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 🙂

Stress during pregnancy may lead to increased risk of fibromyalgia for baby girls

From a Uni­ver­si­ty of Pitts­burgh School of Med­i­cine Press Release about find­ings being pre­sent­ed at the Inter­na­tion­al Con­gress of Neu­roen­docrinol­o­gy June 19–22, 2006:

Stress­ful or trau­mat­ic events expe­ri­enced dur­ing preg­nan­cy can have long-last­ing effects on the fetus, yet these effects may not become appar­ent until many years lat­er, accord­ing to a study sug­gest­ing that girls born of such preg­nan­cies may be at greater risk for devel­op­ing a painful mus­cle con­di­tion called fibromyal­gia as adults.

The details sound very much like recent find­ings regard­ing abnor­mal­i­ties in reac­tions to stres­sors in chron­ic fatique suf­fer­ers. That could lend cre­dence to those who believe fibromyal­gia and chron­ic fatigue syn­drome are relat­ed conditions.

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.

For Pila: How to make your own podcast

I was absolute­ly delight­ed to receive phone com­ments from Pila this week­end! I’ll play them in the next podcast.

Pila also asked about how he would go about get­ting start­ed with doing his own pod­cast, so I’ll put on my Tech­noMom hat and try to answer that here.

I took advan­tage of my own in-house expert, Sam, who does the The Bear’s Grove, Drag­onKin, and Bardic Cir­cle pod­casts. I know every­one isn’t that lucky, though.

Some of the links here have gone 404. I’ve writ­ten a new arti­cle on the top­ic myself, so I’ll just send you there.

Wikipedi­a’s arti­cle on pod­cast­ing isn’t a bad place to start, just so you def­i­nite­ly have a sol­id under­stand­ing of the var­i­ous aspects of pod­cast­ing. From there, move on to Make Your First Podcast.

I’d add one impor­tant detail to that arti­cle, though. Where it men­tions upload­ing your files to your serv­er, I’d sug­gest open­ing an account with Lib­syn instead. They have incred­i­bly inex­pen­sive rates and you won’t ever need to wor­ry about band­width issues, as you would on any oth­er server.

If you have any spe­cif­ic ques­tions after read­ing those arti­cles, please ask them. If I can’t answer, I’ll ask Sam to do so.

Thanks again for the com­ments, Pila!

Sleep ’til you wake

When’s the last time you just slept ’til you woke up? No alarm clock, no agen­da, no hun­gry pets—just lis­ten­ing to your own body?

Try it this week. In fact, do it at least one day each week. It will give your body a chance to recharge and top off your bat­ter­ies, so to speak.

Please ignore this bit. It’s just a bit of house­keep­ing, so to speak.
My Odeo Chan­nel (odeo/687edc243f71cac0)

Episode 3

Episode 3

This time we dis­cussed deal­ing with hos­pi­tal­iza­tions, con­tin­ued our series on del­e­ga­tion, and wrapped up by con­sid­er­ing how we can add more beau­ty to our lives.

The work­sheets I’ve cre­at­ed for you are here:

Print out the Acro­bat files using the free view­er from Adobe, fill in your own details, and keep copies with you at all times. If you have Microsoft Excel, you might want to use the Excel ver­sion instead, so that you can update your spread­sheet as things change and print out new ver­sions more easily.

I men­tioned the dona­tion­ware pro­gram Pop-Up Wis­dom as well as the Moti­va­tion­al and Inspi­ra­tional Quotes Cal­en­dar and Web­Shots. If you join Web­shots, you can list me as a friend! I don’t have many pic­tures uploaded there, but our fam­i­ly’s user name is tech­no­zoo.

If you have any tech­ni­cal ques­tions about how we got the pret­ty pic­tures serv­er to work with the tele­vi­sion, please feel free to ask them here. My part­ner or I will be hap­py to answer them.

Music for the show was “Morn­ing on Haleakala High­way” by Kimo Watan­abe from the Pod­safe Music Net­work.

Podcast coming, serendipity

I do apol­o­gize, but my recov­ery has been slow­er than I expect­ed and I’ve had anoth­er trip to the emer­gency room. This one was due to not tak­ing good enough care of myself, as I got dehy­drat­ed and my blood pres­sure got way too low as a result. The pod­cast has been record­ed, though, and will be up as soon as the edit­ing is finished!

I looked out the kitchen win­dow this morn­ing to find my day bright­ened by a gift from nature. There are beau­ti­ful tiger lilies bloom­ing aroud the back stoop! We cer­tain­ly did­n’t plant them, so they were a total suprise. I adore flow­ers, and felt like the uni­verse had sent me my very own bouquet.

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.

Is there a pentagram badge?

A his­tor­i­cal arti­cle, writ­ten in 2001.

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 recent 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 and Adult Coun­selor Guide 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 if 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 con­sid­ers 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.