Friday, December 18, 2015

Master of Minecraft Puppets

December 18th, 2015

After Celie's Christmas program at preschool on this day we came back home and ended up making some popsicle stick puppets? Random. She had me, at first, making all of the animals from Minecraft, starting with the pig, which is her favorite, and then the cow, the sheep, the horse. I made her. And then I started making them more Minecraft-esqe looking while doing the chicken and I got into it a little more. When it was all said and done, I ended up being rather pleased with my Creeper and Zombie Pig Man. The girl loves her Minecraft.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Trees in Tees

December 12, 2015

We got the Christmas tree in 50 degree weather and t-shirts this year. That was mind blowing, but rather pleasant. We went with my parents and sister out to Pinchy again. It's the spot for Christmas trees.

Nobody liked my picks for the tree? Traditionalists. Where is your sense of adventure? The orange one would have matched the house decor so well!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Good-Bye Coffee, Yeah Right

Good-bye coffee.
Good-bye cream.
Good-bye old habits and pipe dreams.
Good-bye heartache.
Good-bye losses.
Good-bye crutches and sour sauces.
Good-bye Eddie 
Good-bye Dee. 
I surrender; I am free.

You Pitch, I Catch Your Grief

You built this wall in the space between us, 
You brought it forth from your own mind and erected it in the center of our reality. 
You gave it a persona and a hair cut.
You named her Love and bought her a one-way ticket,
But you were unaware that you were courting Fear. 
None the wiser that you were kissing Emptiness.
You necked Regret.
You bedded Longing. 
Now you turn to me with your pain. 
You send out your S.O.S. 
Pulse code, through your heartbeat. 
You mocked me once for being weak. 
Funny, how you are now the same as I once was. 
Funny, how I do not mock your display of weakness. 
You mourn, you search, you grieve.
This separation is only an illusion, yet you believe the lies it tells. 
The truth is eternal.
The truth is wholeness. 
I am not missing from you:
Look inside and you will find me.
Go within and hold me there.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Harvest: Reaping What You've Sewn

I was given this cactus by my friend, Hilary, when she downsized to a camper and decided to travel for a bit. She got rid of a lot of personal belongings; I also got two cockatiels, a gay pair of finches and a cute little corner stand. Gay, as in two males that were in love and lived in a house-shaped cage. Cute, as in it is small and decorate. Stuff. Stuff stuff stuff. It seems to be everywhere.

Stuff keeps popping up but it's only what you put there. You reap what you sew. You get back what you put forth. All the clichés. All of them. It really is all your fault. If you sew negative thought seeds, you will reap a negative harvest. What kind of seeds did you drop? This cactus is apparently a Harvest cactus? It just couldn't wait until Christmas. I'm surprised it was happy enough to bloom at all. It started right in the height of our kitchen remodel, among the chaos. It made me muse a bit. It's a good sign. 

Shortly after this started to bloom I noticed that one of my small Geraniums in the bedroom is actually blooming as well! Amid the mess and neglect! A beautiful, delicate pink flower. Imagine. Everything in this house is suffering; this is a bad time of year. I'm just finally getting stuff situated better and it is STILL a mess. I've neglected everything the last month and still they are finding it in themselves to bloom. 

These flowers are me. They give me hope. They are determined, perhaps a bit stubborn, and Hella hardy. They seem unaware of the chaos they bloom in...that's how I want to be. Oblivious to the mess, set on flowering. That's what you get when you take care of a plant, thought, idea, will sprout, grow, and bloom if it is tended to, even through a remodeling. The harvest will come. If you water the cactus, it will bloom when the conditions are right. It will make its own occasion.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Buster Buddy Goes to Town

On Monday, I noticed Buster was acting drastically different than he was just the day before. He was not jumping up when he normally would be, he was walking gingerly with his back arched. He would stand and stair at nothing for long periods of time when he actually did get up, and was obviously having problems sitting down and turning around. His back legs were giving out on him at times and he had his ears back and his sad face on like he was in pain. Celie noted how he was just standing in the dining room like he couldn't get past the chair beside him, "Awww, poor Butter!" she said, like she knew he wasn't right as he was just standing there. For months, something in me has been worried about Lyme disease, mostly with Celie, but I'd thought there were a few times Buster seemed off. As soon as he was weird Monday, I knew my instincts had probably been picking up on it the whole time, even though he was showing no signs and I thought I was just crazy. After getting Celie ready and out the door, I called the vet while she was at preschool and was grateful they could get him in that same day!

Buster was hilarious going up the interstate, in between solemn open window sniffing, he just sat there staring at the road ahead, calmly, like a pro traveller. He seemed to be deep in thought. What was he thinking? He looked like an old man. Most times I think he seems far wiser than I. Buster is 7 now, he is a boxer mix, he is stubborn, goofy, playful, annoyingly loving, and the best dog I have EVER had. EVER. He is so human in his emotions and expressions. I remember my sister, Ali, laughing at me when I would have full conversations with him...because he totally talks to you, guys!! He was awesome years before Celie came around, but has proved himself to be the best kid dog ever, tolerating dress up and other childhood chaos. He is so good with her, it amazes me. Celie tells me that Buster is her dog now, all the time. She also tells me, "I love Butter more than you and dad, but I still love you, I just love Butter more!" Needless to say, she would be lost without her pal, Buster. 

After a physical exam, a urinalysis and a blood test, the results came back and our poor Butter Wutter does, indeed, have Lyme disease, as well as anaplasmosis, the less heard of but almost as common tick born illness, AND a bladder infection!! No wonder the poor guy was feeling rough. So, now he has two different antibiotics to take, one twice a day for his bladder infection for 7 days and then another for the Lyme and anaplasmosis that he will take for 28 days. Hopefully the antibiotics get him feeling more like his old self again. I am getting a glimpse into old age as he hobbles around and sleeps more. I hate seeing his legs give out but am grateful he had such a bad morning Monday so we took him in. The Susquehanna Veterinary Clinic was great! Everyone was wonderful and I am hopeful that he will soon be on the mend. I am grateful. We want our Buster Buddy around for as long as possible!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Take Anything, But the Kitchen Sink

This week has been surreal, like being down the rabbit hole, or in Wonderland, where everything is opposite or backwards? I went to get a clean bowl to get cereal for Celie this morning. I got it out of a basket under a pile of clothes on her bed. I also had to squeeze past a piano in the hallway to get there. I have been using paper towels as coffee filters just because I can't locate them? I can't really use the countertops yet but am. Everything is everywhere! Shit's all over the place!

