Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thoughts in my Head

For months I haven't touched this blog.  My last entry about the Tardis Blue interview dress should be enshrined since that outfit won me a job that has saved our skins.  But that job has brought on a slew of problems in my world and I just have to accept it now.

I believe in honesty.  I believe that as horrible, painful, bitter, and hard to swallow as it can be... honesty is the trail of breadcrumbs that lead us to the other side of the forest.  Unfortunately, they also lead us into the forest and today I am there.

Last night I made the mistake of being honest. Actually, I've been more open and honest in recent months with one person than I ever believed I could be.  It has been terrifying because it made me explore the darker parts of my marriage, my relationship with my parents, my feelings about my children, and my immediate and long term fears for the future in a way I still have to struggle to understand. 

In simple terms, I have had what might equate to an emotional affair with myself through getting to know and speaking very candidly with a person who was and acquaintance of my husband.  This came about through joining my husband in what was a favorite activity early in our relationship and marriage, but had dropped off over the prior few months of my pregnancy.  While I was pregnant and often on orders to rest, he first began playing a particular online game and then joined a Team Speak server populated and run by fellow players from a group that formed in game.  Not a guild, but a band of similar minded players looking to make a community and share the success of working as a group to bring interest and fun to the game.

After the baby was born and I had recovered somewhat, I joined them on Team Speak.  I started first just listening in and joining discussion from time-to-time while working on my photography business or between watching the kids.  In early September I first joined the group in another game and because of my work schedule and penchant for late nights, was most often online when the majority of our Eastern European crew had decided to get some rest or were at their own jobs.  It was at this time when I began to talk with two particular members of the group, then one of them by virtue of our shared hours on the same game.  

Discussion mostly started as casual conversations about life, often about my children and how trying it could be to parent two little boys.  He has no children of his own, but is not unaware of what it can take out of a person to be a caregiver.  At some point our conversations became more personal, shared struggles in relationships, discussion about ex's and choices of partner, how I met and married my husband.  I eventually let some more unpleasant details go unfiltered and he saw through the cracks in the ice.  We would sometimes discuss how I felt less sure in my marriage and that I had at some point even failed to read another friend's behavior correctly, leading to tensions in my marriage around the time my youngest child would have been conceived. 

I was always honest when we spoke, letting the fact of distance allow me to feel safe and telling him the truth because he deserved and gave nothing less.  Sometimes I hated that I didn't sugar coat things, but it allowed me to look at things through his eyes too, finding a passion and drive I could not have imagined when it came to some things.  It was through these conversations that what I took for granted as normal parts of my marriage were pointed out as unhealthy.  He reminded me to put my own interests in view and treat myself as more than a supporting cast member in the story.  And somewhere along the way it became friendly flirting.  

When I caught on and asked he did not hide or deny it.  He instead told me the truth, that he'd flirted because it was in his nature, but also because he'd felt I needed to be reminded of my value.  He was so wonderfully willing to build up the self esteem of a person he'd never met face-to-face but had come to like and respect for who they are, even if I was a lousy shot or an inadvertently poor pilot in game.  We began to text when offline, chatting about life and later about the book I'd decided to start writing.  The writing lead to deeper discussions about my marriage and eventually the admission that I was no longer sure my husband felt any love for me.  Instead of judging me, this friend once again offered kindness and understanding.  He reminded me not to look at it as my failure as a wife, but through being the person strong enough to make decisions that were unpleasant but required.

As the topic of divorce eventually entered my life, my friend and his brother both offered their support.  They found my teetering and fear rather frustrating, but admitted that I am alone in needing to make those choices which are best for myself and my children.  I respect them both, even if they have their own faults or have let my bitterness taint their feelings about my husband.  I feel guilty that my candid talk has hurt a friendship because my husband failed to act for so long, and I spoke too much.  I hope that nothing is so damaged that it cannot be fixed in time, but I have learned to admit that I cannot fix everything.

