Stitching Notes

First, I’ll answer this week’s SBQ:

What do you do with your charts once you’ve stitched them? Do you keep them or dis­pose of them? If you keep them, do you orga­nize them in a way that is dif­fer­ent from the way you keep your unstitched charts?

I keep them. ALL of them. In fact, Sam has point­ed out that col­lect­ing charts should be con­sid­ered a hob­by in and of itself, sep­a­rate from the actu­al stitch­ing. If I could dis­play my love­ly pat­terns some­how, I would.

Next, I must Squee! For I’ve been asked for an orig­i­nal cross-stitch design for a book that’ll be pub­lished this com­ing year. I’m so tick­led! I’m not telling more than that, but it’s all pro­fes­sion­al and every­thing.

And final­ly, that was the impe­tus for anoth­er change. I’ll announce it in the next week. It’s a sur­prise for now 🙂

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The ManDiet

I have referred to The Man Diet sev­er­al times as some­thing I have done and rec­om­mend. After explain­ing it sev­er­al times, I’ve decid­ed to write it up here and just refer peo­ple to the arti­cle.

I call it the Man Diet, but that’s real­ly a mis­nomer. It should be an SO Diet or Rela­tion­ship Diet or some­thing like that. It just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well, so just take it as giv­en that I’m refer­ring to women, men or who­ev­er you would nor­mal­ly have romantic/sexual rela­tion­ships with.

There was a time when I went from one rela­tion­ship to the next. If I didn’t have one or more SOs, I felt incom­plete. I didn’t have incred­i­bly healthy rela­tion­ships, but I was sel­dom alone! I derived much of my self-esteem from being in rela­tion­ships with oth­ers.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that led to “set­tling” for peo­ple who didn’t real­ly meet the stan­dards I thought I want­ed in sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers, and often to accept­ing treat­ment that ranged from unpleas­ant to down­right abu­sive.

Right now, I do not tru­ly remem­ber what trig­gered the real­iza­tion that I’d nev­er have a tru­ly healthy rela­tion­ship if I felt that I absolute­ly had to have a rela­tion­ship with some­one oth­er than myself—that, in fact, cul­ti­vat­ing a healthy rela­tion­ship with myself, being com­plete in myself, was vital.

I didn’t think all that out so clear­ly at the begin­ning. I was just tired of the crap. I was tired of going from one rela­tion­ship to the next and hav­ing the same crap come up over and over again. I was tired of the mer­ry-go-round. I didn’t hon­est­ly count on hav­ing any more sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers. I just decid­ed that I was done. I swore off men for a year.

At the begin­ning of that peri­od, I felt anx­ious. I felt lone­ly. I felt more than a lit­tle des­per­ate, because hon­est­ly, I have nev­er been alone unless I chose to be that way. I’d spent my life using rela­tion­ships to avoid hav­ing to deal with my own issues in a deep way. If I hadn’t told sev­er­al friends what I was doing and asked them to help keep me hon­est, I don’t think I would have stuck with it.

In the next few months, I seemed to meet poten­tial SOs every time I turned around. It was tru­ly rain­ing men! That was dif­fi­cult. It was real­ly tempt­ing to just make a lit­tle excep­tion, because hey, he was just so nice! Or so smart, or fun­ny, or what­ev­er. But there’s noth­ing like true friends to kick your butt when you need it.

To be hon­est, I’ve nev­er had a prob­lem deal­ing with most prac­ti­cal things—balancing check­books, basic home repairs, even sim­ple auto main­te­nance. I didn’t need a man to take care of any of that. No, I looked to SOs to keep me com­pa­ny, to keep me occu­pied, to suck up lots of ener­gy. I felt beau­ti­ful because they said I was, because they want­ed to be with me.

So I found oth­er ways to use my time and my ener­gy. I went out with friends as friends. I devel­oped new friend­ships that were much bet­ter because I wasn’t putting any­thing into won­der­ing whether or not the rela­tion­ship would move into oth­er areas. If nobody else want­ed to go see a par­tic­u­lar music event, I went alone.

I final­ly faced up to some of the issues I was avoid­ing when most of my ener­gy was going into inter­ac­tions with an SO—like why did I need a man around to feel worth­while? Why did I accept treat­ment that I wouldn’t want any of my friends to accept—that I had, in fact, told oth­er peo­ple to walk away from? Why wasn’t I hold­ing out for the kind of per­son I want­ed? Hell, why hadn’t I sim­ply become the per­son I want­ed?

