Thursday, August 30, 2012

Legitimate Rape?

Apparently, we're still struggling with the definition of rape. Despite statistic upon statistic stating that "stranger rape" (i.e. the made for TV idea of rape), is actually not that common. We have known for decades that date rape is the most common form of sexual assault. Much like every other crime, the odds of being attacked, murdered, raped, stalked, etc. by a stranger are minimal. Chances are, the assailant is someone you know and have agreed to spend time with.

Time.
Not body parts.
Yes. There is a difference.

Republican Todd Aiken's FB photo
Todd Aiken, a Republican, has defended his "No abortions EVER" policy by stating, "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy.

The interview made headlines after Jaco asked Akin about his "no exceptions" policy on abortion. Akin responded that pregnancy from rape is "really rare," and added that, “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."http://www.globalpost.com/photo/5716579/todd-akin-legitimate-rape   - for more info.


The idea that carrying a baby to term as the result of rape is no better when the attacker is a stranger versus if the attacker is known by the victim. Bringing a child into the world as the result of a criminal violation should be 100% the decision of the victim. Period. Forcing a woman to endure an unwanted pregnancy is equivalent to rape itself.

My thoughts on this - and I have about a million but I'll keep it brief - are as follows. It may sound crazy but I liken date rape or rape perpetuated through drugging the victim with "date rape drugs" to an alien attack. Seriously. Hear me out.

We've all seen movies where innocent humans are abducted by aliens, usually while they're asleep. So imagine you're in bed. You go to sleep and when you awaken, something is bad. Something is very wrong. Your body doesn't feel right. You look around and are shocked to see your pajamas have been roughly removed and you...feel a soreness. Something you've never felt before and have no memory of what would cause this sensation. You straighten out your pj's as best you can and try to get up but when you do that odd sensation gets bigger and becomes painful. Something is very, very wrong.

Something inside of you is screaming. You realize it's your own voice in your head. You start to shake as you try to make sense of the blackness in your memory. You know something happened, you know your body has been violated, assaulted, but all you have is nothingness in the spot where memory belongs.

You know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, you have been violated in the most sacred of spaces. You notice it's surprisingly cold in your room, when you look up you notice, finally a perfect circle of a hole through the roof. Above it, you see something shiny. Holy shit - a UFO? What the...huh??

And then it hits you - you have been abducted by aliens and...Probed. Hard. With no thought or care to you as a person. You are just a body that has been used and abused by an outside source for pleasure or research or heck - fun even!

You never agreed to this. You were just spending time with friends per usual. Except this time, there was an alien hiding in the crowd waiting for his chance to select and pounce on an unsuspecting victim. And pounce he did. And he made sure, you would have little to no memory of the event. But your body knows. Your body remembers. Your body is crying out for comfort and safety.

By the way, if you somehow get pregnant with an alien baby, that's your problem. Clearly your uterus and company did not get the memo about how pregnancy doesn't happen with "legitimate rape" due to the lady chemicals and the magical ability your cervix has to determine good, love sperm from bad, bad alien sperm.

Gentlemen, I have one thing to say: Anal Probe.
If it happens to you, it's probably your fault because you drank too much and wore a tight tee-shirt.
And you were fool enough to leave the skylight open.
You're sort of  a slut.

Trusting the wrong person (and being sexy - I'm only half kidding) means you deserve what you get right? Is that it?


Can you blame me?

Raccoon Whisperer


Once upon a time, I was newly married and living in my very first house of my own. I was alone because my ex-husband was in the Air Force and had been assigned a three month tour in Alaska so I was winging it. My sister and I took on many DIY projects and were victorious in pretty much all of them. Things were going swimmingly until the horrible day I decided to let my indoor cats hang out in my yard for a few minutes unsupervised. I lived on 300 acres of wildlife reserve so to say I had a huge yard was an understatement.

However, it wasn't huge enough apparently and the cats were somehow drawn to the road out front leading to one of my beloved babies being murdered by some piece of scum who didn't even slow down. Granted, I shouldn't have left them alone and I feel it is 99% my fault. But that 1% is nothing to sneeze at and if I had the chance to face that driver you'd best believe it would get ugly. Fast.
About two weeks later a tiny, calico kitten appeared in my backyard...it was kind of strange. She spent a lot of time hanging out around Harley's gravestone. I noticed her playing near it several times. The first time I noticed her was, in fact, near the gravestone (yes, a real inscribed stone laid flat in the ground don't judge.) The very next day the tiger lily edging it bloomed completely. You know I totally believe in signs and the universe and karma right? Well, now you do. I decided this kitten was meant to be mine and I would totally be able to woo her and make her mine.
The kitten did not receive that memo. She proved to be impossible to catch but she came out and hung around me every time I went outside all summer long. Cooking on the grill? Kitten time. Hanging out reading? Kitten. Mowing the lawn? Front row seat. You could just tell she wanted love so badly but was too scared to take the leap to let me pet her or pick her up. Her specialty was remaining just out of reach. I could get within a foot of her before she'd run away. We developed our own little language where I would copy her little "Meep! Meeep!" and make my own meeps when I was outside. I seriously treated this project like my summer job, dedicating hours almost every day.
A month and a half later, mid-August, slowly losing hope but still feeding her daily, I started to question if she would ever be an in-house kitty. A new problem was that raccoons had figured out there was delicious kitty food to be had at the buffet (aka my pool shed).
I adjusted the feeding schedule to just during the day to avoid kitten being eaten by raccoons.
With Labor Day looming I began to grow more bold in my efforts. One night I stood outside with my friend Emily holding pool skimmers as nets. Kitten was meeping,  I was meeping, Emily was ready to pounce with the skimmer for at least an hour. I thought our teamwork was absolutely going to bring my success.
Um, an hour outside meeping in an area known to have yummy kitty food in it did not end as planned. While I had my back to the yard and meeped my heart out, I saw Emily freeze, skimmer held aloft.
"Stop Don't make another noise" said Emily. "You are surrounded."
Huh?
"Turn around, the raccoons have answered your call."
Totally not believing her, I turned around ready to see nothing but my dark yard. However, she was telling the truth. There was a pack of baby raccoons (baby ones! squee!) running my way making the exact same sounds I had been making all night. There were at least five of them and although what I really wanted to do was pet them and snuggle them, Emily (shockingly) was not down with that. She charged them with the pool skimmer held out like some sort of shield device and ran into the house, dragging me inside with her. I'm pretty sure there was a lecture regarding why petting baby raccoons is not okay and also why we had to give up on the kitten quest for the evening. Because you know, mommy raccoons are probably not as nice as baby ones.

Like you wouldn't want to snuggle with these guys? Puh-leeze
Pic: animaltheory.blogspot.com


Although I deeply enjoyed by my wildlife experience I gave up. For that night at least. Later that week, I was hanging out with my Uncle Kenny. He had been my savior that summer turning my pool from a horrible swamp filled with tadpoles and opaque brown/green water into a sparkling blue lagoon. He had also been with me in my attempts at capture. He suggested that instead of chasing the kitten, maybe I should lure her into my mudroom with food. Just leave a plate of kitty food (during the day, no raccoons allowed in the house) and watch the mudroom.
Zoe all grown up!
After nearly three months of meeping and hunting kitten she was caught in approximately 30 minutes with virtually zero effort on my part. Of course.
Anyway, that's how I went from two cats to three again. Well, actually four because in a moment of hopelessness that I would ever catch outside kitten, I adopted another one from the Humane Society.

