Sunday, January 22, 2006

A few political thoughts (warning, this is long)

Q & A time, dear Reader. Mind you, it is a proverbial Q & A time. :)

Q: Would it be possible to reform the government and restore it back to the reasonably well functioning government of the post-Articles of Confederation era?

Q: What can we do about the corruption and blatant abuse of the people by our government?

After a 3 hour long conversation about the first question with my darling husband, I still find myself bouncing it around in my mind. We all know that our government here in the United States of America is not doing such a good job right now of ... well... representing the will of the people and completing it's stated function*. Not too many people will necessarily argue with that statement, I think.

There's alot of different ways to look at this problem. First, we could say that the government needs more active citizens. Citizens that actually *vote* and give a damn about this country's future. Second option, we could say that the choices we have paraded before us by the two major political parties in this country are bad and we need alternatives. Third option, the problems plauging this country are due to the influences of (insert group here) and this group must be stopped. The fourth option, we argue that there is too much foolish and useless legislation and laws like (insert law here) need to be repealed. And the final, fifth option, we state that there are major problems in trying to use an outdated system to run this country and the Constitution itself requires major revisions, such as (insert chosen new governing principle).

I think this list gives what most people view as the problem's sources and potential resolutions are. Please allow me to list them for you:

  1. Voter apathy; Resolved by Activism
  2. Poor choices in a 2 party system; A. new political parties, B. reform political parties
  3. Excessive legislation; Repeal and elminate excess and useless laws
  4. Foundational system of government flawed; Institute revisions

Do I think these are the sources of the problem facing our government today? In a word: no. I think that the problems facing our government are an out growth of the first problem and aggrivating factors. Voter apathy, poor choices for elected offices, and excessive legislation are all symptomatic of a larger problem, in my option. The citizens of this country are generally ignorant of how this country works and how they influence it. It's a rather sorry state of affairs that has gotten worse over time and has shifted the power base away from the people and into the political parties.

To put is at plainly as I can, the problems in these United States of America are a direct result of the citizens of the country not know what their government is or does. As a country that is governed by the people, this ignorance directly impacts the nation's governing. Those who are not ignorant are in a position of relative power and will act in the place of those who are ignorant. Please note, dear Reader, that I didn't say that they would act in the best intrests of those who are ignorant. The power base shift is then aggrivated by a basic human emotion: greed. The majority of people on the national level in high positions of power within our government are quite wealthy or well on their way to being so. Simplest way to influence them, assist them in becoming more wealthy and cater to their personal excesses.

The end result of having a country run by such libertines is pet projects take greater priority then the rights of the people. Fine example of this is the recent legislation concerning Immanent Domain. Folks, those greedy people at the top just signed away our right to own property. You may think that you own your house, but in the eyes of the law you don't. You're just paying rent and for the privlage of calling the space your own. It's only a matter of time before they finish stripping us of the right to own and bear arms. We're not too far away from having the right to assemble taken away, and that will lead to more infringement upon the rights of the First Amendment.

How do you resolve such a grotesquely large problem? You take the system in it's current form and strip it down to the bare bones. You turn the poltical clock back to when the Consitution was just written and then educate the daylights out of all the citizens. The governing of this country is not something for the high and mighty in their country clubs and mansions. It is for all the people of this fine nation to engage in. It is not only a right but a responsiblity of the people of the United States of America to take the reins of the nation in hand. It's time to stop being lazy and go do our jobs.

I doubt that will happen though, far too many people have given up their power and refuse to take it back. I suppose it's too much work.

* The stated role of the government is subject for debate by many. I don't belive it's to be debated. The role of the government can be easily viewed in the documents that lead to and provide the foundation of this nation. Read them and you will find the following view: The duty of the government is to protect the people from having their rights taken away from them, be it by other citizens, the government itself, or foregin powers.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Nightmares & visions of hell...

Recently I've been having problems sleeping. I guess I don't want to sleep as often as i get tired and need to. The trip to NJ was wonderful. It was great to see some of the girls from college. I'm thrilled for the happy couple, it was a beautiful wedding. I just can't keep that happiness with me.

