These are a few of my favorite things…

To know me, is not necessarily to love me (but I think you totally would at least “sort of” like me). So I will use this post to attach some pictures of shit I think is kind of awesome.

Also as a PSA to my 12 followers and random readers…*** I am REALLY still trying to learn how to navigate the world of blogging, so if my site changes like 59 times and things are in weird places or your blog isn’t under my “likes”…it’s not that I don’t adore your blog just can’t figure out how to get it on my page. About that… My page, like me is a f’n work in progress. I am continuing to write despite the struggle of stumbling through this process while coping with a severely tech. challenged brain. So anyway…back to crap I love and if you look at it, you might like it and could feel like ya kind of know me better.

because. awesome.

because. awesome.

My grandmother. She had 12 children is my God Damn Hero.

My grandmother. She had 12 children and is my God Damn Hero.

My goddaughter...because you can never

My goddaughter…because you can never “over accessorize and she already get’s this. and fairy wings rule.

My godmother...because her life has been the hardest I have known and she is still here to fucking talk about it.

My godmother…because her life has been the hardest I have known and she is still here to fucking talk about it.

not me...the Barbie. Never had one because mom didn't want me to compare myself to her...so I spent my entire childhood thinking about her because I wasn't allowed to have it...at age 41, she finally caved. WIN.

not me…the Barbie. Never had one because mom didn’t want me to compare myself to her…so I spent my entire childhood thinking about her because I wasn’t allowed to have it…at age 41, she finally caved. WIN.

this guy. because he's my husband, but more importantly he built me a outdoor motherfuckin' shower. and that is beyond all awesomeness. because you can shower OUTSIDE. YES!

this guy. because he’s my husband, but more importantly he built me a outdoor motherfuckin’ shower. and that is beyond all awesomeness. because you can shower OUTSIDE. YES!

This bracelet, because I made it. and it has the brain tumor ribbon, an elephant (good brain and awesome animal) and it gave me hope on some dark days.

This bracelet, because I made it. and it has the brain tumor ribbon, an elephant (good brain and awesome animal) and it gave me hope on some dark days.

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I ADD THIS LAST POST BECAUSE WHILE BY TRADE I AM A THERAPIST…AS A HUMAN I HAVE KNOWN THE DARKNESS OF DEPRESSION, THE TORTURE OF ANXIETY AND THE INDESCRIBABLE PAIN OF TRAUMA…SO I LEAVE THIS NUMBER TO ALWAYS BE ON MY PAGE. TO KNOW THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE AND ALWAYS SOMEONE TO HEAR YOU, 24 HOURS A DAY. 

There are a lot of other things that I think are my favorites…but I may  have already overestimated your level of interest in this, so I will stop here. But there are just so many more…to be continued.

But wait…just a few more, I can’t help it..and now, I am officially done. Carry On.

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yeah, again…12 kids. amazing mom and dad. my heros

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Because. She refused to move…can you say brave?

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even during darkness…this one get’s me to belly laugh. and was a ball breaker. which is an awesome quality in my mind.

klimt

my favorite painting for so many reasons…

An Open Letter To All Of My Friends Who Take Selfies

“I love myself, and I will fight anyone who tries to change that fact” YES!!

The Belle Jar

Dear Friends Who Take Selfies,

I want you to know that I love it when you post pictures of yourself. I know selfies get a lot of bad press, but I think they’re rad. They give me a little window into your life, and you’d be amazed at how much I can get out of one little photo.

I love your pictures because I love seeing what you’re wearing – the outfits you build give me ideas about how to mix it up with my own wardrobe, and seeing you work your shit gives me courage to try clothing that I otherwise might have thought was too outlandish or revealing.

I love seeing how you do your hair and makeup. You look like a hot babe and I wish you would make YouTube tutorials explaining how you get your eyeliner just so. I want you to post pictures every time you change your…

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He Is My Husband Now…We Are Gay

We all gauge the multitude of so-called successes and failures of parenting moments by different variables. We (us parents) each have a different set of lenses in which we view our children, how we may “think” they are doing. Whether we are talking in general, like their grades, behavior or  mood or  we are looking at more of the minutia. Little snapshots in time, that sort of show you something unique in your child’s development or personality. It can simply be a look, a statement, a small conversation…watching them play, when they don’t know you are looking…those tiny moments that go on, but often are a reflection of who they are “right now” and even perhaps a foreshadowing of who they may  become.

