Friday, July 30, 2010

Meet The Blogger: Cheek of God

Name: Brian

Age: 41

Kids #, age & sex: Four kids, ages 16, 12, 10, 9

Marital status: Married for 19 years this year.

1. How many years in your current relationship: 23 years

2. Have you ever been divorced?: No

***If so how many times?:

What do you do for work: I work in the mix/pre-production department at Edy’s Grand Ice Cream.  That’s Dreyer’s to those of you west of the Rockies.  Yes, I eat ice cream every day . . .  

Education: Currently pursuing a BA in English & Philosophy with minors in Communication and Religious Studies

Blogs you contribute to: This one, and The Cheek of God

Religion: Reverently Agnostic

Political affiliation: I am a recovering Republican

Basic philosophical leanings (liberal, conservative, confused): I am fairly moderate, though I lean to the left when pressed . . .

What is your motto in life?: sapere aude – Latin: “Dare to Know” or “Dare to Discern”

Who has had the most influence in your life?: Wow. Probably my kids. They inspire greatness . . .

Why did you start Blogging? I began my blog as a project for a class titled Research Methods for Professional Writers. It was initially about memoir writing, and my own attempts to write a “living memoir.” It blossomed from there . . .

*What is the most favorite post you have written on any blog you contribute to?: So many to choose from! Probably the one about my Unibrow: or this one where I finally give up smoking

Tell us in 100 words about your current relationship: My wife and I are in the process of getting old together. Which is sort of cool. We know how one another ticks. What makes us happy or sad or frustrated. We’ve been together longer than we’ve been on our own, so every day is a bonus, a chance to not only relax in one another’s familiarity, but also to strive to make the effort to learn something new.

BONUS or OPTIONAL: Tell us something we need to know about you that we haven't covered above. 50 words or less: I had weight loss surgery in 2002, lost over 200 pounds, and have kept it off all this time. I’m less than half the man I used to be. Amazing . . .

Shelle Edit: I have known Brian for awhile now.  I happened on his blog because someone referred him on a list of their must reads everyday.  I don't even remember what post it was that day, but I do remember coming away from his blog magically enthralled.  He's completely poetic when he writes, it's as if you can feel the words pulling you in and taking you on their journey.  Brian just took on his adventure to stop smoking...we continue to wish him luck, because if he takes smoking back up again, he's ultimatum is that he'll have to give up his blog, which would be way to tragic.  Much love your way Brian, thank for all you do for me and this blog! 

Brian-The Cheek of God

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Once upon a time there was a princess...and her healthy relationship

Shelle Edit: I love when I get a post from a Guest Contributor and it surprises me.  I loved this post.  I don't know Sandra, but I read some of her blogs and I know that she is such an industrious person.  She just finished up school, been there and done that!  Anyway, I hope you like her post as much as I did about how she recognized why her relationship is healthy.  Go read her personal blog right after your done with this one!

Once upon a time there was a princess. This princess was constantly being rescued by a knight in shining armour. Also known as her Daddy.

Fast-forward several years later when the princess marries a prince. But instead of appreciating the prince and the fact that he’s a nice, funny, normal guy who pretty much lets the princess follow all of her dreams, she’s still looking for the knight in shining armour.

Basically, this is a nice (very cleverly composed, might I add) metaphor about me. I had a father who did everything for me. When I couldn’t finish a project for school, either he finished it for me or wrote the teacher a note. When I needed money, he was standing there with his wallet open. When I broke up with the first guy I lived with, my Dad was at my door within moments carrying boxes and suitcases.

He helped me so often, it’s actually hard to decipher what was deemed normal and what was too much.

I’ve been married to my husband for eight years now. I’d love to say that it’s been eight years of complete joy and contentment. But truth is, the first few were bumpy. I was reeling from the fallout of my divorce. I was involved in a messy custody battle with my ex-husband. My new husband, Wayne, had grown children who didn’t approve of our relationship. Wayne was carrying emotional baggage from his first marriage. And his ex-wife was still sniffing around, waiting to see if she’d let go too soon.

There were arguments. There were long periods of silence. There were even longer periods of accusations. How come he didn’t know what to say when I was upset? How come he changed the subject when I wanted to talk? How come he got angry when I cried? Why wasn’t he riding up and carrying me off into the sunset? Where was his white horse dammit!

It took a lot of soul searching for me to understand that the problems in the relationship had more to do with me than with Wayne. I was the one who didn’t know how to cope. I was the one waiting for Wayne to pull a rabbit out of his butt. Make me laugh. Find me a better lawyer. Fix my problems. Buy me some sparkly new jewelery...actually, I still ask for that.

Thank goodness, with age comes wisdom. And the money for therapy.

With the realization that I was expecting Wayne to rescue me, like my father always had, I also realized that by the very act of not rescuing me, Wayne was instilling within me the ability and confidence to rescue myself.

Now I can honestly say that my relationship is healthy. Now I see what a great man I’ve married. I understand that it’s not up to him to hand me life on a silver platter... although I wouldn’t say no to a pair of Manolo Blahniks.

I know with great certainty that no matter what we go through, my husband will not rescue me. Not because he doesn’t want to or doesn’t know how to. But because he trusts that I’m smart enough and self-sufficient enough to find my way through anything.

A healthy relationship requires constant work, attention, and most of all, the understanding of who you are as an individual, and who you are in the couple.
Being married to this man has given me the self-confidence to achieve anything I set my mind to. And trust me, the reset button in my mind gets pressed a lot.

Me: I want to start a cake-making business.

Wayne: Go for it!

Me: I want to go back to university and become a nurse

Wayne: Go for it!

Me: I want to become a fitness model.

Wayne: Go for it!

Me: I want to buy a new convertible and you can drive the minivan.

Ok. So I never said he was perfect.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What Would You Rather Episode 9

What Would You Rather: The idea is to choose ONE answer. This is just a game so yes the questions are a bit out there and unrealistic.  The hard part is in the choosing.  So play along and tell us... what would YOU rather and then explain maybe WHY you chose that answer?

Would you rather take a road trip or jet set off to some place exotic?

Would you rather have a significant other who can cook or one that can give the best massages?

Would you rather have someone that was adventurous or a homebody?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

He Said She Said: What the working parent expect of the SAHP

Two of our contributors are asked to take opposing stances on an issue and present a case for their viewpoint. Comment and tell us who you agree with or what you believe or think! The topics are suppose to elicit a response and start a conversation in comments. Enjoy!

TOPIC: My spouse expected me to do the house tidying when I was out of a job and at home (always bugs me when she is the one who trashes the house and expects me to clean her mess up).

She Said: Nitebyrd

This statement brings a plethora of questions to mind regarding the definition of “trashing the house.” Unless the employed spouse has a hobby of doing chainsaw sculptures in the living room, allows their pet goats free rein in the house or entertains rock bands for tequila tastings in the evening, then “trashing” begs further description.

I’m going to assume that the employed spouse does none of the aforementioned things and that “trashing” consists of more minor transgressions such as, leaving dishes in the sink, the morning paper spread out over the table, uncapped toothpaste tubes and overflowing garbage cans. Should the employed person expect clean up of these types of things? Well, YES! Yes, they should.

Let’s face if folks, no matter how hard we try, household and child care chores are not now nor will they ever be a 50-50 deal for most people. One person always gets more of the burden. Usually, this is the woman in a regular hetero relationship. If the woman is employed and the male is not, then expecting him to maintain regular household chores whilst still looking for suitable employment is not asking too much. Most days, you are not spending eight to 1- hours job hunting. Having the house stand up to “white-glove inspection” or having gourmet meals prepared each evening isn’t what I’m saying. But expecting to come home to a tidy/clean house, laundry done, kids not filthy, homework started or done and dinner ready, seems reasonable to me. After all, stay-at-home parents and/or spouses are expected to get all that done and more.