Yes. I...am a weirdo. But I'm surrounded by fuzzy kitty snuggletons! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sharkgina (Edited)


*Authors Note: This blog is intended for mature audiences only. And by mature I mean, I'm going to say the word vagina a lot and if you can't handle that you may want to click on any other link you can find.*

About a week and a half ago I went to see The Vagina Monologues with some friends. 
It. Was. So. Good. Eve Ensler, author of the monologues, is a goddess.

Last night I was reminded of the show in a way I hadn't expected. It all started when Jacob and I decided to go in the hot tub. A little unusual for me considering it's June and I hate all things hot or hot related in the summer time but I figured I could walk on the wild side. As we sat there I couldn't help but relax and feel the tension melting away thanks to the heat and jets massaging my back. This enjoyment lasted approximately six minutes. Because about then I realized I was really freaking hot. Like, lobster hot. We just got the tub and haven't quite found the right temperature setting and it appears that the water was 104-105 degrees. Yeah, HOT.

No big deal, I thought, I'll just get out. Only, even thirty minutes after getting out, I was still sweating. I'm very sensitive to heat ever since I'm pretty sure I had heat stroke during my internship back in college.
For this internship I had to live in Boston for the summer. Actually, I lived in Woburn, a suburb just outside the city as living in the actual city of Boston would have cost a fortune and my parents stubbornly refused to win the lottery or take out a second mortgage on the house. 
That summer it just so happened that there was an extremely intense heat wave. Our landlords claimed the apartment came with air conditioning. They lied. There was an air conditioner in the window but it poured out cool-ish air at best. 
One day, the temperatures rose to about 102 degrees outside with 100% humidity. Inside my apartment, however, it was easily 115 at least. I wish I were exaggerating but I sincerely believe this report to be accurate. I spent as much time at the office as possible to soak up their air conditioning, leaving there around 8:00 that night in an attempt to wait out the heat so my apartment would be tolerable. 

Attempt not successful.

I sat outside and read as long as I could and when I finally decided to turn in for the night it was past 11:00. My expectation that the apartment would be tolerable by then was not met in the slightest as the air conditioner wheezed out its pathetic breeze in the living room. I positioned a box fan to blow directly on me and fell into a fitful sleep. I awoke about 2 hours later sweating, nauseous, and dizzy. The air conditioner had completely failed  and was blowing out hot air. I did the only thing I could do, I crawled my way out of bed and into the bathtub where I ran cool water and laid under the shower until I felt my body temperature fall back into the tolerable zone. I wet a towel, opened all the windows and attempted to go back to sleep. I awoke again as soon as the towel warmed up and was even more nauseous and dizzy. Back into the shower I went. 

I don't know why my next move occurred to me but I'm pretty sure it was the smartest thing I've ever done. I decided to ditch the pj bottoms and panties completely in the hopes my lady business would somehow act as a vent for my internal volcanic temperature.

It freaking worked.
My vagina saved my life. She. Rules.

I sincerely don't know what made me think of it. Especially considering I had virtually no knowledge of the vagina during my growing up years. I knew that girls had one and boys didn't. I somehow failed to put things together despite my mother's special talk, given to me while shopping at Caldor, in the sixth grade. Yeah, yeah, girls got their periods and it was yucky. Okay, fine, whatever. That did not immediately apply to me.  Therefore, it was filed away somewhere in my brain to be taken out at a later time.
I surely didn't understand or ask about much of anything else. I honestly didn't know babies came out of there until I was in like, 7th grade and just so happened to have an Ah-ha! moment sometime after I got my period. I didn't even know what it was when it showed up by the way. I just thought I was either dying or had somehow had an accident of the doody variety magically, without realizing anything had happened. Sigh.

To further explain my lack of understanding of the birthing process, I had tried to puzzle it out for years because I didn't want to ask somebody and look stupid. So I just ignored that question and decided it was probably something to do with the belly button. I didn't want to think about that too much because belly buttons freaked me out. And still do. I don't know why. Just don't ever touch it because I will go ape shit on your ass like you have never seen. 

So last night when I found myself sweating and unable to cool down as quickly as I wanted I remembered my venting technique with fondness. I didn't actually have to re-enact it but I was briefly tempted. Because ever since that night being too hot makes me feel incredibly ill and I do not handle pain or discomfort well. I am a wussy pants. Which is why I share my story with you today. In case of emergency, ladies, now you know what to do.

You are welcome.
Respect the va-jay-jay ladies and gentlemen folks.
She is one bad mamma-jamma.
(Photo - No Hope for the Human Race)


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Monsoon Wedding

Today is my and Jacob's first wedding anniversary. In honor of that I thought it would be appropriate to share the magical tale of our wedding.

We got engaged in October of 2010 when I stumbled upon a gorgeous ring in Jacob's underwear drawer. And by "stumbled upon" I mean I was putting his underwear away and saw the box. Alas, my radar for shiny objects simply couldn't ignore this treasure trove of sparkly goodness. So I kind of ruined any chance of a romantic proposal. I guess I'm just not meant to have a flash mob or string quartet choreograph any proposals. Not in this lifetime at least.

I honestly didn't care about the lack of panache, I was just happy to be engaged to my Jacob. I suspect this is what it's supposed to feel like. Just happy and glowey and all that lovey stuff my tiny little black heart usually scorns.

Neither one of us wanted a big wedding. I had already had one and was basically phobic of wedding dresses and giant cakes by that point and neither of us felt the need to spend thousands of dollars on a big fancy affair. We had summer vacation plans to visit Ogunquit, Maine and about two weeks before we were due to leave decided that Maine would make a lovely back drop for a wedding. Initially it was going to be just the two of us but at the end of the day, we just couldn't not invite our closest friends and family members.

So, we had 16 intrepid wedding guests who were incredibly kind enough to re-arrange their entire lives to be with us. We had a vision - picnic and beach day! We kept it classy and ordered some giant sandwiches with all the fixins. We found a beach (thanks Wells!) where we were able to have the dogs with us because they were our wedding party. We found a super nice Justice of the Peace named Judy who helped us find a shop to get some flowers and when she called Jacob "James" at the end of the ceremony it was more funny than anything else.

Paulie and Remy  in their wedding finery.


When we found out there was a 90% chance of rain, we were kind of freaked. Sure, there was a gazebo at the beach but who wants to hang out in a gazebo in the pouring rain? The place we were staying at in Ogunquit was owned by 2 fabulous gentlemen - Scott and Bruce at The Gazebo Inn - they are incredible and it's an insanely nice place - highly recommended! Anyway, we ran to them and told them of our plight and they offered us the use of one of their properties for FREE. Seriously - these guys are amazing human beings and they gave me such comfort knowing that we had a Plan B and it wouldn't break the bank.





