Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dad Jailed for waving at Daughters

Before I get to my current rant and the extremely depressing story below, I want to give out an important link, The Daily Burkeman1, The week in blogs; important because this person linked to me, but even more important because he dubbed me a libertarian goddess and I appreciate people who do their research and report accurately. By the way, it is a really great blog-I spent all morning reading it.

At some point I 'm actually going to assemble a decent link list and anyone who calls me a goddess of anything can be on it.

On to this story and the rant it stirs up.

I never hear the end of women compl

that men aren't involved with their kids, they don't take an interest, they don't pay child support.

And some don't; but maybe it's because they are human and like most other humanoid life forms they can only take so much rejection and nitpicking before they just shut down emotionally.

And at that point they probably do say to themselves -"Maybe I'm just not cut out for that -maybe I should just step out of the way and let my wife takeover or step out permanently, let someone else raise the kids who can do all those things the right way."

Anything that doesn't fall in line with the way things should be done according to the TV model receives the head-shaking, smile knowingly and roll your eyes, silly man just doesn't get it look.

I can not even begin to fathom what is wrong with women. And when I say women -I mean of the finicky mainstream variety.

I have not come across any of this bashing among the off the beaten path types; homeschooling, attachment/crunchy, gunny freedom minded women. Maybe it's just the ones who watch TV.

When I was first married I used to get together with friends for coffee. I quit meeting with them because at any given time the only discussion going was the, my husband/boyfriend is an idiot because_____ . Women do this as a type of female bonding. Women who do not even know each other will connect by making snide comments about their buffooning husband.

I very rarely agree with DR. Laura on anything. I can't listen to her without wanting to throw the radio across the room. But she actually does know a little about women and wrote a book, that if you can forget it was written by her, is a great read. The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.

If you're cool enough to be reading my blog than you don't need this book at all, but it's an excellent gift to someone newly married or to someone really annoying.

The story below is much more than male bashing. It's an absolute horror. But it goes to another point about minimizing the importance of husbands and fathers.

A very big, top down government wants to be your daddy.

It wants to sit at the head of your table.

Men can't help themselves; they want to protect; they want to provide for their tribe, their family. I'm not saying only men should work while women do housework. I mean on a very deep, lizard brain level this is where men are coming from.

And this is counter to what a big government wants. I think that's why most of the male bashing goes on among the soccer mom types-they have pushed out men as being competent providers and protectors and brought government in.

So while there may physically be a husband and father in the picture, in the dynamics of things they have been replaced.

Government protects the children with their rules and laws.

Government provides food with their little programs.

Government provides health care and education.

Men are gifted little tasks like mowing a lawn and changing the oil while the women laugh that they can't even get that right.


Daily Mail

Every day there is some reminder of what Mark Harris calls 'the lost years'.

It could be his daughter's reference to a particular birthday party or a family holiday. It could be talk of exams sat, dentists visited or pop stars worshipped.

Each time it happens, he feels a stab of regret. 'I missed so much,' he reveals, with understandable bitterness. 'They took my daughter's childhood, her formative years, from me. Lisa is 20 now. I didn't see her between the ages of ten and 16. An awful lot happens in a child's life in that time, and I missed it all.'

Lisa missed a lot, too. She sits by Mark's side as he talks, a beautiful and assured young woman, but one still coming to terms with the fact that her father simply wasn't there when she needed him - and for an entire decade she did not know why.

'There were times when I needed a father figure - for reassurance and advice,' she says, with quiet restraint. 'There just wasn't one there.'

But the story of what happened to the Harris family isn't just another tragic case of broken homes and estrangement. Mark, Lisa and her two younger sisters were wrenched apart by the state.

Mark was not a feckless, irresponsible father. He did not walk out of his children's lives. Rather, he was ordered out by the family courts, and when he objected - insisting it was his right to see them - he was dealt with in a scandalous way.

Mark Harris went to prison for his girls. He was jailed for waving to them after a court order demanded he sever all contact. It was the most shameful chapter in an extraordinary ten-year custody battle.

He has now 'won' - today, two of his daughters live with him - only because they shared their father's determination to re-establish their relationship.

He has lived every father's worst nightmare, and every miserable step is etched on his face. 'It took ten years, 133 court appearances before 33 different judges, two prison sentences and a hunger strike before I was given permission to be with my daughters again,' he says quietly.

'What happened to my family is unforgivable. And that it was all sanctioned - ordered - by a system that is supposed to help families is outrageous.'