The stress of losing a necessary income and bearing the weight of the family’s financial welfare is difficult, to say the least. Add on coming home to a messy house, children that are dirty and hungry, laundry piling up, dogs needing to be walked and a spouse who’s first question, after a day at home is, “What’s for dinner?” and you are looking a potentially homicidal situation. So, would hanging up the wet towels, wiping toothpaste off the counter, washing dishes, dusting, vacuuming and learning how to work that machine that cleans the clothes be too much to ask for making home life less volatile?

I think not.

He Said: DCHY

As most of you know, I am a SAHP. I used to work for a living. The terms, while I was gainfully employed, was different. What I meant by "terms" was who did what with the housework.

My wife and I shared equally at the time. Sometimes, she would complain that I wasn't doing my part. The truth was she contributed more to the mess than I did and she thought I wasn't doing my part.

We had our discussions (yes, plural) about that and I coined the term/phrase for what she did - "I'll do it later" and she realized that she was looking at so many of her "I'll do it later" piles. Then, I didn't have a job anymore...

I have a slight touch of OCD and seeing the mess everywhere drives me NUTS. She even created catch-all drawers (there are 6 now) to deal with them later. I tried my best to avoid all the "I'll do it later" piles and just clean the rest up.

I'm telling you...the piles breed faster than the rabbits! As I sit typing this, there's a collective mess of my girls' toys and whatnots all over the living room to my left...and a bit more of the same in the TV room to my right...and toys strewn all over the dining room behind me.

There's clothes all over the couch in the TV room and in the hampers, all for my wife and my girls. My youngest is only 3 years old and cannot possibly put her clothes away. I would do it, but her closet is stuffed full of "I'll do it later". Argh.

Tell me this - should I still clean up all the "I'll do it later" mess or accept my thankless role of being a SAHP and clean?


Okay everyone! What do you have to say?

Monday, July 26, 2010

My husband has a seedy mistress

Shelle Edit: Elaina is new to me.  I met her while she was debating with Sage and Gucci Mama over at Gucci Mama's place-she was the liberal amongst the conservatives.  The thing I DO remember about her was that she knew her politics, and she was well written, and spoke her points well.   So I was very excited when she wrote this post for us.  Go Check out her personal blog if you like what she says here.  Thanks Elaina!

My husband is my one and only. He’s the only man I’ve ever loved, and I trusted our love enough to marry him one month shy of my 20th birthday, for no real reason, translation: (I wasn’t pregnant).

But I am not his one and only.

No, there is a seedy mistress that lurks in our lives, waiting to take him away from me and our children, and her name is…Uncle Sam. My husband and I had been married 6 months when he came home from work one night and said, “You know, I’ve been thinking about joining the Army.” This completely blew my mind. I had, at one point in my life, dreamed of being an Army nurse (I have all 11 seasons of M*A*S*H on DVD, but I’m sure it’s not related), but I have asthma and didn’t qualify. I had given up on my dream, married a man I loved, and was working a full time job and going to school. I had had a miscarriage the month before, and was still in shock; my world had come together and fallen apart, all in 6 months, and now, now, he’s telling me that he wants to join the Army? I said the only thing I could think of: “You do know we’re in two wars right now, right?” However, it was something that he really wanted to do. We were broke, as in “hey, do you think we can make a casserole out of elbow macaroni and cheerios?” broke. I was working full time, then driving from Atlanta to my college in West Georgia an hour and a half west of Atlanta for class, and then back to our apartment somewhere in the middle. I was exhausted, and my car needed new spark plugs. But that’s not why he enlisted. He enlisted because he wanted to serve, and yes, because he wanted a better life for us.

Our pregnancy was scary. We had been married only 3 months when we found out. We had been using birth control, but we were thrilled; you’ve never seen two people happier. We didn’t know how we’d manage, but we knew we’d get by. He took off work to go to every doctor’s appointment with me, and he was there when the doctor told us our baby was dead. I miscarried on the Sunday after Easter, in 2006. We knew right away that we wanted to try again, but we also knew it would be completely  irresponsible; an accident was one thing, but purposely bringing a baby into our macaroni-and-cheerio-casserole situation just was not a good idea. So, we painfully decided to wait.

In May, the night he came home with this “wonderful” news, I could have strangled him. I mean, couldn’t he see that I was grieving our baby, and now he wanted to take himself away from me, too? It was too much to handle. The next morning, I called into work and we went to talk to a recruiter. That July he left for basic training. The Army has been good to us. We paid off all our debt, and acquired some shiny new debt. We bought a new car (by the way, my old car got its new spark plugs, and a new owner). We visited Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, and tons of other places. I’ve had Dunkin Donuts a few blocks from the Brandenburg Gate, and I’ve had smoked beer at Oktoberfest (it was awful). I learned how to be independent, which was a good thing for me. I went from my living with my aunt to living with my husband, but I had never been alone.

In my first year as an Army Wife, I moved to a foreign country, I got pregnant again, and I sent my husband off to war. That day was the hardest day of my life. There are no words to describe the despair that you feel when someone you love goes off to war, no way to explain what it’s like to know that this may be the last time that you see him. To wonder if death will come for him, and to wonder if he’ll die in his buddy’s arms while you're a world away, safe and warm. It’s morbid and depressing, but we all do it.

When he was deployed, we talked as much as we could, but it was like being married to a phone. I never went anywhere without my phone. When I showered, I took it to the bathroom. When I had a doctor’s appointment, I didn’t put it on silent. When I slept, it was beside my pillow. But how can a marriage survive if all you have to hold is a phone? He came home, 15 months later, to a daughter who didn’t know him, and a wife who had forgotten many things. When he moved in the night, I woke up, startled, because someone was in bed with me. He re-arranged the furniture, and I put it right back. He made dinner and put the pots in the wrong places. Everything that kept me sane when he was gone went out the window when he came back. During his absence, every minute detail became important to me. I had no control over my husband’s safety, but I did have control over where the salt and pepper shakers went.

Even worse than the absence, though, is when he’s here and yet he’s gone anyway. Last year, I spent 10 days with my husband in a 4 month period. He was not deployed, but rather he was assigned to help other units getting ready for a deployment with their training. I never know when he’ll be called into work, either for a few minutes or a few weeks.

The worst part, though, is knowing that I come second. If it’s my birthday, the Army doesn’t care. If he was a lawyer, he could tell his boss that he wouldn’t be in. If he was a teacher, he could take the day off. But there is no saying no to the Army. If they want him there, he’ll be there or there’ll be hell to pay. How do I cope? Well, I reassure myself that he loves what he does, that he loves me, and that it is possible for him to love both of us. The Army is something that he is a part of, so I make it important to me. I bake cookies for single soldiers, I’m active in family readiness groups, and I know almost as much of the lingo as he does. It used to other me that the Army sometimes had to come first, but I know that I’m first in his heart, and that’s where it matters the most.

Does anyone else know what it's like to be the second priority of your spouse? Why, and how do you deal with it?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Group Therapy: What's better for my kids?

Welcome To Group Therapy:

Here is a write in question for you guys.  Please let her know what you think and/or give her your advice.

"My husband and I have been married for 12 years and I've been home with our two kids for 10 of those years.  After months of marriage counseling, we've decided to live apart for awhile and see if that's really what would be best for our family.  I've come to realize that I don't  enjoying being a full time parent.  I'm thinking that the kids might be better off spending the majority of their time with their dad.  I find myself getting frustrated very easily with my oldest (10) and we definitely push each others buttons.  Lately I've resorted to a lot of yelling which isn't good for anybody.  I am afraid that my family and my husbands (not to mention our friends) will villify me if I don't fight for primary custody.  Do your readers have any advice for me? Am I a bad mother because I don't think being the primary caregiver right now is the best thing for my kids?"



***We would love to hear from you guys! If you have something you want discussed in Group Therapy email me at blokthoughts @ gmail dot com-- Subject: Group Therapy.

Comment, follow comments, come back and discuss others comments, and feel free to comment anonymously!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It is NORMALCY I miss the most... living with his terminal illness.