I spend my time having nightmares, some times even when I'm awake.

I worry about having this monster corner me and start something. Some of you may know who that is. If you don't I can't exactly give much for details. I apologize, and it's a story that's rather tangental to what I post here at the moment. I know it doesn't sound that way.

You see, the problem I have is that my PTSD is acting up in strange ways. I still have the dissociative thing going on. It's creepy, as per usual. But the biggest source of angst is the phantom feelings that creep over me. Feelings like his hands wandering over me, touching places that I desperately didn't want to have been touched. The feeling of his body ontop of me, pressing me down to the floor/bed, and trying not to breathe or move too much so I don't seem to be awake. In that desperate hope that I am not going to be subjected to worse.

I find myself afraid that the rather ... quiet time between my husband and I in the bedroom over the past week is because of this stuff that happened a little over a two years ago. My skin still crawls at the idea.

I've been having problems staying in my head again. But I've been keeping it under enough control that I am not harming myself or placing others in danger. A necessary thing when you work in a daycare and you have a small army under your watch and care. Here's the odd thing, I've caught myself making arrangements to defend myself and covertly arm myself. I didn't realize it at first when I was selecting jewlery that could double as a minor weapon.

It was when I bought the length of chain that I realized that I wasn't entirely right. It's the same feeling as when I caught myself sitting outside of my head, calmly waiting for him to threaten me just too much. So I could break his neck.

He ran away that day. Now the schmuck is trying to make his presence known again. I'm starting to get that distant feeling again.

I hope he doesn't try to start something. This is going to end badly if it does happen. It's getting harder to control myself when I get in that place. It's not that cold, silent place. I'm familiar with that place, it's scary but ... well, normal to me.

This other one... it's scary for a few different reasons. First, the body memory that's there isn't of the pain and ugly stuff. It's of how to fight. And it's not cold there. It's ... it's a place of white and noise that's a dull roar. Maeby I'm just hearing my heart beat. But it's a scary place because I realized that I didn't even feel cold, afraid, or anything else like that. Just ... a need to act. To elminate the threat.

God help me if I have to go there. It may break something inside me. I don't know if I could live with that.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Happy News: I finished my first manuscript in the series!

Not so long ago, I think I posted something about the book I've been working on writing. Well, last week, I finished that first manuscript.

1 down, 18 to go. :)

Ofcourse, there is alot of editing that needs done. :p But, still... the main task of telling the story is done! :)

To me beta readers: Thank You!!! :)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Moments of self-doubt.

Have you ever had a time where you sat and questioned your self, dear Reader? I'm sure you have, all of us do from time to time. It is a rather miserable experience, if I may say so.

This evening (I suppose I could say last night given the fact that it is 4 am as I type this.) I had just such a moment. Ironically enough, it was a short period of time after I had launched into an invective about how I am angered by the way the over-commercialization/keeping up with the fads/clique-ish behavior of people in my society denigrates our self-image.

My darling husband was very amused (and confused) by my tirade. It started off as my expounding on how I am sick of seeing items displaying things relating to local/regional professional sports teams everywhere. It's endlessly aggrivating and I'm tired of it. In the midst of attempting to explain why I was so aggrivated by the proliferation of the logo embellished items, I had my little rant.

Well, some time passed and I visited some friends of ours as he attended to some business of his own. In the midst of the visiting, I found myself questioning much about myself. It's ironic how just earlier, I complained and berated rather loudly about others working to lower my self image. I can accomplish that rather well on my own when I start to question my own worth.

It's a bad habit, dear Reader, I hope you never fall into that nasty little trap.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Life after Hell...

As my close friends are most likely aware, one of the causes that I personally champion is that of the folks who are recovering from abuse. I feel a rather powerful affinity to those who are recovering from the effects of rape, domestic abuse, and psychological abuse. Now, you may wonder, dear Reader, why I feel akin to these troubled souls.

