Sunday, June 30, 2013

raising chickens?

So tonight, over Chinese food, Joel asked me what I thought about raising chickens.

I was pretty shocked and kind of excited, and a bit doubtful and curious if it was a joke.  I couldn't believe he was serious.  Raising chickens has crossed my mind a few times and it's something I've joked about with friends, but I've never shared the idea with Joel.

He even mentioned bees!

The idea is fun.

I buy eggs all the time, and when I occasionally choose the white eggs over the organic, range free eggs I always feel a bit guilty.  And I won't even talk about how upset I was when I forgot to freeze a bunch of organic chicken breasts last week.

I never really raised chickens, but we had chickens growing up- in town (laughing).  My parents use to get baby chicks and ducks for Easter morning.  It was the best memory.  But as they got older and louder (the roosters) Dad would give them away to a nearby farm.

I mentioned how much I loved what they did for us on Easter when I was about sixteen and sure enough, that Easter morning there were baby chicks waiting for me in the kitchen one last time.  It meant a lot to me.

So here I am, googling for knowledge on raising chickens.  I should probably give Dad a call.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

warm summer nights

The best things in life are free.

And that blurry figure bending over in the background is my little Jack, four years young.

Monday, June 24, 2013


The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
-Benjamin Franklin 

I watched "Happy" the movie on netflixs today.

I'm a sucker for documentaries... research, different cultures, countries, happiness; all the things I love all rolled into one.
  • Did you know that social status, money, and success only account for 10% of your happiness?
  • 50% is your genetic make up
  • 40% is everything else and is within your control... like having close relationships and support from friends, family and the community.  It also talks about helping others, an active lifestyle, and "flow."
They also said that no matter how much money you make, you'll only gain short term happiness and you'll then adapt to that number and ultimately want more.  So no matter how many times you get a raise you'll adapt to that number and feel like it's not enough.

It also stated the obvious for those that dispute that money does buy happiness... saying if you compare the happiness levels of someone who makes 5,000 dollars a year to someone who makes 50,000... yes you're going to see a huge difference, but when your basic needs are met (10%), happiness depends on your genes (50%), and the other 40% is up to you. 

The movie made me think a lot about my parenting and the message I'm sending my boys.  Like Jack's need for a small toy every time we visit the store.  It was so easy to buy that $1 junk toy to keep him happy, but I'm feeding into materialism and also the false idea that things will make him happy.

So no more "things"... we're trading material rewards with family time (swimming, walks, catching lightning bugs, you get the idea).

And while we're being honest, today we had a small mishap with our bank account that I quickly resolved but while driving there I thought to myself (after watching the movie) that money does equal happiness.  I couldn't believe I was selling myself the lie I just watched a whole movie about!  I stopped myself from digging deeper into that thought and pushed myself to see all the good things I have in my life.  I feel a bit stunned that it came so quickly, and how strong the feeling was.  It's scary the things we train our minds to believe. 

So one of many steps to help myself and my boys, I've started a "count your blessings" ritual after prayers at bedtime, so the last thing my boys think of is all the things good in their life.  I think that's a great way to drift off to sleep.

Have you seen "Happy"?

What makes you happy? :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

bits and pieces

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” 
― Eric Roth

My blog posts have been random and short.

I can't seem to condense. 

Like today, the only words that feel right are... "just do it."  

Yep, the Nike slogan.  

My life is not what I'd like it to be at the moment.  Deadlines slowly creeping by, not using free time wisely, wanting to be more as a parent, wife, friend, business owner... I want to try new things.  I want to add more. 

So how do you get from point A to point B?  You just fucking do it!  There's no magical answers, yet we all google for them (or maybe I'm the only one?). 

Nobody wants to hear an excuse, especially the ones we feed ourselves. 

I recently read that our grasp should exceed our reach.

"The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself."
-Mary Schmich

Saturday, June 22, 2013



(While I'm in the bathroom Jack slowly walks in.)

