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Am I right side up or upside down?
Is this real or am I dreaming?
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23rd-Jan-2015 11:18 pm(no subject)
flowers
I've loved this LiveJournal for 13.5 years, but it's time to move on. This site has a lot of bugs, is hacked constantly, and has become something of a barren wasteland most of the time.  Of course all my posts will stay up for posterity - hopefully I can figure out how to archive them all, one day. I have truly loved keeping this journal, and it has carried me through many, many glorious and difficult times as well as many in between.

I'll be continuing at http://elaineness.blogspot.com.  I can also be reached via my Twitter (elainetangerine).

<3
13th-Jan-2015 01:13 am(no subject)
flowers
It's 2015, and the thoughts that consume my life more than anything else completely surround my daughter.  She'll be a year old in just over two months.  I'm getting older.  I don't feel this old.

I also think about time travel.  Or rather, I fantasize about it.  Life goes by really, really quickly.  The truth is that there's absolutely nothing that I could or would do differently.  People always talk about how you direct your own path, and truth be told, I'd be the queen of directing my own path, painting my own canvas, etc, etc., but life on Earth is almost entirely about our relationships with others, and we're not the only players in the paths our lives take.  

I remember being on a particularly memorable date in high school.  Something like The Wallflowers was playing on his car radio, and I was drinking the remnants of a virgin strawberry daiquiri.  We had the windows down, and I was having a blast.  And it wasn't the guy that was particularly special, but that time in my life was.  That moment in my life was special because I reveled in it though I didn't know why I felt the need to do so.  Everything was ahead of me.  I'm twice as old as I was at that moment.  Arguably still youngish, but when there are so many memories in my past, sometimes it doesn't feel that way.

Cinematic moments. If you don't have some, I feel sad for you.

Donna and I taking a whirlwind trip to New Orleans.  2000.  I was chewing gum on the drive, and I spit it out the window, but the wind blew it back in the car, and it stuck to the black button down shirt that I was wearing.  I remember stopping to get gas.  She was laughing hysterically.

Eating chocolate pecan pie in the middle of the night with my boyfriend.  2004.  This sticks out in my mind because I remember thinking, "I love this moment; I will remember this moment."  And I do.

Driving.  2006.  I used to drive the perimeter around Atlanta late at night when I needed to think.  I blew out the speakers to my stereo on one of those drives.  2011.  The first time we were in Twentynine Palms, I would drive down 62 to Yucca Valley on a near-daily basis.  I'll forever get nostalgic for that particular feeling because it's tied to a time that will never come again.

2014.  Hearing Jane's little cry when she came out.  I remember how adorable her cry sounded to me, and I said that out loud to my husband.  There's really no experience on Earth that can compare with growing a tiny human for nine months and then watching that same human grow and thrive outside of you.  This past week, I've really become fully aware that she is a completely separate entity from me.  She's going to grow up and have her own life, one day.

I could go on.

Time travel.  One of my very favorite books is The Time Traveler's Wife.  I read it for the first time at the beginning of 2006.  When I pull out my copy, I see that I've starred, underlined, and highlighted many passages.  It speaks to me in both extremely practical and extremely fantastical ways, as I possess those two sides quite distinctly.  And then, I guess I'm just a romantic in a lot of ways.
3rd-Nov-2014 11:34 pm(no subject)
flowers
My child is currently dealing with *ridiculous* separation anxiety.  I was lucky enough to find an amazing babysitter so that I could still go to orchestra rehearsals while my husband is in the field (AKA extended training for deployment).  I had the sitter come and meet Jane, of course, and at that time Jane was a little whiny with her, but she warmed up to her semi-quickly.  Since then, the anxiety has gotten SO much worse.  Both times that I've left her to go to rehearsal, she completely loses her shit.  Both times, the sitter told me that Jane cried until it was bedtime - even while eating, she cried in between swallows.  She's just SO attached to me, right now.  Maybe that's just normal infant behavior?  All I know is that a couple of months ago, she was all smiles with everyone, and now it's progressed to this.  She's not an incredibly fussy baby, really - sometimes she'll go days without much crying at all - but that's all as long as I'm with her.  It's nice to be needed, but I HATE to see her go through so much anxiety at being away from me.