We had a few setbacks and because of that couldn't finish up the kitchen to a suitable degree before Joey had to return to work for the week. I don't know what's worse, having no kitchen sink or having all of the appliances in the living room?, I know. It's having no kitchen sink. Talk about inconvenient. You don't realize how central that is to the kitchen until it's gone! I can't cook, can't even get a glass of water? Can't easily make coffee or wash hands or things...that are constantly getting dirty. This place is starting to get gross. I need to take a hot soapy bucket to the place and wipe everything down, but I'm gonna have to walk out the back door and around the house with my bucket because there is a piano in my hallway. I'm pretty grateful we actually have a back door? The piano has been more of an obstacle this week, although I still managed to play it a little, which is funny and a little pathetic. Luckily I got all of the tiling finished and if I finish up the grout here before trick or treat time, which is my goal, Joey can put in the sink when he gets home...or tomorrow, rather. It's Halloween! It's probably not happening tonight. 

So, we have been living off of cereal and sandwiches. It works. My dirty dishes are in the tub. The chaos has left me with the don't-give-a-shits. I've just been going back and forth between playing the guitar and mindlessly attempting to make progress, which is also pathetic. This too shall pass. It's like camping in your house, or something? I don't know. I am just watching The Great Pumpkin with Celie and having my last cup of paper towel coffee. Another life lesson brought to you by remodeling projects: Learn to embrace and work around the chaos. It's going to be awesome when it's all said and done.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Remodeling the Heart of the Home

I have never in my life tiled anything before, so I don't exactly know why Joey and I have wanted to do it? Or, was it me? I wanted to do it? Regardless, I find myself tiling our kitchen countertop. It was actually quite fun. My DIY part loved the project! Deep down we love remodeling; it's exciting and fun! It's a new take on an old thing. Deep down we hate remodeling; it's hell! It's where marriages go to die! I jest, but seriously, you want to test the strength of your marriage, remodel a room together...preferably a bathroom or kitchen. The more walls you need to tear down the better, and the grosser the subsurface, the better the results! This is our last room in this place; we have remodeled each and every other room together! It's down to the heart of the home. If you can survive remodeling together, especially in a trailer where nothing is square and nothing ever lines up, I believe your marriage is golden. 

I came back from my Memphis trip and fell right into a remodeling project. Joey already did the entire ceiling of the dining room and kitchen in wainscoting and moved and changed the light fixtures while I was away. What a guy! The top cabinets were ripped out. I made it back in time for the removal of the infamous island and the unearthing of the before time flooring. We took three eras off of the floor, and had to sledgehammer the island out. It almost seemed like sacrelige at the time, but it was the only way to get the beast out! And I had already planned to salvage and save the heavy HEAVY countertop to use as the top of a badass work bench for me...someday. So, even if it's ten years from now, I will see that island again! The island has seen some great times, and has been used for everything from feasting, partying, card games and dice, to sewing, printing, painting, and piercing. But, alas, an oversized island in your kitchen can eventually be a setback. No man is an island! Is this a metaphor?

In dreams, they say that houses represent your psyche or self and that the different rooms are aspects or parts of your self. They also say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. I think it's fitting that this is all happening right along with my Memphis trip. I feel I had a mini rebirth! I came back inspired and in love...right into this mess...which isn't without it's own metaphor. A change of heart is in store; no more islands in my center! I am remodeling my soul, let's use some tile! Let's put all of the pieces together like a puzzle. Let's hold it down with mortar, and fill in the cracks with grout. Smooth it off and let it set...this heart is good as new. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Memphis or Bust: Pt. 4

We made it safely to Memphis! 13 plus hours, 900 plus pelvis aches, Elvis awaits! We are down at the end of Lonely Heartbreak Hotel!! I am off of the road and in my comfy pajamas, laying in bed under a huge picture of the King. Life is good. It was a beautiful ride!

Finished up the trip listening to some Tom Petty Radio on Pandora, I checked the phone and it was 11:11, even though the car said it was after midnight? I didn't realize we would be doing that; I've never driven through a  time zone before. So, we actually made a huge journey back in time today! Quite the accomplishment.

Memphis or Bust: Pt. 3


Love Banshee, crooning.
'Hundred miles to Memphis.
The Music Highway.

Memphis or Bust: Pt. 2

The road trip continues! Leslie is my Steward. I am grateful for her driving bad assery and her willingness to woman the wheel. This allows me to help navigate and to get to know Miss Scarlet (my Nikon D5500). I bought a For Dummies book because that's what you do when you want to understand your lady! She's complicated and capable; everything a lady should be! She's gorgeous and practical. She's fiery and functional! She'll love Memphis. 

We started a playlist of Memphis songs. Apparently, according to the Rock'n'Soul museum, there are 969 songs that mention Memphis, Tennessee in the lyrics. We couldn't find that many, got sick of them repeating and found a superior Memphis Sound playlist to listen to for awhile. It's a work in progress, we'll build on it! Now we are just listening to Elvis, letting the King prepare us for the home of the Delta Blues! 

We are heading toward Nashville. It started to get dark just after we made it past Louisville, Kentucky. The moon is interesting, tonight. It's a tiny crescent; it looks like a fingernail clipping. Take a gander! We'll be under it...onward to Memphis! 

Memphis or Bust: Pt. 1

So, I decided to make a grand road trip for my 35th birthday! I am traveling with my friend Leslie and my sister, Kate, to Memphis, Tennessee to meet up with my aunt and cousin, who are traveling to Memphis from Washington state to celebrate my cousin's 40th birthday! We SHARE a birthday, you guys! It's actually on the same day (October is a busy month in our family) and I thought it would be the most amazing excuse to make the trip especially since they said we could room with them! ROAD TRIP!! 

A 13 hour road trip! So, here we are...on I71 heading toward Cincinnati, a few hours in. I am grateful for my husband being able to stay home with my daughter. As much as I desperately need this, I was sad to leave this morning. This will be the longest I have been away from her and the most miles there have been between us. It's gonna be good. I need time away and she needs Daddy time. I am missing Show and Tell for Purple Week!?! Ahhhh! I get to see Memphis...totally worth it! 

Our destination for tonight is Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel, only 8 and a half more hours to go! We have a fun itinerary for the weekend, I'm excited to see my family and to experience Memphis with them! "We're going to Graceland...Graceland!" Wooo! 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Everybody's Working For the Weekend

So, here I am drinking from a mustache cup. It is Saturday night and my husband worked today, and not only worked but had a miserable, stressful and long day; he didn't even get home until after 7:30. Needless to say, we were both screaming for the weekend. It just looks different to each of us. 

I do tend to say "tag, you're it!" when he returns, but all that generally means is that he has to eat a dinner that I made him, get showered and then read books to his daughter and lay down with her. The majority of nights he is in there snoring and she is still tossing around pulling at her eyelids.