Shelle Edit: I have been reading Lilly's blog for a very long time now.  She use to give away baskets of stuff to those that donated to her cause.  I was a winner of one of them.  But I didn't donate because I could win something, I donated because Lilly and her story became one I felt close to, if that makes any sense.  Her blog is updates of her husband sprinkled in with tid bits of her daughters comings and goings. I remember the first time I saw a picture of her with one of her daughters and it was no surprise that she (and her daughter) were absolutely beautiful.  She is proof that sometimes someone is SO beautiful inside that it just can't help but show through to her outside and I think her daughters are the same way.  I was so happy to have Lilly volunteer to write this post.  I had no idea she even read this blog, but I am so happy she is sharing this with us.  Lilly is actually on vacation today but she wanted me to post this WHILE she is on vacation with some friends (which she hasn't been able to do because of her situation-so we are really happy for her) because when she is at home she is too busy.  She is going to try to reply to comments but I know that she will appreciate any response or comment she gets today.  After reading this, make sure to go over and read her personal blog.

R and I have been married for many years. We have 3 beautiful daughters that keep things interesting. It never ceased to amaze me how nonchallently R could walk in a grocery store and pick up 3 different boxes of tampons for 3 different women in his house that couldn't agree on even the simple things like "leak protection vs. baby powder scented vs. dry weave". We always had a normal marriage, both working long hours, focused on climbing that corporate ladder. Of course, days off were spent trying to get caught up on the mountain of laundry that had accumulated, vacuuming, mopping, yardwork, grocery shopping, meal planning....etc. The kinds of things all couples deal with. Normal things. With it came the arguments about whose turn it is it vacuum, cook, fold, iron....again, the normal couple things. Admittedly, I'm a Princess and R ALWAYS ended up doing most of the household chores. My job and my Princess-ship took up a lot of my time!

One Thanksgiving day, R told me he thought he had a bladder infection. What? He had never been sick and I was sure this was a ploy to get out of putting up the Christmas trees. I had that day planned down to the last minute! It turned out that this was no ploy. This "bladder infection" was actually bladder cancer, stage IV by the time he became symptomatic. A death sentence. He spent months in ICU, a wonderful team of doctors pulling out all the stops to keep him alive from day to day. He's still with us, barely hanging onto life on most days, making me laugh on others.

R was always the caregiver. If our girls threw up, they called for Daddy, they knew I couldn't handle it. I would puke right along with them. Cat had a fur-ball, R to the rescue! Skinned knee? Broken bone? Rash? R ALL.THE.WAY! He was always so strong and just had a natural knack for doctoring. I couldn't even take care of myself!  I remember cutting my finger slicing tomatoes one day and passed out on the spot. No one I know has such a gentle grace as my R.  When he got sick, it was very fast. We had no time to prepare for the changes that were about to take place. Since he became ill, it has been an endless stream of catheters, NG tubes, ostomy bags, JP drains, nausea, and chemo. He has had to come to terms with having to relinquish his care and his privacy over to someone else, and I've had to learn to handle all the caregiving without throwing up! Some days are certainly harder than others, on both of us!

I know all about the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and finally, acceptance. I have watched my husband go into, and come out of each stage. He is in the acceptance stage now. He talks to me very matter of factly about hospice, the life insurance policies,the burial plots. He has such peace now. Me? I'm still in the anger stage. I must have stopped retaining anything after that chapter when I read Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' book way back in my college Psychology class. I'm mad at everyone from his workplace where he handled the deadly chemicals that caused this cancer, to the Doctor who botched his original surgery, to the nurse at the Cancer Center that was rude to me one day, to the produce manager at Winn Dixie who was out of fresh Artichokes and everyone KNOWS that green leafy vegetables fight cancer cells, to R for getting to that acceptance stage before me and leaving me boxing with the world. Our roles have definitely switched....

Am I telling you this to get your attention? To show you how trivial your disagreements with your significant others are? HECK NO! In fact, if God would grant us a miracle and heal this wonderful man, the first thing I would say is "Thank you, Lord". The second is "Ummmmm....I believe it's YOUR turn to vacuum!". That's normal, and it's normalcy I miss the most. As much as I would love sleeping curled around my husband, as much as I miss making love with him, and our 2 am runs to Waffle House because I'm craving bacon and pecan waffles, I would LOVE to have a nice argument with him. So much, that earlier this week he made a comment about Don Henley (who he KNOWS I love) and I bopped him on his bald head with a throw pillow from the couch and called him a
GOON! Felt soooooo good!

Love your it to the fullest. Accept that there will be disagreements, I would worry about anyone who didn't have them. And KNOW that one day, you may have to withdraw from that bank of memories to get to the end of that day. So, make them good ones~


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The one relationship she can't forget.

Shelle Edit: Aleah did things a bit different.  I posted the topics post and she instantly sent me an email with this incredible post.  I was so excited and emailed her back to let her know I thought it was perfect for this site.  How many of us have this kind or have had this kind of relationship in our lives?  I love how she describes WHY it is a relationship for her that will never be forgotten.  Enjoy her first post here at REAL WORLD! :)

Whose that one person in your life that you will never forget? Why was that relationship so memorable?

When I entered my junior year in high school I met the person who would eventually become the person that would change me in a way I never imagined. He would teach me that everything terrible that happened in my life as a child wasn't about me. He would teach me to love and be loved. He would change me forever in a way that I couldn't understand. In-fact, I wouldn't realize his importance until he wasn't in my life anymore. He was this funny, crazy, goofy, smart, amazing person. We became friends through a few classes that we had together, by senior year we were spending a ton of time together, we had about half of our classes together and we would hang out after school and on the weekends. He had a girl-friend for most of the year and I was interested in another guy, but we were still best-friends. He would come over and swim at my house and then stay until it was almost morning... oddly, as two hormone driven teenagers it was always very innocent. The thought never crossed my mind that he could be a sexual object of any kind.

The end of our senior year came and we had all the traditional rights of passages; parties, prom, graduation, after-grad, yearbook signings, everything that high school seniors dream of. Over that next summer he and I spent more and more time together and became closer than ever. When it came time to go away to college we were three hours apart, but we talked on the phone all the time and I would drive to see him about one a week with my roommate (our high school friend). Every time I would go see him I would spend the entire three hour trip home crying because I missed him. Eventually in college we drifted apart and we both got married and had kids. We have both had tragedy and joy in our lives and have since become intertwined again.

Every time I see him my heart smiles. He was the first boy that I loved, I wasn't IN love with him, but I loved him. He was the first person outside of family that I ever said "I Love You" to. He was the first person outside of family that ever said "I Love You" to me. He holds a place in my heart that will forever belong to him. I still get teary eyed when I think about him sometimes, and I miss him a lot of times. I miss the safeness that I had with him, I miss the unconditional love that we had between us and the way that he made me laugh until I cried. I love that just the thought of him can make me smile, even after 10 years of not having him in my life. I love that when I need a pick-me-up I can read my senior year book and the half page that he wrote to me, the part about being his best-friend and the part where he says that my smile can make even his worst day better.

I never realized what he was doing to me and for me until about three years after we lost contact. I miss my friend dearly, and I will forever remember him as the person that taught me that I was lovable and worth it.

***Do you think it is possible to love someone so completely without actually being "in" love with them? or "Who has been your greatest love?" 

Aleah <-click on her name to get to her blog!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Abortion, He Said She Said, come on you know you wanna

Ok the way this goes is GM wrote her abortion stance and sent it to Sage and then he wrote his stance. Granted we are not that far apart on this issue but a few things are up for debate. Feel free to opine with whatever YOUR stance is. I would suggest following the comments if you are up for a good debate, a spanking, or would like to learn something.

Gucci Mama Said.....

