Thursday, June 30, 2011

I feel like it was my fault

I am writing this post with a heavy heart. Recently a friend posted an article written by a journalist that described her PTSD and her need to re-enact a rape to get over it. It brought back a flood of memories of my dear friend and study partner in accounting school. There were 4 of us that were really close. To protect their privacy I will call them A, B and C. A was the single mother of two and the kindest person you could ever meet. B was a married Mom of 2 with an ambition to succeed like no other person I have ever met. C was my age and single like me and we both had no clue about a lot of stuff but liked to have fun. We all studied hard together, shared notes, complained about instructors....and shared our deepest fears....our desires..our insecurities. We cried and laughed. It was a wonderful 2 years...until the unthinkable happened.

C was slipped a date rape drug and repeatedly raped. She woke up naked in a hotel room and had no idea where she was....who did long. The police never caught the guy or guys but she was injured both physically and mentally.....a shell of her former self. She wouldn't go out...go to school...go anywhere for months. We tried but to no avail...then she showed up on my doorstep one day all giddy and showing me her new tattoo. I thought great! C is coming back and needs to self express with a tattoo. Then came another and another and another. Okay I's a bit much but whatever helps her feel whole again. Then came the men...all ages, shapes..from all walks of life. I thought okay...she is enjoying sex again. "A" was worried and "B" was disapproving but I was the most supportive friend a girl could have. Then came the S&M...for the most part not dangerous and really role play...So I she needs to feel in control then she needs that...I supported her decisions whole heartedly...not understanding it but just going with it...but it got deeper than got to whips that hurt and strangulation during sex. I still didn't say anything negative....I still was supportive and thought she knew what she was doing. At this point "A" just kept hugging tighter and "B" was disgusted.

On June 4th, 1994 I got a call from "C's" Mom...she was found dead in a hotel room from strangulation at the age of 24. Almost 3 years to the day she was raped. The next day I open the paper and there was a huge article on PTSD..Post Traumatic Stress Disorder...The Iraq war in 1991 had led to an increase in PTSD in many soldiers and was an issue at that time. I read it and cried my eyes out! I had encouraged every behaviour that was a sign of PTSD...every single one of them!...sigh...I in my stupidity was thinking I was helping her when all I was doing was feeding her stress...VALIDATING IT! FUCK!  "B" read the same thing and called me up and told me point blank I was responsible for her death....I gave her behaviour "credibility"...I was the scapegoat for her. "A" called me and cried and we went for a walk and hugged and cried some more.

17 years later I still feel responsible some how...of course know what to look for NOW but back then I didn't...I just accepted "C" for all she was..I accepted the things I knew in my heart were not her nature but then again I had not been drugged and raped and left alone to wake up naked with blood all over my body. Who was I to judge? I should have judged! I should have done some research at least....I should have...I could have...I DIDN'T! The biggest most heart wrenching mistake of my ignorance was just that...complete and BLIND ignorance. Could I have changed the course of her life if I knew? I don't know but I would have fought like HELL to do so...instead I gave it "credibility".

I guess my point is if some one you love or even just know is behaving the opposite of what they usually do...they may have a problem....they may need your support to seek therapy or drugs or anything other than what they are doing. I weep as I type this....a kind and thoughtful woman lost herself and I encouraged it....Don't make the same SOMETHING!

This is the first and last time I will talk about it...."A" died of cancer two weeks before my Mom died last September...."B" died of cancer two weeks after Mom died last September....I loved all of them. I'm the last of the "Number Warriors"....Miss their laughter over that...over everything.

Regretful Big Momma love to you all XO

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Officially have a teenager!

Ben and his 4 closest friends...I call them the stomachs in the I have all of them down there and you never see them except for food and drink runs upstairs. I can sure HEAR them though. The other boys bring their TVs and game systems and they set up gamer heaven in the rec venture outside to play soccer or jump on the trampoline or sit in the hot tub but for the most part they are "The stomachs in the basement". I really love these boys. And am so proud of them as they have all graduated Elementary school as of today. My stomachs are teens! My oldest is a teen off to high school!

The school put on a Grad ceremony and it was lovely. Lots of talented kids played guitar, played the violin, skipped, danced and made speeches. Ben didn't do any of it but that is who he is...the quiet observer...that notices EVERYTHING! He wants to be a Homicide Detective when he grows up....which surprised me at first as he is such a gentle giant but it does make sense. His mind is geared that way...he has a mind for detail and logic and I think he would make a fine police officer. But there is work to do first....getting through high school...GULP!

My Mom always said the hardest T years were NOT the toddler's the TEEN years and I now get hope you layed the groundwork for them to make good hope they get that their actions during these years can affect them their entire lives.....wear a condom Ben...PLEASE! Don't do drugs! Don't party like an idiot...then get in a car. Don't speed around with a load of buddies and crash and burn. Don't skip school because you want to play games...Don't smoke...Don't smoke pot!