I take this time to chill in the living room without her crawling back up into my womb; it's been a long week. I have her all by myself all week so I do my share, but I still think that it is important for her to have bed times with Dad, especially because she doesn't see him all week long. We don't see eachother all week long. Everyone is missing everyone. I'm missing being supported, Joey is missing being home, Celie misses Dad but still whines that she wants to sleep with Mama because it's all she is used to. I can not escape being the default parent. Most times she is excited to sleep with Dad, though. It's hard not to feel like a bad mom urging her into her room and taking that time but hey...I do this shit by myself all week, he can manage this while I am just in the other room readily available to tell her to calm down and stop giving him a hard time. It's actually hard in general to carve out time away from her. It's as though mothers are programmed to feel guilty for not being and doing everything, but just logically thinking about that points out how bullshit it is! Mothers need space and time, especially in today's age. We may be super women, but we are not superhuman! 

It takes a village, they say. That's the problem...where the fuck is my village? I think this is the problem with a lot of families, especially single parent families. I am not a single mother, but I share in some of their trials. (I personally believe that every single mother and father in the world deserves a cake, a fun hat, a million bucks, and a national holiday!) I was saying about a mother's drive to be everything? Yeah, single parents actually ARE! I can not even imagine the struggle that they face on a daily basis and I respect the hell out of them for doing that for the benefit of humanity! I'm a completely different breed, though? I seemingly won the partner lottery, but am most of the time without the prize. The Rod Wife, the Trucker's Wife...the Traveler's Wife, basically. My husband is a gypsy, he travels for work and doesn't have any real work roots. He has no office building. He travels as he is needed. I am, quite the opposite, seemingly isolated and alone, planted in one spot, holding down the fort. A tree with my sapling underfoot. In reality, I may not be completely isolated, but I am to an extent emotionally. It's a solemn feeling. In tribal times, this would never happen. Seldom would single, isolated parents survive the challenges of living in the wild. Perhaps it could happen, but what I guess I am saying is that the survival rate would not be very good. You would probably be eaten by a saber tooth tiger. Perhaps this is why it is such a solemn, serious, isolating feeling? The animal in me knows that the chances of survival are slim without my village or tribe. Fight or flight kicks in...I'm constantly fighting. Hello anxiety! There is a primal sense of fear that can take hold when you are isolated with a child over time, and it's a struggle to not let it win. 

There is also a strong sense of guilt that primary caregivers share, that leads to not taking the time to get away, unwind, or care for themselves...not having that mustache drink or that Calgon bath. I am currently working on getting better with my self-care, and it is surprisingly difficult. Actually, I have been failing at it. Months ago my therapist suggested that I take at least an hour every Saturday and Sunday? Seems easy! Not really. I haven't even been able to accomplish that consistently. When my family is actually together, the last thing I want to do is leave them?! But that is exactly what I need to do sometimes...I need that time away, but more importantly, I need to not feel guilty for needing it. I think this has become a completely different post...I digress. For the record, though, parenting is not what has been kicking my ass. Parenting 90% of the time by myself with depression and anxiety has been kicking my ass. Parenting in and of itself can be difficult, but dealing with your own mental illness while attempting to raise a child so that she isn't destroyed by your own toxicity is a whole other set of goals. Believe me...the struggle is real. Self-love and self-care are KEY to my success. Therapy itself is a form of self-care, but can also be stressful as I work through issues and explore my darkness. I need the mustache drinks! More importantly, I need what the mustache drink represents: ME time! 

So, Joey and I have similar and opposite lives and perspectives. He works away all week, building bridges and raising buildings, waiting to return home on the weekend to unwind with his family at his home. I work away at home all week raising a human, and talking feelings, waiting for my husband to return home on the weekend so I can have some relief and companionship. We are both waiting to be reunited, working for the for the weekend? Ideally, I would like for it not to seem this way, but when we're together, I'm together. 

The Bunny Mouse and the Pasta Bush

Earlier this summer, we had an interesting encounter with a family of bunnies. It was mildly challenging. They were actually in a flower bed that is right beside where we park the car? Buster sniffed the first one out where it was hidden under the pine needles and pulled it out. I immediately told him to drop it and miraculously it was okay because at the time it was only as big as a mouse! It's ears were back, it didn't have its eyes open; it was the smallest bunny I have ever seen! 

We didn't know what to do, at first. We thought, surely, it had been anandoned or was a single bunny born to a young naive mama, maybe? Where was she and why would she have a baby so close to the house for one, but also so close to the cars? We thought about putting it in a different bush farther up the driveway , but ultimately and fortunately, we put it back in the flower bed by the big Hasta bush (or Pasta bush, as Celie calls it). It tucked itself down under the pine needles in an amazing way! 

Afterward, I did my Google research and I was glad that we put it back where we found it. I read that most baby bunnies are thought to be abandoned but it is just because the mother rabbits only tend to them a few hours a day, before dawn. I also read that it is untrue that the mother would not take care of it if we handled it, a mother rabbit has an incredible sense of smell and will still sniff out her babies even if human scents are on it. We left it and hoped the mama would tend to it again. 

I kept Buster away from the flower bed the best that I could for a few days and assumed she maybe reclaimed it? I don't remember exactly how it all went down, but he sniffed it out again and dug it up from the pine needles. I was surprised he never hurt it when he did this? I picked it up this time and put it back, it dug deep in the pine needles again and just stayed there, a little shocked. The mother was certainly tending to it because it was plump and had obviously grown. After putting it back in the flower bed, I found it coming out on the opposite side. I picked it up and put it back in the flower bed. But wait a minute? I checked where I had placed the other one. Indeed, it was a different bunny! 

Just about the time I noticed this, ANOTHER bunny emerged. They were groggy and clumsy, their eyes were just starting to open. We put the other bunnies repeatedly back into the flower bed. They were so sleepy, obviously spooked from the Buster encounter but not exactly able to flee. They would make slow attempts and I put them back, hoping the mom would remove them or something? I tied Buster and kept watch. On this day I was eagerly waiting for evening, because they were just about ready to leave their Hasta home and I am not the best of bunny sitters. The next few days we looked out for them while pulling the vehicles in and kept the dog away. 

They slowly disappeared; one evening, at dusk, the mother was chilling just about ten feet from the bed, nibbling on some grass. The last lingering bunny was near her. When my husband pulled in, she was spooked and I think she may have grabbed the bunny and took it with her because I heard a squeak from it as she disappeared. I considered myself successful by not finding any nearby dead bunny bodies afterward, so I believe that they all survived. 