While I was real­ly count­ing the days at first, by the end of that year I didn’t even real­ized it was done. I didn’t think about it until a cou­ple of months lat­er when a friend men­tioned it. Hey, it was over! I real­ized that I didn’t feel an urge to run out and start any­thing new. I was just fine with being me, with­out a man.

I won’t pre­tend that I’m all past all of that stuff. It comes back at times, but not near­ly as strong­ly. It’s much eas­i­er to insist on the kind of treat­ment I deserve from an SO, because I don’t fear being alone. I can be alone, and be hap­py. Not a prob­lem.

I think spend­ing at least a year alone as a tru­ly inde­pen­dent adult is a good idea for absolute­ly any­one. If pos­si­ble, live alone. Be sole­ly respon­si­ble for your­self finan­cial­ly. Devel­op a healthy social life that has noth­ing to do with whether or not you have an SO. Do any­thing you’ve been putting off. Were you wait­ing to take a vaca­tion until you had some­one to go with? Go now. Go back to school. Change jobs. Vol­un­teer. Learn to dance. Just do it, and enjoy it.

Dur­ing that year, prac­tice celiba­cy. That means not only do you not have SOs, but you don’t have “friends with ben­e­fits” or one-night stands. Just be with your­self. Hon­or your­self. Love your­self. Treat your­self as you would some­one you tru­ly trea­sure.

Tell some­body what you’re doing. Tell peo­ple you can trust to help you con­tin­ue on to your goal. If some­one isn’t sup­port­ive, dis­tance your­self from that per­son. I don’t care if that per­son is an imme­di­ate fam­i­ly mem­ber. You need to main­tain bound­aries, and you don’t need any­one tear­ing you down. Seek out new friend­ships with peo­ple who are sup­port­ive.

It may take some peo­ple longer than a year to get past the “ohmigod I’m gonna get old and be ALONE!” pan­ic. That’s fine. Take what­ev­er time you need. I promise that you will be health­i­er and hap­pi­er for it. The world, and all the men and women in it, will still be there when you’re ready.

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I want to do this

Change Your Life Challenge Logo

I’ve thought about it for about a month. I’ve bought the book and looked it over. I decid­ed that I real­ly need bud­dies to do it with. Any­body will­ing to go through the pro­gram with me?

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What is network neutrality?

From Research­Buzz:

Net­work neu­tral­i­ty” (also called “net neu­tral­i­ty”) is the idea that an Inter­net access provider must pro­vide access to all parts of the Inter­net with­out prej­u­dice — with­out block­ing areas com­plete­ly, with­out slow­ing areas down, etc. Accord­ing to net neu­tral­i­ty an access provider should treat all Inter­net traf­fic equal­ly no mat­ter what it is (e-mail, Web page, video, game, etc.) or where it comes from.

This is a major issue, folks. If you haven’t been there yet, get your­selves over to Save the Inter­net and Do Some­thing Now.

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Is there a pentagram badge?

In an intro­duc­to­ry post to a news­group, I men­tioned at one point that my part­ner and I have been active in start­ing a CUUPs (Covenant of Uni­tar­i­an Uni­ver­sal­ist Pagans) chap­ter in our area, and also that I had just start­ed train­ing to be a Girl Scout leader. The com­bi­na­tion of those two state­ments result­ed in quite a bit of dis­cus­sion from peo­ple say­ing “Isn’t Scout­ing a Chris­t­ian thing? How are you get­ting to do that?” I soon real­ized that there’s a lot of con­fu­sion going on, and fig­ured I’d try to dis­pel it.

I think some of this con­fu­sion is com­ing from the per­cep­tion that there’s one big Scout­ing orga­ni­za­tion some­where, and all the pub­lic­i­ty in recent­ly years over the Boy Scouts of America’s poli­cies regard­ing homo­sex­u­al mem­bers. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have always been sep­a­rate orga­ni­za­tions. The BSA was found­ed in 1910. The Girl Scouts of the USA were found­ed in 1912. They are not the same, and the deci­sions of the BSA do not reflect the poli­cies of the GSUSA.

Yes, I’m open­ly pagan. Yes, I have been a Girl Scout leader while being open­ly pagan. The pri­ma­ry troop leader each year knew that I’m not Chris­t­ian, and didn’t express any con­cern about it. There’s not a word in the screen­ing and recruit­ment process about any require­ment that lead­ers or scouts be Chris­tians. One year there were two pagan, one Bud­dhist, and five Chris­t­ian girls in our troop. There was anoth­er who didn’t express any kind of reli­gious views her­self, but whose moth­er described their fam­i­ly as “most­ly athe­ist.” There wasn’t any trou­ble due to that diver­si­ty between the girls or the par­ents in the troop as far as I know.

