Author Archives: Jani

About Jani

Jani grew up a gypsy anachronism, spending her early life taming her wanderlust. She clawed her way into the real world eventually obtaining two highly unpractical degrees, two children, six figure student loans and a sarcastic wit that is matched by few. She now lives in the Walterverse where she recently finished her Masters of Social Work at a ridiculously expensive University. Her future plans are to pay for the useless extra letters after her name as a super heroine. In the event that plan doesn't "work" out, she plans to return to her roots as vagabond gypsy busking in one way or another, after her children move out. HuZzah.

Hate(less)

Standard
Hate(less)

On my way home from work, I often spend a lot of time thinking. It is a fairly long drive as far as regular commutes go so if I get bored of the comedy channel on my radio, I become almost meditative. I suppose it is actually at times a bit disassociative, because I often don’t really remember much about the drive. Anyhow, I digressed.

I have actually been listening to a lot of the music I listened to when I was younger, I guess in some sort of way to find my center, return to myself (this is actually going to be the subject of a post soon…). I haven’t listen to a lot of that music in recent years just because it tends to bring out a lot of anger and remind me of things I have tried to forget. But, in another one of life’s mysteries, as you grow and mature, you start seeing things through different lenses. Not unlike a person grows to view their childhood differently once they are adults, I was actually hearing the music and the lyrics as an adult instead of an angsty adolescent. To give you framework, I have been listening to the Korn channel on my Pandora, which plays primarily Tool, Korn, Three Days Grace, Staind, etc. based upon my likes and dislikes…it’s a little selective for me due to some magical form of AI or algorithm.

Yesterday, I heard the song I am posting at the bottom, and it started me thinking on the subject of “hate”. I say “I hate ____” a lot, usually in regard to people as a whole, rather than individuals mind you, but I tried really hard to think of if there was anyone I actually could say that I hated. And you know how many people I came up with?

ZERO.

Yep.  A big, fat, NADA. And this honestly surprised me. 

If I was to give you a quick little overview of my life, I think most people could find a few people in there that I could or should hate. But I came up with not one.

In fact, I couldn’t think of anything I actually hate.

Not even actions. And let me tell you, I am sure you already know but, humans are capable of terrible things. There are some things that I strongly dislike. There are things that I disagree with. There are things that I do not understand, in application, but understand as things that people do. But nothing that I hate.

I tried very hard to think about people that I could or should hate. And you know what? I couldn’t think of any. People that have wronged me, wronged my children, wronged other people’s children, etc. My current job puts me in a position to see some of the darkest things that people can and do in fact, do to each other and children. But, today, I found that the strongest feeling I could muster was pity. That is the closest I can come to hate.

As I realized this, I swear to sweet ancient baby alien space monkey Jebus, I FELT LIGHTER. There was a physical perceivable CHANGE in my body. Like I have spent so many years, anticipating and experiencing the exhausting WORK of hating people and things that it was a physical weight upon me.

It was a relief, really.

So what did I actually want to share today? Just my knowledge, I guess. Knowledge that all that emotion and hate and anger and negativity was not doing anything but weighing me down. I had to flip it. Acknowledge that my negative feelings did not affect those I direct them at in a positive way. I only made myself heavier, dimmer.

Help #Frankie Live!

Standard
Help #Frankie Live!

This is my daughter’s GoFundMe page. Please take a gander!

http://www.gofundme.com/AudriandFrankie 

Side note: I am so excited to have my wordpress back up and running!

Mercury Retrograde BE DAMNED I feel amazing.

Standard
Mercury Retrograde BE DAMNED I feel amazing.

I have had quite the empowering and cathartic last couple of weeks chock full of epiphanies and cosmic 2x4s.

One, I shall not write into narrative for you voyeuristic vampires whom I love. It involves self growth and reflecting on past relationships.

But when it dawned on me, it went something like this:

Then, I read this on my FaceCrack wall:

A Wild Woman doesn’t want to be your Girly friend

Can you love me in the deep? In the dark? In the thick of it?

Can you love me when I drink from the wrong bottle and slip through the crack in the floorboard?

Can you love me when I’m bigger than you, when my presence blazes like the sun does, when it hurts to look directly at me?

Can you love me then too?

Can you love me under the starry sky, shaved and smooth, my skin like liquid moonlight?

Can you love me when I am howling and furry, standing on my haunches, my lower lip stained with the blood of my last kill?

When I call down the lightning, when the sidewalks are singed by the soles of my feet, can you still love me then?

What happens when I freeze the land, and cause the dirt to harden over all the pomegranate seeds we’ve planted?

Will you trust that Spring will return?