The umbrella is not a prop. It's a necessity.
Our brave photographer - Shane - didn't let the rain slow him down! I'll let the pics speak for themselves - it was a beautiful, messy celebration of a day. Kind of perfect actually.
Our entire group! Notice - my dog is the only tool not looking at the camera.
Our first smooch as a married couple!
World's smallest wedding cake.
Yeah - we're sexy and we know it!







Friday, August 24, 2012

Cooties - don't get 'em.

It's been a good week. Until today. When my immune system crashed out after living with Jacob's plague all week. I thought I was good, safe even, because I have an immune system that is Ti-tan-i-um. Gangster. I work with kids, I get exposed to every germ from every town and school district in a 50 mile radius. Seriously. People come from far and wide to get a piece of this wisdom.

Alas. I can only fight off regular viruses and this one is clearly some kind of super strain of evil suckage. Good thing I work across the street from CVS where I was able to get supplies after leaving work today. My cocktail for wellness is a must-have when I don't feel well.
Orange juice and Canada Dry Ginger Ale mixed together. More OJ than Ginger Ale for extra Vitamin C. This combo has been with me since childhood. My mom must have taught it to me but I have no idea if my sister or brother still use it.  I suspect this may have been a genius sneaky move by my mom to get us to drink more orange juice as kids when we had colds or something. Whatever, it's delicious and I believe it has magical healing powers.

As a kid my mom had a series of wellness remedies. I'm not totally sure where they came from but there was definitely some kind of French Canadian spin on things. First of all, I was never a soup eater when I was kid. Unless that soup was my grandmother's chicken and rice soup which we referred to as "Memere Soup." Memere is pronounced Mem-may and is the Frenchie version of grandmother. Anyway, she made good soup. I liked it. But I would only eat it with whole or diced canned tomatoes in it. The juice was the most important part but the tomato chunks were okay too. Alongside the soup we always had Saltines. Not just when we were sick but every day. We would eat them with butter smeared on them, we would crumble them into the soup, and when we were sick we would do both of those things as well as just eat them because they were the only thing we never threw up.

Clearly, all of these remedies worked because I am still here. Alive and kicking. Well, actually, today I'm just alive and phlegm-tastic, but whatever. I survived childhood didn't I? Anyway, who's coming over to make me soup?

Soup! Soup! Soup!
Come make me some!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Finding a Higher Power won't kill you. Addiction will.

Somehow, I ran across this comedian with a special on Showtime. This morning the Direct TV guy was here at like, 8:00 so I was forced to get up extra early and therefore, extra cranky. Anyway, this is the channel that was on when I settled into my recliner an I am not inclined to move to find the remote.

This dude, Doug Stanhope, got my attention when he started talking about another comedian, Mitch Hedburg - a brilliantly funny individual who unfortunately died of a heroin overdose. According to Doug, Mitch loved drugs more than he loved life. I don't know if this is actually true or not but if I were Mitch looking down from above on this guy I don't know if I would be too happy about what he's saying.

Doug Stanhope also hates Dr. Drew Pinsky and spent quite a bit of time tearing him apart personally and professionally. Doug also hates AA, Rehab, and anything else associated with sobriety. He claims that because his mother was in AA he grew up with it and therefore knows all about it. He played the "Higher power/God" card and that is when I got irritated. Because every addict I have met always uses that excuse and it bugs the crap out of me. Did I mention he was sucking down beers like water throughout his show?

If I had a dollar for every time an addict has told me they don't like AA or it doesn't work for them because they dislike the focus on a higher power I would be rolling in it. It is the the biggest crock of bull I have ever heard. AA does not care what you believe, it's purpose for using a higher power methodology is simple - the need for human beings to invest in something bigger than themselves is what separates us from all the other mammals chillin' on Earth. The opportunity to even consider that there is a something bigger out there, something not fully understood, fits a uniquely human need for understanding. It forces the ego to step aside and make room for something beyond the self. Something an addict needs to learn in order to stand a chance of surviving.

Addiction is an ego-centric mother effer. An addict has tunnel vision, when he (or she) is in the throes of addiction they are incapable of empathy for others. The addict does not seek understanding of what this illness is like for others to live through. He is too busy feeding his addiction to have the time, energy, or inclination to look around and see the wide swath of destruction left behind him. The addict is also so completely saturated by his own experiences, feelings, and beliefs that when confronted with the pain or upset of others he experiences it as a direct assault and will most likely lash out. Yell, scream, hit things, threaten to hurt or kill others or themselves, essentially have a tantrum.

It is important and possibly even helpful to remember that an addict may look like a fully grown adult but on the inside, they are more likely than not, extremely young. Maybe even toddler young in their emotional growth and development. Grown adults who are secure in themselves don't have tantrums. When you see someone completely regressing to the point of melt down, you can rest assured, their inner child is running the show. The adult has left the building and the one left in charge considers Popsicles a food group. Hence, extreme reactions and defensiveness.

In a nutshell, you are not dealing with a functioning adult. You are dealing with a toddler who's had his binky taken away and he will do anything to get it back.

When a comedian like this Doug fellow mocks treatment and rehab centers, and throws hate onto Dr. Drew Pinsky, he undermines the already shaky safety net for addiction. Rehab and detox centers exist for one reason. That reason is simple - to save lives. Because you don't need me to tell you addiction kills. You can probably name 3 celebrities who have died as a result of addiction they couldn't defeat. Off the top of my head? Whitney Houston, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson, Mike Star, Mitch Hedburg, Chris Farley, need I go on?

Do I agree with AA 100% on everything they say and do? No. I don't actually. But I do agree with the importance and efficacy of finding a higher power. Any higher power will do, there doesn't need to be a fancy one with gold leafed bibles or anything. A higher power can be the universe, karma, dogma, yoga, exercise, food, charity, philanthropy, etc. Maybe AA needs to do a better job of explaining the notion of a higher power. I'm not sure. But I do know, it is the the most common complaint I have heard regarding the program and the most common reason for people to stop attending meetings. Of course, in many cases, addicts are looking for an excuse to stop attending and will latch onto anything. So...there's that.

At any rate, this Doug fellow irritated the crap out of me. How destructive, how disrespectful, how selfish can a person be? Comedians are supposed to push our boundaries and get us to think about things from a different standpoint. By hating on Dr. Drew, AA, and sobriety in general he undermines the tremendously hard and life-saving work done not only by the professionals but by the addicts themselves. I guarantee there were people at that show in the program, working on themselves, trying to stay sober (and alive). Where is the upside of mocking them? Why would you kick someone when they're fighting for their life the best way they know how?

