Monday, March 26, 2012

Women, What happened?

The person who posted this picture asks a very valid question.  What did happen?

We lost class somewhere along the way, in the last 50 years; a lot of class, and a lot of self-respect.  This prompted a conversation between myself and a friend, and she mentioned that "standards aren't an individual thing but a collective when it comes to things like fashion and behavior."

Yes, thanks to role models like Madonna, Britney Spears and Katy Perry, (and countless others) there are enough women out there dressing like trash to make men in general think of women as disposable people, to be used once or twice and then thrown out, or changed.  There are exceptions thank God - and I mean thank God literally because most of those exceptions probably have some kind of intimate relationship with Him.

It certainly creates a problem for those girls who perceive themselves as much more than trash and deserving not only of respect but some kind of chivalry.  Try to find a man these days who doesn't expect to hop into bed with you on the first date.  Try to find a man who is more interested in your mind and soul than your body.  They are out there, they're just a very small minority.  It makes the pool of suitable partners for a self-respecting girl that much smaller.

But it's not just a problem for the classy girl.  How many preventable heartbreaks will the trashy girl go through in a lifetime before she finally gets that trash equals disposable?  Will she ever get it?  That's what is so sad about our society.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

11 on her own

The story of Kristin Bothur:


March 19, 2012


Dear Mr. Anderson:


This is the story of how the State of Connecticut took $347 from my ten dependent children in order to pay the debts of a man who robbed me of $9900. How did this happen?


* January 1, 2007: my husband, Thomas J. Bothur, Jr., walked out on our family, leaving me with no money and 10 minor children at home.


* My ex-husband used his place of employment and position (bank manager) to transfer all joint money into a personal account, without my knowledge or consent.


* Early 2007: My ex-husband filed joint state and federal tax returns for 2006; he had the refunds direct deposited into this personal account, again without my knowledge or consent.


* My ex-husband failed to pay state income tax, which has still not been paid as of today.


* I was left with no money to hire an attorney to seek child support.


* March - December of 2007: after I obtained an attorney, child support was received


* Around June of 2007, my ex-husband moved to New Jersey; child support payments were not enforced.


* December 2007 through September 2010: no child support, save for ONE payment, was received.


* August of 2010, our jointly owned home was foreclosed on due to lack of payment and a lack of the courts’ enforcement.


* December of 2010: after writing letters to a variety of state and federal agencies, asking for help with my case, a federal marshal was assigned to investigate my case.


* My ex-husband could not be found in violation of non-support since he did make that ONE payment in April of 2008. The marshal also investigated claims of check fraud; this could not be presented in a Connecticut court due to his New Jersey residency and my inability to retain a lawyer in New Jersey to take a deposition.


* These financial issues have been brought to the attention of the judges overseeing our divorce and custody hearings. No judge has listened to me, even though I believe my ex-husband has broken the law.



Today:



* I am owed over $80,000 from my ex-husband in child support. I have not received a penny since January 15, 2012; he is now claiming bankruptcy which stops any attempts I might make at receiving support.


* I am living 200% below the federal poverty level, raising 8 minor children.


* I cannot get energy assistance or cash assistance from the Department of Social Services.


* Any money I make is taken from me as payment for the debts he incurred while still married, or deducted from the food stamps I do receive, which doesn’t enable me to pay any bills, such as rent, electric, etc.


I have been served with great injustice from our court system and other government agencies that are supposed to protect and help adults and children who have been wronged by others, just as my family and I have. As a resident of Connecticut for 36 years, I have lived according to the law before, during, and after my divorce. I am asking for your assistance in correcting the errors that have been made to me and my family.


