Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nerd Fun

Who says nerds don't know how to party? (This also shows why mom's need chocolate.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Secret to a Happy Marriage

I've been unhappily married and happily married. Like most people I much prefer the latter. Who wouldn't?

I think those that base their marriage simply on the love factor might be making a mistake. Love is grand, but it's like constantly eating the same meat without adding any spice, garnish, potatoes, or vegetables. Eventually it's going to be boring and you're going to want to go out for a side dish and dessert.

Make sure you have someone you can share things with - a key here is communication. You shouldn't be with someone that is constantly misunderstanding you and doesn't respect you.

Another mistake many people make is when they believe that a baby can save their marriage. You might want to keep in mind that sexual relations change with pregnancy and years after a child is born. A study at Texas A & M University show that about 90% of couples lose some degree of satisfaction in sexual relations after the birth of a child. A spouse that was very sexually romantic before the birth of a child is more than likely going to have a very difficult time adjusting to parenthood. The study also showed that those couples that took the time to become friends and shared their ideas and thoughts had less difficulty with adjusting to parenthood.

So, what does this mean? It means don't rush into a relationship. Take the time to get to know and actually like one another. People that rush into a marriage due to passion and sexual satisfaction tend to not stay married and become bored with their relationship.

According to an article in CNN that uses this study and others:

1. Birth of children puts a strain on a marriage
2. Boredom in a marriage have long term affects on a relationship
3. Happier people are less like to be divorced

So, you might want to keep in mind that a happy person keeps a happier family. Yet, in the US alone 1 in 6 people in the US believe they suffer from depression.

Here are some Pasty hints for a happy marriage:

1. Talk to one another. Not just about the easy stuff. Talk about everything and really get to know each other. Brace yourself for the things that are tough and don't take everything that is said personally. Internalizing what is said is not really listening.

2. Do things together. Don't make excuses that you don't have time or anything else like "we don't have the money" or "what do we do with the kids." Find solutions and make it happen. Taking a walk in a park doesn't cost anything and friends, even parents of friends, will more than likely not mind watching the kids for an hour or so, especially if the deed is reciprocated.

3. Learn to play together and laugh together. Have fun. Forget the problems and things that keep you down. Worrying about things does not make them go away. Share your problems and find a productive and workable solution. Work toward your goals together as a couple. There should never be a martyr in a marriage.

Sometimes love just isn't enough. Having a good relationship is work, but it's very much worthwhile. When you are close to your partner every minute you are with each other is a memory in the making.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Who Would You Be?

Andrea didn't want to go to her high school reunion. Then she thought about it. She decided perhaps a proxy would be cool....

Hey honey! You don't have to go to that reunion. We can hire someone to impersonate you! He can even dress like a marine, or a belly dancer.(No one would know the difference.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Can there be forgiveness?

I was watching a movie the other day in which a marriage of 20 years was broken because a man had started an affair with another woman. At lunch one day he told his wife that they had been living a lie and confessed to the affair. Why? Because he wanted to be with the other woman.

The wife was dumbfounded, as well she might be. This came at her from out of the blue. But the words he spoke next hit me:

"I won't give her up. It's non-negotiable."

Now I went through 18 years of marriage the first go round. I tried and tried to do everything from emoting to meditating to trying to bring back the passion and nothing worked. The main reason was because I didn't have cooperation. It took two of us to make a marriage and it would take two of us to succeed.

Unlike this woman I didn't have a worry about him having an affair with was more like him having an affair with his hobbies. I came in third in his life and for me that wasn't acceptable. I couldn't live that way no matter how hard I tried. I finally gave up, which wasn't easy. I don't take vows and promises lightly.

In the movie the man realizes that the wife is the only woman he really loves. Life isn't as good without her. My ex said something along those lines too, that he realized what he had only after it was gone. She forgave him and took him back; I didn't.

I would think that if my current husband had an affair that I could forgive him. I would think that if we were able to discuss it and work through it the love would overcome the feeling of betrayal and that maybe I could understand. The difference is that we share in what happened together.

The first time around I wasn't given a choice. I was cut out completely and spent hours at night roaming the house crying. When I tried to talk to him about things he was too tired to talk or he turned things around to where I was at fault. That, my friends, is not communication.

