Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Little Rant

So, I have been laid off now for three months. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that, less than two years after graduating with a law degree (and passing the bar) and a masters in administrative social work, I would be desperate for a job.

I have applied for several jobs, many of which I was over qualified for. I've had two phone interviews. Definitely not my forte. I need to see and interact with my audience.

I think that my biggest problem is that I don't want to necessarily practice law (unless it is in the field of domestic or sexual violence), and I'm not a clinical social worker. I want to run an organization. Or do community organizing. Help people. There lies my passion.

Things are tight, since our only income aside from unemployment is the minimum wage dh brings home from his part time dishwashing job.

That all being said, I've come to peace with our lot right now. I am thankful that someone else's suffering was relieved when they were offered and accepted the positions I didn't get. I have a lesson to learn here. I don't want to dawdle unnecessarily learning it, but I'm also trying to be patient with myself and our situation. If nothing more, I have even greater empathy for those of us experiencing poverty.

I have my days, though, when the phone gets shut off or we have to scrape up one too many dinners of whatever we can scrounge up in the pantry. Fortunately, I'm able to snap out of it and remember that, in this grand world, I am a speck of dust, and my job right now is to make it work, not to expect the world to conform to my needs and desires.

But here is what I can't tolerate: the fact that, because I lost my job and dental insurance, my son has to suffer an infection in his tooth. Pain, discomfort, and no way of clearly articulating it.

My first thought would be to go to my regular dentist, and beg some sort of payments, but we already owe them too much. I don't think they want to see me again until I walk in with cash in hand... I was laid off before I was able to pay after dh had his own dental emergency.

Kansas has a problem with access to and availability of dentists, a problem they acknowledge. So, what do families like mine do? We are giving him garlic on the hour. Slipping him fermented cod liver oil. Nursing on demand to the extent that my body is bent and sore, and I'm so sick of nursing I have fantasies of screaming NO! when I'm asked to nurse... But these only address the symptoms...

I am not the kind of parent who rushes to the doctor. Ever. Little A has never been, and Little N only thrice in nearly 5 years. However, children with infections in their mouths can die. Or they can permanently weaken their immune systems. And they hurt, unnecessarily.

If I'd had insurance and income, I would have made the appointment a week ago when he had a sudden fever, and this would all be over, or ending. It just frustrates me, and there's nothing, nothing out there regarding homeopathic dentistry. We have taken back birth, and food, and medicine, but we leave dentistry in the hands of so few...

We did know his teeth needed attention, and shortly before I was laid off, we were discussing the fact that, since he was so uncooperative in the dentist's office for a check up, it would be necessary to put him under to examine him and perform at least one procedure. We didn't want to. It isn't a decision any parent makes lightly, especially after hearing bad reviews of the available pediatric dentists in the area... And, well, we honestly couldn't afford the bills we already had.

I know that I am one in a million others (99%...), but my heart is breaking for my bebe. I only want to bring him peace.I'm out of options, like so many others. I'm doing the best I can, but for Little A, it's not enough...
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Monday, February 14, 2011

WIP - April socks?!

Evidently I can't have just one pair of socks on the needles at a time. I find it's best to start a new pair right before starting the instep... At this point this method has staves off the dreaded one sock syndrome. I do have a pair of two at a time on the needles, so we will see if that theory holds up.


This is my new obsession.

This new pair is the Sanquhar pattern from Toe Up Socks for Every Body. Such a terrific book! I hope to own it someday and let someone else have a stab at some of these beauties at the library.

This pair was the pie in the sky pair, after the fancy yarn pair that I started last week. Since I'm already working on what is technically April's socks, I thought I'd give myself a challenge. We shall see!


Here's the bottom. These are going to be SO cosy!

My next pair is probably going to be a pair of aran socks for dh. I hope. Then a couple scrappy pairs to clean up all these little balls running around here!
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Who am I to judge?

I really try to avoid it, but I always end up reading the comments section on whatever article I happen to be reading... So so so much hate - no matter what the story is about. I've seen hateful comments in everything from television show reviews to house fires to mothers who drown their children.

As a radical mama, I find that people assume I'll be judgmental. Sometimes they're right, but only in extreme cases. And I certainly don't see judging as a useful tool to changing actions. My judging of anyone does nothing but temporarily allay any sense of self-consciousness I may be feeling about choices I've made.

I read the book Bad Mother a while back, and she really put it well. The author acknowledged that no mother wants to be a bad mother. And I don't think many mothers out there are intentionally making choices to do what's worst for their children. We judge mothers for the tragedies in their lives for fuck sake.

Women are the worst. It's true. We have had to fight and claw our way out of being second-class citizens. We have always been judged, and so we judge as well. Only our standards are twice as high because we have not only our own standards to live up to but also the expectations of society, male-dominated culture and all the other women like us out there looking to have a piece of the piece of pie that has been served us.

When I was in high school, this particular author was on Oprah, I think, talking about the uproar she caused when she wrote an article about how she loves her husband more than she loves her children. That resonated with me then, and now that I have children, I understand it to my core. I LOVE my children. They have bits of my soul in their DNA. But I CHOSE my husband out of all the humans I know because I wanted to. That's so different.

I feel for this author, because it hurts to be judged. It also makes me more judgmental when I feel judged. I am working to be an example, to hear everything in context and to just be. Let the judgment out the door, and watch it walk away.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This is what a feminist looks like?