I don't like to call myself "pro-life". I think most people are pro-life. Pro-life is a misnomer. Even people who have convinced themselves that abortion on demand is some kind of "right" are probably, for the most part, "pro-life". Instead I am a fierce, passionate advocate of the right to life. I believe that everyone has the basic right to life regardless of age, size, place of residence, future potential, socioeconomic status, or existence of handicap.

I could spend all day enumerating the thousands of reasons abortion is legally, ethically, and morally bankrupt, but you've heard those before. You either recognize them or you choose to turn a blind eye to them. We don't need to talk about how the Fourteenth Amendment doesn't include a broad and interpretive right to privacy as it has been manipulated in order to justify this horrifying practice. We don't need to talk about medical realities like how the heart of a fetus begins to beat at 18 days gestation and it has a distinctive and quantifiable genetic map from the moment of conception. And if we don't need to talk about that, we certainly don't need to mention the mainstream medical consensus that life begins at conception. We certainly don't need to discuss how abortion isn't really some kind of pillar of the feminist movement, because everyone knows that the first feminists like Mary Wollstonecroft, Susan B. Anthony, and Eliza Bisbee Duffey (just to name a few) were diametrically opposed to abortion not only because of the undeniable harm it does to women, but because of the power it gives men over a woman's sexuality.

Since we don't need to talk about those things because they're just basic, common knowledge, let's talk about the tough stuff. Whenever this issue is debated, it is inevitable that someone will bring two things to the table as if the minute possibility of these circumstances somehow justifies virtually unrestricted access to abortion at virtually any time during pregnancy for virtually any reason.

These two things are, of course, rape/incest and the vague, largely undefined "life of the mother" hysteria.

You mean you would force a woman to carry her rapist's baby? What we first need to do is hear the words behind the question which are, Don't you care about this woman? Don't you want to take away her pain, fix her problem? Have you no compassion? For me, advocating the right to life is not about the baby, at least not exclusively. It is about supporting and empowering women. And so looking at it from a compassionate angle, the question we have to ask is Would an abortion help a rape victim or harm her? What many people, pro-life and pro-abortion alike, don't realize is that abortion is not a solution or a treatment for the trauma of rape. Since when is replacing one trauma with another sound medical or psychological advice? Studies have absolutely shown that many women relive their rape experiences during their abortions. Many pregnant rape victims decide to terminate not based on anything other than the thoughts, opinions, sometimes even the coercion of others which seem to collectively say, You are pregnant by rape and this is not acceptable; you have no choice but to abort. It only makes sense.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The thing that gets me about this challenge is that it is implied that I as a pro-life activist am somehow forcing a pregnant rape victim to carry her rapist's child. That blame does not belong at my door. It does not belong at the victim's door and it does not belong at the baby's door (or the "fetus" if you prefer, though "fetus" is merely Latin for "baby"). The only one who forced a pregnancy on a woman who experienced unimaginable horror is the rapist himself. He is the one who should be crucified, not the right-to-lifer, not the mother, and not the fetus. The reality is that there is so much pressure to abort after a rape that many women feel they have no choice. Women are notorious for doing what people expect of them; we are people pleasers by nature. Furthermore, the immediate aftermath of being brutalized is not the time to be making life altering decisions, especially when the consequences are unknown or even concealed as is sometimes the case.

So what I propose responding when someone poses this question is, if their concern is truly compassion (and in the case of the powerful abortion business machine, it most certainly is not) why can't we love them both? Why can't we extend the same compassion to the baby that everyone agrees should go to the mother? You cannot help the mother without helping the child and you cannot hurt the child without hurting the mother.

But what if the mother's life is in danger? Are you okay with abortion then? This one is a favorite of people trying desperately to find justification for killing an unborn baby. It certainly provides a really cute knee jerk reaction, but unfortunately, it just doesn't hold any water. There is not a single documented case in recorded history of a medical condition that occurs in a mother past the stage of fetal viability that can only be cured by an abortion. There are excessively rare issues that occur in early pregnancy that are truly life threatening in some cases - these are ectopic pregnancy and molar pregnancy - and in these cases abortion is sometimes or even often medically indicated. While there have been several cases of successful full term ectopic pregnancies, I will certainly concede that in these cases, there is a careful decision to be made between woman and doctor regarding whether to terminate.

But this "life of the mother" talking point is almost always introduced when referring to late term abortions and with fetal viability beginning as early as between 22 and 24 weeks, there is simply no justification to terminate the life of a child who could be delivered prematurely in order to ease a high risk maternal health issue. Further, with the amazing medical advances that are made every day, doctors are able to keep high risk women pregnant longer, and they are also able to keep earlier and tinier preemies healthier than ever before.

It really is that simple.

Sage said.......

Well GM and I were asked if there was a political issue we did not agree on because we regularly and easily eviscerate the sissified loser class that has come to be known as liberals or Democrats. There are two issues; abortion is one of them.

While nobody can give any moral reason for this "Man Law" that makes any sense there are a couple of situations, as seldom as they occur, I can't find any reason for ANYONE to be against abortion. Let me also clarify my stance on abortion.

It is common knowledge that abortion benefits men far more than women, everyone with a brain knows this. It is also common knowledge that the roots of abortion are fed by racism, which of course is the lifeblood of liberalism, Marxism, Nazism and the modern Democratic party. Yet and still I could not care less if someone has an abortion, provided it doesn't cost me money, though of course it does today in America. That being said, abortion is undoubtedly the greatest human rights violation in the history of mankind. What human right could be greater than life itself. Abortion makes slavery look like an afternoon at Chucky Cheese. Of course no America loving American can be for it because our very founding document railed against the barbarism that would be snuffing out innocent human life on a whim, y'all remember "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness right? Only one of these affects the other two absolutely.

All that being said I do not have an "absolute" moral stance against abortion. There are a few situations that I would be for it.

If for any reason the life of the mother is at great risk due to pregnancy or the birthing process then I would find that not only acceptable but even recommended in certain situations. It would wrong IMO morally for a bred woman with say 3 small kids that had 2-3 doctors tell her she could not birth that child without a huge risk that she would die. She would be dong a DISSERVICE to the kids she has. I realize and understand that this is a minute percentage of pregnancies, but those 4 every year I will march in the street for.

Next I would allow a woman who was raped to have an abortion. This would only really come into effect if she was enslaved while she was bred though so again minute. If she is not kept captive then she probably can go to the police and get the morning after pill, which I am also in favor of. Lastly if a child was bred by incestuous relations forced upon her then I would be okay with her aborting.

There ya go. My inner libertarian doesn't care if you pull the cute lil' baby out and play fetus football with him for whatever reason, you have to live with that not me (provided it doesn't cost me anything), but those 3 issues I listed I can't imagine someone being against aborting those lil' crumb crunchers.

Feel free to take to task any of the brilliance that has been bestowed upon you today. How do YOU, dear reader, see this issue? Follow the comments, this should be fun!
Party time?
Somewhere in between?
Do tell.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Taking responsibility for our Debt

Author’s note: When Shelle first put up the list of topics that she wanted guest contributors for, I thought about taking a chance with them. See, I love writing. I have my own blog; My Life, My Glory. I’ve been blogging for four years. But the thing is, I mainly write for me, myself and I. I don’t write in my blog for everyone else. So I talked myself out of contacting Shelle with my thoughts on one of the topics. What changed my mind? I thought that maybe, just maybe, I might be able to help one person or make one person realize that she or he is not alone. Doing just that makes it worth something.

I have been a wife for four years, a mother for six years and a SAHM for four years. You need to know that I am a little old fashion when it comes to one thing; I believed because I was a SAHM and not bringing in any money in to the home, it was absolutely none of my business what my husband made, how the bills got paid, etc. (Haha, yes, it’s 2010, I know this). This doesn’t mean that’s how I felt about other SAHPs.