Read the rest here

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Survey Says!

Help a doctoral student out; take his blogger's

Check out the big brain on Todd! And check out his very suave, debonair and 007 style pic on his
page at Stony Brook ( is that a Walther PPK in his pocket or is he just happy to be there).

His profile says he's into;
"Political Psychology, in which I have developed substantive interests in political behavior, communication, and cognition"

But then he clears it up for us;
"More specifically, I am conducting research on metaphorical communication, framing effects, campaigns, and ambivalence (among other things)."

Todd, I'm with with you on the ambivalence thing.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's meme time-I'm running out of cool random facts-if I get tagged again I'll have to start blogging about doing dishes

I have had absolutely no time for anything this week. It's been one of those weeks where I wind up collapsing at the foot of the bed with my shoes still on.

I was tagged again with a meme, which is cool, otherwise, I wouldn't make time to post on here until the weekend. I was tagged by Silken, I'm linking to her profile because she has about twenty million blogs-she's also a homeschooler.

The Rules: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write their own blog post with their 7 things as well as these rules. You need to tag 7 others and list their names on your blog. Remember to leave a comment for them letting them know they have been tagged and to read your blog.

HHMM-It's going to take me a while to round up seven other people since I don't want to retag anyone-just did the pieces of eight one.

1. I was once the victim of a drive by shooting.

I was 151/2 and out on a double date to go bowling and then to play mini golf.

How Mormon does that sound?

We were at a stoplight when a minitruck (remember those) pulled up. The two guys in the truck started racing their engine and looking over at us.

My date, the driver, said," I don't want to race you, you'd kill me."

And when he said kill, he motioned his hands like a gun for emphasis.

I guess the other guy was offended.

He responded by shooting at us three times.

I heard the noise and then I thought water was splashing all over -but it was glass (that slow motion thing under fear is sooo weird). The glass looked like it was just flowing across the car like a wave. The minitruck took off and we were all fine. The bullets lodged in the door.

2. I once worked in place where "strange phenomena" occurred. It was an "upscale" (as upscale as these places get) club where I worked to put my hubby through undergrad.

At the time, I had no doubt the place was haunted. Now I'm not sure what it was. Maybe mass hysteria. Maybe just bad vibes from all the seriously bad energy. It didn't help with the hysteria or the energy that someone always had a ouija board going.

I never saw a ghost.

But I did see girls running outside screaming, half dressed, saying something walked through them.

I did see DJ's running out of the booth saying something was whispering in their ear-this happened with multiple DJ's, most of whom quit; saying the job didn't pay enough to deal with that.

The strangest thing I ever saw was the day I sat down with a customer who was arguing with his friend.
He was looking up at the catwalk saying there had to be a door up there in that corner(pointing); his pal said there's nothing there. There first guy asks me if there's a door there (there wasn't) because he saw a short, fat man, with a bowler hat, walk down it and then just disappear.

This guy's description fit exactly with what the DJ had been seeing up there all week.

It horrified me back then because this guy, as far as I knew, hadn't heard any of the ghost stories.

Now I wonder if maybe he had over heard someone talking about it, subconsciously, in the murmer of the club, and his mind played a few tricks on him.
Or maybe it was a ghost. Don't know-guess I'll find out when I die.

3. I once had a gun blow up in my hand-not a piece of crap gun either, but a Glock.
When I first started shooting, I was really afraid of the noise (I used to run when someone opened a can of biscuits) so I thought I would just shoot like a hundred rounds a day until I got used to it.
I was using store bought reloads (don't ever do this).
I remember thinking that my gun seemed really loud that day, but I thought it just my fear.

Then the next shot seemed really really loud. But I thought,"Man, I've got to get over this silly fear-now I'm hearing things." Then the next shot was so loud-that my ears were ringing through the ear muffs ;) and my hands felt really hot.

I looked down and there was a huge hole in the top of the barrel.

I stated shooting rifle instead.

4.The longest run I ever did was 15 miles. My plan with running has always been to just run until the baby or babies I'm pushing in the the stroller wake up or until my knee says -enough. But one morning my knee was well rested and my baby-my oldest- was in a sound sleep so I just kept running.

5. I was in labor for one hour with my second baby.
Two and a half hours with my fourth baby. My midwife was staying with us for the second baby. For number four the midwife was only there about ten minutes before the baby was born.

6.My hubby's great grandpa rode with Pancho Villa. There is a favorite family photo of Pancho Villa with my hubby's great uncle, as a baby. All the crazy tales on the history sites pale compared to family lore.