I could on and on....and am sure many of you out there can add to the list or share your experiences...and please do! I need all the help I can Know of many families that have lost a teen due to their young, invincible, stubborn..."it will never happen to me" attitude. I know it could happen...that's the thing....good kids do stupid things that they regret for the rest of their lives or they don't get to live the rest of their can be the BEST parent in the world but there is no guarantee that they won't behave the opposite of what you taught them. Look at the Vancouver riot....mostly young people...I bet their parents are mortified that their kid was involved....I would be...yet those kids did it....knowing it was wrong....using the excuse they were "caught up in the moment". So everything your parents taught you for the last 15+ years went right out of your head just like that? YES! Pretty much they became their alter egos and destroyed property and hurt others....Comforting eh?

So I embark on the teen years with my Mom's words in my mind...know where they are...get phone numbers...make them get a job at 15...remind them daily that they are responsible for themselves! Every time they walk out the front door they have to make the right choices....and I will be reminding Ben daily to do so....and hope with all HOPE that he does!

Big Momma with a teen LOVE to you all! XO

Would love to hear from you parents out there with teens. Any and all advice is most welcome.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Boots are Strapped ON!

CRAZY few weeks....more to do than a person should have but typical of every Mom I know this time of year. The end of the school year means field trips, teacher luncheons, hot lunch days, sports days, kindergarten graduation and grade 7 graduation. To make it even busier Grandma has been hospitalized over an hour away and getting there as much as I can. Hubby came home for a bit and decided to build a tree house that turned into a 3rd story deck and now he is gone until mid July. Phewww.........

So this is how the weeks have gone.....Grandma is hospitalized overnight and we rush to see her the next day at home....lovely visit but ankles swollen...hmmmm....and sure enough that night had trouble breathing and was rushed to hospital again where she has remained. Congestive heart failure and minor strokes and at age 92 she is most likely to remain there until she passes. We are all on edge and very very sad. Hard to watch a person that has meant so much to you fade away...and that is what it is...a fading of life. Big SIGH!

Deck is being built during this time and then Ron leaves...the next day was the teacher luncheon...
Four of us had spent HOURS decorating and setting up the day before...the Great Gatsby Tea Party vision that kind of got away from we wanted it perfect and "THE" vision. We sheered the walls with white lights behind and had flower garlands draped on those. Fine china plates and cups and saucers (which we rented) and fine serving dishes and spoons. Vases with fresh flowers...that I had to beg, borrow and steal to so many Moms cooked homemade delights. Tea for all and punch too. It was beautiful! Some teachers cried....some were in shock. It was so totally worth it...but a demanding job to say the least. Next day was hot lunch that I rushed to help with as I had to take the dishes back. Then grocery shopping before school was out....pheww!
Busy weekend with many a child sleeping over....and many kids just hanging out. I had the pool set up and it was nice so the neighborhood came

 First field trip....WHITEROCK! And it rained!

Here is my drenched Sammy but we had fun and discovered lots of slimy

Visits with grandma and typical Mom stuff the rest of the week until Thursday when I was up at 5:30 am to get Ben to school in time for the bus to Victoria...and overnight stay where they got to see the Parliament buildings, stay at the U of Vic dorms and tour the university. The Bug Zoo and all other kind of fun stuff. Picked him up Friday night and he was exhausted! LOL! But he loved it and when he got home he crashed pretty early. Father's Day was spent at the Old Car Sunday in the Park event. My Dad was running the Elk concession so we had to go and say hello and buy a few foot long hot dogs. I had an extra boy then picked up another boy

Look at my little guy....almost half his size but he finished it and had an ice cream.....where do they put it? LOL!

So that was my few weeks in a nut shell. Have 2 more field trips, sports day, Grade 7 graduation, kindergarten graduation and another hot lunch day in the next 8 days....cue William Tell Overture! LOL!

Have not shopped and it was the consensus that fair trade shopping is allowed! I do not have to score a point as it's direct from the artisan. WOOHOO! Except we now have a postal strike so no shopping for me..Last score was 148/171 days without retail. 23 days of retail in almost 6 months.....not perfect but I'm getting better.

Exhausted Big Momma love to you all. XO

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Does Fair Trade count as Retail?

I had to get some more clothes for the colony....went looking for long skirts and found a few but was really uninspired. Do I have to wear blah for the next 6 months to avoid retail? Then I thought...duh! Fair trade clothes! Did a search and found many great links to online shopping for Fair Trade clothes. Found the above skirt in the clearance section that was hand made in Thailand by a group of women that make a FAIR living creating long skirts. I have asked for more information about them and when they return my email I will post about them.

During my search I came across so many organizations that support and sell Fair Trade items. You can get just about anything from an artisan from just about anywhere in the world. Some offer free shipping. Some offer to buy a uniform for a girl in Africa if you buy a T-shirt. Some have so much turnover that the styles change weekly. It's AWESOME! LOL!

The following links are the best I found:

Livingethically - from the UK but has so many links to Fair Trade and green products. I spent a lot of time checking it out. - Fair Trade by women for women

Organicsfairtrade - lots of organic cotton clothes

Commonthreadz - if you purchase a tshirt they will donate a uniform to a girl in Africa

Thehungersite - loved it! so much to choose from and support of so many causes

Mercadoglobal - higher end styles

Novica - an offiliate of National Geographic that not only sells Fair Trade items but you can actually give a micro loan to a poor woman overseas. and are good too but not a huge inventory.