Before the economy went down the crapper, we didn’t care much about watching what we spent and when we spent it. My husband is the VP of the company. He makes a great income. He had some debt, but nothing that was extreme and nothing that wasn’t difficult to pay off. Shortly before Christmas 2007, my husband was up for a raise. We were offered a choice; we could either accept the raise on my husband’s paycheque or we could have the company pay some of our bills so that we could pay off the debt we had without pulling us tight in the wallet. Everything went great. We paid off our debts. We had hundreds of extra dollars each week because our bills were taken care of.

The problem starts when the money controller of the company stopped paying our bills without informing us. Apparently, the original plan had been for the company to pay our bills until the debt was caught up. Once the debt was caught up, they would stop paying the bills and would put the raise on our paycheque. This was not what was explained to us. This continued for three months. We were now behind, by three months on all our bills except our mortgage and car payment. Unfortunately, this is also the time when things were getting really bad in the USA. My husband’s company deals mainly with American buyers, despite us being in Canada. So if there were no buyers for the machines that our company made, there was no money coming in. At this point, I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t know that bills hadn’t gotten paid. I didn’t know that my husband was struggling to catch up on bills. I didn’t think to open the letters coming from the insurance company, the electricity company, the gas company, the telephone company or the cable company. Maybe that was my fault in all of this. I didn’t think. I trusted my husband, trusted that he could and would provide for us.

October 2008 rolled around. I was tired of the constant phone calls (even if I did answer them, they couldn’t talk to me because my name wasn’t on the records), tired of signing for letters that arrived in the mail. I finally opened one. I was shocked. I opened the next and the next. I finished opening all of the bills and was in tears. We were so severely in debt that there was little hope. I was furious with my husband for keeping this from me. I was furious that he would allow this to happen (at this point, I didn’t know what had happened). My anger turned into something else though. I began to think about how my husband was perfectly fine financially before me and my son came along. How he only had a credit card debt before we got married and had a second child. I began to feel like this was entirely my fault; that he would have been better off without me coming into his life. I packed a suit case for me and our children. I was going to leave. I know, drastic, but I felt that this was happening because of me and that he didn’t trust me enough to talk to me about it.

I stayed. I stayed and we fought it out. We had never fought before. Oh, we had arguments and disagreements, but we never fought before. We had a full blown screaming match that ended in tears for both of us. I found out everything that happened. I found out that because the economy in the USA hit a low, that people all over the country and even in our country were struggling, his company wasn’t able to give us the raise he was promised, that he earned, that had been given to him and then taken away. So not only had the company stopped paying our bills, but he had to take a huge pay cut on top of owing thousands of dollars.

Something changed. Something inside me changed. Neither of us apologized to the other. I don’t think we needed to. We both knew that we were sorry. I sat down the next day and went through every single bill. I wrote down what we owed to each company, and began to make a budget. I found out approximately $2,000 dollars of the debt wasn’t even ours, but belonged to my FIL and was in my husband’s name!

Fast forward to now, July 2010. My husband is debt free. All of our bills have been paid off. We were lucky. My husband was able to make payment plans with the companies. It took us over a year to get there, but we did. I have a credit card debt that is being paid off, slowly but surely. In March 2011 it will be completely paid off and that is my debt.

So where is the positive in all this?

1. My husband & I are more open about our finances. He now tells me everything, even if I don’t want to know. He tells me NO when I want something but we can’t afford it (yes, this is a positive because before he would say yes and put a bill on hold). He will sit down with me and talk to me if there is a problem, a potential problem or if he wants to make changes in our services.
2. I have taken over the budgeting. I got over my silly beliefs and became involved. I created an Excel spread sheet with every single bill, every single paycheque and every single extra that we ever want to do. I took the step, one I didn’t believe was my right, and took charge of our finances. If I don’t keep on top of things and remind my husband when due dates are, they can and will get forgotten. If they do, it will be OUR fault this time, and not his company’s.
3. Things got really bad. I almost left my husband. I was ready to walk away from him, from our life that we had built and were still building. I stayed and we worked on, compromised on and fixed things.
4. We have a savings plan now, which is something we didn’t have before. Our close friends are getting married in the Dominican Republic in March 2011. We’re able to actually go. I can look at our budget, figure out how much we need to save each paycheque and do it. If we want to go out for dinner, we can. If we want to buy something for the kids, we can. If we want to take a day trip to a zoo, safari, amusement park, we can.
5. We downsized on things we simply don’t need. We dropped down to basic cable and to a basic internet services. We fixed our phone plans so they made more sense. We stopped treating our family and friends to things and “went dutch” more often than not.
6. And the biggest one in my opinion? My husband is officially debt free. I know that some people can say that, but there aren’t that many who can.

How has the economy affected the financial dynamic in your relationship?

* Alex
My life, My Glory

Friday, July 16, 2010

Meet The Blogger: Cajoh

Name: Christopher Johnson aka Cajoh

Age: 43 and counting.

Kids #, age & sex: I do not have kids of my own, but my wife has two. A daughter 29, and a son 25.

Maritial status: Married

1. How many years in your current relationship: 14 Years come September.

2. Have you ever been divorced?: No

       ***If so how many times?:

What do you do for work: Computer Programmer

Education: I have two Bachelors Degrees 

Blogs you contribute to:

       main blog:

Religion: Methodist

Political affiliation- (republican, democrat, libertarian): Independent with leanings towards republicanism.

Basic philosophical leanings (liberal, conservative, confused): I consider a lot of my philosophical leanings to be more zen-like in that I am flexible and lean in many different ways without breaking.

What is your motto in life?: Be true to yourself as your own self true.

Who has had the most influence in your life?: It is difficult to say who, since some influences I may not even be aware of. I can't say that those I have known the longest have had the most influence because of the quantity of influence-- nor can I say those who have the most quality influence either since I do not know what constitutes quality influence.

Why did you start Blogging?  (100 words or less): I have what I consider to be a quite profound personal philosophy. I would like to be able to publish my philosophy someday, but I need to write it down first. Having a blog allows me to write it down as well as know how others interpret what I say.

       *What is the most favorite post you have written on any blog you contribute to?:

Tell us in 100 words about your current relationship: I have known my wife for more than one quarter of my life. I appreciate that fact that we have so many things in common and can get a long with one another quite easily. Even those things that we disagree with, we can be civil enough with one another to respect each other's opinions.

BONUS or OPTIONAL: Tell us something we need to know about you that we haven't covered above. 50 words or less: I used to think that I would NEVER get married. I was one of those people who felt very unlucky and never could find someone to love. Once I was able to concentrate on myself and not look anymore, love just landed in my lap and I have been happy ever since.

Shelle Edit:  I think what Cajoh brings to this blog is a sense of experience.  His writing exudes intelligence about life and it leaks over into his posts here at Real World.  Thanks for writing for us!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Who's That Girl?

Well hello there. Been a long time since I posted over here, I know! I have been going through some major relationship issues as of late. It's only now that I realize, while I have been slackin' with Venus and Mars, it's probably the best place for me right now. But before we get into any of that, I have a little story I want to tell you. 

Once upon a time, in a land far away, just outside Detroit, I was a girl with a dream. I was a single mother with a 1 year old in tow. I knew I needed to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life and get started on it. 

I had always been immersed in the world of art, starting at a very young age. I was always drawing, and sometimes painting. I took many classes to fend off my feelings of insecurity, about the craft. But deep down I knew, no one can really make a career out of drawing. 

That was until I realized, I was in MI, and tattooing was legal there. I took the bull by the horns, walked into a studio and made fast friends with one of the old dogs of the tattoo world. I got an apprenticeship immediately. I never felt as “at home” as I did in the studio. It was a one man show, and the owner, Doc, ended up being the closest thing I had to a father... EVER! 

I wanted it so badly, that I worked 10 hours a day, six days a week there. The apprenticeship did not pay, so in order to support my daughter, I worked the graveyard shift at a gas station. I went on this way for months, exhausting myself. I ended up in the hospital at one point, but it did not slow me down. I was on my way to being a rock star of the tattoo world, and nothing ever tasted so sweet. 

