Jan 08

Anxiety

Anxiety is the churning in my stomach that is connected to the tightening in my throat that is connected to the shallow shortness of my breathing that is connected to my whirling thoughts that are rooted in every fear I’ve ever known and failure I’ve ever feared and every imagined monster under every bed in the world of irrational thoughts that whirl through my head and my throat and my stomach and make me want to scream out but my throat is far too tight.

 

(Because Alyse needed help with homework interviews, and given what is to come in the next, oh, sixteen hours, this was appropriate.)

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Jan 06

Neverending

Is it like this for everyone?

Strip sheets on the bed to wash them. Take sheets to washing machine.

Discover washing machine has damp clothes from who knows when. Rerun washing machine.

Go to put newly washed clothes in dryer. Clothes in dryer. Rerun dryer to fluff.

Take clothes from dryer, put clothes in dryer, wash sheets.

Fold and put away clothes, fold and put away clothes, dry sheets, decide to not wash blanket and quilt.

Discover dog has peed on blanket and quilt. Wash blanket and quilt.

Eleven hours later. Bed remade.

 

A similar story.

Cats pull curtain rod out of wall.

Temperature drops to negative four. Room is cold. Curtains aren’t on wall to block some cold.

Get ready to rehang curtains, find dog has peed on curtains. (incidentally, can one wash microfiber? I think my washer and dryer are actually empty and I could put them straight in there.)

Put dog out to do business. Dog miraculously does business in below frigid temps. Dog comes back in and does happy dance on couch.

Dog leaves spot of mud on couch. I wipe off with my hand.

Not mud.

Poop.

Sigh.

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Jan 02

Missing

Alex has been off with Scout since December 21st. They have run about and touched probably every state in the midwest.

Almost two weeks, they will be back tomorrow. Day 14.

People ask “oh don’t you miss him?”

Well. Um. Not really.

I mean, sure, …. no. No, I really don’t.

I’ve talked to him once, he told me about a semi truck that had run off the slick road and told me that he was going to start keeping a list of all the cars he saw off in the ditches. Past that, there have been some texts meant for each other passed via Scout, but overall, nope.

Single parenting is hard, yo. I have a choice, I can either pine for my little one or I can recharge my mommy battery. I can watch Dexter without having to hit the pause button, I can (and DID) sleep until one in the afternoon.

More important than that is that I believe that sitting around and missing Alex would be asking to take something away from him and Scout. They need each other in a different way than Alex and I do. They need this time together so very much, why would I wish it away from them? Sending them off into their adventures with an open heart seems like the least I can do.

Come tomorrow afternoon, I will be ears perking up at the sound of every car that passes the house. I will get excited come nightfall when they should be back. I will smile as he sits and hugs and kisses each of his pets. I will want to hold the very wiggly boy and feel that love that only glows from my heart when I relax when he is in my arms.

Until then, I’m grateful he is with his daddy who loves him, that he has been taken to see so many who also love him, and forever thankful that he always comes home to me.

Photo 346

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Jan 01

Happy New Year Vision Boards

Vision boards seem to be all the rage. They fit nicely into “The Secret” step of “visualize to materialize”. Knowing that this year is going to bring all kinds of changes, I went ahead and made my own. Of course they aren’t as perfect as I would like, but that’s another challenge for the year – DOING something, even if it won’t be perfect on the first try.

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This was supposed to be a project for Tabitha and I, I went ahead and started hers with the thought I have of her often – in case she needed reminding.
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*note to self – add “learn better photography skills” to list of things to learn this year.

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Oct 27

Falling Apart to Come Together Better

That moment when you decide paying the bills should not require a double helping of Xanax.

That moment when you realize your yelling has to do with fear of not having enough money and not at all with the issue you’re yelling about.

When you decide that a Masters degree, seven years on the internet, decades of writing experience, five years of etsy and crafting experience need to become worth something.

Deciding you know your worth and it’s time to focus and make life into better for you and your family.

