Friday, May 30, 2014

How to measure success, by the spoonful.

Is it cheating to post your comments on other blogs as your own blog posts?   Maybe, but I never liked reading and following the rules anyway.

I am intensely intrigued by the idea of Project based learning. Its what I have been hoping the school would be doing when they initiated IEP and special ed services for my daughter. I see that its not how that works. They seem to use the IEP as a map of sorts, to continue with the curriculum they have already set in place, despite the fact that its just not working. So I am jumping ship, and starting my own adventure (this is a theme in my life, and I just love watching it happen!).

I think one needs to decide what we are really trying to do here with this education business, be it homeschool or other. It would seem that perhaps we are preparing children for the "workplace". The world of career and money, and making a "living". Isn't that why we bother with it all? Don't we want to be sure that our children will be "successful?" won't that mean that we succeeded at being parents? That we chose the correct education path for them? Who started spoon feeding us that line of craziness??? Its soo much more than that. Its only one tiny component of life and living, and you know it its true, because it resonates with us on a deeper level. Despite every pore and cell that might scream "yes, but we need to eat and pay our bills!! We should do that in the most economically minded way as possible. I NEED a career that will prove it to the world that I am SUCCESSFUL"- how many of us are so terribly unhappy with life in general? With our "career"? I don't think you will EVER be happy if that is the case. You will always be chasing your tail, trying to figure out if there is a better career, or some fancy shift of career that could better optimize your talents. Maybe I should sign up for this training program, or that, and THEN I too can be successful. Maybe I should make more money, better use my time. On and on and on… Why not do what you love. "Oh, that's such a damn simple woo woo concept" Why? Is that true? When you are doing what you love, are you not content and happy? Search it out. IS it true? Why should a "career" be anything else? Why not Do what inspires you most? Serve the community in some way that moves your soul? What if that is your motivating force? Maybe it won't make you a ton of money, and so you adjust your lifestyle to make that happen. Maybe today what moves your soul, isn't what moves it tomorrow? Move on, Change it. Life is constantly moving and shifting, that is just what it does. Did you ever notice that?

So if I decide that my own kids should do what motivates them most, create in the most unique ways they can, and find ways of sharing that with others, then I would feel like I did my job. That I showed them how maximize their living potential instead of their earning potential.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I think this all the time. Why? Why Diabetes? But why anything at all? Then I think other things... Diabetes for my daughter was caused by a terrible illness that she likely contracted while we were at a park. What if we were not there that day, what if we went somewhere else. What life would she have then? Maybe she would be invited to sleep over parties, and dinners. What life Would I have now? So much hardship since that one visit. But, maybe its not such a bad thing. How do I know its really negative? Is it true that its a negative thing that needs a cure? Maybe its just what my ego mind likes to think. I am attached to some idea that just isn't so. Anything can happen in life, the fact that we have life at all is remarkable. A blessing. I could choose to be upset about any number of things. Each time I let myself become upset, I think its because I am attached to an idea I put in my mind. Its not reality. Reality is Diabetes. Reality is Ecoli. Its whatever is out there, whatever I am dealing with in any given moment. Crazy things happen all the time. Are they really my enemy? How do I know that its true? Do we even really need a "cure" what would that be? What would a "cure" look like? Would it really "cure" anything? Its so funny, because my daughter will say things like "I love my diabetes" and"I love my life", and I think its because she perceives that it means she can eat sweet things from time to time to pick up her blood sugars. Maybe she feels like she gets some special treatment sometimes. I am not even 100% sure why she says it. But when do I ever say it? Maybe I should start. Such strength and love for every diabetic parent. Every parent indeed. Every person indeed.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

This post started on Facebook, and I could see that I was willing to ramble on and on.  Who wants to read an essay on Facebook?  If it isn't under 3 sentences, is way too long.  And besides, I can use most of it for my "post a day" challenge for myself (which I am failing by the way, as I didn't write anything this weekend.  Yikes!). 

This video trailer brought tears to my eyes. There is a moment in this clip where the teen says that she knows if she was born in another country with this illness, she would probably not be alive. That's how I feel about my Bella, but for her, it would have been before the diabetes even set in. Type 2 folks can take control of their lives with a diet and lifestyle overhaul, and often they don't need insulin. You see, Type 2 folks have a pancreas that makes insulin. It just isn't getting into the cells. But not the Type 1 folks. Diet/ aka your food choices- does NOT cause Type 1. Its a very different illness entirely, where either no, or just very little insulin, is actually being made. Type 1 quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) affects every aspect of your child's life, and consequently yours too- and therefore affects every parental decision. A moment of "mom, I don't feel so good" can suddenly turn into a sweeping emergency. You are constantly asking "whats her blood sugar". Its the quiet hum of diabetes, constantly in the background.

