Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More History....

I wrote this last year....a little deep and a little long, but worthwhile....

Whatever happened to personal responsibility? There are so many people who just believe that everyone else should take responsibility for them, and that they shouldn't suffer the consequences of their own poor decisions. For example, I have known many, many people who ting that the world is out to get them. These very people have chose not to finish school, they choose to speak, dress and behave poorly. And they wonder why they can't make it on their own. They don't want to hold down any job that requires them to show up on time, dress in a professional manner,and god forbid, the be held accountable for making sure the job is done properly. To them, it's everyone else asking too much of them.

I grew up along the coast in the southeast, with my grandparents. My mother had me at the age of 14, and was never able to care for me. Of course, as a child, I didn't know the difference. I guess I assumed all parents were like her. My father was young as well, but not allowed to see me or my mother. (I don't agree with that decision, but I can understand my grandparents not wanting the boy [who got their fourteen year old daughter pregnant] around. It was the '70's after all and these things were embarrassing to a family. So, instead of my mother doing all the things a mother should do, my grandparents and my mother's best friend, (Aunt Sharon) were my caretakers. Aunt Sharon picked me up and treated me as her daughter. When she married and moved away, she tearfully begged my grandparents to let her adopt and raise me. I have had wonderful role models, and been loved deeply in my life. I now enjoy a close, loving and (most importantly) a healthy relationship with my father and step-mother. Those who have loved me have saved me. As a young girl I looked up to my mother. I thought she was pretty and she was definitely cool. The mothers of all my friends were...well, old. I had no idea what a mother was really supposed to be like.

As I got older, I started to see the advantages of having a real mother. I wished for one. My grandmother was emotionally unavailable, my grandfather was a gem, but he had no idea how to be open emotionally. Aunt Sharon had married and moved away. I retreated into books. I planned out the kind of life I wanted to give my own children someday. I saw then, that my mother wasn't the kind of mother I wanted to be, nor was she as cool as I once thought. She found out she was pregnant at seventeen, got married, had a total of three children by the time she as 20; She was on her merry way with a new boyfriend by the age of twenty-one, without one child in tow. My brothers were raised by their paternal grandparents. I always found a reason to excuse the fact that she didn't raise us. Being as young as she was, she didn't know any better, right? I actually thought that way until I became pregnant and had my first child at seventeen. My mother was pregnant at the same time. She was thirty-one. Just over two years later, she had another child. It was after this time that I realized that she had no concept of motherhood. To my mother, children are accessories that she discards after she tires of them.

I am lucky enough that I had the desire and the drive to run as far from that tree as possible. I have learned many, many valuable lessons thanks to my mother:

1) I have learned that you will never get anywhere if you spend your life blaming other people for all of your failures.

2)You can not give your children advice if they don't respect you. If you have learned something from a mistake that you would like to pass onto them, do not continue to make that mistake over and over again yourself.

3) Sometimes, through no fault of your own, life hands you lemons. Make lemonade, or get over it. Don't sit and whine. Nothing will change if you whine.

4) Making a mess of your life does not obligate your children to bail you out constantly.

My children are almost grown now. They know how important they are to me . I am also raising my youngest sister, K. She is nineteen days older than my oldest daughter. She is a great kid. For the first twelve years of her life, she lived with our mother and her various boyfriends. The nice ones were discarded in favor of the "bad boys." K saw our mother doing drugs and was nearly homeless several times. She was made to be responsible for our youngest sister, mothering and raising her. At the age of twelve, K decided she'd had enough. The next time I was asked to take the girls "for a few days, until I can figure things out," she said she wasn't going back. She hasn't. (She is amazing and I will do a post on her sometime.)

I will often read advice columns for fun. Most of them advise the people sending in questions to try to reconcile with family members so that there are never regrets. Sometimes however, those relationships are damaged to the point that they are poisonous to those involved. My mother is poison to me. Whenever I have to talk to her about anything deeper than the weather, I am a wreck, and it affects my children and marriage. So, I have made the decision to completely cut her from my life. I will no longer be responsible for her. I will not protect her from the anger and resentment that she has caused her children. I will not allow my life to be turned upside down by her neediness.