From the offi­cial GSUSA web site:

The “moti­vat­ing force in Girl Scout­ing” is spir­i­tu­al. Girl Scouts respects the spir­i­tu­al val­ues and beliefs of its mem­bers, leav­ing the inter­pre­ta­tion of spir­i­tu­al­i­ty to each indi­vid­ual and the fam­i­ly.

The Girl Scout Law embod­ies the core val­ues of Girl Scout­ing. Our “moti­vat­ing force,” described by the con­sti­tu­tion as “spir­i­tu­al,” is con­sis­tent with the val­ues of many reli­gions. Reli­gious lead­ers have often praised the “rules for liv­ing” con­tained in the Girl Scout Promise and Law, which are so com­pat­i­ble with the val­ues they bring to young peo­ple through their own reli­gious edu­ca­tion pro­grams.

And lat­er:

Girl Scout poli­cies, sum­ma­rized below, ensure that all Girl Scouts are treat­ed equal­ly in regard to their reli­gious beliefs:

–Every Girl Scout group shall respect the vary­ing reli­gious opin­ions and prac­tices of its mem­ber­ship in plan­ning and con­duct­ing activ­i­ties.

–When a Girl Scout troop is spon­sored by one reli­gious group, mem­bers of dif­fer­ent faiths or reli­gious affil­i­a­tions with­in the troop shall not be required to take part in reli­gious obser­vance of the spon­sor­ing group.

The Girl Scout Promise and Con­sti­tu­tion do men­tion “God.” The leader’s guide* says:

In the Girl Scout Promise, the word “God” is used to rep­re­sent the spir­i­tu­al foun­da­tion of the Girl Scout move­ment. “On my hon­or, I will try to serve God” is how the Promise appears in print, the same as it has been since the begin­ning of the move­ment over eighty years ago. Most girls when say­ing the Promise will use the word “God.” For some girls, how­ev­er, words oth­er than “God” may be used to express their spir­i­tu­al beliefs. Because Girl Scout­ing encour­ages respect for the beliefs of oth­ers, girls may sub­sti­tute for the word “God” in the Girl Scout Promise the word that most close­ly express­es their per­son­al spir­i­tu­al beliefs.

It goes on to explain that the leader should work with a scout, her fam­i­ly and her reli­gious lead­ers to find the appro­pri­ate word or phrase for that scout if “God” isn’t right for her.

I’ve found noth­ing in the Girl Scout mate­ri­als that’s offen­sive to me as a pagan or a Uni­tar­i­an Uni­ver­sal­ist. I can­not, in fact, find any­thing that I could see as being offen­sive to any­one of any spir­i­tu­al path. There are reli­gious awards for scouts from var­i­ous reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions — you can find some of them list­ed at Pro­grams of Reli­gious Activ­i­ties with Youth. One that isn’t list­ed there but is of spe­cial inter­est to pagans is the Covenant of the God­dess’ Hart and Cres­cent Award (The Hart & Cres­cent mate­ri­als are also avail­able online, with the CoG’s per­mis­sion.)

I have seen men­tion of Chris­t­ian Girl Scout troops. I imag­ine those troops wouldn’t be as accept­ing of me or my daugh­ter, but then I wouldn’t seek them out. If I did have a per­son­al encounter with a troop that wasn’t sup­port­ive of spir­i­tu­al diver­si­ty, I’d try to work things out with the troop’s lead­ers, then go to the local GS Coun­cil of nec­es­sary, as it would clear­ly vio­late the GSUSA’s poli­cies. There’s no place in Girl Scout­ing for any kind of pros­e­ly­tiz­ing by any­one of any faith.

And yes, I do strong­ly encour­age oth­er pagans to be involved with Girl Scout­ing and open about their beliefs. The GSUSA has a real prob­lem in some areas with get­ting enough adults involved to serve the num­ber of girls who want to be scouts, and this is one of the ways we can serve our daugh­ters and com­mu­ni­ties and do a lit­tle activism to improve people’s aware­ness and atti­tudes regard­ing pagans. Need I men­tion that it’s fun, too?

