Sunday, May 31, 2009

till death do us part.

I found some inspiration from a blog I follow "If I wasn't laughing, I'd be crying..." about marriage, etc. Thanks for the inspiration, K!

I am sick to death of hearing about this John & Kate Plus 8 crap. First of all, these people were given a VERY privileged opportunity to make a great deal of money from their little reality show. Who wouldn't be grateful for that? Apparently they aren't.

From what I understand they were chosen for this privileged opportunity because of their story and their great family values. Now, all I'm hearing about is how one is cheating on the other, all the whining and accusations those scenarios bring, and how there may be divorce on the horizon for them. No mention of the children, (isn't that what the show is supposed to really be about?) no mention of them working things out... nothing. The parents are too busy wallowing in their "fame" with their makeovers, new cars, and paparazzi to care about their children or the future of their marraige. THEN they have the audacity to complain about the media's invasion of their privacy, the constant attention, and the unfortunate situations they've been put in. Boo freakin' HOO! Poor, poor little celebrity. My heart just bleeds for you. Maybe if you had been paying attention to your family, and concerned with the well being of your partner, you would not be in this oh-so-terrible situation.

I think it's just another sad, sad testament to the direction in which our society has gone. Right into the pooper.

Very few people still hold marriage in the high regards that you're "supposed" to. If you don't agree with it - then don't get married! Stop using divorce as your get out of jail free card, and take responsibility for your actions. Marriage is not play time, it's not something you do on a whim, and it's not something you're supposed to just "change your mind about." This is not to say that marriage is not a wonderful, joyous, magnificent expereince. While it is a very serious commitment, it should still be fun and great... if you truly are in love, and truly marrying the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

what's old is new.

Remember my old blog I mentioned several weeks ago? (floundering in blog land)

Well, since blogger, google, and blogspot have completely failed to help me crack into my old account, I decided it was time to find a better solution. Luckily, the "new" blogger lets you edit your post times, so I merged them all together! The only downside was that I lost all of my comments... of course I lost all of the comments from the blogs I imported from myspace and facebook too, so I guess that's no biggie.

In the very oldest section of Rachael's Carrma are several blogs from 2002-2005 freshly imported to rest here with the other random musings I've posted. Some of them are pretty great, and some of them are just ventings of a youngster. In any case, they're ALL now here together and that makes me feel complete. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

mysteries of life.

"hugging people"

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”
- Cecil Beaton, photographer and fashion designer

Life is very mysterious in so many ways. It brings us hurt and pain and suffering, but it also brings us hope and love and opportunity. It changes us throughout the years, slowly altering who we are and how we perceive things. It even changes us daily, sometimes without us even knowing it.

It is the ultimate reason for being, and the one thing that connects us all. And though our stories may be different, and our plights varied, we are all moving toward the same end. Not to be morbid, this is about seeing the light. Being aware of your surroundings and doing everything in our power to make this life better. Better for me, better for you, better for our children and our children children.

We are never alone, and our actions (no matter how small) always have consequence. A smile, a wink, a hug can change someones day. It can change someones future. The same is true of a frown, an angry word, or gesture.

Times are hard for many people out there now. It is in these times that we must be mindful of ourselves and our actions, because not only do we affect ourselves in our everyday lives, but we also affect others. The lady you see walking her dog every morning might appreciate a smile and a wave, instead of you just jumping in your car on your way to work. The attendant in the parking garage might appreciate a bottle of water... or at least you not leaving yours under your car when you leave.

Try something different today. Something positive. Something that just might make you feel better, and will definitely make someone else feel good! Now is the time to reevaluate ourselves, our lives, and our patterns. As we reach the bottom, it is only then that we can make a conscious decision to rise back up to the top.


I just read a very interesting study posted by NPR about the effects of psychedelics on your brain, and the correlation between those effects and the spiritual experiences that result. Very interesting read...

"The God Chemical"

It made my mind wander back to a topic I touched on recently about spirituality. I read this study and could not help but wonder if these people are leaning toward some unconventionally hard to swallow conclusions? Does a person's spirituality come from deep seeded beliefs, or can they actually be induced by the likes of psychedelics? If they CAN be induced, does that discredit the fundamentals of spirituality, or confirm it?

