Monday, November 18, 2019

Athiest Homeschooling Parents: DON'T MISS THIS!

A friend on Facebook just posted a link to this film Your Inner Fish, available HHMI: BioInteractive, a website for science teachers to share tons of media materials. SHARE THIS LINK!
It's absolutely wonderful. I've only been checking it out for awhile tonight, but I've already seen dozens of titles that are awesome and absolutely FREE!

So far with my quick look tonight, I think it's generally high school level and higher, but who's to say that your children aren't completely capable of understanding these concepts already? ALWAYS expose them to materials that you think might be "above their heads". It's one of the amazing perks of being homeschoolers.

Here are a few titles and links to whet your whistle:

Check it out with your kids and follow your interests...
then let me know of your experience!

What do YOU think?

No Name for It

Just a thing on my mind.
It's been on my mind for years.

When I was young, I got pregnant. Right?
I had so much pain and judgement from that. People who labeled me whore,

But it was like it happened to me alone. I carried the stigma. I lived with the so-called disgrace. I was humiliated in a million different ways, and for years. In my family, I was smeared and stigmatized...I became the pariah. It was actually weird because I clearly wasn't the worst kid in the world, but being sexually active...oh geez, we can't have that! I wasn't even the only kid in the family (cousins, etc) who was sexually active. I mean, really, the stories I knew about other people... I was treated like tramp.

Anyway, both during and after my pregnancy I was person who was labeled; I was the besmirched name; * I was the ne'er-do-well. 

Guess who didn't lose either face or reputation.
My boyfriend.

Oh sure, he got some crap up front. Sure, his mother gave him the omnipresent Catholic guilt, but over all he was fine. The long run? He went on with his life. No problems with work. No problems with friends. No lingering problems with his family. He didn't even seem to have any depression, as I did for years. And no names. He was called no names. Not a single one.

Why is that?
No, really?
Why is it that the mother gets to be, as his mother called me, The Whore of Babylon? Why was he allowed to just skip away? No, I care enough for him that I truly didn't want him to have this same problem, but why is it this way? I carried that letter
A for many years, many, many years, while he just walked away unscathed. 

I don't know, just an old, never before voiced, rant.

In the meantime, the baby?
She was adopted as a newborn.
She's now 36 years old, married, mother of two. If she EVER comes here and sees this picture, she'll be angry. And rightly so. 

But here she is, my daughter and her beautiful family.   --------------------------->

* ME! I mean, do you know me? Geeeesh.

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

I Know Who I Am

I'm all for the government staying out of my damn life, if it can also make sure that people in need have the support that they need to survive. I'm terribly extroverted, unless I'm not. I'm deliciously introverted, unless I'm not. I've got get out of the house; when I'm not snuggled up on the couch. I'm extremely friendly, unless I'm just keeping to myself that day. I'm feet on the floor, until those days that the existential thoughts, again, swirl my mind. And I'm connected to some exceptionally people, as well as being completely in my own bubble on some days. I feel tranquil, yet driven.

I'm all of these things.
And do you know why?
Because I'm finally me. Me, in all of my varying degrees of things.

For many years I'd thought that I'd really known myself...turns out, I had no idea! But I can say that I'm finally beginning to know me. How weird is that? Turning fifty was a real turning point in my life. It was such a freeing thing, such an empowering thing. I've often heard older women talk about feeling empowered in their fifties, but I simply could not conceive of such a thing, until now.

How could I know that the freedom of reinvention would become a real presence in my life, that the deep love that I feel for people in my life would deepen, widen, develop quiet violence? Rather then sliding down that slippery slope, I feel like the world is opening to me. Rather than paddling and paddling to stay in place, doors open to me and people welcome me in as legit, no need to prove myself anymore. I own literally every single thing that I'll ever need and have no need to accumulate any more stuff. I am both invisible and powerful beyond belief out in the world.

