a hotel room...

Back of my hair just before I got it trimmed (after not having a trim in 10-1/2 months), 34-1/2" length from crown of head, over top of head, down to longest point at waist.

For more long haired rambling, here's another entry from this same blogger:  Hair Wasn't Easy To Grow

Thursday, 26 January 2012


Men, men, men, men, manly men, men, men...

Oooh, I hate that show "Two And A Half Men", although I admit the theme song is funny and head-sticking.

But I do like men!

Before you jump to the conclusion that I'm some kind of hussy (LOL! What a word - "hussy"), hear me out.

I feel I need to explain myself on the fact that I like men as opposed to being a "man-hater", as one man has accused me of being.

To accuse me of being a "man-hater" is, to me, outrageous.

There are men with a lot of good in them, and there are men with a lot of bad in them, but I couldn't fairly say that I believe all men are bad and therefore should be hated. To me, that is immature thinking at best, and delusional or even psychotic thinking at worst.

One evening last month, I went into my basement and my nostrils were assaulted by the scent of men's cologne.

I loudly said, "It smells like men down here."

Two of my teenaged daughters were sitting on my 17-year-old daughter's bed, having just sprayed some Axe into the air.

My 14-year-old daughter started singing, "Men, men, men, men, manly men, men, men..."

My 17-year-old daughter said, "Attractive men?"

I said, "Well, yes, preferably."

But I was being silly.

Really, if there were ANY men in our basement, I would not be concerned about whether or not they were attractive.

Any person in my basement would give rise to the question, "Who are you and what are you doing in my basement?" regardless of gender, asked verbally, or by silently watching to find out the answer.

I may be a strange kind of woman, but to be honest (and there is no better way to be), I don't notice men very often. I recently told this to one of my best friends, who is a man, and he found it hard to believe, but I swear it is true.

Most of my closest friends are men. And something I have noticed about them is that all but one of them live with their mother.

That's gotta be good, huh? Men who love their mothers so much that even though they are grown men, they choose to live with her. The only one who doesn't is my husband, but before he met me, he was considering moving in with his mom, as his life was falling apart all around him. But that's another story for another blog entry.

One of my man friends lives in Ontario with both his parents. Another resides in Terrace, BC, also with both his parents. One occupies a piece of Mississippi real estate with his "ma". And one lives in jolly olde England with his "mum".

I used to have a friend who lived with an elderly woman who was not his mother for whom he was a caregiver. Interestingly, he was very hateful towards his mother. Interestingly he is no longer my friend. And, interestingly, he was the one who accused me of being a man-hater.

If a man does not love his mother, I think it's a pretty good indicator of his attitude towards women in general.

My dad never spoke to me about his mother. He left her and his brothers behind in Serbia when he emigrated to Canada in the 1950s. I don't even know her name and don't expect my dad will tell me as he won't return my calls.

And my dad was not nice to my mom. And no wonder my mom left him. And my dad now has nothing to do with either of his own children, those being my sister and me, by his choice.

Given that kind of relationship with my father, I might be a candidate for hating men. But I am not so blind as to say "All men suck" just because my dad is a _______ (insert negative description of your choice to refer to men who cut off relationship with their own children).

And hey, my dad raised me for 18 years, for better or for worse. I am grateful for that much from him.

At the age of 13, a man who was 21 entered my life and did some bad things to me. If you knew the story, you might think I'd go on to hate men. But, no, I did not.

From age 18 till 36, I was involved with a man who treated me like a subhuman. I could have hated men because of that, but instead I chose to stay with him for 18 years, hoping for positive change. Eventually, sanity started to grow in my heart and I found a way out.

I was fully prepared to live without any man, not because I hated men, but because I didn't need one.

I don't need one.

But it's nice that I do have one with whom I get along most of the time.

No human being is perfect. Heck, look at me - my man has got to live with ME and I'm far from perfect.

Furthermore, I continue to befriend the odd man from time to time, when they happen to be friend-worthy, just as I would with friend-worthy women.

And anyone who says "a woman can't be 'just friends' with a man" reeks of the ex and is someone with whom I don't want to chill.

I love the Biblical account in John chapter 8, when Jesus says of the woman accused of adultery, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her," and everyone leaves.

No man - no person - is without sin.

And no man is an island. No woman is, either. We need EACH OTHER, but that's not to be confused with needing each other in order to be happy. I can't do everything by myself - can you? Heck, how do you think I had seven kids?

I leave you with a song by the Rossington-Collins Band, "One Good Man".

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." ~Isaiah 53:6

Life, Family, Home, and Bread

I was requested, by my newest friend on the planet, to write a blog entry on "life, family, and home". But prior to that, he had asked me to write about bread.

Being one who is short on time but loves to write, I will attempt to blend all four subjects in one note.

Life. Hmm. Well, I'm breathing, so that must mean I'm alive. But simply to be alive isn't really living, is it? In the words of George Strait, "If you ain't lovin', then you ain't livin'."

And I'm definitely lovin'. I'm one of those people who has more love than can be contained in one bag of bones. Good thing I've got seven children on whom to lavish love.

One might think I have no time to write, with all these children. I would argue, however, that because I have so many children, I MUST write, to keep a semblance of sanity.

"Home. Home again. I like to be here when I can. And when I come home cold and tired, it's good to warm my bones beside the fire." Oh, how I love the music of Pink Floyd.