Rabbits symbolize fertility, reproduction, and abundance, among other things. I always like to check for the symbolism of animals when I encounter them. Of course, as with dream interpretation, I value my own personal symbolism, if any, for the creature first, but some sites are rather insiteful. One thing, in particular, resonated with me:
"In some Native American traditions Rabbit is known as the Fear Caller, due to it projecting its fear of those wishing to eat it, and thereby attracting the predators it fears." The rabbit can symbolize our projection of our negative thoughts. Perhaps, these bunnies were a sign to acknowledge my own inner fears and to tend to them gently with compassion. 

"Fearful thoughts reproduce (like rabbits) and manifest what we fear. Rabbit people may be afraid of tragedy, illness, and disaster, thereby calling those very fears to them to teach them lessons." So, I perhaps need to be a bunny sitter to my own little inner bunny fears. I need to be gentle with those parts of me and accepting, while also being mindful not to manifest those same fears. Keep exploring my parts with tenderness. I like to think that these bunnies were a sweet reminder to continue on my journey down the rabbit hole, and to lose my fears on the way down. Point taken. Thanks, Mother Nature! 


Actually, You Catch More Flies with Vinegar

You have probably heard the aphorism "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar!" It's an old saying, who knows where it came from? Your guess is as good as mine. Who really knows, but I am going to contest that this is one of the most bogus claims in history, right up there with "You'll go blind!" Flies don't like sweetness, they like rotten things. Is this a metaphor? I'm not even sure. 

I tend to let my bananas rot away on the counter on occasion. I maintain that it is because I am waiting to make banana bread. Sometimes that's the case, I always have the best of intentions, like this time, but I don't always get to it before the fruit flies do. The little bastards are persistent and prolific; if you're not motivated their little wormy babies will soon be squiggling around on your oozing 'nanas. Gross. I know. Once they come around, fruit flies can be hard to get rid of. Oregano, I have heard before. Another excellent way to trap the annoying fruit flies, if you don't mind outsmarting and destroying the poor sorry sap suckers, is to use exactly what this axiom suggests does not work well...vinegar. 

This last bunch of bananas I had made it a long time but two of them ended up drawing in fruit flies. That always tends to happen when I wait until they start oozing. There were a ton of them, but not for long. "Have you seen this? Have you heard about this?" The best way I have learned to get rid of fruit flies is to pour a little Apple Cider Vinegar into a glass, cup, what have you. Add some dish soap, Dawn, the liquid stuff...and voila! It's a fly trap. 

Watch them hover, sit on the rim, and then ultimately explore until they die. They are attracted to the vinegar  and then the soap traps them. You will soon have a disgusting cup full of dead flies, suspended in colorful liquid. By the end of the day, all of the fruit flies were gone. It's like some kind of, more like science. It works great! So, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, huh? Bullshit. Vinegar will catch you more flies...maybe not figuratively, but literally! Try it! 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Daughter's Day Debunked

Trending on social media today has been #NationalDaughtersDay. The interesting thing is, though, that people have been posting about it for the past three days? So when the hell IS National Daughter's Day? I was curious, so I did the Google search only to be left more confused. According to there is no such thing, but when searched for in their engine you are given National Son's and Daughter's Day which is celebrated on August 11th. This day is apparently also shared with National Presidential Joke Day and National Raspberry Bombe Day. I know, right? What the fuck is that? I learned that "a typical bombe contains sherbet, heavy cream, sugar, chopped nuts, candied fruit and a dash of rum.  It is layered in a spherical mold and frozen overnight creating a centerpiece dessert." How has this information been hiding?! I mean, it's no secret, it's been out there! (If kids want to know how to make a Bombe they can find out!) Why are there not Bombe parties happening? ("You can't say Bombe on a plane!!") And how the hell did a random dessert get a national day, even if there IS rum in it and it has a punny name? Especially when there technically isn't a day for daughters?  More importantly, what the hell is going on? My search continued! 

On it says that National Daughter's Day is indeed September 25th, 2015 because it was apparently referenced 6,296 times on Twitter. This site just counts tags to see what national day is trending, though, basically. I learned that on today, other than Daughter's Day, some of the other national days mentioned by people on Twitter included National Pebebe Wave Day, National Comic Book Day, National Lobster Day, National Hug a Vegetarian Day, National Punctuation Day, and National Coffee Day, which I feel would totally get more than 419 mere mentions if it really WAS today, right? See, nobody knows what the hell is going on! 

On the site, it said that National Daughter's Day is always celebrated on the 4th Sunday of September, which would make it the 27th, so that is CLOSER but people are still confused and so am I. This site also claimed that it is sometimes celebrated on October 1st, which only made me madder. Come ON! I have no idea where this information came from. It very well could have been pulled straight from an ass, because there were several people claiming in comments sections to have INVENTED this day themselves. One of them in July?! Grrrrr. 

I did find a good article on the same thing I was going through, though. Ronda Walker wrote about the confusion of the "D" Day trend. She makes a good point by stating that it's easy to check sources and we are supposedly in the Information Age but we tend to rely on trends and memes as facts and forget to check sources. Fair enough, but how did this all get started? Like most things on social media...probably with a cute picture and a hashtag. People probably didn't want to seem like asshole parents by not publicly doting on their own daughters when they saw their friends doing it and others obviously just didn't want to be a jerk like I'm doing by saying something about it. 

What I learned today is that what is #trending is definitely becoming synonymous with what is #true. This just goes to show that you can't believe everything that the internet tells you and it's never a bad idea to look things up. It doesn't really matter, though, it's always nice to see people posting about how much they love their children, so it's all good! I will be curious, however, to see when National Daughter's Day is celebrated next year. When will that elusive day be? The World Wide Web may never know. The truth is, though, that every day is some day, so celebrate with your dear daughter. Be a good parent and teach her how to make a Bombe! ;)

National Calendar Day

When Is Daughters Day in 2015

What National Day Is It

Ronda Walker: Celebrating National Daughters Day

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mini Missions and Tiny Tangles

I've been trying to stay creative while it feels as though I've been doing basically nothing but mothering, reading IFS therapy books, loosing my mind and doing mental work. While I'm swimming around in the psyche soup I like to do random things to stimulate myself...or escape? Expand my mind...alter my state of conciousness...all of the above. I have a Mission Jar that I have posted about before. It is full of random small creative tasks on little square pieces of paper. I have been tangling lately so I decided to create a specific Zentangle and FINALLY do the mission on the slip of paper I pulled out probably over a year ago in order to get me BACK into actually giving a shit about The Mission Jar. Last year I pulled "Create an Image Using Dots" and I started something in my notebook at the time but never finished it. So I figured I would do a Zentangle piece for fun, I don't know if that was cheating? What is the difference between a dot and a circle? A tip and tangle? Perspective? Distance? Fuck it. It is what it is and I dig it! GOAL! Tangling is fun, you should try it.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dead Man

Hey, ho, dead man, sorry you're not around.
Been feeling your thoughts in my head,
Know you're missing that sound. 