The Inner Demon

And then one day, I had to come back to the East Coast on short notice. Not long after that I met my, would be, husband. In the time that we dated, I purchase my own tattoo equipment, almost $4000 worth. I was determined to continue on my journey, and worked on myself and my friends. I occasionally made the trip back to see Doc, where we would spend the day in the studio working on my skills. I was getting good, and I was building a client list. People who only wanted to be tattooed by me. During that time, tattooing became legal here. But by the time I was ready to go back into that world, I was pregnant and engaged.  

Irish and American Indian Heritage

We'll just skip right to the end of this story. Shortly after we were married, my husband informed me that he didn't want me to get any more tattoos, because he didn't want to be married to a 'biker bitch'. Oh and it wouldn't be good for our relationship, if I went to work in a studio. What he expressed was we were a young family, and I would be spending to much time away in the evenings. 

So I put my dream away. I put on my happy face, and calmed my inner wild child. I eventually took my tongue ring out, and tried harder to conform, to not rock the boat, to keep the peace. A fat lot of good it's done me. It's been 10 years since I walked into that studio. And everyone one around me is miserable, most of all me. 

I still dream, at night, about working in the studio. About getting the tattoos I worked out in my head all those years ago. Thinking about it now makes my heart feel like someone is squeezing it. 

About a month ago, after another screaming session with my husband, I sat and thought about my life. I spent a week seething with anger, waiting for him to say he was sorry, again. When I realized that this time, it was not coming, I started to think about what I want out of life. For the first time in a long time, I put everyone else on the back burner. I decided it was time to be a little selfish. 

With a little patience, I managed to work the barbell back into my tongue. It's my armor, it makes me feel like the tough girl I used to be. Before I settled for someone elses idea of what my life should be. 

It took him 2 days to notice, but when he finally did, I decided it was time to tell him. I am going to try to get back into the tattoo world . It's been 10 years, so I will need to re-apprentice. But I don't care. I need this so badly, I can manage to put everything aside, and focus on what I need to do to make this happen. 

He is not happy. I tried to explain it as nicely as I could, but the point was, he doesn't have a choice, or any say in the matter. I used to be a bad ass. I used to have the temper of a raging bull if you pushed me too far. I used to walk around, all my ink show, proud. I used to have a mouth worse than any drunkin' sailor. I used to be outgoing, and make fast friends. I was strong and confident and beautiful in my determination. I was on my way to being a rock star in the tattoo world. I am none of those things anymore. 

Somethings that have changed are for the best. My children don't need to hear my former foul mouth. And the chances of me ending up in jail, because I hit my husband with a vacuum while he screamed horrible names at me... slim to none! But I miss the person I used to be. I want to be that happy go lucky person. I want to look forward to getting up every morning. I want to hear peoples life stories, while they sit in my chair. I miss helping people heal part of their pain through a tattoo. I want back the excitement of planning a piece of meaningful art. To see it realized in their skin. To be humbled that they would wear my art, for the world to see.

Dealing With The Lose of a Newborn

I am not sure how this life would have turned out if giving up my dream had made a difference.  If my husband was not always angry and hateful.  It might have been worth our happiness then.  But that's not the way it turned out.  So... I am choosing my happiness over him.  When the girls go back to school in the Fall, I will begin the journey again.  And I will find happiness in the person I used to be, whether he stands beside me or not. 

Shelle Edit: Is there a way to make this work AND their relationship?  Is it fair? Is there a compromise? Or has Missy compromised enough?


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What Would You Rather Episode 8

What Would You Rather: The idea is to choose ONE answer. This is just a game so yes the questions are a bit out there and unrealistic.  The hard part is in the choosing.  So play along and tell us... what would YOU rather and then explain maybe WHY you chose that answer?

1) Would you rather be called a racist or a traitor to your country?

2) Find true love or 1 million dollars?

3) Be forgotten or hatefully remembered?

4) Would you rather be seen naked by a total stranger (for a very crazy amount of time-long time), or a deep dark secret be exposed to your spouse/significant other?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When you just CAN'T... and sex.

Okay – so it’s all about sex. Everything. If that makes you uncomfortable this just may not be the post for you… of course, given some OTHER discussions that have happened on this very blog I’d be downright SHOCKED if my sweet little post were the one to turn you off.

So… my husband and I enjoy a very healthy and active sex life. We’re not at it every night or anything, but a few times a week is average and that has worked for both of us. You know that song from Oklahoma – “I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say No”… yep, that’s me… usually.

Now, there are obviously times when this doesn’t work… and now that my childbearing years are a thing of the past I’m considering doing something about “that time” just because of its inconvenience in the bedroom. Hormones, Shmormones – that’s what I always say. (okay, not really… the hormones keep it HOT in the bedroom… we’ll keep them and cope with the inconveniences I guess)

Unfortunately – sometimes health issues creep up… I freaked out a tiny bit when my husband was experiencing some chest pain (which turned out to be nothing) and that made me a little wary in bed… until the Mr. informs me that his doctor actually recommended as much hot and steamy sex as possible. Now… knowing the Mr. like I do (in the biblical sense) and knowing that his cardiologist is a female… I highly doubt they had that discussion – but we went along with it.

When one of us has a nasty cold or the flu… well, there’s something decidedly unappealing about runny noses and rolling around in the sheets… sorry. Allergies? Well, that’s what they make Sudafed FOR people!

Exhaustion? Yeah, doesn’t usually happen around our house – with a pile of kids who stay up WAY late and another pile who wake up too early – we’re always too tired, we make it work for us.

Headaches? Did you know that sex is actually REALLY good for headaches? Works like a charm… and when it doesn’t work wonderfully well it was still worth a try !

And now to the heart of the matter – I recently had a little “dizzy spell” – it lasted 2 months. Seriously – you know that feeling you have when you get off the teacups ride – yeah, that. For TWO months. The doctors have all these fancy terms for it – but basically my ears are screwed up and I’m likely to experience this again throughout my life. Can I tell you how much fun it is to roll over in your sleep and wake up because you feel like you’re falling… 5 times a night? Sucks, but on a list of rotten diseases it’s pretty near the bottom – so I’m not crying over it or anything.

I knew a spell was coming – little balance checks and earaches are a sure sign… but I didn’t think much of it… the spells usually aren’t bad. The latest spell was brought on by a Zumba class – I’m under Doctor’s orders to never do Zumba again. Really.

But… well, let’s just say that after last night I totally know what it’s like to fool around while riding a roller coaster. May be a little fun once… but frankly – I’m not looking forward to it again anytime soon. Do you think the Doctor would make me avoid sex if I discussed this with him? Not happening J I’m pretty sure The Mr. doesn’t enjoy me digging my fingers into his tender flesh quite that strongly again. (you gotta hold on to something when it feels like you’re falling)

Unless of course it’s a REAL roller coaster… hmmmmm….

For the record: yep, it’s making me dizzy every time… I’ve decided I can learn to like it. 

Any ideas for her?  Has anybody else experienced the "dizzy spells"?


Monday, July 12, 2010

He Said She Said: Parenting the neighborhood kids

Two of our contributors are asked to take opposing stances on an issue and present a case for their viewpoint. Comment and tell us who you agree with or what you believe or think! The topics are suppose to elicit a response and start a conversation in comments. Enjoy!

TOPIC: Parenting the neighborhood Kids.

He Said:

Two years ago when I was dismissed from my job, I noticed a phenomena when I became a SAHP. As you can guess from the title of the topic, I was suddenly everyone's parent while their parents worked or basically neglected them.

No, I wasn't the cool person...I was just emotionally available to anyone and everyone. I was okay with that and I was consistent with everyone on what is and is not acceptable in terms of behavior. Wipe your feet before you come in. Say "please" and "thank you". Ask your parents first before asking me if you can sleep over.

At first, some of the kids didn't like the expectations I placed on them...but they eventually understood that if they showed respect or behaved properly, I would be more receptive to them. However, there was this one thing that drove me nuts every day.

