wwwLove


Also known as: What I love about the internet this week.

What do you do when you need to relocate from one side of the continent to the other on a budget? Sell most of your stuff, pick a driving buddy and hit the road… that’s what you do. Then you
blog the journey and your buddy blogs the journey and neither of you read each other’s posts until you reach home. Why? Because ‘Two Fat Guys in a Ford Focus’ is epic. That’s why.

I discovered
Hot Guys Reading Books via a friend on Facebook. I’m still trying to decide if my immediate favoriting of that site makes me shallow or desperate. Both?

Speaking of being shallow----->
LOST: Every Shirtless Moment

Speaking of LOST----->
On this day, when
LOST will come to an end, read 815 Sentences About LOST.

Geek awesomenicity:
Periodic Table of Super Powers. So much better than actual science, I say.

Courtesy of a
Twitter pal… more Geek awesomenicity: The Geek Alphabet.

One self portrait every day for eight years =
Living My Life Faster. Just click the link. Trust me.

Need to ponder something?
A Gadzillion Things To Think About can help. One of my favorites: “If you had a Kryptonite cross could you defeat Dracula and Superman at the same time?”

And… the ONE youtube video I could watch every day (and, no, it isn’t new… at all):




Quote of the week:
"A dream is something that fills up the emptiness inside... the one thing that you know, if it came true, all the hurt would go away." ~Glee


Photo credit: AndreaBriscoli via Flickr.

I have nothing against positivity…


… in general, but do you remember the days a long, long time ago (OK, not so long.) in this very same universe uh… in this very solar system uh … on this very planet when people kept the news of good (and bad, for that matter) things happening in their lives to immediate family and closest friends only… maybe a few coworkers? It was a time when those individuals receiving the good news first hand numbered ten to fifteen maximum. Those people then had the power of discerning if that news was truly exuberant enough to warrant sharing the information with mutual acquaintances or thinking to themselves, “Hey, that’s neat.” and then moving on with their daily lives.

Do you? I do. And then came the internet… and chat rooms (Remember those?)… and instant messaging… and then whoooosh social media. And, now, good news worthy of only the smallest audience gets rocketed around the globe as though it is the cure for cancer and everyone who sees it is expected to react with uninhibited joyous abandon when Beth’s (I’ll use my own name as to not inadvertently offend call out somebody in such a public forum.) kidney stone passes and she can now urinate freely whenever she likes and without pain. (No, I do not have, nor have I ever had a kidney stone.) Good news? Sure. Do your 2000 Facebook friends need to know that? No. (I have another vent about why anyone would need a full ton of Facebook “acquaintances” but that is a completely different rant.)

I’m not saying I don’t want to hear read the genuinely good news my friends have to share or that I won’t be, in turn, genuinely happy for them; but, there are those people who clearly have developed an addiction (Yes, I am diagnosing them.) to the accolades and the cheers and the congratulations and the you-deserve-its and that blasted Facebook [Like] button.

These are not normal, happy people. These individuals are the complete antithesis to the chronic “woe is me-ers” who never seem to have anything good happen to them. Ever. I, myself, lean to the melancholic (No way! Yes way!) side but large portions of my life actually DO suck right now. I’m no hypocrite. I’ll call myself out on that one… but it never lasts forever and, I have to be honest, it’s far easier to empathize with someone who may have a pretty hard life (and I’m much better off than many) than it is to be, “OH MY GOSH! I’m so HAPPY for you! SQUEEEEEE!” for the same person day in and day out and day in and day out ad infinitum. Nobody… and I mean NOBODY… has a life that is 100% perfect twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two blasted weeks of every single year. It’s not possible. There are those, however, who try to lead on the world at large and have us believe that their lives are not just okay or great… but bloody perfect.