Hey, ho, dead man, it's sure been a long time.
Been seeing your visions through my eyes, 
Know you're living in these rhymes. 

Hey, ho, dead man, how come ya never call?
Been thinking your words in my mind, 
No, you're never gone at all. 

Hey, ho, dead man, I saw you walking down the line. 
Been following your steps with cold feet, 
Know I'll meet with you in time. 

So saddle up that dark horse and ride across the flames, 
No excuse for wasting the dawn, take a chance, welcome the pain. 
You've been burned worse before by your own hand,
So, tell me now, what's there to lose for a dead man? 

Hey, ho, dead man, I was wrong about the map, 
Been remembering letters on the key, 
Know your own ego was the trap. 

Hey, ho, dead man, I really wish that you were here.
Been missing the way that we were, 
Know you'll never reappear. 

Hey, ho, dead man, could you take me for a ride? 
Been hearing our song in my head, 
Know you never really died. 
No, you never really died. 
I know, you never really died. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Boyd's Song: An Anniversary Tune

So I wrote this song about a year back about my buddy Boyd. It's a total day-in-the-life tune about our days together before he died. He was one hell of a guy and I was prompted to record this on the 5th anniversary of his death.

Rest in peace, Boyd!

I wrote this song last year with my buddy Boyd (in mind) that died on September 9th, 2010. So much sadness and heartache, but I think this song is silly and fun, just like Boyd, and is a testament to what he would want us to have learned from his life and death...remember the good times. Make your own music. Don't be so serious. Lighten up. Take a joke. Be yourself. Please don't mind the finches and the glitches; this was just on my iPhone this morning when I had a moment. Since we're sharing...and I have been silent...and he is always on my mind this time of year...I figured that I should record it in honor of the 5th anniversary of his death. He was very involved in it's creation. Love never dies; it only changes form.                               

Boyd's Song:  
I got me a grin bigger than a crescent moon,
I got me a guitar strumming out a simple tune.
Fire in the pit and dog at my side,
Nothing these sons of bitches ain't tried.
Hangin' with the pack and we're howling at the moon!
I got me a quarter I found in a shoe,
Bankin' on the eight, a little English on the cue.
"Tell ya what I'd do" if ya wanna try your luck,
Old school rules, wrack a game and break a buck,
Hangin' with the pack and we're howling at the moon!
Woooooo woooo hoooo!
Woooooo woooo hoooo!
You've never seen Cool Hand Luke?!
Woooooo woooo hoooo!
One hell of a night, mornin' not so good,
Woulda slept right through afternoon if I could.
Head cracked open, too sick to get ready,
But I stopped throwin' up in time for Tom Petty!
Hangin' with the pack and we're howling at the moon!
Rollin' down the river; "it's a pirate's life for me!"
Nowhere on God's green earth I'd rather be!
Sippin' my potion from a plastic cup,
Feelin' alive and fired up,
Hangin' with the pack and we're howlin' at the moon!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ode to the Journeyman

Long before dawn has broken the night,
And the sun has chased off the chills,
The Journeyman readies himself for his flight,
Over rivers and valleys and hills. 

The Ford is his stallion, the map is his guide, 
He's not short on places to be. 
A foreman's no better than the men at his side, 
"Go hard or go home!" is his decree. 

Harness and lanyard, wire and reel, 
His gear and devices are plenty. 
Spud bar and klines, iron and steel, 
With tools on, he always is ready. 

Up walls, on columns, along a bridge deck,
He ties all the pieces together. 
In frigid cold, humid heat, whatever the heck, 
He works hard, no matter the weather. 

It takes a strong man to hold down this job, 
His paycheck is honestly earned. 
Blood, sweat, and grit are the way of the rod;
He embodies the skills he has learned. 

A Hermit, a Wild Child, and a Dog Walk Into the Woods

On this day...I was walking with my daughter and Buster down over the hill behind our home, through the beautiful wooded path that leads to the two small run-off ponds that pool on the ferny forest floor, and as I was taking in the normal calming scenery I realized something that many people might not understand about my seclusion. The Hermit's Nest is so much more than just the house! I get the whole damn forest! I think some people assume that because I struggle with depression and anxiety that I am wallowing and broken, hiding in the woods, melted into the couch with pillows over my head avoiding life. Don't get me wrong, that does happen on occasion, but a lot of the time people just suck and honestly I prefer trees to many humans. I'm not hiding, I am exposing myself. I just prefer to do it by myself. So, why wouldn't I be a hermit? Why wouldn't I want to spend the majority of my days enjoying this land with my favorite mini-person and best fur friend? It finally just made sense to me and I didn't feel guilty or wrong, but deliberate. Can you blame me? We are blessed enough to have an amazing little chunk of pretty to enjoy daily. I am blessed enough to have the luxury of staying home and raising my daughter and we live IN the woods. I am surrounded by trees and nature. The Divine Spirit is all around us just waiting to be observed.

As Skynard sang, "I ain't trying to put down no big city!" but I am not a "flatlander" or a "townie" and I am very grateful for that. It has made me who I am. I am a mountain girl, born on a mountain top, raised in the woods and grown on the hillside. I'm not scared that I'm going to be eaten by bears or get lost. I know that deer are not inclined to attack me. I mean, that's always a possibility, but don't ever let that keep you from going into the woods. 

We visited the ponds for the second or third time that day and then we went down another path to an area that Celie refers to as "our secret hideout" where I will sometimes sit cross-legged and let her and Buster explore the smells, sights and sounds while I commune with nature. This time there was a small token to be found, two feathers that were right in our spot. A gift! We collected them with gratitude, and then made our way back up to the house. It's wonderful to be able to simply step out of your back door and into a different world, one that centers you and brings you back to your Self. When either of us has become overstimulated we can easily take a walk "down over the hill" and recharge. Nature is definitely a depression hack.

Sometimes I question my unconventional parenting style, like the fact that my kid did not have any shoes on for this entire stroll. But it's hard to keep shoes on the girl, she loves to be barefoot and wiggle her toes and there is nothing wrong with that! At times, though, I doubt my judgements, like most mothers. I wonder if I'm being too permissive or irresponsible but then I remember that I was raised similarly and perhaps that's why I am drawn to nature for sanctuary and solace. Fuck it! She sprints across gravel, her feet are like mountain goat hooves---I'm almost convinced that she could walk across hot coals. When she gets cuts or splinters, I tend to them with black salve, like my Pap used to use on his cows. Afterall, wounds and filth are caused by what childhood is supposed to be all about, exploration and learning! 