Yes, I am that person who talks to you in the grocery aisle. I'll drive up, roll down my car window and have a chat with you on the roadside. I'll stop and give you the time you need. I'll greet the mailman at the box. I'll drop everything to spend time with you, with your kids, with your kids' friends. I wear comfortable clothing, hair up in a do, eating healthy, wearing sneakers and a cozy, warm sweatshirt with dangling earrings. I'm fitting into the smaller sizes and I often choose to dress up just for fun. I think fondly of high school rather then thinking of it as a cesspool of neurosis. I look at my slightly-greying husband and fondly think He's getting to be a grumpy bugger. I can identify with several different generations and I feel like I fit in comfortably with almost everyone. But mostly, I don't give a FUCK what anybody else thinks.

Being in my fifties is wonderful and freeing and expanding and, as soon as this Advil kicks in, I'm going to kick my heals up and party like it's 1999!

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Reaction Videos

I KNOW that there is something wrong with me!
Even though I'm busy as HAIL, I love and enjoy reaction videos, especially I love Jamel_AKA_Jamal at the moment. Jamel is a Youtuber who created content for fun, all kinds of videos, until now, he's doing reaction videos now, reacting to all kind of music.

While doing my work online I nearly always have music or TEDtalks or something behind me, occupying my mind. This propensity of mine to listen to a variety of content takes me on some weird journeys to videos that are far-flung at times. ANYWAY, somehow I started watching some videos of people listening to other videos and reacting to them. WTHeck? lol

I know.
I know.

Some months ago I stumbled on some videos by a dude named Jamel who was reacting to Led Zeppelin, The Moody Blues, Elvis, Rush, Queen, and Pink Floyd, to name a few. He seems to listen to many Spanish artists that are unfamiliar to me. I was binging on Led Zeppelin when I stumbled on Jamel. But it was his reactions to Karen Carpenter that made me really love him! 

Jamel's face when he's listening to Karen Carpenter is ADORABLE.

There must be tens of thousands of content providers on Youtube putting out reaction videos of every sort, and, interestingly, dozens of people who have reacted to Karen Carpenter specifically. But Jamel watching Karen Carpenter videos from 1972 has stolen my heart.

* If the crazy world of reaction videos appeals to you, check out these two dudes listening to Rush's Spirit of the Radio for the first time, and enjoy the discovery...again!

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Monday, November 4, 2019


Here's another grey area for you.

Actually, maybe it's not so grey after all...

When I was growing up, my dad has pornography in the house. On the walls. In the closets. Sitting out. In the john, of course.

This was a house with one young boy and three young girls. This was a house where Mom left (GEE, Wonder why? ) and the kids were raised by this man. This man who thought it was OK to have pictures of nude women hanging around, who thought it was OK to have pornography (not the classy kind) just sitting around, accessible to these young minds.

Yep. I looked at it.
Yep. I was affected by it.

This morning I was thinking about what I thought about it all of those years ago and how I was affected by it. How I am, in fact, still affected by it. Let's start with a thing that happened when I was in the second grade.

I was in my second grade class, talking to some boys. They mentioned naked women and I said, "I can show you lots of naked women!" So we organized a trip to walk over to my house (literally 100 steps from the classroom door) so that these boys could see the naked pictures. I remember it being at least two boys (Tom an Michael), but I know that there was at least one other boy. We walked over to my house and into the garage. I turned on the lights/ the boys eyes lit up! The walls were covered with pictures. I felt kind of proud, kind of knowing, kind of generous. That is, until Mom came out and scooted us out of the garage. Until that moment I had no idea that it was a shameful thing or that there was something untoward about having naked pictures on the wall. To me, that was normal.

When I first became curious about the books and magazines around the house, I guess I was pretty young, in elementary school. Somewhere I ran across this old black and white dirty magazine of sorts. While most of Dad's pornography was of young women, this thing had an image of a naked dude standing there with a huge penis. As a kid I remember looking at that picture and feeling horrified at that hideous thing. I kept that picture hidden for months just so I could look at it with disgust.