And whether I like it or not, I will always love her.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I have a hard time being controversial. I don't like it. I may be a little controversial here today. The main reason I have such a hard time with it is because I'm afraid I will come across as small minded (which I know I'm not) or really tick someone off. One of my purposes in having this blog is to change parts of myself that I am unhappy with. I am going to try, every once in a while to write something controversial. I've made statements before about standing up for what you believe in and it is time for me to take my own advice.

Religion is a hard subject for me. It is one that I avoid most of the time, mostly because I'm sure to offend someone. I grew up in a Presbyterian church. The minister we had while I was growing up was fantastic. His name was Larry and he was someone who always seemed to understand the real life sometimes meant making decisions that weren't always covered in the bible. He also allowed his beliefs in humanity and compassion to lead him to make decisions that were deemed "wrong" in the bible.

Case in point, a young hardworking couple with a young son came to our church, needing a place to live for a few months. A series of events had occurred in the preceding year that took them from a family who were completely self sufficient to homeless. They were willing to work around the church to pay for the ability to stay there. Larry agreed. The members of the church were so against his decision, that they called for Larry to step down. Why were they so against this family staying there? They weren't married. (I can not stress enough that they were not irresponsible people.) Larry did not want to place this family, and especially the young son, under any more stress. They could have rented a motel room by the week, but they wouldn't have gotten ahead. Larry wanted this boy to have a chance at a stable home once again. It didn't matter to Larry that they weren't married, that young boy didn't know or care that they weren't married. They were Mommy and Daddy and he loved them both. Larry understood that to evict them based on their marital status would be more harmful to their family unit than it would be damaging to the church for allowing them to stay.

I give you that story because to me, it represents everything that is right and wrong with religion. What is right, is that we find that loving others is a sure way to show and spread God's compassion and love. It is wrong, because we sometimes use God's expectations and guides as a way to inflict cruelty to one another, simply because we don't believe someone else is living their life the way we think God says they should.

My controversial statement today is this; I do not believe that the bible should be a literal interpretation of how to live life.

I believe in God. I think that a lot of the lessons we learn in church or in the bible are good, valuable lessons, but I also think there is a lot of hypocrisy there, too.

My next controversial statement is this; I am not a fan of organized religion, for the most part, today.

If I could find a church that would practice the positive things in the bible, and leave out the condemnation of anyone who doesn't do exactly what they say you should do, I'd go faithfully.

If I could find a church who lived by, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" I'd go. I hate that there are people out there who think that because they are spreading the word of God, they get a pass for being intentionally cruel.

We all have the right to live our lives the way we want to. We have to raise our kids with morals and values. We all deserve to know God and feel His love. Those who may need it the most can't find it. They can't find it, because when they look for it, all they find is someone telling them how disgusting, evil, wrong and, in some cases, how unnatural they are.

Its kind of hard to feel love for someone or something that makes you feel like you shouldn't have ever existed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dancing The Night Away?

I remember my first school dance. It was 1986 or 1987. Michael Jackson's Dirty Diana song was popular. Going in, I was scared to death. I wondered if anyone would ask me to dance. I wondered if I would look stupid trying if they did. The closest thing I'd done to dance at that point was to turn on the stereo on the counter top in my grandmothers kitchen and shake my booty in my nightgown. (I may have been wearing an ankle length nightgown one night. It may have been made of a rather inflexible fabric. And I may have kicked my leg high in the air.... while the fabric tightened around my other leg. And pulled it out from under me.) So.... I'd not had much experience with the whole dancing thing.

Throughout my school days, I occasionally going to dances, but never danced with boys. They were always too cool. We girls would get together in a group shake our hips and snap our fingers, no dirty dancing in my school. Has anyone seen how the teen boys dance today? As the mother to teenage girls, let me tell you... I'm. Not. Happy.

My girls won't even dance in front of me. They say it would be "awkward". Um, I'm thinking it would be awkward only if it was inappropriate.

In any case, tonight two unusual things happened. My two seventeen year olds went to the local elementary school dance. ( They don't know any of the students there.) They just went to chaperon. They had to make sure the little ones didn't get out of hand. I was so proud of them. They are showing me everyday that they are growing and maturing. I'm finally feeling , maybe a little smugly, that it's nice how well they've turned out. I can totally trust them. Right?