Sincerely,

Kristin Bothur

(Yellow highlighting mine)

Read her blog here

Monday, March 19, 2012

Crashing into Thin Air - Excerpt from Chapter Eleven


He got up and planted a big kiss on the side of her neck, right where it met her shoulder before putting his empty bowl and glass in the sink.
“Stop.” She said, half-laughing, half-serious, “You’ll be sorry if all your charms start working on me.  I happen to have a certain faiblesse for kisses in that particular spot.”
“Just providing all that attention that you’re so starved for.” Christian bantered.  “Before you go back to your lonely existence.”
“I’ll be so spoiled, I won’t want to go back.”  Joanne smiled.
“So don’t.”
“And yet,” Joanne pretended to sigh, “I must.”
“When are you leaving?”
“Early Sunday afternoon, I think.  So I can be back in time to unpack, get groceries, throw out the spoiled food in my fridge, all that kind of stuff, before I go back in to work on Monday.”
“Spoiled food, hmmmm.” Christian mused.  “I’m sorry about that.  I’ll have to pay you something for the food you’ve lost on my account.”
“Don’t be ridiculous!”  Joanne exclaimed.  “I think you’ve paid me back quite enough with the gourmet meals I eat here.  Much better than anything I get back home.”  She grinned at him.
“You’re probably right there.” Christian agreed.
Joanne returned to the work in front of her, and Christian headed for the shower.
When he returned to the kitchen half an hour later, the latest song from Nickelback was playing on the laptop.
“From classical to this?”  Christian raised an eyebrow.
Joanne looked up and shrugged.  “I like music.” She said.  “All kinds of music.”
“I have to leave in a bit.” Christian told her. “The shrink wants to dissect my relationship with my father this afternoon.”
“Not a happy relationship, I take it?”
“Not always.”
Joanne readjusted things on her page, and Christian sat quietly, lost in his thoughts for a few minutes.
“I used to try so hard, but nothing I did was ever good enough for him.”  He said at length.
Joanne looked up and stopped what she was doing.
“I painted something in an art class once, and gave it to him for Father’s Day.”  Christian stared at the table as he talked.  “It was the best painting I had ever done.  I put a lot of effort into the details.  I chose the colours carefully, so it all looked good together.  I put a lot of thought into how I placed things on the canvas.”
“I was so proud when I brought that thing home.”  Christian shook his head at the memory.  “I could hardly wait for Father’s Day, so he could open it his gift and see it.  I wanted to give it to him right away, but I made myself wait.”
“Father’s Day finally came, and practically bursting with excitement, I proudly brought the gift to him.” Christian continued.  “He opened it silently, looked at it, and set it aside.”
“"Don’t you like it?" I asked him.”  Christian’s eyes met Joanne’s over the laptop.  “He picked it back up and showed me where the perspective was off and where the details were not quite right and then he put it back down again and turned the TV on.”
“I was devastated.  I picked up the painting, took it outside and threw it in the trash.”
Joanne’s face reflected all the sorrow she felt for him at that moment.  “I’m so sorry.” She said in a low voice.
“My mother found the painting there afterwards, took it out, and had it framed.”  Christian told her.  “She hung it in her room.  My father laughed at me, when he found out what I’d done, because I couldn’t take constructive criticism.”
“Some people are just… well, extremely bad at talking to others you know?”  Joanne said.  “I mean, they don’t say what they want to say, and what they do say is hurtful, even though they don’t mean to hurt.  They are just… totally clueless.”
“Yeah, that about sums him up.” Christian agreed, “Totally clueless.”
“I guess telling you first will make it easier for me to tell the shrink this afternoon.”  He sighed.  “I had better get going.  I bet she can’t wait to dissect this.”
Joanne patted his hand.  “You’ll be fine.” She told him.
Christian came back from his appointment with the psychiatrist looking a little subdued.
“All right?” Joanne asked him.
Christian nodded, but his sober, reflective mood lasted all evening.