Dear Doug Stanhope,
Stop pointing your hurt, rage, disappointment, and fear at the treatment. Want things to change? Build your own methodology, create your own program to save people from the clutches of addiction. Stop complaining and do something about it if you don't like it. 
Grow up.
xoxo
Angry Shrink

PS - that's Mrs. Angry Shrink to you.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Binge Eating

Sometimes, I make bad decisions. I used to make bad decisions on a regular basis but over the past few years with a lot of self-reflection and therapy, I've managed to cut down the number dramatically but it still happens. Mostly when I'm left largely to my own devices and there is some sort of food item within reach. Something about snacking is just irresistible to me but there are days when I take it way too far. Yesterday would be a great example of this as I single-handedly polished off a jar of dry roasted peanuts. There was easily half a jar, if not more in there when the day began. But unfortunately, by bed time, that jar was empty of its salty snack goodness. And an entire Lindt chocolate bar was gone.

I definitely have a binge eating problem. If I decide (with zero real logic) that a food item isn't fattening I pretty much give myself full permission to devour it. This is a problem for many reasons, not the least of which being my 2:30 a.m. wake-up call for Zantac due to the churning pain and heartburn only overeating can provide. In my head I rationalize the eating by telling myself they are "safe" foods. Safe foods won't make me hugely obese therefore I go way overboard with them. I'm pretty sure, however, that eating an entire Honey Dew Melon or ingesting enough peanuts to poop brittle isn't normal.

If a client were to come to me with this issue I would ask, "What do you feel before, during, and after a binge?" For me the answer is, before it happens I am fine...baseline normal. Usually I'll be reading or watching TV and in the back of my head a little voice will be whispering "Snack. Peanuts. Salty, crunchy, non-fattening, protein...Stop! They are fattening and you're going to get a stomach ache. Well....I guess a handful or two won't matter..."

During the binge, my brain is saying to me, "OMG These are so yummy. Nom nom nom.... Just one more handful, that was a little handful have one more, okay, really this is my last one...no really, this is it....they're so small and crunchy, they can't possibly be that bad. It's okay to binge on something like this because it's low carb and not even candy..."

Once the jar of peanuts is gone my brain then moves to, "I can't believe you just ate that entire jar of peanuts. Well, three-quarters of the jar...I didn't eat the whole thing at once. I spread it out over the day, that makes it better. Wow, I am really full of peanuts. I'm basically a Reese's peanut butter cup right now. Except I'm white chocolate instead of milk or dark. Albino peanut butter cup - what's up now?

Other binge worthy items for me include but are not limited to: coffee, chocolate, fruit in general, diet snacks such as Skinny Cow or Weight Watchers items. Anything approved by the Engine 2 Diet or that is vegan. Because they're already diet, therefore the more the merrier.
Where does this train of thought even come from??

Anyway, I need to stop binge eating. I could never be a drug addict or an alcoholic but a food addict? Oh that I can do. Food is the drug society accepts without question. We judge overweight people but at the end of the day, food is non-negotiable. We have to eat to live. So where's the line between eating to live and living to eat?

I don't have that answer right this moment. But I do need to walk down to the Recycle bin to get rid of this jar. Keeping the evidence? No thank you.

That's what I'm saying. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

EMDR Part II

Yesterday I talked about how great EMDR is. I explained how it works by essentially allowing you to change your old negative pathways of thinking and develop new, positive ones. This allows those old, negative pathways to heal over and eventually disappear. I tried to describe the feeling and experience of EMDR but in the interest of time I decided to make this a 2-part essay.

Going to an EMDR therapist you should probably be prepared to see and experience things differently than when you go to your regular therapist. While you are doing EMDR it is probably best to put your regular therapy on hold so you can focus solely on your work in this model. A lot of the time, you will only see your EMDR therapist for however many sessions it takes for you to reach your goals. This depends completely on the therapist you choose. Some only do the intense EMDR work and that is all they do. Others mix traditional therapy with EMDR and you may end up seeing them for longer. My main point here is, EMDR is intense, it's draining, it's real, actual work. Going to your traditional therapist while trying to do EMDR may be too much to handle and if it is, that's totally okay. If your therapist cannot or will not work with this, find out why first and foremost. Your therapist knows you, they may have very good, clinical reasons for their opinion. Hear them out and try to figure out what will work best for your specific treatment. If they try to talk you out of EMDR but you still feel strongly about it, then I would say you may either want to wait or visit an EMDR specialist in your area and see what they say. They will likely be completely happy to talk to your therapist and attempt to work out a treatment plan for you together with your therapist.

I should also explain that EMDR is different than a traditional therapy session. Your therapist will ask you questions and will most likely ask you to close your eyes and really visualize your answers. This is helpful in getting you to relax and feel open and ready. Your EMDR therapist will ask you to be aware of your thoughts and your body - how does it feel? Do you feel any particular sensation anywhere in the body and what do you feel or hear as a message when you pay attention to it? Your therapist will ask you to allow your mind to go wherever it needs to go, you may see memories in your minds eye of events you had totally forgotten about. You may experience sensations in your body - warmth, tingling, aching, tightening - pay attention to these sensations and make note of them and what they mean to you.

Your EMDR therapist also uses tools to help speed up your brains processing and building new pathways. These tools can be one or all of the following things - an approximately two foot long bar with small colored lights inside held up on a tripod or set on a desk or table - you will be asked to follow the lights with your eyes. Another possibility will be what I have experienced with both of my EMDR therapists. Small rounded paddles, approximately two inches around held in your hands that vibrate intermittently while you are searching through old memories. Or, your therapist may just ask you to follow his finger with your eyes and stand in front of you moving it back and forth while you focus on the movement with your eyes.

Remember - EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Re-processing. Studies have shown that moving your eyes or focusing your attention left-right, right-left, etc, directly effects the building of new neuro-pathways and brings symptom relief for PTSD, anxiety, and depression sufferers.

Through EMDR I learned the following pathway was alive and kicking in my brain. I began focusing on the sensation of anxiety in my chest, my therapist had me hold the paddles and close my eyes. I let my brain bounce around, go wherever it needed to, and after a minute or so I saw my teenage self sitting on the porch of my boyfriend's house when I was about 17. I recognized this as a memory of my smoking pot and completely freaking out. I was not the pot-head type but the boyfriend was so I had gone for it. Only to find out, it made me want to die (I believe this may have been a panic attack brought on by the paranoia I got from smoking pot. Awesome.)
My brain then bounced to several other long forgotten incidents of my throwing up or panicking or freaking out. Eventually my brain bounced its way to a memory I had completely forgotten. It explained why I hated Boston and didn't want to go there ever. Apparently, in college I had gone to Boston with some friends and at some point, the T (metro) broke down. Underground. And it was really dark and really freaky for about 15-20 minutes. Surrounded by strangers, clinging to my friends and amazingly, not freaking out during the period of darkness, probably because I knew instinctively it wouldn't do any good.

Basically, my brain had built a pathway with all sorts of delightful stops along the way, that I had largely forgotten. And somehow along the line they became tangled and the messages I received from these long forgotten experiences were "You ruin everything. You kill the fun. You suck. You can't do anything right so you should just stay home. Boston hates you, it's out to get you. You ruin everything. You ruin everything. It is all your fault."