My thoughts are, if a spiritual experience can be induced in a controlled state, it can't be real. If you have absolutely no preconceived notion of spirituality or religion, will you too have an experience, or must the idea already exist in your mind in order for it to come out when prompted by a catalyst?

So many questions and I have so few answers. I personally have absolutely no experience whatsoever with psychedelics, so I don't even know where to start with this. Part of me wants to suggest that if you expect to see God, you will. One test group that was studied in the 60's was a group of divinity students... and of course, they had a spiritual experience. But wouldn't we expect them to? These people are deeply involved in religion and the study of so it would certainly make sense that the topic in the forefront of their minds is the one that is rendered upon induction.

While I certainly enjoyed this study, and will continue to follow up on its progress, I have definitely taken note of the fact that they have yet to mention any negative side effects. We've all heard of someone who has experimented with similar substances and believed themselves to be being eaten by bugs, or attacked by their sofa, or something equally as alarming. I feel like these experiences need to be studied as well as the spiritual experiences, and maybe we need to be studying the drugs with their short AND long term side effects, and not just whether or not they can "make you see God" when administered in a clinical setting.

Does psychedelic-induced spirituality = God?

Or is it just drugs messing with our brains and tapping into our thoughts and beliefs to self-project wild hallucinations?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

buried memories.

I sat in my living room last night crying, alone. J was working late and I was fishing through old pictures from my childhood. Last Christmas, for my brother and I, my mom scanned and burned a disk of all of our family photos from when we were growing up. I don't think I had actually looked at it all until last night.

It made me sad for the way things were and for the way things never were.

My parents split up the summer I was 20 years old. It wasn't a huge surprise then, mostly because they had not been on speaking terms for at least a year prior to then. I was somewhat removed from the situation, and easily able to play the idealist because I was off to college already, not living in the thick of it. I never really thought it would happen "for real" because we were always the perfect little family. We took road trips, had movie nights, and always stayed home on Sundays to spend time together. SO many of my friends had divorced parents, and my brother and I could never understand it. We were that family.

Both of my parents confided in me about the situation while it was coming down. Partly because I'm the oldest, and have been mature far beyond my age since I was a child, and partly because since we were such a tight knit family unit, they didn't have alot of outside friends. I became the landing board, but also found myself trying to take care of my brother, and help shield him from what was happening. He took it the worst, I think.

Maybe I just never processed the whole thing.

I only broke down once over the divorce, and it was not a "real" breakdown. I was at a house party with a few friends, and was inevitably drunk as the time period suggests, and some poor guy who had probably just been trying to get in my pants got cornered and unloaded on. Don't get me wrong, he was totally sweet about it and very understanding and empathetic to my situation, but I feel sure it was not what he had planned for his evening.

Other than the one time, I never addressed it before last night.

As I scrolled through those pictures, looking at myself as a child, I remembered things I had forgotten. Places I've been and people I've met that have all but disappeared from my life. I saw myself much as I see myself now- making the same faces, giving the same looks and exhibiting the same mannerisms... all from a tiny little person that I used to be. It was sort of surreal.

I remembered my grandparents, how they were and how they are now. My Papaw mostly, who passed from Alzheimers around the same time my parents split. He was always so jolly and BIG. He was the big man of the family and could pick you up and make you feel like a child, no matter how old you were. He suffered a long and tedious deterioration over the course of about 10 years, so I never really got to know him as a person. I looked through these pictures and saw him deteriorating physically like a reflection of his mental state. But he always loved us. Even when he couldn't remember our names anymore, he still remembered he loved us. I miss him for what he was to me as a kid, and for what he could have been to me as an adult.

There were photos of my little brother (3 years my junior). He was about the cutest thing I've ever seen, and just FULL of laughter and mischief. He was a ham, and he knew it! Of course, I was only 3 when he was born, but much as silly little girls do, I wanted him to be my baby. I loved on him all the time, and he may have been close to 5 before I ever let him get a word in edgewise. We are still very close, but things will never be quite the same as they were when we were kids. That, of course is another blog, but we both certainly had to grow up that year, and I know it was tough for him to reconcile it all... even as we clung to each other through it.