I was in school, Basic high school, the day of the Pepcon disaster. This was a rocket fuel plant that blew up (that link is a great article about it) just a couple miles from our school.
A bunch of us kids jumped into a car and we drove across the desert getting stuck every once in a while and just waiting for a 4x4 to come by with a chain and pull us through the dips.

It was like a traffic jam in the middle of a desert. Our school was just a couple of miles from the site so I was surprised when I got home (7 miles away) to find all of the windows busted out in our neighborhood too.

The worst of it was the not knowing what it was and if anyone was hurt.
The best of it was we didn't have to go to school for a week while they repaired the building.
Also because the air quality test keep coming back as unacceptable but this was because while the air testing was going on in one room; the painters were spraying fresh paint in another. ;)

I tag Zep, My hubby, Dare2Bfree,

Friday, June 15, 2007

Pieces of blogs-and a bit of thankfulness

I had a ton of fun over this last week with the Pieces of Eight meme. Niki over at mommaA first tagged me, she is also of the gun toting crunchy mama variety. This little game gave me the chance to read clips of a ton of cool blogs, most of which I would never have run into.

I spent way too much time following the chain of eights.

But my second point brings me to the above photos, and is one of gratitude and thankfulness.

Occasionally in life one comes across something that leaves a lasting imprint in ones life.
Sometimes it's a stanza of poetry, sometimes a powerful phrase uttered by a speaker, at some motivational seminar you attended because your cousin had been pestering you about it and you went just to shut her up (just an example) and sometimes it can come to you in ways you never expected.
Some late night searcher reached my site the other day by typing the following search term into Yahoo;

cures remedies for cuts on penis

I have this person to thank for letting me know (and my husband, who when I read it to him just said-"Oh jesus christ please don't tell me about stuff like that." and from this I know that he is also thankful) that no matter what daily trials and difficulties are going on-it is really not that bad. There are others who are suffering far more and for what reasons we can only imagine.

So here's to you, cuts on penis man, desperately looking for a remedy (photos above are just a suggestion) and thank you for making my day and the day of anyone who stops by here today a little brighter.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The world according to the United States

I always thought it was strange that people in the U.S. call themselves "Americans''. I wonder what people in Chile and Peru think of that.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pieces of eight

I was tagged by Momma A ,who has a cool blog,with this meme. And ya I had to wikipedia it too-it didn't help

Rules: Each person posts the rules before their list, then they list 8 things about themselves. At the end of the post, that person tags and links to 8 other people; then visits those people's sites and comments, letting them know that they have been tagged, and to come read the post, so they know what they have to do.

My eight things:

1. Today is my (Monday 11th) birthday-so I decided there was nothing wrong with drinking beer, starting at noon yesterday, to celebrate my last day being 34.

2. My first job, at 18, was a dance instructor for Arthur Murray's in Las Vegas. I made almost no money-but met my husband there. My boss, Mr. Darrough, used to have to explain to new students that I did stick fighting, in my spare time, because I sometimes had black eyes and beat up knuckles.

3. I grew up Mormon. But was always an outsider-couldn't get into the group mentality thing. On a good day; I'm now an agnostic; who believes ghosts and mind readers and all sorts of spiritual oddities are real-on bad day, I think we'll all just turn to dirt.

4. I am a certified Glock armorer (or was anyway). I attended their class while at Gunsite. However, I went through the school so many years ago that I can barley remember how to put my gun back together after cleaning it.

5. I'm a Donnie Darko-director's cut fanatic. I've seen it a gazillion times and every time I see it; I find a whole new level of symbolism that I hadn't noticed before.

6. I am a coffee addict. I'm partial to the French press, but my daughter likes to watch coffee brewing so I've ordered a stove top vacuum pot. It will still taste (sort of) like it was made by a French press and she can watch it brew.

7. I do everything one handed because I am used to always holding a baby. I no longer know how to type with two hands. When I try, I type the letters all out of order.

8. I'm also jumping on the tattoo thing. Sometime this year-maybe something Celtic on my lower back.

I tag lakeline, birdwatcher, Amy, one sixteenth, valians, Jill, Becky C, whimsigal

Thursday, June 07, 2007

HEY,Dana, where are the female fighters??

So I know I’m suddenly on this mixed martial arts kick, seemingly out of nowhere, but moving back to Vegas has got me thinking more and more about it. I always told myself I’d get into the ring before I turn forty so I’ve got a little time to get in shape before my goal . I figured by then, even my littlest kids could give me up for a couple of hours or stay busy on the mat too. So I’ve kind of seized on my rekindled interest as a way of inspiring myself to get back in shape.