They kept coming over at lunchtime, which meant they expected me to feed them. I tried to get their parents to feed them. Uh-uh. I tried sending my girls over to be fed by them. Uh-uh. I tried getting the kids to brown-bag their lunch. Uh-uh. That's when I had enough and I told everyone since none of them were willing to feed my girls, I would not feed them anymore.

Oh, there was a bit of a fallout all over the neighborhood, but I refused to cave in. I stood my ground and every time a kid came over "hungry", I would gently remind the kid that there is food at her/his home and point the way. One house stopped talking to me (I didn't care since their sons were nothing but trouble and wouldn't stop cussing) and another stopped sending the kids over.

The kids still stop by, but they don't expect to be fed - they play with my girls. My sanity was restored. As for my relationship with the girls, things got much better. I no longer felt anxious about the possibility of them bringing their friends over.

Do you think my decision did some damage to their relationship with their friends?


She Said:

Neighbors are why I live forty miles from the nearest city in a gated community with a ten foot fence around my property. I'm not exactly known for my ability to play well with others. One of my biggest anxieties about having children was that I'd have to deal with other parents. Seriously. I may seem like a bundle of sweetness and beauty, and I certainly am, but I like people to keep their distance. I don't let people in. Sometimes, maybe even a lot of the time, I have difficulty with even superficial relationships.

So I get this.

I found that I even have it in me not only to dislike other people, but to dislike their children. Who dislikes a child? I do, apparently. I've had these kinds of kids at my house. They're rude, they're messy, they're always hungry, they're disrespectful, and they are teaching my children things I don't want them to learn. They don't respond well to rules. And I just wanted them to go away.

I laid down the law. The kids who didn't follow my rules were no longer allowed to play in my home. I was gentle, but firm. I tolerated them, though they made me grind my teeth and their parents made me stabby. I fed them, I entertained them, and showed them the love and attention a lot of them were looking for and not finding at home. I might have even learned to like them a little better.

And because I didn't follow my instincts, which were to erect an electric fence around my house and laugh as people were delivered a nonlethal jolt when they tried to get in, I learned that I can be someone for these kids that their parents can't or won't be. I can feed them and entertain them and let them raid my fridge and admonish them for getting dirt on my floor even if their parents aren't willing to do the same for me.

I have the choice to let it piss me off, which it certainly did at first, but instead I decided that the kids are not responsible for their parents idiocy. They can't help it that their parents dumped them off on me, expected me to take care of them out of the goodness of my heart. They're just kids and they clearly need a positive adult role model in their lives since their parents can't be bothered to be decent human beings.

So I suck it up, I take them in knowing my kindness is not going to be reciprocated, and I hope that what I teach the little heathens about behaving themselves will stick at least as long as they're playing with my children, maybe even a little longer if I'm lucky. And of course, when their parents are extra horrible, I fall back on one of my favorite pastimes. Writing letters and issuing penalties as the fictitious president of the homeowner's association.

Gucci Mama

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Juvenile Myositis, Every vote helps.

All you have to do to help my man Kevin out is vote!

Hey again, everyone:

Cure JM has gone from 30th to 13th place since voting on the Pepsi Refresh project started July 1, so all of your votes at are making a difference. Please vote EVERY DAY! $250,000 is half of Cure JM's fundraising goal for the entire year (see note below).

Thanks for all your help.

Always Home and Uncool:


Thanks to all of you for voting everyday for the Cure JM Foundation to win a $250,000 research grant from the Pepsi Refresh project. WE ARE IN 13TH PLACE!!!! We need to be in 1st or 2nd to win. WE CAN DO THIS!

Here's the link to vote:

Please keep voting and forwarding the link to EVERYONE you know. Sports teams, work groups, classmates, neighbors, etc. Also, if you and/or your kids are on Facebook, please forward the information to your Facebook friends. An easy way to do this is to click on "SHARE" after you vote. It provides you with an easy link to share with your Facebook friends.

Remember, EACH person in your family age 13 or older can vote. I'm at a family reunion, and everyone of my relatives lines up at my computer to vote.

If we win this grant, not only will we keep our research centers going; but also, Cure JM and Juvenile Myositis and Juvenile Dermatomyositis could become household names. So, the next time you tell someone that you or your child has Juvenile Dermatomyositis, he or she might actually know what it is!!!!!!

I'm working on getting some national media exposure. If you have any contacts, please email me at

Shari Hume
Co-founder, Cure JM Foundation
Mom to Parker, dx in 2002

Friday, July 9, 2010

Can you write? Will you for us? Here are some Topics!

Shelle EDIT: So we don't get everybody wanting one topic, I will be taking down topics that are being chosen and leaving ones that we still need someone to write on.  Thanks!  Also, if you have an idea for your own topic we would love to hear from you that way.  Remember you can write it anonymously and you can just email something you want discussed for Group Therapy!

We loved our Guest Contributors SO much that we want to throw out topics again and we want you guys to volunteer to write on them!!!

So here's the deal.  You read through the topics and if you feel there is one that you would like to write on you leave it in comments or you email me at blokthoughts @ gmail dot com SUBJECT: Guest Contributor RW, and tell us which topic you are interested in.


Leave it in comments.

So PLEASE, if you are interested, PLEASE let us know and come write for us!

HERE are the TOPICS:

1. Are you afraid of the water? How does that filter down to your kids? If so, do you keep your kids away from water, or make sure they can swim? 

2. What's one thing you and your spouse look forward to in the summer? Do you have something that you guys just do to get time together that you can't do in the winter or other seasons?

5. My spouses/partners mistress is their job.  How do you make it work or NOT work?

7.  How has the economy affected your relationship? Good or Bad?

9. How do the kids being home all day in the summer change the family dynamics?

11. What is the one deal breaker in a relationship for you?

12. My spouse is NEVER wrong. Even when proven wrong they will continue to argue how they are right.

***The next ones I list are He said She said topics.  This means that you have a strong take on the topic, like, you see the RIGHT side of it and someone else sees the LEFT side of it.  Email us with which side you would like to write on. Now just because it says He said She said doesn't mean we have to have a he and a she, most importantly we have two opposite views.

HE said SHE said:

A) Privacy in the bathroom. Big deal or not big deal?

B) You found out your spouse is putting away money behind your back.  Okay? or Not Okay?

C)I believe that most "Mental Illnesses" can be overcome without the uses of drugs.  Agree or not Agree.

D) I believe Sex can be used as a tool to get what I want out of a relationship.

H) Are Daddy Bloggers different than Mommy Bloggers besides the fact that they stand up while peeing?

Okay guys!  Let us know in comments and/or emails!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's a Funny Thing about Pornography...

Shelle Edit: Annie is by far one of my most favorite-est people, that I have actually had the pleasure of meeting in real life. She is this beacon in a crowd. People flock to her and she makes you feel happy just being around her. She is an actual writer, like she gets money for what she puts out there. She has been published in numerous magazines and writes a weekly column in the paper where she lives. She is not afraid to say it like it is and that is what I love best about her writing. She also is genuinely just as out spoken and wonderful in person. What you read is exactly what you get when you meet her. She is glowingly pregnant right now and I'm sure after she pops her baby out she will be on the fast track to her Salami Diet, I'm not kidding, it works and she was living proof of it before she got knocked up! Be careful what you say because her husband is a Secret Agent, true story, let's just say Tom Cruise has nothing on him, also true story, I've seen pictures. She has beautiful children, also, so her life is wrapped up in a wonderful package. But her daily writings on her blog tell you the inside story of what goes on under the wrapping... make sure you have time when you read her, you will become engrossed. Check her out at Regarding Annie. Thanks for writing for us girl, especially on such a touchy issue!

It's a funny thing about pornography. For an industry that destroys families and relationships at such a rapid pace, it sure is popular.