I squatted in the woods growing up, I wiped with the leaves, I ran barefoot and was constantly covered in bruises, cuts and scratches. My ankles were perpetually torn up from the trip vine jaggers, burdocks were always stuck to my clothes, and I spent my days leaping over logs and sprinting through tall grasses, with the scent of pond mud and the sulfar creek in my hair. I was free-range! I think that my daughter is a good mix for a modern kid; she enjoys Minecraft and her tablet but she can also appreciate the way of the woods and get down like the wild thing that she is! Despite judgements, I think I'm doing just fine. 

I consider us incredibly lucky to live here. In drifting you will always find your own way and we have learned that there is more than meets the eye down over the hill. There are no sidewalks here, only paths. I am inspired by this place just as Thoreau was by Walden Pond; I'm a writer living in the woods, why wouldn't I be a hermit?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ode to My Daughter

Her eyes well with wonder;
She looks up to the stars.
Her voice is like thunder.
She is beautiful, bizarre.

Her hair is like corn silk.
She's wild and free. 
Her skin is like fresh milk. 
She stings like a bee. 

Her smile is magic. 
She's seldom seen sad. 
Her anger is tragic;
She's tough when she's mad. 

Her compassion astounds me.
She forgives and forgets. 
Her kindness is lasting;
She gives what she gets. 

Her love is a gift;
She laughs, it's a treasure.
Her life is a wish. 
She lives for this pleasure. 

Dear Daughter, always growing.
Today you are turning five!
To my heart, you are showing,
The joys of being alive. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

“Forever Young Harry” and the True Self-Made Man

A couple of months ago, I took my friend to a doctor’s appointment to get her cast changed; she had recently broken her ankle and the cast she had was not going to make it through the healing. I agreed to drive her over to her appointment and just sit in the waiting room with my daughter and sister until she was done. During our brief time in that waiting room we had the most extraordinary encounter with a most extraordinary man; this man was a student of life, forever curious and exceptionally friendly. He wore a U.S. Navy ball cap and a calm, knowing grin. I now refer to this man in conversations as “Forever Young Harry” and he was a real breath of fresh air in the normally stale and stagnant waiting room of life.

As it is designed, everything we encounter in one way or another reflects our inner world at the time or soon to it or a little prior. “As within, so without.” Harry was a prime example of this, and of many other things for that matter. The man arrived to the office after us and had a seat diagonally across from my daughter and I. He was an older gentleman, 88, to be exact, as I would soon learn. He seemed to have a permanent semi smile on his face, as though his lips knew not what a frown should be. He had one of the most child-like positive vibes that I have witnessed for an older fellow. It was reminiscent of my Grandmother’s energy; in her devout old age she still retained a perpetual child-like curiosity for life in her heart. He immediately started eying up my daughter, an act that always makes a mother’s antenna come out and so I felt him out as I saw him watching her. He wasn’t a creepy old man, though, far from it, and as he started to speak to her directly, you could tell he was simply curious and delighted in her youthful presence.

He started speaking to me freely and openly like we were old friends, he wasn’t bashful at all, almost to a comedic degree. Watching him interact with others in the room made me realize how people mostly enjoy sitting together in mutual silence in public places, unaware of the intimacy that could be taking place. Harry seemed well aware of this opportunity. In fact, Harry seemed very aware, in general. I think he started the conversation by commenting on my face and hat, he was checking me out but not in an uncomfortable way, just as though everything was a work of art. I think the tattoo on my forearm had originally caught his attention. He mentioned that he “studied” things, he even used the word study, which delighted me. He said about studying the birds and the trees and how much he enjoys these simple pleasures. When he told me how much he loves trees, I could feel my heart grow into his a little. He said about being able to study things, like my face and then draw it perfectly later at home. Harry was an observing artist and it was evident by the way that he took in the world. I will never know if a sketch of my wire frames and wild mane are in the man’s sketchbook somewhere, or just floating around in his keen memory. He had a real zest for life, and he apparently lived a good one.

He eagerly began to tell me a good amount of his life’s story, at least the amount of any one life that can be reduced down to words that will fit in about 45 minutes worth of time. He was a veteran, having served in World War II in the Navy, he told me tales of his days in the service. He said about how much sign language he spoke on the ship and then spelled out his name, “H-A-R-R-Y! That’s my name!” Harry said that it was his job on the ship to assign everyone to the position that they would be best suited for. It was his job, essentially, to get to know you intimately in a short amount of time; I guess you could say, long enough to feel out what you are good at and send you there. Oh, the adventures aboard his ship! He delighted in sharing them. What he left out in words, he conveyed in emotion and energy; his eyes were an open door. I took his station, getting to know him intimately in a short amount of time. Once when they were stationed in Texas, everyone on the ship got the same tattoo from this woman tattoo artist, who he said had tattoos on the back of her eyelids! His tattoo, though faded and spread, held strong to its symbol even without the clear image; for being embedded in an 88 year old canvas, it wasn’t too bad, surprisingly.

He shared his memory of the day that it was announced over the speakers on the ship that WWII was over. His temporary life at sea, all that he had grown to know, had come to an end. After the war, he worked flying in planes plotting new roads, exciting work for Harry, who loved seeing things from a different perspective. This took him to different places and he shared about his years in Niagra Falls; though beautiful, he said they were the coldest of winters he had ever known. He was settled locally now. “If you’re ever out on Orchard Street drop by!” he invited, a couple of times, actually. He spoke of his wife, and family. He expressed his love of children and told how just the last week they had their grandchildren over and he had one on his back and a few in a wagon pulling them around. “I was just as excited as they were!” He said how his wife gets on him, worrying about his rough-housing still at 88 years old. “I could walk 5 miles home, right now!” he told me. I’d believe it! His wife was there that day to have an x-ray of her hand, and she was still back with the doctor when it was time for us to leave. We said our good-byes with smiles and warm wishes; as we were leaving I told the man “You stay forever young, Harry!” He smiled and chuckled back at me, “I’m trying!” I was never so sure of a promise in my life. “You certainly are!” I told him.