I’ve had enough and I call, “Bullshit!” I’m tired of reading their tweets [Block] or their status updates [Hide] (Actually, I may have totally de-friended you if you are guilty of this. If you haven’t noticed… awesome. It proves that we shouldn’t have been “friends” anyway.) five to ten times a day. I started out by simply not commenting (especially on Facebook) unless the news was truly monumental or life changing… a pregnancy, a new job, a child getting into a preferred university or a major answer to prayer (even if I didn’t know what specifically everyone was praying about).

Callous? Cynical? Pessimistic? Perhaps. But, even those depressed “woe is me” types will occasionally post something of a positive. Usually it is something simple like, “Today was a good day.” You happy-happy-happy-happy-happy (and I know you’re faking it) people ignore that person because, “Of course it’s a good day!” Me? I know that admission from that person is monumental in their lives because I’ve been there. Not once have I seen an I’m-happy-all-the-time-life-is-perfect faker post anything as remotely profound as, “Today was a hard day.” And that is how I know they lie.

Know this … forced perfect people and cravers of all the world's positive attention: That light shining out of your ass isn’t sunshine. Pull the damn flashlight out of your throat before you choke or the batteries die and you plunge into total darkness. That’s right. I’m telling you that you are next in line to come crashing down. It’s always the “Everything is great, be happy for me… be happy for me NOW… BE HAPPY FOR ME ALL THE TIME” types who convert to the “Woe is me… give me your sympathy” types seemingly overnight. Seriously, If you aren't sending in postcards to PostSecret as a method of dealing with what does go wrong in your life... well, you can't hold it in forever. Tell me you spilled your coffee on your perfect white carpet. Tell me you yelled at your kids today. Hell, simply tell me you are in a bad mood. Give me something negative on your status update. Something! Anything! Free yourself.

As for the rest of you people (the majority) who have great days and wretched days and mediocre days… those real enough to tell me you won the lottery on Friday (WOO! That’s awesome!) but got shit on by an eagle on Saturday (Bummer!)… I quite adore all of you.

Rant over. Let the hate mail begin. As the often politically incorrect Craig Ferguson would say,

“I look forward to your letters.”



Photo credit: markus.pacher via Flickr.

Independence: Know Thyself


I found myself explaining emancipation of minors to the teenager last week. Just prior to that conversation he mouthed off about God giving him free will and the Bible saying nothing about his right to exercise that will until he was 18 years old and out from under parental rule. Read: “I’m going to do what I want and you don’t have the authority to stop me.” I gave him the standard “Children, obey your parents.” retort and then turned his over-analytical brain against him and told him to go find a judge who thought he was mature enough to be emancipated. If that judge agreed (insert snicker)… I’d butt out of his business forever. Of course, my use of a word to which he had no immediate definition brought him a bit closer to Earth. My explanation of the concept, however, saw him plummet the final fifty feet to the ground with a resounding thud. I love him, but I know my son and he is incredibly immature, on an emotional level, for a fourteen year old boy. He is frighteningly similar to me in so many ways that I have to remind myself daily that he is not me and I was in a far different place when I was his age.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I asked to go to boarding school.

Strike that. I decided I wanted to attend boarding school and put much thought into how to approach it with my parents. I presented my father with a convincing argument that included the pros and the cons and then… I begged. The begging was my back-up plan but I could sense my father wavering and it slipped out. I was 11 at the time. The next school year (7th grade) I was enrolled at
Rift Valley Academy and I never regretted that decision. I truly adored boarding school.

