Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Matter of Control

Picture a young bride. Hopeful, happy, looking towards the future and picturing a beautiful life filled with challenges and knowing that it's she and her groom against the world. Picturing herself building a life, a home, raising children together. Picturing herself growing old with this man standing by her side and knowing that someday they would sit together at soccer games, dance recitals, school plays, holding hands while they watched their grandchildren. Hands aged and weathered by time, hands that had healed and loved, caressed and protected.

All young brides see that picture from the minute they say "I do" to the moment they are walking down the aisle towards that perfect man. The one. The love of their life. Their rock, their witness to their life. Imagine if someone at that moment tells you you have to give it up. Would you? Could you?

That's what makes it so hard for someone who is in an abusive relationship to leave. You keep remembering that picture, playing those moments in your head. This is still that handsome young groom and you can't understand why he's doing the hurtful things he's doing to you. You didn't sign on for this but you think if you just try a little harder, give a little bit more, make sure that you do everything the way he likes it done then eventually the dream will come to life and you'll have it all. It's hard to reconcile yourself to the fact that things are never going to get better, he will always hurt you, he will always try to control you. But the dream is the reason you stay in it, probably way longer than you should have.

I can remember early on in our marriage my handsome, young husband, saying to me as we're heading out to dinner, "Where do you feel like eating?" And me saying, "Let's go to Woolgrowers." (One of his favorite restaurants.) And he says, "Are you kidding me? Woolgrowers? Why would you choose that place of all places on the day that I feel like eating Mexican food? You always want Mexican food, but nooooo, today you gotta say Woolgrowers!!!" So I say hesitantly, "You wanted Mexican food? Well that's fine with me, let's get Mexican food, that sounds good too." And he says, "No, now we're gonna go to Woolgrowers because you already messed it up and now I don't want Mexican."

The next week comes around and again we're heading out for dinner and my handsome, young husband says to me, "Where do you feel like eating?" My mind races...what do I say, what's the right answer? I want to enjoy this evening, I want to please him. So I say, "Oh, anywhere you want Honey. I'm just hungry, anything is fine." My husband, the love of my life says, "Great...so you can't even pick a restaurant? Why do I have to make all the decisions? Here I am being a nice guy and taking you out so you don't have to cook and I have to decide where! Great!" Another evening ruined.

The next week comes around and again...as usual, heading out to dinner. I'm already dreading that question. I know I can't say the right thing, but I can't just abstain from answering. My stomach is in knots, I have absolutely no appetite, I just want to stay home and not even go out for my weekly gift of not having to cook. Again...the question from my husband, "So where do you want to eat?" Woolgrowers was the wrong answer before, letting him choose was the wrong answer before...but he did say he wanted Mexican food, so I say, "How about Mexicali or El Sombrero?" Again I get that look of disdain as he says to me, "Mexican food? Are you kidding me? You're Mexican! Didn't you get enough of that crap growing up? Great, just when I was in the mood for a good steak you have to go and ruin it by wanting Mexican food!"

I couldn't win. There was no right answer. He didn't want to take me out for a wonderful, happy dinner as a treat to keep me from having to cook one night a week. He wanted to control me, manipulate me, hurt me, confuse me...and it worked. This was just a small example of the many ways that he did this. This man that I had planned to spend my life with, the man in my dreams that stood at the end of that long church aisle.

And this story is just the tip of the iceberg, there is so much more that no one knows, so much more that I can't share with a public audience like this. It's easy to criticize women in domestic abuse relationships, to say, "I would never put up with it, he lays a hand on me just one time and I'm outta here." Or "he dares to talk down to me and I'm outta here, I don't have to take it!" But remember that dream and the fear this person instills. He takes away your freedom of choice, he takes away your strength, your mind, your thoughts. It's easy to say, "Oh but that would never happen to me." It happens. It happened to me.

If you are in a relationship like this, whether it's physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse; just know that you are stronger that you think. Look deep down into your soul and find that strength and get out. And if today is not the day to get out, then know that it's not you. YOU are not the one that's wrong. YOU are not the one that is doing the wrong thing. YOU are not the one that is stupid, or weak, or dumb, or lazy, or fat, or ugly...whatever horrible things this person says to makes you feel like you deserve it. YOU just aren't ready. But I hope you will be soon, I hope you find someone you can talk to and I hope you find your way out.