Will you still believe me when I tell you I will become a raging river, and spill myself upon your dreams and call them to the surface of your life?

Can you trust me, even though you cannot tame me?

Can you love me, even though I am all that you fear and admire?

Will you fear my shifting shape?

Does it frighten you, when my eyes flash like your camera does?

Do you fear they will capture your soul?

Are you afraid to step into me?

The meat-eating plants and flowers armed with poisonous darts are not in my jungle to stop you from coming. Not you.

So do not worry. They belong to me, and I have invited you here.

Stay to the path revealed in the moonlight and arrive safely to the hut of Baba Yaga: the wild old wise one… she will not lead you astray if you are pure of heart.

You cannot be with the wild one if you fear the rumbling of the ground, the roar of a cascading river, the startling clap of thunder in the sky.

If you want to be safe, go back to your tiny room — the night sky is not for you.

If you want to be torn apart, come in. Be broken open and devoured. Be set ablaze in my fire.

I will not leave you as you have come: well dressed, in finely-threaded sweaters that keep out the cold.

I will leave you naked and biting. Leave you clawing at the sheets. Leave you surrounded by owls and hawks and flowers that only bloom when no one is watching.

So, come to me, and be healed in the unbearable lightness and darkness of all that you are.

There is nothing in you that can scare me. Nothing in you I will not use to make you great.

A wild woman is not a girlfriend. She is a relationship with nature. She is the source of all your primal desires, and she is the wild whipping wind that uproots the poisonous corn stalks on your neatly tilled farm.

She will plant pear trees in the wake of your disaster.

She will see to it that you shall rise again.

She is the lover who restores you to your own wild nature.

(c) Alison Nappi 2015

The I saw this and wanted to go run. Dafuq, right?

This is all on top of a windfall at work, in my bank account, with my kids, with my love, with my friends, EVERYTHING. On top of the world and it is strange.

What did Horton hear?

Standard
What did Horton hear?

I would guess it is the call of the road…

One of my dearest friends and I were recently having some pretty deep conversations during a sleepover (yes, grown-ups can have sleepovers!) and I have been pondering some of the themes a bit the last few days. She is probably one of my soul mates, as she is pretty much the female equivalent of my prince charming ideal growing up. Jim Woods is/was my first encounter with a teacher/archaeologist when I was a 4th grade GT student taking Mayan Archaeology at CSI in Twin Falls, Idaho; he was the bearded version of my first love, Indiana Jones. He set the stage for my obsession with Giorgio Tsoukalos and Tomb Raider. At one point in my life, I was completely sure that I was going to grow up to be an underwater archaeologist…fear of drowning and the ocean kind of dampened that dream (ha-ha). So of course, I settled on Social Work. It’s a natural evolution….Right?

Meh, I digressed from my point.

My friend is a previously archaeologically driven social worker who has the amazing power to make me plop down in front of her spellbound, like I am watching “Ancient Aliens.” During previously mentioned conversation, we were speaking about my (and people in general…) need to collect things and then the subsequent panic attached to it because WHAT IF YOU HAVE TO MOVE!!!

I have always attributed my hot feet to a chaotic childhood and a genetic predisposition (epigenetics methinks?) to overall wanderlust. My friend proposed that as we humanoids moved from a nomadic people and started collecting things to trade once we became agrarian that we still retained that need to move, to explore, to leave.

I think that perhaps it is stronger in some than others.

I know that I have gotten more comfortable with having the same surroundings, things, people, jobs, etc. but I never have lost the need to change, explore, and move. I constantly fight this in every aspect of my life. I used to be so proud of my ability to pack up and move in a ridiculous short amount of time. Today, I find myself to be a hoarder in a nonclinical diagnosis sense; I once had a conversation with an old friend in which I described it as “hoarding tangible thought..” Ha. I just have a need to keep papers.  Perhaps in another life I was a historian or something. A cleric. A monk. Who knows. I am working toward decluttering my life again. I want to have a more simple existence, a less busy mind.

I fight the urge daily to just walk away and figure it out later. I know, I know, it’s Christmas Eve and all I can think about is running away. From everything. C’est la vie. Why fight the inevitable?

I anticipate the return to my older ways.

Once my kids are fully grown, I’ll imagine I’ll get a dog and wander. Stay in a spot for a year or a month and move on. I wish I lived in the 30s. Bonnie and Clyde romanticized stuff. Or just hop on a train and go somewhere else.

People secretly envy it…That is why movies like “Into the wild” and “wild” are popular. Edward Abbey and Thoreau were onto something.

Maybe I’ll buy an Airstream.

Or maybe I will just be a gypsy.

Fuck you, Eddie Vedder.