It is because I too have experienced this hell. With the unceasing love and support of my darling Husband, my family and my dear friends, I have made light-years of progress over the eleven years since it had happened. As I sit here, I realize with a bit of surprise that this is eleven years almost to the day since the last time I saw the monster that tormented me. And I am relieved to know that I am not shuddering in horror or feeling like I'm a wretched person because of the pain and angst I experienced.

Now, gentle Reader, you may be wondering why I am mentioning this rather unfortunate topic. It is pure irony that I am discussing this shortly after the anniversary of my misfortune. The reason why I bring this up is in the hope that the knowledge that I gained thru years of study of the effects that I was suffering, the bitter wisdom of pain, and the compassionate efforts that I put forth here will be of aid to a dear friend of mine who is now struggling in that dark wood. I also hope it can be of assistance to you, dear Reader, if you are in this harsh place of suffering.

I close this post with one statement: We are survivors. We have lived to see another day, to breathe another breath. The victims are the dead, they can not feel their hearts beating or live in hope, how ever grim or fleeting that hope may be. We are survivors.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year, New Me :)

It's 2006. A whole new year and I've been giving it all alot of thought. There are some things that I want to see by this time next year. Some may not be the same as my husband wishes to see, but others probably are. As these are my resolutions and not his, I don't think it will be too big of a concern. I'll state after the resolutions that I present my plan for how I'll attempt to accomplish it. :) Over the year, we can see just how successful I am.

The List (And the Deidre Flint song about cheerleading goes thru my mind...)

1. Be healthier and in better shape.

My first step in becoming healthier is changing my diet. I've been working on cutting my portion sizes down to where my plate is divided up into thirds, with my meal taking up equal amounts. It's rather hard to do when you love pasta as much as I do. But I would like to think I'm making some progress. I also am trying to make sure that the foods I eat are healthier for me. I have always loved my vegtables (except for a few things like beets..) and I'm working on incorporating more of those into my daily meals. I am also trying to cut down on the amount of soda that I drink thru the day and the amount of "processed foods" that I eat. While eating out is nice once in a while, doing this almost everyday as we have over the past month (I'm sure) is why I've gained back some of the weight I lost over the summer. Thus, I'll be doing more cooking again.

The second step is tracking my progress in becoming more healthy. My current weight is approximately 175 lbs. By June, I want to be down to 155 lbs. My target weight by the end of the year is 135 lbs, with it being primarially muscle mass. I am going to try keeping a food journal. I have heard this is a good thing to do. If I use the food journal in conjunction with making changes in portion sizes and to what I eat, I am sure I can make alot of progress just on the part of dietary changes. I am also going to track my activity levels and my stress levels.

The third step to becoming more healthy this year, for me, is going to be exercize and stress reduction. Last summer, I bought a yoga mat and a book on yoga. I still haven't dragged that thing out and tried doing any of it. Not this year. I'm going to work on putting in a full 90 min of exercize (at least) into my week. I think that doing yoga will be good for keeping me limber, if not making me more so. I also think it will help correct my little problem with bad posture. If hubby and I can afford it, I'm going to try to sign up for a martial arts class of some sort. Perhaps I'll manage to drag him with me. I know that he greatly enjoyed the classes that he took when he was younger. I'm not one hundred percent sure on how to manage the stress reduction part. I know that exercize will help me out. I think that I will also need to schedual my day more and make sure I put time in there for me to do my little sewing and needlepoint projects.

2. Get my spiritual life into order

Over the past year, I have come to realize even more just how much my spiritual life impacts the rest of my life. Thus, I have resolved that I am going to straighten out some of the mess that I have here. There are things about myself that I need to recognize and many of them are actually good things. By working thru the process of spiritual growth and exploration that I have, I've "discovered" several of these good qualities. I'll admit it, I have a fair amount of work to do on the front of my psychological health. Interestingly enough, it's been by working on my spiritual health and development that I've been making alot of progress now. I'm sure that it strikes a chord in some of my friends to hear this statement. And I know that I've said it before. I tend to forget sometimes.. well more often then sometimes, that maintaining my spiritual well being helps the rest of my life go smoothly.