Crashing into Thin Air - Excerpt from Chapter Six


It was about seven-thirty when her cell phone rang.
“Allô?” she answered.
“Joanne?”  It was Karine.
“Hi Karine.”
“Are you planning on coming home anytime soon?” Karine asked.
“Umm, well yes, eventually.  Why?”
“Uh well, because you’re missing your surprise birthday party, and I think Christian is rather upset that you are not here to appreciate his efforts.”  Karine replied.
“Oh noooo.” Groaned Joanne.
“Oh yessss.” Confirmed Karine.
“Okay, I’m on my way.” Joanne answered.
“Okay, bye.”
It was after eight o’clock when Joanne walked in the door.  She noted the untouched birthday cake on the counter of the kitchen.  It was obviously decorated by hand, with some effort gone into forming fruits and flowers. 
Karine, Patrick and the girls were there, and she immediately recognized Michelle, Patrice and Caroline, mutual friends from years ago.  The guy sitting next to Caroline, she did not recognize.  She greeted the friends she had not seen in years and Caroline introduced the man as her boyfriend, Éric.
Christian sat in the corner by the window, beside Patrick.  She met his eyes.  He frowned and looked away.
Joanne caught up on the latest news with her old friends, and was introduced to Michelle and Patrice’s lovely 4 year-old daughter, Mélodie.  Still, Christian barely talked to her.  He was not talking much to anyone, she noticed.  Karine caught her eye and then looked pointedly at Christian.
Joanne sighed to herself and stood up.  She walked over to where Christian was sitting, put her hand on his shoulder and asked “Will you step out a minute with me?”
Christian nodded silently and stood up.
Joanne went out the back door, where she had a view of the river from the patio.  The sun had set.  The breeze off the river was cool.  She wished she had thought to put her sweater on.  She turned around.
Christian faced her silently. His brown eyes stared at her expectantly.
“I’m sorry.” Joanne said in a small voice.
Still, he waited.
Joanne said nothing.
“Okay.” He said abruptly and turned to leave.
“Wait!” Joanne put her hand on his arm to restrain him.
He turned to face her again.
“I really am sorry.”  Her voice trembled.  “I don’t know what to say.”
“Why would you do that?” Christian exploded.  “Don’t you expect that people are going to want to be with you on your birthday?  Why would you purposely stay away?”
“I didn’t purposely stay away.” Joanne defended herself, yet in the same instant, she realized he was right, she had stayed away on purpose.
“Well, maybe I did.  Sort of.”  She looked down at her feet, ashamed.  “I’m sorry.”  She mumbled.  She could not believe it.  She was on the verge of crying.  She never cried.
She shivered in the cool air and automatically hugged her arms around her to keep herself warm.
In that instant, as Christian watched her wrap her arms around herself, he thought he had never seen her look so vulnerable before.  Joanne was not what he would call a delicate woman.  She had an athletic build, shoulders slightly larger than the average woman, strong muscles in arms and legs.  She had always seemed so strong and independent.
He saw her lower lip tremble, just for a second, before she regained control.
Christian sighed.  He did not want to make her cry.
“Come here.” He said, and pulled her over to a couple of chairs on the patio.
She sat, but did not meet his gaze.
Christian decided to try again.  “Why did you stay away?” he asked gently.
Joanne lifted her eyes to meet his.  “I don’t like my birthday.” She said simply.
Christian lifted an eyebrow.  “You don’t like your birthday?”  It did not make sense.  He waited for an explanation.
“I mean, I enjoy birthdays,” she frowned, “other people’s birthdays.  I just don’t like mine.  I don’t want to celebrate it.”
“But why not?”
Joanne was shivering.  Christian was not sure if it was from the cool air or because of how she was feeling.
“Come here.” He gently pulled her onto his lap and wrapped his large arms around her to warm her.  She laid her cheek against the side of his head.
“Why do you not like your own birthday?”  He asked again.
She sighed and in a very small voice said “It got ruined for me.”
“How?”
She backed away slightly to look him in the face.
“I grew up in a family that made a big deal when it was your birthday.” She replied.  “We always had cake and presents, no matter how small they were, and we sang Happy Birthday and had decorations and made the person feel special on that day.”
Christian nodded.
“I had a boyfriend not long after I left here.”  She continued.  “Stéphane.”
Christian remembered.  He did not particularly like Stéphane.  Of course, he had not particularly liked any of the few men that had shown any interest in Joanne, but he liked Stéphane least of all.  Stéphane had seemed so cold and calculating, like Joanne was a prize to be won, and not a person to be loved.
“I think his family must not have done much for birthdays.”  Joanne continued.  “He forgot mine that first year, and I reminded him. So he took me out for dinner the next day.  I reminded him ahead of time the year after, so he wouldn’t forget, you know?”
Christian nodded.
“It wasn’t like I was forcing him to do anything.  I just didn’t want him to feel bad in case he forgot again.  It never occurred to me that he just didn’t bother with such things.”
Joanne looked away.
Christian waited for her to continue.
After a few moments, Joanne looked at him again.  “He got very upset.  He did not like feeling obliged to celebrate things.  He made it clear that he expected nothing on his birthday and did not want to have to go out of his way for mine.”
Joanne’s face twisted and she looked away again.
Christian gently patted her arm and waited.
“It was just one of many small details.  I would get him Christmas gifts, but after the first Christmas I got nothing.  After that birthday I never mentioned my birthday again, and he would wish me a happy birthday and that was it.  I remember when I finished my webmaster’s courses, everyone celebrated.  He did not want to come with me to the dance afterwards.  He barely congratulated me.  I got no flowers or anything like many of the other girls did.  If it had been just that, it wouldn’t have bothered me, but it was everything.”
“I started to think, if the one person who was supposed to be there for me couldn’t be bothered, or didn't think I was worth celebrating, then no one else should.”
That made Christian angry.  How could anyone make another person feel so insignificant?  He had been right to distrust this Stéphane.  If he ever saw him again… he’d…
“I started to dread my birthday.”  Joanne continued.  “I would dread the calls from my family and old friends. I hated having to pretend I was having a great day.  I hated having to pretend like I was something special and that I was going to do something special to celebrate my day.  I hated to have to listen to them go on about how Stéphane would be sure to do something special.  They just expected he would.  It would have been normal.  My birthday depressed me.  I tried to avoid it.  I didn’t answer the phone.  I found some activity to take up my time, extra work, some event, volunteer work, something to get away from all those well-wishers, and the one person who didn’t care.”
“I would make sure that I was too busy to see him on my birthday, so he wouldn’t have to feel obliged to do anything, but mostly so I wouldn’t have to be reminded that he didn’t care.”
Joanne buried her nose into his neck, and Christian patted her back absently.  This was the way things had been once, between them, easy and open.  He missed those days, when they had been openly affectionate, and there had been no misunderstandings.
“I’d hate Christmas too,” Joanne said, “except that Christmas is for everyone, and Christmas is so much more than just gift-giving and partying.”
There was a long pause when neither of them said anything.  Christian did not know how to let her know how angry he was at Stéphane and in the end, he said nothing.
“Is that why you broke up with him?” He asked finally.
“We grew apart.” Joanne replied.
“Gee,” Christian’s voice dripped with sarcasm, “I wonder why.”