Yeah. I’m there.

I know I’m not unique or alone in this, but for me it’s time to get myself more out there and try to do things smarter rather than hiding out and denying what just isn’t working anymore.

I’ve had my shop up on etsy for over five years. I used to sell lovely hand knit items for babies and children. Then life fell apart and focus was lost and I got away from it.

Well. It’s time to get back in.

Today in the midst of laundry (and more laundry). I’m going to be gathering what I have that needs to get back into the shop. I need to remember I do some really good work and I have a huge network of people who support me.

As of right now, I have a LOT of lovely raw alpaca. I think this black alpaca is the best of the lot. Nicest feel, staple length and workability. I have all the bragging about alpaca’s wonders in the listings (hint: Way. Better. Than. Wool.)

I work with Geek Details on pinback buttons. We have a couple more in the pipeline, just don’t have the images up yet.

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I’m excited for what we can do – Wanna help? Tell me what you want to see and we will work on making it happen.

 

xoxo

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Sep 17

Facts About Rape Committed By An Air Force Pilot

(Edited January 1, 2014. Since posting this, my site has been hacked three times. Comments on this post are now closed. The purpose of it being here is so Jason Boman’s name is out there where people can find out a version of what happened. I believe this to be the accurate version of what happened, but there are always more than one side to a story. Further searching on the ‘net will bring readers to a blog written by the defense attorney in this case. The defense attorney did his job, and earned the tens of thousands of dollars he was paid to represent Boman in this case. His post reflects this bias as well.

I hope this post provides people with information they would not have had otherwise. That the next batch of people who meet Boman can take this information and decide for themselves if they want to get to know him better.)

(Edited October 22, 2013. Since posting this, my site has been hacked twice. I’ve had this site up for almost seven years and I’ve never been hacked. While I cannot prove a connection, I don’t believe it is a coincidence. Go ahead. Hack away. I still won’t be silent.)

(Additionally, there a couple of comments waiting in moderation, I have not yet answered them or posted them because I do not have all the answers to the questions yet. The Kansas City Star has an article ready to run about this, but they have been focusing on the Daisy Coleman case – which, interestingly affects my town as well. I also hope to have some very good things to say about what has happened since this was originally posted in the next couple of weeks. Until then, thank you for your support and thank you for thinking about this so people can make better choices  in the future.)

The United States Air Force has a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program.

Members of the Air Force attend sessions provided by this program. Of five members and former members of the Air Force I have spoken with, it is estimated there are sessions quarterly, at minimum.

Members of the Air Force are educated repeatedly about what defines sexual assault and what defines consent.

From the above linked site comes the following definition

Sexual Assault
For the purpose of this Directive and SAPR awareness training and education, the term “sexual assault” is defined as intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force, threats, intimidation, abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent. Sexual assault includes rape, forcible sodomy (oral or anal sex), and other unwanted sexual contact that is aggravated, abusive, or wrongful (to include unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact), or attempts to commit these acts. (AFI 36-6001)

Followed by this definition

Consent
“Consent” is defined as words or overt acts indicating a freely given agreement to the  sexual conduct at issue by a competent person. An expression of lack of  consent through words or conduct means there is no consent. Lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission resulting from the one accused use of force, threat of force, or placing another person in fear does not constitute consent. A current or previous dating relationship by itself or the manner of dress of the person involved with the accused in the sexual conduct at issue shall not constitute consent.

To sum up, in the words of the members of the Air Force I have spoken with

A DRUNK PERSON CAN NOT GIVE CONSENT

Read that again, please

A

DRUNK

PERSON

CAN

NOT

GIVE

CONSENT

This seems fairly easy to understand, right?

This seems like something that, say, a person educated through the Air Force Academy, a person who has earned the rank of Captain, a person who is entrusted with a multi billion dollar aircraft, should be able to understand.

This seems like a concept that Captain Jason Wayne Boman of Whiteman Air Force Base should understand.