The thing that made me the saddest was seeing how happy our little family once was... all I could think about was that we are never going to be that way again. Seeing my mom and dad as young parents, smitten with their children and congealing as a whole family together. I've not seen that look of happiness in my dad since then, and I so long to be able to go back to the way things were.

I know I've been rambling for quite some time, but it all really overwhelmed me at once. It was in those moments of recollection by myself that the impact of their split hit me in the face for the first time.

My own children will never know my parents that way. My husband doesn't even know them that way. They will always be Grandma and Grandpa separately, but with the same last name. We will never again have holidays, family dinners, or vacations together. I will never get to see them hugging and loving each other as they look at my children and see their baby girl reborn. I will always have to divide my time and the time of my own family, and never will we all make plans together.

I cried for the simple fact that no matter what I do, or where I go, or how much my own life may change, I will never ever have my family again. All I'll have are the happy memories tied up in a CD full of photos from a life I can barely remember.

Monday, May 18, 2009

it's the little things.

So I was admittedly feeling a little down in the mouth this morning. Let's chalk that up to a case of the Mondays. (even though I absolutely hate that phrase...) However, despite my initial cloudiness this morning, I am feeling much better now.

One very small thing turned my whole day around. It was like magic. Not the kind of magic that happens when you fall in love, but the kind of magic that happens in the Claritin commercials where the sky is suddenly bluer... or something. I went and got my nails done on my lunch break.

That in itself it always a high point whenever it happens, but I usually don't go at lunch and I never go to strange places. I've been going to see Mimi for 5 years. I love her, and she knows how I love my nails so I never have to tell her. Well, unfortunately for that situation, we moved and it is physically impossible for me to EVER see Mimi again. So I've been testing the waters in our new neighborhood looking for someone new to make me feel pretty and polished. So far, the search has not gone well.

As stupid as it may sound, what's going on at the ends of your hands effects so many of the things you do. I'm a web designer and also work some in print media, so needless to say I spend alot of time on the computer. When my hands are messed up, so is everything. Maybe that's why I was in a bad mood this morning- they had gotten too long, and the most recent in the string of nail technician auditions did not go as well as I would have hoped.

Anyway, back to the story. I did a google search for a salon near my office just on the off chance I could pop in at lunch. Even though I have never been in and out of ANY salon in less than an hour, I figured it was worth being late back to work from lunch just to get some relief. And this is why it rocked:

Less than 3 miles from my office.
In and Out in under 30 minutes.
The best looking nails I've ever had.
Even better than Mimi.
And I still had time to grab food and get back to work on time.

It's truly the smallest things in life that can make or break your day. Thank goodness for the small things. :)

it's monday.

Monday's are always tough for me. I think it's partly because I never want to go to work, but it's also partly because the hubby doesn't work on Mondays, and it's hard to want to go anywhere when I know he's at home already. :) It's not that I don't like my job... I do. I just don't like the constraints of the "9 to 5-er" life, and the hour commute each morning and evening. I just don't think I was "built" for it, plus before I took this job I had quite a bit of freedom in my previous position to come and go as I please, run my pertinent errands during the day, and take time off as needed. I should have appreciated it more at the time.

But I guess I'm paying my dues now, so I need to suck it up.

The economy has really done a good job at knocking some of us down a peg. It was just about this time last summer that I lost my previous job. Not that I would have wanted to stay on much longer, but it would have been nice to have some warning. Or at least some time to plan. Instead, I went unemployed for 2 of the 3 months right before my wedding, and took the first job that popped up. I went from making nearly 6 figures, back down to making what I made at my first post-college job. It was definitely an ego check. But I am certainly thankful that I have a job at all.

I really shouldn't complain. My husband's business is doing VERY well considering what's going on with the economy, we just moved into a new house, I just bought a new car, we have a wonderful marriage, and we're thinking about babies. I just don't feel quite as useful anymore.

