Apr 26, 2013
I recently had to explain to my seven year-old why I was shooing the kitty away from the house and away from the girl kitty who was acting kinda funny. We were having a birds, the bees, and kitties talk in which we discussed how boy kitties have spikes on the end of their winkles to ensure their parenthood possibilities.
My poor son will never be able to shake the images of that conversation. Good. He did understand there’s a biological imperative for species survival. They don’t even realize they are programmed to continue their existence. People too. And our job is to ruin their job when propagation is a bad thing.
If left up to their funny business, this is how cats would multiply and procreate. One mommy kitty can have three kittens three times a year. So she can potentially spawn 9 kittens per year. Second year and you multiply those 9 kitties by three and three again and now you have 81 kittens. And by the third year, 775 cats in your backyard howling and spraying.
So we treated our girl kitty to a cab ride to the clinic and unkittened her. Because I feel that if you’re going to feed them, then you need to make sure there will be no other mouths to feed later.
We’re just lucky enough to have an old country vet down the road who’ll take their crazy furry butts out of the trap and fix ‘em up. My husband and I live near a river and this is a highway for all animals. We have taken care of at least 50 cats in one way or another in the past 12 years. And, although it’s been heart wrenching at times, it’s also the least we can do.
One week ago, we lost our Butthead to a surprise case of cancer. And although we got him from the streets of Denton, actually in a parking lot, that is no place for kittens. So please do an extra good responsible action toward an animal and spay or neuter or call the local authorities to humanely and compassionately end or deter future suffering of any animals. Our bigger brains suggest we are smarter. Right practices of any sort are a choice.
Jul 20, 2012
One school day, I reached down into my kid’s book bag and pulled our a triangular scrap of paper. I asked what’s this. Oh something I wrote. And I asked him to read it to me. I was more than blown away.
This is the translation.
Black vs. White
“Ya’ ready?” said White. ”Yeah!” said Black.
“Cloud!” said White. “Mist!” said Black.
They both fainted. “Nobody won!” said the announcer.
When I asked him about the story, he said this, “I like that nobody won, he said. It’s fair. And I don’t want to make White look bad. Or Black.” Out of the mouth of babes.
I love my kid and I love the world I live in. I read this and it makes me hope that our children will make the brave choices. They will choose to not make the differences of people or cultures or opinions a personal problem they need to avenge. And they will look further than themselves and their bank accounts to the greater world beyond them and make choices that embody compassion and integrity. And make a living doing so.
Our children are our hope. And will learn as we do. You can screw the small stuff up but the big stuff is what we choose to courageously stand for every day. Start by not buying stuff sold by people who are evil or not local if you can help it. Or take your kid to the voting booth with you. Or just stop playing the parent role and be a respectful equal to them for a little while. Ask them what they value and what they want to do about it. The empowerment and self-esteem of our children will rescue us from our present world predicament.
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May 1, 2012
The invasion was imminent and now it has finally happened. Wal-mart came to my little American town. Six months ago they broke ground. Across the road from the Wal-mart, I noticed the obliteration of the “scary playground”, a near thirty year old metal playground in a cluster of pine trees with moss growing beneath them behind the Dunkin’ Donuts. Progress is being made. Resistance is futile.
The mega store had begun negotiations for the local mega store five years ago when I was a shop owner in town. I was quoted at a merchant’s meeting as saying I had no love for the idea. Frankly, all the shops that were represented at that meeting have gone out of business, including mine. The economic downturn did us in before the big bad even got here.
Yesterday, we received a call from a journalism student from the University of Maryland, inquiring about our feelings for the Wal-mart’s opening. My husband began by saying he’d rather have both legs amputated than shop there. He continued by informing her that the employees are woefully underpaid, denied access to healthcare or organization, and generally mistreated. And the company gets rewarded for this somehow.
How low is low enough for our buying power to buy products made, more often than not, outside of the US? And how is it decent to then low-ball the little guys, even companies whose products are privileged to be sold inside Wal-mart? Lucky or out of business? Corporate doesn’t much care. You won’t find my family shopping at “the store that shall not be named”. In America, I am empowered by my freedom to choose. And my choice is a vote for none of this.
I am committed to try to buy locally and to keep the money as close to home as possible. And will probably go to Target if I have a mega store must. I’m cheap as the next gal but I’d like to think I am not going to ever get so desperate for any item that I sell out my principles of fair trade, living wage, health care, and sustainable living to save a dollar. I know too that we respect each others’ choices and opinions because, without them, it’s not a democracy. I hope I have not offended but informed.
Mar 14, 2012
The word ‘control’ seems to embody mankind’s split personality. We profess we are in control and turn around and toss it away unceremoniously. Both precious and free, we play with the word and cheapen its power. We speak of being “out of control” when it seems to me we attempt to and successfully score control over most everything in our lives constantly. We avoid paying the emotional costs of honesty.
Early in life, each person will be a “Three Year Old”. This is the inception of the control-freak. He’s loud and irrational and he is attempting a coupe of the household. And what results may be the point many lives fall apart and unhappy patterns solidify.
The TYO knows he is misbehaving. Heck, he knew at age two when he shot his parent a sly glance after making the test move. If no one brings the “No” and means it, then he begins to believe he’s not worth the effort of the parents’ love. He knows intuitively that if the parents loved him, they would’ve said no.
Moreover, the world frightens the TYO. The more he demands the restraint he needs the parent is not bringing, the scarier the world gets. When there’s no guidance to create a healthy internal parent, he’s got no skills or confidence to handle the scary world. Or when the over controlling parent drowns the TYO, they rob him of the empowerment for his own survival. This causes panic too. He’s screwed either way. Now he can develop compulsions to assuage his ever-growing bottomless fears.
Enter the self soothing simple choice of an addiction. I have dabbled in a few of these. They’re make-believe at best, life threatening at worst. I know a woman in recovery who believes everyone has some sort of addiction. I want to agree but I also hope for a few functional people in the world; those who’ve moved beyond.
Addictions are an adaptation and a response. A thumbed nose at the expectations of authority. However, reactions aren’t a true choice. They’re the TYO’s FU. Wear your fear on your sleeve or shamefully bury it, deep down there’s no authenticity or truth anywhere nearby. Maybe we you perpetuate and maintain the parent’s distorted vision of how you suck. Seemingly inadvertent, it is still a chosen perception and action. The trick is to recognize your power to choose any of it.
Even if you don’t believe you’re worth it, making choices and taking actions for your benefit are what your children will emulate. They will do as you do, not as you say. People will treat you as you treat yourself. Self-respect is learned. You learn it through practice and developing self-pride. Self esteem begets more of the same. And squelches grief.
And if children learn self-respect by watching you and heeding the boundaries and limits you have displayed, the next generation has more esteem and confidence and internal resources. Do we really want to raise another generation of heroine addicts? Or do we seed our earth with self-possessed people who can preserve the species and their planet for 20 generations to come? It’s really an individual choice. Choice is yours. Really it is.
There was no parental guidance at our house. I never knew how it felt to have my own back until I loved my kid so much I’d do anything to make him feel safe. Including healing myself. I had never loved myself that much to care. I attempt to provide him a contained safe world full of boundaries and limits until he can set his own.
Had you already chosen what you’d get from this piece? Not in need of any guidance I can provide? Is there a “right way” of doing things? Consider the reasons. Question your inner control-freak and see if you have been denied the recognition of your power to choose recently.