The skirt said one size fits all...but a little snug. If you are built like me and a little bigger then you had better check their sizing. Fair Trade clothes tend to be a bit smaller than Western sizing.

So the question is....Is buying Fair Trade considered an exception as the items are purchased directly from the creator? No sweat shops....very few middle men taking their cut...most if not all of the profit goes to the people that make it. If we buy Fair Trade are we not doing a GOOD thing? The skirt was mailed to me from there is the environmental impact to think of.

What do you think? Can I buy Fair Trade or do I have to take a hit for my score?


PS. If you say I can buy Fair Trade don't tell my credit card may take a bit of a hit. The clothes are so unique and the art work fabulous!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Just take a Pole dancing class...

Amanda and I at Cabo Wabo in 2007. Amanda was my nanny for 5 weeks...and much younger and MUCH smaller than has worked with Joe since he was 2 1/2. I needed her for support and her knowledge of our family and Joe's "quirks" at the time. He was 6 at the time and just started talking but still had anxiety issues. We "moved" to Cabo San Lucas for a few months thinking we would relocate on a permanent basis. It didn't work out. My kids were not hills to lakes. We swam a lot at the ocean and in the pool at the villa we rented but they got bored really quickly. Paradise? Maybe for retired adults but not people raising a family...playgrounds barbed wired as they were for use for the school only.....the military with machine guns walking around..the constant as old as 7 in pull ups so they don't take a pee break...not the atmosphere I wanted to raise my kids in. Not to mention the drunken fools walking around at all hours of the day...the young people with barely any clothes on...good for them but not for my kids. And it really made me think about body issues...

At the beaches the Mexican women wore jeans and t-shirts in the water....very few had real bathing suits. It is frowned upon in their culture to wear a saw many many women in full clothing swimming. And then you had the retired crew....they didn't give a shit what they looked like and wore the teensie eensie teeny weeny bikini or speedos....they were there to ENJOY the sun and surf and at their ages could care less what people thought. Then you had the expats...the people from the US or Canada or Germany or wherever...that lived there year round. They wore whatever they wanted too! The tourists let it all hang out...BIG women in bikinis...BIG men in speedos. So strange to me as a person that grew up in a rain that had beautiful summers too. The atmosphere is if you don't like it don't our culture we are so consumed with what we look like we tend to cover up the flaws and all...we don't embrace the body we have at all! We have grown women in their 40's with eating disorders...REALLY?

Come on! Get over it already...we love you for you not your body! That time in Mexico made me see the light! I saw the poverty...the hard working people that live in shacks...and the hordes of people half naked that were NOT super models... and realized that my body has NOTHING to do with my self worth anymore....we have issues in this country and in this world that require our FULL participation. We have issues that we have ignored for so long in our consumer culture that we have dropped the ball on our own HEALTH! GMOs anyone? We have been brainwashed by the elite to believe that our bodies are the TRUE reflections of our self worth that we have forgotten that human compassion and debate and dissent are required by us to create a functional world. We LET the corporations take over as we went to tanning booths that kill we went to fast food places to drown our we went to every weight loss gimmick in the book. Many had "procedures" that would feed a hot lunch program for a year...but they got the big boobs and the big lips or the butt implants? What the hell? In Brazil they have more plastic surgeries per capita than any place in the world...yet they have "killing" teams that hunt down homeless children and shoot them on the spot. TRUE! Google it! And you are worried about how good you look naked? REALLY?

I know I preach...I preach and I preach and I preach......I just wish we would all turn our focus on something OTHER than our bodies....we have been brainwashed to do so! 20 something models selling us eye cream? Really people? You going to buy it? How about getting some Vit E cream and giving a few bucks to the food bank....or sending a few bucks to your local PAC to buy new equipment for the school....or a few bucks to the woman overseas that has nothing and has 7 kids. I was THERE! I get it! Now come to the other side ladies....just let all those hang ups go and come to the other side of it. They never go away but when they show up you know where it comes from and you can laugh about it...and stop it in it's tracks. I "need" a tummy tuck and a boob lift but I would rather go to Europe with my husband and see the farm his family left in 1535. THAT is what life is about. He would rather go on a family trip to Alberta...and show the boys how to drive a combine...THAT is what life is about.

Standing in front of the mirror naked I feel beautiful. I ain't no super model...or porn star for that my saggy creased body is mine! Every inch has a story...every stretch mark has a child attached to it...sometimes all's not beautiful by consumer standards....I know that...but it gives me the ability to be the best I can be...

Let's jump in the ocean together...I won't be in bikini...not a good look for I will be in a suit and snorkel and swim and play and have fun...LIFE IS SHORT! Enjoy it! And PLEASE PLEASE think about something bigger than your breasts or your really doesn't matter in the scheme of things. Take a pole dancing class and hang upside's liberating! Your body is meant for more than to look can move and play and tease and help...and create change!

Big Momma Ass love to you all...XO