My solution for the moment is to have the sitter come hang out with us while I'm still there.  Hopefully Jane will learn to be okay with my temporary absences, soon. :/
flowers
Stumbled upon this during tonight's insomniac moment:

http://rt.com/usa/200259-hundred-instances-street-harassment-video/

My first instinct to viewing this was "FUCK YES that happens, and it's annoying and creepy."  And then I started thinking...

You could say that many of those guys didn't really say anything particularly degrading or inappropriate, but I think it's clear that they were using their words to attempt to engage this woman.  Now, I know as well as she does that once you even LOOK (most of) THOSE GUYS IN THE EYE, they assume they have a chance at fucking you.  No, I'm not exaggerating.  That dude that walked alongside her for five minutes?  Fucking creepy, but it happens more often than you'd think.

Women are taught not to go into "bad areas" of a town/city for a reason.  And those bad areas are crawling with guys like the ones in this video.  Those bad areas?  They're usually going to be urban, lower income, & predominately black (just being honest, here).  Now, I'm not writing this to say anything about the plight of the poor or to touch race relations.  For the most part, I'm a die hard Capitalist who admits that Capitalism can't be all that it could be because humans are assholes.  My point is: had this woman been filming herself walking through a nice part of town, the instances in the video would be nearly eliminated.

But, picture this:

She's walking through a nice, upscale part of town and a well dressed man (of any race, really), says something to the effect of "hi, miss, how are you?"  Would that have made this video as an instance of harassment?  My guess is that no, it wouldn't be in the video, and she probably would've at least acknowledged his presence even if he wasn't her type.

My theory is basically that women who are mostly psychologically stable with relatively high levels of self esteem are hardwired to look for someone who can provide for their offspring.  If you're hanging out in the bad part of town, sitting on the street during work hours, chances are high that you're unemployed, underemployed, or perhaps working a blue collar job that has no upward mobility.  Any attempt to engage a woman is going to be seen as creepy and unwanted because from a biological/evolutionary standpoint, you really won't serve a purpose for her.

And then we know that in poor urban areas, there is a serious lack of positive male role models.  There's no stigma to knocking a woman up without being married to her.  Examples of how to be successful in life are few and far between.  My guess is that most of these men aren't looking to marry someone - they want to fuck - whether that's to fulfill animalistic desire or to make themselves feel a little less empty inside.  Or both.  The reason that this continues is because many women that come from these areas aren't feeling too great about themselves either.  And the cycle continues.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with women demanding respect from men, but if you look at the big picture, I think that this cycle is a result of the breakdown of tradition.  And yes, people can argue that women have always been sex objects, but a) men and women are not the same, they will never be the same, they are not on this earth to serve the same purpose, therefore demands that they be treated exactly the same are ridiculous and b) women should really accept that to an extent, there is power in being sexually desirable, and if a man genuinely respects you and enjoys things about you besides your tits, ass, and vagina, being a little objectified by him certainly isn't the worst place to be.

I know. Controversial, backwards, ludicrous.  Blah blah blah.

And I'm living in a state with an unenforceable sexual consent law, so we're probably at the point of no return.  See you on the other side.
19th-Oct-2014 11:26 pm(no subject)
flowers
Just a vent.

Why in the fuck am I always the person who has to initiate social interactions/meetings?  Am I that boring?

I'm getting an occasional white hair, and I've recently noticed a smile line wrinkle, and both of these things are really disturbing to me.  Vanity sucks.

Why am I always searching for something that I never find?  I know the answer is that God is the answer to everything, and I've got control freak tendencies that won't let me fully accept this on a spiritual level.

Devoting all of your time and energy to a child is really, really emotionally taxing.  I think it's compounded by the fact that I don't want to do anything to psychologically damage my child (which is impossible, really).  People with parents or siblings who live near enough to babysit should be thankful for such a thing.

My husband is deploying next year, and even though yes, I'll be fine, it would be nice for someone to say "if you need anything, I'm here for you."

I feel like Jane would benefit from a sibling, but I'm selfish.  Even though I firmly believe that staying home with her right now is the right thing, I look forward to going back to work once she's school-aged, and that time would be extended if I were to have another child.