I think I have it all. I mean, sure, I'm broke, I can't afford a new car, and we don't have health insurance, but really, we are the example of a pull yourself up by the bootstraps kind of thing.

I have a phenomenal family, a roof over my head, a good job that I'm passionate about and that has put me in a good place for my future.

I knit, iron, use a coffee press. We make a menu and generally stick to it. I wax about attachment parenting, listen to Rudolph Steiner lectures, and even wear an apron when I cook.

Sometimes I wonder what younger me would say if I were to see myself now.

Really, I think I'm the kind of person that young Jenny would have looked up to, if I actually took the time to talk to myself and told me to cut the crap.

So much of my life was spent craving a role model, a mentor, and I'm proud to be someone who I would have considered just that.
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Am I Insane?

For three years now I've been hosting what started out as an Alternative Parenting Weekend. The next year it was the Alternative Parenting Conference. This year it will be the Conscious Parenting Conference. Each year it was better in its own way.

However, it's a lot of work. We lose (our own) money. Did I mention it's a LOT of work?

This year is ten times better than last year. Last year it was ten times better than the first. We have a website, hosted a fundraiser, have a Facebook page. But still, no one is registered.

This, for me, is a labor of love. When I was pregnant with my first, I would have given anything to have this conference. There was so much we learned through trial and error. So much we could have done better and understood more earlier. I want others to have that opportunity. I don't know how else to do it...

I have always had some kind of feminist work in my life. Granted, I work in the domestic and sexual violence field, I need something that is my own - that is my labor of love (that satisfies my masochistic side?). This, my friends, is it.

So, go forth and register. Http://www.consciousparentingconference.org. Give me a little sanity back.
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Time Keeps on Slippin' Slippin' Slippin' Into the Future

Well, again it has been a while. But this time I have a good excuse. Let me tell you what happened in the last few months.

For starters, I got a job in March. Woo hoo! I'm now the Criminal Justice Curricula and Protocol Coordinator at the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. It's a terrific job, and I'm thoroughly loving it. I'm learning so much, and the people I work with are great. And, just so it's clear, the opinions here are my own, and not those of KCSDV. Ever.

Second, I graduated. Sigh. I finally graduated. I am now Jennifer Ananda, JD, MSW. That's a big deal (at least to me). Anyhow, if the littlest one actually starts going to bed at a reasonable hour, I might have a minute or so to update this site a little more frequently now... until the bar gets closer.

Anyhow, that's what I've been up to. Look forward to getting back to this soon. Until then, happy living.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Self-sufficiency

I haven’t posted here for a while, and here’s why: Life. It happens…

Anyhow, here’s what has been on my mind lately:

Self-sufficiency.

It is truly the only way to be free. And I don’t mean grown up and making our own money so we can buy our own stuff and have our own house and stay up as late as we want, like we meant it as teens.

I mean, if the plumbing breaks, we know how to fix it. If the food prices go up, it doesn’t matter because we produce most of it ourselves. I want to live in a community in which there are people interested in helping each other, and we aren’t obsessed with the THINGS of life. If my car gets a flat tire, I want to know that I live in a community full of people more than willing to help me out. I want mend my clothes, swap childcare, spend more time outdoors and at the public library than I do in stores and in front of screens. It doesn't matter what the latest advertisement campaign is, because I'm not watching and neither are the people around me. Can you imagine?

Sigh. I want to be that free.

With that much freedom, I don’t need to rely on the government to help me out. I don’t need to rely on the government to do much, as a matter of fact. Nor does anyone else. Because this freedom also includes the freedom from feeling like we must scramble as quickly as we can to be first in line, highest on the ladder, making the biggest salary. We have the freedom to help each other and care about the things that we truly find important and meaningful, not what we should have or could have or are told to think we need. And if your neighbor does like things, that's ok, too. Give them things. They can have them. I don't need to be intimidated by that.

It makes me wary, because, like many of my beliefs about parenting, it is awfully similar to beliefs I am strongly opposed to. Like fundamentalism. And anti-government sentiment.

I am not a fundamentalist. I believe in tolerance of all religions and belief structures that don’t harm others. Personally, I resonate with Buddhism, but my education of the philosophy is limited. I believe in allowing my children their choice of religious practice. It isn’t your religion that matters. It is your heart.

I am not anti-government. I believe that the government should be there to help its citizens. I would pay considerably higher taxes for national healthcare, welfare programs, and many of the social programs the US just doesn’t get right, as hard as it “tries.” I would rather see us help ourselves, though, because then we aren’t strapped to rules and regulations about “deserving” and “undeserving” poor. The policy is taken out of the decision. It’s Julia, from down the street, who ran into a tough time and needs some help. No application. No fees. Just help for someone who needs it. Communities have an interest in helping all of their citizens. Government doesn’t have the same interest.

I am pro-government, especially when it comes to regulating markets and corporations. I don’t care how much the Supreme Court tells us they are, a corporation is not a person. It doesn’t have a circulatory system. It doesn’t eat food. It doesn’t have a soul. When we take the faces off of business, we lose accountability to real people. What does Kraft care if someone dies from using its products? It’s about risk and cost-analysis. Does the cost of X number of people dieing from using our product outweigh the cost fixing our product? When it’s Joan Smith, the woman who lives four blocks away, she would probably be at the funeral. If she wasn't, there would be hell to pay.

This, clearly, is only the beginning of this conversation.

Anyhow, that’s what’s on my mind these days. In between it all.