Now…I have two boys. They are both vastly different in both looks and personality alike. They are five years apart. Despite their differences, I try to raise them in quite the same manner, with the same fibers of morals and values being loosely woven through our years together.

O.K…I will cut to the chase. One is a teen and one is in second grade…I am, what one might describe as a bleeding heart liberal. A heart on my sleeve kind of girl. I am a social worker by trade and by human make-up. For as long as I can remember, I have tried to be the voice for the voiceless. The cheerleader for the underdog. The advocate for the marginalized and oppressed…YOU GET IT.  My husband, is also a mental health professional  and is a Latino male, who despite his best efforts, still carries with him what I might describe as this  “semi” machismo  perspective. He has come a long way and is also himself, incredibly liberal but let’s just say when my boys were little and I bought them baby dolls and a stroller to push them in (which they did often and around the neighborhood) …he seemed kind of was perplexed, he “sort of”  tried to discourage me from letting them… (I wasn’t having it).  I would have to say that his reaction was rooted not only in his cultural roots and norms and gender and social norms but also…rooted in FEAR. ( we all know, having a baby doll turns you gay right? )

“Not my boys…not baby dolls? They are not GIRLS!”  As the years have gone by…he has softened a lot… has a greater understanding of why I would encourage that … and as for my boys, despite my best efforts…they don’t seem to really embrace there feminine side right now, and that is o.k. It seems, at least right now, they are kind of these brutish, loud, wrestle each other to the ground primate type of kids. (which does not mean they are not sensitive emotionally) But they are rough, crazy, sports nuts who are dirty and what societal/gender stereotypes may reference as or  consider “All Boy”. Whatever… I still send the message that it is o.k to cry, to openly talk about feelings, to be sensitive and most importantly to not feel pressured to conform to social norms “just because”.

One of the other things we do together, though I watch next to no television, is watch several weekly sitcoms. One is Modern Family…think what you may about the show, but it has allowed us to crack up together, to explore a vast range of family issues and also to have on-going dialogue with my kids about homosexuality. Questions come in many forms like…”why are those guys married mom AND they have a baby?”  Just one of the questions my younger one has asked. My teen…he kind of  get’s it already and knows I am open about  whomever people love they just  love. My little one has asked questions over the past year, and more recently, he seems to “get it” a little more. (not sex…he does not know what that is yet, outside of kissing) But he knows a girl can love and marry another girl…a man can love and marry another man. That God made us all different and amazing and that is o.k.

In a world where gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual youth have so many struggles, higher rates of clinical depression/ anxiety  and a significantly higher suicide rate, I feel it is my job as a parent to keep an open dialogue with my kids. To send the message that no matter who they are, whom they love or even if they were confused….they will always be accepted, loved and supported, at least in our home. Now, obviously my son is in second grade, so I don’t go into great detail. I just answer what he asks and try to communicate that however you are, it’s o.k and you will be loved.

It’s kind of hard to gauge how they are doing on that. My older son had a sleep-over…with a diverse group of boys. He mentioned one would be pretty late because he has dance. (now being most of his friends are on sports with him…I talked to him about this… just out of curiosity because I never met this boy…what kind of dance, how late will he be?) He answered without much thought…” he’ll be pretty late and he will be hungry…and ummm, I don’t know, he does ballet, jazz, hip-hop…yeah…he is  kind of feminine, but I don’t think he’s gay, but honestly…who really care’s anyway?” (For a seventh grade boy…to me this signals, he is getting it!)

Now, my younger son…was snuggling with his big, muscular, Latino father (otherwise known as my husband) I walked in to his room and said jokingly “Hey you…You are always snuggling with my husband…you better give him back to me !”  He glanced up at me, with wild and sleepy eyes, as my hubby lye half asleep and boldly said “HE IS MY HUSBAND NOW…WE ARE GAY!”

Let’s just say my husband was no longer asleep…He gave me the look of “You did this” but then smiled… and I thought to myself:

“YES…PARENTING WIN!!!”  (yeah…I know…I may have clarify a few things as time goes on) but he was being silly and I thought to myself…So far, So Good!

SLENDER LORIS HELPS WOMAN COPE WITH CHRONIC PAIN

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Because sometimes…after having a night where you wake up in pain that is indescribable at 3:46am, tears flowing in your sleep… for the 297th time in a year, Ya just need to open your eyes to this guy.

