Monday, November 29, 2004

I Saw Myself on TV: A Desperate Housewives Moment

Last night I was watching ABC's Desperate Housewives, a show I have watched off and on this season. The show has it's dark humor, quirkiness, and scandal like any other show. However there is one character with whom I can totally relate to, and who reminds me so much of myself that as I was watching last night I thought, "That's me on TV".

Lynette is a woman who leaves the corporate world to be a stay-at-home-mom of four children, two of whom are "challenging", as one of the characters puts it. Their hyperactivity, plus the daily pressures of being a homemaker put a lot of stress on Lynette, who also piles on heaps of pressure upon herself by comparing herself to other women she assumes have it together. The dark humor in her storyline encompasses her taking her children's Ritalin as a way of getting energy. She has a husband who, while loving and supportive, just isn't there to take enough of the load off of her shoulders. We see scenes of her jumping in a swimming pool in a elegant dress and heels to discipline her children, telling off a poilice officer who has the nerve to imply she is a bad mom, punching her husband after he suggests taking the risk of making love during a time they can conceive again, and attempting to have acupuncture done while her rambunctious children destroy the waiting room on the other side of the door.

On last night's show, she has a dream of completely losing control, screaming at her children, throwing peanut butter jars through the window, and of her dead friend tempting her with suicide. She feels she has lost all control, drops her kids off with a friend, and drives away in a state of desperation. When Lynette's friends find her in a soccer field, limp and almost catatonic, they get her to admit that she can't handle it. Lynette feels like a failure and thinks her kids shouldn't have a mother like her. Lynette's friends reassure her that they have all felt that way at some point and that she doesn't need to compare herself with anyone else. Being a mom is hard enough without adding that pressure. Lynette feels relief, but also expresses her frustration over her friends not sharing their struggles with her. Lynette realized her assumptions about her friends were unrealistic, but when women don't share these dark moments with each other, others assume they are all alone in their own dark moments.

To me, this moment of Deperate Housewives was reality-TV. Believe it or not, I was actually in tears during these scenes, because I saw so much of myself in Lynette, I began to wonder if ABC had TV cameras in my home. I have had many a day of exhausted depseration with my four children, all born within 5 years of marriage. I have also slumped over my kitchen table and wrung my hands through my hair, tempted to just pull it out. While I have never dreamed of suicide or have taken my child's cough medicine or antibiotics, I have often wondered why God would treat my children so badly by giving them a horrible mom like me.

Well, those are my bad days. But the end of the show was equally as touching when the narrator talked about how some people deal with the guilt of their sins by asking for forgiveness and vowing to do better next time, and their prayers are answered. During this narration, we see Lynette resting and dreaming of joyful days with her children, and her dead friend smiliing at her as if to say, "You'll be just fine". Those are also reflections of my good days.

I think the message of this scandalous guilty pleasure of last night's episode was something all housewives (desperate or not) need to see. Being a stay at home mom is not easy, and for many of us, it does not come naturally. Comparing ourselves to others and isolating ourselves in our perceived failures only makes the job more diffucult. When we hide our struggles from others out of fear of appearing weak, we are doing ourselves a disservice. Having a support system of friends with whom to share our dark days can ease the burdens we feel and actually help us to excel in this life we have chosen. Signs of imperfection as a mom, wife, and homemaker do not mean we should give up, but rather reach out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I really have nothing to say...

The past two days I have had headaches and have felt beyond tired (no I'm not pregnant). I just have no intelligent thought going through my head. I'm barely keeping my house in order. I'm beginning to wonder if I have carbon monoxide poisoning because I feel so yucky without any explanation. OK, so I'm exaggerating.

Actually, this all has reminded me to pick up my copy of "Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition". I remember how good it was for me to read, and I have fallen off track in my healthy eating habits. I think that is why I am feeling so yucky. It is amazing how much of an affect diet has on us.