(I am not posting his photograph here, because I have not requested permission to use his photo, however clicking his name will take you a photograph.)

On the night of April 27, 2012, Tabitha Phegley was out with friends. She was drunk and she was left at the bar by her friends. (Edited to add at 9pm CDT September 21, 2013: “Friends” who took her car keys and her purse.*)

She and Boman had been acquainted for a few years through mutual friends. He offered her a ride to his place where she could sleep, as she lived out of town at this time.

She chose to trust someone she had  known for a long period of time and someone sworn to uphold certain codes. She believed she was making a better choice than walking alone at night or driving her car while she was drunk.

She woke to Boman with his hands on her. In her. Then having sex with her. (Edited to add at 9pm CDT September 21, 2013: She was sleeping in a guest room. When she woke, she tried to get him to stop.*)

She did not give consent.

Jason Boman had sex with Tabitha Phegley without her consent.

She reported it to the local police, she had the rape kit done. The rape kit was never processed because he admitted he had sex with her.

A number of people witnessed she was drunk.

Jason Boman had sex with Tabitha Phegley when she was drunk.

A drunk person can not give consent.

In graphic form:

a-drunk-person-cannot-give-consent-614x474

In September 2012, the Air Force requested jurisdiction over the case from the Johnson County Missouri prosecutor. The county prosecutor gave them jurisdiction because according to the statutes of the state of Missouri, because Boman did not beat her, the maximum he could be charged with was sexual assault.

Yes, in the state of Missouri, the law will only call if rape if the target is physically abused beyond the sexual assault. (We are the state that has to claim Todd Akin and the “legitimate rape” comment. Apparently some of his reasoning was defined by Missouri Statute Law… My apologies… I said I would stick to the blunt facts … I digress…)

Boman was charged and a court martial scheduled. (Screen capture of JAG docket and charges below. This was taken September 13, 2013.) (If you can not see the photo below click here)

jasonboman

At 237am on September 14, 2013, Boman was found not guilty of “Rape using force” and not guilty of “Aggravated sexual assault on incapacitated person”.

But wait.

The Air Force says that a drunk person can not give consent. Those instructions are crystal clear.

Therefore, my question is, why is Jason Boman free?

He had sex with Tabitha Phegley without her consent. A person who he had been educated could not give consent as she was drunk. Yet he was found not guilty by a jury of his military peers.

Why?

This is where my anger begins to fly.

Why is this man allowed to fly a multi billion dollar aircraft? Why is he continuing to have the prestige of wearing that pilot uniform? Why is he allowed to be free? Why doesn’t he have to register himself as a sex offender? Why isn’t he being dishonorably discharged from the United States Air Force? Why are our tax dollars paying his salary?

Why? Why was Jason Boman found not guilty when he had sex with Tabitha Phegley without her consent?

I want to know why the Air Force has chosen to ignore their Core Values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do. I want to know why Captain Jason Wayne Boman is free to do as he wants.

We have seen what he does when he does as he wants. He raped a non consenting woman.

If he got away with it once, the message to him is clear. Go ahead, do what you want, the Air Force will give you no consequences.

The message to us is clear as well. We can condone his actions with our silence or we can speak up. We can repost to every social media outlet we can find. We can send this information to our local media. We can contact our representatives. We can ask the leader of the 509th Bomb Wing Brigadier General Thomas A. Bussiere (contact form) why this man’s actions have been condoned.

We will not be silent, and we will not rest as long as those who have sworn to protect, choose to hurt us instead.

* These two details were added because some people asked questions. While these two details do not actually change the basic facts of a drunk person can not give consent, and when you look at the definitions of consent and sexual assault as outlined above, these two details continue to not change the basic facts, if adding these two facts helps someone to understand, then here they are.

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Jul 29

Play Your Game

I went to BlogHer this weekend as a Mic Wrangler, which means my job was to do my best to facilitate conversation while never ever letting go of the microphone.