Crashing into Thin Air - Excerpt From Chapter Nine


“Are you trying to keep women away for good?” asked Chantal.
“Look at me.”  Christian told her, still joking, “I don’t need to keep women away, they aren’t attracted to a man my size anyway.  What woman would want me?!”  He laughed again.
Joanne looked at him.  Christian was not a slim man.  He was a bit large around the waist, but he also had wide shoulders, and his weight was evenly distributed through his arms and legs.  When she looked at him, she did not see a fat man.
The others continued joking, but Joanne was not listening anymore.  She continued to look at Christian.  To her eyes he was pleasant to look at.  His brown eyes crinkled in the corners when he laughed.  His face was expressive, his smile was charming.  She liked the way his very dark brown hair curled at the neck.  He kept it just a little on the long side, and it waved just a bit on his forehead too.
Christian glanced at her and noticed her staring.
“What?” he asked.
Joanne leaned towards him and said softly “It’s not true no woman would want you.  You’re not that ugly you know.  There was at least that one girl remember?”
“I’ve gained weight since then.” Christian said and turned away.
Joanne leaned closer and said in his ear, “I know of at least one woman who was very attracted to you since then.”
Christian turned back to look at her.  The conversation flowed smoothly around them.  Joanne saw Chantal looking at them from the corner of her eye but no one was really paying attention.
“Who?” he asked with a touch of irony.
“Me.”  Joanne said firmly.  She breathed in.  She was amazed that that declaration had not physically hurt her.  Her heart was beating a little wildly, but other than that, no damage done.  She wasn’t even shaking.  Yet.
“You?”  Christian whispered hoarsely. He looked like a bomb had just been dropped.
“Yes, me.” She affirmed authoritatively.  “Don’t have a heart attack, I won’t try to seduce you or anything.”  It was her turn to look away.
“But,… how…” Christian seemed to be having some trouble finding words.
She turned back to face him, aware that by now, more than one head was turned in their direction.  “Let’s talk later.”  She told him.
They both ate the rest of their dessert in relative silence.  Joanne noticed that the others seemed to be wondering why Christian had suddenly quieted down and appeared to be lost in thought.  Neither Joanne nor Christian addressed a word to each other until it was time to leave.
Christian took the key to the roadster out of his pocket and was going to hand it back to Joanne, but she shook her head.  “No, drive.”  She said, “You know where you’re going better than me, and I get to drive the car all the time.”
Christian unlocked her door for her once again and opened it, then went around to the driver’s side.  He backed out of the parking spot and took the main road, back towards the village the wedding had taken place in.
The shadows had lengthened, the sky was starting to turn pale pink in the west.  As they drove through the trees, every once in awhile golden bursts of sunlight would shine through the leaves. God rays, Joanne remembered them being referred to as.  The air had the smell of night coming.  It was already cooling.  The evening light made the occasional fields turn a deeper green.
Christian saw a lane, where two brown tracks showed up against the green of the grass.  He pulled into the lane and drove a little ways, until they came to a small meadow dotted with wildflowers.  He parked to the side, in the grass and turned to look at Joanne.
“Why did you never tell me?” he asked.
Joanne shrugged.  “I thought it must have been obvious.” She said.  She smiled a small ironic smile.  “I used to want to kick myself for doing or saying things that made it so obvious.”  She could feel herself start to tremble again, the way she always did when she felt vulnerable.  She tried to relax.
“But why did you want to hide it?”
Joanne stole a quick glance at him.  Christian was looking straight ahead, out the window.  Somehow, it made her feel better to know he was not watching her as she spoke.
“You must be kidding me.” He said before she could answer.  Joanne turned to look at him.  He was shaking his head.
“Why would I do that?”  Joanne asked.
“I don’t know.”
Joanne crossed her arms in front of her.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t think it would bother you so much.  Besides, that was 10 years ago.”
Christian looked sideways at her.  “It doesn’t bother me.” He said.  “I just… never thought…”
“Never thought what?”
He looked tortured for a second and then turned to look out the window again.
“I didn’t think I was attractive to anyone.”