I hate that I'm always expected to be the one in charge of fucking EVERYTHING, but somehow I create that dynamic in (almost) all of my relationships. I don't have the energy.

This is what certain childhood family dynamics will do to you. 
13th-Oct-2014 11:57 pm(no subject)
flowers
So I need to update because...well, it's been awhile.  We're semi-settled in California, but I still feel like everything is constantly changing around me.  The first few years of my marriage, my husband & I didn't have to deal with typical military family issues because we were in Albany/he was doing training/etc., but now all of that's over, and he's going to be away more.  He's with an infantry unit here, and though he doesn't have to do the dirty work because of his actual job, there are people in his unit that do the dirty work.  This just means that the unit is quite active.  He'll be deploying again next year, which I hate because he'll miss so much of Jane's development, but she won't consciously remember Daddy being gone, which I *guess* is a good thing?  I'm such a believer in kids being able to pick up the feelings of what's going on around them, even when they're tiny.  It's just a mystery as to how much those feelings will affect them in the future.

About two weeks after moving here, Jane & I went to the (new and very, very uncrowded) WalMart in Yucca Valley, and on the way back home I happened to notice a sign advertising the Joshua Tree Philharmonic.  I did some research and saw that the group is really just a community orchestra with members that span a range of skill levels, so I made some contacts and ended up at rehearsal a few days after that.  I'm actually loving being in the group, and my own skills are rushing back pretty quickly.  It's been awhile since I was playing so regularly.  I can honestly say that mothers underestimate the need to do something 100% for themselves.  Being an active musician makes me feel like myself again, and I'm so thankful that I noticed that sign.

Jane is almost seven months old, and these days she is interactive and wanting to engage with someone about 95% of the time.  When we're in public, she spends most of her time trying to catch people's eye so that they'll look at her, then she'll give them a giant smile, and then they'll come over and talk to her.  And as long as they don't try to take her away from Mommy, she's all smiles.  She usually won't reach out to touch complete strangers, but we were out of town last week, and she reached out and held the waitress' hand.  The waitress told us that she had just found out she was pregnant, so of course I can't help but wonder if Jane knew in that way that only a brand new soul can know.

My own attachment to her is growing as she's getting older.  Her individuality is really beginning to come out, and that's tremendously endearing.  I can honestly say that I've sat up a couple of nights thinking about motherhood and wondering if all mothers feel so attached to their children in such a deep way.  What happens to that when children get older?  I wonder about my own mother because so much inside of her is unspoken.  When my parents got divorced, my father got custody, we moved out, and there was no concrete visitation schedule created.  It breaks my heart to think how it must have hurt my mother to have her children leave under those circumstances, but knowing her, I also know that she pushed a lot of those feelings aside.  As horrible as I've felt towards my mother in the past, I have a different appreciation for her now that I have Jane.  
flowers
I'm on a massive Fleetwood Mac kick and caught this performance of "Silver Spring."  It's heartbreaking how Stevie stares Lindsey down as she sings at the end.  Love love love.

4th-Sep-2014 11:13 pm - To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?
flowers
First off, I'm no expert on vaccination, but the question of "to vaccinate or not to vaccinate" is a dilemma that I spent a great deal of time thinking about even before I was pregnant.  I really question the motives of pharmaceutical companies, and it really bothers me when people believe that they *need* many different medications in order to stay healthy.  I think it's important to remember that medication is for the sick, and so many illnesses are the result of poor lifestyle choices and often preventable.  Becoming dependent on any medication (the absolute worst being psychotropics, opiates, or liver-destroying drugs like cholesterol meds) puts you at the mercy of pharmaceutical companies.  I'm not opposed to using a certain medication as a stepping stone to achieving a healthier life, but to remain on legal drugs for your entire life...there's so much about that that doesn't sit well with me.

Vaccines are a more difficult issue to broach.  In the modern world, we can thank vaccines for the eradication of many horrible illnesses.  Potentially, when the herd immunity created via mass vaccination is messed with, it could lead to the resurgence of diseases like polio.  This obviously wouldn't be a good thing.  We've already seen instances of this occurring in pockets of the country where children are contracting pertussis (allegedly a result of parents who have chosen not to give their children the dtap vaccine), which is potentially fatal in infants.