This time around I know that I have love in my life. I feel loved and I feel appreciated. That, I believe, is what makes the difference.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sixteen Year Old Invaded by Body Snatchers

I think my sixteen year old has been invaded by body snatchers. Why? Because I know for a fact I didn't raise this child that is so surly and discontent. Her Ipod broke that she received for Christmas. Things happen. She wanted me to send it back and get a new one to replace it since it should still be under warranty. Of course it looks as if it's been out on the battlefield and hit by a couple of sniper rounds, but hey, I'm sure the guys over at Apple wouldn't notice, right? When I told her that I didn't think that the abuse was covered by warranty she goes storming off and slamming doors. Not a pretty sight. She didn't even wait for me to tell her I'd buy her another MP3 player. Nopers. She would much rather go and let the demons in her roar.

Then she comes back and tells me that she didn't "abuse" the Ipod. It wasn't her fault that the cord was being held together with duct tape. Millions of kids around the globe have this problem with their Ipod's, it's just an Ipod problem. Okay then. Evidently my Ipod, her dad's Ipod, and her 9 year old brother's Ipod are immune because it is a disease they only contract from teenagers. Whew. Good thing for me, huh?

I remember the other day I watched a movie called "The Secret"(no, not the one where you think about what you want in life and get it) where a father loses his wife in an accident and she comes back in the daughter's body. Kind of creepy, but there was one really interesting line. The mother, speaking through the daughter says something like "I didn't remember what it was like to be sixteen. You have all these hormones running through you going crazy. You feel horny, angry, and sad all at the same time and you have no idea what you want."

So, I guess instead of turning my daughter over to the government for alien experimentation I'll keep her, at least for another couple of years. I'll listen to her door slamming and yelling and crying and remember... my mother was so lucky I wasn't like this when I was 16.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Girls and Their Daddies

I was watching a show last week called Being Erica where she is scooted back in time to right wrongs she's done in her past. In this particular show it showed the difficulties she was having with her family life. Her sister was angry with Erica, Erica was angry with her mother, Erica's mother was angry with her ex-husband. Erica believed that her mother was a shrew to her father and that the divorce was totally her mother's fault. Later when she is whisked back in time she discovers her father was having an affair. Her mother never wanted her or her sister to find out. She would rather have her girls think she was a horrible person then to have them hate their father.

When I went through my divorce my daughter had similar feelings toward me. It was very difficult for me, but I never wanted to say a negative thing about her father. The problems that I had in my marriage, I felt, should not influence the relationship the children had with their father. It wasn't easy. So many times I wanted to say something so I wouldn't be the bad guy. There are so many things that other people don't know, and my ex didn't seem to have the same compulsion I had in making allegations or telling stories. Still, right is right and truth comes out in the long run.

Today I have a friend going through a divorce. She has two teenage daughters. The daughters say hateful things to her and blame her for the divorce. There are so many things that she could tell them but she doesn't want to influence them negatively. They support their father and want his love and attention. For them this is a very important thing. You can see them vying for his attention and approval. So why not Mom? Because deep down inside they know they have their mother's love. I believe that they feel safe expressing their anger and frustrations to her. Is it fair? Not in the least. But still, they will do whatever they can to please their father even if it breaks their mother's heart, which it does.

Not all mother's are as gracious as my friend. She is frustrated and hurt and wonders if she's doing the right thing. She's constantly doubting herself and feeling horrible because her heart is breaking not only from losing a spouse and a family unit, but she feels she has lost her daughters.

My experience has shown me that daughters tend to come back around. Eventually they see that Mom isn't Satan in disguise, she's human and flawed but she loves her children unconditionally. Daughter's may strive to be Daddy's Little Girl but it's Mom that is there for heart breaks and chocolate ice cream.

Given time my friend will find that her daughter's don't really hate her - they are just a bit selfish, like all other teenagers around the world. They are discovering and finding their way in life. One day when the blinders come off and the demon of confusion leaves their bodies they'll look over and say, "Mom? Is that you? I was wondering where you were."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Japanese Girl Choses Country Over Parents

A 13 year old Japanese girl chooses to stay in Japan even though both of her parents are being deported back to the Phillipines. They tried to fight the system, but Japan refused to relent. People say that the girl should have her parents, but Japan says that allowing the parents to stay undermines the core purpose of their immigration laws.

