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While the better part of my brain works on a post reflecting on my time with Henci Goer and the illusion of birth choices, I happily bumped into the Unfortunately, (insert name) Meme at Niobe’s place. I had to weed through a lot of hits of other Karen bloggers playing this game, so these aren’t the first hits from googling, “Unfortunately, Karen, “
but they are the more original ones.
****


Unfortunately, Karen
and Gary were voted out of the competition last Saturday.
Unfortunately, Karen‘s still not feeling 100% after last week’s chemo.

Unfortunately, Karen had ridden for awhile on a tire going flat.

Unfortunately, Karen’s lack of enthusiasm to choose not to further her career knowledge without getting rewarded in some way, is her downfall.

Unfortunately, Karen knew very little about the competitive crafts industry or about cost projections and her initial sales were very poor

Unfortunately, Karen herself was diagnosed with cancer in 2001. Childhood exposure to asbestos caused her rare form of lung cancer.

Unfortunately, Karen is aiding and abetting the insurance companies in their efforts to kill real health care reform by confusing two difference aspects of the “public” plan.

Unfortunately, Karen isn’t a fan of aesthetics and logic.

****
I’m sorry so many Karen’s out there are not doing so well, or are so frustrating to others. I myself am hiccuping along well enough despite all. Next up, Birth Choices: Fact or Fiction….

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Around the dawn of time – when I last posted in November – I was tagged with the familiar 6 Random Things meme, by Veronica. I should have just done it then & there, but the thing about depression is that, it hardly ever turns out that way. I have been 100% in favor of doing the 6 Random Things Meme since I was first tagged. Okay, 98%. The last 2% of me has been overwhelmed by the thought of making all the links work right.

With your permission, I am not linking today. I have decided that if linking is overwhelming, I am obviously not fully recovered. I have also decided that a meme must be the blogging equivalent of getting up to shower and dress when depressed. Everyone checks on that at first – if you wait them out, they will probably forget to check. I offer that as a tidbit, in case you are ever depressed and would like to stay in your bed in your pajamas all day. Do the shower, dressing thing for a week & then forget about it if you want to.

I knew I should have done it in October – 6, only 6. That’s plenty of random things for you to know about me. Now I have been tagged at least 3 times by that 25 things meme going all around Facebook. It’s too much to ignore. So, I am dressed, showered & now blogging at bare minimum:

25

1. I tend to over-think things. For example, I’m not sure this fact is random enough for this meme. At least, not for #1 of this meme. Probably belongs in the middle.
2. I have a fear of going upside down. Other than that, I enjoy many things. Theme parks have no appeal.
3. Also, I’m a little claustrophobic, especially in my sleepy lizard brain state…no like share pillow. *crack* skull meets skull, newlyweds Matt and Karen both awoke with headaches.
4. I seem very organized and tidy. I have fooled you all.
5. This year I learned to knit from my best friend. This is the 5th time, I have tried to learn to knit. 5 times = the charm. I don’t think I’ll forget this time. We’ll see.
6. Apparently, I think moving house is some sort of hobby, or perhaps it has become a spiritual discipline of mine. I may become some sort of guru who advices people to move annually so they can purge their worldly goods upon freecyclers everywhere.

Goodnight – can I get some sort of hallpass? I’m finding this alarmingly tiring…

1b. Back to the over-thinking: Was I supposed to do this meme in a Facebook note?
7. Sometimes I am morning person. Other times, no.
8.
I am having font problems that I chose to ignore for the sake of continuing to blog.
9. I like going to births, but don’t like being on call. It gives me butterflies. I get nervous about missing a call, getting their too late.
10. I like chatting on the phone, but I hate “making calls.”
11. I cannot draw. Matt thinks anyone can learn, but I think it is really too late for me.
12. I used to take music lessons & when I am not stuck under kids, I’d like to do that again.
13. I’ve decided to attend births for women in prison. I am chomping at the it to get started.
14. Sometimes, I can’t wait for my kids to get older, so I can do stuff like music lessons & more types of births. Other times, I need them to slow down. Other times, I’m not sure our family is complete yet.

uh-oh, those last three were related to one another; that doesn’t seem random enough. am I doing this wrong? Oy.