Jack: "I'm sorry Mom."

(I stare at the ranch and small orange pieces all over his face and hands.)

Me: "Jackkk... what did you do?"

Jack: "I just really love carrots... so I ate them REALLY FAST like the cookie monster and now there's food everywhere."

(I'm trying hard not to laugh.)

Me: "Please don't do that again, and go wash your face."


Trying to give Jack organic milk that tastes slightly different.

Me: "Jack here's some magical milk, it's called organic and it's really good for you!"

Jack: "Does it taste like crab-legs?"


I ordered a pina colada but later caught the waiter and asked for a virgin so Jack could share with me.  There was small talk of alcohol or no alcohol to clarify my order.

Jack while sipping my pina colada: "Mmmm alcohol is yummy!"

I laugh and say for anyone within ear-shot that it doesn't have alcohol in it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

I regret...

Not taking any self portraits while I was pregnant with Jude.

I regret not doing that huge belly cast so I could put it in our bedroom.

And if we're being completely honest, I would have loved a simple nude shot.

It was an experience... a huge, monumental experience that won't come again, one that is easily forgotten.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


What do you want Olivia?

Such an enormous question.

Monday, June 17, 2013

it's always darkest before the dawn

Florence + The Machine
"Shake It Out"

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play

And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It's always darkest before the dawn

And I've been a fool and I've been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I'm always dragging that horse around

Our love is questioned, such a mournful sound
Tonight I'm gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it's always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

And I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart
'Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It's always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It's a fine romance but it's left me so undone
It's always darkest before the dawn

Oh whoa, oh whoa...

And I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't
So here's to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I'm ready to suffer and I'm ready to hope
It's a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat
'Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I'm gonna let it happen to me, yeah

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

Sunday, June 16, 2013

today is Father's Day...

And I find myself googling for knowledge on the right things to say and do for someone who has been admitted for depression.

My family member I mentioned awhile back asked to be taken to the hospital.

He's in a new facility that is barely open.

As I type this, my eyes focused behind my laptop and settled on a black and white photograph of him taken nearly fifty years ago.  He's in love and holding his sweetheart.

When I think of him, I only see him laughing... laughing so hard I can see the silver in his mouth.

I can hear his voice... with his strong and passionate opinion, something I've always valued, one because he's the only other democrat I know in our family.

I wish I could make all of this ago away.

I wish there was something I could say or do to help.  It's such a complex and difficult thing to understand.  I do believe this is not his fault.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Burning Bridges

I don't have a secret facebook account.

I did have a dormant account so I could keep my photography business page alive.  I had zero friends.  I spent two hours one night deleting all of my friends and relatives.  It was odd, but freeing.

I've been facebook free for over six months now, but I recently noticed facebook changed their privacy policies once again and I am no longer private and hidden.

So I officially deleted myself, and made a Jane Doe account for admin of my business page.  Why didn't I do this before?  I guess the thought of losing everything I've ever wrote on my wall made me nervous... like I'd really go back and reminisce (ain't nobody got time for that).

You know how some people are hoarders in real life, well there are digital hoarders too.  They're the ones afraid to delete files, online accounts or old email addresses.  Let it go.  Seriously.  Your slow computer and cluttered inbox will thank me.

Anyways, the reason for this post is I felt like I needed to explain.  You know, just in case anyone has done a search, found me and can't for the life of them figure out why I don't want to be their friend.  I do want to be your friend, just not on facebook :)  I use it purely for business.

I wrote the article below the night I decided to leave facebook, which is a bit silly to some but it was a big part of my life at the time.  I also submitted this to an online community for publishing so I wasn't able to share then, but I can now.

And whenever I get the itch to return, I read it.

Written January 9, 2013

I decided tonight, after some misunderstandings, that I am officially breaking up with facebook.  I'm actually pretty bummed about it.  But the reality that I am sad, kind of makes it more obvious that we need to separate.  For good.

