Losing my religion

Before I start in on the subject of this post I want to say that I love all my friends and family whether they are religious or not. This is my personal belief and thoughts and I’m sorry if you don’t agree with me.

Nick and his mom got into a religious debate last night. It all started because of this. Basically, in Southern California (where Nick’s family is from) there is a 43-foot-tall cross on top of a hill that is visible for miles. It’s supposedly a war memorial. Now a U.S. district judge is saying that is has to be taken it down because “it has been found to violate a constitutional ban on government endorsement of religion”.

Nick’s mom is infuriated by this. She grew up seeing the cross and she doesn’t believe that it should be taken down because she, as a Christian, does not find it offensive in any way. Nick got in an hour plus long debate with her about how it could be viewed as offensive by Athiests, Agnostics, Jews, Islamics, basically any religion that does not support the idea or symbology of the cross. According to her (or at least how I personally interpreted what she was saying) she can’t start a stink about “terrorist churches” or the “gawdy Mormon temples” (which my personal opinion on Mormon temples is that they are beautiful) so why should people be starting a stink about a giant cross on a hill. Now, there is no church next to this cross and we tried explaining to her that there is a difference between building a church and putting up a symbol of your religion on a random chunk of land. Then she brought up the fact that it is a war memorial. Which, yes, it is, but, according to Wikipedia (oh Wikipedia, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways) “The cross was initially understood as a signal that Jews were not welcome in La Jolla.” And it wasn’t until the 1980’s, after it was challenged for being there, that it was designated a war memorial for the Korean War. I don’t know if MIL knows all of this, she isn’t the type to Wikipedia every little thing like Nick or I am and I just found this all out while I was researching, but the point was brought up that maybe it’s offencive as a war memorial also. Not every soldier is a Christian. Soldiers have the freedom of religion just like the rest of us and having a memorial that is a Christian symbol could be viewed as offensive.

Anyway, I don’t want to go into too much detail about the argument and away from where I want this post to go. It eventually boiled down to Nick telling his mom (for the millionth time) that he is an atheist and that he understands how it could be offensive. Then her reply is “Judge not unless ye be judged” and then insulting Nick for being an atheist and insulting other religions. And this is the issue I have with religion.

I can tell you the exact day that I lost my religion. November 4, 1998. The day I lost my mom. I grew up being told that God is all knowing and all loving. On that day my questions started. Why didn’t God love me, my brother, and my dad enough to let my mom live? Why, if this is a challenge in my life, is he doing to when I’m still a kid? What does a 10 year old need to learn from losing her mother? Why does my dad, who has already battled drug and alcohol addiction, have to have this challenge thrust upon him from God?

I don’t think that there is just isn’t a God or higher power. I WANT to believe, but I can’t. I want to believe that my mom is in some wonderful place waiting for me. That she is now sitting with her parents, one of her brothers, and my dads mom watching over me and enjoying themselves. But I just can’t do that. I still have those questions floating around in my head. I’ve had people try and explain and answer these questions for me, but it never makes sense.

I have friends who are religious and I have no issue with that. I have an issue when I’m being told that I’m wrong because of my lack of belief, or that person A’s religion is wrong because it’s not what person B chooses to follow. I was always under the impression that religion also taught tolerance. To accept people for who they are. This seems to be a difficult thing for some religious people to follow. In fact I’ve seen atheists and agnostics follow this better than some religious people. I don’t understand why it’s so crucial for one religion to be more important, more understanding, more right about God, Buddha, Allah, the Giant Spaghetti Monster, or whatever you want to call the big manifestation in the sky.

Why is it that you can preach love and tolerance and then turn around and look at a Buddhist and tell them they are doing it wrong? Why is it okay to try and convince an atheist that there is a God just because you believe in him?

I realize at this point this post is just turning into a rant, which honestly most religious debates do end up being, at least to me. I’m just going to end this now before I become delirious and start not making even more sense. I will end with this though, we should just be nice and understanding towards each other, not judge each other for what we choose to believe about the afterlife and the existence or nonexistence of God. Maybe if more people were able to just let go and do this the world would be a better place.