I recently reviewed a manuscript by a therapist who talks about the destructive influence of pornography. According to research, when a person has sex in an intimate, committed relationship, they get a jolt of some really great hormone (I'm not totally sure which one so I won't claim it here). But when someone sits alone in their closet with a lap top viewing dirty pictures and manages find the same physical reaction, they don't get the afterglow hormone. In fact, what they end up getting is an empty high that is quickly followed by crash and burn depression.

Now imagine being the lover of the man or woman in the closet. And you thought they felt bad? I think there's nothing short of an actual affair that would be as destructive to a couple's intimacy as a spouse with a pornography addiction on the side.

The thing that amazes me is that we live in a culture that acts like we should embrace pornography. For couples who have no religious association, no spiritual leader counseling them to cleave to each other and ditch the lap top, there is probably some serious confusion. Hey, if Monica on Friends is okay with pornography, shouldn't I be? But in many cases, what we're seeing are men and women who try hard to be chill, to accept their companion's dirty habits, because no one is telling them that they don't have to.

But here's a big secret the industry doesn't want the lovers of their customers to know: you don't have to live with pornography. Frankly, as flesh and blood companions, we're worth so much more than that. Monogamy and pornography can't coexist. Anyone who tells you differently is fooling themselves.

Outside of the personal habit, there's the issue of porn in the bedroom. There are plenty of couples who insist that pornography has brought them closer together on levels of nakedness. I'm not saying it hasn't taken them to new levels, but as far as creative intimacy goes, it's like buying a kit. There's no discovery, just replication.

When I was getting married (as a virgin), my mother gave me "the talk". Her instruction was simple and to the point. She said, "Honey, intimacy is kind of like Christmas morning. Don't open all your presents at once." She might as well have been speaking Greek; I had no idea what she was talking about.

But eleven years later, I understand exactly. I'm amazed at some of the creative things we've come up with in the past few years, things someone who used pornography would have probably learned a long time ago from a hotter, younger couple who did it more effectively. Personally, I'm thrilled when I can shock my husband with something neither of us has thought of. We're reinventing the wheel all the time. What we have is nothing short of hot and organic at every level.

I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the flip side of the coin, no matter how unpopular it makes me. Sex in a committed relationship is a two way street--meaning, it takes both parties to have it. And if one person is using it as a manipulative tool, or withholding their love and affection for personal reasons, it's not unusual for their partner to eventually look for relief elsewhere. Does that make it right? No. But is partner-inflicted abstinence right? No.

We must guard our intimacy. We should work regularly to cultivate feelings of love and affection outside the bedroom so that when the lights go out (or don't), there is companionship and love and equally satisfying sex. Because no matter what a person might find online or at some skanky back room sex shop (some of which can be fun and motivating), nothing compares to the trust and excitement that can flourish once the bedroom door is locked.

If you or your loved one is struggling with a pornography addiction that is hurting your relationship, there is hope. Look to the resources around you and make it right. Whether you're the culprit or the victim (because there's no doubt that the person left alone feels victimized and worthless and flat out cheated on), once pornography enters the picture, it often takes the help of a professional to mend the gash left behind.


p.s. Picture retrieved from THIS website

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Group Therapy: Which is better - to be brutally honest or to keep the status quo?

Welcome to Group Therapy--Where we help each other through advice and comments.

Here is the question I got in email:  Can you help?  Do you have any suggestions?

Which is better - to be brutally honest or to keep the status quo?

After x number of years together and several kids, I'm to the point where I want to say 'let's just be friends.' Is it better to risk hurting someone you care about in order to find happiness in your own life again? Or would you stay and bite back what you want just to make someone else happy?


***We would love to hear from you guys! If you have something you want discussed in Group Therapy email me at blokthoughts @ gmail dot com-- Subject: Group Therapy.

Comment, follow comments, come back and discuss others comments, and feel free to comment anonymously!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Men Can't Multi-Task - An Observation Not A Criticism

Shelle Edit: Mrs. Cake volunteered to write a post about her observations on men and multi-tasking! Y'all check it out and see what you think. Leave a little love at the bottom.

I spend a lot of time with both Ruf and Softboy at the moment. Mostly working. And I’ve noticed at how different our approach is according to our gender.

Me, I like to speed read the information, allow a few moments for my brain to process it in relation to any other information that it might contain on the subject and formulate a plan of action before I hit the ground running. I make a lot of mistakes but I also get a lot done.

The guys, on the other hand, like to cogitate on what they have learned. They like to watch the video and make notes which will form a comprehensive checklist to which we can refer back each time we perform the task. They like to assess the pros and cons of each particular course of action before deciding on the best one for their purpose. It takes time but it tends to be done correctly first time... eventually.

Of course, I can’t let this piece slip by without mentioning housework and other home-related chores.

I can be on the phone, holding for a call centre on speaker phone, whilst writing a post on the computer, nipping in and out of the kitchen performing the constituent parts of preparing a meal and still be able to direct people to where they left this item, what they need to take to that rehearsal and co-ordinate their diaries simultaneously.

Admittedly, sometimes the fish fingers get burned… or the pasta boils over…

The men in my life can focus on just the one thing at a time and get distressed if you start a sentence with the dreaded words: 'Whilst you're doing that, can you just...'

However, I guess the only important place where it really matters is whether they can stimulate two places at once when they’re in bed with a woman… and both my boys are quite certain that they can!

,Check her out but it isn't always vanilla.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

Well first things first. Y'all Americans should read this. I know the bulk of you have never read it unless you hit it on my blog in years passed so Declaration of Independence. You really should read the founding documents from time because your views change as you become older and gain responsibility and life experience. Even you that aren't from here should read it. It would be good to know and there are only 3 kinds of countries in the world, those who's asses we've kicked, those who's asses we've saved and those that are protected merely because of our

It is very very strange to me that people don't discuss these documents among themselves, with their families and with their children. Those of us that get to live under the blanket of freedom that this simple document started for us should definately know why, who, and how all of that is possible. There is no other country in the world that is a more coveted place to be, as easily evidenced by the 20+ million people here illegally. What other country are folks willing to leave their families and home walk across the desert and then work like hell just for a taste of the freedoms we have?

Today and this whole weekend people have watched fireworks, laid around a pool, or whatever they do and the bulk of them will not and did not discuss the reason for the holiday. Don't allow your kids to get another day older without knowing why we celebrate Independence Day. If the go to government schools it is likely they won't get the real skinny. Make them read the Declaration.

Explain to them that those people who assembled and were for becoming independent were doing so while perfectly understanding that if they did and they lost the war they would be hung. They felt like being totally free to make their own decisions, live their life, worship their God, god, not worship, or believe they came from gorillas if they would like they could. Raise their family as they wanted and pretty much be free. That is what they wanted. They wanted to be able to dream. To be able to be whatever they wanted to be. No matter if they born into money or otherwise.

All the rights afforded you, all the things you have, all the possibilities your life has, is due to the folks willing to die to fight for freedom. Folks to risk death to be free. See the problem with the people in the US today is the relative ease of their lives. We have it so easy. We are so damn apathetic, we act as a people like we don't care when we vote in leaders after they campaign on taking away our freedoms.

I have always wondered what if Thomas Jefferson, or Ben Franklin or G. Washington would say if they came back today. I wonder if they would have been willing to risk their lives and fortunes if they knew would be so complacent that we would vote away our liberties and freedom. I suspect they would vomit. I will leave you with 2 passages from the Declaration and one quote from Franklin.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

Then the last line........

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Are YOU all in. Would you die for freedom or do you vote it away?

When leaving after ratifying the constitution (which you should also read) Ben Franklin was asked by a woman "What kind of government have you given us?" He replied....... " A republic madam, if you can keep it"

Was Ben smart enough to see the future or did he know people would vote their rights away out of pure sorriness, either way, if he was here today he would surely think that he had been right and that we probably weren't strong or smart enough to keep it.

Be safe, hit the links, learn something, teach your kids. Please try to understand and help your kids understand what we have and why it is worth preserving, and at the point trying to get back to what they gave us and away from this over bearing socialist government.