Last night I was told that some of my personal secrets had been shared and was upset.  I jumped to conclusions because of what I was told and made an accusation.  I was wrong and still need to fully apologize and make amends if able.  I accept that my actions caused this.  It sucks.  Actually, it hurts like hell.  I also know that my apology to this point has not satisfied the angry party and that means my best ally in this journey to find myself may well have been lost.  I loath that the truth is not so fair... but it is still 1000x better than a lie.  I am hopeful that I can have honesty from all involved and let it make my choices clear, but I fear I may need to decide between husband and friends and that hurts greatly.

I spent much of my morning thus-far researching the legalities of divorce, separation, and custody of my children were I to go with that route.  My husband has tried to make an effort of late, but last night made me question the validity of those words and actions.  I refuse to be toyed with and need to be clear when I make my choices.  Financially and emotionally I am vulnerable and that means going through all of this scares me. But my kids need the best family they can have, even if it is one without their father and mother married.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Once there was a girl. Smart, reasonably pretty, athletic, and naive about how dating really worked because her big brothers helped keep her away from teen males for her own good. In her freshman year of high school she met a boy. He was two years ahead of her and had a job at a local hospital as a janitor in the maternity ward. Something about him drew her, his self assured charm perhaps.
For their first date, he took her to her favorite lighthouse and let her spend hours just photographing the sea and the sunset. He bought her film for her old Pentax 35mm as her first month anniversary present, and sent roses to her at school on her fourteenth birthday. He swept her off her feet and her brothers put away the shotguns when he came to the door for her first high school formal.
One week later a friend noticed the bruise on her left leg while she was changing after their dance class. She explained that she’d had a hard fall from her horse and it was just going to take a while to fade. This was nothing new, she’d been out of dance the year before with a broken ankle after a fall in a jumping competition. But it just seemed strange, not like her to fear somebody seeing marks after so many years of them knowing where the skinned knuckles and bruised knees came from.
Time ticked on and in November the same friend was sad to hear that school and riding was taking up too much time and she’d have to drop dance… but the girl did look over-tired and a little worn. She’d lost weight, unhealthy in somebody battling her way back from bulimia and self-doubt; and she was wearing colored tights to class to hide the bruises from her horse, who must have gone insane and begun throwing her at walls for fun.
December came and her brothers left on their last big trip as “the boys” before the oldest moved overseas and another finally married. They kissed their little sister goodbye and reminded her not to do anything they would do. She gave them that same sheepish grin and said she knew better. Then she went off to her doctor’s appointment – she’d insisted on going alone again – and they finished packing to leave.
Christmas came and went, and the girl cried herself to sleep after her break up with by the first boyfriend she’d ever had. Her brothers offered to come home, but she insisted it was fine. No need to make threats on his life… he had his reasons to leave her.
School started again and the girl looked a little pudgy in her new clothes. For somebody normally terrified of gaining weight, it looked like she was eating a bit less healthy these days. After days in and out of the nurse's office her friend heard at lunch that the girl had been sent home after getting ill in the hall on her way to the nurse, rumors flew that she had been sent to the hospital and it was serious.
She failed to show up for class the next day, and the day after. Calls to her cell phone went unanswered and her brothers said only that she was going to be home for a bit until she felt better. They seemed unhappy, genuinely avoiding the topic when asked. The following Monday arrived and still no sign of her at the start of their first period mid-term. It was seven hours later when her best friend came by to drop off missed work and found the front door wide open. She was there; skin still warm and blood beginning to pool around her from the wounds to her belly. Police and ambulance arrived and swept her off to the hospital, investigators questioned everyone and made notes while shaking their heads and seeming to accuse everybody of something while knowing nothing. Word came from the hospital, this was both an attempted murder, and a homicide… there were two victims with blood on that floor.
Somewhere along the way she had lost control of the situation. Perhaps it was when she let him start choosing her clothes, or how she did her make-up. It might have been when he punched her in the ribs for saying she couldn’t go out that weekend because she had a paper due Monday and a horseshow Saturday. But she had forgiven him those things, believing when he said it was just that he was scared she was cheating on him because his last girlfriend had. She forgave him and he promised not to be jealous.
It might have been when he pinned her to the kitchen table and forced her to choose sucking his cock or letting him take her virginity bareback. Not that what she said mattered, he did both and then complemented her for looking hot when her mascara was running and her thighs were stained with blood. Perhaps that was the point where her hold on any reasonable relationship was lost. When she let him walk out the door while she cleaned herself up and hid the evidence because her father’s reaction would be to beat her and her brothers’ reactions would be to beat him. Either way, by then, nothing mattered but surviving.
So when she sat trembling in the confessional of her mother's curch, being told that doing anything about stopping the baby growing inside her was nothing short of murder. She believed it. After all, the cleric pointed out that she hadsaid he could fuck her as long as her promised not to break her nose or leave marks on her face or neck. She let her body be used, what else could she expect? She made up her mind that as long as he promised not to hit her stomach or choke her until she blacked out, he could keep doing what he wanted and she would do what she could to hide what he’d done.
Then the day came when he picked her up and took her to the clinic again. Because they thought she was 16 they never asked about why her parents weren’t there, after all… she was paying in cash and her boyfriend was always there smiling and talking about his future son. So when the ultrasound tech said, “congrats Mommy, you’ll be shopping for a whole lot of pink in the next few months”, the only thing she felt was fear and pain as he slowly crushed the bones in her hand.
He told her she was on her own. Swore she had lied to him and he’d had enough. She must have been cheating and he’d never let her trap him with a weak little girl. He peeled out of the driveway seeing red, and for the first time since September, she wasn’t terrified to breathe too deeply anymore. But who do you tell when you’ve hidden it knowing your drunk of a Dad will beat you just as much? But when you're vomiting every morning, when you're gaining weight and going from a size 4 to a size 8 in just over a month... somebody is bound to ask questions eventually.
That was what she explained to the investigator and social worker in the ICU before they wheeled her back off for another surgery. She’d carry the guilt for the rest of her life, the guilt that she had decided to know so they could pick a name and instead he picked out her grave.
She carried that guilt each time they showed her a heartbeat on the ultrasound. She carried it as they asked “do you want to know what you’re having” while Husband held her hand. She carried it into the delivery room, prepared that He would walk out and leave them both as she labored for hours with his first born. And she could only cry a silent thank-you when they announced “You have a son”.
Someday she will cross to the next world, and hold a little girl so tightly in her arms that time stops. Someday, she’ll be able to say how sorry she is for letting him hurt that little girl. But until that day, she will tell other girls that the choice to let a child go when they cannot provide a safe and happy life is not and never will be murder. Until that day, she will stand as an escort for the women and girls who enter those clinics for any question or worry. Until that day comes when all girls can make their choices without fear of beatings or abuse, or death.
Murder comes at the point of a knife or barrel of a gun out of vengeance for a perceived wrong. But putting a baby through hell because of the judgements of others, that is just as cruel even if it results in a “life”.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pesto Prep