As I got older, the message was always something like "Women are either virgins or whores." So any sexual activity, regardless of how freaking normal that is, was viewed as being a whore, being sinful, being unlovable. In fact, as soon as my sex life became common knowledge in the family (thanks to my brother reading my diary when I was 16 or 17...), my dad moved about fifty miles from me emotionally. From that moment forward, he never acted loving toward me again, and he died almost forty years later...

Imagine that weird dichotomy. Pornography all over the place, but we're not supposed to be sexual or to have sexual experiences. I was effed up about that one for decades...
What's normal? What's real? What's healthy?
All of these issues have reared their ugly heads because of the normalcy of pornography in my life.

Anyway, more stuff in my teens...somehow my boyfriends were from very conservative families, resulting in mothers hating me. Whore.

And the pornography?
Somehow it gave me a weird, fucked up vision of women, of femininity, of sexuality. Using and enjoying pornography doesn't bother me. Use it if you like. Enjoy it. Just use your integrity...your principles.

And, forgoodnessake, keep it off of your walls!

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Excerpts from Posts I Will Never Write

The truth is, I try hard to keep myself positive and to avoid posting things that tell any of my so-called negative opinions. Words are powerful things and using them is a real responsibility. In my life and in my writing I make it a priority to write as precisely as possible. Sure, yes, make misteaks, lol, but I do make the effort.

I have a serious reason for this. With kids, I'm super aware of offering my opinion on things because when I express them, BOOM, suddenly my kids either share my opinion exactly or choose to hold opinions exactly opposite from mine. lol  In other words, I keep my opinions to myself because it allows others more freedom to have their own opinions. 

HOWEVER, I have written a few blog posts that I chose to never post. Let's call this blog post: Three Truths and a Lie

You decide which of these excerpts are truly from my fifty-odd unpublished posts, never to be published! and which are just silly stuff I'm putting here to trip you up.  lol

1. From a post called Working Title:
...I like people... and I want them to know me before they judge me on my religion.

When you can't take a joke about religion, I'm disgusted. When someone takes their religion so seriously it makes me annoyed. I don't want to hear about your religious mass or anything.
It disgusts me.
I hate feeling like that but it horrifies me that someone could think so mindlessly. I find it hard to be friends with someone like that. 
I feel bad because people aren't judging me for atheist, but I'm judging them. People respect my atheism and I find it really hard to respect their religion. ...I roll my eyes.

I have lost friends before when I told people I was an atheist and these two girls in my class stopped talking to me. That couldn't stand that I was pro-choice and not a Republican.
2. From a post called I Don't Want to Know
I don't want to know! Whatever evidence you bring, I will never stop believing.

I don't go looking for these conversations; they find me. Recently I was lassoed into a conversation about being an atheist and the other person told me I don't want to know! 
Whatever evidence you bring, I will never stop believing. They actually said that and I didn't know how to respond to it. A statement like that is, effectively, a conversation stopper.

But even more, it's a thought stopper. The decision to always believe, in spite of evidence, is easier for some, I guess.

3. And from a post called You Deserved It
...It's about rudeness.And kindness.
But I didn't tell her and she taught that lesson with that thing hanging out of her nose.
I didn't even tell her later.
And I'm not sorry.

I'm generally the person who tells you that you have spinach on your teeth or smooshed lipstick. I think that I'd like it if you told me, right? But last night I let this woman teach with a hanger.

4. And from Rainbow Brainwash:
...Hate is taught!! It's not something you are born with. My kids don't look at the world through a filter of judgment and it's not because I've brainwashed them with the rainbow (someone actually said that to me this week). It's because the hearts they were born with have been protected. They were born into this world loving unconditionally and have been allowed to continue that way. Guard all the love that your children came here to share. Don't let this fucked up world take it from them.

OK, so that's the challenge.
In the comments, you make a guess about which of the above non-published blog posts is the lie, I never wrote it. Totally fake.
And, for the others, I hope you will forgive me. 