Whatever is wrong, excuse me for a couple of days if nothing appears here.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Whether or Not to Have Children

I got this in an e-mail today. Laughed my booty off!

To Know Whether or Not You Are Ready To Have Children

THE MESS TEST - Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer.

THE TOY TEST - Obtain a 55 gallon box of Legos (or you may substitute roofing tacks). Have a friend spread them all over the house. Put on a blindfold. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream because this would wake a child at night.

THE GROCERY STORE TEST - Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best)and take them with you as you shop. Always keep them in sight and pay foranything they eat or damage.

THE DRESSING TEST - Obtain one large, unhappy, live octopus. Stuff into a small net bag making sure that all the arms stay inside.

THE FEEDING TEST - Obtain a large plastic milk jug. Fill halfway with water.Suspend from the ceiling with a cord. Start the jug swinging. Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal into the mouth of the jug, while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the contents of the jug on the floor.

THE NIGHT TEST - Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8-12 pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 3:00 pm begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9:00 pm. Lay down your bag and set your alarm for 10:00 pm. Get up, pick up your bag, and sing every song you have ever heard.Make up about a dozen more and sing these too until 4:00 am. Set the alarm for 5:00 am. Get up and make breakfast.Keep this up for 5 years and look cheerful.

THE INGENUITY TEST - Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and pot of paint, turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet paper tube and turn it into an attractive Christmas candle. Use only scotch tape and a piece of foil. Last, take a milk carton, a ping-pong ball, and an empty box of cocoa puffs. Make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower.

THE AUTOMOBILE TEST - Forget the BMW and buy a station wagon. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave itthere. Get a dime. Stick it into the cassette player. Take a family size package of chocolate chip cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There....perfect.

THE PHYSICAL TEST (Women) - Obtain a large bean bag chair and attach it to the front of your clothes. Leave it there for 9 months. Now remove 1/2 of the beans. Leave it on for the rest of your life.

THE FINANCIAL TEST (Men) - Go to the nearest drug store. Set your wallet on the counter. Ask the clerk to help himself. Now proceed to the nearest foodstore. Go to the head office and arrange for you paycheck to be directly deposited to the store. Purchase a newspaper. Go home and read it quietly for the last time.

THE FINAL ASSIGNMENT - Find a couple who already has a small child. Lecturethem on how they can improve their discipline, patience, tolerance, toilet training and child's table manners. Suggest many ways they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run wild. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you will have all the answers.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Somthing to Remember When Buying a Rosary

I have learned a new lesson in the art of buying Rosaries: it is more important for it to be well made than for it to be beautiful.

This past year, what I wanted for my birthday was "my own Rosary". Not just one of the plastic ones that we get a church or as a gift at a fundraiser. A really nice, distinct Rosary that everyone would see and say it was MY Rosary.

So my husband took me to the religious store and I picked one out- a baby blue beaded Rosary that was about $20. It was beautiful, feminine, and intricate. A few days later, it broke in my own hands (not even my kids had touched it!) Those little links in between the beads had loosened. I fixed it, but it broke again and again (one of those times my kids had touched it.) I took it back, because I figured that a $20 Rosary just shouldn't break this much. The new one has continued to break repeatedly.

A couple of years ago, I wanted to get my husband a Rosary for Christmas. He LOVES Pope John Paul II, and I found a Rosary with a medallion of our Pope's face on it. It was $50. I bought it. Our children have handled it, and it has also broken repeatedly.

Granted, the plastic ones aren't pretty, but they stay intact. Those cheap suckers NEVER break! My kids have done things with them that would make one think they were TRYING to destroy them. They are indestructible. This also applies to the wooden ones with that thick twine in between the beads, and the ones made solely out knotting thread.

There is nothing more discouraging than praying a Rosary, only for it to break in the middle. It takes such an effort out of me to muster up the desire, or the time, to pray the meditational devotion. Of course I would like to pray one everyday, and I really try to... but that's not the point here! Once it breaks, of course I pause to fix the beads, which takes about 20 minutes, some good lighting, maybe a magnifying glass, and the use of my teeth. By then, I'm out of the praying mood (which is probably what the devil intended).

