Saturday, January 28, 2012
I took a couple steps back to peek into the office from which I had heard my name. Three or four of the judge advocates I work with were gathered for an end-of-the-day gab session. "I'll know what?" READ MORE>>
My online persona really doesn't line up with my real life personna. Even my Facebook account that isn't linked to my blog, while a closer representation, doesn't completely capture my day-to-day personality. I suppose that's not surprising. I mean, can any person really be truely represented virtually? Probably not. There is too much else that plays into in person encounters to be replicated in a cyber atmosphere. But I think some online representations are farther off than others.
Friday, January 27, 2012
As a Marine and as an attorney, I am no stranger to tragedy and heartbreaking scenarios. Violence, death, abuse - the list of awful things that I might encounter in any given day is immeasurable. I am not talking about atrocities in combat. I am not a combat Marine, or, I haven't been so far. But I have seen awful things relating not only to the horror of battle, but, more often to the horror of life. READ MORE>>
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Compassion is key - for personal enlightenment, for global justice, for right relationships. It is something we have evolved for. Compassionate Life discusses at length in its beginning the evolutionary journey that has molded us to be compassionate beings. The author discusses the war, so to speak that takes place between our different "brains." READ MORE>>
For all of the progress on my journey so far, please visit (and Follow!!) A Compassionate Life: My Endeavor.
I don't know if there actually was more gossip going on, or if I had simply been made more aware of it by certain new acquaintences, but I quickly became increasingly more frustrated with the situation until finally my frustration built up into anger. One day, I found myself railing angrily inside my head, "Why the eff can't people who have no business in our live - be they from the past or just not really close to us - just mind thier own mother-effing business?" "How can a person who has done X and Y, who is so blatantly selfish and immoral presume to say anything about me?"
And I stopped. And I was a little shocked. And a little disturbed. These are NOT the type of thoughts I think. I do not think that I am better than anyone else. When people strike out pointlessly against me, I ignore them and allow their own vitriole and hatred to consume them. I don't get sucked into other people's petty, childish games. And I do not tear people down just for the sake of it. I may disapprove of people's actions, and I may even say so (or blog so, as the case may be), but I DO NOT individually attack people and tear them down. I, in short, don't think thoughts like I caught myself thinking.
I felt like I was being pulled down by the negative, petty people in our lives (and there were a few of them - it was almost like there was one in every single arena of our lives - like they were planted there to test me - not that I'm megalomaniacal enough to believe that ;-)), and I did not like it. So at Samhain, I cast these things away. I promised myself I would not get dragged down anymore. I would avoid these negative forces at all costs. I cut a bunch of people out of my social networks. I avoided a couple people at events. I felt immensly better.
Sure, there have been a couple of slip-ups. Gossip I tried to avoid reached me anyway a couple times, and though I fought it, there were twinges of annoyance and frustration. But not much. It didn't result in anything more than a little kvetching on my part.
But soon, I started to feel like maybe just ignoring this negativity wasn't the whole answer. Suddenly, I started to feel like I was getting a very clear message from the Universe that it was time for me to do a whole lot more than ignoring things. It was time to overcome my annoyance, frustration, preoccupation, and anger - and the insecurities that coincide with them. There are many more details on this "message" from the Universe here.
The key to that message from the Universe was the book Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong. After reading the book just once, I was completely won over. This was the answer I was looking for. This was the beginning of my journey. Starting in January, I would spend approximately one month on each of the 12 steps, which I believe will be a solid foundation for a journey I expect to last many years - probably a lifetime.
To follow my journey as one cohesive work, please visit (and follow!) A Compassionate Life: My Endeavor.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Please check out the new blog. You can either click on the first link in this post, or the tab at the top, or you can click one of the following links to be taken to the individual posts:
Why Compassion?: The Journey Begins
Why Compassion?: It Fits
And while I'm on the topic of other blogs, I've been thinking about my other tabs at the top. Generally, when I add something to the Ethical Eating and Sustainable Living (EESL) blog, I post it here as well. The EESL blog is more or less a place to gather the Cheap Wine and Cookies posts that relate to the topics of Ethical Eating and Sustainable Living. The same goes for The Family That Reads. It is a collection of Cheap Wine and Cookies posts.
I have not followed that trend with the Recipes site. As often as I can, I throw up quick recipes (ok, they're not always quick to read, I'm rather wordy with my recipes), as I'm cooking or after dinner. I do not, however, usually post those to Cheap Wine and Cookies because 1) it's a pain in the rear, and 2.) it would flood Cheap Wine and Cookies.
So I'm putting forward this request, if you're interested, please follow the Recipes blog on it's own.
At this point, I haven't decided whether I'm going to maintain the Compassion blog seperately, or whether I will post all the entries here on the Cheap Wine and Cookies main page. I suppose that depend partially on whether anyone follows it.
Any input from my loyal Cheap Winos? Do you want to see my Compassion posts here on the main page, or would you rather follow it as a seperate blog?