This year was different, I took a friend who does not blog to Chicago with me. It was my first conference without Flinger or VDog or Lotus with me.

I attended five different sessions, a lunch and hit the expo a couple of times. My calling cards were stickers attached to buttons from Geek Details and Tab and I did our best to blanket the city with smiles created as people laughed at the brilliance of our Amanda Roberts.

I absorbed many pieces of wisdom, and did my best to stick them away in the brain rolodex for when I needed them.

I was happy this whole weekend.

It boiled down to one statement from Courtnee Westendorf.

“Play Your Game”.

Which, as much as anything in the last few years, would define where I have finally landed. On my own two feet, firmly planted on the ground, playing my own game.

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Jun 04

The new face of friendship

Okay. So thats not really the right title but its as good as it will get.

I want to get back to writing so very much but my focus has completely shifted.

I really got rolling on the blogging when i was attached to the tiny human 24 7 and the friends in the computer kept me sane Six (seriously. Six) years later and i know how to find you. You are in my phone. My facebook. My email. My photos. My christmas card list (um sorry guys i still dont have cards sent out for 2012). I have stayed in your homes, actually crossing the entire continent to see you.

I want to write so badly but the stories I have are ones that you my heart friends read through so many other ways.

In six years, we have beaten trolls, mourned miscarriages, welcomed babies, buried spouses, buried parents … sadly … we’ve sat vigil and said our goodbyes to our friends together. Hunched over twitter waiting for the final word. There are divorces, affairs, broken hearts, new romances … I can’t think of a single wedding … OH Piper! Piper got married! We’ve talked about sex, bay-bee, we’ve talked about you and me . . . we’ve rick rolled and walked through temples together. New jobs, published books, prosecuted fraud. Our children have grown up … except for in those tragic times they haven’t. We’ve said fuck cancer – again and again and frelling again. When things have the gone the most wrong, we have raised tens of thousands of dollars to try to make it right for someone else.

This post was longer and more eloquent in my head the other night. But tonight in my haze of not awake not asleep and on my phone, I thought it important to whisper to you in this quiet space and let you know that my silence here is because im so loudly with you elsewhere.

I keep wanting to hatch a plan to do something WITH you. My house just isn’t clean enough to be able to focus on that plan yet. Someday… Someday …

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Mar 30

Entering a new era

Omg. Have a real smartphone and i may just be able to blawg again! (Apologies for the lame post trying to make it work)

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Mar 03

The First Post of the New Year

On December 14th, 2012, my heart broke for my Victoria.

Apparently my door was to blame. 

I’ve done a lot of pondering since that day. The louder the outside world has gotten, the more I have retreated into myself.

I’ve come to a couple of conclusions.

1. None of us want to feel helpless.

2. None of us want our lives to be controlled by someone else.

As far as I can tell, the root of everyone’s opinion can be pulled back to these basic, very, very, at the gut level, things.

I tell you that, to tell you this:

I’ve thought a lot about this blog space of mine – wondering what to do with it, looking at the journey it has taken, considering the rebranding, renaming, whatever.

When I realized, “Kaiser Mommy” has become perfect for me.

I am Kaiser Mommy, dictator of my own life.

I am Kaiser Mommy, protector of my people.

I am Kaiser Mommy, looking at how to improve, trying to do better, figuring out what works better now, and what worked better in the past.

I am Kaiser Mommy, rejector of bull, curator of joy.

With a smile, I realized, that even in the name of this space, I have arrived exactly where I am meant to be.

Talyaa once told me she thought I was a part of showing the world a new kind of woman – a year later, I think I am seeing what she meant. How many women do you know who teach special ed kiddos all day, parent a gifted boy at night, keep a house and life of her own design, spin fiber from her own alpacas to knit into clothing that will cover a gun strapped to her hip, use wireless internet to search how to make corset stays from the French Indian War era, who has a tiny bomb shelter survival cabinet and no idea what is for dinner tonight  . . . all while bucking all norms and happily living with her love – 15 years younger?