*  Be back in a week with the answer.
      No guesses?
      Oh well, the answer was #3.  😊

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Friday, October 11, 2019

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

I just finished a book that was so surprising that I had to run over here to write about it immediately! I have to begin by saying something about Joshilyn Jackson, the author of The Almost Sisters. Namely, how did Jackson escape me all of these years? Her writing is fresh and fun and dark and bright and nuanced and insightful and, as it happens, quite popular and well-selling. Again, how did I miss her?

It turns out Joshilyn Jackson has at least twelve titles out there with quite a following. Who knew?

Somehow, on my ereader, I randomly bought the book The Almost Sisters, and I can honestly say that from here on out I will completely trust my instincts when purchasing an ebook, even without ever picking up the real book and sniffing the pages. Now, on to the book.

The Almost Sisters is a story told from the perspective of Leia Birch Briggs, a comic book writer and illustrator, yes, you read that right. Leia is a bit wayward, a bit lonely, a bit lost, and a bit pregnant when she gets the family trumpet call to head down to Alabama to step up to help her very beloved grandmother who is beginning to exhibit some serious dementia.

Leia, in Alabama, discovers that her grandmother is in a far more serious condition and situation than she could have expected because family secrets are being unearthed all over the place at Grandma Birchie's house; watch OUT for that attic! Leia settles in for a long bout of protecting her grandmother, getting her own personal life into some semblance of order, and helping to solve the family mysteries that she feels all around her. As the reader, I had a mystery of my own to solve, exactly who or what are the almost sisters? I had a number of ideas as I read this one and I was, I'll admit, rather surprised at the revelation.

Enter a hot Batman, a Southern Old Bitty of a neighbor, and a precocious niece, and Leia's humor and wonderful nerdiness prove her to be totally up for the challenge.

I don't want to say more about his book, only that I can highly recommend it if the weather is getting cooler in your neck of the woods and if you're a hot tea drinker...this is the book for that rainy, cold Saturday afternoon. I have to give this surprising find a high rating of 8 stars, see if you aren't as generous with your stars after reading this little I'm off to read something else by this author!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

ME: Across the Years

Check it outI've been scrolling through a few old pics tonight and found some that I absolutely have to share. These pics are all from different times in my life, times that bring back such love and warmth into my heart...
Interested in seeing them? I thought I'd just share them here because I haven't been writing here much lately from being so dang busy and these pics are so very special to me, thought I'd write a post with a real bang.  LOL

I decided to stick with pictures this time that I actually appear in simply because I'm feeling a bit reminiscent this evening and it's been making me feel incredibly happy, and isn't that nice?

This first one is a Polaroid pic (of course) that my sister took while I was taking my five month old daughter Elizabeth to meet my dearest great aunt, and Elizabeth's namesake, Aunt Elizabeth Becker. When I look at this picture I immediately get tears in my eyes. Aunt Elizabeth was super special to me. In this picture she was about 100 years old, living at home with her dear son taking care of her. Although this shot didn't catch Aunt Elizabeth smiling, she was usually in such high spirits and incredibly happy whenever family would visit. How much I wish I could visit her just once more...

I visited her at least once a week, more if I was able, and Aunt Elizabeth always loved and kissed on Elizabeth. Sitting here looking at this picture at this very moment...I'm choked up. See the smile on my face? That's because I always felt like I was presenting Aunt Elizabeth my dear baby girl as a gift to her somehow... At this point in life I was working part time, Elizabeth in daycare, still nursing her, and yearning for her so much during the day. I will always remember how loved I felt when Jerry suggested I stay home with much I felt he understood my need to be there with her...

Yeah, this pictures brings me great joy.

This next shot was taking in 1980 when I was a Junior in high school. I remember this exact moment for some reason. Dad had a decent camera back in those days, an Olympus OM10, and he took lots of pics of my sisters and brother and I. He would take those pics to work, to every event he went to, shuffle through them, show us off to everyone. Yeah, Dad always had the camera and a stack of pictures with him all of the time...I remember this particular moment of sitting on that hideous chair in the summer time, feeling happy and in love with my boyfriend. LOL

Dad was teasing me and my sister was mad at me for wearing her shirt. At this point in time I was about, what 16-17 years old, feeling pretty optimistic, generally happy. When I see myself there, I want to tell that girl "Hang on, you're gonna make it!"