Um...well if that's not a Panic Attack Cocktail I don't know what is! And there were loads of these pathways in my brain created by many other incidents and traumas that had stuck with me. Never processed or resolved, just...basically squatted in my brain rent free for years. Years. Many of them. Seeing these memories allowed me to take the power out of them.

The best part of EMDR is using a memory of a time when things were amazing or wonderful. This is the heart of the experience - you will use this memory to flood your brain with delightful, delicious endorphins  and dopamine! Yum! When you end your session you will likely end it on this memory. You will use this memory like a mouthwash to rinse the icky off the session and replace it with minty freshness.

Find your truth and own it baby!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

EMDR Part I

"If it's hysterical, it's historical." - Words to remember when freaking out. My former therapist used this phrase to explain to me how far back the anxiety and panic response goes. It wasn't until I began EMDR therapy that I began to understand exactly how true those words are.

EMDR is an amazing form of treatment that is slowly gaining attention in the larger world thanks to the power of Google. EMDR is: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming. In a nut shell it helps you build new neuro-pathways in your brain which allows old, negative pathways to grow over. Picture your brain as a forest. If you walk the same way day after day, you will create a path. EMDR allows you to see, in your minds eye, all the stops along that pathway. What will blow your mind is how seemingly random the events that created that path appear. By bringing these old, buried memories to the surface of your conscious mind you are able to process them and take the power of negativity away from them.

You are then able to build new, healthy, happy pathways by flooding your brain with powerful, sensory memories of a time in your life when things were wonderful. Eventually, like any other trail, when your old pathways go unused, nature will reclaim itself and those old pathways will heal over. This is also why positive affirmations work. Because by repeating something over and over it eventually wears a pathway, affirmations are great, but it can take a long time to get results whereas with EMDR you have a direct line to your subconscious. EMDR is used to treat trauma but can also be used for just about anything you can think of.

In my case, EMDR blew my mind. I experienced it in my mid-twenties with my first therapist. I was nearly phobic of travel but really wanted to see my godmother and cousins who lived in Mexico. My brother and I planned a trip together and I was desperate to ensure my panic disorder wouldn't stop me from having a good time. I did the EMDR once and seriously had the best trip I have ever had. We climbed pyramids and ruin sites, we went into Mexico City and shopped, ate at awesome restaurants, and all without a hint of anxiety or panic. I became a believer of EMDR.

More recently, in the past year and a half I switched from my traditional therapist to another EMDR therapist. This EMDR experience was much deeper and more intense than my first one because I had a whole new decades worth of trauma, hurt, panic, and pain to dig through. It was hard. EMDR is serious. You will feel exhausted and wonky after a session. You will be more sensitive because you have literally dragged your subconscious into the light of intense examination and that feels awful a lot of the time.

Nobody ever tells you this so I'm going to - Growth and Change - the biggies that everyone wants? Feel awful. AWFUL. When they are happening. It is in the moments of struggle and hopelessness that we experience true growth. Lasting change. Intimacy. All of those things come from being vulnerable. We, however, are hardwired to avoid pain.

We're taught that pain is bad, we should make it go away as fast as possible. I challenge you to stay in the moment next time you find yourself trying to shut down when things get uncomfortable. See if you can allow yourself to feel whatever it is you're experiencing and name it:  Fear, Guilt, Shame, Anxiety, Panic, Hurt, Worthless, Angry, Awkward, Silly, Stupid, Sad, Frustrated, whatever. 

Feel it. Feel it and see - your feelings will not eat you up, you are not what you feel, you are separate from your emotions. Just because you feel worthless or guilty doesn't mean you are either of those things. It means that you are experiencing them and you have a responsibility to yourself (and your loved ones) to find the root of those feelings and make peace with it.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Adventures in Engine 2 Land

Everyone who knows me knows, I have a happy place. And it's name is Target. Since it opened here about ten years or so ago I have been a fan. The ability to purchase adorable cardigans, batteries, and stylish home goods at the same time as tampons, Advil, and office supplies is a joy every shopper deserves to luxuriate in.

Except yesterday. When Target tried to turn on me. At first everything seemed normal. As I was headed to the returns area I was cut off by an older couple trying to purchase the correct bag of underwear for their kid but were unaware of the price scanners located all over the store. How this could happen is beyond me but I didn't let it get me down. It only took the clerk 12 seconds to help them and I was then able to return my George Foreman Grill.

Now this is in no way a reflection on George. He does good work, he just wasn't the right tool for the job. I am embarking on a new adventure. It's important that I have the right stuff so I can actually stand a fighting chance. I have decided to make a major life change and am using the Engine 2 Diet as my vehicle to get me to healthy land. I can honestly say, I've always wanted to not only eat better, but to stop consuming animals in any way, shape, or form. In case you haven't noticed, I am a major animal lover. Not only as a pet owner but as a consumer - I avoid products tested on animals, I try not to wear leather or suede, and I think wearing fur is disgusting, wrong, elitist, and honestly disturbing. Unless you are an actual Eskimo or other indigenous clan member, you have no reason to wear pelts. You look like a jackass. Stop it.

Anyway, I quickly figured out that a George Foreman Grill would not help me in my quest. What made me come to this realization was my attempt on Sunday to cook rice.

I'm pretty sure any normal human being can cook rice. I, however, cannot. In my first ever attempt at making brown rice, despite having it cook for over 45 minutes, I failed. Badly. Rice disaster. I can only explain it by saying I think it was raw yet overcooked. At the same time. I had to dump it. It was sad. Very sad. Because then I had no rice to eat and had to have hummus and pita chips.

So I went back to the drawing board and read more of my Engine 2 book. And found that they consider a rice cooker a must-have for this diet. Rice cooker? A device that cooks rice as its sole purpose? It's idiot proof?? I must have it!

Hence my trip to Target yesterday. After the return desk I headed over to the kitchen items area and began the selection process. I was interrupted, however, by what can only be described as a scream one would utter if entered into a competition with a banshee. As one, everyone near me stopped what they were doing and picked up their heads as if listening for a lion ambush. The screech had come from the front of the store, by the registers.The moment passed and everyone returned to their shopping. Until the next moment when the banshee call rang out again. Louder and longer this time. My fellow shopping herd members and I attempted to ignore this second call of the wild. What we failed to think of, was that there could be more of them. That this shriek was not only a cry of the jungle, but a mating call as well.

And then it happened. It had a friend. And that friend, was behind me somewhere. I was unable to locate the source of the return call but that didn't stop it from happening. As Demon Child #1 shrieked his fool head off, Demon Child #2 would silently listen. As soon as #1 was out of air, #2 belted out a reply scream of equal strength and volume. This continued for the rest of the time I was in the store. We would go a couple minutes between nightmare screams as I can only assume a parent attempted to distract (aka shut up) their little cherub. But just when you thought it was over, that surely one or both of them had finally left the store they would take up the cry again.

It was like Demon Child Ping-Pong. If one were to buy tickets to an event such as this, they would be wise to stretch first in order to have the required neck flexibility to move back and forth repeatedly. Somehow both competitors remained at opposite ends of the store. Worst tennis match ever.