Friday, January 20, 2012
Signing has been an amazing experience for us. It has been a great stress reliever to me to be able to just ask Flintstone what he wants or needs and not to have to guess or frustrate him further by offering him a celery stick when what he really wants is a drink or a diaper change. Plus, you can clearly see the joy on his face when he knows what he's saying is understood. He loves using his signs and is always excited to learn new ones. I just wish I was better at keeping up with him!
We started signing to Flintstone at birth with the "milk" sign when nursing. When he started on solids at 6 months, we added the signs for "hungry" (though we actually use the ASL sign for eat because it's clearer) and "more." While it became clear that he was starting to understand the signs around 7 or 8 months, he didn't really start trying to mimic them until 10 months, and then it was only a little here and there. Since we could see he understood the signs, we gradually introduced more even though he didn't do them to encourage him. And it worked!
Just a few days after his first birthday, we arrived home from a looooong car trip. As soon as we got into the house and I put Flintstone down, he looked at me and said "Buh!"
"What?" I asked and signed.
He toddled toward the hallway, stopping at the doorway and turning to me. "Buh!" he yelled again, and started excitedly doing the sign for "bath." We were so excited to encourage the sign and confirm to him that he had it right that before we even started unloading the car, MacGyver took him back for a bath.
Side Note: Flintstone is very into cleanliness. I think he does the signs for "bath," "wash hands," and "change" more than any others - even "milk!" He's also way ahead of his age group in using utensils, which I think is largely because he doesn't like to touch his food (and also partially because he thinks it's cool). And the first thing he does if he can get his hand on a washcloth or towel (or baby wipe or dryer sheet), is wipe his face with it. My little neat freak. Apparently, that's typical of Virgos. More likely, I think he gets it from MacGyver.Starting with the sign for bath, Flintstone began to pick up more signs every day. By the time he hit 14 months, the kid was on some sort of insatiable langauge binge. He could not get enough of new signs/words. He always wanted new signs and would get visibly impatient with me when I didn't know a sign. I couldn't keep up with him!
Actually, I still can't. I don't think he knows the maximum number of signs for his age (he's 16 months now), but that is only because we haven't been able to keep up with teaching him new ones. We're still making progress, though, and he's still learning new signs every day.
So far, Flintstone knows the following signs:
- Milk (as in asking to nurse)
- More (and I'm very impressed at his deapth of understanding of this concept. He knows he can use this sign to get more food or water, but he also knows he can use it to get more of a particular treatment. For instance, if MacGyver is bouncing Flintstone on his knee and stops, Flintstone will immediately ask for more)
- All Done
- Pouch (as in those organic baby food pouches with the attached "straw;" he loves those things)
- "Give me/I want" for items he does not know the sign for.
- He also points
- Change [diaper]
- Wash hands
- Brush Teeth
- Bird (ok, this still looks more like the fish sign, but he does it pointed at the sky, so we know what it means)
- Blows kisses (not sure if this counts as a "sign," but it's super adorable AND it's a form of communication
- Ball (though he almost never does this sign because he can say ball - and he enjoys saying it, very LOUDLY)
- Uncle Boo
- No (of course ;-) )
- O's (as in those little organic veggie baby puffs)
- Phone (which is extra cute because when he puts the phone sign up to his ear he says "Hello?")
- Freeze (for frozen breastmilk or veggie pops)
Even though I started out with a baby sign language book for teaching him the signs, I lost it somewhere along the way, and eventually read that it can be more advantageous in the long run to use regular American Sign Language. So now I just look up ASL signs on the internet when I want to teach a new one to Flintstone. And as an added bonus, Punky is picking up on a lot of them, too. I may look into an overall ASL class. ASL is, after all, the third most prevelant language in the world.
Some people worry that learning to sign will slow down a baby's speech development, but research has soundly disproven that - as has our own experience. Flintstone has been able to babble and talk at or above his age level all along. He says Mama, Milk, More (though I would guess that only MacGyver and I can really tell the difference between the words he uses for milk, more, and mama), Dada, Cat (which is freaking adorable because it looks like he's hissing at the cat when he does it), Dog, BALL! (he does not say ball, he always says BALL!!), Tickle Tickle Tickle, Hello (on the phone), buh bye, TaTa (which means give me, as in TaTa Mommy the whisk - one of his favorite toys), Bath, Thank You, and at least a few others. He actually just said a new 2 syllable word yestderday and brilliant mommy can't remember it right now!
Of course, most of his spoken words are baby versions (Dog is DAH!, etc.), but he does say Tickle, Tickle, Tickle very clearly, and it's hilarious.
I'm now trying to figure out the best track to take for a whole new round of signs for him. I'm thinking these are the next ones we'll be working on:
- Hurt (esp useful for teething pain since the Ped thinks he's already starting to get his 2 year molars)
- Sister - for whatever reason it never occured to us to teach him this one. Probably because he learned to say Mama and Dada so early that we never really taught him family signs.