He is all like “What’s the problem? I am just the cutest f’n 8 month old Slender Loris (that’s it’s proper name).  I personally think we shall call him “Frankie…who you callin’ slender Loris”.

I love him, He makes me happy…Pain sucks hard. Lupus sucks harder…but Frankie, does not suck at all. So If you are going through it today,  whatever that means for you, I know it’s hard. You are not alone. I  promise.

But come on.

Frankie. He’s gotta make things even just a teeny bit better and that’s gotta count for something.

“KEEP CALM AND LOVE A SLENDER LORIS”

To missing friends. The ones lost. The ones in hiding.

and from my blogging hero, I share this with you. Because I see you too. You matter.

The Bloggess

Tonight I miss people.  I miss friends who I’ve lost.  I miss friends who still exist, but are too terrified of life to say hello.  I understand it.  I miss me too when I go missing.  But I’m still here – deep down- under the shell that protects me when life gets too rough.  I’m still here when my head tries to tell me I’m nothing.  I’m still here under it all.  And you’re here too.

You’re here even if you think no one would know if you were gone.  You’re here in the hearts of people you would never suspect you had impacted.  You’re here in memory and in reality and in the echo of every person you ever touched and taught.  You are magnified in ways you never knew.

Many years ago Victor took me to a tropical island.  It was a dark time for me and a…

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Claiming Your Inner Peace…

So…I don’t know if I would call this an “ah-ha” moment or a tiny epiphany, but recently…and by recently I mean just a few minutes ago, I made a discovery.

I sort of calculated, albeit loosely, the amount of “alone time” time I actually require/need to feel some semblance of inner-peace. Then I started looking at the amount of “quiet time” I might need each day or even each week to maintain a somewhat reasonable state of homeostasis. To be clear, quiet time does not have to actually be spent ALONE, it just needs to be, well ya know…quiet. Next, I figured sleep into the equation as well, which surprisingly enough falls on the shorter end of what I should refer to as my “Peaceful Enough” spectrum.

Perhaps, I should give you a brief description of what constitutes each of the above variables for ME, because obviously my definition of alone-time and your definition, by all accounts, may be vastly different. Same applies for “‘quiet-time” and “sleep”. So here ya go:

1. Alone-Time: For me to feel like I am having alone time, a few criteria must be met. First and foremost, although I dearly love and cherish my children…they must never, ever, NEVER EVER be present during alone-time or else it becomes 100% null and void, no matter the level of quiet, peace or sleep I may have experienced during that time, it does NOT count. There is not much more criteria…except maybe that NOBODY’S children can be present. (an exception might be a newborn, who is adorable and sleepy and I can snuggle in my arms until it starts to stir) This also affords me the added “bonus peace” that is achieved by secretly basking in the glory of NOT having a newborn!  **If newborn is screaming, this “exception” is now also null and void. So, yeah…I can be around adults (certain ones) but must still have the ability to kick back, relax and do whatever the flippity fuck I want, or else it is not considered ALONE TIME.

2. QUIET TIME: Unlike alone time, the criteria for quiet time allows for the occasional  presence of children. However, and I am sure you can see where I am going with this, they have to be QUIET!! Now to be clear, a mere few minutes of quiet does NOT count on my peaceful enough scale. I am referencing a particular kind of extended quiet; for example, this may look like, my children are given new video games and they become so sucked into the process, so engrossed in the lights and the sensory assault, that they are rendered speechless for a solid three hour minimum. That counts. Also, not to be confusing but “Quiet time” can also be during an alone time period…but NEVER EVER NEVER shall we consider sleep as part of “quiet time” or “alone time” for that matter, ya know, as it applies to this scale.
Of course, I am well aware that it is traditionally quiet when you are asleep, but in this instance, if I am unconscious, than I can’t appreciate the quiet and therefore…it simply does not count!

3. Sleep: Sleep is… when I am asleep. NOW, That sleep shall be uninterrupted, pain-free, nightmare free and the bed in which it is occurring shall be free of all children. So…if I have a bad dream, I am achy, somebody wakes me up or there is a kid in my bed, then that does not get counted on my peace, calm enough, scale spectrum thingy. Calculated sleep MUST BE the type where I am relatively cozy and wake up refreshed, the actual hours slept don’t matter so  much as the above variables do.