Standard
Fuck you, Eddie Vedder.

Jani:

Happy 50th Birthday, Eddie!

Originally posted on From one Pisces fish to you....:

Fuck you, Eddie Vedder, for being my main boy/man archetype since I was 12.

Fuck you, Eddie Vedder, for giving me hope. Hope that angry young men who hate their mothers and miss their fathers could grow up to be sensibly deep and poetic souls.

Fuck you, Eddie Vedder, for narrating my youth and adolescence.

Fuck you, Eddie Vedder, for giving me a voice and a growl to match my self-imposed angst.

Fuck you, Eddie Vedder, for making me think that all angry young surfer/skater/artist boys would grow up to be passionate and well-adjusted adults.

Fuck you, Eddie Vedder, for making me obsess over Matt Miller for years.

Fuck you, Eddie Vedder, for having your lovingly familiar brow furrow.

Fuck you, Eddie Vedder, for being my jokingly “8th ex husband” as I inch closer and closer to number 8.

Fuck you, Eddie Vedder, for cutting your hair. It made Chris Cornell cut his! You…

View original 196 more words

Winter Solstice ponderings

Standard
Winter Solstice ponderings

Today is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. It has always held mixed meanings for me. My first wedding was held near the Autumnal Equinox and my last wedding was on the Winter Solstice. I came full circle through the seasons and while that final wedding boded no better than the first, it was and will be, my last.

This year, I want to focus on the actually perceivable aspects of it; the eternal pendulum of dark versus light finally swings toward the light again. The darkness has been building up to this point, and now the light finally wins for while. I am going to make sure that I hold that thought within myself… KEEP YOUR LIGHT.

The darkest days are over for this cycle.

From here out, I will stay mindful of this with the intent that it will guide my choices and my attitude in the coming months. Just as Winter signifies an end, it also indicates the impending Spring. A time of rebirth. A time of renewal. A time of creation.

And that is the miracle.

Reflections, regrets, realizations, and flinching awareness.

Standard
Reflections, regrets, realizations, and flinching awareness.

I usually do some sort of wrap up at the end of the year/season, Christmas for some reason makes me nostalgic and introspective. I have such mixed feelings about it, it holds many good memories for me and yet, so many more traumas are associated with it for me and their connected grief…. Anyway, my wrap ups and year in reviews…Historically, they have usually been a somewhat vague and tongue in cheek collection of my “about mes.” This year may still be vague, but perhaps more palatable.

I haven’t been able to blog lately, mostly due to simply not having the time, but partially due to me not making the time and choosing to retreat within myself for the sake of not thinking about the world, my reality, my life, my relationships, etc.

Ah, but the subconscious has a way of poo pooing that sort of defense mechanism, doesn’t it? Little by little, mini passive-aggressive comments worm their way out of my mouth and cosmic 2x4s work their way into my dreams. #Teamnosleep, my most constant bedtime companion for the better of the last two years has given me a sort of push lately to lie in silent, darkened rumination; accompanied by only my most forbidden thoughts.

Two of my exes are deceased. The first, I grieved for his family and his son, but it didn’t affect me for too long, as I really did not know him very long or very well, in hindsight. The most recent, died by his own hand in a scenario I was all too familiar with. With his death, I was confronted with the very real fact that the imagined future interaction between us could never happen. I had always anticipated that some time in the future, we would run into each other in a gas station or a bar, back in our hometown, have a drink and simple interaction wherein we forgave each other and spoke about how we had both come to understand the faults of the relationship as well as our own responsibility in them. It would end with a smile and a hug then we would move on, waving or even speaking briefly if ever we came across each other in the future. But as numerous stories, songs, and movies depict, “someday” often does not happen and you must live with the regret that tomorrow never came. Make sure people know how you feel before it is too late, right? Ah, regret. Regret is a bitch.

I’ve tried very diligently to not live with regret and to make peace with my actions and find the silver lining in them that are typically easier to find in review, right? Through a looking glass, darkly…Had one not made this choice, this would not have happened. If one had not left this person, you would not have met this person. Life really is a “Choose your own Adventure” book, only you can’t skip ahead and try it out before you choose, right? No, you can only walk back through the choices and woolgather about the possible ways things could have gone, given that one, that fifteen choice(s) again. I digress.

Back to the point. Regret.

The word itself means “A feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.” as a noun, “Feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity)” as a verb.

I have come find myself a sad representation of all I champion when it comes to regret. I encourage people to regret nothing and yet I myself, regret so much. So many choices I have made in order to not disappoint other people, choices I have made to make things easier for myself, for others, choices I have NOT made due to my own fear.