School life wasn’t “happy happy joy joy” all the time, naturally. My 7th grade year was pretty amazing. Then again, my brother was a good looking athletic senior. I think that fact carried a lot of weight on the junior high popularity scale. Inevitably, he graduated. My 8th grade year was wretched. Like Big K, I was small for my age at the time. Like Big K, I had some perceived eccentricities. Like Big K, I was teased and rejected. Unlike Big K… I knew me.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Last night the teenager and I had a surprisingly adult conversation. I revealed to him that I believed him to be emotionally immature… incapable of making major life decisions at this time. He nodded… knowingly. I expressed my concern that he readily accepts the labels others place on him as opposed to determining for himself who he, Big K, wants to be as a man. I urged him to take some time to develop his own set of beliefs and values… to establish his own moral compass for how he wanted to live his life. In the midst of our discussion came the following: “Mom,” he asked, “When did you know?” “Know what?” I asked. “When did you know YOU?” he responded.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I had a pretty strong sense of self early on in my life. I was a tomboy. I liked being a tomboy and I resented the pressure from other girls at boarding school to “be more girlie” than I wanted to be… hence, ridicule and rejection. There was enough misery that 8th grade year to make me question my identity. The year ended, as marching time does, and 9th grade began much as 8th grade had ended but, as the school year progressed, I found ways to express myself and continued entrenching myself into the athletic community… the only place I felt almost fully accepted. While I was carving out that niche, however, I refused to pretend to be someone other than I was and, for this, there was still much rejection. I played on the junior high basketball team. I played on the junior varsity field hockey team and then, in my last trimester, I qualified for my varsity letter in track… as a freshman. My popularity status changed almost instantaneously… and I rejected it.

At the end of 9th grade we returned to the United States for the one year we spent here for every four spent in Kenya. It was a rough year. Being the short little white girl from Africa dropped into a public high school in the middle of
KKK Country, USA wasn’t the easiest transition. I had a lot of enemies. Courtesy of the local Air Force Base… I also had a lot of friends. Military Brats are not unlike Missionary Kids. We were in the States for 10 months. In that time, I grew almost 6 inches and developed a few feminine curves… bought some makeup… paid better attention to my wardrobe and realized quite fully that I would not be returning to Kenya as the same Beth who left. Well, not on the outside. I managed to merge tomboy and young woman quite successfully.

After confiding in my parents what my prior two years of school had truly been like for me, I was given the choice to change schools and return to
Rosslyn Academy where I’d attended for 1st-6th grade. I declined. I was not a quitter and I would not run away with my tail between my legs. I went back to boarding school for 11th and 12th grade but I returned with an agenda: 1) I would not let the opinions that particular individuals had about me define how I perceived myself. If someone didn’t want to be friends – so be it. 2) I would not, under any circumstances, treat anyone at that school the way I had been treated during 8th and most of 9th grade. 3) I would change for no one.

I lived by those rules then and I’m learning post-divorce to live by them again. Ten months away from my regular high school had afforded me the opportunity to recreate myself on the outside. It had also given me the strength to realize that what was on the inside needed no recreating. I still knew me. I liked me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The teen has suffered. His bad years were 7th and 8th grade. Junior high age kids are cruel… the little shits. Labels were applied. It’s easier for a boy unsure of who he is to accept those labels than it is for him to apply the effort needed to become his own man. I shared my story with him as we talked. “Summer is almost here,” I said, “I can’t give you 10 months like I had, but take the summer to invent the man you want to be… the best K possible. Screw public opinion.” His eyes lit up. He seemed renewed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I realize, of course, that going to boarding school is not fully comparable to being emancipated from one’s parents. I had teachers and dorm parents. I had curfew. I didn’t have to cook my own meals. Still, I had far more independence than my parents fully realized and living away from them from the age of twelve didn’t exactly foster the type of relationship where I felt comfortable sitting down and talking with them as my son did with me last night. I was own master. I understood, very early on, that the consequences of my actions were my own.

The teen desperately wants to pursue the independence I had at his age, but now he realizes that he needs to pursue himself first for he is unable to answer a very fundamental question: “Who are you?” I told him I was here for him during this discovery but he had to allow me to be his parent… and his friend. And, yes, as long as he lives under my roof… he’ll live by my rules. Oy! That phrase. I sound like my father.