I'm not the type to say goodbye and return.  I've had my share of "facebook breaks” with my last following the Sandy Hook school shooting.  Instead of mourning in peace, lots of people used the tragedy to push their political views.

But saying goodbye altogether, I didn't dare utter the words.  Plus, I have a business to run and networking is where it's at.  That has always been my excuse.

My husband deleted his a few months ago.  He's happier.  He tells me all the time I'd be happier too.  In fact, there have been a few times that I shared some drama from the book with him and he flat out told me not to share with him anymore because it ruins his day.  Sometimes I forget how wise he is.

He said facebook was the source for people to make mountains out of molehills.  Facebook was good at pointing out molehills for me so I didn't miss them.  It all felt like an epiphany.

So tonight, I told my husband that I'm doing it.  It's the push I've been waiting for.

"I'm going to delete my facebook," I said.

He told me, "don't delete it just because you're angry, do it because you want to!"

It felt like I was standing at the edge of a cliff about to jump into water and he's telling me to think twice when he's already jumped and had a good time.

"Give me the laptop before I change my mind!" I told him.

I went to delete but couldn't figure out how to separate my business page and my personal without deleting both.  I was in limbo.  Do I deactivate or do I send a request to have everything removed?  Do I open a Jane Doe account and keep running my business page?

I'm leaning towards letting it all go... torching the bridge and watching it burn.

To be completely honest and weird, I've asked myself the question of what people like Benjamin Franklin would have thought of facebook.  I can only imagine, and part of me thinks he wouldn't like it much.

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.”  -Benjamin Franklin

See… wise.

The person I had an argument with today quoted Benjamin Franklin at my wedding in her toast.

Our relationship will mend, and we will eventually move on, but I think facebook will not be the remedy, not that it was the culprit, but it definitely didn't help the situation.  And while we're being honest, it wasn't the first time we've had a misunderstanding on facebook.

Facebook came with a lot of guilt and responsibility.
Always feeling the need to type out a "Happy Birthday" when the reminder popped up
Feeling the need to accept friend requests from every single person I've ever met in my life
The pressure to network
Feeling the need to constantly lift some one's spirit or offer advice
Lost time.  When I always exceeded my “15 minutes only” rule.
The "hide" option.  Probably 75% of my "friends" were hidden in my feed.  I couldn't see a thing they posted because I didn't want to.  How is that a "friend?"

Moments that were private within our home were always followed by a thought about sharing on facebook.  My mind started to talk in facebook updates.  I was blowing up the feed with photos of my kids and all my instagram photos.

And the part that I didn’t want to admit to… the judging.

“A person that judges others will inevitably judge themselves harshly. It is only when one stops judging others that, that one can truly appreciate the beauty within.” ― Ando Oomae

Realizing that I was thinking about facebook when I wasn't even actively on it, judging others and plotting my next post made me realize it's not a place for me.  It wasn't good for my soul.

So that's it, I'm officially breaking up with facebook.  I imagine it will slowly but surely make my life more peaceful.

And peace is what I want.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

depression hurts

“When you're surrounded by all these people, it can be lonelier than when you're by yourself. 
You can be in a huge crowd, 
but if you don't feel like you can trust anyone or talk to anybody, 
you feel like you're really alone.” 
― Fiona Apple

A close family member that I love is battling depression.

As someone who's been though the fog twice, I spent last night assuring him he's not alone, not crazy and all the thoughts in his mind that he doesn't want to share- I've been there and I promised him he'd be happy again, that he would feel like himself again someday.

He wanted to talk about it... so we talked.

It's nothing to be ashamed of (although I could tell a few others in the room were a bit uncomfortable).

His questions of "why" when nothing horrible has happened I think is what is most upsetting to him.  He can't understand it.

I told him there are many questions in life and not enough answers.