The next Rosary I buy will be no more than $5.00. It won't be pretty, but at least my meditation won't be interrupted by my finger searching for the next bead only to be handling empty air.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Tears for Laci

Today, as I was picking up my oldest son from school, I had my radio turned on, turned up, and my children tuned out so I could hear the verdict in the Scott Peterson trial. Guilty of 1st degree muerder. Guilty of 2nd degree murder. Special cicumstances. Eligible for the death penalty.

As the verdict was broadcast live, I began to cry. No, certainly not because I thought they got it wrong. I was sad because twelve people who have had their lives consumed by this case for almost half a year let us on the outside know that, beyond a resonable doubt, there is a man on this earth who could murder the one he vowed his life to, and also the one whose life he participated in creating. The crowd outside cheered. Anyone who is married or has children should be crying.

My prayers go out to Laci's family, who hopefully will be able to experience closure and healing after this process. I pray that the remainder of their lives will be lived well, in honor of their loved ones who died. I also pray for the Peterson family, whose devastation none of us can comprehend. Many of us have lost loved ones, but few of us have experienced having to face the concept of your flesh and blood being a murderer.

As for certain aspects of the trial, just a few thoughts:

I don't understand how the jury found 1st degree murder for Laci and 2nd degree for the baby. If he premeditated one, then he KNEW the baby would die as a result. He couldn't have reasoned otherwise. So didn't he premeditate the baby's murder as well? He may not have directly attacked his son, but he KNEW that attacking Laci would result in Connor's death. And he KNEW that dumping Laci's body in the bay would perpetuate that death. The jury is still under a gag order so we won't know anything until after sentencing.

Mark Geragos was NOT present today. He was in Los Angeles. But some have commented that in a DEATH PENALTY case, a lawyer doesn't leave his client, especially during deliberations because of the emotional time it is. Granted, no one thought the jury would reach a verdict today, but still... Also, Geragos really lost steam towards the end of the trial. He didn't seem as "on fire" as he did in the beginning. I am beginning to wonder if HE began to think Scott was guilty (or if he *knows*). If he thought his client was innocent, why didn't he ensure he was there?

POOR TASTE on the part of the crowd surrounding the courtroom: news reports said they boo'ed Peterson's family as they came out. That is so bad and wrong. Scott Peterson is their son; of course his family will support him. They weren't the ones to commit this crime. The crowd should be ashamed of themselves. And why boo or cheer anyone anyway? This isn't a football game or a stage performance. These are people's lives, not fodder for entertainment. Two people died, another one might, and there are dozens of people whose lives are now devastated in the process. Cheering as people exit the courtroom seems highly inappropriate, and makes me question their motives for such an interest in this case. Please, get some perspective.

Sentencing: I don't believe in the death penalty, but even if I did, Scott Peterson should get life in prison. First of all, it would give him a chance at repentace and redemption. But if not that, then he should not get the easy way out. He should have to live a very long life with what he has done, knowing his plan didn't work.

And as this circus enters its final phase, I pray for Laci, who I think many of us take for granted as a pretty girl whose picture has been on our TV screen for 2 years, and who has been, to some of those out there, a real life soap opera star as if she were a source of entertainment. She was someone's daughter, someone's friend, someone's sister, and most of all, someone's mother.

May eternal rest be granted unto them, and let pepetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Flying Homemaker

We've all filled out applications, surveys, and opinions polls where the question of occupation is asked. I hate it when there is no option for me to put as a stay-at-home-mom, and I must put "unemployed", "other", or "not specified". My preference, when offered, is to put "homemaker"

As a mother, isn't that what I do? I make a home for my husband, my children, my guests, and myself. And it is a 24/7 task. It entails many of the things typically associated with a housewife: cooking (though not well), cleaning (another area where my perfectionism has its limits), managing the household, being a taxi-mom to my 4 kids, etc.