The second unusual thing that happened, was that they wanted to go over to a friend's house. After 10 pm. That alone wouldn't be that unusual. What made it unusual is that this particular friend has been out of high school for two years, and comes and goes as she pleases. She is considered an adult by her parents. So my girls mature, responsible girls would be staying away from home tonight. They showed us earlier tonight how mature they are, they volunteered their time to young children tonight. They acted as role models.

Yeah, I don't think so. They are in their own beds tonight.

They are too young to be out without a chaperon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How old are you??

Coming home from work today, I anticipated an afternoon filled with important things.

Like watching my DVR. I had to catch up on a few of my favorite shows. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten that my youngest child, who is fourteen, stayed home sick today and had commandeered the TV attached to the DVR.

I prepared to watch one of those teen shows on MTV, or something equally "cool." She's in her last year of middle school, so I see a lot of eye rolls, hear a lot of UGH's, and I am generally reminded every second of everyday that she is growing up!

What do I find? Noggin. Spongebob. The Fairly Oddparents.

Huh? I guess growing up is put on hiatus when you're fourteen and don't feel good.

I hear her calling for me.

Somebody wants her Mommy.

If only for a little while...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Come Together...riiiight now...

Teenagers often get a bad rap. As adults, we see the negative first. This past week, I've witnessed the coming together of an entire school over an "ineligibility" of a star football player at my daughter's school.

This particular student's parents are divorced. His mother is apparently suffering from cancer and is undergoing treatment for it. The mother currently has custody of the boy, but he's been living with his grandparents (in our school district) while his mother is undergoing treatments. He is a senior. Long story short, a rival school has lodged an official complaint about this student's attendance at our school, saying that he is in their district. Our high school accepted that he was living with his grandparents, allowed him to attend our school and play for our team. It was ultimately decided that our school team would have to forfeit all games in which this student played. We were 6-0, ranked sixth in our state.

Whether or not he was playing "legally" isn't my real concern. High school football isn't important to me. I am well aware that rules exist for fairness, although, in some circumstances common sense should prevail over "rules." Should this boy have lost his last year of eligibility, because his mother is sick? Not playing his senior year can cost him scholarship money and the chance to go to college. I'm guessing that in order for him to legally live in our district with his grandparents, his mother would have to give up custody of the boy and turn it over to his grandparents.

People writing in to the local papers are demanding that they release the name of this boy and his parents. They want to know who this "cheater" is. They want to be able to punish and humiliate him and his parents. They don't know the whole story. For whatever reason, the school hasn't released the extenuating circumstances of this case. The school principal is appealing the ruling. If and when those circumstances are made public, I hope it will be a reminder to people that one side of the story is rarely the whole story.

That really isn't my point. My point is how the students have responded to this. The student body could have decided to place the blame on this boy who wasn't eligible. They could have taunted him, harassed him and made his life a living hell. After all, he took something from each of them, right?

They didn't. The students, especially the football team, have thrown all of their love and support behind this boy. They have told him that they believe in him. They know, that even if the rules were broken, they weren't broken by this student intentionally. School pride is at an all time high. These kids are seeing past their collective moment of joy and disappointment to rally behind one boy going through one of the most excruciating experiences of his life- possibly losing his chance to go to college, while facing the prospect of losing his mother.

I am proud of our kids. For this one moment in time, they aren't being the selfish, short-sighted people we expect them to be. They are growing up. Seeing the big picture. They are finally understanding that sometimes, winning and glory isn't everything. Being there to lend a hand and support someone is more important than winning.

This football season, win or lose, is unimportant. The football team itself, doesn't really matter.

This team right now is the entire student body. They are finally learning to play the game of life.

I predict a winning season.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Overthink, much?