All of this said, it's impossible to ignore the bad press that vaccines have received, particularly in regard to "causing autism."  I saw a bit of this when I worked as a developmental therapist.  I got to know several families who were affected by both high functioning and severe forms of autism, and their stories are very real.  My first client's mother reported to me that her son was meeting all developmental milestones at the age of one.  He received his standard bunch of one-year vaccinations.  A day or two after receiving these shots, he experienced a series of seizures, and from there, her family's life has never been the same.  Her son is special and loved tremendously, but what would he be like had he not received these vaccinations?  We'll never know.  I honestly can't even imagine what she and her husband have gone through in adjusting to something that no parent can ever be prepared to face.  Many children have less severe reactions to vaccinations that may or may not be the cause of various developmental and/or behavioral disorders.

The majority of the children whose parents choose to follow the standard CDC vaccination schedule will have no obvious permanent ill effects, but what do you tell the exceptions?  They want answers, and that's where this debate has originated.  The CDC recommends five different vaccines at 12 months, and this doesn't include the flu shot that's pushed on the public every year.  Between the ages of birth and 12 years, the CDC recommends 36 doses of vaccines with 27 of the doses being recommended before 18 months old (it should be stated that some of these doses are now offered in combined shots, like Pediarix).  It's really no wonder that some children will have an adverse reaction to all of this being put into their tiny bodies, particularly when multiple innoculations are given at one time.

So, fast forward to me finally having my own child.  The choice to *not* vaccinate at all wasn't really an option.  First, there's no way that my husband would've gone for that.  Second, I don't know if I could live with myself if my child contracted something like pertussis or bacterial meningitis.  I'm a firm believer that breastmilk is liquid gold and does amazing, wonderful things for children, but I don't believe that breastmilk can battle every pathogen that a child may come in contact with in his/her daily life.  I believe that the most responsible thing to do is to follow an altered vaccination schedule.  Jane is "up to date" on all of her shots, but instead of receiving them in mass batches at 2 and 4 months, she's had 1-2 shots at a time each month.  This gives me some peace of mind because given the information that I have, I believe that adverse reactions and results may come from the preservatives or quantities of innoculations given at one time when the standard vaccination schedule is followed.  I do remain undecided on a few of the vaccinations on the schedule (like chicken pox) and opposed to others (like HPV), but I haven't had to cross those bridges, yet.  In a nutshell, I'll do all that I can to preserve my child's good health as well as her potential brainpower.

My recommendation is to be informed in order to make responsible decisions that make sense to you and your family.  I hate the politically correct "do what's right for your family," but I suppose that's really the only thing that can be said about this, anymore.
4th-Sep-2014 09:19 pm(no subject)
flowers
So I'm now driving a Honda Fit.  My Toyota acquired a leak in the coolant system, and we were quoted a $3200 repair price.  My husband (who makes no rash decisions, ever) got some second opinions and mulled it over before finally agreeing that we needed to ditch the car.  Based on the research that I did, a leak like that one is almost unheard of in a Toyota, which definitely makes me wary of the car in general.

Jane and I will be hitting the road for 29 Palms in just a few days.  I'm taking eight nights to get there just to make things easier on the baby and in turn, myself - 3-4 hours of travel time could be 7 hours with a nursing baby.  Eight nights is the maximum time that we can take, and I'm taking the shortest route (with a brief stopover in Albany).  Thankfully, Donna is able to fly out and then do part of the road trip with me. I mean, I'd be fine on my own, but of course it'll be much more fun with her along for part of the ride.

I had to go ahead and buy Jane a convertible car seat.  She's obviously still rear facing, but the tiny infant seat we have has the absolute worst cover material possible, so she'd get sweaty and hot and start screaming after about 15 minutes (total Britax fail on that one because other than that the car seat/stroller travel system is the greatest thing ever).  I told my husband that I wasn't about to deal with that for 40 hours in the car, so we got the cheapest convertible seat that Britax makes (which happened to come in a very cute print).  So far, every time I've put her in the seat, she falls asleep within five minutes, so I'd say it was definitely the right move despite the fact that we've now lost the convenience of the infant carrier :(  And yeah, that's a pretty big loss.