But it really goes deeper than that. Being a homemaker means making my home a haven. There are aspects of it that are very job-like, but there need to be aspects that provide me and my family with spiritual nourishment, emotional safety, and loving stimulation.

These have been goals, but I have often been my worst enemy in achieving these goals. I am a certified discouraged perfectionist. If I can't get everything done and done perfectly, I don't do it at all. So my life was spent either slaving myself until a sterile house was the result, or doing nothing due to the depression that engulfed me when I felt overwhelmed.

I have subscribed to the Flylady rule of thought in being a homemaker. Her website,, has changed my attitude and perceptions about being a homemaker. Slowly, but surely, I am letting go of my habits of putting perfectionism before being available to my children. A system of routines and daily managment has taken over where a perfectionist goal of a perfect house used to be. I am no longer depressed at what I am not as a homemaker, but looking to find my niche in this vocation I have chosen.

I am not a crafty person, I don't have the visual skills to have a perfectly decorated house, I don't enjoy cooking, I don't know how to garden or do yardwork very well. However, I don't have to be those things. I need to embrace the blessings I can give my family, and let go of trying to attain the "perfect" homemaker qualities that are contrary to my personality.

I love to read and enjoy reading to my children. I like to be organized and I like to maintain a calendar. I love to cheer for my children at the sporting events and applaud them at their dance performances. I like to bake their cakes on their birthdays...using cake mix from a box, but still, filled with love. I love singing and dancing, and doing so with my kids makes for good exercise.

The great thing is that letting go of perfectionism has actually given me time be be the more perfect mom I am striving to be. I do my routines and cleaning "assignments" fo the day, and then I'm done. No more days where baths or prayertime gets skipped because of my overwhelming goals, or because I have konked out in exhaustion in front of the TV or computer and just don't feel like being a mom that evening.

And not only that, but the routines and cleaning zones actually WORK! My house is maintained well. No, not completly spotless 100% of the time, but clean, tidy, and organized. It makes for a more comfortable environment to truly BE in. And I'm not over-tired so that I can't even enjoy the home I've made. My children and husband aren't forced to temper their play or relaxation time out of fear of messing up the house I just obsessively cleaned.

I do fall off the system here and there. I am hoping that won't happen this holiday season as it did last. But, as Flylady says, "Baby steps...."

I am grateful to Flylady and her crew. If I were an employee in a homemaking factory, I would have been an ill-prepared, untrained worker. But now, I have been taught the tools I need to excel and to truly be called "homemaker."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

A Note to the Cultural Elite From a "Spectacularly Stupid" Bush Voter.

So, now the democrats are bitter. That's an understatement. Some are just plain sore losers. Nothing made that more clear to me than Ted Rall's column, "Confessions of a Cultural Elitist". I would highly suggest reading it, if only to see that the democrats have a lot of work to do if they expect to reach out to the millions of people it takes to win an election.

First, let me clarify that I am registered to no party, because I can not, in good conscience, allign myself with certain aspects of the big two's platforms. However, I did vote for George Bush. It wasn't because I really believed Sadaam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction or that he ordered the 9/11 attacks. It was because I believe that above all political agendas, issues, or campaign promises, if we as a society can't protect innocent human life, born and unborn, then we can no longer call ourselves civilized. I am an admirer of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who summed it up best when she said, "It is a very great poverty to decide that a child must die that you might live as you wish." While neither candidate is perfect, Bush reflects more of my beliefs and values than John Kerry.

Rall claims justified superiority over the majority of the country, both numerical and geographical, who allowed Bush to be re-elected. What Rall is forgetting, is that many of those people who live in the red states are the ones that farm the "better food" that he eats, be it produce, grain, or animal. They manufacture the cars he drives and the materials he uses to build his homes. They preserve the forests and national parks he visits for vacation, and are working to better serve him in the ample amount of travel time he lords over the rest of us. They are the ones dishing out their measly salaries, which Rall has so kindly reminded us of how much "less" they are than his own, to pay for the books the liberals write, the newspapers and magazines they publish, and the "cooler movies" they make. And a a great many of them have fought in the wars this country has won and lost, but that he has only read about.