This post was inspired by the book "Lost Edens"In Lost Edens, author Jamie Patterson struggles to save her marriage which may or may not be already over. Keeping her attempts a secret from her family, she attempts to mold herself into the wife her husband wants her to be. As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. You can read other members posts inspired by Lost Edens by Jamie Patterson on book club day, October 27 at From Left to Write.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Who Do I Love - Mike Rowe

Last night I watched...well I half watched...ok, I one-third watched a new show by Mike Rowe, the man all men want to be and the man all women want to be with! No? You don't want to be or be with Mike? Well I do! Ok, I don't want to be Mike Rowe but I wouldn't mind being with him, he's gorgeous! (My sister wouldn't come near him with a ten-foot pole! Because he's dirty!) But me, I don't mind a little dirt on my man, especially when he looks like Mike! Yowza! The new show he was on last night was the Curiosity Show and his episode was titled World's Dirtiest Man. Go and check it out. Here's what the promo says about the show:

"We shower, we bathe, we apply perfumes and deodorants. We're cleaner and healthier than at any other point in human history. So it may be surprising to learn there are 10 times more things living on you than cells in your body. From the flora of our guts to the fauna on our skin and hair, this episode explores the wildlife park that is the human body in stunning, microscopic detail - combining the creativity of natural history filmmaking with the charisma of Discovery's very own Mike Rowe."

I have to say, the show was a little gross and disgusting. I actually would have watched it all but I had a super busy weekend and no naps on my couch so by 9:15 pm I was falling asleep. If you've never heard of Mike Rowe, then I'm sorry for you. I'm even making a sad face for you right now :-( because he's fabulous. He does a show called Dirty Jobs where he spends a day doing some of our countries dirtiest jobs in order to show us what some people will do and put up with just to give all of us the quality of life we're accustomed to. He spends time in sewers, under houses, on pig farms; you name it, he's done it. So if you get a chance pop over to The Discovery Channel and check out some of his videos.

And just cause I love you all and I want you to drool on you keyboard like I've done just now, here's a short video of someone asking Mike random questions. I don't even know what he said I just sat here drooling and sighing *sigh*.

Hopefully the little link here works and you can see this short video.

Ask Mike « mikeroweWORKS

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Summer - Part One with Chorizo at the Coast

Now that fall is here and things have calmed down a little bit on the weekends I have time to post some pictures of a couple of fun trips I took this summer.

In August I took a weekend trip with my favorite daughter, April and my favorite grand-puppy, Chorizo. Yes...she named her puppy Chorizo which is the name of a much loved Mexican Sausage usually fried up with Huevos (Eggs) or Papas (Potatoes). I guess it's a fitting name as Chorizo is pretty spicy!

Chorizo loves car rides! What dog doesn't right? But don't worry, we don't let her drive! (Be sure to click on any of the following photos to enlarge.)

First we went to Elephant Seal Beach. We've gone there before and I posted about it on March 28, 2010 and you can view that post HERE which has more details of where and what Elephant Seal Beach is. I will tell you that it is located at Piedras Blancas in the southern range of Big Sur, near San Simeon and I love it there! Where else can you go to see nature in all it's glory for free? Here's some pictures you can enjoy for free as well!

A view of the coastline. The weather was beautiful and as is usual for that area, it would alternate between being overcast and being sunny.

Here's a picture of the Elephant Seals basking in the sun. Ahhhh, this is the life! Except for all that sand and having to haul your body around on those little flippers.

From there we headed to Avila Beach to a little fruit stand that April wanted to show me. She knows where all the best spots are! I loved this place. It was very busy, lots of people but you were free to roam around and see the animals and people watch. I'd love to go again!

This fruit stand is known as the Avila Valley Barn and you can go HERE to read more about the history of the fruit stand, get directions, and view tons more pictures. They're working on an online store where you can order custom mixed Cake and Pancakes mixes and their Jam, Jellies, Preserves and Honey! Here's a view of where we parked. Is this a beautiful parking lot or what? These are Zinnias. I've grown Zinnia's before but they never grew like these! Mine were short, scrawny little plants, these are gorgeous!

This is the view heading into the stand itself where they sell fresh flowers. Isn't this a beautiful display?

Here's a closeup of those beautiful red flowers. I want to say they're daisies, but I'm not sure. Doesn't it look like I photo-shopped this picture to get those beautiful colors? Nope, that's just Mother Nature's doing! I love the aluminum buckets they use to display them.