My first step in getting my spiritual life into order is completing the process of my conversion to Catholicism. I have been seriously studying the Catholic Church and her beliefs over the past year, I've become certian this is what I need to do. It hasn't been thru the over zelous efforts of certian parties to convince me that it's "cool" to be Catholic. It hasn't been thru the desire to abdicate the responciblities that I have as a spiritual person or a spiritually gifted individual that I've decicded to do this. It has been thru a process of revelation and study. I'm still a little bit afraid that I'm not "good enough" for God, but I am finding that there are little reminders that "good enough" doesn't matter almost everyday.

My second step towards getting my spiritual life into order is by engaging in some type of act of worship on a daily basis for at least a half hour. There are several prayers that I love and I have drawn a deep sense of ... well words fail me. I can't say comfort, peace, consolation or anything else. It is all of this and so much more. If you've had the experience of having God show you directly that you are cared for, then you know what I'm talking about. I have failed to regularly maintain these activities and I find that I've been suffering because of it. Not some "punishment" for this, but a feeling of being imbalanced and having my little stress related problems acting up. Oddly enough, prayer and simmilar activities just manage to erase the frequent anxiety problems from my heart and replace them with a calm sense of assurance. I'm fairly sure this is a good thing. So... I'm going to do this more.

My third step towards getting my spiritual life into order is to continue my study of theology. Last year, or perhaps the year before, I decided that I was going to read the writings of the Saints. It has been difficult but very enlightening reading. As a result, I have learned a great deal more then I would have just from reading some of the devotional tracts that I've had thrust at me by various people. I'm going to continue this. And with luck, I won't run out of reading material too soon. All of this is simply too facinating to put aside and stop reading. Though some of it I think would benefit from a more readable translation. St. Augustine of Hippo's City of God is... painful with the translation I'm reading.

3. Finish my novel and write the next one.

I have one chapter left. I need to write it, print it, and start sending it off to publishers. I hope to have a publishing contract by the end of the year. The first copy that I get is *so* going to my Mother. Mom really deserves it, she's been trying to help me get published since I was a little girl. :) I am still trying to decide who I'll be deticating it to, and I think that I am going to break some of the traditions that some people are trying to "enforce" on to me. I'm going to deticate my first book published to two people. My Great-grandmother Hazel was a remarkable woman and my first inspiration to be a writer. She really encouraged me to do this. And my mother is another remarkable woman. Dogged determination would be an understatement. I think if you looked up the expression "damn stubborn" you'd find Mom's picture next to it. :) I'm going to be schedualling how I'll be doing my writing over the next year ... well probably over this month, to begin with. This way I can get my writing on here done, my writing in the novel, and all of the other stuff that "needs" done. :P It's true, the hardest part of writing is getting the author to apply their but to the chair and write.

4. Save at least a few grand in the savings account

Hubby and I have been bad. We haven't been saving money for much of anything right now. So... I'm going to find away for us to save up at least a few grand in the savings account. This way we can some day get a house. And some day down the road have our "golden years" include us working only if we want to, all the bills paid for, and enough money to help out our family. Saving money doesn't require too many steps. You just put money aside and don't think about it. :)

5. Clean out my closet and make my wardrobe reflect *me*

I have saved alot of things over the years in my wardrobe. I have a whole little set of clothes for work, in a few different job sectors. I've got the professional clothes, business casual, and the casual outfit that I wear for the daycare. I think I'm going to keep the professional and business casual stuff around. But I need to sort it out. It's rather.. sad that my clothes take up almost 3x the space my husband's does. Alot of it I don't reach for, I just have it on the shelf. So, when spring cleaning comes along, I'll go thru it all.

And perhaps by then I'll have located a nice pine/ceader chest to keep the winter stuff and blankets in. This way I can get some of my closet space back. I also have to go thru my shoes. Some of them are close to dead, I think I may need to go shoe shopping. I am odd, when it comes to most women apparently, I don't terribly enjoy shoe shopping. I rather go antiquing. Hmm... perhaps I'll include my costume jewelery in that bit of sorting also. I have many jewelery boxes of that too. I can assure you this, dear Reader, I won't be making the mistake I did before. I still regret losing a few dresses that I loved because I "had no place to wear them."