Rall's elitist mentality leads him to think that the big cities are filled with intellectual liberal progressives. He forgets the mechanics, hairdressers, house-cleaners, the maintenance workers, waiters and waitresses, cashiers, and city workers who DON'T have college degrees, or top-dollar salaries, and who drive further inland from their jobs to their homes because they can't afford to live side-by-side to the big city elite, as is the case in California. What is so funny, is that anyone who has seen the demographic map highlighting county-by-county where the presidential votes went will see that places like California, Oregon, and Washington are mostly Bush territory. In fact, where I live, only 90 minutes away from the liberal mecca of San Francisco, we are mostly Bush as well. The places in California that voted for Bush are the agricultural towns FEEDING the rest of the state. And they are also the places many San Francisco/Bay area workers go home to each evening. It's hilarious that the ones that took over the election are the ones the wealthy liberals have driven out of their cities.

Rall has just proven the point that is contrary to his commentary- that the liberal "elite" are completely out of touch with reality. Rall says he and his compadres know more about what is going on in the world. Well then, why didn't he see this election shocker coming? Does he know so much about what's going on across the street that he has forgotten to take a look in his own backyard? He so eloquently remarked, "Educational achievment doesn't necessarily equal intelligence." Yep, he's right.

Rall has verified in my mind, that the attitudes of those living on the edge of the west coast and the big city easterners are so completely arrogant that the ones holding those beliefs could not possibly serve ME in the capacity of civil servant. He has just answered the question, of why I didn't vote for John Kerry.

I'm sure Kerry appreciates Rall's candor, for now after reading Rall's commentary, us little people feel completely disenfranchised and unserved by those associated with liberal thought. The party that once looked out for the everyday man has forgotten that they themselves rely on the work, services, and VOTES of those men and women.

Yes, us Jesus freaks may be "spectacularly stupid" according to Rall, but we won. And if the democrats don't change something before the next presidential election, Americans will become stupider by the minute.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Getting Started

I wondered about creating my own blog, because I am not much into journaling. I sometimes begin a new year with a fresh, clean, beautifully decorated journal, only to have five or six pages of it filled up before it is placed on my bookshelf, never to be written in again. However, it is nice to think that when there are times when I have thoughts that need to come out of my little head, I now have a place to release them. My poor husband, who can only handle about 1000 words coming out of my mouth in a single evening, will be eternally grateful.

I imagine my blog will be a hodgepodge of topics. I am a stay-at-home mom of 4 children, a devout Roman catholic, and an avid Sacramento Kings fan. I love to read, and my favorite fiction books are Little Women, Jane Eyre, and To Kill a Mockingbird. My favorite television shows are CSI and Alias. My favorite movies range from Steel Magnolias to The Usual Suspects. My favorite musical group is ABBA, and at almost every wedding I attend, there will be a request for "Dancing Queen". I like both coffee and tea, and I know how to crochet but rarely do it. I love to eat food, but hate to cook. I am registered non-partisan because I have essential, fundamental problems with both the elephant and the donkey. I am a bargain hunter by nature but refuse to shop regularly at Wal-Mart, which surely will be a topic passionately digested at some point here.

My name comes from one of the most valuable books for those of us living everyday lives, yet trying to rise to the level of extraordinary holiness. "The Introduction to the Devout Life", written by St. Francis de Sales was a book given to me by my close friend and sister-in-law, who eventually became a Carmelite nun, and it is one of the best gifts I have ever received.

That sums it for for me at this time. More later..... unless this blog ends up being just another one of those partially filled journal, only this time placed on a virtual shelf for all of you to see.