This last one was taken in 2017 when my dearest Elizabeth was graduating from community college. She and I were out running around taking pictures of her in her cap and gown...can you see how freaking BLUE her eyes are in this pic? If you've never noticed that before, for some reason this pic comes close to really showing how amazing her eyes are.

I remember this moment specifically because she was SO freaking happy and so in love with me in this moment.  lol We were in a gorgeous garden building here in St. Louis called The Jewel Box all by ourselves, just shooting pic after pic of Elizabeth in her cap and town...feeling so happy, accomplished, pretty ecstatic, actually. lol
I remember this moment because my heart was so full of love and pride for her...

I love pictures. I have often thought that, were my house to burn to the ground, my pictures are the only thing I would miss. I actually miss the days we would take the film, mail it away or drop it off for developing, waiting anywhere from 5-15 day to get them back, pay our $3 per roll, then have a handful of pictures to shuffle through...I loved getting my film developed. Now every single pic I've taken in the past decade or more are stored digitally somewhere and, now that I think of it, that's kind of sad.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

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Friday, September 27, 2019

The Kids Should See This

Do you or does your child always want to know HOW, WHAT, WHY?

This video is super interesting and I, particularly, LOVE factories with so many stations and whatnot. But, in addition to this video, PLEASE check out the main website called TheKidsShouldSeeThis. The site has THOUSANDS of videos of so many different subjects, from sciences to musics, to particles, to animation, to, well, you name it, with a special focus on STEAM—science, technology, engineering, art, and math! 

Created and developed by Rion Nakaya, a photoblogger-turned-design director that loves storytelling, sustainable tech, well-designed spaces, and wandering the halls of small science museums and science center...sound like someone else I know... Rion's many interests and works include practicing some of her interested by producing excellent videos for exhibits and projects for children's museums around the world. She created The Kids Should See This website in 2011 by bringing in videos from all over the webverse to create this amazing website for your kids! Rion's website is dedicated to kids and adults and seeks to inject the WOW  factor into learning in all facets!

The website is a true gem; it is fascinating and will occupy you and your kids for literally YEARS. My sincere THANKS to Rion for occupying my kids and ME for nearly nine years.  💗

Pass it on! 

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Monday, September 9, 2019


Continuing a theme, I know. And possibly getting repetitive and boring, this theme of being 55... Butt his time I have a vow: I will NEVER ever EVER wear pantyhose again. I will never again select the so-called flesh tone (NO ONE is actually that color), purchase something that, in no conceivable way, one size fits all, pay way too much, pull each leg up, fingers-over-thumb, slip my toes in, repeat for the second foot and leg, pull them up gently but firmly with a high likelihood of running them, adjusting the restricting ultra-thin fabric over my legs, masking them completely, shimmy into the chafing control top, adjust the placement of the crotch area to the not-too-loose and not-too-tight itchy perfect spot, pull the binding band up and over the belly, deal with the continual roll down waist band all damn day, and the sit down/stand up adjustment.

I absolutely refuse. Just WTF.

Is the skin on my legs not perfect enough? Are they not smooth enough? Is my abdomen not tight enough? Is the color not uniform enough? To whom do I owe this effort to present a defect less leg? To whom do we owe such binding?

You know that some business spaces require pantyhose to complete a professional look. You know, to wear with the high heels. Some special or formal events have dress codes that presuppose pantyhose with your high heels if you are a female. Pantyhose are de rigeur in nearly every social etiquette situation.

Is this an issue of feminism?
Or of the ruling patriarchy?

Do we owe it to someone to have attractive legs? 

Whatever it is, I simply refuse it.

In fact, the last time I wore pantyhose, several years ago, they were so completely uncomfortable I tore them off the very second I got into the car. The restriction was just too much to bear any longer. Hot, itchy, binding, weird feeling, chafing.

Also, the name. Pantyhose. Ick.

Nope. I'm done.

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