For reals, yo. I need a new computer at home. Trying to blog stuff on my phone or Kindle is getting tedious. Voice to text is amazing but editing… sigh. Big long drawn out sigh, man. My home computer has no battery and the extension cord is unrecognized by the computer most days. It also still has that ridiculous series of cracks on the screen. I’m over it. And of course I can’t really blog from work.

I know, I know, American working mom problems, but the struggle is real. We pay bills on that thing and the kids do schoolwork on it. I try to work my slowly building home business from it too, but that’s suffering because, well, access.

I just giggled at myself because my inner child suggested starting a GoFundMe account for a new computer and then the inner pretending-to-be-and-adult part of me slapped that little girl down and put her in the corner. She’s not getting any warmed up crumb cake later for dessert.

Oh, speaking of crumb cake, people, Sally’s Baking Addiction Blog (click here, please click here, it will take you to the recipe index) just never disappoints me ever. I love her. I love her breakfast stuff. Even the cakes that you get to call breakfast. And nabbing that recipe, I just realized I forgot to put the cinnamon swirl in the middle, which was fine because it was still perfect. I even intentionally left off the drizzle because we needed something less sweet after all of the sugar we ingested over Christmas. It’s lactose free if you use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, by the by. I used Chobani vanilla with excellent results.

Anyway, good grief, after taking the long way round as one does, here’s the recipe for the Old Fashioned Crumb Cake because as one knows, you can’t mention a recipe and then not share it. Because etiquette.

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/05/08/old-fashioned-sour-cream-crumb-cake/

And now I’m wondering how a complaint about my computer at home turned into a rave about a crumb cake recipe.


Have you heard of The Mighty? It’s difficult to avoid the site. People share so-called feel-good stories from The Mighty on any social media they can find. A dog rescues a firefighter from a frozen lake. A kitten does CPR on a grandmother that’s taking care of her daughter’s newborn son.

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Typically the stories have a common template or two.

  • Someone is victimized and someone is rescued
  • Someone is disabled and needs to be saved from their disability
  • Someone is disabled and oh look! The school got together for a photo op to show off how enlightened they are for being kind to the disabled person at a football game!
  • Some is victimized as the disabled person’s parent, because life pulled a fast one and sucker punched them by thrusting a disabled child upon them but someone else comes along to brighten the parent’s day
  • Someone is living in poverty but someone takes a video of someone else giving a few people a free hot lunch at Panera Bread
  • Someone is living in poverty and is interviewed, having to prove they didn’t cause their own downfall so that others feel sorry for them and will want to donate money and clothes and even offer a job… and then the person that offers the job is the savior
  • Someone secretly videos homeless people to see how they’ll behave if they find money on the ground and see meters run out on cars at the same time

 

After a very little while you notice the pattern, and you realize that you can’t excuse the ableism and self-indulgence, the finger-wagging at those who did wrong and the praise of those who did right.

You notice that the victims are parents of individuals that are disabled usually use wheelchairs or are Autistic or have Downs Syndrome. One problem is that they’re not really the focus of the articles. They’re the prop, and they’re what the hero and heroine need to overcome or rescue. These stories perpetuate the ableism and stigma of disabilities.

Disabled individuals (or the disabilities they deal with) are perceived as challenges for others to overcome; as tragedies that occurred to the parents. That’s dangerous thinking that dehumanizes the individuals who really need the attention and help … or who don’t want any attention at all and want to live their lives without judgmental intervention… and most certainly without sharing their most intimate and personal issues and photos without permission. The voice is given to the parent, the caregiver, not the child, and so when there are biological parents who choose to abuse or end the lives of their disabled children, they feel justified and people will defend them because hey… look at just how much suffering the parent had to go through.

On the other hand, if disabled individuals are seen as something that needs to be rescued, these stories tend to infantilize disabled individuals. They can’t care for themselves or speak for themselves, much less advocate for themselves, much less be seen as human.

These stereotypes and ableism perpetuate the notion that disabilities are something to grieve over, and something we must prevent at all costs, cure at all costs, fix, and feel badly about. For the sake of the parents, and for the sake of the little babies.

Worst of all, it causes people to believe that disabilities decrease the value of a life without the intervention of the kindness of strangers.

Either way, the pattern is that disabilities have victimized parents and caregivers and the people who  have disabilities are often not really viewed as being people, but props in these stories.

This pattern has the Autism self-advocacy community and others in the Disability Community in a rightfully angry discussion about an article that has now been pulled by The Mighty. I know, I took the long way round again to get to the crux, sorry.

A supposedly autistic mother to an autistic child posted an article that included a “meltdown bingo” card that was intended to be humorous and supportive to other parents of autistic children. I was embarrassed and bordering on irate when I saw it pop up in my feed from following The Mighty on Facebook (The Mighty was a recommendation to follow a long time ago, I mindlessly clicked it). I clenched my jaw and kept from commenting on the article because I couldn’t keep my fingers from typing something less than polite, less than commiserative. I closed out of it and then I relaxed because thankfully I don’t have any friends on any media would share that tripe and I knew it wouldn’t show up in my feed again.

Except it did show up in my feed again… it started showing up in Facebook and on Twitter and on several of the blogs I follow. The subject of it did, anyway, because the original article was pulled and The Mighty is trying to apologize for it and “recognizes that it was ableist” when they never intend to post anything ableist. Except… well. There’s a firestorm bursting through all of my social media justifying that initial feeling and helping, allowing me to put to words what has felt wrong with The Mighty. That specific article from the autistic mother with the autistic child and the autism meltdown bingo card tipped the internet’s kitten right over.

I’m relieved that the article was pulled (don’t worry, I’m sure it was screen capped or cached somewhere for posterity), but only after there was a lot of backlash for it. This post here from Lemon Peel is one I love hard and has some great links.  CAN U NOT: A Twitter Ode From Me To The Mighty | Lemon Peel

We parents? We make mistakes. Sometimes we make them publicly. Sometimes we make spectacular mistakes, embarrassingly horrifically ghastly mistakes. The challenge we face is to apologize from the heart, to learn from them, to try to repair the damage we’ve done when possible, and not to repeat the mistakes. Sometimes we have to accept that reparation isn’t possible, but we still have to try. Then we have to move on and once we know better, we do better.


ChristmasMusicOn a different note, why in the name of John Lennon jumping on a Saltine cracker is my “Awesome Christmas” (don’t judge me) station on Pandora not playing awesome Christmas music? It’s not like I haven’t spent time programming the hell out of it. But here it is. It’s not even playing Christmas music.

Here comes Frozen. Here comes The Little Mermaid (what?). Taylor Swift’s Blank Space. Wham! Holiday. I’m serious. At least it’s Christmas?

All of the Christmas channels are having the same bipolar concerns. I wonder if it has something to do with the seasons shifting and flipping sides of the country this year? Usually by now, Connecticut is buried under five feet of snow after three storms. New England is, instead, enjoying days of 50*-65*F weather even if it does dip into the freezing temps at night. It’s the first day of Winter.

It might be time to have another chat with Mother Nature in the interest of Global Warming, but my chronic pain issues aren’t really complaining about the lack of below freezing temperatures and lack of snow. There’s a ton of gratitude here.

So here I am, picky about Christmas music. It takes me a while to get to the point of being willing to listen to it, and I got to that point when I heard Pentatonix’s Mary Did You Know on the radio last week and it made me sob in the car on the way to work.

Yes, I admit I’m picky. I love hymns and softer music. I love the songs that are a bit slower, or are more gentle. I love the songs that touch the heart in a spiritual way, modern or old fashioned. Make no mistake… they’re all Christmas songs.

Two days of corrupted Christmas channels though, guys. I only have so many “thumbs down” per hour, you know, and I have to save them for the Christmas songs I simply can’t stand.

This also presents another dilemma:

What do you do when there’s a song that you love that comes on but it’s on the wrong channel? 

This is what I’m saying! Anxiety!

/Working Mom Problems


I have no idea where I originally found this

BANG HEAD HERE

I have another secret.

I shared it with The Mister last night.

It was such an incredible release, and it allowed me to cry. He let me cry. He encouraged me to cry.

He asked the right questions. He didn’t get frustrated. He was empathetic.

He helped lift a burden that’s been getting increasingly heavier and heavier for the past month.

Even better than that, he offered me a solution that I had thought about but didn’t dare speak out loud and in fact, had made me feel like I was a horrible, selfish human being for even thinking it. I had been so afraid he wouldn’t understand, but he did. He tried.

Maybe he doesn’t understand completely. Maybe all he understands is that I’m in distress … I’m at my limit of endurance: emotionally, mentally, physically.

But that’s all I need. That, and the gentle hugs he offered. He realized my pain, both emotionally and physically. He remembered how sick I’ve been with this “mild” flu over the past week (thank God in Heaven for the doctors who make flu vaccines, People, and no… I couldn’t be more serious right now).

I think I just might have the best Mister Spouse ever. Like, in ever of ever. I need to appreciate him more.


The Stalking Tiger, such a pretty, seductive, sneaky girl when she’s trying to convince you that her presence is really not a big deal.

I thought I had my eye on her well enough. I thought she was being soothed and kept in her cage.

It turns out her cage wasn’t locked securely. The door has been open and I didn’t even realize it.

It’s a dance we do. It’s a dance I’ve done my entire life. I’m used to hearing the purr grumbling in the throat of The Tiger. Even with treatment, I don’t know if I can say that I’d know what I’d do if I didn’t have the breath of the tiger behind me. When she’s laying at my feet or at the foot of my bed, I can fool myself into thinking that it’s manageable. I can fool myself into thinking that she’s not stalking me, but protecting me, and that she’s keeping her distance.

But I keep feeling her bump into me, and now her teeth have scraped my calves. She’s drawn blood, and there’s simply no denying that. The rivulets of anxiety drip upward and sideways, making their path to my brain. Odd… odd how I’m associating anxiety with blood. Or maybe not so odd considering the state of the world right now, and the current headlines over the past month. Maybe it’s not so odd with the anniversaries and end of the year anxieties in work and the usual holiday worries.

I’ve noticed the depression getting increasingly worse over the last couple of weeks, as the symptoms I feel become too much to ignore. I’ve been forcing myself to take some stock in my language, my outlook, and how I’m feeling in general. I’ve been feeling as if I’m floating and watching myself act and react, or not act and react enough.

I’ve been feeling as if I’m separated from the Me part of me. It’s somewhat surreal. It’s almost as if I’m a different me taking care of Me, but I’m not doing a really good job. It’s likely been affecting me and my performance in, well, life for longer than the past month and it’s only just now caught me bleeding.

I’m having trouble concentrating in conversations.

I’m having trouble socializing.

I’m dreading most events.

I cry at the news. I cry at blogs. I cry at happy stuff.

When I should cry, I can’t even shed a single tear.

Laughing feels forced.

I dread leaving the house every day. Of course this hampers errands and shopping for groceries.

I’m having trouble remembering details, even when I write them down.

I’m losing focus.

It’s harder for me to care about getting ready for work. I do it… but the drive isn’t there. Physical pain, of course, is a huge driving force regarding that.

My emotions are leaning towards sad, extremely sad, anxious, angry, frustrated, annoyed, flat.

Dread.

A perpetual state of anxiety.

I can fake happy. OK, I can try to fake happy and the truth is, I’m not really sure that in the stage of depression and anxiety I’m in if I’m really pulling it off.

I can almost fake being able to tolerate my physical pain levels. I can’t tell if I’m covering up any of the feelings that would make other people uncomfortable. I hope and pray people only approach me when the pain isn’t so high that I can concentrate on what they’re saying and it’s not making me feel like throwing up.

I don’t know if I’m making enough of any of it work to succeed at Life right now. I can’t tell.

I want to withdraw into myself but there’s too much going on, and that’s making things worse.

And oh, the CFS. I find that I don’t want to fight it. It gets me through excruciating physical pain and yes, it gets me through emotional pain and the non-ness that I feel. It’s not intentional going through CFS, or to be forced some days to give in to it. Accepting it is a different matter. The CFS can drain the Jessica part of me although it can give some of the Jessica part of me back when I can give in. Refusing to give in to the CFS makes the Depression worse, sapping even more of the Jessica part of me. The pain worsens the depression and the CFS; the pain steals more of the Jessica part of me and I’m just less.

I’m Non-Jessica.

It’s like… an in between of existence. There’s a less-ness in how I affect others lives, and a less-ness, a non-ness in what might happen if I just disappeared. But being Non-Jessica can be a skill, too, helping me to be successful in that one thing… hiding, making the Jessica part of me less noticeable, so that she won’t be missed and no one will be angry if she can’t participate.

Can Non-Jessica still be a good person? Is my Non-Jessica-ness even still a person at all? Because what I get is a feeling of non-presence mixed with indeterminate value joined together with the un-, in-, non-. I suppose I know I’m here, but I’m still feeling unseen. Or maybe needing to be unseen. Needing to hide in plain sight so that Non-Jessica can slip away unnoticed. All of that is non-ness. Non- whatever. Non. Non-ness.

I’m not necessarily losing my bits of me. Those bits, those chunks that the Stalking Tiger likes to bite away in nibbles, then chunks, the times when even Non-Jessica is nowhere to be seen and Eaten Whole Jessica has taken her place, because when the Tiger nibbles, when she thinks I won’t notice because she’s feeding off other pain, she’s really stowing some of it away in little Tupperware boxes with little lids to be dusted off when it’s safe to take them out again, without even a dash of cinnamon sugar.

I feel as if I need time and space, which is difficult at this time of year. Everyone and everything else needs me. The problem is that the Jessica part of me, floating above Non-Jessica and watching the movie, trying to direct Non-Jessica, is forced to take control for spans of time to be functional enough to get through each day.

I need a time out, and a better lock for that cage. And also, maybe a better shrink.


Today brings an anniversary that no one wants to celebrate, but everyone should recognize. It’s an anniversary when we honor 20 young, little lives stolen brutally, and six adult heroes who tried desperately to shield them in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

That day three years ago changed the lives of all parents in America forever. It hits hard every single year, especially in the week leading up to today. It reminds us of just how fragile life is, and just how much trust we put into other adults to take care of our children. It’s already difficult for us to send our children to school when we think of milestones.

This is not something little children should have to practice drills over, and drills for events other than fire drills or natural disasters aren’t a milestone I ever thought my children would have to reach. This isn’t even something middle or high school students should have to practice drills over. They do. They have to. Short of homeschooling my children, I have to let them go. I have to trust the safety protocols. I get to question the safety protocols, but I still have to trust that when I send my children off to school every day, they’re going to come home safely.

I cry, I pray, and I beg for strength. If it can happen in a small town village in Connecticut, just like my Connecticut hometown, just like the Connecticut town we live in…. it really can happen anywhere.

So I feel this deeply. I wish… I don’t know.

Dear God,

Please protect my Hearts today; They walk from me and I don’t get a say; I have to trust, put them in the hands of others; Those with Hearts of their own as Fathers and Mothers; My Hearts crush my heart every day as they leave; Learning, growing friendships, becoming independent, so I can’t grieve; Dear God, your Spirit is needed to calm the storm of fear and worry and stress; Jesus, please, your love to Bless this Mother’s Hearts and heart especially this day; Please, Jesus, this, I pray.


 

In my world, words matter, so take a gander.

Holiday:

Old English,  ‘holy day.’

The word originally referred only to special religious days, which is really kind of cool. Thanks to how language works, the word has evolved and is nuanced. That’s called etymology, and it’s really fascinating. So yes, it’s evolved to include non-secular celebrations such as these, and that’s all right:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Independence Day
  • Father’s Day and Mother’s Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Labor Day
  • Presidents Day, in observance of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, and some additional figures

 

Yes, there are non-religious people who co-opt the traditions of some religions in a secular way for their own families and enjoyment. There are people of other religions that perhaps pick up the traditions of another religion in a secular fashion simply because they enjoy it. Perhaps they adopt it into their own religious or spiritual traditions because they belong to blended families. I get it that this may upset you, and you may find this to be cultural misappropriation [Cultural appropriation, or cultural misappropriation is a sociological concept which views the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture as a largely negative phenomenon].

And it is, you’re right. It’s cultural misappropriation if you choose to look at it that way.

The thing of it is, it’s not malicious intent. It’s not hurting you or others in any way. In fact, it’s binding us all together whether we share a common religion or not. It’s giving us all a tether to each other. 

I believe that when someone wishes me a Happy Holiday, the person is offering a blessing.  I’ll accept it because it’s a gift. It’s a promise that they wish me well and that in that moment I can trust them to be kind rather than malicious. The only “war” in these words is in how the recipient of the words chooses to respond.

Let’s make a promise:

 

No matter where we fall on the spiritual spectrum, please assume the best of each other rather than the worst. We’re wishing good blessings upon each other. We’re wishing each other to be happy and blessed. Whatever form that takes, whatever the words, the meaning is the same.  

 

P.S.

Fair warning: if I catch you reprimanding my children for being thoughtful, kind, and considerate because that’s the kind of children I have (most of the time, at least in public) no matter the particular, specific words they use, I’ll cutch-you. :-)

But yeah… here’s a nice quick screen capture for you to take a peek at and revel in. <3 Go ahead… ask Google. This is just a snippet.

 

Origin of "Holiday" is "holy day"

Origin of “Holiday” is “holy day”

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