So how did a homeschooling mom to four kids, breastfeeding activist type get involved in MMA/submission fighting?

Hey-remember that In Living Color skit, where the blind blues singer would say,” I wrote a song ‘bout it, like to hear it? Here it goes”

Then he'd go on to sing a few lines about some man’s mistress-in front the man and his wife, or revel some other embarrassing truth well-this is my lament about breaking into martial arts;

I wrote a song ‘bout it;

Like ta hear it?

Here it goes.

Back in the day, so long ago (well, okay, 1991-1992) martial arts was a world of, well, nonsense.

There really wasn’t any real fighting or anything that could be converted to real fighting. And each discipline was like a football team, with loyal supporters who would never even think of crossing over to another team. If you studied at a karate studio, you couldn’t get caught going to a judo place across town or you’d be ostracized from both.

You couldn’t combine disciplines –this was sacrilegious. The only exception to this was Jeet kune do. And even in this,as I found out, there was an element of exclusivity.

This is the place where people who thought bowing to a mat and calling their coach some stupid foreign name that meant; you are a most holy master and I am a servant, was completely stupid. So jeet kune do, which by today’s standards is quite lame, was the thing to do.

I was 18 or 19 years old, my husband in his twenties and I loved working out at these places.

I have always been a very shy and withdrawn person. I was and still am really only comfortable around my immediate family.
Whenever I’m around friends or acquaintances; I’m always a little uncomfortable. I get nervous when I talk, even among the little group of homeschoolers I belong to.

I once had a friend remark- Wow, I see you from a distance, talking with your husband and you’re so lively and animated but so quiet around us. Well, that is just how it is.

Bear with me. It does relate.

So one day in our daily three hour class a friend of friend of the teacher filled in.

He set up focus mitts.

I got to do a little boxing.

It was amazing.

And what I discovered is that when my adrenalin got going and I start really hitting; all the nervousness and social anxiety and dry throat just disappeared.

It really ought to be the new “in” drug for social anxiety; beat the shit out of something.

I was free for a bit.

So after that, I awaited anxiously for the next day of boxing or maybe some kickboxing. The regular teacher kept promising it. Then the day came.

“We are boxing today and gonna do some kicks too.”

WWHOOOO-hooooo, I was soooo happy.

“Okay” he says.” “Men over here to box-women over here –practice katas.”

I was so disappointed; my eyes teared up (ya, just say it, like a girl.) At the time, this was the closest thing to mixed martial arts that we knew of; so we stayed.

It was like this for boxing and kicking and anything else that was cool.

Soon after this, my husband, who had been wanting to learn about ground grappling (after reading an interview with Rorion Gracie), approached the teacher asking if he would mind if we studied a little grappling on the weekends, with a guy who was teaching it (we were at this coach’s place five days a week for three hours a day).

He was so offended by this that he kicked us out and told us to never come back.

After that; the clown, who we were going to learn grappling from said he couldn’t teach a former student of Jack Soderberg’s (the offended guy). That he, himself, would be ostracized for stealing students- I’d out his stupidity too, but I can’t remember his name.

From there we met up with some pretty cool people who trained informally-garages, back yards, ect . We did some really neat Okinawan stuff in the backyard (actually a meadow on like twenty acres) of the one the coolest people we’ve ever met. A Las Vegas chiropractor name Dr. Michael Labram, (not a fake chiropractor-he believed in adjusting someone once; maybe twice-you could walk in there with a throbbing headache and walk out feeling taller-amazing)

He was always polite and soft spoken-kind of nerdy –it was only when you looked at his knuckles that you knew there was something more to this guy.

I got to do some boxing and once again felt the weight of constant self-consciousness lift. But like most really cool people, he was very very busy and even went to China for a while. We worked out (kali) with Lindsay Largusa (Lindsay has since become an honorary family member)in Ben Largusa's garage and that was awesome-got to beat the shit out of things with sticks.

My husband met up with another really nice guy, Pat Barry. He was a local police officer who also ran a boxing gym. His whole motivation was to help out kids, give the ones without direction something to strive for.

Hubby worked out there for a while. Of course, I really wanted to train there too. But was nervous about asking. I never had that tough look and didn’t think anyone would take me seriously.

He didn’t.