The rain has decided to water my garden today, so it is time to take some of my fresh pesto.  I avoid using nuts in my recipe as a few friends and kids or friends have tree nut allergies.  Today it is Fresh Basil, Fresh Spinach, Goat's Milk Ricotta, and a little love going into that blender.

Beyond the kitchen, I needed to wash off all the heavy soil and other stink from the last two days of gardening, so this morning it was an ultra cleansing round of olive branch to calm down the red from the sunshine overload and clear away the remaining fertilizer from under my nails.  Laundry is going, kids are comfy int their respective seats, one napping and one with a cup of chocolate raw-milk... so I'm off to the kitchen for a bit!

  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Blend the spinach, basil, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor until nearly smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the mixture while processing until smooth.

Pesto Prep

Monday, May 26, 2014

Spice & Sunshine

We finished our garden boxes this weekend and tomorrow I begin the planting part of that effort.  Seeds are all set up into bundles to be dropped in, and many of my items are already started and just need to go into the ground to flourish.  

This afternoon I'm hiding inside while the rain packs down all that soil I just put into the boxes... and I that means time to kill on Polyvore & Pinterest.  Going over ideas for set-up when we haul the stand out and start doing events at fairs and farmer's markets in a few months.  For now, enjoy a look at what home decor is in my dream kitchen.  A little burst of bright yellows, rusty reds, and spice tones in orange and browns.  I feel like these work so well in the kitchen where things should always be warm and bright!

Spice & Sunshine