6. Make the big sewing and needlepoint projects

I have planned out several different projects. I have the materials around to do them. I just need to make myself sit down and complete them. A few need a little outside help, like a working sewing machine. Others, I just need to apply my butt to a chair and take up a needle and thread. I have some deadlines for these:
  • My eldest neice's quilt: Christmas 2006
  • St. Mary's Church's needlepoint book cover: Advent 2006
  • My patchwork wallhanging: November 2006
  • My 1ft di. needlepoint sampler: Feb. 2006
  • My friend's bridal shower gift: June 2006
  • My friend's motley: Feb. 2006
  • My latch hook rug: Nov. 2006

I'll probably add more to it as time goes on. :p

Happy Holidays!

Dear Reader, I apologize that it has been far past a month since I updated on here. To put it lightly, I have been rather busy. I will be happy to present some of the hilights, because I think that this may describe the insanity of my life right now rather accurately.

1: Work has kept me hopping. With my promotion to lead teacher a little over a month and a half ago, I have discovered that I am scrambling to keep things going on that interest the children in my room. Considering that I am working with a rather ... large age range (kindergarden to just before junior high) it's been requiring extra time outside of work. I've been introducing the children to the joys of science, and there by to the wonder of learning. So far, they've been enjoying the process and are becoming more interested in learning. It makes me tired but happy to see how these little wonders are blossoming before my eyes. The simple chemistry trick of adding a wee bit of baking soda to vinegar makes for a great lesson of volcanoes. Especially if you stopper the bottle containing the reaction. The result of having the top pop off and bubbles foaming over the sides is exactly like what happens in a volcanic eruption.

I have also been doing a spot of tutoring here and there as various kids need help with their homework. The room is beginning to settle down. All of them realize that there truly is a limit to the kinds of trouble they can cause and that I am not allowing anyone to cross it. No matter how much they cry, attempt to be cute, or how bright they are. And they are learning the value of active thought. No explination for their actions finds them very bored when they have been causing trouble, but explinations for why they were causing trouble finds them a little less bored. So... I suppose that work as a lead teacher is going better. It's still rather new, and I'm still getting sent around to different rooms to resolve their crisises. Office politics haven't changed. I don't expect that they will anytime soon, unfortunately.

2: At home, my darling husband and I have been quite busy. First, it was getting things ready for the holidays. Procuring things like last minute gifts, packaging these and other gifts, attempting to get the holiday baking done... well, it's all added up to the rather huge mess that we're now putting away and cleaning up. The answer to the materialistic question; yes, we did get several very nice gifts. I think that we got many more books for us to read this year then we did last year. Of course, only one of mine was actually on my list of books. I'm also surprised by how many Christmas ornaments we recieved as gifts this year. It's rather... amazing. I think we can fill up a small box just with those. We have also been quite busy helping out family.

It seems like everything happens all at once. You've got the craziness of getting everything sorted out for the holidays. There is the craziness of the logistics of attending 3 to 4 holiday parties, at least. And then you add in the madness of familial crisises and large family gatherings. While at the same time, there's the little problems like the now broken television. Or getting the laundry done, dishes done and grocery shopping, theoretically in the same day, while you've been sick in bed and the love of your life has had a miserable day at work. To put it plainly, I think we're both glad that the "holidays" are done with the beginning of the new year.

3: That christmas choir business I was so worried about back in November... it didn't exactly happen. I was sick the night of the concert, having missed the dress rehersal helping my husband cope with the loss of a friend from work, and then I was sick or too insanely busy to get to the last rehersals before Christmas eve Mass. So, I need to get that book of music back to the choir director and aplogize for wasting her time. It is rather embaressing to state that you're looking forward to something from all the way back in the summer only to miss everything going on in the winter. I don't even know how the concert sounded. Christmas eve mass was beautiful, the music was lovely, and it made for one of the brightest parts of the holidays.

Now that I've finished updating you all on the rambling insanity of my life over the past month, I'll post my resolutions for the next year up on the next post. :)