And a closeup of those tulips! I wish I had bought some now that I'm looking at them!

That night we had dinner at the Great American Fish Company in Morro Bay. I didn't take any pictures because the flash in my camera is "no bueno" at night and that's when you need the flash right? But here's a picture from their website and you can click HERE to read more about them and see their menu. April and I both had the Bacon wrapped Filet Mignon and it was so juicy and tender you could cut it with your fork! We also had an excellent bottle of Champagne from a local winery, Tobin James Cellars. I say we...but I mean me. April sipped at her glass and I drank the rest of it. Yum...it was wonderful!

The next day we headed to the Nipomo Swap Meet. It had been years since we had been there and it has changed so much! When we used to go it was filled with vendors selling Arts and Crafts and second hand and antique merchandise. Now it's just like a giant parking lot filled with 99cent stores. Now I love 99cent stores, but that wasn't what I wanted to see, so that was a bit of a let down.

We headed back to find someplace to have a nice lunch. Someplace that would allow us to have Chorizo with us. So that meant outdoor dining and April knew just the place. I tell you this girl of mine knows all the best places and a weekend with her is filled with fun and adventure! We went to Zorros Cafe and Cantina in Shell Beach where we enjoyed Mimosa's made with the same Champagne we had the night before. They had the best Chips and Salsa and if you ever get to that area you need to go try it! Doesn't Chorizo look like such a proper and well-behaved little puppy just sitting there. She's adorable!

After a wonderful lunch April figured she still hadn't tired me out enough (trust me, she had) and she insisted we drive out to Montana de Oro. Montana de Oro translates to Mountain of Gold and is named that due to the golden wildflowers that bloom in Spring. We love it there, it's so beautiful and peaceful and pretty secluded so you don't have a ton of people there.

Chorizo loves wading in the water. Here she is with my daughter April enjoying herself.

And just in case the waves carry her away and she doesn't know how to swim (I tell April all dogs know how to swim) April insists on her wearing a little doggie life jacket. Isn't she cute!

And as we ride off into the sunset back to our little casas (homes), we say "Adios Montana de Oro...until next time."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Post That Keeps on Giving

Back on March 7, 2009 I wrote a post about Moral Dilemmas. I didn't even get one comment! Of course at that time I didn't have any followers either! Now I have a few faithful ones and I wanted to reshare it because a blogging buddy of mine, Sextant from Navigating the Finite ran across this ancient blog post and more than made up for the fact that it had no comments by leaving four of them! Four very long, very interesting, very fascinating comments that made me want to learn more. Sextant was so impressed with my post and his comments that he decided he would just steal his own comments back and do a whole blog post linking back to my original post and adding to his comments.

Many times I've left long comments on someones post and thought, wow, I could write a whole post just using my comment and the ideas this post inspired and then Sextant goes and beats me to it. Well done Sextant, well done!

So I'm going to copy and paste and re-run my whole post below, then please click this LINK to go to my original post and read Sextants fascinating comments and then click this LINK and go to the post Sextant wrote with inspiration from my post. Wow...are you all following this?  Anyway...I hope you find this all as interesting as I did and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to be inspired by me or by Sextant and write your own post about Moral Dilemmas or just leave your own super long comments or even short ones!

Original Post from March 7, 2009 - Moral Dilemmas

I was stumbling again today and I came across a Website called Some Moral Dilemmas. This websites gives a list of moral dilemmas from a book called Moral Reasoning, by Victor Grassian (Prentice Hall, 1981, 1992).

Reading this website brought back memories of an Ethics class I once took where I argued with a professor that ethics and morals have a religious background. If you don't know right from wrong because you were never taught as a child what God considered right or wrong than how can you know what is ethical or moral? This professor did not agree with my theory and brought up the question of atheists who don't believe in God, weren't taught right or wrong as decided by God. Did that mean atheists didn't know how to be ethical or moral? It made me think. But I think what I was trying to say is that for me, making ethical or moral decisions is based somewhat on WWJD - What would Jesus Do, even way before that saying became popular.

So in reading some of the moral dilemmas on the website I noticed that my decisions are based on my faith, my religious upbringing and WWJD. Read some of them and see what you think? For instance...here's a random one:

A Parent's Agonizing Choice

You are an inmate in a concentration camp. A sadistic guard is about to hang your son who tried to escape and wants you to pull the chair from underneath him. He says that if you don't he will not only kill your son but some other innocent inmate as well. You don't have any doubt that he means what he says. What should you do?