As for sex­u­al pref­er­ence, I can’t speak for the expe­ri­ence of any open­ly homo­sex­u­al or bisex­u­al peo­ple with the GSUSA, but I’ve found absolute­ly no overt or covert mes­sages in any GSUSA pub­li­ca­tions regard­ing homo­sex­u­al­i­ty, bisex­u­al­i­ty or het­ero­sex­u­al­i­ty — and I’ve looked. Appar­ent­ly the GSUSA just con­sid­er sex­u­al­i­ty to be a pri­vate mat­ter. There’s cer­tain­ly no place for any overt­ly sex­u­al activ­i­ty at any offi­cial scout­ing activ­i­ty, so that’s a per­fect­ly rea­son­able stance as far as I’m con­cerned.**

*The Guide for Junior Girl Scout Lead­ers, page 6, copy­right 1994 Girl Scouts of the USA
**In May 2001, after this arti­cle was writ­ten, I came across a mar­velous pin at the Badge and Sash — the offi­cial Girl Scout store. It’s a gay pride flag with the words Girl Scouts Cel­e­brate Diver­si­ty on it.

Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished Feb­ru­ary 23, 2001

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I’m a Girl Scout!

Yep, I’m a 39-year-old Girl Scout. In fact, all three of the humans in our house­hold are reg­is­tered Girl Scouts—myself, Katie, and yes, even Sam. Men can be reg­is­tered as adult Scouts. Katie’s troops have always asked that at least one, and prefer­ably both (or more if there are more!) par­ents in a fam­i­ly reg­is­ter as adult Scouts for var­i­ous rea­sons.

I’ve been a troop leader in Junior and mul­ti­level (Rain­bow) troops in the past. I had one year of Brown­ies and one as a Junior Girl Scout when I was a girl. I didn’t have great expe­ri­ences, and want­ed to make things bet­ter for my daugh­ter and oth­er girls, so I stepped up to be a leader when need­ed. I found that I enjoyed it every bit as much as the girls do. As just one exam­ple, I had nev­er gone camp­ing until Katie became a Brown­ie, and thought I’d hate it, but it was real­ly fun.

There are some mar­velous resources on the net for Girls and their par­ents and lead­ers. Katie is going to share her favorite links with oth­er girls, so I’ll con­cen­trate on the adult stuff. Since I’m rel­a­tive­ly new, I don’t have any­thing like the list of links some sites have, but I want­ed to share the best of what I have found.

  • The Nation­al GSUSA site has far more infor­ma­tion on it than most peo­ple ever real­ize. If you don’t already know what local coun­cil serves your area, you can find out here.
  • We’re in the North­west Geor­gia coun­cil. That site also offers a wealth of infor­ma­tion. Pay spe­cial atten­tion to the reg­u­lar­ly-post­ed Learn­ing Oppor­tu­ni­ties, which is the sched­ule of class­es offered for adults and some­times for old­er girls. Coun­cil events are also post­ed here. We would have missed out on some mar­velous oppor­tu­ni­ties if we wait­ed for some­one else to tell us about them instead of check­ing the council’s site reg­u­lar­ly.
  • The Scout­ing File Cab­i­net is a col­lec­tion of links, songs, cer­e­monies, activ­i­ties, infor­ma­tion for par­ents — you name it! It’s part of a larg­er site, the Leader/Guide Cyber Coun­cil, which is mar­velous.
  • Scout­ing­Web offers an aston­ish­ing range of mate­r­i­al.
  • New Moon Mag­a­zine isn’t specif­i­cal­ly for Scouts, but it’s a mar­velous mag­a­zine for and by girls that does occa­sion­al­ly fea­ture some Scout­ing mate­r­i­al. They also have a great mail­ing list, care­about­girls. The list is “for adults who care about girls: par­ents, teach­ers, coach­es, coun­selors, pas­tors, troop lead­ers, rel­a­tives, researchers, etc. This is for every adult who wants to help raise healthy, con­fi­dent girls and make the world bet­ter and safer for girls.”

Some­one expressed sur­prise when learn­ing that I’m a Girl Scout leader because she was under the impres­sion that Girl Scout­ing is only for Chris­tians. I wrote an arti­cle to clear up that mis­con­cep­tion, “Is There a Pen­ta­gram Badge?”

I espe­cial­ly encour­age home­school­ing fam­i­lies to explore Girl Scout­ing as an oppor­tu­ni­ty for their daugh­ters. We use the GS badge require­ments along with unit stud­ies and they’ve giv­en us many great ideas.