It is no secret that teens are difficult. I am guilty of complaining about mine. I get so frustrated with my own, sometimes wondering how in the hell I'm going to make it out the other side of this. I've always taken my job as Mom very seriously. My sole purpose since I became a mother has been to raise strong, independent women who are not afraid to speak their minds, and to be open to the joys of a happy, loving family of their own. I want them to be smart and self motivated. I want these things so badly for my girls, that when I see them slipping away from those things I go nuts. I take control and push them back in that direction. And realize that by pushing them so hard, maybe I'm taking away that independence and freedom of choice I've always desired for them. Are there other mom's out there who feel like they have deposited their own dreams onto their children, and then wrestle the control away from their children because it doesn't mesh with what we want for them?

There is an expectation of respect in our home. The girls are allowed to express whatever it is they need to express, but they may not do it while throwing a typical teen tantrum. Is it healthy or unhealthy that I don't allow them to do the tantrum thing? So far, they are everything I could have dreamed they would become. They are kind, loving, smart, hardworking kids who don't take crap from anyone. To everyone outside of our home they are unfailingly polite and I hear from nearly everyone who has contact with them that they are wonderful kids.

We seem to have a pretty good relationship, but I wonder sometimes, if it is superficial and only seems this way because of my strong "you will talk to me with respect or you're grounded for life" message. I can't decide why I'm questioning myself. I suppose I should go directly to my two seventeen year olds and ask them. I might do that. They are not afraid to tell me their opinions, so they would probably tell me the truth.

The truth is, if I'd just buy them an iPhone and get rid of the curfew they'll agree everything is just perfect.

This week.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dual Personality

Sabrina, my youngest is fourteen years old. She is a wonderful kid. I realize that she's not all grown up yet, but she's getting there.

Sabrina is very outgoing. She's one of those people who's never met a stranger. As teenage daughters go, she's been a dream. She doesn't do most of the things a lot of other teens do. She comes home when she's supposed to, not too interested in boys, yet, and she enjoys sitting in the back yard, talking to her best friend through the fence. So many things I see in her life are nearly idyllic. A typical night in our home has me cooking dinner while the girls are on their computers or doing homework. All of the girls are pretty good about doing what they are supposed to do, although Sabrina has a touch of ADD and can't always remember what she's supposed to be doing. For the most part, that's my biggest complaint.

Until the third week of the month.

Sabrina turns into the monster from hell. You know what I'm talking about. Aunt Flo, her "friend" from out of town. The dreaded week of the PERIOD.

My darling Sabrina turns into satan.

Does anyone remember Linda Blair in The Exorcist?

She looks like an angel compared to Sabrina at that time.

We've tried everything from grounding her to threatening to send her to Egypt once a month.

Nothing's worked so far, so I've decided to try another tactic. Last month, my blood pressure rose to dangerous levels.

My sense of self preservation has taken over.

I'm thinking I'll be spending my day tomorrow at Target, buying lots of chocolate, Midol and heat packs. Then I'll run to the grocery store for grapes.

I found the fan last month...

I might be gone a few days.... you'll find me in Her Majesty's room....

peeling grapes and fanning her.

Hoping to survive the week.

There's a reason I named her Sabrina here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Size of a Woman.... A Man's Perspective

At one time, I had another blog. I decided to go anonymous to allow myself greater freedom in my writing. I've seen a few other bloggers writing about Dove's Real Woman campaign. My husband actually wrote this piece for our other blog last year. Please understand, in this post he is not referring to women who are naturally thin, he is referring to those who starve themselves to meet the so-called "ideal".

This is his opinion....