I said all the things that were in my mind while depressed but I never expressed, like all the real thoughts I had but never shared because I didn't want to scare anyone (he nodded in agreement).  How one day I was okay, and the next it was like a train had hit me and I couldn't understand how it could come on so strong and so sudden (more nods).

I called him today and talked about medications, things I'm currently on and how I also feel like a bit of this is in our genes.  I think it runs in the family.  It's not his fault.  (He is very active and healthy and I do believe that drugs can and do help people suffering from depression.)

I told him it's hard to go through the fog of depression once and come through thinking you'll never experience that again... and then you do- and it's a whole new experience accepting that you can't control everything.

He said after he came out of depression awhile back, he never thought he'd feel this way again... I said it's a hard to accept, but that he would be happy again.

This person has years of life experience that I don't.  I love him, and I worry about him and I hope one day soon... he will feel true happiness.

Today I looked back in an old journal of mine when I was battling depression in 2009 and here's just a small excerpt.

I think it's good to remember.

February 17, 2009

"Joel had to work a double.  I waited until Jack went to bed to "fall apart."  I had and still do have a major migraine.  I took a hot shower to relax and cry.  The shower is the one place I feel safe enough to let all of my emotions out.  And although it feels good to release it... I start to wonder... why am I sad?  Why am I upset?  I have everything I ever wanted... 

I feel guilty for my ill feelings and thoughts... 

Is this really a mental illness?  Sometimes I'm not sure... how do you know?  And how do you know when you've overcome it?  I keep thinking I'm finally healed and stop my medication only to find myself in the same old rut. 

I keep making excuses so I don't have to see Dan (my counselor).  I know he's helping me but it just seems like too much energy... 

Headaches are becoming all too common lately.  I feel like I can't "quiet" my mind.  My thoughts are so random and sometimes I forget my original thought that sparked my fifty trailing thoughts." 

*If someone you know is battling depression, here is an article of 10 things to say and 10 things not to say.

*And if you are battling depression, I urge you to talk to someone.  The first step is always the hardest.  And if talking seems unimaginable, I suggest writing a letter to express yourself.  You will be happy again, I promise.

Photo Source

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

lessons from the ocean

“The things you own end up owning you. 
It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything.” 
― Chuck Palahniuk

     As we walked through the sand and decided on a spot on the beach, the lifeguard came over and
told us how our giant umbrella had to be back behind him so he could see clearly down the shore.

I was so embarrassed as I slowly realized, we were that family.  

You know, the super pale, Northern family dragging way too much and bickering over small things.  I felt silly and not really happy.  I felt out of place. 

The next day, after parasailing and a few experiences that really felt like living...   I was putting Jude to bed and Joel was out on the beach trying to fly a kite with Jack; I watched from the balcony.  

I decided to let go of the idea of "perfect" and headed outside past Jude's bedtime, barefoot, in a floor length sundress with no bra and a single towel for Jude to sit on. 

I went out and played in the water, chased Jack, built a sandcastle.  We buried Jack in his evening clothes and I let Jude get all sandy while playing with buckets.  We got soaked and we walked the beach.  We laughed and played and let go of the idea of perfect.  What's perfect?  Having your arms full of things only to weigh you down?  Or arms free and open to experiences?  

Later, Joel put sandy Jude in the ergo baby carrier on his back and he went right to sleep.  We stayed out late and walked what seemed forever down the beach.  We talked to the locals and drew our names in the sand.  We stopped by the bar on the beach and got a couple drinks.  We watched someone arrive at the ocean, flip off his sandals and run for the water.  Said he hadn't seen the ocean in five years. 

Staring up at the palm trees and the night sky with the ocean crashing against the shore is probably one of my favorite things to do in the whole world. 

One experience with "things" taught me a lot about life.  Every time we headed for the ocean after that, it was barefoot with only the essential things... like a room key.  

Happiness was easier to find.  I felt free.  

“A lot of people get so hung up on what they can't have 
that they don't think for a second about whether they really want it.” 
― Lionel Shriver

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