Normally, I would feel okay about things if I could be "Suzy Homemaker" on my off time, but even that hasn't worked out the way I would hope. By the time I get home from work around 7, there's just not much time to clean, do laundry, dishes, and dinner. So not only am I no longer bringing in the nice chunk of dough that I used to, but now I can hardly keep up with my own housework too. Don't get me wrong... my hubby helps out all the time. Plus he also does all the yard work, honey do's, and car maintenance. But he shouldn't have to... I'm plenty capable, and definitely organized, so there's no reason why I can't handle this. I just feel like I'm spinning my wheels.

It's just Monday. And I definitely feel it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

inspired thoughts.

"People have this misconception of happy people, that we have no problems, never feel pain. But in reality I think truly happy people are those that have experienced the worst and have come out scarred but in one piece on the other side." -Scarlethue,
A Beautiful Truth blog.

I have recently been struggling with my transition from "dark and twisty, angst ridden writer" to "happy, content, healthy relationship, married writer." It's tough sometimes.

Today, I was introduced to the blog referenced above by way of a comment that came by way of another blog that came by way of a forum. Crazy. It gave me some inspiration, though as we seem to be following some of the same paths. Isn't is funny how this little blog world works? You start out alone, venting your thoughts, clearing your head, even sometimes searching for a voice so that your insides aren't screaming all the time. One by one, peoples lives begin to intersect. You pick up a blog that sounds interesting, that picks up another blog, etc. Suddenly your following has doubled, and there are people reaching out (or reaching in rather) and connecting their lives to yours. It's pretty amazing.

Regardless of the content, there is always some common thread connecting us all. Another blog that I follow, "Life in the Second Half", has explored some of those same ideas, (AND she also has a great blog today about happiness, which is where I'm heading with this.) While some blogs follow the lives of their children, others are empty nesters, single people, animal lovers, activists, and the list goes on. And yet, we all share something with each other. I love reading these blogs and comparing lives and ideas to my own. Since I seem to have embarked on quite a search for truth and answers lately, it goes without saying that I am actively exploring. But, that's another blog entirely.

My original point in writing today was to explore this thing we call happy. Happiness is something different to every person. It's not intrinsic, it's not something you can create, it's not something you earn, and regardless of what the books and the "Oprah's" say, you can't will it upon yourself. It just happens.

Like any emotion, happiness has varying degrees and is experienced in vastly different ways by different people. The reason I really liked Scarlethue's quote is that it helped me to realize that my happiness is so much more rewarding to me because of the sharp contrast it has with some of the previous parts of my life. I've lived through bad. I've lived through sad, and hurt, and loneliness that I thought I would never surface from. I have always lived inside myself, but since my husband came along, I have finally been brave enough to let the real me out. He's the only person who knows that "me." Since he and I have been together, I have slowly been able to piece myself back together, and embrace the person I had always hoped to be.

Unfortunately, because we do have pasts, sometimes that past haunts us. There will always be remnants of memories, dreams, nightmares, and what have you that we will never escape. Little notes found buried in a box, songs that trigger a long forgotten emotional response. It happens all the time, usually without warning. There was a time when I tried to suppress these things, to make them go away. It made me feel guilty to think of the things in my past. However, I have come to regard these memories not as things to cling to, but as reminders of why I'm so happy now. They're little earmarks on the pages of my life to help me remember the paths that I took to get here. Would I be the same person without these people and things in my past? Absolutely not. So I will take my tragedy, my heartbreak, and the suffering from life's beat-downs, and move forward. I will mend the scars, heal old wounds, and piece by piece I'll be able to let go of the things that haunt me. I will be the same person, but wiser - more conditioned. The memories will diminish, and I will relish the happiness I've been blessed with; not dwell on the past, but build my future right on top of it...

And I may just end up as the happiest person ever.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

fleetwood mac.

Fleetwood Mac, May 2, 2009, Houston, TX

John McVie, Stevie Nix, Mick Fleetwood

Mick Fleetwood... Old as the hills and still tearing those drums up!

I am beside myself today. What an amazing concert!!

Lindsey Buckingham embracing the rock star that he is. He was so awesome...