I didn't let it stop me. I selected my rice cooker and bought more rice and vegetable stock to replace the fallen soldiers of Sunday night's attempt. And I'm thrilled to report the rice cooker made beautiful, fluffy brown rice AND steamed my vegetables for me. It's a double-threat! Rice cooker plus steamer = yum!

I'm feeling good and confident (for the first time ever) that going Vegan is the right choice for me. I've always had a feeling about it but never had the balls to do it. So for the next 28 days, I am an Engine 2 eater and will be making a lot of rice. My harrowing Target adventure will not be for naught. You never know what will change your life, I suspect a rice cooker may be the piece I have been missing up until now.

Worried it's all rabbit food and I'll die from lack of protein or calcium? Think again and check out this beautiful burrito bowl - this is my dinner tonight and I can't wait! For the recipe go to http://www.straightupfood.com/blog/2012/07/22/burrito-bowl-with-guacamole-and-salsa/ 

I am going to eat this like a wolverine! A vegan one!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Victory!

I know this may not excite everyone as much as it does me but I figured out how to change my settings so anyone can comment here! Woo-hoo!

In other news, this is happening at my house right now.
The Kong Wubba. A supposedly indestructible toy.

Shamus didn't get that memo. In ten minutes this is what he's managed to do.
So glad I shelled out $12 for this.
Le sigh.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Showmance

I am a reality television addict and my husband totally enables me. Which I love and appreciate because real men watch Bravo as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, I feel like I have crossed over into some realm where I've never ventured before. For the first time in my life, I am watching a season of Big Brother. And I think I'm in love.

Big Brother is like Survivor's awkward yet surprisingly intelligent baby brother. On Survivor, people are literally starving, at the mercy of the elements, and competing every few days in intensely physical challenges to win prizes such as fishing line, or a tarp at the beginning of the season then for huge spa and financial rewards by the end. I'd also like to point out, they often arrive at their island destination after hiking 20 miles through uncharted jungle or desert or whatever random place they have been dumped. They are split into two warring tribes then condensed into one after enough players have been sent home via their own tribe-mates kicking them out. It's awesome. Actual articles, blogs, and I think even a book has been written about the psychology of Survivor and to me it is always fun and interesting to watch.


PROOF! Not just one but TWO psychology books about Survivor! That's how cool it is! (Yes, I realize I may have a problem...) Amazon never lets me down!


Customers buy this book with The Spoiler: Revealing the Secrets of Survivor $13.95
The Psychology of Survivor: Leading Psychologists Take an Unauthorized Look at the Most Elaborate Psychological Experiment Ever Conducted . . . Survivor! (Psychology of Popular Culture)+The Spoiler: Revealing the Secrets of Survivor
Price For Both: $27.13
 
  • This item: The Psychology of Survivor: Leading Psychologists Take an Unauthorized Look 
  • at the Most Elaborate Psychological Experiment Ever Conducted . . . Survivor! 
  • (Psychology of Popular Culture)
     Spoiler: Revealing the Secrets of Survivor

Big Brother 14 houses its contestants in a large home with a yard and pool but they are completely cut off from the outside world. As far as I've seen, they have physical challenges but with the exception of this past week where they were strapped to a fake pirate ship then had cold water sprayed all over them followed by some sort of mystery goo that was supposed to be seagull poop they aren't that difficult. (That looked like it sucked really bad though.) The players are all very attractive and apparently, there is something called a "showmance", a totally made up for Big Brother term where players get all mushy for each other and hook up on national television. It's classier than it sounds. (No. No it isn't. But I'm still totally gonna watch it.)

I keep finding echoes of the Hunger Games come up with a lot of reality television. Ever since reading that series of books I can't help but think how odd it is that as a society, we like what we like. I've mentioned this feeling before about other shows. I lurve talent competitions such as The Voice, X Factor, and America's Got Talent. I love knowing and seeing that there are so many gifted, talented, thinking people in the world. The part of the show where players are eliminated, however, is often painful to watch. The network (or "The Capitol" as us super cool Katniss and Peeta fans would say) purposely makes the host wait for longer than anything even remotely realistic just so the audience can watch the contestants squirm. Maybe they think it's suspense building but in all reality, it's kind of morbid.

Actual contestant of BB14. He really likes Fruit Loops.
And Rage.
Props to  http://wtfspaghetti.blogspot.com/2012/07/willie-from-big-brother-14-fruit-loop.html  for
creating this piece of art.

I've decided Big Brother takes the cake for the category "Creepy but no one talks about it." Maybe I'm the only one who thinks living in a bubble with a bunch of strangers and having your every move, no matter how lame, awkward or plain unattractive, documented is intense. It makes me kind of itchy. I get freaked out if the curtain on the sliding glass door is open at night, convinced someone is watching me in my little living room fish bowl.

Jacob doesn't worry about that though. He's too busy making the sure the DVR is set and talking about who's going to win Head of Household next week. I love it that he watches this stuff with me. It's good to have a partner to run strategies by and to celebrate with when someone we hate gets kicked off the island.







Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Break Up

One awkward thing about treatment is, what do you do when you've outgrown your therapist? I mean, it's great, they probably helped you a lot. So how do you end treatment with them?

Technically, the therapist is supposed to see when things are at an organic end point but that doesn't always happen. I saw my former therapist for almost three years. She was exactly what I needed when I needed it but when my life finally began to change and stop sucking so much all the time, I actually felt like she didn't trust me. I felt that she was overly critical and even territorial when it came down to it. I didn't feel that she understood the extent of the suckage that was my life. I was legit living in the ghetto for just under two years. And my original land lord had died and left us with her horrible partner in charge. 

The partner (Slum Lord Biotch or SLB for short) was truly the most horrible human being I have ever met. And let's face it, I attract assholes like moths to a flame. So I wasn't surprised that she was awful, I was just surprised she was THAT awful.

When we got the opportunity to move out of there 2 months before the lease was up we were all over it. We did everything by the book but...being a psycho SLB, she continued to hound us and hound us for more money. The last time I ever saw her I had been cleaning the apartment top to bottom for about 4 hours. And it was HOT. I so happened to go outside to put something in my car when she appeared out of nowhere. She claimed to have paid the handyman to remove the giant pile of trash we'd left on the sidewalk. I told her the town was going to pick it up for free as I had called them and spoken to a very nice lady about it. But she'd already paid the guy so I figured I would suck it up and pay the $150 just to keep the peace. (Apparently peace pricey!)

Except she followed me upstairs. And stood really close to me. And then demanded more money. And I completely lost my shit.
Lost. It. (I suspect now, looking back, I was angry at two other women who'd had some form of power over me and I never got to tell them off so this was kind of my moment.)
Anyway, I think I may have blacked out. Because I could hear myself screaming at her and calling her every name in the book. The C-bomb, which I try to only use on special occasions...stole the show. It was as if I developed Tourettes Syndrome and that word was all I could get out. Loudly. Very loudly. Until I finally came back to my body a bit and had the sense to scream "GET OUT! Get out of my house you evil crazy bitch!"
Then called my husband and cried "I just called Lori the C-word like, 87 times and I'm totally freaking out!"