Much of life is Ego versus Soul. We fight against ourselves and sabotage our spirits as parts of us try to thwart our plans for personal growth, but it is only in vain if we honestly want to live a satisfying life. I think that the goal of life is to end up like Harry, to be driven and steered by your innately curious and compassionate True Self, not the imaginary, interjecting parts of Ego. Harry was a remarkable guy; he was the inner child Self-actuated. Harry was 88 years old and still thrilled by life daily, fascinated by it, drawn to study the wonder of its beauties. I pray that if I make it to 88 years old, I am able to retain that sense of wonderment and awe. I want to remain just as full and whole as Forever Young Harry. Nobody wants to end their days just sitting there, bitter, broken, and emptied out by their story. I think we can all learn a lesson from the man, I know that I have. People like Harry are important because they are a reminder that it is possible to be youthful at any age. Here’s to hoping that if I make it to 88 years young I am still kicking and grinning, still singing and living, still simply LIVING after all of those years, and, like Harry, doing my best to stay forever young.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Peripheral Eternity

What can be said?
How do all of the words in my lexicon sound together at once? 
There are no words.
There aren't enough words.
There are too many words. 
Nothing expresses everything except the void; you are the void to me. 
You are every thing.
You are no thing. 
There are too many words and things between us. 
Far too much logic, too much space, too much science. 
I don't want to know you analytically, but biblically, spiritually---how the stars know the Maker that we foolishly search for with numbers. 
I want to know the Truth beyond language. 
I want to know the inner light that projects you into this garden of dreams. 

August 15, 2015 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Seoul Searching in the Mirror

This summer my sister came home for a visit from Seoul, Korea, where she has been living for the past three years. It was so very good to see her again. During her stay she helped me take care of my Self and simultaneously forget my Self. With her and my other younger sister, we automatically, and perhaps systematically, fell into group self-nurturing behaviors and traditions, essentially what you could call The Unwinding Process. Because we all get wound up from Life, right?! My sister gets wound up in her Korean life, assimilating amazingly into their culture, and she likes to come home and binge on her comforts for a short time in order to go be her bad ass Self once again for an extended time. She came home for a whole month this time. This time her visit, as usual, was essential and timely, a real gift. She also gave me another gift that, I think, of course, is a metaphor. 

The Unwinding Process traditionally consists of consumption, including but not limited to varying and mostly excessive amounts of alcohol, food stuff, and multimedia intake, balanced with bouts of emotional release, via tears and laughter. Why? Serotonin. But more importantly, oxytocin. The bonding hormone unites and only heavily bonded and blended sisters can understand how essential this mutual process of The Unwind is. Individual Unwind is essential as well, but group Unwind...that's where it's at. It's mutual, a symbiosis. It's a take-a-load-off-Fanny, kind of necessary weighted shit. And, so, the Unwind began. The Twizzlers were bought. The boxed wine was drank, the movies were watched. Take out and take in; The Gilmore Girls and The Golden Girls. The nights were late and the days were sleepy; a haze settled. We had some healing times together; we had missed the rhythm of our mutual coping mechanisms and the comfort of each other's presence. The progeny patchwork quilt all blanketed back together. All together; three sisters. It completes the girl circuit. In a world full of every kind of girl but me, my sisters are the closest thing to me that there is, and the feeling is mutual. Nobody gets you like your See-Star! Together we are the feminine whole of our family's genes, the closest thing to ourselves out there, DNA-wise. There is strength in that, a bond like no other, unstoppable love and acceptance. 

Within the comfort of our sisterly union, there is also a tremendous chance for reflection, which is a blessing. A lot of families don't have siblings that get along as well as we do, and believe me, it hasn't been easy, but sibling love is more solid than rivalry. We are each so different and complete, our own distinct note alone...but we blend into one stellar organic triad when we play together. Connections like that are what life is all about...harmonizing. Resonating and harmonizing. 

My sister is what I would consider a feminist. She has, what I tell her, ovaries of solid rock. You would have to, wouldn't you? To move to the other end of the Earth from your family, to live in one of the largest cities in the world by herself, as a woman, to have done all of the world traveling she has done and to have received all of the accolades and achievements in academia that she has is truly impressive. She is one of the most applied and driven women I know. It takes takes something bigger than balls. Drive. My sister is in gear most of the time. But on the opposite side of the world from her Drive lies Neutral. You want to keep it in drive if you ever want to make it where you intend to go, but you also need to savor the stops; it's okay to sit still and take some time to get your bearings before you drive on. We taught each other a beautiful lesson. The Unwind is essential for The Gear Up. 

I reminded my sister that she can be gentle with herself and cherish neutral stops, and she reminded me that I can be driven, and courageous. My sister gave me a gift, a small mirror...made in Korea, of course. Isn't that a beautiful metaphor? Just when I needed it, my sister showed me another one of my faces, one from the other side of my world. I am in a stage of great neutral motion, I feel I am going farther inward than ahead, but I am also driven. In my own way, I am also a feminist. 

It was incredibly hard this time to let her go; another year will go by before we will see her again. It was a tearful farewell, we didn't want to let go or say goodbye. The truth is, my sister and I have codependent parts that tend to each other. I'm the 12 year old that cares for her and lets her be her zany self, slopping up my house as much as necessary to get to that state of comfort and care; she is the 6 year old joker, hiding under my bed, luring me out of my depression with her nonsense and goofing, reminding me of my responsibility and influence. These parts grew to be this way out of necessity, and these parts still miss each other desperately. However dysfunctional or trapped in the past these pieces are, they are a part of us. The truth is, though, that so are the feminist parts, the driven parts, the achievers in us. We are mighty achievers, we just need some recovery time. Your manager parts can do bad ass things if you don't forget to occasionally spend some time with the exiles. 

A sister is a mirror, and in her resides a reflection of our exiled inner child. Our parts find comfort in their self-nurturing rituals together. We also see our True Selves and our full potentials in the other's eyes through the malaise. I am grateful for the mirrors I have been given. I look to them when I have forgotten who I really am. Thank you for the mirror, Sister. Drive on. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Full Legalization of Marijuana Still Makes Sense 12 Years Later

HAPPY 4/20!! In celebration of this stoner holiday I am blogging my persuasive speech from the Public Speaking class I had in college back in 2003! Also because, I am going a bit retrospective. I am hoping to post for the next month or so from memory, reflecting on some events, things, or concerts I haven't managed to document yet. After all, this is for when I forget. So, the following is my persuasive speech. I put off this class until my last semester because I had so much anxiety about public speaking, also, my professor told me that my chosen topic had been done and done before, she has been doing this 30 years and had seen this and that and was it really important, she asked? Yes. So, I chose it anyway, and presented this speech (or what mostly is this speech, as I am not sure if this is the final copy of what was presented on that day)...for which I received an A+ with the comment "Very persuasive!" Made me proud. Here it is:

Marijuana is a plant. I know, you’re thinking, yeah, moron, we know, but I just want you to think about that for a minute. It has leaves, a stem, a root system---it’s a plant. It takes in carbon dioxide, gives off oxygen. It grows naturally on the earth---it’s a plant, you see, and that’s what plants do. Cigarettes and cigars both come from a plant. Alcohol is made from plants. Marijuana is a plant, just like them, but it is illegal. Why is marijuana discriminated against? What’s up with making a plant illegal in a country that was founded on the idea of freedom?