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Why have a web site at all?

Or at least, why put such per­son­al infor­ma­tion out there on the net for the world to see? I had pre­vi­ous­ly said some­thing on my main page about the net being the great­est van­i­ty press ever invent­ed, and I still think of it that way. It has giv­en an unprece­dent­ed num­ber of peo­ple not just the abil­i­ty to pub­lish their mate­r­i­al, but to reach vast audi­ences with it. I orig­i­nal­ly start­ed cre­at­ing a home page because I need­ed to learn HTML to do my job, but I quick­ly found that hav­ing a forum in which to present my thoughts as I please, with­out edit­ing by or for any­one else, was an addic­tive expe­ri­ence!

And, really—why wouldn’t I have a web page? Why wouldn’t I be hap­py to be noticed?

There are plen­ty of excel­lent sites that are just links or search engines, like Yahoo. There isn’t a need for addi­tion­al pages that are only col­lec­tions of links, and there­fore I’ve avoid­ed that on my site. Why have a site with no orig­i­nal con­tent?

If you’re going to cre­ate con­tent, you have to speak on some sub­ject. Some­thing you do know about. Some­thing you have rea­son to believe some­body else wants or needs to read. I have writ­ten about what I know, from com­put­ers or music to my fam­i­ly and life.

I am a very open and hon­est per­son. I do not hide any­thing about who I am. I am care­ful to con­ceal some infor­ma­tion for safety’s sake, such as pre­cise­ly where we live. Oth­er­wise I don’t care who knows such things about me. My activ­i­ty on the net, both pro­fes­sion­al and per­son­al, has always been con­duct­ed under my own name and email address with no attempt to con­ceal my iden­ti­ty. I do not say any­thing online that I wouldn’t acknowl­edge pub­licly, face to face. I’m hap­py with who I am and what I’ve done in my life, and the vast major­i­ty of cor­re­spon­dence I receive from vis­i­tors to this site indi­cates that read­ing about my expe­ri­ences has helped some of them in their own lives. That is, in and of itself, a pos­i­tive result.

It is also ther­a­peu­tic to write about some issues, such as being a sur­vivor of child­hood sex­u­al abuse. Some issues, such as size accep­tance, are impor­tant to me per­son­al­ly, and I want to pro­voke thought regard­ing them. I am absolute­ly pas­sion­ate about the respon­si­bil­i­ties we as adults bear with regards to chil­dren, so I wrote the par­ent­ing page. Shar­ing infor­ma­tion about, for instance, the books and music I enjoy may allow some­one else to receive plea­sure from the same sources.

In short, this site exists because it helps me and oth­ers. If any­one doesn’t like what I pub­lish here, they don’t have to read it. If you do choose to read it I hope you enjoy the expe­ri­ence. If you feel a need to attack me based on what I say here, or to twist this infor­ma­tion out of con­text, I pray that some day you will find heal­ing so you can find bet­ter pur­suits to fill your days.

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In process

I’m going to be trans­fer­ring all the pages from their cur­rent loca­tions into the blog for­mat while updat­ing them. That means you’ll be see­ing some old stuff and new stuff, series of arti­cles and stand­alones. Depend­ing on how much updat­ing a par­tic­u­lar arti­cle takes, there may be a bunch on one day, or just one. I’m hop­ing to get at least one a day done, in any case!

So bear with me, and com­ment away.

I’m wheeled

For a time, at least. Sam picked up a wheel­chair yes­ter­day that I’ll be using for the next month (hope­ful­ly no more than that) while recov­er­ing from a hos­pi­tal stay.

No, I hadn’t imag­ined how much I dis­like hos­pi­tals. The place was worse than I remem­bered, so much so that I begged my way out of there three days ear­ly. Yes, in this day of man­aged care, they want­ed to keep me ’til Tues­day and I talked my way out on Sat­ur­day by prov­ing that I could and would give myself shots to replace the IV drugs I was get­ting.

I’m a true home­body, and real­ly do heal faster here than any­where else, any­way.

I have to go back for some blood­work today, though, and will be doing that week­ly for a while. It’s espe­cial­ly a nui­sance because I can’t dri­ve myself around yet.

In hap­pi­er news, Katie fin­ished the class­room por­tion of her driver’s edu­ca­tion course and is behind the wheel this week. She came home absolute­ly hyper last night after dri­ving for three hours. I don’t think I’ll be wor­ry­ing about hav­ing some­one to dri­ve much longer! 🙂

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