My immediate reaction is that God says Thou Shall Not Kill. He doesn't say Thou Shall Not Kill unless your children are in mortal danger. So morally and ethically according to my religious upbringing I answered that I would not do what the guard wanted me to do. Not because it was my son, but because it's not in my hands to take another person's life. Even if taking that life will save another.

But then I got to thinking further, that peace officers and soldiers and doctors make those decisions everyday. Sometimes you have to take the life of someone to save the life of someone else. Peace officers may have to shoot a bank robber who has taken hostages in order to save the lives of the hostages. Soldiers may have to take lives of innocent bystanders in order to save the lives of even more humans in the community. A doctor may have to terminate a pregnancy in order to save the mother.

It's interesting to contemplate all these different dilemmas and choices that can be made and why. For instance, this dilemma:

The Fat Man and the Impending Doom

A fat man leading a group of people out of a cave on a coast is stuck in the mouth of that cave. In a short time high tide will be upon them, and unless he is unstuck, they will all be drowned except the fat man, whose head is out of the cave. [But, fortunately, or unfortunately, someone has with him a stick of dynamite.] There seems no way to get the fat man loose without using [that] dynamite which will inevitably kill him; but if they do not use it everyone will drown. What should they do?

Since the fat man is said to be "leading" the group, he is responsible for their predicament and reasonably should volunteer to be blown up. The dilemma becomes more acute if we substitute a pregnant woman for the fat man. She would have been urged by the others to go first out of the cave.

What do you think? How would you vote?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Who Eats All That Food?

I probably own over 100 cookbooks. I’ve had subscriptions to every cooking magazine available under the sun at one time or another. I’ve got a bazillion recipes saved in my favorites under a folder entitled RECIPES. I’m subscribed to every cooking blog on the whole Internet! I can tell you what ingredients are in almost any recipe you can think of. But I don’t really like to cook! Seriously, I don’t like to cook.

Which is a good thing. If I did like to cook, if I did make all bazillion recipes in my little folder, if I cracked open one of those cookbooks and just started preparing all those wonderful recipes, who would eat it?

Why am I thinking about this? Well because it’s fall and I was thinking I am really in the mood to bake some Pumpkin Bread. Mixing up all that dark orangey goodness and smelling the delicious spices; cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger, all coming together to fill my little house with their beautiful, aromatic scent. Oh my!

(Photo of Pumpkin Bread I made last year, just so you can see that I can bake!)

Then I stop to think… who is going to eat it? I definitely don’t need it. It’s filled with carbs and sugar, and I know that if I were to bake it I wouldn’t eat a bite. So I think, “Well you could bake it for your mom and your kids”. But then I think, “Mom can’t eat the whole thing; my kids don’t need to be eating all that sugar either”. I could bake it for my co-workers, but I know that at the office we are all constantly watching every bite we eat. In fact just the other day a client brought us a box of doughnuts and only our receptionist ate one, the rest we threw out 3 days later! I hate to see food go to waste!

So that started me thinking about all those cooking blogs I love to visit and Oooh and Ahhh over. Who do those people feed that food too? If they’re feeding it to their families don’t they worry about the calories, the carbs, the sugar?

I guess maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t like to cook much so I don’t really have to worry about it. But what about you guys out there in blogland. Do you cook a lot? And if you do, who eats it? I guess for now I’ll just continue to Oooh and Ahhh at pictures and not at the real thing baking in my oven. I’ll just toss all those spices into a pan with water on the stove and let them simmer, that way I can still have the scent of Fall without worrying if my clothes are going to fit!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Pain in the Neck!

Life is sad when you get hurt just by sleeping. Imagine that? I went to bed a healthy, happy individual last night and when I awoke this morning I’m crippled and can’t move my head to the left more than a few inches without excruciating pain!

How did I do that? What did I do in my sleep that was so vigorous and dangerous that I injured myself? I’m not even vigorous and dangerous when I’m awake!

I know, I know…I just slept wrong, but still after 50+ years of sleeping don’t you think I would have sleep down to an art form, a science, and wouldn’t injure myself!

How about you? Do you injure yourself by sleeping nowadays?