Hubby tried to talk him into letting me train there but no, he said. It would be distracting for the guys there. This was ludicrous. I was there all the time. I was there while hubby trained; I was there while hubby donated his time to paint a wall mural there (He was a professional artist at the time). He was nice enough to say- well, you could come in after hours and I could train you on my days off-but he said it in a way that it was obvious he did not really want to do it.

So then hubby says lets just go to the Gracie Academy.

Torrance is only three or four hours away.

By now it was 1993, early 1994. I really didn’t think there would be any problem training there. I just thought that Vegas was a little backward.

“Oh noo,” said Rorion, women can’t be in the men’s class.

We have rape prevention seminars that you are welcome to attend; we also offer private and semi-private lessons that you are more than welcome to schedule. And if you should reach the intermediate level then we would allow you a place in the men’s class. But no belts, women cannot earn belts in Gracie Jiu-jitsu.

Okay, but this was the Gracie Academy.

So I took what I could get.

I took some semi-privates from a purple belt, Klaus, I think. Nice guy, good teacher.

I endured the absolutely mind numbing rape prevention seminars from Rorion. Not Rorion’s fault really, but trying to train anything in a group of women that have that,” but I could never hurt anyone.” thing going on, is awful.

My husband walks out one day with his blue belt. “Royce just tossed it to me before class. “

“Great, I learned how to walk assertively while alone in the park.”

Now before I sound too bitter, I realize some of this was cultural.

And I’m sure Royce wasn’t that narrow minded, big brother was quite obviously in charge. And . . . coming from a very male dominated society; they have way more excuse for it than say,Pat Barry or Jack Soderberg or the Golden Gloves gym guy, who I didn’t mention but just said no fucking way to me.

Also, I’m sure all these guys are completely civilized and teach women all the time nowadays.

The semi-privates were cool but getting kind of expensive. I wondered if they would have let me in if I had looked tougher instead of so girly.

Ironically, now looking too tough can keep you out of the ring.

My husband really loved it there and I did too, as long as I didn’t get myself all worked up thinking about how unfair being left out of group class felt.

We did get to be privy to a certain conversation, in the lounge area, when Rorion said to all of us there -on the couch, watching Gracie JiuJitsu in Action, he’d been working on bringing the kind of fighting they have in Brazil to the states. There’s going to be no rules. No time limits. If all goes well; we should be set up to air on payperview.

So there it was.

Probably the most earth shaking, groundbreaking, three sentences I have ever heard-I just didn’t know it yet.

Sometime a little while after this; John Lewis opened up a school in town. And was going to start a women’s class!! This was amazing. We really couldn’t keep up the drive to CA and the expense, mostly because of my lessons, much longer. We showed up at John Lewis’s school. I watched the men’s class and then showed up for the women’s.

There were three of us. It was fun. Then two classes later, it was two of us.

Then a month later I showed up and no one was there but John.

“Hey listen,” he said, (man, I could feel it coming-I’ve heard this tone before)

“What’s her name isn’t coming anymore (I could feel my throat tightening-uugggh like a girl) so I’m canceling the women’s class.”

Then I could see the slight smile and I knew he was messing with me.

“Men’s class starts at 7 – see you there.”

Holy crap! That class might have been the coolest thing I ever done. We stayed there until hubby started getting really serious with school and until I started having babies.

As kind of an odd side note, I haven’t really had the bug to train again until recently –I think one of the reasons is that because all of my kids were born at home (without pain killer) the challenge of giving birth somehow fulfilled that lizard brain urge to push myself physically and now that I’m on the other side of that I am looking to train again.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Back in the saddle

I've missed my poor blog.
I'm adjusting to life in the desert.
It's so very strange to be back in the place I grew up after being gone so long.
It's been a crazy crazy couple of weeks.
I'm making peace with it.

One of the very few redeeming qualities of Vegas over, middle of nowhere, Montana,(besides our families) is the MMA crowd (mixed martial arts).
This is where we used to train under John Lewis (after giving up our weekly trek to the Gracie academy in Torrence, CA) and now, where my kids are training at Randy Couture's school and loving it. I'm headed (so is hubby)there as soon as hubby is done with the NV bar exam.

This is a part of our lives that used to be extremely important to us both. But during law school and the moving and having babies it just kind of slipped away from us- plus there's not a lot of Jiu-jitsu or Muay Thai in New haven,CT or Big Arm, MT.


100 Most Damaging Wikileaks

I'm loving this list, and am very thankful to all the people who spent hours sorting and reading and sorting reading.  I copied the f...