I've been to a psychiatrist or two in my day, where I asked if there was anything wrong that needs to be fixed. Apparently, at least according to the DSM-IV, I've got nothing they can fix, but I do see some traits of OCD in me. Maybe everyone has a bit of that.

You see, for me, I've got to have my home in order or it's hard for me to focus and relax. That's not to say my home IS always spotless, because it certainly is not. But until it is at least close to clean, I do not feel relaxed. If there are crumbs on the carpet that need vacuuming, I feel stressed out every time I see them. However, once I, or my husband, or one of the kids, get around to vacuuming, I love to admire the cleanness of my old crappy carpet, and just "breathe... breathe in the air... don't be afraid to care... leave, don't leave me... look around, choose your own ground..." (Oops! Pink Floyding again!)

Someday soon, I want to choose my own ground. I want to rip out all of this old crappy carpet and have laminate flooring installed. That would be so much easier to keep clean, with all these people in our home.

Two and a half more truck payments and I will no longer have any debt, other than my mortgage. I am seriously thinking that my next debt will be because of laminate flooring.

People need to eat, and people need a place to eat. Unfortunately, all too often it ends up being in the living room. Bread crumbs are not nice to see on the carpet.

Sigh. Bread. Bread and I go way back. Right now, I've discovered that if I eat bread, I gain weight. So I try to avoid it. In years past, I baked all of my own bread. It became a thing of pride for me, to never buy "store bought bread".

Since about 1995, I have been buying sacks of wheat and storing them in my deep-freeze, to grind in my electric grain grinder. Anything that requires flour gets the fresh-flour treatment in my home. No rancid store-bought flour lurking in my baked goods if I can help it.

But, oh, there goes that pride again. Yes, I do sometimes buy (gasp!) white flour. And occasionally I use it. But so seldom do I get time to bake anything anymore, it's not that big of a deal.

I can bake a mean batch of whole wheat bread. Ask anyone who's tried it - it is GOOD. But when it doesn't turn out, it can sap my joy for the rest of the day. All that work and nothing but a load of bricks to show for it.

Back in the bad ol' days, I cooked everything from scratch. It was expected of me. Now that I am free, it costs me more, but freedom does come at great price. "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do." (Thank you, Joe Walsh, for that quote.)

And that is all I am going to say about life, family, home, and bread for today. I now leave you with the George Strait song from which I quoted earlier.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

On "Mixed Messages"

The writing in purple, below, was written by a friend of mine, but it could have been written by me.  Is it universal?  Are there many who think this way?  Or are we a small group of "the rare ones" who "get it"?

My friend has given permission for me to copy his blog entry, which I have done with only minor editing to correct typos and grammar.  Read it as though I am saying it myself, for it is something I, too, could have written.  Could you have, too?

Mixed messages (Saturday, January 21, 2012) 

(From here:  Mixed Messages)

I don't deal well with mixed messages.

Someone said recently that the hardest thing is not knowing what's real, and I agree.

If I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, psychosis, or dementia, it would terrify me, because I couldn't rely on anything to be real (and therefore important) - it would take away the meaning from my life.

Mixed messages from people suck, because it's the same for the reality of your connection to them.

The distress caused by having to keep your opinions and feelings in limbo is always equal to or more than how much that person means to you.

Basically, when I don't know where I stand with someone, they'll see my personality go on hold. I can't help that.

I stopped making assumptions about people a long time ago, because this got in the way of getting to the truth.

In fact even asking a question a certain way, stating or validating certain ideas for the context of the question, can seriously limit their ability to reply.

Problems with not making assumptions:

1) you lose the comfort of the confidence that used to come when you'd naively think that assumptions were safe to make.

2) When you talk to people, they don't know how much you know. They might think you're indecisive, stupid, naive, unaware or numerous other things that might make you look/feel less competent.

3) You need to ask more questions. Proper communication is the absolute most important thing between people, and it appears asking for "too much" information can often make a conversation seem one-sided or even bothersome.

This is a dilemma for me - I need to know what's real, what's important, who I am, what I am to others, and who others actually are.

  • I can make assumptions, and risk offending people.
  • I can ask questions, and risk annoying people/embarrassing myself for things that aren't embarrassing.
  • I can wait for people to tell me things, and risk finding out when it's too late.
  • I can relax about unresolved topics, and risk them thinking I don't care.

Many things, and many people, are too black and white. Whenever someone tells me to find middle ground, that grey area, I wonder how to do this when nobody is willing to compromise.

If I talk to a person, the conversation is light, they complement me, reassure my insecurities and say my habits are okay or they even like them, but then they go and tell someone else or me a totally different story later, and it makes me doubt myself.

How can there be trust if people aren't willing to communicate?

How can people feel secure in what they know if people say things they don't mean?

The world is an OCD nightmare, and to be quite honest, people are scary.

If this resonates with you, please comment. I love communication and welcome your thoughts. (Um, okay Blogger site, you can stop the italicizing now. I'm done quoting. Hello? I'm clicking on the "i" button to un-italicize this, but it's not wooooorrrrr-kiiiiingggg....)

Friday, 13 January 2012

Writing Advice???

I just wanted to share one of my favorite pages of writing advice:

Keep in mind that it is not serious. One has to laugh sometimes.

And from my favorite humour writer, Patrick F. McManus, some serious writing advice: