HOME

H is for…

My happy place.

HOME:  How I define what’s important to me.

Example: The United States. I love my home.  I have traveled.  I did a study abroad in England and backpacked Europe after. Plus, miscellaneous other country vacations. I’ve had a great time everywhere I’ve gone, but this is home.

One of my favorite vacations was my month drive from MA to CA.  I did the southern route and fell in love with how different each state was.  I was surprised by my reaction. I love history and Europe was mind blowing.  My home doesn’t have the same castles and ruins, but it’s breathtaking beautiful.

Because this is my home, I want to take care of it. Make sure it’s healthy and safe. And I want the world to see my home as healthy and safe.  There are so many homes of other people that aren’t either of those things. My home is one of the examples that it is possible.

I take care of my home – I vote.

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Where is your home?  How do you take care of your home?

(My 500 words or less challenge) word count = 180

COW

C is for…

I’m blogging under the symbol of a cow.  I know that seems strange, but please read on to see if I can make it sound reasonable….

COW: I grew up in the suburbs.  My only real interaction with a cow was cute, white with black spots, cow stickers.  You could by them off a roll at the store.  In my life today, the cow is every negative thing I believe about myself and every positive at the same time.

Example: Divine Bovine. My beloved afternoon nanny, Oprah, would always have make-over shows for moms that, “let themselves go.” I’d then wonder about those moms while growing up.  Why would you let yourself go?

I have learned over the years to be careful of the questions I ask in life, because life tends to make me live the answer.

Some woman struggle after having children and I was one of them. I had a personal perfect storm of motherhood: exhaustion, unattractive (fat, sore, stitched, breast feeding) and bitchy (hormones scare the crap out of me now). Then it got topped off with unexpectedly leaving my career and the constant stressful state of special needs high alert. My son was diagnosed with autism at 2 months.  I wasn’t loving life and I sure wasn’t loving myself.  My hateful self image became this big, dumb and unattractive cow (breast feeding kinda puts the cow front and center).

One day I decided to snap out it.  A year later I finally succeeded (mostly!). Part of the new me wanted to send out my experiences online for other moms. In an effort to save them from having to “live” an answer.  Or, at least shorten the bounce back time.

My goal is to be honest about my experiences.  Including: friends, teachers, therapists, family members etc… I choose to do that anonymously, because I have a non-verbal son. If a person treats him poorly based on something I’ve posted, he can’t tell me.

So… I picked the cow.  I had succeeded in turning my self image around, so I wanted to make my most negative view of myself my most positive action.

Then… I needed a logo.  I did a google search on cow and this is what I found.  It’s considered divine in India (I knew that, but forgot in my negative state of mind).  It’s the animal embodiment of Hathor the Egyptian goddess of joy and feminine love.  In Norse mythology a cow emitted the four rivers of power.

The Divine Bovine! Motherhood can bring out the best and the worst in us.  Now the white and black cow of my childhood, is my yin-yang of motherhood. One day I’ll have my own stickers ;)

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Did I make it sound reasonable?

(My 500 words or less challenge) word count = 452

The fairy tale behind Jane Austen’s P&P

I’m always amazed at how I never get sick of  Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion.  I should, but I don’t.  I know there are people out there who are not part of the Jane Austen band wagon.  To be honest, part of me is jealous that they are free of whatever it is I seem to be addicted to.  And, addicted I am.  Although, I think I’ve finally figured it out.  I’m not entirely cured, but at least I can now identify the root of my P&P desire.

Jane gave her 21-year-old character, Elizabeth, the heart and mind of a late thirty year old woman — I’m addicted to the fairy tale.  What 20-year-old woman is immune to the bad boy?  A large percentage of us make the Wickham mistake.  The rest of us fall prey to a comfortable home and nice guy that seems to love us in our later 20′s/early 30′s.  Elizabeth avoids both.  Don’t look at Elizabeth’s age, look at Jane’s.

I would be able to avoid both today, but I’m now 40.   “If I only knew then, what I know now.”   You learn that saying when you’re young, but living it when you’re older is a true bummer.   Welcome to fairy tale addiction.  I think true love is achieved in our 20′s through luck.  I think we are able to actively find it by our late 30′s.

What is Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth?  He’s the match, not the completion.  We’ve all heard it said that, “you complete me,” is NOT the right way to go.  Unfortunately, it’s like your parents telling you to always use cash and not your credit cards… don’t most of us suffer from revolving credit card debt of miscellaneous crap.  Usually, you have to live the mistake to really learn it.  In relationships, that leads us to our late thirties/early forties.

At any age, we are all Swiss cheese.  Big holes caused by past experiences or missing pieces.  Some holes are larger than others.  Our desire is to fill those holes in order to be truly happy.  How many of us ignored, “no one can make you happy, but you.”   Let’s face it, it’s usually  your grandparents handing down that lovely bit of advice.  No one wants to date themselves at any age — how unromantic!  When you’re young, you want romance to be quick and easy like a credit card.  It’s so easy to fill that hole of lack of self confidence with Wickham, or fill the hole of loneliness with Mr. Collins.  Cash is hard.  When you use cash you have to sit yourself down and ask yourself questions, “do I really need that,” “can I really afford that,” and the best, “If I spend extra money on this now, what will I not be able to afford later.”   (You never have to ask that question with a credit card. )  We can fill our own holes, it’s just a lot of work — “Is that really going to make me happy?”

The more you use cash the easier it gets.  Dating yourself has it’s advantages.  The more you understand what is important to you, the less lonely you are.  The more self sufficient you are, the more confident you are. Those of us who made the mistakes of youth, are in the cash system by our late thirties.  Go figure, Wickham and Mr. Collins didn’t fill the voids and make us blissfully happy.  We start beating out our own road to happiness, one hard question at a time.

Each question gets you closer to the truth of your heart.  When you reach the point where you can actually make yourself feel confident and not lonely, that’s when you’re ready for the MATCH.  I think everyone wants to share their life with someone.  But it’s the sharing a happy life, not depending on another for a happy life that makes it work.

And I believe that there are many Mr. Darcy’s out there.  Men who’ve learned through age, just like us, to look for the match and not the completion.  The best Hollywood romances are between adult characters.  Two characters rich with experience meeting and falling in love for the right reason –to have learned through time what will truly make them happy.

EAT ORGANIC! If you’re pregnant or planning to be…

When I was pregnant with my son over 4 years ago, my biggest concern was autism.  As far as I know, you still can’t accurately test for it and no one knows what causes it. Vaccines are still the leading “villain” in the guessing game of what causes spectrum disorders.  At 2 months my pediatrician knew there was something wrong with my son (for new moms: he didn’t mimic and he wasn’t tracking).  He hadn’t had any vaccinations, so what caused his delay?  A few months into motherhood,  I was given the list of the “dirty dozen” by another mom — the leading fruits and vegetables that are full of pesticides.  I always thought you could wash the pesticides off and that they weren’t really harmful to humans.  Well, you can’t just wash pesticides off and they actually have been proven to be harmful to children.

I’m not one of those moms that’s done a bunch of reading and research.  I wish I was.  They impress the hell out of me.  I am one of those moms that has done a little research and feels strongly about what I’ve found so far.  I believe there is a growing case being made against our food vs. vaccines.  That does not rule out vaccines.  I’m just beginning to believe it might start with what we’re eating as pregnant mothers.  I ate a lot of apples when I was pregnant with my son.  I was trying to stay away from the junk food at work.  Apples are number 1 on the dirty dozen list.

I was sent a short documentary about Temple Grandin the first year we were coming to terms with my son’s condition.  It was really inspiring.  The most interesting part of this documentary was learning about Temple’s brain.  A research study scanned her brain and found the communication center was twice as large as a normal person and branched farther into her brain.  She had speech therapy early on and is now fully verbal.  Her brain adapted and early intervention has helped a lot of children.  My own son has begun using a few words at the age of 4.  We started his early intervention therapy at 10 months.

Then I was sent a 60 minute show about ipad apps that are getting autistic children to focus and complete simple language tasks.  It starts with highlighting a severely autistic twenty year old that can’t talk, but has been able to talk using an ipad app.  He knows the words, he just can’t say them.  He types out sentences on the ipad using preset pictures. The teachers in the children study were amazed at how much vocabulary a young boy actually knew while using the ipad.  He’d never had a way to show it before.

This got me thinking.  My own son can make eye contact, express emotion and read the emotion in others.  He just can’t talk.  He’ll use simple words for a short amount of time and then “lose” them.   My son is suffering from a communication malfunction.  I remembered hearing about causes of the honeybees disappearing a few years earlier.   Their are no dead bees, the bees just disappear and leave the queen behind.  One news program said that it was thought to be pesticides that were disrupting the communication abilities of the bees.

Earlier this year (3/13), a group of nonprofits brought a case against the EPA stating that they illegally approved the overuse of pesticides that caused honeybee colony collapse disorder.  They state that the European Food Safety Authority has said recent studies show neonicotinoid pesticides pose a significant risk to bees and contribute to colony collapse disorder.  “Honey bees are social insects that rely heavily on memory, cognition and communication to coordinate activities essential for their survival. Chronic ingestion of neonicotinoids damages foraging behavior, overall mobility and the communication by which they coordinate their activities. Neonicotinoid pesticides can also have several other indirect effects on honey bees, such as causing premature shifts in hive roles. They can impair honey bees’ medium-term olfactory memory and associative learning abilities, which foraging honey bees rely on to find their way back to the hive,” this complaint states.

In late April of this year the European Union voted to enact a two-year ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.  The U.S. has not banned this pesticide, even though the honeybee population is reported to have reached a 50 year low with a 28% decline rate.  The EPA has stated they need to do more research.  At the same time, they have approved a new pesticide called sulfoxaflor.  Sulfoxafor is considered by many to be a “fourth-generation neonicotinoid.

Another mom sent me a video of a stay at home mom, Robyn O’Brien, whose daughter came down with a food allergy.  Robyn was surprised and started to research the cause of food allergies in children.  What she found has caused her to adopt the role of a “real food” evangelist.  You should watch this 18 minute video.  She condenses a lot of good information into that short amount of time.   She found that the U.S. has approved food practices that other countries will not approve.  And,  if a member of another country moves to the U.S., their risks of cancer go up significantly.

I like to watch the Bill Maher show.  Every once in awhile he’ll state that our food is not good for us.  I thought he was talking about saturated/trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup and “processed” foods.  After watching Robyn’s video, it’s literally our food.  She found that corn has been genetically engineered to create it’s own insecticide.  To the point where corn is now listed as an insecticide.  The information she’s found will really make you take a different look at what we’re all eating.

From what I’ve found, “industrial farming” started after WWII.  It’s believed that chemicals created for the war machine were moved into farming — pesticides.  The first cases of autism are believed to have been diagnosed in the 1940′s.

I’m not sure when Autism Speaks started to research environmental pollutants, but I do know they stated that it was an underfunded science for a long time.  I heard about their research late last year.  Earlier this year, I heard about “The Monsanto Protection Act.” As this article states, “Last May, the agrichemical giants — Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, Bayer, DuPont, BASF — pulled off a stunning maneuver to protect their massive profits. They secured a new type of corporate earmark, getting legislation signed into law that requires the continued sale of products even if the products are determined to be unlawfully approved. In plain English, that means that these companies could have legal protection to continue selling their products even if the courts pulled the products from the market.”

What do they know?  There is a growing variation of spectrum disorders.  My son is now listed as the newest form of spectrum disorder, “PDD-NOS.”  If we were to track the “generations” of different pesticides, would we find the different variations of spectrum disorders might match up?

EAT ORGANIC!!  As Robyn states in her video, it’s all about a profitable business — supply and demand, so make the demand organic.

Clarabelle Rant

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