Crashing into Thin Air - Excerpt From Chapter Seven


She was deep into a website project on her laptop when Christian came home later.  She saved her work and closed the laptop.
“So?”  She asked, as he sat across the table.  “How was it?”
He eyed her.  “You enjoy talking about yourself?” He asked.
Joanne nodded.
“To a stranger?”
Joanne shrugged, “Sometimes that’s easier.”  She said.  “Strangers don’t judge.  They don’t really care.  They aren’t personally involved.”
“So you’ve done this before?  Talked to a psychiatrist about your problems?”
“Uh, no.  Not really.”
Christian shook his head.  “So how can you know you’d like it?  What do you think it’s like, having to go through unpleasant memories that you’d rather forget?  It’s not much fun!”
“Sorry.” Joanne replied.
“So if you enjoy talking about yourself so much, why don’t you tell me what you were going to tell me this morning?”
“You’re not a stranger.” Joanne reminded him.  “That makes things more complicated.  Which doesn’t mean I won’t tell you anything.” She added as she saw his face change.  “It just means, you won’t be indifferent and on top of it, my memories involve you.  It’s not like I’m going to be talking about people you don’t know or care about.  I’m going to be talking about you!”
“So tell me, why didn’t you want me to come to the hospital with you?”
Joanne cocked her head.  A corner of her mouth turned up and a slight frown appeared between her eyes.
“Actually,” she said, “I did.”
He frowned.  “You make no sense.”
Joanne closed her eyes.  She did not know where to begin.  Her hands fluttered as she tried to find a place to begin.
“To understand this,” she began, opening her eyes again, “You have to understand one thing.”
“Yes?”
“I hate to be a charity case.” She said, looking down at her hands.  “When I was so sick that I couldn’t work anymore, and had to lower my course load at university, you invited me to come stay with you, so I wouldn’t have to pay so much for an apartment.”
Christian nodded.  “I was saving money too.” He reminded her.
“I know, but then you cooked most of the time, and you started to drive me places instead of having me take the bus all the time, and you looked out for me.”
“Don’t get me wrong,” she looked at him, “I appreciate all you did for me so much.  You were… so good to me.  I just wanted more.  I didn’t want to be this poor girl you were helping out, just because you were this kind, generous person.  I wanted to be more than that.  I hoped that you were maybe getting something out of it too.  It seemed so one-way all the time.  I wanted you to want to be around me because you liked me, not just because you wanted to be nice to me.  I wanted to be a friend.  An equal.  Maybe even a good friend.”
Christian frowned.
“Once you took me somewhere for the weekend.” Joanne continued.  “You mentioned something about wanting to keep on eye on me.  I asked you if you were just worried about me, or if you actually wanted me there.”
Joanne looked down at her hands again.  “You said you were worried about me.  I took it to mean that the only reason you were bringing me was so you could keep an eye out for me, like I was someone you felt responsible for, but otherwise it wouldn’t make a difference if I was there or not.”
“But of course it made a difference!”  Christian exclaimed.  “You thought I didn’t enjoy having you around?”
“Well, I didn’t think you were bothered by my presence or anything, but I started to think it didn’t make a difference to you if I was there or not.”
Christian looked at her like he thought she was crazy.
Joanne sighed.
“I didn’t have many friends growing up.” She said.  “I was teased a lot.  I didn’t have the same sense of self-worth back then that I do now.  I was used to people not caring one way or another about me.”
Staying here with Christian for two weeks was turning out to be quite intense, Joanne thought.  She wondered briefly if she would survive.
“I became quite good at pushing people away before they could reject me.”  She said simply.
“Ahhh.” The light came on in Christian’s eyes.
“Yeah, except I wasn’t really trying to push you away.  Not consciously anyway.  I really did want you to come, but I wanted you to feel you had a choice.  I didn’t want you to feel obligated.  I worded it wrong, because I made you feel unwelcome.  I’m sorry.”
“You say that a lot.” He remarked.
“What?”
“I’m sorry.”
“I am.  For a lot of things.”