15. I lose things. It might be uncontrolled telekinesis. Or maybe I’m just trying to focus your attention away from the fake that I am really not organized & lose sunglasses like they grow on trees. and also gloves.
16. Have you seen my green gloves? Wait, this one won’t count because it’s about you not me. No, wait, it is about me. But it’s not a fact. Um, so, yeah, I was born in Pittsburgh, but I didn’t grow up there.
17. Despite all appearances, I had an excellent education in grammar. I grew up diagramming sentences, which I found fun, and memorizing verbatim the comma rules from style guides.
18. Wait, did you see that? A link. I may be cured.
19. Grammar!! It helps. And, I love this video:


20. I am light sleeper. White noise helps.
21. I have that ringing in my ears sometimes. Do you get it? Sometimes, when I lay down at night, it almost sounds like a radio playing far away.
22. I have extra sensory experiences pretty regularly – colors, energy flying around, heat waves. I have no idea what it means.
23. I really don’t mind labor and birth all that much…and I don’t just mean other people’s. I, apparently, have a fairly high pain threshold, unless you are one of my newborn babies & you bite instead of drink. Then I will cry.
24. I have this whole curly hair regime thing going that seems like an awful lot of work sometimes. But, I like my curls
25. I’ve been planning to redesign my blog for a little while, but can’t decide what I want. Any ideas?

If you made it this far, if you are still hear & don’t hate memes, I tagged all five of you. You’ll have to pick up some slack for me, because I am supposed to tag 25 people. I can’t do that math. Either you need to tag extra people to make up for my bare minimum blog style thing, or you may need to post extra random things, because we all need more of those on the internet.

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meme time – it really has been quite a while, so when Whirlwind tagged me, I was sort of relieved
5 Random Things About Me

1. I am a peak oil believer and bought a book about raising poultry to prove it. If Sharon can’t convince you, I’d be surprised. But don’t go read her if you are going to totally freak out, because as she often says, you can’t unknow things.

2. I seem much more organized than I really am. Seriously, I hide it well.

3. When I got to college I was just so tired and overwhelmed by what my own home life had been, by the strange culture of the particular school I went to that I had no paradigm for, that I simply gave up on several things I really loved in high school. I just couldn’t quite keep all the balls in the air and it took me a while – at least a year and a half – to feel even moderately functional there. It didn’t ever occur to me during that time that the problem was not me. I slept alot. Matt and my in-laws to be kept me fed, otherwise I don’t remember much. Thinking about this today because I really haven’t written much about this yet. I think it might be time to try.

4. I am bad at personality type questionnaires and such. I rarely find just one answer that resonates strongly enough with me that I don’t question it. I’m not sure what this means, but it doesn’t seem good. This makes me seem wishy-washy, but anyone who knows me would tell you that I am rather strong willed and a bit fiery. Maybe I just hate multiple choice?

5. We joined a church planting team in December and are moving to Northampton, but I haven’t blogged about it at all yet and I don’t exactly know why that is. It is actually really great stuff and I am really, really happy about it and the church is going to be a wonderful, messy place, way out of the box creative and not really what any of us think of when we say church (And by us I mean suburban protestants), but perhaps because I know so much more about what it will not be than what it will be – because it is still imaginary to a great extent – I just don’t know what to say. This is a huge move for us (not distance-wise, but culturally and it is the first out of state move for our family of 5.), so we are nervous as well about finding work and a home – because the economy just keeps us wondering & our budget week to week finds us in the red as often as not. So, perhaps I’m just keeping nerves at bay when I research keeping chickens.

5 Places I Want to See Before I die (okay, this meme is getting a tad melodramatic) This list would be just great, but seriously, mostly I am looking to going away with just Matt for the weekend of our anniversary. We don’t have to go far, just down the block is okay…

1. back to Burma
2. to Ireland with Matt
3. to Israel (and really all the Mediterranean would be fine)
4. to India with my sisters
5. to any place we could vacation happily with all three boys and have adventures with them.

That’s it, if you haven’t done this one (in a while) self-tag yourself! In other news, today is Wednesday. I am planning a big post for Flashback Friday because the funniest thing happened to me when I took Thinker to viola tonight. Tomorrow is Thursday, which is the last day of preschool. I will be wearing black as a sign of my protesting Memorial Day being so early and seemingly robbing all the mommies of just two more days of three year old preschool. We will miss you, Mrs. LP’s teacher. We love you very, very much. Also, if you are looking for a way to help victims of the cyclone in Burma, World Vision has been on the ground in Burma for 40 years in that country. Your money will help victims not the military regime ruling the country. For anyone who has reservations about donating to a specifically Christian organization, please know that World Vision does not require anyone to profess the Christian faith in order to receive help.
On that note, good night!

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meme time – it really has been quite a while, so when Whirlwind tagged me, I was sort of relieved
5 Random Things About Me

1. I am a peak oil believer and bought a book about raising poultry to prove it. If Sharon can’t convince you, I’d be surprised. But don’t go read her if you are going to totally freak out, because as she often says, you can’t unknow things.

2. I seem much more organized than I really am. Seriously, I hide it well.

3. When I got to college I was just so tired and overwhelmed by what my own home life had been, by the strange culture of the particular school I went to that I had no paradigm for, that I simply gave up on several things I really loved in high school. I just couldn’t quite keep all the balls in the air and it took me a while – at least a year and a half – to feel even moderately functional there. It didn’t ever occur to me during that time that the problem was not me. I slept alot. Matt and my in-laws to be kept me fed, otherwise I don’t remember much. Thinking about this today because I really haven’t written much about this yet. I think it might be time to try.

4. I am bad at personality type questionnaires and such. I rarely find just one answer that resonates strongly enough with me that I don’t question it. I’m not sure what this means, but it doesn’t seem good. This makes me seem wishy-washy, but anyone who knows me would tell you that I am rather strong willed and a bit fiery. Maybe I just hate multiple choice?

5. We joined a church planting team in December and are moving to Northampton, but I haven’t blogged about it at all yet and I don’t exactly know why that is. It is actually really great stuff and I am really, really happy about it and the church is going to be a wonderful, messy place, way out of the box creative and not really what any of us think of when we say church (And by us I mean suburban protestants), but perhaps because I know so much more about what it will not be than what it will be – because it is still imaginary to a great extent – I just don’t know what to say. This is a huge move for us (not distance-wise, but culturally and it is the first out of state move for our family of 5.), so we are nervous as well about finding work and a home – because the economy just keeps us wondering & our budget week to week finds us in the red as often as not. So, perhaps I’m just keeping nerves at bay when I research keeping chickens.

5 Places I Want to See Before I die (okay, this meme is getting a tad melodramatic) This list would be just great, but seriously, mostly I am looking to going away with just Matt for the weekend of our anniversary. We don’t have to go far, just down the block is okay…

1. back to Burma
2. to Ireland with Matt
3. to Israel (and really all the Mediterranean would be fine)
4. to India with my sisters
5. to any place we could vacation happily with all three boys and have adventures with them.

That’s it, if you haven’t done this one (in a while) self-tag yourself! In other news, today is Wednesday. I am planning a big post for Flashback Friday because the funniest thing happened to me when I took Thinker to viola tonight. Tomorrow is Thursday, which is the last day of preschool. I will be wearing black as a sign of my protesting Memorial Day being so early and seemingly robbing all the mommies of just two more days of three year old preschool. We will miss you, Mrs. LP’s teacher. We love you very, very much. Also, if you are looking for a way to help victims of the cyclone in Burma, World Vision has been on the ground in Burma for 40 years in that country. Your money will help victims not the military regime ruling the country. For anyone who has reservations about donating to a specifically Christian organization, please know that World Vision does not require anyone to profess the Christian faith in order to receive help.
On that note, good night!

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The Interview Meme is back! Hurray! I love it! Please let me know if you’d like to play along. Painted Maypole was nice enough to interview me so I could blog, blog, blog…Thanks!

1) In your very first post you intimate that you began blogging because YOU needed new batteries. In what ways does your blog recharge you?

I enjoy framing some of the experiences of mothering, parenting, running a household into something that is perhaps amusing, stirring or that connects me to the larger world outside these four walls with little boys wants, needs, eyes and love. In a way, getting that distance – and sometimes that connection – does recharge me. It gives me a bit of a chance to laugh at myself, to weep at what is distressing, take a deep breath and go on.

2) You left a job you hated. What gave you the courage to do it? What have been the positive and negative effects of leaving that job?

It took a good deal of courage and faith. The work I was doing was providing a stipend, housing & utilities. It was more than a safety net. It made living in a very high cost of living state seem quite easy – even though we only took one vacation in three years, our daily needs were cared for and that had a very good safe feeling. So, giving it up was not something I waltzed into thinking how fun it would all be. My dear middle child was struggling as we lived in a dorm with 30 teenage girls. It was loud, chaotic and I was at the beck and call of these girls – most of whom were very nice, but needy in the way that all children are – not to mention their parents and the administration. It was an uphill battle to keep healthy boundaries, to shield Little Puppy from the realities of life there and to get anything even close to enough sleep.
The positive effects are both numerous and incalculable. This summer I found a backbone and dove deep into the realm of finding out what’s up with LP. We are still on that journey, but we are getting more clear information, progressing further into what we need to do than perhaps ever would have been possible with me working under the conditions I was in. We have more freedom to be with friends, with extended family, with one another and our children. Matt and I are too sensitive people who made three more- where we were was by definition overstimulating – everyone is sleeping, eating, playing and breathing better.

The negatives: There are some people I left behind who are dear to me – please come over! – it takes more planning and work to maintain those relationships now that we are not neighbors. I had a number of live-in babysitters last year – a few key girls whom I loved and trusted with my kids. We left behind a lovely elementary school – though Thinker is adjusting nicely thus far – and a decent daycare within walking distance of where I worked and lived. The biggest negative, the one most felt in the gut, is just the financial angst of taking all this on – with three kids – and me jumping into adding to our income by finding doula clients- it’s unpredictable to say the least. Thus far the most painful financial sacrifices are the ones that impact my kids. For some reason, I get all teary about those – like giving up our YMCA membership, that stung, but giving up my good cell phone package (good meaning big and pricey) didn’t bug me that much. (That must be what makes me a good mother, right?)

3) If you had to write a mission statement for your family, what would it be?

Making it to bedtime? No, just kidding. It does feel like that some days, like just meeting everyone needs until they can go to their beds and sleep.

Sharing deep and abiding love with another and our world. We are Christians so we find that deep love from God who loves us, is in love with us and wants us to know it and know Him . I want my kids to know that they are deeply loved and I want that love to spill over out of their lives in crazy ways that connect them to their fellow humans, both now when they are young – and on their own when they are grown. So, love, really, that’s all.

4) You obviously feel a lot of pain for the hurt and injustice in our world. How have you addressed these issues with your children?

With my younger two, it’s too early for discussion – aside from making gratefulness a life long habit, which I did by doing all in my power to make “Thank You” among their first words (and with success too!) My addressing with it them is more about making sure they are they center of only part of my universe. They should have my loving, committed attention- but so should the poor and misused among our midst. So, sharing mommy is big. In my community, there are many helicopter parents. These are good people who love their children. I just don’t connect on that level. I am grateful that there are parents who devote time and energy to my kids schools – I leave it in their hands most willingly and spend some of my time and energy elsewhere. That’s part of what makes me Karen, not just mom.
My Thinker is 8, which is a great age for discussion. I love hearing what he thinks about war, poverty and injustice. He has become more aware, through family discussions, My long-term objective is to allow him to peek at his own position of privilege enough to feel grateful without feeling guilty, enough to feel empowered without feeling burdened. This is a quite a task – I’ll keep you posted.

5) As a doula you are present at such an amazing time in the life of so many people and families. Share with us one experience that has touched you.

I have been privileged to to witness a good number of stirring, hysterical and moving stories. The moment of birth is rarely just one thing. In the context of my work, many women share their birth stories with me, woman to woman, whether or not I am their doula or ever will be. One of the things that I am always touched by is husbands. I was peripherally aware of my own husbands love and respect at the moment of each of my children’s births – but most of me was so wrapped up in meeting the baby, that I didn’t savor it the way I do when I am a third party. For many of the couples I have worked with, witnessing and supporting their wife through birth – very especially unmedicated birth, because a lot of support is needed – seemingly results in euphoric feelings of love and devotion towards their wife – in other words, they fall “in love” again. It’s a great feeling to walk towards the hospital elevator having just embraced and supported a family that is treasuring their love for one another and for the new person they have committed to loving together. My clients’ future journeys are not in my small hands, but that I helped bring about that moment dedicated to love does mean something to me.

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Posts are a percolating, summer’s flying buy, we are still hip-deep in moving in and I pause for this meme – 7 Things About Me – Just things, Just 7 – I was tagged by American Mum!

1. I find I have suddenly much more free time now that So You Think You Can Dance has ended (go my girl Sabra, you rock!). I also get this feeling after I finish a satisfying book, just the feeling of “What did I do with all that time before I was reading that? maybe housework?”

2. I am failing at potty training my second child just as I failed with my firsts. Seriously, this is a major component of motherhood that I just suck at. What is wrong with me?