People may claim that I, and people like myself, are just ranting pot heads, but in a country where anti-marijuana commercials are followed by “This Bud’s For You!” and “It’s Miller Time”, something can’t be right. It is in my opinion that the prohibition of marijuana for recreational use by the federal government is a hypocritical, social injustice, especially when compared to the legality of other drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. 

First, I feel that it’s important to understand the history of the prohibition of marijuana. Marijuana has been illegal under the system of prohibition since 1937 in the United States. The first crop was grown in 1611, but the practice of smoking marijuana was not introduced until the 1920’s. It was introduced by the same people that used opiates, the immigrants. Since immigrants were seen as violent and unwanted, marijuana, which was used primarily by them at the time, was classified as a narcotic. It was used legally for awhile. During the prohibition of alcohol, it was welcomed as a worthy substitute. During the 20’s, it was in over 40% of the medicines of that time, however, by 1937, all states had anti-marijuana laws. During the same year, the federal government passed the Marijuana Tax Act. This law required tax stamps to possess marijuana, but also required the presentation of the marijuana in order to receive the stamp---but if you were presenting the marijuana in order to get a stamp, you already possessed the marijuana without a tax stamp---which was a violation of federal law. This trick already made it impossible to legally possess marijuana, but the details of the act are irrelevant because no stamps were ever issued. Also, during this time period no tests were done regarding marijuana and its effects. It essentially became illegal because of misconception---and blatant lies. Even though marijuana was illegal, the government had to convince the ever-curious Americans that “weed was bad”. The first fight against marijuana was one of silence. If youths didn’t hear about it---they wouldn’t experiment. In the 1930’s, it was deemed that no schools could talk about marijuana.

The anti-pot population’s idea of silence didn’t work very well, so they moved on to strategy two---exaggeration. This was the age of “Reefer Madness”. The American Journal wrote, “Marijuana users will suddenly turn with murderous violence upon whoever is nearest to them. He will run amuck with knife, axe, gun, or anything else that is close to the hand, and will kill or maim without reason.” One doesn’t even have to smoke marijuana to see that that is an asinine exaggeration. Today, now that marijuana has actually been tested and studied, we can see that what they were telling people in the 30’s were blatant lies. Either way, marijuana is still illegal.

But what is their reason? In my opinion, no argument for the prohibition of marijuana is logical, not to mention that all arguments become invalid and hypocritical when we look at the legality of tobacco and alcohol. The War on Drugs is a horrid hypocrisy because it only targets certain drugs. It seems that people don’t realize that alcohol and tobacco are drugs. If you drink, even occasionally, if you smoke cigarettes or cigars---you are a drug user. And yet, marijuana is illegal and these drugs are not. This does not make logical sense. Our government’s arguments for the prohibition of marijuana do little to defend their cause.

The government argues that they have to protect the people. Well, how dangerous is this plant compared to the other legal drugs that the government says are okay for their people to have? These are the number of deaths that result directly or primarily from the following cause. Tobacco---kills 340,000 to 450,000 people each year. Alcohol kills over 150,000 people, not including the 50% of all highway deaths and 65% of all murders. Aspirin (including deliberate overdose) kills 180 to 1,000 or more people. Caffeine (from stress, ulcers, and triggering irregular heart beats, etc.)---kills 1,000 to 10,000 people. “Legal” Drug Overdose (deliberate or accidental), this would be prescription medication, kills 14,000 27,000 people each year. Illicit Drug Overdose (deliberate or accidental), kills 3,800 to 5,200 people each year. Marijuana kills 0 people each year.

All of the studies done at American universities and research facilities show marijuana toxicity does not exist. Medical history does not show anyone dying from an overdose. Medicinal drugs are given what is called and LD-50. The LD-50 rating indicates at what dosage half of the test animals receiving the drug will die. Researches have attempted to determine marijuana’s LD-50, and failed. It’s estimated that it is somewhere around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. Simply put, in order to induce death, one would have to consume as much marijuana as there is in 20,000 to 40,000 marijuana cigarettes. NIDA-supplied joints weigh around .9 grams. So, theoretically speaking, you would have to consume 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about 15 minutes to overdose. Logically speaking, it is impossible to die from marijuana, and yet, our government feels the need to “protect us”. The government’s claim that it’s a threat to the people is invalid and illogical, and so are the arguments that it destroys your short-term memory and decreases reaction time. Alcohol and tobacco do worse things to your body than marijuana. It’s asinine that people argue this point when alcohol and tobacco are legal.

Alcohol and tobacco have been proven to cause more health problems than marijuana, but we have the right to consume them and use them, as we should. They have both been proven to be addictive. Marijuana has never been proven to be addictive. Alcohol causes cirrhosis of the liver, not to mention 50% of all highway accidents. Marijuana users have the same or lower incidences of murders and highway deaths and accidents than the general non-marijuana using population as a whole. Tobacco kills almost 10 times as many people as all illegal drugs combined. Tobacco companies add chemicals, like urea and arsenic, to their cigarettes. They add cocoa and licorice---when burnt, they act as broncho-dilators, enabling even more nicotine to get into your body to ensure you’ll become addicted and buy more of their drug. Tobacco companies are drug lords---they spend billions of dollars each year pushing a product they know kills people. How can this be legal in our country when marijuana is not? Many young, up-and-coming politicians are given large sums of money to finance their political campaigns. It’s obvious that these politicians, once elected to office, wouldn’t say or do anything against the tobacco companies when their political career was essentially funded by the tobacco industry.

Another argument for the prohibition of marijuana is the gateway drug theory. This argument is invalid because it should be expected that more people who smoke pot move to harder drugs than non-smokers. They’ve already proven themselves curious enough to try drugs in the first place. I’m sure a similar link could be made between alcohol drinkers and marijuana smokers, but alcohol isn’t targeted as a gateway drug. Let us not forget about free will. People addicted to heroin at one time made a personal choice to use it. It’s completely absurd to claim “the weed made me do it!”

In conclusion, prohibition does not work---there has been no permanent change in usage because of the legal penalties. The DEA spends $1.3 billion a year trying to stop marijuana. Over 4 million people have been put in jail for marijuana charges. The answer is full legalization. The anti-marijuana community argues that this will lead to a drug-usage increase, even though all evidence proves otherwise. Holland legalized marijuana in 1976 and the amount of users actually went down by 40%. Wouldn’t it be better to legalize and monitor its usage instead of imprisoning smokers that are no more criminals than alcohol and tobacco users? I urge you to take a stand against the prohibition. Don’t let this wonderful plant be against the law.