Saturday, March 17, 2012

101 Reasons to be happy - Reason number fifty

Maple syrup



















And obviously, maple taffy, maple butter, maple candies, maple sugar, coffee with maple syrup, maple frosting, maple syrup pie, the list goes on...

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's not about "rights"

The whole contraception debate going on right now in the US?  It's not about anyone's right to contraception.  Contraception hasn't been banned, you can still go out and pay for your own contraception to cover your own personal needs.  Actually, half the time, you don't even need to buy them because they get handed out for free.

That's beside the point.  If you want to avoid having children, that is your decision, and it is normal that you should pay for that decision.  It's not like pregnancy is a disease to be avoided.  It's more like an option, a private decision.  One that shouldn't implicate the rest of us.

Especially those of us who believe contraception is wrong.

If a non-Catholic company wants to include contraception in their health-care insurance, that is their business.  If a Catholic company does not want to include contraception in their health-care insurance, that should also be their business.

If you have a problem with that, don't work for the Catholic company, go work for the non-Catholic company. It's a simple solution really.

But this debate isn't about access to contraception, it's about freedom of religion.  It's all about imposing your values on the Catholic Church, because you don't like the ones it has.  If you can't change it's views by simple discussion, argument or even whining, then you'll just shove your views down the Church's throat.

So much for tolerance.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Awesome dolls for sale

Check out these dolls for sale.


 http://11onmyown.blogspot.com/2012/03/dolls-for-sale.html#comment-form

To make it a short story, the father of these eleven children left their mother for another woman, has refused to pay child support, has made life miserable for her and her children, not only leaving them to fend for themselves, but also making it complicated to do so.  (Read her blog for the story - she also wrote a book, but the ex threatened to sue even though his real name is not used, and that scared off the publisher)  Her older boys got jobs to help support the family and her older girls have made these dolls to sell.  That's the nutshell version.

You can get a longer version from her here: http://11onmyown.blogspot.com/2012/03/letter-i-hope-goes-viral.html

101 reasons to be happy - Reason number forty-nine

Spring!!!



















Longer hours of sunlight; flowers pushing out of the ground; maple syrup; balmy weather; not freezing when you walk outside; the promise of summer and outdoor sports; what's NOT to love?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

101 reasons to be happy - Reason number forty-eight

Pretty clothes.


Now before anyone rolls their eyes and says "how shallow", consider this quote from CS Lewis: "You don't have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body."

Consider what your soul wants:  all that is good and beautiful and light.

Shouldn't your body reflect what your soul wants?