I think they broke the mold when they made me.

I had a dream a week ago, full of anxiety and nasty, nasty fear of change. I woke up relieved to realize that I’d lived through all the change and there was nothing to fear. I’m long past the wondering what my life will turn out to be, and nicely settling into the time where I can work to refine it into exactly what I want it to be.

I have some goals set – something to share another day. It was just time to get started in this space again.

 

xoxo

Kaiser Mommy

 

 

 

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Sep 22

Seeing the Joy

Last night I spent too much time on Pinterest, I spent too much time looking at pictures of perfection and the comparison between the perfection and my abs, my makeup, my hideously messy house, my stacks of clean laundry – Well – I got a little tight in the chest and clutchy in my breath.

I’ve been trying to figure out the now and the next. I’ve been trying to get my act together.

Last night, I thought about the last week. Alex’s room is meticulously clean after he and I spent last Sunday cleaning it together in exchange for a LEGO Prisoner Transport. (Legos are hot currency around here – I can get him to clean and sleep through the night in his own bed using them.)

The rest of the house is a pit of dispair.

Except for it’s not.

I thought about why the laundry has been sitting out all week. Well, part of that is procrastination, another part is just not buckling down and doing it.

What did I choose instead?

I chose Alex – we have read books, watched every Busytown Mysteries on Netflix, discussed the intricacies of Huckle Cat’s day, gone to soccer, cuddled on the couch, gone to church, gone to school, done homework, talked about his day, made his lunches.

I chose M’love – we have spooned, slept, showered, bought a 55 year old WWII era gun, field stripped it, greased it, discussed it, shot it – we have watched Scrubs and HIMYM, we have discussed politics, world events, cooked dinners . . . I chose the man who, when Alex was missing his daddy yesterday, turned off what he wanted to do and put on Alex’s current favorite show. The man who marketed a BIG OLE PEPPERONI PIZZA for dinner to make Alex smile when he was sad.

I chose my work – That job I love – I spent almost 40 hours there this week – (I played hooky on Friday afternoon but I was there for PTO and Open House on Thursday night) – I supported coworkers, I tried to be the good instead of the bad, I was joyous in working with my students, I showed kids who weren’t even my responsibility that someone gave a damn about them, I had meetings, I completed paperwork, I was conscientious, I was a damn good employee. (Except for the hooky part – but I didn’t have anything on my schedule and I would have sat in my office and done pretty much nothing – might as well cash out that sick day and go home.)

I even chose Scout – Which people tend to be amazed when the ex-husband is considered a priority – but I’m a much better ex-wife than I was ever a wife – I gave him a place to land for 2 days so he could do the job most important to him – be the daddy to Alex. I supported his parenting, I gave him the space to be the parent for as long as he could, and I rebuilt the Lego Fire house he accidentally shattered while trying to clean up that meticulous Alex room – before Alex got home from school.

I was a neighbor, a daughter, a friend.

I realized last night, that while I may not have YET figured out how to keep a clean house, while I may have put on five pounds of happy fat and my jeans don’t fit again, while I may not have all the money I might like to have – The mess in my world is a sign of all the better things I have chosen to focus on. The mess is a sign of LIVING this awesome life, which is a change for me, usually mess is a sign that the corners of my brain are not okay.

I have everything I have ever truly wanted. I love my house, my car, my job, my son, M’love, my family. I need nothing more. My next lesson to learn is how to take care of what I have.

 

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Sep 08

Right Next

I wrote about feeling like I needed to be spurred into action. As Jene’ said – to know a truth intellectually, yet be unable to act on it.

I wrote it expecting responses that would move me forward. Instead, your voices told me to stay the heck still and be gentle with myself.

I found myself extremely grateful I took the time to write and share, because each of you saw something I did not – a value in waiting just a little longer to act. An okayness with watching just a bit longer.