I miss friends that I have lost contact with out of my own pride and stubbornness.

I regret giving up on things and people to seemingly save myself.

I personally can hold a grudge longer than anyone I know. It gives me a protective coating to avoid dealing with feelings. It is how I have come to be able to dissociate from relationships which have ended and protect my stupid heart. By the time I have lost the passion of the grudge and come full circle to face my emotions behind the grudge, it is no longer an appropriate time confront and deal with those feelings as a party to it, it is then a one sided process that is not as cathartic as it could have been. Take my relationship with my mother, for example.

It has been years since I had any kind of positive relationship with her. If she was to die tomorrow, would I regret not forgiving her? What would it be like to not have to carry the negativity of hating her, resenting her, PITYING HER? I know it would be good for myself, maybe for her. But I can’t do it.

Other relationships I have had, I want to call them up and just be like, “I miss my friend. Here is a rundown of everything I know I did that hurt you. Can we just be pals again?”

But you can’t. You have no right to insert yourself back into their script once you have taken yourself out of it.

Just like in a choose your own adventure book, you can’t go back without the knowledge of how it went before. It guides your actions and makes you question if had the second choice been the first choice, would the end result have been the same? We can never know.

The “What ifs” are a dangerous cycle of questioning oneself. You have to be selfless and know that no matter what you feel, your actions affect other people.

Today I make the choice to accept the repercussions of my previous actions.

Today I decide to make more conscientious decisions about my world, so that in the future, I have less “what ifs” to ponder. No more regrets.

Today I choose their happiness over my guilt.

To be continued.

Cozy’s dad is on TV again.

Standard
Cozy’s dad is on TV again.

Originally posted on Watching the Wheels:

December 18, 2014

I’m getting good at doing things with a baby on my man-hip. I’m not sure if peeing should be one of them. I am definitely not an expert in child rearing. I have Facebook for that.

When Andrea was pregnant, I felt like I was the first person to ever have this idea, reproducing. Having a kid. Apparently, women have been having babies for decades. Nearly 6000 years, according to some Christians. That’s a long time! The point is that, as it turns out, I have a bunch of friends in Portland and on-line that are experts.

I do hold some expertise on some topics. As a criminologist and sociologist with a PhD, there is a whole range of topics I can offer perspective on. I was live on KATU this morning talking about the Kim Jong Un/Seth Rogan Sony international crisis. I talked to KGW on…

View original 662 more words

If only I had been recruited by the FBI or Illuminati or CIA at a young age….

Standard
If only I had been recruited by the FBI or Illuminati or CIA at a young age….

Sometimes I feel that I must have some sort of personality or character flaw.

I get so bored with basically everything in my world I become destructive, physically, mentally, emotionally, all of it. It’s gotten easier to ignore, the older I have gotten; but it’s still there, strong as ever. I have been reflecting on this a lot lately, and if I am truly honest with myself, this has been happening as long as I can remember. School, subjects, jobs, friends, places, houses, even drugs/chemicals when I was young, hobbies, etc. I know there is no better here than there, I know that. But what the hell?

How do people have the same houses, jobs, friends, spouses, everything, for their whole lives?! I get anxiety just thinking about it. I got the nickname “Hot Feet” at age16 for reasons besides being a hot Pisces. Really.

Can anyone commiserate or normalize this for me? Anyone? *crickets*

The American Public Education Factory: what is it producing?….Volume 1

Standard
The American Public Education Factory: what is it producing?….Volume 1

I have been really trying to get some sort of an outline in my head about this topic for a while; I have decided to just start blogging it as it comes because every time I think I have it concretely fleshed out in my head, some new thought comes in about the social injustices associated with public school systems. From epistemology to NCLB, to “common core” to booster clubs, regurgitation vs. creative thought AKA actually thinking, ingenuity to different types of intelligence, to the perpetuation of rape culture and #Iammorethanadistraction, ugh the list can go on.

I am going to start with socioeconomic inequality in schools. Studies have shown that the more engaged in school a child is, the better they do. It isn’t rocket surgery. If a child is involved in sports, music, drama, whatever their choice of extracurricular activities are, the busier they are (no time for other naughtiness), the more invested they are in better grades, the more involved their parents might be in their world, “the more” everything. Things like teamwork, hard work, friendship, conflict negotiation, community, working for success AFTER failure, etc. are learned without the child knowing that they are learning it. But when these things are made to be so expensive that only the middle class and up can participate, well then, now we have yet another layer of oppression adding to the intersectionality of what it is to be a middle or high school student.