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I got a little distracted

I wanted to get my Christmas presents done before the first week of December was over, but I got a little distracted. Instead of fiishing my Christmas presents I made 2 hats and some cookies.

The first week of December starts what my town calls The Snowflake Festival. Part of the festival is a parade, at 7 at night, in December. So it’s usually “I can’t feel my anything” cold, and I realized that Corbin doesn’t have a hat that fits him. So the logical thing would be for me to make him one. While I was making Corbin’s hat Nick’s oldest little sister “Pee-Pot” mentioned how she was going to be marching with her school band in the parade and needed a hat. So I made her a hat also, in her school colors.

I used just a general hat pattern with half-double crochet, because I’m not a fan of double crochet hats. They just don’t feel thick enough to me. I made Corbin’s green with a blue stripe around it.

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I just figured out how to make pompoms so one got added to his hat…and then later cut off because I realized that a hood wouldn’t fit too well over the pompom. This only took me a few hours to make. If I had a specialty when it comes to crocheting, I would say it was hats. Then I started on Pee-Pot’s hat.

It’s hard for me to take a picture of myself without making a stupid face.

Corbin thought that he should check the red yarn before I could use it for the hat.

Like I said before, it’s her school colors, and has the school initials on it (you can find the pattern for the letters here.) Again I just used a general hat pattern with half-double crochet. This one has earflaps, hence the strings hanging down. Pee-Pot told me that kids were asking where she got the hat, which is cool. Nick’s mom was trying to convince me to make more and sell them. I told her I’d rather put a crochet hook through my eye. I like making hats, but not that much.

I also got distracted by trying to make a double batch of oatmeal raisin cookies. They turned out yummy, but I’m a perfectionist so I wasn’t too happy with them. I was picturing chewy, fluffy, delicious cookies. What I got was flat, crunchy, delicious cookies.

Top: What I was expecting Bottom: What I ended up with

I guess that’s okay though. Everyone else likes them. In fact Nick’s mom liked them so much that last night she was holding the container of them like she was Gollum and they were her Precious.

Now I have no excuse not to finish my Christmas presents. I haven’t even found an idea of what to make Pee-Pot. I should just finish the fin and eyes for Peanuts hat, but I don’t want to. I was reading something recently that said that the last few things to do in a crocheting project are the worst, and I completely agree. I always want to do cool projects, but once I’m about 75% done I’m all “screw this, it doesn’t need to be finished at all.”

Anyway, I guess I should go and put my nose to the grind stone (or, um, my fingers to the crochet hook?) and get this done instead of getting more distracted writing this blog.

Family picture from the parade. Corbin was too busy watching the parade to want to take a picture.

Family picture from the parade. Corbin was too busy watching the parade to want to take a picture.

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Sicks-giving

The worst thing that could happen to someone on a holiday that is centered around food happened to me.

Food poisoning.

It wasn’t just “Oh, my stomach is upset, I’m just going to rest a little bit.” It was full blown food poisoning.

It started the day before Thanksgiving. I was woken up by a gagging sound and when I check Corbin my half asleep mind thought a logical thing was that he was drinking out of his sippy cup in his sleep. I don’t know why I thought that, but I did. It wasn’t until the scared shitless crying started that I realized what happened. So I wake Nick up, we take Corbin to the kitchen (it was closer and easier to get to than the bathroom) and start to clean him up. After that we get him to calm down with some cuddling and a movie, but he doesn’t go back to sleep.

Awesome. The day starts at 5AM.

On the plus side (the few that there is in this story) I got to start another crocheted Christmas present, so now I only have to figure out one more for the kids. This one is going to be a hat, that looks like a shark, for Peanut. It’s not finished but here’s what I have so far. (Pattern here)

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Anyway, at this point I’m feeling fine. We sit around until about noon, Nick’s mom goes out and get some doughnuts for us, then we start finishing up the cleaning that needs to be done in the house. I’m scrubbing walls and doing dishes and all of a sudden I’m nauseous. Like a brick hitting my stomach, I’m fine then I’m not. So I sit down and rest and cuddle my sick little man, who got a nice long morning nap and hasn’t thrown up at all since 5AM.