My therapist's response to our moving out of the ghetto was that it was wrong of me to break a lease and that renting from my landlord was wrong because he was the step-dad of a former client. Her exact words were, in fact, "I will fire you as a client if you do that. For as long as you live in that house you will be going completely backwards."

I went back one time after that. It was okay, I did tell her I didn't appreciate what she'd said. Or her weird denial of the fact that we have the same job. (Seriously! I felt so judged by her!)

I didn't call her and she never called me. I consider that not just poor business, but poor social skills.  After three years of treatment, I feel a client falling off the face of the earth would merit some form of communication.

The real deal breaker was later that spring, I had a horrifying experience trying to wean off Effexor (My med of choice for years. Too bad it was the wrong one!) I basically went into withdrawal and could not function.
I have no idea why, but I thought I had an appointment. I called her and stated, "I am extremely ill, in withdrawal from Effexor, the doctor gave me cancer meds to stop the nausea and I'm so scared but I really hope I didn't mess up your schedule because I hate missing appointments and I am so sorry and baaahh..."
Her response? "No, we didn't have an appointment."
That's all.
And she never called me again.

It may be crazy of me, but if one of my clients dragged themselves out of a withdrawal stupor to call me and apologize for missing an appointment that didn't exist, I would have called them again in like, a week, to see if they were alive.

Anyway, if you want to stop meeting with a therapist, it's okay. Really. We are surprisingly resilient and don't take that personally. It's okay to tell your therapist face-face that you're ready to move on. In my case, you could even text or email. No hard feelings. Come back and see me sometime if you'd like a tune-up.

That about sums it up. It's not always about you!
(But it is usually about me.)



Monday, August 6, 2012

New Jersey!

I took a field trip to New Jersey last weekend to spend time with my bestie, Stacey. She so happens to be the mother of twin three year-old boys. She also so happens to be pregnant with twin girls, due in October. My favorite part of the weekend was her boys deciding to like me and be my friends. Victory! Apparently they're going through a shy phase and she was initially concerned they may not even look at me let alone speak to me. But I am the kid whisperer (and the raccoon whisperer). I get along swimmingly with kids 99% of the time. I'm not sure what happens with that 1% but I have to assume, they are probably jerks.

What I noticed most about my time with Stacey and the twins (and her sister Tara with her 1-year old daughter) was that...we say a lot of the same things. I have three dogs, she has two rough and tumble boys, there are a lot of parallels.

We both spend a lot of time asking - "Do you have to poop? Because it smells like you do."

Along with repetitive classics such as, "Get off that!" and "That's not a toy!" "Get down!"

My favorite moment was, after watching Tara clean ice cream sandwich off her daughters face with her own shirt (Brilliantly done though! She kept the ickyness on the inside of the shirt so you can't see it! Well played Tara!)
Stacey turned to me and said matter-of-factly,  "Never touch my hands."
Because, you know, we know where they've been and it's not a pretty picture.

Our trip to Kid Junction reminded me of taking my troop to the dog park. The rules are essentially the same - keep an eye on your guy, make sure they're within shouting distance, and if they make a mess (organic or otherwise) it's on you to take care of it.

I like seeing that, if I chose at some point to become a parent to a human child I wouldn't be totally out of my comfort zone. I'm pretty sure I would be a good mom to a little person but, honestly, my ovaries felt nothing. And there was a lot of cuteness. I am always listening to hear if my uterus is trying to communicate with me about the creation of a mini-me but I swear to God, it was crickets in there. Little crickets at that.

My family (pre-Shamus) Note - everyone is smiling and looking forward to naps later.
Because doggies love sleeping as much as I do.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Chick-Fil-Wake Up Call

I'm not going into depth about this whole Chick-Fil-A debacle. No matter how you slice it, this company has become the lightning rod for bigger and more important conversations. I am sure they are far from the only company that does not support gay marriage. They were just the only ones naive enough to openly say it. And for that, I actually give them credit because they spoke their truth. And I fully support their right to say whatever they need to say because despite the fact that I disagree with it, expressing opinions is important. I am actually disappointed that instead of this turning into a teachable moment for millions of Americans, we are sniping at each other about "rights" and "liberties".

What's more important? Having a tantrum about the right to free speech or having a conversation about why, in 2012, the gay community is still shrouded in mystery for so many. We fear what we do not understand and I wholeheartedly believe that is the bottom line here. I have grown up in New England in what is a surprisingly liberal and progressive state - CT. Despite our reputation for being Cranky Yankees, we are as a whole a remarkably informed and open majority. We have legalized gay marriage and medical marijuana - two things that you won't find in the majority of states. I think here in New England being a smaller state is in our best interest as it forces us to directly face the actual individuals effected by our laws, beliefs, attitudes, and societal mores.

As a kid I was clueless about what it meant to be black or Hispanic or gay because I was always taught that we are all the same. Not even necessarily taught by my parents, but by my peers and my teachers and the world around me. We may have hate groups here in my state but they are small and secretive because they are not welcome in or tolerated by the general populous.

I believe the real root of the Chick-Fil-A debate is that despite all the information and education there remains a vast fear of homosexuality in this country. This restaurant has given a voice to a surprisingly large segment of the American people who remain trapped by their own fear of something they know nothing about. I am a little embarrassed to admit this...but...I watch Big Brother. I know! Stop judging me! I have a point! On BB (oh yes, I'm using the lingo!) there is a contestant named Danielle Murphree, a nurse from Grant, Alabama. At 23 years old, she had never met a gay person (at least not to her knowledge). Let me just repeat that real quick - 23 years old, did not know a single out and proud gay person. Because in Alabama, being openly gay is not safe. Not unpopular, not awkward, dangerous. Let's be honest - people are still being killed for being gay in the United States in 2012.

The point of this BB Moment is that Danielle Murphree had her first encounter with a lesbian, Jen Arroyo, a 37 year-old musician from Brooklyn on the show. I give Danielle a lot of credit because during an on-camera interview she openly admitted before coming to BB she feared lesbians and gays, but after spending a few days with Jen she understands that all lesbians and gays are doing is being themselves and by the way, they're so nice! Like, OMG! I love them now! (Seriously, she totally said that although maybe not in those exact words.)

She needed that one-one contact with an actual gay woman and the moment she connected with Jen, she stopped seeing her as Lesbian and understood her as human and real. I believe Danielle's experience resonates deeply. She was honest and upfront about her feelings but she was also open to connection. If I could duplicate her experience with every person in this country who has never met an LGBT individual I would. Since I can't let me just say that gay people are not trying to be different. They are trying to be themselves. The best way I can think of to explain it is what if you had to walk around all day, every day, dressed wildly inappropriately and uncomfortably. Let's say you had to wear assless chaps, combat boots, a tutu, and a dress shirt one size too small. Every day. Get up, brush your teeth, don your assless chaps, and head to work or school.

It might not be so bad the first few days but eventually your ass is going to chafe and your muscles will be sore from trying not to rip the too-small shirt.