A one on one case would be one thing, but there are over 500 cases like this in Japan. Realistically creating such a loophole would allow persons who knowingly entered the country illegally, like the above stated parents, to have children in a country in order to circumvent the law. Not a good practice in my opinion.

The true tragedy in this case is that the girl does not know how to speak her parents native language. The parents could have been caught and deported at any time but they chose, like they chose to live in Japan without following proper channels, to not share their culture with their child. They also chose to give their daughter the choice to stay or to go back with them.

The United States received a lot of flack not too long ago with a similar case of a teenage girl whose parents were deported back to Central America. It happens.

The people that wish to circumvent the law know that there are consequences. Those that also have children when they live in a country illegally have to know that the child is not a free pass into the country.

I do feel for people that leave a country they feel cannot provide for them sufficiently. I understand the need and desire to want to succeed. I also know that there are several reasons why we cannot just turn a blind eye to those people that come into the country illegally and think they are above our laws and restrictions. I do not care if they are here for 10 months or 10 years - knowingly doing something wrong has consequences when you are caught. To those that are in a country illegally I say: "No one forced you to take a job and make a life in a country where you entered without following proper channels. Take your medicine."

I feel badly for the girl, don't get me wrong. It isn't fair that she is living without her parents, and the choice she made may be the right one for her. In my particular case my child would not have that option as I would never leave my children behind. Of course I never would have placed my children in that type of scenario to begin with.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Momentary Darkness

The face of the child that was killed in California (Sandra Cantu) has been haunting me. Not only did a monster steal her innocence and take her life but they left a huge hole in a family and a community. What kind of world is it where children cannot go out and play without fear of being bait for someone's selfish desires? Then they dump the body in a pond as if it were unwanted trash. This is beyond tragic. One reason is because as time passes she, by most in the world, will be forgotten. She will become a shadow in their minds, but never forgotten by her family.

So this morning I wrote this poem. It's rather dark, but it's how I'm feeling.

Momentary Darkness
The laughter of a child fills the air
Until the ugly head of the monster hears
and rears it’s snarling head.
The world falls into momentary darkness.
The child’s missing the village cries
For another innocence in the world
has been snatched away into the nothing
And the world falls into momentary darkness.
The tears of those who love fall upon the ground
Yet the droplets hit the earth without a sound.
The monster is not swayed by sorrow.
He relishes the momentary darkness.
What should we do as the light fades away?
As it’s no longer safe for our children to play.
For as the world becomes a haven for monsters
The moments of darkness are longer and longer.

Pasty Dunbar

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Teenagers and Sex

I'm the mother of two teenagers. I lived through raising two others, and believe me there were times when I wasn't sure I was going to survive. Raising children is hard work. Anyone that says otherwise is either insane, has stepford children (please email me and tell me where I can buy the chip), or is very rich and is hiring someone else to do the dirty work.

Today I was a bit upset over this 14 year old girl speaking sexually in a public room, playing poker, on myspace with a young man. He was told by one of the other men in the room, "Dude, she's only 14!" His response was, "So?" The girl laughed. They kept speaking, but so we couldn't see his profile he left the table and watched instead. She then proceeded to put her real last name on the chat so that he could add her as a friend. Now we all know her name, her age, and her location - all from her profile.

I remember earlier in the week another young girl on myspace was arrested for putting nude photos on her page. Many thought that it was ridiculous that she was taken down as a sexual predator. I don't think people realize that these children are bringing predators on them. They are encouraging pedophiles, not that these people need encouragement, I know. Still, it's inappropriate and just emphasizes my stance that we have serious problems with many of today's youth.

It's a very sad world when young teen girls think it's normal for them to have sex and to blast it across the globe via the internet. We've dropped the ball somewhere. My children are far from perfect but you can ask either one of my teens what would happen if they tried something like this. The answer would be along the lines of them being murdered... it wouldn't happen. Not because my children are perfect little angels that would never consider being stupid, far from it. It's because they know that I monitor them, discipline them, and I also teach them.