Finally Nick’s mom decides it’s time to go to the store and get the last minute stuff that is needed for dinner. I offer to go and help so I get myself ready, still feeling ungodly nauseous, get Corbin ready, we get all into the car and off we go. About halfway through the store I need to rush off to the bathroom because something made me gag, I don’t remember what but I can guess some sort of body odor since we were in the middle of a packed Wal-Mart, and I don’t think that it’s just a gag. I make to the bathroom and nothing.

Okay, fine, my stomach is just upset.

About 5 minutes later we’re heading up front and I tell Nick’s mom that I need to get some fresh air and I’ll find her in a minute. I run outside, make it to the trash can, heave….and nothing. I sit down next to the trashcan and all of a sudden I’m a volcano. I learned one thing that day that makes me giggle. This is from personal experience. If you’re drunk outside of a bar and you throw up there will be 10 people around you making sure that you’re alright and that you have someone to take you home, if you’re crouched next to a trashcan outside of Wal-Mart in the middle of the day and you’re throwing up, people look at you like you’re the scum of the earth. Why they were looking at me like that, I don’t know. But that’s what happened.

Once we got home I spent the rest of the night on the couch throwing up in a bowl. At this point it honestly felt like the events of the morning were three days ago. At about midnight I woke up from my dozing and drink some more Gatoraid and bite off a corner of a cracker, only for it all to come back up about 5 minutes later. So since I wasn’t keeping liquids down we decided that it would probably be a good idea for me to go to the hospital. I get two IV’s and some nausea meds and I’m good to go…at 4 in the morning.

A few hours after we get home I wake up to the sound of a badly running Xbox and Nick’s oldest sister playing a game. Then about half an hour later a fire truck shows up with a box of Thanksgiving food for the family. Nick’s aunt had set this up and no one was expecting it to show up before 10 but they showed up half an hour early. So at this point everyone is up, I’m afraid to eat anything even though my stomach is feeling better, and we’re all waiting to get the food ready.

Honestly, most of that day went fine. I didn’t throw up at all, everyone was in a decent mood, and the turkey got in the oven at the last minute and no one had an issue with that. Fast forward to dinner and I’m looking forward to having some food in me.

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The turkey looks delicious, there was only one mishap in the kitchen with the green bean casserole and a short attention span, and dinner is on. One bite down, I’m fine. Two bites, still fine. Finished a small piece of turkey…I shouldn’t had started eating at all. I spent the rest of the night huddled on the couch with an upset stomach and a migraine.

That’s the story about my 48 hour sicks-giving. I was still sick the next day, and two days later I can’t sit or stand straight without having horrible stomach cramps. So now when people are going to ask me how my Thanksgiving was I can tell them the truth of me being a volcano of vomit, or I can just tell them that it was fine once we got the burnt onions off of the green bean casserole. I think I might go with the second option.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like…crocheted Christmas presents

So since I am jobless at least the kids in the family are getting scarves and (possibly) hats for Christmas. I’ve got one done, one about half way done, and have no idea what I’m going to be making for Nick’s sisters.

I first started on Wee Man’s (Nick’s eight year old cousin) scarf.

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It’s really about half way done, this is just a picture I took like a week ago for my Ravelry (if you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a site where you can organize your projects and find new patterns) page. I got this pattern off of Ravelry, you can find that page here:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/simple-argyle-scarf

Then I did Doe’s (Nick’s other cousin whose seven).

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Yes that’s me wearing it, yes it’s a little tight on me, but it was made for a seven year old and not me. I improvised this one on my own. If I had any confidence at writing out patterns I would, but I don’t, so tough luck. Basically all I did was crocheted five long strips, connected them, braided them, then connected the other sides. I did a couple extra rows of single crochet at each end, along with some button holes and buttons, so it could be secured and not unwrap or fall off.