“Everyone wants to tell you what to do and what's good for you. They don't want you to find your own answers. They want you to believe theirs. I want you to stop gathering information from the outside and start gathering it from the inside.” ~Peaceful Warrior, Film (2006)



Photo credit:
Josh Sommers

Absence of Pursuit


There are, at the very least, one hundred far more vital things I should be doing at this moment. Literally. I counted… vaguely. Point is: I’m not doing them. I’m doing this. Then again, one of the items on that half-hearted “I should be…” mental list is to finish a blog post. This isn’t it.

There is a word for my behavior: Avoidance.

I should be…
…doing laundry. We ran out of clean clothes. Yeah. It’s that bad. For a month I’ve been hauling only the bare essentials (towels, sheets, clothes for one week) to the laundromat every Monday. The rest of it is in laundry baskets lining my hallway. Key word: laundromat. If I can ever afford my own home again (or even afford a rental house) and then afford to purchase a washer and dryer… I will never complain about doing laundry ever again. Ever. That’s probably a lie.

I should be…
…at the gym. I’m not. I’m still fat. Go figure. This town needs a 24-hour gym. Seriously. I would probably still have a million excuses for my not being there (or not) but the idea seems like a dandy one and, well, I might go at 2am. Being awake at that time? Do you know me? Not an issue.

I should be…
…sleeping. See above. Beth = Insomniac. The sleep issues contribute heavily to my seeming inability to lose weight even when I am working out and eating right. How can my body heal if it doesn’t rest?

I should be…
…cleaning my kitchen. It’s dirty. Hell, the whole apartment is dirty; however, I have to separate the tasks by room or I’ll be too overwhelmed to do a damn thing about it. Then again, despair washed over me about two weeks ago. I’ve been laughing in frustration ever since.

I should be…
…reading. I have four different books started and untold numbers waiting to be read. I just can’t seem to do it anymore. How does a lifelong reader lose the desire to read?

I should be…
…working. I could go to work right now and stay there for a month straight, nights included, without running out of tasks. Truth. I could bring it home with me but, alas, I’m not a salaried employee. This means I don’t get paid a higher amount in exchange for more (Read: unlimited) hours on the clock and overtime is frowned upon. Blessing? Yes. Curse? That too.

I should be…
…praying, but I’m mad at God. I’m always mad at God. I think I have reason to be mad at God. It probably isn’t a good reason. It also has a lot to do with me not receiving many obvious blessings. Again, not a good reason. In looking back…I’ve been “overlooked” a lot in the blessing department… even when I was living a faithful and more righteous (I hate the word “righteous”.) life. The hard times far outweigh the good times. I shouldn’t be keeping score. Still…
By the way… don’t bombard me with a list of the “blessings” for which I should be thankful. I’m not so out of tune with it all that I don’t realize how blessed I am that my kids are healthy or that I have a job, etc. I just need (Yes, need.) some help from Him that I feel like I’m not getting. This subject could become a novel. No joke. This is where I end it before that happens.

I should be…
…blogging. Oh, this isn’t blogging. This is public self deprecation with a splash of whine.

I should be…
…developing a strategy for dealing with the teenager. Nothing else I’ve tried is working. Then again, I could start with reading (Bollocks! We covered the reading part.) the book on motivation my dad has been trying to force down my throat for more than six months now. He has this theory that it will help me motivate each of my boys differently since they are so very different. He’s probably right. He’s always right. Truth. He is. It would probably likely do me a world of good… the boys too. Two issues: 1) There is that little reading problem mentioned above. 2) Pride. I have issues with being force fed anything.

I had a longer list when this started. Then something happened. Hugely ironic, actually… but now I can’t finish this rant and, for once, it’s not because I’m avoiding it. My shortcomings, though still a problem, must take a back seat.

“When life demands more of people than they demand of life - as is ordinarily the case - what results is a resentment of life almost as deep-seated as the fear of death.” ~Tom Robbins




Photo credit: tsgentuso on Flickr.

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