To over-share with a little self disclosure, I make what I assume to be a pretty “comfortable” wage, although it is definitely not the magical salary I was led to believe a masters degree would grant me. I make a little more than 50% of the “average median income” in America this year. I believe this probably makes me considered “middle class” but just barely. We still qualify for free lunch, thank sweet ancient baby alien space monkey Jebus, but it is not easy. I am still living paycheck to paycheck. I have come to terms most days with living one paycheck away from homelessness, mostly because as a housing case manager, I know what resources are available in the area.

I digress.

Anyhow, my point was that my child is involved in the school sponsored dance team, the fine arts credit required orchestra, and the foreign language credit required Spanish. We receive a discounted “activity fee” for the “sport” but the uniforms ($135 to start, with additional costumes throughout the year), “required contribution to the booster club” of $100 (which my child/myself get to harass friends, co-workers, family, and social media with in order to raise by selling coupon books or car wash tickets, not to mention the $1,200 dollar “Spring Break trip to Disney World” that all the “rich kids” get to go to, but sadly, probably not my child. This causes lateral oppression within the team of the haves vs the have nots; because the kids KNOW who will be able to go and who will not from the beginning. It is not fair. And yes, I know, “Life isn’t fair, Princess.” One+ more kiddo(s) financed OUT.

But come on! What is the booster club for anyway? Isn’t it there to support the kids who WANT to participate and work their asses off to participate? The answer sadly is, “No.” It is there to make up the difference between public support/donations from the school’s budget for sports. That is a shame. But go ahead, buy some more computers. Make the teachers learn a different way to teach because they aren’t churning out productive enough regurgitaters at the rate the country wants. That is a much better use of funds……And tell me again why kids here are obese and live online?

Ah, speaking of obesity….the school lunch. It is not what it could be. I recently read about France’s model and how lovely it is. What a pipe dream for good ol’ Merikah. Instead we have corporate sponsors, such as Subway and energy drinks in the schools. Which always look better than god knows what is really in the instant processed mashed potatoes and goo.

Spanish class requires fees. For what? I have no freaking clue. Is there a lab associated with Spanish? One+ more kiddo(s) financed OUT.

Orchestra requires not only a $100 fee per year to “pay for music” but also a rental of an instrument if you cannot afford to buy one. The schools do not even loan instruments anymore. How many kids love music but cannot participate in band or orchestra because of the cost?  I was told that because the school was making photo copies of music for the students they were fined $4000. Isn’t there some sort of fair use for schools to use copyrighted music?

“Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 17 U.S.C. § 106 and 17 U.S.C. § 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:
  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”

Yeah, I thought so.

So tell me again why I have to pay for music for my child to continue playing in the school orchestra? And why must they also have “orchestral uniforms” which include for the gender binary, long black dresses for the females, penguin suits for the males. Could we not just wear black pants and shirts or skirts? We must buy these clothes for a high school class? Good grief. One+ more kiddo(s) financed OUT.

Did I mention all these fees are due either at registration or during the first MONTH of school (save the spring break trip, luckily “they understand what a hardship it might be for some families so they give them until late winter to confirm these amounts.” Cause between you and me, as a single FT working parent that gets minimal child support, registration, extras, school supplies, school fees, school clothes, and anything else needed at the end of summer/beginning of Fall, is freaking HARD to figure out.

These examples and many others show it is unaffordable for many if not most kids to participate in the activities that studies show teach resilience and community. It is unreasonably expensive for ALL kids to get the protective effects of participation in these activities. So they must find other outlets and no one seems to like those outcomes, and yet…..

I contacted the school to find out what options are available as a low income parent. You know, because despite being on whatever magical list they keep us free lunch families on, they do not send home any information on these sorts of options. There are some “scholarships” available the first week of October, I was told. But it doesn’t cover everything. It’s a first come, first serve sort of deal where a committee decides who gets it. Based on what? I don’t know. But you better believe it is not a blind decision. Someone is making judgments either internally or perhaps even out loud. I imagine fucked up words like “deserve” and “worth” and “investment” are tossed around in that conversation.

So back to the original point and not my own personal struggle…The socioeconomic injustices of a public school system…. You want a college scholarship? You want to take classes you might *GASP* be interested in? You want to do sports? Music? Drama? Prepare to pay my friend cause this is college. Public High School.

If your parents can’t afford it, screw you.

If your parents feel shame asking for help, screw you.

If your parents don’t speak English as a first language and aren’t sure how to advocate for you/your family, screw you.

If your parents are too busy because they work 8,327,498,374 hours a week and don’t have the time to contact the school, screw you.

If your parents have nothing but time because they are unemployed, depressed, worried, stressed, whatever, screw you.

Welcome to Public High School.

To be continued.