I like to go about pretending things are fine, it doesn't affect us. And mostly, it doesn't.  Diabetes, for the most part, is a quiet hum in the background.  But when it isn't, its a tremendously loud noise in the foreground.   I am always wondering, how will I get her to fully take care of herself?  What if she decides to binge drink in her teens and early 20s?  It could actually kill her, something that's just a stupid phase for many young adults, can be deadly for a diabetic.   What about her eating habits? I am always telling her to not eat soo many chips or crackers, etc... because it will affect her sugar.  But I never say things like that to her sister.  Am I making her quietly self conscious about her eating habits?  Will I inflict some eating disorder by trying to keep her sugar in a health range? My concern list is sooo long, that I have to just set it aside, and deal with each moment as it comes to us.  Right now, those are not issues.  Right now, she just wants cake with her friends. And she CAN handle that just fine.  She is able to help figure out the carbs and insulin dose, and is able to draw and inject  the insulin herself.   I need to trust that ultimately, she wants to be healthy and knows how to do so.  Its just the loving support that she needs to bring herself there.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Why artists don't have to starve...

Anyone is capable of making a living out of doing pretty much anything they can imagine and wish for, as long as they put in the grunt work and actually go after it.  Happens time and time again, all over the place, all around the world.  You are only limited by your own inner drive, and the excuses you choose to make for yourself.  Make art.  Sell art.  Rinse and Repeat.  There are systems in place, and people willing to buy.   Excuses for why its not happening are just that, excuses and if you choose to believe your excuses, and allow that to happen, then you will cry about why its not happening.  Everyone has a sob story about why something didn't happen.  Its the great artists who choose to not  tell those sob stories, who actually make something of their lives.

The only reason anything doesn't happen to you, or for you, or for the world, is because you are making an excuse for yourself.  Stop telling yourself and the world your sob story, and get to work. I actually wrote this response for another big name blogger, who I thought was trashing artists wanting to try.  Folks can and do make a living out of art.  Just define what "living" is, you may need to actually redefine the word for yourself. 

Now I have posted for my daily writing excerpt, and I can go to work on that art commission I just acquired.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Here is my go as a blogger!  My family life has had many adventures, our most recent one being having a child diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

When our daughter, Isabella was 3, she suffered from a severe E-coli infection that created a condition called "HUS", Hemalytic Uremic Syndrome. Her body was overwhelmed with the toxins produced as the E-coli bacteria died off.  Her kidneys lost their functioning, and the added fluid made breathing difficult.  We thought she would die...But the angels at Maine MED saved her.  Isabella had a total of 17 dialysis treatments, and was on a respirator for two weeks at the PICU at Maine MED.  Her kidneys did eventually resume function.  A Wonder to have her pee for the first time again!  She came off the respirator and we watched her come back to life...

But then another problem presented itself.  Her blood sugars we extremely elevated.  No one was sure if it was actually Diabetes, but  we did have to monitor sugars, and dose with Insulin.  We left the hospital after 31 days, with all the tools to manage Diabetes.  Then something strange happened.  IT all went AWAY.  No more sugar problems, no more needles, no more checking.  Seemed to be a result of the illness.  She would just be checked at her annual blood draw (done to monitor kidney functioning) and we would be fine.

Fast Forward 7 years.  Isabella is now 10, and after a week of high fever that swept through our house, Isabella is complaining of having to pee all night long. She is constantly thirsty.  She can't see the trees outside our windows... It doesn't take long for me to realize we have a problem here.

Why eating Octopus is completely unconventional...

Why sure, I do think of my self as quite unconventional.  Hence the title here.  Even though I am married, live in a white ranch, with two kids, a dog and two cats... I think that is where conventional ends.  I have always been at least 3 steps away from normal.

 I am American, but I wasn't born here in the States.  I was born on a Mediterranean Island.  For my friends growing up in rural NH, that was exotic!  My mom did not speak clear English, and had a fabulous Italian accent.  She would confuse words like "chicken and kitchen" and only we would understand what she meant.  I had been to Europe 3 times by the age of 14, and most of my friends hardly ever left the state, their big adventure was to drive to the big city of "Manchester" to go to the mall.  My Dad is American, but Mom is Italian, and her entire family is still there. My Fabulous Aunt Stella visited us when I was 12, and my "Nonno" when I was 15.  Mom did things a little different than other mothers growing up- We had the most Immaculately Clean House in the whole town- I think we could have won a blue ribbon for it.  Mom was also constantly trying to recreate her long lost Italian delicacies out of the SAD foods in America, like trying to recreate Italian Brioche and Gelato with Hood Ice Cream and Hamburger buns.   We ate TONS of pasta, and even exotic foods like marzipan and octopus, delicacies not too common here in NH.   So whatever "normal" is suppose to be is not something I concern myself with.  I think its fabulous to do all things differently than others.