- Outside (though he can already clearly tell us when he wants to go outside)
- I'm also contemplating starting to introduce emotion signs like Sad and Happy
|Flintsone doing the "Chicken" sign while peeking through the fence at them.|
The only picture I currently have handy to demonstrate is this one from Punky's 7th birthday:
|What is that built into the island? Oh, that's right. It's a wine cooler!|
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Then I got pregnant. READ MORE>>
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
"Dangit!" he exclaimed. "I didn't even think of that."
"Mom made the best honey ham for Easter, and I was really excited about having one for Christmas, but I guess that won't be happening at YOUR house." READ MORE>>
Today is a multi-post day. Please see the previous post for more information on what's going on at Cheap Wine and Cookies these days.
It's 6 o'clock in the morning. The house is quiet and still. The only sounds are occasional doggie footsteps and the regular background hum of the house.
This is one of my favorite times of day. I sit alone by the fire and drink my tea and read. It is my half hour of quiet. It started when I was in law school - I would sit in bed and drink my coffee and watch Xena until the caffeine hit my bloodstream and got me moving. For a while, starting about 4 months into my pregnancy and lasting until Flintstone was maybe 6 months, exhaustion forced me to give up this time. Some days, it still does.
Some days, I have to use this time to catch up on some cleaning or other random task I had put off. Some days, I have PT and have to be out the door by 5:45. Those days are the worst.
But days like today start off peacefully, a slow build to the day, as I sit with my tea and read. Except today, for whatever reason, I can't get into my book. I'm still reading Tipping Point, and I still love it, but I didn't get into it when I picked it up.
I got to thinking about the day ahead of me. It will no doubt be another go-go-go super busy day. Yesterday was nuts. All my Marines looked just beat at the end of the day, even the other Captain. It's the post holiday rush, and it's crazy.
So I haven't been blogging much. I've been thinking about it a lot. I've been lurking your blogs a bit, but I just haven't had the time. But I will get back into it. I have a bunch of good posts lined up. I can feel my little blog evolving. Growing up a little bit. I suppose I am, too in a way.
So please bear with me. Posts may get rather spaced out. And when I do get time to post, it's likely to be a little pop of 2 - 3 posts in one day.
We shall see...
Friday, January 6, 2012
Anyway, our holidays were awesome this year. In keeping with the stragely functional dysfunction of my family, my divorced parents and grown brother, Boo, and my mom's huge german shepard, Scully, all packed into my mom's tiny Kia and drove 17 hours to spend Christmas with us, and it was one of the best Christmases ever.
Here are six million pictures of the festivities. They were taken by two different phone cameras and our digital camera. The differences are rather obvious.
There was much relaxed galavanting about the house:
|Crawling race with Grandpa|
|Helping Nan with the dishes - which she insisted on doing even though she was a guest|
|Four people in the bathroom at once!|
|Patriot Elf on my R/C Battle Tank|
|Even our Calendar Owl got into the spirit (with a Gryffindor scarf just like mine!)|
|Get this ribbon crap off here so I can go for a ride!!!|
|Punky's new blanket from Grandpa|
|Hitchiker's Guide the the Galaxy Collection!|
|HUGE stash of Goosebumps from Uncle Boo|
(Note Flintstone STILL playing in his car)
|I got my traditional ultra-unhealthy Christmas Tree Cakes. Sadly, I think this is the last year I will allow myself to partake in something this wildly unhealthy/unethical.|
|Flintstone got some great eco-friendly wooden toys. The button taped to the floor in the background was so he could turn the train on and off himself. BIG hit.|
|There was a lot of cruisin.|
|Flintstone was able to open his own presents for the most part, and got some adorable new clothes from Nan.|
|MacGyver got the table saw he has been drooling over for MONTHS. Flintstone cuddled it.|
|Flintstone's absolute obsession with birds continues unabated. And he still calls them "fish" in sign language.|
|Punky built a massive castle. MacGyver may have helped a little.|
|A half-way decent picture of Flintstone and me. I think the last decent pic I have of the two of us is a few months old.|
|I'm going to keep digging until I topple into this hole head first.|
|Grandpa, Uncle Boo, MacGyver, and Punky enjoying the wild trees on our hike.|
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
|Yes, it's a poor quality cell pic, but it was on the big screen in Times Square New Year's Eve!|
The long and short of it is that I plan on this year being better. Life is about growth, and as such every new step should be a step forward and every year should build upon the last. And I was content just to leave it at that. Until, as I mentioned in The End is Near, I read Karen and Katherine's recent Project 52 posts, and my love of listmaking and fantasizing about things I don't actually have time to do got the better of me.
So here it is, my Project 52. Don't expect any regular updates to it. You'll be lucky if you see a year-end address to it, but I'll be doing it nonetheless. These aren't resolutions. They're not even goals. They are things I want to do in 2012. Some of them I won't do. Some I'll change my mind about. Some will be good ideas, and some might not. We shall see.