Jane is growing up quickly, and there's definitely a little pain that comes with saying goodbye to the teeny newborn I brought home almost six months ago, though mostly I'm just really looking forward to witnessing her learning and developing.  Those first five years are everything to a kid's development; it's a make or break time, so I definitely want to make it everything it needs to be for her to be successful, happy, independent, and confident throughout her life.

In other news, the last few weeks I've begun to feel incredibly out of control of my own life.  I realize that this feeling leads to a near complete loss of self esteem for me because it's just that difficult for me to feel like I'm at the mercy of others, even if "others" happens to be my spouse and/or child.  Autonomy is such a part of my identity, but the transition to a family unit has really messed with this aspect of myself.  I don't know, maybe I've said all of this, before.  I've completely lost track of the things I've already blogged about.  I've been doing whatever i wanted to do since I graduated from college over eleven years ago - even after getting married - and it's stressful to adjust.  I actually think that going from childhood home to marital home to having kids is probably a much easier way of transitioning just because it may eliminate the "I need my freedom!" aspect, though that particular route definitely wasn't for me.
7th-Aug-2014 11:12 pm(no subject)
flowers
So I finally have a few minutes to update!

I miss my clients and their families.  I still miss my students & their families, but when I worked with Butterfly Effects doing the behavioral stuff, I got to know the families of my clients very closely.  I didn't know most of my students' families that closely.  People are such Facebook haters, but I'm thankful that it exists so that I can see all of the kids that I've worked with over the years grow up.  It's such a powerful reminder of how much I love playing a helper role to people whether it's as a teacher, a counselor, or a friend.  It's a very natural space for me, and it has always served as all the motivation that I needed to be the best that I could possibly be when it came to my role in these kids/families/adults' lives.  I look forward to returning to that space in the future.
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We're moving back to 29 Palms next month.  My husband tried to figure out a way to get out of it before he told me about it; I think he thought that I'd be incredibly upset when in reality he's much more upset about this move than I am.  He's having to sell a bunch of his gun accessories that aren't legal in California (like high capacity magazines) and may have to leave a gun or two with his mom in Florida.

It's true that 29 Palms wasn't my favorite place.  The most difficult part was being away from family and close friends.  I'm no stranger to road tripping, and I did it often while we've been living here, but I can't exactly hop in my car to visit these people once we're out there.  The weather is often incredibly hot, but at least there's no humidity.  Also - and I've said this repeatedly - I think everyone needs to see this place at some point in their lives.  When you're used to seeing green, plants, trees, water, etc. seeing the stark desert is like stepping onto another planet.  It's incredibly beautiful in its own right.
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Jane is making developmental gains very quickly at this stage.  This week she started doing a lot of vocalizing, which is SO cute.  She's really into her feet, and she's putting everything in her mouth.  Most of the time, I can get her to smile easily, but she can be pretty stone faced with everyone else.  She still has the occasional gas pain, but the multiple-times-daily gas attacks don't seem to be making themselves known the way that they were before.  Most of the time, Jane is a really, really good baby.

It's rewarding to be a part of a mother-daughter bond developing beyond the "you have milk, I need it" stage (though that's obviously still her main motivation).  I'm proud of her daily and am so incredibly thankful that God chose me to be her mom.  When we brought her home, those first few weeks I was really just existing.  It's hard.  I don't think it would be as hard if women didn't have to go through the tremendous hormonal re-shuffling that goes on when you go from pregnant to not pregnant.  I genuinely thought that I might have postpartum depression, but that heaviness I felt went away after a few weeks, thankfully.  Donna visited when Jane was about three weeks old, and I remember her tweeting that I was 'already a great mom' and mentally disagreeing with that statement because I felt pretty inept at caring for a newborn.  I didn't have a good reason for feeling that way.  I just felt despondent and weepy a lot of the time, and that didn't exactly translate to "great mom" to me.  Things have gotten a lot easier.
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I'm nodding off. More later.
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