I married my high school sweet heart.  We started dating when I was 14, and now are happily married for nearly 2 decades.  I work as an artist, and a yoga teacher, and am Self Employed and LOVE IT.  That whole 9-5, 7 days a week think, just is completely anti-me.  I think its just not normal... We (my family, hubby and daughters) are Vegan.  Now that is something that can make people run away from a dinner conversation FAST.  Definite "Weirdo" goes with the word "VEGAN".   I think if you record VEGAN on an LP and play it backwards, you definitely hear the word "WEIRDO".  But I also do not drink alcohol.  So, never mind, I don't get invited to dinner parties anyway.  They can't feed me, or offer me a drink.   I am a Yogin, which today, is not abnormal, with millions of people claiming to practice Yoga (or at least the ASANA- physical posture part).  But I also chant and play Kirtan music live, in front of other people.  And love it.  Being VEGAN and practicing KIRTAN, and not drinking alcohol, puts you in a very, very, very small category of people, even in the Yoga world. 

I also have a TYPE 1 Diabetes Daughter.  She isn't even a normal Type 1, as her Pancreas is injured from an awful illness when she was three.   Her body does not make Antibodies against her pancreas- so its "Atypical- Type 1 Diabetes".   Anyone handling Type 1 diabetes in a child will tell you that thier lives often seem far  from normal.  You have to travel everywhere with medical juice boxes, emergency sugars, keto stix, glucagon, meters,  and the doctors numbers on speed dial.  It's worse than carrying a diaper bag was when they were infants.  And if you forget that bag anywhere on your journey, the whole journey ends to find the "D" bag.  Every meal your diabetic child eats has to be calculated and quantified.  Only a mom of a diabetic, or a diabetic, can look at a plate of pasta and know the number of carbohydrates on that plate.  Its an entire lifestyle, and one we surely did not choose.

So to compound the unconventional life we are lucky enough to own, we have recently decided to homeschool our two girls next school year.  Largely this comes from their own requests.  I used to homeschool, for two years with my first daughter.  She has learning difficulties and putting her in public school helped us sort through some of it, but now it seems that it may be time to try again. With homeschooling  you can make all of life an exquisite learning adventure.  I look forward  to giving those precious girls the time to explore their hearts curiosity, to take away the tests and the rote memorization (that isn't working anyway) and to create a whole organic experience out of learning.  School is way too normal, so I am not sure why I thought that was something for me.  I think I had a weird notion that maybe the kids should be in a "normal" setting.  But that is an unlikely probability, being that they are my offspring.   So we will add homeschooling to our list of anti-normal behavior.   It is far more interesting to walk the road less traveled anyway, or to just make up your own road as you go along, chanting and eating vegan faux octopus along the way...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Neti Neti...

Wow, has it really been over a year since I decided to try this again?  Shifting imagined futures in reverse after much trial and tribulation,  and coming back home (such a deep feeling of really being home too, so right), starting a Yoga Teacher Training Program WHICH I LOVE RUNNING and then deciding to travel to India for the first time and falling in love with that country and a new lifestyle, might take up a wee bit of personal time.   Such a wild year indeed.  Lessons galore.  And here I am, now looking out ahead again...

I am happy in so many ways now.  I LOVE working from home, which is why I am forcing myself to Blog Blog Blog... hoping to grow this writing thing I seem to enjoy.  We will be homeschooling the girls this coming school year, actually after the school year ends, going to dive right into it.  I hope the small and intimate format will help them do better and to feel better and make their creativity explode- watch for those lessons in the future!!!   I am finally making art again!   and that is a passion that will continue to be my support.  I guess my lessons of the past 12 months are of "neti neti" not this, not that.  Determining what is right by engaging in what is wrong. And I can be thankful for that.  It makes for a stronger understanding of what is right for me.   I only wish that things didn't have to sometimes be so negative.  Never sits well with me.  We can only be the best that is possible in any given moment, in any given situation, and sometimes that is limited.  But in the moving forward hopefully we remember "neti neti" will help us to avoid that negativity in the future. 

Looking ahead, at my future... is funny, because I only wish to be present in each moment.   Work to simplify, work to engage in less, so that more of the inner bounty becomes apparent.  Yes, that is it.  A focus on the inner bounty, now there is some positive vegan juice for the soul.