I am sick and tired of these anorexic looking "kids" like Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and all those twigs being passed off as the only "desirable body" type. TO WHOM? I am not even slightly interested in that body type. How could a mature man look at those little girl bodies and get turned on? Nicole Ritchie looks surprising like a lot of 12 - 13 year old child (female) I've ever known. I have seen healthy, mature, naturally thin women that I find attractive, but the key word is naturally. If you eat well and stay thin, fine. Let's get it straight here, if you don't eat well, you WILL NOT look good...period. If you are not healthy, you can't look healthy.Who decided that Calvin Klein had it right, with Kate Moss and all those models like her (which he uses almost exclusively)? It's a joke. It is appealing to no one (that I know) and seems to target pedophiles. Our society tolerates this and even, to some extent, encourages it by buying their crap. It's time we recognize what's happening to us. At some point we need to be able to tell our children "hey it's OK to wear a size 10" or 12 or 14" who really cares? Since when is everyone cut from the same mold (or gene pool for that matter)? And this BMI crap, I'm 6' o" tall and I weigh 180 or so. At some point I was 192.....now, that was 192 of solid muscle and very lean (rock climbing 3-4 days a wk) and yet, I was told that I was overweight....(you don't want to know what I said). Now if you saw me...well you would laugh about that, I am considered slender by most....I've heard skinny, but I am not overweight. It's crap! Now, I do understand that even a little extra weight COULD be harmful to your health. I also recognize that our children may not eat as well as they should. We all should see, however, that anorexia and bulimia are on the rise. We should note that a large percentage of the children today have serious self esteem issues, mostly concerning perceived body flaws, fat being the number one concern. Adults are affected also, but it's the children who are most susceptible to these pressures. I, for one, am over it. I have seen young girls torture themselves to "make the weight", otherwise beautiful girls reduce themselves to skin and bones. I have friends whose children are literally killing themselves by purging daily, in fact several times a day. It's enough already, it has been for quite some time now.I have not bought clothing, fragrances or anything I know comes from Calvin Klein. I will in the future, try my best to boycott any line of clothing that I believe promotes this unnatural body type and/or uses "women" like Kate Moss, who need to starve themselves or use drugs to keep their unhealthy bodies so ridiculously thin. If it's natural, I have no problem with it, if not...eat a doughnut.I certainly hope this is taken as it is intended, as a positive statement to those who suffer each day, suffer because someone told them they were "thick" or "chunky" or just a little "heavy". It's time to speak up, it's time to let those people know "I like the way I look and I am happy with who I am...period". The body police should maybe get a clue...and while we're at it, let's just hit the "fashion police" too. Let everyone be who they want to be, not who some small group of people think they should be. I paint outside the lines....and I run with scissors, and I don't dress like everyone thinks I should, so sue me.I have spent most of my adult life helping people look their best. I help everyone feel the best that they can with no preference given to "smaller" people. I believe that each person that I see (professionally), every day, deserves to be happy and feel as beautiful as I can make them feel.I truly believe this, and I truly do my job that way, every client, every day. I find those who would attack another person for a perceived "imperfection" to be disgusting, even when it's disguised (she would be so pretty... if she'd just lose a few pounds). Judge not, lest you ...get ugly and lose your teeth.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


My husband, R, is a great guy. (As you can see, I still don't have a clever name for him...after you read this post, maybe you can give me some ideas!) He has a great sense of humor, although he's not always politically correct. He is my best friend, my business partner, my lover. (sigh)

We own a small business together. He doesn't always tell people he is one of the owners of our business. (He doesn't want people to think he's egotistical or self absorbed.)R loves practical jokes. One such example: A client comes in for the first time. He's doing the initial consultation. He calls me over, to consult with him. He cuts and I do the color. I am in my most professional mode, starting the consultation, when he leans down and whispers in the client's ear, "you know, she only has this job because she sleeps with the boss..."

Thanks, honey.

Really, if you knew me, you'd know I love my man. He is very talented and he's truly handy. He can design a floor plan, he can build just about anything, lay tile flooring, rewire a house, fix a car. R can figure out how to do just about anything. He can help anyone while they're shopping, looking at clothing the same way he looks at hair. He can fight. He's one of the most incredible athletes I've ever met. (We play on a softball team together. Most of the guys are in their thirties, and he is fasterquickersmarter than they are. They will all attest to this fact. I'm not bragging....really, I'm not!

I seriously think he is the perfect man.....almost. He cannot figure out how to work the dryer. Or the vacuum cleaner. Or the dishwasher. WHY?!?!?! This man can take a computer apart, fix it and put it back together. Yet, he stands in front of the dryer, cursing it, and can not figure out how to turn the damn thing on..... he gets angry. Finally he yells to me, "KENSI, I can't turn the damn dryer on. How the hell does this thing work? I'm not doing this crap again..." I calmly walk into the laundry room and press the button that says..."PRESS AND HOLD TO START"....