Now I just need to figure out what to make Nick’s sisters, whom I will be referring to as Peanut and Pee-Pot (guess which one’s 15, haha). I also have to figure out hats for the other two, but I’m focusing on getting at least scarves for everyone first. I can imagine myself hurrying to finish them all up Christmas morning before everyone wakes up.

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The recent past and where I am

Six moths ago I lost my job. I was the only person providing for my little family of three…and than I wasn’t. Nick, or as I like to call him my boyancé (we’re not officially engaged but we know that at some point we’re eventually going to get married), was staying at home, looking for a job and taking care of our little man, Corbin, and I provided for us in the mean time. Then it was gone. A lot of stress then ensued. We lost our car, we had to move in with his parents and sisters and are still currently crashing on their couch. It’s still stressful but we’re getting through it.

In this six months I’ve done countless applications, had two interviews, and still am without a job, and the same goes for Nick (although he’s been at it for a lot longer). It’s frustrating because I want to be able to provide for my son, but I’m not getting an opportunity to do so. Not having a house to call ours because of the lack of jobs is frustrating too. I try my best to help out around Nick’s parents house. I clean, I do community laundry, I do the dishes, but I know it’s not enough. I’m not saying I’m the only one doing these thing either. It’s hard to please a family that started out not really liking you and, for some members of the family, haven’t warmed up at all.

Near the end of August my grandma got admitted to the hospital after weeks of coughing and hacking. It was found that she had a fracture in her back and had lung cancer. Earlier this year Nick’s grandma was diagnosed with lung cancer also. So we had this to add to our stress of staying with parents and not having jobs. Unfortunately at the beginning of September my grandma passed away, and a few days later so did Nicks. These two women will be forever missed. My grandma was the one constant female in my life after my mom passed when I was ten. She always made sure that you knew what she thought of you. That trait sometimes got on my nerves, but that is the one thing I will always remember. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind on any subject, especially when it came to her own feelings. The same could be said of Nick’s grandma. Even though I only knew her for a relatively short amount of time (Nick and I have been together for four years) I still saw her as a part of my family. She was there when my son was born, coaching me through, not letting me get pain meds until she knew it was a good time to get them. Once the drama of Nick’s ex was fading away I started to feel more accepted and loved by her and that was a good feeling. Now that these two wonderful women are no longer with us we are mourning them the best we can and trying to move on with what we need to do for our families, because that’s what they would have wanted us to do.

In the last month we’ve also been coming to our own conclusions that Corbin may be autistic. His doctor was concerned because he is a year and a half and has not uttered one word yet. He babbles a lot, just doesn’t say anything. So we were referred to Early Childhood Intervention. They went through the evaluations and determined that Corbin is eligible for their services and now he’s going to get an employee from there and a speech therapist coming to see him. They will provide an autism specialist for us if we request, which we will, and they will start visits for that too. Honestly, this doesn’t scare me at all. I don’t feel any stress about it. It just means that we’re going to have to work with our little man more than other parents have to work with their kids. I don’t see anything wrong with that. My little man is smart, I already know that just by watching him play and figure out things on his own, so I’m not worried about him talking right now. As nice as it would be for him to be calling me mama when he wants me I know it will happen eventually and I’m just enjoying the fact that he is healthy and happy.

This pretty much sums up my last six months. So now I sit here on a gray November day, eight days before we are to have the first Thanksgiving dinner without some of our loved ones, starting this blog. I know I’m lucky to be where I am and be who I’m with. I could be freezing on the street somewhere with a cardboard sign in my hand begging for work or money. I am extremely thankful for Nick’s parents putting up with us this long and can’t wait for the day when we can, somehow, pay them back for what they are doing for us right now. Most of all I am thankful for the things that I have and still am going through because that is what is slowly making me my own person instead of blending in with the people that are all doing the same thing.

P.S. I will be updating this blog with some of my crocheting and other crafty projects sometime in the near future.