Ostrich-Nap-Pillow-1 **an option I suppose…

O.k, so you get it…those are the specific things I was considering when pondering the calm/peace question. Just exactly how much of all of those things do I need to feel a decent level of inner-peace, calm and homeostasis in my daily life?

Well, to be completely honest, I don’t think I can actually calculate that shit. I can tell you this…My baseline…which is sort of like my absolute bare minimum amount of alone-time, quiet-time and sleep needed for optimal mental functioning, is (I think) on the higher end of the “normal” spectrum. I can’t tell you that for sure, since I haven’t asked anybody else this exact question. So, in all reality I suppose it could be on the lower end of the spectrum.

Here is what I know for sure…I have kids. They are the greatest loves I have ever known. (insert great things about kids here if you are sensitive to speaking the TRUTH challenges of children) So yeah, kids… they are the loudest creatures I have ever known. They are messy and needy…VERY VERY NEEDY. (I can not over-emphasize this!) Alone time? It does not seem this is a  priority for my children. Unless of course, I actually need them to do something WITH me…then they suddenly NEED ALONE TIME. Children are infamous for sleep issues and mine are no different.  Now infants, of course they don’t sleep for extended hours. But as time goes by…they tend to  sleep more, yet I can’t help but notice, it still it seems that they want to disrupt your sleep.

Now…This can take on many forms…it may be bloody noses, coughing, vomiting, bad dreams, good dreams, fevers, scared of the dark, scared of the light, that scary movie, that scary commercial for that scary movie, that… (insert pretty much anything here) and the infamous, “your bed is just more cozy and I want to snuggle.”  (added guilt layer) There are more ways the sleep issue can play out, but you get it and perhaps your living it, so no need to elaborate further. Children, bless their beautiful hearts, have a very high probability of fucking up a perfectly good sleep for a ridiculously extended amount of years. (we are not even going to touch on the sex factor…that is an all together different  shit show  subject .)

dylandme   LOOK…Here’s me with one of my beautiful peace disturbers…

So yeah…the answer to where do I fall on my  “peaceful enough” scale? What is the answer?  Ummm… FUCK that nonsense…after just writing this post, it has become abundantly clear to me, that YES, perhaps my need for quiet, alone, and sleep time is higher than the average human…or not. BUT, I think I can infer from my hastily collected data…that as a mom, a full-time parent (and yes I have a husband who helps, but he is not the mamma)  My data shows…an incredibly high probability that I will be in the negative for those  experiences for an unknown and extended period of time. Some nights…that simply feels intolerable, I fantasize about running away to a hotel room, by MYSELF, with magazines and coffee and laying in the bed for days and nights on end, ordering room service, eating it bed and answering to no one!

I fantasize for a moment about flying off to a tiny cottage in Europe, with a cobble stone walk way, a small garden and tea, a cozy simple bed and bistro table for one…I wander about the countryside picking berries and going back to my cottage to plant my flowers (because they’re not going to plant themselves!) and then off to paint in my court-yard that is overlooking the sea.

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Ahhhh….as I am alone, in a quiet room, writing this…I feel a sense of peacefulness wash over me. The only thing I hear is the whirring of the ceiling fan and the strokes of the keyboard. I can see the sun peeking through the clouds, as I look out the window from my favorite, most cozy recliner.  It’s not Europe, I am not wandering the country side…but it’s a moment damn it… and I’ll take it. So…my reality is this, as a parent, I think it’s safe to say, at least in my case (not speaking for you) I will not be getting my “ideal” levels of peace ,calm or sleep met anytime soon, however, I literally have to work on CLAIMING THE SHIT out of the moments I do find. (which just so happens to be this very second…so, ta ta for now… and may you find and claim some peaceful moments of your own)

Final Disclaimer: I ACTUALLY PUT A REAL PICTURE OF MYSELF ON HERE…SO IF MY THERAPY PRACTICE GOES IN THE SHITTER… I BETTER BE ABLE TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT THIS.

Dig a little Deeper…

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Let me just say this…I am not at all surprised that it was a WOMAN (gasp) that ends up getting to the “core” of the matter. cheesy pun obviously intended. But come on…it just makes sense. Not hating on the dudes…I love you. But She was all like…”let’s dig a little deeper into this issue  earth”

Carry on.