I sat with it. I more or less meditated on it. I got a visual of my whole life and everything I was wanting to do, wanting to act on and accomplish. Then like some television special effect, in all that chaos of potential, I started zooming in, pinpointing what was most important.

It was the wisdom of what I already knew. Pick something, focus, accomplish. Don’t try to do 20 things at once. Do SOMETHING and do it well. Do it with purpose and focus and it becomes its own little sacred space.

I set aside the thoughts of making money with the etsy store, writing the book, cooking perfect meals, running a mile . . . whatever.

I cleaned our kitchen. We can sit at the table to eat without pushing things over to a side or a corner. The dishes are clean, the trash doesn’t smell. There is room for the four of us who are regularly here to base our mornings – cereal, coffee, meds, water, car keys, uniform hat.

I focused on a single knitting project. Row after row of stitches in long strips that I will weave into a rug. It won’t be perfect, but it will use up a lot of what I have collected in a way that will turn a mess into something useful. (Hello my life metaphor, how are you today?)

It didn’t all get done this week, but I’m pleased with where I am this Saturday afternoon. I found one small step to a routine and I have kept with it. I focused on *A* step, rather than ALL the steps and I’m good with that.

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Aug 31

Right Now

Do you ever wonder how many times you will have to be hit over the head with a lesson before you choose to learn it?

This is where I am right now.

Back in April, my friend Carrie sent me to a site with guided meditations, specifically because there was one about opening my heart to love that she thought would help me.

Night after night I would pick one and listen. One was a focusing on finding some kind of answer. I went with the flow of it, and the answer that came was “you don’t have long.”

Which immediately scared me. It felt omnious. I tried rationalizing it into something else – like I don’t have long before this life I’m living changes … a new stage beginning … something other than the feeling there was a definite end in the not so far off future.

Right after that, came M’love and things were good. Life was different, clearly a chapter change from a few weeks before. I was finally able to learn lessons about love while I was happy, rather than in the deep. I could see a future, but was fully enjoying the day to day without some goal in mind for what the relationship needed to be.

I started doing yoga and immediately fell into pain. Hours of massage later I am finally better . . . and not doing yoga. Which is bad. I know the yoga was pulling up things that needed out. Liv gave me all the information she had on helping me through it, helping my heart with the grief working itself out.

Heather lost her Jackie! – A beautiful, brighter than the sun woman, younger than me – gone.

Talyaa found cancer raiding her body. She’s fighting back with an “I don’t have time for ‘somedays’” attitude, but is finding that the minute to minute isn’t fun – that the intentions are great and optimistic – the living it is harder.

M’love needed to hear that he could still be his own person, even with me. That he was welcome to build a man cave in his house, that our life together could actually take place not in each others’ spaces every available minute. He doesn’t see forever, he sees right now and wants to make sure this is all good in the moment. (Apparently that ‘carpe diem’ tattoo on his shoulder really did soak in for him.) Even though I think we used different words to mean the exact same thing, even though we are in the exact same place with what we want from this relationship, it still stings and still pulled me out of the safe happy zone I was in with him, and I’m working on getting back to the business of being happy in THIS moment, since this is the moment we know we have.

All of this has left me knowing I need to live right now, just do it, make today count, don’t put off till tomorrow what I could do today, seize the day, live in the moment . . .

Yet I’m not awake. I don’t know how to wake up. I get it, but I have not yet acted on it. I’m stuck in the gray.

Frankly I’m scared that if I don’t get myself woken up that something really bad is going to happen to force my eyes open. I’d really like to avoid that and just act on the lesson I can so clearly read.

And yet, my house is a mess, I have not yet begun running, my blogs remain quiet, my finances a disaster, my knitting remains unlisted, my thoughts are still unfocused… scattered… my heart is hollow… my mind is distracted ….

I need you. I need a restart. I need this Labor Day weekend to be a focus time to start and sprint for a while. My intentions are all lovely, but I need action. I need to act. Right now.

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