3. I am a big picture person. People at my church tend to see me as practical or administratively inclined, they think I can get stuff done. This is not true. I keep re-learning every year when I help at vacation bible school, I’m not very detailed orientated. I look at systems and see what’s broken, offer suggestions and move along. I’m very bad with the follow-up, once I’ve identified a potential solution, boredom kicks in and I’ve got nothing left to say about it. This is why I am a great doula, every birth is different; it reaches a resolution (baby!) and then it’s on to the next. It is also why I am a great friend. I like listening hearing it out and relational/personal stuff doesn’t get boring cause it rarely gets “fixed” in a permanent way, it just changes, grows, evolves. And I like that.

4. I love the way my husband’s patience with kids kicks into high gear the moment I am at the end of my rope. At this moment he has closed himself into the downstairs p-o-t-t-y with LP to demonstrate good technique for making and popping bubbles. I was at my wit’s end with kid noise (headache today) and ready to put him to bed a hour ago…Matt’s willing to give potty tips cause LP was expressing just the tiniest bit of interest.

5. I wish I lived on a cul de sac with my sisters, a garden, lots of trees and a clothes line – and also a compost pile, that’s essential to the quasi -10 minutes to Starbuck’s type homesteading I’m interested in.

6. I am by no stretch of the imagination a typical morning person. However most of my creative energy is best put to use in the earliest part of the day that I am conscious for…my prayer is that I will start sleeping early now that I am not hinged on a boarding school schedule with teens and that I’ll occasionally wake up before my kids to read, blog, write, re-decorate, bake. Once awake my kids tend to drain off my energy over the course of the day. Reading in the afternoon is completely different than reading in the morning. I may create a post about this….

7. I have left/confusion and have to double check all the time. I am 32.

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Slouching Mom tagged me for this so long ago, that I can hardly remember if I had the same name way back then – turns out I did .

1. Go back to a first or early post. How would you describe your voice back in those early days? Who were you writing to? What was your sense of audience (if any) back then?

I think from the start I was writing to the forces that be in my life, saying what had to be said, but maybe can’t be said. In a lot of ways I felt that I was up against a wall, both in my mommy-ing and in my job. My earliest posts are just little “talk-backs.” The other thing they feel like is much more personal: a call to a sister or a friend just to say “do you see what I’m against here?” – knowing that just sympathetic presence is all I want and need out of that particular conversation.

2. Do you remember when you received your first comment? What was it like?
My first comment – by which I mean a comment not from a friend or family member that I invited to see the blog – actually came from a writer I admire tremendously and whose blog was the very first I fell in love with/became addicted to. It’s particularly horrid that I ended that sentence with two prepositions separated by a dash, because this particular blogger is Bub and Pie. She left a comment on this post, which was kind of light comedy about my then two year old, which, because he is so intense, lots of this blog is about me making a greater effort to enjoy him just as he is. So, clearly, yes I do remember and honestly I was very happy to be visited by a “real blogger,” as I really hadn’t quite wrapped my head around the whole mommy-blogging thing yet. Since that time, most of my comments are from irl people, or from bloggers that I read and admire so I show up commenting at their site pretty frequently (when I’m not being attacked by my whole entire house, I mean packing.)

3. Can you point to a stage where you began to feel that your blog might be part of a conversation? Where you might be part of a larger community of interacting writers?
So silly to say, because I don’ t love meme, nor am I tagged a lot, but I think it was when I got tagged, just cause I did. And it was sort of a cute easy meme to do and plus I had learned that tagged means just what it used to mean in Kindergarten, so I started to feel more competent, which is kinda of a big deal to me and also to feel like this mommy blogosphere had done more than just graze my shoulder.

4. Do you think that this sense of audience or community might have affected the way you began to write?
Well, yes, I do. I’m not sure exactly how, or why, but I think I started to play more with my writing, just to write about different things in different ways. I surprised myself my not always/only telling entertaining kids stories, cause it was more than okay to do both that and many other things. I think mostly because I had a sense of trust in this particularly corner of the internet I had found. This also made it seem okay for me to talk about things I hadn’t plan to talk about, included both my posts on loss – about miscarriage and also included memes – which I think was one of the best things about the floating interview meme. Also, I had found some wicked smart, funny, amazing women and it was more than nice to unbend about something other than whether my kids were doing soccer this season (no, they are not, end of conversation, person moves on to talk to someone with better kids, car, house…) At the time I started blogging I could only just barely get out of the house with a very difficult two year old and a tiny baby. Having conversation while out of house was more than I could possibly have done. So, I’d say, overall it’s much more a sense of community than audience that kinda “sunk in,” gradually over time.
I’m tagging Catherine, Sarah and Heather – all the Blogrhet details are here.

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