Now imagine the relief you'd feel when you finally got to wear your trusty jeans and tee-shirt with your comfy flip-flops. So good right? Well, you might find those jeans and tee to be your most comfortable option but the person next to you might prefer khakis or a skirt or dress or sneakers or heels. You have tons of options and you get to go with whatever you're comfortable in and nobody gives a hoot what you choose.

An LGBT person who may appear "flamboyant" or "over the top" to you, is most likely just being their true selves. They genuinely feel comfortable in more feminine or masculine clothing and demeanor. You don't think twice about the way your voice sounds or what hand gestures you make when speaking. Imagine if you had to police every joke, comment, or bit of body language. All day every day. The LGBT person in the line at Target in front of you undoubtedly has. Possibly for years, possibly for their whole life.

So instead of arguing about first amendment rights, try to shift your focus to what's behind the curtain, what it is you're a little less comfortable talking about. Instead of going on the defensive and getting sucked into constitutional debate, check in with your inner self. Be brutally honest - what is this really about for me? How do I feel about the LGBT community? What do I need to learn? Do I even know a gay person? (Statistically speaking, you totally do, it's really hard not to.) How would I respond to Chick-Fil-A's beliefs if they said they didn't support interracial marriage? Or if they thought Canadians were going to hell for their "lifestyle"?

Yet another reason for my epic crush on Jon Stewart.
Start asking questions. Don't be afraid of the answers you may draw.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

50 Shades of Shamus: Shades of Bath Day

Just wait til you fall asleep. Your shoes are mine!
 Today was the dreaded bath day for doggies. It was time, they were smelly, and I don't want to be one of those people whose house you walk in and immediately know a dog lives there. Or maybe a herd of dogs... Because ew. Smelly.

Shamus has never really been groomed. I usually bathe him when I'm in the shower because he insists upon sleeping next to the tub or trying to get in depending on his mood. On they days he's purposely jumping in and out of the tub, he's totally getting a bath because as far as I'm concerned, he's asking for it.

You want me to what? Stay outside and dry? Like an animal?
Damn you...




I can't even look at you, mommy. Harumph!

Who Are You People?

In case you haven't noticed, I put a lot of my personal story into this blog. For me it's been almost a therapeutic exercise at times to share parts of my life that aren't exactly high points. About five years ago I went to Salem, MA with my godmother, cousin, and sister. We went to Laurie Cabot's shop - she is the unofficial (or possibly official?) Witch of Salem. While there we asked for a recommendation for psychic readings and they sent us to The Oracle Chamber. It was run by a husband and wife, small and unassuming you'd never guess this little shop could house something so special. Upon entering and meeting Therese and her husband (John? I can't remember, don't judge me) I was immediately put at ease. Never having ventured into the world of psychics, tarot cards, or palm readings I had no clue what to expect. What I got was an hour long intense and somewhat confusing tarot reading followed by a five minute palm reading that put words to something I never could but had somehow subconsciously sensed for a long time. Those words have brought me if not a sense of relief, at least a sense of peace. Therese so happens to be my grandmother's name so that alone made me interested in her reading and after hearing her read my cousin's palm and basically hit it out of the ballpark with her specificity I had to try it too. After grabbing my hand and shining a strong light onto it she started the reading and although I can't remember everything I do remember she pointed out to me that my palm creases in the shape of a five-pointed star and that I was a healer but a wounded one. A wounded healer.

This theme also came up loud and clear when I had my Numerology done. Huh.

So that's why my life tends to fall apart? So I can help other people more? I have always said, Erin Land is a great place but when things go wrong, they REALLY go wrong. The answer, apparently, is yes. Due to the epic mess of my life at certain points in time I have definitely grown more compassionate, gentler - with myself and others, and more open minded. Judge not lest ye be judged peeps. Or, more simply - don't judge anyone unless you have walked in their shoes.

I am fully aware that by putting personal details of my life on the internet I am opening myself up to criticism and God only knows what else. But if I'm helping someone get through their day or understand that they are not alone and there is nothing wrong with them, it's worth it. What I really want to know is, this page has almost 2000 views. And maybe 8 comments? What's up with that? Who are you out there reading this? Why don't you introduce yourself? Do you know me in real life or am I a total stranger you've managed to find? The anonymity of the internet allows you to read all about me and my little world - so what do you do after you're done reading? Here's an idea - leave me a comment - here or on Facebook or Twitter or Blogher. I'm all over the place y'all and I want to know who you are. Because I'm interested and curious and excited to know you and to hear what you get out of reading this blog.

Help me out here peeps. I promise to love you even if you don't but I sure will dig it if you do.


I didn't want to have to say it but...kidding! Sort of...


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Maine Vaca!


The jetty - fun to climb on and stand in front of!

When we were kids we were incredibly lucky to be able to go on vacation for a week every summer. We went to one of two places - Cape Cod or Pine Point Beach in Scarboro, Maine. Both destinations were awesome but I think we went to Maine more because when I'm there now as an adult I have strong memories and attachments. My parents rented a house in Scarboro this summer and Jacob and I were able to go stay with them for a couple days. It's hard that one of my favorite places on earth isn't exactly Jacob's cup of tea. He grew up in and around Mystic, CT on the shore in a beach community so purposely seeking out the touristy mecca that is the Maine coastline wouldn't be his first choice for vacation. I, however, insisted upon it and like the good sport that he is, he voluntarily stayed with my parents and me for a couple days. Here are some highlights from Erin & Jacob: Conquering Southern Maine 2012.

We went on a whale watch. It was really fun to ride on the boat in the choppy ocean water. Kind of like riding the mechanical bull but wetter and with people throwing up a lot. Jacob was incredibly nauseous so spent most of the time at the back of the boat praying he didn't upchuck. I spent most of the time at the front because I don't get seasick and think it's fun to ride the waves. Sadly, we have dubbed this adventure Fail Watch because not only did we see ZERO whales despite four hours of nausea and cold we didn't even see a freaking seal. It was a reasonably fun boat ride but overall, two thumbs down for sea sickness without whale goodness.

Not a whale in sight. But I'm on a boat! And I see another boat! Wee!


Water temp: 65 lovely refreshing degrees
 This is the beach - it's huge! As kids we would play here for hours and hours - no undertow to worry about and plenty of stuff to look for and throw - at each other or into the water. Sand castles were also attempted. But mostly we just dug holes and freaked each other out with seaweed.







Of course, food is one of the best things about vacation in Maine. Just in case you're wondering about the market price of lobster in Maine right now - it's about $3.50/pound. That's right. It's at best $6-$7/pound everywhere else. Nom nom nom....

Only on vacation is an ice cream cone bigger than my head considered totally acceptable.



We arrived in the rain which was kind of a bummer because all I really wanted to do was go walk on the beach and give myself a sand pedicure for my feeties. Mother Nature, however, hooked us up and stopped pouring and gave us a special present!
Interior Design is a whole other thing here. Yes.
This is a lobster lamp. Hand beaded according to the sticker.
RAINBOW!!