Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Passive Aggressive Valentines


I saw an absolutely amazing Valentine’s Day product on Etsy. There are cards printed where they appear to have a rather hateful message, but if you read closely, there are small words between the bold ones that make them sweet. A “read between the lines” valentine.

The store owner sells a package with 6. I like hers…but I think I can write a few more. So here are a few of my own little ideas.

If you LEAVE ME I would feel so ALONE

I THINK WE SHOULD be together always. When we SEE OTHER PEOPLE you know they are jealous.

THERE’S never been SOMEONE who made me feel like nothing ELSE mattered but love.

and my last one

IT’S NOT YOUR looks that won my heart, it’s the beauty within you, BABY

Friday, January 18, 2013

My thoughts on the proposed actions


Ok, so my point of view has always been that real discussion of the issues is far better than “Obama is Hitler” or “Romney hates women” (both of which I believe to be false. Hitler had a mustache.) So I found where the New York Times had published President Obama’s proposed actions to prevent gun violence in the U.S.

I was rather surprised by my own personal response to a lot of these notions. I think talking about the different points is beneficial. The one I’ve seen the most dialogue about is the assault weapons ban. I think that may be an “agree to disagree” point for many, but there is a lot of other material here ladies and gentlemen. Let’s read.

(my $0.02 are in bold under the proposed item.


Proposed Congressional Actions

  • Requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, including those by private sellers that currently are exempt.
    • Ok, fair enough.
  • Reinstating and strengthening the ban on assault weapons that was in place from 1994 to 2004.
    • I’m assuming no expiration on this ban?
  • Limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.
  • Banning the possession of armor-piercing bullets by anyone other than members of the military and law enforcement.
    • While I understand the “why would you need armor-piercing bullets?” argument….were armor piercing bullets used by any of the mass shooters we’re talking about? I don’t feel like it was widely talked about if so.
  • Increasing criminal penalties for "straw purchasers," people who pass the required background check to buy a gun on behalf of someone else.
    • Ok, fair enough I guess…though I don’t know what the existing penalties are. 
  • Acting on a $4 billion administration proposal to help keep 15,000 police officers on the street.
    • YES! PLEASE! I know that Tulsa had to let a lot of police officers go because of budget. I hate having to cut police, firefighters, or medical personnel. I don’t see how this is necessarily gun related…
  • Confirming President Obama's nominee for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
    • ….really?
  • Eliminating a restriction that requires the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to allow the importation of weapons that are more than 50 years old.
    • ….really? 
  • Financing programs to train more police officers, first responders and school officials on how to respond to active armed attacks.
    • Ok, fair. 
  • Provide additional $20 million to help expand the a system that tracks violent deaths across the nation from 18 states to 50 states.
    • If only major news networks hadn’t eliminated their investigative reporting departments so they could do some of that whole tracking, research, reporting stuff as well…because wouldn’t it be nice if we cared more about this than who was workin’ the twitter with which news anchor?
  • Providing $30 million in grants to states to help schools develop emergency response plans.
    • I’m never going to complain about funding to help schools do anything.
  • Providing financing to expand mental health programs for young people.
    • YES! Please! Mental wellness programs even. Stress isn’t talked about enough and kids aren’t generally given a lot of help in learning how to manage it.

Executive actions

  • Issuing a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
    • because it’s not? what are we considering relevant? that’s kinda vague. 
  • Addressing unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
    • I feel like the type of information they’re talking about needs to be elaborated upon more specifically. 
  • Improving incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
    • good call
  • Directing the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks
    • I really want a clear definition of what “dangerous people” means 
  • Proposing a rule making to give law enforcement authorities the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
    • yeah, that’s fair as long as they do it in a very timely manner…like “within 48 hours” or something should be stipulated. Otherwise what is to prevent them holding the gun for weeks because “the background check hasn’t been completed”
  • Publishing a letter from the A.T.F. to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
    • ok.
  • Starting a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
    • wait…there wasn’t one already that the NRA was pushing? I mean…I’m surprised it’s not in the PASS in Oklahoma, but I always think more knowledge and information is a good thing.
  • Reviewing safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
    • …how does this prevent mass murder incidence?
  • Issuing a presidential memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
    • uh huh…they do this on CSI all the time.
  • Releasing a report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and making it widely available to law enforcement authorities.
    • hmmmk
  • Nominating an A.T.F. director.
    • The one congress needs to approve?
  • Providing law enforcement authorities, first responders and school officials with proper training for armed attacks situations.
    • yep.
  • Maximizing enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
    • I feel like these words don’t really mean anything.
  • Issuing a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence.
    • I’m assuming this means gun violence as linked to mental health which is why this would be under their jurisdiction?
  • Directing the attorney general to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenging the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
    • ok.
  • Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
    • I didn’t think this was an issue. I’m pretty sure I’ve been asked this at well child checks…maybe I’m making that up.
  • Releasing a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
    • “Danger to self or others” right?
  • Providing incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
    • not sure what a “school resource officer” is…so add that to my “look it up” list.
  • Developing model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
    • ok.  
  • Releasing a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
    • to clear up what confusion? medicaid must cover:……?
  • Finalizing regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within insurance exchanges.
    • I assume the implication is that mental health will be considered officially part of health and it’s treatment must be covered. Thank goodness.
  • Committing to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
    • words that mean nothing…
  • Starting a national dialogue on mental health led by Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, and Arne Duncan, the secretary of education.
    • YES! PLEASE! Can we talk more about what services are available? About mental health conditions that onset when people are young adults even? More about dementia. More about treatments (medical and otherwise).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I’ve been thinking about mourning a lot lately. As recently as a hundred years ago people still dressed in black or wore armbands to mourn the loss of a family member and to display their state of mourning. A quick glance at wikipedia shows that in the United Kingdom:

“Mourning was worn for six months for a sibling. Parents would wear mourning for a child for "as long as they feel so disposed". A widow was supposed to wear mourning for two years and was not supposed to enter society for twelve months. “

I lost a child. I was in my element during his life. I felt like the last three weeks of his life were the best weeks of our family’s. My entire life revolved around caring for him and making sure we filled those weeks with love and memories. We had so much support back then.

Then Rowan died, Matt went back to work, and I had to help Evelyn readjust to “normal” life. My purpose in life now? I don’t know. I stopped everything. I gave up all the goals and dreams I had for myself because my son was more important. My identity was shaped around the care of this special little boy.

And when he died…we became so different from everyone around us. People stopped calling. We already felt so completely paralyzed after his death that the sudden end of support was deafening.

The very few who kept calling or texting – you were and continue to be invaluable. You will never know what you have done for me by just asking me how I’m holding up and listening.

So what is mourning for me?

It’s feeling lost.

I’m trying to build a new life. My old one is gone. I’m not who I was before. The old goals just don’t seem right anymore. I haven’t found a new purpose. I feel disappointment from others and I can tell that how I’m acting in social settings isn’t “right” but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do instead. Not being asked for help or to participate in things has made me feel completely useless even more than losing my son already did.

Maybe I should have just worn black. People may have had more care before they complained about certain things. Maybe they would have reached out to include me or forgiven me more often for social blunders or short tempers.

The truth is, I don’t feel lost anymore. I at least feel like I know which was is North, even if I’m not sure where I am or where I’m going.

I think maybe I’m out of the “mourning/grieving” period. I’m rebuilding in slow steps. One thing is abundantly clear. You can’t go back. I won’t be who I was. Never again. I’ve changed. Permanently. In many ways it’s a good thing, but I definitely have new flaws too. Flaws that are a part of who I am now.

I still care about the earth. I still pay great attention to the food we eat. I refuse to use chemicals to clean my home (vinegar and vodka work just fine). I still believe in meditation and helping those in need. I still believe in natural birth…and natural death.

I believe in forgiveness, and I believe in accepting apologies when they are offered.

I don’t believe pinterest has anything to do with being a good mother. I hate cable TV. I believe I don’t have time to waste.

I will always think about Rowan. I will always talk about him. I am a mother of two, not one. But, I’m ready to start foraging through life on my own path again. I’ll carry the burden, but I’ll be moving. One foot in front of the other.

Monday, January 14, 2013

300th Post

A lot of blogs have been recaping the year 2012. Briefly…

We started 2012 in St. Louis with our son intubated and post heart surgery and our daughter back in Tulsa with my parents.

We stayed there until late March. Our daughter came to visit off and on.

From March to June we had several hospital trips with him in St. Louis and in Tulsa. We did some normal things like going to the zoo or aquarium or the park.

In June we redirected Rowan’s care to hospice care.

In July he died.

Doc went back to work a week later.

In August, Little Bird went back to preschool. It was a bad fit for her. We started a new school and ballet class. Ballet was a giant blessing for her. It’s been a fantastic coping mechanism for her.

My brother FINALLY married his fiancĂ©, and I’m thrilled to have a new “official” sister.

In November I started nannying for an adorable little boy.

I’ve been writing off and on. Mostly, rewriting and looking for feedback and readers.

I’ve gotten really good at cooking.

The last five months have been blurring, hazy, and hard. I find that little joys are the ones that matter most. I find the most comfort from the time I spend with my husband and my daughter.

We feel a little like people who don’t belong. It seems like we spend a lot of time trying to start…just…moving around again. We are trying to focus a little on taking care of ourselves now. The first several months we worked really hard to make sure that we were doing the best for our daughter and that she would make it through ok. We put ourselves on the back burner.

So we started off the year with a tiny “staycation” and we’ve been taking time out as a couple to try to check in on one another. We’re working out when we can and trying to look towards the future with positivity.

That’s all we can really do.