About Me

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I used to be right of center politically, and while I haven't changed, my family members (the ones who I have birthed and to whom I am married) call me a liberal. I don't really think that I am-- my views are all over the place, as I think are the views of most people. One of my adult children called me the family's "token liberal" (not the toking liberal, I am not like that!) so I decided to make it my blog title. I write about what I do in my community that matters to me and I share with everyone who cares to read what I think.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Letters Home & Fried Chicken and Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

When Astrid told me that she was going to go into the service, I wanted her to go only because I was sick of her at home. To say that she had a bad attitude is an understatement. She was getting physically aggressive with me and was belittling to me and her siblings. Me signing her in was for my sake, not hers and I decided not to sign her in. My husband wanted her to go in. He does not read my blog, and I feel comfortable being honest here. I had her research the way the military treated their soldiers (specifically their veterans) and she came up with answers and still wanted to go in. I refused to sign and my husband proceeded to harass me and belittle me about signing her in. She was under age and my signature was personal to me, but I was under duress (without going into detail, he began constantly berating me for it whenever he saw me) and I had nowhere else to go. It was six weeks before she turned 18 and could sign herself in, but he said that it was something to do with her going in with her core group. He maintains that he was acting in the best interests of our daughter, but I don’t think that it was, and it was something that he should have never done.

I signed her in and came home thinking that she’d be happy with me, but she muttered something about me getting rid of her sooner, and her father said that I should have signed her in earlier.

Oh well. I have my ways of coping!

Astrid is now at basic training. I’m not glad that I was unable to leave my home when I was being told (ordered?) to sign her in, and I really wish that she’d just waited until she turned 18 to get the ball rolling on her paperwork. She is there now and I love my daughter regardless of what she did before she left. I have to say that there are few things that best getting letters from her telling me how glad she is that when she used to talk back at me, I made her drop and give me 100 push-ups, or today she asked me to make my fried chicken and homemade macaroni and cheese. She has teased me and called me an “amateur” over the 100 push-ups because I let her do them "in bad form" and she had to relearn them, but she arrived there, somewhat used to doing them! She always enjoyed the combination of food, but she would sometimes scoff at the time I put into them, or roll her eyes when I told her of the importance of adding freshly grated Gruyere and sea salt. She would see me write letters and do artwork for friends and she was curious about how I could put effort into someone, but now she wants my artwork and she wants to show her mates. I am glad that I have seen her appreciate me! The past two years with her were their own kind of hell over which I will not elucidate—there were thankfully no run-ins with the law, but just believe me when I say that she was her own cloud of chaos.

I have no doubt that she will graduate. Soon I will have a daughter in the service. I hate war, but I am proud of my daughter for her hard work and the work that I know she will do. All the snarky things that she did as a teenager seem like they happened in another life. I cannot wait to fly down and see her graduate and make her friend chicken and homemade macaroni and cheese. Next time she comes home, she will relish making dinner with me, and even offer to help!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Facebook is my Social Addiction

Steve over at What Do I Know? asked an interesting question over which I have been ruminating since I read it. His piece, "How Addicted Are You? Facebook And The Heroin Model Of Marketing" invites us to think about how much we are addicted to a product that was given out as free and was rumored to be about to charge people. I had heard the rumors and wondered what I'd do because of my large family and having teenagers whose coaches announce practices and events on FB. When I had heard the rumor from other sources, I knew that I'd probably come up with the money, at least for a kids account and one each for my husband and myself. Fortunately it was only a rumor, but I started reflecting on it.

I had been blogging when FB came out. I had several followers with whom I had become tight and I would go to their blogs almost every day. We connected because "birds of a feather flock together" and we liked each other because of shared beliefs and interests. When we got on to FB, I think that most of our blogs kind of petered out and we became intimate with each others and saw pics of relatives and family members. It was and has been a good thing. I don't talk to my own sisters because we are so strangely different, but I have friends on FB whose families I know well, and many of my friends know the names of all of my children. One night I posted a photo of my children and one of my friends who I have never met in real life asked if I had gotten a name wrong on my sons-- she was correct. Eight years later, that is how well we know each other! I made another friend's sick mom a lace prayer shawl that she had keeping her warm when she died and that friend and I will probably be friends for forever, but I was doing things like that before FB, and when I had a disaster and I was blogging, it was my blogging friends who came to help me from all over the planet.

I have close to 400 friends who I know through various places in real life and on line, but I miss the old days of FaceBook when I think for the first two years, I didn't have more than 50 friends in my social network, but now I am connected easily to all kinds of people and I like that I can look them up and ask them a fast question if I need to, and they can shoot me a fast answer. That being said, those are often people with whom I don't want to share certain things just out of a lack of mutual interest. 

I'd love to be a social scientist studying how people interact on Facebook. In the last several months I have  become aware of having switched from posting only for lists of my friends to posting in a couple of exclusive groups to which I was invited. One is a sarcastic group of like minded drinkers of both genders. I seldom drink due to a sensitivity to alcohol (it makes me break out) and I am lucky for that sensitivity and personal vanity because I'd probably drink a lot to quell my nerves at times! I know the probably 50 people really well and we all have kids around the same ages. I could come up with several flattering key links between us, but I will stop here on it. We are mostly professed atheists but when in one week several members posted that they failed various scans and have biopsies and MRIs coming up this week, many were joking about "putting in a word with imaginary angry sky god!" and letting them know that they have our support. Posts change direction all the time from the original post to something(s) entirely different, and I even had an off the cuff poem that I wrote about a member in a wet suit being put to music by a music writer who used vocals from several other members. We have inspired each other and brainstormed ideas. Forget the rest of FB, this is my home online!

I have another group that is all women, started by a friend who is using IVF to have a baby with her husband, and she asked us to post things that we don't post to our wall. Imagine a group of very polite ladies sharing intimate stories and being worried for each other and that is us. I often share similar stories from my life between the sarcastic group and the ladies group, and the responses are refreshingly different and I love them all. I see others doing the same. I posted to the sarcastic group about my daughter going into the Marines and how I was going to Hell for my relief and they teased me, "Come on! We know you! You aren't going to Hell for that, you are going to Hell for other things! Toughen up, Mom-- she is probably just like you were! hahaha!" and the threat evolved into creative ways to sin to mixing drinks. At the ladies club, they were assuring and nurturing, "Well, she was giving you a bad time before she left! The eagles get that way before they leave the nest!" One lady lives near my daughter's training camp and offered to see her graduate of I can't afford to fly down.

Nowadays I still post to my wall, but I really log on check my groups which are to me like a dropping in to a pub and then a tea room. I don't know any of these people, but if I fly out of state to almost anywhere, I will have people to see. I often Skype when we need to because some of us knit and we help each other out with patterns.

While I spend a lot of my free time at these places, because of them I have started writing more. At Christmas time, many of us send out real cards with cheesy family newsletters-- after email came out we had all but stopped mailing Christmas cards, but when people get sick or need help, we'd mail gifts or money or whatever, and then a thank you note would come and we'd answer in letter form. I only have a few friends who are also like this, but I cannot be the only person who is getting back into letter writing from having stopped for several years. My children see me writing and the younger ones now have pen pals who are the children of some of my friends. I know that we will meet eventually.

Technology took away the letter writing and certain intimacies, and I find that we are-- or at least a few of us are-- re-creating what we had allowed it to destroy.